See ya Sunday!
The Central Region includes Gilchrist, Levy, Bradford, Alachua, Marion, Citrus, Hernando, Sumter and
We approach our mission by work in three core areas: Public Outreach, Assistance to Local Governments, and Assistance to the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Our Regional Centers operate visible public outreach programs, including promotion of archaeological/heritage tourism; partnerships with Florida Anthropological Society chapters and other regional heritage organizations; disseminatio
n of archaeological information to the public; promotion of existing regional heritage events and programs; and promotion of archaeological volunteer opportunities. We support local governments in their efforts to preserve and protect regional archaeological resources by assisting with local archaeological ordinances, comprehensive plan elements, and preservation plans; providing professional archaeological assistance with local archaeological emergencies; and advising local governments on the best management practices for municipally-owned and county-owned archaeological sites. We assist the Division of Historical Resources in its Archaeological Responsibilities by promoting Division programs, including grants; by supporting the Division with venues and professional assistance for regional training opportunities; by referring local inquiries to the appropriate Division office or staff member; by distributing literature promulgated by the Division; and by assisting with and promoting the identification and nomination of local archaeological sites to the National Register.
See ya Sunday!
We're excited to announce the 2024 CRPT Conference in Gainesville!
Historic cemeteries in Florida are an important part of our history and culture.
Join us in Gainesville February 8-9 for the 2024 Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) Conference! Learn from experts and enthusiasts from around the state about research, preservation, and action happening in our historic cemeteries.
For more information visit https://buff.ly/3QmxsQo we'll have more information, the call for papers, and registration details soon!
It's Terminology Tuesday AND it's Halloween! Plastic skeletons, sexy Pennywise costumes, disappointingly tiny individually wrapped candy bars, the Monster Mash...all material culture, and with agency, oh my!
What do these things say about our culture? Think about the popularity of Victorian plague doctor masks since 2020 for example. As Libby Tucker, a folklorist and professor at SUNY points out, “The types of costumes that are sold in stores such as Spirit Halloween express cultural questions and worries."
What are we to make of the evolution of clown costumes from Pierrot to Bozo to sexy Pennywise? And what can we learn from Halloween candy that gets smaller every year? Why is it that on the very same day, a bobbed-for apple is delightful, but an apple as a 'treat' is an abomination? And are the apples in these contexts even material culture since they have not necessarily been modified for such uses?
What Halloween artifact is your favorite? Have you seen any Halloween material culture specific to Florida? We want to know!
If you were lucky enough to score tickets for tonight's sold out Moon Over the Mounds at Crystal River Archaeological State Park, you're in for an incredible experience!
Don't worry if you weren't able to get tickets this time around... there are still a few spots available for the November tour! Get them quick though, they tend to go fast!
To reserve your spot visit: https://buff.ly/3Mhvy2h
Yesterday's were OTOLITHS! Yes, you heard that right, otoliths!
Otoliths are calcium carbonate structures located in the inner ear in teleost fishes and are used for hearing and balance🐟🐟 Archaeologists can use these little guys for species identification, size & age determination, and to make inferences about past hunting, harvesting, and fishing strategies.
We can even use otoliths to learn what season a fish was caught in 😮 This information helps archaeologists understand whether a site was used year round or just seasonally, and possibly even when social events like feasts took place!
Learn more about Florida Archaeology on our website FPAN.org
See more otoliths in this great database: https://buff.ly/45E8Vfq
Are you ready for Saturday’s Haunted Hogtown tour?! See you at First Mag!
The days are getting shorter
The veil is growing thin
The spirits wail and whisper
“The time is nigh again…”
Check out our event page for more details!
October 26th is National Pumpkin Day (We swear we don't make these things up!) Let's talk about the Seminole Pumpkin-- the cucurbit who loves Florida's swampy climate. And just look at her, she's gordgeous! (See the end of this rant for a recipe, too!)
Most pumpkins can't handle the Florida climate--and who can blame them? It's broiling hot, humid and rainy for a pretty good part of the year. Think the humidity is rough on your hair? Try having vines prone to bugs and mildew--it doesn't go well.
