FPAN can help facilitate speakers for meetings of your civic group, community organization, youth club, or heritage society, and for lecture series and special events.

Most presentations last about 30-45 minutes with additional time for questions, although programs usually can be tailored for your needs. Specific topics are dependent on speaker availability, so book early! There is no charge for presentations, although donations are gratefully accepted to support FPAN educational programs.

Presentation topics are divided into two sections:

Take a look at our offerings, then submit the form below and let us know what you’d like to learn about! If you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask us and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

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Hands-On Activities for Children

FPAN staff is available to visit your classroom, camp or club and provide hands on archaeology education activities. If interested, select from presentation list below and fill out our program request form at the top of the page. Programs are free for public schools, public libraries, local museums and non-profit organizations. Florida Archaeology Month (March) and Summer calendars fill up fast so please schedule as soon as possible in advance.


Tools of the Trade

One of the best ways to show people how we study a site is to share our tool kit. Students observe the tools we use in the field and infer the reasoning behind our choices. For example, many people may know we use a trowel, but what's the difference between the pointy ones versus the flat edge blades? What would we do that? Tools include trowels (yes, plural!), munsell color chart, line levels, various measuring devices, and root clippers. The most important? Our pencil and sharpie for recording our findings.

PB&J: How (and why!) Archaeologists Find Sites

A classic! Students systematically excavate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to explore the concepts of stratigraphy and survey, emphasizing how archaeologists use the scientific method in the field.

Timucuan Pyrotechnology

This activity introduces students to Timucuan culture, focusing on ways that local prehistoric people used fire to meet their daily needs. A hands-on experiment provides a bang as students use balloons (and water balloons!) to explore how prehistoric people could cook prior to the advent of pottery.

Timucuan Technology: Fishing

Fish and other coastal resources were a crucial part of Timucuan diets. Archaeologists can learn about prehistoric fishing through artifact like fish hooks and net gages as well as finding the fish remains themselves. Students will explore various artifacts and fishing techniques through hands on activities.

Who Were the Timucuan?

The Timucuan were a group of native Americans who lived in Northeast Florida at the time of Spanish colonization. While none of these people are still here today, archaeologists can uncover clues to their lives and culture through archaeology. Learn how they used Florida’s resources for tools, shelter, food and more. Students can also see and touch replica artifacts.

Prehistoric Weaponry and Tools

Before iron and steel, native Floridians made tools from shells, bone and rocks. Explore a prehistoric toolkit and how these materials helped build canoes, hunt animals and even create art. This presentation also focuses on the atl-atl as an important weapon long before the invent of the bow and arrow. Hands-on atl-atl demonstration available depending on time and outdoor space requirements.

Prehistoric Pottery

Students learn about the advent of pottery in Florida, and do hands-on experimentation using play-doh to explore pottery-making and -decorating technology. The lesson also teaches about how pottery can help archaeologists understand a site and its prehistoric people.

Underwater Archaeology: Maple Leaf Shipwreck

Students explore the basics of underwater archaeology through “excavating” the Maple Leaf shipwreck tarp. They will uncover artifacts and map them in place to determine what they can tell us about the shipwreck. The Maple Leaf was a Union supply ship that wrecked in the St. Johns River in the Mandarin area of Jacksonville.

Underwater Archaeology: Map an Anchor

The most important part of archaeology is context: understanding where things came from. Archaeologists rely on mapping to help them get a sense of site layout, artifact context and more. But how is it done when 20 feet (or more) underwater? With the help of grid systems! Students can test their mapping skills by using Cartesian Coordinates to record a real 100-year old anchor.

Kingsley Slave Cabin Archaeology

Recent excavations at Kingsley Plantation have radically changed our understanding of what life was like for the enslaved people living there. This lesson tasks students with mapping artifacts exactly where they were found in the cabin, just like archaeologists do. After mapping, they work in teams to classify artifacts. Finally, as a group we discuss explore what we can understand about this population by looking at these artifacts in context (where they were found and with what other objects).

Presentation Topics for Adults

FPAN staff is available to come talk to local libraries, civic organizations, historical societies and any other group interested in hearing more about Florida archaeology. Below are some of the standard talks we give in the region but we are often able to custom make a talk based on your interest. Select a title from the list below to fill out the program request form at the top of the page or get in touch with us at northeast@fpan.us. Programs are free and subject to staff availability for scheduling.


