PokemonGo Lures Trainers into Local History

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Are you a fan of PokemonGo? Well, so are we! We took a ride around Tallahassee and discovered that there are quite a few historic sites in town that offer numerous poke stops and gyms. You may have seen us at one of our Lures and Legends events over the summer. We were setting up our booth at some of the various locations around town and dropping lures. We have discovered that PokemonGo gives folks a reason and incentive to go out and explore new places they may have never been before. At our Lures and Legends event at Mission San Luis we  had a few people come up to us and tell us that they have never been there before until we “lured” them there! Maybe you are a parent who’s child is obsessed with PokemonGo, and you are looking for a way to engage you child’s interest in the game in a meaningful way. Well, we hear you and we get it! Perhaps you are a huge PokemonGo fan and you have been wanting to explore your community to get to know it better. Well, we hear you, and again, we get it! One of our goals here at FPAN is to promote heritage tourism. So we figured we would use PokemonGo as a public outreach tool  to get folks out and about exploring some of our local heritage sites. So, with that intention, below is a map we have created with the locations of heritage sites in our community with the number of gyms and stops at each location. We hope you will use this to get out, get moving and to learn about Tallahassee’s rich history. With that in mind, please remember that these sites are not renewable. You can’t grow another historic Spanish mission or another antebellum plantation. So please, be respectful of these sites and mind all the rules. They are there for your safety and to protect the historic resource. Additionally, a few of these sites require a fee to enter. Please do not try to get out of paying this fee. The money they collect goes towards preserving and protecting the site and providing you with a unique and educational experience. So, with that being said, we hope you will get out and explore Tallahassee while catching pokemon! And while you are out there, if you see something cool, learn something new or catch a rare pokemon, we would like to hear from you! Feel free to post about your discoveries in the comments below!


Lures and Legends: Learn about Tallahassee’s History while Playing Pokemon Go

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So I know that we have a bunch of Pokemon Go fans out there, so we have decided to have some fun with it to help promote heritage tourism and hopefully make our followers aware of some places they may not have

Follow us on Facebook to see where we will be dropping the next lure!

Follow us on Facebook to see where we will be dropping the next lure!

visited before. According to a study published in 2010 by the State of Florida, Department of State, heritage tourism is the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. Here in Tallahassee we have a wealth of heritage sites. So get out your phone, open up your Pokemon Go app and get ready to explore some of them! Many sites in the area have poke stops and gyms! Mission San Luis, for example, has 17 stops and two gyms! If you haven’t been to Mission San Luis yet, then what are you waiting for?! It is an amazing living history museum and now you have one more reason to visit.

Saturday, July 23 2016, from 9am-1pm we will be dropping lures near The Edison in Cascades Park. Stop by our table to learn about all the various historic sites in Tallahassee that have stops and gyms. While there you can explore Cascades Park, which has a very rich history, and perhaps stop in at The Edison for a delicious brunch!  You can follow us on our facebook page to learn of other places we will be dropping lures in the coming weeks. There is a good chance that you will learn of places you didn’t know existed!


The DeSoto Winter Encampment Site is the location of a Pokemon Go gym.

With that being said, we need to caution you. All historic sites are non-renewable resources. While searching for stops and gyms is harmless, we urge you to be aware of your surroundings and to be respectful of the sites you are visiting. The Old City Cemetery in downtown Tallahassee has six stops and we encourage you to go check out this amazing historic cemetery, but keep in mind that it is a place of rest for some of our most notable residents from history and is deserving of respect. Likewise, some places are only open at certain hours or require a minimal entrance fee. Please be respectful of that. In the case of entrance fees, those fees are used to help support that site. As for hours of operation,  they are in place not only for the safety and security of the site, but also for your safety as well. So go out and enjoy, but please be respectful of our communities wonderful (and non-renewable) historic resources!

As a side note, our office at the DeSoto Winter Encampment is the site of a gym. If you stop by, come on into our office and say hi! If you are visiting during office hours, M-F 8-5 there is more information about the site inside the Governor Martin House/Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research.


