Frequently Asked Questions

Archaeology

Q: What is archaeology?
A: Archaeology is the anthropological study of past human cultures through systematic recovery of material remains such as buildings, tools, and pottery. For more information about archaeological related terms please visit the Archeology-Related Glossaries index hosted by the National Park Service.

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Q: Can I dig for artifacts?
A: It is illegal to dig for artifacts without the landowner's permission. On state-owned and controlled lands, including sovereignty-submerged lands, the Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Archaeological Research grants permission to conduct archaeological investigations. Digging for artifacts on state lands without a permit from DHR is a third degree felony (Chapters 267.061 and 267.12-13, Florida Statutes, and Rule 1A-32 of the Florida Administrative Code). Digging on Federal land also requires a permit and illegal digging is a felony offense. Contact the federal land manager for more information on obtaining permission to dig on federal lands.

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Q: What does the Bureau of Archaeological Research do?
A: The Bureau is entrusted with the maintenance, preservation and protection of over 12,000 years of Florida heritage. Archaeological and historical resources on state-owned and state-controlled lands, including sovereignty submerged lands, are the direct responsibility of the Bureau. This includes the management of Mission San Luis, a research and educational site located in Tallahassee and open to the public. The Bureau is divided into areas of responsibility, including Collections and Conservation, Mission San Luis, Education and Research, Public Lands Archaeology (PLA) program, and Underwater Archaeology. The five sections work together to ensure that Florida archaeological heritage will endure for future generations.

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Q: Why preserve archaeological sites?
A: Archaeological sites consist of much more than the artifacts displayed in museums. The placement of artifacts in relation to other artifacts and environmental features in a site provides clues as to their function, method of manufacture or loss. This information is known as the context of an archaeological site and it can often provide more information about past human behavior than the artifacts themselves, but it is also more fragile. When artifacts are moved, or the site disrupted, the context is destroyed, and unlike a pot that can be glued back together, when context is destroyed it can never be recreated. Archaeologists make every effort to record aspects of a site during excavation, using field notes, maps, drawings and photographs to document the site's context.

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Q: What do I do if I see damage or looting of archaeological sites?
A: If you see looting or damage of archaeological sites, notify the landowner or local law enforcement. If it is on state-owned or controlled land, contact local law enforcement and the Bureau of Archaeological Research at (850) 245-6444. If human remains are involved, see the next question.

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Q: What do I do if I see disturbance of unmarked human remains?
A: It is a felony to knowingly disturb human remains. If you observe disturbance of unmarked human remains, it is a misdemeanor if you do not report it. Contact local law enforcement or your district Medical Examiner immediately. For more information, visit /archaeology/FS872/

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Q: What are the requirements for an archaeological research permit on state lands?
A: To obtain an archaeological research permit, you or someone in your organization must have professional archaeological expertise that meets the "Qualifications for Recognition as a Professional Archaeologist" of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. For more information and to download an application, consult the 1A-32 Permit web page.

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Q: What is the difference between fossils and artifacts?
A: A fossil is of non-human origin (e.g. animal bone) that has not been altered by humans in any way. An artifact is a product of human activity including bone and shell tools and ornaments, ceramic vessels, metal objects, etc.

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Q: What is underwater archaeology?
A: For more information on underwater archaeology, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions of Underwater Archaeology.

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Q: How can I participate in an archaeological dig?
A: There are a number of ways to participate in archaeological investigations. The Florida Anthropological Society and its chapters offer opportunities in various parts of the state. Universities, museums, and other institutions of higher education also provide opportunities for the public to participate in excavations and artifact analysis.

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Q: How do I become an archaeologist?
A: Those interested in pursuing a career in archaeology should plan on obtaining at least a bachelor's degree in anthropology from an accredited university, and completing a field school. In most states, archaeologists must have a Masters degree or higher in order to hold research permits or receive funding. Depending upon your specific research interests, organizations such as the American Anthropological Association, Society for American Archaeology, and Society for Historical Archaeology have directories of undergraduate and graduate archaeology programs in the United States and abroad. For those who are interested in archaeology as a hobby, the easiest way to become involved is to contact your local archaeological society; in Florida there are regional chapters of the Florida Anthropological Society.

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Q: How does the state obtain artifacts?
A: Artifacts are held in trust by the Bureau for the citizens of the state and are available for researchers. Chapter 267.061 (1)(b) grants title to the Division of Historical Resources all artifacts recovered from state-owned and controlled lands, including sovereignty submerged lands. Usually, artifacts from state land are recovered during state-sponsored research, or projects operating under a 1A-32 research permit. Following guidelines in the Florida Administrative Code (1A-40), the Bureau also accepts private donations.

