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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 2017

International Archaeology Day

International Archaeology Day is coming up on Saturday, October 21st!  The Archaeology Institute of America (AIA) started the day in 2011 as National Archaeology Day with fourteen groups officially joining as Support Organizations. Although lacking in preparation time and resources, this inaugural event still took place in 38 U.S. states and 4 Canadian Provinces.  The event increased in scope yearly and by 2016, International Archaeology Day was a worldwide happening.   In 2016, there were events in 700 countries organized by 530 Collaborating Organizations!
International Archaeology Day celebrant
FPAN Northeast Region will be celebrating early with our 5th Annual International Archaeology Day Pub Crawl on Thursday, October 19, 2017.  Find out what archaeologists have learned through excavations around the nation's oldest city while enjoying a cold beverage at four of the city's finest establishments.
FPAN's 4th Annual International Archaeology Day Pub Crawl

FPAN's 3rd Annual International Archaeology Day Pub Crawl

AIA Jacksonville Society and Beaches Museum will present the fourth annual International Archaeology Day Fair on Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Jacksonville Beach.   FPAN will be volunteering at this event and we hope to see you there! 

To find an event near wherever in the world you may be next week, check out the AIA's International Archaeology Day Calendar.

In our neck of the woods, there is an AIA Society in Jacksonville, FL and an AIA Society of Central Florida (Orlando, FL).  You can check and see what lectures and events they're sponsoring.

Text by FPAN Staff: Robbie Boggs
Photos by FPAN Staff (with exception of International Archaeology Day logo by AIA)

Photogrammetry Training With Cultural Heritage Imaging

Learning Scientific Photogrammetry

Figure 1. Getting started with some overview lectures on day 1 of training.

Here at the Florida Public Archaeology Network, we are always interested in new technologies and methods that we can use to bring information about archaeology to the public. One of those new technologies is photogrammetry. We've blogged about photogrammetry before: we covered some basics here, told you about a free-to-use photogrammetry software program here, and shared some of the research we've done using this computer visualization technique here. You can read more in-depth via the links, but essentially photogrammetry (in this sense) is the creation of 3D digital models from a series of 2D images. You can get a broader overview of photogrammetry here and read up on a pioneer of the process, Albrecht Meydenbauer here.

Figure 2. Setting up a photogrammetry project in one of the MCI digital imaging labs.

Photogrammetry has a wide range of potential applications in archaeology and public archaeology. In many ways I think we're just scratching the surface; as software/hardware improve and costs come down, this will likely be something every archaeologist learns how to do. So I was pretty excited when I was accepted to attend a 4 day scientific training with the folks from Cultural Heritage Imaging (CHI). The course was funded as part of a National Endowment of the Humanities (NEH) training grant which meant that the class cost was covered, I just had to get myself to the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) in Washington D.C. to attend. 

The CHI team come from a long background of software development, photography, and cultural heritage preservation. The focus of the training workshop was to develop scientific photogrammetry skills, which means that participants would walk away with a firm understanding of each and every stage of data collection, processing, and deliverable output. Pretty important if you're trying to convince someone that the 3D model you just made of an artifact, building, or archaeological test unit is a precise and accurate. 

After the first day of training I had a realization that everything I thought I knew about photogrammetry was just...not right (see above). I learned photogrammetry by myself, usually picking up bits and pieces here and there from YouTube and online forums. That can certainly get you pretty far these days, but for all the good info out there, there is at least an equal measure of bad info. The CHI team helped wipe the slate and provided a solid foundation for understanding how to properly complete a project. The four days were spent listening to lectures from the team and working through actual data collection practices. We had no dearth of items to use for practice. We were after all at the MCI, a place of legend for museum nerds and fictitious legend for readers of Dan Brown's crap books.

Figure 3. MCI digital photography expert pulls out all the stops on data collection.

I came away with a much better understanding of the photogrammetric process, how to set up a project, and how to convey the validity of my final 3D model. It was a fantastic experience led by top-notch instructors. In addition to their on-site training, the CHI team also keeps a solid website chock full of useful information about photogrammetry and another of their imaging techniques, RTI. If you'd like to jump into a forum moderated by folks who know their stuff, check out the CHI forum as well. While I can't suggest the CHI training enough, not all of us will get to jump into one of their training events. You can get a taste of their knowledge from other outlets like their Vimeo page here, or their Youtube page here.

Figure 4. Learning streamlined processing techniques.

Keep an eye out for these folks in the conference world or if they're coming to an area near you. They are some sincerely helpful, knowledgeable individuals who are working to create better ways for cultural resource professionals to protect, preserve, and share the world's irreplaceable heritage. 

Text and Pics: Kevin Gidusko
Gif image: https://giphy.com/

Cemetery Dash 2017

It's that time of year again. Pumpkin spice abounds, stores have racks of costumes out and for some reason, people up north are pulling out their sweaters. That's right: October is here and it's time for the Cemetery Dash!

We challenge you to get out to your local historic cemeteries to check on them. How do they look after Hurricane Irma? How do they look compared to last year? Join us on a dash to see how many cemeteries we can monitor during the month of October!

Step One: Become a Scout! Click here for the online application.

Step Two: Find a site. You can use our handy Florida Historic Cemeteries and Sea Level Rise map.

Step Three: Fill out the monitoring form. Click here for the online version and here for a printable format.

Step Four: Snap off some photos of each cemetery and send them to hmsflorida@fpan.us with the name of the site included.

Step Five: Repeat!!

For more information on the Cemetery Dash, check out last year's blog post. For more information on HMS Florida, please visit our website.

Text and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

Post-Irma HMS Florida Field Update, 9/22

We've been up and down the east coast to check on sites in state parks, historic cemeteries, and historic structures. Here's some highlights from the field this week.

Sarah Miller: Old Stone Warf, New Smyrna Beach
This week I checked in with Dot Moore in New Smyrna. She led us to a site impacted by a pontoon boat that floated during flood conditions up and over the National Register listed 1769 coquina wharf. In addition to the pontoon boat, a boat house and dock now sit mangled between the two parallel coquina foundation blocks that extend into the Intracoastal Waterway. This site dates to the Andrew Turnbull's British period settlement (1767-1777) that was built into a St. Johns Period shell midden. It will be one thing to see how they remove the boat- hopefully by crane and not by dragging it back into the water over the intact coquina foundation. The other issue will be how the mangled dock/boat house is removed. The City is taking the lead by consulting with the Department of Environmental Protection on the best way to remove the boats and debris with minimal impacts to the site.


Emily Jane Murray: Shell Bluff Landing, GTM Research Reserve, Ponte Vedra Beach

I received a call from the GTM Research Reserve about erosion at Shell Bluff Landing. Another National Register listed site, it consists of a dense shell midden spanning 6,000 years and a coquina well built by a Minorcan and dating to around 1800. I have visited the site twice since the storm, once at low tide to document the erosion and again at high tide to see the ongoing impacts. Irma caused a lot of the midden to wash up over the site - something we didn't see with Matthew. The site has lost up to 6 feet in some areas, and continues to erode with high tides. The riprap and part of the site are in knee-deep water still at high tide. We're still experiencing extreme high tides from the water Irma dumped on us as well as from Jose and Maria pushing water towards the coast. We'll continue to monitor the site as well as work with the Reserve and the Bureau of Archaeological Research to mitigate site damages.

Robbie Boggs: San Sebastian Cemetery, West Augustine
I headed out to check on San Sebastian Cemetery, an African-American cemetery in West Augustine. After spending so much time recording the headstones last year, I was anxious to see how it fared during the hurricane. A large amount of limbs came down during the storm and lie across vaults, headstones and curbing. The downed limbs and branches are especially dense on the west side of the cemetery. Some of the graves are not accessible due to downed branches. A major clean up will need to occur in order to remove the blanket of branches.

Words and images by FPAN Staff members where noted.

HMS Florida: 5 Things to do Post-Storm

We learned a lot last year after Hurricane Matthew hit. We had just started Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS Florida) and were ready to hit the ground running with site assessments in the storm's wake. This year, while we do feel a bit more prepared, we also have a lot more ground to cover after Irma's impact on the whole peninsula of Florida.

Hurricane Irma, as seen from NASA's Space Observatory. (Photo Credit: NASA)
But we know our Scouts are ready and willing to help. Here's 5 things to do to help cultural resources in Irma's wake:

1. Stay safe!
You are more important than any information on an archaeological site or cemetery. Please be
mindful of hazards from storm damage, including downed trees, hanging limbs, downed power lines, standing water, debris and more. If you are unsure if the area is safe, do not enter it. Take a photo from outside of cemeteries or from the perimeter of archaeological sites. Many managed areas like State and National Parks are still in the process of clean up and have not reopened. Be patient - we'll be able to get to all of these places in due time.

2. Get Ready!
If you're not a scout, click here sign up today! Check out our blog series on how to monitor sites. Read about your local sites. Brush up on your artifact identification with our handy guides. Practice your mapping skills. Make a list of sites that were potentially impacted. Get ready to hit the field for more monitoring! Many managed areas like State and National Parks are still in the process of clean up and have not reopened. Be patient - we'll be able to get to all of these places in due time.

3. Check on a historic cemetery.
 Historic cemeteries took a lot of damage last year Historic Cemetery map to find a few nearby.
from downed vegetation - and with stronger winds in Irma, the impacts could be even greater. You can cruise by your local historic cemetery or use our

4. Revisit sites you have monitored before.
Part of monitoring is tracking changes over time and understanding how things like storm events affect sites. We encourage you to back to sites you've previously monitored to see what impacts they experience. Even if the site looks the same, it's still important to document no changes. So don't forget to snap those photos! If you're unsure of which sites you've monitored, send us an email and we can give you that information: hmsflorida@fpan.us.

