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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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Heritage Trails across Florida

Did you know there are 9 heritage trails marking great spots to visit across the state? As you're squeezing in one last road trip for the summer, check them out! There's something for everyone, from Native American heritage to World War II, Spanish colonial shipwrecks to Women's history.

Each booklet also includes a map of the site locations and a short description about each site with contact information.


The best part about these trail maps? They're FREE! You can check out the online versions at the Hertiage Trails website, find them at select information centers and venues around the state, or contact your local FPAN office to get one for yourself!

The trail maps include: Black, Civil War, Cuban, French, Jewish, Native American, Spanish Colonial, Women and World War II Heritage. Also available are trails to underwater sites: the 1733 Spanish Galleon, Florida Panhandle Shipwreck, Historic Golf and Underwater Preserve Trails. We've also heard rumor of a Seminole War Trail in the making!

Text and photos by: Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff

CRPTC 2.0: The Quest Continues


We made the marquee! (Photo: Marnie Sears Bench)
Last month FPAN facilitated the second annual Cemetery Resource Protection Training Conference (CRPTC) at the Volusia County Historic Courthouse in DeLand, Florida. The conference again drew 40 participants to learn more about cemeteries as cultural resources, learn best practices in cemetery management and care, and help keep these endangered sites standing for another 100 years.

We kicked off the morning with a welcome and introduction to vernacular headstones. Florida is full of homemade headstones, mostly of cement, and they are a little understood class of artifacts in terms of preservation and conservation. We didn't have time to view this video, but check it out at the bottom of this post.

Collage of vernacular headstones brought by participants to stir conversation.

This year we tried something new by offering two tracks. Track A for beginners led participants through a standards morning CRPT session with presentations on managing historic cemeteries, laws that protect human burial sites in Florida, how to list a site on the Florida Master Site File (FMSF), and research options such as ground penetrating radar (GPR) to learn more about site formation and layout.

Track B for returning CRPT graduates enjoyed presentations by FPAN staff presented recent cases from cadaver dogs used to find site boundaries, African-American burial practices, preserving frontier cemeteries, and an advanced session on FMSF form and updates on a new cemetery recording initiative from the Division of Historical Resources.

Both tracks met up in the afternoon for a series of presentations by FPAN staff with highlights from cemetery studies in their regions. We intended to end the session with a demonstration of how to make a vernacular headstone, but the weather had other ideas. Instead, Nigel Rudolph walked the group through what he would do later to make a headstone in his back yard.

Thanks to all the presenters: Molly Thomas, Sarah Nohe, Ryan Harke, Melissa Timo, Karen Kirkman, Shelby Bender, Jeff Moates, Kevin Gidusko, Barbara Clark, Nigel Rudolph, Emily Palmer, Mark Frank, Teresa Frank, Donald Price, Thomas Prentice, Jennifer Mack, Greg Hendryx, Melissa Dye and special thanks to Becky O'Sullivan, Brittany Yabczanka, Rachael Kangas, Emily Jane Murray, Julie Scofield, and Robbie Boggs. 

Nigel kept to his promise (along with Spivy his four-legged side kick) and posted this to YouTube (click here if video does not appear in your browser). He also wrote a great post on concrete headstones on the FPAN Central blog (read it here).



Keynote by Ranger Emily Palmer. 

But the day was far from over. After a short break we walked down the street to the historic Athens Theater for awards presentation, reception, and keynote titled "The Witness Tree: Civic Engagement and the Discovery of a Slave Graveyard" delivered by Ranger Emily Palmer. The topic of her presentation was the multlayered approach the National Park Service used to announce the discovery of a slave graveyard by Dr. James Davidson with the University of Florida's summer field school at Kingsley Plantation.


