Friday, February 20, 2015


The Oakland AA Cemetery

  We've spent a lot of time in historic cemeteries over the last few years. Partly because we seem to all like them so much and partly because they need all the attention they can get. Historical cemeteries are one of the most threatened cultural resources in the state. For archaeologists, cemeteries are great sources of information about local communities: the location of cemeteries, the type of material used for markers, and the iconography all provide invaluable snapshots into one of the most important cultural practices all humans partake in: disposal of the dead. 

A "temporary" marker that has been weed-whacked too many times.

  At FPAN, we all work hard to promote knowledge of these cultural resources through outreach like our Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) courses and our, fairly new, annual CRPT Conference.  Recording cemeteries and raising awareness about their existence are great moves towards long term protection. Another ongoing project we have is to work with volunteers to record cemeteries for the Florida Master Site File, the state's database of cultural resources.

Volunteers recording makers

 Currently, a project is underway in Orange County to begin recording as many of these historic cemeteries as possible. Cemeteries are being recorded marker by marker, and in-depth files will be compiled for preservation with the state. In order to do this we are counting on community volunteers to help manage and conduct the preservation. It is our goal to make this information available to local college students or other researchers who wish to conduct historic cemetery research in the Central Florida area, as well as throughout the rest of Florida. For example, one current volunteer will be using the information gathered on marker material type to examine commodity flow and choice in these historic cemeteries; who is able to purchase what type of marker and does preference or economics dictate the eventual choice? We will be needing all the help we can get and will be taking volunteers throughout the year to collect information. If interested, please keep an eye out for future announcements of recording dates here or on our FPAN facebook pages. 

  If you would like to learn more, be sure to check out the above links for some great information!

Volunteers recording markers

The words and pics: Kevin Gidusko
Special thanks to volunteers!

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