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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 March 2014

As We Bid Farewell to Florida Archaeology Month 2014

It has been an eventful and extremely busy Florida Archaeology Month 2014 here at the Northeast and East-Central  Regional FPAN centers! Given that today is March 31 and archaeology month is coming to a close,  : (    I figure it's a good time to highlight some of our accomplishments and share some of our outreach experiences!

We took on FAM2014 like the Paleoindians took on mammoths!
Archaeology month started with a bang. On March 1st, Ryan and intern Elizabeth led a public archaeology day dig in Clay County. The excavations focused on an area known as the "Historic Triangle" in between the County Courthouse and the old Jailhouse. We were searching for historic artifacts, or maybe even a garbage midden associated with the inmates and/or keepers.

Participants excavate a 1 m X 50 cm test trench
Meanwhile, Emily Jane spent the morning at the GTM Research Reserve in Ponte Vedra, leading an archaeology hike throughout the beautiful Guana Peninsula and discussing pottery, tools and other materials found at nearby sites.

Hikers got to learn about 6000+ years of human occupation on the Guana Peninsula!

Also that week, we made our first attempt at some archaeology Pecha Kuchas (20 slides X 20 minutes) in Fernandina Beach! We talked about archaeologist's fetishes including clothes, tools and beer.

The infamous manicures were Sarah's fetish during our first archaeology-themed Pecha Kucha series.

On March 7th,  we conducted an all-day public archaeology event at Burns Science and Technology Charter school, where we helped a class demonstrate four types of Timucuan Technology for the rest of their school.

Students gather and listen before heading to four archaeology stations

On March 8, we held our first Shells and Archaeology workshop at Ponce Inlet Marine Science Center! We talked about different types of native shells and identifying features, how people used them in the past, and how archaeologists study them today.

Participants drew how they thought Natives used shells in the past, and built their own shell middens! 

The following week, I partnered with Fort Mose State Park to lead multiple hikes out to the island location of Fort Mose II. We had great weather that day!

Ryan and park specialist Tonya stand where Fort Mose II once stood

Kevin and Emily Jane led a cookie excavation at Wekiwa Springs State park for a group of elementary school children while Sarah helped a local 4-H group clean up San Sebastian Cemetery in St. Augustine.

The students carefully excavate 'choco-facts' from their 'not-cookie-archaeological-sites.'
On March 22, Sarah led a cleanup crew out at San Sebastian Cemetery near St. Augustine. 
On the last Saturday of FAM 2014, Ryan and Elizabeth volunteered to help at Flagler College's high school visitation day by repping FPAN, local archaeology, and internship opportunities through Flagler's public history program!

That same day, Emily Jane and Kevin spent time at Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science doing all sorts of activities--atlatl dart throwing, native plants and archaeology toolkit presentations. They wrapped up with a PaleoFlorida talk by Kevin!

Emily Jane showing off her finely honed hunting skills.
Well, there you have it. Those are just some of the highlights from our region's FAM2014. We're happy to say that everyone survived (!),  and we look forward to a crazy FAM next year! Thanks to all of our collaborators, and all those who supported us throughout this public archaeology gauntlet!

Text and Images, Ryan Harke, Kevin Gidusko, Emily Jane Murray, and Sarah Miller.

Wekiwa Springs State Park: A Springtastic Place to Visit for FAM 2014

Wekiwa Springs, early morning.  Photo by K. Gidusko

Step back in time at Wekiwa Springs

Florida Archaeology Month 2014 is in full swing and we've had the chance to visit many great places and spread the good word on Florida's deep archaeological past.  FAM 2014 is celebrating the archaeology of Florida's first people, the paleoindians, and highlighting two unique archaeological sites that have provided information on these people; Little Salt Spring and Warm Mineral Springs.  Both of these sites are a little ways from our area, but did you know that we too have some stunning spring sites that you can visit thanks to the Florida State Parks system?

Wekiwa Springs State Park encompasses nearly 7,00 acres of rivers, wetlands, and pine uplands.  There is ample space for picnics and the constant 72-degree water (over 42 million gallons flow from the spring daily!) in the spring makes it a
nice, refreshing way to spend a free day this spring.  Over 13 miles of trails are available for hiking, horseback riding, or biking.  Rent or bring your own canoe or kayak to take a trip down the Wekiva river, a gently flowing river that's great for beginners or those of us who just want to take it slow.

People have utilized the river systems and spring sites of Eastern Florida for thousands of years.  The slow-moving, spring-fed rivers provided plenty of resources for the native peoples inhabiting the area.  Fish, turtles, alligators, shellfish., and plenty more enabled large populations to exist here from around the late-archaic period until the time of contact with Europeans. 

Florida was long one of the least populous states in the southern U.S.  However, after the Civil War the area attracted attention from tourists,especially from the North, who believed that the springs in Florida provided healing properties for an array of ailments.  The picture to the right shows Wekiwa Spring as it would have looked in the early part of the 20th century.  The surrounding forests were used for logging and a few turpentine camps operated in the area as well.

In 1941 the Wilson Cypress Company sold the land that surrounds Wekiwa Springs to the Apopka Hunt Club.  The Club used the land for hunting and fishing activities until the state purchased the land in 1969 and the next year opened the area as Wekiwa Springs State Park.  

We recently had the opportunity to assist in the Wekiwa E.C.O. Day (Environmental Curriculum Outreach) which brought a group of elementary students to the park and educated about the anatomy of a spring, pollution, pyrogenic landscapes and cultural resources of the area.  We had a chance to talk about the bio-technology the native peoples used to thrive in the area for thousands of years.  A lot of this information can be found in FPAN'sTimucuan Technology curriculum.  Be sure to check it out for tons of great information and fun activities you can try out at home.  We ended our talk with some chocolate chip cookie excavation to drive the point home that professional archaeologists work hard to preserve and investigate information on provenience at archaeological sites.  The kids learned how important it was to preserve these sites and how they can help to be good stewards of these resources.  

