About Me

My Photo
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/
Powered by Blogger.

Blog Archive

Archive for 2011

The Siege of 1702: December 30

After the raid, Florida's Governor Zuniga receives a promotion;  James Moore, on the other hand, resigns as Governor of Carolina.

If you find yourself stopping by the City of St. Augustine's Archaeology Lab, be sure to take a look at this compelling illustration for yourself!

For more on the Siege of 1702, Wikipedia has a reliably sourced entry.  Check it out here.

March of the Menorcans Christmas Tree? See it at the VIC!

If Tchaikovsky had taken on an eighteenth-century Florida ballet, he could have called in the March of the Menorcans.  This thought came to me at the St. Augustine Visitor Information Center (VIC) where arguably the best tree in St. Augustine is on display.

The tree features the names of the original Menorcan families who marched from Turnbull's settlement in New Smyrnea up to St. Augustine in 1777, along with photos of their descendents.  Check it out before it comes down after the holidays.  Regardless of faith or creed, I think anyone interested in history can appreciate this version of a family tree.

Tree as it stands at the VIC.

Note names on ribbons, like Fornes and Ximenez, Menorcan surnames.

Ponce and Manucy family ribbons with labeled historic photographs.

To learn more visit the Menorcan Cultural Society webpage or check out our lesson plans from Coquina Queries:

Click here for free download of Menorcan lesson.

Photos and Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

The Siege of 1702: December 19

Did you forget?  This date in 1702, St. Augustine was still under siege by the English! 

...and it's not over yet.  St. Augustine's citizens are still shuttered safely in the fort, waiting and hoping for support from Havana.

"What Is It???" Wednesday: Secret Ingredients?

Dendritic mocha sherd at Clay County Archives (thanks Claude!).

Must have for Mocha maniacs!
It's no secret around here that my favorite historic ceramics are mochawares.  Don't worry yourself getting me Mocha and Related Dipped Wares  for my birthday, I already have it--a stunning book.  It's not only my favorite ware, but the sherd above features my most favorite variation, dendritic decoration.  The potter would plop a drop of ink on the surface that would automatically fan out in that tree like pattern.  For this week's WIIW, what are the two ingredients in the ink that helps the fanning along?  I'm looking for the two CRINGE inducing ingredients.

No prize I can offer this round, but I will address you as Master of the Mochas for the 2012 calendar year;)

Random Google image search lead me to these lovelies...variations of Mocha.

Answers from last week's WIIW:  1. San Agustin (D) 2.  Abo Polychrome (C) 3.  Santa Domingo (B) 4.  Aucilla Polychrome (A).  Congratulations William Pier and Debby Westerman!  Send your address to northeast@flpublicarchaeology.org to collect your "I Dig 1565" bumper sticker!

Text and Photo: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Florida's Archaeology Sites--Now at Your Fingertips in St. Augustine!

Visiting St. Augustine and want to know what great sites to see?  Swing by the St. Augustine Visitors' Information Center and check out the new touch-screen display at our information booth!

Working with the Destination Archaeology Resource Center in Pensacola, we've compiled some of our favorite sites from all over Florida for visitors to discover. 

To use the interactive display, tap one of the eight regions shown. That region is highlighted, and a map showing sites will appear. 

Select a site by touching its name to reach a page featuring a photo and information about it.

Drop by and check it out!  It's a great resource for people visiting from out-of-state.  And locals may be surprised to discover sites they never knew were on the map!

FPAN at National Council of Social Studies!

Christy Pritchard and Sarah Miller representing FPAN and AEC at NCSS.

 For the third year in a row FPAN has had a presence at the National Council of Social Studies annual conference.  Attendance of teachers and educators is generally up in the 5,000 range with very few opportunities to learn about archaeology.  Jeanne Moe of Project Archaeology and representatives from the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse have attended for several years setting up a booth and proposing workshops.  This year we joined forces and put together an exhibitor session, a full hour presentation to support our exhibit in the hall.

