The Pleasures Estate is located on the west side of the Quill volcano, facing the town of Oranjestad. It originally contained over 25 hectares (62 acres) and was probably occupied between 1742 and 1977 when the main home on the property burned down. The plantation has substantial standing ruins including both sugar works and a main house. Pleasures was first recorded in a general archaeological assessment of the island begun by Norman Barka in 1981 and finished by John Eastman in 1996 (Barka 1985; Eastman 1996). Grant Gilmore and Brad Goodrich undertook the only previous archaeological work at Pleasures (Gilmore and Goodrich 1997, Gilmore 2000). In 1997, plan drawings were completed for the sugar processing area.
During the spring of 2000, Grant Gilmore carried out a geophysical survey on each plantation with the goal of locating slave sites. A resistivity meter survey was completed at Pleasures. This instrument was provided by the Institute of Archaeology (I.o.A.), University College London. At the Pleasures Estate plantation, it is believed that slaves actually lived in upper stories of the sugar processing facilities. Afro-Caribbean ware was evident among these structures while no discrete hearth areas were identified.
The second phase of archaeological work has been very successful. Over twenty undergraduate students from the Institute of Archaeology participated in extensive open-area excavation on both sites. Through this work, the physical layout of slave residences and their relationship to the rest of the plantation complex have begun to be determined.
During the first half of the summer the archaeological team excavated two structures at the Pleasures Estate. One building has been identified as the kitchen and it seems that slaves resided on the second floor. Evidence for food items included crab claws, iguana bones, goat bones, cow bones and pig bones. Of particular interest were slave-produced ceramics with African motifs incised into bases and sides. In addition, slave ceramics with salt glaze were excavated--this seems to be an unprecedented manufacturing technique. An additional building was excavated which is likely to be an industrial storage building, as very few artefacts were recovered here.
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