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Report Number Three
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Artifacts from St. Thomas
Artifacts from St. John
THE WILLIAM L. BRYANT FOUNDATION
American Studies Report Numbers Three and Four
ISLAND OF ST. JOHN
UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS
Frederick W. Sleight
CERAMIC PERIODS OF ST. THOMAS
AND ST. JOHN ISLANDS,
Ripley P. Bullen
THE WILLIAM L. BRYANT FOUNDATION
Report Number Three
UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS
Frederick W. Sleight
During the winters of 1956 and 1957 while Ripley P. Bullen,
Curator of Social Sciences at The Florida State Museum at Gaines-
ville, and Frederick W. Sleight, Director of The Central Florida
Museum at Orlando, were studying the Eastern Florida shell mid-
dens, Castle Windy and Green Mound, which led to the William L.
Bryant Foundation publications, American Series Nos. One and
Two, it seemed quite natural to speculate on the relationships of
these early cultures of Florida with those of The Antilles-which
directions influences flowed and just how and when they developed.
Mr. Sleight had for some years had an eye on a large site near
Camaguey, Cuba and he suggested we undertake an investigation
in collaboration with the local museum in Camaguey. As our in-
terest in this area grew, Mr. Sleight and I began to visualize the
development of a West Indian Cultural Center at The Central
Florida Museum. It would have a research library as a foundation
and would propose the initiating of archaeological surveys of the
Thwarted by the revolution in carrying out the Cuban study,
we began to explore other possibilities. Mr. Sleight had some
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh N. Davis, both with some archaeo-
logical background, living in Charlotte Amalie in the American
Virgin Islands. We invited them to make a survey of St. Thomas
and in the winter of 1958 this work was carried out.
The following year John W. Griffin, in his role as Regional
Archaeologist of the Southeastern Region of The National Park
Service, asked the Bryant Foundation if it would make an appraisal
of the archaeological resources of the island of St. John, site of a
new national park on land given to the United States by Lawrence
S. Rockefeller in 1956.
To consider this proposition Messrs. Griffin, Sleight, Bullen and
myself met at Charlotte Amalie in May 1959 and the decision was
made to undertake the job. Mr. Sleight, as Director of the West
Indian Center, assumed the responsibility of organizing the work.
Mr. Bullen was concerned with various archaeological aspects of
the study while Robert H. Steinbach, then of Florida State Uni-
versity, was invited to assist in the survey.
During this visit the Krum Bay site on St. Thomas, which had
been investigated by the Danish archaeologist, Gudmund Hatt, in
1922-23, was relocated and found to have been largely destroyed in
the building of a road. We determined to include a study of what
was left before it became too late. This was carried on at the same
time as the work on St. John but was not part of the Park Service
contract which was limited to the island of St. John.
Thus we have these two publications: a site survey of the islands
of St. Thomas and St. John and (coming later) the excavations at
Krum Bay. We feel these publications represent the type of work
we would like to see appear for all the islands of the Greater and
Lesser Antilles. Such research combined with the contributions of
others in this field should eventually form a more or less complete
study of the Pre-Columbian peoples of this chain of fascinating
islands linking North and South America-obviously a secondary
bridge compared with Central America-yet important, if we are
to complete the picture of the ebb and flow of peoples through-
out the prehistorical past of the Americas.
William J. Bryant
Complying with an agreement with the United States National
Park Service, this report and the report by Bullen form a final
statement concerning an archaeological survey conducted under
Contract No. 14-10-131-619. This contract was made by and be-
tween the National Park Service, Regional Director, Southeast
Region, and the William L. Bryant Foundation. The terms of the
agreement were accepted by William J. Bryant, Trustee, and
Frederick W. Sleight, Director of the Foundation's American
Studies, on the 23rd day of February, 1960.
The survey had as its main objective the locating and describing
of prehistoric sites, the making of surface collections, and limited
archaeological testing to determine the depth of deposits and pos-
I will cover in this section a geographical-geological background
as well as sufficient environmental data to assist broad interpreta-
tion in relating prehistoric occupation to the island setting. A state-
ment of previous archaeological investigations on the island will
be outlined with my reconnaissance observations and site locations.
As shell and bone remains were also encountered in our tests,
species listings for use as check data with current biological studies
will be included. In essence, I will be concerned with the site lo-
cations and the native cultural limitations resulting from a spec-
ialized environment on the island of St. John.
Bullen on the other hand will be concerned with artifacts and
pottery, depth of deposits, stratigraphy, and chronology. He will
combine his phase as it relates to the island of St. John with our
independent program of survey on St. Thomas in order that the
total survey will result in a broader base of interpretation.
Credit must go to many persons for the completion of the many,
many facets of planning and operation that resulted in the suc-
cess of such a project. To William J. Bryant, I extend a word of
appreciation for giving approval through the William L. Bryant
Foundation for me to negotiate with the National Park Service,
and for full backing of the project. John W. Griffin, Regional
Archaeologist, Southeast Region, National Park Service, not only
offered every service of his office but also met with me in a pre-
liminary survey of the island of St. John in the spring of 1959.
The two of us were able to establish on the spot the problems of
survey, to locate and examine several sites later revisited, and to
work out details for our expedition's logistic needs. To J. C.
Harrington, Regional Chief of History and Archaeology, Southeast
Region, National Park Service, our gratitude for continued ad-
ministrative assistance, guide statements concerning needs for
future interpretation in the Virgin Islands National Park, and for
visiting with us in the field during the course of the survey. To
John G. Lewis, Superintendent, Virgin Islands National Park, we
owe a debt of gratitude for making our stay in the Islands success-
ful. John Lewis met our every need with complete co-operation.
My outline of field operations, work crew assignments, transporta-
tion needs-often difficult unto themselves-were met and solved
through his assistance. The entire staff of the National Park
Service in St. John and St. Thomas responded to our major and
minor needs. Special appreciation goes to Vincent Mrazek, Chief
Park Ranger, who assisted me in the pre-survey of 1959 as well
as offering every aid during the 1960 field work. David Karraker,
Park Naturalist, was assigned to assist on detailed survey problems
and was invaluable in offering suggestions and aid in the actual
reconnaissance. Had it not been for the skillful boatsmanship of
Austin lionaiitc, Park Ranger, my plans for survey into the valleys
of the south coast would have been-by necessity-overland and
rugged. From him I learned much concerning the seas around
this island, the rock and reef conditions, and seasonal aspects of
the sea. Over on St. Thomas, Arthur Hehr, Management Assist-
ant in the Superintendent's office, was most co-operative and gave
our program much assistance.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I wish to recognize my two col-
leagues who accepted our invitation to join in the work of the
survey. Ripley P. Bullen, Curator of Social Science, Florida State
M\lu.-uni, Gainesville, Florida, served as Associate Director in the
program. He accepted as his prime field activity testing at Turtle
Point, Francis Bay, and Coral Bay. He relocated the Cruz Bay
site in the school grIoulnd of that community, reconfirmed our
1959 evidence of early occupation on the grounds of what is now
the Caneel Bay resort, joined in the reconnaissance of such site
areas as Fish Bay, Ditlef Point, etc. His major contribution, how-
ever, is his report dealing with the "Ceramic Periods of St. Thomas
and St. John Islands," offered as a unit of the total report on behalf
of the National Park Service. Coupled with previous studies by
Hatt, Rouse, and others, Bullen's statements on ceramics, artifacts
in general, and chronology will prove another step forward in the
archaeology of this region.
Robert Steinbach, at the time of our survey a graduate student
in archaeology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, ac-
cepted the post of Archaeologist and proved invaluable to me in
all facets of the field work. He covered with me every possible area
of the island in reconnaissance, proved a seasoned field man under
trying and difficult conditions presented by the island environment
-especially along the south coast-through tangles of thornbush, up
rocky headlands and slopes, and on the seas around the island.
Steinbach joined in the Francis Bay testing, helped complete the
Cinnamon Bay test, conducted the Test No. 2 at Coral Bay, and
aided me in the field preparation of sherds and artifacts for over-
I wish also to credit Fritz Henle and the Jackson Hole Pre-
serve, Inc., for the use of the aerial photograph of St. John. Rader
and Associates of Miami were responsible for the photo-maps il-
lustrating prime site locations. All other photographs were pre-
pared by the authors.
December 10, 1962
Frederick W. Sleight, Director
The William L. Bryant Foundation
American Studies Division
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lydrographic Map of St. Thomnas aiid St. Johnl
As this report is concerned with the archaeological resources
of the island of St. John in the United States Virgin Islands, it is
well that we should initially place this group geographically and
geologically in the general West Indian area. The West Indies or
Antilles constitute as a whole the northern and eastern limits of
the Caribbean Sea from the Yucatan Channel to Venezuela in
South America. Generally the island chain is divided into two
major divisions, the Greater and Lesser Antilles. The Greater
Antilles are represented by such major island groups as Cuba,
Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic), and Puerto
Rico. As is pointed out below, geologists include the Virgin Islands
in the Greater Antilles. On the other hand, all of the island arc
from the Virgin Islands southward through Grenada and Trini-
dad is recognized as the Lesser Antilles. Some would define Trini-
dad as a detached land mass of Venezuela and therefore not a
true portion of the Lesser Antilles. Those familiar with sailing
in the Lesser Antilles will recognize a further division of the arc
into the Windward and Leeward groups. The Windwards are
identified as those islands from Grenada to and including Martin-
ique, while the grouping northward through the Virgin Islands
delineates the Leeward Islands.
Generally speaking the West Indian islands are angular and
mountainous, having been formed in most instances through vol-
canic or orogenic means. Calcareous rocks along with magmatic for-
mations have often resulted in erosional deposits and fertile soils.
The latter is generally true through most of the islands and is es-
pecially true of the larger groups. Most of the islands, therefore,
exhibit prolific vegetation, and, under more favored conditions,
true rainforest environments prevail.
Turning now to the specific question of the Virgin Islands we
find that they lie approximately 1,000 miles southeast of Miami,
Florida. Important islands in the group are St. John, St. Thomas,
St. Croix, Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and Anegada.
Although Anegada has an elevation of no more than 30 feet, the
other major islands of the group rise as high as 1,780 feet above sea
When viewed on a map, the islands of the Virgin group appear
to be a structural part of the Lesser Antilles. In fact, they have
been treated in that fashion on a historical and archaeological
basis. Geographically and geologically, however, the Virgin Islands
are an integral portion of the Puerto Rico platform and Antillean
Geanticline. More will be said concerning the geology of this
area, however, it will suffice to state here that the platform or base-
ment rocks for this Virgin Island extension are volcanic with later
thin fossil zones and diorite instrusives. The bank is roughly 100
miles long on an east-west axis and 30 to 40 miles wide on the
north-south axis. For the most part, the bank is covered by no
more than 165 feet of water, and emerging above the sea on this
bank are nearly 100 islands and cays-peaks of the submerged
eastern terminus of a great east-west chain of mountains more ap-
parent and pronounced in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, etc. The
Anegada Passage is the spectacular geomorphic feature which
clearly terminates, southeast of the Virgin Bank, the Antillean
mountain chain. This passage is a deeply submerged fault trough
which drops to 7,120 feet in the main trench, while that flank of
the trough just north of St. Croix descends at a 30 degree angle
to 14,130 feet.
At the present time, the Virgin Islands are governed by Great
Britain and the United States. The boundary between these
two territorial areas runs between Little Tobago Island and Hans
Lollik Islands on the north through the channel between Great
Thatch Island and St. John, southward around the eastern end of
St. John, and out through Flanagan Passage. The United States
Virgin Islands or the American Virgin Islands consist of St. John,
St. Thomas, St. Croix and neighboring smaller islands, cays, and
rocks. The total area of this latter group has been cmipuicd as
133 square miles. Populations, based on the 1960 census, are 923
for St. John, 16,046 for St. Thomas, and 14,935 for St. Croix. On
the other hand, the British Virgin Islands are comprised of 36
islands, of which 13 are inhabited. The total population for the
British group as of 1960 was 7,338.
St. John (Fig. 1) represents the smallest of the three principal
islands of the American Virgin Islands. Its area is just a fraction
above 19 square miles, while that of St. Thomas is 32 and that
of St. Croix is 84. St. John is nearly 8 miles long on its east-west
axis and 4 miles wide. The landscape features of this island are
those of high mountains in the western and central portions (sum-
mit at 1,277 feet) dropping down to 500 foot high hills on the
eastern peninsula. The coast is a series of small bays at the foot
of steep mountain valleys, and each bay is generally divided from
the next by prominent headlands against which the ocean pounds
with waves and swells (Plate I). Like the claw of a crab, a narrow,
angular peninsula arcs from the northeastern portion of the
island to form within its southerly and westerly shores Coral Bay,
the largest semi-protected bay on St. John. Viewed from the sea
or the air, St. John usually presents an overall dusty green cast as
a result of moderate stands of trees, brush and grasses. Easily visible
from St. John is the island of St. Thomas 1% miles to the west
across Pillsbury Sound. Tortola stands 3 miles to the north across
Drake's Passage, and St. Croix is barely visible 32 miles west of
south beyond the Anegada Passage.
To appreciate aboriginal response to the environmental po-
tential as presented by the islands of the West Indies and the
Virgin Islands in particular, we must gain a clear understanding of
the total environmental scheme. To interpret the culture and
settlement of any region, it is essential that we think of man in
his environmental setting if we are to appreciate the way of life
he maintained. The archaeological survey in question cannot view
the pre-Columbian peoples of the Virgin Islands solely through
,-D, %"~~ i*?~~~~ L~~"
Plate I. Aerial View of the Island of St. John's North Coast Showing Caneel Bay in the Fore-
ground Followed by Hlawknest, Dennis, Truck, Cinnamon, Maho, and Francis Bays.
the relatively few remaining scraps of stone, bone, shell and pot-
tery. Rather, we must attempt to know the man in his former
points of origin and the cultural pattern out of which he stemmed-
in our case, South America. We must also have a perceptive eye for
the physical and natural conditions that must have shaped and
controlled the aborigine and his daily life. We must observe how
well suited an island such as St. John might be from the viewpoints
of physiographic structure, climatic advantages and disadvantages,
availability of water, presence or lack of proper soils, protection
from the occasional wrath of the sea, and many other features.
Thus, in the next several pages, I will outline some features of
the natural setting-the setting in which the Arawak economy and
tce hnolog) might either have adapted to, utilized in limited fashion,
or passed by in its migrations through the West Indies.
Our survey of the island of St. John revealed an aboriginal
occupation prior to discovery by European expeditions. To know
this culture, it is appropriate that we first know the basic feature
of the islands-the geologic structure and its origin.
According to Schuchert (1935) the Greater Antilles form a geo-
logic region or unit including the islands of Cuba, Jamaica, His-
paniola, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and all of the smaller
contiguous islands and rocks. In contrast, Davis (1926) had drawn
the conclusion that "The Virgin Islands rise from the largest
bank of the Lesser Antilles," even though Vaughn (1919) had
recognized the Virgin Islands as standing on the same platform as
As Schuchert has explained, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico
and the Virgin Islands are an eastward extension of the Antillean
Geanticline, which has its western extremity in the southernmost
coastal strip of Mexico, the southern or highlands region of Guate-
mala, all of Salvador and Honduras, and the northern two-thirds
of Nicaragua. Like other islands of the Greater Antilles, the Vir-
gins are formed from continental rocks and were deformed by
orogenic means. On the other hand, the islands of the Lesser An-
tilles are oceanic and of volcanic character. Of passing interest,
too, is Schuchert's contention (p. 397, 1935) that "the most strik-
ing feature in the geomorphology of the Antilles (West Indies) is
that the lands, mountains, and troughs are arranged in arcs, most
of which are convex toward the north."
Specifically, the island of St. John, like several of the neighbor-
ing islands, apparently is underlain by mildly deformed Cretaceous
volcanics and limestones ( Donnelly, 1959). These were later in-
truded and contact metamorphosed during the late Cretaceous or
early Tertiary times. St. Johns, along with the island of St. Thomas,
forms a portion of a homocline which appears to dip to the north
15 to 90 degrees with an average of close to 50 degrees. To compli-
cate the picture, the island is cut by northwest-trending dextral and
northeast-trending sinistral strike-slip faults as well as a series of
north-south normal faults.
In essence, the Virgin Islands, and particularly the island of
St. John, developed as the result of large volcanic activities on the
northern side of a geanticlinal rise. There appears to have been
sudden change from underwater volcanics to exposed volcanic
The work of Donnelly (1959) confirms the report of Meyerhoff
(1926) to the effect that there were three erosion levels present on
the island of St. John: one at about 900 feet above sea level; one
at 250 feet above sea level; and one approximately 180 feet
below sea level. Based on these features, the present island can
probably be described as a submerged land mass.
The orientation of structures in the Virgin Islands, and St.
John in particular, indicates that the line of discontinuity had an
east and west trend. The total structure of exposed rocks in these
islands requires a compression in the north-south direction, thus
the resulting east-west axis of the islands: an axis so important
in the overall environmental picture.
The presence or absence of soils was important to the Arawak
type culture transplanted to the island of St. John from the south;
therefore, consideration will be given to this phase of geology. A
study of soil conditions-based on Meyerhoff and Donnelly-at the
900 foot level on St. John reveals a much more mature topography
than that observed at lower elevations. A greater degree of weather-
ing is apparent in the upper zones of the island as shown on soils
eroded from rocks at the summits. At Bordeaux Peak, for example,
rocks have been altered or weathered to about 5 feet in depth or
at least 5 feet more than similar rocks on lower elevations. Actually,
the best developed soil is found in the high portions of the island
and not in the bay-valleys, where native dependence on the sea
held occupation in prehistory. It might be suggested that as the
soils of St. John have altered or weathered from rocks through
hydro-thermal activity, the poorer soils will be found in low eleva-
tions and the better soils in the mature uplands above the 900
foot contour. Lack of active stream action has prevented the mass
transport of these soils to the lowlands.
Soil location and soil quality were both variables that limited
man's adaptation to the island in prehistoric times. Likewise, the
location and quality of these soils coupled with specific climatic
features resulted in variable vegetation on the island of St. John.
Most of the land surface is sloping; much of it exceeds 35 degrees.
As soils, for the most part, are highly variable from high to low
elevations, vegetation ranges from moist forest to cactus woodland
with intermediate growths of beach vegetation, mangrove, dry
forest and croton-acacia scrub. Each of these plant cover zones
was noted during my 1959 preliminary survey and pointed out
Borgeson in Stone (1942), referred to again by Robertson (1960)
in his study of the birds of St. John, outlined some features re-
lating to vegetation which are also valuable in archaeological in-
terpretation. He pointed out that the first historical records of St.
John indicated thick forest. Without a doubt this growth was in
the higher elevations and along the wetter slopes. It might be
assumed from present observations as well as early records that
the forest and scrub now covering more than 75 per cent of
the island approximates the original distribution pattern of wet
and dry forest cover. However, one might well visualize thicker
and more mature plant cover when the island was occupied by the
Findings from our archaeological tests and modern biological
observations on St. John would indicate that Arawak peoples
would not have been attracted to this island for the hunting po-
tential. There have never been sizable indigenous mammals or
reptiles, although the hunting of birds may have been attractive
(Robertson recorded 59 species). On the other hand, mollusk
collecting and fishing coupled with slash-and-burn agriculture
would have provided the basic subsistence for these early peoples.
The naturalist is normally limited in his temporal survey of
any region to recent or at least historic times. Thus the surveys
that have been made in the areas of marine biology, ornithology,
etc., on the island of St. John and the Virgin Islands are by neces-
sity contemporary. Out of the archaeological survey and test exca-
vations, however, an approach to time depth may be made. From
the inclusions of bone and shell, we may interpret which species
served as food sources or other needs, while the naturalist may
gain checks against the time span of certain species in a given area.
Listings and identification of such materials from St. John will be
found as appendices to this report.
By the time aboriginal peoples reached the Virgin Islands, they
had attained experience in native seamanship. To reach the islands,
it was necessary that they contend with waves, winds, currents,
swells, reefs, and many varied landfalls. Likewise, they looked
to the sea for much of their sustenance. Therefore, in attempting to
understand the lives of the native populations of St. John and
the other Virgin Islands, I shall broaden our environmental picture
from geology and biology to include general observations con-
The United States Navy Hydrographic Office has observed and
recorded the region of the Virgin Islands, and its instructions for
navigation, "Sailing Directions for the West Indies" (1950), is a
rich source of information. I have also drawn on statements from
informants while working in the islands for details concerning
tides, wave action, winds, rainfall, etc.
As stated earlier, the Virgin Bank is covered by no more than
165 feet of water, but it is a flowing water controlled by the north-
ern branch of the North Equatorial Current. According to seasonal
shifts, this current holds to a westward to northwestward flow with
an average velocity of approximately %1/ knot at all seasons of the
year. This velocity stands somewhat in contrast with currents of
1.0 to 2.0 knots in the Windward Islands and the 0.5 knot flow in
the Antilles Current to the north.
As might be expected, rate of flow of currents is often affected
by tide action, especially in local situations. In the Virgin Islands
there is little rise and fall of tides along the beaches; therefore, most
of the water level changes that affected native man came as a result
of winds and streams. There would have been times, however,
when native boatsmen would have encountered tide floods that
would have influenced their areas and patterns of movement. For
example, during tidal flood in this region the flow is southeastward
or against the windward for 6 hours prior to moon transit, while
the ebb sets to the northwestward for 6 hours after moon transit.
To complicate the navigational problems around these islands,
there is also a seasonal predominance of the southeastward flow
from mid-June to mid-August. Local fishermen refer to the initial
stages of this set as the "St. John's Tide," for the current holds
8 to 10 days to a continued southeastward flow-a forceful flow
against the wind. Despite these occasional variations and local
tidal changes, the general movement of water is strong through the
islands from the east to the west.
Those natural actions of the sea that undoubtedly affected the
native boatsman and the location of his settlements to the greatest
degree in the St. John and Virgin Island group were the swells,
rollers, and associated shore flooding. This whole region is con-
stantly under the influence of the northeast and east trade winds;
therefore, it is from the northeasterly, easterly, and southeasterly
directions that the islands are buffeted by seas and swells through-
out the year. It matters not whether the native peoples are in
Polynesia or the West Indies; the proper placement of settlements
will be predicated on security from wind and sea. It is necessary
that seaside settlements have all-weather beaching ability, and it is
also necessary that villages be protected from storm and flood
damage. In due time, the aborigine would have experienced these
natural forces and would have adjusted to them.
Without a doubt pre-Columbian peoples witnessed here, as
have modern observers, a great sea wave called tsunamis. This type
of wave results from an earthquake or volcanic explosion. The
smashing waves often arrive without notice, but are usually her-
alded by a withdrawal of waters along the coast or bay. An inter-
val of 30 minutes to an hour may elapse between this withdrawal
and the great onrush of waves. This pounding of shore areas can
go on for as much as one or two days, and if a native settlement
were built close to the sea, it could have been badly wrecked. The
Hydrographic Office reports that tsunamis of varying destructive
force may be expected in the West Indies on an average of 1 in
Great waves, called rollers by seamen in the islands, are usually
produced by various meteorological forces and occur in modern
times quite frequently in the Leeward and Windward Islands. It
can be reasonably conjectured that they also prevailed in pre-
Columbian times. Certainly during historic times there have been
countless records of dangerous landings and destruction inflicted by
rollers. The forces causing such rollers can be the conflict between
waves within the trades or more usually out of gale winds and hur-
ricanes. Reflecting on the settlement of bays and river mouths by
aboriginal peoples, it has long been noted that the great destruc-
tive effect of rollers is increased in those bays which are V-shaped
and especially "when the roadstead consists of a narrow shelf of
shallow water with oceanic depths to seaward" (H. O. Pub. No. 21,
p. 39). This latter feature will be considered again in conjunc-
tion with settlement patterns on the island of St. John.
October to May seems to be the prevailing season for rollers
or ground swells, and their persistence for several days often makes
for difficult boating in exposed areas. The ground swell seems to
prevail after light east or southeast winds and strike the south and
east coasts of St. John and other Virgin Islands frequently during
As these actions of the seas result predominantly from wind
and storm action, we should not by-pass the direct effect of these
wind forces on such islands as St. John and, in turn, on the island
populations. Due to its position to the southwest of the Azores
High, the Virgin Island Group is influenced by the northeast trade
wind belt. There is within this system a seasonal switch from the
predominant northeasterly in the autumn and winter, while spring
and summer bring easterly winds. From an overall viewpoint, how-
ever, St. John and others of the Virgins experience prevailing east
winds. A range of velocity runs between 8.9 and 4.3 knots-July
being the period of highest winds. It will be noted that the average
wind velocity is low and on the whole not a force of great conten-
Islands as small as the Virgins are little affected by the so-
called land-sea breeze complex. However, an interesting set of
circumstances, especially on the islands of St. John and St. Thomas,
may well have had more than passing influence on settlement lo-
cation in pre-Columbian times. It will be recalled that the geology
of St. John resulted in a topographic structure resembling a steep
mountain with an elongated east-west axis. The eastern terminus
of this axis faces the prevailing winds which are constant and
relatively dry. The island, like the inverted keel of a boat, shears
the easterly winds, which for the most part pass on without affecting
the island. During the fall, with winds coming in more from the
southeast and more laden with moisture, a forced lift of warm and
sometimes saturated air takes place. The air will ride up over the
mountain slopes, form cumulo-nimbus clouds, and bring rain to
the summits and northeastern slopes. Often as not, there is sufficient
velocity to the wind to push or lean the convectional clouds north-
west beyond the island, where they drop their rain into the sea.
This pattern of dropping rain on the leeward side is not usual in
the relationship of topography to convection, where it is usually
the windward side that receives the moisture. The island of St.
John, however, is so small in relation to its height and axis that
the reverse action takes place. Actually, it is this delayed action that
results in the south and east portions of the island being dry, while
the north and west coasts and slopes are relatively moist. This, too,
I believe, will prove to have had strong influence on pre-Columbian
Stone (1942) has pointed out that there are few adequate rain-
fall records for this region, and especially St. John. Generally speak-
ing he notes that September, October, and November are the more
rainy months, while February, March, and April is the prevailing
dry season. High temperatures seem to correspond with the rainy
season, while lowest temperatures are noted during the dry months.
Stone cites an average rainfall for eastern St. Croix of 25 inches
or less annually, a figure that would doubtless be higher than
eastern St. John, where the resultant vegetation strongly reminds
one of arid stretches of the Southwestern United States and northern
Mexico. It is the rainfall on the north, northwest, and west of
these islands that brings the overall average for the Virgin Islands
to 45 inches annually. Stone also states, "Owing to the small and
erratic rainfall, the dry porous soils, high evaporation, and the few
permanent streams, it has been a serious problem to obtain a do-
mestic water supply" (Stone, 1942, 31). This problem would have
been equally crucial to prehistoric settlements.
SURVEY AND RECONNAISSANCE
Our 1960 survey and reconnaissance of the island of St. John
was not without precedence, although the work covered by the
present report constitutes the most extensive program thus far con-
ducted on the island. The Museum of the American Indian sent
Theodoor de Booy into the Virgin Islands in 1916 and 1917 with
a prime intention: the gathering of museum specimens that would
reflect the aboriginal populations of this region (de Booy, 1917a).
De Booy spent most of his time on the islands of St. Thomas and
St. Croix, but did make a revealing statement concerning St. John:
"Besides the St. Thomas survey, the expedition carried out
an archaeological survey of the Islands of St. John and St.
Croix. Beyond a number of rock carvings, no evidences were
found of an aboriginal occupation of St. John, despite the
fact that the entire island was gone over in the most careful
manner. It is quite likely therefore that St. John was only
used by the Indians from St. Thomas and St. Croix as a
meeting place for ceremonial purposes, and that the rock
carvings on St. John have been made during these cere-
monies." (de Booy, 1917a, 234.)
Although de Booy had "gone over in the most careful manner"
the entire island of St. John and had found no aboriginal occu-
pational sites, the field program of Gudmund Hatt in 1922 and
1923 (Hatt, 1924, 29-42) revealed 6 archaeological sites on the
island of St. John, a collection of sherds and stone artifacts from
Durloe Cay, as well as the Congo Cay and Reef Bay "rock-engrav-
ings" mentioned by de Booy. His sites on St. John related to our
survey were: (Fig. 2.)
# 1-Coral Bay Site (Our Site 10)
#2-Francis Bay Site (Our Site 8)
#3-Cinnamon Bay Site (Our Site 7)
#4-Long Bay Site (Our Site 4)
#5-Long Bay Site (Our Site 3)
#6-Cruz Bay Site (Our Site 19)
In passing, it should be noted that the Smithsonian Institu-
tion conducted an archaeological program in the Virgin Islands in
1937 with surveys and testing on the islands of Anegada, St.
ATLANTIC OCEAN ::::::::::..
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Figure 2. Site Map of the Island of St. John
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16 ( Yawzi
Thomas, and St. Croix. St. John, however, was not visited by this
group (Krieger, 1938, 95-102).
In the files of the National Park Service, there is a three-page
manuscript by Vacelius, ms. (reviewing the findings of de Booy
and Hatt). Historically, it may be of some interest to quote the
second paragraph on page 2 of this paper in the light of our sub-
"It should be noted that, with the exception of the Reef
Bay petroglyph site (SJ-9), all of the archaeological sites
thus far known lie on the shore or on offshore cays. I am
inclined to believe, however, that additional sites may be
found in the island's mountainous interior; doubtless there
are other deposits yet to be discovered on the shore, too.
When Hatt surveyed Saint Croix, he found sixteen sites; in
the course of a few weeks, we were able to locate nearly fifty
additional sites. I suspect that the same may prove to be
true of Saint John. Someone should be given the task of
reconnoitering the island-a few weeks' work would, I think,
increase our knowledge of the archaeological sites immeas-
That such a "reconnoitering" was accomplished is evident by
the present report, and, indeed, additional sites were revealed. As
the following pages will outline, our program expanded the known
site count from Hatt's 6 or 7 to our 19 on the island of St. John
alone. It should be emphasized, nevertheless, that Hatt had en-
countered most of the seemingly important sites on the island,
with one or two possible exceptions. It is my contention, however,
that the finding of the additional sites did not add appreciably to
our time depth picture of the island but did very definitely give
us some valuable clues in the relationship of settlement location to
environment. This, in the final essence, will be the prime theme
of my summary following my statement of the reconnaissance.
In the light of the environmental outline above, it will be re-
membered that the island of St. John is a mountainous mass
rising abruptly from the sea, and that the greater percentage of the
land is angular and steep-sloped. The coast is a series of rocky
headlands with enclosed bays and crescent beaches. Back of these
beaches are limited semi-level valley mouths-sometimes dry and
sandy, sometimes characterized by mangrove swamps in various
stages of transition. Most of the bay-valleys are relatively broad
along the beach but short in depth, with mountains rising at steep
angles along the sides and heads. Exceptions to this rule are the
valleys extending back into the mountains from Durloe Bay, Coral
Bay, and Reef Bay. The saddle between Mary Point and Fredrikdal
at Francis Bay is also an exception to the general coastal environ-
ment. Except for the summit areas extending from Susannaberg to
Hammer Farm and the limited region of Bordeaux, the only places
of practical utility to a pre-Columbian population would have been
along the coasts. Remaining lands were rocky, steep, and doubtless
dense in thornbush and forest or, as in the east, dry and inhospit-
With these features in mind, we set as our primary goal the re-
connaissance of the island's perimeter, the bay-valleys, and spot
checks in the higher elevations. All of these regions were examined
and are outlined in systematic order below on a geographical basis.
As situations would warrant, the reconnaissance would continue in
one region while one or two of the team conducted test excava-
tions in seemingly important sites.
Lind Point: The southeast face of Lind Point forms a north
limit of Cruz Bay and is a steep slope with a small mangrove pond.
Westward and northward around the point we encountered rock-
fall and poor beach conditions. This same inhospitable feature
continues to the north side of the point. There was no evidence
here of prehistoric occupation or usage.
Salomon Bay: This so-called "bay" is merely a northwest flank
of Kaneel Hill presenting a good sandy beach, but 30 yards back
from the high tide limit, the slope rises rocky and steep. Five
sherds were collected from the surface, Site 1, indicating possible
camp use. As this area is not well suited for anything but passing
usage, it is not surprising that more evidence of occupation was
Durloe Bay (Cancel Bay): This bay is one of the best protected
arms of the sea to be found on the island. The south is protected
by the high flanks of Kaneel Hill. The head of the bay forms a
shore with good beaching potential for native or modern small
craft. A low promontory, Durloe Point, protects the bay to the
north. Evidence would indicate that this area has been attractive
to many peoples through time. Presently the broad valley front
is occupied by the Caneel Bay Plantation resort. During Danish
occupation a large mill and related facilities were constructed
here, and our survey, limited by present development, indicates
heavy occupation in prehistoric times. We have designated as
Site 2 that area back from the northeast corner of Durloe Bay
or Caneel Bay, a site that produced through modern construc-
tion 106 sherds and several celt fragments, and Site 3, that sherd
area immediately to the north on the opposite side of Durloe Point.
Under the program of a survey, no test excavations were deemed
feasible on the highly developed grounds of the resort. However,
under proper conditions, excavations could well be made at Sites
2 and 3 to give more complete interpretation of this location. It is
possible that Sites 2 and 3 are but portions of the same village
Turtle Point: Extending northward from the Durloe Bay region
is a low neck of land with a central mangrove embayment and
beyond this is a moderately high promontory, the west side of
which is known as Turtle Point, while the eastern section forms
a rocky Iheadland, Hognest Point (P1. II). It is the level, brush-
covered Turtle Point that has been designated as Site 4 in our
survey. This point might be likened to a bench west from
Hognest Point and stands at variable heights from 10 to 30 feet
above sea level. Sherd collections were made over much of the
exposed surface of Turtle Point. This feature, coupled with infor-
mation gained from tests at the site, indicates the presence of one
of the island's most extensive villages. There is no evident mound-
ing or surface formation to indicate occupation, but refuse accumu-
lations, on the other hand, follow the natural surface contours. This
settlement would have provided rather ideal natural features for
an island culture: boats could have protected beaching on the
east or west side of "the neck" or in Durloe Bay; good rain catch-
ment from the slopes of Margaret Hill; and good soil for limited
agriculture in the immediate area. Sites 2 and 3 may have been
linked with Site 4. If extensive excavation is anticipated on the
island of St. John, I would suggest Site 4 as a prime area.
Hawknest Bay: This bay, formerly known as Hognest Bay,
would appear to have been an ideal location for a small settlement
in prehistoric times (PI. II), but complete search of the adjacent
lands and slopes from Hognest Point to the headland, Perkins
Point, failed to reveal even the faintest clue. The bay was doubt-
less used by Site 4 people. The short valley to the southeast of the
bay, while suitable for limited occupation, has had a history of
flooding by tropical storms and torrents of water and rubble from
the Susannaberg watershed.
Dennis Bay: A portion of the Perkins Promontory, Dennis Bay
revealed no sherd area, although a minor site could have existed
prior to the rather extensive building and planting operations in
recent times. As the valley, small and protected, has supported
from time to time a fresh water stream, the spot doubtless marked
an important feature of the north coast in prehistoric as well as
Trunk Bay: Between Dennis Point and Trunk Point, two
jagged, rocky promontories, lies Trunk Bay, a beautiful arc of
white coral sand and shallow water. The valley coming into this
bay offers, especially along the east side, land high enough to
support human occupation. At the head of the valley Danish
usage is marked by the ruins of a mill. The central and southern
portions of the valley, however, have long been subjected to
flooding from intermittent runoff out of the high valley as well
as breakthrough from the sea. A sherd area of minor extent was
located ninety feet from the beach at the northern end of the bay
(Pl. III) This site, No. 5 in the survey, revealed only 17 sherds
through surface collecting and post-hole testing.
