What is the point?

In the illusion of protecting for all, the loss of the IFP program for armatures by loose legislative language in the Agriculture Bill prompted an end to the possible ‘proper permit’ to the public and justified tax payer funds in one recent instance of over five hundred thousand dollars to be used in an undercover sting named, Operations Timucua, which did nothing but entrap river divers who recovered artifacts in the past when permits were available or even before the state regulation when professional and amateur partnered more seamlessly.

The State Arch’s didn’t know where to go in early years and the public did. The targeted river recovers of recent years, surfaced objects in a less disruptive way than the PhD candidate mentioned in this post has admitted to doing since those recovery methods have not been allowed for amateurs for decades. It is interesting the destruction one can legally do to recover fossils, trees and salvage with legal state permits but better leave those fragile now disturbed artifacts alone while you are down there disrupting things, or one can just go in further student loan debt for higher education and file for an ‘educational research’ permit and do what you like and hire whomever you like to locate the site and pick and choose which artifacts will get turned in. Seems about right in today’s world.

Look, Operation Timucua used images like a recent post by BAR portraying collectors as grave robing thieves looting mounds and federally protect areas, yet no state ‘land grave’ sites were in fact looted by the accused nor were any of the instances of trafficking artifacts related to grave goods…….just well understood lithic material ‘supposedly’ recovered from Florida waterways. But by those transactions, folks were striped in a militant parade of all their artifacts non related to the case, and many items legally obtained from other states with differing laws. It is sad when a person racks up over two hundred felonies for a pushy undercover agent who insist on buying a box of common, river recovered tools from yester years for a hundred dollars…….two hundred felony counts for a box of tools pushed into selling for a hundred dollars cause a stranger at a public show just had to have them. Doesn’t sound like skulls and grave goods and now a good upstanding citizen is a felon.

All public archeological societies are have anti looting ideals, but the common pitch on the professional side leans on making all amateurs to be portrayed as outlaws, and that is harmful to our citizens in your efforts to get ‘people to report people’ for you.
In the enforcement of the new political position on a bias interpretation and implementation of our strict laws, this operation targeted the low hanging fruit of out of context lithic material (not grave goods, human remains or data changing artifacts) recovered in the past and traded to the undercover agents. Many of the confiscated materials seized after the fact from these individuals is not even from Florida, and before confiscation, the public saw those collectors’ items more accessibly than today or in the future. The new position on state sovereignty is strict that all waterways are now deemed off limits and without common sense policing, many will be charged with misdemeanors unknowingly.

In the current leveraging frenzy, eco-tourism is even infringed on if we are not careful. See the slogan now for the Sunshine State….”Came as a tourist, left on probation”…..What did you do? I found an arrowhead on the edge of the water……Well, you deserve it you looting outlaw!  Now pay us your money, get out of our state and go home.

Many of our House Representatives, Senators and others in high governing places are beginning to catch wind of this in justice and do not like the current tactics and are looking at reforming the current laws to require partnerships and a realistic permitting process and collaboration. Operation Timucua not only targeted some real assets to archeology though they paint an exaggerated picture of drug addicts and looters and get away with those claims since many don’t know them, and many of these accused had no previous records. The heavy handed, shock and aw campaign and divisive nature of the Historic Society and BAR as the only conservators and curators of our States History is unjust. Not only have certain families been negatively impacted by some who climbing their own academic and professional latter, one man in the collector community is no longer with us since the thought of his record and loss of future liberties as a felon, he chose to take his life…….WHY….because he was caught selling to an aggressive undercover buyer of an arrowhead supposedly from state waterways, now emphasized as ‘State Sovereign Lands’. Wake up Florida! Without reformation in the law with concise language, our current situation is dangerous to the public while this post has a slant that it is healthy for all.
Want to help awareness Florida? Prosecute and clearly define looting in a precise and just way. Like other states in our union, the historic would be better served by not seeing those amateurs outside of academia as looters who are unqualified and reinstitute a permit process to give the public opportunity to not be outlaws. A person should not have to be a university personnel or PhD candidate to be entitled their pursuits of happiness. Set up alliances with the public since at current their collections far out reach the professional, and since you can’t go back to the thirty’s, why thwart the law today on some and turn the head at others. Make a list of prosecutable sites and areas, and police them for preservation for new technological advances. It is bully like behavior after so many years to now prey on the very people who helped you.

