First Annual Symposium

Saturday, Oct 27th - Sunday, Oct 28th

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The first annual symposium of The History Council will be held in St. Petersburg on October 26-28, 2018. The subject is “Pre-Columbian and Early Colonial Florida”, focusing on the west central Florida area.

The west coast of Florida, from Charlotte Harbor to Tampa Bay, are the sites of the first exploration and settlement attempts by Europeans in the New World. From Juan Ponce de León’s discovery of the Florida west coast in 1513, to his settlement attempt in 1521, to the Narváez Expedition in 1528, to the Hernando de Soto Expedition of 1540, little is known about where their landings in “La Florida” occurred, and little is known of the Native Americans who were here at the time. The symposium will include presentations and introduce new research, to help us to understand more about the people who came here, the people who lived here at the time, and where the explorer’s excursions took them.

Speakers include Sterling Professor Rolena Adorno of Yale University; Professor Emeritus Jerald Milanich of the University of Florida; Chair and Professor J. Michael Francis of the University of South Florida- St. Petersburg; Professor Emeritus Barbara Purdy of the University of Florida; Professor Emeritus Martin Favata of the University of Tampa; Professor Ping Wang of the University of South Florida; and Professor Emeritus Al Hine of the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg.

Topics will include Native Americans of Pre-Columbian Florida; the wildlife, flora, fauna, and coastal geography of the area during the Pre-Columbian and “first contact” periods, and early attempts at settlement and exploration of the Florida west coast.

All attendees of The History Council’s First Annual Symposium will receive a complimentary copy of James E. MacDougald’s book, The Pánfilo de Narváez Expedition of 1528: Highlights of the Expedition and Determination of the Landing Place.

Saturday, October 27 // St. Petersburg Yacht Club

All-inclusive tickets – $185 – includes Presentations, Lunch/Dinner/Beer/Wine, and Tours. 

8:00am – Ballroom opens for registration sign-in – Continental Breakfast available.

8:45am – Welcome Remarks and Introduction.

9:00am – Professor Emeritus Barbara Purdy. University of Florida.

“The Native americans of Florida from >13,000 Years Ago to Historic Contact”

10:00am – Professor Emeritus Al Hine. University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

“Submerged Paleo-Shorelines Along West Florida; Possible Sites for Pre-Columbian Human Habitation.”

11:00am – Professor Ping Wang. University of South Florida.

An introduction of new research. “Florida’s West-Central Coast in 1500 CE: How the explorers saw it.”

Noon – Buffet Lunch in Ballroom

1:00pm – Professor Emeritus Martin Favata. University of Tampa.

“Cabeza de Vaca’s Description of La Florida.”

2:00pm – Professor and Chair J. Michael Francis. University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Incidents of First Contact on Florida West Coast, and the “La Florida” project.

3:00pm – Keynote Speaker: Sterling Professor Rolena Adorno. Yale University.

“The Life and Afterlives of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca.”

4:00pm – Q&A with Professor Adorno.

5:00pm – Walk beautiful Beach Drive to The Birchwood Hotel. Visit local establishments on own for a cocktail, or The Canopy on top floor of The Birchwood for a beautiful water view. Arrive anytime between 5:15-6:00pm, for pre-dinner refreshments/mix/mingle at the Grand Ballroom.

The Birchwood Hotel
340 Beach Drive (about .4 mi from SPYC)

5:15pm – Beer/wine/beverage bar open. Grand Ballroom, 4th Floor.

6:00pm – Dinner with Guest Speaker: Professor Emeritus Jerald Milanich. University of Florida.

“Tattooed Ladies and Alligators with Ears – Do Theodore de Bry’s Iconic 1591 Engravings of Florida Reflect Reality or Something Else?”

Sunday, October 28

9:00 am – Visit to Anderson/Narváez Site. (The Jungle Prada Archaeological Site).

1620 Park Street North (corner of Elbow Lane).

Travel on own or via bus from St. Petersburg Hilton at 8:30am

Presentation on archaeological excavations of Jungle Prada midden by Erik Anderson, David Anderson, and Dr. Robert Austin.

11:30 am – Visit to The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. 150 Central Ave. Travel on own or on provided bus from Anderson/Narváez site. Docent tour, or self-guided, as preferred.

12:30 pm – Lunch/afternoon on your own.


Rolena Adorno, Ph.D.

