Friday, December 15, 2006

Then and Now

A month or so ago Ken, our archeologist, spoke at a St. Thomas Historical Society meeting and met Jane Sheen who was interested in helping the park in its efforts to gather historic documentation on park resources. A few weeks ago, Ken and Susanna took a trip over to St. Thomas to meet Jane Sheen, and look at her collection of historic postcards of the Virgin Islands. The postcards date from the late 1800 hundreds to the early 1900 hundreds and many of the images captured park resources still in use, like the photograph above with the Reef Bay Factory still in operation. Others capture the people and the times like learning to make baskets at the turn of the century. The postcards are great and Jane was so helpful. That day she loaned 100 + cards right then in order for us to scan the images. This week, Susanna spent a few hours scanning in the images, front and back, because the back of the card can indicate when it was published. Eventually, we hope to process all the images and make them available online. Below one of the cards, shows the Creque Marine Slipway in full operation.

This is an image of the structure as it stands today. Thank you Jane for making this wonderful contribution.

Monday, December 11, 2006

5oth Cultural Posters

Here are the 50th cultural resource posters I mentioned in our last posting. We now have them on display at the Cinnamon Bay Archeology Lab.


Friday, December 08, 2006

VINP 50th Anniversary

Hi, this is Amber, the one and only archaeology intern (for the time being) at the VI National Park. Long time, no see readers! Our blog site had to go through government security approval before we could get back to you. We have been busy these past few weeks, and I mean really busy. The 50th anniversary of the creation of the Virgin Islands National Park was celebrated last Friday, December 1st. Speakers, who included Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen, Southeast Regional Director Patricia Hooks, and Director of the National Park Service Mary A. Bomar, discussed how successful the park has been since its inception in protecting both the underwater and land resources of this Caribbean paradise.(all pictured below)

They also emphasized the importance of the continuation of this work into the 21st century. Modern dancers from the St. John School of the Arts performed as well as local quadrille dancers, and the Steel Pan Dragons played some Christmas songs to get everyone into the holiday spirit. (NPS Staff in CLASS A Uniforms)
I sat at an exhibition table during the ceremony with four posters that archeologist Ken Wild created for the occasion. The posters, which are shown below, detail the different aspects of cultural resources preservation in the Virgin Islands National Park—maritime, prehistoric, historic architecture, and the collections that connect to the communities past. I talked with people who were interested in the current archaeological projects and hopefully with funding all can proceed as planned. A great buffet and a 50th anniversary cake finished the celebration and I must say it was great to see both park officials and the community gather together for this event. (NPS Employees:first row Devon Tyson, Dave Sapio, Christy McManus, Tina Bernier, Ken Wild, Thomas Kelley, second row: Esther Francis, Rafe Boulon, Susanna Pershern, Carrie Stengle)
This week, with the 50th anniversary celebrations behind us, we have gotten back to what we do best—digging in the dirt! Eight members from the Las Vegas Sierra Club volunteered to continue excavations of the cookhouse located near the Great House of the Cinnamon Bay plantation. Joe and Ellen Ries, Bill and Billie James, Marge and Ed Rothfuss, Barbara Gerhart, and Linda Nations planned a week-long service trip to St. John and were delighted when they found out they would be working with Ken Wild on a dig. The historic floor of the cookhouse was originally discovered because local clergymen and Ken Wild had chosen the area for reburial of the human remains washing up at Cinnamon Beach. The remains are thought to be of African descent. The Sierra Club volunteers helped to expose the entire cookhouse floor, which was dated from the 1820’s to the 1840’s by the type of pottery and glass recovered, and Ken and Susanna will photograph and document it next week. Marge found a coin minted in 1822 in Curacao (shown below) which may shed some light on trade relations at Cinnamon Bay. After proper documentation is complete, the floor will be reburied and a new site will be chosen for the burial of the human remains. Also below is a photograph of the team working at the excavation site. Well, that’s all for now, everyone. Until next week:)