November 9, 2023: Marie Meranda

Four Years and Two Shipwrecks in LaSoye Bay, Dominica

Marie Meranda
Doctoral Candidate (Anthropology), University of South Florida

Maritime archaeology work began in LaSoye Bay in 2019 as a dissertation project to complement research on a settlement discovered on LaSoye’s shore during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2016. Over years of archaeological research, we have determined that the bay is the site of an underwater and above-ground harbor that has been used for centuries. Onshore structures include a seawall, bollard (for docking ships), and an abandoned warehouse. Two sites within the bay have been identified as shipwrecks, hinting that seafaring the rough Atlantic waters of Dominica was not uncommon despite LaSoye’s small size. Such features are reminiscent of past economies reliant principally on the sea for trade, transportation, and migration. Underwater debris such as anchors, ballast stones, bottles, pottery fragments, pipe stems, and metal support the argument that the bay was a site of both fishing and extra-local trade. Here, I will discuss the survey techniques that led to these discoveries and place these underwater features and artifacts in Dominican and larger Caribbean contexts.

Marie Meranda is a PhD Candidate at the University of South Florida in Anthropology. She has a Master's degree in Maritime Archaeology from the University of Southampton and Bachelor’s degrees in Humanities Fine Arts and Anthropology from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. As a Scuba Instructor and AAUS Scientific diver, she has worked on a variety of underwater and terrestrial projects in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Black Sea and the Southeastern U.S.

This monthly Archaeology Lecture series is co-sponsored by the Alliance for Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society (CGCAS) and Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education (AWIARE).