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.

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

​​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.

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

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

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.

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

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.  ​

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.

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  

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

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.

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.​

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

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.

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. 


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.

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

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

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed

​​​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

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