Friday, February 8, 2013

In January we attended the second annual Timucuan Science Symposium--a local conference in which people studying or doing work involving the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve come together to share recent work.  This includes rangers and various environmental scientists, as well as historians and archaeologists.  We heard several interesting presentations and offered a poster on our new Timucuan Technology lessons

Our poster session at the Timucuan Science Symposium! Sarah (left), author of the lessons Kelley Weitzel MacCabe (center), and Amber Grafft-Weiss (right).  Photo courtesy of the Florida Public Archaeology Network.

We heard a variety of interesting papers, but in particular I found it a perfect opportunity to catch up--and catch you up--on the ambitious projects being conducted by the University of North Florida.  They have three projects going on right now, each of which offers a fascinating glimpse at prehistoric or contact-period northeast Florida.

It would get a bit long to recap each of them here, so we created a Storify article for each of them--complete with notes and pictures from the presentations.  A fair warning: I was taking pictures of the slides from the audience, so they're not the most beautiful images you'll ever see--but I think they'll get the point across.

Excavation at Kinzey's Knoll, between Grant & Shields Mounds.  Photo courtesy of UNF Archaeology Lab.  For more pictures of this excavation, check out the facebook album.

We'll start with Dr. Keith Ashley's presentation, "Mill Cove Complex: A Center on the Periphery".  This site includes Grant and Shields Mounds and the space between them--a site contemporary to Mississippian strongholds at Cahokia and in the Macon, Georgia area.  Finds there have led to new interpretation about the nature of relationships between this northeast Florida site and those two major political centers.    

Next we move from prehistoric to contact--Dr. Robert Thunen's discussion "From Shovel Testing to Landscape Analysis: The Search for La Caroline," which details ongoing efforts to locate the long-lost French fort and pursuit of new ways to understand the early historic landscape along the St. Johns River.

UNF field school in action.  Photo courtesy of the UNF Archaeology Lab.

The final presentation, called "Mission Santa Fe Cruz de Guadalquini: Cruzing with the UNF Field Schools," focuses on a mission site excavated by UNF's academic field school and its new public field school participants.

As one of the stories mentions, UNF archaeologists are committed to sharing information about their discoveries, and what they're learning about the people who lived in the Jacksonville area before us, with the public.  Reading these articles, do you have any questions about the sites?

Text by: Amber Grafft-Weiss

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