Dr Edward Cecil Harris, MBE, JP, PHD, FSA Executive Director of the National Museum of Bermuda, incorporating the Bermuda MaritimeMuseum .

Longtails are roosting in the ramparts, and artefacts have been found under its floors, but this is all progress for Dockyard. Dr Harris gave us an update on progress included details on recent archaeological discoveries, progress with the museum's Longtail Residence Club and the creation of a national museum.


The Bermuda Maritime Museum (BMM) is taking a bold step into the future by going into timeshares.   .The museum in Dockyard is starting a new club so exclusive that humans don't actually qualify.  Construction is almost complete on the Longtail Residence Club, a "gated" community, open only to white-tailed tropic birds, otherwise known as Bermuda longtails.  And while most new hotels in Bermuda are going for a Caribbean feel, the BMM are building igloos, about twenty igloos for the longtails have been installed along the ramparts  the museum has raised $26,000 to build the long tail rookeries.  The truly posh amongst the longtail crowd can take up residence in a bastion of the BMM.

   Hopefully within five to ten years there will be hundreds of longtails making there way into their new homes Called 'igloos', the birds' homes have been developed with the help of former Government curator David Wingate. They have also been the focus of a public-relations campaign supporters lease igloos for $100 a year, $300 for five years and $5,000 for a lifetime.

Islands tend to trap artifacts and we are fortunate here, we are lucky to have trapped more than most.  The new national museum is in progress and once the new museum is complete, it's almost going to be an unprecedented museum site in this part of the world.   

   Cabinet approved the addition of Casemates Barracks and Northwest Ramparts to the MaritimeMuseum for the creation of a national museum.  Volunteers have been working on Saturdays for the last three years or so, to restore the former prison to its original Bermuda Walsingham stone.   Cannons and one of the Island's original cobblestone streets have been found under feet of dirt.  A man-made tunnel thought to date back at least to the early years of the 1800s has also been discovered beneath the historic Casemates Barracks. The tunnel is lined with Bermuda stone and has an arched ceiling. It is tall enough for a person to stand inside.  The purpose of the tunnel and its exact date of construction are still to be determined through a thorough archaeological investigation. The tunnel was clearly designed to be used as a passage by people and is high enough to walk in comfortably. The presence of the ventilation holes suggest that the tunnel would have been under open ground, which today is partly covered by a major building of the 1840s.  The tunnel may be the only known remnant of the first defences at Dockyard and may be related to the first fortifications on the southern side which called for a defensive ditch and a MartelloTower similar to the one that stands at FerryReachNational Park.

   After the 400th anniversary celebrations in 2009 of the settlement of Bermuda, we should have a better appreciation of how much duller our collective lives would be without the island's historic architecture, especially homes, forts and official buildings, like the Commissioner's House. The last structure contains Graham Foster's magnum opus (his thousand square foot painting of the history of Bermuda), opened by Her Majesty the Queen on November 25, 2009, 56 years to the date of her first visit to the island.

   The discovery of cannon found at Dockyard, which proved to be from the armories of the king who lost his head in 1649. In a number of places about the island, obsolete cannon were recycled as dock bollards, mooring weights and pivots, the last for new guns. One such cannon pivot was unearthed at Bastion "I" at the southern end of the Northwest Rampart connecting the Commissioner's House to the Casemate Barracks.   Upon cleaning by the NationalMuseum conservator, Bindiya Bhatnagar, the "Tudor Rose and Crown" Royal Cypher and the initials C and R, for Charles Rex were found. Because of the nature of those emblems, the cannon was made for Charles I of England, who reigned during some of the early decades of the settlement of Bermuda. It was during his reign (1625-1649) that the first born-Bermudians would have come to maturity, speaking chronologically. The number 24 was cut into the gun near the Royal Cypher.  The gun is a Demi-Culverin Drake (firing a nine-pound cannonball) of eight foot and is one of either eight guns cast in 1637 or two cast in 1640. The term "Drake" refers to the shape of the chamber, which is in the form of a truncated cone. The shape of the button and the indented ring at the end of the second reinforce identify the caster as John Brown. The weight will be about 17-3-00 and the gun cast of "Fine Metal". I am only aware of Charles I guns having the addition of C R to the Rose and Crown.  "The Number 24 refers to the gun's position in the ship's battery, so the vessel was of some size. The most likely ship is HMS Lion (42 guns) rebuilt and enlarged in 1640 and therefore needing a few extra guns. So far your Charles I gun is the first to come to light, but never say never!"   That is to say that the gun trapped at Bermuda is apparently the first Charles I cast iron cannon known to exist; several bronze guns of the beheaded King, later canonised as "Saint Charles Stuart", are however to be found at the Tower of London.  Through a donation in memory of Douglas Anfossi made by his family and many friends, a replica carriage for this unique piece of international heritage will be built. The cannon will be placed on it on permanent display in the Bermuda Military Exhibit in the Commissioner's House.