Archeology This Month: Caribbean American Heritage

In June, celebrate National Caribbean American Heritage Month and explore the ways that archeology at the U.S. Virgin Islands and on Puerto Rico describes the sweep of Caribbean American heritage. Excavations on land reveal the changing organization of societies, economies, and local politics experienced by native peoples, through the contact period with European explorers and traders, to the present day. Underwater archeology tracks the maritime heritage of the Caribbean. From merchant ships to slave ships (and a wayward kayak or sailboat, too), archeologists have documented the relationships of the sea to the land.

Increasingly frequent and powerful hurricanes have had devastating impacts on the Caribbean region and its archeological resources. Churning seas stirred up underwater sites and lashed the coasts, while upturned trees and floodwaters damaged inland sites. Hurricanes destroyed park museums and their archeological exhibits. But, restoration efforts are underway to ensure that visitors can appreciate the significant cultural heritage of these special places.

On the islands

Under the Sea

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Cinnamon Bay Archaeology Museum was destroyed during Hurricane Irma, September 5, 2017. A lot of folks have asked about the fate of the Cinnamon Bay Archaeology Museum. The restored structure was the oldest building on St. John and housed the cultural exhibits enjoyed by so many visitors and residents. Be forewarned...if you knew and loved this place it will be disturbing to watch.

Last updated: March 6, 2023