With the State’s Archeological meeting coming soon, they have been posterizing an individual from Tallahassee who is getting his doctorate at Texas A&M.  However,  it is Texas who is unearthing a piece of our preservation in the name of a personal dissertation. It is no wonder many of Florida’s instrumental amateur archeologist find it as a slap in the face. I hope the student Mr. Morgan’s impact statement on his sight list slicing the bank and dredging and assumedly his permit was authorized as such. I hope it is outweighed by his ground breaking new discovers on minute variations on the already established historic record.

However, the irony is, if I owned land on the water, payed extraordinary inflated taxes on it because of my proximity to it, I would not want anyone slicing away or dredging my’ front yard’ away…..but that is just it….the irony of it all.  Anti amateur collecting agendas with propaganda that has pictures of state land looting all the while knowing full well that state lands also extend to all waterways and adjoining embankments along said waterways. So, though I might not like the impact in my ‘front yard’, though I chose this property for an investment based on its inherent attributes, when the state decides to alter it using my tax dollars, I have to be OK with it and continue to consider the greater good above myself….right? Pay high taxes that foot state agenda that contradicts my reason for positioning myself in a high tax zone.  My tax bracket remains as my personal investment declines.  If that was not all, God forbid me going down to my own front yard river bank and picking up an arrowhead, since the rivers now are riddled with undercover agents, drones and such all sustained by public funds to arrest me on the spot, retain me as they call in the reinforcements to enter my home without warrant and confiscate any other items they see fit. It then becomes my burden of proof to regain ownership of any item the state feels was acquired in a looting, unqualified, or unauthorized way. Listen Florida!  Partnering is how we protect the past, not prosecuting the public with misdemeanors and felonies.

If you wish more could read what has been discussed thus far in this essay, well BAR did not want that to happen.  TSAS put this on their facebook page in response to a propaganda push on how citizens should begin to report collectors and portrayed it in a way that the collecting community is thieves.  They deleted the whole thread as of 8/4/15 If only it was as easy as deleting an opposing post on their site and collectors would just dissolve and disappear from the dialogue all together….but….we will not be stop in our efforts towards legal access to collect.

We are the citizens their jobs are designed to serve, so it seems fitting that our suggestions and opinions should be heard and implemented. Forming legislation with concise verbage that is not endangering for our state’s citizens.

We the collector community can’t simply bad mouth the current monopolizing governmental agenda in Archeology, but it is in our interest to expose the heavy handed secrets of enforcement and mishandled conservation of the state.Let us be mindful in our discourse that partnerships, permits and laws that protect both sides are the real targets for solutions that we need to be discussing to bring reformation. Fanning our sides flames might unite us in a battle cry but it might narrow our ability to unify Archeological perceptions as a whole.

Our unity and bringing awareness to injustice and organizing our efforts on our rights and liberties is democracy. We have a voice and voters need to hear it.The amateur has the ability to inform the public in an organic social context, and the Academic from a formal scientific side and together we bring clarity to the public about our archeological past. Both are valid and both stand to gain from clearly defined, legally protected alliance.

Currently it appears many scholars have lost sight of some human fundamentals………. COLLECTORS’ LIVES MATTER

I am in it, till we win it!

(Please consider being a sustaining partner to our advocacy fund)

Several at our last meeting joined the advocacy team as monthly donators, and many chose to go ahead and pay for six months. If a permit to recover artifacts in Florida waterways is of interest to you, then being a partner now is important to help us obtain that liberty once again. If you will one day pay a yearly amount for a permit, then by giving to the fund that will help our future in that way is in substance, your budgetable beginning towards the process.

The real nuts and bolts here is, if we had ten people at a hundred, twenty at fifty, or even forty at twenty five a month, we would be able to build up a budget that would continue to best serve our community of collectors. Let us all put our money where our mouth is, and the phrase that sums this up best…..”I am in it, till we win it!”

