November 17, 2018  Dr. Gregory Cook, University of West Florida
Luna's Lost Ships: Updates on the Investigations of Three Vessels

from the 1559 Colonization Fleet of Tristan de Luna  

CANADA: It was once believed that around A.D. 1000, Norse explorers taught Paleo-Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic how to weave animal hair and sinews into yarn. However, dating these textiles has been problematic because they are often contaminated by whale and seal oil, rendering attempts at radiocarbon dating unreliable. A new process, however, has successfully removed these contaminants and accurately dated a textile sample from Baffin Island, proving that spun yarn and weaving technology predated European contact by at least a millennium.


The Marks of Time
A six-week heat wave in the U.K. and Ireland exposes nearly 5,000 years of history

Reimagining the Crusades
A detailed picture of more than two centuries of European Christian life in the Holy Land is emerging from new excavations at monasteries, towns, cemeteries, and some of the world’s most enduring castles

People of the White Tiger
In southwestern China, a man’s richly furnished grave reveals how identity can persist even in a time of great change

At the Edge of the New World
The remains of a 400-year-old ship off Bermuda are refining the history of the island’s earliest inhabitants

All Roads, Eventually, Lead to Rome

Discoveries at the ancient town of Satricum on the Italian peninsula bear witness to the earliest expressions of what would become the Roman Empire


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GEORGIA: At least 7 cremation burials and a copper band from St. Catherine’s Island show that Native Americans living there 3,500 years ago exchanged goods and cultural ideas through surprisingly long-distance trade networks. Analysis of the copper artifact’s chemical signature determined that it originated almost 1,000 miles away in the Great Lakes region. This new evidence is a clear indication that the use of copper and the practice of cremation were introduced to coastal Georgia 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.


​Dr. Gregory Cook, assistant professor UWF, teaches shipwreck archaeology, maritime archaeological field methods and archaeological field survey.

The almost perfectly preserved remains of “Ötzi the Iceman” may give us a glimpse into medicines practiced by prehistoric peoples. We know that “Ötzi” carried a medical kit with him – his own portable pharmacy with over ten different plant products that could heal and cure. Discoveries about ancient medical techniques may be possible by studying Otzi’s singular case.

Amazing forensic science has recovered much detail about Otzi’s life. This lecture explores the medical evidence, including material technology he carried with vital medical and bioarchaeological data. This is research conducted under the auspices of National Geographic and the Institute for EthnoMedicine where Hunt is also a Research Associate in Archeoethnobotany. Hunt has filmed several documentaries (2008, 2010) for National Geographic on Otzi and is currently involved in a third production (2015). 

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TRUJILLO, PERU—Reuters reports that 20 wooden sculptures, each standing about 27 inches tall, have been discovered in rectangular niches in an adobe wall at the site of Chan Chan, which is located in northern Peru. Some of the human figures carry staffs and shields. The wall was also decorated with high-relief drawings. Patricia Balbuena, Peru’s minister of culture, said the structure is situated at the entrance to a plaza that may have been a ceremonial center.  The figures and the wall are thought to have been buried about 800 years ago. To read about early civilizations of the Peruvian Amazon, go to “Letter from Peru: Connecting Two Realms.”

January 26, 2019Dr. Patrick Hunt, Professor at Stanford University
Timely Remedies: The Ancient Medicine of Otzi the Iceman


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This presentation will detail the finds and investigations of three shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay associated with the failed colonization attempt of Don Tristan de Luna in 1559.  These wreck sites are among the oldest in the United States, and along with the terrestrial settlement site located near the fleet, provide a rare look into Spanish colonization and life in the sixteenth century.

Tristán de Luna y Arellano led an expedition from Veracruz, Mexico to modern-day Pensacola, Florida in 1559 to begin the Spanish colonization of the northern Gulf Coast. One month after they arrived, the colony was struck by a hurricane, sinking many of their ships and devastating their food supplies. After two years, the remnants of the colony were rescued by Spanish ships and returned to Mexico.

The University of West Florida archaeology program has conducted research related to the Luna settlement since 1992 when the Emanuel Point I shipwreck was discovered in Pensacola Bay. The UWF archaeology program includes a select group of 13 full-time professional archaeologists, nine support staff and numerous graduate students. The program has a rich history of significant instruction, research and public outreach in the Pensacola region.

Wooden Figurines Discovered at Chan Chan
Tuesday, October 23, 2018


As co-principal investigator of the Emanuel Point II shipwreck, he leads a team of students in surveying and conducting underwater excavations on the second vessel from the Tristan de Luna’s 1559 colonization fleet. Cook, who specializes in remote sensing techniques, utilizes advanced sonar equipment to map out the location of objects on the seafloor.