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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 2014

Holiday Photo Outakes (plus shell-edged manicure tutorial!)

Our holiday photo began with a manicure crisis- I was headed to the St. Augustine Archaeology Association's annual holiday party where us FPANers had offered to present our 6 minute Pecha Kucha's we performed for Florida Archaeology Month.  Mine was the ever popular "Majolica Manicures" that features several of the nerdy but authentic manicures based on some of the 215 historic ceramics found in Florida.  True, I could do the talk with naked nails, but with only 6 minutes to explain its easiest when my nails can be a contributing visual aid to the presentation.  So minutes to go before heading out the door, I begin to panic: red!  What ceramic is decorated in red?

Photo credit: Chipstone Foundation.
I don't know of any Florida majolica the features red decoration, but I do know that English shell-edged pearleware featured red and green rims.  Shell edging is found worldwide after it begins production in 1775.  For us in Florida red shell-edged would date to the very late end of the British Period, throughout the Second Spanish period, and blue and green shell edged would continue to be popular up through Territorial.  Red and green overglaze enamels were applied to Rococo-inspired edges popular from 1775-1810.

Previous attempt at blue shell-edged pearlware.
 Step 1: Apply historically appropriate, ceramic inspired manicure to hand.

Started with naked nails I applied a China Glaze white.  Trickiest part is getting the white to even out.

Add alternating red and green tips.


With a thin white brush I cheat and paint over the color to achieve the fine edged lines.  And voila!

Step 2: Take photo at archaeologically appropriate site.

Most the time I wear a ceramics inspired manicure the unsuspecting public is not aware of what I'm doing.  For the holiday photo I wanted to be sure people understood from the picture alone that it was a ceramic or at least from the world of an archaeologist.  I have no active site of my own, so I headed over to the diggin'est man I know, Carl Halbirt - St. Augustine City Archaeologist.  He has several sites open currently, including at the St. Augustine Art Association.  Carl was not on site yet, but SAAA president and faithful volunteer Nick McAuliff joined in the reindeer games.

Was going for a nice stratigraphy shot.

Realized I was holding the Marshalltown wrong, proper position is with thumb on the blade.

Found a nice dirt pile under the screen and went for the buried effect.

Just as I was leaving I noticed a nice pile of SHELL!  Get it?  Shell edged?  Plus Nick thought if it didn't work out for the holiday photo I could reuse it for Halloween.  Creepy, no?
Then, just as I was really truly leaving the site what should appear before my wandering eyes?  An actual green shell-edged rim sherd, in the shape of a tree!

And add a little photoshop magic (thanks EmJ!).  Tah Dah!

For more ceramic-inspired manicures check out these previous posts:

For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:
*Initial Feb 2013 posting MajolicaManies.
- See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/10/more-majolica-manicures-isabela.html#sthash.9ryTzi2u.dpuf

For more information on FPAN, check out our website and Facebook.  For more on shell-edged ceramics a great place to start is the Diagnostic Artifacts page of the Maryland Archaeology Conservation Lab website.  Or check out their reference list below.

For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:
*Initial Feb 2013 posting MajolicaManies.
- See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/10/more-majolica-manicures-isabela.html#sthash.9ryTzi2u.dpuf
For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:
- See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/10/more-majolica-manicures-isabela.html#sthash.9ryTzi2u.dpuf
For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:
- See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/10/more-majolica-manicures-isabela.html#sthash.9ryTzi2u.dpuf
For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:
- See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/10/more-majolica-manicures-isabela.html#sthash.9ryTzi2u.dpuf
For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:
- See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/10/more-majolica-manicures-isabela.html#sthash.9ryTzi2u.dpuf
Hunter, Robert R., Jr. and George L. Miller
1994   English Shell-Edged Earthenwares. Antiques, March 1994: 432-443.

Majewski Teresita and Michael J. O’Brien
1987   The Use and Misuse of Nineteenth-Century English and American Ceramics in Archaeological Analysis. In Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory, Volume 11. Edited by Michael Schiffer, Academic Press, New York, pp. 98-209.

McAllister, Lisa S.
2001   Collector’s Guide to Feather Edge Ware; Identification and Values. Collector Books, Paducah, KY.

Miller, George L.
1980   Classification and Economic Scaling of 19th Century Ceramics. Historical Archaeology 14:1-40.

1991   A Revised Set of CC Index Values for Classification and Economic Scaling of English Ceramics from 1787 to 1880. Historical Archaeology 25:1-25.

Miller, George L. and Amy C. Earls
2008   War and Pots: The Impact of Economics and Politics on Ceramic Consumption Patterns. In Ceramics in America, edited by Robert R. Hunter. Chipstone Foundation, Milwaukee, pp. 67-108.

Miller, George L. and Robert R. Hunter Jr.
2001   How Creamware Got the Blues. In Ceramics in America, edited by Robert R. Hunter. Chipstone
           Foundation, Milwaukee, pp. 135-161.

Text and Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff except where noted in photo caption.

El Tió de Nadal is Com'in to Town!

Watch out Santa Clause, El Tió de Nadal is giving you some competition!  Sure, Santa Clause is a great Christmas tradition, a magical way for children to receive presents.  But El Tió de Nadal delivers presents as well - and produces them himself!  So, children now have a choice.....

Which experience would you rather have?

SANTA - (photo: turner.com)
EL TIO DE NADAL - (Photo: parabebes.com)     

El Tió de Nadal (or roughly translated as "Christmas log") is a character in Catalan mythology and a widespread Christmas tradition in Spanish and Menorcan homes.  He is also affectionately known as Caga Tió (or "poop log") for reasons that will soon become apparent.... (cliff hanger).....
(photo: bing.com)

Tió de Nadal (menorca-live.com)

Originally, Tió de Nadal was a simple hollow log, a dead piece of wood, 30 cm long.  This is a Christmas decoration that even the poorest of Menorcan homes could afford!  In more recent years, Tió has come to stand on two or four stick legs with a broadly smiling face painted on the higher end and sporting a red hat (representing the traditional Catalan barretina).  He also now can appear in a variety of sizes.

(photo: slate.com)
 The fun all starts on the Day of the Immaculate Conception, December 8.  Families bring out the happy log and children are tasked with "feeding" it every night until Christmas Eve.  They offer him nuts, dried fruit, and water.  Tió de Nadal must also be covered with a blanket to ensure that he is warm and comfortable.

Feeding -   (photo: awesomoff.com)
But El Tió de Nadal's days of comfort end on December 24th when he is beaten with sticks!

Beating -   (photo: welcome-to-barcelona.com)
  As the log is beaten with sticks, he is ordered to defecate while classical songs of Tió de Nadal are sung.

Beating and Singing -   (photo: bing.com)
Upon being fed, ordered, sung to, and then beaten, Tió's backside delivers small gifts and candy (larger presents come from the Three Wise Men).  Everyone is delighted as they reach below Tió's blanket and retrieve their gifts which were magically "deposited" by the log.

Looking and Retrieving (photo: bing.com)

While everyone is enjoying their gifts from El Tió de Nadal, he is burned for warmth!

El Tió do Nadal is no longer just popular in Spain and Menorca.  He has now made his way to the FPAN Northeast Office! Excitement abounds as we anticipate the arrival of our gifts.....

Office Feeding (photo: by R. Boggs)

Practice Beating for the Big Day (Photo: R. Boggs)
 Text by Robbie Boggs, FPAN Staff

Pottery Sherd Christmas Ornaments

Deck the halls with...pottery sherd ornaments! It's a quick, easy and fun craft good for any age.

1. Make a salt dough.
The basic recipe is one part flour and one part salt, adding enough water to create a dough. I just wanted a small batch so I mixed 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup salt and added about 1/2 cup water. I also added some cinnamon and allspice to make the dough a little more brown as well as give it a nice scent.

Mix the dry ingredients and add the water slowly to create the dough.

Knead the dough until smooth and then roll it out, using some extra flour on your counter to prevent sticking. You can used cookie cutters to create some really great shapes. However, for my pottery sherds, I simply patted the dough into irregular shapes.

2. Decorate
You can create a pottery paddle by using a hot glue gun to drawn the design on a wooden spoon (these are also fun for play dough and clay!) Or you can use shells, leaves, fabric, corn cobs and other natural items to create patterns. You can also draw designs using items like tooth picks and chopsticks.

From left-top, clockwise: Little Manatee shell stamped, check-stamped, San Marcos and Swift Creek.
If historic ceramics are more your style, you can paint the ornaments with acrylic paints after baking to resemble your favorite majolica or pearlwares. You can even create a glazed look with a little bit of clear spray paint.

3. Bake
I baked my sherds at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes. You want to bake them until they harden and dry out. They will brown if you leave them in longer (which you might want to recreate sooting or firing patterns!)

4. Hang and enjoy
String them up with some yarn, raffia or whatever else you have laying around. Hang them on Christmas trees, wreaths, Christmas strings, office walls or where ever else you wish!

