Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alumna Profile: Maureen M. ('05) in South Florida

I am the crew chief of the Tribal Archaeology Section (TAS) in the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) that works for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The work occurs on the various Seminole reservations that are located throughout South Florida. While the work we do in TAS is similar to CRM (Cultural Resources Management), it is a unique experience since we complete the archaeological surveys specifically for the Seminoles. We conduct these surveys prior to any new construction on the Seminole reservations. Since the TAS is fully responsible for the archaeology, we also produce all the maps related to the surveys using ArcGIS. Once a project is complete, we also write the reports. My job specifically includes determining the archaeological methodology by researching the environmental and cultural factors of an area, editing the archaeological reports, and helping to make NRHP (National Register of Historic Places) determinations of sites. I particularly enjoy working in South Florida because it is a clear example of the environment playing a significant role in people’s settlement choices. While most people throughout the world settle in areas close to water, all of South Florida was once under water, making the need for dry land critical. Most of the sites in South Florida occur on hammocks, which are tiny tree islands that were once completely surrounded by water. The basic sites on these hammocks are temporary extraction camps that consist of faunal middens, and studying these sites has allowed me to enhance my skills in zooarchaeology. Working for the Seminole Tribe is an enjoyable experience that has allowed me to incorporate spatial analyses of environmental and cultural variables with archaeological fieldwork.

Maureen received her MA in Anthropology from Florida State University.

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