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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

San Sebastian Cemetery Recording Project Completed


 The San Sebastian Cemetery Recording Project is now complete! We began this project in October 2015 and had our final field day last month (February 2017). Breaks were taken for summer and for weather (a large break was taken last Fall - thanks Hurricane Matthew!) But, with the help of volunteers, a snap shot of this precarious and amazing sacred space has been recorded.

I'm sure your mind is now swirling with questions! I shall attempt to answer a few of them....

What work was done during the project?
  • 431 - Individual Markers were transcribed, measured, assessed and photographed
  • 104 - 10 x 10 Meter Blocks measured and mapped
  • 31 - Field days worked
  • 23 - Volunteers worked in cemetery at some point
San Sebastian Cemetery recording volunteers
What is San Sebastian?
San Sebastian is a cemetery established around 1884 for exclusive use by St. Augustine's African-American Protestant community. It's located a mile outside of St. Augustine's historic district, following the national trend of replacing crowded churchyards with spacious rural cemeteries.

What's important about this cemetery?
San Sebastian contains the graves of many prominent African-American citizens and is home to veterans from the Civil War to the Korean War. At least three Union soldiers are buried here who served in the U.S. Colored Infantry during the Civil War.

One of three Union Army Soldiers buried in San Sebastian Cemetery
There are those buried here who were clearly loved by the community for their contributions:

Mary E. Jordan marker: "Erected by the pupils of New Augustine Colored School"

And, of course, San Sebastian is also home to hundreds more who were not prominent, but still were a beloved friend or family member. You can walk through the cemetery today and see the efforts made to remember them and wonder about their stories:

 Then there are the remnants of other markers that are losing their race with time:

 Several people buried in San Sebastian were born in the 1840's, born a slave and died free:
Samuel M Sevillie, 1842 - 1917
San Sebastian Cemetery contains about every marker material you can imagine: marble, granite, poured concrete, tiles, coquina, bricks, wood, plants, whelk and conch shells (a tradition traced back to Africa). Wood markers don't last long in Florida, but a small wooden cross is still holding tight in San Sebastian.
Last existing wooden marker in San Sebastian Cemetery
Why did FPAN do the recording project now?

There was a time when San Sebastian was so overgrown you couldn't even set foot in it!  There were several caring volunteer groups over the year that cleaned it up, but of course Florida vegetation will not be kept at bay without constant vigilance. Most recently, in 2013,  the National Guard and Operation Restore Respect (headed by Mark and Teresa Frank) started the enormous project of cleaning out the cemetery. So one reason we recorded now is because we could!

In addition to physical access, St. John's County took possession of San Sebastian for a couple of years and then transferred the deed to the West Augustine Improvement Association in 2014. In order to assist West Augustine Improvement Association in developing a long-term management,  we provided a base-line picture of the cemetery as it now stands.

Why does San Sebastian look so different from it's next door neighbor?

Although only separated by a fence, San Sebastian is a world away from it's neighbor, Evergreen Cemetery. Evergreen, a privately owned commercial cemetery, is meticulously maintained and registered in the National Registry of Historic Places. Established in 1886, Evergreen became the region's largest white Protestant cemetery during the turn of the century. 
Entrance to Evergreen Cemetery
Although established around the same time, San Sebastian is not on the National Registry. Its ownership was in question for a couple of decades, leaving it effectively abandoned and the victim to overgrowth, neglect and vandalism. The reason for the vast difference between these neighboring cemeteries lies deep in the issues of  institutionalized racism and socioeconomics.
Entrance to San Sebastian Cemetery
Before I conclude, I want to thank everyone who volunteered on this project. But I must give a special shout out to one volunteer extraordinary - Beth Hamel who was there almost every field day from the beginning to the end!
Volunteer Extraordinaire

For other articles on San Sebastian Cemetery check out:

