Artifact Amnesty Program for Florida?

The Florida Legislature, in the 2015-2016 General Appropriations Act, has charged the Florida Division of Historical Resources (DHR) with the task of “preparing a study of the feasibility of implementing a one-time amnesty program of limited duration for persons who possess specimens, objects, or materials of historical or archaeological value found on land owned or controlled by the state or on land owned by a water authority” ( As part of their feasibility study, they are seeking public input via an on-line survey which asks five questions:

  1. Did you know that it is illegal to remove, without authorization, any specimens, objects or materials of historical or archaeological value from land owned or controlled by the state or on land owned by a water authority?
  2. Do you think it should be illegal to remove, without authorization, any specimens, objects or materials of historical or archaeological value from land owned or controlled by the state or on land owned by a water authority?
  3. Do you support the implementation of a one-time amnesty program of limited duration for persons who possess specimens, objects or materials of historical or archaeological value collected from land owned or controlled by the state or on land owned by a water authority?
  4. If you were in possession of any specimens, objects or material of historical or archaeological value from land owned or controlled by the state or on land owned by a water authority, would you return them during an amnesty program?
  5. Do you think other people would participate in an amnesty program?
  6. Please list the positive and/or negative impacts you feel that an amnesty program could potentially have on the stakeholders and historic resources of the state.

From the outset it is important to understand that this is a feasibility study for a proposal that is at best only vaguely defined. From the survey questions, it is possible to presume that a requirement of this program would be that in order to receive amnesty any illegally acquired items would be turned over to the state, but this is an assumption. Even if artifacts are turned over, how about information on the location of the find and other details that would help to establish as much about the original context as possible?

In general, we do not see how a proposal for Artifact Amnesty will help the preservation of archaeological sites that exist on land owned by the State of Florida for the public benefit. We do not believe it will do anything to improve the protection of archaeological sites in Florida.

In opposing artifact amnesty for public lands and waters, we refer to, and express our support for the appropriateness and wisdom of the legislative intent expressed in Florida Statutes 267.14, “It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the state to preserve archaeological sites and objects of antiquity for the public benefit and to limit exploration, excavation, and collection of such matters to qualified persons and educational institutions possessing the requisite skills and purpose to add to the general store of knowledge concerning history, archaeology, and anthropology.” While this intent refers to all of Florida, it is particularly important for our public lands and waters which protect for the future what is uniquely Florida in terms of our natural environment as well as the remains of our diverse and unique heritage.

Our public lands and waters help us to ensure that the animals and plants, forests and wetlands, and springs and waterways that have always been a part of Florida will still exist and be accessible to the public for countless generations to come. Imbedded and submerged on these same lands are the remains of those who have come before. These remains are not just individual curiosities, they are complex archaeological sites where people lived, where they are buried, and where they have made their livings hundreds and thousands of years ago. Current law appropriately supports the public ownership of archaeological sites on public lands and waters and appropriately recognizes the value of their preservation for future scientific study by appropriately trained professionals.

Preservation of archaeological sites on public lands is all the more critical because of the rapid development of the State’s privately-held lands. Over the last several decades, development of our coastlines for residences, hotels, and businesses, and construction of highways, airports, and other needed infrastructure, has resulted in the wholesale destruction and loss of many thousands of archaeological sites, often without any record or study.

In opposing creation of an artifact amnesty program, which we presume would be accompanied by forfeiture of illegally obtained Florida artifacts and disclosure of their find locations, we believe such a program would:

  • Send a message that the Legislature does not take seriously its commitment to preservation of our publicly-owned lands and waters and the archaeological sites contained therein.
  • Not be taken seriously by many, including those who have systematically looted sites on public lands and waters.
  • Not prevent future collecting or looting of archaeological sites on public lands or waters.
  • Confuse rather than clarify the public understanding of law and regulation that protect archaeological sites and materials in Florida.
  • Provide rationale for calls to reinstate the failed Isolated Finds Program, which we also oppose (see

Florida has always been a leader in state-level historic and archaeological preservation and its current policies are consistent with an international recognition of the importance of preserving the archaeological remains of our cultural heritage for the future public benefit. Regardless of how it might be constructed, we believe any artifact amnesty program would represent a retreat from this position of leadership.

If we forgive those who obtained artifacts illegally from public lands and waters in Florida, we fear that this will set the stage for a push to just make it legal to collect on these lands through a program such as the former Isolated Finds Program, or the recently proposed Citizen Archaeology Permit which we believe is also a bad idea for Florida’s irreplaceable archaeological heritage (see Della Scott-Ireton’s blog on CAP).

