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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 September 2016

Join us on a monitoring Dash through Florida's Cemeteries!

With HMS Florida officially accepting volunteers, you might be wondering how to get involved. It's easy: join us on a Cemetery Dash!

For years, we have been offering our Cemetery Resource Protection Trainings (CRPTs) and urging people to help us get these sites listed on the Florida Master Site File. But what if the cemetery is already listed - shouldn't we still keep an eye on these sites? Of course we should! And now with HMS Florida, we have the perfect means to do so.

Check out our Cemetery Dash basics below - and don't forget to keep an eye on our HMS Florida website as well as the CRPT Alliance and EnvArch Facebook groups to learn about upcoming cemetery events and Scout opportunities. You can follow #CemeteryDash on social media to keep track of our monitoring goal, read great resources on cemeteries, and learn about sites in Northeast Florida.

The Dash has already started in South Florida - Rachael is working on the second cemetery at a CRPT in Naples.

Why: Florida Cemeteries at Risk 
Over 1000 cemeteries across the state, both inland and coastal, are currently threatened by sea level rise, storm surge and flooding, development, and more. Other coastal states like Louisiana have already seen huge impacts at historic cemeteries from recent events like these.

What: HMS Florida in Cemeteries
Monitoring historic cemeteries will help collect data about potential impacts and threats from natural and human causes. We hope to have 50 sites monitored in the Northeast Region and all 48 historic cemeteries in South Florida.

Who: Heritage Monitoring Scouts 
Anyone can be a part of the Dash! You can fill out a Scout application at our website and join us at our next Scouting event to learn how HMS Florida works.

Where:  Historic Cemeteries near you
We will host training and monitoring events throughout the state. At each event, we will provide Mission Sheets with cemeteries that need monitoring. But even if there's not a training near you, you can still monitor cemeteries in your area - contact us at hmsflorida@fpan.us for more information.

When: October 2016 through March 2017
The Cemetery Dash will kick off in October and carry on until March.

How: Training Days and Mission Sheets
Join us at an upcoming CRPT workshop or cemetery monitoring day to learn how to verify site information, assess threats and document the site with photographs. You can pick up a Mission Sheet to guide you to your next cemetery or go check in on one of your favorites.

Unless otherwise noted, words and images by Emily Jane Murray and Sarah Miller, FPAN staff.

Archaeology and Horror

Archaeology is not really something that people associate with horror. Action movies are generally the only genre Hollywood associates with archaeology. However that doesn’t mean archaeology doesn’t have its place in terror. For those of you who are fans of Halloween Horror Nights, there is a house this year that has certain archaeological overtones. 

Tomb of the Ancients is an original house this year focusing on the awakening of  “ancient ones” from their slumber. The house description online is vague so I wasn’t really going into the house expecting much. However as soon as the line turned to the front of the house, I realized what I was getting into. There was a white work truck parked among a ton of palm trees in front of a temple face that was covered in vines. My friend immediately turned to me and said, “This is like an archaeology house,” nudging me jokingly. He wasn’t wrong though. The storyline of the house featured people, who I assume to be archaeologists or some kind of tomb raiders, stumbling upon an ancient temple and stirring up ancient evil that resided inside. Despite the Mayan looking temple facade, the inside was pure Egyptian. There were Egyptian styled hieroglyphs, sarcophagus, mummies, and even some scare actors dressed as Anubis. I won’t spoil too much for you, but it was a clear conglomeration of different cultures. The house was fun, for those of you who will end up at Horror Nights this year and are debating on whether or not to give it a shot.

This isn’t the first case of the entertainment industry using the trope of unsuspecting archaeologists unearthing ancient curses. It’s a trope that has been used so much there’s actually an onion article about it

Universal has also done this before, just without mentioning actual archaeologists. In The Mummy, Evelyn an aspiring Egyptologist travels to the fictional city of Hamunaptra along with a rival group of treasure hunters. Evelyn is not an archaeologist, but a librarian and arguably a historian. However, the team goes excavating in search of an ancient book and treasure. They awaken an ancient curse and resurrect a mummy who goes on a killing spree. The Halloween horror nights house is very reminiscent of The Mummy franchise.

mummy reboot release date The Mummy Reboot Plot Details Revealed?

