Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-2011 Projects

Hi I’m Kourtney, I’ve been an archaeology intern with the park in the past and now I’m back, working through the Friends while awaiting my background check to clear so that I can become an official NPS archaeology employee…hoping any college loan defaults don’t affect my clearance :)

For interested interns that have not been to Cinnamon Bay below is a photo of the Lab at Cinnamon and we have attached a link to the Intern Survival Guide in the side bar.

I rushed back to the islands this September to assist in salvaging the resources threatened by the hurricanes this season. Our most crucial project involved addressing the beach erosion at Cinnamon Bay. Following Hurricane Earl, the erosion exposed a burial on the beach at Cinnamon. The skeleton was articulated and almost complete, excluding the cranium. Based on the elements present, the burial contained the remains of one young adult female. The burial was exhumed and will remain in a safe location until the forthcoming reinterment.

We are aware of the historic cemetery that has been inundated by the sea at Cinnamon Bay. However, this burial does not appear to be associated with that cemetery. Instead, the burial was located beneath a house structure, one that was most likely burnt down during the St. John Slave Revolt of 1733. We plan on mapping the area to confirm this but cannot do so until we first try to minimize the affects of the erosion. Our first plan of action involves applying matting and sandbags to the edge of the archaeological sites that are eroding. Following this, we are planning to reopen the Cinnamon Bay Prehistoric Site in order to salvage the archaeology in case of complete inundation.

We are now without our very valuable intern Chela :( who is gone until February. We are actively recruiting interns to help us with all the ongoing projects such as underwater surveys, excavation of units, site condition assessments, artifact analysis, and cataloging. Below is a more concise list of the current ongoing projects we are working on.


VIIS-352 - CINNAMON BAY ACCESSIBILITY TRAIL - Monitor construction of accessibility trail through the Cinnamon Bay Sugar Factory ruins. Complete archeological data recovery, analysis, cataloging and report.

FRIENDS - Install Historic Shutters and Doors - Contract and provide architectural info and oversee installation of replicated historic doors, blacksmith hardware and shutters on two historic structures at Mary Creek and a Cinnamon factory ruin

VIIS-351 - CINNAMON BAY EROSION STABILIZATION - Stabilize and salvage material from the coastal archaeological sites that are threatened at Cinnamon Bay following hurricane season.

VIIS-191- CINNAMON BAY PREHISTORIC SITE - Ongoing analysis and cataloging of artifacts from the excavations of the Pre-Columbian site at Cinnamon Bay.

SEC. 106 - CINNAMON BAY EMERGENCY EXCAVATION -Emergency salvage excavation of the Pre-Columbian ceremonial site at Cinnamon Bay, following its endangerment due to the 2010 hurricane season.

VIIS-339 - CINNAMON BAY REINTERMENT - Complete excavation of a unit at Cinnamon Bay that will later become the reburial plot for the assemblage of human skeletal remains that were disturbed from the historic cemetery on the beach.

PMIS/FRIENDS - CINNAMON BAY CONTACT STATION - Develop interpretive heritage exhibits at the Cinnamon Bay archaeology lab. Monitor the restoration of the structure and oversee the construction of the display exhibit cases.

SCA - HASSEL ISLAND INTERPRETATION TRAIL - Supervise Creque Cultural Landscape survey carried out by SCA. (STT Historical Trust)

FRIENDS/ Education - CREQUE SIGNS - Complete development of 5 Interpretive Signs for Creque Marine and have them installed

FMSS/PMIS - HASSEL ISLAND ROYAL MAIL STEAM PACKET STABILIZATION - Monitor the stabilization and construction of the ruins at the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company.

FMSS/PMIS - HASSEL ISLAND CREQUE MARINE DOCK - Monitor the construction of a safe dock and assure this is done as historically accurate as possible.

ASMIS/FMSS - RESEARCH HASSEL ISLAND BARRACKS STUDY - Review research by Charles Consolvo and enter data into site files, FMSS and ASMIS

FRIENDS/STT - HIST TRUST HASSEL ISLAND METAL CONSERVATION - Oversee conservation of the historic metal material recovered from surveys carried out at Hassel Island.