We encourage anyone who has interest in the proposal to establish an Artifact Amnesty Program in Florida to provide DHR with your input through response to their on-line survey, which closes September 4, or through a letter or call to Division Director Rob Bendus, R.A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250, Phone: 850.245.6300., or via email to

William B. Lees, PhD, RPA
Executive Director
Florida Public Archaeology Network



FPAN Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Signing of MOA with DHR

On July 1, 2005, a public signing ceremony was held in downtown Pensacola near ongoing archaeological excavations being conducted by the University of West Florida UWF). Gathered were officials with UWF and the Florida Division of Historical Resources (DHR); the document they signed was the a Memorandum of Agreement between these two agencies that defined the operation of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. On that same date, legislative appropriations to the UWF for the operation of FPAN were available.

Signing of FPAN MOA July 1 2005 downtown Pensacola

Signing if the FPAN MOA in downtown Pensacola on July 1, 2005. Seated L to R are State Archaeologist Dr. Ryan Wheeler, DHR Director Fred Gaske, Assistant Secretary of State Candice Crawford, and UWF President Dr. John Cavanaugh. Standing L to R are Pensacola Archaeological Society President John Crane and Department of State Legislative Affairs Director Rivers Buford III  At the podium is Dr. Judy Bense (UWF).

What culminated in the July 1 signing ceremony took several years to develop. Because of the popularity and success of public archaeology conducted by UWF, in 2002 the local Northwest Florida legislative delegation asked Dr. Judy Bense, then Director of the Archaeology Institute and Chair of the Anthropology Department, if there was a state-level project she thought worthy of development.  Dr. Bense described the state-wide network of public archaeology centers that she had originally pitched to Secretary of State Katherine Harris in 1999.  In 2003 a formal proposal for a statewide network of public archaeology centers was prepared by Dr. Bense in conjunction with the Florida Division of Historical Resources and legislative staff.

Legislation was drafted in 2004 to establish a “Florida network of public archaeology centers to help stem the rapid deterioration of this state’s buried past and to expand public interest in archaeology” (Chapter 267.145, Florida Statutes).  After passage of this enabling legislation in 2004, UWF President John Cavanaugh provided funds to plan and develop the Network, and appointed a Steering Committee to oversee this work.  Designed to achieve broad representation of Florida and outside representation from leaders in public archaeology and the administration of university-based archaeological programs, the Steering Committee consisted of Marion Almy (Archaeological Consultants, Inc.), Elizabeth Benchley (UWF), Judy Bense (UWF), Bob Carr (Archaeological and Historical Conservancy), Gregory Cook (UWF), Hester Davis (University of Arkansas), Thomas Eubanks (Louisiana State Archaeologist, Division of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism), Lynne Goldstein (Michigan State University), Bill Marquardt (University of Florida), Jim Miller (Consultant and former State Archaeologist, Tallahassee), Sheila Stewart (Florida Anthropological Society), Brent Weisman (University of South Florida), and Ryan Wheeler (State Archaeologist, Florida Division of Historical Resources).

FPAN Steering Committee, University of West Florida, Pensacola 2005

FPAN Steering Committee, University of West Florida, Pensacola 2005. Front row, L to R: Bob Carr, Hester Davis, Elizabeth Benchley, Lynne Goldstein, Marion Almy, Brent Weisman. Back row, L to R: Greg Cook, Ryan Wheeler, Sheila Stewart, Judy Bense, Jim Miller, Bill Marquardt, Tom Eubanks.

During Fiscal Year 2004-2005, the Steering Committee drafted a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Florida Department of State and the University of West Florida providing for the creation and operation of the Network. The committee met in Pensacola in December of 2005 to discuss the mission and scope of the network, and how it might be structured. A draft MOA was prepared by State Archaeologist Ryan Wheeler based on these discussions, and this was reviewed during a second meeting held in  early February in Tampa at the University of South Florida.

The Steering Committee carefully crafted the MOA to create a state-wide program administered by the University of West Florida.  In doing so they considered a number of broad issues related to the creation of a new state-wide archaeology program in Florida.  The Committee was resolute that the new Network would be collaborative with local programs operating in different regions of the state.  This regional involvement was to be achieved through the operation of regional public archaeology centers by host institutions contracted by UWF to deliver the FPAN program within a specific region.  The hosts provide space and related infrastructure support and via their hosting contract with UWF received funds to hire staff and to support travel and programming.

