Archaeologist Steve Koski discusses “Snake Island, a Story of Time, Place, Context, and Change” for the Kissimmee Valley Archaeological and Historical Conservancy (KVAHC) Speaker Series. Koski’s presentation will be on Thursday, April 21, 7 p.m., in Building G, Room 101, at South Florida State College’s Highlands Campus in Avon Park. The public is invited at no cost.

Snake Island is a story involving coastal habitation, discovery, long-term observations, research and interpretation, sea level rise, erosion, loss of significant cultural resources, stabilization and protection of the site.

The Snake Island site was discovered in 1994, eroding from the shore of the spoil island at the mouth of the Venice Inlet in Sarasota County, Fla. This island on the Intercoastal Waterway produced ceramics, shell tools, and an abundance of sea turtle bones and other faunal materials from a surface shell deposit and sandy beach slope in exceptional preservation. Background research indicated that the island was once connected to the mainland. A low tidal marsh was cut from the mainland in 1907, during the initial dredging of the Intercoastal Waterway and used as a spoil site for dredged materials. Beneath the marsh, mud-covered with spoil lay a coastal shell midden dating from the late Manasota/Weeden Island and into the Safety Harbor Period, c. A.D. 600-1500. The site was apparently inundated by the rising sea level.

Koski is an archaeologist specializing in underwater prehistoric sites. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology/archaeology from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and completed graduate studies and a Master of Arts degree program at Arizona State University. His research interests include the prehistory of Florida, coastal adaptions, and settlement and subsistence strategies through time.

Koski has worked as an underwater archaeologist at Warm Mineral Springs in North Port, Fla., and worked for two cultural resource management firms, ACI and New South Associates. He has worked as project archaeologist on the Sarasota Bay restoration progress project for new South Associates of Stone Mountain, Ga., and has served as project archaeologist during the Snake Island Stabilization Project. He is currently the part-time interim Sarasota County archaeologist and continues to serve as part-time site management at Little Salt Springs for the University of Miami.