5. Stay tuned in.
Clean up takes time. Some impacts won't be noticed for weeks or even months still. We're still checking in with partners and will be sending updates and calls-for-action as they're needed. So keep an eye out for Scout emails, visit EnvArch for opportunities to help or follow your favorite parks or museums on social media to track their recovery process.

We'll be posting weekly updates from the field as we check on sites in northeast and central Florida. Visit the blog to see some of the sites we visit, or drop us a note about a site you monitor to be included.

Words by Emily Jane Murray, images by Emily Jane, Robbie Boggs and Sarah Miller, FPAN Staff, unless otherwise noted.

Conversations about Conferences: Tidally United 2017

Click here to view Tidally United 2017 program. (Photo: FPAN SW

No one was home earlier this month as we traveled to Hollywood, Florida to attend the 2nd annual Tidally United Summit. Reporting to you with another installment of Conversations about Conferences to fill you in on where we are when we're not in the office!

EmJ: What did you expect in attending the Tidally United 2017 Summit?

Sarah: In good ways I expected very little. I was so happy to see the event go on and the new organizers make it totally their own. I knew it would be a fun reunion of archaeologists and climate change minded preservationists. I was very curious to see how the hosts, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, wanted to be involved and what their take on the topic would be. There was no native presence last year, and with the summit in south Florida this year I was over the moon to hear of the partnership. I was also excited to see familiar faces, like Tom and Joanna of SCAPE coming over from Scotland as well as other archaeologists from Florida and the southeast.

 Tom Dawson and Joanna Hambly of SCAPE at St. Andrews before their SCHARP conference last year and here in Florida in the Everglades.

EmJ: What did you hope to get out of it?

Sarah: I definitely hoped to learn more about Seminole and Miccosukee people, I knew that would be a big takeaway. I also hoped to share the amazing work of the Heritage Monitoring Scouts over the past year and and share the credit for what so many people are doing around the state. My paper was first up in the Bird Clan room after the welcome from FPAN Director Sara Ayers-Rigsby, Samuel Tommie of the Seminole Tribe, and Jr. Miss Seminole Princess herself Kailani Osceola. Look for the first year annual report of HMS Florida to be posted to the blog next month.

EmJ: What did you actually learn?

Sarah: Wow, where to start. The Seminole and Miccosukee presence was my favorite part of the Summit, safe to say both years combined! They shared so much with us. It wasn't just that they supported the Summit by giving us an event venue. Their ambassadors welcomed us, they fed us, they shared from the heart and from their minds very clearly how climate changes are a part of their daily lives. I was really blown away by Jr. Miss Seminole Princess Kailani Osceola's commitment to be at the Summit, get up in front of our group to speak, and it was an amazing way to bring the youth into the room to not just observe but stand up and participate in this issue. Betty Osceola spoke from the heart on the panel in the afternoon. She gave such a personal, deep time perspective of what is happening to the land and how it impacts how people meet their basic needs. I thought of her words often the next day as we did the wet walk in the Everglades. Their present flooding situation is the future of the rest of Florida. They are living it now and making very intentional decisions to stay and stand up for the land.

My hero: Betty Osceola, member of the Miccosukee tribe and Panther clan. 

Kailani Osceola, Jr. Miss Florida Seminole Princess

Samuel Tommie, member of Seminole tribe Bird Clan
Joe Frank, Big Cypress Representative, Seminole Tribe Board of Directors

It was also interesting too to see the diversity of ways climate change impacts are happening around Florida. Paulette McFadden who presented a poster on the Garden Patch site (read Rachael Kangas' blog post on this site!) on the Gulf side has a completely different scenario than Margo Schwadron who reported on shell islands on the south west coast. Case studies from around the state by FPAN staff highlighting HMS Florida training and monitoring opportunities also demonstrated the wide variety of sites impacted, and variety of impacts.

Paulette McFadden from Florida's Bureau of Archaeological Research presents her poster on the Garden Patch site, Margo Schwadron from the Southeastern Archaeological Center (NPS) sharing a moment with Betty Osceola on the afternoon panel, ladies of FPAN (Emily Jane Murray, Kassie Kemp, and Rebecca O'Sullivan) share HMS Florida case studies from around the state.

EmJ: What was the hardest part of attending Tidally United?

Sarah: This year the presentations were split into two rooms, so being in two places at the same time was impossible. Luckily the presentations were recorded and streamed live on Miccosukee TV! I really wanted to hear many of the papers in the other room, especially on Egmont Key and Austin Burkhardt's QR tagging project, but stayed put in the Bird Clan room all day. You can view the livestream provided by Seminole Media Productions and watch the 11 segments again and again from the website.

