JANUARY 2019 SPEAKER: Heather Walsh Haney


On January 8, 2019 we welcome Forensic Anthropologist Dr. Heather Walsh Haney for a presentation titled “The Science and Art of Reading Bones.” Dr. Walsh-Haney is an Associate Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University who studied at the University of Florida under Dr. William Maples, a renowned forensic anthropologist. He created a remarkable forensic collection and, upon his death, his widow asked her to take over the collection. It is now housed at FGCU under her auspice. Dr. Walsh-Haney works closely with the local medical examiners in eleven jurisdictions and handles between 80-100 cases per year. Additionally, she teaches at the University of Tennessee National Forensic Academy’s surface scattered and buried body courses.

While she is a forensic anthropologist and also studies human remains from archaeological sites, she is in the Department of Justice Studies at FGCU and not in the Anthropology Department. It is within that Department that she has created the Buckingham Environmental Forensics Facility—an FGCU outdoor forensics facility that provides opportunities for research, education and training concerning clandestine graves. In addition, she has helped to coordinate Forensic Field for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and Florida’s Forensic Institute for Research, Security, and Tactics.

Her presentation will include a comparison of how forensic anthropology is portrayed in popular culture, through television series such as Bones, and that of actual scientists in the field. She will explain what happens to bodies when buried and when left on the ground and how they differ, and how new plant growth and intrusive plant growth are factors in locating a buried body. In other cases, the disturbed soil will subside over time and can leave the ground bare of plant growth. The soil color and density can be another clue to the location of buried remains. The art and science of forensic anthropology has come a long way and it is the science of it that will lead to identification of the body and aid in the identification or exoneration of the perpetrator.

Heather received her MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Florida where she trained within the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory for over a decade. She is the consulting forensic anthropologist for 11 Florida Medical Examiner Districts and has been the principle investigator for over 1,500 forensic anthropology cases. As a member of the Department of Health and Human Services Disaster Mortuary Response Team (DMORT), she helped locate and/or identify human remains from Hurricanes Wilma and Katrina and assisted in the recovery of human remains at the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Dr. Walsh-Haney’s knowledge of human skeletal biology arose from her work with ancient skeletal remains from archaeological settings including the sites of Bay West, Windover, Bird Island, and Gauthier to name a few. This research experience provided her and her graduate students with the opportunity to assist the Bureau of Archaeological Research and the Seminole Tribe of Florida with the Manasota Key Offshore Site recovery and preparation for repatriation processes for the last 2 years.

DECEMBER 2018 SPEAKER: Christian Davenport


Similar to Sarasota County, Palm Beach County has a Historical Preservation Element in their Comprehensive Plan and includes an Archaeological and Historic Preservation Ordinance in their Unified Land Development Code. Mr. Davenport will give an overview of the prehistory of Palm Beach County in relationship to the sites he has worked on and recorded, and the projects he has participated on in his position administrating the county’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. Mr. Davenport’s job allows him to conduct site visits to lands proposed for development with known archaeological sites and can require Cultural Assessment Surveys at those sites. His responsibilities include identifying, protecting, and promoting archaeological sites and historic structures throughout unincorporated Palm Beach County.

He also oversees the Historic Resource Review Board and Historic Preservation Officer Internship Program that offers a variety of opportunities for students and the public to learn about the historic preservation process at the local government level, participate in field work, learn archaeological laboratory techniques, prepare historic designations, assist in the preparation of historic property-tax exemptions and text for historic markers, and much more.

Mr. Davenport has a BA in anthropology from Franklin Pierce University, New Hampshire, where he specialized in the identification of human and animal remains from archaeological sites. He spent several years in the private sector in the field of Cultural Resource Management (CRM), working on archaeological investigations throughout the mid-Atlantic states. After two years in CRM, he entered graduate school at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where he earned a Masters degree, again specializing in the identification of human and animal remains from archaeological sites. During and after grad school, he worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority, identifying thousands of historic resources (sites) within TVA’s property. In 1999, he took another CRM job in his home state of Maryland, teaching part time at the University of Baltimore and Johns Hopkins University.

He moved to Palm Beach County in 2005 and has been teaching night school at Florida Atlantic University since 2009. Since joining the county, he was the lead archaeologist on projects and recorded 33 new archaeological sites in Lake Okeechobee during the 2007–2009 drought. In 2010, he led excavations on a portion of a buried sand mound in Dubois Park and is currently researching the large prehistoric Native American mound complexes around the Everglades. This should prove to be another meeting you don’t want to miss!

NOVEMBER 2018 SPEAKER: Dr. Anthony Randazzo


Warm Mineral Springs and Little Salt Springs are well known for their warm mineralized water and importance ecologically, archaeologically, and recreationally. The intimate relationship between land and sea have sculpted these features which represent unique geologic entities whose histories are recorded in their rocks and strata. This presentation attempts to “play-back” nature’s recording of the rock record of these springs to gain an appreciation for the significance of these precious sites. The sinkholes in which these springs formed, developed some 12,000 years ago, but the rocks that provided the template for them, date back some 50 million years. Countless changes in sea level, climate, depositional environments, and hydrologic regimes are represented in their history. This talk will include insights about limestone formation, sinkholes, and springs, as well as the geologic investigative tools that are employed to discover them. Projected sea level rises and their impact on these springs will also be discussed.

