Protecting Jamaica’s heritage
By Dana Niland
Jamaica’s historic spaces must be preserved.
That’s the call by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust’s Technical Director of Archaeology, Dorrick Gray (above), who is pushing for the preservation of two of the nation’s most notable spaces, Seville Heritage Park in St Ann and the Underwater City of Port Royal, which are featured on the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Gray said the sites are significant reminders of the nation’s successes and struggle throughout history and therefore must be protected.
Seville Heritage Park, located overlooking the Caribbean Sea, features a display of artifacts that depict aspects of life of the Tainos, Africans, and Europeans.
“Of the main core of activities that took place at Seville Heritage Park, there is nowhere else in Jamaica that we have been able to find, through the archaeological investigation, this span of various cultures and this is why we say that (it is) for me, the genesis of the Jamaican people, because it is where our people began from the various cultures that came in,” he said.
Port Royal, now a quiet fishing village, once served as a hub of trade and commerce and was known as the “wickedest and richest city on earth” until a major earthquake and resultant tidal wave in 1692.
Today the city remains an important historical and archeological site, as well as the source of recovery of over 2,000 artifacts.
In addition to these two heritage sites, Jamaica is home to a plethora of other points of interest including various statues and memorials, parks and gardens, courthouses, forts, churches, and more.
Gray said the Jamaica National Heritage Trust is continuing to seek out and protect sites of historical significance.
“We normally get information of our country from history books, in terms of what has been left behind and what it was like then…but the heritage sites around the country are living examples of history and heritage that our people were involved in,” he said.