~ Gravesite designated for strict protection ~
CUL DE SAC--The skeletal remains of seven persons believed to be of European descent from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth century were uncovered in excavations last month at Golden Rock and Industry Plantations, or “Emilio Wilson Estate” as the property is commonly called.
The “Emilio Wilson Seven” were “members of the European elites (not African descendants) ... and it appears some form of epidemic occurred, as there were seven bodies interred without coffins, in four holes rapidly dug over a short period of time. Neither were gravestones noted,” resident archaeologist Jay Haviser told The Daily Herald in an e-mail.
The remains were uncovered as work was carried out on the Rainforest Adventures chairlift and zip-line project.
The police were called in by the developers, as legal procedure requires this when human remains are found at any site. Police assigned Haviser to investigate the discovery and report his findings to them. On completion of his report of the investigation carried out by St. Maarten Archaeological Centre Simarc, Haviser submitted it to the police.
Haviser noted in his correspondence to this newspaper after inquiries were made about the find that he “normally cannot comment on police forensic works which I do for Simarc” and for that reason he could not divulge further detailed information, as this should come from the police.
Haviser said, “... Proper procedures were taken by all parties: the remains removed, an analysis-report made, and the specific area where they were recovered has been designated for strict protection.”
Rainforest Marketing Manager Julie Zambrini said the company has cordoned off the area where the graves were found and will protect it. This newly unearthed bit of the country’s history will be highlighted at the site, which will include a museum in one of the restored plantation buildings. “We are proud to be able to preserve the history of the property,” she said.
Asked why the find was not made public immediately, Zambrini said the police had been called in immediately when remains were spotted and all work halted in the area. This, she noted, was the required procedure.
Archaeologists often can determine racial differences in skeletal structure. These differences originally arose when small genetic changes developed in populations isolated by geography.
For example, persons of European descent, commonly referred to as “whites,” tend to have smaller teeth, often with significant crowding and impacted third molars, and frequently exhibiting an overbite.
Those of African descent or “blacks” rarely have crowding and the upper teeth often project outwards due to the angled shape of the maxilla.
American Indians have well-spaced teeth, but often exhibit sclerosed dentition – when calcium deposits build up inside the tooth, thinning the root canal – leaving teeth loose within the mandible and easily cracked.