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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 2017

Update from the Field: Monitoring at Marineland Midden with Miranda

 Miranda has been out visiting field schools and sites throughout the Northeast Region as part of her summer internship with us. Here's some notes from her latest visit to a shell midden in Marineland, FL. To learn more about Miranda, check out her first blog and her blog on UNF's field school.

What did you find at the site? We found lots of oyster shells, some drum fish bones and other animal bones.

What was interesting about the site? The site was interesting because it was located right next to Marineland.

How does it compare to other places you visited this summer? The Marineland site was nothing like Big Talbot Island. In Big Talbot Island, the mounds were trash midden. It was full of trash (other artifacts), but the Marineland midden was mostly full of oyster shells. It was a cool experience to be able to go out and see so many oyster shells in one area. There were a couple of animal bones and conch shells, which were in good condition. I found a drum fish bone, which was cool. Before that day I had no idea drum fish even existed!

I was put in charge of the HMS paper work and had to list the possible hazards and condition of the site as well as the location and whether or not I recommended the site be visited by another team. It was an interesting experience. I must say it was quite exciting beging able to see thousands of oyster shells near the roots of a fallen tree.

Words and images by Miranda Van Zyl, FPAN Intern.

Update from the Field: Miranda's Visit to UNF's Field School on Big Talbot Island

 Miranda has been out visiting field schools and sites throughout the Northeast Region as part of here summer internship with us. Here's some notes from her latest visit to the University of North Florida's field school on Big Talbot Island. To learn more about Miranda, check out her first blog and her blog about monitoring at Marineland.

What did you find at the site?
Dr. Keith Ashley was the site manager of the field school, who kindly let me monitor and learn. Although I did not get to get down and dig, I still got more experience than most teens. This was a Timucuan site where the native peoples dumped their trash. We found broken pottery, oyster shells and animal bones. Since this site is known to be a midden, basically an old trash pile, it had the basic stuff you would expect to find.

What was interesting about the site? This area was interesting because there were only 2 to 3 units in the whole area and one of them was mostly just shells. Most would think that if there was a trash pile then the natives must have lived close by and for most times that is the case. I am not certain if there was a Timucuan village nearby.

How does it compare to other places you visited this summer? This site is similar to Bulow Plantation because the Timucuans would throw things just like the African American slaves did at the plantation: broken or worn out tools, broken pottery, maybe even broken jewelry (though they have not found any), animal bones (from food), or just oyster shells. They would throw out the trash because they wouldn't need it anymore.

At the Bulow Plantation site, we had the chance to dig through the foundations and remains of the slaves' quarters that were burnt to the ground during the Second Seminole War. There, similarly, we also found broken pottery that was probably left behind when the slaves had to flee their home while under attack. 

Finding the artifacts was an exciting experience. Getting to touch and feel the designs of the pottery, feeling the grooves and the smoothness of the artifacts was cool. Being able to see and touch these items as you find them, makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time.

Words and images by Miranda Van Zyl, FPAN Intern.

Why DO Cemeteries Matter?

CRPT Conference cemetery day in Huguenot Cemetery
Why are these people pointing at a headstone?

Recording lesson in Huguenot Cemetery
 Why are these people walking around a cemetery?

Photogrammetry lesson in Huguenot Cemetery
Why are these people listening to this guy?

Representative Cyndi Stevenson opening remarks at this year's CRPT Conference
Why would people fill up a room to hear talks about cemeteries?

Last month, FPAN hosted the third CRPT (Cemetery Resource Protection Training) Conference at Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL.  The room above was filled with seventy people who took two days out of their lives to learn and share ideas about cemetery preservation and protection.  

A question we are frequently asked is: "WHY DO CEMETERIES MATTER?"  We figured who better to pose this question to than our CRPT Conference attendees!  We received many different answers which we posted on the wall:

We discovered that CEMETERIES MATTER BECAUSE....

..... they honor people who did not make the history books

.... they are living museums that spark interest in family and community history

.... you can find lost ancestors

.... they have much to say about peoples, cultures and societies

.... they allow our imagination to place ourselves in a past that would otherwise be one dimensional

.... they're awesome

..... they're beautiful

.... they are places of rest for the dead and places of reflection for the living

.... they are tangible evidence of the past

.... maintaining cemeteries keeps communities safe, overgrown cemeteries can promote crime

.... they provide wildlife refuges and green spaces for cities

.... heritage adds to our sense of place and to the human experience

.... every tombstone has a story to tell

The above list is just a sampling of their answers which ranged from archaeological, historical, environmental, practical, to deeply personal.  Self-interest factors in as another reason to protect the final resting places of the deceased for its only a matter of time before we inevitably join their ranks.

"It's a funny old world - a man's lucky if he gets out of it alive."
    -   W. C. Fields

If you have a reason why cemeteries matter to you, email me at rboggs@flagler.edu and I'll add your reason to our growing list!

Photos and text by FPAN Staff, Robbie Boggs

3D Headstones: Follow-up From CRPT III

3DF Zephyr, Free 3D Modeling Software

Screenshot of 3D headstone captured as part of workshop at Huguenot Cemetery during CRPTIII. Link HERE.

Did you miss the recent Cemetery Resource Protection Training Conference III? If so, you missed a lot. I mean, everyone just blew it out of the water this time around, organizers and attendees. If you missed it, catch a quick peek below.

One of the things that I spoke about at the conference was the practical use of 3D imaging for documenting historic headstones. I'm a huge fan of the technology and see 3D visualization as a future standard component of archaeological research. In the meantime, it's still fairly new to most people. Like many new technologies there is a belief that it's too expensive, too new, or too hard to learn. During the conference I introduced new 3D photogrammetry software that released a basic version for free just days before conference, 3DF Zephyr. The free version will process up to 50 images and there are a ton of great tutorials out there. There is now no excuse for incorporating 3D data into your documentation practices! For most headstones, 50 images is a fairly good number to use for processing. It won't work for everything, of course, but it's a great way to learn this powerful program at no real cost to you. Below are links to practice pic sets that I have used in teaching photogrammetry processing as well as a few choice tutorials. Take a look and make it a weekend project to learn the basics-that's about all it will take. As you get better at 3D processing you will outgrow the free version of the software and it may be time to upgrade. If you are affiliated with a non-profit or educational institution there are almost always great discounts to take advantage of, however, so think about this as a long term investment in a fantastic documentation technique.

Use these two practice sets as a starting point
Practice set 2: Easy with problem

The 3DF Zephyr team has a great set of tutorials to go through HERE.
Here is a great basic tutorial (embeded above) for 3DF Zephyr HERE.
Using coded targets can increase accuracy, learn more HERE.
Check out the 3Dflow YouTube channel for much more HERE.

This is just a start, there's so much more out there and just around the corner. Best of luck to you as you begin to learn this exciting new technology.

Be sure to share your future 3D projects with us! Use the hashtag #3DFPAN so we can keep track of all the great documentation happening out there.

Text: Kevin Gidusko
Videos: FPAN staff, or noted via links

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