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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 July 2016

Project Archaeology: A Great Resource for Teachers!


Project Archaeology: A Great Resource for Teachers!

Hello fellow archaeology and history enthusiasts! It is with a heavy heart that I announce that the time has come for me to move on to my next big adventure. I have truly enjoyed working as an FPAN Outreach Assistant in the East Central Region over the past six months, and I appreciate having had the opportunity to meet and work with the many wonderful people, parks, schools, libraries, museums, and groups in East Central Florida who value archaeology and Florida’s heritage and cultural resources. This August I will officially become a high school teacher for Orange County Public Schools. Don't worry, you will probably still see me volunteering for FPAN events and workshops over the next few years though – you won't be able to get rid of me that easily!
As a brand-new, incoming teacher, I had the unique opportunity to don two hats for the recent Project Archaeology workshop that FPAN and the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve hosted at Kingsley Plantation in Jacksonville this July. To put it simply, I was blown away! I wanted to share how great of a resource Project Archaeology is to educators. 
Project Archaeology's Curriculum Guide for "Investigating Shelter".
To begin, you can learn all about Project Archaeology Here. To quote their website, Project Archaeology is “an educational organization dedicated to teaching scientific and historical inquiry, cultural understanding, and the importance of protecting our nation’s rich cultural resources…a national network of archaeologists, educators, and concerned citizens working to make archaeology education accessible to students and teachers nationwide through high-quality educational materials and professional development.” This organization is phenomenal and has produced a plethora of versatile, high-quality, and engaging resources for educators.
Ranger Emily gives a site tour to the educators who attended the workshop.
FPAN partnered with Project Archaeology and the National Parks Service to develop a curriculum to supplement their “Investigating Shelter” series, and chose to examine Kingsley Plantation at the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve (National Parks Service). This curriculum, Project Archaeology: Investigating a Tabby Slave Cabin, is designed for grades 3-5, and it focuses on the complex lives of Anta Majigeen Ndiaye (Anna Kingsley) and Zephaniah Kingsley and the slaves that lived and worked at Kingsley Plantation from 1814-1837. The curriculum introduces the students to archaeology and culture, and then focuses on delving deeper into what we can learn about slavery in the United States and the lives of the men, women, and children who lived in the tabby slave cabins at Kingsley Plantation. You can learn all about the curriculum and how it was developed in our blog post here
A lesson map for the two-day teacher training.
Participants working through an activity from the curriculum
The Project Archaeology Teacher Training Workshop is an annual free two-day event for educators that takes place at the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve in Jacksonville, Florida. Teachers were provided with a curriculum guide, a workbook, and online access to the Project Archaeology curriculum as well as training on how to implement the curriculum and activities in a classroom.
Participants work with a "replica" of an excavated tabby slave cabin, taking note of where each artifact was recovered. The placement of these artifacts, or "context", provides invaluable information on how these items were used. 
 This curriculum could be applied to lessons in social studies, science, math, or art. The lessons were incredibly engaging, and provoked many higher-order thinking questions and discussions. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the workshop, and I was surprised to see that such a great resource was available to educators - for free. If you are looking for unique and meaningful ways to supplement your lessons, I highly encourage you to check out Project Archaeology today. 


Be sure to keep an eye out on our website as well as on the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve's websites for information on the next Project Archaeology: Investigating a Tabby Slave Cabin teacher training workshop. You can also e-mail us for more information at KGidusko@flagler.edu. 


- Text by FPAN staff: Elisha Tisdale




Paddling the Past on The St. John's River


Mud Creek
 "Old Florida" can be allusive in our modern day, but it is readily accessible along the St. John's River.  When traveling slowly and quietly by kayak, your imagination kicks in. It's easy to envision the prehistoric world of native peoples, the 16th and 17th century of French and Spanish explorers, the 18th century of Jon and William Bartram and the 19th century of chugging steamships.

I joined one of the monthly kayak tours provided by The St. John's County Parks and Recreation Department.  This tour departed from Trout Creek Park (it's a large river so you need to just start somewhere!)



Trout Creek Park is off of the  Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway, which runs 17 miles on the East side of St. Johns River along State Road 13, from Jacksonville South to the northwestern part of St. John's County.  There are several recreational areas and boat ramps in the area making for easy access to the river.  Check out St. John's River Alliance for more details of access to this area.

