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June monthly meeting

Please join us for our last monthly meeting of the season. We gather at Goodwood's Jubilee Cottage. Reception begins at 6:30 pm followed by our presentation at 7 pm. Please consider bringing a snack or beverage to share. We will once again attempt to provide a live feed via Zoom. To register, click link:

This month we are welcoming long-time Seminole Tribe THPO Bill Steele.

Mr. Steele has worked for or with the Seminole Tribe of Florida for over forty years. This work

has included the archaeological surveys of Pine Island (Broward County), the Okeechobee

Battlefield, Snake Warrior’s Island, Sam Jones’ Town and the Loxahatchee Battlefield. In

1992 he conducted a comprehensive statewide survey of all known Seminole sites. This

led to visits to about two hundred sites, and the discovery of twenty three more. Among the

latter were Talakchopko, Billy Bowleg’s Town, Charlie Emathla’s Town, Coa Hadjo’s Town,

Mulatto Girls’ and Pilaklakaha. This survey was done as a beginning of the Tribe’s historic

preservation program.

In 2001 he was hired as the Curator of Archives at the Seminole’s Ah Tah Thi Ki Museum.

Shortly after this he wrote the MOA between the Tribe and the Department of the Interior

creating the Seminole Tribal Historic Preservation Office. He served as the THPO for eleven

years. During this time the THPO grew to become one of the largest CRM firms in the

Southeast. The office conducted reviews of all federal under takings on ancestral lands

which encompassed a nine state area, as well as conducting archaeological surveys on

Tribal lands. This amounted to about 4,000 projects a year.

After retiring he was asked by the U.S. Forestry Service to write the historical section of

their application to place the Negro Fort at Prospect Bluff on the National Register. This led

to further work on Black/Indian relations from 1715 to the present, and the formation of the

Miccosukee and Seminole Tribes. Presently he is excavating the 1764 Mickasuky Town,

8Le28, which is the mother town of both modern Tribes.

Please join us for our special Archaeology Month/Tallahassee Bicentennial presentation! This month we welcome Dr. Paulette McFadden of the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research who will be discussing the previous discovery of Washington Hall in downtown Tallahassee. We will be meeting on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 pm at Goodwood Museum and Garden's Jubilee Cottage. Please consider bringing a snack to share.

Washington Hall: Reconstructing the History of a Tallahassee Frontier Hotel

By Paulette S. McFadden, Ph.D.

Washington Hall was central to the early development of the City of Tallahassee and the State of Florida. Constructed between 1825 and 1828 by Joseph R. Betton, it was one of only four hotels in the frontier town. Located on the southeast corner of South Monroe and East Lafayette Streets (now Apalachee Parkway), the hotel faced the newly constructed log capitol building and served as a place for civic and religious activities in addition to providing room and board for guests. Throughout its life, the hotel was owned by several prominent early Tallahasseans, individuals who were instrumental in the development of the early frontier town, including Joseph R. Betton, Richard Keith Call, and David Shelby Walker. Ironically, Washington Hall was the origin of one of the most devastating disasters ever to occur in Tallahassee. Paulette McFadden, an archaeologist with the Bureau of Archaeological Research, will present the results of a recent archaeological investigation at the site of the hotel and extensive archival research to reveal the history and eventual demise of Washington Hall.

APRIL monthly meeting

Please join us at Goodwood's Jubilee Cottage on Tuesday, April 9, 7pm. We will be welcoming Amy Socha of the BAR Underwater Section.

Sediment core analysis is one of the most fundamental tools of archaeological site analysis, particularly for submerged sites where test-pits are not always reasonable. Analysis of cores from the Aucilla River revealed the relationship between two sites seen as separated archaeologically, which in reality could be considered continuous. Cores from around Dog Island show a complex history of a shifting island and possible evidence of storm events that altered the shape of that island. In this talk I will discuss the results of those two coring projects and some of their wider implications. 

october monthly meeting

Please join us at Goodwoods' Jubilee Cottage as we welcome Dr. Jessi Halligan. Reception begins at 6:30 and we enourage you to bring a snack to share. To join us virtually, see below.

