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Saint Augustine, Northeast Florida
Going public with archaeology for outreach, assistance to local governments, and service to the citizens and state of Florida. Visit our website at: http://flpublicarchaeology.org/nerc/
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Nombre de Dios Cemetery Recording Project Completed

The Nombre de Dios Cemetery Recording Project is now complete!  We began the project in April and just had our final field day last week.  I cannot imagine a more beautiful or peaceful place to spend a work morning!

Of course you're now asking, what exactly occurred during this 5 month period Well...
  • 85 - Individual markers were transcribed, measured, assessed and photographed
  • 51 - 10 x 10 meter blocks were measured and mapped
  • 115 - Hours were worked in the field
  • 9 - Volunteers worked in the cemetery (not usually all at once) 

(If you want more details, see our April Nombre De Dios Cemetery Blog Post  when we kicked off the project).

So, the next logical question that could be asked is - why? Why would FPAN and volunteers spend so many hours working in Nombre De Dios Cemetery?  Well, because:

it's fun...

It's relaxing...

It's entertaining...


And above all, we know that we are protecting this information for generations to come.

volunteer recording a headstone in Nombre De Dios Cemetery

The Catholic Diocese does a great job of maintaining the cemetery.  But since 1884 (when the cemetery was established),  many of these markers have been broken and repaired multiple times structurally compromising the stone.

broken and repaired headstone in Nombre De Dios Cemetery

Another threat to the markers are hurricanes!  The  Nombre grounds encountered major flooding during Hurricanes Irma and Matthew.  The Diocese is working diligently to mitigate future flood damage.   But being located right on the water, Nombre de Dios will naturally be at risk with future storms and impending sea level rise.

coastal defenses in the works at Nombre De Dios Cemetery

The title of this post isn't entirely accurate since it's just the project's field work that is now complete.  The next step will be entering all of the recorded information into a google docs spreadsheet, digitizing the hand drawn maps and getting all of this information available to the public through RICHES.

So, my view has gone from this:
To this:

Stay tuned for our next cemetery recording project!

Text and Photos by FPAN Staff; Robbie Boggs

Florida DHR Grants

Every year, the Florida Division of Historic Resources (DHR) awards small matching (up to $50,000) and special category (up to $500,000) grants to help state agencies, state universities, local governments and non-profit organizations with the preservation and protection of the state's historic and archaeological sites and properties. But how does a grant get made? Let's take a look at the program!

The first step is to apply! Eligible applicants include public entities such as counties or municipalities, school districts, state colleges or universities, agencies of state government, and non-profit organizations. Projects that could be funded through the Small Matching Grants program include:
  • surveys
  • planning projects like condition assessments or predictive modeling
  • preparation of National Register Nomination forms
  • education and publication projects
  • starting or re-starting Main Street programs
  • historical markers
  • special statewide projects that address historic preservation 
Projects that could be funded through the Special Category Grants program include:
  • development projects with the mission of preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, or reconstruction of historic properties
  • archaeological research projects
  • permanent museum exhibits
  • acquisition projects for historic properties or archaeological sites

The submitted grant proposals are reviewed by DHR staff to ensure they meet the requirements and standards through the State's program. Then they are evaluated and ranked by the Florida Historical Commission on the basis of historic significance, endangerment, appropriateness of the preservation treatment proposed, administrative capability of the organization, adequacy of technical and financial resources, educational potential, economic benefits, and public good resulting from the project. The meeting is open to the public and applicants are invited to come to answer questions about their proposals.

But the journey isn't over yet! The ranked grant list is given to the State legislation, who ultimately decide which programs get funded. Each year, they make the decision of how much funding to appropriate to the grant program and the grants are funded in order of ranking.

FPAN Staff answering questions about their grant for HMS Florida.
This year, FPAN applied for a Special Category Grant to help secure more equipment and staff to supplement our Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS Florida) program. We're excited to announce we were ranked #7 on the list and eagerly anticipate next year's budgeting process to see if we will receive funding. Click here for the full list of this year's grant rankings. And stay tuned for updates!

