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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 October 2015

Archaeology at Notre-Dame

On a recent trip abroad, I finally made it to the Crypte Archaeologique du Parvis Notre-Dame. (I had tried several times on a trip before only to find it closed every time.) And I must say, it was possibly the best archaeology museum I've been to by far!

The museum is built around ruins underneath the plaza in front of Notre-Dame. They date from the earliest Roman settlements in Paris through the 19th century. The museum managed to give a run through of the entire history of the city based solely around features! And it had great digital 3D models you could zoom around in to see what things once looked like. What's a public archaeologist gal not to love?

(Note: The following photos and info are not in chronological order, but are based on the flow of the museum. Sorry if it confuses!)

These Gallo-Roman fortifications from the 4th century served as defenses against barbarians. The town of Lutetia was founded on the left bank but the Ile de la Cite became its heart because of it's defensive location (on an island in the Seine). Blocks from earlier tombs and buildings were used to construct the walls, giving the walls a thrown-together look. You can still see some of the writing and architectural florishes.

The remains of an old quay is still there, lending clues to an ancient port. Current interpretation features a great video projected partially on the ruins as well as a soundscape, letting the visitor feel like you're there!

The two-story basement of a house from the Middle Ages is also still visible. In 1163, construction of Notre-Dame began and the neighborhood got a redesign. A central street, the rue Neuve Notre-Dame, was placed leading from the facade of the cathedral, with houses on either side.

During the 18th century, many medieval buildings were destroyed to make room for new. The Hospice des Enfants-Trouves, a foundling hospital, was built after three churches were demolished. You can see how the wall in the background is a lot more squared and perfect than the previous walls.

With the rue Neuve Notre-Dame also came a business district. Many of the new houses had cellars that opened to the street and allowed residents to have shops in the homes. There's also a big well! Hanging is a historic photograph from the site's first excavation in the late 1800s.

The museum also houses a small bath house from the 4th century. Remains of the heating system, called a hypocast, can still be seen under the hot room, or laconicum. (It's the pile of tiles in the center of the photo, for those of you like me who are less familiar with Roman architecture!) The museum has hung sheer curtains to give the effect of the walls that no longer stand and has some cool 3D simulations of the bath house and surrounding area.

Some of this old construction was salvaged during the construction of Notre-Dame Cathedral. On my next trip, I'll have to look a little closer at it's walls for evidence of this!

My favorite sign! What a great sentiment, something that St. Augustine knows all about!

For more information, check out the website. And don't hesitate to get your ticket booked to Paris today!!

Text and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff.

Occupation of Palatka

Last month Palatka was again occupied by Union forces. And some Confederates.  And a family from 1863.  And 240 school children. 
Civil War canon brought from Fort Clinch for the event

The fifth annual Occupation of Palatka occurred last month, Sept. 25-26, on the lawn of the Bronson-Mullholand House in Palatka, FL.  Historians and war reenactors were brought together to educate the public about the daily life of the Civil War soldier.  People were often surprised to discover the rich history that occurred right in their back yard!  Both Union and Confederate troops (at different times of course) occupied the Bronson-Mulholand House.  The officers stayed in the house and the soldiers camped on the lawn.

Photo by Mandi Tucker
  FPAN brought the Maple Leaf Shipwreck tarp to their Friday's "school day" where 240 local 4th graders came to The Occupation.   The kids learned about the Maple Leaf which was a paddle-wheel steamship contracted by the US army.   On April 1, 1864, The ship had just unloaded 90 cavalrymen and their horses in Palatka and was returning to Jacksonville.  It was still loaded with 400 tons of cargo when it hit a Confederate "torpedo" (a wooden beer barrel filled with 70 pounds of gun powder) and sank into the St. Johns River off of Mandarin Point.
courtesy of www.mapleleafshipwreck.com

The Maple Leaf tarp is painted with the ship wreck's site plan.  The kids experience "diving" to discover "artifacts" (wooden blocks with pictures of actual items found on the wreck), then identify and map them.   They not only learn about the Maple Leaf, but also about the job of a maritime archaeologist and the importance of context and mapping when uncovering a site.

 The kids were very engaged with the exercise, but I had the canon going off every 10 minutes to ensure that they were kept on their toes!

Photos (except where noted)  and Text by FPAN Staff, Robbie Boggs

My First Month as an FPAN Intern

As the first month of my internship with FPAN comes to an end, I have been reflecting upon how much has occurred in such a short time. Within the past month, St. Augustine has celebrated its 450th Anniversary and played host to the visiting King Felip VI and Queen Letizia of Spain. FPAN participated in the 450th Celebration Kid Zone with many activities for children, and adults, to learn about local archaeology. Our activities included building a miniature Fort Mose or Castillo de San Marco out of logs or bricks, playing a board game which allowed them to travel along the timeline of the history of St. Augustine, mapping an anchor, and reconstructing pottery sherds back into a whole piece. The Kid Zone also included a play area which included misting fans and chairs for the adults, and a Dog Stop, providing hydration for out four legged visitors.

After the celebration of the 450th anniversary, I began an inventory of the ceramics which FPAN has in their collection. This will allow for better tracking of the artifacts, and make them more easily ready to be transported to events and workshops. In addition, I have been collecting information on the different types of ceramics in the collection, to create flashcards providing additional background on each type of ceramic to make the information easier to access and share at events. I have enjoyed being able to peruse the amazing collection of ceramics FPAN has in their collection, while learning about them in the process.

This past week, was a mixture of activities. I was lucky enough to work with St. Augustine City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt and his crew for two days while they were working on shovel test pits prior to the construction of postholes for the new gate at Tolomato Cemetery. I also examined artifacts, which will be used in an upcoming Artifact Analysis class at Flagler College, attempting to determine if any of the pieces could come together to create a new addition to our reconstructing pottery children’s activity. It is still a work in progress at this point, but I have located several pieces with the same pattern, and also completed the full rim of a plate.

I can't wait to see what the next month holds!

Text and photos by Courtney Crum, FPAN Staff.

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