In his book “Prehistoric Guyana,” Denis Williams identifies the following phases in the history of archeological research in Guyana:

1. 16th Century: Lauren Storm van’s Gravesande

  • “Though lacking somewhat in constancy, the history of archeological investigations in Guyana is of an antiquity that is comparable to any elsewhere in the Americas. The quest of the Dutch governor, Gravesande, spade and pickaxe in hand, for the remains of Phoenicians and Carthaginians on the Essequibo-Demerara watershed in 1767 anticipated by a good two decades Thomas Jefferson’s stratigraphic excavations in Virginia” (Denis Williams, p. 16) For further details on Gravesande—see Brigadier David Granger’s 2004 article “Laurens Storm van ’s Gravesande: Guyana’s greatest governor?”…/laurens-storm-van-%E2%80%99s…/

2. 1866 – 1899: The European Amateurs

  • Among them: W. H. Brett, a Society for the Propagation of the Gospel missionary, excavates the Waramuri shell mound in1866. In 1880, Brett publishes Legends and Myths of the Aboriginal Indians of British Guiana ( London: William Wells Gardner). Following the evacuation of the shell mound at Waramuri by Brett, there was increased action by the British colonial administration. Of special importance is:

Sir. Everard Im Thurn.…

3. 1900s – 1939: The North Americans–The Early Stage

  • Walter Edmund Roth (1861-1933). Although an Australian, he was influenced by US methodology

4. 1939- 1960: The North Americans: The Late Stage

• Cornelius Osgood (1946 in Northwest District)
• Clifford Evans and Betty J. Meggers (Smithsonian 1952-1953) (
• 1985—Centro de Investigaciones Indigenas de Puerto Rico (Wai Wai) Guyanese-born George Mentore, was a member of the team.…/observing-and-particip…/

5. The late colonial and post-independence experience

Among the researchers are: