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ST. JOHNS ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL 2005: HONTOON ISLAND STATE PARK Asa R. Randall with contributions by Kenneth E. Sassaman and Neill J. Wallis Technical Report 7 Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology Department of Anthropology University of Florida
ST. JOHNS ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL 2005: HONTOON ISLAND STATE PARK Asa R. Randall with contributions by Kenneth E. Sassaman and Neill J. Wallis Technical Report 8 Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology Department of Anthropology University of Florida Gainesville, FL 32611 December 2007
ii 2007 Department of Anthropology, University of Florida all rights reserved
iii MANAGEMENT SUMMARY The St. Johns Archaeological Field School of the Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, conducted a fifth season of archaeo logical investigations at Hontoon Island State Park in the summer of 2005. This research was conducted under a 1A-32 Permit, 0405.72. Two projects were undertaken: (1) mapping, coring, and stratigraphic excavation of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215); and (2) reconnaissance survey of the perimeter of Hontoon Island to complete subsurface characterization of sites previously reco rded, and to locate and characterize any additional sites. Intensive investigations of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) involved topographic mapping of discrete shell depos its and surrounding te rrain, bucket augering and close-interval soil coring to delimit th e extent and characterize the composition of subsurface shell deposits across the site, and stratigraphic excavation of nine test units (16 m2) within shell midden. This research de monstrates that th e Hontoon Dead Creek Village is characterized by five discrete sh ell deposits registering nearly 7000 years of repeated inhabitation spanning the Mount Tayl or, Orange, and St. J ohns periods. Internal divisions within shell deposits are indicative of differentiated activity areas. Coupled with the similarity in the structure of discrete activity areas, equal spacing between shell deposits may reflect coeval domestic com pounds during the Mount Taylor period. Timetransgressive trends are also evident. Habitation occurre d as early as 6200 radiocarbon years ago, coeval with Mount Taylor basal st rata at the adjacent Hontoon Dead Creek Mound, apparently along a now in-filled chan nel or lagoon. Later Orange and St. Johns period inhabitation is situated away from th e mound, a pattern that re flects the cessation of activities at the monument a nd localized hydrologic change. The field school targeted the northern periphery of Hontoon Island for shovel test reconnaissance, continuing the methodol ogy established during the 2003-2004 field schools. The boundaries of known sites 8VO 7493 and 8VO8312 were established for all terrestrial components. Additionally, the circumferential survey of Hontoon Island, initiated in 2003, was completed. Isolated ar chaeological deposits we re encountered in five loci on the northwestern margin of th e island, although no new sites were recorded. A total of ten archaeologi cal sites have been documented on Hontoon Island. The perimeter of the island contains an almost unbroken chain of archaeological deposits characterized by shell and nonshell middens. These sites ar e largely restricted to elevations between 1.5 and 2.5 m amsl (5 to 10 ft amsl). Recommendations for continued investig ations at Hontoon Is land State Park and associated State-owned properties include remote sensing and limited testing of nonmound sites on Hontoon Island; reconnaissance su rvey and limited testing of small sites on the east terrace of the St. Johns; topog raphic mapping and limited testing of Blue Spring Oxbow Mound (8VO44); block excavat ions at Hontoon Island North (8VO202); and coring and testing of the swamp ma rgins fronting the St. Johns River.
iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The unequivocal success of the 2005 season of St. Johns Archaeological Field School was made possible by the collaborative effort s of many individuals and the generosity and support of multiple agencies. The continued achievements of the field school as a research and educational project were direct ly enabled and enhanced by our relationships with Florida State Parks. Many thanks go to Steve Martin and Norman Edwards for facilitating our cause within State Parks, a nd to Danny Paul, Robert Rundle, and Richard Harris for their support at the local level. Marty Miller and the st aff of Hontoon Island (Dick, Keith, J.R., and John) deftly manage d fifteen college students and three staff members for five weeks. Special thanks to the many CSO vol unteers who happily transported us to and from the island. This work would not have been possibl e without the guidance and energies of project director Ken Sassaman. In particular I thank him for allowing me to use the field school as a source of dissertation related data. Teaching assistant Neill Wallis did a fantastic job directing reconnaissance survey and supervising test unit excavations. This research benefited greatly from his efforts and after-hours discussions. The brunt of the seasons fieldwork was conducted by undergradu ate students, without whom none of this work could have been accomplished. Although we always seem to say it this years crew was without a doubt the hardest working and mo st professional of a ll. The student field crew included Julian Andrews, Chris Borlas, David Carlson, Meghan Chisholm, Christina D'Elia, Jennifer Dark, Ashley Da vis, Rachel Kirby, Morgan Kopani, Matt Overton, Jake Shidner, Jack Stoetzel, Chris Sypniewski, Johanna Talcott, and Kimberly Wescott. Several of these students, in addi tion to numerous others, spent countless hours back at the lab cataloging, sorting, and analyzing the excavated materials. The Department of Anthropology at the Un iversity of Florid a provided crucial institutional support under the guidance of Ken Sassaman. The many administrative details were handled by Karen Jones, who ch eerfully makes the process of running a field school seem effortless. Funds for the ra diocarbon dates were provided by a John W. Griffin award through the Florida Archaeological Council. Special thanks to Greg Smith who provided expert guidance in the application process. Our thanks go to Division of Historical Resources Supervisor Frederick Gaske for administering our permit appli cations, and to the many Division staff members who aided in times of need. We also thank State Arch aeologist and Bureau Chief Ryan Wheeler for his support of this work. Asa Randall Gainesville, Florida December 1, 2007
v CONTENTS Management Summary......................................................................................................iii Acknowledgments..............................................................................................................iv Chapter 1. Introduction and Research Orientation..............................................................1 Chapter 2. Environmental and Archaeological Contexts.....................................................9 Chapter 3. Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215)..........................................................27 Chapter 4. Reconnaissance Survey....................................................................................89 Chapter 5. Conclusions and Recommendations...............................................................109 References Cited..............................................................................................................1 17 Appendix A: Radiocarbon Data.......................................................................................127
1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND RE SEARCH ORIENTATION Asa R. Randall and Kenneth E. Sassaman The St. Johns Archaeological Field School of the Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, conducted one five-w eek season of field work during the summer of 2005 on Hontoon Island State Park in Volusia County, Florida. Hontoon Island is home to a wide array of si gnificant archaeological resour ces, including massive shell mounds and subtle shell middens (Figure 1-1) collectively revealed by over a century of research. Results of the 2005 field season build upon prior work at Hontoon Island by Jeffries Wyman (1875), Barbara Purdy an d colleagues (1991; 1987), and recent campaigns of the St. Johns Archaeologica l Field School (Randall and Sassaman 2005; Sassaman 2003a). Two interrelated projects were executed during the field season: (1) mapping, coring, and stratigraphic testing of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village site (8VO215); and (2) continued reconnaissance su rvey of the perimeter of Hontoon Island. As a complement to the research-driven efforts, field school students were trained in a wide variety of archaeological techniques, including topographic mapping with a total station, reconnaissance survey, subsurface samp ling with bucket augers and soil tubes, stratigraphic test unit excavation, plan and profile drawing, subsistence column recovery, matrix flotation, and sample sorting and cataloging. This technical report presents the produc t of a final season of work on Hontoon Island State Park by the field school. Previous work is available in technical reports issued by the University of Floridas La boratory of Southeastern Archaeology. The 20002001 field campaigns were conducted on Hont oon Island and Blue Spring State Parks, and the results are reported by Sassaman (2003a). Work during the 2003 and 2004 field seasons focused almost exclusively on H ontoon Island and is detailed by Randall and Sassaman (2005). In this chapter we provide an overview of the 2005 field s easons research design and a brief summary of the results to date As of this reports writing only primary information has been collected from the excav ated assemblages. The subsistence columns are still being analyzed, and most collected flotation samples awa it basic processing and analysis. This report details the structure a nd sequence of tested ar chaeological deposits and provides summary information on materials recovered from test units and shovel test pits. Grant funds will be sought to complete the final analys es of the faunal and botanical assemblages from the 2003-2005 campaigns. Curre nt plans for this research include ongoing University of Florida graduate student dissertation research and a final synthetic monograph that will include appendices of reco vered materials. Finall y, updated site files have been submitted to the Florida Master Site Files for seven previously recorded sites (8VO44, 8VO202, 8VO214, 8VO215, 8VO216, 8 VO7493, 8VO7494) and new files have been submitted for sites identified thr ough reconnaissance survey (8VO8312, 8VO8313, 8VO8314, 8VO815).
2 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 1-1. Subsection of USGS Orange City topograp hic quadrangle showing the location of archaeological site s identified on Hontoon Island State Park, Volusia County, Florida.
Introduction and Research Orientation 3 RESEARCH ORIENTATION The middle St. Johns River valley is a premier locality for examining ongoing social and environmental interactions amongs t hunting and gathering societies as both shortand long-term processes. First occu pied some 12,000 years ago, the region has been repeatedly inhabited up to the presen t day seemingly without significant hiatus. Although the earliest Late Pl eistocene and Early Holocen e occupation is sparse, beginning some 6200 years ago1 the region witnessed in creasingly intensive and sustained inhabitation at the onset of the pr eceramic Archaic Mount Taylor period (ca. 6200 to 4100 BP). Regional occupation conti nued through the late r ceramic Archaic Orange period (4100 to 3500 BP) and successive traditions of the St. Johns period (3500 to 500 BP). These actions are evident toda y as the many shell mounds and seemingly ubiquitous middens that dominate the we tlands and terraces of the valley. The fieldwork conducted during 2005 is part of the authors long term research detailing the initial contexts and long-term histories of hunter-gatherer lifeways along the St. Johns during the Middle to Late Archai c periods. Globally, this time period (ca. 70003000 BP) witnesses a decreased rate of sea level rise resulting in the establishment of near-modern hydrological regimes and stabil ized wetlands (Fleming et al. 1998; Knox 1983). Concomitant to these broad scale enviro nmental developments is the appearance of so-called complex hunter-gatherer soci eties typified by economies predicated on intensive exploitation of abundant aquatic resources (Price a nd Brown 1985). Whether this emergence reflects historical patter ns or is simply an issue of increased archaeological visibility of coastal and interi or settlement is a matter of debate (Bailey and Milner 2002). Regardless, attending such transformations typical ly are technological innovations, wide-ranging exchange networks, emergent social inequality, and the establishment of sedentary village life and ceremonial and/or mort uary facilities. Our research is oriented towards determining how the global patterns discussed above are manifest as distinct histories and transformations among societies inhabiting the St. Johns region. In particular, our rese arch is organized ar ound several interrelated issues: (1) under what conditions did inhabita nts begin intensively exploiting shellfish and other aquatic resources? (2) how sustaina ble was intensive aquatic resource use? (3) how did short-term or long-term perturbations in the St. Johns hydr ology affect resource availability and settlement location? (4) how permanent were settlements, and how were households or villages organized? (5) how did technological innovati ons such as pottery, or engagement in exchange networks affect domestic and political economies? (6) what is the significance of monument c onstruction? Answers to any of these questions require long-term research projects involving multiple scales of analysis. Moreover, our current knowledge of Middle-Late Archaic social and environmental dynamics is hampered by poorly documented chronologies, in addition to sampling limitations due to historic destruction of many mounds. In the following paragraphs we note a few regional and historical trends evident from the availa ble data, and pose more specific and timely research questions. 1 All dates are corrected but uncalibrated radiocarbon years before present (rcybp) unless otherwise noted.
