February 20, 2009
G-G, Minister visit Argyle dig site

This country’s head of state, His Excellency the Governor-General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, and Minister of Culture Rene’ Baptiste have expressed satisfaction with the finds at the site of the archaeological excavations being carried out at Escape on the proposed site of the Argyle International Airport.{{more}}

Speaking following a tour of the site on Tuesday, February 16, the Minister of Culture noted that they in the Ministry have been targeting other sites for similar activities, but that the finds at Escape in Argyle were really surprising.

She noted that the artefacts and skeletons recovered so far show evidence that a civilization existed here long before the Europeans ever set foot here. Minister Baptiste said she was excited about the finds and is happy that the International Airport Development Company Limited (IADCL) and the National Trust have teamed up to carry out the work. According to Minister Baptiste, the findings at Argyle will help to strengthen her case when asking for assistance from foreign governments or organizations to train persons to work as museum managers and curators, among other things.

The Governor-General and the Minister were welcomed to the site by Archaeologist Jo Moravetz and his team, Kathy Martin – President of the National Trust, Dr. Rudolph Matthias – CEO of the IADCL and Communications Officer of the IADCL Jennifer Richarson-Herbert.

Archaeologists working at the site have so far recovered numerous pieces of artefacts and have unearthed 14 skeletons. The finds have been described as very interesting by lead archaeologist Jo Moravetz. He also noted that even though they have unearthed 14 skeletons, the site cannot be considered a burial ground in the way that one views a burial ground today. According to him, evidence shows that those who lived there before buried their dead in relatively shallow graves under or next to their homes, which according to what they are discovering, were built on posts.

The touring party also visited the site of the Petroglyphs located below the Roman Catholic Shrine in Argyle and which are resting on the western side of the airport fence. The Petroglyhs have been earmarked for relocation and efforts are on-going to see how best this can be done.

Minister Baptiste said she was happy to see a government agency take such concern and pride in preserving the country’s cultural heritage. She said that her Ministry is willing to work with the IADCL and to offer whatever assistance they can give in this venture.

Meanwhile, activities at the site continue to attract students from around the country. The most recent being those from the West St George Secondary, the Emmanuel High Mespo and the St Joseph’s Convent Marriaqua.