As an anthropological archaeologist, I am a strong advocate of a four-field approach. I see clearly the relevance of the other sub-disciplines and anthropology as a whole to archaeology and the study of the human past. Two fundamental notions that greatly shape my research are “history matters” and “human societies are open and dynamic social formations.” I believe we cannot fully understand the people and cultures we study apart from their history and the world around them. Although I maintain a concern for the multiplicity of external relations in which societies are engaged, I never lose sight of the local or internal dynamism of those societies.
My research focuses on Native Americans of southeastern North America, particularly Florida. My interests span late precolumbian and historic (post-European contact) eras, and I view any type of divide between these time periods in the study of native societies as unnecessary and potentially problematic. My current research explores the involvement of St. Johns fisher-hunter-gathers in the broader world of Mississippian farmers. I am also engaged in researching the contact and mission periods among the Mocama-speaking Timucua of northeastern Florida and southeastern Georgia (see Mocama Archaeology Project below).
I am firmly committed to fieldwork and take a very hands-on approach to archaeology, from excavation through analysis to report writing and curation. I further believe practical field knowledge must be coupled with a broader understanding of anthropological concepts and theory. Additionally, because most students in archaeology today will seek employment in cultural resource management (CRM) or some other aspect of public archaeology, I believe it is imperative that they graduate with sufficient knowledge and a working understanding of how archaeology is practiced in the real world. In sum, my research is empirical, historical, and multiscalar, exploring social relations and interactions at local, regional, and macroregional levels.
Mocama Archaeology Project
The Archaeology Lab at UNF has recently initiated a long-term commitment to Mocama archaeology. Our primary goals are to reconstruct the contact-era (late 16th century) social landscape of northeastern Florida and to establish baseline information on Mocama material and social culture, subsistence, and the locations and physical layouts of their villages. Once such a database is established we can then begin to examine changes in Native American life as a consequence of European arrival, colonization, and missionization.
The Archaeology Lab has benefited from its unique partnership with several important entities in northeastern Florida. These supporters include the National Park Service (Timucuan Historic and Ecological Preserve), Florida State Parks (Talbot Islands State Parks), City of Jacksonville (Recreation and Community Services), and Preservation Project North Florida. A goal of our partnership is to pursue scholarly research and enrich our knowledge of the Native Americans of northeastern Florida. Just as important is our commitment to public education. The general public deserves to know the colorful and vibrant story of the natives who thrived in communities that now lay beneath their feet.
The Queen Mound (8DU110) (1995)
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