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Remembering Tocobaga: Recent Archaeology at the Safety Harbor Site in Tampa Bay
February 19 : 6:00 pm - 7:00 pmFree
February 19 – at 6:00 PM – Selby Library, downtown Sarasota, 1331 First St., Sarasota
Admission is Free.
The Safety Harbor site (8PI2) is widely recognized as the probable location of the native town of Tocobaga, where Spanish Governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés established a short-lived mission-fort in the 1560s. It later became the location for the planation owned by one of the area’s most legendary settlers, “Count” Odet Philippe. Philippe is said to have been a childhood friend of Napoleon, the first European settler of Pinellas County, the first to cultivate citrus in Florida, and the first to introduce cigar rolling to Tampa Bay; generally omitted from such tall tales is the fact that he was slave owner of likely Afro-Caribbean heritage. Despite the historical importance of Native town of Tocobaga and the later Philippe plantation, however, the Safety Harbor site has been only minimally investigated, and rarely using modern archaeological methods. Matthew Stirling of the Smithsonian Institution excavated the burial mound in the 1930s, resulting in the recovery of hundreds of human burials. However, the methods were coarse and the results were minimally reported. Modern-era professional investigation of the Safety Harbor site is limited mainly to the limited work by John Griffin and Ripley Bullen in 1948, who excavated a test trench in the platform mound and several additional trenches in the village.