From the U.S. Virgin Islands comes news of the rediscovery of long-lost petroglyphs along the Reef Bay Trail of the Virgin Islands National Park:
[Ken Wild, the park's archaeologist] said “(E)vidence that the petroglyphs were carved by the Taino Indians has been strongly supported through the designs found on pottery at the Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay archaeology excavation along with correlating radiocarbon dates.” While he said discovering the missing petroglyph was exciting in its own right, he added that “it also has significant implications regarding Reef Bay and the history of St. John:
• The design of the recently documented petroglyph is similarly found painted on the oldest dated pottery style in the islands. The style known as Saladoid pottery has been dated between 100 BC – 500 AD. This means that the people that were coming to the area of the Reef Bay petroglyphs were utilizing this site for a lot longer than we once thought, possibly a thousand years more. And the carving could be potentially 2,500 years old.
• This finding strongly supports continuity in ritual places as cultural beliefs shifted towards a Classic Taino society. In essence the carving represents at least 1,500 years of people coming to a single place that they felt was sacred. It really emphasizes the significance that Reef Bay had to the people who lived here prior to the European colonization of the islands.
• This style of carving is also found down island, in St. Lucia and even as far as Venezuela, further confirming the route of those who came to live in St. John possibly going back to the 4th century BC. This also exemplifies how far people traveled and how widely spread their cultural beliefs and ties extended throughout the Caribbean.
Get more information in the full report at National Parks Traveler.
[Photo: National Park Service via nationalparkstraveler.com]