TSAS 6/20/15 meeting minutes:

TSAS had a good meeting on June twentieth in Eufaula. We covered our advocacy fund for Florida, our new pledge support for advocacy fund, our Floridian involvement, our scholarship fund, our newsletters, and our auction bid considerations. It was not a formal governmental discussion and many folks left early, but many felt we gained strength in agreement among us.

It is important for some in other states to understand the importance of our priority in Florida’s legislation. Florida could have a positive influence on the other states if we can reestablish a permit process and protect the collector’s rights for past recoveries. Though many neighboring states have had success with collector rights, it is also understood that Florida could swing the perspective in those states if Florida is unable to recover collector privileges and rights. We were unanimous, if we have the funds, we will continue to support the cause and advocacy fund in Florida.

We determined that we will be continuing in our efforts as an organization to continue in our advocacy fund with quarterly contract renewals. We all agreed that by doing nothing we are assured of no results, yet with twelve months already invested in our relationships with Florida governmental representatives, we ought to continue to make it a priority.

Though we have been doing auctions and finding donors to the fund, we agreed to push a new option for support. Many collectors who will one day be paying a permit fee could start allocating funds from their budget beyond membership dues but a monthly pledge contribution of ten, twenty or even thirty dollars. We came up with a slogan for the new push for advocacy support, and it is, ‘I am in it till we win it’. We had many new donations for the auction and over eight individuals commit by check for the new pledge of support.

Many do not understand the lack of Floridian involvement in the last few years especially in light of the efforts to help them. It was exposed that many collectors are uncertain of too many loose ends in the legislation that they have gone dormant. It is going to be vital that Floridian Collectors begin to unite and come together to drive the current conversations. Though many may be fearful of a turbulent legal atmosphere as to artifacts, it is vital that we unite and stand up together for our rights joined by our neighboring states. It is also important for those in other states to empathize and begin to assume the best and not the worst for the noticeably lower involvement by Florida’s collectors. Rest assured, many are doing things in Florida even it is not being broadcast.

We have one Scholarship candidate, and we have the funds allocated to cover it. The Scholarship fund is doing well as for now, but we will need to consider creative ways to ensure it be more resourceful. In the future we might consider some new ways of drawing a greater interest in our program.

As to our newsletter, we all agreed that we need to look into email newsletter and reduce our overall printed copy versions which would save us money for other points of interest. We all agreed that the newsletters are very nice but felt we could get more bang for our buck by developing it into a more user friendly format.

The last point brought up was about our auctions. We had a slogan get put forward that we should, ‘Bid till it hurts’. This is to say that, unlike other forums where one can bid in an auction format to get a good deal on a purchase, in our TSAS auctions we should consider the cause beyond getting a low bid deal. Many organizations will have for instance a pie sale, and though I can buy a pie for under twenty dollars, many bids climb up to five hundred dollars in the name of donations.

Don’t forget the next show in Dothan, and make plans to be there. Also, if you haven’t renewed your membership dues, please do. Keep in mind you can do multiple years at once. It is important for us to continue to inform the none collector community of the good attributes of collectors and diffuse the negative stigmas that tend to paint an incorrect picture of what we do.

Concerned Collectors for the Future

Are you concerned about the future of collecting artifacts in America? Did you even realize there were some who oppose it and are pushing to take that liberty away from you?

Well many states already have groups that have strong anti-collecting agendas whether they have surfaced yet or not. In light of that, don’t be lured into thinking that fossils, metal detecting or other collecting hobbies are not on the radar as well, once popular opinion possibly shifts on artifacts and amateur archeologist. Many in the past have raised the bar in our favor, but currently Florida has regressed for amateur archeology, hobbyist and private collectors rights, and Florida is at this time a front line state for reshaping policies and procedures that could set a precedence either for the family of finders or for those who oppose our ‘pursuit of happiness’.

