Public Archaeology

From anthropology and archaeology to pubic archaeology to engaged heritage 
a pathway focused on public archaeology 
with a chronological listing of program including Looking for Angola, CHAMP, and a rising sea levels initiative

My Definition of Public Archaeology includes research that:
  • Stimulates public interest in the study of archaeology through the use of demonstrations of archaeological techniques and analyzes, workshops, training in excavation and recovery of artifacts and features, site tours, displays and exhibits, or the development of educational programs and materials;
  • Engages communities, social groups, organizations to come together for history, archaeology, and historic preservation and heritage activities;
  • Promotes awareness of cultural resources and heritage preservation;
  • Fosters individual or collective efforts to advance the ethical practice of archaeology.

Goals include
  • Encouraging historic preservation, conservation, and public education;
  • Revealing hidden histories:
  • Exploration of public memory, localized heritage, and commemorations of the past;
  • Actively engaging with local and descendant communities regarding the past, history, and the cultural landscape,
  • Sustaining historic places as locales for civic engagement and civil discussions of the past; and
  • Attempting to make archaeology more inclusive and multi-vocal toward social justice and cosmopolitanism.

Archaeology has changed since the 1980s, public outreach and archaeology in the sunshine have expanded to community-based and collaborative approaches; I joined in the trend, first with a self-styled Public Archaeology in Sarasota; the invitation to join Looking for Angola fundamentally shifted my scholarship leading to the creation of the New College Public Archaeology Lab. Descriptions of those programs are below; publications related to those projects can be found on my CV (see side bar) and at https://ncf.academia.edu/UziBaram.  In 2013, WGCU recorded and archived a three-minute interview on the Sarasota Bay Rancho video game, which includes a concise encapsulation of Uzi Baram's approaches in public archaeology. 

Public Archaeology in Praxis: 

Preserving Regional Heritage in Southwest Florida

Public Archaeology in Sarasota

Florida Jones 2009
Influenced by public archaeology programs around the USA, from 1997 to 2003 I organized a series of small scale projects around Sarasota County in partnership with the Sarasota County Archaeologist. There were pedagogical goals to the endeavor: to offer New College students experiential knowledge in archaeology and historic preservation, to offer service learning opportunities, and to build an archaeology focused on a civic engagement. The projects include the Paleo-Indian and Archaic period site of Little Salt Spring, the late 19th to early 20th century Rosemary Cemetery, and the early 20th century Venice Train Depot. The endeavor contributed to a National Registry of Historic Places nomination, helped with two museum exhibits at the Sarasota County History Center (2001 and 2006), trained several generations of New College students, and volunteered numerous public presentations and lectures as well as support for other archaeologists involved in public archaeology in the region. Other partnerships included work on Warm Mineral Spring where I spoke on heritage:

Heritage at Warm Mineral Spring (2014 discussion)



Looking for Angola

LFA Logo

In 2004, I joined a team of scholars looking for an early 19th century maroon community on the Manatee River. The community is known today as Angola. My involvement includes supervision of the archaeological research which revolves around methodological challenges of locating a maroon community, public archaeology, raising questions for the archaeological and representational aspects of the work, and outreach to a broad audience to encourage local and descendant communities to join in the search.

Traces of Our Past
In 2006, a community-based endeavor began the search for the hidden histories of the Manatee River communities. These histories include stories of pre-Columbian Native Americans and Seminoles, Spanish explorers and Cuban fishermen, free Blacks and enslaved Africans, and Anglo-American men, women, and children. Those hidden histories expand the search for the recent beyond the goals of Looking for Angola. The link to Traces of Our Past can be found on our partner's website Reflections of Manatee, Inc

Traces of Our Past is also the title for a NCPAL-Time Sifters Archaeological Society Lecture series, 2009-13.

New College Public Archaeology Lab

NCPAL logo

Opened in 2010, the New College Public Archaeology Lab encompasses the strands developed by Public Archaeology in Sarasota and Traces of Our Past via the dynamics of community-based public anthropology. Information on NCPAL is available at the college website NCPAL on NCF website, which includes the annual newsletters (on the right side of the page, as pdfs) and by "liking" its facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/NewCollegePublicArchaeologyLab/. NCPAL is dedicated to preserving regional heritage through archaeological excavations and interpretations, historic preservation, and educational outreach and community engagement.

On June 21, 2019 New College Public Archaeology Director Uzi Baram invited historic preservationists, archaeologists, and historians to come to the lab for their suggestions and ideas for the future of the NCPAL programs. Jeff Moates, Director of Florida Public Archaeology Network - West Central region, moderated the energetic outpouring of insights into the potential future of public archaeology and heritage studies for Sarasota/Manatee (Florida)

Community Heritage Awareness and Management Program (CHAMP)

CHAMP is a partnership, started in 2014, between NCPAL and Sarasota County Historic Resources. The first project for CHAMP is heritage interpretation at Phillippi Estate Park. The park includes an Archaic period lithic scatter, a Manasota midden, a 1916 mansion along with connections to the 19th century Cuban fishing industry and important events associated with the Seminole Wars.


Heritage and Rising Sea Levels


In fall 2017 Hurricane Irma threatened the Gulf Coast of Florida. The eye of the hurricane passed to the east of Sarasota, the catastrophic fears did not materialize but New College of Florida and the public schools were closed for a week and the region suffered tremendous damage. At one point Sarasota Bay emptied out, requiring warnings to residents not to walk into the muck - the Bay waters returned. There were many warnings about this hurricane, storm surge, and rising sea levels but the time for warning is over. Heritage and Rising Sea Levels is an initiative focused on preserving regional heritage as social action, recognizing the history, the need to make decisions about what to preserve and what to document, and to use the deep past from archaeological research to guide understandings for what our future holds for us and future generations on this changing coast.

In August 2018, the third annual Tidally United Summit, a project of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, came to Sarasota: 

The Summit ignited a program for disseminating the insights on crisis for preserving heritage sites across the Florida Gulf Coast, the lessons gained from research into the ancient peoples who faced the previous epoch of rising sea levels, and programs for heritage as social action.