Preserving Our Heritage
With significant past and present family ties to Bradford and Union Counties, HPS is dedicated to preserving the unique heritage of the HPS property for future generations. For that reason, no cultural resources will be disturbed by the proposed mine.
In general, “cultural resources” refers to locations or items that are more than 50 years old and have religious, spiritual, or ethnic significance to the community, the state of Florida, or the country. Shipwrecks, coins, lighthouses, arrowheads, abandoned missions, cemeteries, and old military forts are classic examples. Sometimes, however, these resources can be less obvious. Native American archaeological sites, for example, may include evidence of mounds, canals, plazas, and villages that date as far back as 10,000 B.C. These sites are frequently the only source of information on ancient Florida, and North Florida is rich in historic cultural resources.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Suwannee River Water Management District require a Phase I Intensive Cultural Resource Assessment Survey (CRAS) to ensure a proposed mine complies with state statutes and regulations for preservation of cultural resources. Site assessments begin with background research into the Florida Master Site File, an inventory and archive of cultural resources throughout the state. The site file identifies whether an area has been assessed for cultural resources, what resources exist and where they are located, and which resources have historic significance. Currently, the site file contains data on more than 200,000 cultural resources throughout Florida. After reviewing the information in the site file, a CRAS assessment proceeds by examining land records, current and historic aerial photographs, maps, previous surveys, and local histories.
Through a contractor experienced in cultural resource assessment, HPS completed a comprehensive Phase I survey to locate and identify potentially significant archaeological or historical resources on the HPS property. In Bradford County, the study revealed five archaeological sites, which appear to have the potential to yield important historical data. Artifacts and structural remains indicate that this area was used for its natural resources, agricultural activities, cattle grazing, and the tobacco and tung oil industries. The survey also identified what might be a cemetery dating from the Civil War era. In Union County, the study found two potentially significant archaeological sites. One was used for turpentine, agriculture, cattle, and permanent settlements, while the other is a clearly marked cemetery. A more detailed Phase II survey would be needed to verify their significance if project activities might impact the identified sites
Based on this information, HPS chose to avoid all eight of these potentially significant historical sites, demonstrating the owners’ deep respect for the historical and cultural heritage of the property and exceeding state regulations for protection of such resources.