Project Archaeology and Archaeology Education Clearinghouse exhibits.

Archaeology is a seamless fit for social studies.  Take a look at the 10 major themes from the national standards (from Chapter 2 of National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies):

1. Culture
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity.

2. Time, Continuity, and Change
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the past and its legacy.

3. People, Places, and Environment
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.

4. Individual Development and Identity
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of individual development and identity.
5. Individuals, Groups, and Institutions 
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.

6. Power, Authority, and Governance 
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create, interact with, and change structures of power, authority, and governance.

7. Production, Distribution, and Consumption
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

8. Science, Technology, and Society
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of relationships among science, technology, and society.

9. Global Connections
Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of global connections and interdependence.

10. Civic Ideals and Practices
 Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of the ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic. 

We're all over this!  Culture, change over time, use of technology?  It would be impossible to pick up a archaeology lesson that didn't address these strands.

One of the best things I gained by attending the conference was learning how teachers are already incorporating history into their classrooms.  From our ice breaker warm up we learned teachers are doing a wide array of activities.  Check out our braining storming list:

The conference allowed me to meet southeastern social studies specialists, countywide coordinators, and pre-service instructors wanting Florida based materials and follow up.  In this way I think we've served the state well.  Next year's conference is in Seattle which is too far a stretch for this Florida girl, but I hope archaeologists at Project Archaeology and the AEC keep up the good work!

Want more on NCSS and Archaeology Education?  Look for my blog post on the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse at the Society of Historical Archaeology's new blog to be launched in 2012!

Text and Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

"What Is It?" Wednesday: Majolica Match Up!

Shaking things up a bit for WIIW this week, try matching up these majolica sherds to their type.  Those who guess correctly get an "I DIG 1565" bumpersticker!


Sherd 1_____________________                       
Sherd 2_____________________                    
Sherd 3_____________________                     
Sherd 4_____________________                    

Sherd 1

Sherd 2
Sherd 3

Sherd 4

Need help narrowing it down?  We'll give you the possible types in chronological order:

A.  Santo Domingo (1565-1630)                     
B.  Aucilla Polychrom (1650-1700)
C.  Abo Polychrome (1650-1750)
D.  San Augustin Blue on White (1700-1730)

Answer to the last WIIW Bonafied Mystery: I believe these are non-cultural ecofacts.  They look like cypress roots and timbers weathered by nature, not whittled by humans.  Hard to tell as they've been in the river so long.  Liked the fishing weir idea!  Artifacts are being reburied by the land owner this month.

Text and Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Monday Morning Book Review: Dave the Potter

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

I found this gem in the bookstore at the National Council of Social Studies meeting last week and hoped it would be a "must have," and it is.  What a beautiful book--the illustrations, the poetry--and remarkable true story behind a nineteenth-potter.

Inspired during a conference on the Middle Passage, Laban Carrick Hill began to research one of the potters brought to light by presenter Dr. Lisa Gail Collins.  Dave's pottery stood out.  For one, the size of the pots were remarkable.  Dave threw behemoth pots, we're talking LARGE.  Over 60 pounds of raw clay per pot thrown on a wheel with extra thick coils added for the finish.  That's as much as my daughter weighs!  Dave was one of only two potters who could produce pots this large and he produced an astounding 40,000 pots over his 70 year career.

What grips the reader is the not size of his pots or the dearth of his work, however, but once in a while Dave incised his own poetry into the body of the pots.  One inscription dated August 16, 1857 reads, "I wonder where is all my relation/friendship to all--and, every nation."  Or another dated July 12, 1834 the says, "put every bit all between/surely this Jar will hold 14."  Several more are included throughout and at the end of the book.

From an archaeological perspective the book is a ready-made visual aid to describing the manufacture of nineteenth-century earthenware.  The author and illustrator show Dave sourcing clay, forming the vessel using two techniques, making and applying glaze, and finally incising the pots with his own words.  What a gift to public archaeologists!  You may be surprised by this fact, but few classes can identify the material that makes up a ceramic.  If you show them a pottery sherd, they'll tell you its made of glass or stone.  It is difficult to rewire their brains to think of ceramics as made from clay.

