The Importance of the Ringling Legacy
Ron McCarty, Curator and Keeper of Ca’d’Zan

Mr. McCarty reviews the lives of two of the community’s most beloved patrons of the arts, John and Mable Ringling with some additional information on Charles and Edith Ringling as well. The family came to Sarasota in 1911 and later transformed the area into an upscale resort town that is still enjoyed by thousands today.

Ron has been a member of the curatorial staff at the John and Mable Ringling Museum for the last 36 years with the Ca’d’Zan restoration as part of his responsibilities. He has written “The Work of Dwight James Baum” for Acanthus Press, “The Ca’d’Zan; Ringling’s Venetian Palace” for Scala Publications” and a new book “Ca’d’Zan; A Pictorial Guide to the Ringling Mansion” which is due out after this year .

APRIL 2017 PRESENTATION VIDEO – Dating Game: Palmer Mound Pots & People

The Dating Game: Palmer Mound Pots & People
By Maranda Kles, Ph.D.,  Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The Palmer mound site is located at Historic Spanish Point in south Sarasota County. Recent research has provided new radiocarbon dates for the mound and has also examined social structure, shedding new light on the people that inhabited the Sarasota area 2000 years ago. Biological distance analysis suggests that the population was matrilocal, therefore the men moved to the area to “date” and marry their wives. This pattern has yet to be demonstrated at other sites in Florida making Palmer unique at this time. Further, several whole pots were found broken within the mound. These pots are found in the Manasota period strata, which dates to before the usual “sacrificed” or “killed” pots that are found in many of the Weeden Island period sites. This presentation will detail the new radiocarbon and biological data and discuss the implication of pots and pottery at the Palmer site. Maranda Kles is a bioarchaeologist and forensic anthropologist. She was born is Sarasota and earned her PhD from the University of Florida. She is an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her research interests focus on biological and cultural variation in pre-Contact populations in the Southeastern US.


REMEMBERING THE MANATEE RIVER MAROONS OF 1821: Heritage, Archaeology, and Digital Reconstructions

The history for Angola, an early 19th century maroon community on the Manatee River, is enmeshed with international intrigues, fights and flights for freedom, and reveals an impressive heritage of liberty in southwest Florida. Its history begins with events further north in Florida. 2016 brings the bicentennial of the destruction of the Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River in 1816.  

On September 10, 2016, Vickie Oldham, Director of Looking for Angola, New College of Florida Professor Uzi Baram, and Dr. Edward Gonzalez-Tennant of Digital Heritage Interactive presented on heritage, archaeology, and construction of the virtual world for the early 19th century landscape of Angola, a maroon community on the Manatee River. Many people attended the program to learn about the significance of that community and its people, known as maroons, Black Seminoles, African Seminoles, and freedom-seeking people. This event highlighted archaeological insights and unveiled new virtual reconstructions that help us better understand all of the early 19th-century maroon communities on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

From the Apalachicola River to Tampa Bay, people of African heritage battled for their freedom, sought refuge, and fell back in a southern movement that ultimately led some to Andros Island in the British Bahamas and the others to the Florida interior, where they and their descendants fought in the Second Seminole War. The destruction of the Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River in 1816 was followed by the Battle of Suwannee in 1818 and then the destruction of Angola and the other maroon communities south of Tampa Bay in 1821. It is a history of tragedy but also of survival.