As you may know, FPAN’s mission has three basic tenets: to engage the public in archaeology outreach and education, to assist local and county governments, and to support Florida’s Division of Historical Resources. The Northeast Region uses a variety of strategies to meet each of these aims, and we always get excited when an activity accomplishes more than one of them.
|With help, nearly anyone can operate GPR equipment.|
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) is one such tool. If you’ve hung around the FPAN Northeast ladies, you already know that Sarah and I think GPR is, in some ways, a public archaeologist’s dream. When we take the machine out, we use volunteers to set up our grids and can let virtually any member of the public operate the equipment. It allows us to change the focus from “finding treasure,” which is not what archaeologists seek, to “learning about people of the past.”
I could tell you about it all day long, but I think it’s more fun to show you. Here are some examples from our most recent GPR efforts in St. Augustine:
|St. Augustine's City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt excavates a test unit in the Plaza.|
At this site we engaged the public while assisting the City Archaeologist, Carl Halbirt. He recently excavated a test unit in the southeast end of the Plaza and found evidence of a large post. He asked us to do GPR to see if we could detect other posts nearby. If we could, it might help him figure out which direction the structure went, and how large it was.
For all the projects this time, we used 3D GPR. To do this we had to lay out a grid and run the GPR over the grid several times north-south, then east-west. We set up two grids, one north of Carl's test unit and one to the south. We didn’t have any volunteers signed up to help us that day, but it didn’t matter. We talked to 30 people while we were out there, and several of them took turns operating the machine.
|A local man tries his hand at GPR.|
|We map each GPR site to keep track of any objects that may interfere with pushing the machine (for example, the tree near Gifford's forefinger). THIS is the kind of map you get when you accidentally hide the forms.|
|Volunteers lay out the grid and operate GPR equipment while I bask in the sunlight, snapping pictures.|
|Deleted scene from "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure?" No! |
Colonial Spanish Quarter staffer & City Archaeology Volunteer Lynn collects GPR data.