Friday, August 29, 2014

The Seminole Wars Remembered

Last weekend, on August 23, a memorial honoring the end of the Second Seminole War took place at the St. Augustine National Cemetery. The ceremony honored the soldiers who died during the three conflicts 1817-1858. It was reminiscent of the ceremony that officially ended the Second Seminole War in 1842.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Public-Friendly "How-to-Make-a-Map" for the Florida Master Site File

We operate a variety of training programs here at FPAN, and almost all of them involve some form of instruction on filling out a site form for the Florida Master Site File (FMSF-the state's repository for all manner of cultural sites, including Native American sites, Spanish and British sites, shipwrecks, and more). For example, there are separate forms for archaeological sites, historic cemeteries, and historic structures.

Perhaps the most important item on the form is the precise, geographic location of the cultural resource, and its perimeter or dimensions. The site file requests that all forms include a map with the site clearly labeled. This is imperative, as it ultimately places a "dot" on all state property, that future development will have to consider. In no way does a FMSF listing afford protection to a site, remember that it's simply a record or repository.

Unfortunately, recording a site's location in space can also be the most difficult and complicated aspect for a layperson to address, especially someone who is not familiar with or does not have access to GIS, GPS equipment, and/or other spatial technologies.

That said, there are many different methods one might use to create a map of the site. What follows is a relatively straightforward method I personally employ, and is friendly to anyone with an internet connection (i.e. access to the web, especially Google Maps) and a newer version of Adobe Acrobat Pro.

1. Navigate to the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) website!
Quadrangle maps or "quad-maps" as they're often called, are FREE to download from In the top-right corner of the webpage, click on the link entitled, "Map Locator & Downloader"

2. Download your map!

Zoom in on the map to Florida by either rolling your mouse ball or clicking + on the map interface.
Select “MARK POINTS” from the menu on the right.
*Hint* You can also use Google Maps to verify your location. 

Screenshot of the USGS map interface

Once you have located your site, single-click the location on the map. This brings up the 'marker' icon. Now, click on the icon itself, and download the latest version of the topographic quad-map (probably 2012); as you'll notice, they're typically named after a nearby city, province, or county.

3. Open your map in Adobe Acrobat Pro (or similar version!) 

You can zoom in and out on the quad-map by clicking on the box that has __% in the third row tab (from the top).  Once you have located the precise location of your site (again, you can double-check your location with Google Maps by pulling it up alongside your quad-map), tools in Adobe will allow you to draw the outline or border. 

4. Draw your site boundary and label your site 

At the top menu, click on View > Comments > Drawing Markups. A menu appears in the top-right corner.  I suggest clicking on “draw polygon” which allows you to connect lines freehand to create the outer boundary of your site (in red).     

You may continue by using the “Annotations” and “”Drawing Markups” menus to insert text, draw a circle around your site (if it’s relatively small), and more. Don’t forget to rename and save your document. Of course, you can print copies for your personal record, and attach your map as a PDF to your official site file form and other materials. 

Again, this is only one way of creating a map. It's best to experiment with different programs and applications, and figure out what works best for you. Good luck and happy recording! 

Text and Images by Ryan Harke, FPAN Staff


Friday, August 15, 2014

FPAN NEC Team Stats!

To kick-off our first official consolidated year, and in keeping with our World Cup Fever (I'm only about a month late on both of these...), I thought I'd give everyone the stats on our NEC (Northeast/East Central) regional players! Go team FPAN!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Morning Book Review: I Lay My Stiches Down

My favorite place to browse is the book room at National Council of Social Studies.  This year, I Lay My Stitches Down caught my eye.  As I open most books at NCSS I'm wondering if its a good fit for what we do, archaeology education and outreach.  From the first page the book delivered with a resounding "yes":  

The finds of archaeologists beneath dilapidated cabins down the hill: some chicken bones, the skins and skulls of coons and squirrels--hard remains of suppers stalked by moonlight, faith, starvation.

