September 2023: Keith Ashley

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. 


Keith Ashley says about himself: "I grew up in northern Florida and moved north to attend Auburn University, where I received a B.A. in Anthropology. I returned to the sunshine state to earn a M.S. from Florida State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Over the past 20 years, I have been involved in archaeological excavation and research throughout the southeastern U.S. Field projects have ranged from 4000 year-old shell middens along the Atlantic coast to 17th century Creek Indian villages in central Alabama. Beyond research and teaching, my aim is to draw UNF students into “hands-on” archaeology through fieldwork and laboratory analysis in an effort to prepare them for graduate school and a career in archaeology."


This monthly Archaeology Lecture series is co-sponsored by the Alliance for Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society (CGCAS) and Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education (AWIARE).