Words and images by Emily Jane Murray.

Fort Christmas of Christmas, Florida

            Happy December ya’ll! We just wouldn't be in the proper spirit if this week’s post didn't tie into the holiday season. Did you know that there is both a town and fort in Florida named “Christmas”?
Now do you believe me? 

Entrance to Fort Christmas 

The town (in what is now southern Orange County) gets its name from the construction of a Second Seminole War-era fort, commenced on December 25th, 1837 with the arrival of some two-thousand soldiers and volunteers. During this time, the expansion of white settlers to south Florida reinvigorated aspirations to remove Seminole Natives. However, the number of local Seminoles was negligible, and the fort functioned mostly as a supply depot for a short time before being totally abandoned by March of 1838.

FPAN staff pose in front of their favorite structure

The original fort is no longer standing, and its precise location is unknown (although historians and archaeologists are confident of the general area). In the 1970s, construction began on a full-size replica fort.  It was completed by 1977, and the park also features a Florida “Cracker-style” home, as well as other archetypal pioneer Florida houses. For more information, you can view the website here.

Florida Cracker House at the Historical Park

 We’re happy to report that this upcoming weekend is Fort Christmas Historical Park’s annual “Cracker Christmas” celebration. FPAN staff will be present, and this event features many pioneer-era activities such as weaving, blacksmithing, broom making, and much more. Of course, Santa will make an appearance as well! 

Txt by Ryan Harke, FPAN staff. Full credit to Fort Christmas Historical Society and Orange County Parks and Recreation Department for the images used here.  

Heroes of Heritage: Florida National Guard

St. Johns County Commissioners Thank Operation Restore Respect and present FAC's Stewards of Heritage Award.

This week the St. Johns County Board of Commissioners formally thanked the Florida National Guard and Operation Restore Respect volunteers for their year of service in cleaning up San Sebastian Cemetery.  FPAN staff was on hand to add our congratulations and bestow one of our highest honors, Florida Archaeological Council's (FAC) Stewards of Heritage Award.  The bi-annual award is presented to individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to aid archaeological preservation, further research, educate or otherwise promote public awareness of Florida archaeology.  The organization must also not have preservation in the mission, meaning this is a group that goes beyond the mission of their organization to care for cultural resources.  Florida National Guard traces its military heritage back to the founding of St. Augustine in 1565.  Since then, militia men and women have served to defend local communities.

Home Depot volunteers during 4H cleanup organized by Isaac Turner.

It didn't surprise me last year when I heard the National Guard were going to place flags at the grave sites at San Sebastian Cemetery in West Augustine.  It also didn't surprise me that they were appalled by the condition of the veterans graves.  Despite decade-old efforts to clean up the cemetery, it remained in a state of abandonment with little to no control over Florida foliage or care for the headstones.  I can't even say I was surprised when I heard they were going back after Veterans Day to stage a clean up.  We had been out recently to supervise a local 4H chapter that wanted to get involved with a weekend clean up day.   A lot of concerned groups were coming, yet very few stayed.

Wyatt working with D2 to clean and conserve Veteran headstones.
What surprised me was that after their initial clean up day, they came back.  And they didn't just care for the Veterans, they came back knowing that to truly honor the vets buried there they would need to restore honor to all those buried in San Sebastian.  As they battled the Florida foliage, they also took it upon themselves to seek training in managing cemetery landscapes and caring for historical burial sites.  They took advantage of every training opportunity available to them, and in fact hosted one of our Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) day long workshops. 

Operation Restore Respect: CMSgt Steven James, Lt Col Teresa Frank, Mark Frank.
On Tuesday we thanked CMSgt Steve James and Lieutenant Colonel Teresa Frank of the Florida National Guard and Mark Frank, founding members of Operation Restore Respect. They along with other volunteers from the Florida National Guard and National Guard Foundation have worked very hard to clear the 3 acre site.  I wanted the audience to know the larger problem of abandoned cemeteries across the state.  The figure is unknowable but could be in the thousands for cemeteries that are in need of stewards like the Franks.  I wanted to thank the county for it's continued interest in historical resources--not just historic cemeteries--and thank them for future services rendered in care of San Sebastian and other sites.  I also wanted to recognize  the Adjutant General of the Florida National Guard, Major General Emmett Titshaw, Jr and Mrs. Tittshaw.  I happened to meet the couple the week before planting flags at the cemetery for Veterans Day.

Major General and Mrs. Tittshaw placing flags the weekend before Veterans Day.

