WHO WE ARE
The Indian River Anthropological Society (IRAS) is a local chapter of the Florida Anthropological Society. As such, we a nonprofit organization. A group of professional and avocational archaeologists interested in preserving Florida's past founded IRAS in 1965. We have been continuously operated since our inception and have members from all walks of life. We are dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Florida's cultural heritage, especially the Indian River area. This area was the home to a group of Native Americans named the Ais (or Ayes) by early Spanish explorers. This region includes Volusia, Brevard, and Indian River Counties.
WHAT IS ARCHAEOLOGY
Archaeology is the study of past people and civilization. Archaeologists study these people by looking at the material they left behind. Artifacts can tell how people made a living, what they ate, where they came from or traveled to, if they traded with other people, etc. Archaeology is a subdiscipline of anthropology, which is the study of man.
|Excavating at a late 19th - early 20th century homestead here in Brevard County.
WHAT WE DO
Members of the IRAS conduct organized archaeological surveys and excavations where needed. In some cases, sites have been or are in the process of being destroyed. The IRAS helps salvage valuable information before all evidence is obliterated. IRAS also assists universities, professional archaeologists, preservation groups, and museums undertaking intensive examinations (excavations) of sites. We are dedicated to educating the public about Florida's prehistory and members have given presentations to the general public, school groups, and participated in the annual Florida Archaeology Month events.
The IRAS has undertaken numerous projects in its history. Some of the most notable are:
|IRAS members excavating in the hammock area at the Windover Archaeological Site.
- Assisted Florida State University in the excavations at the Windover Archaeological Site, Titusville, Florida
- Assisted the University of West Florida in the county wide archaeological survey for Brevard County
- Conducted a Phase I & II archaeological survey of the Windover Archaeological Site Hammock area for the Preservation & Education Trust
- Conducted investigation and salvage excavations of the Cabbage Mound site for Brevard County and for Pritchard House Archaeological Project in partnership with the North Brevard Heritage Foundation
- Conducted Clifton Schoolhouse Archaeological Project in partnership with the North Brevard Heritage Foundation and National Park Service
- Conducted Pine Island Conservation Area Archaeological Project, Merritt Island, Florida
- Assisted the USAF 45th Space Wing with excavations at the Little Midden Site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
- Assisted the Southeastern Archeological Center-National Park Service with archaeological testing at the Elliot Plantation Site
- Conducting the Fox Lake Sanctuary Archaeological Project
- In 1990 the IRAS assisted the Department of Anthropology, University of West Florida in the first comprehensive county-wide archaeological survey since the 1951 survey conducted by Irving Rouse. The results of this 1990 survey createdĉa first generation predictive model for archaeological sites to be used by the Government of Brevard County.
Indian River Anthropological Society is a non-profit organization and does not receive financial support from any city, county, state or federal government agency. Operating funds are generated through membership dues, special fundraising events, and generous contributions of members and the general public. Donations of equipment, services and/or money are always appreciated.
IRAS CODE OF ETHICS
All members of the IRAS follow the following code of ethics. Anyone found to violate this code will be asked to leave the IRAS. As a member of the IRAS all members must agree to:
- Exploration of archaeological sites are conducted in accordance with Federal, State, County, and local laws, and are conducted under the direct supervision of qualified personnel.
- Results of all fieldwork and research will be documented.
- ALL artifacts recovered from archaeological sites are turned over to the IRAS.
- Members will not participate in the illegal trade of antiquities or loot sites.
- No member will remove artifacts from any site unless given authority by the IRAS officers.
- The appropriate authorities will be informed if a member discovers the looting or destruction of archaeological sites.
- Members should participate in educating the public in understanding the state's historical and archaeological heritage.
SITES YOU CAN VISIT
Cape Canaveral Lighthouse
Cape Canaveral lighthouse is one of the oldest standing structures in Brevard County. In addition to the lighthouse and oil house foundations, cisterns and walkways dating to the 1890s have been found at the site. It is located on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and is now open to the public via tours through Patrick AFB Public Affairs. The 45 Space Wing is offering FREE tours of CCAFS the second Wednesday of each month, from 8:45 am to Noon.
For more information: Contact the 45th Space Wing Public Affairs at 321-494-5945 a couple of weeks in advance to get a reserved seat.
Sams Site/Pine Island Conservation Area
The site is part of the Brevard County Environmentally Endangered Lands Program Pine Island Conservation Area. The site contains one of the oldest houses in Brevard County a second house of unique architectural style, Native American burial mound, prehistoric village site, and paleontological site (the paleontological site is not accessible to the public). The houses have been restored and an onsite museum is under development.
For more information: Contact the EEL Property Manager at 321-255-4466
Located in Volusia County, near Oak Hill this site is a prehistoric midden (2000 BC to AD 1565) site on which sits a historic house. It is open to the public and is owned and maintained by the National Park Service.
For more information: https://www.nps.gov/cana/upload/seminole_rest_significance.pdf
Turtle Mound is a prehistoric shell midden located on Canaveral National Seashore 9 miles (14 km) south of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. In 1970 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is the largest shell midden on the mainland United States. It is open to the public and is owned and maintained by the National Park Service.
For more information: https://www.nbbd.com/godo/cns/Brochures/!turtlem.pdf
All artwork and photographs by Vera B. Zimmerman unless otherwise stated.
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