Fla. Museum hosts Caribbean archaeology symposium June 29, public welcome

June 19th, 2007

The Florida Museum of Natural History presents “In the Footsteps of Ripley and Adelaide Bullen: A Survey of Caribbean Archaeology” from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on June 29 in Room 122 of Frazier/Rogers Hall on the University of Florida campus. This first-ever event sponsored by the Florida Museum Caribbean Archaeology Program is free and open to the public.

Event organizer and Florida Museum Archaeology Curator Archaeology Bill Keegan said speakers will touch on topics highlighting the multicultural diversity of the Caribbean and historical interconnections between the islands.

“People think of history as an old, dead subject,” said Keegan, who heads the Florida Museum’s Caribbean Archaeology Program. “But two presenters, both of whom are from the Caribbean, are talking about the influence of the pre-European path in modern society. To my mind this shows that the path is still alive today.”

Time periods under discussion range from 1,000 A.D. to present. Symposium speakers include Florida Museum staff, academic faculty, students and former students.

“One of the best things about the Caribbean Archaeology Program at the Florida Museum is that we’ve been attracting so many students from the Caribbean,” Keegan said. In addition to research, the program trains UF students.

The symposium is named after Ripley Bullen, the Florida Museum’s first curator of social sciences and a pioneer in his field who collected extensive archaeological material throughout Florida and the Caribbean. This year marks the 30th anniversary of his death, and the 20th anniversary of the death of his wife, Adelaide, with whom Bullen worked closely throughout his life.

“Because of Bullen’s pioneering work, the Florida Museum has the second-largest systematic collection of Caribbean archaeology in North America,” Keegan said. “So it seemed fitting that we honor him by naming this symposium after him.”

For more information on the Florida Museum Caribbean Archaeology Program, visit: www.flmnh.ufl.edu/caribarch.

Writer: DeLene Beeland
Media contact: Paul Ramey, pramey@flmnh.ufl.edu