4 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 The broad trends in Middle Holocene e nvironmental change concomitant with the emergence of intensive shellfish during th e preceramic Archaic are relatively well understood. After a rapid rise in sea level and likely subm ergence of many low-lying zones, river levels appear to have been one to two meters below present day (Miller 1997). In contrast, our understa nding of the social and eco logical contexts surrounding the emergence of intensive shellfishing is impoverished. Th e earliest anthropogenic shell deposits are now restricted to inundated an d now-saturated near-shore deposits, or alternatively are encased unde r meters of later depositi on in large shell mounds. The limited data available suggest that subsis tence patterns focused on aquatic resources established 6200 years ago continued relative ly unchanged for millennia (Russo et al. 1992; Wheeler and McGee 1994). While some have suggested the exploitation of shellfish throughout the Southeast was largely a response to environmental change (e.g., Brown and Vierra 1983), others suggest a ritual origin for shellfish use (e.g., Claassen 1996). In this context a number of research question remain unanswered: how were shellfish used? What effect on social structur e or labor organization did the addition of shellfish and other aquatic resources have, if any? Were settlement patterns transformed as large tracts of the basin were inundate d? Were these earliest shell middens shortperiod encampments or long-term and structured villages? In what kinds of ecological or hydrological contexts were these earliest places established? Our knowledge of emergent village life along the St. Johns improves as the river attained a near-modern regime by 5500 years ago, and sites become more archaeologically visible. Most research has focused exclusively on shell mounds or large shell middens. Moreover, many projects, includi ng previous seasons of the St. Johns field school, have been largely salvage operations at sites already mined for shell or in the midst of destruction. From these studies seve ral trends emerge. Mount Taylor societies appear to have created large settlements ad jacent or superimposed upon preexisting shell middens. At Hontoon Island North (8VO202) th e field school documented what appears to have been a highly structured settleme nt separated into primary house middens and secondary refuse deposits (Sassaman et al. 2005). Over a meter of complex and stacked shell deposits signal a routine sequence of inhabitation. A mort uary may have also been emplaced nearby as well. Similarly, a stru ctured Mount Taylor settlement was documented at the Lake Monroe Outlet Midden (Archaeological Consultants, Inc. and Janus Research 2001). Other s ites throughout the region likely contain similar sequences. Are these patterns indicative of multiseasonal or sedentary villages? Were these villages occupied at the same time, or moved as loca l ecological change necessitated? What were the economic or ceremonial links between households and communities throughout the region? Data on the environmental context, hori zontal site structure, midden composition, and sequences of site use and abandonment ar e sorely needed to answer such questions. Arguably, there is more data availabl e on Mount Taylor ceremonial life than domestic life. Investigations at sites su ch as Harris Creek (Aten 1999), Thornhill Lake (Endonino 2003a; Moore 1999), and other m ound complexes throughout the region (Piatek 1994) indicate that as early as 5300 years ago Mount Ta ylor societies constructed ceremonial mortuary mounds. Typically built incrementally as mounded and prepared sand surfaces upon preexisting settlements, such places were transformed into dedicated
Introduction and Research Orientation 5 spaces for the dead and for objects of nonlocal origin. In addition, recent work on State property by the field school indicates that many shell mounds thought to be either late period constructions or domestic sites were act ually the locus of Mount Taylor ritualized depositional activities involving the massive quantities of she llfish and little else. Notably sites such as Live Oak Mound (8VO41) and Hontoon Dead Creek Mound (8VO214) are composed of large-scale staged constructi on episodes and are almost devoid of domestic debris. The settlement at Hontoon Island Nort h may have also been transformed into a ceremonial mound. A number of interesting ques tions emerge from these new data. What is the relationship between domestic and ritual space at mound sites? Why were ceremonial mounds constructed upon preexisting settlements? Did the extraction of large quantities of shellfish for construction even ts adversely (or positively) impact local ecological structures? How were local and regional communities involved in ceremonial activities? Are mortuary sand mounds and ceremonial shell mounds coeval phenomena? Are social differences, either in terms of economic status or ethnic origin, evident in burial treatment? Verification of patterns id entified at these sites requires detailed histories of site construction coupled know ledge of the composition and structure of deposits. Similar questions regarding settleme nt duration, resource exploitation, and domestic and ritual practi ce surround Orange period (ca. 4100 to 3500 BP) inhabitation of the region. The Orange period has tradi tionally been modeled as a continuation of previous Mount Taylor lifeways, largely unchanged except for the addition of fibertempered pottery, the earliest ceramic t echnology in the region (e.g., Milanich 1994:86). To what extent do Mount Taylor practices continue during the Or ange period? Recent investigations at Blue Spring Midden B (8VO43) documented a continuous sequence of deposition spanning the late Mount Taylor and Orange period (Sassaman 2003a). The Orange component is characterized by a dom estic compound organized in a semi-circular arc. Analysis of faunal remains failed identif y change in domestic economies with the onset of pottery production. Because the arra ngement of Mount Taylor compounds is not known, the historical significance of Orange villages is unclear. Despite apparent continuity, other data suggest that Orange period ritual activities were restricted to only a few preexisting Mount Taylor sh ell mounds as indicated by th e restricted distribution of decorated Orange Incised vessels (Randall a nd Sassaman 2007a). In contrast, ceremonial mounds investigated by the fi eld school (Live Oak and Hont oon Dead Creek) failed to find significant evidence for Orange period occupation. Is the apparent abandonment of previously constructed mounds due to a collapse in shellf ish populations? Are sites with abundant Orange Incised vessels characterized by different faunal or floral assemblages? Is there evidence for ritual feasting at su ch sites? More extensive work at both nonmound and mound sites will be nece ssary to verify this apparent dichotomy in site use. As noted earlier, answers to these many questions depend on basic information on the age and internal configuration of the mounds, along with basic information on the distribution, age, and composition of non-mound sites. It bears repeat ing then that most insights regarding Middle/Late Archaic lifew ays are derived primarily from mounded localities. In an effort to counteract this bias, the 2005 fiel d school focused exclusively on non-mounded localities. Methodologies have been employed to minimize our impact on
6 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 the archaeological resources while adequate ly addressing rese arch questions and generating data relevant to State Parks management and educational missions. Our investigation strategy employed a combination of methods: (1) reconna issance survey to locate all sites on the island; (2) secondary testing to ch aracterize the vertical and horizontal dimensions of sites; (3) bucket auger and soil coring to detail the composition and density of shell midden; (4 ) stratigraphic testing to establish the sequences of site occupation; (5) topographic mapping of all sites with secondary testing; and (5) collection of column samples from intact stra tigraphic profiles for purposes of dietary and paleoenvironmental reconstructi on, as well as radiometric dating. SUMMARY OF RESULTS Two interrelated projects were ex ecuted during the 2005 field season: (1) mapping, coring, and stratigraphic testing of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village site (8VO215); and (2) continued re connaissance survey of the perimeter of Hontoon Island focused on bounding previously identified sites and locating undocumented archaeological resources. Hontoon Dead Creek Village The Hontoon Dead Creek Village site (8VO215) is a 220-m long low-lying shell midden situated immediately south of th e Hontoon Dead Creek Mound (8VO214). First identified by Jeffries Wyman (1875), the site was relocated by earlier campaigns of St. Johns Archaeological Field School. Site 8VO 215 was selected for excavation to examine possible domestic space associated with th e ceremonial shell m ound. Investigations in 2005 centered on delimiting the exte nt of shell midden and documenting the structure and culture-historical associations of these deposits. Detailed topographic mapping of the site revealed a series of five nearly equally sp aced elevation anomalies (or nodes), 20 to 50 cm high, oriented in a linear array along the terrace edge. Close-interval coring determined that these nodes are composed of dense shell midden while the low-lying areas between are characterized by culturally -sterile terrace sand or low-density shell midden. Ten test units stratigraphically excava ted across the site ro utinely encountered stacked sequences of shell midden, arguably the result of multiple occupation episodes. Non-shell midden was frequently iden tified west of the shell nodes. Although no discrete eviden ce for architecture was identif ied, the organization of the deposits detailed through surface and su bsurface survey suggest that shell node configurations reflect routinized uses of domestic space. Moreover, a time-transgressive trend spanning the Mount Taylor, Orange, and St Johns I and II periods was identified on the basis of diagnostic artif acts and radiocarbon assays. Sh ell nodes become greater in size and younger in age from north to s outh (away from the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound). Mount Taylor period deposits are si tuated adjacent to the mound. Radiocarbon assays returned conventional age esti mates of 6280 40 BP (7270-7160 / 7110-7100 Cal BP) in the node most proximate to the mound, and 5570 60 BP (6480-6260 Cal BP) in the next node to the south. Mount Taylor basa l shell middens are also suspected in shell nodes farther away from the mound. In contra st, fiber-tempered sherds diagnostic of
Introduction and Research Orientation 7 Orange period occupation were restricted to the central and southern shell nodes. Later St. Johns I and II occupation was restricted to the southernmost aspect of the landform. Taken together, the spatial and historical pa tterning indicate that the Hontoon Dead Creek Village was the locus of mu ltiple and possibly contemporaneous domestic spaces through time. In particular, circumstantial evidence in dicates the site may have been occupied by as many as five distinct domestic units du ring the Mount Taylor period, prior to the inception of mound building there. Later occu pations were orient ed away from the mound, a pattern likely reflecting infilling of the adjacent lagoon and an abandonment of mound-top activities at th e Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. Shovel Test Reconnaissance Continuing the methodology of previous seasons, the field school conducted a shovel test reconnaissance survey along the northern periphery of Hontoon Island. Sitediscovery transects targeted high-probability areas adjace nt wetlands. The boundaries of known sites 8VO7493 and 8VO8312 were fully es tablished for all terr estrial components. Additionally, the circumferential survey of Hontoon Island, initiated in 2003, was completed. Although no new sites were discovere d, isolated archaeological deposits were encountered in five loci on th e northwestern margin of the island. The results of this survey confirmed and expanded upon pr eviously documented patterns on Hontoon Island. The perimeter of the island contains an almost unbroken chain of archaeological deposits characterized by shell and non-shell mi ddens. These sites are largely restricted to elevations between 1.5 and 2.5 m amsl (5 to 10 ft amsl). Analysis of the reconnaissance survey data also demonstrated that internal divisions within sites are present. In some cases components are separated in space, while at others multiple activities are spatially segregated. ORGANIZATION OF THE REPORT This technical report f eatures the results of th e 2005 field school campaign. Chapter 2 situates the current research within regional environmental and culturehistorical contexts. Chapter 3 provides an account of intensive i nvestigations of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215). After reviewing the history of research at the site, the chapter synthesizes the methods a nd results of work conducted. Chapter 4 is focused on the outcome of the reconnaissanc e survey, and places the results of the 2005 season in the context of efforts over four previous years of site location and characterization. Chapter 5 draws together the results of the 2005 season, and provides recommendations for management and future research within the bounds of Hontoon Island and Blue Springs State Park, as well as associated St ate properties within the St. Johns valley. Finally, Appendix A presents th e results of radiocarbon assays from two contexts at the Hontoon Dead Creek Village.
9 CHAPTER 2 ENVIRONMENTAL AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXTS Asa R. Randall This chapter situates the 2005 investigations at Hont oon Island within regional environmental and archaeological contexts. Envi ronment is considered first, focusing in particular on physiography and hydrology. Th e archaeological contexts are then reviewed, with particular attention paid to the Middle and Late Archaic. In both cases a regional overview is provided, followe d by locality-specific discussions. ENVIRONMENTAL CONTEXT Hontoon Island is located in western Volusia County, approximately 10 km west of Deland (Figure 2-1). The island is situ ated within the middle St. Johns River floodplain, and is surrounded by the active cha nnel and backwater swamps and streams. At over 400 ha in size, the island is one of the largest in this portion of the river. Hontoon Islands physiography is t ypical of this middle segment of the river basin. The St. Johns River is in fact a unique and complex fluvial sy stem whose current configuration is the result of a long history of fluctuating sea level and attendant progradations and regressions of surface waters, localized faulting and solution of carbonate sediments, as well as more recen t factors such as channel dredging for navigation. A number of syntheses and cogent discussions of the geology and geomorphology of Florida have been published (Randazzo and Jones 1997; White 1970). Those aspects relevant to the middle St Johns River basin are discussed here. Regional physiography Like all of Peninsular Florida, the re gional physiography of the St. Johns River Valley ultimately owes its curre nt configuration to marine processes (Schmidt 1997). Currently, the dry land of Peninsular Flor ida occupies approxima tely one-half of the Florida Platform. Extending out into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic, the Platform is characterized by low relief, and is com posed of Cenozoic carbonate sedimentary lithologies that lie unconformably upon a Paleozoic and metamorphic basement. The Florida Platform has been altern atively inundated by shallow seas and exposed as dry land during much of the Ce nozoic epoch. The low elevation of the Platform (a maximum of 104 meters in the Panhandle) has made it particularly susceptible to relatively small changes in sea level. Sea level fluctuation has resulted in frequent progression and regres sion of marine, estuarine, and near shore environments. This process has left the Florida coastal zone dominated by positive features including elevated relict upland ridges, barrier beaches, and sand dunes, and negative features representative of shallow seafloors (Schmidt 1997). Terraces that reflect long-term sea level stands have been identified. In the study area these include the Silver Bluff and
10 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 2-1. Subsection of USGS Orange City topograp hic quadrangle showing the location of Hontoon Island.
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 11 Palmlico Terraces (0-8 m amsl) and Penholoway and Talbot Terraces (8-21 m amsl). Additionally, the carbon ate composition of many of Floridas sedimentary deposits has been equally influential. Carbonate lithologies are particularly susceptible to dissolution, which results in karst topography and hydrogeol ogy. Typical features of karst topography are sinkholes, sinking rivers, disa ppearing lakes, and springs. Geomorphologists have recognized a number of physiographic regions defined by topography, surficial geology, and hydrol ogy (Cooke 1939; Schmidt 1997; White 1970). The St. Johns River is located in the Atlantic Coastal Lowlan ds, a zone typified by coastparallel features. Most positive features in this region are relict beaches and marine terraces formed during the Late Pleisto cene and Holocene, and are composed of siliclastic marine sediments. The headwaters and mouth of the river are situated within the Eastern Valley, while the middle St. Johns occupies a position west of the Crescent City-Deland Ridge. The Crescent City-Deland Ridge is the only karst-dominated topography in the region, and is a major source of groundwater via the Floridan Aquifer. Groundwater and channeled water hydrol ogy of the St. Johns is linked to precipitation and geology. Ultimately, all of Floridas freshwater is derived from precipitation (Miller 1997). Although much precipitation is lost due to evapotranspiration and runoff, a significant portion is returned fo r the recharge of aqui fers. Water levels for most of Floridas streams and lakes are direct ly related to the aquifer levels. Florida has five principle aquifers, only two of which have output in the middle St. Johns. In general, the study area is typified by an undifferentia ted surficial aquifer. Water is typically unconfined in Pleistocene and Holocene sedime nts averaging 50 feet in thickness, and is present at or just below the ground surface. Th e Floridan Aquifer is the most extensive and productive of all of Floridas aquifers. It extends throughout the st ate, in addition to Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina. Genera lly, the Floridan Aquifer is restricted to carbonate rocks of Tertiary Age, and rema ins confined well below the ground surface. The aquifer is unconfined or outcrops in regi ons where these carbonate rocks are thin or have been penetrated by sinkholes. In the study region, the Floridan Aquifer discharges along the Crescent City-Deland Ridge principally via first-order magnitude (greater than 100 cubic feet per second or more) springs, in cluding Silver Spring, Silver Glen Springs, and Blue Spring. As Miller (1998:28) notes, the dominant factor in the study regions landscape is water, which is concentrated along the St. Johns River drainage. The St. Johns river, which has its headwaters in southern Brevard County and discharges into the Atlantic at Jacksonville, is the larg est river in Florida, measuring 500 km. It is also unique as it is one of few rivers in the north ern hemisphere to flow from south to north. Although it is extensive and broad, the St. Johns discha rges on average only 8,300 cubic feet per second. The discharge is related primarily to vol ume and less to velocity. This is due to a wide floodplain and a low gradient (0.02 m per kilometer) (Miller 1998:28). For most of its length, the St. Johns is within five feet of mean sea level. The low gradient makes the river responsive to small ch anges in sea level, and even today the river is tidally influenced as far south as the Wekiva River.