Livestream provided by Seminole Media Productions, click to view all segments.

EmJ: So we attend a lot of conferences in a year - what from this Tidally United will you bring back to the public for their benefit?

Sarah: Some of the papers in the afternoon were on image and media surrounding climate change and heritage issues. I think it is important to continue to challenge ourselves to make the invisible visible. It's always been the challenge of archaeology, how to make subsurface features come to life above ground. And now adding water all around it...there needs to be ways to bring the public into the conversation without scaring people about doomsday scenarios. I think that's what I found most comforting from the Miccosukee and Seminole point of view, they are not leaving. There is no tipping point for which a site is abandoned. The land will change and meeting basic needs will become more challenging, but abandonment in place is not an option for them.

EmJ: What sessions/activities did you take part in?

Sarah: All of it! Full day of presentations, seconds at lunch, poster sessions, and both tours on Saturday. Everglades National Park sponsored our wet walk through several tree islands. Holy smokes! I was so scared about gators, snakes, and heat; but I felt it was important to support all parts of the Summit and I'm so glad I did. I will never ever think of the Everglades the same and it was an honor to experience the environment this close up.

After the wet walk, we drove over to Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum for a tour and meeting with Daniel Tommie. Meeting is not the right word, more to say we were welcomed by Daniel at his family clan camp. After, Samuel Tommie addressed the group in the auditorium to share music. Joe Frank brought the tour to a close but continued to meet with us into the night at the Billie Swamp Safari where an international conversation took place over heritage, shared challenges, and the short sightedness of many modern attempts to manage the land.

If you have not been to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki museum before, now is a great time to go. They are celebrating 20 years of service to the community and have many special exhibits and events planned.

EmJ: What are plans for next year’s conference?

Sarah: So far I know when, where and who. The Summit will be spearheaded by FPAN West Central in Tampa in partnership with the Weedon Island Preserve,  August 2018. Safe to say Tampa is not prepared to face the changes brought about by climate over the next 50-100 years. The Gulf side of Florida is completely different than our northeastern shores and the Everglades. Will be a good year to hear from new partners and new approaches by USF faculty and students.

We hope to see many of you there!

Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff  except top image by FPAN SW

For more information check out official website for current year of Tidally United and archive of past Tidally United (2016)

Special thanks to the event committee: Sara Ayers-Rigsby, Paul Backhouse (Seminole THPO), Paulette McFadden, Jeff Moates, Margo Schwadron, Misty Snyder, and Dennis Wiedman. 

Extra special thanks to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, Tribal Historic Preservation Office, Mallory Fenn, Rachael Kangas, Everglades National Park, and the Chairman, Council, and communities of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

The Art of Interpretation

 Have you ever been dragged along to a heritage site, expecting to be bored to death but instead were fascinated?  Or conversely, perhaps you dragged someone along expecting to be enraptured but instead kept checking your watch?

A good interpreter makes all the difference!

The mission of FPAN is "to promote and facilitate the conservation, study and public understanding of Florida's archaeological heritage".    So, in a nutshell, our job is attempting to get people to care about Florida's thousands of archaeological sites, especially those located in their own backyards (theoretically speaking, but perhaps at times literally!)

National Association of Interpretation (NAI) guides us in how to get this message across.  NAI is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing the profession of heritage interpretation in the United States, Canada, and thirty other nations.  All FPAN staff have gone through NAI training and are Certified Interpretive Guides.

 Ultimately, we don't want to just provide information, but aim to engage our audience and advance them along the continuum from "Dragged Along" closer to "Stewardship."

Literally torn from NAI's Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workbook

Freeman Tilden was the first person to formalize the principles of effective interpretation in his book "Interpreting our Heritage" (1957).

Tilden's book is basically the interpreter's bible.  In it, he breaks down interpretation into six principles:

Interpretation should be organized, thematic, enjoyable and relevant.  Of course this is easier said than done!  We try to specifically target the program to the group's age or interest, but sometimes we have no idea who is going to show up.  (This summer I had a library program expecting 7 kids but instead had 50!)  So, the name of the game is to be prepared but also to be flexible. 

If you've made it this far in the blog, you most likely are already aware of the educational  opportunities on our FPAN website and that you can become a heritage steward through our HMS (Heritage Monitoring Scouts) Program.

Now, if you have three minute to spare, watch "Kevin" attempt to hit Tilden's six principles of interpretation but miss the mark on a few of them (for your viewing enjoyment, just click on the link below the picture)....


Text by FPAN Staff: Robbie Boggs

Images in order of appearance:  cwallpapersbackground.blogspot.cz, hahastop.com, NAI Training Workbook, goodreads.com, sideplayer.com, AZ Quotes, Shifting1baselines

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