February Lecture

February 18, 2017 2 P.M.

“The Native Americans of Florida from >12,000 Years Ago to Historic Contact”

Dr. Barbara Purdy, Professor Emeritus

“Penetrating the darkness of time is not an easy task when there are no people to interview and when more than 90% of material items have not survived. In this presentation, I first attempt to furnish the most accurate account available to describe native Floridians who lived here when climate conditions were vastly different, and when now extinct megafauna still roamed. The past becomes more visible with the emergence of modern flora, fauna, and landscapes around 7000-8000 years ago. The preservation of plant and animal species used for food, as well as stone, bone, wood, and shell artifacts add valuable pieces to the prehistoric puzzle. When ceramic technology is introduced around 4000 years ago, an even broader picture of social and ritual life is revealed. Works of art, although rare during early periods, increased through time and were created in many media, such as ivory, bone, wood, stone, shell, and ceramics. In the early 1500s AD, the descendants of this 12,000-year cultural evolution were encountered by the French and Spanish. This encounter soon led to the collapse of Florida’s Native American way of life.”

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Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

January Lecture

January 21, 2017 2 P.M.

“Monuments, Ontologies, and Translations: Belle Glade Monumentality in the Okeechobee Basin”

Nathan Lawres, M.A.

“Archaeologists have always been interested in the material aspects of life. This doesn’t necessarily mean just the material objects of life, but rather includes those material things (living and nonliving) that people interact with, along with the materials they transform into the various objects used in life. After all, these material aspects, both the objects and interactions, are what eventually form the archaeological record. Recently, however, archaeologists have become interested in how understandings of reality, of how the world exists – understandings that are known as ontologies – can affect cultural practices and how those practices become materialized. In other words, there is a growing interest in how understandings of reality affect the ways people interact with material things (both living and non) and the production of material objects. This talk focuses on a relatively neglected aspect of this: how an ontology can be materialized as monumental architecture. In order to discuss this, I will present the monuments of the Belle Glade archaeological culture, located within the Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades watershed, as a case study. Evidence from this region points to the presence of a relational ontology, in which the world is created and maintained through numerous and ongoing relationships. I argue that this understanding of reality is encapsulated within the Belle Glade monumental architecture and the architecture itself invokes references to relations with water, the cosmos, seasonality, people, and places throughout the landscape.”

Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

November Lecture

November 19, 2016 2 P.M.

“Humor in Archaeology, or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”

Dr. Clifford Brown

Professor Brown proffers a disquisition on the poverty of imagination in archaeological interpretation, including its humorlessness, and its effect on our understanding of the past. The failure to dilate our hypothesis space by envisaging diverse and manifold explanations overtly provokes confirmation bias.


Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

October Lecture

October 22, 2016 2 P.M.

“Snowbirds and South Florida’s Caribbean Connection”

Mallory Fenn

South Florida is a unique place in many ways- and its archaeology is no exception! While many ancient North and Central Floridians had trade connections with Appalachian and Mississippian people, much of South Florida’s prehistory is deeply tied with the Caribbean and its surrounding coasts. Many archaeological sites in South Florida have yielded finds similar to sites throughout the Caribbean. This talk explores the extensive seasonal routes which may have been traveled by “Ancient Snowbirds”, and examines archaeological evidence uncovered throughout the Circum-Caribbean.

Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

2016-2017 Lecture Series

Welcome back everyone!

We are excited to announce our upcoming lecture series which will run from October to April at the Main Library in West Palm Beach. Meeting dates and speakers are as follows:

October 22nd, 2016 2:00 P.M. – “Snowbirds and South Florida’s Caribbean Connection” by Mallory Fenn

November 19th, 2016 2:00 P.M. – “Humor in Archaeology, or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” by Dr. Clifford Brown

December, 2016 – Happy holidays!

January 21st, 2017 2:00 P.M. – “Monuments, Ontologies, and Translations: Belle Glade Monumentality in the Okeechobee Basin” by Nathan Lawres, M.A.

February 18th, 2017 2:00 P.M. – “The Native Americans of Florida from >12,000 Years Ago to Historic Contact” by Dr. Barbara Purdy, Professor Emeritus

March, 2017 – Archaeology Month, events to be announced.

