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

MAY 2019 SPEAKER: Xenia-Paula Kyriakou


This month we welcome FGCU visiting professor, forensic anthropologist Xenia Kyriakou who will present a program on one of her research projects titled, “Bioarchaeology of Monasticism: the unruly nuns of Cyprus.” The presentation will cover the discovery of the human remains from the St. Theodore nunnery in Cyprus and contextualise the findings of the skeletal analysis within the socio-cultural context of medieval monasticism.

Xenia Paula Kyriakou is a Greek-Cypriot forensic anthropologist and bioarchaeologist. Xenia studied at the University of Malta for her undergraduate degree and continued her graduate education and professional development at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. She is currently a visiting instructor at Florida Gulf Coast University and soon to complete her PhD at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Xenia has worked in many countries both as a forensic expert dealing with the repatriation of those missing in armed-conflict but also as the bioarchaeologist in many archaeologist projects. As a bioarchaeologist, Xenia has engaged in the study of different ancient and historic populations. She is currently working on a research project that addresses behavior and lifestyle within monastic and religious settings of Medieval Europe.

APRIL 2019 SPEAKER: Maranda Kles


We welcome back bio archaeologist and forensic archaeologist Maranda Kles to our April 9 meeting. With the discovery of the submerged burial site off Manasota Key, there has been a surge of interest in the relationships of pre-contact Native American populations in Southwest Florida. Previous research has examined the biological relationships of several submerged Archaic burial sites in Florida, including Warm Mineral Springs and Little Salt Spring, which show shared mortuary practices and shared biological relationships. Other research has examined the relationships of the later populations that were buried on upland Manasota Key and nearby sites. This talk will review previous findings and examine the relationship of the Archaic populations to the later land-based Manasota Key population, as well as offer a discussion about the possible relationship of the offshore Manasota population. 

Maranda Almy Kles, Ph.D., RPA is a Registered Professional Archaeologist with over 10 years of experience in prehistoric archaeology and physical anthropology specializing in Southeastern archaeology and bioarchaeology. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida and her thesis examined the biological and cultural associations of skeletal samples from throughout Florida. Dr. Kles has continued to expand on this research and has developed research interests in forensic anthropology and Southeastern archaeology.