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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 June 2013

School Days

Before school was out for the Summer, Sarah Miller and I squeezed in one more classroom visit.  All school visits are special, but this one was especially so being that both of our third grade daughters were in this class at Osceola Elementary School. 

We had one hour and packed in as much information about the Timucuan Indians as time would allow.  The kids were given an overview of Timucuan life, shown artifact replicas and were then given a chance to apply some "Timucuan Technology." They practised their cordage skills (braiding and twisting plant fibers to transform them into a strong rope),  made pottery out of play dough, used ferns and paddles to make patterns in the "clay", played a burned out drum replica, smelled a deer hide and heard the Lords Prayer read to them in the Timucuan language.

Working on play dough pottery and trying out the drum!

A few days later we received a stack of thank you cards.  Below are a few, showing some of their favorite activities that day:

Text and Images: Robbie Boggs Moore, FPAN Staff

A Lincolnville Bike Tour

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Bike Tour of Lincolnville

On a sunny day in May, the Florida Trust and the Citizens for the Preservation of St. Augustine partnered to sponsor a bicycle tour of the historic neighborhood of Lincolnville in the City of St. Augustine, FL.

Florida Trust Annual Meeting Tour Description

Lincolnville was the first St. Augustine neighborhood to be approved for designation as a National Register District, approved for designation in 1991.   Lincolnville was founded shortly after the Civil War by emancipated African Americans from the area.  It was originally called "Little Africa" but was later renamed in a reference to President Lincoln.  It is composed of over 500 structures with the largest number of 19th and turn-of-the-20th century Victorian houses in the City.  Today it has become one of the City's most interesting restored areas with many of the two-story Craftsman style and one-story Shotgun style houses lovingly restored.  The Florida Trust chose to feature Lincolnville's restoration activities by organizing a bike tour during its May, 2013 Annual Meeting  held at the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine.

The tour was led by Barry Myers, a curator at the Lightner Museum, and a long-time resident of Lincolnville.
Barry, tour leader, and Friederika
Participants rented bikes from the St. Augustine Bike Rentals and were off on a three hour tour with a surprise ending.  In addition to biking around the old streets of the neighborhood, Barry had arranged for us to tour the interior of five Lincolnville houses.
St. Augustine Bike Rentals
So lets begin our tour.  Barry takes us south on Riberia Street along the San Sebastian River, the location of the boat building industry and many other early industrial establishments.  First on the right is the old Sola Carraba Cigar Factory, adaptively restored today as an office building. 
Sola Carraba Cigar Factory

Next on the right is the former city ice plant presently being restored to become the city's first liquor distillery.
Turning left on Bridge Street we encounter Lincolnville before it was Lincolnville.  The Yallaha Plantation house on the right was one of two orange plantations operating here before any of the residential development happened. "Yallaha" means orange in the Seminole language.  The other orange plantation was Buena Esperanza at the southern end of Lincolnville. Yallaha is currently a private residence.
Yallaha Plantation House

We next turn right on shady Sanford Street.  The bright yellow house on the left reflects the yellow paint used by Henry Flagler's railroad company.  Many of Flagler's railroad employees built the Victorian houses still standing in Lincolnville. 

On the left, still standing, is the deteriorated Sister's of St. Joseph School.  The Sisters left France right after the Civil War to teach St. Augustine's freed Black children.  Today, many St. Augustine families send their children to the Cathedral Parish School, still taught by the good Sisters of St. Joseph.  The State of Florida granted funds to stabilize the old school building but an adaptive reuse is needed to save this beautiful historic structure.
Sisters of St. Joseph School
St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church
On the same property with the school, we come upon  St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church.  This church served the historic Black Catholic community, here since the time of the Spanish.  Today the church serves all Lincolnville Catholics as the neighborhood gentrifies.

We take a small detour down Kings Ferry Way to see two nicely restored shotgun houses which together form a little compound with a courtyard between, an interesting way to expand a small property.  These two shotgun style houses were restored by the Elaine H. Darnold, Inc. Construction Company which specializes in historic restoration.
Shotgun Courtyard

Turning on M. L. King Ave. we come to the infamous M and M Market building.  This former corner market was renowned as a drug distribution point (not the legal variety).  The City purchased the building to remove the blight on the neighborhood and is now looking for a suitable adaptive reuse.
Former M and M Market
Turning on Bridge Street, we encounter several buildings associated with St. Augustine's significant role in the civil rights demonstrations of the 1960's.  On the right is a house with a Freedom Trail historic marker, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. slept; and, on the left is the Trinity United Methodist Church, both locations associated with the movement.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. slept here 
Trinity United Methodist Church

Turning right on Washington Street, another church important in the Civil Rights movement comes into view, St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church.