12 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 The St. Johns River is composed of th ree distinct segments whose different characteristics relate to a complex geomorphic history (Adamus et al. 1997; Schmidt 1997; White 1970). Like many of the large river sy stems in Florida, the St. Johns River is situated in a swale between elevated, upla nd ridges. Although this configuration was once thought to have formed during late Pleistocene times as a drow ned lagoon, it is now believed to have been formed in part with in a beach-ridge plain (White 1970) during the early Pleistocene. With the ex ception of the lower St. Johns, the river is characterized by lakes arrayed in a linear fash ion, oriented with the flow of the river. White (1970) suggests that these lakes are si nkholes which have been differentially filled with sediment and linked by channeled surface water. The upper segment flows between southern Brevard County to Sanford Florida. This segment is the headwaters, and is char acterized by poorly integrated braided streams and extensive wetlands. The middle St. Johns between Sanford and Lake George, is often referred to as the St. Johns Offset. In a headward-consequent course, the river would be expected to flow from the headwaters to Jacksonville in a relatively straight line following the late Pleistocene beach ridges of the Eastern Valley. However, at Sanford the St. Johns jogs to the west, flowing west of the Crescent City-D eland Ridge. North of Lake George, the river jogs back to the east. It is believed that this portion of the river formed during the early Pleist ocene during a period of low sea level, when the offset portion of the river captured th e headwaters south of Sanfor d. The river was eventually integrated when the basin was first inundate d, creating an estuary. The drainage of the middle St. Johns is dominated by an anas tomosing pattern, characterized by numerous parallel channel segments. The floodplain is composed of freshwater marshes and swamps. The lower St. Johns is situated betw een the eastward jog north of Lake George to the mouth at Jacksonville. This course is parallel with Crescent Lake, a relict channel of the St. Johns abandoned when the middle St Johns switched to its current location. This section of the river is essentially a dr owned estuary, and is characterized by a broad channel, averaging over 1 km in wi dth, and inshore marine habitats. Late Pleistocene and Holocene Environmental Trends The same processes that have af fected the physiography and hydrology of Florida, namely fluctuating sea level and a ttendant shifts in climate and environmental regimes, have structured human settlement and their archaeological recognition in the study region. At the end of the Pleistocene se a levels were significantly lower than today (upwards of 40 m), resulting in the extensi on of inhabitable land over 200 km into the Gulf of Mexico and to a lesser extent the Atlantic (Faught 2004). Between 10,000 and 8000 rcybp sea levels initiall y rose quickly, inundating larg e expanses of the Florida Platform and interior drainages. Although near -modern levels were gradually achieved by 5000 rcybp (Faught 2004), sea le vel fluctuated throughout the middle and late Holocene. The increase in sea level and su rface water resulted in the inundation of many early sites. Although inundated sites ar e routinely discovered in low-energy environments such as the Gulf of Mexico and interi or sinks and drainages, many sites along the Atlantic Coast were likely destroyed or deeply buried by tr ansgressing shorelines (Ste. Claire 1990).
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 13 The reduction of river gradients in respons e to sea level change resulted in the initial alluviation and subse quent surface stabilization of in terior and coastal fluvial regimes, which in turn affected the flow and biotic characteristics of river channels and floodplains (Schulderein 1996). Peninsular Floridas arid late Pleistocene conditions, characterized by low surface water levels, gradua lly gave way to a wetter, modern regime ca. 6000-5000 rcybp (Watts et al. 1996). At 10,000 rcybp oak scrub and prairies characterized peninsular Florida. Around 8500 rcybp pine and swamp vegetation expanded from South Carolina throughout much of the Coastal Pl ain, becoming fully established by 4500 rcybp in southern Florida (Watts et al. 1996:37). Although the broad characteristics of the middle St. Johns were in place well before humans entered the region, the late Pl eistocene and Holocene history of the valley has important consequences for settlement and archaeological r ecognition. Today, the floodplain is dominated by multiple channels oxbow cutoffs, lakes, and lagoons. These suggest a complicated history of channel switching, avulsion, and infilling. In part, this variation is related to the shallow gradient of the river and sea level. Based on the distribution of archaeolo gical sites, this hydrologic regime dates to at least 6000 rcybp when the elevation of the river rose to with in a meter of present-day levels. However, there were likely significant shifts in the c ourse of the river that would have had effects on the distribution of swamps and wetland s. The presence of archaeological sites hundreds of meters from the main channel, or outside of the range of productive shellfish beds, indicates changes have occurred (Wheeler et al. 2000). More data are necessary to understand the complexity of channel change s through time. More recent changes in the flow characteristics of the ri ver have been wrought during th e last 200 years. In addition to the urbanization of the headwaters, the majority of the main channel of the St. Johns has been dredged. Historic documents indicate that the river was firs t dredged in portions as early as the 1880s (207th House of Representatives, Document no. 1111). During the last century, the river has been fully channelized. Hontoon Island Physiography, Soils, and Biota Hontoon Island is situated mid-way along the middle St. Johns. It is 15 km downstream from the Wekiva River and Lake Monroe, and 15 km upstream from Lake Woodruff. The floodplain in this portion of the river is approximately 4 km wide. With the exclusion of several islands, the floodplai n is a low and wide expanse characterized by cypress swamps and emergent vegetation be low 5 feet amsl. Hont oon Island rises only slightly above the floodplain, with maximum he ights near the center of approximately 15 feet. The island encompasses an area of over 400 ha. Approximately half of this area is wetlands, below 5 ft amsl, that are saturate d seasonally. The margins of the floodplain are characterized by relatively steep slopes, which to the east rise to elevations between 60 and 85 ft amsl within a k ilometer of the channel. Hontoon Island is surrounded by channeled surface water (Figure 2-1). The active main channel of the St. Johns River form s the eastern and nor thern boundary of the island. Where the St. Johns river turns to the west, at the apex of the island, lies Lake Beresford. This lake is set off of the main channel, and may repres ent a relict channel of
14 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 the St. Johns. The southern boundary of the island is formed by Snake Creek, a narrow and sinuous channel that has its origins just south of Blue Spring, a first-order magnitude spring, at the Snake Creek cutoff. The western boundary of the island is formed by Hontoon Dead Creek, which today is a relict channel of the St. Johns. The channel is visible on aerial and topographic maps as far south as Pine Island and Goat Island. Today the channel is inactive, having been cut off by the current main channel of the St. Johns River. The northern reaches of Hontoon Dead Creek receives flow north of its confluence with Snake Creek, at the southeastern e nd of Hontoon Island. In addition to running surface water, there is a large backwater la goon situated to the east of the northernmost aspect of the island. Six specific soil units are present on Hontoon Island: Bluff sandy clay loam, EauGallie fine sand, Immokalee sand, Myakka fine sand, Pompano-Placid Complex soils, and Terra Ceia muck (USDA 1980). These so ils are generally conformant with major divisions in vegetation, topography, and hydrolo gy. The interior of the island, above 10 ft amsl, is dominated by Myakka fine sand, with an area of Immokalee sand in the southeast, and Pompano-Placid Complex so ils in the northernmost interior wetland. Myakka fine sand and Immokalee sand are typical flatwoods soils situated on marine terraces. They are nearly level and poorly dr ained. During the summer and fall the water table is within 10-12 inches of the surface, and for the rest of the year it is around 40 inches below the surface. Immokalee sand can be submerged for a month or two in years of high rainfall. Primary vegetation in these areas consists of pine-palmetto communities. The overstory consists of slash pine with a scrubby undergrowth of saw palmetto, gallberry, and fetterbush. On Hontoon Island, the interior flatwoods is managed by prescribed burns, resulting in the dominance of low-lying saw palmetto interspersed with slash pine. Elevations between 10 and 5 ft amsl ar e characterized by EauGallie fine sand, a nearly level and poorly drained soil. EauGallie is typical of pine flatwoods, consisting of longleaf and slash pine with an understory of saw palm etto, gallberry, and pineland threeawn. On Hontoon Island this soil is a ssociated with hammocks consisting of cabbage palm and live oak. A typical EauGallie soil profile consists of an upper horizon of fine sand 21 inches thick that grades from black to gray in color, underlain by an increasingly loamy fine sand that grades from black to dark brown fine sand to a depth of 65 inches. Hydrologically, this soil is characterized by a fluctuating water table which is within 10 inches of the surface fo r upwards of 4 months a year. Below elevations of 5 feet amsl, there ar e spatial variations in the types of soils and vegetation communities present. These differences appear to be related to differential hydrologic histories and confi gurations. From the northea stern end of the island, extending around to the south and approximate ly midway along H ontoon Dead Creek the dominant soil is Terra Ceia muck. This is a highly organic black muck which is very poorly drained and flat. These so ils are typically saturated, with the water table at or above the surface for upwards of nine months and is typically submerged under upwards of two feet of water during the rainy season. On the eastern and southern ends of the island the soil is present in marshlands, dominated by sawgrass and smooth cordgrass.
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 15 The southwestern aspect of the island at low elevations is a swamp, characterized by swamp hardwoods such as bald cypress, red maple, sweetgum, and loblolly bay. North of the Hontoon Dead Creek bend, the soils are dominated by Bluff sandy clay loam, a nearly level and very poorly drained soil. This soil is typical of low terraces bordering the St. Johns river. These areas are ty pically saturated for much of the year, and may be flooded during the end of the summer rainy season. Vegetation consists of water tolerant plants, such as cattails or sawgrass. On Hontoon Island there are hammocks consisting of cabbage palm and live oak throughout in addition to stands of bald cypress. The pine flatwoods and hardwood hammock s throughout the interior of the island, as well as the associated uplands to the ea st of the main channel provide habitat for numerous terrestrial fauna. Those of ec onomic importance to humans include whitetailed deer, black bear, raccoon, opossum, gophe r tortoise, and turkey. Numerous species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and gastropods also in habit these zones. Although likely not consumed by the islands in habitants, such species were incorporated into middens through their death or deposition by predators. One species of terrestrial gastropod in particular, Euglandina rosea (the rosy wolfsnail), occurs in notable frequency in the basal deposits of some sites on Hontoon Island. The snail is characterized by an elongate shel l, upwards of 6 cm in length. Euglandina is a carnivorous snail that preys on terrestrial land sn ails (Cook 1985a, b). Although the significance of Euglandina s presence is unclear, it is likely to occur in greater frequency where other terrestrial snails are present in great numbers, such as disturbed residential areas or stable disposal surfaces. The extensive wetlands, lagoons, and ch annel segments throughout the basin provide habitat for a diverse array of aquatic fauna. Aquatic ve rtebrates such as alligator, turtle, otter, and upwards of 40 species of fish of economic importance to humans are present. In addition, the wetla nds are habitat for nu merous mollusks. Species of economic importance to the inhabitants of Hontoon Island include the gastropods Viviparus georgianus (banded mystery snail) and Pomacea paludosa (Florida apple snail), as well as the freshwater bivalve (Unioni dae). Smaller gastropods such as Elimia sp. (rasp Elimia), and the rams horn and mesa-rams horn (Planorbella sp. ) can be found with these other species. Unfortunately, little detailed information on the habitat preferences, habit, and seasonal life histories of these species is currently av ailable. It is unknown in what frequencies these invertebrate species norma lly co-occur. Moreover, few data exist on whether there is predictable variation in their seasonal or spatial availability. In general, all species prefer shallow near-shore environm ents, such as grassy marshes and shallow lagoons (Quitmyer 2001). Viviparus prefer soft, muddy substrates with slack water, such as lagoons, creek edges, lakes, a nd springs (Clench and Turner 1956). Pomacea is known to prefer marshes with emergent vegetation, typically with at least 50 cm of water (Darby et al. 2002).