Current interpretations of the law in the Sunshine State are dark, and they shed an inaccurate slant on collectors and the collecting of disassociated, isolated finds in the state’s waterways. Amateurs have zero rights in Florida at this time other than on private lands, yet don’t be fooled, they are aiming to impose on that as well though many would say bring it on. We see these policies in nations where socialism prevails along with many European nations under their definitions of state sovereignty, but keep in mind with in our current events politically as a nation, artifacts is a light weight in the same breath with anti-gun agendas, but it is there. At some point, we have to see that some agendas to change laws are like crabs in a bucket not wanting any other crabs to be free. The biggest and strongest hold back any who want to escape the confines and these few impose on the whole to keep everyone in equal position yet everyone is held captive and controlled by the dominate few. Right now the state has aligned with some who want to hold down the privateers like the big crabs in the bucket.

The implication is that amateurs are uneducated and irresponsible history wreckers, and that the professional is supreme in education and optimally responsible for preservation of the past and public awareness. Yet it can’t be any further from the truth, since many fine, unique artifacts have been destroyed by the temporary loan to the professional by the amateur in the name of study and science. Also many artifacts are tucked away in basements never to be seen or encountered by the public.

In yester years, we as a community aimed to form a working relationship with the governing historic entities, we were instrumental and helped formulate the ‘Isolated Finds Program’ to which the up and coming, power hungry, academic elitist, big government minded leadership with anti-collecting agendas, shut it down in ’05 here in Florida. Even the Department of Historic Resources represented though the Historic Archeological Society did not have unanimous feedback from citizens on changing the policies at their so called town meetings, the meetings really didn’t serve to align a path for the future or to strengthen a working policy, or set forth a better policy but rather served as a public notice of the end in the current policy set to end by the leadership of a few, and it didn’t need our public approval to change; It was a public display that it was out of our control.

However, in the beginning of the zero tolerance posture, when Game and Fish was separate from FWC, Game and Fish made it real clear at that those meetings, they were not interested in prosecuting those collecting artifacts from waterways and saw it as waste of resources and man power. The current situation snuck up on many by this grey twilight period, for the policy shift was more significant and became polarized all of a sudden in the routine enforcement presence of a merged Game and Fish into the one entity, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, and FWC are the prosecuting headliners of today.

Why is it now a priority and how did it even shift in the first place you ask? The priority has not been dormant, and the community of amateurs has targeted and been successful in counter measures to proposed bills with more restrictions on collectors. Though it has been ten years since IFP’s demise, we have not been able to set forth any significant changing of the laws to get us out of the zero tolerance category…..Yet…..in large part by our own fear of the state and each other and the disunity among ourselves. In the last few years, with significant momentum in some adjoining states, we are progressing in the right direction, rebuilding common alliances, and restoring the hope for a better future.

Many may feel we lost our privileges in ’05 by mishandling it. Look, there will always be a margin that will make poor choices, but the real nuts and bolts of how it even happened in the first place was not about misappropriation of data or information for the archeological record, not even Dunbar not wanting to log it all in and organize it, nor the poor job of amateurs to recover artifacts, conserve or find sites. The shift was by margins with in the professional academia who decided to partition off the public’s role in the Archeological record. They decided it was in their best interest and put forth the arguments with false pretenses misrepresenting the private collectors to move legislative opinions. After all, the amateurs are the ones who found all known sites in the first place. In reality, the ongoing relationship of amateur and professional is at the core of all the data as it stands.

It seems to be a perceived fear along with a need for exclusivity for some professionals, that somehow working with amateurs today doesn’t perpetuate ongoing legislative budget increases for their professional interest. Professionals may feel they cannot argue as productively nor lock in and secure their roles in gaining grants and funding for archeological endeavors when the amateur could do it without needing government funding, and they may fear the push would be, if it isn’t really about ownership of artifacts but rather information, then work with the free hands of the public instead of asking for more money to cover the expenses of new studies.

The real problem between professional to amateur seems to be in methodology and need for a sort of professional hierarchy. Most professionals are professionals by being able to put their name on some significant find thus granting them career mobility. The amateur tends to down play that and they may fear we take away the possible new discoveries out there. So this notion that restraint on the public will prolong the possible discoveries out there to become famous from is foolishness. All throughout our history, the amateur puts the professionals on the discoveries. It is common understanding that fame is used by universities to lure new students to colleges, by having reputable professors made reputable by their unique discoveries. The problem here in Florida, and everywhere, is that progress and expansion are moving much faster than the pace of science and our progress can shift the erosion of lands and displace many artifacts to unsafe vulnerable places, and we the people want to be able to save them.

