You are on page 1of 4

[MUSIC].

So, we have volcanoes.


We have urban development.
also looks like we have jungle
conditions.
This isn't exactly my idea of a tropical
paradise you're talking about.
So, that's another factor.
But, given this complicated trauma
landscape you've got going, how do you
find things?
What approaches are you using?
>> Well we started off, and we still
do, undertake intensive pedestrian
survey.
>> All right.
So, essentially walking up and down,
across the landscape, looking for things.
>> In the jungle.
>> The trouble with the jungle, is
they're full of trees.
And trees tend to lose, trees tend to
lose their leaves.
>> Right.
>> so we quickly had to adapt some of
our methods.
>> Mm-hm.
>> For Mediterranean style pedestrian
survey.
>> Mm-hm.
>> to more flexible approach, depending
on context.
>> Mm-hm.
>> in the.
>> The intensive stuff is like what we
do at Petra, where it's easy to do.
I, please continue.
>> In the, in the dense jungle, up in the Centre hills in the middle
of the island.
>> Mm-hm, mm-hm.
>> We tend to take more extensive
rambles.
we've, some of our work.
>> [LAUGH] I love that.
>> Has been informed by, by LIDAR.
>> LIDAR.
>> Through which, we, we can see
through the tree canopy, as it were, to
historical plantation structures.
>> Different form of remote sensing.
>> Essentially, yes.
A satellite bounces a laser to the ground
off the ground.
We can detect anomalies across the ground
surface.
We can use that to target our work as we
hike up into the rain forest.
>> Again this use of remote sensing to
help you pick your targets.
Okay.
So we have survey, we have remote
sensing.
Describe how intense your survey is, in
where you can actually do it properly.
>> When we can do it properly we
normally have very close spacing of
walkers to try and maximize data
generation essentially.
The, the island is not entirely covered
in jungle.
There are some scrubby, more open
patches, especially in the north where
we've been working.
Coastal regions also tend to be scrubby
rather than thickly forested.
And there we found our methods have been,
have been pretty effective.
Particularly, in discovering scatters of
prehistoric artifacts and also noting
historic structures.
>> And in the jungle, you say your
extensive rambles, are you macheteing
your way through or do you just try to.
>> We're macheteing a lot.
The jungle isn't an actual
macheteing setting because it tends to be
a decent ground level, there's not much
dense vegetation to hack through.
Cassie Bush is a large prickly type of
bush which covers the northern half of
the island.
>> Yes.
>> We have to hack through that.
When we're not macheting through that
we're macheting through a poisonous plant
known as manchineel.
The sap of which will give you second
degree burns if you get it on your skin.
So that's wonderful.
Aside from intensive survey.
>> Don't ask.
[LAUGH]
>> We also had to take limited targeted
excavation.
>> Okay.
>> In collaboration with the Montserrat
National Trust to verify and ground truth
our survey results and that's been very
productive.
>> So it's, you're in a situation where
you can both do survey and do test
excavations.
That's, that's very good.
But no big open, open air excavations.
No large site explorations.
>> Not, not yet.
We see it as sort of a, a sort of inverse
nested triangle of, of methodology.
>> So on a very large scale we have
island wide remote sensing.
>> Okay.
>> The LIDAR, that quick word imagery.
>Then moving down pedestrian surveys, and
it's like more focused fashion.
And then, again down through the
geophysics, down to the target
excavation.
And these generate different types of
data, but we've found them to be very
complimentary.
>> Okay.
And what's earliest to latest, what's
your, excluding AIR studios.
>> Excluding AIR studios.
Well, last summer in 2012, we were very
excited to discover what we think is a
open quote archaic site close quote.
An archaic in the Caribbean means from
around 2000 to around 500 BC.
So we're effecting, effectively pushing
the colonization history of the island
back by upwards of a, of a millennium.
>> Oh, indeed?
So no, when did, when, when did people
used to think the island was colonized,
about 500?
>> Well, I mentioned that site Trants,
which is now covered by volcanic
deposits.
That was radio carbon dated by David
Waters of the Carnegie Institute to 500
BC and that was the earliest site for
Montserrat.
>> but we think, we have good evidence,
for this new site to be archaic, so we're
pushing it back again.
And this is bringing Montserrat into line
with islands such as Antigua and Nevis,
which are both its neighbors.
>> So it's really, it's, it's changing
the whole landscape of Caribbean
colonization, Caribbean.
>> It is.
We're, we're, we're changing Montserrat's
archaeology, but also bringing it into
line with broader patterns that we can
see in the Caribbean and prehistory.
>> So, this archaic stuff, what,
pottery?
What, what's the.
>> No, actually, it's.
>> What's the tip off?
>> The archaic populations in the
Caribbean where, as far we're, we're
aware, entirely hunter gatherers.
>> Okay.
>> And the lithic, the chip stone
industries, are very distinctive but also
very dissimilar from later food producing
lithic industries.
So, we have good reason, we think, based
on the stone tools and analysis, analyses
of the stone tools.
>> Mm-hm.
>> to argue that these are indeed
archaic in date.
>> So you can't date the, the, the
stone itself, per se?
It's, it's the typology, it's the style
of the artifact?
>> Right, these, these are, these are
surface finds generated from
>> Okay.
>> Our intensive pedestrian survey
>> Okay.
>> But with detailed topological
analysis, a morphometric analysis.
>> Mm-hm.
>> Comparison to other known archaic
assemblages, we can make a strong claim
for these to be archaic materials.
>> Big news.
>> Big news on Montserrat.
>> Yeah.