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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.

Contacts:
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.

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St. Maarten - St. Martin's Major Events

SXM Festival - March 2017 15th to 19th

The SXM Festival is back for 2017 and even better! The event is set on different party locations and featuring the creme of international DJs and electronic music talent.

Heineken Regatta - March 2017

The Heineken Regatta is a world-renowned sailboat race AND a series of major concerts and parties.

Carnival - April/May 2017

Take loud drum and calypso beats, glittering costumes, mouthwatering food, lots of drinks and thousands of happy people - that is Carnival in St. Maarten. 

Major Events 2017 - Intro

Three major events are the cornerstones of St. Maarten's party season. Heineken Regatta, SXM Festival and Carnvial fill the time from March to May.

Featured Hotels and Resorts

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.

Holland House Beach Hotel

The Holland House Beach Hotel is a St. Maarten landmark, with a unique location right on Great Bay beach in Philipsburg, the island's capital. 

Amazing Vacation Rentals

9 Bedroom Estate | Starting at $6000 per night

Le Château des Palmiers is a world-class estate that includes a 5-bedroom ocean side villa and a 4-bedroom garden side villa and it situated on a white sand beach.

AAZURE - 1 Bedroom Apartment | Starting at $229 per night

Aazure is a beautifully appointed 1 bedroom, 1 ½ bathroom condo overlooking the gardens and pool of Porto Cupecoy, a luxury gated community.

BEACH COTTAGE - 3 Bedroom | From $210/night

This vacation rental is a historic cottage on the beach in the gourmet village of Grand Case, where fantastic restaurants line the main street to tease the visitors palate. 

OCEAN VIEW - 1 Bedroom Apartment | From $70/night

This one-bedroom condo unit is located in the neighborhood of Beacon Hill right on the ocean with spectacular views and within walking distance to the entertainment of Maho.

Best Jewelry Shopping

Shiva's Gold + Gems

 "Take home our jewelry, have it appraised, then pay us." That's right! St. Maarten's leading jeweler Shiva's Gold + Gems is THAT confident of the unsurpassed quality and value of their...

Grand Jewelers

Grand Jewelers has excellent choices of Geneve, Movado, Raymond Weil, Citizen and Seiko watches. They guarantee that they will offer you the best prices possible.

Jewels by Love

"Jewels by Love - A Family Tradition" You will find the most valuable timepieces, backed by generations of experience and passion for horology here.

Royal Caribbean Jewelers

Royal Caribbean Jewelers eschews big brands and phalanxes of sales staff in favor of a laid-back, relaxed family-run affair dealing in diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.

Great Dining Spots

Charter House 18.63

The Charter House 18.63 is located right at the Simpson Bay Yacht Club. The outside terrace and the air-conditioned dining room provide a wonderful ambiance.

Esco Pazzo Pizzeria

With Esco Pazzo, there is now authentic Italian stone oven pizza available on the island of St. Maarten. The restaurant is located at the Princess Casino.

Sushiitto Japanese

SUSHIITTO promises Japanese food with a twist. Owned by Pierre Ferland of Pineapple Pete-fame, SUSHIITTO is St. Maarten's favorite place for sushi and teppanyaki-style dinners.

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 international culinary delights.

Exciting Things to Do on St. Maarten - St. Martin

Amigo Tours

AMIGO TOURS is an experienced tour operator that will be able to offer taylor made island tours for each requirement.

CORAIL Helicopteres

CORAIL HELICOPTERES offers fast and comfortable transportation from and to neighboring islands and sightseeing flights. 

Random Wind Sailing Excursions

Experience a day cruise on an authentic world cruising sailing yacht, with snorkeling stops and other water activities.

Rhino Safari Excursions

Experience on-the-water excitement piloting your very own two-man RHINO Watercraft to the best snorkeling spots.

Beaches, Nightlife, Shopping

Shopping on Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin

On St. Maarten, you'll find the best shopping of the Caribbean. Really (!) duty free, find bargains for jewelry, liquors, cigars, parfums, etc....

The Beaches of St. Maarten/St. Martin

St Maarten - St. Martin has 37 beaches and whatever your lifestyle or vacation style, if nude or prude, there will be a beach for you.

What's So Special About SXM?

The island of Sint Maarten  - Saint Martin is with 37 square miles the smallest land mass in the world to be shared by two different nations.

Where to Party on Sint Maarten - Saint Martin

St. Maarten/St. Martin comes to life after dark. Nightclubs, casinos, beach parties... If you're a night owl, you've chosen the right destination!