Why underwater? The importance of submerged landscape research for understanding Pleistocene peoples in the New World

Perhaps most people think of shipwrecks when underwater archaeology is mentioned, but numerous formerly-terrestrial sites have survived drowning in our freshwater lakes and rivers and on our continental shelves. These sites can even be better preserved than their dry counterparts, and in some cases they can help us answer some of the most pressing questions about people in the past. Thousands of Ice Age artifacts have been discovered in Florida’s rivers and springs, along with some of the best preserved Ice Age sites in the Americas. These sites are challenging archaeological models for the peopling of the Americas, and are providing us with information about the lifeways of Ice Age Indigenous peoples in the New World.

Florida PAST is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: PAST Monthly Meeting

Time: Oct 10, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Every month on the Second Tue, 9 occurrence(s)

Oct 10, 2023 07:00 PM

Nov 14, 2023 07:00 PM

Dec 12, 2023 07:00 PM

Jan 9, 2024 07:00 PM

Feb 13, 2024 07:00 PM

Mar 12, 2024 07:00 PM

Apr 9, 2024 07:00 PM

May 14, 2024 07:00 PM

Jun 11, 2024 07:00 PM

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 816 2696 4866

Passcode: 672334


Jeffrey M. Mitchem, Arkansas Archeological Survey (Emeritus)

In the early 1980s, while searching for a Second Seminole War encampment of Osceola, University of

Florida graduate student Brent Weisman found an undisturbed mound deep in the swamps near the

Withlacoochee River in Citrus County. He found ceramic fragments on the surface that indicated it was a

Safety Harbor Culture (AD 900-1725) mound. I was a fellow grad student studying Safety Harbor, with a

particular interest in the sixteenth-century Spanish expedition of Hernando de Soto, which passed

through this area in 1539 and 1540. Its location and condition meant that it could contain evidence of

interaction between Spaniards and Native Floridians. Under the overall direction of Jerald Milanich, I

directed three field seasons at the mound, excavating an estimated 90% of its volume. Using both field

school students and volunteers, we found graphic evidence of a large number (at least 110) of people

dying at one time. Of both sexes and all ages, these people were buried shortly after death, and many

were wearing glass beads and other early sixteenth-century artifacts. In addition to these interments, a

charnel structure (probably located on the mound before contact) had been cleaned out and the bones

buried on top of and between the people with Spanish artifacts. Some of the charnel structure bones

exhibited wounds inflicted by edged metal weapons. When reviewing the expedition narratives, a likely

explanation for this became apparent. The artifacts from Tatham are probably the best guide for those

likely to be found on a Soto contact site. There was also a deeper stratum of the mound that includ


only around 25 people, some with copper artifacts. I’ll talk about that if there’s time!

DISCLOSURE: This presentation will contain images of human skeletal remains and associated funerary objects. It will also run longer than our typical monthly meetings. Please take these into consideration when deciding if you will attend or not.

There will also be a Zoom option if you choose to attend virtually:

Florida PAST is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: PAST Monthly Meeting

Time: Sep 12, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Every month on the Second Tue, 10 occurrence(s)

Sep 12, 2023 07:00 PM

Oct 10, 2023 07:00 PM

Nov 14, 2023 07:00 PM

Dec 12, 2023 07:00 PM

Jan 9, 2024 07:00 PM

Feb 13, 2024 07:00 PM

Mar 12, 2024 07:00 PM

Apr 9, 2024 07:00 PM

May 14, 2024 07:00 PM

Jun 11, 2024 07:00 PM

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.


Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 816 2696 4866

Passcode: 672334

Please Join us for our last regular meeting of the season on Tuesday, June 13!

We once again be gathering at Goodwood Museum and Garden's Jubilee Cottage. Reception begins at 6:30, presentation at 7. Feel free to bring a snack to share. We will be attempting to share via Zoom. Please see our Facebook ( PAST page or check your email for details about a week before the presentation.

