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.