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Water Cisterns as Indispensable elements for the Prosperity of 18th Century St. Eustatius

Authors: Do Khym*, UC Berkeley, Todd Ahlman, Texas State University
Topics: Water Resources and Hydrology, Urban and Regional Planning, Resources
Keywords: Cisterns, Water, Statia, Caribbean, Dutch, Trading
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research examines the importance of cisterns in the development of St. Eustatius as one of the most prosperous free ports in the 18th century and to produce user-friendly three-dimensional images of a plantation big house, cistern, and water catchment structure. The island is home to about 3,500 residents today, but it once supported up to 9,000 people in its commercial heyday in the 17th and 18th centuries as a center of trans-Atlantic slave trade and trade hub for the Caribbean and Western Hemisphere. Aptly named “The Golden Rock” for its role as a prominent global free port, the prosperity of St. Eustatius was aided by 94 cisterns that the colonists built because the island lacks fresh water sources such as streams or lakes. Cisterns use has declined as the local utility company, STUCO, supplies more running water to island residents. This research utilizes photogrammetry to highlight the water catchment and storage facilities at a plantation. Photogrammetry is a technology that processes photographs into three-dimensional digitized renditions that facilitates propagation of archaeological knowledge to general public.

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