As the busy season for tourism on St. John has been picking up, we have been working on a few projects to get ready for the increase of park visitors! Work has been continuing at Trunk Bay to replace sewer pipes and electrical lines which involves monitoring in order to ensure that there is no unnecessary impacts on archaeologically sensitive areas. As a part of this project, I have also learned some tips and tricks including how to use a backhoe without destroying any archaeological resources. I have also been working on creating an informative map of Trunk Bay including the data I collected last month as well as data from past field collections. Having accurate maps that represent all of the different elements and points of interest is an important part of being able to make any changes to a landscape here in the park. It also allows us to more quickly and reliably evaluate any resources and potential impacts that could come from a construction plan.
We have also been continuing to work on projects aimed at repairing damage to historical sites from the 2017 hurricanes. Part of this involved a team of people coming to St. John to do a LiDAR scan of Annaberg, Reef Bay Factory, and Lameshur Great House. LiDAR is a form of 3D scanning that uses lasers to create a detailed image that will be used to formulate a reconstruction and repair strategy. While the team was here I helped them navigate to the different sites, and also gave them historical background information on all of the sites that they would be interacting with.
November also included the Paddle the Park event hosted by the Friends of VINP at Maho Bay. Volunteering at the event was a lot of fun, and it was great to see all the people coming out to support the park. I also recently participated in a practice Reef Bay hike. I hadn’t done the hike since I was a kid so it was really great to go back and learn so much more. NPS Ranger Laurel Brannick and Archaeologist Ken Wild helped by leading the hike and providing us all with valuable information.
In addition to the more field-based projects I mentioned, I have also been working on analyzing and cataloging artifacts from past excavations at Cinnamon Bay. The analysis portion of this consisted of identifying artifacts such as stone tools, beads, shell tools, and clay pot sherds. After the artifacts are analyzed, I then record any information about them using the standards set by the Parks Service cataloging guidelines. So far I have logged over 200 artifacts, and will be continuing to work on cataloging and analysis.
As we are heading into 2020 we are also looking ahead at the upcoming field season. We are working on getting everything ready to re-start archaeological investigations at Cinnamon Bay, and are looking forward to the opportunity to engage with the St. John community and schools through on-site demonstrations, lectures, and participation.
On January 5th Beloit College will be arriving for a 2 week Field School. They are the first of many college field schools we will host over the upcoming months, and we are looking forward to getting started on some interesting projects with them.
Thank you to the Friends Organization, Ken Wild, and NPS for supporting my internship.