Florida Conversations: The Origins of Tampa Bay
Saturday, March 23, 2024, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Learn about Tampa Bay’s origins from the recent studies of an archaeological panel in the fields of paleoenvironment, Indigenous ecology, and history. This special edition of Florida Conversations is happening at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center.
About Florida Conversations
The History Center's long-running free lecture series features diverse perspectives on Florida's history. Recorded lectures are available on the History Center's YouTube channel.
The CGCAS monthly lectures have moved to a digital format. We are using the Zoom platform. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Zoom, here are PDF Instructions to help you set up Zoom and participate in the lecture. Please follow the steps prior to the meeting to be ready to view the lecture. The registration link will be provided with the Lecture Announcement or on our Facebook Event Page. The CGCAS Archaeology Lecture series is sponsored by the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education (AWIARE).
FEBRUARY 8, 2024 7PM EST
New 3D Digital Studies on the Roman Villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina (Sicily)
Davide Tanasi, Department of History at the University of South Florida
3D digitization for the study of archaeological heritage and the global dissemination of knowledge has proven to be extremely beneficial to the discipline. These digital approaches are increasingly used to drastically change archaeologists’ and art historians’ perspective on Roman villas, their decorative apparatus, and the artefacts found within them. The villa del Casale at Piazza Armerina (Sicily) is one of the most important examples of late Roman villas with its 2500 m2 of well-preserved mosaic floors and long use-life. Yet, the site is characterized by significant conservation issues, a relatively poor understanding of its later use-phases, a great deal of untapped legacy data, and relatively poor accessibility from a digital perspective. Thus, 3D visualizations hold great deal of potential to contribute to iconographic and architectural studies.
JANUARY 11, 2024
Sea Changes: The Current State of Submerged Paleolandscape Prospection and Assessments,
Inside and Outside the Private Sector
Dr. Jessica Cook Hale, University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK
Archaeologists once assumed that submerged, formerly terrestrial components of the shallow continental shelf retained little to no evidence of human occupations drowned by sea level rise over the last 20,000 years. Unfortunately, a great deal of human history must have played out in these regions, including episodes of human migration across the globe. The last forty years of submerged offshore discovery have proven this assumption to be wildly incorrect, however. Further, increasing development offshore is forcing a reckoning in world archaeology, challenging the discipline across the globe to develop new technologies and ethnologies for grappling with these sites. It is ever more critical that scientists and communities work together to identify and protect these priceless examples of shared cultural heritage. In this discussion, I will thus focus on the archaeological questions we ask and answer on the continental shelf here in the Western hemisphere, drawing upon my own work to share the details of such advances. My goal is to expand the community of those who both understand the necessity of this work as well as its best practices, including supporting increased awareness of regulations and policy that influence public and private sector decisions about these landscapes.
DECEMBER 14, 2023
Sticks of Fire: Toponymic Imaginaries in Tampa Bay
Dr. Thomas Pluckhahn, University of South Florida
It is a story repeated so often as to be widely accepted as fact: the city of Tampa—and, by extension, the eponymous estuary on which it is located—take their names from a word for “sticks of fire” or “split wood for quick fires” in the language of the Calusa. But the translation appears to have little basis in fact and is only the most recent of several that have been offered over the years. I trace the history of these imagined translations and speculate on why modern residents of Tampa Bay seek meaning in a toponym whose actual translation is likely lost to history.
Dr. Thomas Pluckhahn is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Florida. His research focuses on the understanding of small-scale social formations, particularly on the Native American societies of the Woodland period (ca. 1000 BC to AD 1050) in the American Southeast and those of the Swift Creek and Weeden Island cultures of the Gulf Coast.
NOVEMBER 9, 2023
Four Years and Two Shipwrecks in LaSoye Bay, Dominica
Doctoral Candidate (Anthropology), University of South Florida
Maritime archaeology work began in LaSoye Bay in 2019 as a dissertation project to complement research on a settlement discovered on LaSoye’s shore during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2016. Over years of archaeological research, we have determined that the bay is the site of an underwater and above-ground harbor that has been used for centuries. Onshore structures include a seawall, bollard (for docking ships), and an abandoned warehouse. Two sites within the bay have been identified as shipwrecks, hinting that seafaring the rough Atlantic waters of Dominica was not uncommon despite LaSoye’s small size. Such features are reminiscent of past economies reliant principally on the sea for trade, transportation, and migration. Underwater debris such as anchors, ballast stones, bottles, pottery fragments, pipe stems, and metal support the argument that the bay was a site of both fishing and extra-local trade. Here, I will discuss the survey techniques that led to these discoveries and place these underwater features and artifacts in Dominican and larger Caribbean contexts.
OCTOBER 12, 2023 at 7PM
Climate Change and Cultural Sites in Florida
Rachael Kangas, M.A.
Director of the West Central and Central Regions, Florida Public Archaeology Network
How do we protect cemeteries, historic buildings, and archaeological sites that are threatened by climate change in Florida? How is it decided which sites get attention and which do not? Join the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society in collaboration with the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education for a special presentation of how archaeologists are currently answering these questions, what significant threats are observed in Florida, and how the public can help!
SEPTEMBER 14, 2023 at 7PM via ZOOM
Broad-scale Excavations at Sarabay: Piecing Together the Layout of a Timucuan Town
Keith Ashley, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Florida
This past summer (2023) the University of North Florida (UNF) completed its fourth consecutive field school in what we believe is the center of the Mocama community of Sarabay. In addition to more than 15,000 Indigenous sherds, UNF students have recovered Spanish olive jar and majolica plate fragments along with artifacts depicting Catholic imagery. Among the most tantalizing finds is a posthole alignment suggestive of an Indigenous building, some 60-70 feet in diameter. Archaeological, archival, and cartographic data suggest excavations have exposed an area dating to 1580-1620s. This presentation provides a very up-to-date overview of UNF excavations at Sarabay.