16 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXTS A number of syntheses of Florida prehistoric archaeological contexts have been issued for the St. Johns Basin (Goggin 1952; Miller 1998; Russo 1990a) and for the state of Florida (Borremans 1990; Milanich 1994; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980; Russo 1990b). These and other locality-specific studies are drawn upon to review the culture history of the middle St. Johns River. Paleoindian (ca. 12,000-10,000 rcybp) and Early Archaic (ca. 10,000-7000 rcybp) The late Pleistocene Paleoindian trad itions include Clovis, Suwannee-Simpson, and Dalton, which are identified on the basis of diagnostic hafted bifaces. In addition to lanceolate hafted bifaces, the toolkits ar e characterized by a suite of formal unifaces (Daniel et al. 1986), bola stone s (Neill 1964), the Aucilla adze, and a variety of bone and ivory tools (Dunbar and Webb 1996). Early Holocene trad itions dating between ca. 10,000 and 9000 rcybp are identified by Side-Notch ed and Corner-Notched Bolen points (Bullen 1975). Aside from changes in hafted biface morphology and the addition of new tools, the toolkits of these horizons are consistent with Paleoindian forebears, particularly Dalton. Today these sites are typically restricted to inundated contex ts such as drowned river segments (Dunbar et al. 1988; Faught 2004), sinkholes (Clausen et al. 1979), or perched basins and depressions (Daniel and Wisenbaker 1987; Neill 1964; Sassaman 2003b). A trend towards increased surface water ca. 10,000 rcybp, and subsequent settlement expansion is attested by Early Arch aic diagnostics at Late Paleoindian sites, as well as small numbers of Early Archaic dia gnostics in previously uninhabited localities. In general, they are redundant and may repres ent frequent residential mobility (Milanich 1994). Noting the co-occurrence of Paleoindi an artifacts and karst topography in northwest Florida, Dunbar and Waller (1983) posited the Oasis hypothesis, that in effect Paleoindian populations were tethered to karst regions, abundant in toolstone and reliable surface water. Although this model matches the general di stribution of early components, Paleoindian and Ea rly Archaic diagnostics have b een recovered from the St. Johns Basin (see below). Between 9000 and 7000 rcybp Floridas Arch aic traditions remain poorly defined (Austin 2004; Milanich 1994). Stemmed points, consistent with the Kirk Stemmed type and locally referred to as Kirk, Wacissa, Hamilton, and Arredondo (Bullen 1975) are distributed throughout the North, Central, and Gulf Central porti ons of the state, often in similar localities as early forms (Milanich 1994). Stratigraphic excavations at Harney Flats (Daniel and Wisenbaker 1987), West Williams (Austin 2004) and Trilisa Pond (Neill 1964) indicate an increase in the diversity of uni facial technology. This period also witnesses the establishm ent of a long-standing mortuary tradition involving the interment of individuals in shallow bodies of water such as ponds or sinkhole margins. Windover Pond (ca. 8200-6900 rcybp) in Brevard County represents the earliest and is the most thoroughly investigated pond mort uary in the region (Doran
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 17 2002b). These sites are typified by large numbers of individuals, and appear to have been repeatedly used over extended periods. For example, at least 168 individuals were interred at Windover Pond over the course 1300 years. Outside of the middle St. Johns pond burials continue into th e Middle Archaic (Beriault et al. 1981; Doran 2002a). In general, Paleoindian and Early Arch aic sites are underrepresented within the study area (Sassaman et al. 2000). Several f actors may account for this, including a lack of adequate toolstone as well as fewer surveys of submerge d contexts. In the St. Johns Basin, early sites are expected to occur adjacent to first-magnitude springs fed by the Floridan Aquifer, including Salt Springs, Silver Glen Springs, Juniper Springs, Fern Hammock Springs, Green Cove Springs, Beecher Springs and Blue Spring (Miller 1998:84). The few known sites and isolated finds that have been documented seem to fit this overall pattern (Sassama n et al. 2000). More recently, a survey of Crescent Lake demonstrated that there is great potential fo r recovering early assemblages in the region (Sassaman 2003b). Crescent Lake is a perche d water source that was well-watered throughout the late Pleistocene and early Ho locene. Collector surveys and near-shore survey of submerged contexts revealed the presence of numerous early diagnostics. Similar surveys elsewhere will be necessary to determine the extent to which this is a regional pattern of early occupation. Middle (ca. 7000 5000 rcybp) and Late (ca. 5000-2500 rcybp) Archaic Several environmental and social trends define the Middle and Late Archaic. In broad terms the Middle and Late Archaic pe riods are coeval with increasingly wetter conditions of the Middle Holocene, with esse ntially modern conditions occurring by the end of the Late Archaic. Sites of this pe riod are found throughout mu ch of Florida, and for the first time are located in the interior forests, along the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Coastal Lagoon (M ilanich 1994:77). Lifeways predicated on intensive shellfishing are present in the St. Johns by 6000 rcybp and no later than 5600 rcybp on the northeast coast of Florida (Russo 1996). The distribution of sites reflects an overall increase in available surface waters and the exploitation of new habitats, as well as a probable increase in populati on. By 5000 rcybp regionalization is evident across Florida, as Late Archaic populations expanded into new territories. These new traditions, focused particularly on wetlands, presumably resulted in increasingly larger populations and more permanent settlements (Milanich 1994:87). Throughout Florida, changes in material culture, including projec tile point styles and the appearance of pottery, are used to de lineate subperiods and local traditions. In the middle St. Johns several subperiods have b een defined, including the Newnan Horizon, the Mount Taylor culture, and the Orange period. Additionally, the preceramic Archaic is a generic term denoting Middle to Late Archaic traditions dated between 7000 and 4200 rcybp which were without po ttery technology. Archaeologists typically assign sites to the preceramic Archaic when Archaic-age as semblages lacking diagnostic artifacts are recovered.
18 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Newnan Horizon (7000-5000 rcybp) Across much of Peninsular Florida re searchers have recognized the Newnan Horizon, characterized by shor t, narrow stemmed, broad bladed chipped stone hafted bifaces (Milanich 1994:76). A number of t ypes have been defined, including Newnan, Marion, and Putnam (Bullen 1975). There is significant varia tion in the form of stemmed hafted bifaces from this pe riod, leading to a less formal designation of the Florida Archaic Stemmed type, which includes any br oad-bladed stemmed hafted biface. Lithic artifacts during this period were typically ma nufactured from thermally altered chert or silicified coral (Ste. Clai re 1987). Dates place Newnan sites between 7000 and 5000 rcybp (Milanich 1994:77), although similar forms were likely produced into the Late Archaic. Settlement in interior Florida, which contains much of the available chert and silicified coral for the production of stone tools, is characterized by a dichotomy between large, diverse assemblages and small lithic scatters. The large sites have been interpreted by Milanich (1994:79) as indicative of reduced seasonal mobility. Austin (2001) suggests, however, that the larger sites li kely represent more intensive short-term reduction episodes near raw material outcrops. Several quarries have been identified, including the Senator Edward s site in central Florid a (Purdy 1975). Newnan horizon hafted bifaces are routinely recovered in shell midden contexts along the middle St. Johns. The lack of toolstone in the middl e St. Johns precludes their local production. Lithic provenance studies indicate that chi pped stone tools were be ing imported into the region from West and Ce ntral Florida (Endonino 2007). Mount Taylor (ca. 6000-4200 rcybp) The Mount Taylor culture (ca. 6000-4200 rc ybp) has been defined to describe the intensive late Middle Archaic and early Late Archaic occupation centered on the extensive wetlands of the middle St. Johns Ri ver, the adjacent Ocklawaha and Wekiva rivers, and associated Atlantic Coastal Lagoon (Goggin 1952; Wheeler et al. 2000). This is an archaeological construct, and it refers to a suite of site types a nd diagnostic artifacts. Many of the lifeways set in motion during this period, including subsis tence practices and site selection, continued through European contact. Although the broad details of lifeways are known for this pe riod, the Mount Taylor cu lture still remains poorly understood for several reasons. Mount Taylor period components ar e typically buried deeply under later components or submerged un der alluvium or peat deposits. Moreover, many sites of this period have been destr oyed or impacted by modern land-use practices. The majority of shell mounds mined in part or whole for road fill during the middle of the 20th century (Milanich 1994). Settlement patterns during this period are not well known (Wheeler et al. 2000). Seasonality studies of late Mi ddle Archaic sites in the coastal Timucuan Preserve (Russo et al. 1993) suggest that these areas likely had well-established patterns of movement within these localitie s. Although this does not preclude movement either within the middle St. Johns, or to the Atlantic coast or interior, it does suggest that populations were
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 19 relatively circumscribed. Based on botanic al remains and hydrology, Groves Orange Midden has been interpreted as a multiseasonal occupation (Russo et al. 1992). It is presumed that the large middens throughout the middle St. Johns represent multiseasonal to permanent year-round base cam ps that articulate with sma ller task and season-specific localities (Wheeler et al. 2000). Sites with Mount Taylor components ar e present throughout the middle St. Johns basin (Sassaman et al. 2000). Although many s ites are located adjacent to the main channel of the St. Johns, many others are situ ated within low-lying swamps or marshes. Wheeler et al. (2000) suggest that there are several genera l configurations, including ovoid midden-mounds, ridges of shell, complexe s of shell fields, ri dges, and mounds in addition to small, diffuse middens. The conf iguration of Mount Taylor occupations is made less clear in multicomponent sites, wher e Mount Taylor assemblages are partially or completely obscured by later deposits. It is unclear how these sites are inte rnally organized, and whether there are specific areas for habitation, re fuse disposal, or other task s. To date, no evidence for habitation structures has been identified. Along with the occasiona l post-mold, features that have been recorded at large sites such as the Lake Monroe Outlet Midden (8VO53) (Archaeological Consultants, Inc. and Janus Research 2001 ) and Fort Florida (8VO48) (Johnson 2002) tend to be large shell-filled basins. Further evidence comes from the Lake Monroe Outlet midden, where lithic reductio n tasks were apparently segregated from domestic refuse or proce ssing tasks (Scudder 2001). Similarly, at the Hontoon Island North site primary and secondary midden were separated in space suggesting the presence of discrete habitation and refuse areas (Sassaman et al. 2005). Stratigraphically, Mount Taylor middens are characterized by sh ell midden lenses, typically composed of whole and crushed Viviparus, Pomacea and bivalve. Strata can be composed of a mixture of the these taxa, or as concentratio ns of a single taxa. In many cases individual strata are composed of a single taxa, whic h may be burned, whole, or crushed. Another feature of Mount Taylor sites is the presence of concreted shell midden, which can occur either as thick, extensive lenses or as local ized conglomerates (Wh eeler et al. 2000:145). It has been suggested that c oncreted midden is formed by the interaction of ash, shell, and percolating water. In addition to basal deposits of conc reted midden, Mount Tayl or sites typically contain saturated or submerged components up to a meter in th ickness that appear to have been inundated after formation. Due to the cost and time involved in dewatering and excavating saturated deposits, these have on ly rarely been investigated. Wet site investigations of Mount Taylor age are li mited to Groves Orange Midden (8VO2601), a Mount Taylor and Orange period site on th e eastern shore of Lake Monroe where archaeological deposits extend over 30 m into the lake (McGee and Wheeler 1994). The site is a segment of the much larger mu lticomponent Old Enterprise mound and shell field complex (8VO55). Stratigraphic excavations yielded five discrete strata. The earliest primary deposition (Stratum IV) dates roughly between 6000 and 5000 rcybp and is characterized by dense Viviparus midden. These early dates are supported by a date from 6200 rcybp from the base of Live Oak M ound (Sassaman 2003a), indicating that the
20 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 establishment of wetland habitat and its expl oitation by residents of the middle St. Johns occurred by at least 6200 rcybp, if not before. At Groves Orange midden, this basal stratum underlies a thick p eat deposit (Stratum III) wh ich dates between 5000 and 4300 rcybp (McGee and Wheeler 1994). This peat is thought to represent a seasonal marsh, which suggests a high water stand. Rare artifacts within this stratum attest to shifts in refuse disposal that likely relate to micro-e nvironmental changes. Above this peat deposit is another dense Viviparus midden, dated between 4300 and 4100 rcybp. These data not only demonstrate the variability in surface wate rs through time, but also demonstrate that much of the early record of the Preceramic Archaic lifeways is likely submerged and covered along Florida s lakes and rivers. Ceremonialism was a widespread and prominent component of Mount Taylor period lifeways, as evidenced by the cons truction of ceremonial shell mounds. Although traditionally viewed as relatively late-per iod constructions or the result of mundane activities, Mount Taylor sh ell mounds were deliberately constructed as ritual and mortuary mounds as demonstr ated by early observations by Jeffries Wyman (1875) and C.B. Moore (1999), and more recent exca vations at Bluffton Burial Mound (8VO23) (Sears 1960), Mount Taylor (8VO19) mound (Wh eeler et al. 2000), the Harris Creek site (8VO24) on Tick Island (Aten 1999), Li ve Oak Mound (8VO41) (Sassaman 2003a), Hontoon Dead Creek Mound (8VO214) (Sassaman 2005), and the Tomoka Mound complex (8VO81) (Piatek 1994) on the Tomoka River. Although Mount Taylor burials have only been recorded in a few cases, similar ities in the form and internal structure of these mounds indicates that many if not al l were mortuaries at one point in time (Endonino 2003a). Although only seven mounds have been ar chaeologically tested in modern times (Bluffton, Mount Taylor, Harris Creek, Live Oak, Tomoka, Hontoon Island North and Hontoon Dead Creek Mound), many more likely existed prior to thei r destruction during the 20th century. That many of the mounds c ontained preceramic deposits was well documented by Jeffries Wyman (1875). Wyman, then curator of Harvards Peabody Museum, made extensive collections and obser vations of shell-bearing sites throughout the middle St. Johns River between 1860 and 1873. Through pedestrian surveys and collections, observations of cut-banks, and small excavations, Wyman recorded over 40 ridges, ridge complexes, and conical m ounds throughout the basin. Later in the 19th century, C.B. Moore (1999) revisited many of these sites. His more intensive excavations provide both a confirmation of the preceramic origins of many mounds, as well as documented the stratigraphic sequences a nd mortuary nature of these sites. Most mounds share similar external c onfigurations and internal sequences (Endonino 2003a; Randall and Sassaman 2005; Wh eeler et al. 2000). Although they vary in size, Mount Taylor mounds appear to be of two different shapes. Many mounds are crescent-shaped ridges, with steeply sloping sides and asym metrical summit mounts 5 to 11 m tall. Others, such as Bluffton and the Thornhill Lake mounds (8VO58/59) are round, truncated cones. Some of this variation may be due in part to later occupations above the Mount Taylor components. With so me variations, a rout ine sequence has been identified. Where the cores of these mounds ha ve been documented they typically have a
