Field School Activity 2007-08

Twelve SJSU students participated in the 2008 field school. We had a full-house. Conditions at the site were greatly altered since our previous season. Drought has contributed to die-back of vegetation so many of the structures were easy to access and new discoveries were made. the downside of this is that the site has become vulnerable to looting. In fact, several structures had been robbed of stone. Our documentation of the site has been made that much more critical in the face of future destruction.

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Anthony carefully brushes an artifact dug up from his excavation unit while Kerri continues to trowel the surface.2008 Jillian pauses briefly for a picture hunkered down in her excavation unit. 2008

2008 season.

Left. Kenny gets nasty with a machette. Clearing away overgrown vines and heavy brush can be very hard, thirsty work.

 

Pictured right. David and Amy screen dirt from excavation units in search of small artifacts.

Pictured left. As usual, some of the most interesting discoveries are made near the end of the field season. 2008 was no exception. Here the crew is busy trying to expose and record an unusual feature found on the next to the last day of the project. The entire team turned their efforts toward collecting data at this feature.

Above right. Val and Georgette exasperated by the tough soil they must dig through. 2008

 

 

 

 

Pictured at right. Amanda and Georgette are shown illustrating and describing artifacts during the weekly lab session. More than 100 bags of artifacts were processesed in this way during the three weeks of the project. 2008

2007 Season. One could not have asked for a better field season. We set for ourselves a list of 21 goals and achieved 15 of the tasks. The Bush Hill site was carefully mapped using both a GPS and transit survey to an accuracy of ten centimeters. We nearly completed the site grid and in the process discovered two additional structures on the site that were previously undetected owing to the thick brush. The field crew also produced measured drawings of five standing structures. Completion of site survey will have to wait until 2008.

Sana (San Jose State) preparing to document a newly discovered building. 2007 crew.

The site was covered in dense vegetation and required clearing. Project supervisor Ed Tennant directed students in clearing and use of GPS. Twelve test units were excavated by the crew during the project. These were non-random, probabilistic samples at specific points on the site grid intended for the collection of data relevant to specific structures. Units also served to test site depth and to provide students with the experience of site excavation.

Additionally, the test units acted as models for instruction on recording unit profiles, provenience control, and triangulation with transit. The data gathered was, nevertheless, of great significance as domestic artifacts, industrial debitage, and items of everyday use on a plantation were recovered. Many of these materials are being analyzed by new archaeology in the lab at SJSU.
Except for the dozens of burrowing tarantulas that inhabit the site, there were few surprises.

Alfonso (San Jose State) and Christine (College of Charleston) are shown starting a unit that would eventually take two weeks to complete. Several artifacts of industrial caharcter were recovered, along with pipe stems, unique pipe bowls, historic bottles and much more. 2007 crew.
Joelle (UC Berkeley) and Patrick (UC San Diego) at work wrecording artifacts. Project headquarters offered plenty of space for this very important task. 2007 crew.

In the afternoons and during lab days students cleaned, illustrated, and described artifacts. Our field headquarters at Pond Hill is a perfect place for this activity. Cataloged artifacts were bagged and boxed for curation.
The non-field days also were maintenance days for screen repairs, sharpening machetes, equipment inventory and house cleaning. Students learn that quickly that keeping the house in order is as important as anything else we do in the field.
Twice each week student sat in on lectures after dinner. Lecture topics included Caribbean history, artifact interpretation, and a detailed discussion of the Vervet monkeys on Nevis and St Kitts.2007

At work within the confines of the "great house" walls.

Ryan and Robbin, both of San Jose State, at work on the difficult job of measuring the boiling house and the many fireboxes. Robbin is majoring in Industrial Design and produced a detailed stone by stone measured drawing of the structure. many of these measurments will be incorpotrated into a GIS databank and used for constructing a 3D animation of the site. 2007

 

 

 

 !    Field News

Field staff for 2008. Chris and Stephanie Cartellone, Valerie Morgan, Amy Thickpenny, and Jessica Glickman. Jessica and Valeri participated in 2007. At Hamilton Museum, Charlestown.

Johnathan Karpf and Kathey Zaretsky, our project cooks for 2007. Both are lecturers at San Jose State. This was Kathy's first trip to the islands, but a reunion of sorts for Johnathan, who had previously been to the island thirty years ago. when he studied the Vervet monkeys on St. Kitts Seen here at Brimstone Hill Fort, St. Kitts.
One of the more interesting industrial artifacts unearthed during the project--a possible transfer gear or horse engine.