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

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 (wfsu.org), 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.