Cinnamon Bay: Stretching in a long, flat arc for nearly three
quarters of a mile between Trunk Point and America Point lies
the beach of Cinnamon Bay. Actually the western quarter of the
span is properly set aside as Little Cinnamon Bay, due to a sheer,
high angled face of Peter Mountain extending seaward and thus
forming a divider. Little Cinnamon Bay and its small but level
valley face to the northeast. 75 feet from the beachline and paral-
leling the beach through the central portion of the valley mouth
lies a sherd area designated as Site 6, wherein surface collecting
revealed 170 sherds. Its protected location, availability to good
catchment water sources, and protected beaching for boats would
have made this site a good settlement area, and I would recommend
further examination of the site (P1. III).
Plate II. Aerial View of Turtle Point and Site 4.
Plate III. Aerial View of Cinnamon Bay and Sites 6 and 7.
Cinnamon Bay proper is a wide valley mouth providing a varied
environment. The valley is formed by a complex of drainages
that flow during runoff from the north slopes of Camelberg Peak.
Alluvial deposits have fanned northwestward with a resultant
triangular floor. This floor is high along the eastern half of the
valley, while the western area shows evidence of frequent flooding
from the mountains as well as the sea. A dune bar is typical of
nearly all such bay environments, and the large coral-sand face of
this valley is no exception. That this bar has moved, broken, and
reformed many times is evident from its structure, although most
of this action has taken place to the west. A profusion of sherds
along the inner side of this bar indicated to us a relatively heavy
occupation in prehistoric times, as did my test excavation (See
Bullen, 1962) (P1. IV). Interestingly enough, this sherd area was
restricted to the eastern half of the inner side of the bar and was
not found extending inland to the so-called high ground locations
(P1. III) .
-~ 2 IN-
fi ^ ".."
Plate IV. A Portion of Site 7, Cinnamon Bay.
The Cinnamon Bay Site, Site 7, is located in a seemingly natural
location for settlement by an island culture, and its further ex-
amination is recommended. Detailed excavation may prove the
occupational area to be highly disturbed, at least in spots, through
storm action mentioned above; even this feature, however, would
prove of interest in the general interpretation of the environment.
Maho Bay: America Point between Cinnamon Bay and Maho
Bay could in no way support human activity, as it is a steep prom-
ontory extending northward from America Hill. Maho Bay and
its associated valley, on the other hand, would appear to be an
ideal site for prehistoric occupation. The area faces to the north-
west, has a valley approximately a quarter of a mile wide as well
as deep. The floor of the valley is very level, being outwash ma-
terial from Mamey Peak and America Hill, as well as dune and
wave deposits from the sea. The back or head of the valley is low
and supports heavy mangrove-the remains of a trapped embay-
ment. The absence of prehistoric material in Maho may reflect
the evident recent nature of the valley floor. No archaeological
finds were made here.
Francis Bay: Maho Bay is separated from Francis Bay by the
gentle western flank of Fredrikdal Hill, along which the survey
noted no prehistoric evidence. However, between Fredrikdal Hill
and Mary Point a saddle or neck faces Francis Bay on the west and
Mary Creek on the east. Mary Point forms an east-west ridge ap-
proximately one mile and a quarter long and 578 feet in elevation
-a natural protective barrier to the north of a major site listed as
Site 8 or the Francis Bay Site (P1. V). This site is located 150
feet east from the northern end of Francis Bay beach on the south
flank of Mary Point, and is 15 to 20 feet above sea level in dry
soil and alluvial deposits eroded from the slopes immediately to
the north. Along with Site 4, the Turtle Point Site, this settlement
area at Francis Bay, Site 8, may be one of the most important pre-
historic sites of the island of St. John. It appears to have been
as extensive as any settlement, with the exception of Site 10 at
Coral Bay, and probably has suffered the least amount of damage
by natural or human causes. From the point of view of the abo-
riginal needs, the Francis Bay settlement would have provided most
of the elements of water, soil, protection, etc., required by Arawak
Plate V. Aerial View of Francis Bay, Mary Point, and Site 8.
Leinster Bay: None of the perimeter of Mary Point gave evi-
dence of usage in prehistoric times, unless some unencountered
petroglyphic group may have been inscribed in the jumble of rock-
fall below the sheer cliffs against which the sea pounds. Moving
eastward in the survey, no area capalblt of supporting human
activity appeared until the region of Mary Creek. To the north
and south of this small bay, medium to steep slopes box in the
waterway which may have been a beaching area for boats as-
sociated with the Francis Bay Site. Fredrikdal Valley faces north
and northeast and formed an important plantation tract during
Danish times; however, no evidence here of prehistoric occupation
was obtained by the survey. The fact that no site was in evidence
at Fredrikdal may be a reflection of a combination of features:
the shallow, coral-filled Leinster Bay; the predominance of brackish
swamp over much of the valley mouth; and possible lack of fresh
water. The northern slopes of Ajax Peak come down hard upon
the coast in the Annaberg area and may have discouraged pre-
historic occupation of this sector. Waterlemon Bay, an eastern ex-
tension of Leinster Bay, faces to the northwest and affords some
level valley to the southeast. However, no archaeological remains
were encountered here-this may be a reflection of the lack of fresh
water, a condition noted here and eastward, combined with other
negative aspects in the local environment. Leinster Point, Thread-
needle Point, and Leinster Hill offer little or no terrain suitable for
occupation by a prehistoric island culture and no surface evidence
was reported by the survey for this sector.
Brown Bay: When the valley back from Brown Bay was observed
from Leinster Hill, I felt that it would undoubtedly reveal a village
or occupational site. The valley has an east-west axis, with fair
soil conditions in the upper or western end. The lower third down
to the sea, however, revealed a mangrove flood zone ending at the
beach with a shoal-bar of rock, shell, and crushed coral. Extended
search failed to reveal archaeological data.
Haulover Bay: Eastward from Brown Bay the survey followed a
narrow, contorted extension of the island of St. John characterized
by sheer cliffs dropping into the sea, exposed headlands, and a
highly arid environment resembling northern Mexico. Due to
prevailing wind conditions, the region is nearly devoid of fresh
water and presents a barren scene. The only clue to human con-
tact in prehistoric times was what may be classed as a fortuitous
find of 2 sherds at a midpoint near the trail through Haulover.
This spot is a low divide between Haulover Bay to the north and
Round Bay to the south and is designated Site 9 in the survey.
Undoubtedly, aboriginal peoples used this narrow, sea level pass
for the haulover of boats as has been done in historic times, but
beyond this feature, the region would hold little attraction for
settlement under native cultural conditions.
Eastend: Southeast of Haulover is Eastend, composed of two
major elevations: Nancy Hill, 526 feet, and Blackrock Hill, 502
feet. A series of sharp promontories and enclosed bays forms the
severe topography of Newfound Bay, Eastend Point, Eastend Bay,
Privateer Point, Privateer Bay, Red Point, Pond Bay, Moor Point,
and Hansen Bay. This sheer and arid eastern limit of St. John
offered no clues to prehistoric usage. In fact, the little collection
of houses on Hansen Bay at the present time is doubtless made
possible by modern technology and by the road connection with
Emmaus on Coral Harbor. The environment itself would not
present sufficient water, soil or protection from the elements to
have made the region attractive for aboriginal settlement.
Hurricane Hole: From Hansen Bay on Round Bay to Fortberg
Hill to the northwest on Hurricane Hole the same general situa-
tion was encountered as seen at Eastend.
Coral Harbor: The section of Palestina immediately north of
Fortberg Hill was searched for evidence of prehistoric usage and,
like the Emmaus area to the west, nothing was found. However,
the Coral Bay site reported by Hatt (1924) was relocated on the
home site of Will Marsh, owner of the Carolina Estate. This is an
important settlement area noted by surface outcrop of sherds, and
shell and bone refuse. Like other sites on the island of St. John
the midden zone is level and without surface contour. Areal extent
is quite indeterminate without proper testing; however, sherds were
noted on the surface on an east-west axis for as much as 200 feet.
The Coral Bay Site, Site 10, is situated in a different environment
from other sites on this island. It stands about an eighth of a mile
west of the valley mouth at Coral Harbor and approximately one
mile east of the Carolina Estate valley head. This, the largest
valley on the island, is formed of productive soils washed from the
Bordeaux, Mamey, and Ajax Peaks. As this is one of the largest
watershed regions on St. John, it would appear that a strong,
intermittent stream flowed down from the heights to the west,
especially during the wetter months of the year. Thus the Coral
Bay settlement must have been rather ideally situated in prehistoric
times. It might even be postulated that heavier stands of vegetation
covered the valley and surrounding mountains in earlier times,
thus affording more fresh water than observed in historic times.
Sanders Bay: The southern limit of Coral Harbor is Pen Point.
From this spur of headland southward, the slopes of Bordeaux
Mountain come down at steep angles to form a coastal strip with
little or no level ground until the land strikes the waters of Sanders
Bay. A small flat of land at the south end of Sanders Bay revealed
no archaeological data.
Johnson Bay: From a point at the south of Sanders Bay to
Lagoon Point, the east flank of the mountains continues to crowd
the sea. As at Sanders, there is, however, at the south end another
flat of land, but search failed to produce evidence of prehistoric
Sabbat Channel: The land from Lagoon Point southward to
Ram Head includes exposed east-facing cliffs, promontories, and
small, rough beaches. The land is gentle to steep, but at no place
attractive to long term settlement or usage. No prehistoric ma-
terials were obtained from this area.
Ram Head-Cabrithorn Point: From Ram Head, Concordia
Bay, Kiddle Bay, Grootpan Bay to Cabrithorn Point inland to the
steep elevations of Minna Hill, the survey encountered vegeta-
tion typical of an arid environment: harsh, windswept headlands,
and salt marshes lined with mangrove or manchineal. That the
area could have been visited in prehistoric times for salt gathering
is a good probability; however, no other evidence of usage or
settlement was discovered here.
Lameshur Bay: Between Cabrithorn Point and White Point
lies the partially protected bay of Lameshur and the smaller west
bay of Europa. By "protected" one would mean protected from
the direct blow of easterlies, although the bay receives in rather
full force the seas that roll from the southeast and south. No sherd
areas or indications of occupation were found in the bay-valleys
back from these beaches; however, Yawzie Point proved more
fruitful. This point is a narrow, rocky arm that reaches approxi-
mately an eighth of a mile southward into Lameshur Bay. Its sides
are a jumble of fallen rock and steep angles around which the
swell splashes and eddies. The top has only enough rocky soil to
support cactus and thornbush. On this surface we obtained 46
weathered sherds, Site 11. Troweling produced nothing below the
two or three inches of soil-patches scattered over the surface of the
Plate VI. Petroglyphic Group, Site 13, Reef Bay Valley.
Reef Bay: The valley dropping into Reef Bay is well known
for the petroglyphic site reported by de Booy, Hatt, and others.
This site is in the upper reaches of a tributary valley draining the
eastern slopes of Camelberg Peak and neighboring mountains.
The vicinity of the site, Site 13 of the survey, is a tangle of vegeta-
tion watered by what appears to be a continual although small
flow of fresh water over a rock exposure into a series of several
pools. Except during times of heavy runoff, this stream soon dis-
appears beneath the surface as it flows down to the main valley.
Reef Valley itself is the longest and broadest single valley on the
south coast of St. John and afforded during historic times a
period of active plantation development. Only those areas near
the valley mouth are swampy and subject to brackish flooding. The
valley contacts the sea with the usual bar formation observed in
the majority of the island's bays. Other than the petroglyphic
site (PI. VI), the survey was unable to demonstrate any appreciable
prehistoric usage. A sherd area was noted and is referred to as
Site 12. From it came a collection of 13 sherds. The total sea
frontage of Reef Valley, White Cliffs, Genti Bay, and Cocoloba
Point is subject to direct onslaught of wave and wind action,
despite certain growth of coral out from Reef Valley beach. Other
than Reef Valley all other areas back from Reef Bay are hostile,
rocky, steep and waterless.
Fish Bay: Although this bay faces south, it is quite well pro-
tected from swells, waves, and winds due to the high projections
of Cocoloba Point and Ditlef Point. The innermost beach is
nearly half a mile from the open sea and would provide good
beaching for small native craft. Coral beds render hazardous
close navigation by modern boats-our own survey boat with
shallow draft had to anchor yards off the beach. Extending north
and east from the beach is a broad valley that soon becomes two
valleys due to the southwesterly extension of Seeven Ridge. In
usual pattern, the region immediately back of the beach bar is
brackish mangrove swamp followed first by gentle incline and
then by steep ascent up the valley drainages. These upper areas
are dense in thornbush and other tangles of vegetation as well as
rocky debris from the steep slopes of Gift Hill and Seeven Ridge.
Informants on the island reported as many as two, possibly three,
springs as high in the valleys as the 500-800 foot contour lines. As
small as these may have been, they would have been a source of
fresh water to reward a moderate climb. What we have designated
as Site 14 is a sherd area approximately 100 feet inland from the
beach at the southwest extension of Seeven Ridge. Only 8 sherds
were obtained here. Site 15 is a similar site further to the west,
but upwards of 200 feet inland from the beach. An intermittent
stream flows out of the west valley and forms the west limit of Site
15, at which a total of 6 sherds were found.
Ditlef Point: Extending approximately one half mile along a
north-south axis into the Caribbean, Ditlef Point is for the most
part a high, narrow promontory against which the seas pound.
However, a low neck or saddle does cut through the point about
two-thirds out from the mainland, and it was along the west side of
this area that we located, amid rocky debris, a collection of 220
very small, weathered sherds. The area has been designated as Site
16 by our survey. The spot faces Rendezvous Bay and is backed
by the ridge of Ditlef Point. Because of the shallowness of the
beach to ridge strip, the site appears to be long-parallel to the
beach-and narrow. Also, alignment of rock debris and small beach
ridges would indicate that the site had on many occasions been
washed by high rollers and swells.
Rendezvous Bay: Northward and westward from the Ditlef
Point Site, the steep slopes of Gift Hill crowd hard against the
sea and make for sheer, exposed slopes. This feature continues
westward around Boatman Point past Buhvun Point into Choco-
late Hole. One small exception is a low point at Hart Bay which,
when surveyed, proved to be a brackish mangrove swamp.
Chocolate Hole: Chocolate Hole is a bay having a northeast-
southwest axis and is formed by the seaward projections of Buh-
vun Point and Maria Bluff. On both sides of the bay and back
from the bay are brackish flood marsh and swamp. A moderately
large bar formation creates the beach and divides the larger swamp
from the sea. It was in the bulldozed and disturbed sands of this
large bar that 41 sherds were found marking our Site 17. The bay
area is currently under development, and, although the sherds
were found 75 to 100 feet from the beach and along a zone equally
long, it must be remembered that all data is unreliable as to the
original nature of the site.
Calvary Bay: In structure and orientation, Calvary Bay is much
like that of Chocolate Hole, except the former is about twice as
wide and somewhat longer. The sandy beach bar and brackish
swamp conditions are repeated here once again. It was on the
south flank of this bay, about fifty feet from the shore and im-
mediately northeast of an impounded marsh-pond, that two sherds
were obtained. No other prehistoric data was encountered near the
bay or in the small valley to the northeast. The meager find is
listed as Site 18.
Contant Point: Contant Hill forms the north flank of Calvary
Bay, Contant Point and the sheer coast northward to Turner Bay.
North of the hill is a large trapped embayment and shallow pond.
This low spot swings around to the northwest and forms the
south limits of the settlement of Cruz Bay. There is no evidence
of prehistoric occupation in this area. These same negative results
also apply to Moravian Point, Frank Bay, and Gallows Point.
Cruz Bay: Cruz Bay is formed by the projection of Gallows
Point and Lind Point and offers a protected harbor facing to the
west. Having its head to the prevailing winds and seas, it is one
of the best situations for use and occupation on the island, whether
for aboriginal or modern cultural needs. Thus, the finding of a
prehistoric settlement here would almost be a foregone conclusion.
Hatt and others have reported such a site, and it was relocated by
the survey at the present location of the Cruz Bay school. A small
bank immediately south of the school grounds exposes a remnant
of the village area and indicates occupation of some duration. How-
ever, most of the settlement has been destroyed by modern develop-
Petroglyphic Sites: Designated as Site 13 in upper Reef Valley
and Site 20 on the eastern tip of Congo Cay (Plate VII) are two
petroglyphic locations. As both of these are adequately described
in de Booy (de Booy, 1917b; 1919, 47-59), no further attention will
be given to them here except to underscore their importance for
'.: .1 ,Pk 'rt .4 '44,i
i'~~ C 4'c
.d :"I. '
r rr I 2
if, v ,
;il' ?r :. ..
Plate VII. Petroglyphs, Site 20, Congo Cay.
Human factors in anthropological interpretation prove to be the
core of interest resulting from survey findings such as those from
the island of St. John in the Virgin Islands. Demands for interpre-
tation through the agency of the National Park Service require
thoughtful consideration of the place of aboriginal settlers on an
island of this nature. Thus, in this phase of the report I will dwell
on those possible interpretations that we may be able to gain from
an overall viewing of the evidence in hand.
Prior archaeological and historical research within the West
Indian region has conditioned us to the fact that these islands were
settled in prehistoric times by peoples migrating out of South
America. Such migrations, based on Tropical Forest traditions,
apparently became well-versed in marine techniques and were able
to move northward through the islands with relative assurance and
rapidity. Thus, by the time they contacted the island of St. John,
they represented an experienced island culture.
Quite possibly the first migrants into the area of St. John from
the Lesser Antilles arrived from such islands as St. Christopher,
Sint M.liartin, Anguilla, Saba, or Sombrero. They doubtless fol-
lowed the strong, prevailing currents and winds, and they would
have moved westward into the Virgin Island group.
It can be assumed that these early settlers were seeking lands
suitable for the continuance of their semi-agricultural e (onoiy.
Although the islands further south had doubtless provided them
with some measure of desired environment, the fact that they con-
tinued northward through the Lesser Antilles into the Greater
Antilles may indicate need for larger land areas or a continued
need to escape a pressure from the south.
