29 June 2013

Research team to oversee restoration of Red House. Skeletal remains found...

Research team to oversee restoration of Red House. Skeletal remains found...
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jun 29, 2013 at 9:00 PM ECT

A research team has been appointed to oversee the restoration of the Red House now that skeletal remains found in March beneath the seat of Parliament have been determined to be from the period around 430 AD to 1390 AD.

The discovery of the remains, likely those of Trinidad’s first peoples, occurred during project works in March and included fragments of human and animal bones, pottery, shells and other artefacts.

Local archaeologist Dr Peter Harris was assigned to lead research into the find.

Harris died on May 18 and in a statement from the Parliament Friday, special thanks were sent for his expertise in handling the find.

The samples of the excavated remains had been sent to Binghamton University, New York and Beta Analytic Inc Lab in Miami for DNA and radiocarbon testing, respectively, the statement said.

The tests were aimed at determining age, gender and ethnicity and some of the remains have been confirmed as human.

While some works will continue, care must now be taken to treat the site with respect, the Parliament stated.

“As the discovery of these human remains and other artefacts could signal the existence of other historical and cultural material at the Red House, an Archaeological Research and Rescue Excavation Team has been assigned for a six-month period on a full-time basis, as of Monday 1st July, 2013,” the Parliament statement added.

“During this period, the Red House Restoration Project will focus on the completion of essential surveys and designs ahead of construction works scheduled to commence in February 2014. Only minor necessary works will be undertaken at the Red House site, during this period, under the supervision of the Project’s Consultant Historical Architect.”

The team is now headed by Dr Basil Reid and will comprise a site manager, two assistant site managers and 25 labourers.

The project manager of the restoration project is the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (UDeCOTT).

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