Preservation and protection of the Florida’s cultural sites is not
only responsible stewardship, it is the law.
Florida has a rich and multi-dimensional past. Prior to the arrival of Europeans on its shores, it was home to a diverse array of Native American cultures. Many were fisher folk, living close to estuaries and bays that teamed with fish, shellfish, and marine mammals. Others were agricultural societies in which individuals labored in fields controlled by a powerful regional chief. Archaeology has revealed evidence of temples and ball courts; complex burial rites and simple family hearths; intricate copper breastplates and beads made of local shell; sacred landscapes and seasonal hunting camps; pottery and tools, weapons and weaving.
The evidence of these cultures stretches back 12,000 years. This is our state’s cultural heritage. The artifacts, archaeological and historical sites, traditions of today’s native peoples, documents and historic records are all cultural resources; through these resources we learn about the past.
The Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage is committed to promoting responsible stewardship of Florida’s historical and archaeological resources. Preserving these resources enhances our quality of life, promotes a sense of place that strengthens our communities, provides tangible connections to our history, and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to our state annually.
The Trail of Florida’s Indian Heritage members abide by the Society for American Archaeology Principles of Archaeological Ethics
These eight principles include: Stewardship
The archaeological record, that is, in situ archaeological material and sites, archaeological collections, records and reports, is irreplaceable. It is the responsibility of all archaeologists to work for the long-term conservation and protection of the archaeological record by practicing and promoting stewardship of the archaeological record.
Responsible archaeological research, including all levels of professional activity, requires an acknowledgment of public accountability and a commitment to make every reasonable effort, in good faith, to consult actively with affected group(s).
The Society for American Archaeology has long recognized that the buying and selling of objects out of archaeological context is contributing to the destruction of the archaeological record on the American continents and around the world. The commercialization of archaeological objects - their use as commodities to be exploited for personal enjoyment or profit - results in the destruction of archaeological sites and of contextual information that is essential to understanding the archaeological record.