Cucurbita moschata though? Lives for it. THRIVES in it even, thanks to its climbing habit keeping the vines and fruits off the ground and offering better air circulation, and its thick, hard skin that deters many insects. Like other winter type squashes, the Seminole Pumpkin's hard skin means that it can be stored for long periods of time, a trait that made this squash an important survival food for many indigenous Southeasterners.
Hanging pumpkins were recorded in this area as early as 1528. Various literature describes how the large leaves and dense vegetation were used by Seminole growers to conceal their island-like farms during the Seminole War Period. If found by US soldiers, farms would be destroyed and pumpkins smashed in an attempt to starve out the people who relied on them. Ceramic vessels in the shape of the plump, curvaceous fruit have even been found in archaeological sites, attesting to the importance of this tough-skinned beauty!
Thanks to The Gainesville Sun Sun, Patsy West of the Seminole/Miccosukee Photographic Archive, and Green Deane at Eat the Weeds for info and photos!
visit this link for a pumpkin pie recipe featuring the Seminole Pumpkin: https://buff.ly/408QnCG
How do we actually know this is what a Calusa whelk hammer would have looked like?
Archaeology! Archaeology is the study of past cultures, and how past cultures influence us today. Archaeologists use a varied of skills from other fields such as statistics, geometry, and biology to determine what an artifact could have been used for by a past person.
Okay, okay, we hear y'all loud and clear, Some of these posts have been a little TOO easy. But listen: we're a mixed school of people here, from Curious Q. Public all the way to Professional P. Archaeologist, so we try to cast a wide net...
So what the heck are these things? They're small (see yesterday's post!) and they're not rolled oats, no matter how much they look like they are.
Sound off in the comments with your best guesses and we'll see you Thursday for the right answer!
What is this, a leather shoe for ants?!
We know that this leather shoe is human sized thanks to the device in this weeks terminology Tuesday! Reference scales are those credit card sized things you see in some archaeology photos, like this one from the recent boat excavation in St. Aug!
In this picture we see a wooden handle and the remains of a leather shoe. If the archaeologist who photographed this scene hadn't included a reference scale it could be difficult to understand what we're seeing (just pretend you don't know how big oyster shells are.)
If archaeologists do happen to uncover evidence of a race of mega-giants or of shoe-wearing ants though, we're here for it. They just might need a different scale.
Photo credit: Florida Department of Transportation/SEARCH, Inc.
We're mid-way between the Autumn equinox and Winter solstice, a time when some cultures throughout history believed the veil between the living and dead to be the thinnest. So let's talk about cemeteries! What objects would be left on YOUR grave, and what would they tell the world about you?
These hallowed places are often overlooked as historic resources. Cemeteries can tell the stories of towns, families, and individuals. Cemeteries in our area mark times of war, of illness, and of injustice.
The objects placed on graves by visitors tell stories as well. Flowers, coins, photos, stones, shells, even beers or full shot glasses... these objects can tell us about what the deceased and their loved ones, as well as the culture they belong to, valued and found important.
What would be placed on your grave, and why? What would a visitor learn from these gifts, now or in 100 years?
(Images: grave of Bob Ross in Gotha, Fl., photo from Atlas Obscura; photo of unidentified cemetery with graves decorated with shells, from Florida Dept of State)
Who knew so many of you knew what a toothbrush was?! A pat on the back for folks who got it right, maybe a trip to the dentist for those who guessed wrong.
This particular toothbrush was excavated from a site in St. Augustine! There wasn't much more info available for this particular artifact, but thanks to the internet and the prolific Florida historian Barbara Mattick, we can estimate when the last time was that this lil' brush buddy saw any action!
One of the dating features that Mattick identifies is the placement of bristle holes. Prior to 1874 the holes were placed into bone handles by hand using a bow drill. This resulted in uneven spacing and hole size, like what we see on this toothbrush.
I think that it looks a lot like toothbrush G in the second image here, so it could be c. 1840-1850? What do you think?
Thanks to Florida Museum of Natural History and Florida Anthropological Society (see Barbara Mattick's 1993 article in The Florida Anthropologist, "The History of Toothbrushes and Their Nature as Archaeological Artifacts" for so, so much info about toothbrushes!)
This week's is something you likely (hopefully) are familiar with! Now don't get mouthy folks, let's do our best to keep it clean... what the heck is it?!
Drop your best guess in the comments (wrong answers also accepted) and come back tomorrow to check your luck!
Nighttime guided tour into the history of this Pre-Columbian Ceremonial Site. Led by experienced interpreters.
Yesterday's are a series of aerial images of oyster reefs in the Tampa Bay/Weedon Island area. What they show is the climate change driven shift from oyster reefs (first image, 1938) to mangrove islands (last image, 2020.)
A team of biologists and anthropologists found that without the severe freezes that the area has historically experienced, ecologically important oyster reefs from Tampa Bay to Cedar Key will transition into mangrove islands.
Now, Floridians love a good mangrove, but this change threatens oyster habitat, estuaries, and wildlife who are dependent of the reef. Did you know that nearly half of the diet of sheepshead, snook, redfish, catfish & snapper (all the tastiest fish) is critters that ONLY live in the oyster reefs? Birds like the American Oystercatcher, seen here being frikkin adorable, depend on oyster reefs for their survival.
You know what else Floridians love? Oysters! And we have for thousands of years. They were significant in the diets of early indigenous coastal-dwellers. The coastline is dotted with ancient mounds made up of sometimes BILLIONS of oyster shells. There is even archaeological evidence that native people used maricultural practices to enhance the productivity of oyster reefs!
Wanna know more? FPAN West Central is holding a couple events in the next few weeks where you can learn about climate change and our coasts!
Article in Sustainability Science:https://buff.ly/3PVKZOE
NOAA Oyster Reefs: https://buff.ly/3FjuxTm
Big Bend Shellfish Trail: https://buff.ly/3RWmUtL
Welcome back folks for another ! Isle make this one easy on you, no need to be salty.
What the heck is it? Leave your best guess in the comments and come back tomorrow to see how this one heats up!
Folks in Ocala/Marion Co. can learn about dugout canoes made by people indigenous to Florida and beyond at the Silver River Museum. Dugout boats have been used by Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, along with bark canoes and animal hide kayaks.
Here's a link to some great info about Florida's dugout canoes: https://www.trailoffloridasindianheritage.org/ah-tah-thi-ki-4/
Folks in Gainesville/Alachua Co. can check out these events happening over the next few days:
Check out these great, free events being held around Gainesville in observance of Indigenous Peoples Day 2023!
Folks near Crystal River in Citrus County, you've got a gem of a resource at Crystal River Archaeological State Park! Here you can learn about the lives of the indigenous people who lived for hundreds of years among the bountiful marshes and estuaries of the Gulf.
May we suggest observing Indigenous Peoples Day today at Crystal River Archaeological State Park? The six-mound complex is one of the longest continuously occupied sites in Florida. For 1600 years, the area served as an imposing ceremonial center for Native Americans.
Come and learn more!
The grounds are open 365 days a year, 8 a.m. until sunset. The museum is open Thursday thru Monday, 9 to 5, and is included with your park admission, which is just $3 per vehicle (up to 8 people). ~Heather
Today is Indigenous Peoples' Day! Check out this post from our partners at FPAN Southwest, and check out our page to find Indigenous People's Day events you can participate in!
Late notice here...but I'll be talking at the Coastal Region Library in Crystal River tomorrow at 1:30 about Precolonial Civic-Ceremonial Centers along the Nature Coast. Come on out if you're in the neighborhood!
Follow the link below for more information
Join the Florida Public Archeology Network for a discussion about the cultures of Indigenous Floridians.
This week's was kaolin clay pipe stems! These particular pipe stems were excavated from Fort King in Ocala, a major military post during the Second Seminole War. Did you know that pipe stems have been used to help archaeologists date historic sites? It's true! Read on...
Kaolin pipes imported from Europe were popular in the colonial US until the 19th & 20th c. when they were replaced in with pipes made of other materials and clays sourced closer to home. Pipe fragments are one of the more common artifacts found on archaeological sites in America.