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Q: How do I access state artifact collections?
A: Contact Bureau collections staff at 850/ 245-6444 for assistance or information about loans of artifacts to museums or other public exhibit venues, loans for research purposes, or for other information such as what types of artifacts, archaeological sites or historic eras are represented in the state archaeological collections.

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Q: What do I do if I find a dugout canoe?
A: Visit our site on prehistoric canoes for more information.

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Q: How do I find information about archaeological sites in Florida?
A: Information can be obtained online from the Bureau of Archaeological Research and Florida Park Service about archaeological state parks that are open to the public. General information about sites can be found in any of the texts listed in the bibliography. The Florida Master Site File is a paper file archive and computer database of over 180,000 documented historical structures and archaeological sites in Florida. Contact Florida Master Site File staff at (850)245-6440 or sitefile@dos.state.fl.us for assistance with obtaining information related to specific sites.

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Grants

Q: What is the statutory authority for the grants program?
A: The Historic Preservation Grants Program is administered in accordance with Chapter 267.0617, Florida Statutes and Chapter 1A-39, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C). You may access Florida Statute 267.0617, here. Chapter 1A-39, F.A.C. is available at www.flheritage.com/grants/1A-39.pdf.

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Q: How is the program funded?
A: The amount of funding to be awarded is determined by the Florida Legislature during the legislative session for the fiscal year for which grant funding is requested. The Legislature’s budget must be signed into law by the Governor. Funds formally appropriated officially become available on July 1. An apportionment of the Historic Preservation Fund, a federal grant administered by the National Park Service, is also available to Certified Local Governments (CLG). (See FAQs for CLGs)

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Q: Does a building have to be “historic” to be eligible to apply for our grant program?
A: In Florida, to be eligible for rehabilitation or restoration grant assistance, a building must be at least 50 years of age or of architectural significance. Buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks would be considered highly competitive.

Any historic preservation work to be conducted for historic properties using Historic Preservation grant funds (both state and federal) must be completed in conformance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Preservation. Please see these standards and additional information at www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/rhb/.

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Q: Can I get a grant to rehabilitate my home or business?
A: BHP grant funds are not available for properties owned by private individuals or for-profit corporations. Grant funding is available only for non-profit organizations, state agencies (including universities), local governments, and units of local governments. Projects funded by this grant program must serve the public interest, and grant funded rehabilitated buildings must be accessible to the public.

If you are seeking funding assistance for your privately owned historic home, you may be eligible for tax reductions, low-interest loans, or grants available from the federal government, your city or county government, or private advocacy organizations such as the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.

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Q: How do I obtain a Historic Preservation grant application?
A: The Historic Preservation Grants Program utilizes an online grant application system. Grant applications are posted at www.flheritage.com/grants/preservation/grants/# during announced grant solicitation periods. Applications from previous solicitation periods are available (for information only) at this site as well. Hard copy applications are available upon request. Click on www.flheritage.com/grants/preservation/grants/# to access a sample application.

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Q: When are applications due?
A: Applications are due the last day of the announced solicitation period. Small Matching grants are typically solicited in April through May of each year. Special Category grants are generally solicited in the October through December of each year. Check www.flheritage.com/grants for current deadlines.

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Q: What are the match requirements for the grant program?
A: Small Matching Grants require a 100% match of the requested grant funds and Special Category Grants require a match of $50,000 or 50% of the requested grant funds, whichever is the higher amount. Please see Question #13 for exceptions to these match requirements.

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Q: Are match requirements ever reduced or waived?
A: Yes. Projects located in REDI (Rural Economic Development Initiative) designated communities and counties are eligible for waiver or reduction of matching requirements.

For Small Matching Grant Applications, match for project applications located in REDI communities and counties are waived in full (0% match). For Special Category Grant Applications, match for proposed projects located in REDI communities and counties is reduced to 10% of the requested grant award.

The REDI Program is administered by the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development (OTTED). Please contact that office for the most up-to-date information on the REDI designation.

Special Statewide Projects solicited by the Division of Historical Resources and Main Street grants do not require a match.

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Q: How are applications evaluated?
A: Step 1: BHP staff review the application for Completeness and Eligibility. This includes making sure the application has been submitted by the deadline and that all attachments, required photographs and signatures are present, and that there is complete contact information.

Step 2: BHP staff review the application for Sufficiency. This includes a detailed examination of the project description, the major elements and entities, the budget, the match confirmation, letters of support, previous grant experience and overall administrative capability. From this evaluation, staff will make recommendations to the reviewing body at the public meeting.

Step 3: The Grant Application Review Panel, for Small Matching grants, or the Florida Historical Commission (FHC), for Special Category grants, reviews and ranks applications at a public meeting. After the public discussion of each project, each member ranks each project numerically (with 1 being the highest rank) within each category. The average score of all the rankings determines the final ranking for each project.

