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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 February 2013

My Quest for Bulow's Coquina Quarries

Coquina Quarry, Flagler County
I am on a quest to find the quarries that supplied the coquina for John Bulow's sugar mill built in Flagler County in the early 19th century.  This is a shout out to anyone who has any info on this topic.  For several years now, I have wondered if it is possible to tie stone structures with quarries.  Historical documents firmly establish that the coquina stone for the Castillo de San Marcos came from the quarries on Anastasia Island.   But there are veins of coquina with evidence of early quarrying at numerous places along the East Coast of Florida. Coquina veins run parallel to the coast as much as 20 miles inland from the current sea coast.   Companies quarry and sell coquina stone even today for landscaping and building facings.

Quarried coquina boulders

In colonial times, many structures were built out of the abundant coquina stone in Flagler, Volusia and St. Johns Counties.   Joseph  Hernendez's Mala Compra Plantation house at Bing's Landing, Flagler County, was built of coquina stone as were buildings and foundations at the Turnbull Plantation in New Smyrna.   Sugar mills in and around Flagler, Ormond, Daytona and New Smyrna Beaches were constructed with large blocks of coquina.  Is it possible to determine where the coquina stone was quarried and how it was moved to the construction sites before gas powered trucks were invented? 

A walk in the woods

Recently several of my friends accompanied me on a walk through the northern reaches of the Bulow Plantation in Flagler County to observe some coquina outcroppings and water- filled coquina quarries.

Headwaters of Bulow Creek
Some "friendly" inhabitants of the quarries

Vein of coquina at the surface

I have a theory that Bulow obtained his coquina building materials from a coquina vein close to Bulow Creek and that he floated the quarried blocks south on rafts to his sugar mill site.  Is it possible to support this theory by comparing the color of the coquina stone with coquina still in the ground?  Coquina from different quarries has a range of colors from white to red.  What are your thoughts on this question?  And does anyone know of any work already done to source coquina from quarries?  Any comments on this question would be appreciated and acknowledged.

Text by Toni Wallace, FPAN staff
Photos by Joyce Peterson

"What Is It???" Wednesday: Drake's portrait

Now on permanent display at the St. Augustine Art Association is "Art y Facts of Drake's Raid,"including this portrait of polarizing figure Sir Francis Drake.  You already know the who, but what about the what?  What special material was used to create the portrait?  


We'll follow up next week with a post from our visit to the display.

Text: Sarah Miller.  Image: photo of trading card distributed by St. Augustine Art Association featuring original art by Lisa O'Neil.

Majolica Manies: Manicures with References Cited

Someone told me yesterday, "I'd never guess what you do by looking at your nails."  You might, if you knew what you were looking at.  Inspired by majolica patterns during Kathy Deagan's historic ceramic analysis class at Flagler College last semester, I pick up my brush once and a while to experiment.

San Luis Polychrome 1650-1750 (titles link to FLMNH digital type collection with more info on types)

 Puebla Polychrome 1650-1725

And like all things in public archaeology, it's only fun when others play.  Thanks to @Terrailles on Twitter for sending me her 18th century Faience rim-inspired mani.  Touche Terrailles, touche!

 What's next?  Vote for your next ceramic inspired nail design in the comments section, or better yet send us pictures of your ceramics inspired art on Twitter @FPANnortheast.

Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff, except Faience rim photo by Myriam Arcangeli. 

Warning: do not try this at work:)  All manicures done in the safety of my own home (aka my "free" time).

Sunny Point Pre-Survey Day

The month we have all been waiting for is right around the corner - Florida Archaeology Month!  And to kick it off this year, we are inviting the public to participate in a dig at Sunny Point Park, located next to the Bronson-Mulholland House (100 Madison St., Palatka, FL).  We will dig with school groups on Friday, March 1st, 9am-3pm and give the public a chance on Saturday, March 2nd, 10am-2pm.  (If you would like to reserve a spot for your class on March 1st, contact Amber Weiss).

The area is rich in history and prehistory, starting with evidence of the Timucua and other Native Indians who settled along the St. Johns River about 6,000 years ago.   As early as 1655 the Spanish were developing Palatka as one of its principal ranching areas to feed the settlers in St. Augustine.    The City of Palatka was chartered by the State of Florida in 1853 and soon became a major center for transportation, freight, lumber, citrus and tourism.  From 1865-1895, Palatka rivaled Jacksonville as a major port on The St. Johns River.

