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Historic photo of Ponce Hall circa 1960s

Carl Halbirt, M.A.

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Description of Research

Retired City Archaeologist, St. Augustine, Florida

As the city archaeologist of St. Augustine, Florida, from April 1990 to September 2017, Carl Halbirt conducted more than 800 archaeological investigations in response to new ground-penetrating construction activities as mandated by the City’s Archaeological Preservation Ordinance.  Although the majority of these projects dealt with material dating to the historic era (1565 to the early 20th century), some investigations dated to the prehistoric era, dating back some 4,000 years. The data unearthed enabled a unique perspective of St. Augustine’s archaeological landscape. Since retiring, Halbirt continues to engage in studying the archaeological heritage of St. Augustine, as well as revisiting his interest in Southwestern archaeology, especially that associated with the Late Pithouse Period (A.D. 650 to A.D. 950-1000) of the Mogollon culture area, which extends from east-central Arizona into west-central New Mexico.

During his tenure with the city, Halbirt maintained an active role in helping to promote and interpret St. Augustine’s unique cultural heritage through numerous public outreach programs and exhibits and presentations at professional conferences and civic organizations. He also developed, trained, and maintained an active volunteer program. Volunteers assisted in all aspects of archaeological field work as well as analysis in the lab and report preparation. These accomplishments were acknowledged by various organizations, including the City of St. Augustine, The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, the Florida Historical Society, and the Florida Anthropological Society. In 2015, the City’s Archaeology Program was recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama via the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation as a Preservation America Steward, a Federal designation that recognized the successful use of volunteer time and commitment to help care for the city’s historic heritage.


M.P.A. (Public Administration), University of North Florida, Jacksonville, 2004 (with honors)

M. A. (Anthropology), Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, 1985.

B. A. (Anthropology) University of Arizona, Tucson, 1974.


Spanish colonial archaeology and history, urban archaeology, historic preservation, and prehistoric Mogollon culture area.


Order of La Florida (2018) presented by the City Commission of St. Augustine, Florida “in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to St. Augustine’s historical record.”

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation (2018) Outstanding Performance in the Field of Archaeology for the Investigation of Nuestra Senora de los Remedios (with Drs. Kathleen Deagan and John Krigbam)

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation (2017) Meritorious Achievement in the Archaeology category for St. Augustine: America’s Enduring Colony exhibit.

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation (2016) Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Archaeology for Inventory of Archaeological Sites and Past Archaeological Investigations in St. Augustine (with Archaeological Consultants Inc.)

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Individual Distinguished Service Award (2015) in recognition of 25 years as the city archaeologist for St. Augustine.

Honorary Life Member, St. Augustine Art Association [SAAA] (2012): In recognition of his archaeological excavation and research at the (SAAA) and in appreciation of his scholarly guidance on the “Art y Facts of Drake’s Raid” exhibit.

Jillian Prescott Memorial Lectureship (2010): “Discovering St. Augustine’s Remarkable History through Archaeology.” Lecture presented at the Florida Historical Society Annual Meeting, St. Augustine, Florida.

Ripley P. Bullen Award (2008): “for Furthering Cooperation Among Professional and Avocational Archaeologists.”

City of St. Augustine Employee of the Year (2001): “for service to the people of St. Augustine through his untiring dedication to the exploration and preservation of the City’s past.”


The Structure of St. Augustine, 1565 to 1821: A concept plan for a permanent exhibit at the Visitor Information Center (VIC) show casing the city’s colonial history and illustrating the growth of St. Augustine.  Funding provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, 2016. ($42,500).

Inventory of Archaeological Sites within the Colonial Downtown District: An inventory all archaeological investigations within the colonial downtown district since 1930s into the Florida Master Site File. Funding provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, 2014. ($75,000)

City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program Website:  Presents the procedures used and discoveries made by the City’s archaeology program.  Funding provided by HSARI, Flagler College, 2009 ($5,000).

Every artifact tells a story: An exhibit of artifacts detailing 400 years of St. Augustine’s history, Visitor Information Center. Funding provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, 2000 ($35,000).

Windows Through Time: A Guide to the City of St. Augustine's Archeology Program: A portable display illustrating aspects of the City’s archaeology program and its relevance to the community and an accompanying brochure. Funding provided by State of Florida, Department of State, 1993. ($2,500)

St. Augustine Archaeological Inventory: An inventory of archaeological projects that has occurred in St. Augustine. Funding provided by the State of Florida, Department of State, 1992. ($5,000)


St. Augustine: America’s Enduring Colony, 1565 to 1821 (2016), Exhibit at the Visitors Information Center showcasing St. Augustine’s 256-year colonial heritage through panel displays and showcasing artifacts from City excavations. 