In any event, the island of St. John was reached and utilized
from about the first or second century A.D. to an undetermined
date in pre-Columbian times. Early historical accounts indicate
the island had been abandoned prior to the European coloniza-
tion. Future excavations and the accumulation of radiocarbon
samples will aid in establishing a more absolute calendar for these
During the above-mentioned period, at least 20 areas of the
island of St. John were occupied, settled, or utilized by the native
population. Two of the sites, Nos. 13 and 20, were of a petrogly-
phic character, and therefore beyond the scope of our immediate
interest. The two major sites of the earlier occupations are located
at opposite sides of the island: the Coral Bay Site, No. 10 on the
east, and the Cruz Bay Site, No. 19 on the west. The Coral Bay
Site appears from Hatt's findings and ours to antedate all other
settlements thus far observed. The Cruz Bay settlement overlaps
this initial period, but it may also extend further into later times.
We found indications at most of the northwest coast sites of this
earlier phase of settlement, although those sites do not appear to
have reached their maximum until later in prehistory.
Without depth and breadth of details made possible by extend-
ed excavations, it is possible to arrive at various interpretations con-
cerning such settlement patterns. Bullen, for example, feels that
the shift of settlement from Coral Bay-Cruz Bay to the northwest
and north coastal strips came as a form of "expansion" (Bullen,
1962, 63-64) resulting from an increase in population. On the
other hand, he offers an alternative that new people arrived from
the south, a Barrancoid replacement of Saladoid cultural traditions.
While these interpretations may be in part or whole according
to actual ha.ppenings, I am prone to believe that there was less of
a population expansion involved and more of a shift coupled with
a new Barrancoid influence. I believe that this shift is a reflection
of )pthylioa/Jhi< conditions as much as cultural influences and that
a review of the reconnaissance will throw light on this interpreta-
Both Fewkes and de Hostos (Fewkes, 1914, and de Hostos,
1924) were concerned with the factors of aboriginal culture in the
West Indies and environmental influence, but seldom have the
archaeological programs tested these concepts directly against their
findings. As our reconnaissance progressed, I became impressed
with the fact that the more important occupational sites of St.
John were to the west, northwest, and north (with the exception
of the Coral Bay Site) Conversely, those sites on the south and
east presented shallow or meager evidence and gave every indica-
tion of being either temporary or of passing character.
Site 9 at Haulover on the eastern arm of St. John can hardly
justify the term "site," for it produced only 2 sherds. The location
is rocky, dry, and windswept. Hardly a settlement environment.
Site 11 at Yawzie Point has no depth, is fully exposed to the ele-
ments, and has little or no fresh water supply. The site at Reef
Bay, Site 12, faces the open sea at the head of a "V" shaped embay-
ment-a naturally dangerous location for settlement, due to con-
stant potential of flooding from the sea and difficult beaching of
boats. Surface collections-a mere 13 sherds-do not encourage one
to feel that this bay-valley was attractive for occupation. The same
conditions prevail at Fish Bay, with Site 14 producing 8 sherds and
Site 15 merely 6. In contrast to the former sites, a surface collection
of 220 very small, weathered sherds was found at Ditlef Point, Site
16. As indicated earlier in this report (p. 27), however, the
site lacks any appreciable depth, as the sand and soil is thin over a
rocky foundation severely attacked by wave action. Turning to
the southwest coast, Chocolate Hole, Site 17, may have supported
some small settlement activity, but the site is so destroyed as to
make it next to impossible to judge its extent in time or space.
Site 18 at Calvary Bay, on the other hand, can almost be dismissed
as a fortuitous situation.
Thus, it is obvious that with the exception of Site 10 at Coral
Bay, the entire coastal strip from Leinster Bay on the north,
through the Eastend-Coral Bay complex on the east, and along the
south coast certainly to Chocolate Hole, native populations did not
establish, even on a relative basis, what could be properly termed
settlements, villages, or communities. I view these sherd areas,
what few were revealed by the survey, as very temporary camp-
type sites such as might have been occupied by fishing parties on
an intermittent basis.
On the other hand, the greatest concentration of settlement
sites is found on the west, northwest, and north as far as Francis
Bay. Herein are located the Cruz Bay Site, No. 19, the complex
of Sites 2, 3, and 4 in the Durloe area, the two Cinnamon Bay sites,
Nos. 6 and 7, and the important Francis Bay area, Site 8.
From this rapid review several basic questions arise. First, why
did not the inhabitants of this island-early or late-occupy valleys
or bay fronts on the south and east (with the exception of the
Coral Bay Site)? Second, when no other settlements appeared in
the south or east, why was the Coral Bay Site selected and why
was it apparently abandoned? Third, why were areas such as Cruz
Bay, Durloe Bay, Cinnamon Bay, and Francis Bay settled and sus-
trained for occupation for a seemingly extended period of time?
I believe that the answer to the first question lies in the in-
hospitable nature of the south and east coastal regions of St.
John (and similar islands of the Virgin group). On first glance
one might consider this region to be adequate for use by a native
economy; however, a complex of physiographic features doubtless
made this area-after some trial and error-most unattractive. As-
suming that the Indian population in St. John came to the island
with a simple fishing, gathering, and agricultural economy based
on manioc, cotton, and possibly maize, they would have needed
minimum soil conditions, adequate water supply, and certain
protection from wind and storm. Arawak peoples practiced slash-
and-burn type agriculture; therefore, they did not need great field
area but certainly adequate soils. As pointed out earlier in this
paper, the prevailing winds at St. John are out of the northeast
trade belt and result in a seasonal shift from northeast to east.
These winds are of low velocity and are consistently dry. Fall does
bring some increase in moisture with resultant rains, but these
rains seldom if ever fall to the east and south shores. Instead, the
east-west axis of the island brings about an unusual convectional
air pattern resulting in cumulo-nimbus clouds and rain, falling-
not on the windward side-but to the leeward and beyond at sea.
Thus, the island of St. John for centuries has offered a dry, arid,
relatively soilless prospect along the south and east. Coupled with
these factors, this area faces directly the major impact of heavy
seas and the lash of tropical storms. Earlier in this report sufficient
hydrographic data was presented to indicate that the aborigine-
also depending on fishing and sailing-would have learned early of
the unprotected nature of the bays along the south and east. I
believe, therefore, that testimony to this combination of environ-
mental hazards is implicit in the proven lack of occupational sites
in this portion of the island.
One would be anxious, therefore, to ask the second of our
questions: why was it that the occupation of St. John in earliest
times appears to have been established at Coral Bay and to have
flourished for some period of time? The Coral Bay Site is very
definitely within the area spoken of above, and, if the conditions
of the south and east portions of the island existed, how is it that
a settlement of some duration was able to counter factors such
as shortage of water, lack of adequate soil, destructive forces such
as Ihunli; inane, rollers, tsunamis, flooding by the sea, etc.? The
answer doubtless lies in a series of special physiographic and en-
vironmental features peculiar to that one segment of eastern St.
John. Hatt recognized the early nature of the Coral Bay site
and our tests verified the fact that this most probably was the first
settlement on the island. Remembering once again that the native
peoples quite possibly came to this island on prevailing winds and
currents from the east, it would have been natural for them to have
put in first at Coral Bay. Coming from the open sea, this bay,
under average conditions, would appear as a perfect shelter. That
little arm of the bay, Coral Harbor, too, would have had additional
appeal. Also for those interested in settlement, the valley back from
Coral Harbor would have been attractive. Draining from the high
peaks of Bordeaux, Mamey, and Ajax were fresh water supplies that
in turn helped to deposit on the valley floor good soils, while the
sea offered marine collecting and fishing. It might be postulated,
however, that as the years passed, fresh water conditions faltered as
they have in historic times. Likewise, there must have been those
occasions when hurricanes demolished the settlement and high
seas rolled in over the low mouth of the valley. As protected as
it may seem, Coral Bay and especially Coral Harbor faces the pre-
vailing storm direction and the resultant high seas. It is not
difficult to conjecture that the Cruz Bay site arose through a gradu-
al bi:al)n)ld meant of the Coral Bay settlement, for at Cruz Bay
these early settlers would have found opposite conditions to those
of the eastern end of the island. I believe, therefore, that an im-
portant factor in the interpretation of this earlier phase of occupa-
tion of St. John was the prevailing inhospitable nature of the
entire eastern and southern coastal areas. Even though the Coral
Bay settlement found occupation possible on initial contact with
the island, it is well within reason that those environmental
hazards typical of southeastern St. John, although tempered at the
Coral Bay settlement, eventually led to discouragement and gradual
migration to the western portion of the island. Findings of early
sherd materials at other sites along the northwestern coast point
to initial or experimental living in those spots concurrent with the
prime octlupation at Cruz Bay.
If the coastal and valley areas of southern and eastern St. John
offered little opportunity for sustained settlement, why were areas
such as Cruz Bay, Durloe Bay (including Turtle Point), Cinnamon
Bay, and Francis Bay settled and sustained successfully by the
native peoples of the islands? This is our third prime question
relating to settlement patterns and the natural environment. Again,
I believe the natural opportunities of the west and northwest
coasts tended to draw and concentrate occupation. The very con-
ditions that made settlement impractical in the opposite areas of
the island were reversed in the valleys and bays to the leeward.
The winds, acting under the mild convectional pattern, brought
rain, moisture, and occasional small fresh water stream and spring
features. Likewise, soils were relatively good in the bay valleys,
especially in the neighborhood of Cruz, Durloe, and Francis Bays.
By comparison, too, the bays of the northwestern coast are usually
calm and protected for small craft as used in prehistory. The
formation of the beaches and bays made for good landing facilities
and allowed for security. Although these waters would also be
subject to heavy swells and rollers, this face of the island has not
had the battering and sea action noted on the south and east. By
the same token that man found this region more acceptable, so has
vegetation taken a firmer stand on the summits and lee slopes of
the island. These and other features apparently contributed to
the satisfaction of the needs of this aboriginal island culture. The
location of a number of prime habitation areas in this region of
the island implies selectivity of settlement sites based on specialized
natural environmental controls.
It might be argued that the environmental limitations and re-
sultant settlement history for the island of St. John in prehistory
was but a fortuitous situation. Likewise, some might say that this
is but an isolated case rendering little or no value to the reconstruc-
tion of aboriginal life and influences on that life. I would counter
such a contention, however, by saying the pattern cannot be a
matter of chance or accident when we note that site locations,
physiographic conditions, weather and seas are duplicated on the
island of St. Thomas, where our combined surveys of that island
have revealed a total of 14 sites, including two on Water Island.
Along the south and east coasts, islands, and valleys, 6 sites indi-
cated only one of an occupational nature, the Krum Bay Site, but
this midden accumulation represents very different temporal and
cultural data from anything else in the Virgin Islands (Bullen
and Sleight, 1963). The remaining sites of the south and east
cannot be classed as occupational in the true essence. On the
other hand, 8 sites on the west, northwest, and north of St. Thomas,
and 2 sites on the northwest coast of Water Island repeat a familiar
pattern, the same pattern demonstrated on St. John. The same
situation may also be present on the island of Tortola in the
British Virgin Islands, immediately north and east of St. John. We
were unable to conduct survey on Tortola; however, informants
from St. John and Tortola told me of seeing broken pottery at
several points along the northwestern and northerly bay-valleys
at Canegarden and Brewer's. They could not recall anything from
the south coast or east.
On the island of St. John, the structure of the land, the nature
of the sea, the character of the climate, and a host of other in-
fluences established patterns of control over flora and fauna as
well as the physical structure of the land itself. Prehistoric man,
too, was governed by this environmental complex, a fact demon-
strated by the present archaeological survey. It is a well-known fact
of anthropology that environment does not dictate a culture, but
the study in question, along with similar observations in other
regions of the world, does demonstrate that environment will set
limitations. These limitations can be of a major character or of
minor import, depending on the pattern of the culture and how
the culture uses the natural setting.
That the Arawak Indians of St. John depended heavily on mollusks as an
important part of their diet is evidenced by the abundance of shell refuse in
the village middens. All sites of occupation gave evidence of this factor, and it
was especially noted in our retained samples from tests in the Cinnamon, Fran-
cis, and Coral Bay sites. Of anthropological interest is the fact that Codakia
orbicularis Linne (Tiger Lucina) predominated. This clam has wide distri-
bution, having been noted from Texas to Florida; however, it appears to
abound in the West Indies and especially in the region of Puerto Rico (Warmke
and Abbott, 1961, 178). The second most prominent mollusk was Anadara
notabilis Roding (Eared Ark); the third was Cittarium pica Linne (West
Indian Top-shell); the fourth was Arca zebra Swainson (Turkey Wing).
We are grateful to Dr. Towner B. Root, Central Florida Museum, Orlando,
Florida, for examination and identification of the mollusk collection from the
St. John survey. It is our hope, too, that the series of identifications listed
below will be of value to the marine biologist as check data in time depth.
SHELL SPECIES OBTAINED FROM TEST EXCAVATIONS IN
PREHISTORIC SITES, ST. JOHN, VIRGIN ISLANDS
(See Plates VIII and IX)
1. Anadara notabilis Roding (Eared Ark)
2. Arca zebra Swainson (Turkey Wing)
3. Asaphis deflorata Linne (Gaudy Asaphis)
4. Astraea caelata Gmelin (Carved Star-shell)
5. Bursa granularis Roding (Granular Frog-shell)
6. Chama congregate Conrad (Little Corrugated Jewel Box)
7. Chama macerophylla Gmelin (Leafy Jewel Box)
8. Charonia variegata Lamarck (Trumpet Triton)
9. Chione cancellata Linne (Cross-barred Venus)
10. Chione paphia Linne (King Venus)
11. Cittarium pica Linne (West Indian Top-shell)
12. Codakia orbicularis Linne (Tiger Lucina)
13. Cymatium femorale Linne (Angular Triton)
14. Cymatium muricinum Roding (Knobby Triton)
15. Cyphoma gibbosum Linne (Flamingo Tongue)
16. Fasciolaria tulipa Linne (True Tulip)
17. Laevicardium laevigatum Linne (Common Egg Cockle)
18. Latirus brevicaudatus Reeve (Short-Tailed Latirus)
19. Lyropecten nodosus Linne (Lion's Paw)
20. Murex brevifrons Lamarck (West Indian Murex)
21. Murex pomum Gmelin (Apple Murex)
22. Nerita peloronta Linne (Bleeding Tooth)
23. Neritina virginea Linne (Virgin Nerita)
24. Oliva reticularis Lamarck (Netted Olive)
:i* ^ls Y *
25. Phalium cicatricosum Gmelin (Smooth Scotch Bonnet)
26. Purpura patula Linne (Wide-Mouthed Purpura)
Strombus gigas Linne (Queen Conch) (not illustrated)
27. Strombus pugilis Linne (West Indian Fighting Conch)
28. Tectarius muricatus Linne (Beaded Periwinkle)
29. Thais deltoidea Lamarck (Rock Shell)
To gain a complete and accurate picture of fauna through archaeological
sources on the island of St. John, one would have to conduct more complete
studies than made possible by our limited testing on this island and St. Thomas.
Nevertheless, the following tabulations will indicate the nature of faunal in-
clusions in prehistoric sites and should form a resource for expanded biological
We owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Pierce Brodkorb, Professor of Biological
Sciences, University of Florida, for identifications of bird bones from our
tests. In like manner, we are most appreciative for other vertebrate identifica-
tions made by Mr. Jesse S. Robertson, Jr., Graduate Assistant, Florida State
IDENTIFICATIONS BASED ON BONE MATERIALS FROM TEST EX-
CAVATIONS IN PREHISTORIC SITES ON THE ISLANDS OF ST. JOHN
AND ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS
Coral Bay, Test 2, 0"-6"
Fam. Scaridae (parrotfish)
1 r. dn.
Fam. Cheloniidae (sea turtle)
4 shell pl., (fg.); 3 phal.
Canis familiaris (dog)
1 1. hum., (fg.).
Coral Bay, Test 2, 6"-12"
I 1. pmx.; 1 r. pmx.; 2 1. dn.; I r. dn
2 peri.; 19 shell pl., (fg.).
Francis Bay, Test 2, 0"-6"
1 1. pmx.; 1 lower phg.
6 shell pl., (fg.); 1 hum., (fg.).
Isolobodon portoricensis (large extinct rodent)
2 1. mand. rami, (fg.); 1 1. fer., (fg.); 2 r. fem., (fg.).
Franci3 Bay, Test 2, 6"-12"
4 shell pl., (fg.).
2 r. mand. rami; 1 r. hum., (fg.); 2 r. fem., (1 fg.); 1 1. tib.,
(fg.); 2 r. tib., (fg.).
Francis Bay, Test 3, 0"-6"
1 1. pmx.; 1 1. dn
9 shell PI., (fg.);
1 r. hum.
1 1. scap., (fg.); 1 phal., (fg.).
3 1. mand. rami; 6 r. mand. rami, (3 fg.);
3 molars; 2 r. hum., (fg.); 1 1. radius;
5 1. innom., (fg.); 2 r. innom., (fg.);
5 1. fem., (4 fg.); 1 r. fern., (fg.); 3 r. tib., (fg.).
Francis Bay, Test 3, 6"-12"
4 shell pl., (fg.); 1 r. scap., (fg.); 1 r. acr. pro., (fg.); I distal
end of acr. pro., (fg.); 1 phal., (fg.).
1 shell pl.
2 1. mand. rami; 1 r. mand. ramus; 1 1. innom., (fg.); 1 1.
fem., (fg.); 1 r. fem., (fg.).
Francis Bay, Test 3, 12"-18"
2 peri., (1 fg.); 6 shell pl., (fg.); 1 r. acr. pro., (fg.); 1 r. scap.,
(fg.); 2 r. hum., (fg.); 8 phal., (5 fg.).
2 inci., 1 r. mand. ramus; 2 1. fer.; 1 r. fen., (fg.); 2 1. lib., (fg.).
Turtle Pt., Test 3, Level 1
2 r. pmx.; 1 1. dn.; 2 r. dn.