Dr. Randazzo is Professor Emeritus of Geological Sciences at the University of Florida where he has worked since 1967. He has written more than 50 technical papers in professional scientific publications, as well as numerous formal research abstracts and reports and special works to governmental agencies and private clients. Most noteworthy is his co-editorship of The Geology of Florida, a book published by the University Press of Florida (1997). He has received numerous research grants from federal and state agencies to investigate subjects related to hydrogeology, sedimentology and the geology of Florida. Dr. Randazzo has more than 40 years’ experience in professional evaluations of home sites, commercial properties, roadways, tunnels, bridges, and dams involving geological hazards. He was named a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar in 1995 with the Hungarian Geological Survey. He was recognized as a College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Teacher of the Year in 1999-2000. In 2001, Dr. Randazzo was appointed an Astor Visiting Lecturer at the University of Oxford, England, where he lectured on environmental issues associated with water resources and sinkhole formation. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. Dr. Randazzo was appointed by both Governor Martinez and Governor Chiles to serve on the State Licensing Board of Professional Geologists. He is a Registered Professional Geologist in the State of Florida and the State of Georgia.

OCTOBER 2018 SPEAKER: Ted Ehmann


Educator, ceramic researcher, WMS/LSSAS member Ted Ehmann, will give a presentation on a research passion that led to a paper he has submitted for publication in the Florida Anthropologist “Investigating The Existence Of Clay Beds Sourced By The Aboriginal People For Ceramic Production In Central And South Florida.”

Ted has made a study of Florida pottery and prehistoric aboriginal clay sourcing by studying the works of the early researchers such as Frank Hamilton Cushing, C. B. Moore in the late 1800s and early 1900s; later works by Florida archaeologists, and current research by ceramic analysts, as well as geological and mineralogical studies from Florida and the southeastern coastal plain. In his article, recounted from the study of Cushing and Moore’s journals he notes, “…their disappointment with the lack of ceramics, and the crude nature of the ceramic vessels found while excavating burial mounds in peninsular Florida.” (Ehnmann 2018). It led him to wonder why?

This presentation will describe his research methodology, sources of information, and conclusions based on his research. As Ted states, “This article describes my investigation which resulted in the discovery of a fairly large clay less environment that is unique to south Florida and the western Gulf Coast below the big bend. The results of my research impact the archaeological record in that known and classified ceramic types could not have been produced in the locales and cultural regions as presently believed.”

Ted Ehmann was born in Trenton, NJ. He is the grandson of noted New Jersey artist, M. Frank Ehmann. He studied fine arts at the Philadelphia College of Art. Upon leaving the college in 1970, Ehmann became the preparer for archaeological artifacts for the New Jersey State Museum. Summers were spent on the many statewide archaeological digs conducted by the museum. Ehmann returned to earn his BA in art and minor in anthropology at the College of New Jersey in 1990 and his master’s in teaching in 1992.

SEPTEMBER 2018 SPEAKER: Kathy Gerace


During the 1970’s archaeological studies were made of three slave plantations on the island of San Salvador in The Bahamas. These were the first systematic studies of Loyalist plantations in The Bahamas, and provided extensive information about the way of life of both the plantation owners and their slaves during this short, but pivotal era in the history of The Bahamas.

A short background history of Florida and The Bahamas during and after the American Revolution will be followed by descriptions of the three sites. Included will be maps, architectural drawings, and photos of ruins and some of the artifacts collected, as will the limited archival information available about the owners of these three plantations. This will allow for comparisons of the three sites, which have many similarities and yet vast differences, given all were established in the same, pristine environment at nearly the same time.

Kathy Gerace holds a MS degree in anthropology/archaeology from Michigan State University. In 1971, she was teaching at Elmira College in Elmira, NY, when she was asked to teach a four-week field course in historic archaeology on the island of San Salvador in The Bahamas. It was meeting the Executive Director of the field station, Dr. Donald Gerace, that led to their marriage and Kathy becoming the Assistant Director of the field station.

Over the years the field station grew to provide a venue for scientific studies and research for over 100 colleges and universities from the US, Canada, and Europe. In 1988 the Geraces formed a Bahamian, non-profit corporation named the Bahamian Field Station (BFS). Knowing that they couldn’t live forever, the Geraces gave the BFS to the College of The Bahamas (COB) in 2003, and it was renamed the Gerace Research Centre (GRC). When the COB became the University of The Bahamas (UB), the GRC became one of their campuses, and continues to provide accommodations, lab and field equipment, and all types of logistical support for professors, students, and scientific researchers in the disciplines of archaeology, biology, geology, and the marine sciences.