In the early 20th century, Washington Street was the major commercial district for the African American community.  With desegregation, most of the African American-owned establishments along Washington Street declined.  One that remains to this day is the Elks Club, still an active community establishment with its own historic marker in red.
Elks Club

Mr. Butler's house

 A noted African American business man, Frank R. Butler, lived in this house on Washington Street.  Mr. Butler established Butler Beach on Anastasia Island, the only beach open to African Americans during the days of segregation.

Demolition of Lincolnville's old houses is a constant threat, with demolition by neglect impacting many.  Lincolnville has become a desirable place to invest as vacant lots become locations for infill housing.  One of the better examples of new housing that fits into the Lincolnville style is this new house on Washington Street.

New house

Excelsior School
Returning to M.L.King Ave., we encounter a commanding structure, the Excelsior School.  This was the public elementary and high school for African Americans living in Lincolnville before the end of school segregation.  Today it is the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center which houses exhibits on the Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine.

Replacement with inappropriate balcony railing
Continuing South on M.L.King Ave., we ride by two examples of recent renovation, one well done and the other with certain issues.  The first house to the left has replaced the balcony rail with a higher version to meet current codes.  Another restored house on the right has also rebuilt the balcony rail higher but has added two removable spans so that the integrity of the original is not lost.

Addition of appropriate balcony railing

An outstanding example of restoration in Lincolnville is St.Cyprian's Episcopal Church on the right side heading south on M.L. King Ave.  During segregation this Episcopal church served an African American congregation.  It had fallen into disrepair but was sensitively restored in the 1990's and today St. Cyprian's is again an active parish.  It serves as a community focal point providing community-based programs in the arts, health care and education.

St Cyprian's Episcopal Church

Another house associated with the civil rights movement on M.L.King Ave. is known as the "Civil Rights House".  Dr. Robert B. Haling, a local dentist, lived here in 1964.  He is known as the father of the Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine. 
Dr. Robert B. Haling's house

The bikers next proceeded to Oneida Street, one of the prettiest streets in Lincolnville.  Here we began our house tours.  The first house toured was a large house on the Maria Sanchez marsh, a house with a name: Villa Rosa.  This large frame house from the late 19th century was originally built by one of Henry Flagler's protegees.  It was recently completely restored by John Valdez and Associates, one of the City's most accomplished historic restoration companies. The house is filled with mahogany and wood inlays and has a restored tower to view the beautiful marsh and Intracoastal Waterway in the distance.
Villa Rosa

View from Villa Rosa Tower

The next house we had the privilege of touring was a late 19th century Victorian being lovingly restored by the owner, Meg.  The rear of Meg's house has a kitchen which had been a separate building from the main house but was moved and attached to the house structure later.

Meg's house
Rear kitchen added to Meg's house

Another approach to rehabilitation is Rosamond's house on South Street.  Her small bungalow from the early 20th century has been completely gutted and beautifully modernized in the interior but maintains the original exterior.

20th century bungalow
Backyard of bungalow

As a contrast, the comfortable Richardson family home, has been in the family for several generations, with ongoing improvements over time.
Richardson family residence
The last house we toured was really a small museum inside.  This modest one-story 1920's frame house on Lake Maria Sanchez was restored to period perfection inside, even to the wall paper and appliances in the kitchen.  It was like stepping back into the 1920s.
1920s house on the lake

1920s sink

1920s stove

That completed our tour of the five Lincolnville houses, each representing a  different approach to restoration.  We thanked Barry for a most insightful tour of one of St. Augustine's most interesting neighborhoods and a great laboratory to view historic preservation in action.

Text and photos by Toni Wallace.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Monday Morning Book Review: Derek the Dredger and The Underwater Archaeologists

The cover of Derek the Dredger and The Underwater Archaeologists.

It all begins when marine archaeologists, Professor Archie O'Logy and Professor Marie Time, have engine trouble after a day of looking for the "remains of a 400 year old Spanish Galleon". Derek the Dredger appears on the horizon and insures their rescue. The two divers and Derek tell each other about their jobs. Derek promises to call the professors if he makes any future archaeological discoveries. Of course, that is exactly what happens next!

Inside illustration.

Young children who are fascinated by boats and the ocean will really enjoy this book. Derek the Dredger provides an introduction to different ships and their purposes including historic shipwrecks.
The book is beautifully illustrated. There is a glossary in the back for the "words you may not know".

This book is written by Rebecca Causer (she also did the illustrations) and Alison Hamer. It was published by the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology in association with English Heritage, and DEFRA Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund.

I like that Derek and the professors cooperate with each other in order to achieve the protection of archaeological sites. However, my favorite thing about this book is the extra resources available online whether you purchase the book or not.

Here are coloring sheets, word finds, and puzzles to download where you can see more of the book's illustration style.

