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National Trust completes Jackson’s Wall Excavation

Front Pages 05 Jun, 2023 Follow News

(L-R) Historic Advisory Committee Member Peggy Leshikar-Denton and Visiting Archaeologist Elysia Petras standing next to the Jackson’s Wall Historic Site in Newlands.

The National Trust for the Cayman Island historic excavation of the Jackson’s Wall Site in Newlands how now wrapped up.

(L-R) Visiting Archaeologist Elysia Petras and Historic Advisory Committee Member Peggy Leshikar-Denton wash artifacts at the Jackson’s Wall Historic Site.

National Trust for the Cayman Islands’ Executive Director, Mr. Frank Roulstone addresses and audience of Newlands Residents, including Cayman Islands Premier, the Honourable Wayne Panton at a Q&A.

The National Trust for the Cayman Islands (NTCI) has wrapped-up a two week archaeological excavation of the Jackson’s Wall Historic Site in the Newlands area of Grand Cayman.

The project was led by Temple University PHD student, Elysia Petras, who’s archaeological experience is in the area of inter-islands trade and slavery in the Caribbean.

Records have shown that the owner of the site, Mr. John Sheerer Jackson was paid out for six slaves during the emancipation claims of 1834 and other interesting facts about the Site.

As part of the excavation, the National Trust and Ms Petras, were assisted by other archaeologists in the community, who joined volunteers in the digging and sifting of the Sites’s remnants.

Of the 12 Heritage Sites currently under the care of the NTCI, very little is known about the Jackson’s Wall site, which is one of the National Trust’s more “obscure” sites.

Most of the information on Jackson’s Wall comes from the Hyrst records, which are somewhat vague and not corroborated.

The Site is said to have been built by a gentleman who was married to the ‘Governor’s’ daughter at the time.

Historic Programmes Manager for the National Trust, noted: “The term governor was a colloquial term back then and was not in relation to any official office.

“This exploration is giving us a window into the past and more insight into what the actual history of Jackson’s Wall was.”

After the completion of washing of the items, the next step is for some of the artifacts found to undergo further analysis, while much of the others will remain under the care of the National Trust to determine how to display then, once more research is complete.

Mr. Wilson explained that the excavation of the Site has turned up many important items including bones, bullets and other artifacts such as pieces pottery and other indicators that begin to tell the story of life on the grounds at the time of its inhabitants.

There was said to be a sheep farm on the land that comprises the area where Jackson’s Wall is located, as the general Newlands area was part of the original Cayman Islands land grants.

The Site’s proximity to the sea and the prominence of those who may have owned it, suggests that there may have been some relationship between Jackson’s Wall and Pedro St. James, which is on the opposite coast in relation to trade.

A QandA community meeting held at the International College of the Cayman Island by the National Trust sought to learn more from residents in the area - among who included Premier of the Cayman Islands, the Honourable Wayne Panton - about the site and to elicit their feedback regarding what they would like to see done with the Site after the excavation and research is complete.

The tentative plan is to turn the Site into a park, which would incorporate landscaping and benches so that students and persons in the community can enjoy the site, whilst learning more about their history.

Currently, there is interpretive signage at Jackson’s Wall and any plans to develop the site further will incorporate an educational component based on the findings of the current research and archaeological undertaking, according to the National Trust.  

According to Mr. Wilson, the Site may undergo another round of digs before any disturbance developing the Site may result in.

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