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  • Writer's pictureE Stegmaier

St. Eustatius Airport Expansion Project: Day 38-50 (May 28-June 9, 2021)

We've had quite a few local school groups come to visit us at the site over the last few weeks, and it took a little while for us to figure out how best to engage them. Turns out the answer was simple: let 'em get dirty!

In every area that we excavate, the soil that gets removed is dumped into buckets, which then get sieved in order to find any small artifacts or bone fragments that may have been missed in the process of excavating. This is the perfect job for elementary and middle school kids, as there is almost always a small piece of ceramic, or glass, or coffin nails to be found in the screen. Kids were so excited about the prospect of finding things that they scoured the access road adjacent to the site for any artifacts they could find while awaiting their turns at the sieve. Most of what they found were volcanic rocks, garbage, and one Hennessy nip bottle (also garbage). The rocks were enough to impress them, though.

The kids were adorable and so well-behaved that it was a pleasure having them there. Their energy and their excitement was contagious.

My point of view looking up at the group as they looked into the burial I was working in.

On Thursday, June 3 we went out to dinner in the historic section of Upper Town to bid farewell to one of the volunteers who worked with us for two weeks. It was a beautiful evening with excellent food.

Sunset from Fort Oranje.

The crew cleaned themselves up once again!

View of Lower Town from Fort Oranje. In the late 18th-century, this stretch of road would've been lined by brothels, storehouses, bars, and markets. A few of the original buildings remain, and the shoreline itself is riddled with a few of the stone foundations of the hundreds of storehouses that once lined the beach. The brightly lit building is The Gin House, where I plan to stay with my wife and daughter for a week when I return for season 2 in January.

A bunch of us went out to The Gin House last Saturday evening (June 5) for a few drinks there, and caught an amazing sunset...

Just off the point, you can see Saba getting drenched with rain.

With about 5 days left, I'm not certain I'll have another blog post before returning home. I will, however, end with a final post once I arrive back in the States. The current plan at the moment is to return for three weeks for a second season of excavations in January. I plan to bring my wife and daughter with me for one of those weeks, where they can hang at the beach while I work. One of the reasons I got back into doing field work is so I can provide an outlet for my daughter to travel a bit and experience archaeology first-hand. I'd like to have her tour the site and help sieve buckets of dirt for a while. Perhaps she can help clean artifacts back at the lab for an afternoon or two as well. I can't imagine what having experiences like that as a child might have done for me growing up, so I look forward to sharing this with her immensely!

Apologies for the brevity and choppy nature of this post, but I am incredibly busy these days (and will be for the foreseeable future- even after I return home)!

Til next time...

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