Elimination of the County Archeologist
Date: Thursday, June 04, 2009 @ 15:35:32 EST
Topic: Palm Beach County


Important notice from Dorothy Block concerning the elimination of county archeologist:



Friends,

Sadly, I must call upon you to drop what you are doing and help me preserve Palm Beach county's heritage by engaging in a letter writing campaign.

The purpose of this effort is to insure that the position of Palm Beach County Archaeologist is not eliminated this MONDAY JUNE 8 at 9: am when the Palm Beach County Board of Commissioners will have a public hearing regarding proposed budget cuts. At this meeting, letters that you write to Commission Chair Jeff Koons will be read aloud and recorded in the hearing minutes. Already, according to the county's website, the position is slated to be eliminated.

In your letters, you may want to include the following:

1. The importance of protecting and preserving both historic and prehistoric archaeological sites in Palm Beach County (of which there are more than 150).

2. Before PB County had an archaeologist extensive looting of known archaeological sites went unmonitored and developers were able to run rampant demolishing many known sites, perhaps most notably, a Seminole War Battlefield in Jupiter.

3. the term "county archaeologist" is not sufficient to describe the nature of the position as the individual who fills this position is also responsible for dealing with the preservation etc of historic structures in the county. Perhaps a better name for the position would be PB County Historic Preservation Officer.

4. Broward , Dade and many other counties recognize their responsibilities as regard historic preservation and keep and archaeologist on staff.

4. While there is currently only 1 archaeologist on the county payroll, this individual is supported by a wide network of professionals who hold advanced degrees in the subject and who serve as a pro-bono field crew when the need to excavate and record arises. The contribution of individuals involved in this network alone is a great economic advantage to the county.

5. Keeping an archaeologist on staff saves developers considerable expense when excavation and monitoring of sites can be provided by the county. This service actually encourages economic development as it minimizes costs for developers who would otherwise have to hire a contractor at significant cost.

6. Palm Beach County has a rich prehistory and archaeological record that has been gravely impacted while development has proceeded without benefit of archaeological review. This is a loss to the community as a whole that is incalculable.

7. Archaeology in PB county can actually be a MONEY MAKING proposition if our mound and earthwork sites are developed to invite archaeotourism and if educational programs are developed to engage the community in Public Archaeology. Examples of public involvement include: the development of summer camps, field schools and museum exhibits.


Please direct your correspondence to : Commissioner Jeff Koons: Click here

And provide a courtesy copy to Mr. Christian Davenport, who currently fills the position: click here

I thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter and urge you to write your letter NOW as the hearing is on Tuesday.

Best,

Dorothy Block
Archaeologist MA







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