Artifact ID Day in Hernando County

The Historic Hernando Preservation Society, along with the Florida Public Archaeology Network is presenting an Artifact ID day on Saturday, December 1, 2012 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Moose Lodge in Brooksville. Bring in prehistoric or historic archeological finds of any type and have experts help identify them.


SATURDAY, December 1, 2012 from 10 am to 2 pm
Where: Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge #1676
17129 Wiscon Road, Brooksville, FL

Harvest History Tour in Brooksville

The Historic Hernando Preservation Society is offering a truly unique Harvest of History Tour at the historic Hope Hill homestead in Brooksville, FL on Saturday, November 3, at 2:00 p.m.

In 1835 William E. Hope and his family came from Liberty County, Georgia to settle the fertile soil of West Central Florida. They settled in what was known as Chocochatti, a former Seminole Indian settlement. They lived atop this hill until the homestead mysteriously burned down in the 1890s. The Hope Homestead site was excavated by a USF archeological team in 2004-2005 and unearthed many clues to its past.

A Seminole re-enactor will also be on site to tell his rich story of the Seminole Nation. The Miesch Family, the current owners of the property, will generously open their private museum. You will dine on Bison burgers and fresh roasted corn on the cob. You can view an arrow head display, observe flint knapping, as well as speak to individuals directly involved with the excavation. Get in touch with your inner archeologist and attend the Harvest of History.

The tour costs $20. Reservations are required.

Cemetery Resource Protection Training

Tampa Preservation, Inc. is pleased to be co-hosting a workshop with the City of Tampa and Florida Public Archaeology Network on Preserving Historic Cemeteries and Human Burial Sites. The workshop will take place on November 9th, 2012 at the Metro 510 Life Center, 510 E. Harrison Street, Tampa from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Registration costs $15. For information, please contact Becky at or (813) 396-2325.

Tampa Cemetary Workshop


Florida Archeaology Month Events

March is Florida Archaeology Month and there are plenty of events to celebrate and learn not too far away in Citrus County.

March 9th Join the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) at the Crystal River Archaeological State Park on Friday, March 9th, 2012 from 4:00 and 6:00 PM for atlatl demonstrations (an early prehistoric weapon). Afterwards, the Friends of Crystal River State Parks will host a Moon over Mounds Event (torchlight tour of the Crystal River mound complex) from 8:00 and 10:00 PM. The park is located at 3400 North Museum Point, Crystal River just north of the Crystal River Mall. This event is free and open to the public.

March 10th Tatham Mound: Hernando de Soto in Citrus County and Tatham Mound Revisited: The Rest of the Story, presentations by Dr. Jeff Mitchem, excavator of Tatham Mound. Join us Saturday at the Old Courthouse Museum in Inverness  to see and hear the highlights of the 1980s archaeological excavations at the prehistoric Tatham Mound near Lake Tsala Apopka. At 10:30 Dr. Mitchem will discuss the archaeological evidence of the encounter(s) between native Floridians and Hernando de Soto expedition. At 1:00 PM Dr. Mitchem will discuss older components of the mound and their reburial. This event is free and open to the public. For more information call 352.341.6427 or visit

March 9-11th Nature Coast Civil War Reenactment The 2012 Nature Coast Civil War Reenactment will be held on the property of the Holcim Mine, located 7 miles north of Crystal River (just south of the Barge Canal bridge). Reenactments for the general public will be held on Saturday and Sunday, March 10th and 11th. Gates open at 9:00 AM and activities are continuous throughout the day, culminating in a clash of forces each afternoon at 2 PM. For more information on this event please visit

March 17th and 18th Fort Cooper Days. Fort Cooper State Park will host a Second Seminole War re-enactment and living history exhibit from 9 AM to 4 PM. Re-enactments will be held twice daily at 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM. There will be period arts & crafts, exhibits, demonstrations, entertainment, great food and refreshments. Visitors should arrive an hour prior to the reenactment times to ensure full viewing. For more information call 352.726.0315.

March 17th Ancient Shell Cities of the North Gulf Coast of Florida, a presentation by Dr. Ken Sassaman, Univ. of Florida Anthropology Department. Please join The Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), Central Region, and the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday March 17, at 2:00 PM at the Cedar Key Library to hear Dr. Sassaman present the results of his most recent investigations of the archaeology of the Lower Suwannee and Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge. For more information, call 352.493.0238. This event is free and open to the public.

March 20th Words from the Earth: Uncovering Our First Colony through Archaeology, a presentation by Dr. Kathleen Deagan, Ph.D., Florida Museum Distinguished Research Curator, Historical Archaeology. Join the Florida Museum of Natural History on Tuesday, March 20, from 6:30-8:00 PM at Leonardo’s 706, Gainesville, Florida. Space is limited; please contact Stephanie Kelley or 352.273.2085 to reserve your space.

March 29th Historic Archaeology at Second Seminole War Sites: What’s New, What’s Important, Why Bother?, a presentation by archaeologist, Gary Ellis, Director of the Gulf Archaeological Research Institute. This presentation will discuss the archaeology of Second Seminole War Period sites. Please join us Thursday March 29th, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM for the Silver River Museum Open House followed by the presentation at 6:00 PM. Space for this event is limited. Please call 352.236.5401 to reserve seats for the presentation. This event is free and open to the public.