We returned to the courthouse on the second day for another round of talks. Different from previous years, this year we featured several cemetery projects undertaken by consulting firms in Florida. Prentice Thomas and Jennifer Mack of Prentice Thomas and Associates presented a great paper on the local DeLand hospital project that so many of our participants had asked about over the last year. Unlike FPAN, consultants are not necessarily paid to present their findings to the public. We were honored to have them come and will continue to gush our gratitude that they were willing to travel and present their findings to our group. We are also very grateful for Greg Hendryx and Melissa Dye of SEARCH, Inc.


Our favorite sexton, Mr. June himself, Don Price of Greenwood Cemetery, Orlando delights and instructs answering FAQs.


There's not room to describe all the outdoor afternoon stations, but see images from that day that help capture in some small way all the activities taking place at one time out at Oakdale Cemetery in DeLand. Honestly, I was separated from my camera that day and am so grateful to the CRPT Alliance community for all their posts on FB!


Morning welcome to Oakdale by Mr. Harlan DeLand himself. (Image credit: Kimberly Anne)


Resetting (image credit: Teresa Frank)
Cleaning with water and D2. (Image credit: Teresa Frank).
GPR, Volusia Resource Table, and hands-on resetting and cleaning. Photo credit: Emily Jane Murray.

Coffee and cemeteries hand in hand. (Photo credit: Marnie Sears Branch)

CRPTc 2 T-shirt design by Becky O'Sullivan. Record a cemetery for the FMSF and we'll send you one too!

For more information about CRPT check out our website, join the CRPT Alliance on Facebook, or email us for more information. Or feel free to jam the CRPT Course Rockin'n Tunes playlist on Spotify while you browse the @FPANlive feed of the conference (#CRPT)!

And don't miss this great "Made from my own hand" NCPTT posted video on vernacular headstone preservation! If video doesn't appear in browser check here.



Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff
Images: FPAN staff or otherwise credited in text

Monday Morning Book Review: Submerged: Adventures of America's Most Elite Underwater Archaeology Dive Team

For the second summer the Northeast Regional Center has hosted a summer book club series that meets once a month at our own Markland Cottage. It's been a lot of fun with readers getting into it by dressing up, bringing festive food or beverages that go with the theme, or incredibly by reading the books! Last summer we read Tatham Mound, Killing Mr. Watson, and A Voyage Long and Strange also featured as a Monday Morning Book Review (read here).

While last year was a line up of mostly fiction, this year the non-fiction muse paid a visit with books including 1491, Submerged (this week), and the yet to come Lives in Ruins next month.



Archaeology Book Club Fliers from Summer 2014 and 2015. 

SEASS Diver (www.fpan.us)
Submerged is a book I heard about while learning to dive and working with the Pedro Menendez High School Maritime Archaeology class years ago. I got the book as a gift, gave the Florida sections a quick read, and put it on my pile of archaeology books to take a closer look at during down time.

Turns out there never is a downtime for public archaeologists. There's always something we should be doing, promoting, gearing up for. And this month I'm gearing up for my swim test at UWF under the supervision of our Dive Safety Officer so I'm cleared and ready to go for next month's SEASS workshop at Key Biscayne. What a perfect time to revisit Submerged, be inspired by the daring feats of those who make the waters safer for us to visit, and brush up on my underwater archaeology history.

Submerged is written by Daniel Lenihan who we first meet as an avid cave diver in the beginning, then veteran of the National Park Services dive team who help start the Submerged Cultural Resources Unit. True to the reviews on the cover ("A gripping saga of archaeological exploration." says Clive Cussler), it is a fast paced, thrilling read that takes you surprising places around the globe including Florida, the Great Lakes, Micronesia, France, Pearl Harbor, the Aleutians, and Mexico just to name a few.

