Keith Ashley is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and the University of North Florida. He grew up in northern Florida and moved north to attend Auburn University, where he received a BA in Anthropology. Keith returned to the sunshine state to earn a MS from Florida State University and a PH.D. from the University of Florida.  Over the past 20 years, he has been involved in archaeological excavation and research throughout the southeastern United State.  Field projects have ranged from 4000 year old shell middens along the Atlantic coast to 17th century Creek Indian villages in central Alabama. Dr. Ashley's current research focuses on the archaeology of Native Americans in northeastern Florida before and after European contact. 

VERACRUZ, MEXICO—Mexico News Daily reports that a fifteenth-century anchor has been found covered in sediment under about 40 feet of water off the coast of Veracruz by members of the Underwater Archaeology Project at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). The anchor is thought to have come from a ship in Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés fleet. Cortés scuttled 10 of his 11 ships in 1519, in order to quash a mutiny among his crew members and force them to travel inland with him. Archaeologist Roberto Junco Sánchez and anthropologist Chris Horrell said wood on the anchor has been dated to sometime between the mid-fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and has been identified as a type of oak that grows only in northern Spain. The team members are creating a 3-D reconstruction of the anchor, and plan to bring it to the surface and conserve it. They will continue to search the area with a magnetometer and sonar to look for the rest of the ship. To read more about underwater archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico, go to "All Hands on Deck."​

EDGARTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS—According to a report in the Vineyard Gazette, researchers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have recovered remnants of a World War II–era, Curtiss SB2C Helldiver-type bomber plane that crashed in the waters off Chappaquiddick Island—on the eastern end of Martha's Vineyard—in the winter of 1946. Throughout World War II, the U.S. Navy used Martha's Vineyard for training exercises and, particularly, as a testing ground for bombers, as its seashore was thought to approximate island combat zones in the the north Pacific. The discovery of the bomber follows a three-year-long effort by the Army Corps to clear some 60 acres of land on Chappaquiddick, where, estimates say, some 20,000 practice bombs were dropped between 1944 and 1947, and the danger of live ordnance remains. While the search for official records of the crash initially came up empty, the team discovered a 1946 newspaper article naming ensign Cecil M. Richards and aviation radioman second class William Robert Garrett as the Navy fliers who perished in the crash. To read more about the archaeology of World War II, go to "December 7, 1941."


WWII-Era Bomber Recovered Off Martha's Vineyard

Friday, May 3, 2019

May 18, 2019
​​Dr. Keith Ashley, Professor at the University of North Florida

Mocama Indians and Spanish Missions: Life Beneath the Bell

Fifteenth-Century Anchor Found Off Mexico’s Gulf Coast

​Thursday, May 2, 2019


GUATEMALA: Divers have found hundreds of intact Maya artifacts lying 500 feet underwater in Lake Peten Itza. The objects, which include ceramic bowls, incense burners, obsidian knives, and musical instruments, were likely thrown into the lake during ritual ceremonies. Water was sacred to the Maya, as it was seen as a portal between the living and the dead. Many Maya rituals involved lakes and cenotes.


Mapping the Past
ARCHAEOLOGY’s editors explore the genius and creativity of mapmakers through time

Bringing Back Moche Badminton
How reviving an ancient ritual game gave an archaeologist new insight into the lives of ancient Peruvians

China’s Hidden City
Recent discoveries at an isolated northern settlement are challenging traditional narratives about the origins of Chinese civilization

Inside King Tut’s Tomb
A decade of research offers a new look at the burial of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh

Medieval England’s Power

For nearly 1,000 years, monks on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne wielded unprecedented political and economic might


GREENLAND: Viking legend holds that Erik the Red devised the name “Greenland” in order to attract settlers to the notoriously cold island. A new study suggests the name wasn’t so misleading after all. By analyzing oxygen isotopes from flies trapped in ancient lake sediments, scientists concluded that summer temperatures on the island regularly reached 50°F during the age of Norse colonization (10th–15th centuries). When the climate cooled dramatically at the end of this period, the Norse settlements disappeared.

SOUTH CAROLINA: A piece of Charleston’s history was revealed when construction workers encountered a section of the city’s colonial defensive network. Charleston was one of the most heavily fortified English colonial cities in America. Its defenses offered protection against potential Spanish and French attacks. Construction began on a red brick wall along the city’s waterfront in the late 17th century, but the structure was dismantled after the Revolutionary War. Very few traces remain visible today.

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When most people think of Spanish Missions, they think of California, New Mexico, or even Texas. What many do not realize is that the Spanish Mission system in Florida occurred earlier and lasted longer than it did in any of those other areas. Among the Mocama-speaking Timucua of northeastern Florida, mission communities existed between 1587 and 1702. This lecture discusses Mocama life under the mission bell, with emphasis on archaeological excavations at San Juan del Puerto and Santa Cruz de Guadalquini in Jacksonville. 


MEETINGS LOCATION: ​University of North Florida, Social Sciences Building 51 ​​​ 
All lectures are free, but we encourage membership! ​ Please join us today!
Note:  We do not meet in the months of ​June, July, August or December.