Samuel Bertram Bandara, M.A. (UWI) Main Library, University of the West Indies
We will forever Cherish your Refreshing Friendship and Dedication and forever store your Life and Works in our Memories
Sam Bandara, served as Field Director of the Maroon Heritage Research Project (MHRP) since 1991 and has been the brain behind the successes of the Maroon Heritage Research Project (MHRP) in Jamaica and Suriname. Sam helped pioneer the MHRP research from the very first archaeological reconnaissance and survey of the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. Sam Bandara came to University of the West Indies (UWI) with a considerable experience in field archaeology originally started in Sri Lanka where, with his experience from the University of London, School of Oriental Studies, he lectured in Archaeology at the University of Sri Lanka, Peradeniya from 1971 to 1974. Sam continued his archaeological endeavors working with Dr. Karl Watson of the History Department helping students who showed interest in Archaeology. Sam Bandara’s contribution to the development of the UWI Archaeology program, mostly behind the scene, was beyond description. He has supported the MHRP in many capacities from project coordinator to Field Director in Jamaica and Suriname and was also responsible for the revival of the Archaeological Society of Jamaica becoming an executive member for many years. He was also responsible for archival and historical records on Maroon groups, maps, field sketches and above all organization and supervision of the field data documentation, artifact processing as well as statistical records and inventories in both the field and the laboratories in Jamaica and Suriname.
Sam’s passing, has taken away much knowledge of the deep interior Maroon sites of the Saramaka and Matawai of Suriname – knowledge of which only very, very few can boast. His pioneering expeditions are still well remembered by many in the Suriname interior. It is impossible to describe Sam’s capabilities: tirelessness, dedication, high sense of initiative, spirit of collaboration, enterprising and a person who makes things happen. He was not only a true colleague but also a right-hand person and a major adviser on project issues including logistics and field operation; he was prepared at all times, even on the spur of the moment’s call. Above all he was very, very humble. Sam was always cheerful and optimistic. His humor and field stories are boundless. Sam is a model personality – simple, humble, accommodating and will simply sacrifice his comfort in any situation for the well-being of another person. He will be remembered by the UWI Publisher’s Association; the Archaeological Society of Jamaica; Association of Caribbean Historians; and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and the international Association For Caribbean Archaeology (IACA).. Sam was always prepared for any eventuality. I am sure that when death came, he was prepared. His departure leaves deep wounds and vacuum in our hearts; our eyes drenched in tears; our minds filled with unforgettable memories of his charming and humble personality. Rest in Peace! (Link to Tribute to Sam Bandara’s CV)
Shades of Grey
In memory of Samuel Bertram Bandara (Dec. 6, 1944 – Sept 25, 2006)
At my mother's house on Wellington Drive, there is a grey couch that sits in the part of the living room designated for telephone activity. It looks very ordinary compared to the other richly carved antique furniture in my mother's house. If there was a fire and I could only save one item it would be that couch. On that grey couch my father spent the last months of his life when he could no longer manage the walk from couch to bed........contd