The Florida Division of Historical Resources grant-funded assessment of historic sites on state-owned lands allowed the creation of a comprehensive, multi-layered database of historic and cultural resources within the managed boundary.
Gary Lytton, BNERR director, sees a lot of potential in this project. "This grant resulted in a comprehensive tool that will help land managers, archaeologists and other researchers better understand and preserve historic and prehistoric sites," he said, A cultural resources management plan for the reserve may soon get under way, using this tool as a guide.
The project entailed completing visual surveys of known and suspected sites, documenting artifacts, photographs, historical deeds records from the National Archives and combining these data with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other advanced technology into one comprehensive, computerized catalog of records and details, all viewable in layers on a map.
Bob Carr of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc. served as the project manager, working closely with RBNERR staff to get the work done. According to Carr, some interesting discoveries were made during the survey.
Carr said, "Evidence of a possible camp used by mission Indians fleeing from north Florida was discovered" and that Leon Jefferson pottery, typical of the Spanish mission Indians, was discovered in the Rookery Bay area. providing some of the first evidence of this mass migration of people in South Florida during the historic period.
The project was financed in part with historic preservation grant assistance provided by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, administered through the Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Florida Historical Commission. The grant was awarded to the Friends of Rookery Bay on behalf of the Reserve, and was one of 12 awards from a pool of nearly 100 applications. The $50,000 project comprised $25,000 from the granting agency, with matching funds from the Reserve.