Unsung Heroes - St. Augustine Record, Clean Up - St. Augustine Record
Flagler College Gargoyle
FPAN Blog - May 2013
FPAN Blog - June 2014
FPAN Blog - Jan 2016

Text and Images by FPAN Staff; Robbie Boggs 

HMS Monitoring Days

As part of our Heritage Monitoring Scouts initiative, FPAN has started to offer quick training on how to monitor sites throughout the northeast region. These one hour programs start at a site and review how to fill out the monitoring forms. These are great for old and new scouts a like. Scouts can ask questions about the program and can also inquire about upcoming in-depth training sessions. These monitoring reviews have already begun to launch in the Northeast Region. If you can't make a review, but still want an overview, our blog post on how to fill out a site monitoring form is still available online. If you're not registered as a scout yet and want to join, click this link which will take you to our scout application form. Also be sure to follow our facebook page so you can be informed on more HMS events near you.

Text: Megan Liebold, FPAN Staff
Images: FPAN Staff

East Central Region, Now With More Sanford

The FPAN East Central Regional Office Has Moved To Sanford

First Stree, Sanford 188-, Florida Memory, image #PR09718

FPAN's East Central office has been in Brevard County since the office was established there in 2006/2007. It was first hosted at the Brevard Community College's Titusville campus (Go Titans!). In 2010 it moved to the Florida Historical Society, also in Cocoa (Go Archivists!). As changes in FPAN saw the regions coalesce into what we affectionately call "uber-regions," the FPAN office was hosted out of the back room of an Outreach Coordinator's house for a year (Go House-cats!) and then moved into office space on Merritt Island (Go MIers!). But changes were afoot. Recognizing the need for more office space (3D printers printing, drones buzzing, volunteers popping in, science happening at every corner!) we began to look around the larger region and see where else we might bring the joy of an FPAN office. And so we ended up in Sanford (Go Celery!...no, seriously. They're awfully proud of their celery growing history. You can ask any Sanfordian for a stick of celery at any time and they are beholden to give you one).
Growing Celery, Sanford 19--, Florida Memory, image PC3077

Our office is in a building that is in the process of being renovated, we are the first to call this office home. But we are by no means the first to have inhabited the building. The red-brick building where you can come find us began life as the Sanford elementary school. Built in 1902, the building educated generations of Sanford's citizens until 1985 when it closed. The building reopened as a student museum, later partnering with the UCF History Department in 2012. The student museum was a unique and wonderful idea: students learned about the past and helped their peers learn by assisting in the creation of exhibits. Unfortunately, the aging building required a great deal of upkeep. The Seminole County school board decided that they had to sell the building and there was a great fear in the community that a beautiful and unique part of Sanford's history would be lost.

Luckily, the current owners swooped in and decided to save the building. Currently it is being renovated to be office and meeting space. The renovation, however, is actually restoring the interior to its former glory; added walls that blocked light are being knocked down, original architectural components are being rebuilt, the glued on carpets are being torn up and the beautiful heart pine wood floor beneath is being lovingly restored.
Sanford School House/Preservation Hall, the location of the new FPAN EC office

We have a lot we want to do now that we've moved. We now have space to host the public, or have more than one volunteer sitting in a cubby hole assisting us. We have 3D printers whirring as we work to finish a project that incorporates 3D modeled artifacts into our current curricula. We are ready to put our office space to use for you and we look forward to all that Sanford has to offer (have you been to the Willow Tree Cafe?).
The Public Archaeology chariot awaits new adventures at the FPAN EC office in Sanford

Stay tuned for information on our big welcome party. If you're in Sanford, come and say hello!
The Willow Tree Cafe provides FPAN with much needed sustenance

Text: Kevin Gidusko
Pics: Kevin Gidusko except
Images 1,2: https://www.floridamemory.com/
Final image, Willow Tree: https://www.pinterest.com/karenmoorescott/sanford-florida/

Engineers of the Mississippian: A Crash Course for #FAM2017

This year, the theme for Florida Archaeology month is "Engineers of the Mississippian." But what exactly is the Mississippian Period? The easy answer is that it's a period in Florida's past dating between AD 1000-1600. Let's take a look at what makes this time period significant.