Keynote Speaker

“The Life and Afterlives of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca”
Rolena Adorno is the Sterling Professor of Spanish at Yale University. Her books include Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life, and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez; co-authored with Patrick C. Pautz. This book was awarded prizes from the American Historical Association, the Western Historical Association, and the New England Council of Latin American Studies. She is also the author of Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction; De Guancane a Macondo: Estudios de literatura latinoamericana; The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative; and Guaman Poma: Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru. She is the co-editor of print and digital editions of the work of the native Andean chronicler from seventeenth-century Peru, Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala. Her most recent book, co-authored with Roberto González Echevarría, is Breve historia de la literatura latinoamericana colonial y moderna.

Adorno is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an Honorary Associate of the Hispanic Society of America, and an Honorary Professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She is the seventh recipient of the Modern Language Association’s Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement; she is the only recipient to date who specializes in Spanish-language literatures. Since 2009 Adorno has served on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2016-17 she was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and in 2019 she will occupy the Senior Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South at the United States Library of Congress’s John W. Kluge Center. Born and raised on a farm in Iowa, Rolena Adorno received a B.A. from the University of Iowa and the Ph.D. from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. She has served on the faculties of Syracuse University, the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Princeton University. She joined the senior faculty at Yale in 1996.

Barbara A. Purdy, Ph.D.

“The Native Americans of Florida from <13,000 Years Ago to Historic Contact”
Barbara Purdy is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at the University of Florida and Curator Emerita in Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. In addition to Florida, she has participated in projects in the states of Washington, Idaho, and Arizona. Research interests include the application of physical science techniques to archaeological problems, lithic technology, early humans in the Western Hemisphere, archaeology of wetlands, Florida archaeology, and the European contact period in Florida. She has written or edited thirteen books about prehistoric stone technology, Paleoamericans, waterlogged archaeological sites, ancient art, Florida’s maritime heritage, and the massacre at Fort Caroline. Among her many books are the widely-acclaimed Florida’s People During the Last Ice Age, and Indian Art of Ancient Florida. Her latest book is Penetrating the Darkness of Time.

Albert C. Hine, Ph.D.

“Submerged Paleo Shorelines Along West Florida; Possible Sites for Pre-Columbian Human Habitation”
Al Hine is Professor Emeritus – Geological Oceanography at the University of South Florida. He received his AB from Dartmouth College, his MS from The University of Massachusetts –Amherst, and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina. He served in the Air Force as an officer during the Vietnam era… Al is fundamentally a broadly-trained geological oceanographer who has addressed sedimentary geology/stratigraphy problems from the estuarine system out to the base of slope—primarily in carbonate or mixed siliciclastic/carbonate environments. He, his associates and graduate students have defined the response of coastal and shelf depositional systems to sea-level fluctuations, climate changes, western boundary currents, antecedent topography, and sediment supply. Specifically, this includes geologic origin and evolution of submerged paleo-shorelines, reefs (relict and active), shelf sand bodies, open marine marsh systems, barrier islands, and back-barrier environments. Dr. Hine has participated in >75 research cruises including the ~500 ft. long, international scientific ocean drilling ship–JOIDES Resolution (Co-chief Scientist—Leg 182, and sedimentologist—Leg 194). Dr. Hine won the Francis P. Shepard Medal for excellence in marine geology in 2009, has obtained >$10 million in research funding, published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, has published two books and has served on numerous national and international scientific committees and panels.

Ping Wang, Ph.D.

“Florida’s West-Central Coast in 1500 CE: How the Explorers Saw It”
Ping Wang is Professor, School of Geosciences, University of South Florida. Prior to that he served as Assistant Professor of Research, Coastal Studies Institute, Louisiana State University. He received his BS and MS degrees at Tongi University in China, his Ph.D. from the University of South Florida, and continues postdoctoral work there. He is the author of more than 100 academic publications, including Morphodynamics of an anthropogenically altered dual-inlet system: John’s Pass and Blind Pass, west-central Florida, USA.; Modeling regional-scale sediment transport and medium-term morphology change at a dual inlet system examined with the Coastal Modeling System (CMS): A case study at Johns Pass and Blind Pass, west-central Florida. He has served as associate editor for ASCE Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal and Ocean Engineering, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Coastal Research and Geo-Marine Letters. He served as co-chair of the International Conference on Coastal Sediments- 2011, and Coastal Sediments -2015.

Martin A. Favata, Ph.D.