Preserving the Past for the Future: St. Augustine’s Early History (2012), Exhibit of artifacts celebrating the 450th Anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine, VIC, accompanying DVD

CONFERENCE ORGANIZER (2002): developed and procured funding and participants for a two-day program focusing on the 300th anniversary of the English Siege of St. Augustine in 1702.  Entitled “Firestorm and Ashes,” the conference was sponsored by the St. Augustine Historical Society.


City Archaeologist: City of St. Augustine, April 17, 1990 to Sept. 29, 2017.

Archaeologist: Project Director or supervisor for CRM firms in the southwestern United States, May 1979 to April 1990. 

Research Assistant:  Department of Biosciences, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, 1977-1978.

Archaeologist: Crew member on survey and excavation projects in the southwest United States, 1974 to 1978.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (relevant to St. Augustine)

n.d.       The People Who Met Menendez (with Kathleen Deagan). In The Oldest City, Second Edition. St. Augustine Historical Society, St. Augustine (in press)

2017     Spanish St. Augustine, Florida (with Kathleen Deagan).  In Ceramics in America, pp 90-103, edited by Robert Hunter and Angelika R. Kuettner, Chipstone Foundation, London

2017        Municipal Archaeology Policies as a Vector in Public Outreach Programs: Digging Up Dirt for the Masses in St. Augustine, Florida (with Sarah Miller).  In Urban Archaeology, Municipal Government, and Local Planning: Preserving Heritage within the Commonwealth of Nations and the United States, pp 299-319 (edited by Sherene Baugher, Douglas Appler, and William Moss), Springer Science + Business, LLC, New York.

2011     Aviles Street: St. Augustine’s Oldest Documented Road. St. Augustine Archaeological Association Newsletter 24(4):1-5.

2004     La Ciudad de San Agustín: An Eighteenth-Century European Fighting Presidio. Historical Archaeology 39(3):

2004     Lessons from the Monson.  St. Augustine Archaeological Association Newsletter 19 (3):1-6.

2002     The Apocalypse of 1702: Archaeological Evidence of Moore’s Siege. El Escribano 39:29-44.


2002     The Smith Siblings: “In Death They Were Not Divided.”  St. Augustine Archaeological Association Newsletter 17(4):1-5.

1999     "...A Great Farmer and Gardener": Archaeological Evidence of Governor James Grant's Farm, St. Augustine, East Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 52(1-2):57-71.

1997     Of Earth, Tabby, Brick, and Asphalt: The Archaeology of St. Augustine's Historic St. George Street.  El Escribano 34:70-97.

1993     The City of St. Augustine's Archaeology Program.  The Florida Anthropologist, 46(2):101-104.

1993     The Archeology of the Cubo Line: St. Augustine's First Line of Defense. The Florida Anthropologist 46(2):105-127.

CONFERENCE PAPERS (Sample of the 35 papers presented at professional conferences from 1990-present)

2018     Sacred Space, Urban Intrusion, and the Fate of America’s First Parish Church.  The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation 40th                      Anniversary Conference, Jacksonville, Florida (with Kathleen Deagan)

2016     Old Hypotheses and New Discoveries: Reflections on the Archaeology of Sixteenth-Century St. Augustine. The Santa Elena and                    Sixteenth-Century La Florida Conference, Beaufort, South Carolina (with Kathleen Deagan)

2016     Mitigating Hurricane Risk in Colonial St. Augustine. The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida, (poster with Sarah Taylor)

2015     Back Under the Spanish Fold: 18th Century Yamassee Mission Sites in St. Augustine, Florida.  The First Yamassee Conference, St. Augustine, Florida (April 17-19).

2014     Seeking Asylum in 18th Century St. Augustine:  The Final chapter of the Franciscan Mission System in La Florida.  Paper presented at the Franciscan Florida in Pan-Borderlands Perspective Conference, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida.

2012     In the Shadow of Castillo de San Marcos. Poster presented at the 64th Annual Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society, Tallahassee, Florida (with Mischa Johns).

2008     “…skillfully disarticulated at the joints”: A Seventeenth Century Donkey Burial, St. Augustine, Florida.  The 60th Annual Conference of the Florida Anthropological Society, Ybor City, Florida.

2005     “…where the sea breezes constantly blow—an ideal place for a home”: The 18th Century  Mission Community of

Nuestra Señora del Rosario de la Punta.  The 2005 SEAC conference, Columbia, South Carolina.

2003     New Evidence for St. Augustine’s 16th Century Cultural Landscape.  The 55th Annual Conference of the Florida Anthropological Society, Tallahassee, Florida.

1997     Post Holes, Ditches, and Slipware: The Archaeological Evidence of Governor Grant's Agricultural Enterprise in St. Augustine, Florida.  The Plantation Symposium, University of Central Florida, Daytona.