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Q: What criteria are used in the review process?
A: Applications are evaluated according to their conformance with both the program's Application Evaluation Criteria and the Statewide Preservation Priorities for your project category. These criteria are listed with each solicitation for applications.

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Q: Is it necessary to attend the public application review meeting?
A: It is recommended, but not required. Call-in telephone participation is available and is highly recommended if the applicant cannot attend in person. Applicants are given instructions for telephone participation in advance of the review meetings. Formal presentations are not allowed at public meetings, but applicants should be prepared to answer questions from the reviewers.

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Q: How are funds allocated for Historic Preservation Grants?
A: After eligible grant applications are ranked by the review panels (or by the Florida Historical Commission for Special Category grants), the recommended list is submitted to the Secretary of State for approval. The amount of funding to be awarded for historic preservation grants is determined by the Florida Legislature during the regular legislative session (following application submission) and is based on the Legislative Budget Request submitted to the Legislature by the Secretary of State. The approved budget is signed into law by the Governor, and the grant funds appropriated by the Legislature are then awarded according to the order of the project rankings until all funds are allocated. If awarded a grant, applicants are typically notified by the Secretary of State in June. Although grant funds become available on July 1, funds will not be distributed until specific benchmarks in the Grant Award Agreement (GAA) are met. The agreements are sent to grantees on or before July 1.

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Q: Is grant funding guaranteed if my application is recommended by the Secretary of State?
A: No. Funding of individual awards is based on the rankings of the grant review panel or Florida Historical Commission and the amount of funding appropriated by the Legislature as signed into law by the Governor. Grants will be funded according to the order of the ranking list until all funding has been allocated.

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Q: What is the duration of the grant period?
A: Small Matching grants begin July 1 and end one year later on June 30. Special Category grants begin July 1 and end two years later on June 30.

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Q: Do I have to submit updates on my project to BHP?
A: All grantees are required to submit periodic reports called Progress & Expenditure Reports. These reports track your project's status and the amounts of grant and/or match funds expended. Full back-up documentation must accompany these reports.

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Q: May I hire consultants, contractors, and/or vendors to do the required grant work for my project?
A: The need to hire professional assistance should be reflected in your application project description and budget. BHP staff will assist you with the requirements for the competitive selection of vendors. The grantee is responsible for the submission of deliverables on schedule and for documenting all work and expenditures. Vendors and/or personnel hired to complete the project work must have appropriate professional credentials which must be approved either at the time of application or prior to employment for the project. All contracts made with consultants or vendors must be approved by DHR prior to execution.

You should be prepared to hire an architect to design and oversee the progress of a rehabilitation project. (This will be part of your planning when applying for a rehabilitation grant.) All preservation work must be executed in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, which require the oversight of a qualified architect. Your grant manager can assist you with the competitive selection requirements for seeking the services of an architectural firm.

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Underwater Archaeology

Q: What is Underwater Archaeology in Florida?
A: Underwater archaeology anywhere is simply archaeology done underwater. In general, archaeology gathers data from artifacts and remains left behind by people. Archaeologists then try to connect that data to past behaviors. Ultimately, archaeology helps us understand how past peoples and cultures lived. Examples of archaeological sites discovered in Florida waters include:

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Q: I'm a diver who is interested in discovering treasure. I was told that I need to get a Treasure Hunting Permit. Is this where I get one?
A: No. Treasure hunting in Florida has been popularized to the point where many people think that every shipwreck in Florida waters has treasure or provides clues to where treasure may be located. This just isn't true. Florida shipwrecks range in time and use, from the Colonial Era through the Early American and Civil War periods to the modern era. A shipwreck's true "treasure" is derived through public participation and interpretation.

Some companies have applied for and received Exploration and Recovery Permits as administered by Rule 1A-31 of the Florida Administrative Code. The State of Florida will issue an Exploration or Recovery Permit after the applicant has met the stringent archaeological requirements.

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Q: What should I do when I find an underwater archaeological site?
A: The best thing to do when you find a site is to not disturb it. As the "discoverer" of a site, you should make some important decisions that will help to determine the site's future. This includes giving us a call or sending us an email reporting the discovery. We can help you in determining what you have found, and whether it has already been reported, recorded, or investigated.

Bureau of Archaeological Research
Division of Historical Resources
B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology
1001 DeSoto Park Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 245-6340
e-mail us

Historic cannon and anchors are often spotted in Florida waters. Many of these have been documented and either left in place or replaced with replicas to preserve Florida’s archaeological sites and great dive locations. Florida law prohibits the excavation or removal of artifacts, but encourages anyone who notices something to photograph it and contact us. If it is a new discovery, we will proceed with recording the artifact, and often with your help.

