Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This month the Florida Lottery launched a new $3 scratch off Florida's Treasure Hunt.  The ticket features the Viva Florida 500 logo and is supported by the statewide effort to promote Ponce de Leon's sighting and subsequent naming of our state in 1513.  Looking up information on the program I easily found the Viva Florida 500's page dedicated to official details on the ticket with history of the project, information on Viva Florida 500, and information about Florida Lottery.

Treasure Map Key.
As an archaeologist I obviously have mixed feelings.  The scratch off itself features a treasure map with a code key related to gold bars, coins, and a pick.  These are the very symbols we have worked against for years.  No 16th century shipwreck has been identified off Florida's Atlantic coast* and no pirate ship ever confirmed from any era.  If you're confused by my reaction to treasure, check out this link to the American Council of Underwater Archaeology's blog post on ethics, it's a good one. 

Moving husband and I got our penny ready and started on square A1.  With every scratch you get direction to the next square to "excavate" and more often than not a symbol from the key is awarded.  Receive three of any symbol and you get a prize up to $50,000.  Scratch off three skulls and your hunt is over.  So my first positive thing to say- at the very least players get a chance to brush up on grid coordinates.


Three skulls, and you're out!

My rants on archaeology ethics and treasure hunting became muted when we entered the second chance drawing.  If you get a ticket, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE enter the drawing and spend time on the Discovery website.  You have to go through several steps to get there, including entering private information subject to the sunshine laws, but once through the interactive map features information on 300 bonafide historical sites and I did love the ship and artifact graphic from the Viva Florida poster, which I had not seen before.  The footer also promotes Next Exit history apps for android and iPhone.  Next Exit is a really great program and does promote historic sites as you drive across the state.

I searched today to see if you could navigate the interactive map without purchasing the ticket- and so far the official Viva Florida website has a tab for a clickable map, but it is not yet live.  I'll keep checking back and will post it to our Facebook page when it does.

If the goal of the ticket was to raise awareness of Florida's 500th commemoration, it will be successful.  I can applaud the efforts of Viva Florida 500 for finding new audiences, and they achieved something elevated and statewide that the archaeology community could not have done on its own.  I hope the Department of State will continue after the Florida 500 to consider other ways of promoting cultural resources.  For example, the Bureau of Archaeological Research has launched its new Panhandle Shipwreck Trail.  I could see a similar scratch off map and icons with the wrecks being a positive way to raise awareness of the trail and sites it promotes.  In the future, however, I hope they move away from the treasure and object themes and find a way to entice the Lottery audience without compromising archaeological ethics.

Now it's your turn!  What do you think?  If you're not a fan, be proactive and help us brainstorm other themes that would be conducive to a scratch off format.

* The Emanuel Point Shipwrecks I & II are the only 16th century wrecks I'm aware of in Florida waters and they are located off shore of Pensacola.  For more information on the wrecks, join us for the next SAAA lecture by Della Scott Ireton, February 5th, 2013 at Flagler College.

Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

2 Responses so far.

  1. Increasing awareness of archaeology is always a good thing in my mind, but I do sometimes wish the promoters would do a little research first. Gold, treasure and dinosaurs get people's attention, but that's not what archaeology is about! On the other hand, not everyone gets excited over buttons. At least, not at first...

  2. Thank for the sharing best information about Florida Lottery. I have impressed a lot, great work!

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