News Releases

New book details landmark Red House archaeological excavation project

For Release Upon Receipt - November 9, 2018

St. Augustine

The Red House – it’s one of the most striking and important buildings in Trinidad and Tobago. Almost four years ago, a groundbreaking archaeological project unearthed some of its colonial past, as well as many details on the lives of the first people who lived at the site in pre-colonial times.

The work of that project has now been published by The University of the West Indies (UWI) in a book titled “An Archaeological Study of the Red House, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.” The book was edited by Basil Reid, Professor of Archaeology in the Department of History at The UWI St. Augustine Campus.

Launched in September 2018, the publication represents the findings of the “Red House Restoration Archaeological Project,” which ran from July 2013 to January 2015. The project was spearheaded by the Office of the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and led by Professor Reid, with support from UDeCOTT.

An international team of over 40 members representing a variety of disciplines took part in the project. Their excavations have produced an incredible amount of information on many aspects of the indigenous people who lived at the site from an over 1200-year period starting in AD 125, as well as the Red House from its earliest times to 1907.

“It was a huge collaborative effort and it redounded to the benefit of T&T,” says Professor Reid. “A trove of information was collected.”

“An Archaeological Study of the Red House” has three parts (the pre-colonial period, the colonial period and heritage management) and 11 chapters. Its list of contributors include personnel from The UWI, the Office of the Parliament, the Ministry of Education and universities in Belgium, the US, Canada and the Netherlands.

The project is a landmark endeavour of Caribbean archaeology, making the new publication of interest to scholars and students in many fields: archaeology, history, heritage, cultural studies, historic architecture, tourism and others. However, the vivid window it places into the daily lives of the people who once lived at the site in pre-colonial and colonial times, provides a fascinating read for all audiences, particularly citizens of Trinidad and Tobago who have lived with this historic building their entire lives.

“The Red House is an iconic site for the people of this country and it is a sacred site for the first peoples,” says Professor Reid. “This was an important project and it captures the essence of Caribbean archaeology.”

“An Archaeological Study of the Red House, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago” is available for purchase at the UWI Bookstore, St. Augustine Campus, and online.




About The UWI


Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, The UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. The UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)