I liked how the book places underwater archaeology within the context of the 1970s as it was gaining recognition as a science, developing guidelines and protocols for safety and practice, and emerging from it's previous placement as a step-child of anthropology in the 80s. I also liked how Lenihan frames shipwrecks as places of necessary caution. Submerged sites by their definition are dangerous, illustrated by the passage: Archaeologists seldom get to pick where they will dive but almost by definition the area won't be benign...If this lake were a forgiving place, we wouldn't be here (p.5). It's true, when you dive for work rather than for recreation there is a different feel to getting in the water. Shipwrecks are sites of trauma and some are in fact memorials. Underwater archaeology is not to be taken lightly and not without figuring out the obstacles and circumstances that brought the ship below your ship or platform down.

Parts of the book remain timeless. When I read the following, "Even organizations I respected in the past, such as National Geographic, were celebrating the destruction of this aspect of the nation's resource base while they waxed sanctimoniously on natural resource protection (p.47)," it brought me right up to present day and the ongoing issue of the National Geographic Channel's archaeology based reality show Diggers. Even today I received an email from the Society for American Archaeology's President Diane Gifford-Gonzalez who provided an update on their ongoing consultation with NGC on Diggers, as did the Society for Historical Archaeology on their blog posts by President Charles Ewen (They're Back, and previously Diggers Making Progress, and Is Diggers Better?).  National Geographic is a visual and scientific institution that for the most part holds the public's trust. But National Geographic and their affiliate programs love affair with treasure is historic and ongoing. They wouldn't celebrate ivory poachers on their cover now would they. No way. Environmental resources are to be studied and conserved, for cultural resources the pendulum swings.

I loved Lenihan's recalling Mark Twain's words from Tom Sawyer, "There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's [eta: or girl's] life when he [/she] has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasures (as quoted on p. 12 by Lenihan)." National Geographic, other media outlets, and in fact archaeologists rely on this strong, emotional connection humans feel to the ground and the objects in it. It seems too much to dream that the quote should end with "has a raging desire to go somewhere and systematically excavate for objects made and used by people."

Shipwrecks are special, and the public feels some shipwrecks are more special than others. They do evoke a different response from people than say terrestrial sites do. To this Lenihan had this to say:

The lesson was shipwrecks hold a special place in the heart of the public, and Civil War shipwrecks are the most compelling than even gold or silver....There was a natural sex appear to what we were doing that, if packaged right, could generate support and dollars for our program (p. 59).

First, I think this is true especially for public archaeologists. We rely on that natural sex appeal and try and get the information packaged right, sometimes with more success than others. Support, funding, and I would add a sincere preservation and stewardship goal to the outcomes we hope to gain from the packaging. Second, this section also reminded me of when Chris Amer, Deputy State Archaeologist for Underwater Archaeologist in South Carolina, came as keynote for the Maritime Archaeology Symposium. His lecture was titled, "A Survey for the 1526 Wreck of Lucas Vazquez De Allyon's Capitana." During that lecture he compared the public interested between Spanish Galleons and Civil War ships (I presume a Confederate wreck mentioned here) and shared similar frustrations with a public fervor over raising Civil War shipwrecks over the study of sixteenth-century Spanish shipwrecks. This doesn't feel true in Florida as I weigh public interest in the Maple Leaf over say the Emanuel Point wrecks, but it's in the back of my mind when talking to the public about underwater archaeology.

EP 1 Locastro Painting (ECL article)


Maple Leaf site plan from http://www.mapleleafshipwreck.com/



Which Wreck Wore Sexy Best: Spanish Colonial or Civil War 



I do have a criticism of the book. The book is heavy on adventure and diving, but light on the archaeology. The SCRU team dives some unbelievably historic and significant wrecks. You learn a little about them as they are there to map and record. Beyond the mapping, the archaeology is nearly non-existent. Reading this book won't make you more versed in parts of a ship, or what general artifacts illustrate different kinds of behavior of people before the ship wrecked. He touches on this in the "Contemplation vs. Action" chapter where the case is made for an increase in the social science component of underwater archaeology. The Shipwreck Anthropology symposium happens and ultimately the book with the same title is published, but these kinds of interpretations are not made as a result in the book. The style returns to the pre-chapter 13 pace of adventure, close call, new safety protocol for diving or personal anecdote, then on to the next dot on the map.


