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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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NCSS 2016 Conference and the Archaeological Education Clearinghouse

2016 National Council for the Social Studies Conference

Washington D.C.


The AEC at NCSS 2016

Have you hugged a social studies teacher lately? You should! They're doing an amazing job of teaching the nation's students about the importance of history, the social sciences, and civics. Go ahead, go hug one. We'll wait.

Make sure they're cool with it first.

We just returned from the 2016 NCSS annual conference held, this year, in Washington D.C. The conference hosts thousands upon thousands of our nation's social studies teachers, bringing them together for several days of exhibits, talks, and workshops all focusing on how to better engage and educate their students. We were in attendance as part of the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse (AEC)-a joint effort by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), The Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) , and the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA)-to provide teachers with outreach material and curriculum developed by our organizations so that they can more easily bring archaeology education into their classrooms.

Plenty of exhibitors were on hand for the event.

The AEC is comprised of the AIA, SHA, and SAA


The AEC is just a few years old, but right from the start we recognized what an excellent opportunity it was for all of us to engage social studies teachers at one of their biggest conferences. The NCSS has as its guiding framework for programming the following themes:

  • Culture
  • Time, Continuity, and Change
  • People, Places, and Environments
  • Individual Development and Identity
  • Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
  • Power, Authority, and Governance
  • Production, Distribution, and Consumption
  • Science, Technology, and Society
  • Global Connections
  • Civic Ideals and Practices
Do you see archaeology in there? We see it in every single theme! We asked every teacher who stopped by the booth if they taught about archaeology in the classroom. Many answered that they didn't without realizing that much of the material they regularly cover deals directly with archaeology/anthropology. Much of the curricula developed by the SHA, SAA, and AIA touch on these themes in one way or another and our work at the conference was to highlight these connections for the educators.

3D models and 3D printed objects were a big hit with teachers

Some big takeaways from our conference conversations were that teachers need packaged material that they can "plug and play." They also are being tasked with incorporating more technology into their classrooms; most teachers we spoke to had 3D printers in their schools, for example, and were being asked to find a way to get students using them. Finally, teachers are always trying to find novel ways to bridge past events with present events. That was certainly big topic as we spoke to teachers in our nation's capitol. 

Maureen Malloy (SAA) and Bernard Means (VCU) setting up shop

The AEC held a brief workshop introducing teachers to our educational materials

The AEC will continue to collect and disseminate material for educators. The best part? It's free! The even better part? Teachers can contact us with any questions they have about educational material. We're doing everything we can to assist those working on the front lines to educate tomorrow's leaders, voters, legislators, and public. Do you know an educator who needs classroom curricula for social studies? Point them on over to the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse and let them know we're here to support their hard work! And, give them a hug from us.

Text: Kevin Gidusko
Pics:
All by Kevin Gidusko except,
Gif: http://s88.photobucket.com/user/xrisingxxsunx/media/GIFS%204/unwanted-avoidinghugs.gif.html

How to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout: Part 2 - How to fill out the form

How to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout Series
Part 2: How to fill out the form

If you are signed up and read up on why to monitor, you're ready now to fill out the form.

The HMS Reporting Form can be found at this link. You can also add it to your home screen on your mobile device and bring it up before you go into the field. Be sure to submit it when you have decent cell service or just wait until you return to wi-fi area.

Step by step process is described below and example from our recording at Shell Bluff Landing is provided. Screen caps from the form as it was filled in is provided below each step.

Heritage Monitoring Scout (HMS Florida) online reporting form.

Step 1: Fill in your Scout ID

Once you've filled out the Scout application you can choose your own Scout ID (use this link) to enter data into the HMS Florida system. It's fine to use your name in this blank if you forgot your Scout ID or still need to do that step at a later time. Best to turn in the form as soon as possible after, or even during, your visit to the site.

Here HMS Florida scouts SM8LOL, EMJ8BRU, and BOGGS8 have arrived on site and are redy to record!
 


Step 2: Fill in site name, number, time and date

If you are visiting a cemetery, fill in the name of the site. If you received a Mission sheet, the name of the site and the Florida Mater Site File (FMSF) official site number will be at the top of the form. The FMSF number is used to track all data related to archaeological sites in the state. Contact us if you are not sure of the site number, we can always fill it in on the back end of the recording. Do note the date and time of your monitoring visit. If you visit the site several times, that is excellent work, just make sure you are filling out a monitoring form each and every time you go even if there is no change noted at the site between visits.