In Search of 16th-Century St. Augustine

Walking the streets of St. Augustine can confuse the visitor in search of the 16th century, but 450-year-old sites are there—often beneath their feet. This presentation synthesizes work done by archaeologists over the past century and focuses on small objects that bring ordinary people in the 16th century to life.

Archaeology Along the St. Johns River

The St. Johns River has played an ever-changing role in the lives of Floridians for thousands of years. Prehistorically, the river provided food, transportation, and a geographic connection between cultures living from the source to the mouth. Historically, the river supported missions, plantations, and military outposts. Exploration is not limited to land; famous archaeological sites on the river's bottom add to our knowledge of Florida's past.

Fantastic Archaeology: Florida Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries

Celebrate Florida archaeology by learning what archaeology is, and importantly what it is not. This educational and entertaining talk will focus on the misuse and abuse of Florida's past. Moving from historical to modern day examples we discuss the many ways “belief in nonsense can be dangerous (Kenneth Feder).”

Coquina: Florida's Pet Rock

Coquina is a conglomerate rock unique to Florida’s east coast. Since the 1590s when the Spanish first established quarries, coquina was used to build every type of structure from the historic period: forts, plantations, sugar mills, houses, businesses, even cemeteries. Drawing from resources developed for the Coquina Queries teacher activity guide, this talk introduces participants to the sweeping array of coquina ruins they can visit in northeast Florida, including formation, excavation, and preservation.

Prehistoric Weaponry and Tools

The difference between a tool and a weapon is a matter of intent. While this can be difficult to ascribe archaeologically, humans have used tools as weapons for hundreds of thousands of years. This presentation looks at the tool kits of prehistoric Timucuans and focuses on the atl-atl as the weapon of choice. Hands-on atl-atl demonstration available depending on time and outdoor space requirements.

Archaeology in Florida State Parks

When people first realize archaeology happens in Florida, it often surprises them to hear of how many active permits are issued to do work in state parks. Some of the digs are by field school where students learn the ABCs of excavation, while other digs are done in advance of construction or improvements to a park. This lecture emphasizes visitation of the many parks that feature archaeology interpreted for the public including Ft. Mose, Hontoon Island, Crystal River, Bulow Sugar Mill, Ft. Clinch, De Leon Springs, and many more.

Grit Tempered II: Famous Women in Florida Archaeology

In 1991 the book Grit Tempered: Early Women Archaeologists in the Southeastern United States was published to highlight to contributions of women who made archaeology what it is today. Since that time, the tradition of strong women archaeologists has continued. This talk presupposes a Grit Tempered II sequel and nominates five phenomenal Florida women for consideration: Kathleen Deagan (St. Augustine), Judy Bense (Pensacola), Bonnie McEwan (Tallahassee), Rebecca Saunders (Amelia Island) and Nancy White (Gulf Coast). Come learn more about these women, their enduring impact on how we understand our past, and the sites that made them famous.

How the Florida Wars Changed Us All

Between 1817 and 1858, Florida was the location of three wars fought over land ownership and cultural differences. The Seminoles turned out to be the longest Indian conflict in US history. Learn how these wars shaped the people and landscape of Florida and discover how archaeologists are uncovering clues about them almost two centuries later.

Meanwhile, in Florida…A Brief History of Odd Happenings in the Sunshine State

Florida has a long history of odd behaviors, interesting characters and fierce natural environs. Learn how natives remained hunter/gatherers until the Spanish arrived, why runaway slaves sought new lives St. Augustine and how an oil barren spent his fortune on Florida.

A Florida Shipwreck through Time

Based on the book Shipwreck: Leap through Time, this talk takes the audience through the stages of a shipwreck--from ship construction to underwater museum. The issue of piracy in archaeology is addressed, as well as expanding known submerged resources beyond maritime themes.

Historic Cemeteries as Outdoor Museums

We encourage families and classes to get into the cemeteries within their communities and put archaeological principles to the test. This presentation can be brought via Powerpoint or introduced on-site at an actual cemetery. Iconography, dating of headstones, and change of style over time (seriation) are emphasized along with lessons in cemetery preservation.

Heritage Monitoring Scouts (HMS Florida)

Worldwide heritage sites are at risk from impacts due to climate change: erosion, sea level rise, and major storms to name just a few. HMS Florida is a public engagement program that focuses on tracking changes to archaeological sites over time. This presentation will provide context for climate change issues in Florida, discuss how those changes impact archaeological sites, and lets the public know what they can do to help heritage at risk.