Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2014 Contents CHARLES KONG SOO
After dating and verifying the authenticity of a
200-year-old British Army uniform button that
was found in the ground at the Orange Grove Savan-
nah in Tacarigua, several local and international
archaeologists and historians are calling for an
archaeological survey to be conducted before the
controversial multi-sports complex is built on the
The button was found in a muddy field by historian
Angelo Bissessarsingh in 2005 when he was walking
around the track at the Orange Grove Savannah, also
known as the Eddie Hart Grounds.
Photographs of the button were sent to both local
and international experts in Britain and Scotland to
determine the age and composition of the object.
They are Dr Tony Pollard, director of the Centre for
Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University, Scot-
land, an internationally respected authority on bat-
tlefield archaeology, Andrew Robertshaw, an English
military historian, Natalia Wieczorek, senior collections
access and outreach curator at the National Army
Museum, Chelsea, England, and Dr Basil Reid, senior
lecturer in archaeology in the Department of History
at the University of the West Indies, St Augustine.
Dr Pollard has carried out investigations of bat-
tlefields in South and North Africa, South America
and Europe, and has worked with police forces
throughout Britain as a forensic archaeologist.
Dr Pollard responded via e-mail to the Sunday
Guardian, "I am happy to confirm that you have
there a British artillery button from the period 1790
"This was most likely worn by a local militia unit
raised in Trinidad to protect British interests at a
time when the British army was heavily engaged
elsewhere---wars with the French. The obvious unit
is the Royal Trinidad Artillery, which was raised in
"The button is indicative of a military presence in
the area in the late 1700s or early 1800s, though
whether this amounted to a barracks or fort I am
not in a position to say. It may be nothing more than
a stray find but this should be checked.
"I would therefore advise that an archaeological
evaluation be carried out on the site, in conjunction
with historic research, in order to establish whether
there was a military site or any other archaeological
features of historic interest at this location."
Robertshaw said via email that the button was
from the Ordnance Department of roughly the same
He said the department was responsible for ammu-
nition and other stores so were usually related to
Robertshaw said a similar button was found at the
French POW (prisoner of war) camp at Norman
Cross, Cambridgeshire, which was built in 1797.
He said it would be worthwhile to conduct an
exploration dig to determine what other artefacts
could be buried there.
Bissessarsingh said Robertshaw's findings were
"quite exciting" because there was an ordinance
department in Trinidad and it was where Powder
Magazine in Cocorite got its name.
He said when there were spaces as old as the
Orange Grove Savannah that had been in use for over
200 years, it cannot be ruled out that it was devoid
of archaeological artefacts or had no historical impor-
Wieczorek said via e-mail that there was a similar
button dated circa 1790 in the National Army Muse-
um's sources displaying the Ordnance arms.
She said the officers' buttons at this date had the
design on two-piece buttons with gilt faces on bone
or wooden backs.
200-year-old British Army button
found at Orange Grove Savannah
"I am happy to confirm that you have there a British artillery button
from the period 1790 to 1802. This was most likely worn by a local militia
unit raised in Trinidad to protect British interests at a time when the
British army was heavily engaged elsewhere---wars with the French. The
obvious unit is the Royal Trinidad Artillery, which was raised in 1797."
DR TONY POLLARD, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRE FOR BATTLEFIELD
ARCHAEOLOGY AT GLASGOW UNIVERSITY, SCOTLAND
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt January 12, 2014
A 200-year-old British Army uniform button from the Royal Trinidad Artillery
that was found in the ground at the Orange Grove Savannah, Tacarigua, by
historian Angelo Bissessarsingh in 2005.
CONTINUES ON PAGE B7
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