Step 3: Verify Site Location

This is the most important step of the whole process. If we don't know where for sure a site is, how can we possibly track or help land managers protect the site?

Were you able to locate the site with map or coordinates given? Using the coordinates from our Mission sheet, to find Shell Bluff Landing we used a geocaching app GCTools to guide us to the site (although it's a well marked trail) and verify the site location. Note: while most of the post focuses on the shoreline, the site is actually quite large and the coordinates led us to the center of the site.

And was this your first visit or a follow up from a previous time you've been to the site?


Step 4: Report Site Condition

Select from the three options the site condition that best describes your site. These descriptions are based on the state's definition of site conditions for state owned lands. Consider the overall site- one are may be more threatened that the rest of the site, but make a general assessment of how the site appeared to you that day.

Here GTM NERR Manager Mike Shirley and staff member Joe Burgess let us join them in assessing damage from Matthew and looking at overall site condition. While this part of the site is undergoing rapid erosion, other upland parts of the site are stable. Balancing these two extremes to made a determination, we went with Fair and the GTM NERR staff agreed.


Step 5: Record Threats

Select from list of threats provided based on your observations that day. HMS Florida is a public engagement program intended to help track heritage at risk, therefore impacts from climate change are listed at the top. In addition to what you observe that day, it's also fair to look for previous successful or failing stabilization strategies, such as rip-rap or fencing. They may give you clues as to threats occurring at the site over time.

This shot below captures multiple threats and several failed strategies to stabilize the shore at Shell Bluff Landing. By observing the overall site, we marked threats: active erosion, storm surge, wind, flooding, wave action, and vegetation growth. The rip-rap and mesh shows these threats have existed for a long time and continue to impact the site.


Step 6: Select Priority

Choose from high, medium, or low. What we're trying to get at with this question is how soon should someone return to the site. In general sites should be visited once a year at a medium threat level. Sites in immediate danger or that may change given a time-specific threat, mark high. Low priority is not often used, more in the case of sites on private land that are difficult to arrange a visit or is in poor condition and not likely to improve. There is room to explain your answer, when in doubt select medium.

Example of High priority: It's rare we'd visit the same site twice in one month, but such was the case when monitoring needs for Shell Bluff Landing. Most sites will need a visit after a major storm like Hurricane Matthew, but the shoreline is eroding almost as fast from regular wave action.


Step 7: Record Artifacts

Artifacts--things made and used by people--are often visible on the ground surface or eroding areas. Please take a photo and submit to HMSflorida@fpan.us and LEAVE ARTIFACTS IN PLACE. Removing artifacts from many kinds of properties in Florida requires a permit and adhering to ethical processing/conservation in perpetuity. Our goal is to record site conditions on that day, not to recover objects. Future blog posts and resources will be provided to help Scouts identify artifacts. When in doubt take a picture and send to your HMS Mentor or to the HMS Florida administator.


Step 8: Make a Recommendation

This narrative field lets your write in anything not yet captured on the form and make your ultimate recommendation. Try and tie your recommendations to observations you made in the field. Feel free to add as much detail of your site visit as you'd like in this space, anything you'd want the next person to visit the site to know.


Step 9: Submit

Well done you! Remember to submit any pictures to hmsflorida@fpan.us. It will show up immediately in our database. If you have made any errors or want to view the information after your visit, while we are in the beta phase, please email and we can send you whatever information you need.



If you have not yet registered to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout, the application form can be found at www.fpan.us/HMSFlorida. We also encourage you to join the conversation of heritage at risk on the #EnvArch Facebook group. Check back as add resources and instructions to this series in the coming weeks.

How to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout Series #HMSflorida

Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff 
Images: Emily Jane Murray and Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Many thanks again to the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuary Research Reserve staff and volunteers who helped monitor Shell Bluff Landing last month but also every other month. 

America's REAL First Thanksgiving


Cover of Robyn Gioia's book "America's REAL First Thanksgiving"

The above illustration depicts America's REAL First Thanksgiving.  Please note: not one pilgrim is to be found in that picture!  The more typical holiday image conjured in one's mind usually looks something more like this....

If you did not grow up in Florida, you most likely didn't learn that St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States.  And you definitely didn't learn about it's first Thanksgiving!

