After 27 years serving in the trenches, literally, City Archeologist Carl Halbirt will retire from his position at the end of September. Historic City News was informed that upon his departure, Halbirt will turn over his trowel to Andrea White.
Halbirt joined the city’s Planning and Building Department in 1990 as the city’s first full time archaeologist shortly after the city established its archaeology ordinance, one of the most comprehensive in the nation. Halbirt’s work has generated a vast wealth of knowledge of St. Augustine’s history, and has demonstrated how such an ordinance can work to protect the past in the active environment of a living city.
White, who comes to St. Augustine from New Orleans, served as the director of the Greater New Orleans Archaeology Program based at the University of New Orleans. Additionally, she most recently worked as a liaison between the Louisiana Division of Archaeology and FEMA; working with the recovery process associated with the 2005 hurricanes.
A historical, urban archaeologist, White is no stranger to Florida or St. Augustine having begun her career with the city’s archaeology program, the Florida Museum of Natural History, and the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program. To help ensure a smooth transition, she joined the city’s Archeology Division several weeks ago allowing time for her to work alongside Halbirt.
White specializes in urban and historical archaeology with over 20 years of experience in the field having worked on and directed numerous projects throughout the Southeast. Most recently she used an interdisciplinary approach to understand how people shaped the growth and development of historic New Orleans and navigated the complexities of urban life. Her research interests include urban archaeology, peripheral communities, historical GIS, and public engagement with archaeology
She took her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Florida and earned a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology, specializing in historical archaeology, from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she is finalizing her doctoral degree in geography and anthropology at Louisiana State University.
St. Augustine’s Archeology Ordinance, one of the first in the country, requires that archaeological investigations be conducted on public and private properties before and during ground-penetrating construction activities. Since the adoption of the ordinance in 1986, approximately 800 archaeological projects have been completed, resulting in the documentation of 10,000 years of human history in the area that is today St. Augustine.
The Planning and Building Department’s Historic Preservation Division includes the city’s archeological program which is housed in the Dr. Sue Middleton Archaeology Center. To learn more, visit www.CityStAug.com/Archaeology