The Steering Committee was also insistent that FPAN not duplicate or compete with other archaeological program such as that of the Florida Anthropological Society and Florida Archaeological Council, that it would not be involved with enforcement of regulation or law, and that it would not conduct work that is required by Federal, State, or local preservation programs.  These concerns were met by defining the goals for FPAN that focused on public outreach, assistance to local governments, and assistance to DHR.

What started as a grand experiment has matured into a well established and respected organization recognized in 2015 by the Society for Historical Archaeology with their Daniel G. Roberts Award for Excellence in Public Historical Archaeology.

Happy 10th Birthday, FPAN!



The Confederate Flag and Florida’s Civil War Heritage Landscape

Former State Historic Preservation Officer Fred Gaske and I have been watching with interest the nation’s – and Florida’s – reaction to the display of the Confederate Battle Flag on public property following the shocking murders in Charleston on June 17.  The Battle Flag became part of the narrative of the shootings because of an association of the alleged shooter with this Confederate symbol, as well as by the presence of a Confederate Battle Flag flying on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse where the Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a victim of the shooting, served as Senator for the past 19 years (see photo).


Confederate Battle Flag behind the Confederate monument erected in 1879 to honor “South Carolina’s Dead of the Confederate Army,” on the grounds of the SC Statehouse that can be seen in the background (Photo by William Lees, March 2014).

Fred and I authored the book Recalling Deeds Immortal, Florida Monuments to the Civil War in 2014 (University Press of Florida). Although not the focus of our book, we do discuss a growing reaction against Confederate symbols, including the Battle Flag, due to their appropriation by  a variety of radical and hate groups. The recent push-back against these symbols has resulted in actions such as that taken by the Duval County, Florida, School Board to change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School last year. Forrest is a controversial Confederate general, accused of atrocities against Union African American soldiers, and was a founder to the KKK. In Pensacola in 2000, Confederate Battle Flags flown in “City of Five Flags” displays were replaced with the Confederate first National Flag because of the association of the Battle Flag with messages of hate. Our interest in the current discussion about Confederate Symbols is not so much the flag, but Civil War monuments that were the subject of our book.

In our conclusions, we express our concerns that,

“…a growing sentiment … rejects the narrative of the Lost Cause and sees symbols of the Confederacy – including Confederate monuments – as representing the attempt to uphold a social contract originally based on slavery. This is certainly the result of years of appropriation of Confederate symbols by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and more recently by groups that are radicalizing these symbols in other ways. Given the original intent of many Confederate monuments to vindicate the South for actions that many segments of our modern society would say cannot be vindicated, it is likely that discontent with the presence of these symbols of the Confederacy will continue to increase and that the legitimacy of Confederate monuments as part of the modern public landscape will continue to be questioned. While we believe this will be the case, we also believe it would be unfortunate to see monuments relocated, especially those that remain in their original settings. We believe it would be even worse to dismantle monuments for storage or disposal. These are part of the historic landscapes of our communities, and while they may become controversial, that controversy can, if approached properly, be turned into the proverbial teaching moment.” [page 304, italics added]

In recent days, there have been Confederate flags lowered at many places across Florida, including some that have flown on flagpoles erected near or in association with Confederate monuments. The mayor of Pensacola, for example, has now ordered all Confederate flags flown over city property be removed. There have also been petitions started for the removal of Confederate monuments located on public property, such as the monument in Orlando’s Lake Eola park (see photos).

Figure 2 Orlando

Confederate monument in its original location within the intersection of Central Boulevard and Main (Magnolia) Street, Orlando. It was moved to Lake Eola Park in 1917 because it became a traffic hazard.

Figure 2.32 Orlando Lake Eola Lees photo

Confederate monument at its current location in Lake Eola Park, Orlando (photo by William Lees)

We believe these monuments should be preserved in the public places where they were erected, and in a few cases where they have been moved. We believe it is essential, however, that these Confederate monuments be reinterpreted or contextualized so that the public can learn what they are, who erected them and why, and how their original purpose fits or does not fit  into our modern world some 150 years after the end of the Civil War. To be clear, these monuments do not all have the same history or carry the same message, so any reinterpretation would vary from monument to monument.  Some are simple memorials to the fallen dead, like the oldest Confederate monument in Florida, erected in 1871 and now on the grounds of the Walton County courthouse in DeFuniak Springs (see photo). Others carry a strongly worded message of Confederate vindication, such as the 1908 Confederate monument now located in Veterans Park in Ocala (see photo). All could benefit, and become productive “members of society,” with added interpretation. An interpretive wayside placed by each of these monuments would turn them into a lesson on the aftermath of the Civil War that, as much as the war itself, continues to affect who we are today as a nation.

