The Gulf Coast of Mexico unites two distinct culture-historical regions, the Southeastern United States and Mesoamerica. In the Southeast United States, precocious earthen and shell monument construction dates to as early as 6500 BP and precedes agriculture by thousands of years. In Mesoamerica, the first public building dates to the early-middle Formative period, at around 2800 BP, after the development of corn agriculture. Other than differences in agriculture, what else divides these two regions? What unites these two regions? This paper strives to abandon a culture-historical perspective and consider an “Archaeology of the Americas” united by the Gulf of Mexico and related regions..

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020 at 12 noon (via webinar)

Dr. Jayur Madhusudan Mehta, FSU

Contrasting Trends in Early Monumentality between Mesoamerica and North America

Dr. Jayur Madhusudan Mehta is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Florida State University, specializing in the study of North American Native Americans, human-environment relationships, and the consequences of French and Spanish colonization in the Gulf South. Dr. Mehta earned his PhD in Anthropology from Tulane University (2015) and his MA (2007) from the University of Alabama. He received his BA from the University of North Carolina (2004) and is an avid Tarheel!  Dr. Mehta is also a Registered Professional Archaeologist and he has lead excavations in both the United States and Mexico. He is currently lead investigator for the Carson Mounds Archaeological Project (CMAP), a long-term study on the development of hierarchical and agricultural monument-building societies in the Lower Mississippi Valley, and Resilience in the Ancient Gulf South (RAGS), an interdisciplinary investigation into delta formation, hunter-gather settlement dynamics, and monumentality in the Mississippi River Delta region south of New Orleans. Dr. Mehta is a National Geographic research fellow and he has published research in the fields of environmental archaeology, ethnohistory, and indigenous religious and ritual practices.

Our FREE LECTURES are held on a Saturday at 12:00 pm in building 51 (Social Sciences) on the University of North Florida campus in Jacksonville.


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November 21, 2020
John Quarstein, Director Emeritus of the USS Monitor Center at the Maritime Museum in Newport News, Virginia, will discuss the location, excavation, conservation and exhibition of the USS Monitor.

January 23, 2021
Dr. Zachary Gilmore, professor at Rollins College, “Great Gathering Places! Pre-Columbian Ritual and Social Integration at Florida Shell Mounds.”

February 20, 2021
Dr. Sarah Clayton, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “The End of Teotihuacan: Perspectives on Collapse and Regeneration from Beyond the Ancient Metropolis.”

March 20, 2021 
Lisa Duffy, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Florida, will present the results of her fascinating research into pottery residues. “Using Residue Analysis to Explore Ancient Maya Recipes and Food-Processing Technology.”

April 17, 2021
Dr. William Murray, professor at the University of South Florida, will discuss his research into Roman battle rams. 

May 15, 2021
Dr. James P. Delgado, Senior Vice President of SEARCH, INC., will present a lecture about the recent recovery of the Clotilda, the last ship to bring slaves into  the United States.
Its location has long been the subject of great interest to  archaeologists.