A lesser-known horror movie The Ruins focuses around an archaeological dig site. The movie is set around Mayan ruins and a group of tourists who are helping a man look for his brother, an archaeologist who has gone missing. I won’t spoil the movie for you, but it is implied that said missing archaeologists stumbled upon a cursed temple and has brought said curse upon themselves and their friends.

Archaeology has always had a strange position in pop culture; either we are associated with Indiana Jones and his action packed scenes of running from booby trapped temples, or with unearthing ancient evils. There doesn’t seem to be much in between. So do archaeologists spend their time uncovering ancient evil and fleeing giant boulders? Well, no, but that doesn’t mean we don’t find “malicious” artifacts. In August, archaeologists in Serbia unearthed gold curse tablets. The inscriptions were thought to be magical spells invoking the powers of good and evil.  Similarly there were 4th century BC lead curse tablets excavated from a cemetery near Athens that had inscriptions cursing business owners. A robber who stole two ballista from an Israeli dig site in the 1990s returned them claiming that they had brought him nothing but suffering since he took them. 

While we may not unearth ancient curses and resurrect mummies, archaeologists do occasionally find artifacts worthy of the silver screen. Personally, being a big fan of horror, I'd rather have people think my job involves interpreting ancient curses than the misconception that I dig up dinosaur bones for a living. 

Written by: Megan Liebold, FPAN Staff
Image credits: http://screenrant.com/mummy-movie-reboot-story-details/, http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Ruins-Blu-ray/884/, 

FPAN 3D Public Archaeology

Helping to Lead the Way in 3D Public Archaeology

Last year, several FPAN staff began to engage with a new type of technology that was making waves in the field of archaeology: 3D visualization of archaeological sites and artifacts (see here and here). Three-dimensional models of artifacts and archaeological sites have been around for a few years now, though for much of that time the hardware and software required to undertake a project was a bit cost-prohibitive, at least to us. However, as cost and 3D technology began to make a pivot towards more public use, we jumped at the opportunity to see what we could do with it. We were lucky in having colleagues, such as those at the VCU Virtual Curation Laboratory,  who had ventured into the field already and were able to give us much needed pointers. At FPAN, we immediately saw how this emerging technology could couple with our archaeology education outreach to engage the public in new and exciting ways.

Recently, we saw that the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has partnered with Google to assist in engineering a portion of the museum that will provide access to more of the museum's collections through 3D visualization. Many museums have the mass of their collections in storage, due to the fact that there is simply not enough space to display these items, or that the items are too fragile for display. This new, interactive display will allow visitors to follow their personal interests through a vast collection of artifacts that have been modeled and interpreted by museum staff. In a way, this creates a unique visitor experience for each and every person that comes to the museum. Astonishing!

But, FPAN got there first! We have been busy creating 3D models of artifacts and archaeological sites that the public is able to interact with through our Sketchfab site. There, you can see unique items up close and personal. You can even, if you are able to, download the item for 3D printing. Of course, this is just some friendly bragging; several groups preceded us and there are sure to be many who will follow us in utilizing this new technology. What is important is that the public now has ways to interact with archaeological resources from around the world in ways they have never been capable of before. Want to visit the British Museum, but can't afford an airline ticket? Have a lunch break to check out what archaeologists in Korea are working on? Want to see what a shipwreck looks like, but don't want to bother with all that pesky SCUBA diving? Take a peek here. Certainly, this new trend in interpretation and engagement is taking solid hold, and we're happy to see the Smithsonian embrace the technology for the public!
FPAN will continue in incorporating 3D technology in our future outreach and will also apply it to current curriculum. Plenty of projects are in the works, and we are currently working on incorporating 3D models to our current Project Archaeology curricula for Kingsley Plantation and Florida Lighthouses. But, stay tuned for more!

