This past weekend I met a wonderful group of people. Myself, along with members of the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee and the FWC, worked with a Boy Scout troop and their fathers to clean up a Native American mound and do some shovel testing. The only way to get to this site is by boat. There was frost on my kayak as I unloaded it and put it in the water! It was a beautiful paddle trip though, but I was glad that I had my heavy jacket. It is always a great day when you can combine kayaking and archaeology into a single adventure! Even if it is super cold outside!
This particular mound had been heavily looted in the past, and while cleaning up the mound to get it ready for mapping, the boys were finding artifacts on the surface. The FWC would like to do some public interpretation of the mound, and allow the public to visit it so that they can combine paddling and archaeology together into some of their adventures as well! So we didn’t want to leave any artifacts on the surface that might encourage looting. The boys were genuinely shocked that people would even consider looting an archaeological site. They were concerned that allowing the public to visit the mound might encourage even more looting. We discussed how public education is our greatest weapon against such destructive activities. We told them that by teaching the public about the mound and what archaeologists can learn from intact sites, that the hope is they will gain a greater appreciation for these sites and be less inclined to loot and more inclined to act as stewards of these sites.
It is always such a treat to meet a group of people, especially children, that are concerned with issues such as this. It gives me great hope for the future of archaeology and the many issues it faces, including looting. Who knows where they young men will end up in the future. Even if they never become archaeologists, I know that they will always be great stewards of our archaeological resources. Some people wonder why we do public education in archaeology. Well, it is for just this reason. The more we can educate the public, the better protected Florida’s archaeological resources will be in the future! You can check out all the photos from our day’s adventure on our facebook page at