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!