It's Florida Archaeology Month. The designation is celebrated every March with a series of statewide programs and events designed to encourage Floridians and visitors to learn more about - and to preserve - Florida's archaeology, history and rich cultural heritage.
The Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), based in Pensacola, has joined with the Florida Anthropological Society to develop and promote the events.
“It’s an opportunity for us to really highlight Florida’s history in a way that we don’t get to do every day,” said Nicole Ginnan, Public Archaeology Coordinator for FPAN.
This year features a celebration of the Artisans of the Woodland, focusing on the prehistoric Woodland Period in Florida, from 1000 BC to AD 1000.
“It was a really exciting time in Florida. There was an exchange of ideas all across the southeast,” said Ginnan, referring to the new designs and technologies being infused into the finely-made objects, archaeologists are now finding, that were created by the indigenous people who lived in Florida more than 1,000 years ago.
Information and archaeological sites that date to the Woodland Period are included on the 2016 Archaeology Month poster and bookmarks that have been created.
Locally, the Hawkshaw site in Pensacola is highlighted on the poster.
The front of the poster highlights an artifact known as the Buck Urn, which was discovered on the site of the Indian Temple Mound in Fort Walton Beach.
“It’s a beautiful piece,” said Mike Thomin, manager of FPAN’s Destination Archaeology Resource Center, in reference to the Buck Urn. “It’s in a lot of different publications nationally and it’s featured as one of the artifacts that archaeologists have uncovered and been able to interpret and put on display for the public.”
Across the state, there will be a number of events to commemorate Florida Archaeology Month. In the Northwest Region, the kickoff event is the annual Dash Through the Past, a run/walk scavenger hunt race in downtown Pensacola on Saturday, March 5 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration will begin at 9.
“It will take people to different historic and archaeological sites throughout downtown Pensacola,” Thomin said.
Different for this year is that Dash Through the Past will be paperless, run completely through an app. That means participants will need to have some sort of smart phone or other device.
Florida Archaeology Month also includes FPAN’s “Beyond Our Backyard: Archaeology around the World” lecture series. It will be held on most Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the UWF Downtown Campus, in the Bowden Building, 120 Church Street, Pensacola, FL 32505.
The schedule includes a March 10 presentation by Dr. Greg Cook, assistant professor of Anthropology at UWF, titled: “Maritime Connections in the Atlantic world from the Perspective of Four Historic Shipwrecks.”
On March 24, Dr. Amy Mitchell-Cook, Chair of the UWF History Department, will present “The Shipwreck of La Belle: The French Failure to Colonize the Gulf Coast.
The final lecture in the series will be held on March 31. Dr. Kevin Crisman from Texas A&M University will present “In Fulton’s Wake: The Archaeology of Early North American Steamboats.
Additionally, the next program in the Pensacola Archaeology Society lecture series is set for Tuesday, March 8. The program will focus on UWF Field Schools: Summer 2015 Recap/Summer 2016 Preview.
If you’d like an update on the recent discovery of the 1559 Tristan de Luna settlement site in Pensacola, Thomin will present a talk and show newly collected artifacts on Friday, March 18, at the Indian Temple Mound Museum, 139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL.
Florida Archaeology Month is coordinated by the Florida Anthropological Society, and supported by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. Additional sponsors for 2015 include the Florida Archaeological Council, Florida Public Archaeology Network, state and local museums, historical commissions, libraries, and public and private school systems. The 2015 poster is available through the local Florida Anthropological Society Chapters, and can also be acquired at your local Florida Public Archaeology Network center.