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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 2017

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.

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