Argyle International airport site – archaeological goldmine
June 19, 2009
Argyle International airport site – archaeological goldmine

The Argyle International Airport site is proving to be an archaeological goldmine, and when the exploration is completed, the findings should provide significant insight into the history of St Vincent.{{more}}

Following the work done earlier this year by Canadian archaeologist Joe Moravetz and his team from the Bison Historical Services Limited and the University of Calgary, a team from the Netherlands is here to continue the work to preserve this country’s historical and cultural heritage.

The International Airport Development Company (IADC) has partnered with the National Trust in this effort.

The IADC has contributed $460,000 to the mission of implementing a complete cultural heritage plan.

This plan includes the retrieval, documentation and preservation of artifacts uncovered at the airport site.

On completion, a book documenting this cultural heritage will also be prepared.

Dr Arie Boomert of the Faculty of Archaeology of the Leiden University in the Netherlands leads a team, which at press time, was into the second week of their three-week mission.

Their mission includes the investigation of the ridge north of the Yambou River mouth where pottery, which belonged to the Cayo (Island Caribs) who inhabited this country and the rest of the Windward Islands during the time of Christopher Columbus and afterward, is being discovered.

According to Dr Boomert, even though documentary sources of the island Caribs are numerous, evidence of their material remains is scarce, which makes the discoveries being made so significant.

At a recent press conference, Dr Boomert told SEARCHLIGHT that the work being done in the area of archaeology in the midst of the airport development is great. He said that the site has “very great archeological interest,” and that he is honoured to be part of the preservation efforts.

The earlier efforts of the Canadian team caused quite a stir as skeletons and post holes from settlement sites were discovered during excavation at the Escape area.

Evidence pointed to a 2000 year old civilization. The area at Escape is believed to have been occupied by Saladoids (Arawaks).

Chairperson of the archeological committee of the National Trust, Kathy Martin celebrated the arrival of the second team of archeologists.

She gave special thanks to Lady Gloria Antrobus who owns the lands in the vicinity of the Yamboo River where the trenches are being dug.

Many schools have been taking advantage of the educational value of the archaeological discoveries by making tours to the excavation sites and this is being encouraged by the IADC.

“Without a doubt, St Vincent is very rich archeologically,” Moravetz had told SEARCHLIGHT while he was here. He noted then that besides the historical significance, the discoveries provide another area of attraction for tourists.

“When people visit St Vincent they will be able to learn about its history.”