The illustrations that accompany the poem are just stunning.  In the end notes you learn the artist took a pilgrimage to the land where Dave was known to work and gained a better understanding of his environment and context.  The fabric of rural South Carolina is woven into the pigments.  On a more literal level, familiar objects to Dave and enslaved people of that time are also incorporated in the backgrounds and can promote further discussion with students.

Borrowing heavily from the interpreters tool kit, a ready made activity to accompany this book at a library program would be to pass around a broken piece of earthenware before and after the reading of this book.  Students could describe on the first pass what the sherd looks like: sharp, brown, shiny, chalky.  After reading the book I would imagine students could not help but move from tangible to intangible descriptors for the artifact: pride, art, poetry, history.

(this illustration is my favorite, note the faces in the tree limbs behind Dave)

For more information purchase your own copy today for your library.  Also, the author generously included a bibliography and website to find out more:

An educator's guide to Dave
Biography of Dave
Dave Biographer Leonard Todd's website

The Site ID Team's Thanksgiving Saga - Another Early Canoe

Turner Family Indian Canoe

Turner Family Lake
Last week we got a call from the Turners,a local Florida family.  They contacted Sarah Miller, our center's Director, with tales of an Indian canoe.  The canoe was exposed on the shore of the family’s lake, which was shrinking drastically in the current drought. The Turner family wanted to record a canoe on the Florida Master Site File (FMSF) and they were concerned about preservation as it was no longer protected by the lake water.
Turner dock now high and dry - formerly used when the lake level was much higher


Turner Family

The Turners, a large extended family, were following a tradition of spending Thanksgiving at the family camp near Putnam Hall in Central Florida.  Sarah referred them to Donna Ruhl, Florida Museum of Natural History at UF and Kevin Porter at the State Division of Historic Resources. Together they arrived at a plan to visit the camp the day before Thanksgiving to assess and record the canoe.

Donna Ruhl, Florida Museum of Natural History and Turner Family dogs
Robin and Donna assess canoe
Donna Ruhl, our state expert on Florida’s Indian canoes, met with the family on Monday at the museum and determined from photos and family descriptions, that it was very possibly a prehistoric canoe. Recording and preserving such rare finds is a priority for us all, and the Turner family has a love of Florida’s history and a commitment to doing the right thing with ancient artifacts.

Toni Wallace, FPAN Site Specialist

So Wednesday of Thanksgiving week Donna Ruhl and Toni Wallace, FPAN Site Specialist, met with  the entire wonderful Turner family and pets at the Turner camp to measure, photo and record the canoe on the FMSF. Donna measured, took a small sample for radio carbon dating and photographed the canoe. Toni recorded the info on the site form. All of the Turner family helped us, providing tools, help with recording and showing us old photos of the lake when it was much larger and deeper.  Even the family dogs got into the act. We also were given a great tour of the family compound which is composed of several houses on 60 acres, purchased by their grandfather more than 60 years ago.

Donna photographs canoe

Donna measures canoe

Donna measures Canoe

Donna takes a sample for radio carbon dating and wood analysis

Sample taken

Canoe bottom
canoe bow

It is truly heartening to encounter Floridians who are conservationists and preservationists, committed to saving Florida's history for future generations. Thank you Turner family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Turner Family and thank you for being great Florida preservationists!

Monday Morning Book Review: America's REAL First Thanksgiving

One of my favorite times to live in St. Augustine is Thanksgiving.  The weather is perfect, the city floods with visitors interested in history, and we get all up in people's faces about America's REAL Thanksgiving.  The Mayor puts out an APB with excerpts from Dr. Michael Gannon's Cross in the Sand (1965), after which he earned the title: The Grinch Who Stole Thanksgiving."  Robyn Gioia found inspiration in Gannon's story and translated the spirit of his words into her book, America's REAL First Thanksgiving: St. Augustine, Florida, September 8, 1565 (2007 Pineapple Press, Sarasota).  Our Center has a copy and I myself find it a useful resource--more than just for New England taunting!