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Q: How do I get involved in Underwater Archaeology in Florida?
A: The best way to get involved in underwater archaeology as a hobby is to seek out local archaeological and historical societies. You may want to join a local chapter of the Florida Anthropological Society and become part of the growing network of amateurs throughout the state. The Florida Public Archaeology Network is a good resource for those wanting to get involved. Also, you could visit a number of Florida’s Shipwreck Preserves and Trails.

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Q: Are training courses available?
A: In Florida, University of West Florida offers regular undergraduate courses in Underwater Archaeology. UWF also offers a Master’s degree in maritime archaeology. Field schools are offered to train students on Florida sites; they last several weeks, and one must be enrolled either as a regular or special student. Master's degrees generally are necessary to obtain a job in underwater archaeology and many employers require a Ph.D.; graduate degrees in underwater archaeology may be pursued at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas and East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Universities in England, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Israel, and Australia also offer graduate programs in underwater archaeology.

Occasionally, the Bureau of Archaeological Research offers underwater archaeological training in response to requests from various sport diving groups and associations. Also, training courses are part of the process in the nomination of new Florida Shipwreck Preserves. A great way to get some training is to nominate a shipwreck for Florida Preserve status and get your fellow local divers involved to learn what it takes to maintain and preserve a shipwreck in you own waters.

Underwater Archaeology in Florida is usually open for public participation. Give us a call or send us an email stating your interest to somehow or someway get involved. There might be a current project already underway in your area. We can help you find out!

Twice yearly the Bureau of Archaeological Research and the Florida Public Archaeology Network sponsor a seminar that teaches diving educators the importance of protecting our submerged maritime heritage. The Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar (HADS) is open to the public and usually held in May and September.

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Q: Once I get a degree, where will I find employment?
A: Underwater archaeologists find employment in a variety of venues, maybe state government, generally within the section that is responsible for the state's historical and cultural resources. Others find jobs in the Federal government within agencies such as the National Park Service the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement, NOAA, and the National Marine Sanctuaries. Universities and colleges employ many archaeologists, both underwater and terrestrial, to teach and to perform research. Museums, particularly those with a maritime emphasis, often have underwater archaeologists on staff to research sites, curate collections, design exhibits, interpret the findings, and educate the public. Firms that specialize in contract archaeology often employ those with underwater skills to conduct research and surveys of proposed construction areas.

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Q: Do fossils fall under the same regulations as artifacts?
A: In order to protect and preserve fossils and paleontology sites, the State of Florida has declared that all vertebrate fossils found on state-owned lands belong to the state with title vested in the Florida Museum of Natural History. The Museum administers a permitting program intended to regulate the buying, selling, or trading of vertebrate fossils found on state-owned land, or the systematic and continued collection from a paleontological site. Application for a permit can be made to: Florida Program of Vertebrate Paleontology, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611. A permit is not required for happenstance or casual retrieval of vertebrate fossils, or for the collection of invertebrate fossils (such as shellfish, coral, and sponges) and fossil shark teeth.

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Q: Is metal detecting prohibited on state property?
A: Metal detecting on State land is generally prohibited with few exceptions. Many public beaches allow metal detecting between the high tide line and the toe of the dune. Beaches that are part of State and Federal Parks, Preserves, Sanctuaries, and military installations will have specific rules governing metal detecting; always consult with the park or property manager.

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Q: I'm a diver who is interested in collecting artifacts from the rivers; is this legal?
A: State public lands include the submerged river bottom. The removal of artifacts from State lands is prohibited by Chapter 267.13 punishable with fines and either a first degree misdemeanor or third degree felony, depending on the circumstances. If you have discovered a site while diving in Florida’s rivers, contact our office and we can provide you with information regarding the site or, with your help, record a new site.

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Compliance and Review

Q: How long will the review process take?
A: Under Federal Law (36 CFR Part 800) we have 30 calendar days to review your project beginning on the date it was received by our office. We try to get the projects reviewed as quickly as possible.

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Q: Can we e-mail or fax requests for SHPO comments?
A: The Florida SHPO does not accept e-mailed or fax submittals for review.

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Q: I've checked the Florida Master Site File Office (FMSF) and our property is not listed there. Do I still need to submit the project for review?
A: Yes, a review of the properties in FMSF database does not constitute a sufficient review since and FMSF is not a complete list of historic resources.

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Q: What is a USGS 7.5 minute quadrangle map and where do I get one?
A: The USGS quad maps are maps produced by the US Geological Survey using contour markings to show the shape and elevation of terrain. Those at a scale of 1:24000 (1 inch = 2000 feet) show enough detail to be useful for the purposes of this review. Quad maps may be purchased from the USGS Store or you can print one off through TerraServer USA.

