Renovations to provide new home for archaeology network
By Kimberly Good
Photo by Amy Kingsnorth
PHOTO CAPTION: Outreach Coordinator Christy Pritchard and Director Sarah Miller stand in front of the soon-to-be home of the Northeast Regional Center of the Florida Public Archeology Network at Flagler.
Flagler’s Markland Cottage is undergoing a state-funded renovation and it will eventually be the home of the Northeast Regional Center of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, and officials are hoping to get Flagler students involved in the program.
Already working on the first floor of Markland House are two professional archaeologists and a temporary public information office, which will eventually move to the cottage in January 2007.
Archaeologist and Director Sarah Miller said the archaeology network created by the Florida Legislature two years ago, and there will be eight regional hosting sites throughout the state partnering with colleges, universities or museums. The University of West Florida in Pensacola is the Coordinating Center for the eight programs.
Based on the concept of similar programs in Arkansas and Louisiana, West Florida archaeology professors proposed and supported the development of a network in Florida. Currently three institutions have been designated, and Flagler College’s was the first regional center to open.
The archaeology network is interested in accepting interns and work-study hours in addition to providing volunteer opportunities for clubs and individuals. The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program has also shown interest in training students to participate in sorting, washing and cataloging artifacts for field and lab activities.
Students will be able to contribute as well as benefit. By becoming research vessels for the diving center, they would, in turn, become certified divers and receive a scientific certificate demanded by research centers.
Although this may seem ideal for the typical behavioral science or sociology major at Flagler College, Miller said it is open to all students. It is about “finding out about people of the past and incorporating people in communities to make their lives more full,” she said. “Archaeology by nature is multidimensional.”
She has a vision for theatre majors and living history reenactments, and also alluded to the opportunities of print work for graphic design or communication students, and the applicable learning circumstances for political science and pre-law undergrads interested in city ordinances and not-for-profit groups.
Up against others like the University of North Florida, Flagler Associate Director of Development Leslee Keys worked to land the center for this historic campus.
“They loved the fact that we’re going to recycle a historic building,” Keys said about the selection committee’s decision to pick Flagler and the Markland Cottage.
In addition, potential involvement by Flagler students helped make for a strong case.
Since the opening in May, Miller has traveled over 5,000 miles to over 70 sites in the seven counties represented by the Northeast Public Archaeology Center.
Miller considers St. Augustine a necessary location. Nearby St. Augustine’s famous historic district, this center will serve surrounding counties including Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia.
“We’re the only science that destroys what we do,” Miller said. The best method of preservation Miller says, ironically, is to “leave it alone.”
As part of the agreement with the archaeology network, Flagler is “providing office facilities at no cost.”
“It’s a beneficial relationship [for Flagler],” Dean of Student Services Daniel Stewart said. “[The state] will fix it up in exchange for the ability to use it.” He added that the building was still property of Flagler College.
Flagler College has received a state grant to promote the organization’s mission of public education, outreach, and assistance to local governments and to the Division of Historical Resources.