Hands-On Weedon Adult Archaeology Camp

EVENTS

EXPERIENCE ONE OF FLORIDA'S PREEMINENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES

Work with professional archaeologists and researchers to uncover clues about the culture and lifeways of the early people who inhabited the Tampa Bay region.
You will contribute by:

• Assisting AWIARE researchers in excavation, recording data, screening sediment, and collecting artifacts, bone, and samples.

• Helping to analyze artifacts and process findings in the lab.

You will be part of a small group limited to eight participants for five days. Participants will rotate daily between field work and lab analysis.   Lunch will be provided at the AWIARE Research Station.

Expedition cost: $495.00, which includes daily lunch. (SIGN UP AN PAY BELOW)

ITINERARY & ACTIVITIES

Day 1 –
9:00 AM:  Meet at AWIARE Research Station for introductions and orientation.
10-11:30 AM:  Introductory lecture on Tampa Bay Archaeology by archaeologist, Dr. Robert Austin.
11:30-12:30:  Lunch
12:30-3:30:  Hike to field site, view previous excavations.
Dr. John Arthur will give a brief talk on University of South Florida’s archaeological site research.

Days 2-4 –
8:30 AM-12 PM:  Excavate at field site or analyze artifacts in lab and process findings.
12-1:00 PM:  Lunch at AWIARE Research Station
1:00-4:30 PM:  Excavate at field site or analyze artifacts in lab and process findings.

Day 5 –
9:00 AM-12 PM:  Travel by cars to visit local archaeology sites, Pinellas Point and Maximo Beach.
12:00-1:30 PM: Farewell lunch and departure.

Cost per person: $495.00 – Payment accepted here.

Name:

COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS: CDC guidelines will be in effect throughout the expedition.  An Active Screening Questionnaire will be given to participants at the start of the camp and a screening process will be in place each day. Masks and social distancing will be required at all times.  Temperatures will be taken at the beginning of each day.  Hand sanitizers and disinfectants will be available for personal use.  All commonly touched surfaces will be regularly cleaned with disinfectant.

To minimize contact, participants will be divided into two groups that will rotate between field and lab each day.

During the camp, if any individual experiences COVID-19-like symptoms the individual will be required to leave the Preserve and the Camp must close. Fees will be reimbursed on a pro-rated basis minus a $95 administration fee.

WAIVERS: All Participants must sign Standard Field Waiver Forms which will include a Covid-19 release signature. We will forward these to you.

For additional information and questions, please send us an email at: awiare1@gmail.com

AWIARE / Levett Foundation Grants 2021

AWIARE / Levett Foundation Grant

AWIARE, in cooperation with the Levett Foundation, is again making available up to $10,000 in grant funds to provide assistance to college or university students conducting archaeological, historical, and paleoenvironmental research in the greater Tampa Bay region of Florida.

Deadline for Applications: December 15, 2020

The Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, Inc. (AWIARE), in cooperation with the Levett Foundation, is making available up to $10,000 to be awarded annually to provide assistance to graduate students (MA, MS, Ph.D.) who are conducting archaeological, historical, and paleoenvironmental research in the greater Tampa Bay region of Florida. 

Types of projects that will be considered include field research, laboratory analyses, collections research, and documents research.  Priority will be given to applicants whose proposals include 1) field research at Weedon Island Preserve; 2) research using artifact, faunal, or documents collections at AWIARE; 3) field research at sites in the greater Tampa Bay area (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee counties); 4) research using Tampa Bay area collections held elsewhere (e.g., Florida Museum of Natural History, Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, Smithsonian Institution, universities, local museums, private collections).  

Research related to the Weeden Island culture and period is encouraged but not required.  Paleoenvironmental research must have applicability to archaeological or historical time periods (i.e., Late Pleistocene through the modern era) and interests (e.g., human-environment interaction; effects of sea level variation on human populations; climatic variability through time).

Individuals interested in applying must be currently enrolled in a university graduate program. 

The deadline for applying for the 2021 grant is December 15, 2020.  Individuals interested in submitting a proposal should contact Dr. Robert Austin, AWIARE, 1500 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702 or by email to awiare1@gmail.com for application guidelines.

AWIARE / Friends of Weedon Island Grant 2021

AWIARE / Friends of Weedon Island Grant

The Friends of Weedon Island (FOWI) have contributed $2000 to AWIARE for undergraduate student grants in 2021.

Deadline for applications: December 15, 2020

The Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, Inc. (AWIARE), in cooperation with the Friends of Weedon Island (FOWI), is making available up to $1,000 to provide assistance to budding scholars enrolled in an undergraduate (B.A., B.S.) program in a Florida college or university.  Undergraduate students conducting archaeological, historical, and paleoenvironmental research in the greater Tampa Bay region of Florida are eligible for the grant.  

Grant funds may be used to cover the costs associated with fieldwork, special analyses (e.g., radiocarbon dates, faunal or botanical analyses, soils analysis, etc.), collections research, documents research, travel expenses associated with research projects, and travel expenses associated with presenting a paper based on the student's research at a professional meeting. 

Priority will be given to applicants whose proposals include 1) field research at Weedon Island Preserve; 2) research using artifact, faunal, or documents collections at AWIARE; 3) field research at sites in the greater Tampa Bay area (Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee counties); 4) research using Tampa Bay area collections held elsewhere (e.g., Florida Museum of Natural History, Bureau of Archaeological Research, Smithsonian Institution, universities, local museums, private collections).  

Research related to the Weeden Island culture and period is encouraged but not required.  Paleoenvironmental research must have applicability to archaeological or historical time periods (i.e., Late Pleistocene through the modern era) and interests (e.g., human-environment interaction; effects of sea level variation on human populations; climatic variability through time).

Students interested in applying for the grant should submit a letter not to exceed two pages that describes the project for which the funds are being requested; what research question(s) or problem(s) are being addressed; how the funds will be applied to these problems; what, if any, additional funds will be used to accomplish the research; and how the research will contribute to Florida archaeology. The applicant should include a budget indicating the amount requested and describing how the money will be spent along with a letter(s) of support from faculty.

Applications for the 2021 award are now being accepted and can be sent to: Dr. Robert Austin, AWIARE/FOWI Student Grant, AWIARE, 1500 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702 or by email to awiare1@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is December 15, 2020.

New Radiocarbon Dates

New Radiocarbon Dates for Tampa Bay Sites

Being able to date archaeological sites and components are critical to documenting cultural and environmental changes through time and, more importantly, how people responded to these changes.  Research supported by the AWIARE/Levett Foundation student grant has contributed new dates for the Tampa Bay region.  University of Florida Ph.D. candidate Trevor Duke, obtained radiocarbon dates from two previously undated sites in Pinellas County, Tierra Verde (8PI51) and Maximo Point (8PI19).  Trevor is analyzing pottery from both sites as part of his dissertation project on the role of mortuary pottery specialization in creating, maintaining, and transforming social connections in the region during Safety Harbor and Weeden Island periods.

A date of AD 1024-1155 was obtained from soot on a Tucker Ridge Pinched vessel sherd from the Tierra Verde burial mound.  The sherd is one of several from AWIARE’s Lyman Warren Collection, which are being studied by Trevor.  The date obtained for this vessel is squarely within the Safety Harbor period (AD 1000-1750), however Tucker Ridge Pinched is typically considered a Weeden Island ceramic type, and Weeden Island pottery from the mound has been interpreted as representing cultural continuity between the two periods.  This sherd may represent the use of an heirloomed vessel during burial ceremonies.

A second date of AD 1045-1250 is from a sherd of Pinellas Plain pottery excavated from the domestic midden at Maximo Point by William Sears in 1958 and curated at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.  This date also falls within the Safety Harbor time period consistent with Sears’ and others interpretation of this large mound-midden complex that once existed at the southern end of the Pinellas peninsula.

Trevor is currently thin-sectioning sherds from both of these sites for petrographic analysis in order to determine if different pastes were used in the manufacture of mortuary and domestic vessels.

AWIARE/Friends of Weedon Island Grant

AWIARE/Friends of Weedon Island Undergraduate Student Grant

The AWIARE Student Grants Committee selected Morgan Grieg, USFSP undergraduate student in history, to receive the 2020 AWIARE/FOWI Student Grant.  Morgan will receive $1250.00 to help support an eight-week research trip to Spain to conduct original archival research in Badajoz, Zafra, and Seville on the Hernando de Soto expedition.  Morgan is working under the supervision of Dr. Michael Francis.  The central goal is to locate information related to the expedition's participants, and to assemble a detailed inventory of the supplies and provisions brought on the expedition. The new material will be integrated into the open-access digital database titled La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas.

Excavations Uncover Daily Life at Weeden Island Site

USF St. Petersburg Excavations Uncover Daily Life at Weeden Island Site

This winter for five Fridays you could hear the chatter and laughter as USF students strolled down the Weedon Island trails to the famous site of Weeden Island*. Fifteen students and three volunteer graduate students, including Elizabeth Southard, AWIARE’s Vice-President, worked with Dr. Arthur from USF St. Petersburg to continue their excavation of households dating from AD 900 to 1450. Dr. John Arthur, who is President of AWIARE, began this project in 2007, to give undergraduate students the opportunity to actually experience archaeology outside of the classroom and to learn archaeological techniques.

In some field schools, students dig for days and do not find much, but at the Weeden Island site there is ample evidence of people living and prospering along the banks of Tampa Bay. The area contains an abundant evidence of daily life where people were eating their meals and making and using their tools over a 550-year period. The site is rich with a variety of food remains from shellfish, fish, and terrestrial animals. There is also a great diversity of artifacts made from shell such as bead blanks, beads, hammers, awls, adzes, as well as pottery vessels, grinding stones, and hand stones.

Over the last two field seasons, excavations have uncovered a house floor. All the artifacts are found within a 7 cm or less horizontal stratum located beneath the shell midden. What caught our curiosity was that many of the artifacts are laying in a horizontal position and the diversity of artifacts is greater than what we have found in previous excavated units.