Sample page 7, map from Plantin Polyglot Bible 1569-1572.

For one, Robyn has done a wonderful job of setting the stage for Spanish settlement of La Florida.  The book begins with chapters on the world of 1565, both Spain and Florida in the 1560s.  The weight of the Spanish is balanced with a chapter on the Timucua, the first Native Americans to encounter the Spanish during Ponce de Leon's 1513 visit and the first group Pedro Menendez encountered when he founded St. Augustine in 1565.  Timucuan tools and ornaments recovered from archaeological investigations are featured graphics throughout the book.  I appreciate the emphasis on Florida's environment, a major factor for both cultures.


Besides a historical narrative, the books offers different ways to digest the significance of the Timucuan and Spanish encounter--literally!  A timeline and glossary are included at the back as an aid to readers.  There are some really great references listed at the back an a long author's note citing Gannon in his own words.  The book also has a recipe for Cocido, a garbanzo bean soup that has become the hallmark of dish of St. Augustine's Thanksgiving.  The recipe includes a mix of Native and Spanish ingredients: garbanzo beans, chorizo, salt poke, savoy cabbage, leeks, onion, carrots, pepper and saffron.  And don't forget the garlic!  Robyn refers readers to other historic Spanish recipes in Maggi Smith Hall's book Flavors of St. Augustine: An Historic Cookbook.

Did I mention the book is fun?  A combination of primary and secondary sources are used to graphically support the text, as well as original artwork by the author, Robert Deaton, Theodore Morris, and David Meek to mention a few.  There are lots of facts and historically researched data, but there are also several interpretive moments that I've used in the past to bring students closer to the past:

If we close our eyes, we can imagine the smell of a roaring fire.  We can envision the Timucua savoring their first taste of onion and herbs in cocido, as well as the flavor of salted pork cooked into the stew.  The Spaniards may be experiencing their first taste of alligator or bread made with corn.  We can smell the fruity aroma of red wine in the cups and imagine the careful passing of food platters.  While listening to the sounds of the day, we can hear the rapid beat of the Spanish tongue and the now-extinct language of the Timucua.  And at dusk, we feel a gentle breeze roll in from the ocean...

And the passage goes on to connect the five-sense experience the group may have experienced in 1565 (Gioia 2007, p. 38 and illustration p. 39 by Robert Deaton).

Robyn getting hands on at lithic workshop.
On a more personal note, I have met the author a few times and am always encouraged by the activities she pursues to bring an authentic experience to readers.  She has attended our Project Archaeology and Coquina Queries workshops, as well as attended Jon Endonino's lithic workshop last January.  Being around her is a wonderful whirlwind of creativity as she finds surprising themes and frames books around those inspired insights.

My only word of caution is the use of the 16th century Le Moyne drawings.  The drawings are a great resource, but you have to use them with caution.  We now know Le Moyne re-used drawing composition and themes regardless of geographic location.  Keith Ashley in a talk last year made the comparison to clip art...women arranged in the same seated positions for South American tribes are repeated for the Florida drawings.  In addition, some features are exaggerated or lack common sense.  You might want to check out the Pelotes Preserve's website to help you navigate through some of these issues, Le Moyne Drawings.  A potentially great teachable moment awaits you by deliberating with your kids or students over the likelihood of historical accuracy for the drawings.

For more information check out the Robyn Gioia official website, or this 2007 USA Today article:
Florida teacher chips away at Plymouth Rock Thanksgiving myth.

The book can be purchased in local book store or on-line at Barnes&Noble or Amazon.  I just noticed when I looked up the ordering information that there is a teacher's manual available for the book...will check it out an report back!

- Copyright © Going Public - Skyblue - Powered by Blogger - Designed by Johanes Djogan -