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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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St. Augustine Lighthouse: Boat Launch & Wrecked Exhibit

May 5th was a big night for the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum. A few weeks ago, the Lighthouse Park hosted the boat launch of the 1790s recreation of a British Yawl. Named “Heart of Oak," the Yawl was constructed by the Heritage Boatworks volunteers and was sent out for its inaugural voyage on the docks across from the lighthouse. 

Staff members and visitors gathered to watch the boat receive a traditional blessing with wine and salt. The crowd was invited to throw salt onto the boat before it was lowered into the water and sent off on its first journey captained by a team of rowers.
After the Yawl boat was launched on her maiden voyage, the Lighthouse began its grand opening for its new exhibit, Wrecked! 

Staff from the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum, and the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) have been working hard for years to bring artifacts from a shipwreck to the public eye. The shipwreck dates to the era of the American Revolution. The boat contained British loyalists who were fleeing Charleston and wrecked their ship on a sandbar off our coast.
Christopher McCarron dressed for the occasion
They tried the best they could to salvage the ship, but in the end they had to abandon ship. The new exhibit can be seen in the Keeper’s house, which has been completely redesigned to accompany the new exhibit. Artifacts include cauldrons, a gold coin, buttons, and a four pounder cannon. Staff have been working on restoration of these artifacts for years. Including the time when I first visited the lighthouse in 2013, and it brought up a bit of nostalgia seeing them on display for the first time. A large amount of people showed up in support of the new exhibit and I was glad I could be a part of it. Wrecked is now open to the public and is great for all ages, so go to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and check it out!
Text and images by Megan Liebold, FPAN Staff.

FAS 2016 Poster Presentation, East Central Region

In Case You Missed It!

We just got back from the 68th Annual Florida Anthropological Society Meeting in Jupiter, Florida. It was a great time, great to catch up on all the amazing research happening around the state, and great to share some of what we've been working on as well! The East Central Region submitted a research poster for the conference covering the use of aerial and terrestrial photogrammetry in cultural resource documentation. You can check it out below.

While this research used historic cemeteries as the type of resource to be documented, there is an increasing awareness of the applicability of photogrammetry and other 3D modeling techniques to archaeological research. We will be talking about this in future blogs, but in the meantime you can join the conversation at a facebook page those of us working in this medium have created: 3D Public Archaeology Working Group.

Text and Images: Kevin Gidusko

Conversations About Conferences: SAA 2016

We recently attended the Society for American Archaeology in April. It was luckily right in our backyard at Disney World! Sarah and Emily Jane sat down to talk about Emily Jane's first experience at this conference...

SM: What did you expect in attending SAA 2016 conference?

EJM: This was my first SAA - and from what everyone has told me, I expected to be overwhelmed by the size of the conference. The listing of papers and session was at least inch thick without abstracts! I expected it to be packed with so many archaeologists that I wouldn't know anyone. I also expected to be overwhelmed with papers and session that were out of my wheel-shed - things that wouldn't quite help me serve the public in Florida.

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

EJM: I've participated in local, state and regional archaeology organizations for several years. I wanted to see what the community was like at the national level. What conversations are happening? What are some of the big concerns we're trying to deal with? And how does my little piece of the world fit into this?

SM: What did you actually learn?

EJM: Our field is actually a lot smaller than I realized, and we're all working towards similar things - especially when it comes to public archaeology. It was nice to hear from folks across the country (and the world!) to see what worked for them and what they're still trying to figure out. I heard a lot about issues with bad legislation, problems with getting wider audiences involved and examples of projects that are trying to deal with climate change and sea level rise. All of these are issues we face at FPAN quite often. Even if no one in the room had an answer, it was still nice to have some solidarity in our work.

SM: What was the hardest part of attending SAA?

EJM: This might sound a little bit goofy, but living in a hotel for so long! I was there from Tuesday to Sunday. Eating out adds up, being at sessions and meetings wears on you, and it's hard to find a little space for yourself in all of that. I ended up packing a bunch of snacks and hiding out in my room over lunch - which helped with all three!

SM: So we attend a lot of conferences in a year - what from this SAA will you bring back to the public for their benefit?

Panel on advocacy and engaging citizens politically organized by two of FPAN's board members.
EJM: I was really inspired by some of the advocacy issues I heard - from engaging voters to handling climate change issues. One of the biggest things I realized when it comes to climate change is that it has so many impacts. We've been trying to talk to people about sea level rise, but really that's just one small part of what could happen. I also met a lot of people that I think will help us bring even more great resources and programs to the people in Florida.

SM: What sessions/activities did you take part in?

In the big scary room presenting my paper!
EJM: I attended the Project Archaeology meeting and a panel on advocacy in archaeology as well as sessions on Florida archaeology, public archaeology and climate change. I tried to tweet some overarching points the various presenters made on @FPANLive - you can check out some of the twitter chatter by using #SAA2016 as well. On Friday afternoon, I presented a paper with Dr. Keith Ashley at UNF on work I've helped with at the Mill Cove Complex in Jacksonville. (Check out my blog post on the analysis of pottery from the project.) I also spent some time in the book room talking about FPAN and Project Archaeology. And I sat in on a meeting with a video game company that FPAN is looking to partner with. And... I visited the Indiana Jones bar at Downtown Disney. Busy week!
SM: Anything that surprised you?

EJM: I ran into far more people that I knew than I expected to! And I even found connections between some of my far-flung archaeology friends. I had several six-degrees-of-Emily-Jane moments.

SM: Got plans for next year’s conference?

EJM: We'll see. It's in Vancouver so it's a bit tough on logistics. I might stick with my Florida and Southeast conferences for a few years, though we do have some exciting programming we're starting in August (Stay tuned for the big announcement!). It'll be great to share that with my colleagues at the national level once we have some good data and examples of that!

Words and images by Emily Jane Murray and Sarah Miller, FPAN Staff.

Project Archaeology: Investigating a Light Station

"By our houses they will know us." -Kickapoo saying 

How can investigating a light station help us understand the culture of keepers and their families?

This question is central to the new Project Archaeology: Investigating a Light Station curriculum guide. We are looking for teachers, educators, and other archaeologists willing to be part of our two day pilot workshop June 18th and 19th, 2016. Workshop will be facilitated by FPAN staff, the curriculum writers, and hosted by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum.

Teachers will be introduced to the Investigating Shelter curriculum, take part in the hands-on lessons that demonstrate basic skills in archaeology that can be done in any classroom, and be the first to delve into the new lighthouse materials.

This project was made possible by a grant from Florida's Department of State. Funding from the grant will cover all materials therefore the workshop is free! The curriculum guide will be available nationwide this summer on the Project Archaeology website. If you are interested in hosting a future workshop at your school or museum, contact your local Florida Public Archaeology Network office.

For more information and links to registration click here!

Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.
Images: graphic design by Ashley Miller using images courtesy of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum compiled by Lianne and Sarah Bennett.

Bioarchaeology: A Body of Knowledge (Part II)

Bioarchaeology: A Body of Knowledge

Part II

A replica skull uncovered from Windover Pond. Photo Credit: Rik Jesse, Florida Today. www.usatoday.com
Welcome back! The last post in this blog series broadly introduced the subfield of archaeology known as bioarchaeology (the study of human remains in archaeological contexts) and the kinds of information that can be gained from these types of investigations. You can read the first post here. This post will follow along with the same theme, but will focus on what happens prior to analysis, during the discovery and excavation. To take a look at these processes, we will check out a unique local bioarchaeological excavation – Windover Pond (also known as “Windover Bog”).

Site Marker at Windover Pond www.waymarking.com
            In some cases, bioarchaeologists are already working in an area where they expect or know they will encounter skeletons – for example, in an ancient tomb or cemetery, or in an on-going excavation at an ancient site. In other cases, skeletons are found by accident. This is what happened at Windover Pond in Titusville, Florida. In 1982, a backhoe operator found bones while digging in a pond as part of preparing for a new residential neighborhood. The developers followed the correct protocol – they called the police right away. Once the remains were investigated by the proper authorities, it was determined that the remains were not recent, and the developers called archaeologists from Florida State University to further investigate the site1.

Excavation at the Windover Site; Photo credit: Glen Doran; www.PBS.org
            The Windover Pond site is extremely unique, and it received world-wide attention. Here, archaeologists discovered over 168 burials that dated to approximately 6,280 B.C. It is extremely rare to find bones that are 5,000 years old or older2, and  these burials occurred 3,500 years before the Egyptian Pyramids were built1!  There are several factors that affect the preservation of buried bone; the most influential of which are: moisture, temperature, and soil composition3. In the case of the Windover Site, the unique environment of the pond is credited with the amazing preservation: neutral pH, high sulfer levels, highly mineralized water, and an anerobic (no-oxygen) peat environment2
Windover Pond Excavation www.myfloridahistory.org
            Each excavation is different. Bioarchaeologists must carefully assess the site and the condition and preservation of the remains before they can excavate. They must also be sure they are adhering to political and legal constraints related to the site. Some excavations are straightforward, and simply involve careful exposure, recording, and collection, while others require complex strategies4.

The excavation at Windover Pond. Photo credit: Glen Doran; www.PBS.org
            The archaeologists at the Windover Site were tasked with a complex excavation. Because the site was in a pond, the archaeologists had to install a water pumping system to drain the area. The pump removed thousands of gallons of water every hour1. Excavated materials and skeletal remains had to be carefully conserved on site. The archaeologists quickly discovered that although the bone looked solid, it was actually extremely fragile; once the bone began to dry, it began to warp and break. To avoid this, the archaeologists came up with a conservation method that required keeping the bones saturated, and then treating them with special compounds to keep them from deteriorating 3. The artifacts recovered from the site, such as preserved cloth and wood, also needed special conservation treatments 4.

A cast reconstruction of a burial from Windover Pond. www.myfloridahistory.org
            The actual removal of the bones from the ground is one of the last steps in a meticulous recovery process that includes careful exposure, photography, and documentation. If the bones were removed right away, important information related to the context of the burial would be lost; archaeologists meticulously record every piece of information, from the position of the body to the artifacts that are associated with it 5.

At the Windover Bog site, archaeologists were careful to record everything, and this resulted in a wealth of information about the population. For example, thirty-one types of foods and medicinal plants were recovered from the site, allowing for archaeologists to partially reconstruct diet and cultural practices. The botanical evidence also helped the team to know that the site was in use in late summer and early fall – the time when these plants were ripe and available to consume2. Later, archaeologists would combine this information with the results of laboratory analysis on the skeletons to create a more complete diet reconstruction. Together, context and analysis were able to provide a very detailed look into archaic Florida.

Once the site was properly exposed, documented, and excavated, the skeletal remains (and artifacts and ecofacts) were sent to laboratories for further analysis, and the site itself was restored to being a pond. The archaeologists at Windover excavated approximately ½ of the pond over three field seasons; the rest was left untouched to conserve the site1 .

Windover Pond: archive.archaeology.org
As you can see, bioarchaeology is a lot more than digging up bones. It’s a careful scientific process that can be complicated by a number of situations. The Windover Bog site required quick-thinking and engineering to prepare the area for excavation, and the skeletal material had to be carefully recorded and conserved. Although laboratory analysis is helpful, the information archaeologists gather in context with the excavation provides a more complete look into the past. Without carefully recording the botanical remains (eco-facts) found in conjunction with the bodies, the laboratory analysis would have only offered a partial dietary reconstruction.

Mural of the Windover Pond excavation at Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science. Image credit: ISpaceCoastDaily.com
Thanks for stopping in to read a bit about a local bioarchaeological excavation! If you want to learn more about the Windover Site, you can check out the references used here, or you can visit the official Windover Pond Exhibit at the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science in Cocoa, Florida.

Works Cited: 

1. Tyson, Peter. “America’s Bog People.” Nova. PBS, 07 Feb 2006. Web. 5 May 2016.

2. Wentz, Rachel Kathleen. “A Bioarchaeological Assessment of Health from Florida’s Archaic: Application of the Western Hemisphere Health Index to the Remains from Windover.” Diss. University of Florida, 2006. Web. 5 May 2016. http://fsu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/fsu%3A175745

3. Stone, Tammy T, Dickel David N, and Glen H. Doran. “The Preservation and Conservation of Waterlogged Bone from the Windover Site, Florida: A Comparison of Methods.” Journal of Archaeology. 17:2 (1990): 177-186. Web. 5 May 2016. 

4. Adovasio J.M., Andrews R.L., Hyland D.C., and J.S. Illingworth. “Perishable Industries from the Windover Bog: An Unexpected Window into the Florida Archaic.” North American Archaeologist. 22:1 (2001): 1-90. Web. Research Gate. 5 May 2016.

5. White, Tim D, and Pieter A. Folkens. The Human Bone Manual. Boston: Elsevier 2005. Print.


Meet Megan, Northeast Region's new Intern!

Hello! My name is Megan Liebold and I am the new intern for FPAN’s Northeast region!
Me at the Mill Top Excavation in St. Augustine

 I graduated from UCF in 2011 with a BA in Anthropology. While searching for jobs, I started working for a funeral home in Orlando. I stayed at the funeral home for 3 years doing everything from secretary work to picking up decedents and taking them to our morgue. I worked directly under two funeral directors and learned a lot about burial law and got my first taste in cemetery protection and management. I first encountered FPAN in March 2015 when Sarah Miller came to Orlando to do a lecture on Ceramics. 
I also dragged my Mum along with me!

I continued to find FPAN events around Florida becoming more interested in getting back into archaeology and volunteering. I moved to Flagler Beach later that year in August to work for Florida Hospital Flagler. I had wanted to move up to this area ever since I had graduated to be closer to St. Augustine because I loved the city and all of its history. I participated in FPAN's CRPT course in December and started volunteering locally at Tolomato and San Sebastian cemeteries doing restoration and recording.
Palm Cemetery in Ft. Pierce

 I also became scuba certified in the hopes of eventually learning how to do scientific dives. I strived to be as active as I could as a community volunteer and became a member of the Archaeological Institute of America and more locally, the St. Augustine Archaeological Association. With the help of the SAAA I was able to spend some time volunteering at the Mill Top dig site on St. George Street. I was overjoyed to be contacted about an intern position with the Florida Public Archaeology Network. I am excited to begin my journey working more closely with FPAN and will continue to be active in the archaeological community of North East Florida. In the future I plan to return to UCF to study archaeology for my master’s degree. I am specifically interested in forensics and the preservation of historical sites. I am ecstatic to be part of the team and to see what lies ahead!

Text and photos by: Megan Liebold, FPAN Staff

Green Mound: Millions of Meals

Current Day Green Mound (photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Approximately 1,200 years ago native peoples began throwing remnants of their meals into a pile, some bones but primarily shells. A good portion of their meals consisted of oysters, clams, and donax so between 800 AD - 1600 AD, these shells evolved from a small pile into a huge mound!