You can learn more by checking out the links above, or you can swing by the 3D Public Archaeology Working Group Facebook page where professionals from around the world share ideas, answer questions, and show what they're currently working on. No prior knowledge needed; we're happy to talk anytime!

Text and Pics: Kevin Gidusko
Models: Kevin Gidusko and Tristan Harrenstein

HMS Florida: Now accepting volunteers!

For a few months we've been working to develop a program called Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS Florida) to engage the public in helping us: 
  1. Verify site information
  2. Monitor sites at risk
  3. Make a difference 
This data can help guide how archaeological sites to be impacted by climate change, most notably by sea level rise, will be managed. 

How to get involved? Fill out the HMS Florida volunteer application form  or visit the HMS Florida website.  You must check the box saying you have read and will comply with the Ethics Statement and Agreement at the bottom to participate. If you'd rather send your information by email, contact HMSflorida@fpan.us

Multiple regions are conducting pilots and could use your help. In other areas projects are just in the beginning stages, please be patient, but we'll be sure to let you know when opportunities become available near you.

Need more information? Here's who, what, when, where, why, and how. And don't forget to check the FPAN website for other education and outreach opportunities year-round. 


Why - Florida Sites at Risk

Image courtesy of  Florida Master Site File.
As of 2013 the state identified 16,015 historical resources to be impacted by a 1 meter rise in sea level, numbers reaching 34,786 given a 2 meter rise scenario. Of these, 2,908 are archaeological sites (or 3,985 in the 2 meter scenario). Additionally, 630 historic cemeteries are estimated to be at risk from storm surge. More information is needed to identify and manage the threat of erosion on archaeological sites.

Who - Monitoring Scouts

The public is encouraged to apply for the HMS Florida program to help monitor archaeological sites across the state. Ideal scout candidates are environmentally friendly volunteers interested in Florida's past ready to help FPAN staff and land managers. As they rise to the level of Master Scouts, their responsibilities will grow as they work independently monitoring sites and areas selected by mentors. Some Scouts may visit the same site multiple times, others may want to visit different sites each time. 

Where – Shoreline

Previously recorded sites potentially threatened by erosion due to rising sea levels, storm surge, development, and other climate change related changes to the landscape. Ideal sites can be accessed by hiking, biking, paddling, diving or other recreational activities. 

How- HMS Mission sheets and reporting form

Scouts will be given a HMS Mission sheet generated by FPAN staff and fill out a Scout monitoring form to verify location, assess condition, and estimate threat. While a beta version of field forms are currently in use, an integrated website is in development that will integrate site information and reporting for ease of Scout use. Quarterly updates on sites visited will be shared with the Florida Division of Historical Resources as state land monitoring is needed and condition report required. An annual report of HMS Florida outcomes and results will also be submitted. 

When—May 2016 to August 2020

Phase I: May-August 2016 FPAN staff conducted summer pilot programs and hosted 1st Tidally United summit in St. Augustine.
Phase II: August 2016-January 2017 Pilot programs by Mentors continue to work with Monitoring Scouts to develop Master Scouts in approved locations. 
Phase III: Summer 2017 Master Scouts work with new Monitoring Scouts to provide in the field training and regularly submit updates of site conditions.

What—Training and Support

Initial training received by attending HMS Florida events offered across the state by Mentors, during a Tidally United: State of the Shoreline summit, or in the field with Mentor led site visits. The first Tidally United summit took place in St. Augustine August 5-6, 2016. The 2nd annual meeting is proposed to take place in June 2017 in South Florida, contact southeast@fpan.us for more information. Supporting resources for Scouts will be posted online to the HMS Florida and Tidally United pages.

Text and Images: Sarah Miller and Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff unless otherwise noted

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