It is a shame that we are made to be spectators of deteriorating artifacts rather than salvage preservationist collaborating with our respective states. Alaska for example, has many eroded ancient ivory tusk that are illegal to save yet nobody in government finds it significant enough archeologically to save them. For the professional, there is no fame to be acclaimed in it. Here in areas where hurricanes and flood waters annually erode, expose, and unearth artifacts we are equally restrained from preservation in the current laws. And though they do not want to study isolated finds they do not want anyone else recovering them. Is it artifacts or control?

Bottom line, it seems to be response by anti-collector professionals from a place of envy and inferiority covered up with liberal rhetoric. They even may fear they will lose any and all control if it is not zero tolerance. Professionals who may feel vulnerable, that at the roots, amateurs more broadly educate, propagate public awareness to artifacts, retrieve objects out from under ever expanding developmental zones, fight to conserve key sites and places, and aim to salvage and preserve the past more proactively than they. Many professionals seem to be like politicians, always posturing for either their own or their field’s job security, personal resume enhancement, or sights on a bigger prize further up the ladder in a favor system, and though it gets pitched as benefiting us all, most of these sort of professional efforts tailor fit personal aspiration and selfish notoriety alone. For me, I feel we need both and each has a specialized role, and a healthy partnership helps us all, but there are many authorities in the subject of Archeology who are not professionals.

With regards to civil rights, the thing to pay attention to for anybody not in Florida and to become more proactive in your state for the future, is to look for loose language in your current laws. I would get ahead of the plausible vulnerability no matter how well the public and state relations are, and organize a restructure before it is in a defensive stance and takes more time, hardships and money to turn it around. For instance, let’s answer this. So how did this shift in policy happen in Florida anyhow? Well this answer starts with a name, Judy Bense, who used loose language to change the tide.

She got her way and manipulated the end of the IFP policy and gained support by other areas in Government. It has been said, she used legislative intimidation of her brother being in office at the time for the dissolve of IFP, but money and funding tends to motivate those whose livelihood comes from increased budgets. It appears she and others were able thru the influence of the Historic Archeological Society to then influence the Department of Historic Resources to pair with FWC to impose anti-collecting enforcement. It was all based on a decision to stop the permitting procedure and dismantle all further procedures going forward by defining the response on (one word) ‘MAY’ into a detrimental and negating way with in the current statute, 267.115. What the state may or may not do became subjective to one side, the states. Since in the meetings the pitch was ‘supposedly’ the funding couldn’t support the IFP program any longer though, however, it could have asked for granting, they contradicted their position by revealing it was never about getting funds but rather what they wanted to fund. Also, the task force that was once the collectors’ partner in alliance, then turned on the public and used the in tel from the previous program to target people, places of frequency and times of trade with an increased budget aimed at prosecution.

So the shift really came down to values on governmental role made distinct by special interest composed of Bense. The debate became, find funds for permitting or find funds for prosecution? Bense was zero tolerance for amateur collecting in general and had an easy sell with FWC who went along with the prosecution side of finding funds instead of the permitting side, for they were looking for ways to increase their budget for their militant equipment foot print….ie… armored cars, tanks, and military style gear and weaponry, and this paired nicely with that budgetary agenda.

This posture of prosecution produced many adverse setbacks along with a two year undercover sting named ‘Operation Timicua’ costing tax payers hundreds of thousands for 13 arrest to which some still have open cases. They used and publicized the sting in an effort for increasing their militant budget and all arrest were militant, swat team style for publicity, yet their report for the media was nothing like the facts of each of the cases. Not a single person was charged with looting graves or ceremonial complexes nor did they find and sell items to support a drug habit, yet that was the public pitch. Even some of the evidence used in show casing the success of the operation was not in the case but made for good, rich camera footage.