1 r. upper phg.; 1 1. upper phg.
14 shell pl., (fg.).
3 1. mand. rami; 3 r. mand. rami; 4 molars; 2 1. fer.,
(fg.); 1 1. tib., (fg.).
Turtle Pt., Test 3, Level 2
3 1. pmx.; 3 r. pmx.; 4 r. dn.
1 r. upper phg.; 1 1. upper phg.; 1 lower phg.
2 peri., (fg.); 29 shell pl., (fg.); 1 1. acr. pro., (fg.); 1 r. scap.,
(fg.); 5 phal., (fg.).
1 1. mand. ramus; 1 r. mand. ramus; 4 molars; 1 1. hum., (fg.);
1 r. hum., (fg.); 1 1. radius; 1 1. fer., (fg.); 2 r. fer., (fg.);
2 1. tib., (fg.); 1 r. tib.
Turtle Pt., Test 3, Level 3
2 1. pmx.; 8 r. pmx.; 4 1. dn.; 6 r. dn.
Scarus sp. I r. upper phg.; 1 lower phg.
Sparisoma sp. 1 1. upper phg.
2 r. hum., (fg.).
1 r. dn.
44 ST. JOHN
3 1. mand. rami, (2 fg.); 1 r. mand. ramus, (fg.); 2 1. hum.,
(fg.); 1 r. hum., (fg.); 1 1. ulna; 1 r. innom., (fg); 3 1. fer., (2
fg.); 3 r. fer., (fg.); 4 1. tib., (2 fg.); 2 r. tib., (fg.).
Magens Bay, Pit I, 0"-6"
3 1. pmx.; 1 r. pmx.; 1 r. dn.
Sphyraena sp (barracuda)
Fam. Diodontidae? (porcupine fish)
7 shell pl., (fg.); 1 1. acr. pro., (fg.); 1 r. acr. pro., (fg.).
1 1. mand. ramus; 1 r. mand. ramus; 1 scap., (fg.).
Magens Bay, Pit I, 6"-12"
3 r. pmx.; 2 1. dn.; 2 r. dn.
2 r. upper phg.; 1 lower phg.
9 peri.; 17 shell pl., (13 fg.); I r. acr. pro., (fg.); 2 phal.
2 vert.; 1 pelvic
1 1. mand. ramus; 1 r. mand. ramus; 1 r. hum., (fg.); 1 1. fem.;
(fg.); 3 r. fern., (fg.); 1 r. tib., (fg.).
Magens Bay, Pit I, 12"-18"
1 1. pmx.
1 partial skull consisting of 1. and r. frontals, 1. and r. parietals,
and a portion of the r. temporal; 1 1. mand. ramus; 2 1. fern.;
2 r. fern., (1 fg.).
Magens Bay, Pit I, 18"-24"
2 1. pmx.; 2 r. pmx.; 2 1. dn.; 1 r. dn.
1 vert.; 2 phal., (1 fg.).
1 r. mand. ramus; 1 r. ulna; 1 r. fem., (fg.); 1 1. tib., (fg.);
I r. tib., (fg.).
Magens Bay, Pit I, below 24" including pit
1 r. pmx.; 1 1. dn.
1 r. fem., (fg.); 1 1. innom., (fg.).
Magens Bay, Davis Pit II, 0"-("
1 1. pmx.; 1 r. dn.
5 shell pl., (fg.).
Magens Bay, Davis Pit II, 6" 12"
Magens Bay, Davis Pit II, 12"-18"
2 r. pmx.; 2 1. dn.; 2 r. dn.
1 shell pl.; 1 phal., (fg.).
1 1. mand. ramus; 2 r. mand. rami; 2 r. fern., (fg.); 1 r. tib.,
Magens Bay, Davis Pit II, 18"-24"
1 r. upper phg.
1 1. tib.
KEY TO FAUNAL INTERPRETATIONS
Approximately 60% to 70% of the bone materials obtained from our tests
was unidentifiable, due to lack of comparative material. The majority of the
fish bones may be assumed to be parrotfish, because the majority of the identi-
fiable skull bones belong to members of this family.
The following abbreviations were used in the identification listing above:
acr. (acromial) peri. (peripherals)
dn. (dentary) phal. (phalanges)
fem. (femur) phg. pharyngeall)
fg. (fragmentary) pl. (plate)
M. ( ) pmx. (premaxillary)
inci. (inor) pro. (process)
inci. (incisor) r. (right)
innom. innominatee) scap. (scapula)
1. (left) tib. (tibia)
mand. mandibularr) vert. (vertebra)
Because of the apparent abundance of Isolobodan portoricensis in the test
excavations on St. John and St. Thomas, some further mention of this rodent
seems appropriate. Commonly called "hutia" in the Greater Antilles, this
relatively small animal is best adapted to forested regions and is semi-arboreal
in habit. The Capromyidae family (to which the hutia belongs) is composed
of two groups: the hutia of the Antilles and Venezuela and the nutria rat
of Brazil and Argentina.
The hutia is observed as a harsh-haired and robust animal; however, of
the 18 known species, only 7 or 8 remain today, and they are doubtless subject
to near extinction as further deforestation results in the islands. This latter
feature is best noted in such places as Cuba where only 3 or 4 species remain.
Anthony (1926, 146) felt that the hutia might have been the last mammal
to become extinct on Puerto Rico. He also was impressed by the finding of
hutia bones in caves and shell-heaps, evidence that the animal may have
been an important item of diet in aboriginal times. Anthony even suggested
that the hutia was transported from island to island by Indians. Only when
close attention is paid to the total content of archaeological sites throughout
the West Indies will factors of range, dietary importance, and possible modes
of distribution by clarified.
Our test evidence from the Virgin Islands, however, does point to Isolobodon
portoricansis as being an important food source during the time span covered
by the tests.
48 ST. JOHN
ANTHONY, H. E.
1926. "Mammals of Porto Rico, Living and Extinct-Rodentia and
Edentata." Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands,
Vol. IX, Part 2, pp. 97-238. New York.
ms. "The Archaeological Sites of Saint John." Yale University, New
Haven, March 7, 1956, pp. 1-3.
BULLPEN, RIPLEY P. AND FREDERICK W. SLEIGHT
1963. "The Krum Bay Site-A Preceramic Site on St. Thomas, American
Virgin Islands." The William L. Bryant Foundation, American
Studies, Report Number Five. Orlando.
DE BOOY, THEODOR
1917a. "Archeological Investigations in the Virgin Islands to Solve the
Riddle of the Origin of Their Aborigines." Sri~itific American
Supplement, Vol. 84, No. 2180, pp. 232-234.
1917b. "Archeological Notes on the Danish West Indies, the Petroglyphs
of the Island of St. John and of Congo Cay." Scientific American
Supplement, Vol. 84, No. 2189, pp. 376-377.
1919. "Archeology of the Virgin Islands." Indian Notes and Mono-
graphs, Vol. 1, No. 1. New York.
DAVIS, WILLIAM M.
1926. The Iesser Antilles, New York.
DONNELLY, THOMAS W.
1959. "Geology of St. Thomas and St. John, Virgin Islands." A Disserta-
tion presented to the Faculty of Princeton University in Candidacy
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Princeton.
FEWKES, J. WALTER
1914. "Relations of Aboriginal Culture and Environment in the Lesser
Antilles," Bulletin of the American Geographical Society, Vol..
XLVI, No. 9. New York.
1924. "Archaeology of the Virgin Islands." Proceedings of the Twenty
first International Congress of Americanists, First Part, pp. 29-42.
DE HOSTOs, ADOLFO
1924. "Notes on West Indian Hydrography in Its Relation to Prehis-
toric Migrations." Proceedings of the Twentieth Congress of
Americanists, pp. 239-250. Rio de Janiero.
1938. "Archaeology of the Virgin Islands." Explorations and Field Work
of the Smithsonian Institution in 1937, pp. 95-102. Washington.
MEYERHOFF, HOWARD A.
1926. "Geology of the Virgin Islands, Culebra and Vieques: Physiogra-
phy." Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Vol.
IV, Part 1, pp. 71-141. New York.
ROBERTSON, WM. B.
1957. "Initial Study and Development Survey, Virgin Islands National
Park, Biology Report."
1960. "Observations on the Birds of St. John, Virgin Islands." Project
Completion Report to the National Park Service.
1935. Historical Geology of the Antillean-Caribbean Region. John Wiley
and Sons, Inc., New York.
SLEIGHT, FREDERICK W.
ms. "Field Report, Archaeological Survey on the Island of St. John,
Virgin Islands per National Park Service Contract 14-10-131-619."
May 6, 1960, pp. 1-6, Orlando.
ms. "A Preliminary Report of Interpretation Concerning the Pre-
history of the Island of St. John, Virgin Islands, Presented to the
National Park Service." June, 1961, pp. 1-38, Orlando.
1963. (See Bullen, Ripley P. and Frederick W. Sleight)
STONE, ROBERT G.
1942. "Meterology of the Virgin Islands." Scientific Survey of Porto Rico
and the Virgin Islands, Vol. XIX, Part 1, pp. 1-138. New York.
WARMKE, GERMAINE L. AND R. TUCKER ABBOTT
1961 Caribbean Seashells: A Guide to the Marine Mollusks of Puerto
Rico and Other West Indian Islands, Bermuda and the Lower
Florida Keys. Livingston Publishing Company, Narberth.
THE WILLIAM L. BRYANT FOUNDATION
Report Number Four
CERAMIC PERIODS OF ST. THOMAS
AND ST. JOHN ISLANDS,
Ceramic Typology 2
Botany Series 6
Bordeaux Series 10
Hull Series . 12
Magens Series 13
Bay Series 13
Harbor Series 15
Coral Series . 15
No Series 17
Artifacts from St. Thomas .. 17
Excavations at Magens Bay 18
North Shore Sites . 31
Botany, Bordeaux, Sorgenri, Neltjeberg, Dorothea,
Hull, and Magens
South Shore Sites 33
Fortuna, Krum, Nisky, Turpentine Run, and Water
Artifacts from St. John 35
Tested Sites 35
Turtle Point 35
Cinnamon Bay 42
Francis Bay 46
Coral Bay 50
Surveyed Sites .. 55
West and North Shore Sites 55
Cruz, Saloman, Caneel, Trunk, and Little Cinna-
East and North Shore Sites 58
Haulover Bay, Yawzi Point, Reef Bay, Fish Bay,
Ditlef Point, Chocolate Hole, and Calvary Bay
Plate I. Miscellaneous Artifacts from St. Thomas 20
Plate II. Sherds from Level 1, Magens Bay 23
Plate III. Sherds from Level 2, Magens Bay 24
Plate IV. Sherds from Levels 3 and 4, Magens Bay 26
Plate V. Sherds from Level 1, Turtle Point 36
Plate VI. Sherds from Level 2, Turtle Point 37
Plate VII. Sherds from Level 3, Turtle Point 38
Plate VIII. Miscellaneous Artifacts, Turtle Point 40
Plate IX. Sherds from Levels 1 and 2, Cinnamon Bay 43
Plate X. Sherds from Levels 3, 4, and 5, Cinnamon Bay 44
Plate XI. Sherds from Level 1, Francis Bay 47
Plate XII. Artifacts from Levels 2 and 3, Francis Bay 48
Plate XIII. Artifacts from Coral Bay 52
Plate XIV. Miscellaneous Sherds from St. John 56
Plate XV. Griddle Fragments. 60
Plate XVI. Miscellaneous Artifacts 66
Figure 1. Hydrographic map of St. Thomas and St. John iv
Figure 2. Archaeological site map, St. John 34-35
Figure 3. Ceramic profiles. 5
Figure 4. Archaeological site map, St. Thomas 18-19
Table 1. Distribution of Pottery, Magens Bay 28
Table 2. Distribution of Pottery, Turtle Point 41
Table 3. Distribution of Pottery, Cinnamon Bay 45
Table 4. Distribution of Pottery, Francis Bay 49
Table 5. Distribution of Pottery, Coral Bay 54
Table 6. Chronological Correlation. 71
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yrographic Map of St. hoas ad S.
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In the fall of 1958 the William L. Bryant Foundation instigated
an archaeological survey of St. Thomas, American Virgin Islands.
Field work was done by Mr. and Mrs. Hugh N. Davis, then of
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. Subsequently, an agreement was
made between the Foundation and the National Park Service for
an archaeological survey with test excavations of the neighboring
island of St. John. Field work under this contract was done in
April, 1960, by Frederick W. Sleight of the Central Florida Museum,
Orlando, Florida, and the author representing the Florida State
Museum, Gainesville, Florida; after a rapid preliminary survey in
the spring of 1959 by Sleight and John W. Griffin, Regional Arche-
ologist, National Park Service. We were assisted in the field by
Robert H. Steinbach, then a graduate student at Florida State
University, Tallahassee, Florida.
In 1959 and 1960 Adelaide K. Bullen and I surveyed Water and
Hassel Islands in St. Thomas Harbor and investigated the site at
Botany Bay on St. Thomas. We appreciate the several courtesies
extended to us by Mr. Walter Phillips, owner of the Water Island
Hotel and Beach Club.
In 1960, before working on St. John, Sleight and I excavated
at Krum Bay, the only preceramic site in the Virgin Islands, and
made a stratigraphic test at Magens Bay, both on St. Thomas. The
work at Krum Bay will be the subject of a separate monograph
and will not be referred to here. However, pottery found by Gud-
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
mund Hatt in part of the Krum Bay site in 1922-23 and examined
by me at the Danish National Museum, Copenhagen, in 1960 will
be included. Appreciation is due Dr. Kaj Birket-Smith, chief cura-
tor at that institution, for making possible the examination of the
Krum Bay specimens.
In the accompanying paper, Sleight covers the geological, en-
vironmental, and ecological factors of this research including food
remains. My paper is concerned with archaeological evidence, items
of material culture, their associations in the ground, and interpre-
tations deduced from them. It is oriented towards the develop-
ment of a ceramic chronology or temporal frlamcWOi k into which
future excavations may be placed. To this end the work at Magens
Bay is essential. Other sites on St. Thomas are included to give as
well rounded a picture as possible.
Locations of sites on St. Thomas are shown on the accompany-
ing map (Fig. 4), those on St. John will be found on the map (Fig.
2) accompanying Sleight's report. Site attributes are included in
his paper. Mention of other work at these sites and of collections
from them made by others will be found in appropriate places in
the sections covering sites.
Much important data pertinent to the Magens Bay and Coral
Bay sites are contained in the collections made by Hatt in 1922-23
and catalogued by square and level at the Danish National Museum.
Unfortunately, Hatt did not finish a detailed report on this work
before his recent death. I hope the Danish National Museum will
publish a full report on this work in his memory.
For ease of description and for ordering of ceramic data, a sys-
tem of pottery type nomenclature similar to that in use in the
southeastern part of the United States (March 1934; Ford and
Griffin 1937; 1938) recommends itself. This method has been
chosen for this report instead of that of "styles" as used in neigh-
boring Puerto Rico by Irving Rouse (1952a) because I do not
find, except in the case of the earliest ceramic period, a one-to-one
relationship between Puerto Rican "styles" and what would be a
"style" grouping in the Virgin Islands sherdss from one level of
a site). It seems better to use a pottery type method than to define
new "styles" cross-cutting those already in use in Puerto Rico.
A complete description of the pottery type concept inhludling
pertinent definitions was recently reprinted in the Newsletter of
the Southeastern Arnhacilogiral Conference, Vol. 7, No. 1. This I
have followed closely with but minor modifications.
One advantage of this typological system is that it permits
statistical handling of sherds. It appears to me to be easier to use
for quantification than the method using ceramic "styles." The re-
sults of such analyses in terms of culture history should be the
same with either system.
The pottery type system is also being used by William G. Haag
of Louisiana State University in a forthcoming report of his work
on St. Lucia. I have dik( used with him the problem of duplicating
types and we, after examining specimens from both areas, came to
the conclusion that differences in the pottery of these regions were
sufficiently great that serious duplication would not occur if we
each named our local types.
The one exception is what I will call Coral Plain and he La
Salle Plain. Both refer to a smooth-surfaced, thin, well-made pot-
tery with very fine sand temper. This pottery is a major component
of the Cueves style of Puerto Rico (Rouse 1952a: 336-40) and
of the Cedros style of Trinidad (Rouse 1947; 1953: 96), and un-
doubtedly has a pan-Antillean distribution. As this seems at present
the only duplication, it seems proper to use regional names for
the time being. Another similarity lies in my Botany Plain and
Haag's Lavoutte Plain. Both refer to the common grit- or grit-
and coarse sand-tempered wares of their respective regions. We did
not feel their identity was close enough to require the same type
name although a close similarity exists.
The pottery type system is designed to show diffetrnce in pot-
tery which correlate with difference, in either time or space. It is
rather specific and "trade sherds" are relatively easily rccogni/ctd.
One would expect that some types would be constant over a wide
range of time or distance while others would be much more limited
in their distribution.
Brief descriptions of the pottery typology for this report will
be found below. In all cases the first term is geographical and re-
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
fers to the paste, the last to an important decorative feature, and
the middle, if present, modifies the last. A type called "Botany
Horned" refers to a vessel of "Botany" paste (coarse, grit-tempered)
with cylindrical, hornlike appendages extending from the lip or
rim. If one wishes to differentiate between large and small horns
or decorated and undecorated horns, one might use the terms
"Botany Large Horned," "Botany Small Horned," or "Botany In-
cised Horned." Such terms refer to prominent features of the
vessels and in that sense are de.tl iptive. They are, however, in no
sense complete descriptions but rather convenient abbreviations of
complete dcl iiptions. Complete descriptions must be explicitly
presented before a type name is used so that comparative students
can know what is meant.
