National Geographic : 1987 Nov
Dashes outline the rina of raised earth: solid line indicates the central mound and main excavation area. HE SEARCH for the vanished colony is centered on the remains of a large Indian town near En Bas Saline. The site (above) is now concealed beneath 21 small gardens, each surrounded by a dense, prickly hedge. In Columbus's time a channel, today dry, connected the village to the sea. A broken ring of earth and shells, roughly three feet high and 1,100 in diameter, sur rounds the townsite, the larg est known in northern Haiti. Inside this ring-which could have been formed by the accu mulation of trash tossed behind the Indians' houses-is a flat, open space that may have been a plaza. The fortified complex reportedly built by Columbus's men was probably in the center of the plaza. Residents of En Bas Saline serve as our field crew, helping me (right) and other researchers trowel out squares and sift soil for artifacts. The project has been supported by the Organ ization of American States, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the Haitian government.