On September 8, 1565 Spanish Admiral Pedro Menendez de Aviles ceremoniously landed on the shore of present day St. Augustine, FL.  In 1565, it was the village of Seloy in which Menendez set foot, one of about thirty Timucuan villages located throughout Northeast Florida.  Menendez and his men undoubtedly were full of tremendous gratitude for their safe arrival to the new land (which of course was immediately claimed for Spain!)   A Mass of Thanksgiving was then followed by a feast for the Spanish with the Timucua as invited guests. The Spanish provided the feast, but it is very possible that the Timucua contributed some of their own native fares (to name a few: deer, corn, squash, shellfish, mullet, shark, and gopher tortoise).

America's First Mass
Founded in 1565, St. Augustine proceeds the Pilgrim's landing on Plymouth Rock by 56 years!
So, why did I wear a Pilgrim's Hat in my 4th grade Thanksgiving class play and not a Spanish conquistador helmet?

Well, history is written by the victors.  England eventually became the dominant culture in the United States so it is from their viewpoint that much of our history is told.
Gopher Tortoise: Good food for the Timucua, but not good for you

We now enjoy our English Thanksgiving traditions of turkey and pumpkin pie.  But perhaps this holiday you can surprise your guests with a dinner from America's REAL first Thanksgiving: Spanish stew, hardtack and shark (disclaimer: we do not recommend serving the Timucuan dish of gopher tortoise; That is now illegal and you will go to jail!)



To learn more about Robin Gioia, her books, and teacher resources, visit Robin's websiteAmerica's REAL First Thanksgiving can be purchased through the Jacksonville Historical Society  or on Amazon.

Whatever tradition you chose to follow, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!



Text:  Robbie Boggs, FPAN Staff
Images (in order of appearance): illustration by Robert Deaton, picture located on colonialsense.com, illustration by Robert Deaton, photo located on pinterest, photo located on UPI.com

Conversations about Conferences: SEAC 2016

The 73rd annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference took place Oct 26-29 in Athens, GA. I had the great privilege to attend and present a paper on our St. Augustine Archaeology Pub Crawls. When I got back, I talked with Megan about the experience.

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Megan: What did you expect in attending SEAC 2016?

Emily Jane: I expected to hear some great research, catch up with friends and colleagues from throughout the southeast and maybe do a little sight-seeing while in Georgia.

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

EJ: I was hoping to network with archaeologists in Georgia and other close states. At FPAN, we're definitely focused on Florida but we do have to remember that the state line is a pretty recent invention. Many of the cultures we study moved past this line -- and many of the issues we're dealing with do as well, from legislation harmful to archaeology to sea level rise and coastal erosion. I was hoping to chat with folks about how they're working on these issues.

M: What did you actually learn?

EJ: I was amazed at the archaeology in South Florida. Funny that I go to Georgia to foster a new appreciation for Florida sites, huh?! Several papers in the "Ancient Water Worlds: The Role of Dwelling and Traveling in the Southeastern Archaeological Record" symposium detailed the monumental shell architecture of Florida's southern residents. I didn't really realize just how impressive these sites were until now.

M: What was the hardest past of attending SEAC?

EJ: The hardest thing this year was choosing what to do! Many of the sessions I was interested in were scheduled at the same time so I had some big choices to make. Do I go to a session on consulting with Tribes or one on regulatory archaeology? And then I couldn't make it to the lightning session organized by fellow FPANers because I was presenting during the Public Archaeology and Education session scheduled at the same time.

M: What from this SEAC will you bring back to the public for their benefit?

EJ: Well, a literal answer for this question - I talked with several archaeologists who have done work in Florida and hope to bring them in to speak at events next year so the public can hear about their work. But, less tangible terms, I hope to become a better advocate for archaeological resources in Florida. We've had conversations at several conferences recently about how legislation and regulation affect archaeology. At SEAC, I realized that Florida is one of the only states in the Southeast that has a statute to protect archaeological resources on state property or affected by state-funded projects. I hope to do more to bring raise public awareness about these laws. Both so Floridians understand and appreciate the protection that we give archaeological sites but also to get them out to visit and enjoy the resources. That's why they're protected in the first place - so everyone can enjoy them.

M: What sessions or activities did you take part in?

EJ: I presented in the general Public Archaeology and Education session. I went to sessions on: environmental studies and climate change, Florida's watery landscapes, state and federal regulations on archaeology, and shell middens. I also checked out some posters and jumped around other sessions to hear papers of interest. And I took a stroll in one of the historic cemeteries in Athens, of course!

M: Anything that surprised you?

EJ: This year's SEAC was the biggest ever! Registration was over 700 people. There were eight concurrent rooms of papers on Thursday and Friday, plus poster sessions. And there were four sessions on Saturday that lasted all day. It was great to see such a turn out - and to hear about such diverse and wonderful archaeology.

M: Got plans for next year's conference?


EJ: I do! I'm excited because it will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I've never been out west (to someone who hasn't crossed the Mississippi, this is indeed "out west!").  I look forward to seeing some of the amazing archaeological sites out there, like Spiro Mound. I also hope a lot of the conversations on shoreline changes, regulations, tribal consultations and public archaeology continue into next year's conference.

- - - -

For more information about the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, including next year's meeting, check out their website.

Words and text by Emily Jane Murray and Megan Liebold, FPAN staff.

How to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout: Part 1 - Why monitor archaeological sites

How to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout Series
Part 1: Why monitor archaeological sites

HMS Florida is a public engagement program and systematic reporting system initiated by the Florida Public Archaeology Network that includes a growing number of partnering institutions, professional archaeologists as Mentoring Scouts, and now more than 50 Heritage Monitoring Scout volunteers. Over the next few months, Scout Mentors will be posting as part of this how-to series resources to encourage you to get out there. Part 1 will focus on why we monitor. Images post-Matthew do more to express the need to monitor and why the need is so urgent. The images document changes seen at the site over time, the goal of site monitoring.

Shell Bluff Landing at the GTM-NERR (blue the week before Matthew, orange the week after):

Shell Bluff Landing at GTM-NERR, open and interpreted for the public.


Minorcan well, just one of the many components of the Shell Bluff Landing site.

Top view of Minorcan well pre and post Matthew. 

Sarah points to intact midden and failing (then failed) stabilization webbing at Shell Bluff Landing.

Emily Jane as a scale to show damage of uprooted tree, note eroded soil from roots post Matthew.

Rebar was installed decades ago to help track erosion at Shell Bluff Landing. Can see what was lost in the storm.

A Citizen Science photo station installed by the GTM-NERR, note land mass to the west of the stand now eroded.


Erosion of Shell Bluff Landing results in accretion on this beach, note fallen trees.


Monitoring archaeological sites is a form of service to our community, the environment, and past cultures. It honors all three to be able to say you've been to these places, and with a purpose. And it can be very simple. Outside of archaeology, think of where you see monitoring taking place. In the restroom at Publix the other day, I noticed a checklist mounted on the wall with basic sanitation criteria, check boxes, and line for signature by the hour. That log is kept to make sure that room is sanitary, safe, and checked regularly. And that log is posted so customers know it's happening and can appreciate the attention given to keeping that space maintained. It's a simple systematic record used to describe changes during the day, note what needs maintenance, and provide information to the person on the next shift.
Site monitoring of a different sort.

Translated to cultural resources, the database built by the Heritage Monitoring Scouts will help provide basic information to document change over time in light of the rapidly changing climate of our planet. Monitoring takes place currently in many places across Florida--however--there are significant gaps, storage of monitoring data falls through the cracks, and few offer opportunities to Florida's greatest resource--motivated citizens who want to get out there and make a difference. 

Sea levels are rising in Florida 20 percent faster than the global rate. Local governments are already planning for major changes to the infrastructure, including elevating roads and shifting development, to prepare for a future only 50 years from now. Cultural resources will be left behind. Fifty years from now many will be eroded out, flooded, or destroyed by future development. Some disappeared in a single day October 8th. 


A new inlet formed from the Atlantic to the Matanzas (NPR: USGS)

Coastal erosion of Vilano Beach, Florida (NPR: USGS)

Monitoring a shipwreck post Matthew.

So let's look at the positive. Let's enjoy these places while they are still here. Let's raise our own quality of life; get out there on the water, or on a hiking trail, or out with friends or your favorite civic group. Site monitoring is good for you and good for the sites. Besides, you never know which site you may be the last to see before a site is damaged or destroyed. It could be your record and your images land managers use next to make decisions and describe changes to the landscape.


