Monday, June 26, 2006

Henley Cay

Katie holding a historic fragment she found on Henley Cay The ruins and cays of St. John have undergone a spring cleaning this past month. A team of specialist came in and removed vegetation from some of the park's structures and lands, making it easier for the archeologist and interns to survey the sites. Last week, we went to Henley Cay to look for evidence of the escapees from the 1733 Slave Revolt on St. John. Plantation owners would have fled to this cay when the slaves rebelled and took over some of the plantations. Thorough searching yielded historic glass, historic ceramics and one modern plane crash. The plane crash is well documented; the historic ceramics a possible lead in our quest to find the evidence we are looking for.

Katie Fuller is a new intern (not so new now) from UVI. She will be with us for the summer. Her sister, Shea, is also volunteering. Both are great additions to the team. In addition, the Syracuse University has a team on island that is helping out with archeology. On Friday of last week, we returned to the Petroglylphs and began drawing a map of the pool and hiked up the trail to take photographs of Josie's Gut.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Captain’s Log: Stardate 2006

My final blog entry. It seems like just yesterday that we started this blog. I will be leaving St. John and the NPS archeology crew Monday for a three-week trip through Central America. I will spend the rest of my summer visiting with friends and family before heading to the University of South Carolina to begin work on my Master’s degree in anthropology.
I’m spending my final few days working with Katie on comparing our paper catalog records to those in the computer. Before throwing away the paper records we want to make sure they are all in the computer database, otherwise, we will lose that information.

On Monday I gave a brief talk about archeology to a very interested group of third graders from St. Thomas.
On Wednesday, Katie and I met with a group from the Coast Guard with their families at VIERS. The group came over from Puerto Rico by boat and is spending the week enjoying the island. We taught them about the history of the Taino occupation of St. John. Puerto Rico has a rich Taino history so our talk was particularly pertinent to them. Both groups kept us on our toes with excellent questions.

Although I’m ready to go home, my time on St. John was very enjoyable. In nine months I went from zero archeological experience to feeling fairly well versed in archeological techniques and Virgin Islands history. This is largely due to Ken and Susanna and their willingness to impart their knowledge on me. Hopefully I will get to work with them in some format again in the future.

(Although it will never be the same, blog updates will continue as Mick moves on to other adventures. Good luck Mick, We'll miss you!)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Virtual Preservation Progress Report

After several months of hard work, the University of Maine has posted their recent work on the virtual preservation of the Leinster Bay Ruins. Please see our previous post in the archives from March for more information. You can find the 3d models at

Ken is back working on the petroglyph documentation and plenty of other beauracratic requirements. The interns are busy with a variety of projects, including more exploring on Cabrite Horn and organizing the catalog record forms in the storage facility. Susanna is completing the yearly inventory, doing some housecleaning, including sifting through some old photographs. Among the many photographs in the collection, a few become instant favorites, such as this 1960's photo of a VW bug in front of the Cinnamon Bay. Thanks to Caroline Rogers of the USGS for bringing this great glimpse of the past to our attention.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Closer Look

(Tony, Justin and Katie investigating the newly revealed petroglyph)

Most of us have taken some time off from archaeology . One thing we did accomplish last week was a trip to the petroglyphs. Since the Reef Bay Petroglyphs are in the process of a preliminary transnational nomination as a World Heritage Site, we’ve needed to do more research for all the documentation and there was one carving sited listed in “The Petroglyphs of the Lesser Antilles, The Virgin Islands and Trinidad by C.N. Dubelaar” which Ken wanted to find. So the five of us, Ken and his brother Tony, nephew Justin, Katie and Susanna set out by boat to Reef Bay. It was a rough trip as there was a sizeable swell from the south, but we all made it ashore with our dry clothes and camera gear in drybags. We began with an investigation of reported digging at the Reef Bay Factory Site. Fortunatly, we determined that the “holes” were due to natural causes, such as a boar rooting around for food. Next we hiked up to the waterfall and got there just ahead of the weekly NPS tour. Since Ken is the expert the Ranger was happy to have him speak to her group about the meaning of the Petroglyphs while the happy visitors ate lunch. Meanwhile, the rest of us looked for this particular carving. It seemed as though we had checked about everywhere when Ken’s brother Tony, who was sitting nonchalantly by the pool admiring the red and purple dragonflies, shouted, “what about this?” Sure enough, Tony had discovered the missing glyph, right under our noses. By then it was our lunchtime and after taking a bunch of photographs we headed down the trail with the intention of returning soon to do more mapping. While snorkeling back to our boat, a large spotted eagle ray swam by and lingered with us for quite a while. After lunch, Ken and Susanna completed one dive survey at Henley Cay while the others snorkeled. Just another day in paradise.(drawing of the petroglyph in C.N Dubelaar's book)

Other news: Mick is committed to South Carolina in the fall for a master’s degree in Archaeology. He only has a few more weeks before leaving for Central America for a trip with his father. He spent today with a student from St. Thomas who is interested in Anthropology.

Ken, Susanna and Molly all swam in the Beach to Beach Power Swim, placing second, first and second, respectively, in their age groups. Officially, Ken and Susanna tied at 29:17 but it looks as though she’s slightly ahead by this photograph of the finish line.

Sadly, Molly returned to Ohio today, having finished her photography work for the park.

And finally, Susanna has been offered the Museum Curator position pending a background check.