April 22nd, 2017 2:00 P.M. – Lecture to be announced, by Robert Carr, M.A.

Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

Please visit our facebook page and join us to receive more information regarding upcoming events.

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2016-2017 Lecture series featuring Dr. Barbara Purdy

April Lecture

April 21, 2016 7pm

“The People of the Cloud Forest: Settlement Pattern Analysis and Landscape Signature of Mateno Occupation in the Upper Ayampe River Valley, Ecuador”

Andres Garzon-Oechsle

This lecture will present the finding and preliminary analysis of an archaeological survey conducted by Florida Atlantic University during the 2015 archaeological summer field school.  The archaeological survey concentrated on the thorough documentation of seven archaeological sites with Manteño cultural affiliation.  The survey resulted in the documentation of more than thirty stone structures of different sizes occupying diverse landforms and topographic positions within the landscape.  

Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

FAS 2016

68th Annual Florida Anthropological Society Meeting

Jupiter, Florida

May 19-22, 2016

The 68th Annual Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society will be held in Jupiter, Florida from May 19-22, 2016.  Palm Beach County Archaeological Society is proud to host this year’s meeting at the Wyndham Grand Harbourside overlooking the scenic Intracoastal Waterway!

Call for Papers: HERE

Mail-in Registration: HERE

On-line registration: HERE

Please e-mail any questions to pbcarchaeologicalsociety@gmail.com.

Conference Venue

The conference venue and hotel is the elegant Wyndham Grand Harbourside in the heart of Jupiter’s bustling waterfront district. The locale boasts eight on-site restaurants offering fare from burgers and shakes to five star epicurean delights. The Wyndham Grand offers exquisite boutique style accommodations, breathtaking waterfront views, and amenities tailor-made to highlight guest’s experience with elegance and style.  Guests of the FAS conference will enjoy a deeply discounted rate of $139.00 per room, a stellar deal for accommodations in this 5 star hotel.  To secure the special room rate you must book your room by April 15th.  The price of accommodations includes complimentary parking and wi-fi access.  For reservations call  and indicate that you are booking for The Florida Anthropological Society Meeting or Palm Beach County Archaeological Society.

Preliminary Schedule Highlights

Friday Evening Reception – The reception will take place at one of the largest remaining aboriginal shell mounds on the Atlantic seaboard, in Dubois Park.  Recent excavations at the multi-component National Register Historic Site yielded the rare Spanish Faceted Chevron trade beads, which have been recovered from fewer than ten New World archaeological sites! Atop the mound is the recently restored Dubois Pioneer home. Guided tours of the site and pioneer home will be ongoing while guests imbibe wine and hors d’oeuvres.

 Saturday Evening Banquet – Jupiter Florida is nationally renowned for its colorful history and rich cultural heritage, symbolized by the iconic Jupiter Lighthouse.  Guests of the FAS conference will enjoy a rare opportunity to dine “under the stars” with the iconic Jupiter Lighthouse as the centerpiece for the affair.  While we dine, the lighthouse will be illuminated, lending a unique romance to the traditional FAS celebration.  Guests at the banquet will enjoy a 3 course Gourmet Italian meal, served buffet style, as well as beer, wine, and host chapter PBCAS’ special libation  “Pirate’s Rum Punch”! This year’s banquet offers casual elegance at an affordable $40.00 per person.  Please note, the Loxahatchee River Historical Society will offer tours of the lighthouse before the cocktail bar opens.  Museum tours will be ongoing through the evening.  Please take care to arrive early so you can enjoy all this unique affair has to offer.

Key Note Speaker: Palm Beach County Archaeologist and Historic Preservation Officer Christian Davenport.  The archaeology of southeast Florida in general, and Palm Beach County in particular, has been poorly understood for generations due to a lack of professional archaeological research.  Since coming to work in the locality, Davenport has directed major investigations including the Boyer Survey of Lake Okeechobee which made international headlines and was featured in National Geographic.  That work was only foreshadowing for the incredible discoveries and advances in our understanding of the archaeology and prehistory of Southeast Florida.  Davenport’s keynote speech will reveal the findings of the Boyer Survey as well as the discovery of new earthworks in the Glades and along the coast.  Davenport’s contribution is monumental and no understanding of Florida archaeology is complete without consideration of recent findings in his jurisdiction.

