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Project Particulars

Project Particulars

Students excavating between Waterfort and warehouse.
Archaeology students excavating test units between the Waterfort and a warehouse.

The 2019 Exploring Globalization Through Archaeology REU Site will focus on the archaeological study of an eighteenth century plantation sugar works, the forensic archaeology of a nearby cemetery, and the geophysical survey to search for a slave village. Students will develop research questions pertaining to these sites and then, during the field stage, collect data that relates to their research topic.

During the field and laboratory phases, students will work with project mentors to develop a scientific research topic relevant to their research interest (archaeology, forensic archaeology, or geophysics). This research topic will guide students through the field and laboratory phase and result in a technical report and poster presentation.

Weeks one through four (June 10 to July 4) will be based on Statia and include excavations at plantation and cemetery and geophysical survey of the slave village. The first week involves an introduction to field methodologies including excavation techniques, digital mapping, digital data collection, 3D photogrammetry, and laboratory analysis. During the first week, SECAR president Gay Soetekouw will give a tour of historic Oranjestad that places the importance of Statia in regional and global history. By the end of the first week, we will be actively excavating across the plantation and cemetery and conducting geophysical survey of the slave village. Students working at the plantation will work with Dr. Ahlman, students conducting the forensic archaeological research of the cemetery will work with Drs. McKeown and Herrmann, and students conducting the geophysical survey will work with Dr. Herrmann. SECAR archaeologists Fred van Keulen and Suzanne Sanders will work with all teams during the field phase.

Weeks five through eight (July 7 to August 3) will be at Texas State and will include the material analyses, report preparation, and presentations. All artifact catalogs will be entered into a computer database and made available through the project’s website. All artifacts and human remains will be cataloged, analyzed, and prepared for curation with SECAR. Forensic archaeological students will work closely with Dr. McKeown to do a complete osteological analysis of excavated human remains. The Texas State University osteological comparative collection and the Texas State University Donated Collection of known individuals will both be vital resources for this process. The osteological data will be integrated with the findings from the burial contexts. Other Texas State faculty with expertise in forensic archaeology may assist in this phase of the project as needed. The archaeological students will work with Dr. Ahlman to study the recovered cultural material and spatial organization in order to learn more about the plantation occupation. Students focusing on geophysical survey will work with Dr. Herrmann to analyze the data and help guide the 2020 investigations. Zooarchaeologist Dr. Christopher Jurgens will give a presentation on the faunal remains and work with students conducting faunal analyses. Curator Amy Reid will discuss curation and the ethics of collections management. Additional presentations on applying to and preparing for graduate school and archives will also be given.

The final week (week eight) will involve students completing their technical reports, research poster presentations, and submitting abstracts for professional conference presentations in 2020. Poster presentations will be made to their peers, the Texas State community, and the interested public.

Students discussing their field research
Forensic archaeology students discussing their field research with the team.

Weeks five through eight (July 9 to August 3) will be at Texas State and will include the material analyses, report preparation, and presentations. All artifact catalogs will be entered into a computer database and made available through the project’s website. All artifacts and human remains will be cataloged, analyzed, and prepared for curation with SECAR. Forensic archaeological students will work closely with McKeown to do a complete osteological analysis of the human remains excavated and reassessment of previously excavated burials. The Texas State University osteological comparative collection and the Texas State University Donated Collection of known individuals will both be vital resources for this process. The osteological data will be integrated with the findings from the burial contexts. Other Texas State faculty with expertise in forensic archaeology may assist in this phase of the project as needed. The archaeological students will work with Ahlman to study the recovered cultural material and spatial organization in order to learn more about the Waterfort occupation. Zooarchaeologist Dr. Christopher Jurgens will give a presentation on the faunal remains and work with students conducting faunal analyses. Curator Amy Reid will discuss curation and the ethics of collections management. Additional presentations on applying to and preparing for graduate school and archives will also be given. Each student will be responsible for preparing one blog post during this period.

The final week (week eight) will involve students completing their technical reports, research poster presentations, and submitting abstracts for professional conference presentations in 2019. The technical reports will be submitted to SECAR and made available to the public via the project’s website. Poster presentations will be made to their peers, the Texas State community, and the interested public. We will video record the presentations and make them available through a planned YouTube channel. All collected data and 3D virtual visualizations will be made available through the project’s website.