clam shell
oyster shell
donax shells

Where there were once numerous such vast shell heaps, Green Mound is now one of the last in the region.  It's located seven miles South of Daytona Beach between the Atlantic Ocean and the Halifax River (making it an ideal place to have harvested shell fish!)
(Photo: wikipedia.org)
Green Mound is most well known for it's stratigraphy.  John W. Griffin (who first excavated the site in 1948) proclaimed the mound to be "the most thorough time-line available", a "chronological yardstick."
(Photo from Bullen and Sleight excavation, 1960)
One can see clearly the stratigraphy in the photograph above (complete with yardstick).  With each stratum representing a different time period, Archaeologists can see what people ate, what structures were built and how things changed over time.  (Obviously, the deeper the stratum, the older the time period!)
More paleo than archeo, but the above image still demonstrates the concept of stratigraphy well (graphic credit: Ray Troll t-shirt designs, idea credit: Sarah Miller's friend's t-shirt)
Through careful excavation, archaeologists can tell that the mound wasn't just a trash heap.  They found post holes (evidence of structures) and clay floors as well as evidence of ash, fire pits and hearths at the site. 
Green Mound in 1924 (www.floridamemory.com)
During the 1920's Green Mound was in danger of being completely destroyed (as many of Florida's mounds were).  Massive amounts of its shell were removed for use in road construction.   By 1930, almost one-third of the site had been put into roads!  But thanks to concerned citizens, Green Mound was protected and can still be visited today.

Today, Green Mound is owned by The State of Florida and managed by the Town of Ponce Inlet.    Located inside the beautiful park of Ponce Preserve, one can walk an easy trail around the mound.

As you walk around the mound, evidence of past meals spills out:
Oyster, Clam and Donax shells
Thankfully, the Town of Ponce Inlet is working to make Green Mound even more accessible with future paths to the top and interpretive signs added in the next few years.  This would make John W. Griffin (the first archaeologist who worked on the site) very happy:
"When Green Mound is properly developed as a monument, the public in general will discover its value.  They will find that the site tells a story of great interest; the story of the Florida Indian, how he lived, and how his way of life changed through time.  And this story will be told on the site on which it happened." (from Griffin's report to the state in 1948).

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

Finding Archaeology in the Big Apple

I recently got to spend some time in New York City and sought to learn a bit about its history before I left. The original settlement, a Dutch colony by the name of New Amsterdam, was located on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It thrived from 1624 until 1664, when it was handed over to the British. The small town grow over its almost 400 years, through wars, immigration, industrialization and more, to become the global powerhouse of a city it is today.

But can you still find evidence of its past hidden there between the skyscrapers and subway lines? NYC, in many ways, is not known for its history but rather for its progress.

This is exactly the question that was asked in the 1970s when the first archaeological mitigation project was undertaken. A small building in the oldest section of town was torn down to make way for a large modern skyscraper. Archaeologists were given a few months to survey the area, in hopes of locating undisturbed archaeological deposits under the basement of the old structure. In fact, the very first government building, the Dutch Stadt Huys should have been in the area.

Sure enough, the archaeologist found 17th century foundations, not for the Stadt Huys, but for the tavern next door as well as other deposits from throughout the city's 400 years. Archaeology has continued as a part of construction and preservation throughout the city since then. And there's some great interpretation at the site.

Yellow brick represents the estimated outline of the Stadt Huys.
Foundations of the tavern located next to the Stadt Huys.
Well from the early 18th century.
As a bonus, I also found some cool Florida artifacts in the Museum of the American Indian branch in NYC!
Santa Rosa Swift Creek potsherds from Crystal River Mound.
Weedon Island jar from Taylor County.

Text and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff

CLAASP: Working to Document Unprovenienced Artifacts

CLAASP: Communities of Lake Apopka Artifact Survey Project

Unprovenienced artifacts from a private collection on the shores of Lake Apopka.