Paleo-Indian Era 13,000 B.C. - 7000 B.C. Archaic Era 7500 B.C. - 500 B.C. *Woodland Period 1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D. Mississippian Period 1000 A.D. - 1600 A.D. - See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2016/03/ever-wonder-about-woodland-period-but.html#sthash.PCHQdfY8.dpuf
Paleo-Indian Era 13,000 B.C. - 7000 B.C. Archaic Era 7500 B.C. - 500 B.C. *Woodland Period 1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D. Mississippian Period 1000 A.D. - 1600 A.D. - See more at: http://fpangoingpublic.blogspot.com/2016/03/ever-wonder-about-woodland-period-but.html#sthash.PCHQdfY8.dpuf
The Mississippian Culture, from which the period gets its name, spans much of the Southeast and gets its name from groups that lived along the Mississippi River. During this period, native groups practice intensive agriculture, with maize as the central crop. They changed their landscape, physically by large scale construction projects like mounds, and socially by trading across thousands of miles. Many cultures also developed cheifdoms - centralized political structures that ruled over large areas.

Photo credit: Herb Roe, from Wikipedia.
The largest and best known Mississippian cultural site is Cahokia in Colinsville, IL. At it's height, Cahokia was larger than London in AD 1250, with populations of up to 20,000 people, spanning 6 square miles and featuring 120 mounds. The largest mound at the site, Monk's Mound, is almost 300 meters tall. To put this in perspective, the Great Pyramid at Giza is only 146 meters tall!

Artist's rendition of what Cahokia looked like a thousand years ago. Photo Credit: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
In Florida, the native people did not always adopt these new Mississippian trends. In fact, you could say that while there is a Mississippian Period, there's never really a Mississippian culture. While some groups in the Panhandle practice agriculture, many throughout peninsular Florida continue to hunt, fish and forage. Some groups, like the Calusa in Southwest Florida, are thought to have some degree of political power of much of south Florida. However, the Florida groups all lack the same sort of far-reaching political structures seen elsewhere at the time.
Mississippian Period Floridians did engineer their landscapes like many others from the Mississippian cultures. They built large mounds from sand and shell and dug extensive canal networks. Many of these still existence today including the Grand Shell Ring in Jacksonville (the only known non-Archiac shell ring!), Mt. Royal in Putnam County and Pineland in Ft. Meyers.

Grand Shell Ring is largely constructed from shell midden. Photo credit: Parsons 2008
Archaeologists have also found people in Florida participated in the large trade networks. Artifacts, including copper objects and stone tools, as well as raw materials have been found at sites in North Florida and beyond. Meanwhile, archaeologists have determined that shells found at Cahokia were harvested from Florida's Gulf Coast. Evidence of these trade networks has been found at the Mill Cove Complex in Jacksonville, including a Long-Nosed God Mask and two Cahokia projectile points.

Long-Nosed God Masks have been found throughout the SE including Grant Mound at the Mill Cove Complex and show ties to Cahokia. Photo Credit: Herb Roe, from Wikipedia.
The last residents of the Mississippian Period are here in Florida when the Europeans arrive. This means we have some written documents about them. As these groups interact with the Spanish, their cultures shift and change. So ends the Mississippian Period in Florida.

To explore more of the Mississippian Period, check out our lesson and activities on Mound Building during the period. You can try your hand at mapping Mt. Royal, look for changes to Pineland over time, or create your own mound.

Click here to find out more about Florida Archaeology Month, including finding an event near you!

Text by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

Advocacy Tabs (2017 Edition): Where are they now?

