​​Jacksonville Society
Archaeological Institute of America

Sept. 16, 2017  Dr. Terry G. Powis from Kennesaw State University
Early Monumental Construction and Middle Preclassic Maya Development at Pacbitun, Belize
The practice of sub-surface excavations of plaza space is not often a highly sought after method of investigation for those researching the ancient Maya. What is more, the usefulness of plaza excavations is generally thought to be limited to merely recovering datable artifacts belonging to successive construction phases associated with the buildings along a plaza’s edge. However, some archaeologists have begun to realize the utility of this investigative approach – one that emphasizes the search for early Maya buildings, or even entire communities, beneath plaza surfaces in site centers. The amount of data recovered can significantly impact one’s understanding of a site’s formation and development. In the Belize Valley, there has been a concerted effort since the early 1990s to recover information about the Preclassic Maya through sub-plaza research. This approach has been very effective at Pacbitun resulting in the recovery of an abundant amount of data pertaining to the earliest inhabitants of the site’s two main plazas, Plaza A and Plaza B. Initial occupation in the 9th century BC begins with the construction of domestic structures in Plaza B; its households focusing on the mass production of shell bead adornments. In Plaza A, we see the erection of the first non-domestic buildings occurring within the next two succeeding centuries. The first temples built are truly monumental in size and, given the separation of residential and non-residential space between Plazas A and B, they provide a glimpse into the nature, structure, and extent of sociopolitical changes at the site throughout the Middle Preclassic (800-400 BC) period. These transformations observed at Pacbitun can now be compared to other sites in the Belize Valley and elsewhere in hopes of identifying similar patterns of early Maya sociopolitical development.

Oct. 21, 2017   International Archaeology Day


The Archaeological Institute of America--Jacksonville Society and the Beaches Museum and History Park will present the fourth annual International Archaeology Day fair on Oct. 21, 2017 at the museum, 381 Beach Boulevard, Jacksonville Beach from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A lecture by Vicki K. Rolland will take place at noon in the historic 1887 chapel in the park.  Rolland is an expert with the Archaeology Lab at the University of North Florida and will discuss the information that can be gleaned from ancient faunal remains recovered from archaeological sites.

May 20, 2017  Peter Fix from Texas A & M

The Recovery of the La Belle

In 1684 famous French explorer La Salle left France with plans to establish a colony at the Mississippi River but got lost on the way.  Instead, he landed the colonists on the Texas coast between Galveston and Corpus Christi at a settlement  called Fort St. Louis.  HIs  ship the La Belle sank in 1686 and was lost until the Texas Historical Commission began searching for the ship in 1995.  The story of the ship's location and  excavation in Matagorda Bay, its conservation at Texas A & M's Conservation Research Laboratory, and its reconstruction in Austin's Bullock Museum is the subject of Peter Fix's lecture.  As the conservator and head of reconstruction , Fix knows every piece of the puzzle after working on it for around 20 years.  It is a story of dedication and hard work by many archaeologists and workers in related fields with a rare complete  ending--a reconstructed historic  ship.

Upcoming Lectures

Join us for free lecture events!

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

Lectures are held at 12 pm in building 51 (Social Sciences) on the University of North Florida campus in Jacksonville.

Additional information on parking and directions can be found at  www.unf.edu for directions. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.