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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 April 2014

Taphophiles Unite!: 2nd annual Cemetery a Day in May!

I learned a new word this year: taphophile.  Taphophiles are people obsessed with cemeteries, and if you're reading this post that likely includes you.  Welcome!  You are in a safe place to explore these aesthetically beautiful and historically significant sites.  
Inspired by the guiding principle that a visited cemetery is a safer cemetery, we're back at it this May highlighting historic cemeteries in Florida.  And this year I'm not alone, the entire Northeast/East Central team is helping out to bring you a variety of sites in each and every one of our counties.  For those interested in taking their taphophilic tendencies a step further, consider joining us for our Inaugral Cemetery Resource Protection Training statewide conference to be held June 3-4, 2014 in Gainesville.  Preliminary program and registration available here: http://flpublicarchaeology.org/programs/CRPTconf.php.
So come on fellow taphophiles, let the journey begin!
Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.  Image: Jody Marcil featured in Written in Stone: Historic Cemeteries of St. Johns County poster.

For previous posts search: Cemetery a Day in May or #CaDiM

2014 #CaDiM posts

2013 #CaDiM posts
Intro, May 1: National, May 2: Oakdale, May 3: Murphy's Creek, May 4: Mt. Olive, May 5: Bosque Bello, May 6: Old City, May 7: Espanola, May 8: Tolomato, May 9: Pacetti, May 10: West View, May 11: Magnolia SpringsMay 12: St. Peter's, May 13: Gravely Hill, May 14: Pilgrim's Rest, May 15: God's Little Acre, May 16: Dummet's Grave, May 17: No Name, May 18: St. Monica, May 19: St. Joseph's, May 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval), May 21: Sampson, May 22: Fernandez Reserve, May 23: St. Ambrose, May 24: Sons of Israel, May 25: Sanksville, May 26: Huguenot, May 27: Nombre de Dios, May 28: Beresford, May 29: Jones, May 30: San Sebastian/Pinehurst, May 31: Oaklynn

Lighthouses And Rocket Ships: A Unique CRPT Experience

On April 9th we were honored to hold a Cemetery Resource Protection and Training (CRPT) course on the property of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS).  Since 1949 this area has acted as the launching site for many of the first and most important manned space flights for the United States.

After WWII there was a need to develop missile technology to compete in a quickening arms race with what
would soon become known as the Cold War with the USSR.  The Cape was chosen as an ideal spot for long-range missile testing due to its proximity to the equator and the vast amount of space to, well, launch missiles into.  Missile technology rapidly advanced (as did competition with the USSR) and the Cape became one of the centers dedicated to the achievement of manned space flight.  The CCAFS has seen the GeminiMercury and Apollo missions launch into orbit and beyond, all from just off of an unassuming stretch of road which would come to be affectionately called Missile Row.

So why were we conducting a CRPT course along Missile Row?  I'm glad you asked.  Before the missiles, before the giant gantries, before the looming rockets with brave men strapped atop them, before all of this there was a lighthouse.  To be fair, before all of that there was a Big Bang, a few billion years, eons of geological change, millennia of humans descended from the first people to traverse into the Americas that called that land home, and a few other things thrown in there as well that happened.  But for now we'll focus in on the lighthouse.

The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse stands today about a mile and a half inland from where it originally stood closer to the coast and is operated as a museum which you can and should visit. The original brick structure was built in the early 19th century and stood 65 feet tall.  It was later increased to nearly 90 feet.  It was moved to its current site and in 1853 Mills O. Burnham became the keeper.  He remained the keeper for the next 33 years.  Today the lighthouse is a short drive from any of the beautiful communities surrounding the base, but in the mid-19th century the lighthouse may as well have been on the moon as far as civilization was concerned.  The keeper had his family, the assistant keeper's family and a few other homesteaders in the area for company.  As it was, the tiny community had to handle for themselves many of the things we often don't deal with today.  One danger that was always around the corner in Florida before air conditioners, before consistent and good supplies of medicine, and before a concerted effort to kill off as many mosquitoes as possible was the ever-present shade of Death. These small, scattered communities often had either family grave plots or small communal plots set aside for burial.  Today there are several of these plots (and much more) that are maintained by the 45th Space Wing Cultural Resources Manager, Thomas E. Penders.  So when Tom invited us out to hold a CRPT course and help clean a cemetery associated with the lighthouse families we jumped at the chance.

