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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 September 2014

Old Oakland African American Cemetery Eagle Scout Project: Part 2

One of many "temporary" markers at the site that are all that remains to show some of the burial locations.

Old Oakland African-American Cemetery Eagle Scout Project: Part 2

  A few weeks ago we posted about the work of Nick, a Life Scout who was preparing to work towards completing an Eagle Scout Service Project that involved efforts at a nearly forgotten cemetery in the small town of Oakland, Florida. The small cemetery that served the local and itinerant African-American community, situated around a small sinkhole pond just off of what is now Highway 50, had its last interment around 1950 and thereafter was left to the gradual encroachment of the Florida landscape.  When the Turnpike Authority sought to create new ramps in the area they conducted surveys of the land to make sure that they were not impacting any cultural or environmental resources.  The cemetery property, when it was "rediscovered," was eventually deeded to a descendant of the community and is now, in turn, being managed by the town of Oakland.  Years of neglect had left the cemetery barely visible to the casual passer-by as invasive plants, oaks, pines, and ferns covered the graves. The markers, many of them temporary metal markers that were never replaced with stone, wore away, broke from falling trees, or slouched forward towards the pond as rains washed sandy soil down to the old sink. Finally, the tide is turning for the tiny the cemetery.

New Workshop Series: "Archaeology Works"

Happy Friday everyone! I'll keep this week's post brief; I just wanted to share a new workshop series that got underway yesterday morning. The programming was developed by our friends at FPAN West-Central in Tampa. Because it has been so successful, we're bringing some of their topics here to Northeast Florida, and we're working on some of our own!

Here's how it works (no pun intended!):

Each workshop is centered on a particular artifact type or archaeological process. Then, depending on what it is, we teach all of the information that archaeologists can learn from that artifact. The programs feature an interactive lecture/powerpoint presentation that lays out the basics, and then participants are encouraged to participate in related activities that follow.

For example, lets pick stone tools. What do lithic artifacts teach archaeologists about the past? Well, they can show how hunting technologies changed through time (e.g., spears, atlatls, bows), aid in determining what animals were being hunted, provide clues to how stone tools were crafted and what they were used for, and of course, much more! The first part of the presentation describes everything outlined above, demonstrating what archaeologists now know because of their work with stone tools. The latter half of the workshop might include flint-knapping demonstrations, atlatl dart throwing, and/or any other activities related to stone tools.

Flier for FPAN West-Central's Lithics workshop

This recipe works for any artifact type or process. Here are a few other examples:

What can archaeologists learn from food remains? 

Example of an archaeology "tool" or process-- flotation teaches how archaeologists learn from tiny plant remains! 

The first "Archaeology Works" workshop by FPAN Northeast was "Shells" 

Next week Sarah will be doing "Historic Ceramics" at Amelia Island Museum of History. Shortly thereafter, Emily Jane will be presenting "Prehistoric Pottery" at the GTMNERR.  Stay current by watching our facebook page  and website for more Archaeology Works information and upcoming workshops. We're planning several more in the fall, and they'll definitely be featured during Florida Archaeology Month (March).  I've heard rumors of  topics such as "Historic Nails" and "Archaeology Dating Methods"!

Text by Ryan Harke, FPAN Northeast staff. Full Credit to FPAN West-Central staff for Archaeology Works and fliers used in this blog.

Majolica Manicures: Pensacola Striped

I was asked to give a talk in Pensacola to the Florida Anthropological Society's local chapter Pensacola Archaeological Society last year.  In preparation for the talk I came across a reference to Pensacola Striped Polychrome, a majolica type found so far only in Pensacola.  In honor our our rival city, seemed the perfect fit for my next #MajolicaMani. 

Majolica Feature.  Photo credit: UWF.
The striped majolica was first discovered in a bean-shaped feature in the warehouse area of the Spanish Presidio Santa Maria de Galve (1698-1719) during the 1998 UWF field school excavation.  The pit was full of a variety of majolica as well as charred peas, beans,and lentils.  The other ceramics were types commonly made in Mexico during the early eighteenth-century.  For more on excavation of site site, including maps, excavation images, and other artifacts and features, check out the UWF Department of Anthropology and Archaeology webpage dedicated to the Fort.  

