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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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The Art of Interpretation

 Have you ever been dragged along to a heritage site, expecting to be bored to death but instead were fascinated?  Or conversely, perhaps you dragged someone along expecting to be enraptured but instead kept checking your watch?

A good interpreter makes all the difference!

The mission of FPAN is "to promote and facilitate the conservation, study and public understanding of Florida's archaeological heritage".    So, in a nutshell, our job is attempting to get people to care about Florida's thousands of archaeological sites, especially those located in their own backyards (theoretically speaking, but perhaps at times literally!)

National Association of Interpretation (NAI) guides us in how to get this message across.  NAI is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing the profession of heritage interpretation in the United States, Canada, and thirty other nations.  All FPAN staff have gone through NAI training and are Certified Interpretive Guides.

 Ultimately, we don't want to just provide information, but aim to engage our audience and advance them along the continuum from "Dragged Along" closer to "Stewardship."

Literally torn from NAI's Certified Interpretive Guide Training Workbook

Freeman Tilden was the first person to formalize the principles of effective interpretation in his book "Interpreting our Heritage" (1957).

Tilden's book is basically the interpreter's bible.  In it, he breaks down interpretation into six principles:

Interpretation should be organized, thematic, enjoyable and relevant.  Of course this is easier said than done!  We try to specifically target the program to the group's age or interest, but sometimes we have no idea who is going to show up.  (This summer I had a library program expecting 7 kids but instead had 50!)  So, the name of the game is to be prepared but also to be flexible. 

If you've made it this far in the blog, you most likely are already aware of the educational  opportunities on our FPAN website and that you can become a heritage steward through our HMS (Heritage Monitoring Scouts) Program.

Now, if you have three minute to spare, watch "Kevin" attempt to hit Tilden's six principles of interpretation but miss the mark on a few of them (for your viewing enjoyment, just click on the link below the picture)....


Text by FPAN Staff: Robbie Boggs

Images in order of appearance:  cwallpapersbackground.blogspot.cz, hahastop.com, NAI Training Workbook, goodreads.com, sideplayer.com, AZ Quotes, Shifting1baselines

Archaeology Laws 101: How sites get protected through federal, state and local regulations

At FPAN, we get quite a few inquiries about construction projects that could affect archaeological sites. There is a network of local, state and federal laws in place that offer protection for historic and archaeological sites. However, they can be confusing! Which laws apply really depend on the type of project and where it is located. Below are a few frequently asked questions that can help you navigate the world of archaeological regulations.
image from nyhabitat.com
Q: Shouldn’t they do an archaeological survey before this development project?

A: Maybe. Many construction projects that involve federal lands, funding or agencies must test the area of impact before work begins to see if cultural resources will be affected. (Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act: Full Text here; Citizen's Guide here; also see the Archaeological Resource Protection Act which gives more effective law enforcement for protecting sites). Florida has laws that mirror this federal law for projects involving state lands, funding or agencies (Florida Statutes Chapter 267). Additionally, there are also federal environmental regulations that require some private development to undergo environmental review, which can include looking at the cultural resources in the impacted area (National Environmental Protection Act).

At the local level, some counties and cities have ordinances that require construction to take cultural resources into account. Some municipalities have ordinances that require archaeological survey or salvage projects on public property. For example in the City of St. Augustine, projects on both public and private property within designated archaeological zones are subject to archaeological testing and salvage.

Archaeologists with NPS SEAC test an area at the Castillo de San Marcos before the placement of temporary office buildings after Hurricane Matthew.

Q: Who conducts archaeological surveys to meet with state and federal regulations?

A: Some state and federal agencies have staff archaeologists who are able to conduct surveys required to meet regulations. For instance, the National Park Service’s Southeastern Archaeological Center has conducted many surveys on Park Service land. However, most do not. To get this work done, a large field of private sector archaeology has developed, commonly referred to as “cultural resource management” or “CRM.” These companies, or sometimes sections of larger environmental or engineering consulting firms, are dedicated to providing archaeological surveys for private clients or government agencies. The American Cultural Resources Association is the national trade association for these companies. You can find a list of companies in your area or find out more about the industry on their website.

Q: Can I see the report from the survey?

A: Maybe. The reports produced by these CRM firms are technically the property of the client. In cases with private developers, they do not have to release the report to the public. For many government contracts, these can be obtained from the agency office who required the work or through Freedom of Information requests. Many of the reports are also sent to the Florida Master Site File and can be obtained via a request to their office.

Q: If they find an archaeological site, will that stop construction?

