University of North Florida, 
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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.

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  

MONTANA: Retesting of the only known Clovis period burial has finally resolved a long-standing issue. When the Anzick site was uncovered in 1968, it was found to contain a child’s skeleton as well as antler and stone artifacts. Radiocarbon dating initially indicated that the human bones and the antlers were different ages, causing confusion. Now, a new method of dating that isolated and analyzed specific amino acids has concluded that the Clovis artifacts and the child’s remains do indeed date to the same period, around 12,800 years ago. (Photograph courtesy of Michael R. Waters)

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 October 20, 2018  Dr. Kenneth E. Sassaman University of Florida
Sea-Level Rise Among the Ancients: Results of the First Decade of the Lower Suwannee Archaeological Survey


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.

Well-Preserved Roman Road Uncovered in the Netherlands
Tuesday, September 25, 2018


ZUID-HOLLAND, THE NETHERLANDS—Dutch News reports that a stretch of Roman road, a settlement, and a cemetery were discovered during work on a modern highway connecting Katwijk, a seaside resort, with the city of Leiden. Pieces of building materials coated in painted plaster have been recovered in the settlement. Ditches dug along the road surface, thought to date to A.D. 125, were visible, along with traces of wooden poles that had been used to support it. Pottery, pieces of leather shoes, coins, bits of wood, roof tiles, and a fish trap were recovered from the ditches. To read in-depth about archaeology in the Netherlands, go to "Letter from Rotterdam: The City and the Sea."

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GUATEMALA: Maya rituals may have literally been weighty affairs for high ranking rulers. During these festivities, elite officials adorned themselves with an assortment of jade pendants, mostly worn on the ears or around the neck. Heavier ones, such as a 5-pound carved head from Ucanal, were likely attached to a belt, and would have made customary ritual dancing quite cumbersome. It is theorized that the weight of the assembled stones, which may have totaled as much as 25 pounds, symbolized a leader’s prestige and responsibilities. (Photograph by Christina T. Halperin)

The material record of coastal living along the northern Gulf Coast of Florida continues to be overcome by the water of rising sea. Encoded in this record are clues to the ways that people and ecosystems responded to sea-level rise over millennia. Since 2009, the Lower Suwannee Archaeological Survey of the University of Florida has been working to salvage vulnerable sites while developing information relevant to future challenges with environmental and social change. 

Among the results is remarkable evidence for an enduring ritual strategy to sync human movements to celestial cycles in order to lessen the negative impacts of earthly change. This strategy was materialized in terraformed landscapes of mounds, ridges, and rings, as well as cemeteries and ritual objects that were emplaced at locations of ritual gathering. The social networks created and maintained by annual cycles of gathering enabled coastal communities to relocate landward to places of lesser vulnerability when synchronization among earth, water, and sky was disrupted by events, like shoreline retreat, beyond the social memory of generational or century scale experience. Lessons for our own future with rising sea await our attention in the archaeological record of ancient coastal dwelling.



To promote archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity.

The lecture will take place at the Beaches Museum and History Park in Jacksonville Beach [381 Beach Blvd]


The Rulers of Foreign Lands
Was a new regional power, once thought of as a bloodthirsty invading force, actually a catalyst for ancient Egypt’s most prosperous era?

Shipping Stone
A wreck off the Sicilian coast offers a rare look into the world of Byzantine commerce

Fragments of Ancestral Memory
Native texts discovered in a remote church in Mexico belong to an ancient sacred tradition

When the Inuit Met the Basques
A site in southeastern Canada bears evidence of surprising 17th-century interactions between peoples from disparate parts of the world

A Local Institution

The cellar of an 18th-century coffeehouse has been unearthed in Cambridge, revealing a dynamic social venue


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