We are pleased to welcome BAR's Melissa Price who will soon be Dr. Melissa Price!  

Tracing Marine Transgression at Manasota Key Offshore (8SO7030) using Crassostrea virginica  

Manasota Key Offshore (MKO; 8SO7030) is a Florida Archaic period mortuary pond (7214 ± 30 cal BP) consisting of worked wooden stakes and human remains preserved in peat. It was initially located inland of the current coastline prior to Holocene sea level rise but is now located in the Gulf of Mexico offshore of Sarasota County, Florida. Discovery of a precontact site containing delicate organics and surviving marine transgression is unprecedented in the field of archaeology and raises the possibility that similar sites may be preserved on the continental shelves. This presentation discusses how oysters (Crassostrea virginica) that were attached to cultural and human skeletal material were used to investigate marine transgression at MKO. Morphometric analysis, sclerochronology, stable isotope analysis, and radiocarbon dating were used to rebuild the paleoenvironment at the time the oysters formed, determine when and for how long the MKO pond was exposed to brackish or marine environments conducive to the growth of oysters, and examine site formation processes as the pond was transgressed.   



Please joins us as we welcome Dr. Gifford Waters of the Florida Museum of Natural History who will be discussing his research on colonial Spanish war dogs.

Please join us at Goodwood Museum and Gardens’ Jubilee Cottage on Tuesday, April 11.  Reception begins at 6:30 pm with talk beginning at 7 pm. Feel free to bring a snack to share.

Scholars studying the European conquest and colonization of the Americas have long recognized that European weaponry and horses played crucial roles, both tactically and psychologically, in the destruction of Native American societies. Cannons and guns were loud and deadly, and the sight of men riding giant armored beasts was itself a psychological weapon. Another important player in the early conquest of the Americas, one that has been somewhat neglected in historical and archaeological research, is the dog. The Europeans’ use of dogs in warfare can be traced back to the late Middle Ages, and the Spanish used dogs against the Moors during the Reconquista. This practice was brought to the Americas during Columbus’s second voyage in 1493 and continued on in varying degrees throughout the colonial period. The dogs the Spanish brought with them, primarily mastiffs, greyhounds, and alaunts, were used in both warfare and for hunting escaped or fleeing Native Americans. These dogs were much larger and more ferocious than the endemic dogs of the Americas. Dogs of war were so important that they received wages, and dogs of particular notoriety sometimes earned wages higher than soldiers. In this presentation I review historical documents, artwork, and iconography from the colonial era to illustrate the important and brutal role of canines in the conquest of the Americas as warriors, hunters, destroyers of the environment, and even as a food source. I also discuss the scarcity of archaeological evidence, reasons for this scarcity, and the evidence archaeologists should be looking for.


Please join us Tuesday, March 14 at our new temporary home, Goodwood Museum and Garden's Jubilee Cottage, for our next monthly meeting. Reception begins at 6:30 pm with talk following at 7. Feel free to bring a snack to share. If you prefer to join us via Zoom, meeting code: 363 739 5841, passcode: 743386

Please join us as we welcome Dr. Jeffrey M. Mitchem who will present on

In the 1930s, three Tallahassee boys were given permission by the Supervisor of the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge to camp and dig into some mounds near the fire lookout tower at the Refuge. In the summers of 1937, 1938, and 1939, the boys dug and surface collected at several localities, including one area that was a burial mound. The collection that they amassed attracted a lot of attention from archaeologists and collectors, because it included lots of European trade material from the burial area. Word of the glass beads and metal objects attracted attention of archaeologists and collectors in the state, and soon the boys were being visited and offered money for many of the things they unearthed. Artifacts from the mound were purchased by Clarence Simpson, Montague Tallant, David True, John Goggin, and others, and most ended up in museum or private collections around the state. Although we have few records or photographs of the excavations, the European artifacts offer clues to the origin of most of the objects, but a few are puzzling. Most of them are probably from the ill-fated expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez in 1528.