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Q: Where can I find more information to care for my historic building?
A: The National Park Service publishes printed pamphlets and books--easy-to-read guidance on preserving, rehabilitating and restoring historic buildings. Preservation Briefs are short informative pamphlets on specific topics and cover all aspects of caring for historic buildings - from choosing an appropriate treatment to actually "doing" the work in a way that meets historic preservation standards.

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Master Site File

Q: What is the Florida Master Site File?
A: The Florida Master Site File is the State of Florida's official inventory of historical cultural resources. Categories of resources recorded at the Site File include archaeological sites, historical structures, historical cemeteries, historical bridges and historic districts. The Site File also maintains copies of archaeological and historical survey reports and other manuscripts relevant to history and historic preservation in Florida. The Site File currently holds information on more than 180,000 cultural resources and copies of over 17,000 manuscripts. Site File staff do not evaluate the historical significance of sites or the potential impact of development projects, however, evaluations of historical significance by other State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) staff and preservation consultants are included in our records. Florida Master Site File staff are available to assist citizens, government agencies and historic preservation professionals in performing searches and obtaining information from our inventory.

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Q: What is the difference between the National Register of Historic Places and the Florida Master Site File?
A: The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is an active list of U.S. properties that have been determined through a formal process to be historically significant by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Projects involving federal or state revenue, licensing, or permitting, must account for effects to resources that are listed in, or eligible for listing in, the NRHP. The Florida Master Site File is an active inventory of Florida's historical cultural resources that are over 50 years old, without regard to historical significance. The NRHP is maintained by the National Park Service, although Florida's Bureau of Historic Preservation within the Division of Historical Resources has an office (the Survey and Registration Section) charged with giving technical assistance to agencies and private individuals who seek to have properties listed in the NRHP. Properties that are listed in the NRHP are also recorded at the Site File, and the Site File has copies of the federal nomination forms and sometimes other information as well. However, most properties recorded at the Site File are not listed in the NRHP because many Site File properties do not meet criteria of the NRHP for historical significance and because the NRHP nomination process can be complicated and require professional assistance. For further information and assistance relating to the federal NRHP program, refer to the National Register of Historic Places website maintained by the National Park Service. For information on the NRHP specific to Florida resources, visit the Florida Division of Historical Resources website or call the Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation at 850.245.6333.

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Q: Who can request information from the Site File or record resources?
A: Anyone (whether a professional consultant, amateur historian or just interested citizen) can request information from, or submit information to the Site File. Private citizens, government agencies and historic preservation professionals all utilize the resources of the Florida Master Site File free of charge. However, there are some restricted classes of information held by the Site File. Building plans and archaeological site location information are classified as sensitive and are exempted from Florida's open records laws.

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Q: How do I record an archaeological site, historic building or other resource with the Florida Master Site File?
A: A State Site Number must first be assigned to the resource by the Site File. Then, a State site form must be filled out and submitted to the Site File in order to get the property into our inventory. There are different forms used for different types of resources. The five form types available are Archaeology, Structure, Cemetery, Bridge and Resource Group. If you have not submitted information to the Site File before, deciding which form to use for your resource can be tricky. In addition, there are several required attachments to a completed form, including maps and a photo. Please contact the Site File at 850.245.6440 or sitefile@dos.state.fl.us for guidance in obtaining a site number and submitting information to us for the first time.

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Q: What is a T-R-S or Township, Range and Section?
A: The Township and Range system (or Public Land Survey System) was developed by the Federal government in 1812 to more accurately define U.S. locations. Townships are 36 square miles in area and are sub-divided into 36 1-by-1-mile square parcels called sections. Sections are numbered from 1 to 36 for identification. Each township has a township and range designation to define its 36-square-mile area. Township is numbered north and south from the base line, and range is numbered west or east from the principal meridian. In Florida, the base line and principal meridian run through Tallahassee. A standard search request at the Site File is performed by providing the Township, Range and Section (T-R-S) of the area for which information is needed. Generally, the T-R-S (sometimes expressed as S-T-R) can be found in the legal description of parcels and properties. An example of how to write a T-R-S value is T8S R17E S33, referring to Township 8 South, Range 17 East, Section 33.

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Q: Can a building recorded at the Florida Master Site File be demolished?
A: Yes, but a complete answer to the question may require consultation of local ordinances. The Florida Master Site File has no active role in local governmental matters like zoning or permitting decisions. Please notify the Site File if a building in our inventory is demolished or destroyed so we may update our records to reflect the change.

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Q: Can a building be removed from the Site File at the owner's request?
A: No. The FMSF holds public information gathered, processed, and organized partly or wholly at public expense. Granting such requests would be similar to deleting public tax records at the taxpayer's request.