Unfortunately, since this shock and awe campaign, the presence has had after math momentum of others being reeled in to a new heightened scrutiny of the law, and many cases though not as militant in arrest are coming up crooked, missing evidence and Monsanto like drawn out legal proceedings for nothing more than to drain the financial ability of the accused thus forcing them into a plea deal.
Listen, the word ‘may’ is now a negative auxiliary verb, it is now proven language that can remove your rights and entitle government the ability to change policy without consent as they see fit, and then shift enforcement against the citizen and prosecute accordingly whether you are aware or not aware of the laws. They have showed no common sense enforcement and extended no grace in recent prosecutions. No first time offender warning citations to educate the public but rather full blown arrest with zero tolerance taking all artifacts without a warrant from the accused’s property whether it was part of the case or not.

We have met with some House Representatives lately who are going to question Pam Bondi, our Attorney General, to see if first she knows about these cases, and if this is truly and transparently the state’s position for lawyers to be targeting this matter as they have. If so, it appears the State has decided it is in our best interest to move in a ‘may not’ posture with the Department of Historic Resources paired and enforced by FWC as her staff prosecutes current cases and will continue down this path until the statute is amended. The subjective catch in it is this. It is a contradicting position for the state legal side since the statute is the same as from 95 to 2005 where the ‘may’ prompted an implemented program and was our state wide IFP reality. Now citizens are outlaws because the state removed a means to be legal but never adjusted a law to read, ‘shall not’.

Currently, citizens are in pigeon hold and in this limited position, it is against the law to recover any historic artifact from waterways since there is no procedure to acquire permitting…. thus….zero tolerance. Theoretically one can be arrested for cleaning up waterways if their trash includes objects older than fifty years and could be charged with a misdemeanor for disturbing a historic-era artifact since you would then be stealing from the state sovereignty submerged lands. The compounding irony, is that folks currently getting charged, are also losing their whole collections unrelated to the event of their charges, and they have the burden of proof put on them to prove artifacts confiscated in the militant style raids were not from Florida waterways in a time of the current interpretations and enforcement of the law…..so i could be helping in a river clean up, be charged with a ring-tab beer can, and the state come and confiscate my whole private collection of artifacts with claims it all came from state lands specifically submerged.

Needless to say, many do not have their stuff back yet from Operation Timicua, and the enforcement has no specialist helping the collector recover their artifacts. With no amnesty clause grandfathering items in a collection setting forth ownership to the individuals, this gives entrance for state wide pilfering of people’s property under the wiggle room in statute language and is the over reach and byproduct of an anti-collecting agenda. But we are organizing to unite and stand up against these injustices.

For our kids’ sake, it needs to be stopped! Enough is enough! It is our hour for unity, so collectors, I beseech you to unite, and not only on a local front but also on national scope. Even if you would say, it is still legal here, I would advise anyone who has not already, to begin to form relationships with lawmakers and let them know how you feel about other states injustice and campaigns to fight for their rights back. Collectors take your Capitol. Many of you may have connections with law makers already with other topics and political interest, so why not begin to discuss this as well. Get ahead of the curve, and educate those outside of our community that you not be next in loss of permission to obtain artifacts legally.

Lastly, if you would like to help the push for progress in Alabama, Georgia and specifically in Florida at this time, please join and show your support with us, TriState Archeological Society. https://www.facebook.com/groups/TriStateAS/

We have an advocacy fund specifically supporting personnel that they can have an ongoing presence with our district representatives at the Capitol, so if you would like to help us in that way as well, the time has never been more important.
Right now in Florida, governmental over reach and misuse of sovereignty could set a tone for other states in the future. Please consider helping us strike out, and adjust the laws here. It could have lasting impact for us all, everywhere.

TSAS President
Teben Pyles

Access and Awareness



Many today either don’t do technology or they only participate in portions.  This site is for a portion of the public outside of our mailing list and those who don’t do the popular social media forums.  Though we provide our members with newsletters, we are constantly shaping our social footprint to educate, inspire, and bring awareness to the public.   This site will continue to high light events, overview positive community involvements, educate archeologically, broadcast upcoming changes, and show case a variety of artifacts, but we have found that in today’s media savvy world, our Facebook page draws a lot of interest.

In spite of this web site getting hacked and hijacked, we have gotten it resolved, but we no longer have a great deal of our blog post from previous years.  Though we have this web page back up and running safely, for the last several years we had shifted our social emphasis like many groups, to Facebook any how.  We will update this site periodically but we have found that Facebook’s platform is more member interactive.  This site will serve primarily as reinforcement of the main points in our news letters, any major shifts as they happen, or member generated educational articles we feel need greater push for the public.