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 21 basal shell layer. At Bluffton this layer was intentionally burned (Sears 1960). Small earthen mounds of allocthonous white sand or muck were then constructed on this midden. Burials were then placed into thes e deposit. In the case of Bluffton there was only a single interment, while at Harris Creek over 140 burials were likely interred over a period of time. Although grave goods are ra re in some contexts (Aten 1999), some individuals such as at Thornhill Lake were interred with exotic artifacts. Subsequent to interment, the earthen mound wa s capped with shell, which in some cases was clearly excavated from preexisting midden deposits (Aten 1999; Piatek 1994). These capping episodes appear to have been repeated, po ssibly during major ceremonies or festivals (Sassaman 2003a). The importance of wetlands is evident not only in the placement of sites, but in the subsistence remains. Mount Taylor lifeways were char acterized by fishing-huntingsubsistence economy. Faunal analysis at Grov es Orange Midden (Russo et al. 1992; Wheeler and McGee 1994), Lake Monroe Outlet Midden (Quitmyer 2001), and Blue Spring Midden B (8VO43) (Sassaman 2003a) demonstrate the dominance of aquatic species, which could have been acquired fr om marshes, slackwater lagoons, and sloughs. Studies have shown that shellfis h diversity varies with site contexts, and may reflect local ecological variations (Quitmyer 2001). A divers e array of fish were collected, including catfishes, sunfish ( Lepomis sp.), gar ( Lepisosteous sp. ), largemouth bass ( Micropterus salmoides), and eel. Turtle was also collected, in cluding such species as the soft shelled turtle ( Apalone ferox), sliders, and mud/musk turtles. Where waterlogged conditions have enabled the preservation of plant matter, such as at Groves Orange Midden (Newsom 1994; Russo et al. 1992) and Windover Pond (Newsom 2002) a stable pattern characterized by high diversity is established by no later than 8000 rcybp. Pulpy fruits such as black gum, prickly pear, saw palmetto, maypop, wild plum, blackberry, persimmon, red mulbe rry, elderberry and grape appear to have been the most important (Newsom 2002). Thes e fruits were supplemented with starchy seeds such as amaranth, pigweed, and knotwee d, as well as the greens from these and other species. Numerous tubers were poten tially eaten. Cabbage palm hearts and shelf fungi have also been identified (Newsom 2002). Mount Taylor period assemblages are typified by mundane and decorative material culture manufactured from locally available bone fired clay, and wood, in addition to exotic materials (Wheeler et al. 2000). Bones from deer and other terrestrial animals were used to make a variety of tools including gouges, awls, needles, fids, projectile points, and decorative pins. Woode n tools have been recovered from saturated deposits such as Groves Orange Midden (Wheeler and McGee 1994) and include tool handles and net floats. Fired clay objects of various shapes and sizes have also been recovered from numerous contexts. Nonlocal materials used to manufacture to ols and items of adornment speak to the extensive trade networks wh ich Mount Taylor groups were engaged in. Marine shell demonstrates contact or movement to coastal regions. Shell tool assemblages are dominated by woodwor king tools, including Busycon sp. axes and adzes, as well as celts
22 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 made from Strombus gigas shell. Marine shell was also used to make containers, which are often recovered with residue adhering to the interior surf aces, as well as awls and net mesh gauges. Decorative shell artifacts are also typical, an d include marine shell beads and plummets made from large whelk columella as well as decorative shells such as Oliva sp. Shark teeth are often reco vered. Many have been drille d to facilitate hafting for use as a tool or as personal adornment. C ontact with the interior and west coast is demonstrated by the presence of lithic materials of nonlocal origin (Endonino 2007). There is no source for raw material for chippe d stone tools in the St. Johns basin, and many artifacts appear to have b een traded into the region as performs and finished forms. Hafted bifaces are consistent with those of the Newnan horizon. Aside from hafted bifaces, Mount Taylor lithic assemblages are do minated by unifacial tools that appear to have been used for a wide range of appli cations including perf orating, scraping, and cutting (Archaeological Consultants, Inc. and Janus Research 2001). The presence of ground stone beads and bannerstones provides evidence for contacts more far afield. Groundstone beads ha ve been recovered from several mortuary and cache contexts, (Thornhill Lake mounds 1 and 2 and Coontie Island respectively) (Clausen 1964; Moore 1999). Although their origins are unk nown, they are quite similar to tubular beads produced in Mississippi a nd the Mid-south during the Middle Archaic. Bannerstones have been recovered from several mound contexts, including Thornhill Lake, Tomoka, and Coontie Island. The forms ar e consistent in form and raw material with those manufactured in the Middle Sava nnah River in Georgia and South Carolina (Sassaman 2004). Orange (4200-3500 rcybp) and Early St. Johns (3500-2500 rcybp) The appearance of pottery in shell midde ns of the St. Johns river and Atlantic Coastal Lagoon signals the end of the prece ramic traditions and the beginning of the pottery producing traditions. Orange traditi on fiber-tempered pottery has been dated as early as 4200 rcybp in the lower St. Johns, alt hough pottery does not appear in the middle St. Johns until 200 years later (Sassaman 2003c). By 3500 rcybp fiber-tempered pottery ceases to be manufactured, signa ling the end of the Orange pe riod, and is wholly replaced by spiculate-pasted wares. Once thought to be diagnostic of the St. Johns period, radiocarbon dates (Sassaman 2003c) and paste characterization studies (Cordell 2004) demonstrate that spiculate pottery was produced as early as 4000 rcybp and continued through the end of the Late Archai c and into the St. Johns Period. Orange period lifeways have been portraye d as continuing the basic trends set in motion during the preceding preceramic (Milanich 1994:86). Excluding the production of pottery, and new hafted biface types such as the Culbreath, Clay and Levy types, continuity is suggested by the continued use of marine shell and stone tools, although marine shell does appear in reduced frequency at some sites. As evidenced by subsistence data from Blue Spring Midden B (Sassaman 2003a) and Groves Orange Midden (Russo et al. 1992), populations continued to exploit aquatic habitats, routinely collecting from local shellfish beds and ca pturing fish and turtles.
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 23 The economic importance of wetlands is further demonstrated by the continued focus of settlement adjacent to the river. Milanich (1994:86-87) asserts that differences in Orange site distributions reflect changes in demography and not basic lifeways. Orange sites are most likely to be found along productive wetlands and marshes, often in the same locales as earlier preceramic components, while there is a decrease in sites in the interior forests of northern Fl orida. The more numerous a nd larger Orange components may very well reflect an overa ll increase in population. This observation, however, must be tempered by the fact that preceramic com ponents may not be adequately recorded due to inundation, stratigraphic ambiguity, or a lack of diagnostic artifacts. Although there certainly is significant continuity, divergen ce in traditions within the St. Johns is evident during Orange tim es (Sassaman 2004). The upper St. Johns is characterized by smaller sites that take n as a whole system constitute year-long settlement (Sigler-Eisenberg et al. 1985). In the lower St. Johns, large and presumably multi-seasonal middens are surrounded by smaller probable fish-processing stations (Russo et al. 1993). In addition to these ha bitation areas, large shell rings have been identified both at the mouth of the St. Johns and along the coast (Russo and Heide 2001). These sites were likely accreti onally but intentionally constr ucted, and were the loci of communal feasting and ritual activities (Russo 2004; Saunders 2004). Settlement in the middle St. Johns has been less well documented, but it appears to replicate Mount Taylor si te types, characterized by a dichotomy between extensive middens, mound complexes with abundant potter y, and small task sites. Because these sites have not been routinely investigated, da ta on their internal organization and function are scarce. Sassaman (2003c) has identified a possible Orange period semi-circular compound at Blue Spring Midden B. The co mpound was situated above a Mount Taylor midden and adjacent to a Mount Taylor m ound. Three households an d their associated refuse piles were identified. Although seasonality data has no t been forthcoming, the site was repeatedly reoccupied, and potentially pe rmanently settled. Extensive Orange pottery assemblages have been recovered from mound complexes such as Bluffton, Harris Creek on Tick Island, and Old Enterprise. It is not clear, however, whether or not Orange communities in the middle St. Johns activel y mounded shell as their coastal neighbors did. At Bluffton the pottery was deposited adjacent to and not on top of the mound (Wheeler et al 2000). In excavations at Live Oak Mound, Sassaman (2003c) recovered only a small number of sherds, all from near the surface. This validates the observations of Wyman, who rarely observed thick depos its of pottery-bearing shell midden. While ceremonial activities likely occurred in these places that were clearly sacred to Mount Taylor communities, there is no clear evidence that Orange communities continued the tradition of mound building in the middle St. Johns. Orange fiber-tempered pottery has been viewed typically as a chronological marker. Bullen (1972) constructed five subperiods, based on changes in vessel construction and surface decoration. The unilineal sequence consisted of a transition from Orange Plain to incised (Orange Incised and Tick Island) wares, which were eventually replaced by spiculate-tempered St. Johns Incised vessels. However, radiocarbon dates have shown that variation in tempering agen ts, vessel form, and surface treatment likely
24 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 reflect spatial variation in the production and use of pot tery (Cordell 2004; Sassaman 2004), not temporal trends as once thought. That is, periods 1-3 are coeval, and must be explained in terms of spatial patterns (S assaman 2003c). Sassaman (2004) suggests that village sites such as Blue Sp ring Midden B are dominated by pl ain pottery that was rarely used over fires, while large and complex sites such as Harris Creek and Silver Glen Run are dominated by incised vessels that were routinely used over fi re. He suggests, as Saunders (2004) does for the coastal Orange sh ell rings, that the different distribution likely represents different social contexts where plain pottery was used in mundane contexts, and incised pottery was used prim arily during ceremony and communal feasts. The recent upheaval in the chronol ogy and typology of fiberand spiculatetempered wares has left an approximately 1000 year gap between the Orange and St. Johns I periods. A Transitional period was defined by Bullen as a bridge between primarily fiber-tempered assemblages and in cised spiculate-tempered wares (Milanich 1994:88). Isolating sites of this period has re mained problematic (M iller 1998:76), likely because many of the wares thought to occur after the Orange period are actually coeval. Although the term Transitional should be disc arded, there is a need to document sites of this period. An early date of 3500 rcybp on a spiculate-tempered assemblage at the Joseph Reed Shell Ring (8MT13) in southern Florida indicates that this interval will likely be populated with components as more dates are acquired (Russo and Heide 2002). St. Johns (ca. 2500-500 rcybp) Although St. Johns pottery dates as earl y as 4000 rcybp, fully developed St. Johns lifeways begin around 2500 rcybp and conti nues into European contact. The archaeological culture was defined by Goggin ( 1952), who used changes in pottery styles to identify subperiods. The St. Johns I (ca. 2500-1250 rcybp), is typified by plain chalky spiculate-tempered wares, and th e St. Johns II (ca. 1250500 rcybp), typified by plain and check-stamped varieties. These ceram ic types are formally referred to as St. Johns Plain and St. Johns Check Stamped, respectively. Additional subperiods have been identified by the presence of foreign wares or local copies of them, as well as changes mortuary ritual (Milanich 1994:247): St Johns I (2500-1900 rcybp), Ia (1900-1500 rcybp), Ib (1500-1250 rcybp), IIa (1250-950 rc ybp), IIb (950-487 rcybp [A.D. 10501513]), and IIc (A.D. 1513-1565). As Miller ( 1998:79) notes, however, these divisions are not easily traced because the dia gnostic artifacts or sites are rare. Although there are numerous changes in soci al organization, material culture, and ceremonialism, that were incorporated from external contacts, the St. Johns period is actually marked by conservatism (Miller 1998:7 8). Along the St. Johns River, St. Johns I and to a certain extent St. Johns II lifeways continued seemingly unchanged from that of their late Archaic, Orange-p eriod predecessors (Milanich 1 994:254). In part this is due to the overall similarity in environments th rough time, as essentially modern conditions were established by the end of the Orange pe riod. Regional studies indicate that St. Johns I components are likely to be found on site s with Orange components, and this trend continues with a similar frequency of reoccupation for St. Johns II components (Miller 1998; Sassaman et al. 2000). Year-round villages short-term task sites, and large
Environmental and Archaeological Contexts 25 ceremonial mounds are present throughout St. Johns River and its tributaries, and along the coastal lagoons from Jack sonville into Brevard County. Although equally distributed on the coast and along the St. Johns, St. Johns pe riod sites are also loca ted in interriverine localities. Increases in population from Orange to St. Johns II times are suggested by increases in sites per century. Unfortunately, vi llage contexts have ra rely been excavated, so it is unknown how large the residential pop ulations of each these places may have been. Continuity with Orange period subsistence practices is also evident. Coastal assemblages are dominated by oyster and co quina, in addition to estuarine fishes (Milanich 1994:257). Subsistence data from the St. Johns period wet site deposits at 8VO202 on Hontoon Island indicate that populati ons continued to focus on the collection of aquatic resources, such as gar, catfish largemouth bass, allig ator, and turtle, in addition to Viviparus and bivalve (Wing and McKean 1987). A wide array of plants were also exploited, including many that were collected during the preceding Archaic (Newsom 1987). Cultigens that supported large populations and complex forms of social organization elsewhere in the Southeast occu r in relatively limited frequencies. Bottle gourd ( Langeria siceria ) seeds and rind fragments and Cucurbita pepo gourd fragments were recovered in St. Johns II contexts, althoug h these were likely used for containers or net floaters. Maize, a staple throughout much of the South east by St. Johns IIb times, was only present in historic contexts. Although cu ltivation or encouraged gardening may have been practiced, it does not appear to have been widespread or intensive in the middle St. Johns. Changes in material culture throughout St. Johns I and II times were primarily restricted to pottery decoration and hafted biface types (Milanich 1994:247, 263). Hafted bifaces were typically small and crude, and include the Jackson, Florida Copena, Bradford, Columbia, Broward, Taylor, West o, Florida Adena, Gadsen, Sarasota, and Ocala types (Bullen 1975). Plain St. Johns wares dominate St. Johns I components. Locally produced Dunns Creek Red vessels we re produced during Ia and Ib times, while during Ia copies of Deptford and Swift Creek and during Ib Weeden Island vessels were produced. These often were deposited in mort uary contexts. At A. D. 750, potters began to apply check-stamped designs with wooden paddles. During IIa times, late Weeden Island pottery and copies were made, while elements of the Sout heastern Ceremonial Complex are evident in IIb assemblages. During St. Johns IIa or IIb times, there is a shift to the use of small hafted bifaces such as Pinellas, Ichetucknee, and Tampa Points. Other tools found throughout St. Johns period assemblages were shell adzes, celts, picks and hammers. Bone tools include a variety of aw ls, pins, pendants, beads, and fishhooks. While subsistence and technology remain relatively unchanged, ceremonial and political life clearly change d in relation to external contacts (Goggin 1952, Milanich 1994:260-262). Mounds of the St. Johns I period were low, truncated cones constructed of sand. Bundle burials, extend ed interments, and cremati ons were placed into the mound. Many mounds were reused for multiple interments, which may indicate that interred individuals were members of the sa me lineage, as in Weeden Island mounds. During the St. Johns Ia period, larger mounds we re constructed, and ex otic items such as
26 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 galena and copper were interred, along with locally made St. Johns Plain and Dunns Creek Red pottery. Towards the end of Ia, Hopewell influences are evident in the construction of log tombs. Mounds of Ib age show evidence for Weeden Island influences. St. Johns IIa mortuary practices appear similar to earlier practices in that they continue to be used for multiple, likel y kin-based burials (Milanich 1994:268). Beginning with the St. Johns IIb subperi od, the construction of mounds takes on a different character, and is clearly influenced by Mississippian cultures to the north and west. Although it is unknown precisely what le vel of social organization was present at this time period, the symbolism and quantity of material cultu re is similar to chiefly societies elsewhere in the Southeast at this time. At least three large pyramidal mounds were present in the middle St. Johns basi n, including Shields, Mount Royal, and the Thursby Mound located across the St. Johns channel from Hontoon Island. These sites were large earthen works, likely constructed in stages. C.B. Moore (1999) excavated all of these sites, and recovered caches of copper, galena, silver and gold, Busycon shells, greenstone celts, and clay vessels and effigies in addition to scattered or poorly preserved human remains. The silver and gold attest to these sites being occupied into the European contact era (Milanich 1994).
