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Press Release for Thursday, May 21, 2015

UNF Archaeology Lab Receives Historic Preservation Award


Jessica Scott, Public Relations Specialist

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2192


The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission presented Dr. Keith Ashley, coordinator of research program services and adjunct in the University of North Florida Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work with a 2015 Preservation Award earlier this month for his work on the “Uncovering the Past: New Archaeological Discoveries of Northeast Florida” exhibit for the Museum of Science and History.


“I was honored to accept this award on behalf of the UNF Archaeology Lab and the many students who devoted their time and energy to uncovering Jacksonville’s ancient past,” said Ashley.  


The presentation combined the archaeology, history, science and land preservation for a comprehensive view of Native American life in what archaeologists refer to as the St. Mary’s Region. Students and faculty explored Native American life before, during and after French and Spanish contact in Northeast Florida to prepare the presentation. The accompanying exhibit featured impressive artifacts such as 1000-year-old Native American pottery, as well as artwork by St. Augustine artist Theodore Morris.


Ashley’s research has been transformative in Jacksonville historical preservation, with multiple artifacts from his regular archaeological digs displayed at MOSH year round. Additionally, he leads the University’s annual Summer Archaeological Field School, a program that invites the public to be part of a dig.


Ashley and his students will began excavation of a 1000-year-old Native American site on several private properties in the Fort Caroline area. The field school will return Monday, June 15, to Black Hammock Island National Park to work with a Native American village associated with a Spanish mission. During the field school, the public will work with the University and National Park Service to excavate artifacts from the area’s history.


            The Commission’s annual awards ceremony recognizes outstanding projects and services that promote historic preservation in the Jacksonville area. Award categories include: heritage education, residential and commercial Rehabilitation, architecturally compatible new construction, preservation projects and services, and “great save.”


Nominations for the awards were made by individuals and agencies for projects that have been completed in Duval County within the last two years. A jury of professionals from various fields, including architecture, archaeology, history, government, education and historic preservation evaluated the nominations.


The Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission is responsible for review of certain Certificate of Appropriateness applications and for recommending the designation of local landmarks and districts to the City Council. The Commission is comprised of seven individuals appointed by the mayor.


            UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.