Hassel Island Napoleonic Fortification Monitoring Survey

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Type Title: 
Cultural Resource Study
Hassel Island, St.Thomas, US Virgin Islands
National Parks Service
May 2010
Present Status: 
Major Project Elements: 
Class III Mapping, GIS, Artifact Conservation

In spring of 2010, a Jackson Group team member conducted a monitoring project on Hassel Island, St. Thomas, USVI. The land which the monitoring project was conducted is on National Park Service Land as part of the United States Virgin Islands National Park. The project was conducted to fulfill National Parks Service (NPS) Management Policies for mapping and monitoring cultural resources. Due to the increase of tourism to the island a mapping project was conducted to inventory historical resources and the state of preservation of cultural sites. The project was lead by a qualified archaeologist who exceeded the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation. 

The English Fortifications at Hassel Island are the only Napoleonic War era fortifications on US soil. Several of the structures remain on the island and have been largely untouched since the fornications were abandoned post-1815. Portions of the fortifications were later adapted for use as part of a leper colony in the mid 19th century. The materials identified during survey consisted of utilitarian wares, ceramics, pipe bowls, glass bottle/ bottle fragments, and military items such as buttons, and gun flints. Identification of these items assisted in the location and identification of several buildings even in cases where foundations no longer existed. The intent of the mapping portion of the project was to create a digital map of the site to monitor the state of preservation. Determinations were made on the structures as to their possible listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).