Check out the DHR's website on the grant programs for more information.

Text and photos by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff, unless otherwise noted. Details for the grant program reproduced from the Division of Historic Resources website: https://dos.myflorida.com/historical/grants/.

Exploring Florida: House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar

House of Refuge as of August 22nd 2018 (sometimes I wonder how I got this job)

In the southern most point in the East Central Region is the House of Refuge, the last remaining U.S. Life Saving Station. The history and archaeology of the site is quite interesting, and the museum (and publicly accessible beach) is definitely worth a visit!

During the time of sailing vessels the lower east coast of Florida was a dangerous area. Rough unpredictable weather, reefs, and an inhospitable landscape lead to not only a loss of merchant goods, but a loss of life. 

In 1876 the U.S. Life Saving Service was developed to assist in mitigating the lost of life after shipwrecks. Part of their mission was to construct 5 houses of refuge between Biscayne Bay and Vero Beach. These houses would be safe havens for sailors who wrecked off shore. Each house would have a caretaker who was charged with walking the beaches after storms to look for wreckage, and supplies for sailors they found washed ashore.  

Geology fact: Anastasia rock formation is a mixture of quartz sand
and coquina formed Pleistocene epoch. 2.67 million years ago.
Of the 5 houses of refuge, one was constructed on "Gilbert's Bar" or "St. Lucie Rocks" an outcropping of Anastasia rock formation on Hutchinson Island. The rocks protect the home from large scale erosion events, but also cause the ocean spray to impact the house directly. The house was only moved from its original 1876 location once after the 1933 hurricane. The house was moved 30 feet further inland for protection. if you visit today, you can see how the rising seas have affected the house. 30 feet was not that far inland.

Shell artifacts and replicas at the museum.

Archaeologists who have conducted work at the House of Refuge have found evidence of humans dating back to 4,000 years ago. The house itself was actually built on top of a native American shell mound and there are mound sites scattered all along Hutchinson Island.

The keepers of the houses of refuge performed similar duties to that of light house keepers. They maintained the houses, patrolled the beaches, kept supplies in case of storms, and were required to keep a daily log of activities. These log books tell the tale of the perils of sea at the time, including recording the events surrounding back to back shipwrecks that happened near Gilbert's Bar in 1904.

Living room of the House of Refuge 
The reports surroundings the back to back wrecks tell more about the shelter provided by the Keepers than the daily logs can ever tell us. The Keepers created temporary homes for the shipwrecked men. From Mrs. Rea, the wife of William Rea, one of the keepers recorded more personal information the sailors and their time at the House of Refuge. Including how the men slept in the boat house by choice because the beds were too soft, that the government only provided 25 cents per meal for a non American sailor, and that they were not required to provide sugar or butter to the men, but she "did not have the heart to carry out these regulations". 

Mrs. Rea took care of the shipwrecked men as though they were family. Including years later she received a post card from italy from one of the shipwrecked sailors stating, "Dear Mother, I have news to tell you; I take marriage."

The story of the shipwrecks are for another blog post and another time, and as for the rest of history of the House of Refuge, you can visit yourself!

Entrance to the House of Refuge
House of Refuge
301 SE MacArthur Blvd., Stuart, FL 34996

Monday- Satuday 10-4
Sunday 1-4

Admission charged.

All photos taken by FPAN Staff if not otherwise noted

Happy 50th Birthday Flagler College!

Happy Birthday Flagler College!  This Fall, Flagler College is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with events throughout the year (to see an events list, click here).  In 1968, the college first opened its doors to women.  Since that time, Flagler has given diplomas to 18,000 graduates.

For about a decade now, I've walked past countless student lead tours and always thought "I should take one of those some day!"  This being such a momentous year, I figured it was now or never. 

