As you may recall, at our first meeting we made a resolution, which was unanimously approved, directing staff to request a summary of archaeological resources within the city limits of Lake Worth for our review and for inclusion on the city's planning maps. Unfortunately, staff has not yet followed through on this directive and Lake Worth remains out of compliance with its 2009 Comprehensive Plan LDRs and Coastal Management Plan and potentially with Florida Statute 872.05 the Unmarked Human Graves Act.
You may also recall the HRPB’s discussions regarding the necessity for archaeological monitoring at Lake Worth Beach during the renovation process which is currently under way. In the past, I have stressed the necessity of archaeological monitoring on the southern part of the beach parcel specifically, but recently it has come to my attention that Phase One shovel testing of the entire parcel, along with careful monitoring of any ground disturbing work anywhere on the parcel, is what is appropriate and required by our Comprehensive Plan since prehistoric cultural material likely occurs throughout the parcel.
Late last week (9-9-11), I visited the Casino Building construction area for a period of about 20 minutes and found evidence of prehistoric materials in the area of the building's footprint in the form of oyster midden shell. Oyster, as you may know, is a non-marine edible mollusk and a typical marker for prehistoric sites in our area. This finding is also consistent with Florida Master Site File records for the Lake Worth Beach locality wherein archaeologist John Goggin, in the 1940's, reported the presence of a prehistoric midden context near the southern part of the site where the old radio tower stood.
My new (9-9-11) finding indicates that midden is likely located throughout the beach property and may be found as shallow as 1 meter below the surface. Thus, landscaping and installation of utility pipes etc. could disturb cultural deposits. I cannot stress enough how important it is for the city to come into compliance with our LDRs and Coastal Management regulations on this matter.
I suggest that before any ground disturbing work is permitted outside the Casino building’s foot print, that arrangements for Phase I shovel testing and archaeological monitoring of the project be made.
While the Beach parcel is the center of our attention at the moment, we should not let it diminish our concern for the Littlefield Site, a significant and partially intact archaeological site in college park which needs protection as well as the Seminole burial of our city's founding family member located in the 300 block of South L Street.
As you may recall, during my commentary at a recent HRPB meeting, I stressed that this Seminole burial was discussed and the necessity of adding its location to the city's planning map so that it will be protected. According to my latest inquiry, this has not yet been addressed by staff. There are likely more burials in that area which require proper recording and protection and conducting the appropriate investigations regarding unmarked cemeteries in that part of town should be a priority.
You will find a summary of my recommendations below. You will find copies of the pages of our Comprehensive Plan which address archaeological concerns attached.
Thank you for your attention,
HRPB City of Lake Worth
CC: City Commissioners, Planning and Zoning Board, HRPB Board and Staff.