The Aucilla Research Institute builds on the record of archaeological research previously conducted in Jefferson County and focuses on four basic capabilities:
1) to attract and promote original research in the archaeology of the Jefferson County-northwest Florida area,
2) to provide facilities and equipment to support active field research, laboratory analysis, and communication of research findings,
3) to enhance the educational opportunities of students of all ages in the region, and 4) to act as a center of innovative thinking and activity relative to the prehistoric and historic past of the region.
Jefferson County and the northwest Florida region have a long history of archaeological research focusing on the earliest human populations in Florida. Potential research includes climate and ecological studies for the past 40,000 years, development of human settlement patterns in the river corridors and upland areas, and early human-extinct animal interactions.
The Institute will provide a residential home for researchers and students who will conduct fieldwork at the world-class paleontological, archaeological, and paleo-ecological sites in the area. Both inundated and terrestrial sites will be the focus of activity. Laboratory space for identification and analysis of artifacts and other specimens will be provided at the Center in addition to museum curatorial space where these collections will be housed.
The Institute will have a dedicated management staff composed of educators who will interact with school children, prepare exhibits for public viewing, and interact with the researchers to incorporate their findings and lead visits to their field sites and laboratories.
The Institute will sponsor talks and conferences where the findings from research will be presented and discussed by both specialists and the interested public.
The Institute will have a strong Web presence for the dissemination of information (report distribution) and education.
The Institute will become a pivotal facility in developing the prehistory and history of the Jefferson County-northwest Florida region.