For the classroom portion of the course we were allowed to utilize the renovated bunker house at Launch Complex 14.  As many of you know, this is where the Mercury missions first sent Americans into space.  Alan Shepard was the first to be launched into space and later John Glenn would launch from this site to be the first to orbit the Earth.  It was a remarkable facility and for lunch we sat by the ramp that led to the gantry and had a conversation standing on the blast pad.
LC-14 Bunker Today
LC-14 Bunker in operation

A short distance away we spent the afternoon in one of several historic cemeteries on the CCAFS property.  Participants learned about proper cemetery recording techniques as well as best practices for cleaning headstones.  With elbow grease and a lot of good will we were able to clean the entire cemetery before the end of the day.  This was a a victory made all the sweeter as the next week happened to be the day set aside for the descendants of those buried on the property to visit their ancestors.  We hoped they would enjoy seeing the headstones greeting them looking brighter than they have in probably half a century.
Before cleaning
After cleaning

A special thanks for all of those who attended this CRPT course.  A very special thanks to Thomas E. Penders for arranging the opportunity to utilize such a unique location for our class.
Thanks to all!

Text and Images: Kevin Gidusko
Map: Nasa


Ceramics 101: Slipwares

Day 3: Slipped Coarse Earthenware 

In ceramic terms a slip is liquid clay used to decorate over a previously fired earthenware.  Historically slips came in white, yellow, light and dark brown, and green.  A clear lead glazed coating was put on after firing the slip to give a smooth and shiny sheen.  Many of the patterns repeat across types, such slip trailing (defined line), combing (running a wide comb tool across lines or feathering with a brush), and marbled (joggling).  Toward the end of preparing this post I found this beautiful History of Slipware page featuring sherds from Port Royal, Jamaica, perfect for those wanting to know more about English decoration and vessel types. 

1. Wrotham and Metropolitan - 17th Century

Before Staffordshire types, these early slip wares featured darker, more rustic decorations.  Wrotham features a dark slip covered the entire vessel and another slip design was dropped on top in naturalistic designs.  Metropolitan are more ginger in color.  There's a nice description with pictures on the Jamestown Rediscovery webpage.  We didn't have any specimens at the library or in class, but I have seen a few sherds at the City archaeology lab and when I visit places like Boston.

Wrotham vessel with date inscribed from Allen Gallery in Alton, Hampshire, UK.

Metropolitan slipware from Museum of London collection.

2. Sgraffito

Sgraffito in general means to scratch into the slipped surface.  This decoration style is still used today but can be found on Florida historic sites as Polychrome in 16th c contexts possibly made in Spain, to a later British made Sgraffito, white slip over red paste that dates from 1650-1740.  We didn't have any examples in class or the library, so check out the FLMNH digital type collection links I pasted in above.

Italian sgraffito vessel replica featured as a WIIW years back.  Answer featured in a follow up blog post.

3. Pisan (1600-1650)

Another Italian type common in Spanish and English colonies is Pisan.  The paste is red and compact.  The surface is decorated with marbleized swirls of yellow, brown, and green.  A clear lead glaze is then added over the slip decoration for a glossy finish.  It reminds me of the pattern found on the inside covers of old books.  The decoration starts as straight lines of different color slips.  The artist gives a slight jiggle (called a joggle) to the vessel, and voila...swirls are born (see YouTube video below).
Mind the gap...formatting issues I can't seem to resolve....


