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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 June 2014

2014 Field School Notes

By now, most of our local field schools have wrapped it up for the summer. I got the chance to visit UNF's excavation at the Grand Shell Ring and UF's excavation at Bulow Plantation. Here's some notes from each!

Grand Shell Ring
This shell ring, on Big Talbot Island in Jacksonville, is the only non-Archaic shell ring on the East Coast! Wo-ow!! It dates to the Mississipian Period, between AD 900-1200. It is about 60x75 meters and about 1 meter high. The shell ring is made of lots of shell, animal remains and a few scattered artifacts like pottery. There's also an adjacent sandy burial mound at the site.

Sorting through lots of shell and faunal remains!

More Majolica Manicures: San Elizario for SAA

Since the first Majolica Manies post back in February 2013, I've added quite a bit to my repertoire.  And some for very good reasons.  Over the next few weeks I'll be loading up at least 7 more #MajolicaMani, so keep checking back.  And we love FAN NAIL: do your own archaeology inspired manicures and send them to me at @fpannortheast or @semiller88 on Twitter.

Florida Historic Cemeteries and Shells!!

The Shells of Historic Cemeteries in Florida

In the coming months, I’m beginning a “shell project” at San Sebastian Cemetery in St. Augustine. Back in November, Sarah and I visited the cemetery to evaluate local upkeep and management efforts. The story begins with Sarah pointing out a really large conch shell lain at the base of a headstone near the cemetery entrance. My first reaction was that of surprise; it was a helmet conch (Cassis madagascarensis), which does not typically range north of the Florida Keys because of temperature thresholds. Thus, my first thought was wondering how it found its way to a northeast Florida cemetery.

The Helmet Conch that started it all...

CRPT Conference Bonanza!

This past week (June 3-4) FPAN West-Central and FPAN Northeast co-hosted the first-ever CRPT conference in the Thomas Center at the University of Florida, Gainesville. The 2-day program was broken into field and presentation components, respectively. Despite being the inaugural--and experimental--CRPT conference, the sessions ran smoothly, and the meetings were a huge success.


Day 1
The morning session of the first day took place at Evergreen Cemetery, and included numerous demonstrations:

Kevin Gidusko, FPAN-EC staff demonstrates how GPR works

Cemetery a Day in May: Pablo Cemetery (Duval County)

Cemetery log date: May 17, 2014

Hello there #CaDiMers! You're looking lovely today. I'm really excited to tell you about Pablo Cemetery, near Mayport, FL, as it was the site of our most recent CRPT training. It has also been known as the Mayport Cemetery, and  originally as the Dewees Family Cemetery. Recently, both research and preservation have become hot topics at Pablo. As a local and descendant, Janet (last name) began the "Andrew Dewees project", making lots of new discoveries regarding the cemetery's complex history. She has spent years pouring over genealogical records and historic maps to uncover the true nature and extent of the Pablo Cemetery.

 Like many historic cemeteries in Florida and elsewhere, the modern fences are probably not an accurate representation of the cemetery limits (i.e. it's not unlikely that there are burials in other areas extending beyond the road, fence, etc.). Recently, Dr. Gordon Rakita of the University of North Florida (UNF) has joined the project to assist with defining the site boundaries and potentially locating unmarked burials and submerged monuments with a GPR unit. He also was present at the CRPT training and performed a GPR demonstration in the field.

CRPT Participants pose for a group shot at Pablo Cemetery 




WHO: 
Founding members of the Mayport region, notably including the Dewees family and relatives, Yellow fever victims, and others.



Participants try their hand at GPR data collection


WHAT:
Pablo is a privately-owned community cemetery just outside Mayport, FL. There is a "Mayport Cemetery Association" that maintains the cemetery.
Before 





After D2 cleaning 


WHEN: 
The earliest known burial dates to 1881, although it's not unlikely that there could be older unmarked graves. It's also possible that nearby tributaries of the St. John's River could have swallowed an early section of the cemetery, as historic maps indicate they once flowed much closer to the modern site boundaries.



WHERE:
Pablo is located at the south end of Sand Castle lane, south of Wonderwood Drive. The address is technically Jacksonville, though the cemetery lies near the Mayport city limit.


WHY:

-Andrew Dewees and family are buried there, pioneering settlers of the northeast Florida area around Mayport

-Lily Thomas--a lady who lived to be 108--was a Singleton of the local fishing company in town

-The cemetery has an interesting and complex history. It's known that yellow fever victims were buried there, once identified by wooden markers that have since decayed.

-An expert witness noticed stone markers being purposely buried to make room for new markers. Locating these stones is a major component of Dr. Rakita's GPR work

-A phase I archaeological survey of the area identified prehistoric toolmaking debris and a soil signature indicating a mound may once have stood on the property.







Text and Images by Ryan Harke,  FPAN staff, full credit to Janet for historical background information. 

To locate more Northeast Florida Cemetery posts, search "Cemetery a Day in May" or #CaDiM





2014 #CaDiM posts


2013 #CaDiM posts
IntroMay 1: NationalMay 2: OakdaleMay 3: Murphy's CreekMay 4: Mt. OliveMay 5: Bosque BelloMay 6: Old CityMay 7: EspanolaMay 8: TolomatoMay 9: PacettiMay 10: West ViewMay 11: Magnolia Springs,  May 12: St. Peter'sMay 13: Gravely HillMay 14: Pilgrim's RestMay 15: God's Little AcreMay 16: Dummet's GraveMay 17: No NameMay 18: St. MonicaMay 19: St. Joseph'sMay 20:  Old St. Joseph's (Duval)May 21: SampsonMay 22: Fernandez ReserveMay 23: St. AmbroseMay 24: Sons of IsraelMay 25: SanksvilleMay 26: HuguenotMay 27: Nombre de DiosMay 28: BeresfordMay 29: JonesMay 30: San Sebastian/PinehurstMay 31: Oaklynn

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