New Archaeological Excavation to begin on Statia
A new archaeological excavation will begin on St. Eustatius on April 21st, 2021. The research area is located on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Airport grounds west of the helicopter hangar. The excavation will start on April 21st and continue until the end of June 2021.
In September 2020, the local government tasked the St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (SECAR) with performing test trenches in a high archaeological expectancy area. This was necessary because the earth and sand in that area were to be used for various road projects on St. Eustatius. Whenever an area, which is to be excavated, has the potential to contain Statian artifacts which are of archaeological value, both SECAR and the Statia’s local government, work together to properly document and research the area. The aim is to ensure that historical evidence is not destroyed but preserved and evaluated. On this site, the aim is to first conduct the required field work, after which SECAR can give a ‘go ahead’ so that the earth and sand can be used as needed for the betterment of the island without harming archaeological remains that were present in the area.
A group of 16 persons will be carrying out the excavation, research, and conservation for this project. Fourteen people will arrive from the United States and the Netherlands on April 20th and will begin work on the 21st. They will be working in an approved quarantine work bubble and will not have contact with other people on the island until they are out of quarantine and have tested negative for Covid-19. Of these 16 persons, seven are archaeology student volunteers while the other nine are professionals in the field of archaeology.
The professionals include an archaeological illustrator from Yale University, a pre-Columbian archaeology specialist, and various other archaeological specialists with extensive experience working in the Caribbean and on Statia. Those coming to Statia have put aside their main jobs in order to join this project as they feel this archaeological site will be one of great importance to the history of both Statia and the rest of the Caribbean.
One of the main reasons this is an exciting site is due to the fact that the test trenches, which were excavated in September 2020, revealed archaeological features and artifacts indicative of a settlement which, based on the 1781 map of Statia, is projected to be in the area of the slave quarters of the former Golden Rock Plantation. Northeast of this, evidence has also been found of the Golden Rock Amerindian settlement. The close relation of both sites that has been revealed makes this project extremely valuable for the island’s history.
SECAR is working closely with Statia’s local Government’s Culture Department and will keep Statian residents and national and international media updated on the developments of the research.