FRIENDS/Education - PREHISTORIC CERAMIC REPLICAS - Consult with pottery Gail Van der Bogart to replicate prehistoric ceramics for the Contact Station at Cinnamon Bay.

COST SHARE GRANT - VIRTUAL PRESERVATION OF CULTURAL RESOURCES - Oversee the University of Maine Engineer Students while digitally mapping the ruins at Cinnamon Bay in order to virtually preserve them.

SEC. 106 FRIENDS/FMSS - VEGETATION REMOVAL FROM HISTORIC SITES - Monitor volunteer coordinator Jeff Chabot and volunteers while undergoing clearing of historic sites in the park. Complete surface collection and measure ruins for FMSS

VIP/ASMIS - MAPPING HISTORIC RUINS: ANN HERSH - Assist in mapping ruins with volunteer architect at Turner site.

SEC. 110/ASMIS/FRIENDS - DANISH INTERN PROJECT: 2011 - Guide Danish interns from the University of Copenhagen through survey, data recovery, analysis in conjunction with their historic background research and report.

FRIENDS/Education - ARCHAEOLOGY INTERN PROJECT 2010 - Train archaeology students in the NPS CRM standards and procedures.

FRIENDS/Intern research - ST JOHN LITHIC STUDY 2010 - Assist in two projects led by a Danish and Dutch students researching prehistoric lithics for the park. (Casper and Sebastian) Data will result in required analysis for report purposes

FMSS/PMIS - MAHO PARKING LOT - Monitor construction of parking lot at Maho Bay.

SEC. 110 - NOAA/Navy UNDERWATER SURVEY - Survey with NOAA using self guiding UW sidescan vehicles to locate submerged resources and complete UW compliance.10/4-15. Underwater anomalies survey ongoing

SEC. 110/SEC. 106 - PAQUERAU SALVAGE - Site is threatened and never recorded. Must clear vegetation, complete archaeological data recovery survey, map assess condition and complete analysis, cataloging and report.

SEC. 110/SEC. 106 - HOPE SALVAGE Site - is threatened and never recorded. Must clear vegetation, complete archaeological data recovery survey, map, assess condition and complete analysis, cataloging and report.

SEC. 110/SEC. 106 - VESSUP SALVAGE - Site is threatened and never recorded. Must clear vegetation, complete archaeological data recovery survey, map assess condition and complete analysis, cataloging and report.

SEC. 110/SEC. 106 - BORDEAUX WEST - Site is threatened and never recorded. Must clear vegetation, complete archaeological data recovery survey, map, assess condition and complete analysis, cataloging and report.

SEC. 110/SEC. 106 - Survey - 200+ acre donation never surveyed for Cultural Resources area has largest plantation on the island BEVERHOUDTSBERG This year complete phase 1 survey of area to include location of major structural remains and archaeological sites.

SEC. 110/SEC. 106 - Drier, Sullivan and Constantine Estate Surveys - Follow up on pedestrian survey. Map structures and test integrity of sites for ASMIS.

SEC. 106 - MAGNETOMETER SURVEY FOR DEEPWATER MOORINGS - Survey for impacts of CR due to the deepwater mooring replacements in compliance with Section 106. Jan 9-16, 2011. Complete anomalies survey after magnetometer survey

FRIENDS/EDUCATION - PREHISTORIC AND HISTORIC VIDEO TIMELINE - Compiling archaeological data to create a video timeline of St. John. Produced by Bill Steltzer and Ken Wild

Dissemination of Scientific findings - Present findings as required for publication and peer review - Present scientific findings at the International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology for publication

Friday, August 13, 2010

Hey folks my name is Kelsi Lindquist and I’ve been interning here on St. John for the last few months. I first came in contact with the NPS and friends a couple summers ago while I was living on St. Thomas. I met Ken and volunteered with him as he was beginning an excavation at Maho Bay. That experience really opened my mind to archaeology and from then on I geared my education and life toward anthropology. Now I am an anthropology major at Brigham Young University in Provo where I’m studying both cultural anthropology and archaeology. I’ve stayed in touch with Ken who generously offered me an internship this summer and so here I am.

