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UNF exhibit “Our Land: Indigenous Northeast Florida” featured at Jacksonville Beaches Museum

Artwork depicting a historic village of Indigenous peoples of Northeast Florida.

Photo credit: This art was created for the Timucua-Mocama Art Contest sponsored by the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida with the goal of presenting a more authentic portrayal of the scenes depicted in the classic but ethnocentric sixteenth-century works of Jacques Le Moyne and Theodor de Bry.

University of North Florida students and faculty from the archaeology and history programs curated “Our Land: Indigenous Northeast Florida” that is currently on display at the Jacksonville Beaches Museum as part of their permanent collection.

Students designed the exhibit in the “Public Archaeology and History of Florida Indians” course taught by Dr. Keith Ashley, anthropology assistant professor, and Dr. Denise Bossy, associate professor of history, in the fall of 2019. The exhibit focuses on Jacksonville’s deep Indigenous history, drawing on archaeological and historical evidence of the Indigenous perspectives that began 1,000 years ago.

While the story of Indigenous, French, and Spanish encounters in Northeast Florida is often told from European perspectives, this exhibit presents the perspectives of the Mocama-speaking Timucua, Guale and Yamasee Indians. The exhibit showcases research and artifacts from archaeological and archival research conducted by UNF faculty and students to reconstruct the Indigenous history of Northeast Florida from the sixteenth century to the present.

Project funding was provided by the Humanities Initiative of the UNF College of Arts and Sciences, the UNF Archaeology Laboratory through the support of the Cummer Family Foundation, and the Beaches Museum.

More information about UNF’s archaeology projects can be found on the Archaeology Lab website.