Historic Tour of Flagler College
 Of course, there was some information on the tour that I already knew:
If you live in St. Augustine (or Miami or Palm Beach) and don't live in a cave, you most likely are familiar with Henry Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil and business partner of John D. Rockefeller.   Flagler played a key roll in developing the Atlantic Coast of Florida and the Florida East Coast Railway.  (If you want to read more on the subject, check out Les Standiford's book Last Train To Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean).

Last Train to Paradise by Les Staniford

Flagler built the exquisite Ponce Hotel in St. Augustine, FL in just 18 months.  It was completed in 1887.  (The hotel now holds Flagler College's administrative offices, girls dorm rooms and the college dining hall). 

The original Ponce Hotel that is now Flagler College (photo by Dreamstime.com)

But, I also discovered many new things from taking the tour!  Here is just a sampling:

The Women's Grand Parlor (now known as the Flagler Room) was where the ladies would be ushered upon arrival.  Women were not allowed to witness money transactions (they might faint!)  Their husbands paid  for the entire season's stay upfront and in cash ($4,000 which today translates to about $100,000).

A fainting Vicotiran lady (photo by: todayifoundout.com)

The Women's Parlor has 11 handmade Austrian crystal chandeliers and a clock containing the largest piece of intact white onyx in the western hemisphere.

largest piece of intact onyx in western hemisphere

The dining room contains hand painted murals and 79 Tiffany Stained Glass windows (how many college students to get to eat in a place like that!)  The dining room also has TWO musicians' balconies.  There were two because Henry Flagler never wanted the music to stop!  Two balconies allowed one band to set up while the other was winding down without missing a beat.

One of two musician balcony's in the Flagler College Dining Hall
Today, the dining hall's chairs are mostly replicas, but there are still a few originals in the mix.  You'll know that you're sitting in an original horse-hair stuffed Flagler era chair if it has wheels attached to the front legs (so men could scoot their large hoop-skirted wives' into the table).  Another indicator is the  cherub baby head behind you.  If your chair's baby head is looking angry, you're in a replica.  If the baby is gazing at you pleasantly, you're in an original Pone Hotel chair!

original Ponce Hotel dining chair

replica Pone Hotel dining chair

And last but not least, I learned the Henry Flagler had his own, private entrance into the Ponce Hotel Dining Hall (I never knew this existed before the tour!)

Henry Flagler's private dining hall entrance

For details on how you can take your own Flagler College Historic Tour, lead by an authentic and enthusiastic Flagler College student, click here: Historical Tours of Flagler College.

TEXT and Photos (except where noted) by FPAN Staff:  Robbie Boggs 

Conversations about Conferences (and Workshops!): PIN/NCPTT Photogrammetry Workshop

Emily Jane and Nicole doing image capture
While we usually talk about conferences in this blog series, Emma, Nicole (from out Northwest region) and I recently attended a photogrammetry workshop sponsored by the University of Florida's Preservation Institute Nantucket and the National Park Service's National Center for Preservation Technology and Training. When we got back, Emma and I sat down for a little debrief about the experience.

EJM: What did you expect in attending the Photogrammetry Workshop?

EED: I honestly expected to walk out with the ability to make a basic model. I never thought that I would walk away with the knowledge of the history of photogrammetry, physical guides, and the ability to make measurable models!

EED: What did you hope to get out of it?

EJM: Well, I hoped to learn a little more about how to do photogrammetry. I've had a few informal crash courses in the topic from colleagues, but never felt that comfortable with the process. I've made a few good models but had lots of bad ones as well. I wanted to get proficient enough that I could easily create models, without huge errors and issues.

EED: I was hoping to actually learn about photogrammetry period! My understanding of photogrammetry came from watching YouTube videos for a few hours, nothing that would make me capable of filling Kevin's very large shoes! I was just hoping to be able to create one

EED: So what did you actually learn?

EJM: I certainly learned a lot! I think the most interested bits I learned was the history of it all. The modern idea of photogrammtery has it's routes in using photographs with known scale to get measurements of objects. The first use of the technic is credited to Albrecht Meydenbauer. He published an article in the Berlin Architectural Society's weekly journal in 1867 discussing the use of photographs to measure building dimensions for a survey of Berlin, something he developed after he fell from the roof of a church while trying to measure in person.