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Q: Does the owner of a property need to approve inclusion in the Site File?
A: No, the owner is not required to approve inclusion in the Site File inventory. Neither the owner's name nor interior information on buildings is required on Site File recording forms.

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Q: What restrictions are there on the development/renovation of my property if it is included in the Site File?
A: None. Local ordinances should be consulted for development and zoning restrictions.

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Q: I found an artifact or archaeological site. What do I do now?
A: Contact the Bureau of Archaeological Research in the Division of Historical Resources at 850.245.6444. Staff there can recommend a course of action based on the information you provide.

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Q: Who do I talk to about human remains that have been found?
A: First, contact your local law enforcement agency. Then, the State Archaeologist (850.245.6444) should be contacted. Unmarked human remains interred less than 75 years are under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner and may be related to a crime. It is a felony under Florida Statutes Chapter 872.05 to knowingly disturb human remains or funerary items. Florida law accords equal protection to unmarked human remains encountered on public and private land. If you are planning a project that includes ground disturbance, the Site File can assist you in determining if there are any recorded instances of unmarked human remains in your project area.

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Q: How do I acquire a State site recording form?
A: Forms may be downloaded from this website or requested from the Site File via phone, e-mail or U.S. mail.

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Q: What happened to SmartForm II?
A: SmartForm II has been replaced by our new fillable PDF forms. The PDF forms are available on this website and require Adobe Acrobat Reader 7 or later to use. SmartForm II forms will still be accepted for the foreseeable future. Contact the Site File for more information on the use of Site File PDF forms.

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Q: Is Site File information available online?
A: Site File information is available from our staff via e-mail, however, we do not offer self-service internet searches to the general public due to security concerns and Sunshine law exemptions for archaeological site locations and building plans.

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Florida History

Q: Why are there no fossils of dinosaurs in Florida?
A: During the age of dinosaurs, the Florida peninsula was underwater and did not exist as a land mass. Therefore, no dinosaur remains were ever deposited in Florida. Visit our Historical Contexts page.

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Q: When did the first people arrive in Florida?
A: Archaeologists have found evidence of human activity in Florida that dates to at least 12,000 years ago. Visit our Paleo-Indian Period page.

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Q: When did Europeans first come to Florida?
A: The first record of Europeans in Florida was the Juan Ponce de Leon expedition in 1513. For more, visit a Brief History of Florida.

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Q: When were oranges first grown in Florida?
A: The first record of oranges being cultivated in Florida is by the Spaniards in St. Augustine in 1579.

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Q: Were any Revolutionary War battles fought in Florida?
A: Yes. After Spain declared war on Great Britain in 1779, Spanish forces defeated the British in the Battle of Pensacola in 1781. In addition, there were several unsuccessful expeditions by Colonial militia and regulars that crossed from Georgia into British East Florida. The British forces defeated the Colonials in small battles at Thomas Creek (1777) and Alligator Bridge (1778), in what is now Nassau County, Florida.

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Q: When did Florida become a U.S. territory?
A: In 1819, Florida was ceded to the United States in the Adams-Onis Treaty.The formal change of flags came in 1821, and Florida was formally organized as a U.S. Territory with a legislative council in 1822.

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Q: Did Florida originally have two capitals?
A: Yes. During British occupation (1763-83), Florida was divided into two colonies, East Florida with a capital in St. Augustine, and West Florida with a capital in Pensacola. The two capitals were retained during the Second Spanish period (1783-1819) and into the American period from 1819 to 1824.

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Q: Who was Florida's first governor?
A: William P. DuVal of Leon County was appointed by President James Monroe to be the first territorial governor of Florida in 1822. The year before,General Andrew Jackson was named by Monroe as Commissioner, with all the powers and authorities heretofore exercised by the Governors of East and West Florida.

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Q: Who was the first governor of the State of Florida?
A: William Dunn Moseley was inaugurated as governor on June 25, 1845.

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Q: When was Tallahassee chosen as the capital of Florida?
A: In 1824, Tallahassee was proclaimed to be the Territory of Florida's seat of government.

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Q: When did Florida become a state?
A: March 3, 1845.

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Q: How many states were admitted to the U.S. before Florida?
A: Twenty-six states were admitted into the Union before Florida. Florida was the 27th state of the U.S.

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Q: Are the Seminole Indians the original Indian people of Florida?
A: No. The Seminole and Miccosukee people are descendants of Creek Indians who migrated from Georgia and Alabama to Spanish Florida in the early to mid-1700s. The original Indian people of Florida including the Timucua,Calusa, Apalachee, and other Indian groups were either killed by disease or warfare, captured as slaves, or they left Florida with the Spaniards.Visit our Seminole History page for more information.