“Cabeza de Vaca’s Descriptions of La Florida”
Martin Favata is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Languages and Linguistics, and of the Division of Humanities, at the University of Tampa. He had previously served on the faculties of Tennessee Technological University, Georgia Southwestern College, and Roanoke College. Professor Favata holds a B.A. degree from the University of South Florida, an M.A. from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Spanish from the Florida State University. Favata is co-author with José B. Fernández of an annotated edition of La Relación o Naufragios de Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (Scripta Humanistica, 1986) and of The Account: Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s Relación: An Annotated Translation (Arte Público Press at the University of Houston, 1993). He contributed several short entries on culture and languages to Encyclopedia of the Middle East. Favata’s reviews of published works have appeared in the Florida Historical Quarterly and in Hispania.

J. Michael Francis, Ph.D.

“Incidents of First Contact on the West Coast of Florida; and the ‘La Florida’ Project”
Michael Francis is the Chair, Department of History and Politics, Hough Family Chair of Florida Studies, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg. He received his Ph.D. in History in 1998 from the University of Cambridge, and his B.A. (with Honors) and M.A. from the University of Alberta. Between 1997‐2012, Dr. Francis taught at the University of North Florida, where he also served briefly as Chair of the Department of History. His teaching fields include colonial Latin America, Early Florida, Spanish Borderlands, the Pre‐Columbian Americas, and Spanish Paleography. Dr. Francis has published more than eighteen books and articles. His most-recent books include Invading Colombia, and Murder and Martyrdom in Spanish Florida: Don Juan and the Guale Uprising of 1597, and St. Augustine: America’s First City. Professor Francis recently created La Florida: The Interactive Digital Archive of the Americas. The new website was unveiled in March, 2018, and was developed with help of the Spanish Embassy, the Instituto Nauta, and EDRIEL Intelligence, which developed the site’s technology under Chief Innovation Officer Francisco Guitard. La Florida allows users to peer into the lives that shaped Florida between 1513 and 1821, by tracking where thousands of early Floridians lived before they made the arduous journey to North America.

Jerald T. Milanich, Ph.D.

“Tattooed Ladies and Alligators with Ears – Do Theodore de Bry’s Iconic 1591 Engravings of Florida Reflect Reality or Something Else?”
Jerald Milanich is Professor Emeritus at the University of Florida and Curator Emeritus in Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida. Professor Milanich is the author of more than twenty books describing the Indian societies of the Americas and their interactions with Europeans during the colonial period. Titles include: Laboring in the Fields of the Lord—Spanish Missions and Southeastern Indians; Florida’s Indians from Ancient Times to the Present; and Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe. Among his 14 professional awards are the Lifetime Achievement Award, Florida Anthropological Society; Lifetime Achievement Award, Southeastern Archaeological Conference; Gold Medal, Florida Book Awards, and the Dorothy Dodd Lifetime Achievement Award, Florida Historical Society. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010.

Robert J. Austin, Ph.D.

Discussion of Archaeological Findings at Anderson/Narvaez Site
During a 40-year career as a professional archaeologist, Bob Austin has directed hundreds of projects in virtually every county in Florida as well as in Southeast, American West, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic states and internationally in the West Indies and Africa. He is a former archaeology instructor at Eckerd College and conducts cultural resource training for Department of Defense staff, local government agencies, and private contractors. He currently is an Independent Cultural Resource Consultant and is co-founder of the non-profit Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, Inc. (AWIARE). Dr. Austin earned his master’s degree from the University of South Florida and his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida. He also has served as president of the Florida Anthropological Society and the Florida Archaeological Council, and is the recipient of several awards for outstanding service from those organizations as well as from the State of Florida. From 1995 to 1999 he was editor of The Florida Anthropologist, a state-wide journal of Florida archaeology and anthropology. He has published over 40 professional papers, book chapters, and monographs, and has presented his research at numerous professional meetings and public forums. A near-native of St. Petersburg, Dr. Austin has worked extensively at most of the City’s major archeological sites, including the Jungle Prada Site Complex, which contains the Anderson/Narvaez Mound, for which he wrote the successful National Register of Historic Places nomination for the complex listed on the NRHP in 2002.

Get In Touch


October 27, 2018 @ 8:00 am
October 28, 2018 @ 5:00 pm


The History Council


St Petersburg Yacht Club
11 Central Ave
St. Petersburg, FL 33701 United States
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