National Trust honours Clare Valley church after pottery find
November 20, 2012
National Trust honours Clare Valley church after pottery find

The National Trust on Friday formally recognised the efforts of the St James Spiritual Baptist Church in Clare Valley, who were behind the recent significant archaeological find.{{more}}

Louise Mitchell-Joseph, chair of the National Trust, said that the church members and the people of Clare Valley needed to be commended for exhibiting what she termed as true patriotism.

“And for showing true leadership in the preservation of the patrimony of St Vincent and the Grenadines,” she said.

A number of decorated pots were discovered by members of the church, as they were digging to construct a septic system last month.

“They stumbled on a piece of history and instead of just casting it aside, they recognized immediately that it was something very important and … they ensured that they were carefully removed,” Mitchell-Joseph explained.

She said the pots were in the location for over 1600 years.

She commended them for working together as a community to restore the pieces and to thank all who worked with the community as well.

“I continue to say that it is the greatest archaeological find … single find in this country,” Mitchell-Joseph said.

She added that the find proved that a well once existed at the spot and the bottomless pots were being used as casings to line the well.

This in itself also proved that the Saladoid people were not nomadic, as was previously thought and the piece of engineering suggests that it was a thriving community with a great leader, she said.

Saladoid culture is a pre-columbian indigenous culture of Venezuela and the Caribbean that flourished from 500 BCE to 545 CE. Saladoid people are characterized by agriculture, ceramic production, and sedentary settlements, Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia says.

“And it appears from the size of the well and sophistication of it that Clare Valley could be one of the biggest settlements of the Saladoid people in the whole of St Vincent and possibly the greater Caribbean area.”

Parliamentary Representative for South Leeward Nigel Stephenson also commended the residents, saying that he was aware of the difficulties that the congregation had in getting a permanent home.

“You were almost nomadic in the sense that you were going from one place to the other,” he said.

But he said he believed God brought them to this location for a reason and it was being manifested now with the major discovery.

“Because had He not done that, we would not have been celebrating this occasion today,” he said, adding that they were a people not just rich in faith, but also rich in heritage.

There arose now the issue of what is the next step.

Stephenson said he did not know what plans the National Trust had for the location, but he added that whatever was done needed to be conducted with order.

Senator Douglas Slater, Minister of Foreign Affairs and former area representative, responded saying that the government was seeking an amicable solution to the issue and the process would involve all the relevant stakeholders.

“Because it is not an easy fix because the location is very close to the building,” Slater said.

He, however, said that if a decision were made to further explore the site, the congregation would have to relocate.

No decision has yet been made.

“So, I want you to understand that we are working together to come up with a solution that will balance the needs of all, but certainly taking into consideration the historical significance of the findings and the fact that there may be more findings of equal or more value,” Slater said. (DD)