IACA 2015 St. Maarten

I have been back for almost a week from my Caribbean trip. The last part of the trip was the IACA, the biannual meeting of the International Association of Caribbean Archaeology. This year, Dr. Jay Haviser hosted the meetings on St. Maarten. It was a great success.

 This year’s meeting was full of high quality talks and posters, good discussions and interesting perspectives for the future. I was really impressed with what people are doing in the Caribbean and we really starting to make waves on an international level. Ancient DNA, Lidar, network theory, using kites and drones for 3D models of research areas and excavations, all of it was there. I am super excited for the future and being a part of this community of highly driven and dedicated archaeologists.

 I presented a poster and a few artefacts from the slave village we excavated in 2011/2012 on St. Eustatius. As part of our commitment to show our findings beyond St. Eustatius, we set up a travelling exhibit which started at this IACA conference. It was a great success with even two photos in the local newspaper! I’m glad to see that people responded well to the poster, were interested in what we had done and that the press picked up on it and thought of it as something the general public in St. Maarten would be interested in.

Finally, we also visited Anguilla for a day. And what a day! Under police escort (I’m not sure why, but I felt like royalty!), we visited multiple archaeological sites; the one located on even more beautiful bay than the previous one. We were also part of the opening of a new national park on Anguilla, Fountain Cave. This cave holds one of the few fresh water lenses on the island and is full of petroglyphs. It is not possible to enter the cave, but they are building 3D models to let visitors experience the cave without destroying it. Also, the people of Anguilla brought out some of the most beautiful and interesting artefacts I have ever seen, all found on the island. They are normally kept in a safe in the National Bank, but this day they were taken out and the IACA delegates were allowed to see them. Very special indeed!

What a conference! Great talks, great people, awesome nights, conversations, opportunities and excursions! I’ll remember this one for a long time.