When the price of to***co began to fall in the 17th and 18th centuries, the shape of pipes changed as well. The stem became longer, the bowl larger, and the diameter of the bore progressively smaller. By measuring the bore diameter of large numbers of pipe stems at a site, archaeologists are able to calculate a range of dates to determine the approximate age of a site and the length of time it was occupied.
Thanks to the University of Virginia Library ( https://buff.ly/3RR7pmG ) and to Ft. King Heritage Foundation ( https://buff.ly/48Dja6k)
Okay, okay, last week's stumped quite a few people, but everyone who guessed got it at least kinda right. Take a deep breath though, this one might burn you!
What the heck is it? Leave your best guess in the comments and we'll see ya tomorrow for the reveal!
It's my curious cats! I figured we'd continue to chip away at the stone tools for now. There's just so much to know, and I'm here to hammer it into that rock of yours...
Anyway, today I learned that lithics is one of those words that if you repeat it too many times it loses all meaning.
It's a real word though.
Valuable artifacts dating back to antiquity returned years after being smuggled to Florida in shoes https://buff.ly/46a7yGg
"The value of archaeological objects is the highest value in regards to cultural heritage and we want that the future generations have the chance to know where they came from and also to know what a great culture we had in pre-Colombian times."
Great work Customs and Border Protection! It's your move, Florida museums and universities...
Edit: the October tour is sold out!
So you weren’t able to get tickets to Friday’s sold out Moon over the Mounds? Well dry your eyes friends, because tickets for October’s tour are up! Visit FPAN.us to find more info and a link to reserve your tickets!
The radar wasn’t looking promising for last night’s Moon Over the Mounds tours, but at 8:20 p.m., the golden moon peeked through the clouds over Crystal River Archaeological Park, delighting those on the 8 p.m. tour as they climbed the steps of Temple Mound A with Archaeologist Nigel Rudolph. Tickets for the evening’s tours were sold out well in advance, but don’t worry! Another Moon Over the Mounds event will take place on Friday, October 27, and the tickets are available NOW! Tours will be offered at 8 and 8:30. This is a great opportunity to learn more about these ancient mounds and the people who built them. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/moon-over-the-mounds-800-tour-october-27-2023-tickets-724908158817?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete
We heard it's National Coffee Day! Coffee we love you! But did you know that Yaupon Holly, a plant native to North Central Florida, is the only plant native to N. America that contains caffeine? Yeah it is!
(No it’s not! I should have said endemic rather than native, and I still would have been wrong bc Dahoon Holly has a negligible amount of caffeine, Yaupon having around 80% more. So dahoon is like the decaf coffee of the Holly world, and as a firm believer in death before decaf I stand by my original statement, however wrong it may be.)
Yaupon (pronounced yō-pon) was once the most widely consumed caffeinated beverage in the Americas, and in the 1780's it was considered a threat to the British East India Company's hold on the tea market!
Yaupon has been used by people indigenous to the American Southeast for thousands of years as a stimulating beverage, medicinal plant and ceremonial drink. It was known as "Black Drink" because of the dark color of the tea.
The legendary Seminole Warrior Osceola's name was even inspired by the beverage, meaning Black Drink Singer or Crier.
Thanks to the American Botanical Council, https://buff.ly/3PFeGTU The National Parks Service (https://buff.ly/3PAR1nU ) and the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum https://buff.ly/3Pw4xsO
And special thanks to coffee (the caffeinated kind.) Without you, this kind of post wouldn't exist.
Yesterday's post featured tabby, a building material that combined lime from burned oyster shells, sand, water, ash and other shells to form a type of concrete used along the coast of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. A few folks guessed shell midden, and they weren't wrong--often the material for tabby was taken from nearby middens and mounds!
The process of making tabby required a great deal of skill and hard work. Often this work was done by enslaved people. Yesterday's example (1) is a portion of wall from a slave cabin built at Kingsley Plantation nearly 200 years ago (2).
The oldest known example of tabby in N. America is the Spanish Fort San Antón de Carlos located on Mound Key off Estero Bay. You can see tabby construction closer to home on Cedar Key. The Island Hotel, Bodiford Drug Store (3) and the Hale Building were constructed with tabby around 1880.
