The University of West Florida Archaeology Institute has investigated numerous aspects of this significant mill site including the various industrial facilities and the residential areas inhabited by the diverse community associated with the mill.
Historic preservation efforts of the 1960s, paved the way for Arcadia to be protected and preserved for future generations. Warren Weeks and many other local citizens worked to raise awareness of Arcadia Mill and its historical significance. To prevent urban sprawl, the Santa Rosa Historical Society purchased 34 acres that were eventually donated to the University of West Florida.
In 1988, the UWF Archaeology Institute conducted an archaeological survey that identified activity areas on the landscape. This survey led to the Arcadia Archaeological Project, 1990-1991, undertaken by UWF to investigate the industrial facilities including the earth and ironstone dam, first sawmill, and textile mill.
UWF Archaeological Field School
Since 2009, Arcadia Mill has hosted a section of the UWF Archaeological Field School program. Students from the University of West Florida’s Department of Anthropology, along with non-UWF students, use Arcadia Mill as a learning laboratory for field techniques including survey, unit excavation, and documentation.
Current research at Arcadia focuses on the multi-ethnic village that surrounded the industrial complex. From 2009 to 2011, the field school investigated a residential area north of Pond Creek that was inhabited by enslaved African Americans.
Recently, research has focused on the residential area south of the mill complex including the Simpson family antebellum home (1835-1935) that once overlooked Arcadia Mill and the remains of a wooden cabin that was likely occupied by enslaved African Americans.
Archaeology on State Lands in Florida
The UWF Historic Trust is subject to Florida Statutes Chapter 267.061, which mandates that all state agencies consider the effect of undertakings on any historic property that is included in, or eligible for inclusion in, the National Register of Historic Places.
Florida’s archaeological resources are non-renewable and must be protected! Digging for artifacts on state lands without a permit is a third degree felony. For more information, see the Florida Division of Historical Resources.