Figure 0.1 Walton

Monument to the Confederate Dead of Walton County at its original location at Eucheeanna in about 1916 (photo courtesy Mark Curenton).


Figure 2.23 Ocala Lees photo

Monument to the “Heroes of the Confederacy” at its current location in Veterans Memorial Park, Ocala (photo by William Lees).

A recent article in the Atlantic by California State University, Fresno historians Ethan Kytle and Blain Roberts (June 25, 2015) makes a similar case in considering whether Confederate flags and Confederate monuments deserve different treatment. They find that “Historical monuments are interpretations of one era but also artifacts of another. Confederate and proslavery memorials embody, even perpetuate, deeply flawed narratives of the Old South and the Civil War. Yet they also reveal essential truths about the time during which they were erected.”  After exploring the difficulty these monuments pose for our 21st century sensibilities, they conclude as follows, “If [Confederate monuments] make the public uneasy, this is because this past is uncomfortable. Taking down Confederate flags, but allowing properly contextualized Confederate monuments to stand, strikes the right balance between promoting a complete picture of the past and respecting the needs of the present.”

Mary Niall Mitchell,  Ethel & Herman L. Midlo Chair in New Orleans Studies at the University of New Orleans (UNO), and Amber Nicholson, doctoral candidate in Urban Studies at UNO, make a similar case for Confederate Monuments in the Crescent City (Published in The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA, June 27, 2015). They propose that, “Rather than remove these monuments from sight, as some have proposed, we ought to do what is much more difficult: reimagine these symbols of the Confederacy in a public way to reflect the totality of the Civil War and its place in the city’s history….The [monument] should not be enclosed in a museum, but instead fully explained and countered with more inclusive representations of the Civil War’s meaning and its legacies. What we cannot continue to do is allow them to stand unanswered, with their claims to the memory of the Civil War uncontested.” Echoed by Kytle and Roberts and by the conclusion to our 2014 book on Florida monuments, they propose the creation and placement of  ”…well-researched markers that put these monuments in proper historical context.”

This approach is not unlike that taken years ago by the National Park Service to contextualize the monument to Heyward Shepherd, also known as the “Faithful Slave Memorial,”  that was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1931. Shepherd was apparently killed during John Brown’s aborted 1859 attempt to start a slave revolt, and the Shepherd monument spurred controversy from the day it was erected. Because of its controversial message, the Park Service initially covered the monument but agreed to again allow its display only after placement of a thoroughly researched companion wayside providing proper historical context.

Confederate monuments were originally placed in public places where they would be encountered on a daily basis and their message conveyed to current and future generations. These amazing pieces of well-crafted outdoor sculpture still attract attention, are an important part of our heritage landscape, and should, in my opinion, remain. Their message requires a make-over, which can  be done with additional, thoughtfully crafted companion signage. Properly contextualized, Confederate monuments can continue to serve us as messenger about a war, and its aftermath, that haunts this nation to this day.

William B. Lees, PhD, RPA
Executive Director
Florida Public Archaeology Network





Dr. Della Scott-Ireton honored with 2015 Senator Bob Williams Award

FPAN Associate Director Dr. Della Scott-Ireton, RPA, has been awarded one of Florida’s highest honors in Historic Preservation: the 2015 Senator Bob Williams Award. It was presented to her at the annual Florida Heritage Awards ceremony in Tallahassee on March 11, 2015.

The award is named for the Senator Bob Williams, an individual who served as Florida’s first State Historic Preservation Officer. The Williams Award recognizes those public employees whose service is so exceptional that it has changed the course of historic preservation in Florida. In the letter informing her of the award, Secretary of State Ken Detzner detailed the rational for bestowing the 2015 award on Della,

“Throughout your career your dedication to the preservation of submerged cultural resources in Florida has immeasurably increased public awareness of the significance of these fragile and unique resources. The effects of your legacy of preservation will be felt for generations to come.”

Watch the video presentation prepared by the Department of State for the awards ceremony.

