Please join us on Thursday April 13, 2017, when members from the Slave Wrecks Project will present a summary of findings and results from the 2016 survey at Buck Island and the community archeology project at Christansted National Historic Site, and our current efforts as part of the ongoing Slave Wrecks Project. We are also honored to have with us archeologists from the nations of Mozambique and Senegal for an eleven day training program on protecting and preserving cultural heritage sites on land and beneath the ocean. As part of their studies, participants will work to understand the factors that make heritage sites like those in Christiansted important to the communities that live near them. This training is coordinated by the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is funded by a grant through the U.S. Department of State’s Cultural Heritage Center.
In 2015, the National Park Service launched the first Slave Wreck Project research efforts in US territorial waters and the Western Hemisphere – a survey, inventory, and assessment of submerged resources at Buck Island National Monument (BUIS) and Christiansted National Historic Site (CHRI), St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. This work will be used in conjunction with investigations on land sites that are all related to St. Croix’s unique history as an epicenter of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. 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) and George Washington University, are locating and documenting archeological sites both above and underwater associated with the historic trade of enslaved Africans.
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.
Schedule for public meeting, April 13 2017:
Greetings and Introduction (5 minutes) – Superintendent Joel Tutein
Introduction of Slave Wrecks Project partners
Project Updates and Accomplishments (7-10 minutes) – Dave Conlin, David Morgan, Jessica Keller, Meredith Hardy
Update on upcoming partnership goals (5-7 minutes) – Mary Elliott
Introduction of Senegalese and Mozambican archeologists and current training program (5 minutes) – David Gadsby
Presentation by Dr. Ibrahima Thiaw, ’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire, University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal (20 minutes)
Celso Simbine, Eduardo Mondlane University – Department of Archaeology and Anthropology presentation (15 minutes)
Questions and Discussions
Ibrahima Thiaw is a Professor of archaeology and Director of the archaeology laboratory of IFAN (’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire), a research institute based at the University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar. He received a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Rice University (Houston, Texas, USA) in 1999. Dr. Thiaw received an M.A. in History from the University Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar and, an M. A. in Prehistory from the University of Paris X (Nanterre, France). His research interests focus on the long-term impact of the trans-Saharan and Atlantic trade systems, craft production, culture contact, the archaeological study of identity and cultural heritage management. Over the past fifteen years, he has directed several research programs on sites associated with Atlantic slavery and European colonization including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Goree Island (Senegal), northern and southeastern Senegal, collecting comparative data on patterns of enslavement and their impact on local communities. He has conducted numerous heritage management projects in Senegal, Guinée, Guinée Bissau, Sierra Leone, Congo, and elsewhere. His recent publications focus primarily on the Atlantic impact and culture heritage management.
Celso Simbine is a teaching assistant at Eduardo Mondlane University, Maputo, Mozambique. He was trained in archaeological field work and laboratory analytical techniques, and is now involved in the underwater archeological survey for the wreck of the L’Aurore, a French ship that sank at Mozambique Island with 600 slaves on board. Mr. Simbine will present the preliminary results of the archeological investigations being conducted in Mozambique as part of the Slave Wrecks Project, and will discuss the current state of archeological heritage in the country.
David Gadsby is an archeologist in the Washington headquarters office of the National Park Service. He holds a Masters of Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from American University in Washington DC. His dissertation used archeology to interrogate changing class relationships in the 19th century cotton mill town of Hampden, Maryland. At the National Park Service, his work includes cultural heritage preservation at the national and international scales, as well as submerged cultural resources preservation policy. For this project, Dr. Gadsby is a liaison to the NPS-Washington Office and the Department of State. He is in St Croix to provide project support and assist with archeological operations.
Dave Conlin is the Chief of the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center, the unit responsible for underwater archeology throughout the National Park System. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. from Brown University in Rhode Island and a M.A. from Oxford University in England. In addition he is one of the founding members of the Slave Wrecks Project.
Mary Elliott is a Museum Specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, where she is co-curating the Slavery and Freedom inaugural exhibition. Ms. Elliott has extensive experience in community engagement and public history programming, including working with youth on local history projects and using the humanities to prompt meaningful dialogue.
Meredith Hardy is the acting Cultural Resource Program Manager for Christiansted National Historic Site, and also serves as an archeologist and the Coordinator for Interpretation and Education at the National Park Service’s Southeast Archeological Center. She has been conducting archeological research on St. Croix, and provided support to Christiansted National Historic Site for the archeological and cultural resources, since 2002. Her research encompasses prehistoric and historic island and coastal communities, trade, foodways, and the emergence of creole societies. She has a Ph.D. from Florida State University and an MS from the University of New Orleans.
Jessica A. Keller is an archeologist for the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center (SRC) in
Lakewood, Colorado. She has her MS from Indiana University, and is proud to be part of the SRC. The
SRC travels throughout the country to support stewardship of National Parks’ submerged natural and
cultural resources through protection, preservation, public access, and interpretation.
Dr. David W. Morgan is the Director of the National Park Service’s Southeast Archeological Center. He earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from Tulane University, and an M.A. in the same field from the University of Alabama. His research in archeology encompasses the prehistoric and historic southeastern United States, focusing most recently on the legacy of enslavement from the colonial era to the present.