The First Floridians: Early Humans on the Submerged Gulf Coast of Florida
Sponsored by Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, West Virginia Division of Culture and History
Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex
801 Jefferson Avenue
Moundsville, WV 26041
United States

Now into its fourth season, the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex monthly lecture and film series will highlight West Virginia Archaeology Month (October) with a presentation by Dr. James M. Adovasio.

The 2013 Lecture & Film Series programs are free and open to the public.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Presentation Abstract:

Geoarchaeological exploration of the inner-continental shelf in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico has generated a tremendous amount of side-scan sonar and sub bottom profile data, including nearly 2000 targets of interest. In 2009, many of these targets were directly examined and/or sampled by technical diving archaeologists. Highlights of the 2008-2009 field seasons include the documentation of two lengthy paleo river systems and the identification of numerous intact, infilled karst features. A variety of samples were diver-collected from sites 13-40 m deep and up to 150 km offshore. Of particular importance to our understanding of this inundated Pleistocene landscape is the delineation of the relict Suwannee River channel. This feature has been located in nine separate areas extending nearly 160 km into the Gulf of Mexico on the southeastern edge of the Florida Middle Grounds. The terrestrial expression of this river is replete with Paleoindian sites and it is assumed that the paleo-channel is, likewise, flanked by early occupations. Perhaps most interestingly, during the 2009 project, scuba divers recovered bedrock limestone samples from several locations immediately adjacent to the buried Suwannee channel, three of which contain desilicifying chert. Like their terrestrial counterparts, such areas would have been magnets for the prehistoric utilization of this vast submerged landscape. The results of our current analyses are detailed and plans for future exploration are articulated. It is anticipated that the results of this research will substantially enhance our understanding of the anthropogenic utilization of coastal environments in the late Pleistocene and, more broadly, the early colonization of the New World.

The Speaker:

J. M. Adovasio received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Arizona in 1965 and Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Utah in 1970. Since that time, he has served as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution (1972 - 1973) and as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh (1973 - 1990).  In 1990, Dr. Adovasio moved to Erie, Pennsylvania to assume the positions of Chairman of the Department of Anthropology/Archaeology and Director of Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute.  He has since been appointed Provost, Senior Counselor to the President, and Dean of the Zurn School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Though probably best known for his state-of-the-art excavations at Meadowcroft Rockshelter, southwestern Pennsylvania, and his attendant contributions to the highly controversial Pre-Clovis/Clovis debate, Adovasio is generally considered to be the world’s leading authority in the arena of perishable artifact analysis. Since 1970, he has published more than 400 books, or book chapters, manuscripts, and technical papers. These notably include The First Americans (with Jake Page) and the Invisible Sex (with Olga Soffer and Jake Page). Most recently he has served as the co-principal investigator of a multi-year NOAA sponsored project to locate and excavate submerged Paleoindian sites on the inundated continental shelf of the Gulf of Mexico.



Contact Information
David E. Rotenizer, Site Manager


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