For an interactive, member inspired experience with many informative threads of past discussion, and over 2000 pictures to muse, look us up.  Our Facebook page address is:


Forward Vision

Thanks to those that nominated me, thanks to Kevin for all he has done to elevate the culture of TSAS. Together with those who are new and those that have been around, with the great team on the board already, I hope that we can continue building a brighter future for the community of collectors. May we go beyond the passion for the hobby, but begin to bridge ourselves in a more significant and unified force for positive impact on our civil liberties.

I start on the shoulders of those before, and this transition was not because anything was broken but based on targets of broader breath and a more resourceful reach to begin to rekindle synergy in the state of Florida. It is about continuing to align us across boarders in our three states and across the various collector communities, but since the current events are a pressing importance in Florida’s front lines, it is strategic to put a Floridian at the helm. Even then, let us continue to be a blessing in our local communities with scholarships and our venues of education and preservation as whole.

Listen, if we want to be not only a society but individuals that are trusted with preservation, recovery and collection, we as a family of finders need be trustworthy. Though the opposition at times can be nothing but trustworthy, it does not give us the right to join in their unrighteous entitlement. It is important for us to continue being proactive in informing and educating the public transgenerationally, informing ourselves and collaborating more effectively, and continue to mentor and self regulate our activities to ensure an enduring future of our current efforts.

To avoid our efforts getting offset yet again, as we continue to stand for and change to the dangers in the law, we need unity, strong alliances, and a good public image.  If we can move from casual to classy, the public and the voters will continue to take us serious. I feel if we can move to a place of testimonials from a place pointing out our set backs of injustice, we will remind ourselves how great it is to be a member of the collecting community, and we will be emblematic of how we are everything but a bunch of outlaws.

Since the legal implication is, by recovering a displaced artifact from Florida’s waterways, one is ‘stealing’ from the state, it is crucial that we become singular in our stand and our public awareness and efforts, for in our unity, we will have better days ahead of us.  It won’t be over just by adjusting what can even then get adjusted back or into something worse. So, our conduct as a collective needs to uphold a high standard.  Look, advocacy is not for big names alone, for it happens at every level. So, get into the conversation and engage the audience that you are given. It is not about the few that get elected but the many that choose to elect, and all those who elect, need proper perspectives and information.  May we all begin to help drive more informed conversations and conduct ourselves accordingly.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to serve the family of finders. Our past President, Kevin Dowdy, will be very instrumental in our future, and he had this to say, “Congratulations Teben! I am excited that you are our new president, and I am confident that you will take things to the next level! I appreciate all the support and the opportunity to serve and will continue to support TSAS anyway I can.” So, let us all take hold of the future, by doing what we can for forward progress in our own spheres of influence each day.

Your servant leader,

Teben Pyles


Progress Towards Victory

tpyles Teben Pyles


Though we were few in number, I believe that we had meaningful points of contact and informed some of the minds that matter today at the Capitol. It was largely orchestrated through the depth of relationships that are the ongoing diligence of our lead lobby advocate by which I believe we sat in the presence of many that will help us to achieve our goals.

We met with almost a dozen representatives today and their assistants, and all of whom expressed empathy for overreaching government while even then, many of them gave us great advice, possible allies and strategies to be successful for moving forward. So, today I will chalk up as good progress towards victory for the collector’s rights though so much work still needs to be done.

In the near future, we will be calling on all of our members and peers to rally together and to join in expressing to our district representatives and our senators that which we would like them to do for us. Each one that we met with today was very thankful that they could place faces with our cause, but they need more stories, more experiences, more voices, and more emails to connect what they found moving with in our stories today with the stories of us all. It is the time for all of us to express to them why it is we should be allowed to do what we’ve been doing for years, even many of us, for generations. To let them know why collecting is not a crime.

There is power and numbers and with our low numbers, we need everybody to at the least call or email their respective representatives, and in the next several months, we will be organizing an effort for a mass showing of support and we’re calling it, Collectors at the Capitol.