Sarah at Ginnie Springs, location featured in the book.
In defense of Lenihan, he has packaged his strong preservation message into a book that naturally appeals to a non-academic community. If this book's target audience is sport divers, then what a great way to start a conversation about why you leave a point in the place you found it, or why not blow out the bottom of the sea floor in looking for gold coins that are not likely there. Case in point, several of our book club readers had difficulty finding the book as it was in the Sports section and not History or Archaeology. Just when I'm ready to write off the book as being for sport divers, I remember the great context presented at the beginning for the start of the National Park Service dive team, reservoir project, and historic wrecks that brings me back to professional/amateur equilibrium.

He also doesn't state that he made a career out of doing research. Late in the book he says he "made a career out of assessing risks to doing research (p.202)." The more I thought back to each section in the book the more I believed Lenihan's contribution was as park ranger, making the sites safe for people to visit, making sure they have a bit of knowledge about what they're going to dive on, and making sure all the divers that go down come up again to share their story with others. The pride of diving at Isla Royale is not the research per se but installing the interpretation. As he says, "You don't be a good steward of a resource you don't understand." Personally, Submerged help me understand underwater resources more as a whole and appreciation of what's come before me in the long line of scientific divers. And for that, I'm grateful, and I hope to be a better steward for underwater resources.

One more thing I want readers to know. I was delighted to read names familiar to me from attending Society for Historical Archaeology's annual conference: Pilar Luna, James Delgado, and George Fischer to name a few. These underwater archaeology heroes are still hard at work, accessible to normal people like you and me, and are today interpreting and writing about underwater archaeology for the public.

If you're interested in other underwater archaeology books, I have these to recommend, albeit more on the academic, non-fiction side:



 And for kids, read our previously posted Monday Morning Book Reviews for Shipwreck, Hurricane Dancer, and Derek the Dredger posts.


And if you're interested in joining us next month as we discus Lives in Ruins, we will meet at the FPAN Center, Markland Cottage on Flagler College campus. The book club meeting is free and open to the public Tuesday August 11th from 5-6 pm. For directions or further questions, contact us here.


Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff except excerpts from the book in purple.
Images: Book Covers via Amazon, National Geographic cover from treasurenet.com, SEASS diver from fpan.us, and shipwreck images credited in the captions. Sarah at Ginnie provided by Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.


Lenihan, Daniel
2002  Submerged: Adventures of America's Most Elite Underwater Archaeology Dive Team. Newmarket Press, New York.

Understanding Impacts of Climate Change on Cultural Resources

Effects of storm surge on Florida historic cemeteries (Image courtesy of  Ed Gonzalez-Tennant)

Last month several archaeologists, historians, preservationists, and scientists gathered near the Matanzas Inlet for our inaugural Sea Level Rise workshop. To say it was the Northeast Regional Center’s initial foray into SLR is not quite true. We’ve already participated in a Sea Level Rise panel as part of Florida Trust for Historic Preservation's 2013 annual conference and the Society for Historical Archaeology’s “Have We Missed the Boat” 2015 panel in Seattle. The North Central FPAN Center also recently held a workshop in Apalachicola for a citizen planning committee to discuss Sea Level Rise. And the GTM-NERR has conducted nationally recognized Planning Matanzas public meetings across the Matanzas Basin. But this workshop was something different.






Climate Change and Sea Level Rise are for some politically charged words, but for archaeologists it’s already a reality. We’ve noticed and have taken part on digs both coastal and inland where we can see environmental impacts to archaeological sites. And the change is nothing new. Archaeologists have an unique perspective as we’ve seen Florida change dramatically over the 12-15,000 years of human occupation of the state. Geologists reaching back millions of years have documented the dynamic ebb and flow of the coastline and the land’s reaction to extreme environmental changes.

