Adventures with Sea Urchins: St. Kitts Field School Experience #3

Haley and Ashley with their first excavation unit.

Haley and Ashley with their first excavation unit.

By Haley Lyckman

Well, here we all are in the last part of the 3rd week and I can tell you my experiences here in St. Kitts are not what I expected them to be at all. I’ve learned a few new archeological and life lessons: always put on sun screen, bring two bottles of water, and by all means don’t step on a sea urchin!

The first week was pretty good, we had a few late mornings but everything

went okay. We all learned how to place units, trowel better, measure centimeters below datum with a line level, and most importantly we watched Dr. Ahlman sharpen our trowels and found out moving dirt was so much easier. I dug my very first ever 1×1 meter square and I was so proud of that square. Of course I had my partner Ashley’s help with the unit. In the first unit, we found lots of artifacts like bone, ceramics, chert (my personal favorite), sea shells, glass sherds and lots and lots of tiny tarantulas. The girls in the second unit found a half of a 1 cent French coin, which was pretty cool! When the week was over we took a tour of St. Kitts, and I learned so much about the culture and some of the hardships that the people had to go through to get where they are now. The island has been under the control of many different nations and still has a few different churches, but is mostly now Anglican.

Visiting the Nevis Bath House.

Visiting the Nevis Bath House.

In the second week, and the second unit that I helped dig, we found a lot of the same stuff but this time we found a whole 1 cent British coin, which helps you realize that there were definitely two different rulers over the same land in past. Another cool thing we found was an old tool that Dr. Ahlman identified as a hoe. After digging for strata levels instead of 10 cm levels we noticed that the south wall of our unit was totally different than the rest and again Dr. Ahlman noted that it could be a possible cellar wall. On Thursday we went to Nevis! The volcanic island is one of the prettiest and coolest places I’ve ever been. Nevis is a little less populated and we learned a lot about the island’s history. One of the things that I thought was most interesting was the presence of natural hot springs and pools.

Everyone working in the lab.

Everyone working in the lab.

Okay, so the third week started off kind of rough. The reason I say don’t step on a sea urchin is because it’s one of the most painful things I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. When you hurt, yourself you have to stay in and do lab work for 7 hours, which isn’t very fun. So next time you’re at the beach and there’s a sign that says don’t step on the reef, by all means, stay off the reef. On my first day of lab work, all the girls came back and told me that all our stuff had been stolen and, honestly, I’ve never, never seen a more dirty group of people. My foot got better and now I’m back in the field. We’re pretty much finding all same things that we’ve been finding except we found a burn pit!

Overall, my experiences and the time I’ve spent with everyone has been one of the most fun and exciting months I’ve had in a while and honestly can’t wait to see what happens next.

 Haley Lyckman is a Senior at Texas State University majoring in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology.