Slavery Topic Of "Public Archaeology Day" At Timucuan Ecological And Historic Preserve In Florida

The Kingsley Plantation House. NPS photo.

Archaelogolists frequently are confronted by mysteries, and that's the case at Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Florida where they're trying to piece together the history of slavery at the Kingsley Plantation.

After all, how do you study the history of people who were not allowed to record their own stories? When enslaved people lived and worked at Kingsley Plantation, it was illegal for them to learn to read and write, according to park historians.

Yet while they were unable to record their own histories, their stories are not lost. Today archaeologists at Kingsley Plantation search for artifacts that can teach us how these people lived and what they experienced hundreds of years ago.

At "Public Archaeology Day" on June 8th, the University of Florida Anthropology Department will present its discoveries from this summer's field school. Archaeologists will inform visitors on the current investigations at the Timucuan Preserve's Kingsley Plantation and guide them through active dig sites.

Beginning at 11 a.m. on June 8, UF archaeologist Dr. James Davidson and students will treat park guests to guided tours of the plantation yard and cabin sites. This event is free and open to the public, so come out and learn the stories of those silenced by enslavement.

Schedule of Events

* 11 a.m. - Dr. James Davidson, associate professor of Anthropology and African American Studies, University of Florida, will present a talk on his on-going work at Kingsley Plantation.

* 1 p.m. - Karen McIlvoy, graduate archaeology student, University of Florida, will lead a guided tour of the East Slave Quarters.

Kingsley Plantation is a 60-acre unit of the 46,000-acre Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve in Jacksonville, Florida. It is named for Zephaniah Kingsley, who - with his African wife Anna - owned and operated a 1,000-acre plantation there during the first half of the 19th century. Today, the public can visit the grounds, which include the oldest standing plantation house in Florida, the kitchen, barn, and waterfront. The still-standing remains of 25 slave cabins offer perhaps the most graphic evidence of slave living quarters and daily life experiences in the state.

Located off Heckscher Drive/A1A north of the St. Johns River ferry landing, Kingsley Plantation is open daily, at no charge, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.