What’s new is we want to provide the public with resources so they can make future informed decisions regarding cultural resources and give them hands-on experience recording threatened sites. There are many choices we will have to make for ourselves, for our communities, and for our shared heritage and we want to be ready. We want YOU to be ready. Ready to make informed decisions about how to spend funds on planning documents, on solutions, on stop-gap measures, and help identify sites to be identified and studied before they are inundated or impacted by storm surge.


The workshop began with a welcome by Tina Gordon from the GTM-NERR welcoming us at the Education Center. It made sense to us to have our first SLR workshop at Matanazas Inlet in Flagler County, ground zero in some respects to changes predicted in NOAA SLR and Coastal Flooding modeling tools. We then presented an overview of the environmental history of Florida to show how sites have been impacted by environmental change over thousands of years and different ways past cultures have adapted. We heard from Fernandina Beach planner Adrienne Burke who is concerned from a preservation perspective what will happen to her community and wanting to know the full suite of best practices already installed by other cities, states, and nations. We presented different options heritage sites can consider and looked closer at how rising sea levels directly impact archaeological sites and artifacts.

Before breaking for the afternoon fieldtrip Tina Gordon walked us through the Planning Matanzas program and led a SLR adaptation role-playing game developed by the University of Florida during the public workshop portion of the Planning Matanzas program to look at cost, affordances, and constraints of many of the tools available to local commissions and boards. Sea Level Rise adaptation plans could include actions such as temporary beach renourishment, living shorelines, hardscaping with seawall construction, elevating structures, habitat migration corridors, ecosystem conservation, and planned relocation. Workshop participants are assigned roles ranging from local resident to government official, ecotourism business owner, inland developer and environmental scientist, each with a varying degree of funding and SLR adaptation strategy.

Deliberation is the goal of all our education efforts. If people can discuss, argue, disagree, cite different examples, and make their case for their strategy, then our job is done. I don’t know how to solve SLR, and I’m sure each community in the regions I serve will take a slightly different approach across the adaptation continuum, but it’s important to know what the options are and be aware of their short and long term effects.

In the afternoon we took the workshop on the road. First stop, we tried to relocate a sensitive coastal archaeological site.

See it?

Of course you don’t! Most sites are in great need of being recorded or updated on the Florida Master Site File. This site happened to be under tens of feet of sand covering it up and is only in view during a low tide after a storm surge. Being aware of sites to monitor long term impacts is essential. Relocating to verify the location is just as important. The accuracy of reporting tools has increased dramatically in the decades since many sites were initially discovered. In terms of planning, the best plan in the world won’t help a site or resource if it’s not mapped accurately and verified.

Our second site visit was to Washington Oaks State Park. We toured the site to see changes since the initial 1980s reporting by Bruce Piatek. There are standing structures that will be impacted by SLR, a prehistoric site—noted in the 80s to be in danger due to rising elevations and wake from boater—that continues to erode out from the side of the seawall constructed to protect it, and the gardens themselves which will change as sea level and salinity increase over time.


What’s next? I’ve never faced an archaeological issue that has generated this much written material over such a short amount of time. There is a lot of information, best practices, and guidelines being issued every day that we keep adding to a shared DropBox folder to stay current. It takes a lot of reading to be aware of all the recently available resources. So first, to the books! If you’d like to help FPAN with this part of SLR awareness, we need help with an existing list of SLR related resources to get an annotated bibliography we can post and update as more resources become available. Contact me if you are interested in reading articles and writing a short paragraph to help us navigate through all the literature.

We also hope to offer more SLR workshops across the region and the state over the next year. FPAN staff from across the state attended this workshop with hopes of bringing back resources and adapting the agenda for their region’s needs. If you are interested in a SLR workshop in your area, check the www.fpan.us website to find your local FPAN office and contact page with emails to request a workshop. We’re also looking for sites in the Northeast and East Central regions where we can conduct the morning information session, free and open to the public. If you have ideas, let us know by emailing us or leave a comment in the section below.

