You could call it “archaeology without borders.” For the first time since the 1970’s, the hammocks of St. Catherines
Island are the focus of archaeological study. For his master’s thesis, Matthew Napolitano of the University of West Florida and the American Museum of Natural History led a crew of archaeologists to Bull Island Hammock, which is between the mainland and St. Catherines Island.
Working with GA DNR, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences and Massachusetts Audubon, St. Catherines Island staff made an effort to band winter and resident populations of birds along the shell rakes. This is part of the American Oystercatcher Working Group’s effort to understand the movement, habitat requirements, and survival of these birds along the Atlantic Coast
Remote sensing has become a very important part of the archaeology (and geology!) on St. Catherines Island; we have been using various methods here on the island since the late 1970s – that’s how we found the mission. Before we excavate a site, we first survey the area using different geophysical techniques, to get a better feel for the layout and structure of the site.
The American Museum of Natural History returned to St. Catherines Island this May, with a crew of sixteen for three weeks of archaeological fieldwork. We concentrated efforts on continued excavations and a large-scale remote sensing survey at Meeting House Field, an important Indian village occupied 500 – 800 years ago.