DECEMBER 15, 2022: Martin Menz, M.A.

Hunter-Gatherer Settlement and Subsistence at Letchworth Mounds (8JE337)

Martin Menz, M.A., Doctoral Candidate, University of Michigan

The Letchworth site (8JE337) near Tallahassee is one of the largest Woodland period ceremonial centers in Florida. The site includes a 15-meter tall platform mound and several other low mounds, as well as a habitation area roughly 500-meters across. Despite its great size, Letchworth has received relatively little attention from archaeologists, in part due to the site’s low artifact density and poor preservation. In this presentation, I discuss the results from recent excavations in Letchworth’s habitation area, including evidence for domestic architecture and subsistence practices. I conclude by comparing the occupation at Letchworth with other hunter-gatherer ceremonial centers throughout the Eastern Woodlands.


Martin Menz is a University of Michigan graduate student studying domestic life at hunter-gatherer ceremonial centers during the Woodland period. He received his undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of South Florida and has worked at numerous sites throughout Florida and Georgia, including Crystal River, Kolomoki, and now Letchworth Mounds.


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November 17, 2022: Dr. Isabelle Holland-Lulewicz

Localized Histories of Calusa Ecology and Economy, Southwestern Florida, AD 1000 — 1500

Dr. Isabelle Holland-Lulewicz, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Climate Science, Penn State University

Dr. Isabelle Holland-Lulewicz is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Climate Science at Penn State University. She is the director for the Socio-Ecological Histories of Estuarine Landscapes (SHEL) Lab with her primary research program focusing on human-environment dynamics in the US Southeast by way of paleoenvironmental reconstruction via zooarchaeological analyses of vertebrates and invertebrates, stable isotope analysis of marine shell, and chronological modeling of anthropogenic exploitations of estuarine environments.

Humans experience climate effects on scales that directly affect the availability of key subsistence resources, such as the location and abundance of fish populations. This is especially true for those populations that reside near and depend upon estuarine ecosystems where sea level change and/or changes in salinity can act as primary driving forces in the distribution and configuration of these ecosystems. The research presented here explores the local manifestations of global climate trends related to the Little Ice Age from AD 1000 — 1500 within two distinct estuarine systems in Florida, Charlotte Harbor/Pine Island Sound/San Carlos Bay and Estero Bay in Southwest Florida. It also combines this with an examination of the consequences of environmental change on economic strategies that in turn influence Indigenous sociopolitical and socioeconomic organization among the Calusa. This research utilizes high-resolution Bayesian chronological modeling, oxygen isotope geochemistry of incremental marine shell growth bands, and zooarchaeological analysis of vertebrate and invertebrate refuse at Mound Key (8LL2) and the Pineland Site Complex (8LL33, etc.), to examine local environmental conditions and evidence for deeply rooted ecological knowledge that supported complex socio-economic organization. Lastly, this presentation will examine evidence of a unique assemblage of burrfish remains recovered from archaeological deposits at Mound Key.

October 2022: Dr. Neil Duncan

Fire and Water: Pre-Columbian landscape management in the Southwestern Amazon

Dr. Neil Duncan, Associate Professor, University of Central Florida

Recent investigations reveal that peoples of the Llanos de Mojos of Bolivia utilized hydrological engineering in the seasonally flooded savanna to modify the landscape for farming, fishing, and hunting. For thousands of years, people significantly transformed the landscape through raised fields, fish weirs, and inhabited forest islands that spread across some 100,000 km2 rivalling in scale and scope to contemporary Andean civilizations such as Chavín, Moche, Tiwanaku, and Inka. This presentation will explore the paleoethnobotanical (pollen, phytoliths, and diatoms) results of sediment coring in wetlands adjacent to these earthworks that document their early construction. In addition, we will explore recent findings about foodways from ceramics residues of foods from inhabited forest islands.

Dr. Neil Duncan is an associate professor at the University of Central Florida and directs the Paleoethnobotanical and Environmental Archaeology Laboratory. Dr. Duncan studies the interrelationships of food, culture, and environment in the past. His current work focuses on the Llanos de Mojos of Bolivia and Cape Canaveral, Florida, but has worked in Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, Colombia, and China.


This monthly CGCAS Archaeology Lecture series is sponsored by the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education (AWIARE).

