Monday, June 06, 2016

My name is Kate Thomas
I have spent the last six weeks working as an archaeological intern at Cinnamon Bay. I received my B.S in Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside in 2013 and my M.A in Anthropology from East Carolina University in 2015. Prior to this internship, I had worked on a variety of sites, from a prehistoric mound in North Carolina, to a Colonial Tavern site, to Native American housing in a California Mission. At St. John, I got to work mainly with historic sites, but visit and interact with artifacts from both history and prehistory.  

View out the Archaeology Laboratory Window


When I arrived in April, another archaeology intern, Austin, and two Danish History students, Kristine and Samantha, were here. The Danish research students were here as a part of an internship for their Master’s Program. When I was not in the lab processing artifacts, I was out in the field with Ken, Kristine, and Samantha searching for Krabbe’s plantation. Unfortunately, we did not find his plantation, but we found another belonging to Adrian Charles (circa 1721-31) on the last day of fieldwork. Their project also involved researching the L’Esperance and Seibin plantations, so I helped them out with ceramic identification and dating for those sites.


The other major aspects of my internship, and of many archaeologists’ careers, is public outreach and cultural resource protection. During my internship, I was able to participate in Earth Day in Cruz Bay. Myself and two other interns set up a fake archaeology site for kids to come and learn how to be archaeologists. Additionally, the location of the lab/museum on the beach at Cinnamon Bay provides myself and others the opportunity to engage with the public about protecting our cultural resources.


 I also spent a day with Ken and Anne, our preservation intern, recording an historic site that may date to before the Danes planted a flag here in 1718. This site is very delicate and just walking on it can cause irreversible impacts so we choose to only record it and leave it as undisturbed as possible. Now that the park knows where it is the site can be monitored and protected from any threats.  We also assessed, for restoration purposes, an historic house that has probably been lived in since the early 18th century. Another interesting aspect of this internship was the on the job practical application of historic preservation techniques, site assessment and monitoring in order to protect our cultural resources.



Anne and I out in the Field


            This internship has been an amazing experience, providing me with a variety of experience to further my career as an archaeologist. I would like to thank Ken for his mentorship and the Friends of the Virgin Island National Park for their hard work in protecting the resources of St. John.