SEMINOLE – Can you imagine living in an era where hobbies include carving canoes from mere conch shells? Florida’s ancestors have done that and more.
As part of Florida’s archaeological month, the Seminole Historical Society gathered March 29 at the Seminole Community Library to hear a program on early ancestry.
The guest speaker was Loren Blakeley, former president of the Florida Anthropological Society, who has had an unyielding interest in artifacts since very young, even as his parents would plead with him to stop collecting his “garbage bags” full of fossils and artifacts. His interest continues today.
“Regionally we are losing archaeology due to our development,” said Blakeley. “Everyone must make an effort to preserve heritage, so we all should become preservationists.”
Historical research is meant to depict the lives and culture of people only seen through artifacts, and to transport us back to the earliest records of Florida.
Interestingly, Florida is known to possess some of the earliest clay pottery in the Jacksonville area.
A video about Florida’s early ancestry was shown, with input ranging from NASA to National Geographic.
Ancient discoveries create a picture of what life was like in years past. Some early residents were “mobile hunters” of big creatures unseen today. Imagine huge saber-toothed cats, or armadillos as big as Volkswagens.
Although there is much ongoing debate and speculation on how they looked, disciplined studies have been able to depict semi-accurate characteristics and culture.
“It is important to get imported parts of Florida’s past,” said historian Jimmy Vines. “We strive to zero in on our pioneers, but there is much history even before them.”
Books were displayed that chronicle Florida’s history and the evolving of early age technology.
Clay and ceramics, whether broken or not, provide the single most evidence of useful archaeology because they are durable. They can be shaped, written on, and tell what people have done.
Peering further, for example, Tallahassee was home of the “birdman-dancer,” a true historical warrior who lived near the Gulf of Mexico, and other tribes reaching as far as Miami covering two-thirds of the Florida peninsula.
The Tocobaga tribe lived nearest to what is Seminole today. All of these groups are extinct, but preservation of culture has much to teach.
Toward the close of the meeting, many of the audience members participated in clay shaping and molding for fun.