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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/
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Archive for July 2013

Archaeology and the Common Core State Standards

Last Friday, we held our first workshop on the new Common Core State Standards. We were able to showcase some of our favorite lessons in our curriculums as well as talk about how we (our attending teachers included!) can achieve these new standards using archaeological curriculums. For those who missed it, here are some highlights from the day.

The Common Core State Standards can be a scary thing to think about. However, we found that they aren’t too far off from how we (and we’re guessing a lot of you, too) have been teaching! The standards have a few main focuses that center on the idea of inquiry-based learning:

  • Urge students to think critically about what is heard and read.
  • Teach them to support arguments with specific and relevant data.
  • Have them use technology to help support and convey main points.
  • Get students to focus on “information texts” as well as literature.

The thing we’re so excited about is that archaeological investigations are by nature inquiry-based! Curriculums that focus on archaeology have already included many of these important elements of the Common Core State Standards. Teachers can use the curriculums to teach these methods of thinking and then apply them to other subjects.

We recommend to teachers to start with activities first and then let the students learn more through the lesson books. The curriculums also feature opportunities to get students involved in further research. A great way to meet numerous standards is to let students work in groups on research-based projects. These groups can present to the class, getting all of the students involved in assessing claims and determining the value of evidence.

We practiced our Common Core skills by working in groups and presenting to the whole class.

Check out our great curriculums: Timucuan Technology, about the biotechnology and archaeology of one of Florida's first peoples aimed at middle school grades, and Coquina Queries, an investigation of Florida's history through an important building material: coquina rock, aimed at grades 4-5.

We also love Project Archaeology, a national curriculum aimed at grades 3-5. We've localized their Investigating Shelter lessons to focus on Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville.

(While all of these curriculum are aimed at specific grades, you can easily teach them up or down for any level!)

Text by Emily Jane Murray, Photos by Sarah Miller, FPAN Staffers

Menorca meets Minorcan

After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in anthropology, I was attacked by the proverbial (or should I say endemic?) travel bug and needed to get out of the ol’ U.S. and A. Eurotripping seemed like the obvious answer—but I usually have a difficult time being totally lackadaisical—so I searched for “exotic” field schools on the Shovelbums website (you’re welcome Shovelbums R. Joe). Three months of strenuous digging on a Phase III pipeline project in Louisiana, MO (see below) had me searching for UNDERWATER field schools—hey it was summer!

OK, so I wasn’t able to find a pic of me actually working, but here’s some big holes in the ground that I probably helped excavate.

As the anthropology gods would have it, I ended up selecting an underwater program out of the Ecomuseo Cap de Cavelleria on the remote Balearic Island of Menorca. The course was taught by multiple individuals; several “CRM” maritime archaeologists from Ireland and England (I do not know what they call it in the U.K.) flew down to teach the field methods, and the head of the Museo, Fernando Contreras, lectured on the classic history of the region-trade routes, amphora styles and production processes, and socio-political relations throughout the ancient Mediterranean world.

Fernando also teaches a bioarchaeology terrestrial course in the summer

Rex, far left, instructed the field methods portion of the course

I arrived in the capital city of Mahón, and quickly learned that I needed to get clear across the island to Ciutadella, where the student residency was. Public bus did the job; it actually only took a couple hours.

If you’re from Mahón, that makes you Mahónese, the hometown of Mayonnaise. Get it?

Although today, the island is famous for its gin. It can be sipped on without a mixer, or can be added to a variety of sodas. Mahón gin is commonly mixed with lemonade to create the island drink, “Pomada”(which is available at nearly every restaurant—alongside   sangria of course).

The dive site and museum were located on the north-central part of the island (about halfway between the eastern and western coasts, Ciutadella, and Mahón, respectively) at Cap de Cavalleria, which translated to a 1.5-hour bus ride each morning.

I practiced my Spanish by speaking to Fernando on the rides to the dive site (These conversations usually resulted in comical alliterations to Spanish girls’ promiscuity or my hopeless attempts to meet them in bars or cafes.)The rest of the time was spent swatting flies, which seemed to be perfectly at home inside the van.

We had a day or two of practicing underwater methods on land (not unlike how FPAN handles SSEAS trainings); then we jumped into the water to get things started.

Shore dives were more difficult than expected; it’s tough to get your fins on when the waves are crashing into you.

Channeling my inner Steve Zissou, I’ll have a painting one day

“……Wonderful, very lifelike”   …………     “I’m not crazy about it.”

And now, back to the underwater archaeology. We practiced several common methods: mapping, measuring, drawing, and laying baselines.

Seaweed and the underwater current were not my friends.

It was very exciting to locate and map new amphora concentrations.

It was not all work though. We were given several days off to explore the island, and we spent an entire day visiting terrestrial archaeological sites.

These caves were filled with prehistoric and historic art, as well as modern graffi…. I mean.art.

Port of Ciutadella.  I take a decent photograph every once in a while.

Underwater field school 2008, Group shot at a [megalithic]Talayotic site

So, in a few words, that sums up my trip to Menorca. I was both surprised and excited to discover that my new FPAN region has strong ties to this island because of its vibrant immigrant population in northeast Florida. After seeing the monumental architecture produced by both prehistoric and historic Minorcans, it’s not surprising that they quickly adapted to working coquina stone.  No doubt I am in for some surprises as I meet these Minorcan transplants—the  living descendants of plantation workers—and I look forward to connecting my past travels with those of my future—here  in St. Augustine.

