The Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) is dedicated to the protection of cultural resources, both on land and underwater, and to involving the public in the study of their past. Regional centers around Florida serve as clearinghouses for information, institutions for learning and training, and headquarters for public participation in archaeology.
The Northwest Region of the Florida Public Archaeology Network is hosted by the University of West Florida in Pensacola, and it shares offices with the Network Coordinating Center in the historic L&N Marine Terminal at 207 East Main Street.
Archaeology at the University of West Florida (UWF) began with the arrival of Dr. Judy Bense and the creation of the Archaeology Institute in 1980. Over the course of the next two and one-half decades, Dr. Bense (who currently serves the university as President) and others worked to develop an internationally respected academic and research program at UWF that increasingly included the public as both participant and benefactor.
Dr. Bense’s work in Pensacola showcased the importance for Florida of publicly focused archaeology. In 1984, construction of a new building for City Hall led to the uncovering and looting of numerous artifacts from Pensacola’s Spanish Colonial past. Dr. Bense put together an effort to salvage some information from this site, which kicked off a long-standing program of archaeological research in downtown Pensacola that increasingly involved the public. Increased awareness of the presence and value of these archaeological remains led to improved preservation efforts on behalf of the City and County. The success of publicly focused archaeology in Pensacola and its ability to increase the preservation of archaeological sites inspired Dr. Bense to envision a state-wide program of public archaeology for Florida.
Offices and Museum:
207 East Main Street, Pensacola