To Establish Truth Midst the Posture of Fiction

To establish truth midst the posture of fiction, those from the outside looking in had better keep in mind not what the allegations of what legislation, bill HB803 and SB1054, would unleash but rather what the language truly suggest and the common sense benefits that come from it.

By having legitimate permit holders back in the waterways, crime will go down because of active citizen patrol and reporting. It has been brought to my attention that since the isolated finds permit ceased, FWC has not seen a decline in outlaw looting, but rather an extreme increase. That increase has not been in the waterways alone however but in fact on key, protected sites, mounds and graves along waterways. As I have said, you cannot out police this issue and it is far better to have the honest citizen out there legally intercepting and offsetting mindless people who would jeopardize liberties. It is far better to appreciate all the stake holders than to alienate them as we see today.

It is very dangerous to recreation here in our state to offer permits for some things in underwater salvage but not give a means to the full spectrum of things that can be recovered in the same localized proximity. It seems a hollow argument to allow Fossils, Treasures, and Logging to be atoned for yet ensnare the public for Artifacts. It is an unbalanced argument no matter how many publicly funded members you get to speak out against artifact recovery from St. Augustine.

Next, my heart goes out to the true Native Americans when they appeal to our legislators about their ancient grave sites that are being impeded on and ransacked especially in south Florida, but the factual argument in the case of bill HB803 and SB1054, is in extreme contrast to the claims that this bill would foster grave looters abilities to further drive disrespect. That is just not true for in no way can these bills over step Federal laws that protect those ancient sites. None of the avocational supporters of the bill are advocates of grave digging and again would be an active voice helping to incriminate violators of federal law.

Also in the same breath, these bills do nothing to over step the zero tolerance protection of Historic sites, parks and conservation zones. With the strict penalties put in place within the language, such activity be a permit holder would revoke their rights in the program and prompt an immediate monetary penalty if not also setting in play various legal ramifications. Florida is far better with extra legitimate stake holders actively pursuing happiness and being in the places that the majority of our citizens never go and witness things that mostly remain unaccounted for.

Also as to the commercialization target, it is important when we say Floridians will lose Florida’s past by interstate commerce to be mindful that our arbitrary demarcations of the state, prehistoric man did not recognize as a boundary. TriStates Archaeological Society represents collectors in a region where overlap and interconnectedness demonstrate a broader picture than that of just our state. Also, if the record and data is the most crucial piece of the puzzle for strict science, what part does an artifact’s curation location play in that argument. In today’s social media connected world, artifacts are not lost when housed in other states but rather the publicity is broadened and has a larger audience of appreciation.

Lastly, though many professionals have spoken to me in passing at the capitol and have said, ” I really like you” “ this bill has good intentions” what they need to be honest with themselves with is that they by posturing to squash our bills is only demonstrating that the nitch professional community unyieldingly bent on a Judy Bents perspective, have not brought any middle ground to our bills, they have not offered any suggestions to help foster a healthy working relationship or partnership, and are in essence furthering the divide and mistrust. I find it intriguing and would wonder when we see many tax funded members attending capitol sub committees, how many of the folks are using government vehicles, government fuel, and are on the clock to attend these hearings? I know for me and those I represent, we are taking a day off of our jobs as citizens to come to the capitol to have our voices be heard.

Please help to keep these bills alive by reaching out to your representatives and letting them know why you’re for the Bills HB803 and SB1054

The Loudest Voice

When we have such a loud over bearing public appeal by professionals that all avocational amateur archaeologist should not be able to participate in the historic and prehistoric collection of antiquities due to lack of specialization, education, ill intentions or lack of public exposure, it becomes clear those shallow arguments have underlying agenda and posturing. It is easy to get an eye witness account when one takes a visit to a local Florida museum and sees that on display is the low grade examples of lithic material misnomenclated and displayed in error. Even an amateur can get typology and presentation correct, so what is really going on here?

It only takes one discussion with those who have worked behind the scenes in local museums to realize that there are thousands of artifacts stored away with no future intentions of being visible to the public even though many of them are rare, high quality, one of a kind examples of an artifact. Seems anti-climactic to the arguments that the amateurs don’t serve the public as good as the professional since the majority of the high grade artifacts are citizen donated specimens, yet the very public who donated them can’t enjoy them. There are some instances, to add to this, where things have disappeared and family members can’t get straight answers as to where their family member’s donations have gone or been housed. Other reports where a retiree was honored with a frame of rare Paleo Spear points from the states collection, donated to her as personal property as a going away present.