Look for updates on our website and join the EnvArch group on Facebook to learn more.


Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff and Storm Surge Cemetery graphic used with permission by Ed Gonzalez-Tennant.

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Tina Gordon (GTM-NERR), Adrienne Burke (City of Fernandina Beach), FPAN staff Kevin Gidusko and Emily Jane Murray for presenting; Associate Director Della Scott-Ireton, Northwest/North Central Director Barbara Clark, and Public Archaeology Coordinator Nicole Grinan for attending; Florida State Parks for allowing our education workshop to visit Washington Oaks; professional archaeologists and preservationists across Florida and the US for contributing to our resource folder of articles, guidelines, and resources for public understanding of climate change and impacts to cultural resources.




Drone, Drone on the Range

Part 1: A New Member of the FPAN Team

Pic. 1: Not that kind of a drone...


Drones. Drones are everywhere these days and recently FPAN was able to purchase one of their own to use in outreach and education. Rapidly gaining in popularity over the last several years, drones (unmanned aerial vehicles, to be more precise) are sure to become a regular tool of future archaeologists. Providing a quick, relatively cheap way to record fairly large amounts of data from the air, drones are currently allowing archaeologists new and exciting ways to investigate the past. Even better, they allow for the non-invasive investigation of cultural resources and the collection of robust data sets to  for digital preservation. They may even help archaeologists preserve information about sites that are threatened by current sociopolitical issues, allowing for some small measure of preservation in worst case scenarios.

Pic. 2: A drone captures images of the Sphinx.


There are many, many different uses for drones and a slew of software applications that allow for amazing visualization capabilities. In the coming years these applications and the hardware are sure to change rapidly. So too will laws surrounding these useful machines. We'll cover all of that in upcoming posts!

Pic. 2: "3D model of the planned colonial town of Mawchu Llacta in highland Peru, reconstructed from 241 aerial photos."


For now, we thought we'd simply introduce you to our new colleague, Boas 1. He's a DJI Phantom 3 Advanced quadcopter and boy is he fun to work with. We're going to be working to see how he can best assist archaeologists in their efforts, but in the meantime he's been helping us bring great cultural sites to folks who can't visit them; also, to see them from an angle only the birds usually can. Check out one of his latest endeavors here.

Pic. 4: DJI Phantom 3 Advanced.


Text: Kevin Gidusko
Pics:
1: https://33.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lvtyryKTGQ1qmerul.jpg
2: http://dronearchaeology.com/wp-content/uploads//2013/11/Hexacopter-Sphinx-1.jpg
3: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/using-drones-for-archeological-scanning
4: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71roAQGDz2L._SX522_.jpg



Meet Rachael Kangas, our new Outreach Assistant!

Sweat on my brow, digging in the part of our back yard that just wouldn't grow grass, as a kid I would tediously bury and uncover toy cars and rocks; science at its finest. Growing up in rural Ohio, I fell in love with archaeology. Florida has been my home for the past 11 years now and I don't think I could survive a real winter anymore. I earned my AA degree from Seminole State College, my BA from Rollins College (go Tars!), and currently, I am focusing my efforts at the University of Central Florida as a Master's student with an emphasis on Maya archaeology. I've completed my Maya Studies Certificate from UCF and am currently finishing my thesis work on a structure from a site in Belize.

2015 Field season at Caracol, Belize. Excavating an ancient Maya tomb.

I've participated in field work in the U.S., Bolivia, and Belize, having the honor of digging and analyzing architecture, burials, ceramics, lithics, and many other artifact classes. I've also used my SCUBA certification to dive 2 Florida shipwrecks with FPAN's HADS workshop, as well as a few of Florida's amazing springs and rivers. Due to our state's number of submerged cultural resources, I am excited to use my skills both on land and in the water to help visitors and residents understand and protect these non-renewable treasures.

