Archaeological research during the past ten years confirms that the island's history predates the 15th Century Spanish conquest by several hundred years. The oldest known human settlement areas are located in the Northern part of the island, in the Grand Case lagoon plain. They consist of shell accumulations associated with remnants of rudimentary hewn stone tools, indicating passage of archaic Indian populations as early as 1800 BC These were hunter-fisher-gatherers, living in semi-nomadic groups, ignorant of pottery and agriculture.

The discovery of the Hope Estate site on a plateau overlooking the Grand Case plain brought evidence that the first ceramics were introduced on our island around 550 BC by groups originating from the Amazonian forest. These farming and pottery-making people came by canoe from the Orinoco delta and settled islands as far as the Greater Antilles. During this period they established a village on St. Martin which remained occupied until 650 AD This exceptionally rich site, under excavation for many years, has delivered numerous pottery adorned with paint, incisions and modeling, and ornaments carved from seashells and stone. Burial sites show evidence of certain rituals, the bodies put to rest in a fetal position and accompanied by offerings.

Arawaks on SoualigaOther villages would be settled later on the shores, as the population grew to be increasingly dependent on the marine environment, which became the major food source.

Around thirty archaeological sites are catalogued on St. Martin, the most recent one, an Arawak village, discovered on a hillside near Baie Rouge. This settlement dates back to 1500AD The last indigenous populations of the Caribbean islands were decimated by the colonization process, some taken into slavery in the search for gold, others killed by the various diseases brought over from Europe. The Marigot Museum displays the best pieces discovered on the various digs in recent years. A visit there is a must for a thorough understanding of the island's pre-Columbian history.

Association Archeologique Hope Estate
Phone/Fax +590 29 22 84

Musee de Marigot
Phone/Fax +590 29 22 84

We thank NATURE Magazine for permission to republish this article.

St. Maarten - St-Martin Updates

SXM Not ‘Destroyed’

We need to get the language straight: there are far too many articles and YouTube videos showing the damage caused by Hurricane Irma, and published with introductory headlines based on phrases like...


Talented videographer Peter Sagnia is the creative mind behind a series of videos produced in collaboration with Jan Thoelke, publisher of ST-MAARTEN.COM. YouTube and other video channels are...

Shopping Returns to SXM

The first containers with fresh food and produce have arrived. The surviving super markets are again reasonably well stocked. The island's favorite discount super market - the French chain Super U -...

Princess Juliana International Airport Reopened

A major achievement towards the quick recovery of St. Maarten - St-Martin's tourism industry is today's reopening of the Princess Juliana International Airport.

HURRICANE UPDATE: Life Returns to Simpson Bay

Simpson Bay is the first region to bring back some commercial activity. Many bars and restaurants have opened and the fun mix of great food and exciting entertainment is...

The First Month of Recovery from Hurricane Irma on the Island of St. Maarten - St-Martin

One month has passed since the most powerful hurricane in recorded history went right over our tiny island of St. Maarten - St-Martin. We are the kind of people who have experience with tropical...

Restaurants and Entertainment - Presently Open

Isola Authentic Italian Restaurant

Enjoy the gentle Caribbean evening breeze on the open terrasse of Isola Ristorante Italiano while dining on authentic Italian cuisine.  Adjacent to...

Ocean Lounge

Overlooking the beach and boardwalk, the Ocean Lounge Restaurant and Bar at the Holland House Beach Hotel has become the center of fine dining in the...

Pineapple Pete Restaurant

At PINEAPPLE PETE Restaurant there is a simple motto: “Great Food, Great Service”. This is exactly what you will find here, outstanding food, fast,...

Red Piano Bar

The Red Piano is among the most famous bars on St. Maarten, situated in the center of the Pelican Key in between the Simpson Bay Resort and Flamimgo...

Taco Macho - a Colombian-Mexican Restaurant & Bar

For authentic Mexican and Colombian food, presented with warm Latin hospitality, there is no better place in St. Maarten than Taco MachoThe...

The Hollywood Casino on the Island of St. Maarten

The Hollywood Casino is located right in the center of a group of larger resorts and is the gaming spot of choice for anybody staying in Simpson Bay or...

Topper's Restaurant and Bar

Topper’s Restaurant & Bar is a great international restaurant in a fun Caribbean cottage that celebrates all-American comfort cuisine alongside...

Hotels and Resorts on St. Maarten - St. Martin - Presently Open

Porto Cupecoy - Spared by Irma

A recent visit to the elegant Porto Cupecoy development with its luxury condominiums, gourmet restaurants and yacht harbor was very encouraging: There is almost no trace to be found that a...

Atrium Beach Resort & Spa

The Atrium Beach Resort & Spa is located right on the beach and only a short walk away from several beach bars, restaurants, shops, water-sports, casino and nightlife.

Commodore Suites Boutique Hotel

The Commodore Suites is offering contemporary suties with kitchenettes right in the center of Simpson Bay and close to all entertainement.

Princess Heights Deluxe Condo Hotel

This family operated Boutique Condo Hotel offers spacious studio, one and two bedroom suites that feature balconies with ocean views and fully equipped gourmet kitchens.

Pharmacies and Spas

Miguel's Spa + Salon

Ideally located at the Atrium Beach Resort an SPA, Miguel's Spa + Salon offers excellent and qualified service for ladies and gentlemen.  After treating St. Maarten visitors for nearly ten years, the...

Orange Grove Pharmacy

In urgent cases, the Orange Grove Pharmacy is the only one offering 24-hour emergency delivery service to any location on the island. No matter what the cause, Orange Grove Pharmacy, as one of the...

Simpson Bay Pharmacy on Sint Maarten Island in the Caribbean

This pharmacy is located at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club and is within walking distance to a Medical Clinic, an ENT-Clinic and a Dentist. The Simpson Bay Pharmacy is also conveniently close to hotels...

Tijon Parfumerie - Fragrances and Skin Care Produced on St. Martin

Located in the gourmet town of Grand Case where fine restaurants are stringed along the main road, there is also Tijon Parfumerie. While the restaurants apply to the palate, Tijon wants you to come...