At the Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC), we like to think of everyday as “Archaeology Day” because we are fortunate enough to do archeology year round; protecting, preserving, and learning about our shared past among the many National Parks of the southeast region. However, International Archaeology Day (IAD) provides us with a special opportunity to join many other groups in celebrating our profession through a concerted effort to engage and excite the public by sharing with them our passion and knowledge of archeology through talks, demonstrations, and archeology-themed activities for all ages.
The idea for International Archaeology Day was developed by the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) in 2011 as a day to celebrate the field of archeology and the thrill of discovery. Officially, International Archaeology Day is held every year on the third Saturday of October, but events related to IAD take place throughout the month. With each successive year, IAD has gained in popularity, and this year several hundred associated events took place across the United States and all over the world.
The National Park Service has been a sponsor of IAD since 2014, but SEAC has participated in IAD events since 2012, interacting with the public through various educational activities, talks, and demonstrations over the years. Other National Park units throughout the country have also participated in IAD by providing various archeological experiences.
For our sixth year of celebrating IAD, SEAC archeologists participated in two IAD-associated events. One at Fort Frederica National Monument (FOFR) in Georgia and another at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park in St. Marks, Florida. At Fort Frederica National Monument, two SEAC archeologists provided visitors with an opportunity to build boats from egg cartons, straws, and pipe cleaners while learning about shipwrecks and the kinds of materials which survive for archeologists to find.
Visitors also had the chance to try their hand at spear-throwing with an atlatl to learn more about an early hunting technique that predates the bow and arrow.
At the end of the month, SEAC partnered with the Florida State Parks for a fourth year of celebrating IAD at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park. This year’s theme of “Forts, Flags, and artiFacts,” sought to educate the public on the history of San Marcos de Apalache and highlight the archeology of the site. Several SEAC archeologists were present to provide fun and educational archeology-themed activities that included: discussing animal remains at archeological sites, prehistoric pottery-making, and the always popular atlatl spear-throwing demonstration.
SEAC also had an information booth at the nearby concurrent St. Marks Stone Crab Festival to talk to attendees about SEAC’s mission, the cultural resources of the National Parks, and encourage them to visit our National Parks.
Learn more about International Archaeology Day and associated events here: https://www.archaeological.org/archaeologyday