As I begin working for FPAN I have a lot of plans, which are constantly evolving. My archaeology background means I can talk and teach about many archaeological methods and theories, but I also have a few specific areas I'm working on. Currently, I am developing my knowledge of Florida ceramics and look forward to teaching the public about analyzing ancient pottery, and leading some experimental archaeology workshops to teach about building and firing techniques. Further, while at UCF I learned a great deal about archaeological drawing, a crucial and often under appreciated skill. I hope to teach some hands-on classes with the public to not only discuss drawing's vital role in archaeology, but also to share my passion with others!

FPAN's Superheroes Of Time at the 

Beyond "dirt" archaeology, I have experience in GIS and GPR and will be working with my colleague in the East Central Region to learn more about these technologies and the science behind them. As FPAN East Central works closely with community partners to record, interpret, and spread awareness of the rich prehistory of Florida, I plan to put all of my skills to work to meet these goals.


Overall, I plan to dig, dive, teach, engage, analyze, draw, speak, and do whatever else is necessary to help FPAN in our mission to promote and facilitate the conservation, study and public understanding of Florida's archaeological heritage!

Celebrating the 4th...with the Revolutionary War in Florida

There's lots of ways to celebrate the 4th of July...
 Grill out!
Apalachicola, 1952. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.
 Compete in a watermelon-eating competition.
1968. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida
  Enjoy a parade.
DeLand, 1884. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.
Enter a beauty pageant.
Daytona Beach, 1952. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida
Put on a show.
Silver Lake, 1957. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.
 Or...watch some fireworks, of course!
Tallahassee, 1985. Photo Credit: State Archives of Florida.


It's also a nice time to think about that part of history. When I lived in Boston, it was hard to find a spot that didn't have ties to the Revolutionary War. But in Florida, these places are a little harder to find. However, there's three here in Northeast Florida!

Battle of Thomas Creek
When the war began, East and West Florida were British colonies, handed over after the French-Indian (or Seven Years') War. American troops tried three times to invade East Florida, the second on May 17, 1777, around Thomas Creek in present-day Jacksonville. (The first attempt was in 1776 and fell apart before it even began.)

Georgia militiamen were supposed to meet troops from the Continental Army near Cow Ford, as Jacksonville was known as then. However, when the Army was delayed, the British learned of the plans and ambushed the militia.

The actual location for the battle is still up for debate but archaeologists have found British buttons in an area that could be an associated encampment. Today, a historic marker also stands nearby where US 1 crosses Thomas Creek.

To read the inscription of the historic marker, or get the coordinates to find it yourself, check out it's posting on UNF's Digital Commons website.

Historic Marker comemorating the Battle of Thomas Creek. Photo Credit: Waymarking.com
Battle of Alligator BridgeAgain in 1778, Georgia militiamen and Continental troops rallied together to attack the British troops in East Florida. On June 30, the sides meet at near a bridge at Alligator Creek, a tributary of the Nassau River. A skirmish ensued until the Continental Army retreated.

The exact site for this battle is also still disputed. A historic marker along Highway 301 in Callahan commemorates this battle. To locate the marker to visit it yourself, check out the marker on Waymarking.com.

Marker for the Battle of Alligator Bridge. Photo Credit: Waymarking.com.


The Storm Wreck
After the war ended, British Loyalists hit the road back to friendly territory. East Florida was still the closest friendly port-of-call. A large fleet of ships of all shapes and sizes left Charleston under way to St. Augustine, but a storm hit when they arrived. Several boats sank, including the yet-to-be-specifically-indentified Storm Wreck.

Archaeologists with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) at the St. Augustine Lighthouse discovered the wreck in 2009 and have worked at the site for several field seasons sense, recovering everything from military buttons to door hardware - things fleeing residents would take with them.

LAMP Archaeologists raising a canon from the Storm Wreck in June 2011.

For more information on the Storm Wreck, please visit the LAMP's website.



Happy 4th of July from FPAN!



Text and Photos (unless noted) by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

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