Intern Log : Alessia Isolani : January 2020

Happy New Year!

We will be starting off the New Year with a lot of exciting work being done by the Park’s archaeology team. We are in the final stages of preparation for excavations at Cinnamon Bay Beach with the support of Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, and begin the digging and screening process this week.

Our interest in excavations at Cinnamon Bay is partly in the pursuit of continuing our past research there, but also because it is a time sensitive site due to of the erosion and beach washout in that area. We are working in order to recover artifacts and unique cultural information before it is washed out into the ocean and lost forever. As part of our ongoing efforts to stabilize St. John’s beaches, we will be backfilling all of the area excavated with biodegradable burlap bags and plants in order to slow the erosion. We are continuing to use this method of beach stabilization all over the island, and are making sure to do it in a way that won’t damage any cultural resources that remain underground. There are only a few places at Cinnamon Bay where we are concerned about damaging cultural resources in the planting process, but overall the park will be continuing planting on beaches all over the island. This week we are joined by visiting students from Beloit College who are staying at the Friends volunteer camp. They are learning archeological field methods, and helping with the digging, screening, and analysis components of the investigations.

We look forward to this new opportunity to engage the community, and want to welcome any classes or visitors to learn more at the site itself. If you have a class interested in setting up a time to come out and observe and learn please contact Aariyah Athanese at the Friends of VI National Park (340-779-4940) or Laurel Brannick at the National Parks Service (340-776-6201). Our Archeology lab at Cinnamon Bay was destroyed in the 2017 hurricane season and can no longer be used for lab work so we have converted the old lifeguard building at Trunk Bay into a temporary Archeology lab. If you see us working there, feel free to stop in and ask questions! After the departure of Beloit College, we will continue excavations at Cinnamon Bay and will be joined by various visiting students and schools throughout the year.   

Thank you to the Friends Organization, Ken Wild, and NPS for supporting my internship.

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