A year ago this week I wrote a blog "Archaeology Advocacy: Where have all the tabs gone?" after Florida's inaugural Archaeology Advocacy Day. At the time I was working on a chapter on archaeology advocacy for Robert Connolly and Elizabeth Bollwerk's edited volume, Positioning Your Museum as a Critical Community Asset: A Practical Guide, and spent time looking at organizations dependent on public funding that promote advocacy on their web pages. I was frustrated to find so few archaeological organizations that I belong to feature advocacy on their web pages and took a snap shot of the digital landscape in 2016.

Libraries, museums, and preservation organizations with Advocacy featured in permanent masthead tabs or as an issue on the Florida Trust web page.

Over the course of the year as advocacy became a buzzword across all these organizations, I was excited to think a year later there would be dramatic results on their web pages. These pages are the primary portal for communication to the public and to their members; they are a reflection of what matters to these organizations. I was already thinking of titles for this blog post like: "Archaeology Advocacy: Now with more tabs!" or "Advocacy in Organizations: Which web page wore it best?" But instead I'm going with "Archaeology Advocacy Tabs 2017 Edition: Where are they now?"

Screen caps from archaeology organizations 2016. "Advocacy" does not appear.
Screen caps from archaeology organizations 2017. "Advocacy" still does not appear, although Calls to Action and Coalition are now featured prominently in body of the SAA and SHA homepages.

In short, the tabs let me down. I was expecting from what I had heard about website redesigns that the actual word "Advocacy" would be featured in the permanent tabs at the masthead for each organization. They are not. I thought the word would appear somewhere on the homepage; it does not. There are call to action buttons and links, which I'll get to in a second, but overall it makes archaeology advocacy look like a temporary topic or fodder for a task force.

Coalition for American Heritage.
What is new are two emerging advocacy organizations. The largest is the national Coalition for American Heritage. On their homepage they state, "We support the nation's historic preservation program and research in history, archaeology, anthropology, and the social sciences." They are a coalition of:
Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA)
Society for American Archaeology (SAA)
American Anthropological Association (AAA)
American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA)
Links to the Coalition are present on the SAA and SHA website as featured topics in the mainframe but not as permanent masthead tabs.
The Coalition's leaders include the 
This sent me down an interesting wormhole because AAA and ACRA were not part of my screen captures from last year. And something happened...my fist sized advocacy heart grew, and grew, and grew to 10 times the size!

Advocacy tabs in the wild and in all their glory- circled in red.
Both ACRA and AAA feature Advocacy--the actual word!--not just on their website but as one of the permanent masthead tabs just as other publicly funded organizations do. The ACRA tab takes you to their Priorities and Positions page, but the tab has more drop down options: Advocacy Fund, Latest News, CRM Industry in the Age of Trump FAQ page, Dakota Access Pipe Line Statement (DAPL), and Lobby Day.  

Hovering over the AAA "Participate and Advocate" tab brings up a drop down menu where the first few sub tabs are how to get involved in AAA committees. The actual "Advocacy" tab that takes you to something resembling advocacy is 7 subheadings down (after "Donate") but clicking on the link does take you substantial content. The AAA Advocacy page features sub menus: Advocacy Efforts, Position Statements, Opportunities with the United Nations, Protect Academic Freedom, and Advocacy Action Center.

So what about the Florida advocacy digital landscape? Not much has changed on the pages I reported on last year (see 2017 screen caps above). The Florida Anthropological Society updated their webpage, but no advocacy tab. FAS did have an advocacy panel last year at the annual meeting and encouraged members to get involved, but advocacy has no presence on their website. It communicates information about the annual conference, Archaeology Month, and information on chapters, membership, officers and awards. The FAC page is the same as it was last year with no mention of advocacy.

What is new on the Florida advocacy digital landscape is a new organization, the Florida Archaeological Preservation Association (FAPA). After the Isolated Finds/Citizen Archaeology Permit legislative battle of 2016 over SB 803/HB 1054, archaeologists started to get better organized and as several groups started to form, FAPA was the first to file 501(c)(4) paperwork to support legislative lobbying for archaeological preservation. The FAPA Facebook page is very active with examples of looting, archive of past articles and issues, and postings from Advocacy Day.