For more information about tabby, visit Kingsley Plantation at Timucuan National Preserve https://buff.ly/3PuXwZj You'll also find information about the Timucuan people who inhabited the site long before Europeans, about the people who were enslaved by the Plantation owners, and of the Gullah Geechee people who are descended from those enslaved on the site.
Photo & Info credit to Timucuan NP and Florida Memory
Y'all killed it on last week's ! Give this one a try--what the heck is it?
We won't build this one up too much...just drop your best guesses in the comments, then coast on in here tomorrow when we'll shell out the answer :)
Most of the park’s largest mound was demolished to use as infill for a trailer park in the years prior to the sites protection. Now preserved within Crystal River Archaeological State Park, visitors to the precolonial indigenous complex can walk among the waterfront mounds while learning about Florida’s deep historic roots.
We often share views of the Crystal River from the top of Mound A, but today’s view looks the other way. When this mound was built, probably between the years 400 and 600 AD, there was a ramp that extended out from the mound on this eastern side, allowing access to the top. In the 1960s, prior to state ownership of the property, the landowners excavated two thirds of Mound A and the ramp for filling the marshy, wet area next to the mound for a riverside mobile home park. While the ramp is gone forever, the remaining part of the mound remains the tallest feature of the complex, protected in perpetuity as a Florida State Park. ~Heather
Our past does not define us, but that won't stop us from defining the past! It's , so let's get to it...
The Florida Museum of Black History Task Force meets for the first time this morning. They'll be making recommendations for collections, exhibits, preservation, etc. of materials related to the lives and history of Black Floridians.
While we wait to hear what the task force recommends, WE recommend finding and checking out local places that preserve and share Florida's Black history.
Folks in Gainesville can visit the A. Quinn Jones Museum & Cultural Center. In 1923 Jones became the first principal of Lincoln High School, the city's public school for African American students. Jones campaigned for full accreditation of the school, a distinction that would qualify graduates for acceptance at colleges and universities. Lincoln was just the second fully accredited African-American High School in the state of Florida.
We want to hear about your local resources for Black history! So many small institutions don't pop up in a google search, so let's hear about them here!
In 1923, A. Quinn Jones became the first principal of Lincoln High School. Affectionately known as “Prof” Jones, this innovative educator steadfastly believed that his graduates deserved the opportunity to earn a full high school diploma. After years of hard work, “Prof” Jones developed Linc...
in 1810, a group of roughly 75 would-be Florida Men stormed a Spanish fort on the Mississippi, planting their flag and declaring the conquered land to be the Republic of West Florida.
Called by some "The shortest revolution in American history," the battle lasted less than a minute. The republic lasted a mere 74 days. Stretching from the Perdido River--Florida's current Western border--to the Mississippi River (slide 2), the Republic of West Florida had just one governor, Fulwar Skipwich, a planter and enslaver who had helped negotiate the Louisiana Purchase ( #3).
The trouble began when France transferred ownership of the Louisiana Territory to the United States. The U.S. claimed that West Florida was part of the Louisiana Purchase. Spain disagreed, insisting that they had never ceded West Florida to the French, and therefore France had no right to sell the land to the US.
Feeling that the Spanish appointed governor was impeding on their livelihood, settlers living in West Florida waged the one-minute rebellion in the early hours of September 23rd, killing two Spanish soldiers before unfurling the new republic's flag, a single white star centered on a blue background ( #4).
It is recorded that as the rebels marched to the Spanish fort they sang a song called "Vive La." The final two verses follow:
"West Floriday, that lovely nation,
Free from king and tyranny,
Thru' the world shall be respected
For her true love of Liberty.
We can drink and not get drunk.
We can fight and not be slain.
We can go to Pensacola
And can be welcomed back again."
(Did we just find the Florida Man anthem?!)
Skipwith initially refused to turn the now independent country over to the US, finally surrendering the land to the US on December 10, 1810.
Credit: FL. Dept of State, Stanley Clisby Arthur (via Bill Thayer, U. of Chicago), Lib. of Congress & Smithsonian Magazine.
