Map of Carribean

St. Johns Archaeological Field School

July 2 – August 10, 2018

Silver Glen Springs excavations

A nine-credit field practicum in all aspects of archaeological field work, including reconnaissance survey, site mapping and testing, and stratigraphic excavation. Evening laboratory sessions and lectures provide additional training in analysis, research design, and regional archaeology.

Reconstructed mound at site 8LA1-EThe St. Johns River valley of northeast Florida was home to prehistoric hunter-gatherers for over 11,000 years. Some 8,500 years ago, certain groups began to harvest the rich shellfish resources of the river and mound the inedible remains in locations of repeated occupation. Most of these shell mounds were mined for road fill long ago, but many still preserve information of scientific value. Research currently focuses on the circumstances surrounding the formation of these mounds. Because they consist of the remains of species eaten by humans, shell mounds have tended to be interpreted as simply refuse heaps. Field school research is designed to test the idea that many of these mounds were constructed for ritual purposes.

The 2018 field school will return to the western shore of Lake George for the eighth year. In the 19th century, Jeffries Wyman described the shell deposits at the mouth of Silver Glen Run, which drains into Lake George, as the largest in all of northeast Florida. The U-shaped outline in the diagram to the upper left shows the extent of the deposits Wyman observed in 1871. Although this massive deposit was mined for shell in 1923, portions of its basal deposits remain intact below the present-day surface. To the west of this deposit is an area of some 20 hectares with the remnants of a 7,000-year-old shell ridge, at least two villages, and a sand burial mound. This year we will concentrate our efforts on the assemblage of pit features and associated midden that dates to the first intensive use of the site, plus we will conduct survey and testing at another shell-bearing sites at the mouth of Little Juniper Creek.

Block excavations at site 8LA1-W Locus AAccommodations for field school are provided courtesy of our host organization for the five-week field session (July 9 - August 10). Beyond the fee for nine undergraduate credit hours, students will pay their share of communal subsistence and equipment costs (estimated at about $450). One additional week of lab orientation in Gainesville (July 2-6) is mandatory.

The St. Johns Archaeological Field School is directed by Dr. Kenneth Sassaman in partnership with the University of Oklahoma field school directed by Dr. Asa Randall. Graduate students of Drs. Sassaman and Randall help to instruct and supervise field school students.

Contact Dr. Sassaman ( for an application form. Due date for applications is March 30, 2018. Students are notified about admission decisions by April 16, 2018.

A summary of the 2016 St. Johns Archaeological Field School can be found here.

A summary of the 2012 St. Johns Archaeological Field School can be found here.

A summary of the 2010 St. Johns Archaeological Field School can be found here.


See the reports posted below for results of prior field schools:

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Laboratory of Southeastern

1112 Turlington Hall
PO Box 117305
Gainesville FL 32611-5565
Phone: 352.392.6772
Fax: 352.392.6929