1995     Indian Ditches and British Refuse:  Recycling Archaeological Features.  The 47th Annual Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society, Sebring, Florida (with Clara A. Gualtieri)

PRESENTATIONS (selection of invitations to specific events)

2016     Ten Fascinating Finds. Prepared for the Historic St. Augustine Research Institute Series, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida (February)

2014     St. Augustine’s Unseen Heritage: The Archaeology of Early Colonial Life in America’s Oldest European Community.  Prepared for the Florida Humanities Series at the Emerson Center, Vero Beach, Florida (April).

2013     Preserving St. Augustine’s Unique Archaeological Heritage.  Workshop on Municipal Archaeology, Florida Historic Trust Meeting, St. Augustine, Florida, (May)

2012     The Legacy of El Dragón: 1586 Raid of Francis Drake. Prepared for the opening of the Art y Facts of Drake’s Raid exhibit at the St. Augustine Art Association, Florida, (May).

2012     “Find Anything Interesting:” 25 Years as Stewards of History.  Prepared for the 450th First America Series, St. Augustine, Florida (January)

2010     St. Augustine’s Unseen History: Touring Colonial Archaeological Sites in the Downtown District.  Brochure developed for the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Amelia Island Plantation, Florida (with Kathleen Deagan and Melissa Dezendorf)

2000     Saving America’s Oldest City: Highlights of the City of St. Augustine’s Archaeology Program 1989-1999.  Prepared for the Flagler College Speakers Series.

1996     Plaza de la Constitición: The Archaeology of One of St. Augustine's Oldest Landmarks. Prepared for the Plaza Rededication Ceremony 

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (Selection from the 23 monographs and published reports relevant to the Southwest, 1980 to 2016)

2016     Before Kinishba: Two Mogollon Pithouse Villages. Archaeology Southwest 30(1):13-15 with Richard Ciolek-Torrello)

2013     Before Kinishba: Two Late Pithouse Period Settlements near Fort Apache.  In Kinishba Lost and Found: Mid-century Excavations and Contemporary Perspectives (edited by John R. Welch), Arizona State Museum Archaeological Series No. 206, pp. 94-121 (with Richard Ciolek-Torrello).

1993     Archaic Occupation on the Santa Cruz Flats: The Tator Hills Archaeological Project. Northland Research, Inc., Flagstaff (edited with T. Kathleen Henderson)

1990     Investigations at the Cake Ranch Site: A Classic Period Hohokam Village on the Santa Cruz Flats, Pinal County, Arizona. Northland Research, Inc. (with T. Kathleen Henderson and JoAnn E. Kisselburg)

1989     Modeling Prehistoric Behavior from the Analysis of Ground-stone Assemblages.  In Hohokam Archaeology along Phase B of the Tucson Aqueduct Central Arizona Project, Volume 1 Syntheses and Interpretations, Part II (edited by Jon S. Czaplicki and John c. Ravesloot), pp190-204. Arizona State Museum Archaeological Series No. 178\

1987a    Archaeobotanical Analyses.  In Archaeology of the Mazatzal Piedmont, Central Arizona, (Richard S. Ciolek-Torrello), pp. 282-327.  Museum of Northern Arizona Research Paper 33, Volume 1, Flagstaff (with Robert E. Gasser).

1987b    Ground Stone Implements.  In Archaeology of the Mazatzal Piedmont, Central Arizona, (Richard S. Ciolek-Torrello), pp. 165-187.  Museum of Northern Arizona Research Paper 33, Volume 1, Flagstaff (with Robert E. Gasser).

1985a    Hunter-Gatherer Adaptation in the Mountain Region of West-Central Arizona.  Museum of Northern Arizona Research Paper 34, Flagstaff (with Steven G. Dosh).

1985b    Pollen Analysis of Metate Wash Samples: Evaluating Techniques for Determining Metate Function, M.A. Thesis, Northern Arizona, Flagstaff.

1983     An Evaluation of Cultural Resources Training Program, San Carlos Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs.  Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff.

1981     An Archaeological Survey and Evaluation of 7,815 Acres in the Alton Leasehold. Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff (with Clara A. Gualtieri)

1980     An Archaeological Survey of 6,215 Acres on the San Carlos Indian Reservation.  Museum on Northern Arizona, Flagstaff (with Don Keller).

Conferences (sample of papers relevant to the Southwest presented at professional conferences from 1980 to 1986)

1986     Modeling Mogollon Cultural Development in East-Central Arizona. Fourth Mogollon Conference, Tucson

1983     The Pollen Spectra of an Isolated Pottery Cache. 27th Annual Meeting, Arizona-Nevada Academy of Sciences, Flagstaff (with Alan Dulaney).

1982     A Spatial Analysis of Carrizo Phase Mogollon Settlements on the San Carlos Indian Reservation, Arizona. Second Mogollon Conference, Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Current Professional Organizations

St. Augustine Historical Society (President 2001 & 2002; Board member 1997 to 2002, research associate 1998 to present)

St. Augustine Archaeological Society (board member 1993-1995; newsletter editor 1994-1995)

Historic St. Augustine Research Institute (Flagler College), research associate 2004 to present