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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Uzi Baram PhD Joins Selby Gardens as Director of Public Archaeology

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens recently welcomed Dr. Uzi Baram as Director of Public Archaeology.

In this role, Baram’s focus is the interpretation and representations of the archaeological and cultural histories at Selby Gardens’ two campuses. There is a robust heritage across the region and, significantly, the Historic Spanish Point campus preserves a very ancient monument and evidence of the ancient peoples who lived by Little Sarasota Bay. Baram will manage the archaeological resources and guide educational efforts to better connect people with the region’s history, one of the pillars of Selby Gardens’ mission.

“With the adoption of the Historic Spanish Point campus, we knew that we had to enhance our team to help protect and share the amazing archaeological record there going back 5,000 years,” said Jennifer O. Rominiecki, president and CEO of Selby Gardens. “Uzi is a tremendous addition to the Selby Gardens staff, and his expertise is just what we need to properly manage and increase understanding of the rich archaeological resources of our two campuses and the wider region.”

Awarded the 2019 Archaeological Conservancy Award by the History and Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County, Dr. Baram taught for 25 years at New College of Florida, where he was a professor of anthropology and created and directed New College’s Public Archaeology Laboratory. Baram’s professional career has focused on exposing and documenting local history through community-based projects. Much of his work has concentrated on nearly erased history in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Baram is best known locally for the community-based effort that revealed the early 19th-century settlement of Angola, a maroon community of people of African heritage along the Manatee River. Other public archaeology projects he has organized include archaeology at Philippi Estate Park, educational programs on the Cuban fishing ranchos of Florida’s Gulf coast, and surveys of the Rosemary and Galilee cemeteries in Sarasota. These projects included field work, research, scientific publications, lectures, tours, documentaries, and educational materials for use in local schools.

Beyond his Florida research, Baram is known for his work in the eastern Mediterranean and for understanding archaeology as heritage. He has published four edited volumes, written dozens of academic articles and book chapters, and lectured extensively on the social significance of heritage.

Baram expects to use the same community-based focus in his work at Selby Gardens. “Uzi brings a wealth of knowledge and a practice of engagement that is essential to understanding and preserving our regional history,” said John McCarthy, Selby Gardens’ vice president for regional history.

Baram earned his master’s and doctorate in Anthropology from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He received his bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from State University of New York at Binghamton. Baram has lived in Sarasota since 1997, where he raised three children. His family has enjoyed both the Downtown Sarasota and Historic Spanish Point campuses of Selby Gardens for many years.