Della graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and a Master’s degree in Historical Archaeology. She also holds a Master’s in International Relations from Troy University, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Florida State University. Della is certified as a Scuba Instructor with the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI). She is a Registered Professional Archaeologist (RPA).

In the presentation of this award, Della was recognized for twenty years of work in raising public awareness of Florida’s underwater cultural heritage. Notable has been her  work on the Pensacola Shipwreck Survey, which led to discovery of shipwrecks from the  ill-fated 1559 fleet of Don Tristan de Luna, and work as an Underwater Archaeologist with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research (BAR) where she expanded the number of Florida’s Underwater Archaeological Preserves. Della left BAR in 2006 to join FPAN as the Public Archaeologist in the Coordinating Center. Before being named as Associate Director, she developed and directed the Northwest and North Central Regional Centers of FPAN.

At FPAN, Della has developed the Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar (HADS) and the Submerged Sites Education and Archaeological Stewardship (SSEAS) programs, both aimed at increasing respect for the Underwater Cultural Heritage. HADS focuses on training the professionals who train scuba divers on the value of archaeological heritage and stewardship, and SSEAS takes a similar message directly to recreational divers with an interest in heritage.

Della at work.

Della at work.

Della’s professional contribution these days goes well beyond her daily work at FPAN. She was chair of the 2010 Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology at Amelia Island, Florida, has recently served on the SHA Board of Directors, and currently serves SHA as Conference Coordinator. She has also served on the board of the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology. She has lectured and consulted on the preservation and interpretation of the Underwater Cultural Heritage both nationally and internationally, and sits on a number of national and international advisory boards.

Della’s success is in no small measure a result of her clear vision, focus, and dedication, but is also enabled by her collegial nature and professional demeanor. FPAN is indeed fortunate to have Della as part of our leadership!

William B. Lees, PhD, RPA
Executive Director
Florida Public Archaeology Network


FPAN receives recognition by Society for Historical Archaeology

At the 48th annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, convened in Seattle, the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) presented FPAN with its Daniel G. Roberts Award for Excellence in Public Historical Archaeology. Established in 2011 and first presented in 2012, this award recognizes outstanding accomplishments in public historical archaeology by individuals, educational institutions, for-profit firms or organizations, museums, government agencies, private sponsors, or projects. It was presented at the SHA awards banquet and ceremony along with other Society’s top-tier awards.

Roberts Award presented to FPAN

Roberts Award presented to FPAN

FPAN was nominated for this award by Irina Sorset of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Amanda Evans of TESLA Offshore. In their nomination, Sorset and Evans noted that “FPAN has created programming focused on Florida’s long and diverse archaeological past, and while programs center on the state’s archaeological heritage, FPAN is reaching a global audience. Through an impressive array of innovative programs and projects focused on historical archaeology, FPAN is creating heritage awareness and fostering stewardship among Florida students and residents, as well as tourists. In fact, through internet-based programming, FPAN is able to reach an audience that may never visit Florida but appreciates its heritage.” Programs highlighted in the nomination were the Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar (HADS), Coquina Queries project, Cemeteries Resources Protection Training (CRPT), Submerged Sites Education and Archaeological Stewardship program (SSEAS), Archaeology Works program, Unearthing Florida public radio program, videos and podcasts, and a variety of historical archaeology programs aimed at assisting our partners with interpretation of archaeological sites.

Presentation of  Roberts Award to FPAN. L to R: Della Scott-Ireton (FPAN), Charles Ewen (SHA President), Teresita Majewski (SHA Awards Chair), Amanda Evans (Nominator), William Lees (FPAN), Sarah Miller (FPAN)

Presentation of Roberts Award to FPAN. L to R: Della Scott-Ireton (FPAN), Charles Ewen (SHA President), Teresita Majewski (SHA Awards Chair), Amanda Evans (Nominator), William Lees (FPAN), Sarah Miller (FPAN)

A number of FPAN staff, board members, and advisors were present at the conference and the awards ceremony. Executive Director William Lees, Associate Director Della Scott-Ireton, and Director of the Northeast and East Central Regions Sarah Miller received the award for FPAN from SHA President Charles Ewen and Awards Chair Teresita Majewski after remarks were made by Amanda Evans.


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 ( Most properties will have to be older than 50 years and meet the National Register Criteria for Evaluation ( 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 ( 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 ( . 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


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, 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


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




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) ( 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) ( 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