Our group varied from experienced "yackers" to first-timers.  After some initial paddling and safety instruction, our group made its way down Trout Creek:
Trout Creek
Which flows into Palmo Cove:
Trout Creek opening into Palmo Cove

 The creek and cove are full of estuaries and undeveloped shoreline:

The springs,  alcoves and creeks around Palmo Cove make it ripe for exploration, or you can cross it and  head out into the wide St. John's River:
Opening of St. John's River across Palmo Cove
According to the The St John's Riverkeeper's, The River was formed approximately 1000,000 years ago however, it did not take on its current form until about 5,000 - 7,500 years ago.  Clearly a lot of history, and prehistory, has occurred on the river during this time!    According to the Florida Mast Site File, over 1,500 archaeological sites have been identified along the 310 mile river, not counting the unreported sites.  Native peoples lived, ate, worked, and sheltered along its shores for thousands of years.  Some of the earliest pottery uncovered in North America was discovered on the St. Johns!  The sites along the river vary from prehistoric mounds, missions, forts, shipwrecks and plantations.  
Archaeology Sites along the St. John's River - (Florida Master Site File)

The St. Johns County Parks and Recreation department offers short guided trips at different points along the St. John's River. For a small fee, they'll even bring you a kayak!  It's a great way to get started in exploring, understanding and appreciating the longest and most utilized river in our state.   To find out about future St. John's County tours, contact Kelly Usina at kussia@sjcfl.us.

Or find your own means of getting on the river!  To learn the access points in your neck of the woods, check out the interactive map at the St. Johns River Alliance.  This map shows the river's put-in locations, bathrooms, points of interest, landmarks, etc.

(Photo found at cartoonngmnexpo.com)

Happy Paddling!


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

Catching them all in NE FL

Everywhere you walk in downtown St. Augustine, people are playing Pokemon. The underlaying algorithm makes historic markers, landmarks and other sites of cultural and historical interest prime spots to find Pokemon, pick up supplies or battle it out in Gyms. There's been a lot of chatter in the museum and historic site community about the game: Is it good that it's getting people to visit these sites? Or can it be disrespectful when people are playing games while walking through memorial sites? And one group has embraced it completely with a Pokemon Archaeology twitter highlight Pokemon finds at archaeological and historic sites.

My experience in St. Augustine, and Northeast Florida, is that it's getting folks out there! I visited the Castillo de San Marcos Historic Monument on a Tuesday evening and it was busier than I've seen in a while. Apparently Pokemon love the fort's nice big lawn!

Venomoth is happy that he found his park!


We visited Kingsley Plantation and found a Pikachu enjoying the archaeology panels.




Many of the Pokestops and Gyms in St. Augustine will help folks discover archaeology signs, sites and places of interest.


 Some of the Pokestops even include information about the sites!



And if you're strolling around downtown, you can come pick up some Pokeballs and a map of cool archaeological sites to visit!


Words and photos by Emily Jane Murray, staff

Historic Cemetery Preservation: Tradition v. Vandalism

Recently I took a trip to New Orleans for my birthday. Of course while there I wanted to check out all the cemeteries in town. The main cemetery in the middle of the French Quarter, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, is no longer accessible to the public. To enter the cemetery you must go in with a tour group. This rule was instituted in an attempt to help curb vandalism to the graves. Vandalism has been a long standing problem in New Orleans cemeteries, the most recent memorable occasion was the vandalism to Marie Laveau’s grave. Someone snuck into the cemetery and painted the whole tomb neon pink. However vandalism is not all that meets the eye, some grave markings aren’t just run of the mill vandalism, some are actually from living descendants themselves. 
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1
When entering into a historic cemetery with living relatives you must always consider that not all graves are abandoned. Just because the cemetery may be old and in disrepair, does not mean each individual grave is not being visited. A visit to old cemeteries in Florida can attest to this as well as New Orleans. Off the beaten path in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, there is a grave with bullet shells, candles, and X marks written on the brick of the vault. Some may glance at the grave and think it has been vandalized, the burnt candles and cards forgotten items tossed aside by tourists. However, this particular grave is visited frequently by living descendants who have the right to visit their relative as much as they please, without a tour guide. The difference between these writings left by relatives vs. vandalism mimicked by tourists? Any tour guide will tell you, the families use biodegradable mediums like dirt, brick dust, or less commonly chalk. Any rain or sometime in the elements and their markings will fade. While no markings on the old bricks will completely go without damage over time, it is much better for the grave in the long run. Tourists however use markers, lipstick, and even paint. Leaving permanent markings that will not go away without cleaning and restoration efforts. To make matters worse, tourists are just that, visitors who are leaving permanent damage to monuments they may never see again. While you don’t have to be someone’s relative to pay respects to the dead and leave flowers or flags, you should never mark on a grave. Even if it is a “tourist tradition” as in the case of Marie Laveau’s grave which was written on for years. It is a miracle the tomb is still standing today. Not only is it disrespectful but sometimes these “tourist traditions” steal from actual traditions. 
Marie Laveau's grave now (with me standing in front)
A close up of a grave with markings and a saints card