The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology website is full of educational resources to explore, including videos, games, and virtual dives.

Derek the Dredger and The Underwater Archaeologists costs 7 British pounds, roughly $11.00 including shipping to the United States. There are more books featuring Derek the Dredger and maritime archaeology. The full list of books and to buy Derek the Dredger and The Underwater Archaeologists are available here.

Here are links to  more children's book reviews from the Florida Public Archaeology Network, Northeast:

                                                    Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
                                        by Laban Carrick Hill, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

                                                    by Claire Aston and Peter Dennis

                                                         Archaeologists Dig for Clues
                                                                     by Katie Duke

 This summer, library's from coast to coast have as their theme, "Dig into Summer Reading!" for young people. FPAN is doing library programs across the state of Florida. For a list of programs in northeast Florida and a list of children's recommended reads, visit our blog post titled, "Let's Dig into Summer Reading!".

Blog Text: Jen Knutson, FPAN Staff

Soil Stories

Last week I spent FOUR days at Titusville's Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary. Sounds magical, right? Amid pines and oaks, butterflies, birds, and bugs, a group of people passionate about a variety of topics gathered together to become Certified Interpretive Guides (CIG) through the National Association for Interpretation (NAI). Everyone had different interests and experiences, but we all banded together to better understand how to interpret. Many naturalists attended the training, but I wasn't the only archaeologist! 

During the four day course, the class explored what interpretation is, who interpreters are, and how to interpret effectively. Overall, the instructors encouraged us to view interpretation as an encompassing, expansive action in which anybody (with passion!) can participate. Artists, teachers, writers, shamans, philosophers, philanthropists (anyone!) can qualify as interpreters. Throughout the week, each of us worked toward developing an individual 10 minute capstone program to demonstrate our improved interpretive abilities. I focused on soil in archaeology. Why? Perhaps soils seem boring or simple; however, soil stories, as read by an archaeologist, can prove to be quite profound.

There's me-- toward the center-- along with the rest of the CIG
class and our delightful facilitators (front row).
If I said (or wrote) "soil," what would come to your mind? Dirt? Worms? Bugs? Farming and agriculture? Gardening? Plants? What can soil possibly tell archaeologists? How does soil help archaeologists understand the past? Can soil answer either of these questions? Well, of course! That's what makes soil stories  profound!

When digging, archaeologists pay attention to many details. People often link artifacts to archaeological excavation, but soil is important too. We dig and screen a lot of dirt, but our soil observations don't stop there. When excavating, we constantly pay attention to two big soil factors: color and texture. Changes in color and/or texture can help archaeologists understand the past landscape or environment (such as flooding or water level changes) or to see how people manipulated or impacted the ground (for example, bringing in clay to stabilize a house floor or building and using a hearth).

Studying soil is a science. We use Munsell soil color books to standardize color descriptions across the field and try to use words such as sandy, silty, loamy, or a combination of these words when referring to the texture. (Sometimes textures go crazy. Ever talked about a semi-silty loamy sand? It happens!). Looking at soil as we excavate levels or in a unit's profile (seen below) helps archaeologists to become familiar with the site and in which level(s) cultural materials will likely appear.

Archaeologists use two important terms regarding soil: stratigraphy and the law of superposition. Stratigraphy  relates to the different soil colors/textures in a unit. We also call these levels. The law of superposition relates to soil and artifacts. The idea is that younger artifacts appear in levels closer to the top of a unit and older artifacts show up in lower levels. Knowing the stratum of an artifact and the soil helps archaeologists to know a unit or a site and to understand the relationships between soils, artifacts, and the stories they hold about past peoples.

Stratigraphy galore!
Soil-- it's everywhere! Perhaps we overlook its potential to tell us much about the past. Every archaeological interpretation relies on soil studies in the beginning. Excavation is fun, analysis is imperative, and artifacts do help archaeologists understand the past and soil stories are profound too!

Text: Sarah Bennett
Photo: Enchanted Forest Nature Sanctuary and Sarah Bennett

What is it Wednesday?


What are we Wednesday?

Today's, What is it Wednesday?, is a two-sherd (part) question. However, if you only identify one artifact correctly we'll still send you out a freebie! Which means if there's two artifacts to identify, then there's two winners or one winner and two prizes. Be nice though and spread the wealth!

Here's the first one: 


Let me give you a hint. The burgundy color helps archaeologists date this sherd.

Here's the next sherd:


Yes, this one is also a sherd, but this pottery wasn't used for dinner dishes!
Both of these artifacts were excavated this week by the City of St. Augustine archaeologist Carl Halbirt. They were in the same stratum/soil layer.
Happy Hunting!
Text & Photos: Jen Knutson and FPAN Outreach Staff

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