Formation of FAPA is a good thing for Florida archaeology. My two concerns is the group is so far very Tallahassee-centric and I hope communication to other archaeologists about the organization improves over the next year. My other concern is nowhere on the page does the word advocacy appear. Does this matter? I think it does. Archaeologist urgently need to become more literate in advocacy issues. Not just the current crisis, but the history, the tools, and the greater context of advocating so we can get better and do this forever and forever. And it's not just missing from FAPA, it's also missing from the Coalition website.

It's clear advocacy issues are making their way to organizational websites as a reaction to the crisis we are in now, but that's only half the battle when it comes to advocacy. What happens when the eminent crisis is over? Is there a place for advocacy in archaeological organizations during the calm? What will the digital landscape look like in 2020?

After tracking this for more than a year, I'll end with my unsolicited advice:

  1. Make "Advocacy" an obvious tab and the masthead and leave it there. Communicate to your members and the public that advocacy is important, it's ongoing, and it's here to stay.
  2. Create courses on "Archaeology Advocacy" with syllabi that demonstrate the multidisciplinary nature of advocacy, the shared stories of how nationally we came together to form the laws we do have, but add readings on advocacy tool kits from other organizations with evaluation of their success.
  3. Archaeological conferences should have standing advocacy offerings, a round table or workshop or session on Archaeology Advocacy. 
  4. Donate dollars or time to organizations the support advocacy by becoming a member or collecting donations to sustain their efforts.
  5. Create clearinghouse pages in your own organization on issues that matter and as many varied sources of support as you can post to. The issues shift slightly year to year and this will go a long way to keeping information fast at hand.
  6. Look into the Roots and Shoots Toolkit to start the discussion of advocacy early with K-12 students and expand offerings for adults. If archaeology is not somehow relevant to the communities in which you work, it will cease to exist.
  7. Add an advocacy slide to your current lectures or presentations. Whenever I include legislative current events in my talks, that's generally the first question after the lecture showing people want to learn more and do more to support archaeological resources. 

And fair is fair- here is the FPAN website, where the word "Advocacy" does not appear....yet. Advocacy issues have a dedicated page and is listed under announcements and FAQ, but as of this writing is not featured prominently on our page.

To be continued in 2018.......

I'd like to dedicate this blog to Barbara Clark for organizing Advocacy Day this year and last at the Florida state Capitol in Tallahassee. Pictures seen on various center websites show the fruits of her efforts and represent a drop in the bucket of effort it takes to coordinate and bring a large group of people together. Well done Barbara and see you next year!

Links to organizations featured in this blog:

Coalition for American Heritage
American Cultural Resources Association
American Anthropological Society
Society for American Archaeology
Society for Historical Archaeology
Florida Anthropological Society
Florida Archaeological Preservation Association
Florida Archaeological Council
Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots
Positiong Your Museum as a Critical Community Asset: The Resource Guide: Advocacy

Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

Archaeology Advocacy Day 2017

As part of Florida Archaeology Month, March 7 will be the second annual Archaeology Advocacy Day. The goal of the day is to raise awareness of Florida's buried past and continue a dialogue with state legislators on ways to protect cultural resources. Citizens - including professional and avocational archaeologists, museum specialists, preservationists, students and more - from around the state will host an Archaeology Fair in the Rotunda to bring a little archaeology to the Capitol.

Everyone is invited to participate! Here's a few ways to get involved:
  • Join us at the Archaeology Fair in the Capitol Rotunda in Tallahassee from 10am-2pm. Contact your representative to set up a meeting to chat about Florida archaeology.
  • Join us from your home town by contacting your local representatives via email or phone to let them know why archaeology is important to you! Find your representatives and their contact information here.
  • Join us on social media by posting a favorite site or way archaeology has impacted your life using the hashtag #ArchAdvocacy. Don't forget to tag your representatives!
Check out our blog post from last year's Advocacy Day to read more about advocacy.