Bronson-Mulholland House - photo courtesy of Putnam County Historical Society

The Bronson-Mulholland House was built in 1854 by Judge Isaac Bronson.   It has served as a residential home, an encampment in turn for confederate and union troops, a school for freed slaves, and a boarding house.  With such a diverse history, who knows what kind of deposits we will come across during our Public Day survey!

A pre-survey was done on January 24, which consisted of digging three shovel tests.  The shovel tests gave us an idea as to where we want to open the ground up further on Public Day.  Although we did not encounter any major finds, we had no negative test pits!

Breaking Ground

What scientific method was used in order to select the first shovel test location?  One of our wonderful volunteers from the Putnam County Historical Society selected it at random.  The other two test pits were then measured from where the first one was located.

Screening in Sunny Point

It will most likely be a lot warmer during our March survey than it was in our January pre-survey!

Sarah Miller really gets into her work!

If the pre-survey is any indication, we should find some interesting deposits and have a great time on March 1st and 2nd!

Text By: Robbie Boggs Moore, FPAN Staff
Uncredited Photos By:  FPAN Staff

"What Is It???" Wednesday: Three part mystery pot

At the invitation of a private land owner FPAN staff went out to examine and digitally document a Spanish Colonial collection.  We were taken by surprise by this pot.  Bright green paint!  Feet!  Feet with a black winged manicure!  A true mystery in terms of ceramic classification for our team.  Help us out....


Found something interesting on your property?  Get in touch with Toni Wallace in our office to help identify and list your site.

Text and Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Historic Old St. Luke's Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida

Old St. Luke's Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida

View from the front

I volunteered for the Arthritis Foundation back in 2007-2008. Lucky for me, at that time, their offices were based in the historic Old St. Luke’s Hospital on Palmetto Street in Jacksonville, Florida. The Old St. Luke’s Hospital was completed in 1878.  The large brick building housing the Florida Casket Company was added adjacently to the hospital in 1882.
One afternoon, I was allowed to roam freely throughout the hospital and photograph it. Even the attic!  The Old St. Luke’s Hospital served during many people during yellow fever outbreaks in its’ early days as well as a refuge for sick travelers and the poor. 

The Florida Casket Company was built in 1882

A supply cart of some sort, I offer the conjecture that it was made to carry a particular machine.


           The hospital is truly a historic treasure containing many medical artifacts from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I am not sure of the exact use for many of these pictured. The antique equipment is in  more knowledgeable care regarding their conservation than when these pictures were taken five years ago. If you know more about them, including their uses, please comment in the section below.

The box in the center contained unused medicine still intact in their original glass vials.

Supply Cabinets. On the right are smaller medical tools on display.

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the exact use of many of these medical  devices.  We are just going to have to wait until the museum opens!

One of the few ornate and beautiful fire places.

The left picture is the view from the 1st floor and the right picture is the view from the 2nd floor.

All of the porches are inviting with cool breezes from the St. John's River.

         The Great Fire of 1901 burned most of Jacksonville’s downtown, and the hospital is one of the few surviving buildings from that era. Old St. Luke's Hospital needed some expensive restoration and it had been listed for sale back in 2008. Delightedly, I discovered that it was purchased by the Jacksonville Historical Society. They are in the process of setting up a Jacksonville History Museum in the future, although it won't be ready for some time. However, an archive housing Jacksonville's history in documents is currently available at the hospital. It is open Monday-Thursday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. It is recommended to call ahead and let the archivist know you are coming in order to have your documents ready.
Here is the contact information: 

Jacksonville Historical Society Archives at Old St. Luke’s
                      314 Palmetto Street
                                 Jacksonville  32202

Phone: 904-374-0296

For more information, including a history of the hospital and to donate to the Jacksonville Historical Society towards the very expensive restoration, please visit:
http://www.jaxhistory.com/Old-St-Lukes.html and http://www.jaxhistory.com/Old-St-Lukes2.html.

I also recommend this 2011 article in the Metro Jacksonville by Ennis Davis. There are some wonderful pictures from the State Archives of Florida. You can also see more detailed pictures of the medical equipment. The devices are in better shape in this article from 2011 than my pictures from 2008. I look forward to seeing them on display one day!

Text and photos: Jennifer Knutson, FPAN intern

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