Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dig a Caribbean holiday

About the Project:
The SVG Public Archaeology Program, affectionately known as SVG Digs, provides volunteers with an opportunity to be an archaeologist on a highly unique and significant site on the island of St. Vincent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). This program was created out of the desire to rescue and record significant archaeological sites from being destroyed during construction of the new Argyle International Airport. Prior to 2009, no large scale excavations had taken place in St. Vincent and, to date, there is no local archaeological presence on the island. The work of SVG Digs raises awareness for archaeology both locally and abroad, and helps give Vincentians a fuller understanding of their prehistoric past. At the same time, volunteers are provided with an unforgettable experience, doing work that many people only dream of.

What to Expect?
Volunteers receive training in the major principles and practices of archaeology, with a small daily lecture on topics such as archaeological survey, artifact identification, artifact illustration and recording, survey and mapping, including the use of a total station, and some minor exposure to the use of GIS in archaeology. This is followed by on-site, hands-on experience for five full days on the site of Argyle 2, cleaning surfaces and identifying, exposing and mapping archaeological features, excavating postholes and burials, and exposing, identifying and collecting artifacts. This work is quite relaxing, and occurs in the hot Caribbean sun in the middle of winter.
After work, if weather permits (likely), volunteers can go swimming or walking in the local area, before a home-cooked Vincentian meal. They can also opt to participate in the cleaning and cataloguing of artifacts, or they can simply relax with the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Participants are also taken on an excursion into the Grenadines as part of their experience. This can be a catamaran ride complete with snorkeling, swimming and relaxing on white sand beaches, or it can be a day trip with fishing and dolphin and/or whale watching. The high ratio of archaeologists to volunteers also allows for a maximum learning experience both on and off site. Not only will you learn to work as an archaeologist, you will learn all the ins and outs of living as one.

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