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Archive for April 2012
The Florida drought continues, the lakes keep shrinking and the ancient canoes keep appearing. Last November Toni Wallace from the FPAN -NE Center and Donna Ruhl from the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) recorded a canoe in Putnam County (see blog of 11/30/11). Since then several more recently exposed canoes have been brought to the attention of the site team. Now this is really a two edged sword. The FPAN Site Team loves to go out to a canoe site to record as many canoes as possible to increase the data base on Florida's ancient canoes. But the downside is that exposed canoes quickly deteriorate when not protected by lake water. Preservation is expensive and there are not enough repositories for large artifacts like an ancient canoe. Which only leaves the option of recording the canoe and hoping for rain to refill the lake.
|Little Lake Johnson at Gold Head Branch State Park|
Early in 2012, the Center received a call from the park staff at the Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park in Keystone Heights, Clay County. Little Lake Johnson in the park had shrunk to two small shallow puddles killing a lot of the fish and exposing a canoe. So Toni Wallace grabbed her camera, measuring tape, water-proof boots and Florida Master Site File forms and headed for the park. Although Donna was not able to accompany her this time, she forwarded a museum canoe form and requested a wood sample be sent to the Museum to be radio carbon dated and analyzed for wood species.
|Toni Wallace, Site Specialist, FPAN - NE|
|Brenna Van Ness, Acting Park Manager|
|Stern of Canoe|
|Bow of Canoe|
|Deteriorated Middle Portion of Canoe|
But the Little Lake Johnson Canoe has now been recorded on the Florida Master Site file, #8CL01533, along with maps, a report, site drawing, photographs and a FLMNH canoe form. The wood sample was mailed to the Museum. Soon we should have another entry in the inventory of ancient Florida canoes with the radio carbon date obtained and wood species identified. But there is one last piece of good news. The recent rain has partially refilled Little Lake Johnson almost completely covering our ancient canoe. Keep your fingers crossed for continued good rains in the area. And stay tuned for additional field adventures recording Florida's ancient sites in the Florida Master Site File.
I'll be traveling down later today to visit an elementary school in Volusia County to see this specimen in person. Photo was sent to me by a 5th grade teacher who thinks it may be part of a projectile point. I'm not so sure...any guesses?
WHAT IS IT???
text and image: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff
|Mural on Aviles Street Celebrates Spanish Origins.|
|Map of Old Town found on Aviles city gate.|
Kathleen Deagan and her FSU crew made an unexpected discovery at this site in the 1970s. During her survey of St. Augustine to look for evidence of colonial daily life, every test conducted in this area turned up fragments of human remains. She had found the cemetery associated with the Nuestra Seniora de la Soledad.
Why would you start your visit with a trip to a cemetery? Soledad provides a unique opportunity to summarize life in 16th century St. Augustine. Every theme for St. Augustine colonial history is reflected in the burials found in the 1970s. Here are five things I learned about St. Augustine while studying reports and articles on the archaeological investigation of the site.
1. St. Augustine residents lived in poverty. Throughout the historical records we can read the requests and pleas of the Spanish officials for more money and resources. This historical interpretation is confirmed in the fact that the Spanish burials at Soledad lacked worldly possessions. In fact only one person was found buried with a personal object (a rosary). The Spanish buried their dead in ancient custom: interred in bare earth with a simple shroud.
|Source material for this blog entry.|
2. Colonial St. Augustine was conservative. From the burials at Soledad we learned that for over 200 years people were buried much in the same way with little to no change over time. One interpretation I read credited the Catholic traditions brought by the Spanish that maintained the 16th century way of life. Beyond burials, St. Augustine remains conservative with little changes in ceramics, glass, and architecture.
|Casta drawings showing Spanish diversity.|
4. People cared about one another in St. Augustine. From the burials archaeologists confirmed people were living long lives. Their bones showed signs of arthritis and hard work, but also care for each other. Analysis of the teeth confirmed close family connections among those buried at Soledad. And care of the dead by Catholic custom suggests bereaved family members tending to the dead.
5. Every aspect of life (and death) gets turned on its head in 1763. When the First Treaty of Paris changed possession of Florida from the Spanish to the British, life changed in every way. Burial of the dead was no exception. Where the Spanish buried their dead primarily in the north side of the lot, the British made use of the western side. The arms of the deceased were no longer placed over the stomach in "prayerful pose," but with the arms to the side. The British deceased were not laid to rest in shrouds, but rather wore clothes and ultimately placed in hexagonal coffins. The British even buried their dead in the opposite direction of the Spanish.
|All you see today- no headstones- just unpaved parking lot across from Church.|
Thanks to the St. Augustine Archaeology Association there is more to visit at the site than a parking lot. Last month the organization placed a marker with images and information about the Church, Hospital, and School. Read the St. Augustine Record article for more on the marker unveiling.
For more information I highly recommend reading Kathleen Deagan's Spanish St. Augustine: The Archaeology of a Colonial Creole Community (1983), especially Joan Koch's chapter on her bioarchaeological analysis of Soledad. Or visit the site (don't expect much- marker is only evidence for site) next to Villa Flora at 241 St. George Street, St. Augustine. Map to Soledad
Text and images: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff