During my first semester at UFL I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Dr. Barbara Purdy in the Archeological Department. She has been researching the Vero Man site for many years. The site is significant because it is one of only two documented sites in the Western Hemisphere where human remains have been found along side those of megafauna now extinct.
During the last few years she found a group of artifacts which she believes are tools that were used way before any other documented tools where used in North America. She had a photographer take multiple shots of the artifacts but they were not able to capture the qualities to prove her theory. This is where I came in.
On our first meeting she had a tray full of what looked to me as “rocks”. I know absolutely nothing about archeology or human artifacts. She explained to me that she believed that these “rocks” were not formed by the earth, but by man over 16,000 years ago here in Florida. The earliest record of man being in Florida so far is around 10,000 years ago so this was an incredible find. The only way that a scientist can get from a theory to a fact is to put all the evidence together through documentation and present it to a panel of peers.
Her enthusiasm and expertise lead me do a series of drawing for her presentation. In teaching Scientific Illustration I tell my students, “It is not about what you think or how you want to do it. It is about following instructions and doing what the scientist wants. You have to compliment and assist in proving the theory.” I was able to put my own words to use. I listened carefully and went on to illustrate these “rocks”. In the end I was convinced that her findings were not just a pile of “rocks” but true tools that man used 16,000 years ago. How cool is that? Here is a plate of illustrations that I did comparing the similarity in the shapes of these crude but definitive “artifacts”. We are waiting to hear how Dr. Purdy’s theory went with the panel. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for her.
For more information about the Vero Man Site click here.