Friday, September 28, 2012

Theodore Morris painting of Timucua.
 We are pleased to announce that Timucuan Technology is live and available for download.  Not familiar with our new program?  Visit the program website or read below to learn how you can get involved in learning about Florida's rich prehistoric past.

Timucuan Technology is one of our many responses to the need for programming as interest in the state's 500th anniversary and our host city's 450th birthday.  We felt it was archaeology's unique contribution to these commemorations to provide context for who was here before Europeans and bring to light Florida's diverse heritage. 

We also saw a void of archaeology related education materials targeted to middle school aged students.  Many of the standards for 6-8th grades require advanced levels of inquiry and literacy, a perfect fit for archaeology.  The lessons average 20 pages each, but we relied on feeback from teachers who told us student's can't read enough at that grade level.

Who were the Timucua?  Timucua is a very broad term we use in northeast Florida to describe prehistoric people going back 4,000 years in our region.  It is important to note: Timucuans would not have identified themselves as a singular culture or people.  They shared a common language group yet different dialects, at least up to 12 different subgroups based on language.  We have grouped them together here for ease of talking about prehistoric, northeast Florida cultures and because we find similarities in how they approached meeting basic needs through technology.

Timucuan Technology is available in a variety of formats.  The most immediate way to get involved is visit the website that hosts free downloads of all 10 lessons, including extra pages with Sunshine State Standard correlates, references, and answer keys.  While they were written with middle school audiences in mind, readers of any age will no double learn something new.  Each lesson has paper-based and hands-on activities and experiments to test the principles put forth in the text.

Inaugural TimuTech workshop participants at GTM-NERR.

Workshops are available for educators wanting instruction in how to use the materials.  Our pilot workshop took place in June of 2012 and was in a word, epic.  Two days full of activities and lectures on prehistoric technology and how archaeologists base their interpretations based on evidence found in the ground.  Will will be offering more workshops over the summer and are available to schools and organizations upon request for professional development opportunities.

Not a teacher but still want to play?  Over the year we will be offering half day workshops focusing on a single chapter of the Timucuan Technology lessons.  In July we offered a Native Plants and Their Uses workshop at Flagler College with the assistance of Dr. Michelle Williams, a paleoethnobotanist from our sister FPAN Center at Florida Atlantic University.  Participants learned about the origin of many northeast Florida plants and practiced making cordage. In September our focus was on fire.  As part of the Crisp Ellert Art Museum exhibit "Before and After 1565," we conducted a Pyrotechnology workshop.  Participants blew up balloons to test principles of cooking before ceramics and cut holes in representative council houses to test which way the smoke would blow.  Pottery was another focus of Pyrotechnology as we explored the idea of Timucuans as master controllers of fire.

Adults practice cordage skills during Plants mini-workshop.

Replicas brought in as teaching aids.
Middle grade home school students simulate cooking with animal hides during Pyro workshop.
We'll be visiting classrooms across the region next month to continue piloting lessons and enhance students' science and social studies curriculum.  Contact us by email to schedule a classroom, library, or learning center visit.  Find out about upcoming workshops by following us on Facebook or check the programs page on our website. 

Text: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff
Images: Generations (Timucua Tribe) by Theodore Morris (check for artist information), Timucuan regional map by Kelley Weitzel MacCabe, Timucuan Technology lessons by Kelley Weitzel MacCabe, workshop photos by Sarah Miller, FPAN staff

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