Painting by Ted Morris, losttribesflorida.com
Please join us in giving Dr. Kenneth E. Sassaman much appreciation as the #FAS2021 keynote speaker!
After working in South Carolina for 12 years with the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program (1987-98), Ken joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology, University of Florida in 1998 and began long-term research in the middle St. Johns region of northeast Florida. Research in both regions centers on the culture history of ancient hunter-gatherers of the Archaic Period (ca. 11,000-3000 years ago). In 2009 he launched the Lower Suwannee Archaeological Survey on the northern Gulf Coast of Florida to investigate the material realities and cultural interventions of climate change and sea-level rise over the past 5,000 years.
KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Kenneth E. Sassaman
A History Runs Through It: Nine Millennia of Human Experience along the St. Johns River of Northeast Florida
From the pond burials of 9,000 years ago to the platform mounds at the eve of Spanish contact, the indigenous people of the St. Johns River valley inscribed their histories in water, shell, stone, bone, and earth. In the context of environmental change—most notably rising sea and flooded land—the archaeological traces of this ancient past reveal tremendous resilience to disruptions in everyday life. However, relationships between people and the river were inflected not only by the vagaries of nature, but also by an ever-accumulating material reality of cemeteries, mounds, and middens. The river, it would seem, carried far more than water from its headwaters to the sea. It also carried history and meaning for those whose ancestors intervened against environmental change to ensure that life on the river would carry on.
Kenneth E. Sassaman is the Hyatt and Cici Brown Professor of Florida Archaeology, University of Florida. His 38 years of research in the Lower Southeast has centered on community formation, regional interactions, and technological change among ancient Native Americans. Ongoing fieldwork on the Gulf Coast investigates the connection between the experience and expectation of environmental change with a new emphasis on the late nineteenth-century in the Cedar Key locality. The author or editor of nine books and over 100 articles and chapters, Sassaman is co-author of the new textbook Archaeology of Ancient North America (Cambridge, 2020).