Thursday, October 6, 2011

Workshop Participants
On a warm but beautiful late September day in Palatka, Putnam County, Florida, we initiated our first in a series of cemetery conservation workshops.  Developed by the Florida Public Archaeology Network - Northeast Region, and supported by the City of Palatka, the Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) is a one day workshop on preserving historic cemeteries.  The program combines classroom instruction with a  hands-on cemetery conservation demonstration.  

The City of Palatka provided a beautiful classroom in the Price Martin House, access to the historicWest View cemetery, and the help of city cemetery personnel and volunteers who also attended the workshop.  Twenty participants attended including city personnel, cemetery volunteers and teachers.

Opening Comments by Sarah Miller

Human Burials and the Law by Dr. Rachel Wentz
  The morning began with a get-to-know-you icebreaker with everyone sketching a headstone for posting on the wall of our virtual cemetery.  Dr. Rachel Wentz next discussed Human Burials and the Law, an overview of federal and state laws governing cemeteries.

Sarah introduced cemeteries as cultural resources and best practices for managing and preserving historic cemeteries.

Did you know that historic cemeteries can be better protected when they are listed on the Florida Master Site File (FMSF)?   Toni Wallace walked the participants through a presentation on how to fill out the FMSF Cemetery Form.

Adding Cemeteries to the FMSF by Toni Wallace
It's important to know your cemetery's boundaries so that ALL of its burials can be protected.  Amber discussed strategies to find and document the boundaries of a cemetery focusing on use of ground penetrating radar (GPR).

Amber Grafft-Weiss discusses GPR and finding cemetery boundaries
 After a quick lunch, we all met up at West View Cemetery for a guided tour of the historic cemetery by Christy Sanford and some hands-on experience documenting the condition of cemeteries and cleaning some markers.

Christy Sanford points out the final resting places of some notable figures including Florida's first governor

Sarah Miller offers a wholistic approach to cemetery care

Under the pavilion, Sarah presented a crash course to the participants on documenting the overall condition of a cemetery using a form that includes cemetery maintenance, headstone cleaning, preservation and landscaping activities. 
Mary Miller and another participant carefully note cemetery conditions

They saw a variety of markers and got a glimpse of headstones in need of some loving care

The workshop's culminating activity allowed participants to gain hands-on experience cleaning headstones with a solution of D-2.   D-2 has been tested and deemed safe and effective in cleaning headstones.  The participants jumped right into the task and did a great job.  Eleven markers were cleaned.  Cleaning is a simple process. Using D-2 and a soft-brisled brush, markers can be cleaned in a way that will not harm them in the long run.

Sarah briefs participants on proper cleaning prodedures

Participants clean markers with D-2 

And here are the results of the cleaning activities with D-2.







FPAN-NE plans to conduct CRPT workshops in every county in Northeast Florida this year.  Look for information on the scheduled date for your county.  The next one will be in Volusia County.  Hope to see you at one of them.   For further information contact Amber at the FPAN - NE office at or

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