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Dania Beach article about Broward South high school Marine Archaeology program

Broward County Students Learn Marine Archaeology
By Dr. Kira Kaufmann
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What is the value of Florida’s Maritime past?  How do we get younger generations involved with history?  As part of a Marine Archaeology program, students from South Broward high school’s Marine Science summer camp program participated in a Marine Archaeology training program sponsored by Vŏnē Research, Inc, and the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) at Florida Atlantic University.  The main goal of the program was to promote conservation of Florida’s submerged cultural resources in Broward County and provide hands-on experience in Underwater Archaeological techniques.
Dr. Kira Kaufmann from FPAN and Kristen Hoss from Vŏnē Research, lead the two day training program at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea where students worked on land and in the water learning the tools of Marine Archaeology.  On land, the students learned traditional mapping and drawing techniques as well as how to use newer technology, such as GPS, to record archaeological site information.  The most important aspect of Marine Archaeology is context, or the exact location of features and artifacts on a shipwreck.  Students practiced recording the exact location of replica artifacts from two mystery wrecks to learn how crucial context is to recording and recreating Archaeological information.
Students also learned how to apply some of these skills with an in-water training component.  Six students at a time, went snorkeling on the ocean where they practiced the method of GPS recording and photomosaic documentation of the replica Spanish Galleon Snorkeling Trail just offshore from Datura Street.  A photomosaic is an Underwater Archaeological technique in which a series of photographs are taken along a line called a transect and then put together like a puzzle to get a clearer picture of an Archaeological site.  Throughout the program students were encouraged to learn and practice skills that Marine Archaeological scientists use.  Students also learned the importance of shipwreck conservation in order to protect wildlife habitat as well as Florida’s history.
So, what is the value of Florida’s Maritime past?  The value of our state’s rich Maritime heritage is not only the knowledge we can gain from these sites but the economic draw they have for visitors and tourism.  It is the mystery and the adventure, “Indiana Jones-Florida,” that visitors can experience when they SCUBA dive and explore Florida’s coasts and Florida’s shipwrecks.  Shipwrecks are also an important foundation for the underwater ecosystem which is so vital to the environment of our planet.  Protecting these cultural resources also protects habitats for underwater creatures such as sea turtles, fish, and corals.
Recently, I was reminded by a graduating senior that life has many more possibilities if we open our thinking to them, that we should “Go Big” as we move through the days of our lives.  Why should we get students involved?  Because to “Go Big” and to make that last, we have share the importance of conserving the resources of our planet which include cultural resources such as our shipwreck ecosystems.  Go Big, become aware, and see all the potential benefits to conserving the resources of Florida’s coasts in a responsible, sustainable manner


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