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Archaeology - Protecting the Past for the Future!
objects that tell the stories of the majority of our colonial forbearers
most often come from archaeological sites as "words from the
earth". By carefully documenting the precise location of each
object in the ground, and recording the relative associations of
each object to all others at the site, archaeologists can learn
when objects were used and discarded, what the things were used
for, and who may have used them. These relative positions and associations
of objects in the earth are equally as important as the objects
themselves in reconstructing the past through archaeology.
St. Augustine's archaeological sites - like those all over the country-
are being destroyed at an alarming rate as buildings, roads and
public utilities are constructed. Archaeologists are struggling
to keep up with the destruction and save as many sites as possible,
but they can't all be saved. The best thing the rest of us can do
is to carefully protect our remaining sites from unnecessary
digging and disturbances that would obliterate the fragile soil
associations among artifacts that are so critical for knowing abut
Carl Halbirt - City archaeologist
Halbirt became the City Archaeologist of St. Augustine in 1988.
He is responsible for salvaging what can be saved of sites in St.
Augustine that are undergoing private or public development. His
digs are constrained by budget limits and construction schedules,
but as St. Augustine's tourism industry expands ever-more rapidly,
he usually has three or four going on at the same time. He often
finds himself digging in the middle of a street, or inside a building
Carl is assisted by a staff of one, and for all other help - digging,
washing, analyzing, illustrating objects and report writing - he
relies on volunteers of the St. Augustine Archaeological Association,
archaeology students, and other concerned citizens. Overt the past
twelve years Carl has saved parts of more than 100 colonial sites
in downtown St. Augustine.
Kathy Deagan - University professor and Museum curator
University of Florida has maintained a program of research and field
school training in St. Augustine since 1972, under the direction
of Dr. Kathleen Deagan. This program has been designed to learn
about Spanish adaptations and the development of a criollo culture
in America, while at the same time providing field training for
archaeology students. The field school program works closely with
the City Archaeologist, Carl Halbirt, and the City of St. Augustine
to provide input for their Living History Museum depicting life
in Spanish St. Augustine. As a museum curator, Kathleen also directs
the Florida Museum of Natural History's program in Historical Archaeology,
which is based on building and maintaining archaeological collections
from historic sites, and developing research and exhibits projects
related to the collections.
For more information, visit http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/histarch.
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