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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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Carl Halbirt receives Order of La Florida Award

Last month a crowd gathered at City Hall to celebrate Carl Halbir's induction into the Order of La Florida.

From the City of St. Augustine website, details of the award are as follows:

The Order of La Florida was created by the city commission in 1975 to recognize a person “who over a long period of time has unselfishly devoted his or her time and talent to the welfare and betterment of St. Augustine’s citizens and heritage, who has exemplified the finest qualities of citizenship, and has contributed extraordinary services to the community.”  Recipients must be 55 years of age and there may not be more than nine living recipients at any one time. A nomination originates with a member of the city commission and is presented to the city manager who then puts it before the entire commission for confirmation. Halbirt was nominated by Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline.

Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Cline's comments read at the ceremony:

Good afternoon and thank you for joining us for this presentation.

And thank you Mayor Shaver, for sharing the background of the Order of La
Florida and especially for reading the names of all the previous recipients so that
we might recall the wide and varied and contributions each brought to our city.
And today we add the name of Carl D. Halbirt to that list.

Carl served as the city’s archaeologist from 1990 to 2017 after having worked in
various locations in the American Southwest for 16 years. During his time with
the city, Carl conducted more than 800 archaeological projects as part of the
city’s Archaeological Preservation Ordinance. A much sought after speaker and
a prolific writer, Carl has published his research in professional journals and has
presented research and findings at conferences nearly a hundred times during his
four decades as an archaeologist.

Although the majority of Halbirt’s work in St. Augustine were projects that dealt
with materials dating to the historic era, 1565 to the early 20th century, some
projects have delved into the prehistoric era. The data literally unearthed enabled
Carl to gain a unique perspective of St. Augustine’s archaeological landscape.
The many awards and recognitions Carl has earned include the Individual
Carl’s leadership, the city’s archaeology program was recognized by the
Advisory Council for Historic Preservation as a Preservation America Steward
in 2015.

Carl’s active role interpreting St. Augustine’s unique cultural heritage through
public outreach programs and civic organizations served to popularize
archaeology in St. Augustine. It seems every new discovery was embraced by
the media whose coverage served to remind our community and others across
Northeast Florida of St. Augustine’s long and important history.
When projects were taking place in any highly visible part of the city, Carl
always took time to explain his work to interested visitors who eagerly listened.
It was not uncommon to see Carl, standing knee deep in a pit working to clear
the way for a new waterline, to stop and point out to tourists a thin line of black
soil running along the side of the pit and say “See this? That is from the time Sir
Francis Drake burned St. Augustine in 1586.”

Onlookers would invariably ooh and aah a little and walk away knowing they
had experienced an authentic piece of the Nation’s Oldest City’s history.
Carl’s enthusiasm for his work and his willingness to share information has gone
a long way to educate the public that the wealth gleaned from archaeology is not
gold or silver, but rather knowledge gained from pottery shards, rusty nails and
the occasional pipe stem or plain necklace. What some would consider trash,
Carl has taught us that this is our treasure…simply knowing more about those
who walked our streets long before us.

Carl, on behalf of my fellow Commissioners and the entire community we thank
you for all you have done to increase not only our knowledge and understanding
of St. Augustine, but the extraordinary efforts you have taken to to share that
knowledge with others.

Award inscription:

The City of St. Augustine awards the highest honor within its power to bestow,
The Historic Order of La Florida to Carl D. Halbirt in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to St. Augustine’s historical record from his 27 years as city archaeologist, the inspiration he has instilled in others as a teacher, historical archaeologist and author, and his commitment to the greater understanding of the city’s primacy in the settlement and development of Florida and the United States.

Presented in the name of a grateful citizenry by the City Commission of St. Augustine, Florida this 12th day of February, Two Thousand Eighteen in the four-hundredth and fifty-second year of the founding of St. Augustine, the Nation’s Oldest City.

Carl is the 20th person to receive the award (City of St. Augustine website):

  • Henry W. McMillan, 1975,
  • Herbert E. Wolfe, 1977,
  • John D. Bailey, 1977,
  • Albert C. Manucy, 1983,
  • Lawrence Lewis, Jr., 1984,
  • Eleanor Phillips Barnes, 1986,
  • Xavier Lopez Pellicer, Sr., 1987,
  • Clarissa Anderson Gibbs, 1987,
  • Luis Rafael Arana, 1988,
  • Eugene Lyon, 1988,
  • Edward G. Mussallem, 1994,
  • Jerome George Kass, 1997,
  • Kenneth Beeson, 2001,
  • William L. Proctor, 2001,
  • Michael Gannon, 2007,
  • Kathleen Deagan, 2007,
  • Frank D. Usina & Elizabeth K. Usina, 2009,
  • H. L. “Herbie” Wiles, 2013, and
  • Robert B. Hayling, 2013.
Special thanks to St. Augustine City Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline for sharing opening comments prepared for the ceremony on Monday! 


