Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hi all, my name is Savanna and this is my second year in St. John as an archaeology intern. I was pleasantly surprised to learn of all the projects that were finished in the year I was away. The biggest surprise was the museum at Cinnamon Bay. It’s been completely renovated since last year, and it’s looking really great. It is so inviting for visitors- beautiful display cases, new work tables and a slideshow that plays on a new TV. Another exciting change was the re-discovery of the lost petroglyph at Reef Bay. It’s hard to spot, but when pointed out it’s very interesting. The design is so different from the Taino petroglyphs on the other side of the pool.
Hassel Island is another place that changed so much over the past year. Last December, the trail system was at the very beginning stages of construction. I think we had gone up the day they put in the first trail with the bobcat. This year there are a number of different trails, with signs to inform visitors where to go and what they are looking at. The park is restoring various historic shop machines from the marine railway and the blacksmith shop that will eventually be part of an interpretive display, thanks to funding by Friends of the Park. While on the trails, we did some surface collections for VIIS 308, mostly in front of the leprosarium and the marine railway. We mostly found glass bottles and ceramics.
Ashley, the other intern, and I spent some time this year fixing up the campsite out here at Cinnamon. In addition to visiting Reef Bay and Hassel Island, we did a number of smaller projects. Trunk Bay won the prestigious Blue Flag award, and we went in to excavate the postholes for the sign, VIIS 309. The location is not far from the Taino burial site at Trunk Bay, so we did not know what to expect. In addition to some Taino polishing stones and pot sherds, we found a human tooth with the root attached. There were no other signs of human remains there however.
Ashley and I also did some trail maintenance with the “voluntourists” who meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We worked at Leinster Bay and on the Johnny Horn trail, and visited the old Murphy estate. It is believed that Mr. Murphy was an active Mason and held meetings in his great house, so the ruins could possibly be the site of the oldest Masonic temple on U.S soil.
Ashley and I accompanied Ken and Kourtney with mooring compliance over at Lameshur Bay. They dove and used a metal detector to look for anomalies around the moorings. Ashley was in charge of dive safety and I was in charge of maintaining boat operations. Ashley also had her first encounter with a barracuda- possibly the least friendly looking fish down here! Although Ken and Kourtney did not find any anomalies, Kourtney had one of the best dives of her life in front of White Cliffs.
I’m very grateful to both Ken and the Friends of the Park for having me down here for another 6-week archaeology internship. Although my internship is up, I will be on St. John until June and hope to volunteer and accompany the interns from time to time.