Re-reading Cynthia Grady's I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery with rich illustrations by Michele Wood I'm struck how nearly every page harkened me back to an archaeological discovery made in the field or in the lab. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Searcing for Zora: The Dust Track Heritage Trail

Zora Neale Hurston was an amazing woman, and quite a role model. She not only wrote amazing literature -- she studied with Franz Boas, taught school, worked as an anthropologist in turpentine camps in Florida and on several island in the Caribbean, reported on murder trials....and much more! To learn more about this awesome lady, I visited the Dust Track Heritage Trail.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

FPAN Summer: Libraries and Summer Camps!

It's summer (like you didn't know that already) here at the Northeast FPAN office and in the rest of the northern hemisphere. But for FPAN staff, that means a whole lotta library programs and summer camps.

A crowd of over 75 children and adults gathered at Crescent City library for summer reading programs

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ceramics 101: Majolica- Morisco Tradition

Day 4: Majolica! Part 1 of 10* (kidding, not kidding)

Mother load of majolica (Bense 2003).
So exciting you guys, this was the reason I started the #ceramics101 blog.  Moving to Florida from Kentucky I was curious, intimidated, and awestruck by the alien specimens.  To gain familiarity I leaned back on an old grad school trick: flashcards.  I made up at least 100 of these (and by I, I mean intern Matt Armstrong) and began to flip through them day and night.  Cards are good, but looking at real sherds with Kathy Deagan was a dream come true.


Monday, July 7, 2014

More Majolica Manicures: Aucilla Polychrome & How To (Steps 1-13)

Earlier this year we put together our first PechaKucha for Florida Archaeology Month.  Ryan talked about what to wear (or not) in the field, Kevin gave an ode to his trowel, and Emily Jane looked at archaeologists obsession with beer.  My contribution was 20 slides/20 seconds each talking about the whats and whys of Majolica Manicures.  

Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 Field School Notes

By now, most of our local field schools have wrapped it up for the summer. I got the chance to visit UNF's excavation at the Grand Shell Ring and UF's excavation at Bulow Plantation. Here's some notes from each!

Grand Shell Ring
This shell ring, on Big Talbot Island in Jacksonville, is the only non-Archaic shell ring on the East Coast! Wo-ow!! It dates to the Mississipian Period, between AD 900-1200. It is about 60x75 meters and about 1 meter high. The shell ring is made of lots of shell, animal remains and a few scattered artifacts like pottery. There's also an adjacent sandy burial mound at the site.

Sorting through lots of shell and faunal remains!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More Majolica Manicures: San Elizario for SAA

Since the first Majolica Manies post back in February 2013, I've added quite a bit to my repertoire.  And some for very good reasons.  Over the next few weeks I'll be loading up at least 7 more #MajolicaMani, so keep checking back.  And we love FAN NAIL: do your own archaeology inspired manicures and send them to me at @fpannortheast or @semiller88 on Twitter.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Florida Historic Cemeteries and Shells!!

The Shells of Historic Cemeteries in Florida

In the coming months, I’m beginning a “shell project” at San Sebastian Cemetery in St. Augustine. Back in November, Sarah and I visited the cemetery to evaluate local upkeep and management efforts. The story begins with Sarah pointing out a really large conch shell lain at the base of a headstone near the cemetery entrance. My first reaction was that of surprise; it was a helmet conch (Cassis madagascarensis), which does not typically range north of the Florida Keys because of temperature thresholds. Thus, my first thought was wondering how it found its way to a northeast Florida cemetery.

The Helmet Conch that started it all...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CRPT Conference Bonanza!

This past week (June 3-4) FPAN West-Central and FPAN Northeast co-hosted the first-ever CRPT conference in the Thomas Center at the University of Florida, Gainesville. The 2-day program was broken into field and presentation components, respectively. Despite being the inaugural--and experimental--CRPT conference, the sessions ran smoothly, and the meetings were a huge success.

Day 1
The morning session of the first day took place at Evergreen Cemetery, and included numerous demonstrations:

Kevin Gidusko, FPAN-EC staff demonstrates how GPR works