So Mission Accomplished!!!!

Well, not quite.  The foliage is a never ending concern as frequent visits are required to keep the weeds in check.  There are also a few areas of the cemetery yet to be cleared and explored.  Speaking of exploration, they cemetery is in desperate need of a survey and mapping.  The group also depends on the county's continued cooperation for picking up piles of vegetation that have been cleared and backed up into a driveway.

Want to get involved?  Best way is to join Operation Restore Respect Facebook group page where clean ups are coordinated.  You can also call your local FPAN office to ask about adopting an abandoned cemetery near you.  If you join FPAN's CRPT Alliance Facebook page we try and post current events and issues affecting all Florida cemeteries.  And of course you can always attend a CRPT workshop (next one up is in Orlando December 5, 2014).

Operation Restore Respect consider new flowers and evidence of the community returning to pay honor to loved ones the ultimate sign of Mission Accomplished.  Well, part 1 anyway:)

Also check out Department of Military Affairs article posted earlier this week.

Text and Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Take a Walk on FPAN

Take this opportunity to walk all over FPAN! Or all over our inscribed brick paver that is, located at the Southeastern corner of the Visitor Information Center in St. Augustine, FL.

Our inscribed brick joins many others wanting to leave their mark during the historic city's 450th anniversary.

They help to compose the red brick patio surrounding the Coquina Ball.  This unique ball marked the eastern end of the Old Spanish Trail, the first transcontinental road from St. Augustine to San Diego, CA.  The marker was placed in 1928, soon after the road's completion.

The profits from the sale of the bricks help to pay for historic preservation projects in St. Augustine.  More information can be found at the Colonial St. Augustine Foundation website.

Text and Images by Robbie Boggs, FPAN Staff

A Site is Born

"How Do You Know Where To Dig?"

Mmmm, stratigraphy (http://proteus.brown.edu/greekpast/4782)

This is one of the questions that we frequently get asked when interacting with the public. Given the wide expanses of Florida's wilds it's no wonder that the public thinks there is more than touch of luck at play concerning the discovery of an archaeological site. To be fair, luck does play a  role in the discovery of many sites. Sites discovered during construction projects, artifacts discovered on a beach after a storm, and evidence of past human occupation eroding from the sides of a river bank are all examples of serendipity at play in discovering archaeological information. But we are scientists and don't deal in the currency of luck for our day to day work; we take what luck gives us and learn from it. While sites can be discovered by happenstance, more often it is through a careful examination of the landscape coupled with research covering past populations in a given area.

Archaeologists often know where to look for an archaeological site based on their knowledge of how sites are formed. This isn't rocket science. Humans, all humans, need food, water, and shelter. Find spots on the landscape that provide the intersection of those three necessities and the chances are quite good that past peoples used that area at some point. Of course this doesn't hold for all archaeological sites: Humans are weird and have a habit of exploring and trying to live in seemingly inhospitable environments. Deserts, mountain tops, outer space, even NYC, are all places that humans have somehow found a way to survive in. For the most part, however, the model of looking for good intersections of food, water, and shelter seem to work for most humans at most times.

Example of inhospitable environments that human survive in (http://www.pinterest.com/pin/69313281735341663/).

Recently we took some of our Timucuan Tehnology curriculum to the Oxbow Eco Center to talk about archaeological site formation with a group of young students. By understanding how a site is formed the students learned how archaeologists work backward through time in their excavations of a site. Students got a chance to actually make a "site" using "artifacts." Students first learned about the Law of Superpostion and why intact stratigraphy is so important for archaeologists. The students were broken up into two groups. The first group had a certain set of "artifacts" to choose from that would represent a Florida site from the Paleo Period to roughly the Early Archaic. These were represented by some charcoal for firepits, animal bones, stone for tools and some shell. The next group of students came to the site and furnished it with stratigraphic layers representing the Middle Archaic to about the time of Contact. These layers incorporated the previous types of artifacts, but also included much more shell, bits of pottery, and glass beads and metal goods closer to the top. After we were done we had all students come out and investigate the site and make inferences about cultures represented in the stratigraphic layers: What was changing? What had stayed the same? What can we say about these past peoples just by looking at how this site was formed?

The group walked away with a better understanding of how archaeologists work and why site preservation is so important. Cultural resource preservation is contingent on environmental resource preservation and we couldn't have asked for a better host to get that point across than the Oxbow Eco Center.

Text by Kevin Gidusko
Pics, except where url given, by Kevin Gidusko

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