As an archaeologist you are most likely to find this type, ubiquitous on 18th century Colonial sites.  While the FMNH has a nice page, the Maryland Type Collection page has the greatest detail.   Paste is yellowish or buff.  The slip can be white or brown and decorated in a variety of ways: slip trailing, "jeweling" by placing dots, combing, marbling (joggling), and impressed.  A lead glaze is then added over to give it a flat, shiny surface appearance.  Large plates are decorated on one side a feature a "piecrust" rim, however Staffordshire slips are found on a variety of vessel forms. 

Slip trailed, marbled (joggled) and marbled Staffordshire sherds.

Combed Staffordshire dish made today for tourists.

5. American or Moravian (1750-1825)
Slipped trailed red ware, coarse red paste, design just trialled over the top and lead glaze on top.  Not layered or swirled.  Unlike Staffordshire sherds, American or Moravian feature a thick red paste.  These were made in the second half of the 18th century.  Important for St. Augustine, this type indicates Second Spanish period deposits found above the British period layers featuring Staffordshire types.  The ginger colored vessels are not often glazed on the back.  Combinations of white, yellow, light or dark brown, and green could be trailed, marbled, banded, or washed over body.  Could also be slip trailed with animals, floral designs, dates and other inscriptions. 
Image of Moravian Sherd from Brenda Heindl's blog Liberty Stoneware.

6. Saintonage (1250 - 1650)

I'm a bit obsessed with Saintonge at the moment.  This type comes from southern France and is found in Europe and early French sites in the US.  I have seen 28 Saintonge vessels in my life, and all of them were on display in Quebec City.  Unfortunately no photos were allowed and we didn't have a specimen for class.  You can check out the FMNH listing, or I included some samples from the web below.  The slip is white, like a primer, and the green glaze is on top of the slip.  It is rare but possible to find in St. Augustine.  It is also found in Atlantic and Gulf states, Illinois, and Canada, most notably in Quebec. 

Image of Saintonge from Old Mobile Archaeology page.
Saintonge pitcher from Museum of London Ceramics and Glass Collection.

There are some AWESOME videos that show techniques for slipwares, here's just a few (note: on some browsers the thumbnails don't seem to appear so including hyperlink in titles just in case):

The Slipware Tour- almost an hour long but beautiful before and after images showing multiple forms and styles

Slipware plates- joggling and straight lines:

Irma Starr makes 17th Century English Slipware:

More general review of post-medival pottery in England by Time Team (3 minutes in nice review of Staffordshire industry)

Check back next time as the wild MAJOLICA adventure begins!

Week 1 - introduction
Week 2 - Unglazed and coarse earthenware: Part 1 Prehistoric; Part 2 Olive Jars; Part 3 European
Week 3 - Slipware 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.  Images by Sarah Miller except where noted in the caption and full reference given below.


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)

"Saintonge" Slipware.  St. Mary's University Anthropology page.  http://www.smu.ca/academics/departments/anthropology-saintonge-slipware.html

A Study of Colonial Ceramics.  The Center for Archaeological Studies' Old Mobile Archaeology website.  http://www.southalabama.edu/archaeology/study/faience2001.htm  

Ceramics at the Allen Gallery. http://www3.hants.gov.uk/allen-gallery/allen-ceramics.htm 

Metropolitan Slipware, Museum of London Ceramics and Glass Collection.   http://archive.museumoflondon.org.uk/ceramics/pages/subcategory.asp?subcat_id=720&subcat_name=Metropolitan

Metropolitan Slipware.  Jamestown Rediscover webpage: http://apva.org/rediscovery/page.php?page_id=295. 

Heindl, Brenda.  Moravian slipware sherds featured on Liberty Stoneware blog: http://libertystoneware.blogspot.com/2011/01/austin-texas.html 

Donachie, Madeleine.  Slipware at Port Royal, Jamaica.  Texas A&M.  http://nautarch.tamu.edu/portroyal/slipware/index.html

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