Dig This! Public Archaeology in South Florida

The Florida Public Archaeology Network Southeast and Southwest, hosted by Florida Atlantic University

Introducing our new Outreach Coordinator! Mallory Fenn

Hi, I’m Mallory Fenn! I am so excited to start my job as Outreach Coordinator for FPAN’s Southeast region, and to engage South Floridians with our region’s fascinating history through fun programs and events.

For the past few years, I’ve been hopping between museum work and digging on archaeological sites, but I began my career in archaeology as an illustrator. I attended Miami’s Design and Architecture Senior High, so when my borrowed camera broke while visiting Parque-Museo de La Venta my first year at New College of Florida, I started sketching the Olmec artifacts at the park. My professor noticed my drawings and invited me to work on a project with her, and I’ve been working as a freelance scientific illustrator ever since!


Sketching artifacts in the foothills of the Maya Mountains!

Archaeology is a visual discipline, which often requires interpretive drawings for reports and exhibits–yes, even in the 21st century!–so I’ve been charged with being the de-facto mapper and illustrator on many projects since then. My first project was recording Maya glyphs and iconography on pottery for an exhibit at the Lowe Art Museum. After that I studied Prehispanic Maya archaeology, calendrics, and epigraphy! I attended archaeological field school in Cayo, Belize, digging at the Baking Pot site and illustrating artifacts from Cahal Pech and other nearby sites.


The author after a long day of digging in Downtown Miami.

After earning my BA in Anthropology, I began to do CRM (Cultural Resource Management) work throughout Southeast Florida. I dug, mapped, and also recorded hundreds of limestone bedrock postholes at the Met Square site in Downtown Miami, which included layers from the original Fort Dallas location during the Second Seminole War, Henry Flagler’s Royal Palm Hotel, and a large Tequesta settlement thought to belong to the same community as the Miami Circle as well as other features along the Miami River downtown (see Met Square article). In addition to this, I performed Phase I and II surveys (shovel tests and test units which serve to locate the boundaries of archaeological sites) and hand-mapped small sites throughout South Florida. I also illustrated, excavated, and later helped re-inter a roughly 2,000-year-old burial found at Pine Island Road.

Following my time in CRM, I worked as a conservation technician at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, cycling through cleaning each of the 20+ rooms in the historic house to prevent mold and monitor the museum’s collections, as well as lightly treating objects for rust, grime, and other effects of age. I briefly returned to CRM for archaeological construction monitoring (watching backhoes pull up dirt to ensure that any objects found are recovered and recorded), including early monitoring for the restoration of the historic E.W.F. Stirrup House. After that I worked with the Wolfsonian Museum, where I assisted in researching, cataloging, cleaning and packing museum objects for a relocation project.


Dusting textiles at Vizcaya (but please, no photography in the museum!)

I was born and raised in Miami, and my two biggest passions are archaeology and visual art–so I’m excited and grateful for the chance to develop programming about the incredible historic and pre-contact sites we have here in Southeast Florida!

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Assisting with soil sampling near Miami Circle.


One comment on “Introducing our new Outreach Coordinator! Mallory Fenn

  1. Carol Walzer-Moss
    July 27, 2016

    So proud of you Mallory………………………Aunt Carole


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This entry was posted on July 26, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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