I am an anthropological archaeologist focused on Archaic (ca. 10,000-3000 years ago) hunter-gatherers of the Southeastern United States. In particular, I am interested the relationship between landscape modification and community coalescence, dispersion, and ritual practice.
My geographic focus is the freshwater St. Johns River in Northeast Florida, best known for scores of shell mounds constructed by hunter-gatherers. The goal of my field research is to document the histories of Archaic shell mounds, which range from habitation spaces to monumental shell and earthworks, and to place them in their environmental and social contexts. As part of this research I am engaged in the analysis of objects (stone tools and marine shell in particular), which can reveal the origins and connections of involved communities.
As a consequence of this field and museum-based research, I have become increasingly fascinated in the ways that shell mounds and hunter-gatherers informed the emergence of anthropological thought in the 18th and 19th centuries.
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Hello Dr Randall. By floating around the internet I found you and your information. I am looking forward to reading the reports, etc on the St John’s River that you and/or your colleagues have produced over the years. I was born and raised in DeLand, Fla. To be specific I was pretty much raised on the St John’s. My Grandpa (Vic Roepke) found the Owl Totem and he donated the land that became the parking lot for Hontoon Island State Park. My Mom was there when they found the totem. I grew up finding pottery shards?(correct spelling?) along the banks of the river. I have jars and boxes full of pottery and a few arrowheads. I saw you have a field school this summer. I would love to attend but I am pretty sure it’s only open for college students. I’ve attended college and even took an archaeology course and did some fieldwork. This was back in the 80’s but I did do the work.if there is any other info on Hontoon and/or shell mounds, middens, burial or anything else related to The River I would really appreciate it. I grew up running all over Hontoon. There used to be a tower on the island but they took it down when vultures decided to make it there own. BTW, it’s called Hontoon Dead River not creek. I’m very happy that the St John’s has spoken to you. Please continue your exploration and discovery of the River. I hope you love it as much as I do. Continue your excellent work.