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CHRISTIANSTED – The St. Croix Archeological Society has recently been given a collection of 54 pre-Columbian artifacts, according to archeologist David Hayes.

The collection was donated to the society by the family of Dick Richards of Frederiksted, who collected most of the artifacts in the 1940s and 1950s, Hayes said.

“Mr. Richards found many of these pieces in the then sugar cane fields of Lower Bethlehem, Negro Bay, Fair Plain and Golden Grove,” Hayes said. “He became fascinated by the artifacts and their history. Little was known about the early inhabitants of St. Croix then.”

Hayes said that some of the pieces date back 2,000 years to the “early clay workers of St. Croix, the Saladiod culture.”

“Some date to the culture that was here when Columbus sailed by Salt River, the Taino people,” he said.

The Saladiod people are considered to be more advanced than some of the first settlers whose artifacts have been discovered in Krum Bay, St. Thomas. The Saladiods practiced agriculture and used advanced stone tool technology. They may have been indirect ancestors of the Tainos.

The Richards family said that part of the collection was already donated to the St. Croix Landmarks Society and the Fort Frederik Museum, according to Hayes.

“Mr. Richards always wanted his material to be available in a museum to promote education and tourism on St. Croix,” Hayes said.

The St. Croix Archeological Society will display the collection at its museum located at #6 Company Street in Christiansted and pledged to “continue to work with the National Park Service towards opening a permanent museum at Salt River.”

Under the Virgin Islands Antiquities Act of 1998, artifacts found are the property of the landowner. However, excavation of archeological sites must be done by a trained archeologist licensed by the State Historic Preservation Office of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.







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