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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 January 2012

Back in Black (Creek)

We love getting out in the dirt, so when Clay County teacher Cindy Cheatwood recently proposed that we revisit excavation with students and we jumped at the chance!  We got our plans, partnerships, and paperwork in order and met her and Middleburg High School students on a Saturday in early December. 

We chose to revisit a site out on Black Creek that had been the target of some similar excavations last year.  We visited a few days beforehand to plan our dig, and were thrilled to see signs posted to enforce Clay County's preservation ordinance!  We love seeing site protection in action.

Jennifer and Amber lay out the first of two 1x1m units.

On the day of the dig one of our favorite volunteers, Jennifer, joined us to help with the kids. We decided to open up two units to the east of the original trenches. The plan was to further explore the brick feature, possibly some kind of pathway, to get a better understanding of why it was placed there. (For more on what we found out during the first investigation visit this previous blog entry.) We also wanted to find out how the brick structure held up as it progressed along the roadside, and whether it changed at all in thickness or form.

Sarah briefs students on the history and archaeology of the site.

We were so pleased that so many students came out on a Saturday morning (!), braving a threat of rain.  Some even brought along younger siblings.  After a quick sign-in and orientation our participants broke into four groups, which rotated through four stations before the day was out. 

Students excavate and screen for artifacts with Jen Knutson.

Two of the stations gave students an opportunity to excavate units with trowels and brushes and to screen for artifacts. 

The adage, "Many hands make light work" certainly holds true here!

Kevin Hooper explores local history with the students.

 The third station combined a history talk by local historian Kevin Hooper and a visit to the Middleburg Historical Museum.

Students gently wash and sort artifacts as David offers support.

At the final station, the kids got to do some of the unglamourous but very important work that archaeologists carry out: they washed, sorted, and re-bagged artifacts under the watchful eye of new FPAN intern David Underwood.

We love working with students--my favorite moment of the day came after a conversation with a student who hadn't been very involved.  He was in charge of labeling artifact bags at one dig station, and when I encouraged him to try digging, he hesitated. "I have a party to go to later on."  He was dressed in khaki slacks and a button-down shirt, and didn't want to get dirty.  I suggested that he just crouch, staying planted on both feet, and try digging.  He agreed to give it a shot.  Several minutes later, a staff member from the school pointed out that he was now kneeling, and likely to get his pants muddy.  Hardly looking up from his trowel, he replied, "It's not THAT fancy of a party."  We may have a burgeoning archaeologist on our hands.

As for the units themselves, we did find more of the brick feature.  Whether it's a single path or there is another course of bricks is still unclear.  However, it appears to be consistent in width and construction, and was once traced by a strand of barbed wire.  We're unsure whether we'll be back out with another batch of students, but right now we're content to catalogue the artifacts and work up a site report, a critical piece of the archaeological process.  And by "we," I mean that new intern I was telling you about.

"What Is It???" Wednesday: A nail by any other name...

I'm aware it's a nail, but what kind of nail?  What do you all think?  If you need help, look for my nail cheat sheet below for square nails.

A) wrought nail 
B) early cut nail 
C) late cut nail 
D) wire cut nail 

Nail recovered from our recent Black Creek dig in Clay County.

Close up views of proximal and distal ends:


Last WIIW:  We have a winner!  Kudos to Debby for working it out that it's a minnow catcher!  I had never seen glass manufactured with those concave cones before.  I'm guessing they were pressed into the glass during the molding process?  Looks like a two piece mold.  An on-line search led to lists of auction pages dating them to the late 19th, early 20th century.  Will see what other information I can find (anyone from HistArch want to chime in?).

Text and Images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

How to Record a Historic Cemetery on the Florida Master Site File

Do you know the best way to preserve an old cemetery?  It doesn't require lawn mowers and scrub brushes, tracing paper, or epoxy glue.  In fact some of those materials may actually damage an old cemetery if not properly used.  All it takes is a hand held GPS device, a camera and a Florida Master Site File (FMSF) form. 

Knowledge is the best source of protection for old cemeteries.  Many old cemeteries become abandoned, overgrown and lost to time.  When you know about or have found an old cemetery, the best thing to do is download and print out a Historical Cemetery Form from the Florida Master Site File web site (www.flheritage.com/preservation/sitefile).   Return to the site, write down the GPS coordinates, take at least one general view photograph and record any information you can uncover from your visit. Noting the cemetery location on a USGS Quad map is a required attachment. This is the minimum necessary to record a cemetery on the Florida Master Site File. Knowledge is protection! When development is planned and permits are pulled, a listing on the FMSF may allow that old cemetery to be protected.

If you want to provide more than the basic information needed to record an old cemetery, there is a great guide published by the FMSF staff, to help you.   The "Guide to the Historical Cemetery Form" Version 4.0 dated June 2011 can be downloaded from the same FMSF web site listed above.  It provides line by line instructions on filling out the Historical Cemetery Form.  It also provides several very helpful appendices including doing field work and research on cemeteries, a glossary of terms, the photo policy, and suggested readings and references.