A Painted grave 
You don’t have to be in New Orleans to see a colorful variety of burial traditions. I mean colorful literally, there are many cemeteries in Florida with brightly painted graves. Pink and blue graves can be found throughout the Masonic cemetery in Palm Coast and there are at least two in San Sebastian Cemetery in St. Augustine as well. These graves however have not been vandalized, they were purposefully painted by the family. It is important to remember when volunteering to help clean a cemetery what could be vandalism or neglect vs. what is not. Shells are a common grave good in Florida, and frequently left scattered around and on the tops of above ground vaults and markers. Empty bottles and coins are also common. When volunteering it’s important to never move things if you are not sure what their purpose is. 
Beads, stones and some shells on top of a grave in Lafayette Cemetery

Whether you are visiting a historic cemetery on vacation or one in your home town, always remember to be respectful and not disturb the graves. If everyone does their part, these historic cemeteries will be around to visit for generations to come. Working with FPAN I have been lucky enough to be able to clean, monitor, and record several cemeteries around town and have found it to be a very rewarding experience. I have always been fascinated by cemeteries ever since I was a child. There is so much variation in architecture, headstones, and grave goods between cemeteries that no two are the same. It is important to preserve cemeteries, not only out of respect for those that have passed, but also as part of our cultural heritage. Cemeteries have more to teach us than meets the eye. 
Text and images by Megan Liebold, FPAN Staff

New Small UAS Rule Part 107: Quick Info and Links

Drones Are Here To Stay



The FAA recently updated rules on the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the U.S. airspace. This is a definite recognition of the magnitude of drone use in the U.S. by professionals as well as non-professionals and also helps to clear up some of the rules that have thus far been in place, rules that some thought were far too stringent in some cases. You can read more about the past attempts by the FAA to manage drones in the U.S. airspace and read past blog posts we've added about the topic here, here, here, and here

FAA airspace system


The New Small UAS Rule (part 107) clears up how drones may be utilized by individuals. For the most part there are no gigantic changes (no, the government ain't comin' fer yer drones) except that stipulations are now better laid out for professional drone use. The weight limits are still in place, rules allowing fun flying haven't really changed, and you still need to register your drone. Drone operators can now apply for a Remote Pilot Airman Certificate, which you might think of as a driver's license for drones. Makes sense, right? Those beleaguered souls at the FAA have had a rough time of managing this quick introduction of thousands upon thousands of aircraft into our shared airspace. We think they've done a great job of stepping up to the task. Remember, the FAA works to ensure 100% safety for all. Think about what that means; all air travel, the nation's airspace, all airplanes (and now drones) big and small, are expected to operate safely 100% of the time. And they hit that goal day in and day out. 99% is just not good enough. The old trope holds true: If 99% were good enough then four plane landings daily at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago will be unsafe, etc. etc.

FAA part 107 updates, a breakdown


You can read more about getting started with the new rules HERE. We all have plenty of time to implement them as they go into effect on August 29th, 2016. For those of us using drones for outreach, education, and research it's imperative that we lead the way in staying abreast of new information while demonstrating solid safety practices. Have fun and we'll see you in the skies!



Text: Kevin Gidusko
Photo credit, in order:
1. https://skyward.io/part-107-resources/
2. http://www.cfinotebook.net/notebook/national-airspace-system/national-airspace-system
3. https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Come_Fly_with_Me_(Frank_Sinatra_album)

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