THE CHOCTAWHATCHEE RIVER ARCHEOLOGICAL SURVEY GRANT
Caleb Curren, Steve Newby, Steve Smith
Through a cooperative grant (summer 1997) from the Florida Division of Historical Resources, the Pensacola Archeology Lab is currently conducting an archeological survey of a little-known area of the state, the Choctawhatchee River drainage in northwest Florida. This region holds many archeological mysteries of prehistoric and historic peoples. The project is possible due to the cooperation of many state and local agencies as well as the invaluable contributions of the people of the region. Currently the research focus is on the lower reaches of the river system in portions of Walton, Washington, and Bay counties. Grants are currently being proposed to cover the upper reaches of the river in portions of Jackson, Holmes, Washington, and Walton counties. Those interested in the research can keep informed of progress through updates via this web page. News releases and "archeology days" are also forthcoming. Those of you who have information concerning site locations are invited to contact PAL through email or regular postal service. This unique opportunity of archeological exploration is both interesting, exciting, and popular.
The following statements are made in support of the project:
The Northwest Florida Water Management District strongly supports the archeological survey project Pensacola Archeology Lab has proposed for the Choctawhatchee River Basin.
-Douglas E. Barr, Executive Director
The archeological survey of the Choctawhatchee River Drainage will serve as valuable information for a relatively unknown area as well as introduce archeology to our communities . . . . I have a special interest in archeology and would like to endorse their efforts to secure this funding source . . . . This survey project will certainly add to an already expanding local interest in the natural sciences.
-Scott W Clemons, Florida State Representative
This project is very exciting and will almost certainly result in many new discoveries and will accomplish two major goals . . . introduce archeology to the local citizens . . . (and) . . . record a large sample of archeological sites in this relatively unknown region. It is an important opportunity for the public and professionals to join together in a common effort.
-Charlie W. Clary, Florida State Senator
An evaluation of . . . (the Choctawhatchee River Drainage) . . . should prove of considerable value to us in our attempt to understand cultural development in this portion of the state.
-B. Calvin Jones, Archeologist, BAR, FDH
This archeological study would affect Holmes and Washington Counties, which I represent. There is great local interest in the early settlement of this region . . . . I think you will find that this project is one very worthy and well supported by the local community.
-Durell Peaden, Jr., MD, JD, Florida State Representative
I am . . . in support . . . for the . . . proposed phase I Archeological Survey of the Lower Choctawhatchee River. . . . I am convinced that there is currently insufficient data for this section of the Florida panhandle . . . . This survey effort would be a valuable first step toward overcoming this data shortage. . . . .
-Daniel Penton, Archeologist
I appreciated this opportunity to be of service . . . . I hope (my letter of support) . . . proves helpful to you.
-Pete Peterson, M.C., U. S. Congress, House of Representatives
I add my voice of support to the . . . (Archeological Survey of the Lower Choctawhatchee River, Phase I) . . . application proposed by the Pensacola Archeology Lab . . . . Such a survey will point out the best direction for future studies of the area and will be useful, not only to the archaeological community but to educators, students and the general public as well. I hope you will give the proposed project every consideration for the grant necessary to fund it.
-Joe Scarbrough, US Congress, House of Representatives
As tribal (Florida Tribe of Eastern Creek Indians) archeological officer I speak for my tribe when I say that we would welcome a survey which would increase our knowledge of the history and the archeological record of this river which was so important to our ancestors. We have every confidence that The Pensacola Archeology Laboratory will do a professional job if the grant funds are forthcoming to this institution.
-Donald W Sharon, Tribal Archeology Officer
Please accept this . . . recommendation for the Pensacola Archeology Lab grant application . . . . . Pensacola Archeology Lab consultants have participated in prior surveys and I believe they would be well suited for this task. Please give the Pensacola Archeology Lab grant application full consideration.
-Pat Thomas, Florida State Senator
This is an exciting way to introduce archeology to the local people . . . . This will give residents a chance to discuss information with the archeologists and learn first hand about the history of their communities.
-Jamey Westbrook, Florida State Representative
The Board of County Commissioners of Walton County, Florida unanimously approved supporting an Archeological Survey of the Choctawhatchee River Drainage . . . . It would be an opportunity for local residents and school children to participate and learn about the history associated with the Choctawhatchee River basin and Walton County.
-William A. Young, Chairman
The Archeological Survey of the Choctawhatchee River Drainage is a project designed to accomplish two major goals. The first is to introduce archeology to the local people living in the area. The second is to record a large sample of archeological sites in this relatively unknown region. Both of the goals are considered equally important. It is an important opportunity for the public and professionals to join together in a common effort.
To accomplish the goals, "public archeology days" will be held in various communities within the survey area. Public announcements will be made through the media to invite people to bring in artifacts and their knowledge of the site. Archeologists will be set up in a public place to receive and analyze this information. Artifacts will be identified for the people and brochures will be handed out which will contain information on the cultural history of the region. They will provide brief descriptions and locations of museums and bookdealers in the region. Efforts will be made to direct people's enthusiasm toward constructive ends such as cooperation with professionals, proper care of private collections, sources of further learning, procedures of development compliance, and state tours of archeological museums and public sites.
As field work is conducted, Florida state site files will be completed or updated. Analysis and interpretations, site descriptions, and management recommendations will be compiled. A publication of Phase I results will be completed and will meet state standards.
In addition to the final report, a summary program will be prepared for the general public, local schools and local agencies. Follow-up papers are also expected to be generated for presentation at professional meetings and for publication in professional journals. No large, formal survey of the Choctawhatchee River basin has been conducted to date, except for upper Holmes Creek. We expect to identify numerous potentially significant sites which will contribute to our knowledge of the long history of human settlement and use of the Choctawhatchee River drainage.
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