Other ironic catch 22, is the instances of over enforcement to divers and this misportrayal of collectors destroying habitat and the context with their implements, boats and motorized equipment. Here is an account from a certain trip by an avocational diver who was in a shallow river near Sanford Florida, and the FWC officers we so overzealous to catch him doing wrong they could care less about the three bags of garbage the diver had recovered off the bottom to throw away and recycle. They simply said, ‘we don’t have time to worry about that stuff’ and told the boater they wouldn’t take it and that he could go throw it away. The officers were only pressing and attentive, being overly clear that no artifacts should be recovered off the bottom while cleaning and that they had plenty of time to check out his collection of trash for those things if he tried to hide them in the trash. After driving on by assuring the diver they would be back by, the said diver went back down in the shallows to see a trench rooted along the streams edge just to notice countless bone pins broken and freshly ruined by the officer’s boat motor.

Look, the tide has shifted in our country where currently many believe Government does everything best and unfortunately that has seemed to empower many whose livelihood is based on the public’s taxation. They tend to put down the commercialization of antiquities while in essence they are in the business of History for a profit as well. Just because one dresses their agenda up with letters after their name, it does not then give them a license to use that platform to coheres the young and many times naive college aged voters, nor does it give them the right to use that platform to impose on public politics. Some, being so hell bent on distortions that have then been used to undergird heavy handed enforcement, have bankrupted, and legally abused fellow Americans.  They will have to give account to God one day for their lack of common sense.

It is not assumption that we have a huge disconnect in Archaeology between Citizen Science and Professional. When in a subcommittee hearing on House Bill 803 and a writer of the Tallahassee Democrat and Historian makes comments to build a case that opposes the bill, and she uses an analogy that the proposed permit given to avocationals, no matter how innocent the Bill’s intentions are, is like giving each citizen a screw driver and allowing them to come to Tallahassee and ‘chisel’ off a piece of the refurbished Historic Capitol building so they can all be able to take home a souvenir of Florida’s History. Comments like this sends a loud and clear message that the Division of Historic Resources motivated by these sort of historian perceptions has a clear motivation to remove all amateurs or hobbyist rights and their abilities to collect antiquities from State lands, embankments and submerged bottoms.

Though this Bill HB803 and SB1054 amends portions of Law as pertains to collections of antiquities for underwater and adjoining embankments, it has become overtly apparent that many Academics all across our Nation are assuming stake in the conversation, and they are persuasive in that dialogue, that if one does not have a degree, has not chosen to be a professional in any of the various subdivisions of Anthropology, then that person is a looter, a robber, stealing from America and its citizens.

When claims continue to be platformed that America has an epidemic or grave problem with its “out of control antiquities market”, the writing is clear as day on the political wall. When Politicians are ask to base perception of a problem off of EBay and not legal investigations, we must address the folly! The folly that many of us amateurs believe many accounts are fake and set forth by the opposition to make there exaggerated claims on the inflated monetary incomes from antiquities. All of us in the hobby, know EBay to be a deceitful cover for the crooked to make money off of the ignorant investors around the world since most of the time those items on EBay are either fake, stolen, or way overpriced.

Our civil liberties are going to continue to be confiscated by governmental entities if we do not begin to collectively combat legislative over reach and rally with one another around collector rights to amend and get laws to a place of protection and not prosecution. Listen, we cannot allow hyper exaggerated professional propaganda and estranging rhetoric to continue to pigeon hold public opinion nor our legislators. We must not be idle as by standers, letting the miscasting of facts and nitch perceptions to be the loudest voice. We must define that role of service of the professional and not watch it be defined from within their own interest and peers. Our voices and our clout needs to remind the Academic Professional community not only here in Florida but also abroad, that they work for us as a service to, We the People.

The Public Needs to Know the Truth, not just the Professional’s Pitch.

