I am the Principal Investigator of the Aklis site, on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Aklis is a large, coastal prehistoric shell midden that contains cemetery and likely habitation components, and is threatened by erosion and rising sea levels. Through a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and with assistance from the National Park Service, I have co-directed archaeological field schools at the site in 2014 and 2016 with colleagues from the Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures at Mississippi State University. Analysis of archaeological material takes place on the MSU campus; if you are interested in learning more about the site, volunteering in the lab, or enrolling in future field schools, please contact me.


UPDATE! (September 17, 2018): Aklis took a direct hit from Hurricane Maria in 2017, and we have been working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service over the past year to develop a long-term plan for protecting what is left of the site. Initial aerial photographs from NOAA and on-the-ground pictures provided by Sandy Point NWR staff suggest that a large portion of the site was destroyed during the storm. Dr. Shane Miller and I will be conducting a damage assessment from September 20th to 23rd, mapping the new coastline, documenting site loss, and recovering any exposed archaeological materials as a first step in the development of a strategy for future fieldwork at Aklis. We hope to be able to offer future opportunities for fieldwork at Aklis - check the project Facebook page for more regularly posted updates on our work.


Recent news . . .(April 4th, 2017): The 2016 field school was a success, and we are in the process of cleaning, cataloging, and analyzing the materials that we recovered. Molly Zuckerman, Shane Miller, and I will be presenting a poster on the mortuary practices at the site at the AAPA meeting in New Orleans in two weeks, and we will also be presenting a summary of our work at the IACA conference on St. Croix in July. We plan to offer another field school during the summer of 2018, and I will post details as soon as we have any.

(July 6th, 2015): Our work at Aklis is featured in the most recent issue of the Refuge Update, the newsletter of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Unfortunately, we did not have enough students sign up for the summer 2015 field school and have had to cancel - but we will try again in 2016! I will continue updating the Facebook page with announcements and research results, or you can email me for more information!

Derek Anderson Mississippi State archaeology archaeologist Paleoindian Clovis Archaic zooarch lithics refitting