Text: Nancy Silkes-Kline comments, press release from City of St. Augustine Website, with additional text by Sarah Miller, FPAN staff
Images: City invitation, all other images Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Florida Archaeology Month 2018: Heritage at Risk

It's finally that time again - like Christmas, planning a wedding and moving all at one! That's right - it's Florida Archaeology Month!! We'll be hitting the streets hard to spread the word about Florida's buried past and hand out some fantastic posters and bookmarks. For a complete list of all FAM events, check out the newly designed FAM website.

This year's Florida Archaeology Month theme is Heritage at Risk. But, you may ask, what exactly does that mean? Archaeological sites are threatened and being impacted by a variety of natural and human causes. One of the biggest threats include impacts from climate change. In Florida, these include coastal erosion, increased and intensified storm events, and increased and intensified flooding. Archaeologists, historic preservationists, museum specialists, archivists and others are working hard to find solutions to address these issues before we loose important heritage sites. 

Learn more about the sites and projects featured on the poster:

The University of South Florida's Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections is working with the National Park Service to document important structures like the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas using 3D technology.

The Seminole Tribal Historic Preservation Office is looking at how Egmont Key, an important site to the Tribe for it's role during the Seminole Wars, has changed through the years - and how it could continue to change in the future.

Don't dive? Don't worry! You can take a virtual tour of any of the sites on Florida's Underwater Archaeological Preserves or the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail.

Archaeologists with NPS's Southeastern Archaeological Center have been working at Canaveral National Seashore to document and slow coastal erosion at sites like Turtle Mound and Castle Windy.

And of course, here at FPAN, we've been working on monitoring archaeological sites across the state through Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS Florida).

Words by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

Archaeology Day at the Capitol

On January 29, we hit the road for Tallahassee to participate in the 2018 Archaeology Day at the Capitol. The event aimed to raise awareness of Florida's archaeological resources with legislators, staffers and anyone else passing through the Capitol!

Archaeologists from throughout Florida set up tables in the lobby of the Capitol building with activities, artifact displays and information on the many sites across the state. Visitors could also learn about how they could get involved with archaeology, from volunteering on a local excavation to touring sites on public lands.

Thanks to our participating organizations:
Thanks to everyone who participated or stopped by!

Text and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff.

Dating In Middle School

 As a part of FPAN's outreach mission, we spent a full day at a St. Johns County middle school teaching kids about dating.  With Valentine's Day right around the corner, it seemed like a timely topic.

Emily Jane Murray captivates her audience
If these young teens were looking for tips on how to impress the object of their affection, they were probably sorely disappointed.  BUT, if they were looking to learn about how archaeologists date artifacts, then they were in luck!

The kids learned about Relative Dating through sorting images of phones through time (starting with the first operator phone and ending the line with the latest iPhone). 
Trying to figure out their phone typology seriation

Typology and Seriation were demonstrated through this activity.   The phone image timeline illustrated that we could have a conversation about the changes and trends of an item through time without necessarily knowing the exact dates of when it was invented.

The kids also learned about Absolute Dating and two absolute dating methods used in Archaeology:

Dendrochronology: The science of dating events, environmental change, and archaeological artifacts by analyzing the patterns of tree rings.  The students used strips of paper as "tree ring samples" in order to determine their ages.
students determining a tree's age through matching a tree's rings to comparative samples
 Radiocarbon Dating uses the decay of carbon-14 to estimate the age of organic material.  In order to grasp this concept, students graphed M and M candy isotopes ( M-side down represented decayed isotopes and M-side up represented undecayed).
Sorting, Counting and Graphing M and M isotopes
 It's been a while since I was in middle school...

1980's middles school challenge: when your mom buys you Hunters Run shirts, not Polo

but I do remember it to be fraught with challenges.  We at FPAN cannot help with all of these middle school challenges, but at least we helped clarify the subject of dating for 425 seventh graders.

Text and Images by FPAN Staff, Robbie Boggs

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