Did you know that it is against the law to pick up and take home any item that is older than 60 years from the waterways here in Florida without a permit? In light of the current events that wrench our nation, this might seem like a side line issue for some. However, I am publicly asking that you help.
Many people know how fun it is to find shells and sharks’ teeth on the beach but don’t realize that if at the same time they find an artifact knowingly or unknowingly, they could be charged with breaking the law. Though not everyone is an avid, get out the door collector, many of us know of family members or people in our community who find great pleasure in recovering and saving items from the past to showcase and teach others with. For instance, as a retired Duval County public school teacher, I still often serve the public by teaching, and just recently taught sixth graders all day at Charles E. Bennett Elementary on a comparison and contrast of Woodland period America and Greece. I showcased artifacts alongside woodland technology practices and bring some relevance to the historic study with the tangible, local prehistoric record.
You may not realize or be aware, but currently an abundance of tax dollars is being funneled into undercover surveillance to prosecute the public for collecting artifacts. From spears, tools and arrowheads to early settler wine bottles, jewelry and weaponry, many are racking up some serious charges by trying to save the past from the future.
The motivation of groups who are against the public from rescuing items from the waterways base claims on peer influenced bias, generalizations and mistruths and is birthed from an elitist, out of touch, job security response of the academic community. It has been said by some professionals that the popular academic mindset would rather see a bulldozer destroy a site soon to be developed just so amateurs don’t get any of the artifacts. They feel that the commercialization of antiquities should not be allowed and it is best stopped by cutting off supply. The only portion of supply they can influence is what can legally be described as State Sovereign Lands and right now they are utilizing that language to keep the public from a permit to legally obtain objects from the past.
They have an alluring pitch if a person didn’t know any better with their claims that sites are being ruined by divers, that all waterways are interconnected underwater sites, and there is still lots to be recovered, but these claims can’t be further from the truth. There are only a few spots on low flow rivers in our state that should be protected and preserved for future Archaeological Science and technology, but the majority of all other areas may have artifacts still eroding out with modernity’s artificial impact on watershed, but as to the Archaeological record, the majority of areas do not have any new history altering evidence to reveal. The divers can only help compound the record with repeat evidence from areas and sites and with a healthy partnership, new sites found by the self-funded amateur, can only help, as they have all throughout history, to get the academic onto those areas for closer study as need be.
As I see it from being well integrated in the collector community, the diving community and after diving close to thirty years myself, it is not about underwater site preservation, but rather a territorialism and exertion of power from a portion of academics who don’t otherwise have much say. These same folks make claims that they do not care the least with what you do on you own private property not because they don’t truly have concern but because they know in our country it is a losing proposition to set forth legislation to grant them easement onto private property. So, they have been taking their stand on public lands which includes all of the underwater territories of any navigable waterway and pitching themselves as the true guardians of the past all the while miscasting the Avocational Archaeologist as looters who are stealing from the public.
The true irony is that a citizen can purchase a Treasure Hunter Permit which is specific to sunken vessels and their cargo and or random pockets of concentration, a citizen can purchase an underwater logging permit and recover old sunken logs from past logging transport by water, and lastly citizens can get a fairly inexpensive Fossil Permit and recover fossils under some set reporting guidelines without limit……..but while doing any of these activities, a person had best leave the other artifacts where they lay. With no permit for that portion of what lay under water, the public has no basis to protect that portion of our past. Policing to protect in this way only produces outlaws.
I overview all of this to say, there are many of folks in this area and all over the nation that have a hobby of collecting artifacts, and we are putting forth legislative initiative to have the state reinstitute a program where one can buy a permit to recover artifacts that range from prehistoric to historic from the bottom of rivers, lakes and their embankments. From 1996 to 2005 there was a permit yet with the loose legislative language of one word ‘may’ implement a policy, the state withdrew the implementation of the policy. With grass root efforts, the collector community now has a bill in the House and in the Senate here in Florida that will set back into place what was removed. I am asking for your help to reach out to your district’s representation with a quick email to let them know that you are in favor of Bill HB803 and SB1054

It is more than Rhetoric

From 95 to 2005 in Florida, a person could utilize a permit by which they could then recover artifacts under specified guidelines in navigable state waterways deemed state sovereign submerged lands.   After such time, the state, influenced by a bias few with political clout, decided to with draw that policy based on language in the law, specifically, the word ‘may’.

HB 803 and SB 1054 are Bills that are simple strike outs and adjustments on the law to get citizen scientist back in the waterways without being outside of the law.  We are in essence changing ‘a may implement to a shall implement’ a policy.  It is really that simple.   We are sponsoring the adjustments in law to regain civil liberty to the avocational.  We are helping to create a Bill that would create a permit program similar to the very successful Florida fossil permit and South Carolina’s hobby diver permit.

Collectors at the Capitol Prayer and Address

For those who could not attend our Collector’s at the Capitol dinner,  Rep. Charlie Stone did and exceptional job of over viewing his character traits as a politician, his personal  history, and informed the members of the game plan moving forward on Bill#803.  He gave us an overview of what to expect,  and practical handles that each of us can do in the near future to help better the Bill’s path to the floor. We had a wonderful day at the Capitol revisiting verbal agreements for co-sponsorship on the Bill, and a delightful time reconnecting and fellowshiping at our gathering.   It was a big success!

TSAS President’s Prayer and Address:

  Father we beseech you, that you would extend your scepter on our behalf as we continue our pursuit in legislation by which we may regain portions of our civil liberties. Lord we continue to be of cheerful spirit and thankful hearts knowing that whatever we ask aligned in your will, you would do on our behalf. Father we ask that you bring reconciliation where there has been loss and hardship for families by confusion and mishandling of law and the enforcement there of. Jesus we know and find comfort that you make the crooked path straight, and by your mercy and grace, you open doors that no man can shut along with closing doors that no man can open.
God let your sovereignty be seen as we rally in your goodness, your kindness that is embodied in us by your Son. We ask that you open up the heavens and pour out blessing upon us, pour out knowledge and wisdom on us that we be and move on your behalf, as you see fit. Jesus we trust you as the great Shepherd that leads us to green pasture, the great host that prepares a table in the midst of our enemies.
Father we ask that you bless this time, bless this food, and embody our fellowship one to another in your love, and that this dinner not be a temporal event that comes and goes with no lasting impact but that it be a signet marker of your unity in us experienced in our gathering tonight producing a revitalized synergy around our efforts. In your mighty and wonderful name Jesus we pray…..and all those who agree say, amen.
I’d like to start our meeting tonight by thanking all those who put a premium on reorganizing your personal calendar and re allocating your personal budgets to invest in this evening’s gathering.
I’d like to draw special attention and say thank you to Representative Charlie Stone for chairing our concerns, being our keynote speaker and attending our dinner this evening.

TSAS or Tri States Archaeological Society is a group who has found ourselves connected by some set public priorities that we advocate to maintain and or get back as pertains to Archaeology, Artifacts, Acquisition of Antiquities, Citizen Curation and public awareness and outreach. TSAS is not limited to but pivots on some irreducible values with in our own collaborations, our partnerships and alliances among other like-minded societies and organizations. These five value pillars are Honor, Heritage, Inheritance, Preservation, and Passion.

Honor is described best with the veneration and earnership, the thread-work members intertwine community around. It is the respect we attribute to those pioneers that trudged the way before us and is the pride we each hold close for the comradery of Collector community.

Heritage defines the right we each have has stake holders to a larger call, and it is based on the in alienable rights we each have in this great country to protect our own legacies and liberties. It is a reflection of who we are and where we came from, demonstrated through collection and conservation.

Inheritance is summed up best by the phrase, ‘With great wealth, comes great responsibility’. Inheritance is liken to guardianship. It is a reflective recognition, realized representation and remembrance. It rescues, restores, and curates artifact assemblages to display and demonstrate a source of information that can be shared to a broader sphere.

Preservation protects objects and the information unearthed or disseminated among peers from or about past cultures and people. It concerns itself with bridging gaps between the past and present for personal and public awareness. It rescues, salvages, and shares.

Passion probably is the most descriptive when defining a people who chose to be the keepers of the past in so stewarding Art and Artifacts. It is passion yoked by common interest among a community that has an urgency to teach, showcase, debate, discuss, unveil the novel or often taken for granted ancient truths. It is also motivated and driven by progress as pertains to protecting positive positions in and with our civil liberties to participate in Archeology. It is the passion of the hunt, the discovery, the story of the process, the rarity of finding a specimen example, and the personal growth developed through the practice of collection that drives the avocational scientist. I can illustrate like this, fishermen get a subconscious response when their reel, with drag set, suddenly explodes in a reckless symphony of clatter and at the same time they witness the tip of their pole bent down to the edge of breaking. For the collector, it is those slow motion moments of a hand shake with the artifacts maker when an educated guess pays off from a new or old fishing spot. You see, finding is catching, but there is a reason we call it hunting or fishing: It is descriptive of a process that puts us into position to experience the magic moments of rare opportunity. It comes in many forms but is summed up in one word….PASSION.

Now, as of late, we have seen a shift in professional perception and public access. It has become apparent that the avocational is in need of a face lift or a name change. The Amateur Artifact Collector needs a broader breath in publicity to set the public image straight on what we are and what we do and conversely what we are not and what we do not do.
Professional Archaeology in the near future will need to return to a posture of embracing the Citizen Scientist.
Currently and rightfully so, Florida Collectors in particular, have gone into hiding since shifts in enforcement methods, undercover covert operations, stings and set ups have put people in unresolvable positions, conflicts of accreditation, and faced with a burden of proof against a governmentally funded opposition. They have found themselves forever changed for the worse and other on lookers do not want to be part of the shock and aw campaign of intolerance and have gone underground.
This over reach of government has not only damaged many families, but it has had an extended rippling effect of division in and throughout the hobbyist community giving rise to dissension and mistrust among peers and most definitely between professional and amateur. The biggest impact for the common collector has been the thwarting of our unique ability to serve the public from our unity in public venues. It has dampened what we as Avocationals do best…..serve the public organically by imparting history to the public in a practical and cost effective way.

Though the target of opposition to the privateer has been based on exaggerations and private opinions in and about the commercialization of Artifacts and antiquities, it has negatively swayed political and legal positions around those mistruths and unfamiliar generalizations. The buying and selling of Artifacts is not the grave danger that threatens Florida’s past nor the past regional prehistoric record, but rather the promotion of legislation that alienates the public from participation in the process, in fact, produces a far worse crisis to the Archaeological record and publicity of the past. By making outlaws of citizens by in removing policies that engage them, only creates a divide, and the public will unearth many things in the unending development of this state that the professional will have positioned themselves out of. By asserting themselves as bigots and bullies, they lose their place to participate in countless future recoveries by their heavy handed policing and elitism.
The conversation has to move to a healthy partnership undergirded with law that protects both the Professional and the public where each group specializes in its strengths to best serve the common good. Criminalizing the public for current or not to distant grey area activity does not best brighten the future for Florida. The avocational was, is, and will be instrumental to Archaeology. We have all made the effort tonight to gather here as a symbolic gesture, an action parable, that we as a group, are making it a political priority, to move towards participating and producing, an optimal policy by which promotes and protects both the Archaeological record, public interest, and the citizens of this fine State. We are in it till we win it!

Collectors at the Capitol

We are hosting a dinner at the Capitol and our Key Note speaker is our Bill sponsor.  For tickets, please contact TSAS Dinner to ensure your name is placed on the guest list.…

This is shaping up to be a Who’s Who of Florida Collectors, so get your money in and your name on the list because there are only 70 seats. Thank you to all of you who have already made a commitment to help us change the future for Florida by helping the Advocacy Fund, Sponsoring the event or are planning to attend, ‘Collectors at the Capitol’.

Tri State Archaeological Society recent interview by Mr. Diaz de Villegas, Producer/ Editor of WFSU Ecology blog (

Tri State Archaeological Society recently had the opportunity arise for a video interview on the front yard embankment of the Pyles’ property along the Santa Fe River. Mr. Diaz de Villegas, Producer/ Editor of WFSU Ecology blog (, organized the interview with Teben Pyles and Thornton Pyles concerning a recent dig on the Wacissa River, the prohibition of artifact collection, and the public’s point of view of the current archaeological unrest between Professional and Avocational. Hopefully we were able to properly represent the real complication for collectors and the contradictions in civil rights. It is not unawareness of the law, but rather a bias interpretation and enforcement of the law leveraged by the states withdrawal on a policy to accommodate the public for artifact recovery and possession called the IFP (Isolated Finds Permit) program. Mr. Diaz de Villegas wrote, “I’d love to interview you about the state of citizen archaeology in Florida. I think there’s an interesting conversation to be had about science (can only PhD’s contribute?) and who artifacts, our Florida heritage, belong to.” This whole current issue is a debate on entitlements and is worthy of airing both sides being that the only beneficiaries at present are the Universities and big government. You do not have to be a PhD or grant dependent academic, to know the true history in Florida, and to overlook that is near sided foolishness. The irony is that by diving and picking up an out of context, isolated find, one is now liken to a grave robber or state protected key site looter.
We set straight that amateurs are not for looting in protected areas, and would rather see legislation that accurately and clearly defines looting in a precise and just way since it is obvious the Professionals don’t second guess the negative impacts on collectors charged with felonies or even misdemeanors. The compounding of that delusion is the propaganda which consist of pictures of state land looting while none of the current charged citizens were digging on Florida’s state lands but were diving and/or trading river found artifacts. Those who built this criminal case and helped get funding for the undercover sting knew full well that ‘state lands’ could be language that could produce a productive snare for collectors since their real target wasn’t the mishandling of river found artifacts but rather the commercialization of antiquities, and since State Sovereign Lands extends to all navigable waterways and adjoining embankments along said waterways, it was the low hanging fruit of entrapment methods for propaganda pushes to justify an elitist political and social position. Hopefully when this airs in October, we were able to recast our public image and add to the conversation that partnering is how we protect the past, not prosecuting the public.

Commercialization and the Avocational


The sale of, exchange of, trade of a person’s property is not unlawful. Politically, Capitalism in some circles is a breath of fresh air while at the same time in other arenas it symbolizes decay and degradation of quality in place of profits. Ironically, the barter system is not the enemy for where there are producers there will be consumers: Not each member in society has the ability or can afford to produce all their own needs, so supply and demand is perpetuated by need. The market is based on competitive price points where consumers aim at savings at the same time the producers aim for profitable returns on investment. In sophisticated enculturated societies, capitalism produces specialist and in many cases it has proven to increase quality. In healthy systems, consumers drive quality control. But with nonrenewable resources it gets scrutinized because the products are not invented, created or grown but are preexistent. In these cases the disputable variables are in the recovery and distribution practices of finders, and that gets compounded when goods are recovered from State Sovereign Lands and Waterways. However, is the barter of antiquities really about unjustified profits for the finders or in the financing of an exchange where objects move from a vulnerable location to curated one? Is our real problem the envy between professional and secular curators?

Is a fisherman that chooses to harvest within the law and the parameters of permit not the owner of the fish they have caught? A study on capitalism with regard to public resources and the free market could be clarified from examples like state wild life and fisheries and others. Wild life is a public resource which without oversight and preservation many species run the risk at all times of extinction. Though the living organisms at first glance appear to be a renewable resource with management, it is sustained and thrives by a balance between regulation and the harvester. Another one that unravels contradiction in the claims that commercialization of antiquities should be banned, is the Treasure Hunter Permits and its definition as to property rights. These salvagers pay big money to the process and to the state in order to recover artifacts that then they commercially draw profits from. Similarly, Geology is another area of review, prospecting and mining are long running commercialization of nonrenewable resources. These three examples deal with state sovereignty and property rights and all three fund themselves by commercialization. Artifacts and antiquity are truly limited resource, yet there is still things that can be implemented versus zero tolerance of amateur collection. Along with Fossils and Underwater Logging, it seems inconsistent to target and prohibit this one area of resources, Artifacts, while all along partnering with the commercialization of the others. Seems the conversation is about when a finder of a salvaged antiquity on public lands is or is not the owner and in control of the find as their  property.

At present in Florida, it seems Artifact regulation is a tailor fit for Government funded academia and zero tolerance for those outside of that ‘Good ol Boy Club’. Their lack of familiarity with reality tends to slant a perspective based on exceptions and not the norms. The majority of collectors are an asset for Archaeology and they are not thieves, looters, nor corrupt profiteers. The current problem in Florida is based on property and the ownership of objects found in around our rivers and navigable waterways. The debate is not about protected sites, parks, or private property, yet if you didn’t know better you would assume that it was about looting in protected areas and parks by the continual misleading pitches of professional propaganda. Asserting enforcement targeting the commercialism of antiquities recovered from waterways is like lunging at low hanging fruit and a shock and aw over reach of policing for so called preservation, and it is unjust since there is no means of permit for the avocational nor is there a grandfathering in of goods recovered when it was lawful and or a permit was in place for river recovered artifacts.

In Florida, territory is being rapidly developed by the rise in population, but that does not argue against a need for avocational recovery of antiquity but actually builds a strong case for the need for citizen scientist to be empowered to become even more instrumental in the future of Florida’s Archaeological record. In that way, the only sustainable, practical, and reliable reformation will come through amending and revising laws that protect the public in order to ground a working relationship between the academic professional, the secular professional, the avocational, and the amateur archaeologist, along with the residents and tourist alike. The loss of territory in Florida by population bloom both exasperate a perceived vulnerability of the archaeological situation and has set forth a biased over exertion of control towards zero tolerance. The fear that nonrenewable resources are in danger from a perceived heightened commercial supply and demand among secular professional archaeologist is unfounded by facts and are assumptions. However, population increase directly affects land sites and over time will impact waterways by dredging, bulk heads, docks, channel redirection and embankment alterations, so why not let a trained citizen recover and salvage in the areas that are not of significant archaeological significance since said sites with artifacts in the near future will be destroyed inadvertently with or without anti collector laws. The river bottoms never get showcased to justify the anti-collector position, yet land sites with rare occurrences of looting which should have better protection get used to represent the harm the amateur has on sites. It is a classic case of misrepresenting the truth and miscasting the collector.

To say that the quality of Archaeology has no benefits by the commercialization of a marginal number of artifacts is a near sided politically and professional bias based on an alienated point of view. If the professional was not hell bent on enforcement and the bending of broad language in the law to favor anti collecting agenda, then they would have a more transparent relationship with the avocational, and if the government side hadn’t flip flopped on so many folk through the years and had regulated themselves as diligently as they do the public, it would have gained more respect and a better positive public image with common sense, consistent, fair procedures, policies and practices. Currently, it is divided to an unprecedented level based on the polarizing agenda that seems to be set on criminalizing and producing policy for outlaws instead of finding ways to set forth permitting and beneficial regulations for partnership. The agenda of a few elitist or ‘big its’ in governmental control exemplify the disagreement between exceptions and tend to adjust policy changes based on the point of view of a few. The recent debates seem to reveal many of the state’s leadership are apparently motivated by having the final say in a disagreement.

The few’s problem with a few should not affect the many, and a few ought not to create policy that adversely suppresses the whole. The major inequality and injustice is that since 1967, the governmental group has the strong arm of influence and immunity in the law. While the majority on all sides of Archaeology know clearly that justice is best served by reforming the law, for now unfortunately the various definition and inconsistencies with ‘permission’ seems to shape current perception and the negative impacts on the public by enforcement. Some justify heavy handed, broad policing and mishandled government spending since it validates and undergirds the politics and funding of the overweight machine that is already gobbling up resources and has no intention of going on a diet. Some need to sort out in their core for not just what is right in the law, but what is right one family, one citizen to another as united country men with similar interest. All sides need to confront their own inconsistency and redefine a positive conflict resolution for the future.

Become a Sustainer

Currently there is a study being conducted that many of us participated in the survey portion of it. Though the wording is formed in a traditional definition to amnesty, the reality behind it is that it has began to bring into conversation the divisive nature of mishandled conservation ideals. What is going to become prevalent in the future conversations, as to the rights of Citizen Scientist, is that it takes the whole of a society to best serve its history.

Many of us in the collector community have become disenfranchised and persecuted by heavy handed enforcement and legal intimidation. Many of the partnerships of the past have been the very snares of today. It is no surprise that many have become mistrusting of the professional archaeological community and their impact on politics and legislation. When your resource source is governmental funding, it is no wonder there are efforts to squash groups that serve Archaeology with no impact on taxation. Even then, for a healthy uncovering of the historic record, we need both professional and amateur in collaboration.

To make that reality, we can no longer relate one to the other in verbal agreement alone, for the only ones that are in risk of legal ramifications when the agenda of tolerance shifts is the very citizens the collaborative Historic record is intended to enculturate. Like it or not, getting laws redrafted that require unbias partnerships is the only viable solution for a healthy future in Florida’s Archaeology. That is what we are doing in TSAS. We are legally positioning new translation in law and exposing the strong bias and endangering postures of governmentally funded professionals. We are fighting for a healthy coexistence.

You can influence change in so many ways, so continue to do what you can, when you can. Please become a partner with our political efforts by becoming a Legal Advocacy Fund Sustainer.

Thanks for the continued support.
Teben Pyles