The Florida Public Archaeology Network
Spring 2013 FREE In the Dirt Lecture Series
Click for a print & share flyer with details.
January 25th, 7 pm
Harley Means, Florida Geological Survey
"Hydroarchaeology" of Florida
March 16th, 7 pm
February 8th, 7 pm
Dr. Lana Williams, University of Central Florida
"A Woman's Richest Ornament: Hairstyles and Hair Products in Roman Egypt"
April 19th, 7 pm
These lectures are free to the public.
Florida Historical Society Library, 435 Brevard Avenue, Cocoa, FL 32922
Florida is one of the most interesting states in our country. Humans wandered onto the peninsula over 12,000 years ago, exploiting the abundant natural resources that, to this day, draw people from all over the world. That lengthy human occupation has left behind a wealth of evidence; evidence that is quickly being destroyed by the influx of residents, tourists, and development into the region.
Dr. Rachel K. Wentz, RPA
It is this clash of the past with the present that necessitated the development of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). FPAN is a state-wide network of professional archaeologists whose primary mission is to educate the public about the wealth of archaeological resources within our state. The network is based out of the University of West Florida in Pensacola. The Coordinating Center, directed by Dr. William Lees, oversees the regional centers that cover the state. These regional centers are staffed by a Director/Public Archaeologist; an Outreach Coordinator; and supporting staff. The network is funded by grant monies administered by UWF to host institutions.
The host institutions, typically universities and colleges, have successfully competed for these monies and provide office space and infrastructure for each regional office. Brevard County is one of eight counties (including Orange, Osceola, Seminole, St. Lucie, Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee) within the East/Central Region and is hosted by Florida Historical Society at 435 Brevard Ave., Cocoa Village, FL 32922.
So how did I get here? I came to FPAN from Florida State University where I had recently completed a masters and PhD under the direction of Dr. Glen Doran. It just so happens that Dr. Doran was the lead archaeologist on a site near and dear to the people of Titusville: the Windover archaeological site (8BR246). Windover is a mortuary pond whose use dates back over 7,000 years. One of the most significant sites in North America, Windover produced the well-preserved remains of 168 individuals, buried in the pond for ritual or utilitarian purposes. In many cases, these burials consisted of finely woven textiles wrapped around the bodies of individuals placed on their left sides, accompanied by tools of bone, wood and antler probably used during life. The preservation at Windover has afforded extensive research into the lives and health of Florida's Archaic period. As a bioarchaeologist, I couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to evaluate what life was like for early Floridians. My master's thesis examined the types and rates of skeletal fractures among the population. My dissertation examined all aspects of health, including rates of infection, arthritis, nutritional stress, and dental disease. What I found was that Windover appears to have been a population lacking interpersonal conflict yet suffering from a variety of health issues inherent to hunter/gatherer groups living in subtropical climates.
But back to FPAN... The East/Central Regional office was established in May of 2007. Since then, I have focused on getting our name out into the community, letting people know about the network as a resource for those interested in archaeology. I have also been partnering with groups devoted to Florida's heritage and public education. These groups have proven invaluable in helping me reach the public. The response, both from the public and from established groups, has been overwhelming. For the first time in Florida, there is open access to professional archaeologists whose primary job is to serve the public. Through lectures, meetings, and public events, FPAN is reaching out to Florida communities, providing information and assistance to those with questions or concerns about our state's valuable archaeological resources. Through a partnership with the Division of Historic Resources, FPAN serves as a portal to the vast network of professionals within our state agencies. Each regional office also provides professional assistance with local archaeological emergencies; assists with local archaeological ordinances and preservation plans; and with promoting the identification and nomination of local archaeological sites to the National Register of Historic Places.
Emma Parrish Theater - Oct. 2007
Ethel S. Newman, D.D.S., Provost, Brevard Community College's Titusville Campus - Dr. Glen Doran, Department of Anthropology, Florida State University - Rachel K. Wentz, PhD, RPA, Regional Director, The Florida Public Archaeology Network, East/Central Region, BCC Titusville Campus
So if you find yourself in need of an archaeologist or have questions concerning Florida's fascinating prehistory/history, contact me. If I don't have the answers, I can certainly find them. After all, archaeology is about identifying questions and finding answers. And with the wealth of Florida's past, both the questions and answers will continue well into the future.
Paperback Life and Death at Windover:
Excavations of a 7,000-year-old Pond Cemetary
By Dr. Rachel Wentz
Amazon Book Description
Publication Date: March 31, 2012
In 1982, a backhoe operator working at what would become the new Windover Farms housing development in Titusville, Florida, uncovered a human skull. The bones of several other individuals soon emerged from the peat bog. It would be determined that the human remains uncovered at Windover were between 7,000 and 8,000 years old, making them 3,200 years older than King Tutankhamen and 2,000 years older than the Great Pyramids of Egypt. This was just the beginning of an archaeological adventure that continues today.
Windover is truly a unique site that continues to astonish. Dr. Wentz does a wonderful job of telling the two stories of Windover. One is the story of the people who lived in the area and are buried in the pond. The other story introduces you to the amazing people and circumstances which made the excavation possible. From its discovery by a backhoe operator and a concerned and interested landowner to the crew who worked on the project, Wentz effectively captures the stories of a fascinating archaeological discovery. -- Dr. Glen H. Doran, Principal Archaeologist of the Windover site
About the Author
Dr. Rachel Wentz is director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) East Central Region, which includes the Windover site. As a Bioarchaeologist she has spent many years studying the Windover skeletons.
Kindle - $7.95
Rachel K. Wentz, PhD, RPA
Florida Public Archaeology Network
Florida Historical Society
435 Brevard Ave
Cocoa, FL 32922
321-690-1971, ext 222
Visit the Windover Pond
pages on the Trail of
Florida's Indian Heritage website.
Brevard Museum of History and Science - THE WINDOVER STORY
The Windover Archaeological Research Project
Indian River Anthropological Society
Florida Public Archaeology Project
Florida Historical Society
North Brevard History
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