Have you ever witnessed a person suspiciously poking around a bush at a state park? Well, if they were holding a smartphone or a GPS device, they were probably just geocaching! Geocaching is a worldwide scavenger hunt game where players try to locate hidden containers called geocaches by using GPS coordinates posted on a website. With over 5 million players, it has become one of the most common outdoor activities over the past few years (besides “planking” and paddleboarding). The rise of geocaching seems to be correlated to the increased use of smartphones with GPS capability. Plus, you know it has been accepted by all social classes in society when there is an “app for that” (and by “that” I mean geocaching). To locate geocaches, players log onto the official website, www.geocaching.com, and use the search query by entering the zip code, city name, or geocache ID. A map with all the geocaches in the vicinity quickly loads with the geocaches’ location and GPS coordinates. From there all a player has to do is enter the coordinates in a GPS device and go wherever the adventure takes them!
This new Blog complements those maintained by regional centers of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). Our focus here is on topics that are of relevance state-wide or perhaps beyond, while those of the regional centers understandably have a more regional focus. The Florida Public Archaeology Network was established at the University of West Florida by the Florida Legislature in 2004 with operation beginning in 2005. Our mission is to promote and facilitate the stewardship, public appreciation, and value of Florida’s archaeological heritage through regional centers, partnerships, and community engagement.
FPAN has a Coordinating Center at the University of West Florida (UWF) and eight regional public archaeology centers across the state. These are located in Pensacola (operated by UWF), Tallahassee (UWF), St. Augustine (Flagler College), Cocoa (Florida Historical Society), Ft. Lauderdale (Florida Atlantic University), Ft. Myers (Florida Gulf Coast University), Tampa (University of South Florida), and Crystal River (University of South Florida). Our centers are staffed by professional archaeologists who are well versed in Florida archaeology and who are experts in a wide range of specialty topics in terrestrial and underwater archaeology.
This Blog will take advantage of the broad knowledge of our FPAN experts to bring you information on topics that we believe will be of interest and importance to the general public who are interested in Florida archaeology. We may also from time to time invite other professional archaeologists to contribute to this discussion on Topics in Florida Archaeology!
William B. Lees, PhD, RPA
Executive Director, Florida Public Archaeology Network
University of West Florida