Welcome Back, Teachers!

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Are you a teacher that is looking to enhance your classroom curriculum? Well you are in luck! On August 30th at the Museum of Florida History  many of the local outreach and educational programs in our region will be in one spot! The Museum of Florida History is hosting a Welcome Back, Teachers! event from 4 to 6pm. It will feature educational materials, information about onsite and outreach programs, local field trip options and refreshments. Exhibitors will include the Museum of Florida History, State Archives of Florida, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Florida Department of Education and various members of the Community Classroom Consortium. These organizations cater to a variety of subjects, so no matter what you teach there will be something there for you!

Archaeology is generally associated with social studies…but think about this for a second! Archaeologists need to have an understanding of geology, math, science, history, language arts and many other subject areas. We need to be able to communicate our interpretations and observations of a site so that they can be easily understood by not only other archaeologists, but the public as well. We need to be able to understand what resources were available to the people that were living in a specific area at a given time period. We need to be able to successfully and efficiently navigate through various environments (think of all the additional skills needed by Underwater Archaeologists!). We need to have a working knowledge of social constructs among various cultures during various times in history. Archaeologists need to have a very good understanding of the scientific method and many scientific theories in order to accurately record their findings. We also need to be able to read maps, create maps and accurately take measurements. Today archaeologists use many technological instruments to help record sites, and thus need to be pretty tech and computer savvy these days as well. We even need to be good photographers and have the ability to draw legible maps and illustrations. So, as you can see, archaeology can be an appropriate addition to a variety of subjects that are taught in school at any grade level (and I didn’t even list all the various skills needed to be a good archaeologist!).  If you visit www.flpublicarchaeology.org/resources teachers can download a free copy of our lesson plan guide, Beyond Artifacts. There are also many other resources, including virtual field trips, that are available on that site. Beyond Artifacts is aligned with the Sunshine State Standards, updated regularly and includes lessons appropriate for all grade levels and subject areas.

I hope that you will be able to join us on August 30th to  see  what other organizations there are in this area that are available to teachers and educators in this area! FPAN will be there, along with many other organizations to show you all of the different hands on programs and educational opportunities we have available for your students.

Florida Archaeology Month is Upon Us!

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Happy Florida Archaeology Month everyone! That’s right, our wonderful state has a whole month dedicated to archaeology, and that month is March! This statewide event is held each year to allow Floridians  and visitors a chance to learn more about the archaeology and history of our state, and to preserve these important parts of our rich cultural heritage. Each year we have a different theme, and this year’s theme is “Native Plants, Native People”. It explores how native people in Florida used plants and how archaeologist investigate these plants that were used by prehistoric inhabitants of Florida. You can find a calendar of events at  http://www.fasweb.org/index.htm.

Each year many organizations are involved in coordinating this statewide celebration, including the Florida Anthropological Society, the Florida Public Archaeology Network, the Florida Archaeological Council and the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. Many local museums, historical commissions, libraries, and public and private schools also participate and support Florida Archaeology Month.

Each year there is also a poster that is created around the theme. This years poster is two sided and highlights some of the sites in Florida that have contained plant remains. It is a beautiful poster! Probably one of my favorites so far. If you would like to pick one up, just let me know. They are free and a wonderful educational tool. You can also view it at the website mentioned above.