EJM: What was the hardest part of attending the workshop?

EED: I think the hardest part for me was technical difficulties! My laptop battery wouldn't keep a charge and I was having issues with my licence for the software! The people at AgiSoft became close friends, they were seriously amazing when trying to help me get my licence back so I could do all the steps!

EED: What will you bring back for the public for their benefit?

Emily Jane's model of a dinosaur bone created at the workshop.

I hope to make Florida archaeological sites and artifacts more accessible to people using the technology. I've already modeled the oldest stone in Hibernia Cemetery over in Fleming Island.

EED: Ditto, minus the already completed model. Emily Jane is more on top of her modeling practice than I am!

EJM: What activities did you do, with the workshop or in Nantucket?

Emma and Nicole capturing images of the cottage to create our model.
EED: I absolutely loved that the workshop incorporated the documentation project for the Preservation Institute. At the end of the workshop I felt as though I was contributing more than just my own knowledge growth.

I was also ecstatic to be able to visit Nantucket! I grew up learning about the Whaling industry and was just happy to walk around the harbor front.

EJM: Most of the workshop was spent in the classroom, going through tutorials and listening to lectures about the process. We did get into the field to capture photos of some cottages that were slated for demolition - part of a larger documentation project for the Preservation Institute.

But when I had a bit of downtime, I made it to the Whaling Museum and a few other historic sites. Nantucket is one of the most in-tact historic maritime communities in the United States, so I couldn't help but do some site-seeing!

Tom Noble instructing students how to capture images for a model.
EED: Anything that surprised you?

EJM: While I knew the workshop would be excellent given the hosts, I had no idea the instructors would be two of the pioneers in the field! Both Neffra and Tom had such a wealth of knowledge - and were so gracious with sharing their expertise - that I know I got the best crash course in the subject that I could have.

EED: I would have to agree! I never expected the workshop to be hosted by Neffra and Tom. The wealth of information those two have on the subject is crazy!

EED: Future plans?

EJM: As I mentioned, I wanted the process to become easier so I could create more models. Emma, Nicole and I set a pack to create at least 1 model a week, so I have a lot to work on!

EED: Emily Jane is on the ball with the modeling. Although I hope to do a model a week. I think it might be more like a model a month?

Words and Images by Emily Jane Murray and Emma Dietrich, FPAN Staff.

HMS Florida Arches Launch!

Two years in the making and we're finally here: the launch of the Arches system for the Heritage Monitoring Scouts program! Click here to access the new database and get started.

Below is some general overview information about the new system. For a comprehensive list of how-to instructions, click here.

Scouts will need to create an account in the Arches system. You should receive an email with a link to activate the account, which will also include your username. Generally, it will be first initial, middle initial, and last name, though some accounts may have numbers behind them if there are more than one ejmurrays, for instance. We encourage scouts to complete the additional information form after clicking the activation link. If you don't select a region, we won't be able to add sites to your account!

The database allows scouts to more easily find resources to monitor through its map-based interface. Any scout can browse historic cemeteries and historic structures from certain historic districts across the state. However, due to the sensitive nature of archaeological site information, archaeological sites have to be added by administrators to individual accounts. The other big difference is that scout reports and photos are now all in one place. You can even see past reports and photos.

A big thing to know: the Arches system is only supported in Google Chrome's web browser. Some of the features will not work in other browsers - even simple things like scrolling to the bottom of pages.

We foresee some transition time as we migrate to the new system. Which means the beta form will not be going away! Feel free to keep logging your visits into the old system and send those photos in via email. As we move over, there will be redundancies, questions and (hopefully at a minimum) confusion. Please don't hesitant to send any questions to your local FPAN staff, or to hmsflorida@fpan.us. We also appreciated your patience with us during this time as we learn all the intricacies of the new system and work out any last bugs!

We encourage scouts to attend a training or monitoring meet up to learn more about how to use Arches. Keep your eyes open for an event near you!

