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Posted on: March 6, 2020

March is Florida Archaeology Month

two hands dissecting a piece of coal

City Archaeology Lab offers open house tours at the end of March

Have you ever wondered about the history underneath your feet? Buried below the houses, businesses, and streets of St. Augustine is evidence of past lives, and the City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program dedicates itself to the study of these material remains that are left behind.

The City of St. Augustine is fortunate to have one of the few Archaeological Preservation Ordinances in the country aimed at protecting and documenting archaeological sites so we can learn more about our City’s rich history. In the years since 1987, when the ordinance was enacted, nearly 1000 projects have been completed within the City limits on both public and private lands. These investigations range from short-term testing or monitoring of small projects to multi-month and even year-long large-scale excavations.

Curating and maintaining the City’s archaeological collection is extremely important. As technology improves and we increase our understanding about St. Augustine’s past, new findings can come from previously excavated projects years after the original research was completed. The field of archaeology is constantly evolving to include new techniques, research methods, and digital data.

This year, as part of Florida Archaeology Month, the City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program plans to host four open house events at the Archaeology Lab, located at 30 Pellicer Lane.  At this time, in an abundance of caution and following the recommendations of health officials, the events scheduled for the end of March have been postponed.  The Open House events are free and open to the public, but you will need to make a reservation.

The Dr. Sue A. Middleton Archaeology Center, opened in 2011, is named for its benefactor whose love of historic preservation and archaeology led her to offer a bequeathed gift that made the research center possible. The center houses thousands of artifacts and research data recovered from over three decades of archaeological investigations.

Currently, the Archaeology Program is staffed by two, full-time archaeologists who conduct field and lab work throughout the City. To assist with the entire archaeological process, a dedicated corps of volunteers donates thousands of hours of labor to the City every year. Whether they are assisting with historical research, field work, public outreach, or processing artifacts in the lab, volunteers help expand the potential of the Archaeology Program and document the City’s archaeological heritage beneath our feet.

To learn more about the Archaeology Program, call 904.823.2263 or send an email to archaeology@citystaug.com.

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