If you have not yet registered to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout, the application form can be found at www.fpan.us/HMSFlorida. We also encourage you to join the conversation of heritage at risk on the #EnvArch Facebook group. Check back as add resources and instructions to this series in the coming weeks.

How to be a Heritage Monitoring Scout Series #HMSflorida

Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff 
Images: Emily Jane Murray, Robbie Boggs, Sara Ayers-Rigsby and Sarah Miller
NPR: USGS images from this article: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/11/01/500293722/hurricane-matthew-took-a-big-bite-out-of-southeastern-states-beaches 
Bathroom cleaning template: imagestemplate.net

Many thanks to the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuary Research Reserve staff and volunteers who helped monitor Shell Bluff Landing last month but also every other month. Shell Bluff Landing is open an interpreted for the public, hence this post does not give out any sensitive site information not already made public. 

And much thanks to HMS volunteers and mentors who came out post Matthew to help document and train others. 

From Frightening to Facts: Human Sacrifice

Human sacrifice was practiced throughout various cultures in history. Sacrifice was common until the development of new religions in Europe, and until the colonization of the Americas. A quick google search of human sacrifice and you will mostly find information about Aztec sacrifices, though they were not the only culture to use human sacrifice as part of their rituals. While movies depict sacrifice as part of ancient Rome or in the deep jungles of the Amazon, human sacrifice was practiced here in Florida up to the point of colonization by the Spanish.



The Calusa, were a group of indigenous peoples that inhabited Florida’s southwest coast. Calusa territory was widespread and included all of the modern day Charlotte and Lee counties. At the time the Spanish met the Calusa, they were estimated to have a population of 10,000, however this is speculative. They were known for their complex estuarine fisheries and 93% of the animals in their diet came from fish and shellfish. The Spanish described their society as being divided between nobles and commoners. The tribe was lead by a chief, a military leader, and a chief priest. The Calusa lived in large communal housing with Pedro Menéndez de Avilés describing the chief’s house as being large enough to comfortably hold 2,000 people.


There is a sizeable written record of the Calusa society that was created by Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, a shipwreck survivor who lived amongst the Calusa for seventeen years. Fontaneda was found by Menéndez in 1566 and taken back to Spain were he wrote memoirs of his time amongst the Calusa. In his memoirs he describes the ritual human sacrifices performed by the tribe. When the child of a cacique or chief died, residents gave up a child to be sacrificed. When a chief died, his servants were sacrificed to join him in death. Later sacrifices seemed to only involve the Spanish invaders, and did not involve the death of any of the nobility. The Calusa constructed mounds were ceremonies were held, and it was recorded that the chief’s house was built on top of an earthwork mound.



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When there is no written record to go by, how do archaeologists determine if human sacrifice or ritual killings were performed? Bioarchaeology allows for the analysis of markings left on bones to determine how an individual died, or injuries they sustained during their lifetime. The location of cut marks on anterior body surfaces of cervical vertebrae indicate the individual had their throat slit. Cut marks on the anterior thoracic region can indicate the victim had their chest cut open, which was sometimes done to access the heart. Trophy heads, which may or may not have involved ritual killing, have telltale skeletal modifications as well. The skulls of trophy heads have a perforation in the frontal bone, used to support a rope handle, and often the base of the skull is damaged. The Calusa were known for keeping the heads of Spanish invaders, however the documentation suggests that said heads were left under a tree. Bioarchaeologists around the world analyze skeletal remains to get a glimpse into the lives of the deceased and often provide us with evidence that fills in gaps in the written record. 

While human sacrifice is a thing of the past, it may not be as distant as one is lead to believe from movies and TV shows. Human sacrifice occurred throughout the world at various times in our history and continues to live on through depictions in media. While the Aztecs seem to dominate human sacrifice in popular culture, it is important to know that they were not the only ones who employed human sacrifice in their rituals. 