On this internship, I’ve been lucky enough to have worked on an actual archaeological excavation and have had the unique opportunity to work with and learn from professional archaeologists. The Cinnamon Bay Lift Station project was already underway when I arrived but what I may have missed was made up for with the wide array of experiences during the following three months. From troweling to mapping to dry screening to water screening ankle deep in mud (see picture) to bailing hundreds of gallons of rain water out of the unit to chasing tarantulas, massive crabs and other jungle creatures out of the unit to washing artifacts to analyzing artifacts to cataloguing artifacts to painting numbers on artifacts to a number of other odd tasks.

As we explained to visitors multiple times every day, the reason we were digging there at Cinnamon was to preserve the cultural remains that had been deposited there that would have otherwise been destroyed by the construction of the new lift station. And by doing that I’ve gained a greater appreciation and respect for those people, whether from the Taino or colonial period, who lived on the island so many years ago. I’ve had the opportunity to observe their handiwork on celts, beads and ceramics. It’s been exciting to try and determine the thought processes and behavior of those people. All in all this initial experience of working as an archaeologist has really given me an appetite for a wider understanding of people and their culture. A big thanks to Ken, Karl, Bob, Jason, Kourtney, Matt, Chela and Marlise who all taught me so much in the field and put up with my lack of experience. Thank you!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Marlise’s Blog May
It’s hard for me to believe that I have already been working here for 5 months. I started as an archaeology intern here in mid-January after leaving the snow back home in Colorado. After a couple of months of living in the tents at Cinnamon, I finally got used to the cold showers and cooking on a gas burner. I would fall asleep to the sound of waves at night and wake up to lizards scurrying up the walls in the morning.
Moving here and working with Caribbean archaeology was very different than the south western archaeology I was familiar with. I had been working for an archaeology firm in western Colorado doing artifact drawings, graphic design and a variety of lab work. My first weeks down here were spent reading and learning about the history of the Virgin Islands.

