Tuesday, March 2024: Dr. Jessica Jenkins

Dr. Jessica A. Jenkins

Thousands of oyster middens and mounds filled with billions of oyster shells line the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America. In the past, archaeologists did not pay much attention to these shells except to note their presence, oftentimes not even collecting them in the field. Recently, archaeologists have begun to use archaeological oyster shells to address important questions about past lifeways and human-environmental interactions.

This talk describes her research in Florida and Virginia that centers on questions related to past oyster harvesting, processing, and deposition practices. Major themes include the investigation of past common pool resource management practices, the role of shellfish harvesting in the development of complex socio-ecological systems, and how past practices can inform modern policy and sustainability efforts on the Gulf Coast and in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Dr. Jenkins is an assistant professor at Flagler College in St. Augustine. She earned her BA in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Her Master’s thesis at the University of Florida in 2016 was on the ‘Archaeological Evidence of Oyster Mariculture in the Lower Suwannee Region of Gulf Coastal Florida.’ She also earned her doctorate at UF. Dr. Jenkins is the lead author or a co-author on many publications for such publications as "The Florida Anthropologist", "The Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology", and "Archaeological Science".