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Rich archaeological find at Clare Valley

Rich archaeological find at Clare Valley

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by Bria King Tue, Oct 30, 2012

The discovery of some artifacts in Clare Valley on the weekend could see many archaeologists wanting to visit this country, chair of the National Trust, Louise Mitchell-Joseph said yesterday.{{more}}

Residents of Clare Valley, members of the National Trust, and media practitioners gathered at the St James Spiritual Baptist Church yesterday, where the historical artifacts were unearthed.

The National Trust says the artifacts are decorative pots from the Saladoid period.

Mitchell-Joseph said the colour of the pots — white, red and orange — suggest they are from between 400 and 700 AD.

Mitchell-Joseph also described the discovery as unprecedented.

She said no such finding has ever occurred in St Vincent and it is of grave significance.

“What a finding of this nature means for St Vincent is that archaeologists from all over the world would want to come here and see what they can find,” Mitchell-Joseph said.

“It confirms that St Vincent is one of the richest archaeological sites in the Caribbean to have a finding of this nature,” she further stated.

Neil McDonald, one of the individuals who unearthed the pots, said that he was helping to dig a septic tank for the church, which was recently bought from Seventh Day Adventists.

McDonald said he noticed that another person was chipping off pieces of what looked like clay pots and his curiosity led him to dig carefully until he found a cylindrical pot with no bottom.

He further stated that he reacted normally to finding the pots, but had a feeling that it was an important discovery.

“Because of the writing and the clay stuff and they have like the white and red colour and little drawings on the thing … they are long-time pottery,” McDonald said.

Former minister of culture, René Baptiste, stated that she was very excited and extremely happy about the findings.

Baptiste, who is also a sub-committee member of the National Trust, outlined that the artifacts were to be removed and placed in the custody of National Trust, where they will be cleaned and stored in a controlled environment to avoid damage.

She also said that experts would come to St Vincent and the Grenadines and do as much interpretation as possible.

“We want to do work of the first world. Not because we are in the quote unquote third world. We have to do it the correct way,” Baptiste said.

Amanda Richards is among many congregants that are elated by the discovery at their newly acquired church.

“I feel good,” she said. “I think is God that show them where to dig and is something good that they find these things.”

The National Trust plans to have pieces of the artifacts carbondated to give a precise dating of the period they are from.

Mitchell-Joseph stated that archaeologists would be invited to work with the artifacts and help to interpret the way in which they were found.

“What does it mean that we have seven or eight pots stacked in one location?” she said.

“What possible significance could that have had?”

Continued excavations will be done with the aid of the residents at the site.

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