SEPTEMBER SPEAKER: Kathy Gerace

HISTORIC ARCHAEOLOGY OF THREE LOYALIST PLANTATIONS 
SAN SALVADOR ISLAND, BAHAMAS

During the 1970’s archaeological studies were made of three slave plantations on the island of San Salvador in The Bahamas. These were the first systematic studies of Loyalist plantations in The Bahamas, and provided extensive information about the way of life of both the plantation owners and their slaves during this short, but pivotal era in the history of The Bahamas.

A short background history of Florida and The Bahamas during and after the American Revolution will be followed by descriptions of the three sites. Included will be maps, architectural drawings, and photos of ruins and some of the artifacts collected, as will the limited archival information available about the owners of these three plantations. This will allow for comparisons of the three sites, which have many similarities and yet vast differences, given all were established in the same, pristine environment at nearly the same time.


Kathy Gerace holds a MS degree in anthropology/archaeology from Michigan State University. In 1971, she was teaching at Elmira College in Elmira, NY, when she was asked to teach a four-week field course in historic archaeology on the island of San Salvador in The Bahamas. It was meeting the Executive Director of the field station, Dr. Donald Gerace, that led to their marriage and Kathy becoming the Assistant Director of the field station.

Over the years the field station grew to provide a venue for scientific studies and research for over 100 colleges and universities from the US, Canada, and Europe. In 1988 the Geraces formed a Bahamian, non-profit corporation named the Bahamian Field Station (BFS). Knowing that they couldn’t live forever, the Geraces gave the BFS to the College of The Bahamas (COB) in 2003, and it was renamed the Gerace Research Centre (GRC). When the COB became the University of The Bahamas (UB), the GRC became one of their campuses, and continues to provide accommodations, lab and field equipment, and all types of logistical support for professors, students, and scientific researchers in the disciplines of archaeology, biology, geology, and the marine sciences.