Whaling Industry in Florida

Emily Jane, Nicole, and Otto outside the Thomas Macy Wharehouse, Nantuckt, MA. 

A few weeks ago Emily Jane and I, along with the Northwest region's coordinator Nicole, attended a photogrammetry workshop in Nantucket, MA. Although this is not a Conversations about Conferences, the workshop with the University of Florida's Preservation Institute Nantucket, and National Center for Preservation Technology and Training was phenomenal.

I always had a personal interest in the whaling industry after reading Moby Dick in high school and learning about the influences of whaling culture on the modern world. Starbucks whaling history is well known, but my favorite is Macy's Department Store. The red star logo is actually Mr. Macy's wrist tattoo he got after he was lost at sea on a whaling voyage.

1856 Currier & Ives print of Harpooners going after a Right Whale
This trip was the best combination of work and pleasure I could ever hope for; photogrammetry, whaling history, old cemeteries, and 3 dollar oysters.

Learning even more about the whaling industry lead me to question what about Florida's whaling past? We have Right Whales, strong maritime communities and industries- the perfect combination.

Right Whales were named so because they were the "right" type of whale to hunt. They are docile, need to surface to breathe, and float when killed. Right Whales migrate to the Florida Atlantic coast from December to March.

Tequesta Indians circa 16th century
Florida did not have an established whale industry like that of New England. So I will refer to it more of Whale hunting. The first record of hunting whales dates to the 16th century with observations of Tequesta Indians hunting whales during the winter months in shallow waters. Similar to more modern practices, the Tequesta would canoe along side the whale, "black leather to wood", and would jump onto the whale in order to kill by stabbing through the blowhole.

Although the exact details of the hunt are questioned by historians, it is at least known that the Tequesta did hunt for whales.

Right Whale and calf
After contact the next big surge in whaling in Florida is related to the actual Whaling Industry. Fernandina, Florida was a known port of call for whaling vessels and on occasion were able to secure a few whales in the region.

With no known industry during the 19th century, the remaining accounts of "whaling" are sporadic and were rare enough to make the local newspapers. In 1903 a whale was killed at Cedar Key, in 1916 fourteen whales beached themselves and were killed and processed for oil at Pablo Beach. The last account was in 1935 where a mother and calf were hunted. Only the calf was captured and towed to Fort Lauderdale. 

Although Florida did not have an active whaling industry, they still required products made from whale oil. Lighthouses were historically measured using candlepower- how many candles  it take to light the lighthouse. But this was not any candle, it was a specific spermaceti candle, or a candle made from a waxy substance found in Sperm Whales. So if a lighthouse has 200 candlepower, it would take 200 spermaceti candles.

Spermaceti candles were replaced by Kerosene at the turn of the century in most lighthouses, but the concept of candlepower is still used today. The items made from the product of of the whaling industry range from candles, to tennis rackets, to motor oil. Historically most people would benefit from products made by whales.

On a conservation note, it is estimated that there are 300- 350 Right Whales left in the world. Although there are protections, and no one currently hunts Right Whales, they are currently under threat from ship collisions, fishing nets, and pollution. 

For further reading, check out my sources!

Conversations about Conferences: Scotland Edition!

As part of our ongoing series, "Conversations About Conferences" we’ve decided to throw in opportunities Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) staff had over the summer for research and professional development. We hope these conversations give you a better idea of what we're up to when we're out of town and encourage YOU to attend and participate!

Recently Sarah Miller participated in the Learning from Loss program sponsored by Scottish Universities Insight Institute (SUII) in partnership with Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion (SCAPE) of St. Andrews University, University of Stirling, and Historic Environment Scotland (HES). Let's listen in to a conversation that transpired her first day back....

Robbie:  Welcome back! Looked like an amazing trip, can’t wait to hear all about it.

Question number one: What did you expect in attending the Learning from Loss program?