Marlise in the excavation unit at Cinnamon

I have been impressed learning about the richness of the Taino culture. The artwork they created was rich in symbolic and religious meaning. The artifacts collected during archaeological excavations here on St. John include stone carvings and shell beads, ceramics adorned with human-like sculptures , as well as historic European artifacts People have been living on St. John for over 3000 years, with a history spanning from prehistoric peoples, European conquest and slave trade to cruise ships and tourism.¬¬
One of the things the interns have been doing here is giving archaeology talks at Maho resort. I watched the presentation a couple of times as the previous interns gave the talk and then gave the talk myself. People seem to really enjoy learning about the place they are visiting and the audience had lots of interesting questions. The most common question seems to be, however, “Why do they drive on the left-side of the road here?” No one really knows for sure, but the close proximity of the British Virgin Islands seems to be the origin. Talking with visitors about the work we are doing here is a big part of our job. Visitors come into the lab on the beach and look around or talk to us while we’re excavating and we’re able to answer people’s questions about the history of the island.
These last few months have been full of many different projects. We have mapped and took GPS points of plantation ruins on the steep hillsides of the island, continued working on the excavation behind the archaeology lab, and gone over to Hassel island for projects and talks. In April a new excavation at Cinnamon started and a crew was hired for the project. Matt, the other intern and I, were on the crew so we moved into housing with the crew chief. We also undertook the Danish International internship program during the month. We had three Danish students, Signe and Stig were our history students here to discover ruins they found in the archives. Casper was here to pursue his research on the prehistoric lithic (stone tools) of the island and how they compare to those in the collections in Denmark. I got to go out with the history students into the bush to help them locate three new plantations that are some of the first to be settled and abandoned on the island. As of this post I am working on developing the first interpretive signs for Hassel Island about the historic Creque Marine Railway.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Karson Winslow, 2010 Intern
A gentleman asked me the other day why I was interning with the National Park Service on St John. He thought that with the bad economy, that had to be the reason why I didn’t have a “real job.” Either that or I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I responded with the exact opposite. I know exactly what I want to do in my life and right now, this is it. I joined on as an intern and volunteer because I purely have a desire to be in the field of archaeology. In the field now for a little over five years, I have had the ability to work in some really great places and with very knowledgeable and amazing people. This destination has been no exception.
I went to school in California and attended UC Santa Cruz, receiving a BA in Anthropology (2005). I continued with my education and moved to South Australia to attend Flinders University for graduate studies focusing in Maritime Archaeology (2007). After University, working in a number of places including Tasmania, St. Augustine, Florida, Galveston, Texas and terrestrial work throughout California, I decided to focus on a region I believed would most apply to my studies and experiences.
Being an archaeologist, the system is similar and relatively universal in the different locations where one works, but each individual area brings its own cultural identity. For this reason I choose to explore the past as well as explore these unique entities most people might not even know exist.
For now, I will only be on St. John for a short while, though I intend to return and continue working and volunteering on island in the near future. With the Caribbean being such a “Colonial Melting Pot” if you will, with so many European powers utilizing these waters and these islands, there is a very important history here that belongs to all of these nations, including those who inhabited the islands before.
Days are spent at Cinnamon Bay working in the Archaeology Lab. Work out there consists of informing visitors about the history of the area and explaining the purpose and focus of the work we do. We are also working on cataloguing artifacts from the excavation at Cinnamon Bay that was completed at the Ceremonial grounds of the site, as well as washing and sorting artifacts from a current re-burial project the VINP is presently undertaking. If not in the lab, we are in the field recording the remains of known sites on and around the island or gathering historic data on field artifacts. Such as recording the exact measurements of the one surviving historic marine iron bollard at Creque Marine so that identical ones can be reproduced as part of a park funded project that is aimed at providing safe docking for visitors while maintaining the historic scene.
I would just like to say a quick thank you to the supporters and Friends of the National Parks, without whom it would not be possible for the interns and myself to be here. I very much appreciate the support and generous donations towards the park.
Karson Winslow

Ken giving an educational tour to a St Thomas school group at Creque Marine. While we interns recorded artifact data.

Marlise recording Bollard data for reproduction.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hassel Island Day Trips

As of right now, a project is taking place on Hassel Island, just off of the island of St Thomas. The small island has had many uses over the years and numerous structures and features remain visible today. Currently the interns are partaking in recording officer barracks, long houses and other structures located there. This involves taking measurements of the in situ structures and noting any artifacts located on the surrounding surface. These structures in particular, all that is left at the surface are parts of the side walls and staircase. The dimensions are taken and recorded; orientation of the building is noted and any other important details that might reveal pertinent information to the location.

A group of volunteers, including Volunteer Coordinator Jeff Chabot, National Park employees, Thomas Kelley, Ken Wild, Lauran Riser and interns Marlise Reed and Karson Winslow rounded out the team of jungle cutters going to clear paths to the archaeological sites in question. With machetes and loppers in hand a trail was blazed through the lethal Christmas Bush, Cacti and other thorny flora. Did I mention that the sites were also located on the top of the hill? We really appreciate the great help of the volunteers who came out with smiles and packed lunches to spend the beautiful day clearing bush for the archaeology to happen.

We had some time to record a Leprosarium with a cistern attached.

The majority of the day was used clearing bush, which gave little time for recording. We plan to return to the site for more recording in the future.

The next visit was done in conjunction with a day trip kayaking company ran out of St Thomas bringing a group of roughly 20 visitors. Ken Wild conducted a great four hour tour of the island starting at Creque Marine Slipway, the oldest and largest known steam powered marine railway of its time. It was built by the Danish in 1840 and many of the parts are located on site today.
This day didn’t involve fieldwork by the archeologists, but functioned as great tool to learn more about the history of the area.

The last trip out to Hassel, we met up with a group of Army National Guard men and women, who are based in St. Croix; all having served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Ken gave them a tour while Karson and Matt recorded historic slipway features. These features were recorded in part to historically recreate the slipway authentically. Thank you very much to the St. Croix group for a great day!!