|11 February 2007
Land project threatens ancient Antiguan settlement
Crews that began removing trees on privately owned property over the weekend risk damaging pottery and other artifacts at Indian Creek, one of the most valuable archaeological sites in the Caribbean, archaeologist Reginald Murphy said. "They've cleared the land, ripping out the trees, disturbing the soil," said Murphy, a consultant to the Antiguan government who lectures widely on the island's history. "It makes it difficult to get a good chronology on the life."
Representatives from the Ministry of the Environment and Tourism were meeting with the property owner to discuss preserving the site and were not available for comment. Officials declined to identify the owner or the purpose of the project. The low-lying site in the island's interior was partially excavated in 1973 by Yale University researchers led by Irving Rouse, who used the different pottery styles found near a dried-up creek to establish a cultural chronology of the Arawaks.
Antigua has two other valuable archaeological sites — one also dating to around 500 BCE and another that was settled closer to the arrival of European explorers. But only Indian Creek was occupied continuously throughout that period, Murphy said. "I hope something can be done to slow down the development to give time for some excavation," Murphy said. "We're losing the single most important heritage site in Antigua."
Source: Associated Press, Yahoo! News (6 February 2007)
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