Text and Images, Ryan Harke, FPAN staff. Life Aquatic photo courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures. 

The program is still fully operational and now hosts field opportunities in multiple countries. Check them out on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ecomuseum.cavalleria?fref=ts or on their website at www.ecomuseodecavalleria.com You can learn more about the Menorcan presence in northeast Florida from the Menorcan Cultural Society at http://menorcansociety.net/ 

"What Is It???" Wednesday: Brass thingie

This small brass artifact came out of a unit dating to the late 17th century at a site in northeast Florida.  I first called it a brass thingie, but that of course won't do.  Help an archy out!  



Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Field Trip Friday: Spanish Military Hospital Museum, St. Augustine

Located on the oldest street in the United States, Aviles Street in St. Augustine, is the Spanish Military Hospital Museum. It is on the site of a three building hospital complex used by the Spanish in the 2nd Spanish Period (1784-1821). There once was Hospital East and West, and an adjacent apothecary in the William Watson House. Aviles Street was called Hospital Street until the 1920's as it ran in the middle of the Spanish Hospital complex. Hospital East and West burned in the 1880's. The building which housed Hospital East, along with the Watson House, were historically reconstructed in 1965 based on archaeological excavation and Spanish archive research.

Tours are given upon arrival. They are a pet friendly museum too!

                                                  What:    Spanish Military Hospital Museum

                                                  Where:  3 Aviles Street, St. Augustine, Florida

                                                  Price:     Visit their website and Facebook
                                                                 page for discounts on admission.
                                                   Hours:   10 a.m. -6 p.m., Daily. 
                                                                 Plan to spend at least an hour for your visit. 

The note card says "Artifacts found on Aviles Street and Spanish Military Hospital Property".  Clockwise from left to right: "English Wedgewood Creamware (1762-1820)", "American, possibly English (late 1700-early 1800's)", "Pearlware (1775-1840)", "English Slipware (c. 1675-1770)", "Pipe stem (c. 1750's)", "Puebla Polychrome (1680-1725)", "Olivejar (1565-1800)". 

   Animal bone fragments on the left and 16th century glass bottles on the right.

The following pictures are of authentic medical materials on display at the museum from the time period that the hospital was in operation, but are not original to the site.

Metacarpal saws.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Bone handled bloodletting lancets.

There are many more historical medical instruments at the museum, along with demonstrations on the tour. I must admit, I got a little dizzy during the demonstration! 

The Apothecary, though originally in the William Watson House, was very important to the hospital. Since medicine shipments from Spain were lost, pirated, or otherwise delayed, homegrown remedies were a must for the patients.

The apothecary.

Items for grinding, boiling, and storing medicinal organics.

Herbs from the museum's own garden are drying in the apothecary as they did in the 18th century.

A list of the garden's offerings.

One of my favorite 18th century medical items on display. Medicines were combined with beeswax and then cut into pill form. The board on the left was used until the mechanical cutter was invented on the right. It's not that different from how it's done today, though it's machine automated now.

In the patient room. Each bed had a number. Everything, including linens and eating utensils that each patient used had the same number. The mattresses were filled with Spanish moss. Each time a new patient arrived, the mattress was cleaned by boiling and stuffed with fresh Spanish moss. The saying, "Sleep Tight!" is thought to have come about due to the ropes which held the mattress. A special tool was used to tighten them as they loosened. 

The chapel. Families were only able to visit their soldiers after they passed and only in this room.

The bells outside the chapel were rung when a patient died. 

                                                                                        The doctor's office.

The Spanish Military Museum was well worth visiting. The staff is very good at their demonstrations and friendly. The gift shop is has unique offerings perfect for locals and tourists. You will feel like you are in the 18th century for your entire tour of the museum! There are many more "secrets" found in the museum that I suggest you explore on your own.

A special thank you to the owner and staff for your wonderful welcome during my tour!

Text and pictures by Jen Knutson, FPAN Staff. Courtesy of the Spanish Military Hospital Museum.

For more information: 

The Spanish Military Hospital Museum website: 

If interested in historical hospitals, please see the blog post about Old St. Luke's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida:

Monday Morning App Review: Next Exit History

Looking for some fun on your next road trip or vacation? The Next Exit History app can help you find historic markers, cultural attractions and National Parks where ever you are in Florida.

The app features an interactive map with information about places to visit in the area. You can sort the layers that appear on the map to include historic cemeteries, museums, archaeological sites and more. Each category has a different icon that appears on the map when selected.

I used it to explore Jacksonville one day and was amazed at all of the places I didn’t know about! When you select on of the locations, the app pulls up general information about the site. Some even have photos of the sites and directions to find markers.

Another neat feature of the app are the Backpacks. Many of them are sponsored by the Florida Department of Historic Resources. The Backpacks allow you to easily look at sites that have a common theme, such as Jewish Heritage or Civil War sites.

The Next Exit History app is a free app available for Andriod and Apple products. For more information, check out their website at www.NextExitHistory.com.

Text and Images: Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff

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