Although educational emphasis is placed on the Volunteer Internship Program, occasional "PAL Expeditions" are periodically offered. The expeditions of the Pensacola Archeology Lab are unique opportunities to actually participate in ongoing archeological explorations. The leaders and staff have arranged for these special 1-day expeditions that are packed full of interesting events and learning. Each expedition participant gets to visit the archeology lab and see the scientific process of archeological research. After an audio visual presentation at the lab, the expedition moves onto an archeological site to assist the archeologists in field investigations. To climax the day, the expedition proceeds to one of the Pensacola Historic District museums for a tour conducted by one of the PAL archeologists.
The archeological expeditions by the Pensacola Archeology Lab are designed to answer intriguing questions concerning the history and prehistory of the Northern Gulf Coast. The questions are many. When was the New World first inhabited by people and what were they like? Were prehistoric cultures in the Southeast influenced by influxes of people from other areas? What are the origins and developmental stages of cultures known as Weeden Island and Mississippian? Where is the Spanish settlement of Santa Maria initiated by Luna in 1559? Where is the Native town and battle site of Mauvilla? Where have artifacts of the Spanish explorers of the 1500's been found in this region? Where are the villages and camps of the Native Americans described by these Spanish explorers? Is Pensacola the famed Bay of Ochuse noted by the Spanish explorers? What were the cultures of the Native Americans and Spanish like?
The primary criteria for selection of PAL expedition participants is an honest interest in the subject of archeological research. With that honest interest in studying cultures of history almost anyone can participate in one or more expeditions. There is virtually no limitation concerning age, handicaps, sex, race, cultural background, or education. The expeditions are organized generally by age. Any school, scout, club, senior citizen group, or informal group of friends can also arrange for an expedition day. For more personal participation the size of each expedition is kept small (maximum of 15 people).
The cost is as much a donation as it is a fee. The funds are used to continue PAL research expeditions. The group cost for an expedition varies from one project to another.
Expedition Leaders and Staff
The expedition leaders are highly experienced archeologists who have conducted research and taught for many years. They have been on expeditions in the Southeast United States, the Amazon Basin of Brazil, as well as the Yucatan Peninsula and Central Highlands of Mexico. The PAL expedition leaders hold degrees in Anthropology and related fields. They have authored numerous articles, reports, and books in numerous regional, national, and international publications including, among others, American Antiquity, Florida Anthropologist, Soto States Anthropologist, Journal of Tennessee Anthropologist, Journal of Alabama Archeology, American Midland Naturalist, and Smithsonian Institution Press. The expedition staff consists of a pool of interested people from the Pensacola community. All of them support the education and research philosophy of PAL and have all participated in PAL expeditions.
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