September 2022: Lori Lee

The Archaeology of Colonialism at Fort Mose: Forging Freedom Through Practice

Lori Lee, PhD, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Flagler College

Fort Mose was the first legally sanctioned free black community in North America. The Spanish governor of Florida guaranteed the legal freedom of self-emancipated Africans and African Americans if they converted to Catholicism, built and occupied a fort on the frontier of St. Augustine, and fought against Spanish enemies.

These soldiers created a multicultural community of African, African American, and indigenous families. This paper analyzes archaeological evidence and historical documents to investigate the daily practices people used to enact their freedoms in a location and time where those freedoms were contested.


Dr. Lori Lee is Kenan Distinguished Associate Professor of Anthropology at Flagler College. Her research examines the materiality of migration, health practices, and identity among African Diaspora populations.


This monthly CGCAS Archaeology Lecture series is sponsored by the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education (AWIARE).

April 21, 2022 Speaker: Juliana Waters

Black Cemeteries Matter: Erasure of historic Black Cemeteries in Polk County, Florida
Juliana Waters, CRM archaeologist and master’s student in the Department of Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida

In the past several years, the Tampa Bay area has experienced a reckoning with regard to the intentional erasure, destruction, and abandonment of historic African American cemeteries such as Zion Cemetery in Tampa or St. Matthews Baptist Church Cemetery in Clearwater. Scholars, journalists, community members, archaeologists, and others have contributed to a growing movement that aims to identify and document these sacred sites in an effort to prevent further destruction.

In this vein, this project aimed to identify and record cemeteries in Polk County, examine the processes leading to the erasure of historic Black cemeteries, the history surrounding erasure on a county scale, and to provide a framework for researching and documenting historic Black cemeteries in the Jim Crow South. Prior to this project, only four historic Black cemeteries were documented in the Florida Master Site File for Polk County, which records cultural resources and sites throughout Florida. The resulting efforts of this project produced documentation for an additional 60 historic cemeteries, 13 of which are historic African American cemeteries. Identification was completed through extensive archival research, property records, pedestrian survey, and community outreach.

Of the 13 newly documented burial grounds, three were determined to be unmarked and five were determined to have been erased or destroyed between the late 19th and mid-20th centuries resulting in their erasure from the modern landscape. Juliana's research suggests that the destruction of these sites is connected to industrial development throughout the county and these instances of erasure are representative of larger structural inequalities present throughout the Jim Crow South.


Juliana Waters (she/her) is a CRM archaeologist and master’s student in the Department of Applied Anthropology at the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on documenting Historic Black cemeteries in Polk County and exploring the socioeconomic and political factors that have contributed to their erasure from the modern landscape.


This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.

March 17, 2022 Speakers: Sinibaldi and Trappmann

Ice Age Florida in Story and Art

Robert Sinibaldi, PhD (author) and Hermann Trappman (artist)

Florida’s Ice Age was vastly different from what the North experienced. Ice Age Florida: In Story and Art investigates the fascinating fossil record and prehistory of the Gulf Coast compared to what most envision when the term Ice Age comes up. The book opens with the logistics of the last ice age, then proceeds through the stories of over 25 animals, beginning with Titanis walleri at the beginning of the Ice Age and ending with Florida’s First Paleo-Peoples as the Ice Age comes to a close. Accompanying the dialog is the incredible illustrations and artwork of Hermann Trappman.


Robert Sinibaldi is an amateur paleontologist and the author of four books on paleontology. In 2012 he was the recipient of the prestigious Howard Converse Award from the University of Florida’s Paleontology Department for his contributions to the field of paleontology in Florida. In 2001 he was elected President of the Tampa Bay Fossil club, the world’s largest amateur paleontological association at the time, he remains on their board of directors to this time.


In the late 70’s Hermann Trappman studied art at the Haus der Kunst (House of Arts) in Munich Germany. His varied background includes work as a forensic artist for the medical examiner’s office in Pinellas County, graphic illustrator for the Florida Frontier Gazette, and artist for the Trail of Florida Indian Heritage brochures. His illustrations of Florida’s First Peoples have been exhibited throughout the southeast. Recently he created a series of illustrations for "TUSKS! Ice Age Florida Mammoths and Mastodons".


This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.