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Q: What side was Florida on during the Civil War?
A: Florida sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, there was a notable Unionist sentiment in some parts of the state, especially in Jacksonville.

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Q: When did Florida secede from the Union?
A: Florida withdrew from the Union on January 10, 1861. The Ordinance of Secession was signed the next day.

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Q: What was the largest battle fought in Florida during the Civil War?
A: The Battle of Olustee, which took place near Lake City on February 20, 1864, was the largest military engagement to occur in Florida during the war. The battle resulted in a Confederate victory. Confederate forces,however, failed to capitalize on their victory by not aggressively pursuing the retreating Union army.

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Q: Was Florida's capital, Tallahassee, captured during the Civil War?
A: No. In fact, Tallahassee was the only Confederate state capital east of the Mississippi River that was not captured by Union forces. However,the Union Army did occupy Tallahassee on May 10, 1865, following the surrender of the major Confederate armies in the east.

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Q: From what Florida port did most U.S. troops embark for Cuba during the Spanish-American War?
A: Tampa, Florida.

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Q: Which Florida hurricane caused the most fatalities?
A: The hurricane of September 16, 1928, brought death to nearly 2,000 people. Since many were migrant workers, the exact number was never determined.

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Q: How many of Ernest Hemingway's books had a Florida setting?
A: Only one of his books had a Florida setting. It was To Have and have Not, which was written in 1937 and set in Key West.

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Q: Did any enemy agents land in Florida during World War II?
A: On June 17, 1942, four German saboteurs paddled ashore at Ponte Vedra Beach on a rubber raft from a submarine. They were later captured with four other German agents.

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Q: What Florida governor served the shortest term in office?
A: Wayne Mixson was governor for three days, from January 3 to January 6, 1987. He was serving the remainder of the term of Bob Graham, who had resigned as governor to become a United States Senator. Mixson had been lieutenant governor under Graham.

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Q: What was the most devastating hurricane to hit Florida?
A: Hurricane Andrew, which devastated Homestead, Florida City, and the surrounding area in 1992, was Florida's most devastating hurricane and the costliest natural disaster in American history at that time.

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Cerified Local Governments

Q: What is a Certified Local Government grant?
A: Certified Local Government (CLG) grants are federally-funded small matching historic preservation grants available only to Florida’s Certified Local Governments to assist their historic preservation programs.

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Q: What is a Certified Local Government?
A: Certified Local Governments are municipal and county governments which have made historic preservation a public policy through the passage of a historic preservation ordinance. Participation in the CLG program allows local governments to partner with other CLGs to share preservation ideas and experiences, as well as the opportunity to compete for CLG grants. For more information about the CLG program visit www.flheritage.com/preservation/clg/index.cfm.

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Q: Who can apply for a CLG grant?
A: Only local governments designated by the National Park Service as CLGs are eligible to apply for a CLG grant. For example, a non-profit organization located within a CLG is not eligible to apply for a CLG grant, but may be eligible to apply for other historic preservation grants.

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Q: What types of projects may be funded by a CLG grant?
A: CLG grants can assist a variety of historic preservation projects, including survey and planning activities, the preparation of National Register nominations, and community education projects.

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Q: How are CLG grants funded?
A: CLG grants are funded through a federal grant apportioned to the Division of Historical Resources by the National Park Service. Federal regulations require that at least 10% of this grant be sub-granted to CLGs. Recently, around a total of $118,000 in matching grant assistance has been made available to Florida’s CLGs.

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Q: What is the average amount of a CLG grant?
A: Recently, CLG grants average around $25,000 and cannot exceed $50,000.

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Q: What are the application and management requirements for CLG grants?
A: Detailed information about these requirements may be found under the Division of Historical Resources’ Guidelines for Small Matching grants. The requirements are the same as for state funded grants.

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Q: Who should I contact for more information about CLG grants?
A: Questions regarding CLG grants and the CLG program should be directed to Michael Zimny, at 850.245.6333 or toll free at 1.800.847.7278.

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National Register

Q: What Florida properties are listed in the National Register?
A: For the current roster of properties listed in the National Register, link to the National Park Service’s National Register Database at http://www.nps.gov/nr/, the database can be searched by location or name. There, you will find the names of properties that are individually listed and the names of districts that are listed. Properties that are listed because they contribute to the significance of a district (there are thousands of them) are not included in the roster. Though not seen on the roster, those properties are, indeed, listed in the National Register and enjoy the same recognition and benefits derived from individual listing. Information about those properties can be found in the district nominations. Information may also be found by contacting the Florida Master Site File at its Web site (http://www.flheritage.com/preservation/sitefile/) or calling 850-245-6440.

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Q: Do I have to obtain local and state registration before I can apply for National Register listing?
A: No. Nominations for listing in the National Register can be sent to the Bureau of Historic Preservation without any other prior designations.

