October is International Archaeology Month and to celebrate, the Virgin Islands National Park will display artifacts from its archaeology collection from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, at the park’s Visitors Center in Cruz Bay.
On Sept. 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed one of the oldest known structures on St. John, the Danish Warehouse at Cinnamon Bay, which had served as a museum for the Virgin Islands National Park’s archaeology collection.
Park officials moved the collection of artifacts to a safer location prior to the destructive 2017 hurricane season, but with the loss of the museum, the public has not had access to the material.
Park archaeologist Ken Wild will be on hand Friday at the Visitors Center to present some “unique and very special” artifacts and discuss their significance.
“Different people see different things in them,” he said. “We’ll have items from Taino, historic and maritime sites – the three types of sites we preserve.”
Some artifacts on display have been since the storms of 2017 eroded the shoreline at Cinnamon Bay, a prehistoric Taino site. On some of St. John’s north shore beaches, “Hurricane Irma washed away probably 10,000 years of sand deposits in one night” according to Rafe Boulon, a retired resource manager for the Virgin Island National Park.
It’s unclear when the public will again have an opportunity to examine these items. Wild said preliminary plans have been developed to construct a new museum to house the park’s collection.
International Archaeology Day is celebrated on Oct. 19, but the park decided to schedule this activity so that it wouldn’t conflict with another event, a community cleanup of Drunk Bay and other coastal sites as part of National Ocean Week on St. John.
Further information about Ocean Week is online at the Friends of the V.I. National Park website.