27 CHAPTER 3 HONTOON DEAD CREEK VILLAGE (8VO215) Asa R. Randall A shell midden with variable surface topograph y located on the southwestern aspect of Hontoon Island is recorded in the Florida Mast er Site File (FMSF) as site 8VO215. The site has traditionally been referred to as Middle Midden based on its location mid-way between two sites described by Jeffries Wyma n. Site 8VO215 is in fact one of many shell-bearing middens situated on the southe rn terrace edge of Hontoon Island. It is herein renamed Hontoon Dead Creek Village to discriminate it from other sites on the island, and reference its relationship to the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound (8VO214). During the 2005 field season of the St. Johns Archaeological Field School the Hontoon Dead Creek Village site was the locus of intensive investigations. The goal of this research was to detail the structure and cu lture-historical associ ations of deposits at the site. Efforts included (1) topographic ma pping of shell depos its and surrounding terrain, (2) close-interval cori ng, and (3) stratigraphic testi ng of discrete shell deposits. This chapter first provides a review of the hi story of research at the site, followed by a discussion of the methods and resu lts of the seasons excavation. The Hontoon Dead Creek Village site provides an unparalleled view into the long-term histories of domestic and ceremonial practices along the middle St. Johns river. In brief, research conducted during the 2005 season demonstrated that the Hontoon Dead Creek Village is characterized by discrete sh ell deposits registering nearly 7000 years of repeated inhabitation spanning the Mount Tayl or, Orange, and St. J ohns periods. Internal divisions within shell deposits are indicative of differentiated activity areas, and in some cases may reflect coeval and equally spaced domestic compounds. Time-transgressive trends are also evident. The earliest deposits ar e coeval with Mount Taylor basal strata at the adjacent Hontoon Dead Creek Mound, and predate mound building there. In some cases these may have been reused for ritu al activities during mound construction. Later Orange and St. Johns period in habitation is situated away from the mound, a pattern that reflects the cessation of activities at the m onument and localized hydrologic change. PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS Prior knowledge of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village is derived from the late 19th century observations of Jeffries Wyman, and the more recent shove l testing and surface surveys conducted by successive campaigns of the University of Florida St. Johns Archaeological Field School. The field school al so stratigraphically tested the adjacent Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. Jeffries Wyman Jeffries Wyman (1875:26-31) encountered two shell mounds and two shell fields on Hontoon Island durin g his survey of the St. Jo hns valley. The shell mounds
28 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 include Hontoon Island North (8VO202) a nd the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound (8VO214), situated on the nort hern and southwestern aspects of the island respectively. Wyman made cursory excavations at both sites, and provi ded descriptions of their shape and structure. In Wymans lexic on the term shell field was reserved for horizontally extensive and low-lying shell deposits, typically under a meter thick (Wyman 1875:11). Of the shell fields on Hontoon Island, he provides only the following observations (Wyman 1875:26): At the point where Huntoon Creek ente rs this lagoon is the remnant of a small shell field, and a second was found a quarter of a mile higher up. Both show signs of having been larg ely destroyed; from each, pottery, bones of animals, worked bones and shell tools were obtained, and from the heap last mentioned an arrowhead. L eaving the first mentioned shell field and following the edge of the swamp in a northwesterly direction for about a quarter of a mile, a large and conspicuous mound is reached. While frustratingly short, this passage re veals several key aspects of site 8VO215s location and disposition. The lagoon Wyman menti ons is today situated just south of the intersection of Hontoon Dead Creek and Snake Creek. Collectively these bodies of water form the western and southern boundaries of Hontoon Island. On the basis of this description, John Goggin en tered the two shell fields into the FMSF as 8VO215, the Middle Midden situated on the lagoon, and 8VO216, the S outhern Midden situated above or upstream on Snake Creek, to the south. Of the structure of site 8VO215, Wyman suggests that 8VO215 was largely destroyed. Although he does not offer any further detail, a consideration of his descriptions of other sites along the St. Johns indicates he frequently referred to sites as destroyed when there was evidence for riverbank erosion. Moreover, it is unclear if Wyma n only surface collected artifacts or if he excavated at the site. Finally, it would appear from his description that he considered the site to not be horizontally extensive, and confined to the southern terrace edge approximately one quarter mile south of the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. Reconnaissance Survey The extent and nature of subsurface de posits at site 8VO215 were initially characterized during successive shovel test reconnaissance survey campaigns by the St. Johns Archaeological Field Sc hool. Between 2000 and 2001, th e site was relocated and provisionally bounded with 20 shovel test pits (STPs), ten of which encountered cultural materials in both shell and shell-free matrices (Endonino 2003b:102-103). These cultural deposits were confined to an area measuring 50 m east-west and 100 m north-south along Hontoon Islands southwest terrace edge, some 20 m to the north of Snake Creek. The deposits were mostly restricted to elevatio ns below 2 m amsl, within a mixed hardwood hammock, bounded by low-lying cypress swamp to the west and pine flatwoods to the east. Shell midden was encountered across mu ch of the bounded site area and consisted primarily of Viviparus shell, ranging from 30 to 50 cm in thickness. Survey crews frequently encountered concreted, culturally-s terile sands under the shell midden. Shellfree midden deposits were also en countered to the we st and north of shell, typically at
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 29 higher elevations. Moderate to abundant vertebrate faunal remains were distributed across the deposits. Temporally diagnostic cu ltural materials recovered included St. Johns, Orange, and sand-tempered plain pottery sherds. The field school also determined that shell is not present to th e east of Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. The site was revisited by the field school s reconnaissance su rvey during the 2004 season (Randall and Hallman 2005:172-174). The goal of reconnaissance survey was to establish the relationship between 8VO215 and the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. Testing focused on the excavation of three STPs at 30-m intervals to the north of the previously established boundaries of 8VO 215. All three STPs encount ered midden deposits. The southernmost encountered a shell-matrix, while the northern two yielded non-shell matrices. These STPs were consistent with those documented during the previous survey, and yielded abundant vertebrate faunal rema ins. One STP also produced Orange fibertempered sherds. Shovel testing confirmed that subsurface shell midden was present within 50 m of the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. The field crew also noted the presence of shell midden and concreted sands eroding fr om the southern edge of the terrace that fronts Snake Creek. It is presumed that it was this same cut-ba nk that suggested to Jeffries Wyman the site was mostly destroyed, and is the likely location from which he collected materials. On the basis of thes e results, the minimum site boundaries were extended to an area 180 m north -south and 50 m east-west. We also performed a casual surface surv ey of the site after the active 2004 hurricane season. We failed to find any eviden ce for significant damage due to fallen and uprooted trees. Shell midden was noted on the surface, but did not a ppear to be a recent disturbance. However, we also observed at least three discrete and subtle topographic anomalies that were higher than the surrounding terrain and deviated from the general slope of the terrace. Because of dense ground c over, it was not possible to determine their orientation. They appeared to be arranged in a linear or curvilinear fashion along the terrace edge, spaced approximately 30 m apart. Their location was generally conformant with the distribution of shell midden identified through previous shovel testing. Stratigraphic Testing of 8VO214 Additional field work relevant to the current project was conducted by the field school at the adjacent Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. Investigations of 8VO214 during the 2004 season included topographic mapping, bucket augering, and stratigraphic excavation of a 9-m long trench. A comprehens ive review of this work is provided by Sassaman (2005), and it is not necessary to re peat many of those details here. However, three observations do warrant mention. Firs t, topographic mapping revealed the aboveground structure of the mound to be a 5-m high, 100-m long ridge with an asymmetrical apex at its southern end. Secondly, stratigraphic excavations provided evidence that the mound was constructed intenti onally as a ceremonial m onument during the preceramic Archaic Mount Taylor period. Massive lenses of freshwater shellf ish lacking abundant vertebrate faunal remains attest to moment s of rapid, staged construction, and large quantities of bivalve shell were burned, crushe d, and deposited on the platform surface. The presence of large allocthonous blocks of concreted shell midden also suggest that a
30 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 preexisting shell midden was mined for construc tion fill. No evidence suggesting the site was used as a place of habitation, such as primary or secondary midden, was documented within the trench. Because excavations did not intercept the base of the mound, such deposits may be internally present at lower elevations. Regardless, the bulk of the mound appears to date to the Mount Taylor period. While sherds of the la ter St. Johns period were recovered in the trench, they were restricted to surfac e exposures and recent disturbances. A final key detail was revealed th rough bucket augering. Today 8VO214 is located some 200 m from permanently standing water, and is thus a significant distance from prime shellfish habitat. However, bucke t augering in the cypress swamp west of the mound demonstrated that 8VO214 was once s ituated immediately adjacent a stream channel or lagoon. Saturated shell midden depos its extending 30 m out from the base of the mound were identified under upwards of 1 m of muck. The distribution of shell midden was found to mirror that of the mound from north to south. Unlike mound strata, this shell midden was consistent with primar y habitation refuse and contained abundant well-preserved faunal and botanical remains. These deposits became increasingly thinner away from the mound, and terminated abrup tly in a 2-m thick sequence of shell-free muck 30 m east of the mound. This sequence likely reflects an in-fille d relict channel of Hontoon Dead Creek. An AMS date on uncharred hickory from the saturated midden yielded a conventional age estimate of 6040 70 BP (7150-6710 Cal BP). These data suggest that midden deposition at 8VO214 wa s initiated seven millennia ago, and subsequently inundated and filled in by muck deposits. Similar patterning was identified at Groves Orange Midden on Lake Monroe (McGee and Wheeler 1994). Summary and Prospects of Previous Observations Collectively, prior observations of 8VO215 indicated that it was a multicomponent site characterized by subtle but di screte variations in surface topography. In part such variation is similar to other elev ated surface middens identified at habitation sites on Hontoon Island. Sites 8VO216 and 8V O8314 in particular are characterized by centralized middens. At 8VO215, however, it app eared they were distri buted either in an arc or linear array along the terrace edge, s uggesting the possibility the site was a multihousehold compound. Long-term changes in the local ecology are also evident. Not only is the southern aspect of the site curre ntly being eroded, but standing water was once present in what is a now a cypress swamp. Fi nally, the structure and history of use at Hontoon Dead Creek Village are made all the more significant in that the site is located adjacent the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. To date no habitation space associated with such a ceremonial mound has be en sufficiently documented in the middle St. Johns river valley. This makes 8VO215 a potentially signifi cant discovery in need of comprehensive investigation. METHODS AND RESULTS OF MAPPING A detailed topographic map of 8VO215 was generated as part of the field schools efforts during the summer of 2005. This map wa s created to reveal the overall structure
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 31 and organization of surface features on the site, determine the spatial relationship between 8VO214 and 8VO215, assist in the pl acement of test units during excavation, and enable accurate post-excavation analysis and display of the field schools testing strategies. The field school established a site-wid e reference grid for 8VO214 during the 2004 season. The preexisting grid was extended to 8VO215 in order to facilitate mapping and enable direct comparison with the Hont oon Dead Creek Mound. The details of this grid are provided by Sassaman (2005:85): A baseline was established along the spine of the mound. An arbitrary point, Datum A, was set at the top of the mound toward the north end, and a second point, Datum B, some 33 m to the south. A line connecting these two data is approximately 20 degrees west of magnetic north. The north end of this short baseline (Datum A) was arbitrarily established as N1000.00 E1000.00 m and with an arbitr ary surface elevation of 10.0 m (absolute elevation above mean sea level is approximately 4.5 m or 14.8 ft). Coordinates for Datum B to the south are N967.02 E1000.00 m and with an elevation of 11. 29 m. Three-foot sections of galvanized conduit were driven into the ground at the locations of both baseline data. These baseline data were used to sight te mporary stations away from the mound. No new permanent data were established on either s ite. During recording, temp orary stations were marked with nails and pin flags. Acquisition of three-dimensional data was accomplished with a Nikon DTM-310 total station by crews consisting of three st udents. Crews first es tablished temporary stations near the southern base of 8VO214. Taking advantage of this location, points were acquired on the southern toe of the mound insufficiently mapped during 2004. Over the course of five weeks, crews record ed a total of 1318 points on the terrace and surrounding upland and lowland terrain south of the mound. Mapping generally proceeded in a southerly direction by esta blishing temporary stations and recording points along ca. 30-m long transects radiating out from each station. Lines of sight were judiciously cut through palmetto vegetation, and occasionally ground clutter was cleared to reveal and record topographic anomalie s. Mapping was generally restricted to elevations above datum between 8 m to the east and 6.2 m to the west. The resultant topographic map including sites 8VO214 and 8VO215 is presented in Figure 3-1, projected with 25-cm contour intervals. Most obvious on this map is the 5m high Hontoon Dead Creek Mound to the no rth. Excluding minor refinement of the southern aspect, the mound remains unchanged from the earlier published map. To the west of the mound is the cypress swamp, w ith the extent of submerged shell midden noted. To the east of the mound is a low-sl oped region leading up to the pine/palmetto flatwoods above 8 m in elevation. South of the mound, the terrace edge travels some 220 m in a southeasterly direction until its abrupt intersection with Snake Creek. This zone
32 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-1. Topographic map of the Hont oon Dead Creek Mound (8VO214) and the Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215).