February 17, 2022 Speaker: Jacob Holland-Lulewicz

Muskogean Council Houses and Indigenous Democracy in the Southeastern US

Jacob Holland-Lulewicz, Ph.D. Department of Anthropology, Washington University

Recent re-dating of the Cold Springs site in northern Georgia has led to the identification of the earliest known council houses in the ancestral Muskogean homeland by at least AD 500. This is roughly 500 years earlier than previously identified council houses in this region. These large round structures and their arrangement around a plaza along with two platform mounds also seems to represent the earliest manifestation of the traditional square-ground form. Both council houses and square grounds continue to serve as important institutions within the Muscogee communities of Oklahoma today. We argue that the archaeological record of the American Southeast provides a case to examine the emergence of democratic institutions, and to highlight the distinctive ways in which such long-lived institutions were, and continue to be, expressed by Native Americans. Unexpectedly, the 1,500-year continuous history of the use of council houses represents one of the oldest and most enduring democratic institutions in world history.


Jacob Holland-Lulewicz is currently a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his PhD in 2018 from the University of Georgia. His research across the southeastern and Midwestern U.S. focuses primarily on the archaeology of governance, politics, and social networks.


This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.

January 20, 2022 Speaker: Anna Guengerich

Lost Cities of the Cloud Forest: Archaeology in the Eastern Andes

Anna Guengerich, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Eckerd College

Located between the Andes Mountains range and the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin, the Eastern Andes were long assumed to be too rugged, too rainy, and too dense with vegetation to support the development of large, culturally complex human populations. But with recent discoveries of the large scale of populations in the ancient Amazon—including the impacts they had on shaping the supposedly “natural” rainforests of this region—archaeologists have begun to reconsider their assumptions about the high-altitude cloud forests of the Eastern Andes. This talk will explore some of the findings from ten years of research into how human societies flourished in this challenging environment for at least two thousand years, and what this might tell us about current efforts of land management in one of the world’s global biodiversity hotspots.


Anna Guengerich is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Eckerd College. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Peru and Bolivia since 2007 and has directed the Tambillo Archaeological Project since 2010. Her research focuses on household architecture and human impacts on high-altitude forest environments in South America, and she also is interested in the use of comics, graphic novels, and other visual media in archaeology.


This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.

December 16, 2021 Speaker: Liz Southard

Feasting and Fishes: An Investigation into Seasonal Patterns, Labor Organization, and Monumental Architecture from Florida’s Crystal River Site and Roberts Island Shell Mound Complex

In recent decades, archaeological research has provided evidence that some mounds in the southeastern United States were constructed in short episodes. A large work force would have been required to accomplish these monumental projects. Shell mounds, in particular, provide an opportune type of architecture to investigate whether seasonal aggregations of laborers gathered at sites to engage in large-scale work projects because these mounds are primarily constructed of aquatic resources that leave signatures for what time of year they were caught or harvested. This study investigates whether the residents of the Crystal River site (8CI1) and Roberts Island Shell Mound Complex (8CI40 and 41) on Florida’s Gulf Coast were participating in seasonal deposition events involving the construction of monumental architecture and if feasting acted as a mechanism to attract the needed labor force. Marginal increment analysis was performed on red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) and spotted seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) otoliths to determine what time of year these fishes were captured and eventually deposited in midden and mound contexts. The results of this investigation suggest fish remains recovered from mound contexts during excavations at these sites were primarily caught during winter months and could have been a feasting resource that aided in the Crystal River and Roberts Island communities’ ability to attract the labor force needed to accomplish the construction of the monumental architecture observed on the landscape today.


Liz Southard has ten years of archaeological field experience including two years of experience doing Cultural Resource Management. Liz received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of South Florida Saint Petersburg and her M.A. in Applied Anthropology from the University of South Florida Tampa. She currently works at TerraXplorations, Inc. as a principal investigator and serves as Vice President for the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education (AWIARE). Most of her experience comes from Florida and Georgia projects where she has worked as a project archaeologist and field director. Her main areas of interest include subsistence practices, seasonality studies, and settlement patterns during the Woodland period in the Southeast.


This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.

November 2021 Speaker: Katharine Napora

Five Millennia of Environmental Changes in the Coastal Southeast U.S.

Katharine Napora, Ph.D., University of Kentucky
Webb Museum of Anthropology

Dr. Napora presents insights into over 5000 years of coastal paleoenvironmental changes based on analyses of ancient buried bald cypress trees recovered from the Georgia Coast. Information from tree rings and chemical analyses, supported by other lines of environmental proxy data, reveals changes in rainfall, sea-level, hurricane frequency, and ecological stability in antiquity. This information about the ancient environment provides a long-term comparative framework for understanding cultural changes in the Southeast U.S. through time.


This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.