Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Archaeological monitoring - Lake Worth Beach Redevelopment Project

Comment Up
June 23, 2011

HRPB Board Members,

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,

Dorothy Block
Archaeologist M.A.
Vice Chair
HRPB City of Lake Worth

CC: City Commissioners, Planning and Zoning Board, HRPB Board and Staff.


Dan said...

Ultimately the city manager of Lake Worth is responsible for all, she likes to have lots of directors and/or assistants of sorts, so if anything goes wrong she can blame and fire them and make herself look good. The is her MO here in this city as a CM. I think it is time we start hold her accountable, making her be responsible and transparent with all and if she cannot we need to start looking for someone new. Our elected officials seem to be blind sighted by her leadership approach here. Thanks for your research Lynn. What is next?

Lynn Anderson said...

Thanks for your post. I honestly believe that it is our Commission whose feet we need to hold to the fire. The CM works for them. They are ultimately responsible. Last night was the first time in a long time that they said "no."

Anonymous said...

Is it even remotely possible for LW to do anything correctly? Will this shut down the casino renovation?

Didn't Bill warn them about this long, long ago?

Anonymous said...

I also recall Bill mentioning this before anything started at the beach, but Stanton is much smarter than anyone else in LW or in the country for that matter. At some point in time LW needs to start from scratch and start over with the people who have a clue with what is going on around them, doubt it will ever happen. Rather than worrying about being so politically correct and being the GLBT capital second only to SF, look to manage the city like a private sector business. Hiring individuals like Stanton who’s narcissistic behaviors have only exacerbated an already bad situation. When they reach bankruptcy because of incompetence, then they citizens will get it, they think they are paying now, just wait.

Anonymous said...

The buck stops with the C. M. She's been on the job for almost 30 months.
She's gotten rid of all the management staff and hired "PROFESSIONAL PEOPLE" and she's fired most of those. She tells the commission what she wants them to hear.She underestimates the cost of capital projects.We the taxpayers pay for all her mistakes.

Anonymous said...

But don't forget that on July 28th this Commission APPROVED (5-0) the preparation of the solid waste non-ad valorum assessment roll including the proposed $42 increase.

It is disconcerting that on July 28 the Commission did not show the same level of concern exhibited last night in front of a lot of concerned and angry residents. At the July meeting the Commission merely accepted the staff's comments such as the costs from PB County had increased 14.49% over the last two years. To listen to the original discussion go to minute 32 of the audio for the 7/28/11 Commission meeting.

Russ said...

"Oyster, as you may know, is a non-marine edible mollusk..."

@Dorothy Block: By definition, oysters ARE marine mollusks.

Ancient (and some not so) aboriginal shell middens are fascinating, and exist nearly everywhere in the world. As the garbage dumps of earlier civilizations they can provide a glimpse into time, climate and culture. They are common features throughout the Americas, some examples so large that initially they weren't recognized as such. In Florida, particularly the southwest coast, some of the islands were deliberately constructed with such materials. Modern (meaning post-Columbian) development has used vast amounts of material from these mounds for roadbuilding, and filler known as "tabby" for coastal structures. The DuBois family built their trading post on the most visible example of pre-Columbian shell midden in Palm Beach County. Unless there's something far more compelling archaeologically than buried shell mounds on the beach dune, further study isn't likely of any value nor appreciable impact on the footprint of the casino plan as currently under construction.

Which isn't in compliance with the CCCL anyway.

Man, that pie-in-the-sky project is getting pricy, huh?
Plus city autonomy given up to county in the bargain.

Richard said...

The oyster beds are most every where in the southeast of Fl. Shellrock is the base for many of our older roads.Now crushed rock and small sized rock is used for the base.Shellrock pits were dug a lot in the old days.Cleary road area in WPB was a big dig site years ago.

Russ said...

@Richard: shellrock and shell middens are not the same thing. Shellrock is stratified, naturally occuring deposits of marine mollusks, coral and sand thousands of years or more old... shell middens are pre-Columbian man-made features.

Richard said...

Russ,I understand the difference.IMO those shells were dumped there by the Indians.They probably dug them up out of the intracoastal,which there are many beds to this day.I dont think they would have a burial site there.IMO the burial sites would be on the west side of the intracoastal.

Anonymous said...

For all we know those middens could have been left by anybody.Pirates or other ships of that era.You could find bones from ship wrecks,maybe dinosauer bones.I wonder what they would do if they found a chest full of gold.Move on.It wont solve a murder case either.Its holding up construction.