Sarah: Really difficult to say as I had a hard time before the trip grasping what our day to day activities would be. I knew there would be a lot of travel to various sites, and I knew at some locations we’d have the opportunity to sit down with community members. St. Andrews University worked on the application that we all supported- so the text was all there to understand we’d be looking at loss of heritage due to climate change by 2030 and discussing options for sites and communities with other heritage professionals. 

More clear to me were the people involved and the opportunity to collaborate with many I admire. I knew Tom Dawson, Joanna Hambly, and Ellie Graham would be part of the core team of the project, the heart of the Scotland's Coastal Heritage at Risk Project (SCHARP) in St. Andrews. Marcy Rockman from the NPS Climate Change team was part of the grant, and she’s someone I’ve wanted to get to better know. Heritage at Risk remains a difficult topic in Florida, so I’m fascinated how the difficulties play out on a national landscape and action through policy. And I knew we’d be meeting new people from University of Stirling and Historic Environment Scotland.

Partner meeting at HES and publications to aspire to.

Robbie: What did you hope to get out of the Learning from Loss program?

Tom presents our field visits plan of attack.
Sarah: Overall, I thought I’d gain new insights in how to access sites, how to prioritize, and gain greater understanding of the role of community engagement in addressing sites at risk. We’ve done well in Florida to set up the Heritage Monitoring Scout program, inspired by SCAPE’s SCHARP program, but are also looking to next steps and how to answer ongoing questions from the communities we serve. I think public awareness and education was a major focus for us in Florida the last few years, but archaeologists in the state are really ready now to talk priorities and how to achieve common goals to push this topic further. The Learning from Loss program represented an unprecedented opportunity to hear those conversations play out in Scotland and look for who needs to be at the table for those discussions.

Robbie: What did you actually learn?

Field visits by car, ferry, and foot.
Sarah: I learned Tom, Joanna, and Ellie are workhorses who scheduled us within an inch of our lives! And to be honest none of us would have wanted it any other way. They managed to eke out collaboration and conversation out of every hour of the day, sometimes from 5 am until Midnight. It was work, but it was good work and very much worth doing.

I’m still marinating on lessons learned, but they’re starting to take form around coastal defenses, acceptance, carved stone, and care of historic cemeteries. I loved how many of the field visits led us to coastal defenses and the public is very interested in visiting these kinds of sites, of seeing the diversity of successful and failing efforts to save sites on the shore.

I think we all took away lessons on community acceptance. The public understands these are enormous forces out of our control, and if funds could even be raised to help shore up archaeological sites, those defenses may not work. Many public archaeologists follow the “education leads to appreciation that leads to preservation” model. We will have to adjust. Education leads to appreciation, but when preservation isn't possible we need to help with acceptance or preservation through other avenues besides physical site preservation. We need to honor the sites and honor the community. And if all we’re able to do is shine a light on these special places at this moment in time, it is very much worth our time. We saw that at Wemyss Caves, on Sanday, and Brora. The community remembers the part they played in education and appreciation of the sites. It's time to break up the large tasks into small manageable ones that fit the community's priorities. 

Community engagement in classrooms, trails, parking lots and caves.

Another take away was the importance of examining social value. This is something I feel we’re on the verge of in Florida—we assess site significance, but that’s more formulaic or sometimes an arms reach away from what the community values about a site. Working out the economic value of archaeological sites sometimes takes precedence as justification of that impact is required for grants. But meeting the Learning from Loss team members from the University of Stirling helped me understand we need to do better with sites at risk to work out the social value of these sites for sustained benefits to the community.

Robbie: What was the hardest part of attending Learning from Loss?

World heritage site Skara Brae and nearly 100 year old coastal defense.
Sarah: I’m a visual learner, so no matter how much reading I did or how much information was available, I have to see a site for it to really take hold in my mind. Knowing personally the challenge of developing a sense of place, it’s a challenging task to translate lessons learned from the project to the public I serve back in Florida. I spent a good bit of time writing notes to myself for what I can do in Florida to bring these lessons learned to the public, or rather the model the Learning from Loss project provided. Definitely increase beach walks for the community, and hold more public meetings. 