What does this weekend's Gators vs Charlotte 49'ers game have to do with archaeology? People have been playing organized sports since at least the 8th century BCE when the Olympic Games are believed to have originated, although nothing too exciting happened until 1906 when the first UF football team was formed.
Pictured here are "Father of American Football" Walter Camp in 1878, UF tackle & running back Roy Van Camp c. 1915, and Gator legend Emmitt Smith in 1985. Smith wore #22 while at UF, but wore #24 while playing for the Escambia High Gators.
Any predictions for Saturday's game? Let's hear them in the comments! And GO GATORS!
Yesterday's was palmetto fiber! Great job if you guessed right, and great job if you didn't, we're all winners here :) Wanna know more about how folks in our area have use palmetto fiber throughout history? Read on!
Folks in and around Florida have used palmetto fibers for hundreds of years, if not more. The Calusa used it to make twine, and early settlers used it to stuff mattresses (can you even?!) In the 19th century the fibers were used in a type of plaster called "Nassau Plastering Fiber," and in the early 20th century the manufacturing of brooms and brushes from palmetto fibers was a major industry on Cedar Key! ( #2-souvenier brush, #3- The Standard Manufacturing Co on Cedar Key.)
Indigenous folks continue to use palmetto fibers to make traditional baskets, but the most widely seen use of palm fiber is as the body of Seminole dolls! Dressed in traditional Seminole clothing and hairstyles, these dolls have been made by Seminole artists for generations. Their popularity outside of the state came when the Tamiami Trail was put in. Tourists could buy the dolls, often directly from their maker, at roadside stops along the way. ( #4 & %-Seminole dolls, #6-tools used to harvest the fiber for dolls.)
Today, the Saw Palmetto is primarily used as a non-prescription treatment for prostate issues, leading to it being added to Florida’s list of Commercially Exploited Plants.
For more info on Seminole dolls, please visit the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum at https://buff.ly/3rfYfph and Florida Memory at https://buff.ly/3PuX7WQ
Info & pics thanks to Florida Memory, UF IFAS & the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum.
fpancentral Hello... We had a great little group of kiddos interested in learning about what archaeology is and what it is not, yesterday at here in Gainesville. Great fun was had by all, I think. Thanks to for helping out and snappin some cool shots. thank you to all who came out!
Thank you, Barbara for everything!
This is a bittersweet post. Crystal River State Parks’ wonderful Park Manager Barbara Roberts is retiring, and we want to recognize her long and valuable career protecting the natural resources and cultural heritage of Florida. Barbara has been with the Florida Park Service 39 years, starting as a ranger at Chekika in the Everglades. Since then, she has contributed her considerable expertise, passion, and talents to many Florida State Parks!
Barbara’s work at each of the parks she has served is exemplary, but her accomplishments over her past four years at the Crystal River State Parks have been truly extraordinary. Barbara aggressively pursued funding to remove and replace the dangerous, rotting board walk at Churchhouse Hammock (a project still in the works); secure new vehicles (trucks, boats, other equipment) to facilitate rangers’ work; repair the leaking roof and damaged ceiling at the museum; streamline and update signage throughout the three parks; and, most recently, gain funding for and manage the replacement of the crumbling walkways at Crystal River Archaeological State Park.
"I have had the wonderful fortune to hold 12 different positions during my career!” Barbara says, "These included 3 parks as a park ranger, two parks as an assistant park manager, one district position as Education and Training Specialist, and 6 assignments as park manager. All told I have personally been directly involved in 19 individual state park units!
"Each one has been unique and offered me learning opportunities and a chance to achieve positive results for the natural and cultural resources that each ‘gem’ contains. Crystal River Preserve State Park, Crystal River Archeological State Park and Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park are among them and will always be dear to my heart!!”
And you can be assured, Barbara, that you will always be remembered as a kind, compassionate, get-it-done person who made a HUGE difference not only in the parks, but in the lives of staff members, volunteers, and visitors to your cherished parks. You are the ultimate Park Ranger. We will miss you, but rejoice in your coming retirement. May it be long, happy, and fulfilling!
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