It is convenient to have terms to refer to sherds which, because
of their size or uniqueness, cannot be typed. Such terms, for ex-
ample, as "Botany miscellaneous incised" or "Botany niielllicous
punctated" refer to sherds of Botany paste exhibiting some incision
or punctation. The amount of decoration is too small for proper
typing and, hence, the sherds are included in a miscellaneous cate-
gory. This permits the indication of the presence of incision or
other ceramic modes even when sherds are not classifiable as to
specific types. Similarly, "Botany unique incised" would refer to an
incised sherd of Botany paste with decorative features not, as yet,
included in a type description. Under this system one needs several
examples to properly establish a pottery type. Unique examples
may prove to be trade sherds from another site.
In text and tables, I have used capitalization to indicate formal
pottery types. Lower case designations refer to sherd groupings not
formalized into specific types, as explained above.
After examination of the typology presented below, many may
feel I have been too much of a "splitter" of pottery types. It is
very difficult at this stage in our research to determine just what
are significant differences in various ceramic modes. For example,
it might seem that Botany Horned and Botany Lugged should be
included in one type as both refer to vessels with simple ceramic
additions made at the lip. Under some typological situations both
might even be included in the definition of Botany Plain. How-
ever, as "lugs" but no "horns" are reported by Rainey (1940) and
Concave Rim Bowl
Straight Rim Bowl
Convex Rim Bowl
Figure 3. Ceramic Profiles.
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
Rouse (1941, 1952a) for nearby Puerto Rico, this difference should
have significance. Pottery types are analytical tools. It seems better
to have too many types at first, even if some are eliminated later,
than to have to split a type at a later date.
Various ceramic profiles have been presented in Figure 3. This
illustration does not claim to be complete but only to include
those most easily iccogni/.iile in our sample. As will be shown
later, there is a close correlation between flaring bowls and Coral
paste. The dish form is, apparently, as common in Coral as in
other pastes while the plate, which apparently does not occur in
Coral paste, is more apt to be made of Bordeaux than of Botany
Vessels of the Botany Series are made of a heavy, grit-tempered
paste. Temper is abundant and consists of a mixture of crushed
rock, pebbles, coarse sand (P1. III), and, sometimes, other inclu-
sions (P1. XIV, e). Temper particles average large in size as many
are 3 mm. and some 7 mm. across. Typically, fractures produce
jagged edges (PI. XII, f). Clay and aplastic are well mixed and
the paste well (onsolidated. Only occasionally are holes formed by
the leaching of limestone particles.
Construction, except in the case of hand-modeled miniature ves-
sels, is done by coiling. Vessel walls vary from 4 to 16 mm. in
thickness but usually are in the 7 to 9 mm. range. Surface hardness
is about 2.5 on Mohs' scale. Color varies from dark gray to gray
tan, brown, and gray red with cores darker than surfaces.
Surfaces are scraped (Pls. III, c; VI, k) and sometimes burnished
(P1. VI, d). Interiors of vessels are usually more carefully smoothed
than exteriors. Sometimes interior surfaces exhibit a wash or slip.
In general, decorated vessels are made with finer temper and have
more attention paid to their surfaces than is the case with undeco-
Botany Plain-vessels of Botany paste without any decoration except,
sometimes an interior wash. Sherds which exhibit no decoration but
which are from decorated vessels of Botany paste are included under
Shapes include miniature containers (Pls. III, j; V, 1), boat-
shaped vessels, and the dish and bowl forms shown in Figure 3 ex-
cept for the top two (flaring bowls found only with Coral paste).
Bases are flat or slightly concave with a low ring (Pls. II, h; IX, e)
and narrow in proportion to the overall width of vessels. Rims may
be slightly thickened or thinned by pinching but usually are the
same width as vessel walls. Lips have simple rounded or flat-rounded
surfaces except in the case of some boat -shapl d containers where
the rim is widened and the lip flattened.
Plati. and griddles (Fig. 3, lowest two forms) while usually
made of Botany paste are not included in the definition of Botany
Plain. Sherds from these forms can be sorted from those of Botany
Plain vessels on the basis of shape, form, and thickness (or painted
decoration) reasonably well.
Botany rim points-rim points of Botany paste (Pls. III, i; V, b; VI,
h; VII, c; XI, g) have been included under this designation for
purposes of analysis. Such rim points, presumably, indicate boat-
shaped vessels. Botany rim points do not constitute a pottery type
but have been separated from Botany Plain to give an indication
of the presence of boat-shaped vessels and because such points are
not found on vessels made of Coral paste. Rim sherds with sloping
lips, indicating they came from boat-shaped vessels, have been
included in the Botany rim point category.
Botany Narrow Handled-vessels (or parts of vessels) of Botany
paste having either functional or nonfunctional, coil or strap
handles provided they are not both wide and flat. Functional
handles may be undecorated, may exhibit vertical incised lines (P1.
III, k), or may extend higher than vessel lips with (P1. XII, m) or
without grooving. Similarly, nonfunctional handles, having no
space between strap or coil and vessel wall, may have incision below
(P1. X, f) or extend above vessel lips and be grooved (P1. II, d).
Occasionally, they occur in pairs (P1. X, d).
Appendages on the sides of rims, (Pls. III, 1; V, i; VI, e), which
might be considered vestigial handles, are not included under this
Botany Wide Handled-vessels (or parts of vessels) of Botany paste
with wide, flat, and relatively thin strap handles. These handles are
frequently decorated with simple, peglike knobs (P1. XIII, h; Rouse
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
1952a: PI. 2, K). Because of their associations on both St. John and
Puerto Rico (Rouse 1952a: 338), these handles may be the earliest
handle form in the region.
Botany Horned-vessels of Botany paste with cylindrical hornlike
projections extending, singly or in pairs, from the lip or rim area.
Horns may rise directly from the rim (P1. III, e) or from a rim
point (P1. V, c). They may, usually in a paired arrangement, extend
sidewards from a short luglike extension of the rim (Pls. III, f; IV,
Modeled hornlike adornos (PI. III, c) are not included in this
Botany Lugged-vessels of Botany paste with flat rim appendages
extending upwards from lip areas. These lugs may be rectangular
(Pls. II, g; V, e; VII, e) or pointed rectanguloid (P1. VII, d) in shape.
In Puerto Rico similar lugs are sometimes perforated (Rouse 1952a:
PI. 3, A). Smaller or vestigial rim lugs (P1. IX, k) are included
Botany Concave Lugged-vessels of Botany paste with peculiar, ear-
shaped, concave lugs. The concave portion is on the inside and
extends downward, below the lug proper, as part of the vessel wall
(Pls. V, g; VI, d). This is a non-Puerto Rican trait (Rouse per-
Botany Side Appliqued-vessels of Botany paste with various ele-
ments added by appliqued coils to outer walls. Resultant decora-
tion may be nearly straight and vertical (Pls. III, 1; IV, h; V, h-i;
VI, e) or curving in various directions (Pls. III, m-n; VII, h; X, g).
Occasionally these appliqued strips bear crosswise incision.
Botany Lip Incised-vessels of Botany paste with incised or incised
and punctated lips (Pls. III, g; XI, a; Rouse 1952a: P1. 3, J). Vessels
with incised decoration on the side of the rim as well as on the lip
would not be included in this class.
Botany Incised Casuela-casuela-shaped vessels of Botany paste with
incised decoration on outside walls between shoulders and lips
(Pls. IX, g; X, 1). Sometimes applique is also present (PI. V, a).
These vessels are seldom painted but frequently have a polished
Botany red-painted-sherds of Botany paste exhibiting red paint,
but no other distinguishing characteristic, are placed in this cate-
gory. This is not really a type, but a convenient analytical designa-
tion, as red-painted sherds from various types of vessels are in-
cluded under this rubric.
Botany Painted Plate-a flat plate form of Botany paste with a
thickened rim painted on lip, inner rim, and inside with red and
white or black-sometimes red and orange-paint to form simple
geometric designs. As shown in Figure 3 (second from bottom),
this is a very wide (about 40 cm.) and rather flat plate with a small
flat base (P1. I, g). Vessel walls are uniformly medium thick (6-8
mm.). Rims have been carefully made by the addition of extra
paste with rounded or flat-rounded lips which, like interior surfaces,
are very well finished. Outer surfaces, which are unpainted, have
not received as careful treatment. Lips have a reasonably sharp in-
ner edge while their outer edge is rounded and tends to extend
slightly beyond outer walls. These are well-fired containers and
"rim strips" are not frequently found seplarted from walls.
In all of our examples (PIs. III, h; IV, e; V, k; VII, j; XII, j)
the lip area is painted red and the space between the edge of the
lip and the inner wall proper is painted white or black. Red and
white paint occur more frequently than black on inner surfaces.
In one case, the red was applied over white (P1. III, h), in another
over orange (P1. XI, k). Simple geometric designs can be inferred
from available sherds (Pls. IV, e; VII, j; XI, i-j).
Botany Unpainted Plates-this category has been made for sherds
which do not exhibit any paint but which clearly are from plates
as described under the previous type. It may be that these sherds
have lost their paint and so should be included in the previous
type. However, because of the quantities involved, it would appear
that the early Virgin Islanders had both painted and unpainted
Botany Adorned-vessels of Botany paste, frequently boat-shaped,
with modeled adornos representing heads extending upwards from
rims or rim points. There are at least five subtypes or varieties of
adornos. These will be referred to under the following designations.
Subtype 1-crude adornos on which the face is indicated merely
by indentations to represent eyes (Pls. III, c; VI, b) or with these
indentations filled by slit ovoid lumps of clay (P1. III, b). Surfaces
are not well smoothed. A similar crude adorno with eyes and
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
mouth represented by punctated holes (P1. IX, g) would be placed
in this class. Adornos of this group appear to represent birds.
Subtype 2-adorno, of this group tend to have sunken mid-faces
with protruding foreheads and chins. Eyes are formed by added
balls of clay pierced to represent pupils. The face is frequently
surrounded by a fillet of clay to produce a "hooded" effect (P1. Ill,
a) Supplementary decoration by means of incision, while present,
is not common.
Subtype 3-this division covers adornos with protruding mid-
face areas and abundant supplementary decoration, both applique
and incision (Pls. I, c; IX, i). These sometimes become very com-
plicated but recognition of a head is usually still possible.
Subtype 4-in this group are various froglike figures whose head
extends upwards over the lip of the vessel while the representation
of the body extends downward on the outside of the vessel wall
(P1. II, b-c). Broad incision on body elements is common but not
Subtype 5-this category has been used to cover what might
properly be called decorated handles. They extend outward from
the sides of vessels at a substantial distance below the lip and
are rather ornate (Pls. I, a; IX, h; X, a). That the maker intended
these to represent heads is not at all certain.
Botany Griddles-an undecorated griddle form, presumably for
baking of cassava cakes, made of Botany paste. These griddles are
circular, 20 to 35 cm. in diameter, with raised edges but no feet or
other appendages (P1. XV). They are usually a little over 1 cm.
in thickness, ranging from 8 mm. to 1.5 cm. in this respect, have
well-smoothed upper surfaces, and markedly rough under surfaces.
The raised edges are usually made by the addition of strips of clay
which are frequently unsmoothed externally (P1. XV, b-e).
In only two cases do griddle sherds not indicate a raised edge.
One griddle fragment, from the site at Coral Bay, exhibits what
appears to be part of a foot or of a ring base (P1. XV, h). This may
be a relatively early form.
Vessels of the Bordeaux Series are abundantly tempered with
angular fragments of crushed rock which are fine, usually less than
1 mm., in size. The occasional inclusion of pebbles or coarse sand
is considered accidental. Sherds exhibit long breaks with sharp
edges and few, if any, lumps.
As has been suggested, there is a considerable range of temper
in Botany paste. It is likely that Bordeaux paste ielemp.cnt, the
"best of Botany," i.e., a refined Botany paste with temper carefully
selected and extraneous material, such as pebbles, held to a mini-
mum. As a higher percentage of Bordeaux than Botany sherds
have been painted, this selection was probably intentional and
indicates potters knew before construction which vessels they in-
tended to paint.
In sorting sherds for this report, I have included under the
Bordeaux Series only those sherds tempered with finely crushed
rock which did not also contain any large particles. Questionable
ones were included under the Botany Series. It is probable, there-
fore, that the quantities of Bordeaux sherds indicated in the tables
presented later are a little lower than would otherwise be the case.
Bordeaux Series containers are made of a well-mixed and con-
solidated paste. Construction is by coiling with well-smoothed and
frequently burnished surfaces. Walls are 5 to 9 mm. in thickness,
have a surface hardness of about 2.5 on Moh's scale, and are gray
brown in color.
Bordeaux Plain-vessels of Bordeaux paste without any decoration
except, sometimes, an interior wash. Shapes are similar to those of
Bordeaux Lugged-vessels of Bordeaux paste with lugs like those
of Botany Lugged.
Bordeiux Incised Casuela-similar to Botany Incised Casuela ex-
cept for paste.
Bordeaux red-pain/ttd- .hcrd\ of Bordeaux paste exhibiting red
Bordeaux Painted Plates-these plates are the same as those de-
scribed under Botany Painted Plates except for the paste (Pls. IV,
j-k; VI, 1-m; XII, i).
Bordeaux Unpainted Plates-like Bordeaux Painted Plates but with-
out any paint.
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
The paste of vessels of the Hull Series contains a large amount
of medium-sized and sometimes coarse sand as tempering material.
Both quartz and non-quartz grains are included. This pottery tends
to be poorly fired and hence to crumble or lose its surface easily.
Frequently, the surface is rough, like sandpaper; sometimes it is well
Vessels are made by coiling. Walls are fairly thick, 6 to 10 mm.,
and brown, grayish red, or gray yellow-brown in color. Surface
hardness, if a good smooth surface is present, may be a little harder
(2.5 to 3 on Moh's scale) than for either Botany or Bordeaux
It has been mentioned that Botany paste includes coarse sand
particles as tempering material. It is possible that Hull paste
represents one end of a continuum of the varying percentages of
crushed rock, grit, and sand contained as temper in Botany paste.
On the other hand, analysis suggests Hull paste to correlate with the
change from Coral to Botany pastes to be discussed later.
Hull Plain-vessels of Hull paste without any decoration. Shapes
are similar to those described under Botany Plain and under Coral
Hull rim points-rim points of Hull paste (P1. XI, d).
Hull Horned-vessels of Hull paste with hornlike projections on
lips (Pl. XI, c).
Hull Spheroid Lugrgd-\essels of Hull paste having a rim append-
ages which are thicker than vessel walls and spherical in shape (P1.
XIII, e). This form may be related to Coral Side Lugged.
Hull red-painted-sherds of Hull paste exhibiting red paint, but
no other distinguishing characteristic, are included here.
Hull Painted Plate-like Botany or Bordeaux Painted Plates but of
Hull Griddles-these are similar except for temper to those de-
scribed under the Botany Series (P1. XV, a-b). Made of Hull paste
they are more crumbly than Botany Griddles.
Magn ', Series
Vessels of this series are tempered with an admixture of clay
and grit. Apparently, lumps of clay were taddld. in fairly large
quantities, to what otherwise would be called Botany paste. M\lagnlls
paste is sometimes contorted as if lumps of dry clay had been added
during the kneading process. The dlllitionl of this clay temper tends
to produce a yellowish ware with a "slick" surface.
Magens Series vessels are made by coiling, exhibit (conideliable
variation in wall thickness (5-13 mm.), and are a little softer in
surface hardness (2 to 21/2 on Moh's scale) than wares previously
described. Surfaces are smooth but rather uneven. C0(lo varies
from a gray yellow to a yellowish pink on surfaces while cores may
be yellowish or gray in color.
Magens Plain-vessels of Magens paste without any decoration.
Shapes are similar to those listed under Botany Plain but Magens
Plain containers appear limited to small-si/cd vessels. The only
pedestal base we found (P1. IV, 1) was made of 'Magens paste.
Mag,'rins rim points-rim points from vessels of MIagcn, paste are
in the M.igcns Bay collections.
Mtlageri Horned-vessels of this type, as described under Botany
Horned but made of Magens paste, are included in the collection
from the Magens Bay site.
Magens red-painted-sherds of Magens paste which bear red paint
but no other decoration are included here. Sometimes the red
paint is applied to only part of the vessel so that it appears red
and yellow in color.
Malgerns Painted Plates-like Botany Painted Plates but with the
inclusion of clay temper.
Magens Griddles-these are similar except for paste to those de-
scribed under the Botany Series.
Vessels of this series are tempered with a mixture of crushed
shell and grit. Surfaces exhibit small pits, some of which still con-
tain fragments of shell. Bits of shell are also found in vessel walls
but are more easily detected in surface pits. The shell is very finely
ground and its amount, relative to that of grit, is small.
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
Bay series vessels characteristically have well burnished, reddish
surfaces with a range in color from red to gray red or red brown.
Vessels were made by coiling, have a wall thickness which varies
from 4 to 12 mm., and a surface hardness of about 2.5 on Mol,'
The correlation between modeled appendages and Bay paste is
so high that it seems likely this paste with controlled firing was used
as a substitute for red painting.
Bay Plain-vessels of Bay paste without decoration (PI. VII, g).
Shapes are similar to those mentioned under Botany Plain.
Bay rim points-rim points from vessels of Bay paste (PIs. IV, b, i;
XII, k) .
Bay Narrow Handled--handled vessels of Bay paste.
Bay Horned-vessels of Bay paste with rim horns as described under
Botany Horned (Pls. V, d; VI, i; XI, b) .
Bay LIgi -d-\essels of Bay paste with flat rim appendages as de-
scribed under Botany Lugged (Pls. II, f; IV, f; V, f; XII, d) .
Bay Lip Punctated-vessels of Bay paste with punctuated lips (Pls. I,
b; IX, m). As would be expected, punctations are of different sizes,
shapes, and spacings.
Bay Inner Lip Incised-vessels of Bay paste with the upper portion
of the rim bent outward to present an inner "lip" or "rim" surface
on which incised decoration is found (Pls. VI, a; VII, a). These
vessels are also usually red-painted. The incised decoration consists
of variations of an "ovoid urrIounidiiig a bar" motif which repeats
around the rim. A profile of this type of vessel is not included in
Figure 2 as we only found rim fragments.
