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Excavation-Based Archaeology and Bioarchaeology Field School on St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands

by Ed Hagen last modified Feb 20, 2014 06:41 PM
June 14 - July 18, 2014. This archaeological and bioarchaeological field school will take place at the Aklis site, a prehistoric shell midden, habitation, and cemetery site, located on the beach in Frederiksted, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. The Aklis site may represent the second Columbus landing site, but is endangered by rising sea levels. Students will gain hands on experience in excavation methods, mapping, artifact identification and classification, excavation of human skeletal material, and osteological data recording. Students will learn about the ecology, history, and culture history of St. Croix through visits to local museums and national parks, such as Buck Island Reef National Monument, Estate Whim Museum and Plantation, a paleoethnobotanical tour of the local rainforest, activities with the National Park Service and United States Fish and Wildlife Services on St. Croix, and interactions with scholars and experts on St. Croix.

 

https://msstate.studioabroad.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Programs.ViewProgram&Program_ID=49251

 

Eligibility/Prerequisites

No prerequisites, but ideally students will have taken an introductory archaeology course and a course in human osteology, skeletal biology, and forensics.  This course is best suited for students majoring in anthropology, particularly archaeology and bioarchaeology.

Cost

Total amount: $4,377.85 (with ten students enrolled)

(Amount will reduce to $3,652.27 with fifteen students enrolled.)

 

Amount covers: lodging (in private cottages at the Cottages by the Sea tropical beach resort (http://www.caribbeancottages.com/), all meals, ground transportation on island (by car), and admission to educational tourism events incorporated in the field school schedule.

March 28, 2014: Application and Deposit Deadline - $150

 

April 11, 2014: Payment #1 - $2,189
April 25, 2014: Payment #2 - $2,189

Total does not include in state MSU tuition (6 credits: undergraduate: $1,668.00; graduate: $2,224.50), application fee ($150.00, which covers student health insurance), and airfare (to and from St. Croix (STX), approx., $550.00).

 

Faculty Directors
Molly Zuckerman, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures. E-mail: mkz12@msstate.edu

Nicholas Herrmann, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures. E-mail: herrmann@anthro.msstate.edu

Course Schedule

Saturday & Sunday, June 14th & 15th: Arrive on island

One of the staff or crew will be available to pick you up from the airport and bring you to the cottages, but you must provide us with your flight arrival information (and keep us updated as any changes occur). If you plan on arriving any earlier than the 14th, you will be responsible for your own transportation and lodging.  You are free to explore and settle in during this time.

Monday, June 16th: Orientation

At Cottages: Introductions, rules & safety regulations, project background, site & island history. Basic archaeological excavation methods (setting up and tying into a site grid, laying out and opening new excavation units), artifact identification, cleaning and cataloging of archaeological material, proper note-taking, camera use, setup and use of total station.  Site visit, if time allows.

Tuesday, June 17th – Friday, June 20th:

7:00 - 7:45                             Breakfast, personal prep

7:45                                            Leave for site

8:00 - 10:00                          Fieldwork

10:00 - 10:15                       Break

10:15 - 12:00                       Fieldwork

12:00 - 1:00                          Lunch

1:00 - 3:00                             Fieldwork

3:00 - 3:15                             Break

3:15 - 4:45                             Fieldwork

4:45 - 5:00                             Pack up, load vehicles

5:00 - 6:00                             Break

6:00 - 7:00                             Dinner

7:00 - 8:00                             Evening lectures

 

Evening lectures for the week:

  • Joshua Torres, PhD, Cultural Resource Program Manager, NPS St. Croix. Lecture topic: Prehistory of St. Croix (and hands on workshop in artifact identification)
  • David Goldstein, PhD, Chief, Interpretation and Education, NPS St. Croix. Lecture topic: Ecology, ethnogenesis, and culture history of St. Croix.

Saturday, June 21st - Sunday, June 22nd:

OFF - Free time & planned weekend events.

  • Planned weekend event: visit National Park Service (NPS) museums at Fort Christiansvaern & take a NPS-led guided tour of historic downtown Christiansted, St. Croix (http://www.nps.gov/chri/index.htm).
  • Planned weekend event: visit the Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve, NPS, St. Croix (http://www.nps.gov/sari/index.htm).

 

Monday, June 23rd – Friday, June 27th:

7:00 - 7:45                             Breakfast, personal prep

7:45                                            Leave for site

8:00 - 10:00                          Fieldwork

10:00 - 10:15                       Break

10:15 - 12:00                       Fieldwork

12:00 - 1:00                          Lunch

1:00 - 3:00                             Fieldwork

3:00 - 3:15                             Break

3:15 - 4:45                             Fieldwork

4:45 - 5:00                             Pack up, load vehicles

5:00 - 6:00                             Break

6:00 - 7:00                             Dinner

7:00 - 8:00                             Evening lecture

 

Evening lectures for the week:

  • Michael Evans, Refuge Manager, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, United State Fish and Wildlife Service (USWFS). Lecture topic: Ecology of St. Croix and the US Virgin Islands.
  • George Tyson, PhD, Virgin Islands Social History Association (VISHA). Lecture topic: Social history of St. Croix.

