Gulf Archaeology Research Institute - Our Mission

We are the only non-profit scientific institute in central Florida

The Gulf Archaeology Research Institute (GARI) is a non-profit scientific research group based in Crystal River, Florida. Founded in 1995 we bring over 20 years of experience of working to protect Florida's vanishing natural and cultural resources. Our organization has three divisions: Social Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Natural Sciences. We are professionally staffed by 11 Research Associates who all hold advanced graduate degrees in a variety of fields from Anthropology to Meteorology. What our extensive experiences have shown is that Florida is in a state of emergency when it comes to protecting it's historical resources. We are losing our shared history at an alarming rate due to sea level rise, construction and development, and agricultural activities. We have been at the forefront of championing for saving these sites and have an impressive resume of providing exceptional services to communities so they can document and protect their historical sites. Read more about our amazing staff under the About Us page and see a selection of the projects we have completed under the Reports page. Want to help us save history?? Visit our Donation page - we have a number of ways to help including some that don't cost anything to you!

To learn more about our most popular areas of research, click on a topic below.


Learn more about Gulf Archaeology Research Institute

The Institute has a long-term commitment to studying prehistoric, historic, and underwater archaeology of Florida. The research objectives include the study of the origins of complex pre-Columbian cultures in maritime and riverine environments; the story of the relationships between the aboriginal cultures of Florida and Euro-american and the effect of contact; the study of the formation, deposition, and preservation of submerged, inundated and wet archaeological sites, historic shipwrecks; and the archaeology of the Seminole Wars in Florida. The institute has a strong program devoted to restoring disturbed sites and planning their long-term protection.


Latest Exciting News!

The Fort King Road: Battlefields and Baggage Trains

GARI just completed a two year project for the American Battlefield Protection Program. This project used archival research and previously collected archeological data to develop a GIS model of how the Fort King Road functioned as a critical piece of the battle landscape in Florida during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). The Fort King Road stretched roughly 100 miles from present day Tampa to Ocala, Florida and was one of the earliest and most substantial roads in central Florida during the early territorial period (See Figure 1). Roads are highly dynamic, crucial pieces of infrastructure and yet, have been neglected as features of battlefields aside from just noting their existence. Historic documents allowed us to reconstruct the logistics between the forts and better understand the complex nature that this single road played in shaping the outcome of the war. This pilot study will show how post returns, archival data, and battle maps can be used to more completely model an asymmetrical war. Ideally, future research will incorporate supply requests, requisition orders, additional post returns, and other such archival research that is still available and make a more robust, and publicly available, interactive map that details the progress of the war on a month-by-month basis.

Visit the interactive map we created as part of this project:

Download an Excel file of all of the post returns so far digitized. Click Here.

GARI is offering classes!

Join the GARI Academy today!

People always tell us how they wished they had studied archaeology and history in school. If you too have wondered what archaeologists do then we have the perfect opportunity!

For the last 20 years, GARI has worked extensively in central Florida, understanding and preserving Florida's rich cultural and natural heritage and we are excited to share this vast knowledge with you. The institute offers a diverse range of classes in the social, biological, and physical sciences that will meet the needs of discerning adults, teachers, students, and life-long learners. GARI courses are designed and taught by professional scientists, all with advanced degrees and many years of experience. Courses are aimed at providing thoughtful discussion and a new understanding of a variety of subjects. These classes are offered at a nominal fee and class materials and a certificate of completion will be provided. Proceeds from these classes go towards the valuable work we do to save Florida's vanishing archaeological record. We look forward to seeing you in class.

View the Class Schedule

Download the brochure






Current Projects

  • Citrus County Courthouse Museum

    Jill Principe is working with the Citrus County Historical Society to help them update their displays. Stay tuned for updates on her progress!

    Continue Reading »

  • GARI & Fort King in the News

    GARI and the City of Ocala just submitted a large grant hoping to raise enough money to re-construct Fort King

    Continue Reading »

  • Battle of the Withlacoochee

    GARI received a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program to research this early battle of the Second Seminole War.

    Continue Reading »

  • Chinsegut Plantation

    GARI recently completed a comprehensive archaeological and landscape study for this historic plantation, which dates back to 1842.

    Continue Reading »


Subscribe to our email list to keep up with all the great things GARI does.