GREAT BAY, St. Maarten (Tuesday, June 19, 2012)-From June 11-15, the initiation of the European Union EUROTAST Program began at York, England, having representation of seven European countries with 11 scientific institutions from across Europe, and 13 new Doctorate students of many different nationalities. The Netherlands were represented at EUROTAST by Dr. Jay Haviser, as a cooperation of Leiden University and the St. Maarten Archaeological Center (SIMARC), and the EUROTAST doctorate fellow for Leiden University, Mr. Ryan Espersen, currently a resident of Saba. Prof. Corinne Hofmann of Leiden University is also a EUROTAST supervisor for Mr. Espersen.
The EUROTAST is a Marie Curie Training Network program for the advanced study of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from the multi-disciplinary perspective of History, Archaeology and Genetics. The long-term goal of EUROTAST is to expand our understanding of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade beyond past research potentials, with particular emphasis on the introduction of significant new genetics research (DNA and isotope studies) developed in the last few years. However a very important additional element of the goals for EUROTAST are to bring the new discoveries produced by the various fellows research, into the general public awareness, through educational programs, community outreach and the media. The research leading to the results of these doctorate studies has received funding from the People Program (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program.
The overall funding for the EUROTAST Program is 4.3 million Euros for the full three-year period. The central European coordination for the EUROTAST Program is via the University of Copenhagen at Denmark.
This initial York meeting was to familiarize the 13 fellows with the overall goals of the program, and to begin training in public outreach and professional procedures required by EUROTAST, as well as to meet each other and the various institutional supervisors.
Aside from the completion of their formal doctorate research in the next three years, the fellows are also required to attend numerous training symposia, relating to the multi-disciplinary fields and to communicate their results to the general public. Many of the training symposia are to be held at associated institutions across Europe, with additional symposia in West Africa, and the Caribbean. The Caribbean symposium, hosted by SIMARC, will be held on St. Maarten in early 2013, to be attended by the numerous national representatives, and will be partly open to the public, including a public lecture. An additional planned aspect of the Caribbean symposium will include fieldwork training for the EUROTAST fellows in a SIMARC-SECAR excavation research project, on either St. Maarten or St. Eustatius.