Please join us for our next monthly meeting, Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at Goodwood's Carriage House.  Reception begins at 6:30 with presentation to follow. Feel free to bring a snack or beverage to share.

The Lost Ships of Cortés Project: Searching for a Conquistador’s 500-Year-Old Scuttled


Dr. Christopher Horrell and Melanie Damour,

Submerged Archaeological Conservancy International (SACI)

Appointed by the Governor of Cuba, Hernán Cortés led an expedition to explore and establish

trade in what is now Mexico in 1519. In defiance of the Cuban Governor and in breach of his

contract, Cortés established the town of Villa Rica de la Vera Cruz on the Mexican coast. While

Cortés forged alliances with indigenous communities and construction of the town was

underway, a faction of his men mutinied. He ordered ten of his eleven ships sunk in order to

quell the mutiny. The eleventh vessel, Cortés’ flagship, was dispatched to Spain with news of his

discoveries and intentions. Shortly afterward, Cortés marched inland and began his conquest of

the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán, eventually succeeding in 1521. Beginning in 2018, the Lost Ships

of Cortés Project, funded by a grant from the National Geographic Society and support from

Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, conducted geophysical surveys and

diver investigations to search for the 500-year-old remains of Cortés’ scuttled vessels. 

Dr. Christopher Horrell bio

Christopher Horrell is a Marine Archaeologist and the President of the non-profit organization

Submerged Archaeological Conservancy International. He earned his BA in Anthropology and

Spanish Colonial History at Texas State University, his MA in Anthropology from the University

of Texas at San Antonio, and his PhD from Florida State University. Chris now works as a

Marine Archaeologist for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. He has worked on

underwater projects in coastal areas, rivers, and offshore at sites in shallow water and extreme

depths. He continues to work in different parts of the world, including Belize, Mexico, Panamá,

Colombia, and throughout the United States. His expertise ranges from the 16 th century Spanish

Colonial period to World War II. The search for Hernan Cortés’ 1519 fleet has been a project he

has worked to develop for over 27 years and remains one of his greatest passions in the field of

underwater archaeology.

Melanie Damour bio

Melanie Damour is the Vice President of Submerged Archaeological Conservancy International

and a Lost Ships of Cortés Project Co-Principal Investigator. In her “day job,” she is a Marine

Archaeologist and the Environmental Studies Coordinator for the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy

Management, Gulf of Mexico Region office. Melanie earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s

degrees in Anthropology from the Florida State University. Over her 26-year career in

underwater archaeology, she has investigated sites ranging from submerged pre-Contact to

historic shipwrecks in the southeastern U.S., New England, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, and

throughout the Gulf of Mexico from its shallow rivers and bays to water depths of more than

7,500 feet.

Letchworth public archaeology day!

Saturday, August

27, 10 am 2 pm


Love Mounds Archaeological State Park

Letchworth Mounds includes some of the largest native earthworks in Florida,

but what do we know about the people who built them? Where did they live?

What did their houses look like? How long did they stay? Archaeologists are

working to answer these questions and more Join us for our public day to

learn about this important site and see archaeological research in action!

Activities include a guided tour of the site, overview of an active excavation,

and educational displays from local archaeology organizations

Please Join us for our  June Monthly Meeting!

Please join us for our last monthly meeting of the season. We will again hold a hybrid meeting at the Martin House, as well as on Zoom. Reception begins at 6:30, with talk at 7 pm. Please feel free to bring a snack to share.

University of Florida PhD candidate Amanda Hall will be presenting (in person) on her doctoral research on Lamar clay balls, whose exact purpose has puzzled archaeologists for decades.