The Learning from Loss program gave us an unprecedented amount of time to really deliberate over lessons learned from the field visits. I think the public needs this too. Too often we present the public with a lecture or a walking tour of a site. But how often do we sit down and pose difficult questions to the public and sincerely listen to their answers? Not often enough. This is a big part of what I want to take back to Florida- to schedule some regional town hall kind of meetings where those already interested in Florida heritage at risk can come be part of the larger discussion and provide insights that lead to informed decisions.

Community meeting at Newark Bay and discussing stabilization of the Norse chapel and burial ground.

Robbie: What from Learning from Loss will you bring back to the public for their benefit?

Sarah: I guess I got ahead of myself and started to answer this already: the hope of organizing more community meetings and beach walks to visit coastal defenses. But to add to that, people are very curious about what I was doing over in Scotland and I hope to capitalize on that interest and draw them into further discussions about sites at risk. Today I showed you guys (staff) a 10 minute show of 20 slides to give you a sense of what I was up to the last two weeks. It occurs to me I should tack these on to my regularly scheduled talks for the rest of the summer. For example, I have my annual talk to the Lighthouse Archaeology Maritime Program’s summer field school. I talk to them about the importance of public archaeology, but I don't think they realize the larger global goals we're trying to accomplish by sharing the archaeology of our community with the public. 

They have maritime heritage at risk, we have maritime heritage at risk!
They have historic cemeteries at risk, we have historic cemeteries at risk!

You say Scotland during a talk, and people have already put on a different set of listening ears. They are immediately curious what I was doing over there and the global connection of heritage sites at risk is not immediately obvious to them. It's an opportunity. Since I got back I've noticed Scotland holds a special place in people's hearts and minds, a place they already feel connected toa vague family connection or a place they've always wanted to visitit opens an unique door for this timely and sensitive topic. Heritage at risk is global and the more we understand how the climate of Florida and Scotland are connected, the more we understand how universal the problem—and hopefully the solution—is. 

Robbie: What direct activities did you do?

Many ways to engage the public on heritage at risk issues.
Sarah:  The core group, of which I was a part, took part in all components of the program. From lectures and discussions at the beginning and end of the program at Historic Environment Scotland offices, to the days and days of field visits by car, ferry, and trek. I mentioned the community meetings that took place in schools or community centers, which were my favorite. We also did interviews for St. Andrews University to produce into videos, so that took some time at the start or end of the day. Ellie Graham and I also had the opportunity to go on BBC Radio! It's a humbling experience to do mass media, it’s always a wake-up call: the questions the interviewer asks, the other issues taking up the hour, the perspective people have about archaeology in general and climate change specifically. For example, the BBC interviewer was totally surprised to hear we have archaeology in Florida! I would argue we have world heritage worthy archaeology in Florida, and our sites are in fact older (14,500 years old).

Robbie: Anything that surprised you?

Celebrating my birthday after an amazing week.
Sarah:  It shouldn't have surprised me, but I didn't think ahead of time about how close the project team would grow over the weeks we were together. If the project was conducted entirely in lecture halls or classrooms, it would have been difficult to form sincere personal connections with all in the room. But each day and at each site, I found myself in a different pairing in the car or walking along the trail. We know as archaeologists that context is important, but we don't often get to understand the context of our own subculture to a very full extent. In short, we grew very close in a short amount of time. Connections were made by the team that I hope will sustain many years over many many miles.

And not everyone was from far away, Bill Lees [Executive Director of FPAN] and Monica Beck of UWF were part of the team. It was more important than I could have anticipated to soundboard ideas in the moment and decompress the days events with them, I felt more balanced throughout the project and I feel more sustained support going forward. They saw ideas and solutions I didn't see and brought a range of experience to conversations I could not. Bill takes every opportunity to tell me I'm doing a good job and I'm a valuable part of the FPAN team, but really I've been given the opportunity by Bill to explore public archaeology and heritage at risk--and the support for ideas that came out of those opportunities--that very few people experience. 