Written by FPAN Staff, Megan Liebold

Images: Aztec drawingMap, and Calusa 


From Frightening to Facts: Roanoke, The Lost Colony

The Roanoke colony has become popular amongst urban legends and conspiracy theories a like. There are many theories today of what happened to the settlers who came to Roanoke, from cannibalism to migration, no one really has any solid proof of what happened to the 115 colonists who were left in the settlement. However Roanoke has a colorful history even before the colony was abandoned. Roanoke was the site of the first English childbirth in the “New World” and also hosted refugees that introduced tobacco, maize and potatoes to Europe.  Roanoke, also now known as the Lost Colony, was meant to gather riches for England and serve as a base for privateers to raid Spanish treasure ships. The first group of colonists arrived in 1585. Colonist relation with the existing native population was tumultuous at best. The invading colonists accused the people of the Aquascogoc village of stealing a silver cup, their retaliation for the cup was to raid and torch the Aquascogoc village. A violent act that would not go unnoticed or forgiven by the natives. Despite the sour relationship with the native peoples and lack of food, the Roanoke settlers built a fort and left 108 people on the island with the promise to return with more supplies. The relief ships however did not return when promised and the natives, angered by the burning of their own village, attacked the Roanoke fort. The fort was able to repel the attack but relations between the two parties were clearly getting tense. Francis Drake visited the colonists on a return trip from the Caribbean, he took several of the colonists with him back to England in the after math of the attack and general bad luck of the colony.  The relief party eventually came, to find the colony abandoned. They returned to England leaving a small outpost to protect England’s claim in the territory.

In 1587 a group of 115 colonists from Chesapeake were ordered to check on the remaining Roanoke settlement. Upon finding nothing in the colony but a skeleton, they were instructed to stay and establish a new colony. While trying to repair relations with the native tribes, a colonist was murdered while gathering crabs. The colonists feared for their lives, and begged the governor to go to England to ask for help.  Relief for the colonists was delayed for three years due to the Anglo-Spanish War and weather issues. On August 18, 1590 the governor returned with privateers to the colony, only to find it deserted. There was no evidence of a struggle or where the 115 colonists were. The only possible clue was the word CROATOAN that was carved into a fence post. Parts of the colony were dismantled, indicating the departure was not rushed, but possibly even planned. So what happened to the people of the Lost Colony?



There are many theories ranging from rational to supernatural as to what overtook the colonists in Roanoke. People have been trying to dig up the fate of Roanoke for centuries. Once Jamestown was established, John Smith (yes that John Smith) tried to find out what happened to the settlers. Chief Powhatan told him that he had personally lead the attack and killing of the colonists. Another version of this was relayed to the secretary of the Jamestown colony, saying that the colonists were living amongst enemies of the Powhatan and were slaughtered as a result of a raid on the enemy tribe.  However there is no archaeological evidence of either account. In fact, there is not much archaeological evidence of the Lost Colony at all.

In 1998 an excavation was lead to investigate the events of Roanoke. Archaeologists found a gold signet ring, gun flints, and two copper farthings. The lack of any archaeological evidence is blamed on shoreline erosion; between 1851 and 1970 nine hundred and twenty eight feet of shore was lost due to erosion. Erosion is a common threat to coastline archaeological sites, which is why monitoring of sites and possible excavation or preservation before their loss is so important.

Another theory is that the survivors just integrated with the surrounding natives, though there is no clear-cut evidence for this either. Popular culture today leans towards the dramatic, evidence for this is clear in Roanoke: The Cannibal Colony, and American Horror Story: Roanoke. Urban myths have tall tales of cannibalism taking over the colony to evil spirits haunting the settlers. Though Roanoke cannibals seem to thrive in popular culture, there is no evidence of cannibalism, at least not in that colony. Jamestown however has archaeological proof of cannibalism, in the form of skeletal remains. Jamestown experienced a terrible famine, and it was recorded that people had survived by eating rats, leather, and even the corpses of the recently deceased. However only written evidence of this survived, until 2012. During excavations, a pit of butchered horses and dogs were discovered and among the bones, were the bones of a human woman. The skull and tibia had cut marks characteristic of cannibalism. The cut marks were made with clear intention to remove flesh from bone and the brain from the skull. Though perhaps less terrifying, there was no evidence that the young woman was murdered, and it is believed that this all occurred post mortem.




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We may never have a full grasp on what happened to the settlers of Roanoke or the horrors they may or may not have faced. Without much of an archaeological record we can only speculate from written records and the evidence we do have as to their fate. The speculation and mystery around Roanoke has certainly help make its name popular even today. The Lost Colony has been used as a haunted house, a theme for a popular tv show, and even more loosely in a Supernatural television episode about a zombie virus. As long as popular culture keeps the mystery alive, we will be able to continue to speculate, and possibly even drive said speculations into new archaeological investigations. 

Written by Megan Liebold, FPAN Stafff

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