JANUARY 14, 2020 SPEAKER: Ted Ehmann


Upon retiring to Charlotte County in 2016, author Ted Ehmann was curious why after over twenty-five years of researching and visiting the Indian mounds of the Hopewell and Mississippian cultures of North America, there was not one mention of the Calusa and the mound building cultures in Charlotte Harbor and the entire south Florida Region. He claims, the Calusa and their neighbors have received very little archaeological investigations. Ehmann argues that the evidence reveals that the mound-building epoch in south Florida and the hunter-gathering societies responsible constitute a unique cultural epoch spanning twenty-five centuries, and is of global importance. Ehmann applies new models and connects the archaeological record to an earlier epoch in Louisiana, the latter epochs of the Hopewell and Mississippian mound builders, and the research by archaeologists outside of Florida.

He has a Master of Teaching degree and a B.A. degree , with a minor in Social Science and Anthropology College of New Jersey and studied for two years at the Philadelphia College of Art.

DECEMBER 10, 2019 SPEAKER: Rick Kilby


(Presentation Description Provided by Speaker)
“As I traveled the state while working on my book, Finding the Fountain of Youth, I observed that many Florida springs shared a similar history. First, the Native Americans who inhabited the state considered the pristine waters of springs to be sacred. As European settlers arrived, they found the limitless supply of pure water provided by the springs to be an invaluable resource. Near the end of the 19th century, affluent travelers began visiting Florida and many springs become health spas where wealthy patrons could take the waters.”

“In the twentieth century, tourists started to arrive by car and some springs became roadside attractions with fanciful features like water-skiing elephants and underwater mermaids. Eventually, interstate highways bypassed many of these roadside roadside attractions and they often found new lives as state and county parks. Today many of our state’s “fountains of youths” are at risk, as development threatens our springs and their source, the Floridan aquifer, the origin of most of the state’s drinking water.”

“With many colorful images throughout the presentation, I will explore the history of our springs and how these Fountains of Youth became an important part of the state’s early development. I will also examine some the challenges facing these spectacular natural resources as the population of Florida continues to expand rapidly.” 

Rick grew up in Gainesville, Florida, looking for shark’s teeth, swimming in springs, and wading through swamps. He has earned his living as a graphic designer since 1986, launching his own company, Kilby Creative, in 2000. His first book, “Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de León and Florida’s Magical Waters,” was published by the University Press of Florida in 2013 and won a Florida Book Award in the Visual Arts category. His mission is to motivate Floridians to appreciate the natural and historic wonders of their state.

NOVEMBER 12, 2019 SPEAKER: Dr. Anna Dixon


The resurgence of interest in traditional tattooing, as well as concern about the safety of commercial inks, has led to a search for “natural,” “traditional,” products for tattoos. Scientific techniques for visualizing and analyzing ancient tattoos preserved on mummified human remains have been able to identify minerals and “pyrolized plant particles” (soot) in ancient tattoos, but not the plant taxa themselves. Ethnographic studies of traditional tattooing have focused largely on tattoo motifs, meaning and tool technology, with less emphasis on the botanical materials involved. While it is true that “soot” from burned plant material is the most common tattoo pigment, a variety of other plants were traditionally used to produce tattoos by either injecting colors under the skin or via the activity of irritant chemicals that produced tattoo-like marks. Indigenous peoples around the world have used a variety of plant substances to produce tattoos for therapeutic, decorative, commemorative or ritual reasons; the rarity of the tattooing plant itself sometimes also lent extra meaning and significance to the tattoo. This paper looks at tattooing plants cross-culturally, with a focus on Oceania and North America.

Dr. Anna Dixon is Instructor of Anthropology at USFSP. She received her MA at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and PhD at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She was formerly Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Eckerd College and Archaeological Laboratory Director for Pan-American Consultants in Tampa. She is a medical anthropologist and ethnobotanist who has conducted fieldwork in Micronesia, Polynesia and North America.

OCTOBER 8, 2019 SPEAKER: Dr. Charles Cobb


On October 8, we welcome Florida Museum of Natural History Curator and Professor, Dr. Charles Cobb, who will present a program on one of his research projects titled, “The Remains of the Fray: Native American Re-purposing of Spanish Expedition Objects”. He will discuss an unusually large assemblage of 16th-century metal artifacts recently recovered in northern Mississippi. These likely derive from a major battle between Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto and Native Americans in 1541. Their number, variety, and degree of refashioning have no parallels from contemporary sites in the Southeastern US.

Charles Cobb is the James E. Lockwood, Jr. Professor of Archaeology. His primary interest lie in the archaeology of the colonial era in the Southeastern US. This work has focused on how Native American societies contested and accommodated the arrival of Europeans, particularly in frontier zones. His project have included the establishment of 17th- and 18th-century Indian towns on the Savannah River, the French and Chickasaw wars in northern Mississippi, and his recent research on the archaeology of the De Soto Expedition. 

SEPTEMBER 10, 2019 SPEAKER: Gene Dole


The 1972 and 1973 International Afar Research Expeditions were groundbreaking in what they discovered. The presentation on September 10 by Gene Dole will discuss his personal involvement in the expeditions, the formation of the first truly multinational paleontological research team, the geological background of the site, getting to the site, camp life, how fossils were discovered and the people of the Ethiopian Afar.

Then the lecture will discuss dating the site biostratigraphicly and radiometricly, the excavation of numerous hominid fossils including the world-famous Lucy, what early human ancestors were found and their impact on the field’ of paleoanthropology. There are photos of Afar people, fossils, the excavation process and the controversies around various interpretations of the finds.

Mr. Dole has a BA in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University and has organized the purchase of all supplies for two archaeology expeditions to the Afar region of Ethiopia