Almost as soon as they arrived on campus, students in two Rollins College Conference classes began to steward one of Rollins’ most unique resources for future generations of Tars. As part of SPARC Day, 30 students canoed along the Wekiva River to Shell Island where they spent the morning working with representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Quality and Keep Wekiva Beautiful to clean up the site and repair and repost signs. Shell Island, located near Wekiva Springs, was a major center for Native American processing of freshwater mollusks during the Archaic phase of habitation in the St John’s River basin. The island was home to excavations by teams of Rollins students under the direction of Marion Stewart in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Part of the students’ coursework in Discovering Atlantis: Exploring Lost Cities will be to generate a series of promotional materials to raise awareness about the importance of the site among those using the Wekiva River for recreation. The aim is to produce materials that can be handed out to the public at points of access on the river such as the privately-owned eco-park Wekiva Island, which generously provided the canoes for the day.
Now, in addition to the loss of human life, the civil war in Syria has begun to take a serious toll on the country’s material culture.