At FPAN, we are often at the front lines of conversations with the public about the collection of artifacts. This is a complex conversation and one that has a number of different, important viewpoints. Artifact collection by non-professionals is prohibited on public lands without a research permit and disallowed on private lands without a landowner's permission (More info here).  Despite these protections, artifact collection by non-professionals is a persistent practice in many areas of Florida, as well as throughout the world for that matter. Traditionally, the relationship between collectors and the professional community has been fraught with tensions and disagreements about how best to preserve our shared history. Archaeologists in general support preservation and mitigation of impacts on archaeological sites, digging only to answer research questions. A critique from the collector community is that archaeologists do not do enough to protect sites; often, the collector community feels that they are doing valuable work to preserve information that would otherwise not be known about. One significant point of contention is that some in the artifact collector community dig artifacts in order to sell them, something never done by professional archaeologists. There has often, though intermittently, been attempts to bridge the gap between these two camps. On the part of the archaeologists, there is a, begrudging at times, acknowledgement that local artifact collectors may have excellent information to impart about the location of archaeological resources. On the part of collectors, there is a feeling that their goal of preservation is not recognized as such by the professional community, that they are not being acknowledged for their contributions to a field of study they feel passionately about. The CLAASP program is an attempt to bridge the gap between these two groups and to engage the public in the preservation of cultural resources in their local area, the Lake Apopka region of Central Florida. 
56 archaeological sites are within 1 mile of Lake Apopka (map credit: FMSF).

Lake Apopka is Florida's 5th largest lake. It covers over 30,000 acres and has a long history of prehistoric and historic occupation. In the most recent decades it was a center of agricultural production. Though never heavily populated, that trend is changing now as crops, especially citrus, become unprofitable to produce in the area and land is sold to real estate development. In terms of archaeology Lake Apopka and the Central Florida Region has not enjoyed near the levels of professional archaeological interest shown in other parts of the state. As a result, we actually know relatively little about the groups of people that inhabited the region for thousands of years. Currently, the Florida Master Site File only has 56 recorded sites within 1 mile of Lake Apopka, an astonishingly small number for such a large lake feature, especially one that has had documented occupation dating back to Florida's Paleoindian period. This small number of recorded sites represents the work of the professional community in the region which is dictated by professional research, funding for projects, or mitigation projects undertaken by CRM firms. The collector community, however, has been hard at work in the area for decades. Many of these collectors have accumulated far more archaeological material than they can reasonably store and so parts of their collections are often donated to the small museums or nature centers around the lake to be used in outreach and education. These remain, however, unprovenienced and undocumented artifacts that do not serve to answer any broader questions about the lifeways of the peoples who previously inhabited the Lake Apopka Region. 
The Oakland Nature Preserve interprets the environment and cultural hsitory of Lake Apopka.

FPAN has had a presence in this region for several years and has developed long-standing relationships with important cultural and environmental centers around the lake such as the Oakland Nature Preserve. Last year the Director of the Preserve informed us that a local collector had donated buckets worth of cast-off artifacts. The collector's hope was that pottery sherds or lithic flakes could be given to students who visited the Preserve as a keepsake. We suggested against this and worked to engage the collector in a different type of education outreach instead. From this initial contact with the collector grew the idea to work together to record these unprovenienced collections that had been donated to the local cultural institutions around the lake. Our goal was to hold public lab days and to involve the public and collector community in documenting these resources to showcase how artifact assemblages are used to answer questions about the past. And that is where we are at!
Volunteers from the public assist in artifact sorting.

Volunteers assist in almost every step of labwork.

CLAASP is up and running at the Oakland Nature Preserve. We have been posting open lab days where the public is welcome to do the work of archaeologists and assist in recording information about these collections that may otherwise have languished in a closet. Once we are done at the Preserve we will move to another institution around the lake and begin lab work there. Our goal is to provide some basic information about the types of artifacts present in this area and to hopefully generate interest in further professional research. If nothing else, the public will be helping us to record invaluable information about a quickly changing landscape. We look forward to creating new partnerships and bridging any gaps we come across; this is an experiment and we hope you will join in!

Text and pics (except where noted): Kevin Gidusko

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