We got special permission from the management of RdK (Refineria di Korsou, Refinery of Curaçao) to visit the terrain of the refinery; in the past this terrain consisted of a number of plantations, Asiento, a large part of Rio Canario, Valentijn, De Hoop, Bleinheim, Gasparito, part of Heintje Kool, a small part of Roozendaal and a part of Marchena. We, members of the Working group Archaeology of Curaçao, were interested if any remains of the old plantation houses and graves in this area could be found. For the central part where the actual refinery installations are built there is certainly nothing left, but to the West an area is not occupied by installations so maybe there we would be lucky.
On Thursday September 11, 2014 we brought our first visit. After getting through the security procedures we were accompanied by Head of security, mister Pietersz, mister Cedrick Martina from RDK and the security guard mister Hasselmeyer from Isla Refinery. Mister Pietersz first brought us to a small graveyard. We knew that there would be a grave on the Isla terrain but we didn't expect to see this small graveyard in the middle of the refinery installations. Apparently there were special conditions applied when the plantation Asiento was sold to the refinery; the graveyard should be kept intact and accessible. And indeed that is the case. There is small walled area with three graves. The first grave is of Charles August Count de Larrey, who died on August 13, 1832 and the second grave is of his wife Petronella Elisabeth Coerman, who died on October 22, 1845. It is not completely sure who lies in the third grave but there is an indication that there the mullatin Maria Gregoria, called Pauw of Pouw, is burried.
This was a very interesting find.
Our next stop was the former director's house in the area that was called Negropont; this house is so typical Dutch that it reminds me of similar houses in Zeist in The Netherlands. It is currently in use for certain meetings and special presentations or projects. There mister Pietersz left us; during the remainder of the tour we were accompanied by Cedrick Martina and mister Hasselmeyer.
We drove to the area known as the Marchena Yard. That area is not occupied by installations. Our first stop was the location indicated on the Werbata map as a grave. But we couldn't find any remains of a grave in the indicated area. Then we drove on to the place where in the past plantation house Marchena was located. That area appeared to be cleared rather recently; we did find a number of artifacts to the North of the area but nothing of a foundation of the plantation house.
The same happened on the former plantation Gasparito; also there we found an area now overgrown with Wabis and apparently in the past completely cleared. We didn't look for remains of buildings there. Instead we went looking to the North-east for some waterworks. We found a dam and the remnants of a water tank in that area; surprisingly there was a lush vegetation in that area; in the past there was a roi here and apparently there is still water close to the surface.
That concluded our visit for that day. We drove back to the entrance of the refinery in Emmastad where we had our cars parked. Look below for the pictures of this first visit and then on a second page the report of the second visit
- In blue our hiking tracks on the refinery; map of 1993 In blue our hiking tracks on the refinery; map of 1993
- Same tracks on the map from 1909 Same tracks on the map from 1909
- My security badge during the first hike My security badge during the first hike
- Small graveyard in the middle of the refinery Small graveyard in the middle of the refinery
- The tomb of count Charles August de Larrey (1770-1837) The tomb of count Charles August de Larrey (1770-1837)
- The tomb of his wife Petronella Elisabeth Coerman (1779-1845) The tomb of his wife Petronella Elisabeth Coerman (1779-1845)
- Enhanced detail of the tomb of Petronella Enhanced detail of the tomb of Petronella
- Three graves in this small graveyard Three graves in this small graveyard
- In this area of the refinery there are even street names In this area of the refinery there are even street names
- Former director's building Former director's building
- First stone in March 1930 First stone in March 1930
- This house is typical Dutch; could have been located in Zeist This house is typical Dutch; could have been located in Zeist
- Location of country house Marchena; area is completely cleared Location of country house Marchena; area is completely cleared
- Fruit tree in the refinery area Fruit tree in the refinery area
- Even here nature can be beautiful Even here nature can be beautiful
- Another sleuth in the bushes Another sleuth in the bushes
- Remnants of a wall Remnants of a wall
- Remnants of a water tank Remnants of a water tank
The next Thursday, September 18, we went again to the refinery for our second visit. Mister Cedrick Martina and mister Hasselmeyer were once again our tourguides. This time we drove to the Marchena Yard and from there we went on foot. First we went looking for remains of Villa Reaal. We found nothing in this area. Next stop was the location of plantation house Heintje Kool; there we found some artifacts, parts of roof tiles, plaster and a piece of a corner of a wall. At least proof that there was a building here. Closeby we found a Kadaster measuring point.
We continued over the former Schottegatweg; the foundation of this road is still clearly visible. Next to the road we found an aluminum sign indicating high voltage cables from CPIM, the former name of the Shell company. We also found several culverts to lead the water under this former road. And several modern deepwells, no longer in use.
We followed this road where possible but a lot of time we had to find our way through dense vegetation. We went to the area where we hoped to find remains of the plantation house Roozendaal. That was located very close to where now the fence is of the refinery. Unfortunately also this area is cleared. But in the neigborhood where still some vegatation was present we found several artifacts of this plantation house. Rooftiles, kitchenware and IJssel bricks. But no visible sign of a foundation. Apparently when the area was cleared these artifacts were deposited here.
We walked back to our cars. Along that path we found another high voltage sign, but this was from the Shell Curaçao, so that had to be from a later date than the first one.
All in all two interesting visits. Not that we found much, but now we know for sure that there are no important remains left of these former plantation houses.
These visits would not have been possible with the permission and full cooperation of the management of the RdK and our guides during these two hikes for which we are very grateful.
- In blue the track of our second visit to the refinery; Kadaster map 1993 In blue the track of our second visit to the refinery; Kadaster map 1993
- Same track but now projected on the werbata map from 1909 Same track but now projected on the werbata map from 1909
- My badge during this visit My badge during this visit
- Rooftiles at the location of plantation house Heintje Kool Rooftiles at the location of plantation house Heintje Kool
- Part of a wall of Heintje Kool Part of a wall of Heintje Kool
- A pickaxe A pickaxe
- Some artefacts Some artefacts
- Piece of a gin jar Piece of a gin jar
- A Kadaster measuring point A Kadaster measuring point
- With a nice copper pin With a nice copper pin
- The old Schottegatweg North The old Schottegatweg North
- High voltage; sign made by CPIM (Curaçaose Petroleum Industrie Maatschappij) High voltage; sign made by CPIM (Curaçaose Petroleum Industrie Maatschappij)
- François next to a large fruit tree François next to a large fruit tree
- A modern deepwell A modern deepwell
- A modern gin jar (no marks) A modern gin jar (no marks)
- Rooftile at the site of plantation house Roosendaal Rooftile at the site of plantation house Roosendaal
- Old kitchenware Old kitchenware
- More artefacts at the Roosendaal site More artefacts at the Roosendaal site
- Kaktus Surnam at the Roosendaal site Kaktus Surnam at the Roosendaal site
- IJssel brick at the Roosendaal site IJssel brick at the Roosendaal site
- Flower of the Carawara Flower of the Carawara
- Another High Voltage sign, now from Shell Curaçao (later period) Another High Voltage sign, now from Shell Curaçao (later period)