Sometimes it is difficult to obtain a copy of the correct USGS Quad map on which to mark your cemetery location.  This is a required attachment and for consistency's sake it must be on a USGS map.  There is a web site that can help you identify the correct quad map for your location: http://data.labins.org/2003/MappingData/DRG/drg.cfm.  However if you reside in Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, or Volusia Counties within the FPAN - Northeast Regional Center, you can contact either Toni Wallace at Twallace@flagler.edu or Sarah Miller at SEMiller@Flagler.edu and we can provide you with a copy of the correct quad map for your cemetery location.

The last item of importance in recording your cemetery is to determine if it has already been recorded on the FMSF.  Why is this so imporant?  If it is a new submission, you must first obtain a FMSF number from the FMSF staff at the State Division of Historic Resources.  Again, Toni Wallace or Sarah Miller can assist you or you can go directly to the FMSF staff at the State. To obtain a new number for an original submission, you should download a Number Assignment Request Form from the FMSF web site listed above and submit it to the FMSF staff by e-mail (SiteFile@dos.state.fl.us) or snail mail (FMSF, 500 S. Bronough St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250).  And remember, even if your cemetery has already been listed and has a number, you can always add new information to the file.  For example, if there has been vandalism, you can photograph and document this and add it to your cemetery's listing.

Good luck with your work to preserve and protect Florida's historic cemeteries.  We at the FPAN - NE Regional Center are always there to help. 

We have scheduled a series of Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) workshops in our region open to the public.  The next one will be held in the Flagler County Government Services Building in Bunnell on January 31, 2012.  Contact Amber Weiss at aweiss@flagler.edu for more information.

Artifact Collecting: St. Johns County Response and Other Resources

We received this letter today and thought in light of recent events many of you would be interested in reading yourself:

Dear FPAN Northeast staff,

Recent articles in the St. Augustine Record about artifact collecting make it clear that protection of our archaeological sites is an on-going and often strained effort.  Though the articles offered an “archaeologist’s viewpoint”, they did not illuminate the broader commitment that our communities have to the public value of archaeological sites.  

This commitment is clearly observed in the existence of research and education programs like FPAN and the City of St. Augustine’s Archaeology Program, and in the many volunteers (or just interested citizens) who support such programs.  And in a more preventative sense, the commitment is also reflected in the laws enacted to protect these publically-owned resources.

While metal detecting to find lost items and random, isolated objects is a wonderful source of recreation, metal detecting or digging to methodically collect objects from an archaeological site on public lands in St. Johns County is a crime.

On state-owned and controlled lands, including sovereignty-submerged lands, digging for artifacts without a permit from the Division of Historic Resources is a third degree felony (Chapters 267.061 and 267.12-13, Florida Statutes, and Rule 1A-32 of the Florida Administrative Code). Digging on Federal land, such as the beaches within Fort Matanzas National Monument, also requires a permit, and illegal digging is a felony offense with first time offenders potentially subject to a $20,000 fine and a one year jail sentence (Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979). Finally,  St. Johns County’s cultural resource laws make it illegal to knowingly disturb an archaeological site on county-owned or managed lands (Land Development Code 3.01.07), and our County park laws prohibit digging on any archaeological site (Ordinance 2005-114).  These laws apply to all our beaches, parks, waterways and recreational and conservation lands. 

Far from restricting, these laws were created to protect the public’s rights to their heritage from people who would take it from them for personal gain.  Many curiosity seekers or history buffs discover sites on public lands without removing artifacts and report them to those who work to protect the publics’ resources.  Their exciting recreational activity leads to public benefit and gives us all a long term return on our national history and our investment in public lands. 

Of course, education will ultimately be the most important tool and your staff’s efforts in this arena have been outstanding. As an FPAN Board of Directors member, it has become clear to me that the Northeast office is helping to set the bar for the State. Thank you and please keep up these innovative and effective programs!  

Robin E. Moore, MA/RPA
St. Johns County Historic Resources 

Thank you Robin!  We've been sending out lots of links and resources this week.  To view original Record articles and responses, see:

January 24th City Resolution for Protection of Artifacts

Other resources we've sent around this week on archaeology ethics:

Dr. Della Scott Ireton's post on ethics and treasure hunting

Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology - Ethics Press Kit

Society of American Archaeology's Code of Ethics

Society of Historical Archaeology's Code of Ethics

Register of Professional Archaeologists Code of Conduct

UNESCO 2001 resolution against treasure collections

Text: letter by Robin Moore with supplemental text by Sarah Miller
Image: Sarah Miller and Amber Weiss, FPAN staff

Fragile maritime resources recorded in Ponte Vedra, St. Johns County.

"What Is It???" Wednesday: mystery jug

This weekend my family took a trip to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park.  We chased chickens, admired the swimming ducks, picked kumquats, and took a tour of the famous author's house.  Near the end of the house tour I became fascinated by this jug, well designed for its intended use.  For this week's WIIW, what kind of jug is this?  What is it's function?  Any guesses on when or where it was made?

Our guide for the day.


And because I'm a historical archaeologist I love me a privy...

Note red flag, indicates if occupied:)

Last WIIW answer: tobacco and horse urine!  William Pier is crowned the Master of Mocha for 2012!  I know we had some other guesses on Facebook but the post is no longer visible (guessing the word urine is a no no?) so know Master Pier there was some fierce competition, stay sharp my friend! 

Text and Photos: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

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