January in the Caribbean, yes please.
The St. Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (SECAR) is organizing an underwater archaeological field school from January 3 – 16, 2019 on St. Eustatius in the Dutch Caribbean.
St. Eustatius, a tiny island in the northeastern Caribbean, was the busiest port in the Americas in the late eighteenth century and played an instrumental role in supplying arms and ammunition to the rebels during the Revolutionary War. The island is believed to have the densest concentration of archaeological sites of any area of comparable size in the New World, and is dotted with the remains of sugar plantations, cemeteries, old warehouses, fortifications, and marine structures. The waters surrounding the island are home to an estimated 200 shipwreck sites.
The field school will comprise a two-week program packed with adventure and exploration. The focus will be on documenting submerged archaeological remains and learning surveying and documenting techniques such as photogrammetry (3D recording) and underwater photography, drawing underwater sites, geophysical surveying techinques, recording cannons and anchors, etc. Last year we discovered a shipwreck dating to the 1740s which we will continue to study during this course. Artifacts retrieved from the site will be subjected to conservation treatment and analysis so that participants gain hands-on experience with all aspects of the archaeological process.
In addition to the practical applications, there will be presentations on the history of St. Eustatius and shipwrecks, artifact workshops, excursions and hikes on our beautiful dormant volcano and archaeological sites on the island.
Participants are required to be certified scuba divers (PADI Open Water Diver or equivalent certification from another agency). Scuba diving courses can also be taken on the island prior to the start of the field school (not included in the price). Scubaqua Dive Center is our local partner when it comes to all diving activities. See their website www.scubaqua.com for more information.
The island of St. Eustatius is relatively quiet and undeveloped. There are no large resorts, casinos, night clubs, or crowds of tourists. Instead, the island is a hidden gem with friendly people, little to no crime, beautiful national parks, and a laid-back atmosphere. Getting to St. Eustatius is easy. There are several direct flights into St. Maarten (airport code SXM) from US and European cities. From St. Maarten, take a short 18-minute flight to St. Eustatius (airport code EUX) with Winair.