Saturday, June 28th - Sunday, June 29th:

OFF - Free time & planned weekend events.

  • Planned weekend event: visit the Estate Whim Museum, a restored 18th century sugar cane plantation, museum, and archives (http://www.stcroixlandmarks.com/museums/estate-whim-museum), St. Croix.
  • Planned weekend event: visit St. George’s Botanical Garden (http://www.sgvbg.org/), St. Croix. The garden features over 1500 native and exotic species and varieties, are established in and around the restored buildings and stabilized ruins of a 19th century Danish sugar cane plantation and partially overlap a prehistoric Amerindian settlement.

Monday, June 30th – Thursday, July 3rd:

7:00 - 7:45                             Breakfast, personal prep

7:45                                            Leave for site

8:00 - 10:00                          Fieldwork

10:00 - 10:15                       Break

10:15 - 12:00                       Fieldwork

12:00 - 1:00                          Lunch

1:00 - 3:00                             Fieldwork

3:00 - 3:15                             Break

3:15 - 4:45                             Fieldwork

4:45 - 5:00                             Pack up, load vehicles

5:00 - 6:00                             Break

6:00 - 7:00                             Dinner

7:00 - 8:00                             Evening lecture

 

Evening lectures for the week:

  • Elizabeth Rezende, PhD, professor, University of the Virgin Islands. Lecture topic: Colonialism on St. Croix: its history and legacy.
  • David Hayes, MA, Registered Professional Archaeologist. Lecture topic: The archaeology of St. Croix.

Friday, July 4th: TBA

Saturday, July 5th - Sunday, July 6th:

OFF - Free time & planned weekend events.

Monday, July 7th – Friday, July 11th:

7:00 - 7:45                             Breakfast, personal prep

7:45                                            Leave for site

8:00 - 10:00                          Fieldwork

10:00 - 10:15                       Break

10:15 - 12:00                       Fieldwork

12:00 - 1:00                          Lunch

1:00 - 3:00                             Fieldwork

3:00 - 3:15                             Break

3:15 - 4:45                             Fieldwork

4:45 - 5:00                             Pack up, load vehicles

5:00 - 6:00                             Break

6:00 - 7:00                             Dinner

7:00 - 8:00                             Evening lecture

 

Evening lectures for the week:

  • Mary Isaacs, the “Rain Forest Lady.” Lecture topic: ethnomedicine and paleoethnobotany of St. Croix.
  • George Parker, PhD. Retired NPS historian. Lecture topic: The history of St. Croix as reconstructed through documentary materials.

Saturday, July 12th - Sunday, July 13th:

OFF - Free time & planned weekend events.

  • Planned weekend event: attend Come Home to St. Croix events: Come Home to St. Croix is a week long heritage tourism event featuring lectures, interactive events, workshops, and educational tours focused on the culture history of St. Croix (http://www.stcroixlandmarks.com/come-home-to-stx/come-home-to-st-croix).
  • Planned weekend event: Participate in the release of recently hatched baby leatherback sea turtles, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, USFWS, St. Croix.

Monday, July 14th:

7:00 - 7:45                             Breakfast, personal prep

7:45                                            Leave for site

8:00 - 10:00                          Fieldwork

10:00 - 10:15                       Break

10:15 - 12:00                       Fieldwork

12:00 - 1:00                          Lunch

1:00 - 3:00                             Fieldwork

3:00 - 3:15                             Break

3:15 - 4:45                             Fieldwork

4:45 - 5:00                             Pack up, load vehicles

5:00 - 6:00                             Break

6:00 - 7:00                             Dinner

7:00 - 8:00                             Evening lecture

 

Evening lectures for the week:

  • Meredith Reifschneider, PhD candidate, Stanford University. Lecture topic: Reconstructing the colonial and post-colonial period on St. Croix through archaeology.
  • Chenzira Kahina, PhD., professor, Per Ankh University. Lecture topic: Heritage tourism and education: educating children and the public about the history of St. Croix.

Tuesday, July 15th - Wednesday, July 16th:

Close down site.  Backfill and secure excavation units, clean and pack equipment, pack up artifacts, notes, etc. and transport to curatorial facility. Final field notebooks are due by Wednesday evening. Please do not schedule your departing flight before the evening of the 16th.

Thursday, July 17th and beyond:

The 2014 field school officially ends on the afternoon of July 16th. Check out of the cottages will occur by noon on the 17th, although you are welcome to make your own lodging arrangements if you would like to stay for a longer period of time. Staff and crew will be available to transport you to the airport from the 16th to the 18th as long as you make arrangements and confirm your plans ahead of time, but if you stay later than the 18th, you will be responsible for your own transportation.

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