Words and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

Conversations about Conferences: SHA 2017 Ft. Worth

Last month both Sarah and Kevin attended the Society for Historical Archaeology's annual meeting in Ft. Worth, Texas. They had a chance to sit down this week and decompress. That means another installment of "Conversations about Conferences!"

Kevin: What did you expect in attending SHA 2017 conference?

Sarah: I expected to be very busy. This was my first meeting officially being on the board so I knew there would be lots of meetings, hopefully a chance to see some papers, and lots of running outside for a moment to experience Ft. Worth. This was also the 50th anniversary of the very first SHA, so I expected some nostalgia and lots of reflecting back to where historical archaeology was at in 1967. 

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

Sarah: I was really looking forward to the PEIC (Public Education and Interpretation Committee) panel on reevaluating evaluation. On top of evaluation being a hot topic in archaeology education, many friends from different paths of my career were on that panel: my graduate internship advisor Tricia Samford (Director of the MAC Lab), my co-worker for 5 years at KAS (Kentucky Archaeological Survey) Jay Stottman, my favorite roomate at Project Archaeology meetings Teresa Moyer (NPS Urban Archaeology Corps), and of course many FPAN friends and colleagues including Barbara Clark, incoming post-doc Laura Clark, and former outreach coordinator dynamos Melissa Timo now at Exploring Joara Foundation and Mary Furlong Minkoff now with Montpelier Archaeology.

Well done organizing that Texas sized panel Kevin!

 But it's a good representation of what you hope to get out of any conference- connect with old friends, kick the topics further down the road, and enjoy who you meet in the peanut gallery. I had none other than Judy Bense sitting next to me in the audience during the panel, recently retired UWF President and Chairman of the FPAN board. And also Matt Reeves, new SHA board member this year and director of the Montpelier Archaeology programs that I have long admired.

Kevin: What did you actually learn?

Sarah: I registered to take the Anti-Racism workshop that has been offered for three years now. It was moved to Saturday morning so board members like me could attend. Many of us do what we do to end racism, so going in I wasn't sure how far the needle on my anti-racism meter would move. But the workshop wasn't about that, it was examining systemic racism and how it's built into our society, limiting access for all to health, education, homes, jobs, and tax codes. Another part of the workshop focused on themes that reoccur in the media, which was powerful given all the current events related to the Black Lives Matter movement, DAPL, Islamaphobia, and the intersection of these topics with women, Latin@, and LGTBQ issues. It was very informative and I think should be a requirement for any archaeologist, but particularly for us public archaeologists. I learned there is a large literacy gap between myself as a newcomer to the course versus those who have been teaching it for years themselves, it's critical we find common ground to move the conversation forward.

I also learned most of the work of the society is done by the committees. As a board member I was assigned to the APTC (Academic and Professional Training Committee) and the SSC (Student Sub Committee). They are having similar conversations to other committees I've served on in the past about webinars, social medial coordination, and training topics for next year. I hope newcomers to SHA, like yourself, realized joining a committee is as easy as just showing up. Like you did Kevin, and now you're Chair of PEIC! It's a great way to meet people, and there is so much work to be done it's really up to the committees how to move important topics forward in the society. If you are a student, you really must join the Student Sub Committee- I wish I had when I was a student. I didn't come from a grad school with a large cohort, so any personal contact I could make with those also seeking new historical archaeologist pen pals, really helps to make the conference more fun and meaningful.

Kevin: What was the hardest part of attending SHA?

