By Monique Washington, Nevispages.com
CHARLESTOWN, Nevis – In an effort to preserve the history of Nevis, a group of volunteers have returned to Nevis to excavate parts of the New River Sugar Factory site in hopes of gathering artifacts that will help Nevisians better understand their history.
The art of excavating is to remove earth carefully and systematically from an area in order to find buried remains. New River Estate processed sugar commercially up until 1958, when it finally closed down, the last sugar mill to produce sugar commercially on Nevis.
Upon speaking with Nevispages on Monday, March 21, 2017, industrial archaeologist, David Rollinson who is a part of the excavation team noted the importance of the excavation. He stated that the excavation will help persons to understand their history and it also give persons the sense of place. “It is a big asset for Nevis’ Tourism Industry” said Rollinson
Rollinson indicated that the artifacts that are collected will be documented and sent to the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS) in Charlestown but in the near future a museum will be opened on the New River site to house the artifacts.
Any artifacts such as metal or pottery that is found will be cleaned, photographed and recorded and will be handed over to the NHCS as part of the collection from the site. Eventually the more interesting ones would be used in the little museum that will be on the excavation site for people to see.
Last year, Rollinson was part of a group that was able to uncover the remains of the rum distillery at the back of the factory at New River Estate.
Rollinson also told Nevispages that this week; the group will be uncovering and cleaning the oven and the old kitchen for visitors. He also indicated that they will also be repairing the back of the Great House to expose some of the walls and the steps so visitors will have something to capture their eye.
He added that for the last couple of years, through the Nevis Tourism Department, NHCS and community volunteers have been working to make the site more attractive and accessible to the public.
He continued by saying that they are currently in their second week of excavation. Rollinson urged persons to visit the site for a tour or to volunteer in the excavation for this is the last week.
Rollinson concluded by telling Nevispages that the group is at the site every day until Friday, March 24, 2017. He said that they are open from about 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Mr. Rollinson stated that if anyone wishes to have a look at what the group is doing, they will be happy to give a tour and show said persons what they are working on while giving them an introduction to New River.