Monday, February 25, 2008

Hassel Island, Revisited

Mike Toomey with the pipebowl he found.
Greetings from the archaeology lab! The past few weeks have found the archaeology team hard at work down at Cinnamon washing, analyzing, dating, preparing, and cataloguing the melange of artifacts recovered from Hassel Island during the surface collection for the island cleanup back in November and December. This has given us a chance to review the artifacts both piecemeal and together as a awhole, revealing several trends. In this process, we have come a long way towards a better understanding of historic glass as Kourtney is working on a glass type collection that will make it easier for all of us next time to quickly determine a bottle's age and where it was made. This work with the collection has proved challenging as there are many different types of ceramics that indicate a wide range of dates of occupation. However, this is not surprising to us as we know that the island underwent many changes in occupation since early occupation in the 1600 hundreds and since the British first built Shipley's Battery in the late 18th century. We are continuing to work on the collection and looking forward to learning more about Hassel Island before we begin to accession materials from the Leprosarium/Yellow Fever Hospital and Shipley Battery.
Jillian clearing the path through pinquin up to Shipley's Battery

Last week, we returned several times to Hassel to work with SeaTow and to mark a suitable trail to Shipley's Battery, at the summit of the island. Our SeaTow pal, Michael Toomey kept his keen eyes to the ground and made a wonderful discovery of an impressivly intact decorative pipe bowl with stem. In recovering this artifact we recovered its UTM coordinates to exactly 10 centimeters; about the size of the pipe and stem itself. We're very glad to add this great artifact to our collection and thank Mike for his find and SeaTow for their very hard work. On the next blog we will try to post a closeup of this bowl that dipicts a harbor scene from the 1830s. Remember all never take artifacts form a National Park--The history of these objects belongs to all of us.

Ken explaining ancestory to the Antilles School Group

Susanna and the Guy Benjamin School Group

Guy Benjamin Students washing artifacts

In between our work with Hassel Island material and a successful folklife festival, we were glad to host two different third grade school groups to the archaeology lab who have been learning about the Taino. The first group from Antilles school learned about ancestors and saw the rare Zemis in the collection. The second group from Guy Benjamin were very helpful in washing artifacts and preparing them for analysis. We are always happy to share local archaeology with St. John students and hope that those very enthusiastic students will come back to volunteer for the Park in a few years!

Kulu Mele drumming at Annaberg Folk Life Festival
Mr. Guy Benjamin, first St. Johnian to graduate from High School


Anonymous said...

You're looking pretty sharp in that uni.

Krissy (TeamCanadia) said...

Totally unfair! I want a snazzy uniform!! I didn't even get a volunteer shirt!