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Slave Wrecks Archeology Project Will Present St. Croix Findings At UVI On Thursday

FREDERIKSTED — Five members of the Slave Wrecks Project-St. Croix will give an update of the findings from their research about the slave trade and its history here.

The presentation will take place at 5:30 p.m. Thursday on the St. Croix campus of the University of the Virgin Islands at the UVI Great Hall.

Meredith Hardy (National Park Service) will present summaries of findings and results from three years of survey and community archeology at Christiansted National Historic Site (CHRI) and Buck Island Reef National Monument.

Justin Dunnavant, Alicia Odewale, Ayana Flewellen, and William White will discuss their research and community archeology at Estate Little Princess. They will present the results of their 2016 field investigations, which provided training and hands-on archeological experience for 12 students from the Boys and Girls Club, and the plans for this year’s fieldwork.

Slave Wrecks Project Summary

Since 2010, the Slave Wrecks Project has fostered public and scholarly understanding of the role of the African slave trade in shaping global history by using maritime archeology as the vehicle for examining enslavement and its far-reaching global impacts. The archeological investigation of slaver shipwrecks and related terrestrial sites, such as markets in which the enslaved were sold, maroon sites and encampments, and free black communities, promises to provide a new perspective to bear on our understanding of the Trans-Atlantic and Indian Ocean trades in enslaved people and on the central role that this process played in constituting the modern world.

Archeologists from the NPS’ Submerged Resources Center (SRC) and the Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC), in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), George Washington University, and the Society of Black Archaeologists, are locating and documenting archeological sites both above and underwater associated with the historic trade of enslaved Africans.

Dr. Meredith Hardy is an archeologist and the Coordinator for Outreach and Education at the National Park Service’s Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC). She is also a member of SEAC’s dive team. Since 2002, Dr. Hardy has provided support to Christiansted National Historic Site for archeological and cultural resource management, both on land and underwater. Her research encompasses prehistoric and historic island and coastal communities, trade, foodways, and the emergence and development of creole societies.

Dr. Justin Dunnavant, Ph.D. is currently a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz and co-founder of the Society of Black Archaeologists. He has conducted archaeological work in Ethiopia, Tanzania, The Gambia, Jamaica, Belize, and the U.S. Next year, he will serve as an Academic Pathways Fellow at Vanderbilt University’s Spatial Analysis Research Laboratory.

Dr. Ayana Flewellen, Ph.D. is co-founder of the Society of Black Archaeologists and currently a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She has conducted archaeological excavations and oral historical research related to slavery and freedom in the U.S. South as well as the Caribbean. Next year, she will move to New York where she will become an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Queens College.

Dr. Alicia Odewale, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. Her dissertation entitled “Living among Presidents and Kings: Enslaved Africans Coping with Risk in Service to the Elite” compared the material culture of royal enslaved Africans in the Danish West Indies (modern day Virgin Islands) and enslaved Africans of a former U.S. president in Virginia to examine the natural and social environment affecting the enslaved community in both regions.

Dr. William White, Ph.D. has participated in over 100 historical, archaeological, and anthropological projects across the United States. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley and founder of Succinct Research – a company dedicated to conducting quality research and creating publications for cultural resource management, historic preservation, and heritage conservation service professionals.

About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 407 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

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John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands since 1989. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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