The manicure itself was relatively easy to do.  The hardest part was matching the blue (mix of three), an ongoing problem I've had with nailing down the majolica color palette.  It's interesting to note which bands are black lined and which ones are not.  From the above right picture, the top sherd lacks the black line boarder on the outer rims, yet on the lower sherd the black fine lines are present.  All the interior bands are black lined.  The white tin-enameled glaze is fairly opaque according to the photo, suggesting it's an earlier Mexico City based majolica and not a later Puebla-based ceramic.  To render this for the manicure I used a more opaque base coat of white.  I did outline all the bands with black to make it cleaner.  From my own hypothesis then, I guess all my nails are center body sherds and no rims present.

For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:
*Initial Feb 2013 posting Majolica Manies
For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:

*Initial Feb 2013 posting Majolica Manies - See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/07/more-majolica-manicures-aucilla.html#sthash.4yKbqcsx.dpuf
For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:

*Initial Feb 2013 posting Majolica Manies - See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/07/more-majolica-manicures-aucilla.html#sthash.4yKbqcsx.dpuf
For more #MajolicaMani posts check out:

*Initial Feb 2013 posting Majolica Manies - See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2014/07/more-majolica-manicures-aucilla.html#sthash.4yKbqcsx.dpuf

Text and Photos: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.  Manicure images by Sarah, artifacts photo top right and majolica feature in the field are from Presidio Santa Maria de Galve, UWF Division of Anthropology and Archaeology.

American Beach and the Legacy of the Kingsley Family

On September 6, 2014, the American Beach Museum officially opened its doors. The project has been a long time in the making - the brain child of the late MaVynee Betsch (a.k.a. The Beach Lady), opera singer, environmentalist and local historian. She passed away in 2005 before she could make her dream of a museum a reality.

Ribbon cutting at the Grand Opening of the American Beach Museum.
Mavynee was the great-grandaughter of Abraham Lincoln Lewis, the first African-American millionaire in Florida. He helped found the Afro-American Life Insurance Company in 1901 and was also involved in local politics, education and more. In 1935, he purchased 200 acres along the Atlantic Coastline on Amelia Island to found American Beach - one of the only black beach communities in its time.

National Park Service sign about the area, sign located near Na Na.

American Beach was a happening place through the 1950s. The list of famous African-Americas who visited the area is quite long: Zora Neale Hurston, Ray Charles, James Brown and lots more! After hurricane Dora destroyed many homes in the area, and after the passing of the Civil Rights Act which desegregated the state's beaches (both in 1964), the community began to fall from popularity.

Looking back even further into Mavynee's family, you learn that Abraham married the granddaughter of Zephaniah and Anna (Check out a family tree - and some interesting ethnography here). For more information on Zephaniah and Anna, check out some of our other blog posts about Kingsley Plantation.

MaVynee carried all of this wonderful history around with her. She lead tours of American Beach and used her own home - a small beachside trailer - as the first incarnation of the museum. She spoke about saving the history of American Beach and its wonderful environment. She fought for one of the largest dunes in Florida, which she named "Na Na," and it is now under the protection of the National Park Service.
The 60' dune system, named NaNa, is now part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve.

To read more about American Beach - and the Kingsleys, check out this article from the National Park Service, with interviews with MaVynee and her sister, Dr. Johnette Cole (as well as some descendants of Kingsley's sister!).

And be sure to stop by the new American Beach Museum Friday-Saturday from 10-2 or Sunday 1-5, located at 1600 Julia St., American Beach.

Words and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff.

Old Oakland African American Cemetery Eagle Scout Project: Part I

Old Oakland African American Cemetery Eagle Scout Project: Part I
Walking out to the Old Oakland African American Cemtery

What a mouthful.  But I suppose a big project with a lot of effort put behind it deserves a big, wordy title that somehow conveys its importance.  Over a year ago FPAN was contacted to assist an Eagle Scout candidate in developing a project that would give service to the community as well as provide an opportunity for the Scout to demonstrate leadership and management skills.  Eagle Scout Service Projects take a variety of forms and for this project we suggested providing some care and maintenance to a nearly forgotten African American cemetery in the tiny town of Oakland on the southern shores of Lake Apopka.

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