And I'm grateful Tom and Jo for bringing us into the fold. For recognizing the work we're doing in Florida and believing we could be strong members of the team. It makes me want to work that much harder to know the names and faces of so many others joined in this effort. 

Robbie:  Got future plans for Learning from Loss?

Sarah: Oh yes! In August we have our 3rd Annual Tidally United Summit in Florida where I present the annual report for our Heritage Monitoring Scout program. Learning from Loss will be one of the major highlights in my presentation and provide attendees with another format for pubic engagement by mimicking the Learning from Loss template. I’ll see some of the Learning from Loss colleagues at the European Archaeology Association meetings in Barcelona where we have two papers in different sessions that present work done on heritage at risk in Florida. I’m the Chair of the Society for Historical Archaeology’s (SHA) Heritage at Risk Committee, where I hope to report back from the Learning from Loss program via the SHA blog and help foster international collaborations as we plan for our annual conference in Lisbon, Portugal in 2021. And finally, the Learning from Loss program focused on impacts by 2030. I think it’s fair to say I’ve put 2030 on my radar as a year to return to Scotland and see what became of the communities and sites we visited as 2040 and 2050 light up on the horizon.  

Monitoring Skara Brae
Timetable for #LearningfromLoss field trip:
Daytime activity
Evening accommodation
Edinburgh / Three endangered cemeteries

Meeting in Edinburgh  / HES
Edinburgh - St Andrews

St Andrews, Agnes Blackadder Hall
Wemyss Caves
St Andrews - Wemyss

St Andrews, Agnes Blackadder Hall
St Andrews and Arbroath
St Andrews - Brechin

Brechin,Northern Hotel
St Vigeans and Aberlemno
Brechin - Aberdeen
Evening ferry to Kirkwall
Stenness, Standing Stones Hotel
Orkney Mainland
Around Mainland

Stenness, Standing Stones Hotel
Sanday sites
Around Sanday
Morning ferry to Sanday
Sanday, Kettletoft
Around Sanday

Sanday, Kettletoft
Orkney Mainland
Around Mainland
Midday ferry to Kirkwall
Stromness, Northlink Ferry
Caithness sites (brochs and castles)
Scrabster - Dornoch
Morning ferry to Scrabster
Dornoch, Eagle Hotel
Sutherland sites (Dornoch and Brora)
Dornoch - Edinburgh

Meeting HES, Edinburgh


Learning from Loss Project Team
Bill Lees (Executive Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network, University of West of Florida)
David Harkin (Climate Change Scientist, Historic Environment Scotland)
Deirdre Cameron (Senior Casework Officer, Historic Environment Scotland)
Ellie Graham (SCAPE, University of St Andrews)
Hannah Genders Boyd (Intern, Historic Environment Scotland)
Hugh McBrien (ALGAO Chair and Service Manager, Association of Local Government Officers)
Jo Hambly (SCAPE, University of St Andrews)
John Raven (Deputy Head of Casework, Historic Environment Scotland)
Kirsty Owen (Senior Archaeology Manager, Historic Environment Scotland)
Laura Hindmarch (Archaeology and World Heritage Manager, Historic Environment Scotland)
Liz Robson (PhD candidate, University of Stirling)
Mairi Davies (Climate Change Manager, Historic Environment Scotland)
Marcy Rockman (Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator, US National Parks Service)
Monica Beck (University of West of Florida)
Qian Gao (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Stirling)
Robin Turner, Chair (Head of Survey & Recording, Historic Environment Scotland)
Sally Foster (Lecturer in Heritage and Conservation, University of Stirling)
Sarah Miller (Regional Director, FPAN, Flagler College)
Sian Jones (University of Stirling)
Tom Dawson (SCAPE, University of St Andrews)

For more about the Learning from Loss program, visit the SUII project page or search #learningfromloss on Twitter to see live tweets from the field.

See also:

Scottish Universities Insight Institute Learning From Loss programme page

Text and Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

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