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!