Sunday Morning Tours

On Sunday, attendees will have a variety of unique guided tours hosted by area archaeologists and specialists.  All tours will meet in the hotel lobby, at 9:00am, and receive map directions to the tour location from the conference hotel.

9:00am – Swamp Buggy Tour to Big Mound City –the chance to visit Big Mound City is a once in a lifetime event! Christian Davenport guides this tour of this massive mound and earthwork monument built by the Belle Glade People. The site consists of at least 23 mounds, radiating causeways, and crescent-shaped ponds. This site in NOT open to the public, but a special arrangement has been made with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission in association with the Friends of Corbett conservation group to allow FAS conference participants to visit the mounds.  To participate in this tour you must be in good physical condition and a liability waiver must be signed at the tour location.

9:00am – Jungle Cruise to Historic Trapper Nelson’s – Enjoy mimosas with friends and colleagues as you cruise the  “Wild and Scenic” Loxahatchee River aboard the Loxahatchee Queen III. The voyage includes interpretive narration about the area’s prehistory and history and features a stop at “Trapper Nelson’s Zoo and Jungle Gardens”.  Trapper Nelson, “the wild man of the Loxahatchee” is a celebrated historic personae famous for his incredible good looks, financial wizardry, legendary and mysterious romantic dalliances with the fancy ladies of Palm Beach, and sadly, for being the subject of what most locals will attest is a murder mystery.  In his old age, Trapper became a garrulous old recluse who was found shot to death in his cabin in the woods.  With his death, the state of Florida came to possess his real estate fortune. The official cause of death was suicide…but those who knew Trapper reject that finding.  Visit the scene of the crime and come to your own conclusion! This cruise is Adults 21+ only.

9:00am –Ecoarchaeological Kayak Tour of Riverbend Park – this guided tour by water will showcase the bounty and beauty of the Loxahatchee River’s many natural and cultural treasures.

9:00am – Gallery Tour of Art Calusa Exhibit – Gallery will be open 10:00AM – 12:00PM. Enjoy exclusive access to the award winning ArtCalusa exhibit on display at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County Museum located in West Palm Beach, Florida.  This exhibit showcases artists’ interpretation of the life and experiences of Florida’s indigenous peoples, particularly that of the Calusa.

March Lecture

March 24, 2016 7pm

Meet the Family: Human Evolution for Everybody!”

Dorothy Block, M.A.

The story of evolution starting with the Big Bang will be presented with a special emphasis on the trajectory of human evolution.  The real “rock stars” of human evolution; Australopithecus afarensis “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”, Homo  habilis, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis  and CroMagnon will be introduced  and their fates discussed in terms the lay-public can easily understand!

Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

February Lecture

February 18, 2016 7pm

“The Old Vero Man Site and Paleoindian Archaeology in Florida”

Dr. Andrew Hemmings

Claims of a Pleistocene human presence in Florida were debated for nearly a century before widespread acceptance of the Folsom, NM finds helped decide the issue in 1927. The Vero site, excavated by Elias Sellards and his crew, between 1915-1917, was by far the most prominent and hotly contested. Yet, the basic questions of cultural affinity, age of the site, and the lifeways of early peoples in the far south remain unanswered. Current investigations by OVIASC and Mercyhurst have documented a human presence dating between 11,100 and 14,000 calendar years ago. This work is summarized and the sites meaning is discussed as part of the larger Paleoindian occupation of Florida.

Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406

January Lecture

January 21, 2016 7pm

“Packing Tips Every Traveler Should Know: An Analysis of Faunal Remains from the Shipwrecked Settlers at Preacher’s Cave”

Rose Gualtieri, MA

British colonization of the Bahamian island of Eleuthera began in the mid-seventeenth century with the arrival of Puritans seeking refuge from religious persecution. Funded by a group of British investors, this group of settlers shipwrecked and took refuge in a cave, now known as Preacher’s Cave, where they adapted to the island’s maritime tropical environment. Archaeological excavations conducted at Preacher’s Cave recovered a large quantity of faunal remains. This talk examines the role these animals played in the diet, in terms of protein food supplies imported versus foods that the Preacher Cave residents obtained themselves through their own efforts.

Location: Palm Beach County Main Library
3650 Summit Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33406