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Q: Is there a Florida state register?
A: No, Florida does not have a separate state register. Sometimes the Florida Master Site File is mistakenly thought to be a state register, but it is merely an inventory of recorded properties that are generally at least fifty years old. Unlike a register, no level of significance is required to be included in the Florida Master Site File.

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Q: How will I know if my property is being considered for listing in the National Register?
A: Most properties are nominated by their owners, or in the case of districts, by the local government, the local preservation organization, or a neighborhood homeowners association. When districts are being considered, the idea of submitting a nomination is often discussed at a series of public meetings, something the Bureau strongly recommends. We also encourage discussion of the proposed district in the local media. This keeps the properties owners informed and gives them a chance to find out what the listing will and will not mean to them. If a district has fewer than 50 property owners, the Bureau of Historic Preservation will send them a letter to notify them of the scheduled review of the nomination at least 30 days before the review is held. Any interested parties are invited to attend this public meeting. If a district has more than 50 property owners, this notification is done through the publication of a legal notice in the local newspaper rather than by letter.

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Q: Can my property be listed in the National Register against my will?
A: Federal regulations provide that properties can be listed only if a majority of their property owners do not formally object to the listing. Most properties are nominated by their property owner. When districts are nominated, private property owners are provided an opportunity to object by sending the State Historic Preservation Officer a notarized letter stating they are the owner of their parcel and wish to object. Only if a majority of the owners send in such a letter will the district not be nominated. The nomination may still be submitted to obtain a formal determination of its eligibility to be listed (a DOE). DOE’s provide the same protections given to listed properties, but do not provide eligibility for tax benefits. If a majority of property owners do not submit formal objections, all contributing properties (those that are considered historic and part of what makes the district eligible for listing) will be listed in the National Register, even if their owners formally objected.

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Q: Is there a deadline for submitting my nomination proposal?
A: No, there is no deadline. Proposals are received by our staff on a continual basis. Normally, proposals require revisions and our staff will work closely with you to make any necessary changes. We schedule proposals for review by the Florida National Register Review Board after those changes are made. Furthermore, Federal regulations require that we notify owners and local officials that a property will be reviewed by the Florida National Register Review Board at least 30 days before the Review Board meeting. For properties located with a Certified Local Government (see below), a “ready for Board review” proposal may need to be ready at least 60 days before it is taken before the Board.

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Q: What are Certified Local Governments, and how do they fit into the National Register process?
A: Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are cities or counties that have applied for designation by the National Park Service as community that has a certified historic preservation program. Such communities have a method of identifying historic resources in their communities and to make local designations to a local register, a local preservation ordinance, and a local review board to administer the program. Any regulation of historic properties takes place at the local level, not at the state or national level. One of the major responsibilities of a CLG is participation in the National Register nomination process. Nominations for properties in CLG must be reviewed by the local review board and signed off on by the chief elected official. It is best if this process is completed before a proposal is submitted to the Bureau of Historic Preservation. If a proposal has not gone through this process beforehand, the Bureau must send the proposal to the CLG at least 60 days before it is reviewed by the Florida National Register Review Board to complete the local review. We strongly encourage nominators to work with their local preservation staffs before sending a nomination proposal to the Bureau.

For more information about Certified Local Governments and these processes, see our Web site at: http://dhr.dos.state.fl.us/preservation/compliance/local/requirements.cfm.

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Q: How long does it take to get a property through the nomination process?
A: It can take anywhere from 3 months up to a year, depending on the nature of the property, how quickly the necessary information can be properly assembled, when the Florida National Register Review Board meets, and the workload of our limited staff.

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Q: How does the National Register fit in with the Federal Rehabilitation Income Tax Credit process?
A: Eligibility for the 20% Federal rehabilitation income tax credit program requires that a property be income-producing and listed, or soon to be listed in the National Register. Enough materials and historic characteristics must remain for a building to be considered eligible for the tax program. Properties, whether using the tax credit program or not, should be nominated after they renovations are completed. A property is nominated based on its condition at the time of the nomination. For more information about the Federal income tax credit, see the Web site: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/tps/tax/, or call the Bureau at 850-245-6333.

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Q: How can I obtain a National Register plaque?
A: National Register plaques can be purchased from numerous private vendors. Most of them have sites on the Internet and can be contacted directly.

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Q: My property is in a National Register district, but can I get it listed individualy?
A: If a property is a contributing resource in the district, it is already fully listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is given the same level of consideration as properties that are individually listed. Because there are no added benefits for individually listed properties, the National Park Service and the Florida National Register Review Board discourage “redundant” listings. Additional information about a property can be submitted to the Florida Master Site File, the statewide inventory of historical resources.

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