Most people don’t think of plants when they think of archaeology, but the study of  plants can provide us with insight into what prehistoric people were eating, what medicines they were using, what tools they were making and their ceremonial activities. By studying sites that contain plants, such as Windover, Key Marco, Pineland, Hontoon Island and various others, we have learned that plants made up to fifty percent of the native diet and at least that much (if not more) of their material goods!  However, plant remains are very fragile, and it is very rare to find plant remains at an archaeological site, so these sites are very special and unique. In celebration of Florida Archaeology Month this year, we are going to explore the native plants of Florida and how they were used by prehistoric peoples with our “Plant of the Week” posts. Of course, it is very important to note that this information is just for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES! Do not use the plants in the manner that we will describe. Native people had an intensive and vast knowledge of the plants and the individuals that were using them. We are just beginning to understand how these plants were used by prehistoric people, so remember, read and learn, but please don’t try! Even edible plants that are considered harmless can have undesirable effects on your body if you are not used to ingesting or using them in the manner described. We hope you will learn a great deal this month about our state’s unique cultural heritage. Hopefully this new knowledge that you gain this month will create a greater appreciation for our state’s cultural sites. So please, take some time this month to attend some local Florida Archaeology Month events in your area. You never know what you might learn! So, again, happy Florida Archaeology Month!

If you are in the Tallahassee area, you might consider joining the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee tonight at the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology (Governor Martin House-located at 1001 DeSoto Park Drive, off of Lafayette Street behind Olive Garden) starting at 7pm for a discussion on native plants and the prehistoric peoples of Florida. Loran Anderson and myself will both be presenting on this topic. It is sure to be a great time for all and a wonderful way to kick off Florida Archaeology Month.  Anderson&Hines




My Brief Encounter with the Slave Canal and the Wacissa River

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This past weekend, like I mentioned in my previous post, I had the opportunity to paddle the Wacissa River and the Slave Canal. It was something I had heard about and  have wanted to do for awhile now, but something always came up that took priority to a day of kayaking (very unfortunate, I know!). Well, my brief encounter with the beautiful waters of the Wacissa and the historic setting of the Slave Canal has  left me wanting more!
Slave Canal Entrance from the Wacissa River
Now, you are probably wandering what the Slave Canal is and why it is named such. The Slave Canal was constructed in the 1850s using slave labor. John Gamble, a nearby plantation owner decided it would be a benificial project for local cotton merchants. The purpose of the canal was to connect the Wacissa River to the nearby Aucilla River so that cotton barges could be floated to the Gulf. You see, the Wacissa River diffuses into an almost impenetrable swamp, impossible for cotton barges to pass through to get to the Gulf of Mexico so that the cotton could be loaded on to larger ships for export. Unfortunately for the cotton merchants, the canal scheme did not work very well-it was too shallow. In some places the canal never reached more than a foot deep, and the canal was never able to be used by large boats. Shortly after the Civil War the canal was abandoned.
Signage for Slave Canal
Luckily for us adventurous types, the canal remains open  today as a premier three mile paddling trail connecting the Aucilla and Wacissa Rivers-that is, if you can find it. The entrance to the canal can be a bit tricky to find (there are signs though, so keep an eye out). Once  you do find it though, you are in for a treat. The deadfalls and swift current at high water create a somewhat challenging, but delightful paddling trip. The Slave Canal is part of the Wacissa River Paddling Trail. According to the trail guide it is an intermediate paddle. I only had a chance to kayak a small portion of the canal, but I already have plans in the works to kayak the whole thing. Paddling is a wonderful way to experience, not only nature, but history as well.  There is no documentation of who the slaves were that constructed the canal, but kayaking the canal somehow brings to light the challenges that they must have faced.


In addition to the history of the Slave Canal, don’t forget about the people that made their homes on these waterways long before the canal’s construction. The wonderful thing about the Wacissa and Slave Canal is that there are no houses or buildings visible from the river starting from Goose Pasture (where I launched ) to the Slave Canal. It is almost as if you are kayaking into a time long, long ago. You can almost imagine people paddling in dugout canoes along this stretch of remote wilderness. And remember, you may encounter archaeological sites along these waterways, you can look, but don’t touch. Leave any artifacts you might encounter where they are so that the next visitor can enjoy looking at them (and not picking them up) and so that archaeologists in the future can have the opportunity to study them and learn about the people that lived along these rivers in Florida’s past. Hopefully my future plans for kayaking the whole canal will come to fruition soon, and of course, I will tell you all about it!