Two remarkable finds we uncovered this field season is a hearth and a possible bone hairpin that may have had feathers attached to the end. The hearth area is void of artifacts and contains large pieces of charcoal.  We hope to be able to identify the types of wood people were using to fuel their house fires as well as how people were spending their time around the hearth. The bone pin was found next to the hearth and while more research needs to be conducted on this beautiful carved pin, it represents a very intimate object that belonged to one person who left it there about 1,000 years ago.

The excavations now lead us to the lab located on the USFSP campus where the artifacts are stored and curated. Over the next year, students will begin to clean, sort, and analyze all the artifacts they have uncovered this field season. It is in the lab where we begin to tell the story about how some of the earliest inhabitants who lived along Tampa Bay lived. This story is ongoing as we answer questions that lead to new questions that open a window into the past.

* We can thank Jesse Fewkes from the Smithsonian Institution for misspelling the Weeden Island site with an “e” and causing us to spell the Preserve as “Weedon” and use “Weeden” for the culture area and the site.

AWIARE/Levett Foundation Grant

University of Georgia Student Receives AWIARE/Levett Grant

Lindsey Parsons, graduate student in geology at the University of Georgia, was selected to receive this year’s AWIARE/Levett Foundation student research grant.

Lindsey Parsons, graduate student in geology at the University of Georgia, was selected to receive this year’s AWIARE/Levett Foundation student research grant.  The $10,000 grant will  support her MS research to study how scallop harvesting practices of prehistoric Tampa Bay Native communities were affected by climate change between ~ A.D. 800 and 1850.  Lindsey will be conducting stable isotope analysis of bay scallops collected during previous excavations at the Weedon Island and Bayshore Homes archaeological sites to paleoenvironmental conditions during the time of scallop harvesting.  She previously conducted a similar analysis of scallop shells from the Pineland site in southwest Florida. Her results there indicated scallops collected by Native inhabitants were larger during the cooler Little Ice Age (~AD 1200-1850) when conditions for scallop growth were more favorable and smaller during the earlier Medieval Warm Period (~AD 800-1200).  She expects to see a similar difference in the Tampa Bay scallops.  In addition to providing information on how Native people adapted their harvesting practices, Lindsey’s study will have important implications for how climate change may affect modern marine shellfish populations.

AWIARE / Levett Foundation Grant

AWIARE / Levett Grant Recipient Studies Tampa Bay Wetlands

University of South Florida doctoral candidate, Kendal Jackson, is using radiocarbon dates to assist in dating relict estuarine flooding surfaces to determine how human-environmental interaction shaped the establishment and development of late-Holocene (ca. 6500 BP-present) estuarine ecosystems in Tampa Bay.

Over the course of the last couple of months, I have collected and analyzed surface reference soil samples from different types of intertidal wetlands in Tampa Bay. These modern reference data will be essential for understanding and characterizing ancient sediment beds that I plan to intersect with core samples. In addition, I’ve collected short cores (1-2 m depth) in areas of mangrove swamp within Tampa Bay and have analyzed their stratigraphy to chart changes in sediment and fossil compositions. So far, the records show that many of Tampa Bay wetlands have undergone dramatic conversions from salt prairie and salt marsh communities to mangrove forest. These changes seem to have unfolded only since the mid-20th century, and may represent ecological responses to industrial scale mosquito ditching that accompanied expansive residential development in the region, but preceded environmental research and regulation.

We have also been working at Safety Harbor site (8PI2), a site which will certainly play into my dissertation work. We have been able to map the spatial plan of the Pre-Columbian village there, and early radiocarbon assays which place major occupation across the 14th and 15th centuries. Work is ongoing on the soils, zoo-archaeological remains, and artifact assemblages.

Testing is being planned at other sites, including Ross and Good Islands, this coming winter. The primary goals of this future work is to understand the geochronology of Tampa Bay’s nearshore estuary basins and to research the role of coastal Pre-Columbian peoples in engineering the coastal strand.

Maximo Point Excavation

Maximo Point Excavation

Members of our board of directors, along with members of Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, assisted the City of St. Petersburg’s Parks and Recreation Department with work at Maximo Point.

In April, members of our board of directors, along with members of Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, assisted the City of St. Petersburg’s Parks and Recreation Department with work at Maximo Point. Shoreline erosion had exposed a portion of the water line pipe in the park. We placed two units at the entrance and exit locations for the direct drill water line installation work the city would be performing. Our goal was to document and identify any intact prehistoric and historic cultural material. Specifically, we wanted to see if evidence from Maximo Hernandez’s homestead of 1843-1848 was still present at the site. Hernandez obtained ownership of the property under the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 and was the first white settler on the lower Pinellas peninsula. We found from our limited excavation an intact upper midden layer with early historic artifacts, including a clay pipe stem, pieces of lead, a shell button, and a salt-glazed stoneware sherd. We also unearthed a few prehistoric pottery sherds and a projectile point. However, we ceased excavations in both units when we reached the intact prehistoric component because we did not want to disturb cultural material that would not be disrupted from the water line work. Another benefit from this small project was that we were able to talk with employees from the City of St. Petersburg’s Parks and Recreation Department about archaeology and AWIARE. The crew was very engaging and asked some great questions.

Elizabeth Southard