Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Carl Halbirt, St. Augustine City Archaeologist, 1990-2017, Receives La Florida Award From City of St. Augustine

Viva Carl Halbert, our City of St. Augustine's first City Archaeologist, 1990-2017! 
He documented our City's buried treasures.

St. Augustine City Hall's Alcazar Room was full of archaeologists, volunteers, historians, activists, federal, state and local government employees, current and former politicians and other residents Monday, February 12, 2018.

Our friend Carl Halbirt received the City's highest honor, the La Florida award.  Carl has performed over 800 archaeological digs in 27 years at the City's first City Archaeologist.

Government scientists often face pressures from their employers and business men.

When I was a lawyer, I "rode circuit" protecting the rights of ethical resisters (employee whistleblowers), I found this across this land, from sea to shining sea, from California's San Joaquin Valley Drainage Program to Washington, D.C

I believe that history may record the fact that Carl Halbirt's work was sometimes  threatened, but not stopped, by short-sightedness, by hick hacks (like ex-Mayor JOE BOLES, who did not attend), by cabined budgets and by cranky City burghers.

Case in point: in 2005-2006, corrupt City Planning and Building Director MARK ALAN KNIGHT (later fired for reasons never shared with us) kept secret from City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt the incomplete ESI report on Red House Bluff, a 3000-4000  Native American monument along Lewis Speedway, just north of St. Augustine High School.

I believe that history may record that there were tensions and pressures upon Carl, flowing from developers, builders and City officials, among them cognitive misers 'who know not that they know not that they know not," as my friend and former client, retired Special Agent Robert E. Tyndall might say.

"Nonetheless, [Carl] persisted." (To paraphrase Senator Mitch McConnell about Senator Elizabeth Warren.)

Against all odds, like Horatio at the bridge, our heroic City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt helped document our City's history and cultural heritage.

Under the City's pioneering archaeological ordinance, Carl performed archaeological digs before developers and construction crews.  Working with dedicated volunteers, Carl worked for more than a quarter of a century, 1990-2017; together they have made a tremendous difference in the understanding of the history of Our Nation's Oldest Cities.  

Their discoveries have been documented in scholarly publications and may be seen in the St. Augustine Art Association and in museums.

Thank you!

In their honor, I believe that we need to adopt an ethical employee whistleblower protection ordinance.


From the City of St. Augustine's Facebook page:
Carl Halbirt became the 19th recipient of the City of St. Augustine's highest and most prestigious award, the Order of La Florida on Monday, February 12. Halbirt, who retired in September 2017 after 27 years as the city archaeologist, received the award from members of the City Commission before a standing room only audience in City Hall’s The Alcazar Room. In addition to the city’s presentation, representatives of U. S. Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson presented Halbirt with letters recognizing his years of service and his contributions to the historical knowledge gained through his work.
To watch the presentation, visit http://staugustinefl.swagit.com/play/02122018-754, and to learn more about Mr. Halbirt and the Order of La Florida, visit the web story at www.CityStAug.com.

Carl Halbirt and Dr. Kathy Deagan, Emeritus UF Professor.


Carl Halbirt, City Commissioners and volunteers
Carl Halbirt and La Florida Award
Left to right: City of St. Augustine City Commissioners Leanna Sophia Amaru Freeman, Roxanne Horvath, Emeritus City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt, Mayor Nancy Shaver and Commissioner Nancy Sikes-Kline



Florida Museum of Natural History

New York Daily News
Jacksonville Florida Times-Union

St. Augustine Art Association

St. Augustine Art Association


Coe College
Colonial History
First Coast News

Going Public

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