Grab your trowels, brushes and handkerchiefs and encounter the rich archaeological remains from the Timucua Indians and the French and Spanish settlers here on the First Coast. Because of the First Coast’s rich history, St. Augustine is one of the few American cities with a full-time archaeologist working to clear out archaeological remains prior to building projects around the city, a resource not many cities have.

In addition to the city of St. Augustine, the University of North Florida allows the public to help out with digs every summer. Dr. Keith Ashley has been studying the Southeast and especially North Florida for many years. He has led digs on Big Talbot Island and Black Hammock Island on the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve uncovering Timucuan shell rings and other sites to find pottery and other historically useful artifacts.

You may think that you can just go anywhere, start digging and find something because of the extensive history here, but it really takes a lot of planning and research. These teams of professionals do archaeological digs at various times in the year. Volunteers are essential to our local archaeology programs. Whether you have skills as a writer, photographer, or scuba diver…or maybe you are just curious, these programs could use your help.

To stay up-to-date with the progress of local digs, and to volunteer, you can become a member of the St. Augustine Archaeological Association or the Florida Public Archaeology Network located in St. Augustine.

Here is the contact information for the various programs on the First Coast where you can get involved. Dig in!

St. Augustine Archaeological Association
Saaa.shutterfly.com

City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program
Digstaug.org
(904) 823-2263

Florida Public Archaeology Network
Flpublicarchaeology.org/nerc/
(904) 819-6404

Lighthouse Archaeological  Maritime Program
Staugustinelighthouse.com/LAMP/index.htm
Volunteer Coordinator- 904-829-0745 or email her at lwellman@staugustinelighthouse.org

University of North Florida
Facebook.com/pages/UNF-Archaeology-Lab/189192697784752
Keith Ashley- kashley@unf.edu