SWFAS was founded in 1980 to provide a meeting place for people interested in the southwest Florida area's archaeology, history and cultural past.

Check back soon for the announcement of next season's speakers. We thank all those who made this season a success.


The 70th annual FAS meeting was held the weekend of May 11, 12 and 13 in St. Petersburg, Florida. SWFAS attendees were Theresa Schober, Board Member and FAS Chapter Representative, John Furey, SWFAS President, George Luer and Annette Snapp. Friday, May 11 was a day of all-day meetings that culminated in a FAS evening Reception at the 3 Daughters Brewing Company. Attendees got to sample locally made beer and cider as well as wine with salad and sliders accompanied by games and music.


On Saturday, May 12th the halls at the Student Center of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) were filled with displays of books, replicas of Native American pottery, tools and weapons as well as clothing and companies that cater to archaeological technology. From 8am to 4pm the various papers and panel discussions were held that consisted of a wide range of archaeological topics. Participants got to choose those topics that were of interest to them. The papers I (John Furey) attended did not disappoint me. At 4pm the FAS Board met.


From 6pm to 9pm the FAS Banquet and awards ceremony was held. The FAS noted many individuals for awards, one of which was a Certificate of Achievement for Janet Gooding from SWFAS. After dinner participants were treated to a fantastic keynote speech by Dr. John Michael Francis titled “Even The Devil Couldn’t Read This”. He is compiling information about the individuals that traveled to the New World with the various Conquistadores from early archives in Spain and has created a website called laflorida.org to disseminate this data. SWFAS members got to meet several former SWFAS speakers and one from next year’s schedule.


The conference was well attended and highly informative. I recommend that FAS members that have not attended a conference plan to attend one in the future. Next year the conference will be held in Crystal River and for the 72nd Annual Conference, SWFAS will be the local hosts in Naples/Marco Island. We will be looking for volunteers to assist us at this meeting and it will be your opportunity to attend an FAS Annual Meeting.



Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (SWFAS) Newsletter, May 2018



Our SWFAS Newsletter runs from October to May while our presentations run from November to April. This May we have the FAS 70th Annual Meeting and then we finally get the summer off. We continue to book quality and informative speakers for our speaker series and present topics of great interest in both local history and archaeology. Your annual dues and donations are an important part of our maintaining this ability. I would like to thank all our SWFAS members for their support and those that attended our presentations and supported SWFAS this year. Our December field trip is usually to a local archaeological or historical venue after which we go to lunch: this year it will be “special” so you should plan to attend. It will be announced later this year. Have a great summer and see you in the fall.



The SWFAS Newsletter is always looking for original archaeological/anthropological articles from authors to publish as well as articles of interest to the general membership. Did you take a trip this summer to visit or work at a site, or a museum; please write about your trip and share the experience with us. If you have articles that you wish to have published in the newsletter, please submit them to me at jffurey@charter.net.Thanks.



Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (SWFAS) Newsletter, April 2018   PRESIDENT’S CORNER by John Furey There will be no May meeting or presentation as the 70th annual FAS meeting is May 11-13 in St. Petersburg, FL. Check back for a May Newsletter with the 2018-2019 SWFAS presentation schedule, which should be completed by then.   SWFAS ONLINE We have continued to add to the historical information of SWFAS available online. We recently added a historical listing of the officers and trustees of SWFAS back to the year 2000. SWFAS was founded in 1980 and this should be extended back to that date at some future date. Additionally, we have added a listing of the historical speakers and their topics back to 2005. This also will be extended back as far as possible in the future. A listing of the 31 original articles written by Jack Harvey have been included titled “Geology Rules” and “Digital Archaeology” published in the SWFAS Newsletter between June 2005 and December 2008 that reference the year and month for an easy way to look up the article. These, along with a listing of the various awards that SWFAS members have received over the years, such as The Craighead Awards, the Golden Trowel Awards, FAS Certificate of Achievement Awards, The Arthur R. Lee Chapter Award and the FAS Presidents Award are currently available.   CONTINUE READING > > >

Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (SWFAS) Newsletter, March 2018


This month I have included three articles of great interest that combine a number of themes along our Gulf Coast and that tie into the March presentation by Dr. Paul Backhouse. First, the article History and culture of Egmont Key provides brief overview of the history of the island and only slightly mentions its role in the removal of captured Seminoles from Florida to the Oklahoma Territory. Egmont Key was a prison where the captured Seminoles were held for transit to New Orleans and then onward to the West. Today it is visited by day tripping beachgoers and is a National Wildlife Refuge Area and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The second article written by Dr. Backhouse deals with climate change, rising sea levels, archaeology, the erosion that threatens Egmont Key and the cultural heritage of the Seminoles; Egmont Key represents a dark part of their history and heritage. How to salvage that history is the role of the Historic Preservation Office of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and balancing all of the competing demands that this represents. This is a mixture of issues from the perspective of the Seminoles and how they came to a consensus.

The third article deals with a unique discovery off the coast of Manasota Key. An underwater site 300 yards off the current shoreline that was buried in the peat of a freshwater pond when sea level was much lower. The peat has protected and preserved the human and cultural remains and is dated at 7,214 years old. Heather Walsh-Haney is a forensics anthropology professor at FGCU and is one of the team of scientists analyzing the site. She will be our guest speaker at our April 18th presentation at the Collier County Museum in Naples, Florida.


Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (SWFAS) Newsletter, February 2018



As we commemorate Black History Month this February 2018, I would like to share with you two articles by African authors that I recently discovered that deal with African architecture and history and present viewpoints on racism we do not often encounter in the U.S. Most of the history of Africa was written by Europeans from the perspective of colonialism with little credit given to indigenous African societies for their many architectural and scientific accomplishments. Most of which Westerners are totally unaware of. One example of the racism that they see is that no one ever says that the Acropolis or the Colosseum were constructed by alien extraterrestrials but the pyramids are often depicted as being built by extraterrestrials and not Africans. The authors attribute this to racism and we see Western pseudo- science blurring the line between fantasy and real science with TV programs claiming to know the real truth that is being hidden and it is a conspiracy they are attempting to expose. The United States today seems to be awash with these ideas and is a fertile ground for many ideas presented on pseudoscientific reality TV shows; Bigfoot, Yeti, the Nazca Lines, UFO’s; we also have serious racial problems. Are these phenomena related? I hope that you find the attached articles by Julien Benoit and Zienab Badawi as interesting as I did.


Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (SWFAS) Newsletter, January 2018 


HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 SWFAS has a new series of interesting speakers this year for our spring presentations that will bring us up to date and educate us all.


SWFAS planned to meet and make a presentation on the Captain John Foley Horr House at the January HOA meeting at Marco Island, however, due to prior commitments we could not make this meeting. We currently plan on attending the February HOA meeting and give a presentation by David Southall. It appears that FPAN was also aware that the building was partially destroyed by Hurricane Irma and visited the site. SWFAS would also like to get FPAN, the Collier County Historical and Archaeological Council and the Marco Historical Society involved in the preservation of this local historical site. This is a local treasure.


A recent interesting article in Science Magazine by Lizzie Wade discusses the evidence for a maritime connection to the West Coast of the Americas that is Pre-Clovis and subsisted on fish, shellfish and marine mammals, much as in coastal Florida. Discoveries by Matthew Des Lauriers, a professor at California State (Cal State) University, Northridge, CA, on Cedros Island off the tip of Baja Mexico, indicate that the island was inhabited at least 12,600 years ago. Please see the attached article by Wade and one by Bob Yirka about the “kelp Highway” to the Americas.