September 15, 2018 - Dr. Michael Callaghan and Dr. Brigitte Kovacevich
The Naked and the Dead: Ritual and Warfare at the Dawn of Maya Civilization in Holtun, Guatemala

​January 20, 2018 - Eric H. Cline,  (Director of the Capitol Archaeological Institute at George Washington University)

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

African Diaspora Archaeology can trace its origin to the 1968 excavation of a slave cabin at Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island (Duval County), Florida in 1968. Between 2006 and 2013, eight summer excavations were conducted at this historical site, to revisit this pioneering work, and ask new questions regarding the lives of enslaved Africans in these New World contexts.

The plantation was occupied between 1814 and 1839 by Zephaniah Kingsley, a Scottish planter who was remarkably Afrocentric, married to an African woman, and who practiced a “hands off” policy regarding the personal lives of his Africans, offering them a latitude of freedom to practice aspects of their native religions and other expressions of identity, material evidence of which we found in the slave cabins and adjoining yards.

In stark contrast was the Bulow Plantation (near modern day Ormond Beach), which was founded by Charles Bulow in 1821, and run primarily by his son John Bulow until the plantation’s destruction by Seminoles in 1836 during the Second Seminole War. John Bulow was described as an excessively cruel enslaver, who stood accused of murdering four of his Africans. Four summer field excavations of two cabins and adjoining yards at Bulowville (2014-2017) allow us to compare and contrast two radically different slave owners, and in the process, see some of the impacts of these differences manifested materially, in the lives of the Africans who resided there in early 19th century Florida. 

In this talk, Dr. Michael Callaghan and Dr. Brigitte Kovacevich, discuss the latest insights into the dawn of Preclassic Maya civilization from the perspective of the site of Holtun, Guatemala.  Recent excavations reveal the importance of ritual and potential conflict in the establishment of Holtun as a Preclassic-period urban center.  Highlighting entombed temples with painted walls, monumental stucco masks, writing, graffiti, and early burials Callaghan and Kovacevich present a model for Holtun’s founding emphasizing early community worship that quickly transforms into ruler-focused ritual.

April 21, 2018 - Kevin McAleese
Full Circle - First Contact: Vikings and Skraelings in Newfoundland and Labrador 

The arrival of the Norse at L'Anse aux Meadows in northern Newfoundland around 1000 A. D. is likely the earliest European settlement  in North America.  L'Anse aux Meadows is the first recorded site where during the Viking Age people who turned left out of Africa met up with people who turned right.  The speaker will review the "Full Circle" process of global settlement and present the archaeology of the different people referred to as the Skraelings in the Norse Sagas--the aboriginal residents at L'Anse aux Meadows.  A UNESCO world heritage site, L'Anse aux Meadows residents continue their local way of life.  The speaker will conclude the lecture with a discussion of additional sites which appear to belong to the  Viking Age.

Artifacts, hieroglyphs, architecture, and art have allowed archaeologists to reconstruct the lifeways and worldview of the Classic period Maya who inhabited the tropical lowlands of Mesoamerica from AD 250-900.  However, the story of Classic Maya civilization begins almost one thousand years earlier in a shadowy and poorly understood past.  The Preclassic period began around 1000 BC and witnessed the advent of Classic Maya architecture, material culture, writing, and worldview.  ​

​​May 19, 2018 - Dr. Andy Hemmings
Discussion: Ongoing Work at the Vero Site, a Palaeondian Site in Florida​ ​

​​​February 24, 2018 - John Krigbaum, PhD (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida)
Bioarchaeology in the Age of Isotopes: New Perspectives on Space and Time in Asian Prehistory

"We must learn, and we are gradually learning, how to archaeology."
​                                                                                           -Michael I Rostovtzeff

Dr. Brigitte Kovacevich in a looters' tunnel inside a pyramid at the Head of Stone site.
Photograph: Michael G. Callaghan, National Geographic 

​March 17, 2018 - Dr. James M. Davidson
Kingsley Plantation and Bulowville: A Comparative Study of Enslavement in Early 19th Century Florida 


Free lectures and socials!

No sign up needed ... just show up and bring your friends!

Lectures are generally an hour in length with an optional social afterward. They are held at 12 pm in building 51 (Social Sciences) on the University of North Florida campus in Jacksonville.

Please check back with us 48 hours in advance to confirm the specific room number. Additional information on parking and directions can be found at

Please contact us with any questions.

Note: No meetings in June, July, August or December.


​​Advances in technology including mass spectrometry permit fresh insights into past people. Bioarchaeology, the study of human remains in archaeological context, has contributed in substantive ways towards reconstructing past lifeways, and the analysis of stable isotope ratios using tools of mass spectrometry on prehistoric remains have transformed the field.

In this talk, he will touch on my work past and present in the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, focusing on a variety of isotopes derived from human tooth enamel (e.g., carbon, oxygen, lead, strontium). One advantage of tooth enamel is that it captures a window of time during tooth development that has high resolution, allowing for the interpretation of human behavior with sub-annual precision. Serially sampling tooth enamel along growth layers offers new perspectives of diet and environmental change and permits key questions to be addressed such as the ecological context associated with new modes of food production in Southeast Asia during the mid-Holocene.

Dr. Hemmings will give a presentation regarding recent archaeological work at Vero Beach and Wakulla Spring.  This work has shed new light on Terminal Pleistocene environments, highlighted important differences across the state, and broadened our understanding of how some of Florida’s first peoples survived and thrived on that rather alien landscape.  He will also discuss some additional thoughts regarding fruitful future lines of inquiry.

For more than three hundred years during the Late Bronze Age, from about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex international world in which Egyptians, Mycenaeans, Minoans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Cypriots, and Canaanites all interacted, creating a cosmopolitan and globalized world-system such as has only rarely been seen before the current day. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age.

When the end came, as it did after centuries of cultural and technological evolution, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms, that had taken centuries to evolve, collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world’s first recorded Dark Ages.

It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today. Blame for the end of the Late Bronze Age is usually laid squarely at the feet of the so-called Sea Peoples, known to us from the records of the Egyptian pharaohs Merneptah and Ramses III. However, as was the case with the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of the Bronze Age empires in this region was not the result of a  single invasion, but of multiple causes. The Sea Peoples may well have been responsible for some of the destruction that occurred at the end of the Late Bronze Age, but it is much more likely that a concatenation of events, both human and natural — including earthquake storms, droughts, rebellions, and systems collapse — coalesced to create a “perfect storm” that brought the age to an end.

This illustrated lecture is based upon a book by the same title published by Princeton University Press in March 2014.