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 !  2009 Field Season Results

Successful completion of Bush Hill Project.

The 2009 field season was successfully completed with several interesting and unexpected new discoveries at the Bush Hill site. Among the finds were subsurface features and foundation walls suggesting earlier buildings. Additional features were found in the brush behind the “great house,” (probably a water purifier) and the trough –like structure found in the previous year was exposed for an additional several meters without finding where it ends!
Extensive excavation was undertaken at within three structures which had received minimal attention until this season. The southern feature which had been suspected of being a blacksmith shop yielded numerous clues in support as a result of trenching across the central section. Colonoware, iron scraps, slag and heavy charcoal deposits represent a few of the finds.
Sad to say, many of the buttress walls and buildings have continued to suffer from stone robbing, especially corner and arch stones. The facing wall of the engine house has been completely damaged. We discovered a new truck path on to the site that led directly to the kitchen and servant quarters. One wall has been pulled down.

An addidtional 12 excavation units were completed this year bringing the total to 35 units on the site. The site map was refined while Val directed different groupsof students on the transit survey to extend the map north an added 25 meters. This was again tough going through the dense brush.

Artifacts collected this year included the usual imported ceramics, but also several new items including, musket balls, door hardware, onion bottle fragments. In addition, several Carib ceramics were sampled during a coastal survey. These will be subjected to X-ray fluoressence trace element analysis in the archaeology lab.

In addition to work at Bush Hill, students documented three high elevation structures in St George Parish recently discovered by mountain guide Jim Johnson. Two of these are most likely 17th century sugar mill works and one is a real puzzle—although a hurricane house has been suggested. One of the sugar works has a large, intact, animal mill. Students had to hike considerable distance through the rainforest to reach these sites which are heavily overgrown. Because of their remote and inaccessible location they appear to have survived the looting of dressed stone so common to other mill sites.


Students and staff had a wonderful time (as usual) on more than one occasion at the water department BBQ and enjoyed the beach during off-work hours.

Now the work begins to produce the final report for our three seasons at Bush Hill. Thanks to everyone who has contributed their hard work over the past few years.

Update 2011.

Work on the final report is progressing well. We have concluded analysis of many artifact categories, a GIS viewshed analysis, and drawings of the structures.




Updated January 20, 2011

Update on Project

We will return to Nevis in 2011 with a renewed interest in unexplored portions of the Bush Hill site, to explore and document two mill locations dicovered high on Mt nevis during the 2009 season, and to initiate a pilot program in underwater archaeology.

Update on staff

Dr. Meniketti has been working with an international team producing a documentary for National Geographic about the sunken City of Port Royal, Jamaica. Expect it to be on the National geographic Cahnnel this spring. He will again be directing the field school this summer.

John, Cathy and Tamera will return to Nevis on the staff for the New Bush Hill Project. John will serve as field supervisor, Cathy as Collections Manager, and Tamera as Survey Whip.

2011 Chris will return to the island in June 2011 with graduate students in the Texas A&M program in Underwater Archaeology.

2010 Chris Cartellone has been working hard to start an underwater survey on Nevis at the site of the newly discovered wreck believed to be HMS Solebay. This may become part of a comprehensive field project in 2011.

2009 Project Manager Chris Cartellone, who served as assistant director in 2008, has been accepted into the doctoral program at Texas A&M in Nautical Archaeology. He, Stephanie, and their baby Meadow have moved to Texas.

2007 Assistant director Ed Gonzalez-Tennet has moved back from New Zealand and returned to Nevis as assistant for our closing season. He and his wife Diana are now in Florida.
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Lab work

This semester several students will be carrying out sophisticated trace element analysis of the colonoware and English ceramics, along with soil samples in the archaeology lab at San Jose using x-ray fluorescence technology.

Play time

The crew had plenty of downtime to enjoy the attractions of Nevis. Val and Jillian led teams up to the top of Mt Nevis, not once but twice! This dynamic duo holds the record for our field crews having also been to the top last year.
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At left: Guy along side the trench he completed in the "blacksmith" shop. In the area of the large stones there is a dense and wide charcoal deposit and significant traces of slag, waste iron, and nails.Soil samples were taken for future analysis in the archaeology lab. Nice work Guy!


Pictured at right: Guy, Anne, and Jillian document the remains of the kitchen house and take note of the destyruction cuased by stone robbing.Of all the structures on site this one has suffered most.

Pictured at left: Cathy and Jerry begin a unit in front of the fire boxes at the Boiling House. This unit was full of surprises.The excavation team encountered a stone and mortar finished foundation at a depth of 40 cm running perpendicular to the facing wall of the boiling house.


Pictured to the right: John and Chris ponder the best way to set up a unit amid extensive wall-fall rubble.

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Maureen at work screening hard clay from an excavation unit near the great house. At firts we though this was aprivy but evidence suggests a cooling house or water purifying structure. Talk about remote sensing! Chris and John survey along the barren coast in St George Parish in the area of the Hickman site. Carib artifacts and Soladoid era pottery is eroding from the cliffs and are scattered near the shore.
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