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 33 encompasses the known boundaries of site 8VO215. The locality is generally characterized by a noticeable slope trending 05%, down from 8 m in the east to 6.5 m to the west. This slope is typical for Hontoon Island and similarly configured landforms along the St. Johns. However, between elevat ions of 7 and 7.75 m there are deviations from the general slope of the terrace edge. Th ese are evident as high-points, typically 2550 cm above the surrounding terrace. A higher-resolution topographic map of onl y site 8VO215 is presented in Figure 3-2, projected with 10-cm cont ours. This resolution provides more detail on the structure of surface features. At the scale of the site, at least five easily discriminated zones of higher elevation are evident. Just to the south of the mound is a small dome, approximately 30-cm high and 10-m wide. R oughly 20 m to the south is a larger, ovoid area. It is characterized by a central el ongated dome, approximately 40-cm high, with subtle extensions to the north and east. A more extensive circ ular area is evident 30-m to the south of this point, again about 40-cm higher than the surroundi ng terrain, and 20-m in maximum extent. Like the area just to the north, it has an attenuated slope to the west along the swamp margin, but extends further to the east. Some 40 m to the south of this area is a smaller and lower lo cale, 20-cm higher than th e surrounding te rrain. Moving south again another 30 m is an extensive area of higher topography. This locale is composed of at least two domes 1 m higher than the surrounding terrain, and is characterized by highly variable boundaries to the north and east. The southern edge is abrupt, ending in a near-vertical slope into Snake Creek. Topographic mapping confirmed the presence of discrete micro-topographic anomalies at site 8VO215. Contrary to our ea rlier suspicions, these are not organized in an arc or semi-circle. Instead, they are al igned in a linear array along the terrace edge, spaced 30 to 60 m apart, and situated between elevations 7 m to 8 m above datum. Each area is characterized by a central elongated dome, although there is significant variation in the overall size, height, and structure of each. METHODS AND RESULTS OF SUBSURFACE SURVEY A subsurface survey was conducted in tandem with topographic mapping. Survey methods were implemented to quickly and accurately assess subsur face deposits while minimizing disturbance of the site. Two strategies were employed. Testing was conducted with a bucket auger to gather base line data on shell and non-shell matrices. Subsequently a close-interval soil core su rvey was performed to test whether surface features co-varied with shell deposits, and to determine shell midden density and thickness when possible. Bucket Augering Limited testing was conducted with a 4-in ch bucket auger. This auger has a 20-cm long sampling tube, and with extensions can pe netrate depths up to 3 m. For each auger
34 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-2. Topographic map of the Hont oon Dead Creek Village site (8VO215), showing the location of 2005 te st units and bucket augers.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 35 test, notes were recorded on the characteris tics and maximum depth of matrices. A total of 17 auger tests were completed along four tr ansects. These tests were extracted along east-west transects perpendicular to the te rrace, and spaced at roughly 30-m intervals. Within transects, auger-tests were placed at roughly 10-m intervals. Grid coordinates and elevations above datum were recorded only for augers extr acted along Transect-2 (Figure 3-2). However, this transects profile can be generalized because other augers yielded approximate results. Bucket augering along Transect-2 revealed the presence of five distinct matrices at different elevations (Figur e 3-3). At higher elevations on the eastern terrace edge Augers 5 and 6 revealed a culturally ster ile gray/brown fine sand which contained increasing amounts of mineral c oncretions with depth. This matrix was consistent with EauGallie fine sand, present along much of Hontoon Islands margins. Similarly, these augers also encountered a co ncreted hard pan approximately 50 cm below surface (BS), between 7.1 and 6.8 m. We could not penetrate this concreted zone with the auger. At lower elevations to the west, between 6.6 a nd 6.1 m, Augers 8 and 9 encountered a thin lens of organic muck overlaying shell or sand. This matrix is consistent with Terra Ceia muck. Shell midden of varying density was iden tified in Augers 6-8. A thin lens of sand and shell was first encountered in Auger 6. Sh ell midden in Auger-7 was initially dense, all but lacking sand within the matrix. This midden graded into a fine sand matrix with occasional shell decreasing in abundance with depth. A final 10-cm thick lens of shell midden, characterized by moderately abundant shell and other debris was present below muck within Auger 8. Because of the limited scope of the bucket auger survey, little can be said about the distribution of shell across the site. It does, however, provide a key insight into the broader geomorphic context of anthropog enic deposits. Higher elevations are characterized by sand with an underlying har dpan, typical of Florida soils subject to frequent water table fluctuati ons within flatwoods. A surprisi ng result of this survey is that neither shell or muck was encountered in appreciable quantities to the west of 8VO215. At 8VO214, thick muck deposits un derlain by dense midden deposits were encountered upwards of 30-m to the west of the mound. At 8VO215, however, lower elevations are characterized by a 20 to 25-cm thick deposit of muck with limited shell only encountered in Auger 8. This suggests that there is not an early, inundated midden to the west of 8VO215. By extension, the la goon or channel that is implied by the stratigraphic sequence west of Hontoon Dead Creek Mound was not present to the west of 8VO215. Close-interval Soil Core Survey The results of topographic mapping and bucket augering guided a close-interval core survey of 8VO215. The survey was conducte d with a 1-inch Oakfield soil core. This core has a 20-cm long open-faced sampling tube, and with an extension it can reach a maximum depth of 40 cm below surface. This coring technique has the advantage of allowing the rapid inspection of subsurface deposits by depth, yet because of its small
36 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-3. Bucket auger survey profile log of Transect 2 showing the distribution by elevation of shell midden, terrace sands, and organic muck at 8VO215. diameter it is minimally invasive. One disadv antage is that the small tube is easily clogged by roots, shell, or c oncretions. It was frequently impossible to pass the core through dense shell deposits. Cores were extracted at 2-m intervals across the site. A north -south baseline was first established down the center of the site using sighting compasses. From this baseline locations for cores were then laid out in square blocks 10 m on a side using 30-m tape measures. Pin flags marking the location of cores to be extracted were placed at 2-m intervals within each block, resulting in a total of 25 cores per block. Corner coordinates for most blocks were acquired with the total station. The grid coordinates of cores were then georeferenced from the block-corner co ordinates. The survey was initiated at the southern edge of Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. In general, blocks were laid out and tested successively to the west or east. No furthe r blocks were initiated when shell was no longer encountered along the margins. In a fe w cases only a portion of a block was tested, and in others no further block was established when shell was still being reco rded. Due to a mapping error, the southern third of the core blocks have an estimated horizontal accuracy of 2 m. Notes were recorded for each extracted core. Information recorded included a description of matrices and th eir depth below surface. Based on the results of the bucket
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 37 auger survey, matrices were broadly classi fied by the presence or absence of shell midden. Non-shell matrices were typically ca tegorized as terrace sand. Occasionally, non-shell anthropogenic midden was identifie d by the presence of bone or pottery fragments. Shell midden matrix was divided into two categories ba sed on relative density. Matrices dominated by soil interspersed with shell were classified as sparse shell midden. Matrices dominated by shell were characterized as dense shell midden. The distribution of midden deposits superim posed on the topography of the site is presented in Figure 3-4. A total of 1510 cores we re extracted within 64 blocks across the site. Of these, 861 encountered shell midden, while only 12 yielded shell-free midden. Shell midden is tightly restricted to a swath expanding from 10-m wide in the north to 40m wide in the south, and follows the curvatur e of the terrace edge. Shell-free midden was encountered in isolated core s throughout the site, although they tended to cluster on the lower western edge of the shell deposits. Midde n identified within cores is restricted to elevations between 6.6 m and 8.2 m above datum. In general, anthropogenic deposits closel y overlap the surface features identified through topographic mapping. There is a distinct north-south trend of increasing surface elevations associated with shell midden. Ad jacent to the mound, midden is found only at elevations 20-30 cm above th e terrace surface. In contra st the highest elevations associated with shell midden are found in the s outhern aspect of the site, and rise upwards of 50 cm above the terrace. As noted through surface survey, shell was encountered up to the edge of Snake Creek, where it wa s visibly eroding out of the bank. Variability in the density and presence of shell midden is also evident. The eastern edge of shell deposits is the most distinct, where the contact between shell and shell-free cores is closely associated with abrupt t opographic breaks with fe w exceptions. Isolated shell deposits were rarely encountered along this margin. Cores we re most frequently characterized by dense shell midden, furthe r suggesting a difference between shell and non-shell deposits. This pattern contrasts starkly with th e western edge, which generally conforms to the slope of the terrace. Diffus e and isolated shell and non-shell midden deposits are more frequent and widely distri buted at lower elevations on this western trailing edge. Coring did not follow all western deposits to their maximum extent, and it is unknown how far to the west the trend of isolated deposits may continue. Judging by the distribution of such deposits at the south end of the site, it is unlikely that they continue below elevations of 6.5 m. The western edge is also dominated by sparse shell midden, characterized by a low abundance of shell in a sand or muck matrix. The underlying cause of the differential disposition of the eastern and western margins of shell is not directly evident fr om the core survey. This will be more fully discussed in the following section on the result s of test unit excavation. Midden-free zones are also present between shell midden clusters. These zones tend to correlate with small depressions or gu llies. From north to south there is also a general trend for decreasing distinctiveness between shell and shell-free zones. At the northern edge of the site, there is a clearly defined midden-free zone separating the toe of
38 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-4. Results of close-interval core survey supe rimposed on topography, 8VO215.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 39 the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound and 8VO215. In this low-lying zone, cores generally encountered organic muck. During the 2005 field season this low area was frequently saturated, and appears to serve as a drainage for water seeping from a valley between the eastern edge of the mound and the terrace. Th e northernmost shell midden cluster is also separated from midden 20-m to the south by an other midden-free zone, characterized by a reappearance of dense shell midden beginn ing at grid latitude N875.00. The southern edge of this small shell ridge is more diffuse, with an 8-m wide strip of sparse shell connecting it with the next cluster, which in plan view is almost triangular in shape. South of N800.00 there is signif icant variability w ithin the shell depo sits. Despite the presence of at least two areas of elev ated topography (cente red on N780.00/E1080.00 and N750.00/E1120.00 respectively), no clear breaks between these areas are evident. The use of descriptors such as sparse and dense shell midden is admittedly subjective. Another means of exploring th e patterns identified in the presence and absence of shell is to cons ider the subsurface thickness of deposits. Midden thickness values were derived by subtracting the de pth below surface at which shell midden was first identified by the maximum depth of midden. These data should be considered minimum thickness values because cores c ould only be extracted to a maximum depth of 40 cm BS. Moreover, cores frequently could not penetrate through dense shell deposits, resulting in only the t op of the midden identified. The resultant interpolated midden thickne sses greater than 5 cm are plotted in Figure 3-5(b). For comparative purposes the di stribution of all iden tified midden deposits is presented adjacent in Figure 3-5(a). As suggested by topography and the distribution of shell, discrete shell deposits are evident with in the site boundaries. The smallest and most discrete is the northernmost, just south of the mound. South of th is cluster the next midden is composed of both thick midden to the east, and shallower midden on the downslope western edge. A small patch of midden is evident on the southern edge of this cluster, but is not evident on the surface of the site. Another discrete cluster centering at N825.00/E1060.00 is characterized by thick deposits to the east with less dense deposits to the west. As indicated by the distribution of shell, the southe rn half of the site contains generally diffuse (less than 15-cm thick) sh ell midden, terminating in a large elongated dome of thick midden. In tandem with mapping, bucket augering a nd close-interval co ring confirms that shell deposits within 8VO215 are principa lly associated with elevated surface topography. The density and distribution of shell within the site boundaries further indicates that midden is present in discrete clusters that are typi cally separated by lowdensity or midden-free zones. In some cases, in ternal divisions within these clusters may be present. The eastern margins of clusters te nd to be characterized by abrupt changes in elevation associated with dense shell midden. Western edges are ty pified by diffuse and thin midden trailing into the we tlands. Based on these patterns, at least five shell nodes can be identified within the site, presented in Figure 3-5(c). The term node is used to refer to discrete clusters of elevated sh ell midden. Surface topography and shell midden presence, thickness, and density were consider ed when delimiting the boundaries of each
