Collaborative archaeological research at school construction site Saba

THE BOTTOM- Three archaeologists are doing research at the construction site of the future new Saba Comprehensive School building in St. John’s.

 So far, President of the Saba Archaeological Center (SABARC) Jay Haviser, together with Menno Hoogland and Sven Ransijn from Leiden have found historical artefacts from the late 17th century to the 18th century, including ceramics and glass bottles. The team also discovered an early 20th century grave of a newborn. 

There used to be four parcels with four houses on the site, explained Hoogland of Leiden University. One house belonged to the Wilson family, two to the Barnes family and one to the Hassell family. The open area in front of the SCS and the gym has been bought by the Public Entity Saba. It is the location where the new high school will be built. The archaeological work is done in consultation with relatives of the families who used to own property at the site.  Archaeological research is important as the area in the past has been identified as a pre-historic site with an Amerindian settlement dating back to 1000 to 1200AD, but the history of the past 200 years is also an important part of Saba’s heritage. 

Through the good cooperation of SABARC with Leiden University, Hoogland was contacted to do archaeological research before the construction, explained SABARC President Haviser. Hoogland brought one of his former Caribbean archeology students Ransijn with him to Saba. All three archaeologists work for free and only their travel and lodging expenses are paid.

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