Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 8, “Betty’s Hope”

StrataImage-web“Betty’s Hope,” the latest entry in the video news-magazine series Strata: Portraits of Humanity, produced by AntiquityNOW’s partner, Archaeological Legacy Institute, considers what we learn about past lives when we peel back the layers of history. Sugar plantations were incredibly important to the New World’s trade and expansion, and gave rise to certain political, social and economic institutions that we may find unusual or even repulsive today. The Caribbean island of Antigua sat at the crossroads of the first transatlantic economy.  This documentary is about how a sugar plantation, called Betty’s Hope, was started in 1650 during colonial rule and gave many Antiguans economic support.  This plantation was owned by Sir Christopher Codrington, the governor of the Leeward Islands, and lasted from 1674 to 1944.  Today, the plantation is no longer operational and archaeologists use meticulous methods to uncover stories that would otherwise be silent forever. Strata: Portraits of Humanity is a monthly half-hour video series available online and on select cable channels. Strata is a showcase for unique and diverse stories about the world’s cultural heritage. Stories come from across the globe with segments produced by Archaeological Legacy Institute and dozens of producer and distributor partners around the world. Click on the image below to view the program on The Archaeology Channel and scroll down to see the curriculum developed by AntiquityNOW to accompany this episode’s video. Strata - May 2015

*Produced in 2015 by Archaeological Legacy Institute. Copyright 2015 by Archaeological Legacy Institute.

Lesson Plan


  • To introduce students to the concept of heritage  as it affected different cultures
  • To think about the different ways we identify who we are and where we belong
  • To learn how archaeologists used specific tools and procedures to uncover the stories of how people lived


  • To grasp how different influences on a culture and a people can change the course of their history
  • To appreciate that archaeology is as much about learning how people lived as it is about the value of discovered artifacts

Project Idea #1

  • Research why as described in the video the English discovering Antigua was a “clash of the New World and the Old World.” What were the differences between the two?
  • Research why with the introduction of sugar cane in Antigua “everything change(d).” How did life change for the Antiguans? For the English colonists?
  • Discuss what you learned with your classmates.
  • Write a story as if you are a 70 year-old grandmother or grandfather who was born in Antigua.  Compare your life as a child before the British came and created Betty’s Hope, and the lives your grandchildren now have living on a sugar plantation.

Project Idea #2

  • Why are archaeologists so careful in their excavations? What would happen if you came across a piece of pottery and picked it up? Or what if you dropped a candy wrapper in a site, and it was dug up 100 years from now? Explain the concept of context when it comes to artifacts.
  • Unscramble the following words:
    • tfis – what archaeologists do with large screens
    • ppminag – how a site is plotted
    • tultaaan – what you have to look out for in Antiqua
    • llrowtengi – gently scraping dirt from a surface
    • facartti – an object used by people; for archaeologists, items that tell stories of how people lived
    • lanpnttaio – a large farm or estate
    • sylarve – the institution that made many farms profitable during the 18th and 19th centuries in the Americas
    • etxcaaev – to uncover or dig

One response to “Strata: Portraits of Humanity, Episode 8, “Betty’s Hope”

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