So this FAM 2014 get out and enjoy some of the great cultural resources that are in our backyards!  Take some time to appreciate the Florida of yesterday and learn how important it is that we all work together to preserve these precious sites for future generations.

Text and Pics: Kevin Gidusko
Historic Pics: Florida State Parks


Ceramics 101: Lead Glazed!

Day 3: Lead Glazed Coarse Earthenware 

The super shiny, glass-like coating you see on many ceramic types is lead glazing.  Potters shaped the vessel, fired it once, then fired it again after adding a powder of lead and silicates.  The powder would melt and bond to the vessel, not easily flicked off.  Lead glazing was quite an improvement- helped to hold water, make the decoration more expressive, and held up better over time.  Was the lead bad for public health?   Lead poisoning from ceramics is rare, but one study on lead glazed ceramics from Port Royal in Jamaica tested toxicity and found evidence the lead leached out and poisoned some of the population. 

Lead glazed ceramics tell a dynamic story of lands changing hands between the Spanish and the British.  Kinds of lead glazing you find around St. Augustine from 16th to 19th century wares include:

Green Bacin (1490-1600)

Cream to tan colored earthenwares with a distinctive emerald green glaze on the interior.  Green Bacin is found on late 16th century sites in Florida and on Spanish Armada shipwrecks.  It has not been found in Spanish Mission contexts or later shipwrecks.

Green Bacin, aka the big green giant!

El Morro  (1550-1700)

El morro, rough, sandy, shiny but rough.  Made in Spanish Americas, named after Castillo in Puerto Rico.  Unlike other lead glazed wears El Morro is rough, not finished very well.  Bits of sand stick up through glaze, very rough, sandpaper texture.  Very common in St. Augustine.  Did I mention it's rough?  

El Morro, very gritty surface.

Named at the same time as El Morro, Rey Ware has reddish paste, more compact than El Morro, less sandy.  Doesn't occur until 18th century.  The main characteristic is its smoothness- very, very smooth.  There is no proof Rey Ware is Spanish named, and on English sites it's called glazed earthenware.  Did I mention it's smooth?

Rey Ware with its high gloss finish.

A mouthful to say, this redware is soft, sandy, dark orange and friable. Reflective glaze found often on one side but sometimes on both sides of the vessel.  This type is found commonly on 16th century St. Augustine sites and other locations in the Caribbean and South America.  Can often be misidentified or crumbled beyond recognition. 

Crumbly bits of 16th Century Lead Glazed Redware.

Buckley (1650 to 1800s) 

Striated (mixed) pastes alternating red and yellow to make an almost purple paste with black shiny glaze.  Most common form was big storage jars with ribs or ridges.  Dates fluctuate depending on historical events (British occupation), so it's a good example of dates of use not strictly following production dates.  As a British made ware, rare to find in St. Augustine but indicative of British Period or as allowed in trade.

Rare find of British Buckley ware in St. Augustine.

Similar to Buckley this type has cream to terracotta colored paste with black glossy glaze, but unlike Buckley the paste color is consistent with no striations.  The glaze is thick, coal-black and shiny.  Spanish made, not British, and therefore more readily found in St. Augustine.

Jackfield (1740-1790)

Similar to Buckley with purple paste and black glaze, but paste more compact to the point of being a stoneware-like.  The black glaze is so glossy, appears to have an iridescent shine like an oil slick.  Also indicative of British Period (also see Jefpat listing for Jackfield).

Jackfield sherd, a British earthenware so dense it's often typed as a stoneware.

This British type does occur in St. Augustine and both Spanish and British colonies. The paste is not consistent- coarse grey paste is surrounded by a reddish color.  Doesn't have sand in the temper but there are pebbles in the paste.  The inside is lead glazed with an apple-green color.  Sherds are thick, indicative of large crocks and jugs. 

Check back next time for Slip decorated wares!

Other posts in the #ceramics101 series (will provide link as they are posted):
Week 1 - introduction
Week 2 - Unglazed and coarse earthenware: Part 1 Prehistoric; Part 2 Olive Jars; Part 3 European
Week 3 - Slip decorated and lead-glazed pottery
Week 4 - Majolica- Morisco tradition
Week 5 - Majolica- Italianate tradition
Week 6 - Majolica- Mexico City tradition
Week 7 - Majolica- Puebla tradition
Week 8 - Delft & Faience
Week 9 - Porcelain
Week 10 - Refined Earthenware
Week 11 - Stoneware

Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff using notes from Dr. Deagan's Fall 2012 Historic Ceramic Analysis class at Flagler College.  Please note any errors and inaccuracies are mine.  Endless thanks to Dr. Kathleen Deagan to giving her blessing to this blog project last year.  


Florida Museum of Natural History, Digital Type Collection, Historical Archaeology (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/histarch/gallery_types/)

Deagan, K. A. 2002 Artifacts of the Spanish Colonies of Florida and the Caribbean 1500-1800.Volume 1: Ceramics and Glassware.  Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press (Volume 1). (paper). 

Jefferson Patterson Parks and Museum, Diagnostic Artifacts in Maryland, Colonial Ceramics webpage (http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/ColonialCeramics/index-colonial.html)

Hailey, T. I. 1994.  The Analysis of 17th, 18th, and 19th- Century Ceramics from Port Royal, Jamaica for Lead Release: A Study in Archaeotoxology.  (http://anthropology.tamu.edu/papers/Hailey-PhD1994.pdf)

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