MAY 2018 SPEAKER: John McCarthy


About 7,200 years old and buried 21 feet deep below the Gulf of Mexico, 350 yards off Manasota Key is an extremely well preserved human burial site. Archaeologists are exploring what has been termed a “globally significant” discovery. National Geographic calls it an “unprecedented” find.
How was this site discovered? A diver picked up a barnacle-crusted jaw from a shallow spot off the shore of Manasota Key. The specimen sat on a paper plate in his kitchen for a couple weeks before he realized it was probably a human bone. Weeks later the diver sent a picture to Florida’s Bureau of Archaeological Research, where it landed in front of Ryan Duggins, the bureau’s underwater archaeology supervisor. “As soon as we were there (at the site) it became clear that we were dealing with something new,” Duggins recalls. First, he spotted a broken arm bone on the seabed. Then, when he noticed a cluster of carved wooden stakes and three separate skull fragments in a depression, Duggins realized he might be dealing with a Native American bog burial site—one that had been inundated by sea level rise, but was miraculously preserved.

John McCarthy, Director of Historic Spanish Point, will speak about this newly discovered burial ground that scientists are studying underwater off Manasota Key. He is Executive Director at Spanish Point as well as a writer for Sarasota Magazine. He served over 10 years an Environmental Specialist for Sarasota County responsible for providing environmental and development review for coastal resource protection and coordination of resource monitoring and enhancement projects. Mr. McCarthy was Sarasota County Historian from 1982 to 1988.

MARCH 2018 SPEAKER: Irv Quitmyer


Zooarchaeologist Irvy Quitmyer is a long-time researcher at the Florida Museum, and was collection manager from 2001-2016. His work focuses on the animal remains from sites in southeastern North America and the circum-Caribbean region. Quitmyer’s research specialty is the study of season of and age at death of animals incorporated into archaeological samples. Many but not all of these studies were based on incremental growth structures of mollusks, particularly bivalves such as the hard clam or quahog. These studies identify the season of death of organisms and therefore also the time of the year they were gathered or fished. They also illustrate the stress on animal populations from human exploitation.

FEBRUARY 2018 SPEAKER: Dorothy Block


Pre-Columbian and historic Palm Beach County is the topic of our February 13 meeting by anthropologist and archaeologist Dorothy Block. Using archival photographs from the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades, and scholarly sources, Block presents a survey of Palm Beach County’s anthropology and history. She summarizes generations of archaeological research, including newly discovered sites. Her talk will emphasize the Belle Glade archaeological culture. In addition, she will present newly archived images of the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane’s deadly aftermath.

Dorothy Block is a practicing, professional anthropologist and the Executive Director of the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades. She has dedicated her career to educating the public about the Pre-Columbian archaeology of Palm Beach County. She is the Founding Chair of the Palm Beach County Archaeological Society, a chapter of the Florida Anthropological Society. She teaches Anthropology at Palm Beach State College.

JANUARY 2018 SPEAKER: Jeff Moates


Join us to learn about a new program initiated by the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). Jeff Moates, director of the FPAN West Central Region office at USF will discuss the “Heritage Monitoring Scouts” program.

Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS Florida) is a public engagement program focused on tracking changes to archaeological sites at risk, particularly those impacted by sea level rise and resulting erosion. Hundreds of coastal and riverine sites are threatened in Florida and tens of thousands are threatened in the United States alone. Understanding our changing coastlines and the severity of the threats to archaeological sites could help develop methods of protection for these fragile resources. The data collected can identify which sites are most at risk and in need of protection.
During Jeff’s presentation, you’ll learn what a Heritage Monitor Scout is, why monitoring sites is important, and how to become a scout. Scouts are trained and mentored by professional archaeologists who take them to the site and teach them recording techniques and the ethics of site stewardship. Specific sites will be used as examples of what scouts do and how they can help. Do you know any threatened sites in your area in need of monitoring? Scouts aren’t just for young students, but for anyone who loves the outdoors, history, and wants to get involved in site stewardship.

To learn more, come to the January 9 meeting and see what Heritage Monitoring is all about. Visit FPAN for additional details.

DECEMBER 2017 SPEAKER: Dr. Bernice Jones


This lecture brings to life the fabulous world of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations of 2000-1200 B.C.E. immortalized by Homer. By stepping through time into their splendid palaces decorated with scenes of courtly life, their special rituals are reconstructed along with the magnificent costumes worn to carry them out. Of the utmost luxury and decorated with exquisite patterns and appliqués of gold and precious gems and topped with exquisite jewelry, the costumes are the royal regalia of queens and goddesses. No longer preserved, the costumes are replicated through detailed analysis of art and texts and draped on live models posed as in art and juxtaposed with the sculptures and wall paintings they imitate. Fragments of frescoes found out of context are digitally reassembled and reconstructed to restore once lost, spectacular scenes of palatial and everyday life. Ultimately the reconstructed costumes and wall paintings virtually bring Homer’s heroes and heroines to life and emphasize their concurrent ancient, contemporary and eternal significance.

Dr. Jones received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, in the Art and Archaeology of Greece, Rome and the ancient Near East, specializing on costumes and interconnections in the Bronze Age Aegean. She has taught at Queens College, Parsons School of Design, Ringling College of Art and Design, and Manhattanville College’s Summer in Greece Program, and has published her findings in her book, Ariadne’s Threads: The Construction and Significance of Clothes in the Aegean Bronze Age. She has lectured nationally and internationally on Minoan and Mycenaean dress and on her digital reconstructions of Aegean frescoes. Her costume replicas have been the subject of exhibitions both here and abroad. Dr. Jones has participated in archaeological excavations in Greece (Santorini/Thera) and is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and the Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC).