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National Register of Historic Places

Many of us have been to a historic site or building that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or maybe we just heard that phrase before, but do you actually know what the National Register is? The National Register of Historic Places is the official Federal list of districts, sites, structures, and objects that are significant in American history, archaeology, engineering, architecture, and culture. The National Park Service oversees the National Register, but almost anybody can nominate a structure or site to the Register. Nominations for historic properties controlled by the U.S. Government usually come from State Historic Preservation Officers or another government agency or official. Tribal lands are usually nominated by the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. However, private individuals, civic groups, historical societies, local governments, or Native American tribes often start the process and get the proper documentation in order. Each state has a review board that meets to look over the nominations and determine if they are eligible for listing on the Register. All eligible nominations are then sent to the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C

This process can sound very intimidating, long, and involved, so people often ask about the benefits of being listed on the Register. First and foremost, listing recognizes a property for its significant contributions to America’s heritage and history, but there is more! It also provides for consideration in planning for Federally funded projects (such as road widening, new road construction, etc.). Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Federal agencies have to allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment on all projects affecting historic properties listed or eligible for listing on the National Register. Additionally, some states provide certain tax provisions for properties listed on the National Register. It also opens up additional funding opportunities through Federal grants when they are available.

Many people worry that if their property (private residence, business, etc.) is listed on the National Register that they will be restricted in what they can do to the property. However, as long as no Federal money is involved, the owners are free to maintain, manage, or dispose of the property however they choose to do so. The National Park Service recommends that owners contact their State Historic Preservation Officer before doing so, however, as the Park Service can offer advice and ideas to preserve the historical integrity of the structure. Also, state or local preservation laws or ordinances may be in effect that owners should aware of before making any changes.

Now, with all this being said, you are probably wondering what qualifications must be met for a property to be eligible for listing on the National Register! Well, generally a property must be 50 years old or older, although in some cases this does not necessarily apply. The National Park Service has established guidelines for properties that have become significant within the last 50 years (http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb22/). Most properties will have to be older than 50 years and meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation (http://www.nps.gov/nr/publications/bulletins/nrb15/nrb15_2.htm). This process involves looking at the property’s age, integrity, and significance. The property should have minimal modifications and look much the same as it did historically. The property also needs to be associated with activities, events, or developments that were important to history. It could be associated with important historical figures or be a great example of an architectural style or engineering achievement. Some properties, including many of the archaeological sites listed, are nominated because they have the potential to yield additional information that may be significant to our understanding of the past.

Again, this process may seem intimidating, but there are folks out there who can help you with your nomination. Nominations are a time-consuming process, but that should not deter you if you own a property that is significant to our history. Although FPAN staff cannot write the entire nomination for you, we are always available to help you and answer any questions you may have. You may have questions about whether your property meets the criteria or want to know who you need to contact at the state level – we can help with that!

The National Park Service also has a website dedicated to the National Register (http://www.nps.gov/nr/index.htm). On this site you can find example nominations, publications, guidelines, and other information that can help you with the nomination process. You can also look up properties that are already listed on the Register (http://nrhp.focus.nps.gov/natreghome.do?searchtype=natreghome) . Over 80,000 properties are listed on the National Register, and almost every county in the U.S. has at least one listed property. The National Register website also provides travel itineraries that feature historic sites, as well as teacher resources including great lesson plans on Teaching with Historic Places.

Barbara Hines

Public Archaeology Coordinator

FPAN North Central Region

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Welcome: Florida Historical Society Archaeological Institute

The Florida Public Archaeology Network welcomes the creation of a new program dedicated to archaeological education in Florida: the Florida Historical Society Archaeological Institute (FHSAI)! FHSAI is a program of the Florida Historical Society, based in Cocoa, and will focus on the intersection between history and archaeology in Florida. Their initiatives include publishing books and articles by Florida archaeologists and promoting archaeology on the FHS radio program “Florida Frontiers.” FHSAI also will host a series of public talks at various venues around the state, and archaeology sessions at the FHS’s Annual Meeting and Symposium. An important part of the FHSAI mission statement is the promotion of complementary work by other organizations. We at FPAN look forward to partnering with FHSAI to educate even more Florida citizens and visitors about our state’s incredible archaeological heritage.

FPAN already has connections to the new FHSAI – the Florida Historical Society is a long-time partner and Dr. Rachel Wentz, who will direct FHSAI, is a former FPAN Regional Director. We are excited to continue our relationship with both FHS and Rachel! We are likewise gratified that another Florida organization has joined FPAN, New College’s Public Archaeology Lab, the National Park Service’s Southeastern Archeological Center, the Department of Historical Resources, the Florida Park Service, the Florida Anthropological Society and many museums, historical societies, and heritage sites in the work to educate Floridians about our long and diverse archaeological past. Check out the “new kid on the block” at www.fhsai.org, and look for them on Facebook (search FHSAI) as well!

Dr. William B. Lees, RPA
Executive Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network
University of West Florida

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Recent Adjustments at FPAN

The Florida Public Archaeology Network has made numerous budgetary adjustments throughout the past five years as the economy of Florida and legislative appropriations have declined. Now that the economy and state revenues have stabilized, we have taken stock of our fiscal position at this point in time, and have made additional adjustments to bring our operations within a budget that is some 20% less than it was before the recession.

