Monday, February 1, 2010

Last week the Center participated in one of the many WAV Splash into Science night. Splash nights give students an opportunity to learn about the importance of water conservation and the water cycle.

What does this have to do with archaeology?

Water is a basic need of people in any place and any time. People collect, store, and use water in a variety of ways. The first of the Center’s Splash nights focused on how the rising sea levels and acid rain are integral to the formation of coquina, a building material found in many of the heritage sites in northeast Florida.

Last week we piloted a new festival activity called “Anchors Away!” where students play the part of an underwater archaeologist. Before any artifacts, no matter how big or small, are removed from a shipwreck, their location must be recorded. Students at Splash night helped map in an anchor on loan from the Lighthouse Archaeology Maritime Program so I could move the anchor, and go home! If they hadn’t helped, I might still be there!

Students used a grid sheet to draw the anchor. The grid we used comes prefabricated and ready to go out of the box from Forestry Supplier. Letters and numbers on the grid on the ground matched the grid template found on the clipboards (A, B, C, D, E and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). In this way, students enhanced their Cartesian mapping skills while learning about archaeology and water as well.

Not all shipwrecks are found in the ocean; in fact, one of our more famous shipwrecks in northeast Florida is found in the St. Johns River itself! See previous blog on the Maple Leaf and the outreach tarp developed to give students another way to experience mapping on an underwater archaeological site.

Help support Water Education programs sponsored by the St. Johns River Water Management Distric by attending a Splash night or WAV program, such as the one coming up this Saturday in Jacksonville at the Museum of Science and History. MOSH admission is free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the “Water Education Festival.” Learn about the watery world that surrounds the First Coast at this event dedicated to teaching about one of Earth’s most precious resources. MOSH has partnered with the City of Jacksonville and St. Johns River Water Management District to present this event. FPAN will have the grid, the tarp, and a presentation for the audience to look at and learn at 11:30 am.

Or if you’re a teacher, consider signing up for a Project Archaeology or Project Wet workshop. We’re combining the best of both worlds for a join workshop (the first of its kind!) February 20th at Camp Chowenwaw in Clay County. For more information on the workshop, email ldennard@sjrwmd.com or call Lori Dennard at 386-329-4563.

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