The Lamar balls are baked clay objects that have been recovered from Mission Period (ca.1630 to 1704) sites mainly in the Apalachee Province/Tallahassee Hills region. The purpose of these fist-sized balls often stamped with designs is unknown. First recovered in the 1950s, until recently, the Lamar balls appeared to be a post-contact phenomenon unique to northwest Florida. However, several Lamar balls dating from A.D. 1450 to the Mission Period have since been recovered from three adjacent sites in southwest Georgia. The region is proposed to be the Province of Capachequi, which was visited by Hernando de Soto in 1540 following his stay in Apalachee. Before this project, the balls had not received any formal analyses capable of revealing aspects regarding their manufacture and potential function. Researching these avenues provides an understanding of how and why the balls were made as well as illuminating pre-and post-European contact connections between Native Americans in the Apalachee Province and those in the proposed Capachequi Province. This talk offers a preliminary discussion of the Lamar balls based on what archaeological and historical research has revealed to date.

Florida PAST is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: PAST Monthly Meeting

Time: Jun 7, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 842 7176 1990

Passcode: 660359

Please join us for our May monthly meeting!

We will hold our next monthly meeting at the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology/The Governor Martin House, on Tuesday, May 3. Reception begins at 6:30 pm, with talk beginning at 7 pm. Feel free to bring a snack to share. For those unable to join us in person, our Zoom option will be available. Our presenter, Martin Menz, is unable to be in Tallahassee and will be lecturing via Zoom which will be projected on the large screen for those choosing to meet in person.

In early 2020, Martin Menz began excavating at the Letchworth site (8JE337) near Monticello with help from PAST and FSU volunteers. One of the excavation units at this large Woodland period ceremonial center uncovered the remains of a 1,500-year-old house, complete with a stratified hearth and storage pits. In this presentation, Menz compares this structure with possible houses from nearby Woodland period mound centers like Block-Sterns, Kolomoki, and McKeithen, and outlines how occupation at Letchworth differed from these other sites.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 842 7176 1990

Passcode: 660359

Join us at the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology for our first in-person meeting at our regular location in two years!

Please join us for a very special tribute to former PAST board member and FSU Anthropology Chair/Professor, Glen Doran. Dr. Geoff Thomas will present:

A Tribute to Glen H. Doran (1950-2021)

         In 1982, Glen was asked to assess a pair of human crania unearthed by a backhoe operator, from a pond at Windover Farms housing subdivision, near Titusville in Brevard County, Florida. Radiocarbon dates on these remains indicated that they were approximately 8,000 years old. A portion of an extensive Archaic period cemetery with remarkable levels of preservation was uncovered from excavations during three field seasons (1984-1986). In addition to human interments, the site contained perishable organic materials, such as hand-woven fabrics, wooden artifacts, animal bones, seeds, fruits, and brain tissue. This project resulted in the excavation of 168 individuals in total. Windover represents the single largest Archaic period population in North America for its age.

         This tribute will primarily illustrate a history of the excavations taken on by Glen and his colleagues during the 3 field seasons at Windover, Yet, Glen accomplished so much more than just his work on Windover. His entire professional career (35 years) was spent at FSU’s Department of Anthropology and his influence, enthusiasm, and dedication to the field and to life will forever inspire his family, friends, and colleagues.

Reception begins at 6:30 pm, with talk beginning at 7 pm. Feel free to bring a snack to share. For those unable to join us in person, our Zoom option will be available: Florida PAST is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: PAST Monthly Meeting

Time: Apr 5, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 842 7176 1990

Passcode: 660359

Thank you for hanging in there with us!

We apologize for not being able to provide presentations the past two months, but we're back on track! Dr. Jayur Mehta will be presenting on his work in the Mississippi Delta region of Louisiana on Tuesday, February 1 at 7 pm.  Check out our Facebook page and your inbox for details on how to join us. And for a very special return to in-person meetings, we will be meeting at Jubilee Cottage at Goodwood Museum and Gardens on Tuesday, March 1. Our very special presenter will be long-time PAST member Dr. Mary Glowacki.  Stay tuned for details!

We've been working at Goodwood Museum and Gardens!

Goodwood will be remodeling the Gray Cottage, which is located in the back of the main house, on the west side. Work focused on the foundation of the cottage in an effort to determine when the addition to the south of the original structure was added. Artifacts were minimal, but evidence points to a late 19th to early 20th century addition.