This type may represent a trade item. Rouse (!i52.i: P1. 3, N)
illustrates a similar sherd of Puerto Rico and (1952a: 342) men-
tioned this type as a prominent feature of the Ostiones style.
Bay Vertical Incised-vessels of Bay paste decorated by vertical
applique which is bordered, usually only on one side, by vertical,
pl)aall.l, incised lines. There is considerable variation in the length
and number of incised lines. This dcc, atiii is found on the side
and top of rims (P1. VI, f; Rouse 1952a: P1. 4, G).
Bay Side Appliqi'd--vessels of Bay paste with various elements
added by applique to outer walls as described under Botany Ap-
Bay Incised Casuela--caLiula-.haped vessels of Bay paste with in-
cising on the sides above the shoulders (P1. X, h).
Bay red-painted-sherds of Bay paste exhibiting red paint (P1. X,
Bay Painted Plate-these are like those of the Botany Series except
for the paste.
Bay Unpainted Plate-like those of the Botany Series except for
the paste. Use of Bay paste gives them a red-painted appearance.
Included in this series are vessels which may be properly re-
ferred to as shell-tempered. Shell particles are larger and much
more frequent than in the case of Bay paste while no grit is present.
Also present are fine grains of sand. The paste; thinness, Igulal it),
and surface finish of walls; and general appearance are all similar
to ceramics of the Coral Series (to be described next) Harbor paste
appears to Iepresent the addition of crushed shell, possibly on an
experimental basis, to Coral paste.
Vessels are made by coiling, walls are 6-8 mm. thick, and surface
hardness about 2 on Hohs' scale. Color of surfaces I;rng' from
red to tan while that of cores may be tan or black.
Harbor Plain-vessels of Harbor paste which are undecorated. This
is the only type known for this series at present.
Harbor red-paintrd-one sherd of Harbor paste from the Francis
Bay site exhibits traces of red paint.
Vessels in this series differ sharply in paste, shape, and decoration
from all previously dIt- ribed except for Harbor Plain and some
Hull Plain examples. Paste of the Coral Series includes as temper
or as a natural inclusion in the clay extremely fine sand, usually
less than .25 mm. in diameter, although grains up to 1 mm. are not
uncommon. Larger grains are rare. The paste is well-mixed, very
compact, and vessels are well fired. Sherds of Coral paste "clatter"
with a reasonably high note when struck together while sherds of
the other series emit a "duller" sound when hit together.
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
As usual construction is by coiling. Vessels walls are thin, aver-
aging about 5 mm. with a range from 3 to 7 mm., and great care
has been used to keep surfaces smooth and parallel with each other.
Scraping marks are entirely eliminated and the pottery has a very
"smooth" feel. Surface color varies from white through grades of
tan and red to a dark gray while cores are black or gray tan. Sur-
face hardness is 22-3 on Mohs' scale.
Surface excellence is spoiled in many cases, however, by loss or
pitting of the surface by erosion. Such erosion results in the loss
of any painted decoration originally present. The "new" surface
feels like emery paper. This situation may be exaggerated in the
case of our specimens as they come from fields cultivated for many
Vessels like those of the Coral Series form a major component
of the Cuevas Style of Puerto Rico (Rouse 1952a: 336).
Coral Plain-undecorated vessels made of Coral paste. Shapes in-
clude flaring bowls (Fig. 3, top two outlines) with flat or slightly
concave bases and outward sloping sides the upper portions of
which curve further upward and outward (P1. XIII, b, 1-m). Lips
are neatly made, either rounded or flat, and usually narrower than
walls. Sometimes rims are gradually thickened and end in flat lips,
having rounded edges, about twice as wide as vessel walls.
We found no rim points or sherds of Coral paste suggesting boat-
Coral Side Lugied-vessels of Coral paste having small, ovoid lugs
on outer walls (P1. XIII, g; Rouse 1952a: P1. 2, D). Such lugs are
usually pierced, presumably for suspension by a cord.
Coral Modeled-vessels of Coral paste with a rim which has been
drawn outward to form an appendage which is modeled and, fre-
quently, covered with red paint. Modeling includes faces (Rouse
1952a: P1. 2, 1) and froglike forms (P1. XIII, c). In our example
the top of the applendage is depres't-d to form a pouring spout.
Coral red-paiintld- Iheld of Coral paste exhibiting red paint but
no other decoration is included here. Paint may be limited to lip
areas (P1. XIII, f).
Coral White Filled-vessels of Coral paste decorated with incision
into which white paint has been rubbed (P1. XIII, p; Rouse 1952a:
P1. 2, L) The background is usually red-painted.
CER K\MII TYPOLOGY
Coral White Painted-vessels of Coral paste having white-painted
designs, sometimes outlined by incision, on inner surfaces (P1. XIII,
i). This type may be the same as Coral White-on-Red.
Coral White-on-Red-vessels of Coral paste decorated with compli-
cated geometric designs made by applying white paint over red-
painted outer surfaces (P1. XIII, j; Rouse 1952a: P1. 2, M).
This is the classic early white-on-red pottery of the Antilles
found from Puerto Rico (Rainey 1940: P1. 3) to Trinidad. It is
included by Rouse in his Cuevas style of Puerto Rico and his Cedros
style of Trinidad (Rouse 1953: 96).
Here are found various sherds or pottery types which do not
seem to fit easily into the pottery types defined above. They may
represent trade vessels or extreme variations in local ceramics.
Unique zoned red-this designation has been used for a unique
sherd from the Coral Bay site (P1. XIV, d). It is made of a sand-
tempered paste and is decorated with red paint applied in zones
outlined by incision. The wall of this vessel is fairly thick, varying
from 6 to 9 mm., and surfaces are well smoothed, particularly on
the inside. Thickness and curvature suggest a fairly large and
heavy vessel about 25 cm. in maximum diameter.
Unique red filmed-sherds of this vessel, while made of a sand-
tempered paste resembling that of the Hull Series, differ from
others in our collections in shape and surface treatment. Assembled
sherds (P1. XII, g) suggest a large water bottle with globular bot-
tom, a neck 14 cm. long, and an everted mouth 20 cm. in diameter.
Thick red paint has been applied to the outside, lip, and everted
portion of the inside. These painted surfaces are well burnished
and of a bright red color which is brighter than most of the red-
painted sherds in our collections. The inside of the neck has lost
its original surface and now resembles coarse sandpaper.
ARTIFACTS FROM ST. THOMAS
Locations of known Indian sites on St. Thomas are indicated
in Figure 4. Site attributes are included in the accompanying
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
paper. I will first discuss the two available stratigraphic tests at
the large Magens Bay site and then make comments in the surface
collections from the other sites in terms of the stratigraphic trends
at Magens Bay.
Excavations at .Magens Bay
There have been several fairly extensive excavations at Magclln
Bay (Fig. 4) but their results have never been adequately pre-
sented to science. Theodoor de Booy (1917) investigated the
Magens Bay site in the winter of 1916-17. He describes the mid-
den as semilunar in shape, 75 by 30 feet in size, and nearly 10 feet
thick at the highest point (de Booy 1919: 26-42). While I would
agree about the shape and width, I believe de Booy minimized
the length and exaggerated the depth.
De Booy dug in the highest part of the midden and delineated
three zones: a sterile surface layer about 2 feet thick, an upper black
midden zone rich in artifacts and sometimes 31/2 feet thick, a lower
and slightly lighter colored midden zone which also contained
artifacts and was in places 4 feet thick. Below was sterile, clean,
beach sand. Two burials were found in the lower midden stratum
and nine in the underlying white sand. While clay vessels were
found with some interments, no other burial goods were present.
De Booy (1919: 29) states that while the mound appeared to
represent two occupations "the objects found in the third layer
did not differ materially in their types from those found in the
second layer." His (1919: 60-87) section on pottery describes and
illustrates vessels from Magens Bay and from the Salt River site
on St. Croix. Among those identified as from Magcienl Bay are
Botany Plain straight and convex rim bowls, Botany Lugged, Botany
rim points and boat-shaped vessels, Botany Narrow Handled, Botany
Adorned subtypes 3 and 4, red-painted bowls and dishes, and Botany
and Bordeaux Painted Plates. Presence of MAlaguI and of Bay paste
may be inferred from de Booy's comments. He also mentions large
numbers of fragments of cassava griddles and spindle whorls made
De Booy's report is the first and the most complete in print on
the Magens Bay site. His collection does not seem to contain any
0 I 2 3
s, o 1.
E le v t f io n s
Over 400 feet"
Over 800 feet
Fire 4. Site location map, St. Thomas.
EXCAVATIONS AT MAGENS BAY
pottery different from that found by us. That he dug in the highest
part of the midden suggests his sample reflects the latest pottery
period of the site.
Next at Magens Bay was Gudmund Hatt of Denmark who at
first worked with de Josselin de Jong of Holland. Hatt (1924) made
an archaeological survey of the Virgin Islands from December 1922
until September 1923 and excavated at Magens Bay as well as at
other sites. His work is especially noteworthy as he was the first
to make stratigraphic excavations. The catalog of his collections
at the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen includes square
and level designations for five Virgin Island sites. Unfortunately,
Hatt recently died without having written site reports on this work.
Through the courtesy of Dr. Kaj Birket-Smith I was able to see
this catalog in 1960 and to make notes on the specimens on exhibit
while I was in Copenhagen studying Hatt's Krum Bay collection.
I will make brief reference, to this catalog when pertinent.
Hatt presented his general conclusions at the Americanist meet-
ing at The Hague in 1924. His work adds Botany Incised Casuelas
and Botany Adoi ned subtypes 1 and 2 to the pottery listed for de
Booy's work at MIagens Bay. He also mentioned carved bone and
carved shell ornaments and many stone three-pointers. He found
seven skeletons, some with clay vessels nearby.
Hatt sees more changes with time at Magens Bay than did de
Booy. He (1924: 32-33) mentions vessels and sherds "of a fine,
thin ware, oftener found at the bottom than at the top of the
Magens Bay .. deposits" and "it is in the upper and younger parts
of these deposits that is most clearly to be seen the use of
pottery heads." In regard to these adornos Hatt (1924: 33)
writes "The less developed forms, with the eyes indicated as simple
round or oblong pits, were found not only near the surface but
also at a greater depth. More complicated forms, where the eyes are
generally shaped like rings, were found only quite near the surface."
In respect to vessel shape, he mentions a sharp angle at the vessel
side as being early.
These statements of Hatt's are, presumably, based on a pre-
liminary analysis of his data. The Danish National Museum cata-
log indicates that he recorded four or more levels for eight of his
tests at the Magens Bay site. I would assume Hatt's fine thin ware
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
Plate I. Miscellaneous Artifacts from St. Thomas.
A, C, Botany Adorned, sub-types 5 and 3; B, Bay Lip Punctated; D, Botany
Plain with incised line paralleling lip; E, rectangular stone adze; F, bone point;
G, Botany Painted Plate (dashed line indicates area of flat base).
A-B, Botany Bay (FSM Collections); C-G, Magens Bay, Davis Test II (C-D,
Level 1; E-G, Level 2).
EXCAVATIONS AT MAGENS BAY
is that which I am calling Coral Plain. His findings agree with
ours as given in Table 1.
At the United States National Museum in Washington there
is a large collection (cat. nos. 429554-71) from the Magens Bay site
dug in 1937 by Herbert W. Kreiger (1938). Included are a great
many rims and bases, mostly of Botany Plain with a fair amount of
Bay Plain, some Bordeaux Plain and, rare but present, Magens
Plain. Also included are Botany rim points, Botany Lugged, Botany
and Bay Horned, red-painted sherds and sherds from Botany Grid-
dles. The collection contains a surprisingly large number of in-
cised casuela fragments, some Botany and Bordeaux Painted and
Unpainted Plates, a small amount of Botany Side Appliqued, and
two examples of Bay Lip Punctated and of Botany Narrow Handled.
Botany Adorned is represented by specimens of subtypes 4 and 5.
One spout suggests a Coral Modeled vessel. Among special items
are a few sherds of Coral Plain, two of Coral White Painted, and
two of Coral White-on-Red. The last exhibits part of a simple
geometrical design. There is no question about the classification of
these Coral Series sherds. Thirty spindle whorls (made of sherds),
fifty olive shell beads (hole in the side), three notched sinkers (two
of stone and one made from a sherd), some Strombus gigas celts, a
Cassis lip pick, six stone three-pointers, a large stone bead, some
stone chips, three petaloid celts, and a fragment of a stone yoke
complete the inventory.
Except for sherds of the Coral Series and the fragment of a
stone yoke (U.S. National Museum, cat. no. 429566), an extremely
rare item for the Virgin Islands, the collection made by Kreiger
agrees well typologically with those made by de Booy, by Hatt, and
by us. The inclusion of sherds of the Coral Series is of consider-
able interest as they tend to substantiate my identification of Hatt's
"fine thin ware," which I have not seen, as examples of that series.
While Kreiger's collection has no supporting data it seems likely
his Coral Series specimens came from lower levels as suggested
by Hatt, by our two sherds of Coral Plain (Table 1), and by the
apparent lack of such sherds in de Booy's collection.
About 1958 Monica Flaherty Frassetto excavated at Magens
Bay. She has not as yet reported on this work but some of the speci-
mens are on exhibit in the Virgin Islands iMuStcum in Charlotte
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
Plate II. Sherds from Level 1, Test I, Magens Bay.
A. spindle whorl Botany paste; B-C, Botany Adorned, sub-type 4; D, Botany
Narrow Handled; E, miscellaneous incised; F, Bay Lugged; G, Botany Lugged;
H, ring base, Botany Plain.
Amalie, St. Thomas, while the rest are in storage. Included are
sherds of Botany Incised Casuelas, Bay Lip Punctated, Bay Vertical
Incised, Botany and Bordeaux Painted Plates, and boat-shaped
vessels, one with a large handle. Again, the inventory is similar
EXCAVATIONS AT MAGENS BAY
to that reported by de Booy and by Hatt.
Results of two stratigraphic tests at Magens Bay, in terms of
the ceramic typology presented earlier, are given in Table 1 by
arbitrary 15 cm. levels. Typical sherds from Test I are illustrated
in Plates II-IV. This test, 3 by 3 meters in area, was excavated
by Bullen and Sleight in April 1960. Test II was dug the preceding
year by the Davises as part of their survey work for the Bryant
Foundation. Being smaller than Test I, it produced fewer sherds.
These tests were separated by a distance of about 2 meters. Both
were dug in the thickest remaining portion of the midden which
here consisted of black dirt, shells and rocks plus food bones and
At the base of the midden in the southwestern quarter of Test
I was a troughlike depression or pit extending downward a maxi-
mum of 40 cm. into the underlying sterile sand. The trough was
30 cm. wide at its northwest end and about 60 cm. wide at its mid
(?) point. It extended diagonally across our tests for 2 meters but
continued beyond our south wall. It (cnt.iiiicd three rocks along
its bottom and was filled with midden deposit undistinguishable
from that of Level 4. We could not detect any pit walls above the
base of Level 4.
Stone specimens from Test I were a hone in Level 2, a hammer-
stone and a faceted pebble in Level 3, a utilized chip in Level 1 and
four in Level 4, ochreous rocks in Levels 1 and 4, a petaloid celt
(P1. XVI, d) in Level 3, and a long stone bead (P1. XVI, c) at the
base of the midden deposit. In Test II were a petaloid celt and a
pecked stone in Level 1, a rectangular chisel (P1. I, e), five utilized
chips, and a fragment of ochreous rock in Level 2, and a utilized
chip in Level 3.
No specimens of shell came from Test I but an olive shell bead
and a clam shell scraper were found in Level 2 of Test II. A piece
of worked bone was found in the first level of Test I and a bone
point (P1. I, f) in the second level of Test II. A sherd disc and
a clay spindle whorl (P1. II, a), both of Botany paste, came from
Level 1 of Test I and another spindle whorl from Level 3 of Test
Along the north wall of Test I at a depth of 40 cm. was found
a headhlcs flexed burial. While the bones were fragmentary, excava-
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
5 1 1 0
Plate III. Sherds from Level 2, Test I, Magens Bay.
A-C, Botany Adorned, sub-types 2 and 1; D-F, Botany Horned; G, Botany Lip
Incised; H, Botany Painted Plate; I. Botany rim point; J, miniature Bowl,
Botany Plain; K, Botany Narrow Handled; L-A', Botany Side Appliqued.
EXCAVATIONS AT 1.\11N- BAY
tion showed interment had been made with the upper part of the
body facing downward but with the lower spine twisted and with
the legs bent and the knees drawn upwards and to the side so that
femurs formed an angle of about 450 with the spinal column. Upper
arms were extended along the sides but lower arms were bent up-
wards so that hands were near shoulders. All bones present were
in anatomical order but the skull and cervical vertebrae were
missing. If present, the skull would have been to the southeast.
Adelaide K. Bullen, Research Assotiate in Anthropology, Flor-
ida State Museum, who has studied these bones, reports:
The size of these bones, the fact that all available epi-
physes are closed, and the presence of osteophytic lipping
suggest that this skeleton is that of an adult. Metacarpals,
phalanges, and the distal end of the left radius show clear
epiphyseal union. Bony areas diagnostic of late fusion are
lacking. Ends of most of the long bones have disintegrated.
Many parts of the skeleton, including the skull-as noted
above-and the pelvis, are missing.
The missing head and cervical vertebrae did not leave
observable clues on the remainder of the skeleton as to their
manner of loss.
In reviewing the material which this burial produced, it
is interesting to note-as is not unusual in archaeological
sites-that the decay of bone has tended to parallel the loca-
tions of spongy substance which occurs in greatest amount
in the short and irregular bones and at the ends of the long
bones (Schaeffer, 1953: 89-91). Roots had honeycombed
the areas of spongy substance whereas they could not pene-
trate the thick areas of compact bone in the shafts of the long
bones. The amount of decay may have been facilitated by
periods of heavy rains over the years. The metacarpals and
phalanges that were preserved in good condition were under
parts of the skeleton.
Nicholas R. Greville, M.D., Division of Orthopedics,
College of Medicine, University of Florida, was consulted
as to pathology. He noted a possible healed fracture of the
shaft of one femur. A suggestion of lipping on the patella
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
0 5 13)
-~- .----- -
Plate IV. Sherds from Levels 3 and 4, Test I, Magens Bay.
A, Botany Horned; B, I, Bay rim points; C, unique lip lugs, Botany paste;
D, J-K, Bordeaux Painted Plates; E, Botany Painted Plate; F, Bay Lugged;
G, Botany rim point; H, Botany Side Appliqued; I, pedestal base, Magens Plain.
EXCAVATIONS AT MAGENS BAY
he did not feel was in the pathological range; but osteophy-
tic lipping on the facets of two ribs at the costotransverse
joint and at the distal end of the left radius he considered
pathological. Whether the cause was traumatic, infectious,
or degenerative was not possible to determine from the
present fragments. If this lipping is a dcgelneative phenome-
non, the age of the individual at death probably was well
beyond the stage of a young adult.
Except for the fact that these bones are not large, there
is no data on which to base a decision as to sex.
Nor do the bones recovered provide data for (laif) ing
as to race. Therefore any inference must come from the
archaeological interpretation of the location, context, and
manner of burial.
There is no reason to believe this burial to be other than that
of an Indian. The relatively recent interment of a female Negro
(report of M. T. Newman, Aug. 29, 1960, to Registrar, United
States National Museum) was found by the Davises immediately
adjacent to the north wall of Test II. In that instance, evidence
of a pit was noted while the bones were in a better state of preser-
vation than those of the burial in Test I.
There are several possible explanations for the lack of a skull
with the burial found in Test I. Special treatment of the heads of the
dead (preservation of the head in a basket hanging from a post in
the hut) is known for the Greater Antilles (Loval 1935: 552-53) and
may have been practiced in the Virgin Islands. There are also
Carib references to cannibalistic practices including heads and to
unspecified part of the bodies of enemies kept as trophies (Sturte-
vant 1960: 41).
Examination of Table 1 shows that there are in the ceramics of
Magens Bay typological differences with depth which have chro-
nological implications. Considering first the plain wares, 55.3 per-
cent of all sherds from Test I are in the first two levels while the
percentage of Botany Plain for these same two levels is practically
the same, 57.8 percent. Only 29.8 percent of Magens Plain, on
the contrary, was found in the two highest levels. Decorated sherds
of Magens paste with 30.0 percent and Magens Griddles with 28.1
percent for the upper half of the cultural deposit agree in their
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
VERTICAL DISTRIBUTION OF POTTERY AT MAGENS BAY
Test I Test II
Typology T I T Totals
Levels 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
26 36 39
12 112 77
1 10 3
582 732 389
232 192 4610
12 16 194
18 11 290
2 11 373
670 1564 768 1045
470 857 271 253 5898
alncludes one without a raised edge. blncludes one pedestal base.
alncludes one without a raised edge.
bIncludes one pedestal base.
EXCAVATIONS AT MAGENS BAY
vertical distribution with that of Magens Plain. The picture is
not so clear for Test II, probably because of the heavy concentra-
tion of specimens in Level 2. However, the percentages-71.7, 71.5,
64.6, 45.5, and 50.0 respectively- are in the same direction.
I conclude from this that there was a decrease in the use of
Magens paste during the life of that part of the site penetrated by
our test. While it is not evident from the distribution of Bay
Plain, here is a clear indication in the table for both tests that the
use of Bay paste for decorated vessels increased with the decrease
in the use of Magens paste. The data do not indicate any increase
or decrease in the popularity of Bordeaux or Hull Series during
The two sherds of Coral Plain in the lowest zone are insig-
nificant statistically but of considerable interest in view of Hatt's
statement that similar sherds were more often found at the bottom
than near the top. Possibly Hatt combined what I have called
Magens Plain with Coral Plain when referring to fine, thin pottery.
Considering all the collections made at Magens Bay it is evident
that vessels of the Coral Series are extremely rare. Their presence
must have occurred extremely early in the history of the site.
Re-examination of Table 1 in terms of decorative modes shows
that Botany and Bay Narrow Handled, Botany and Bay Side Ap-
pliqued, and Botany Odorned are relatively shallow and hence
relatively late while rim points and boat-shaped vessels, horned,
lugged and red-painted containers, and painted or unpainted plates
are present both early and late. There is also a suggestion that sub-
types 1 and 2 adornos may be earlier than subtypes 3 and 4. A
similar trend was noted by Hatt (1924: 33). Three specimens are
unique in being found only in th lowest zone. These are sherds
of Coral Plain, a griddle fragment with a level instead of a raised
edge, and a pedestal base of Magens paste (P1. IV, 1).
Not included in Table 1 is a Botany Adorned, subtype 5 handle
(P1. XVI, a) found in the third level of Test I. The depth of this
specimen together with that of similar ones from Cinnamon Bay
(Table 3) suggests this decorated type of handle to be earlier than
subtypes 1-4, Botany Adorned.
Shapes of vessel walls and of the rims of griddles were analyzed
to see if they showed any changes with time at Magens Bay. While
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
there is considerable variation in griddle rims (P1. XV), changes
which correlated with depths were not found. In regard to vessel
walls, there was a suggestion that concave rim bowls (Fig.3; P1. VI,
k) averaged deeper and hence were older on the average than
straight and convex rim bowls.
In terms of ceramics, aboriginal occupation at Magens Bay
seems to be divided into two major periods, the second of which
contains three phases. These I will refer to as the Magens I, IIA,
IIB, and IIC periods.
Our tests did not penetrate any deposit of the Maigcin I period.
Hatt's and Kreiger's work clearly indicates the presence at Magens
Bay of pottery of the Coral Series, presumably very early in the
history of the site. As has been mentioned under the section on
ceramic typology, there is a distinct typological cleavage between
pottery of the Coral Series and that of the Botany Series. However,
as will be shown later, certain Botany Series types-such as Botany
Wide Handled and Botany Griddles-have been found with Coral
pottery at Coral Bay and other sites. Hence, I believe that during
the first occupation at Magens Bay, the Magens I period, there
was present pottery of the Coral Series as well as utilitarian vessels
of Botany and, to anticipate data from the island of St. John, Hull
This earliest period was succeeded by one during which no more
vessels of Coral paste were made but containers of Botany paste
became the dominant mode. These were accompanied by those of
Bordeaux, Hull, Magens, and Bay pastes. Of these both Bordeaux
and Hull were rather minor in importance. During this time per-
iod, Magens IIA, emphasis in decoration centered on rims and we
hae' lugs, rim points and boat-shaped vessels-frequently red-
painted. Vessels of Magens paste were fairly common and painted
plates, usually in red and black, as well as cassava griddles were to
be found in every home.
Magens IIB continued the same complex as IIA with the ad-
dition of horns, non-functional handles and vessels with side ap-
plique. By this time Magens paste had markedly declined while
Bay paste was frequently used for decorated vessels because of its
imitative red-painted appearance.
Magens IIC saw the appearance of Botany Adorned vessels,
NORTH SHORE SITES
otherwise the ceramic complex is similar to that of the preceding
phase. Horned and lugged containers, while still present, were not
as popular relatively as before.
Incision does not seem to be prominent on the pottery from
Magens Bay in spite of the inclusion of Botany Incised Casuelas
in the Hatt, Kreiger, and Frassetto collections. Data are not avail-
able from our two tests for the placing of this important pottery
type in the above sequential scheme. It and other pottery types will
be discussed later and the scheme modified accordingly under the
St. John's portion of this paper.
North Shore Sites
The Indian site at Botany Bay is the furthest west on St. Thomas
(Fig. 4). It consists of a black dirt and shell midden buried in the
sand ridge behind the beach. Frassetto dug there in 1958 but her
findings are not at present available.
When visited by the Bullens in 1960, a large house was being
built on the site. The midden could readily be seen in the sides of
small trenches dug for the installation of water pipes and electric
Our collection, taken from the spoil piles beside these ditches,
consists of a Botany Adorned, subtype 5 (Pl. I, a), two Botany
Painted and two Botany Unpainted Plates, one Botany Side Ap-
pliqued, ninety-six Botany Plain, three Bordeaux Plain, twenty-
three Hull Plain, one Bay Lip Punctated (P1. I, b), a Bay Plain,
and four Botany Griddle sherds. To this inventory should be
added a Botany red-painted and eighteen Botany Plain sherds, a
wide-line Bordeaux miscellaneous incised, three Bay Plain, a Botany
Griddle sherd, and a spindle whorl made from a sherd found by
the Davises during their survey.
The site at Botany Bay is probably the second largest Indian
site on St. Thomas. It was occupied during Magens IIC times,
possibly also earlier-depending on the contents of the Frassetto
To the east of Botany Bay lies Bordeaux Bay (Fig. 4) where
the next Indian site is located. The Davises' survey of this site
produced a Botany miscellaneous incised, two Botany Narrow
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
Handled, sixteen Botany Plain, three Botany Griddle, five Hull
Plain sherds and a petaloid celt. This site appears to have been
occupied during the Magens IIB period.
Further east is Sorgenri Bay (Fig. 4) where Hatt located a small
site. We have no collection from this site.
Next comes Neltjeberg Bay (Fig. 4) where the Davises found
eleven Botany Plain and eleven Hull Plain sherds. This collection
is insufficient for a close cultural placement but occupation during
an early part of the Magens II period may be suggested.
At Dorothea Bay (Fig. 4) the Davises found sixteen Botany and
four Hull Plain sherds. Again the specific cultural placement is
difficult but sometime (luring a generalized Magens II period would
The first bay west of M.igcns is Hull Bay (Fig. 4). From here
we have a larger collection than from the sites just mentioned,
probably because Hull Bay is more accessible. Included are a
Botany Narrow Handled, two Botany Side Appliqu6d, fifteen
Botany Plain, a Hull Plain, a Magens rim point, a Magens Plain,
a Bay Plain sherd, two sherd discs (one of which has a central
drilled hole), and a utilized flake. Hatt (1924: 39) found a large
stone three-pointer here. This site may be placed in the ~Magens
At Magens Bay (Fig. 4) there are at least two sites, the main
site to the northeast and a much smaller one in a recently planted
coconut grove some distance to the southwest. Indeed, the main
site itself may be divided into four separate sites or areas if one is
I have already discussed the ceramic situation in the main
village area. Listing our various surface collections from the exten-
sions of this site would not add any useful information to that al-
ready given. All sherds in these collections may be allocated to the
Magens IIA and B periods except for one eroded example of a
Coral Side Lugged (Florida State Museum cat. no. 95344) and a
Botany Wide Handled sherd. They belong to the Magens I period.
The collection from the coconut grove contains four Botany
Plain, a Hull Plain, a Bay Plain, a Botany Griddle and three sherds
with wide-line incision. Two of these three are probably from in-
cised casuelas but the third is at present unclassifiable. As will be
SOUTH SHORE SITES
discussed later, incised casuelas are relatively late in the Magens
sequence and should indicate occupation in late Magens IIB or
South Shore Sites
At Fortuna Bay, along the south shore of St. Thomas (Fig. 4),
the Davises found two sherds, one Botany and one of Magens
Plain. The latter would suggest Magens IIA times.
At Krum Bay (Fig. 4), Hatt (1924) investigated three small shell
heaps at one of which he found some pottery. As the Krum Bay
sites are to be the subject of a separate monograph (Bullen and
Sleight 1963), I shall not discuss them here except to briefly men-
tion the pottery which I was privileged to examine and photograph
at the Danish National Museum in 1960. Hatt found forty-two
sherds: one Bay red-painltcd. twenty-four Bay Plain, and seventeen
Botany Plain. Most of the rim sherds were bent inwards and came
from convex rim bowls (Fig. 3), a common shape at Magens Bay.
Nine sherds joined together to form a large fragment of a globular
vessel with a greatly restricted orifice. A narrow line had been
incised paralleling the lip. This treatment is the same as that on a
sherd (P1. I, d) found in Level 1 of Test II at Magens Bay. The
pottery from Krum Bay is relatively late in the Magens Bay se-
quence and probably was made during the Magens IIB period.
Hatt (1924) mentions traces of a shell heap at Nisky (Fig. 4)
but appears to have made no collection there. This area is built
over now and the Davises were unable to locate any trace of a
A far as I am aware, the only Indian material known for the
whole eastern end of St. Thomas are four sherds of Hull Plain and
a utilized chip found by the Davises at a place they designated as
the Turpentine Run (Fig. 4). This area, now in pasture, is the
only rolling land on the island. As it would appear to be the best
agricultural land on the island, it seems strange more evidence of
aboriginal use was not found. Four Hull Plain sherds are insuf-
ficient evidence for any cultural placing but they could pertain to
an early period.
The Bullens were not successful in locating any Indian sites
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
on Hassel Island. On Water Island, Indian material was limited
to the northwestern bays: Ruyter, Tamarind Tree, Elephant, and
Landing bays (Fig. 4). At Ruyter Bay a sherd of Botany Plain
and a hammerstone were found but no evidence of a midden de-
posit. As this bay was used as a plantation during Danish times,
any such evidence may have disappeared years ago.
At Elephant Bay, located between Tamarind Tree and Landing
Bays, a sherd of Botany Plain was found on high land at the north
end of the bay and another on the sandy low land at the south
end. The latter was near a place of recent disturbance but, again, no
village debris was to be found.
At Tamarind Tree and Landing Bays the situation was quite
different. In the sand ridge behind these bays, in 1934-35 Julien
(Buxton, Trevor and Julien 1938) uncovered about twenty human
burials. These he reinterred after removing the Indian specimens
for which he was searching. In 1936 the burials were redug by
Trevor and Julien, at which time only parts of eight individuals
were located "despite the expenditure of much energy in shifting
several tons of sand under which they then lay ."
At the eastern end of Landing Bay, the Bullens found piles of
sand, a few scraps of human bone, two Botany Plain sherds and
a Strombus shell hand hammer. At the northeastern inner or land-
ward side of Tamarind Tree Bay was found a few sherds of Botany
Plain and piles of sand similar to those at Landing Bay. These
piles of sand were Trevor and Julien's spoil piles.
According to Julien (Buxton, Trevor and Julien 1938) the
skeletons were "at a depth of from two to three feet below the sur-
face, in direct association with shells of the giant conch (Strombus
gigas) and other gasteropods (sic), small animal bones, probably
those of the Indian coney (Capromys brachyurus), lumps of a red
ochreous substance, stone implements and pottery ."
Julian is certainly referring to midden material. The horizontal
areas involved at both Tamarind Tree and Landing Bays are rather
small. These sites must have been occupied for only a short period
of time or we would have found more shells, etc., present than was
the case. Some of the pottery and photographs of sherds and of
some of the stone tools were sent to Hatt who discusses these speci-
mens in an article accompanying the one on the skeletal remains.
TESTS AT TURTLE POINT
Hatt's (1938) illustrations include a Botany Plain straight rim
bowl (Fig. 3), a Botany Painted Plate, a handled vessel, and three
adornos-one each of subtypes 3 and 4, Botany Adorned, and one
not typed in this report. From the photographs of stone tools,
Hatt felt that "a few of the stone objects seem to be 'three-pointers,'
I would date occupation at these bays as having occurred
during the Magens IIC period.
Buxton and Trevor in the article on these burials comment on
the Negroid appearance of the skulls but feel that their association
with Indian material dates them as pre-Columbian. Subsequently,
Stewart (1939) after pointing out that "The mere presence of skele-
tons in a sand or shell mound of Indian origin, lacking careful
stratigraphic records, is not certain evidence of primary association
with the accompanying artifacts ." compares the Water Island
skulls with known Negro and Indian skulls and demonstrates them
to be Negro in nature. I, noting the sites seem much too small for
the number of burials found and knowing that Negri burials have
been made in Indian middens in the Virgin Islands, agree with
Stewart that they were intrusive.
ARTIFACTS FROM ST. JOHN
Indian sites on the island of St. John are located on the map
accompanying Sleight's article (Fig. 2) where a discussion of the
sites and their attributes will be found. As for St. Thomas, I will
first describe our stratigraphic tests on St. John and then make
brief references to the surface collections from other sites.
Bullen excavated at Turtle Point and Sleight at Cinnamon Bay,
while Francis Bay was a joint effort. At Coral Bay, Tests I and II
were dug by Bullen and A and B by Steinbach. Work of the survey
was done both separately and collectively.
Tests at Turtle Point
Turtle Point, which juts westward from St. John into Durloe
Channel (Fig. 2), is located at the northern end of the Caneel Bay
Plantation. Hatt (1924: 29, Fig. 1) locates his fourth St. John
site here and one of his collections, listed in the catalog of the
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
Plate V. Sherds from Level 1, Turtle Point.
A, Botany Incised Casuela; B, Botany rim point; C, Botany Horned; D, Bay
Horned; E, Botany Lugged; F, Bay Lugged; G, Botany Concave Lugged; H-I,
Botany Side Appliqued; ], sherd showing loss of "washed" surface; K, Botanv
Painted Plate; L, miniature bowl, Botany Plain.
Danish National Museum as from Casey Long Bay, St. John, un-
doubtedly came from this site. The catalog indicates that some of
Hatt's squares produced two and some three levels.
TESTS AT TURTLE POINT
Plate VI. Sherds from Level 2, Turtle Point.
A, Bay Inner Lip Incised; B, Botany Adorned, sub-type 1; C, unique lug; D.
Botany Concave Lugged; E, Botany Side Appliqued; F, Bay Vertical Incised;
G, Botany Incised Casuela; H, Botany rim point; I-,J BR(y Horned (J is also
red-painted); K, Botany Plain with concave rim; I-M, Bordeaux Painted Plate.
ST. THOMAS AND ST. JOHN
a ~ irs io
Plate VII. Sherds from Level 3, Turtle Point.
A, Bay Inner Lip Incised; B, Botany miscellaneous incised; C, Botany rim
point; D-E, Botany Lugged; F, Bay unique appliqued; G, miniature vessel,
Bay Plain; H, Botany Side Appliqued; I, Botany Horned; J, Botany Painted
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