March 30th The Invisible Sex: Some Thoughts on the Role of Women in Prehistory, a presentation by Dr. James Adovasio, Director, Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute. Please join the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) on March 30th at the University of Central Florida, Psychology Building, Room 108, Orlando, Florida. For more information about this event visit This event is open to the public.

March 31st Sweet Cane—Florida Sugar Prior to the Civil War, a presentation by Dr. Lucy Wayne, archaeologist and architectural historian at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. Dr. Wayne will give her presentation at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM. and will discuss a presentation which will include a brief history of sugar, and an explanation of how it was raised and processed in Florida prior to the Civil War. The presentations will be followed by Sweet and Sour, a guided tour and presentation at the Yulee Sugar Mill State Park between 11:00 and 3:00 PM. For more information about this presentation or other Homosassa Heritage Day events, please contact the Homosassa State Wildlife Park at 352.628.5343. These events are free and open to the public.
If you are interested in a schedule of Florida archaeology month events in other regions then go to

Hillsborough County Archaeological Resources

Moseley HomesteadHillsborough County’s archaeological resources include prehistoric campsites, burial mounds, shell middens, quarries and manufacturing sites for tools, along with historic archaeological sites, such as Fort Foster. Scattered artifacts, usually tools or fragments of pottery, are the most common indicators of an archaeological site. Most of the identified archaeological resources in Hillsborough County date from the Archaic Period (7500-500 BC). The second most common type of identified archaeological resources in this County dates from the historic periods.

Fort Foster State Historic Site, part of Hillsborough River State Park, is considered a historic archaeological site. While the original fort buildings are no longer standing, there remains a wealth of historic artifacts in the ground. Fort Foster, established in 1836 and abandoned in 1849, safeguarded the Fort King Military Road Bridge over the Hillsborough River during the Second Seminole War. Today the park contains a replica of the fort and an interpretive center.

Florida’s archaeological resources, the material remains of past human life or activities, date back approximately 10,000 years. An archaeologist can study the way found artifacts are placed in relationship to one another and to the natural environment to determine information about the way past people lived. By studying the context of the site, an archaeologist can determine what people wore, what kind of food they ate (and how they got the food), who they interacted with, and other details about how they lived. Because much of this information can only be determined by the context in which the archaeological resources are found, it is important to provide a high level of protection for these irreplaceable resources.

In Florida, it is illegal to dig for artifacts without the landowner’s permission, and digging for artifacts on state lands without a permit is a third degree felony. It is also illegal to knowingly disturb, buy, or sell human remains. Florida Statutes govern the treatment of unmarked human burials. Due to the sensitive nature of these sites, the locations of archaeological resources are exempt from the Sunshine Law.

Projects that receive state or federal funding, such as road widening projects, must survey for archaeological and historic resources before work begins to ensure that these resources will not be negatively affected by the projects. This also applies to projects that take place on state and federal lands, such as parks.

Florida’s rapid and intensive land development poses additional challenges for these often “invisible” sites. Unfortunately, archaeological resources are often not discovered until they have been negatively affected by development activity. A cultural resource assessment survey of a development site prior to construction activity can determine whether significant archaeological resources are present.

One of the goals for 2008 of the Hillsborough County’s Historic Resources Review Board (HRRB) is to identify archaeological resources in the unincorporated County that are eligible for Landmark designation. Landmark-eligible archaeological sites will be listed in the County’s Historic Resources Inventory.

Once listed in the Historic Resources Inventory, these archaeological sites will receive some protection. The HC Land Development Code requires that when development permits, development orders or other development approvals affect or abut the properties on the Inventory, the HRRB can review and comment on the applications. The HRRB’s comments are not binding, but are an opportunity to work with the property owner to provide the best possible outcome for significant sites. Upon Landmark designation, a Certificate of Appropriateness from the HRRB is required before archaeological resources can be altered. When making a decision on an archaeological resource, the HRRB considers methods to avoid, reduce or mitigate adverse effects on the archaeological features, while taking into account the current needs of the owner.

Property owners of Landmarked sites in unincorporated Hillsborough County are eligible for a variety of benefits, including a preservation plan for the long-term maintenance of their Landmarked property, and economic incentives, including matching grant funds for HRRB-approved projects and a property tax exemption for the value of HRRB-approved improvements. Landmark sites are also eligible for a transfer of development rights, which may reduce the taxable value of the property.

Conservation easements allow property owners anywhere in Florida to protect their archaeological resources, regardless of whether they are listed in the National Register of locally Landmarked. A conservation easement restricts the use of their land through the property deed, protecting the archaeological site from development activity. This restriction can lower property taxes and estate taxes. Additionally, property owners can receive a federal income tax deduction if they donate an easement for conservation purposes in perpetuity to a qualified organization such as an historical society or a land trust. Conservation easements can be written to address the unique needs of the individual property owner.

Owners of property that contains archaeological resources can also seek Archaeological Landmark designation from the State of Florida. This designation provides extra protection to sites that are eligible for listing in the National Register. A permit from the State is required before anyone is allowed to dig at a State Archaeological Landmark.

Article by Elaine Lund