Sarah: Just staying alive. 
I spent a lot of time before and during the conference examining strategies for attending such an epic event. It's hard to figure eating out, especially if you are traveling alone and again don't come from a large grad school cohort. I find meal planning exhausting and ordered a lot of take out so I always had food back in the room. This really helped as things were scheduled so closely from 7 am up to 10 pm. And when the rare chance to step outside presents itself, Uber and Yelp are lifesavers. It's sad when you don't make it out of the hotel, which happend to me last time SHA was in Toronto. Now I make it a priority to get out into the host city and go to at least one museum, helps with finding a balance.

Dinner at the Stockyards w Jay Stottman after the Awards Reception - Congratulations Russ Skowronek and CHAPS!

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

Sarah: I'm bringing back many takeaways from the Anti-Racism workshop, the sessions I took part in, and comments from the audeince especially pertaining to marketing and working with the media during the PEIC panel. My paper on Friday was about our new Heritage Monitoring Scout program. Lucky for me, the paper after mine was a no show so there was time for people to ask questions and give me immediate feedback. I also had more meetings inbetween papers than I ever had before- lots of other archaeologist concerned about the environment and advocacy issues. There are a lot of apps and resources out there for us and for the public, which I'm excited to share.

Me presenting HMS Florida paper. Photo credit: Thanks to John Lowe @archaeocore! 

Kevin: What sessions/activities did you take part in?
Sarah: I facilitated a panel on Disaster Management on Thursday. There were not many people in the room, but those who stayed had a lot of experience and passion in the topic- was good to hear of how different people approach the topic from various points of view, like how someone based in GIS would look at the problem versus land managers or researchers. Sara Ayers-Rigsby from FPAN was on the panel, and it was exciting to see how far she's come since starting in May. Working with local governments, initiated citizen science programs, and learning from others who have been through Florida hurricanes before how to possibly be well prepared was a good moment.

Sara Ayers-Rigsby presenting on FPAN and HMS Florida in Disasters Management panel.

Friday afternoon I was chair of a general session on public archaeology. I generally submit a paper in symposiums or organize one myself, but this year with HMS Florida being so new, I wanted to just throw it into the random mix and see what reaction it got. I give a lot of credit to the program chairs, that general session was tighter and more focused than many of the symposiums I've been part of in the past. I really, really, really enjoyed hearing the broad range of papers happening: from ArchaeoBlitz in North Dakota by NPS, to contemporary advocacy against neighborhood gentrification in Oakland, to using GoPros in the field, to FPAN staff talking about their ongoing work in Middleton on the Scott site, plus too many more to mention. Oh, the community Slave Wrecks Project  on St. Croix by Southeastern Archaeological Center (NPS) folks! Some really great projects, all going so far beyond just giving the public a pamphlet or a flash in the pan effort to check a box. These archaeologists are working so closely with all these communities and being themselves so affected by the community, I can't stress enough what a fun session it was to take a pulse reading on what was happening all over the place in public archaeology only to find we're really focused on the same thing: sincere and collaborating engagement.

Then there's board activities that start Wednesday morning and don't let up till Saturday night. But it's really an honor and priveledge to be on the board, look behind the curtain of what makes this society I've been a part of so long work, and get to know others who the members have trusted with this work. Timo and I worked to prepare and read the resolutions for the Business meeting on Friday night. What an other world experience to sit down with Timo from Finland, hear about the amazing work he's doing over there, and work together on projects.
View of the app schedule for the Public Archaeology General Session.

Kevin: Got plans for next year’s conference?
Sarah: Next year SHA will be in New Orleans. Holy smokes, it's going to be a great conference! I'm excited to take part in ongoing sessions related to public engagement and climate change. I'm excited to see what new directions the committees take on. And I'll be listening for yearound opportunities for advocacy, hopefully with workshops or session related to progress made over the next year.

Enjoy this post? Check out conversations from past conferences:

SEAC 2013
SAA 2016
SEAC 2016

Text and images: Sarah Miller and Kevin Gidusko, FPAN staff except photo submitted by John Lowe credited above. 

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