Archaeologists are depicted as searching for lost cities and mystical artifacts in news reports, television, video games, and in movies like Indiana Jones or The Mummy. This fantastical image has little to do with day-to-day science, yet it is deeply connected to why people are fascinated by the ancient past. Exploring the development of archaeology helps us understand what archaeology is and why it matters. The trail of clues leading us into spooky territory includes famous archaeologists, self- proclaimed explorers, haunted museums, mysterious hieroglyphic inscriptions, of a lost continent that never existed, the origin of ideas about ancient extraterrestrials, and even a Scotland Yard investigation into magic, murder, and witchcraft.
These ideas don’t come from Hollywood; they come from how humans have tried to understand the past from the earliest ancient Egyptian delvers into ruins to the modern profession of archaeology. If archaeologists want to explain why the past is important to our present, they need to understand why archaeology continues to mystify, and why there is an ongoing fascination with exotic artifacts and eerie practices.
Dr. Jeb Card is an Assistant Teaching Professor for the Department of Anthropology, Miami University. He holds his degrees from Tulane University (Ph.D. and M.A.) and the University of Pittsburgh. His areas of specialization include Mesoamerican archaeology and archaeology of the colonial Americas, particularly European colonization and its impact on indigenous Americans and their societies, as seen from early sixteenth-century Ciudad Vieja, El Salvador. Dr. Card is also interested in current public and media perceptions of archaeology as being a science of fantastical claims of ancient aliens or lost continents. This is the subject of his most recent publication, Spooky Archaeology: Myth and the Science of the Past (University of New Mexico Press, 2018).
We welcome Dr. Thompson, to our September 14 Zoom meeting. His topic is of local and familiar interest, the Calusa of Mound Key, Charlotte Harbor, and the bays and estuaries of southwest Florida.
In 1566, Pedro de Menéndez de Aviles arrived at the capital of the Calusa kingdom. During that same year Menéndez issued the order to construct Fort San Antón de Carlos, which was occupied until 1569. We now can confirm what archaeologists and historians suspected, that the location of the Fort, and the capital of the Calusa, was the site of Mound Key, (8LL2), located in Estero Bay in southwestern Florida.
In this talk, Dr. Thompson will present the detailed work their team conducted to find evidence of structures and fortifications associated with the sixteenth century Spanish fort and mission of San Antón de Carlos. In addition, he will discuss the insights that their excavations revealed regarding the broader histories of the Calusa people at Mound Key.
I am an archaeologist who specializes in the application of archaeological science to the study of collective social formations and the historical ecology of wetland and coastal environments. In this work I strive more and more to connect to issues related to community archaeology and the descendent communities whose ancestral lands that I study. I engage globally with scholars who share research interests in archaeological science, as well as island and coastal archaeology. Broadly, my research utilizes approaches derived from collective action, cooperation, political ecology, and historical ecology. Specifically, I seek to understand Native American histories and how these histories experienced ruptures and continuities at the moment of European contact and colonialism. I employ a number of methods in my research including the analysis of monumental architecture, radiocarbon analysis, shell midden archaeology, stable oxygen isotopes, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems. As Director of the Laboratory of Archaeology at the University of Georgia, I am engaged with NAGPRA to make sure that ancestors cared for by UGA are treated respectfully and repatriated to the their descendent communities.