Our goal has been to maintain delivery of our programs of outreach, assistance to local governments, and assistance to the Florida Division of Historical Resources in all eight of our FPAN regions. In order to accomplish this with a reduced budget, we are reorganizing regional operations under four hosts (previously we have had six hosts) and with four rather than eight regional directors. Our new structure is thus:

  • University of South Florida will administer the Central and West Central regions (this has been in place for over a year), under director Jeff Moates.
  • Florida Atlantic University as of February 7 will administer the Southeast and Southwest regions, under director Michele Williams. Southwest was formerly hosted by the Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • Flagler College as of February 7 will administer the Northeast and East Central regions, under director Sarah Miller. East Central was formerly hosted by the Florida Historical Society.
  • University of West Florida will administer the Northwest and North Central regions (this has been in place for many years), under director Barbara Hines.

Our new structure does have fewer director-level staff. Two of our directors, Dr. Rich Estabrook (Central) and Dr. Annette Snapp (Southwest) resigned for other opportunities prior to the reorganization. We regret that we are no longer able to retain Dr. Rachel Wentz (East Central) due to the reorganization. Dr. Wentz brought a unique skill-set to FPAN over the years that will be missed. We also regret the end of exceptional hosting relationships with the Florida Historical Society (East Central) and Florida Gulf Coast University (Southwest). We are committed to finding ways to continue working with these stellar institutions as we move forward in our Southwest and East Central regions.

We are fortunate that we have emerged from the other side of the recession with our program fundamentally intact. I recognize also that the reorganization places increased burden on FPAN staff who remain the most amazing, creative, motivated group of public archaeology professionals in the world!

Dr. William B. Lees, RPA
Executive Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network
University of West Florida

 

 

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FAS, FAM…What Do All These Acronyms Stand for Anyway!?!

People often ask us how they can become involved in local archaeology, and we always recommend getting involved with your local Florida Anthropological Society (FAS) (http://fasweb.org/) chapter. FAS provides those interested in archaeology and professional archaeologists a formal means to come together in a way that is mutually beneficial. FAS is open to anyone willing to abide by the FAS statement of ethics. The organization promotes the study of Florida’s past and brings attention to the general public and to appropriate governmental agencies the need for preservation of archaeological and historical sites within Florida. Members of FAS also receive the quarterly publication, The Florida Anthropologist, which provides readers with a great variety of articles detailing various aspects of Florida archaeology. It is always a great read!

FAS currently has sixteen Chapters in the state. Chapters generally meet about once a month to conduct society business, to socialize, and to hear a presentation about archaeology or history. Every year in early May, one chapter hosts the Florida Anthropological Society’s Annual Meeting, which includes paper and poster sessions on topics related to Florida archaeology, various workshops, behind-the-scenes tours of museums and archaeological sites, and fieldtrips.

Each March is Florida Archaeology Month (FAM) (www.flpublicarchaeology.org/FAM/index.php). Every year has a different theme which is reflected in a poster, bookmarks, and other educational material. Archaeology Month a great time to get out and learn about Florida’s history and archaeology! FAM has become an important program for school children in Florida and many educators take advantage of FAM information to teach about the history and prehistory of Florida. Some FAM events are specifically designed for school children or field trip groups. The Florida Park Service is a great supporter of FAM, displaying the posters in park entrance stations and other high-traffic areas. State Parks throughout Florida also host a wide variety of events during FAM. Various private museums and public libraries display the posters and make bookmarks available for students of all ages to promote stewardship. An interactive FAM website provides the public with even more information about Florida archaeology!

So there you have it, a rundown of some of the more common archaeology acronyms in Florida (in addition to FPAN of course)! Many professions are full of acronyms, and unless you are in that field it can be somewhat confusing. As a member of the public with an interest in Florida archaeology, these acronyms, or what they represent, may be of great importance to you. If you are interested in becoming more involved and taking advantage of the archaeological opportunities in your community, FAS might be the answer you have been looking for!

Barbara Hines
Outreach Coordinator
FPAN North Central Region

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Florida’s Historical Markers

You know those large, bronze markers with text all over them? You’ve seen them along the roadside and at historical sites around the state. They’re the result of Florida’s Historical Marker Program, managed by the Florida Division of Historical Resources. The Division works with a select group of experts, the Historical Marker Council, to make sure the markers are placed at sites of significance to Florida’s history and heritage. Council members are appointed by the Florida Secretary of State and serve 2-year terms; members generally include historians, archaeologists, and architectural historians from around the state. Continue reading

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Panhandle Shipwreck Trail

Hey all you SCUBA divers out there in cyber land! Florida’s Panhandle has a new attraction for your underwater enjoyment! The Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of Historical Resources and their many partners recently launched the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail. This underwater trail includes twelve shipwrecks off the coast of the Panhandle from Pensacola to Port St. Joe. Each of these wrecks has a different, interesting story to tell and is home to a wide variety of marine life. The Trail includes fascinating dive sites, such as USS Oriskany, the world’s largest artificial reef, and the FAMI Tugboats, with one piggy-backed atop the other. The twelve wrecks are located in varying depths, and you can start the Trail on any wreck and go in any order you like. Continue reading

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Florida Governor Rick Scott and Anthropology, one year later

This post was originally prepared as a statement for the FPAN website in Fall of 2011 in direct response to the Governor’s rant against the Liberal Arts and, in particular, Anthropology. A recent article by Mary Jo Melone about work by Florida Anthropologists at the Dozier School for Boys has inspired me, because of the continued relevance of this issue, to post this statement here, followed by a very brief summary of Ms. Melone’s article which can be found at www.floridavoices.com/columns/mary-jo-melone/what-does-scott-say-now-about-anthropology.

In the Fall of 2011 Florida Governor Rick Scott proposed that some liberal arts programs should not be supported at state universities because of the need to focus on jobs related to programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). He has used Anthropology as an example of one of these programs that should no longer be offered within the State University System. As a career professional with three degrees in Anthropology, and as executive director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, I am greatly concerned by this proposal.

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