A: Finding an archaeological site does not mean that an area cannot be developed. For federal projects, a site must be deemed “significant” for it to be a major concern. Florida statues follow similar guidelines. Projects like cell phone towers, pipelines, roads and drainage ponds can often be moved or rerouted to lessen impacts on cultural resources.

Even if a site is deemed important, developers and agencies can opt to mitigate the damages construction will cause to a site. This is the same idea as when companies buy carbon credits to offset their environmental impacts. Mitigation often will involve doing intensive excavation at a site in order to collect the information from the site before it is impacted. Sometimes mitigation will also include public archaeology components such as museum displays or interpretive panels.

Q: What makes a site “significant?”

A: Significance is determined by a site’s eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. The four criteria for listing a site on the Register are: a) the site is associated with an important historic event, b) the site is associated with an important historic figure, c) the site represent a specific art/architecture style or work of a master, or d) the site has the potential to yield information. Most archaeological sites will fall under Criteria D. Florida regulations also use this same standard for determining site significance

Q: What if human remains are found?

A: Florida has pretty strict laws on human remains. It is unlawful to knowingly and willingly disturb any human burial site in the state. Any ground-moving activities must be stopped if remains are encountered and a protocol for how to handle the situation is laid out in Florida Statues Chapter 872. Construction can still occur even if an area is determined to have human remains. Historic cemeteries can be moved by developers or government agencies, generally working closely with any descendant communities. If a site contains prehistoric burials, the State Archaeologist will consult with the closest tribe and determine the best course of action.

The Town of Ponce Inlet monitoring during the construction of a retention wall on one side of a historic cemetery.

Q: What about shipwrecks and underwater sites?

A: These sites fall under many of the same regulations as sites on the land because many of the sites are on State-owned lands or are a part of navigable waterways maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Any construction project would have to undergo the same process to assess the impacts to historic and archaeological sites. Additionally, the Abandoned Shipwreck Act strengthens the ability for the State and Federal governments to protect shipwrecks as cultural and historic places. More on underwater laws in Florida can be found on the Division of Historic Resource's website.

For more on the regulations and guidelines in Florida, check out the Division of Historic Resource's website.
Check out Preservation 50’s Making Archaeology Public Project to see examples of how these laws and regulations have helped add to our understanding of the past.

Text and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff, unless otherwise noted.

What Happens When You Report A Site

Documenting a Possible Prehistoric Canoe

Ever wonder what happens when you report a potential archaeological site to a local museum or even to the State of Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research


Recently, a local in St. Lucie County (St. Lucian?) was walking along a shoreline he regularly strolled when he noticed something he had not seen before in a particular spot. Recent storms impacted areas along the Indian River Lagoon and uncovered more than just the root-balls of palm trees. Sticking just above the surface of the sand he saw what looked to be the outline of a wooden canoe. He then reported his discovery to Linda Geary at the House of Refuge Museum. In doing so, he helped to preserve an incredibly fragile piece of our shared cultural history.

Figure 1. The possible prehistoric canoe as it was reported.

Dugout canoes were used in many different places around the world at different times. As yet, there is no information about when this technology first made its way to Florida, but the oldest known dugout canoes in the state date to the Middle Archaic Period (6-7 thousand years ago). Florida can even boast the highest number of dugout canoes in the U.S. with over 400 found at over 200 sites documented throughout the state. Dugout canoes are incredibly fragile and should be left in place and covered if you happen to find one. You can learn more about dugouts in Florida, as well as whom to contact should you find one, on the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research's (BAR) Canoe resource page here.

The House of Refuge Museum investigated, took pictures, and took rough measurements, which they sent to BAR (we use a lot of acronyms, huh?). Soon after, BAR contacted the FPAN East Central office to ask for assistance in assessing the possible canoe. We were only too happy to coordinate with local volunteers to document the canoe and collect a few samples for further analysis. Luckily for us, the House of Refuge Museum called their friends at the Southeast Florida Archaeological Society (SEFAS: Heidi Anderson-Thomas and Barbara Schmucker) to come help in documenting the site. On our end, we called on Dr. Kyle Freund at Indian River State College, a longtime partner in FPAN outreach, to assist as well.

