Sapodilla Hill on Providenciales isn’t a particularly high hill. Today it overlooks the docks to the south east and some exclusive (and slightly Norwegian looking) water side houses to the north west. In the past, however, it would have been a bit more remote. Sailors (and other travellers) spent time up on the hill carving their names onto the rocks up there. Some rocks are part of the hill itself but many more are loose. The oldest carvings date from the 18th century but most are 19th century. They are mostly names but at least one is of a building. Over recent years this has been a popular spot for tourists but sadly many have not respected the historical carvings, adding their own or, on occasion, stealing the carved rocks. The National Museum and others have become very concerned about the loss of this history and have, very reluctantly, decided that desperate measures were required.
On Saturday we assisted in removing all the loose carved stones from the hill to be put in secure storage. It is hoped that these can now be studied in more detail and eventually copies can be returned to the hill. The plan is also to improve access to help preserve the carvings that are up there while making them more accessible to visitors. This may be a long term goal and it is a pity, though a necessity, that these carvings have had to be taken away.
As is the way on TCI this whole project looked as if it would not succeed due to lack of people to help until the last minute on Friday when the person in charge secured help from a local construction company. Their team was able to get some huge rocks off the hill while we were able to concentrate on the smaller ones.