Figure 2. The back-fill was hand-sifted to find each tiny pottery sherd. Over 250 were discovered.
We had to be quick as we were working in between the high tides so that we would be able to uncover the canoe, take measurements, and take pictures before it was inundated again. While Dr. Freund and I excavated the interior of the canoe, as well as small portions of the exterior, Linda, Heidi, and Barbara hand-sifted through the back-fill to recover tiny sherds of pottery. While mostly intact, we were unable to identify the actual bow and stern of the canoe, though the extant portions measured over 5 meters. We collected wood and soil samples for BAR to analyze and carefully packaged each one individually to protect them from other contaminants. Lastly, we counted the number of tiny pottery sherds that the volunteers had diligently collected and found over 250 within and immediately next to the canoe. Once done with our work, and with the tide lapping at our heels, we covered the canoe once more and left the site as we had found it.

Figure 3. Dr. Freund excavates an area around the exterior of the canoe to collect a wood sample.

All of that happened because one person took a few moments to report something he thought might be important to folks who work day in and day out to preserve our shared past. Just to recap: He reported the site to the House of Refuge, who reported it to Florida BAR, who asked if we could took a look and assess, so we contacted House of Refuge, who contacted SEFAS, while we contacted Dr. Freund, and we all went to the site one morning rushing to get everything done that we possibly could in between high tides. It's exhausting to think about! But it's that important. When you take the time to report a site, the ball starts rolling and a flurry of amazing volunteers and professionals jump to action to save the past from irrevocable loss.

And we do it for you!

Many thanks to Linda Geary (House of Refuge), Heidi Anderson-Thomas and Barbara Schmucker (SEFAS), Dr. Kyle Freund (IRSC), and Julie Duggins (BAR) for outstanding teamwork across time and space to document this archaeological site.

Figure 4. Orthophoto of excavated canoe.

Text: Kevin Gidusko
Pics: Kevin Gidusko
Gif: https://media.tenor.com/images/a315d19def80f85ee2d650dbceaeb95e/tenor.gif

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

Meet our Summer Intern: Miranda

Hi... My name is Miranda. I am going into my senior year at Allen D. Nease High School. I am in the NJROTC and am an Ambassador in Girl Scouts, working on my Gold Award. I have a keen interest in Archaeology and have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to be a part of FPAN this summer, and get a chance to be out in the field with real archaeologists!

Cleaning tombstones at the CRPT Conference.
I was offered an internship with Emily Jane Murray and she has worked out a program that I will be following during my summer. So far, I have attended the CRPT Conference for 2 days, where we got to learn about the preservation of cemeteries, grave sites and tombstones and how to preserve and clean them for the next generations.

In a unit at Bulow!
We also joined Dr. Davidson and his University of Florida students at Bulow Plantation, where we dug at the site of old African-American slave housing. Finding artifacts at this site was both fun and very interesting.

I also got to participate in 3D photogrammetry and printing with Kevin at the FPAN East Central office, located in the historic town of Sanford. I learned how to take picture of artifacts to later make them into 3D images on the computer. I also learned how to create and manipulate a 3D image on the computer from photos we had taken the week before while attending the CRPT Conference. That was cool! I can see how this will become the technology of the future, and can see it being used to help archaeologists study artifacts and potentially reconstruct sites to imagine what they originally looked like. I plan to learn more about 3D photogrammetry and GIS technology as I start my career in archaeology.

Text by Miranda Van Zyl, FPAN Staff, and photos by John Van Zyl.

Conversations about Conferences: Association for Gravestone Studies 2017, Tuscaloosa, AL

I hit the road last week for Tuscaloosa, Alabama to attend my first Association for Gravestones Studies Conference. Unlike many of the archaeology conferences I attend, this one was a lot more diverse: cemetery conservators, historic preservationists, archaeologists, historians, genealogists, folk-lorists, political scientists, artists, and more. The week involved papers, tours and workshops, affectionately called "Cemetery Camp" by the conference veterans. When I got back this week, Robbie and I sat down to talk about my experience.

Robbie: What did you expect in attending the AGS 2017 conference?

Emily Jane:I don't know if I quite knew what to expect. I guess something akin to an archaeology conference - papers on a range of topics, some fun tours and a hands-on workshop in conservation. I was a little intimidated by the 9am-11pm scheduling every day! (The late night presentations turned out to be a lot of fun things and involved snacks. :) )

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

EJ: I hoped to learn more advanced techniques for cemetery preservation and network with other cemetery groups across the country. I presented on our own CRPT program and hoped to inspire others to do similar workshops back in their local communities.

R: What did you actually learn?

EJ: I learned that while there's a lot of variability throughout the cemeteries in the US (and beyond!) in terms of headstones, burial practices and cemetery styles, many places still face similar issues in terms of neglect and preservation issues. I was inspired to hear about work happening in cemeteries everywhere.

R: What was the hardest part of attending AGS?

EJ: The hardest part of this AGS was the weather. But the conference attendees were unwilling to let rain ruin our fun. I received the best conference swag ever: an umbrella! And we sure put them to use on cemetery tours, while walking across campus to various papers, and even when working on conservation.
Everyone made good use of their conference umbrellas!
R: What will you bring back from the conference to share with the public?

EJ: I learned a lot more about cemetery preservation and conservation that I'm excited to share with people in Florida. I got to reset headstones (both small ones by hand as well as stacked monuments using a tripod lifting system), reattach broken stones with epoxy and mortar, and even do some fill work with lime mortar. I learned a lot more about D2 and got some good perspective on cleaning stones - like how cleaning a stone qualifies as a treatment.
A fellow attendee and I worked on filling the back of this stone. Not too bad for our first time!
Resetting the large monument with setting compound.
Learning what not to do can sometimes be as useful as learning what to do.

R: What sessions and activities did you take part of?

EJ: I attended several tours including rural cemeteries in Tuscaloosa County and Birmingham as well as sat in on numerous papers about everything from Coon Dog Cemeteries to the best preventative treatments to help lessen damage from grafitti. My favorite session was the hands-on conservation training I just mentioned.

Comb grave markers, common to TN and AL, in a bare earth cemetery at Macedonia Methodist Church.
Touring the Knesseth-Israel Beth-El Cemetery in Birmingham.
R: Do you have plans for next year's conference?

EJ: I'd love to go! It will be in Danbury, CT, which is a state I've never been to. I had some conversations about holding a session on new technologies in cemetery research - things like photogrammetry, drones, virtual reality and more.

For more information on the Association for Gravestone Studies, check out their website.

Photos and text by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

A Tour of St. Augustine's Historic Cemeteries

During our CRPT Conference III, we hosted a trolley tour of St. Augustine's historic cemeteries in chronological order. For those who couldn't make it, here's the abbreviated version. Be sure to check out links to blog posts to learn more about each cemetery.

St. Augustine Archaeological Association volunteers help out at Los Remdios.
Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies)
Los Remedios was built in 1572 when St. Augustine relocated to its current downtown location, arguably making the church the oldest documented church in the US. Archaeologists have recently uncovered the remains of what could be St. Augustine's earliest colonists. While research is still ongoing, analysis of the burials could provide insights into 16th century life in the City. Read more here.

Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (Our Lady of Solitude) – Sisters of St. Joseph parking lot, St. George Street
The site was discovered to be the remains of a 16th century Spanish chapel shrine, parish, hospital, and cemetery with potentially hundreds of individuals. The Spanish used this cemetery for over 200 years, with little change in internment patterns. The cemetery is used during the British period, from 1763-1783, and the differences was very noticeable in the burial practices – even switching the direction of the burials. Read more here.

Nuestra Señora de la Punta - end of Tremerton Street
A church and cemetery occupied this site between 1720s-1750s and was part of a mission for Yamassee and Apalachee Indians fleeing the English colonists in (South) Carolina for a more tolerant Spanish community. The green space protects the burials of more than 75 individuals, mostly buried beneath the church floor. La Punta was abandoned around 1755. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Historic Cemeteries
Tolomato Cemetery – Cordova Street
Established in 1777, Tolomato Cemetery is the nation’s oldest extant European cemetery – meaning oldest cemetery with above-ground features. It was a Catholic burial site used until 1884 but did have one unauthorized burial in 1886: Catalina Usina Llambias. Many of the burials were once marked with wooden crosses. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Historic Cemeteries

Public Burial Ground/Huguenot Cemetery – corner of S Castillo Drive and Orange Street
Huguenot Cemetery was created in 1821 to serve as a protestant burial ground during an outbreak of yellow fever. The last burials in the cemetery occur in 1884, when both Huguenot and Tolomato are closed due to over-crowding and concerns of graveyards in cities. Huguenot has a wide range of 19th century funerary art. Many of the headstones were imported from Charleston, SC. Read more here.

Dade Monument at the National Cemetery.
St. Augustine National Cemetery – Marine Street
National Cemetery is not the oldest officially sanctioned National Cemetery but it is one of the oldest military cemeteries in the US. It has been a burial ground since 1828 and in 1842 officers of the Second Seminole War were reinterred here. It became Florida’s first National Cemetery in 1881. The Dade Monument memorializes the remains of the soldiers reinterred from Major Dade’s battle in Bushnell under coquina pyramids. Read more about the cemetery itself here or about its significance to the Seminole Wars here.

Graves of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
Nombre de Dios – 27 Ocean Avenue
Mission Nombre de Dios, which dates from 1677-1728, has one of the largest churches as well as the only stone mission church in Florida. Archaeologists with the University of Florida Natural History Museum have been uncovering the foundation of this coquina building. However, they haven’t found any evidence of burials from this time period. When Tolomato and Huguenot Cemeteries were closed in 1884, the Catholic Church opened the grounds at Nombre de Dios to be used as a burial ground. The site was used until San Lorenzo opened in the 1890s. Read more here.

FPAN at the NCPTT 3D Digital Documentation Summit

NCPTT 3D Digital Documentation Summit

In mid-April I had the chance to attend a National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) summit that focused on 3D digital documentation and other advances in the field of digital heritage preservation. The summit was held in New Orleans at the historic New Orleans Mint, now a museum which also hosts the great "Music at the Mint" jazz series. The summit brought together professionals working in digital documentation and preservation from around the world for three days to share their work, discuss the future of the field, and tackle issues the field is facing today.

The New Orleans Mint from a 1907 Postcard, Wikipedia image.

The papers ranged widely in subject matter and focus. The unifying them of all, however, was the need to expand and define the capabilities of 3D technology in the fields of heritage preservation and archaeology. While the first two days were filled with presentations and round-tables, the last day was dedicated to workshops in the field. We all piled into a bus and went to St. Louis Cemetery #2 to try our hand at using LiDAR, drones, and photogrammetry to create 3D models of the cemetery.

St. Louis Cemetery 2, from Save Our Cemeteries

Be sure to check out the link above to learn about all of the talks at the NCPTT summit. Below is a short overview of a few of the talks I found particularly interesting and applicable to archaeological work

I. "Technology for the People: Developing a Low Cost Heritage Documentation Kit to Spur Innovation in Digital Preservation."
Kacey Hadick and Scott Lee, CyArk

CyArk is one of the first to make forays into 3D digital documentation and their mission to preserve at-risk cultural heritage sites is commendable. I'm a big fan of their work so I was excited to see this presentation. Kacey Hadick presented on CyArk's new initiative to create low cost ($1,500) kits for digital documentation that could be deployed into areas where sites are at risk. Video tutorials get users prepped to begin collecting data. CyArk sees several applications for their kits and I have to agree; getting this kind of technology into areas where conflict or natural disasters threaten important cultural sites is a fantastic way to head off permanent loss. Kacey did a short blog over at the CyArk page which you can check out HERE.

II. "Beyond Hype and Promise: Digital Heritage Strategies in Our Nation's Parks for Preservation, 3D Learning, Outreach, and Education."
Lori Collins and Travis Doering, USF Library Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections

Lori and Travis have been pumping out great 3D digital documentation work at USF for as long as I can remember. Currently, they are heading USF Library's Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections. In this presentation, Lori discussed how 3D documentation can be used to preserve and interpret fragile sites in the National Park System. One of the most important points was that this kind of documentation isn't just about creating engaging pictures; this kind of data collection can allow for the long-term preservation and interpretation of sites by focusing on making the outputs user/public-friendly. That's doubly important if your end user is, you know, the client. If they can't interact with the data, what good is it? One of my other favorite takeaways was Lori's discussion of the technology "hype cycle." Go check out the link for a further discussion, but essentially it's important to remember that new technology doesn't solve all problems. Indeed, it often just brings a new set with it as it becomes more commonly used.

Technology hype cycle, Wikipedia image

II. "3D Digital Documentation and Analysis of the Reef Bay Valley Petroglyphs."
Travis Doering and Lori Collins, USF Library Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections

Travis, the other part of the USF team, gave a fantastic presentation on the use of 3D documentation to better define and interpret imperiled petroglyphs at a National Park site on the U.S. Virgin Islands. The petroglyphs had been imperfectly documented prior to his work and site interpretations were thus based on that imperfect data. By showing how 3D visualization allows for a better, more precise site-wide view for the archaeologist, Travis demonstrated the impact that these types of technologies are already having in the field.

Reef Bay Petroglyphs, Wikipedia image

I learned a great deal from my time being around so many folks whose work I have been admiring from afar these last few years. These technologies are barreling towards us and offer a number of magnificent opportunities to better preserve, and more importantly, share our investigations with the public. Be sure to keep an eye on the folks who presented at this summit, we're sure to hear more great things from them. And that's no hype.

Text: Kevin Gidusko
1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans_Mint
2. http://www.saveourcemeteries.org/st-louis-cemetery-no-2/
3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle
4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reef_Bay_Trail_petroglyphs

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