40 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-5. Shell node boundaries based on co re results: (a) distribu tion of midden deposits, (b ) minimum midde n thickness, (c) shell node boundaries.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 41 node. While the boundaries of Nodes 1-3 are di stinct, the division of Nodes 4 and 5 are less clear. In this case, the distinctiveness of the surface topography was given more weight in making such a divi sion. These node designations serve to organize the results of test unit excavations discu ssed in the following section. METHODS OF TEST UNIT EXCAVATION Ten stratigraphic test units were excavated during the 2005 field season (Figure 32). This total includes eight 1 x 2-m units a nd two 1 x 1-m units. Seve ral strategies were used in the placement of units for testing pur poses. At least one 1 x 2-m unit was placed in each of the identified shell nodes (TUs 17). These units were positioned to intersect the junction between the flat terrace edge and elevated shell deposits. An additional 1 x 2m unit (TU8) was excavated in the center of Node-5. Finally, 1 x 1-m units were placed judgmentally within Node-1 (TU3A) and Node-3 (TU9). The highest corner of each unit was chosen as the local datum for measurements below surface (BS). Diagonal baulks approximate ly 20-cm wide were left in the each corner of the unit. Excavation proceeded in 20-cm arbitrary levels with the use of trowels. Successive levels were designated with alphabetic notation. Notes were recorded and a plan map was drawn at the completion of each level. Because of the significant surface slope within many units, the first few levels were frequently we dge-shaped, and did not expose the entire unit. Natural stratigraphic breaks recognized within levels were excavated separately, and given sequentia l alphabetic Zone designations. When possible, test unit excavation was ceased afte r two culturally-sterile levels were removed. However, excavations in TUs 3/3A, 4, 5-7, and 9 encountered impenetrable concreted shell midden or basement sands. In most cas es excavation was ceased at this point of contact. All materials from general level excav ation were passed through 1/4-inch hardware cloth. Excluding freshwater shellfish remains, a ll artifacts captured in the screen were retained for curation. On occas ion artifacts were piece-plotted in threedimensions and bagged separately. Features recognized in the field were given a sequential number. After a plan map was drawn, features were bisected and a profile was recorded. Subsequent to completion of excavatio n, the stratigraphic units of each test unit were delineated and describe d, and the unit walls were pr ofiled and photographed. Seven test units (TUs 1-2, 3A, 4-5, 7-8) were then selected for subsis tence column sampling. From each of the selected units, a 50 x 50-cm unit was position in one of the walls. The subsistence column was then excavated by stra tigraphic units, divide d into 10-cm levels. From each stratigraphic unit a 1-gallon sample of matrix was kept for water flotation. The rest of the matrix was passed through 1/8-inch hardware clot h with the aid of water. All material retained within the screen was kept for analysis. Feature matrix was first processed with 1/8-inch screen. After each f eature was bisected, the remaining material was retained for flotation. The flotation and water-screen samples from subsistence columns and features are still being processed at the time of this reports writing, and are not included in the following discussion of results.
42 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 RESULTS OF TESTING NODE-1 Node-1 is situated approximately 10 m s outh of 8VO214 (Figure 3-6). It is the smallest and most discrete shell deposit wi thin 8VO215, and is separated from both 8VO214 and Node-2 by shell-free matrices. The node is ovoid in shape, and measures 13 x 10-m in maximum dimension. Measured su rface elevations range from 6.8 to 7.38 m. The margins are characterized by sparse shell, between 5 and 10-cm thick, as determined through coring. Cores within the nodes apex consistent ly encountered dense and impenetrable shell midden below a 5 to 10-cm thick organic shell-free mantle. Test Units 3 and 3A Two contiguous test units were excavated within the boundaries of Node-1. A plan map and composite profile of these units is presented in Figure 3-7. Descriptions of identified stratigraphic units are presented in Table 3-1, and a tabulation of recovered material culture is presented in Table 3-2. Inve stigations initially targeted the relatively flat apex with TU3, a 1 x 2-m unit. Excavation of this unit was ceased after two levels Figure 3-6. False color topographic map showing the location of Test Units 3 and 3A within the boundaries of Node-1, 8VO215.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 43 Figure 3-7. Plan map and composit e profile of Test Units 3 and 3A, with closeup photograph of extracte d sample of concreted shell, 8VO215.
44 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 3-1. Stratigraphic Units of Test Units 3 and 3A, 8VO215. Stratum Max. Depth (cm BS)1 Munsell Color Description I 15 10YR2/1 Organically enriched very silty fine sand; abundant palm roots throughout; large and small charcoal clasts throughout; increasing amount of vertebrate fauna with depth, some degraded shell fragments at undulating contact with Stratum II II 45 10YR6/2 Concreted whole and crushed Viviparus and bivalve, with very ashy fine sand; charcoal flecks an d pea-sized clasts are apparent throughout; increasing bivalve with depth; base is situated above unconsolidated terrace sands ( not encountered in profile) III 45+ n/a Fine sand; culturally sterile 1maximum depth in east profile below surface at southeast corner (N904.29 E1037.57 7.36) because concreted shell midden was encountered, approximately 15 to 20 cm BS. Subsequently TU3A, a 1 x 1-m unit, was placed to the west of TU3. Three distinct stratigraphic units are collectively revealed in TUs 3 and 3A. Stratum I is a black/dark brown silty fine sand encountered immediately in Level A across both test units. Initially this layer a ppeared to be a culturally sterile A horizon, similar to others witnessed across the site. It is possibl e that the upper 5 cm are nonanthropogenic, as few cultural materials were encountered in this upper matrix. However, as excavation proceeded towards the base of Level A, increasing quantities of vertebrate fauna and large clasts of charred wood were recovered. Similarly, the soil became darker and moister, with a distinct greasy textur e indicative of organic enrichment. This is a unique stratum, the characteristics of which were not encountered anywhere else during excavations. The trend of increased partic ulate organic matter c oupled with abundant vertebrate fauna and large charred wood clasts continued with the excavation Stratum I in Level B. In fact, this 10-cm thick level wa s only eclipsed in vertebrate abundance by levels within TU8. Stratum I rapidly gave way to Stratum II, a concreted shell matrix, across the entire base of Level B within TU 3. The contact between Strata I and II was found to undulate, with pockets of disaggregated concreted shell occurring across the units. Test Unit 3A was placed downslope to th e west of TU3 to intersect the boundary of the concreted shell, and to maximize the potential for recovering diagnostic artifacts. Stratum I in TU3A was similarly characte rized as organically enriched, although relatively fewer vertebrate faunal remains were encountered. As in TU3, concreted shell was encountered at the base of the unit in Level C. As seen in the northern profile, the base of Stratum I dips down to the west generally mimicking the surface topography. Material culture recovered from Stratum I in cluded three lithic waste flakes and four fragments of modified bone. This total includes two small fragments of what may be a bone awl, and fragments of a gr ooved-and-snapped deer metapodial.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 45 Table 3-2. Cultural Materials Recovere d from Test Units 3 and 3A, 8VO215. Level Lithic Flake Modified Bone Vertebrate Fauna (g) Test Unit 3 A 1 1 176.4 B Zone A 2 1 849.2 B Zone B 7.8 Test Unit 3A B 2 125.8 C 245.7 Lying unconformably below Stratum I is concreted shell midden, designated Stratum II. Based on the subsurface survey re sults, this dome-like midden forms the core of Node-1. Excluding a few pocke ts of partially disaggregate d shell at the contact with Stratum I, the midden was too concreted to ex cavate with trowels or shovels. In order to determine the thickness and composition of the midden a test pit measuring approximately 30 x 30-cm was excavated in th e center of TU3 with the aid of chisels, hammers, and a large pick-axe. This test p it encountered approxima tely 30-cm of fully concreted shell midden lying on top of culturally sterile sand (Stratum III). In order to further characterize the structure of the mi dden, and collect materials for a radiocarbon assay, a large block of material was removed from the profile of the test-pit and returned to the lab (Figure 3-7). Closer examination of the midden sample reveals it is composed of tightly packed crushed and whole Viviparus and bivalve shell in an ashy fine sand matrix. Small fragments of vertebrate fauna and charred material are evident througho ut. There is also a trend towards increasing bivalve shell with de pth, evident in the phot ograph as the lighter lower half of the block. The base of the bloc k is dominated by mostly whole bivalve with abundant clasts of charred material distribu ted throughout. Whether or not this represents a discrete lens or feature ca nnot be determined from the available data. In its diverse composition, this midden is reminiscent of other domestic habitation middens documented on Hontoon Island. A sample of charred material from th e base of the block (ca. 44 cm BS) was submitted for AMS radiocarbon assay, and returned a corrected age estimate of 6280 40 BP (2-sigma calibrated range of 7270 to 7160 Cal BP a nd 7110 to 7100 Cal BP [Beta219933]). This age estimate is the earliest publ ished assay for freshwater shell midden within the St. Johns region, indicating midden deposition was initiated at the onset of the Preceramic Archaic. However, this assay falls within the 2-sigma range of dates derived from the submerged midden to the west of the adjacent Hontoon Dead Creek Mound, as well as the base of the nearby Live Oak M ound (8VO41) on the eastern terrace of the St. Johns (Sassaman 2003a). The relationship between this deposit and the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound will be more fully explored in the concluding section of this chapter.
46 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Summary Excavations of TU3 and TU3A revealed a sequence composed of dense concreted shell midden capped with an organically-enriched shell-free midden. These deposits suggest at least two different depositional pr ocesses are responsible for their formation. In many respects Stratum II shares commonalities with deposits of similar age at nearby shell mounds, characterized by concreted and fragmented shell associated with ash and other materials. Varying hypothesis have been offered on the origins of concreted shell midden, although it is generally thought that a combination of burnt shell, ash, and fluctuating water levels are needed for concretion to form (Wheeler et al. 2000). Regardless, concreted midden is typically rest ricted to the base of shell mounds, although it can also occur as lenses within sites. Stratu m II is unique in that it is lying relatively unprotected on the surface. It is currently im possible to determine if there was once an overlying shell deposit that wa s removed or mined from the top of the concreted shell during antiquity. Equally unclear is the tem poral relationship between Stratum II and the overlying Stratum I. The disconformity between the two suggests that Stratum II had already concreted prior to the deposition of St ratum I. Moreover, deposition of Stratum I included the deposition of signi ficant amounts of vertebrate fauna and charcoal, and did not involve freshwater shellfish. Whether burn ing occurred in place is presently unclear, but large thermal events are implicated in th is stratums formation. Trench excavations at 8VO214 identified numerous lenses of burned shell, typically bivalve and Viviparus A hypothesis in need of evaluation is that the processing of sh ell for ceremonial mound-top depositional events was executed in the vici nity of Node-1. Futu re research will be needed to assess this possibility. RESULTS OF TESTING NODE-2 Node-2 is evident on the su rface as an elongate d ridge that rises 40 cm above the surrounding terrain (Figure 38, 3-9). It measures 25-m long and 8-m wide along a north/south axis, and is situated 20 m sout h of Node-1. The ridge has a generally flat summit, excluding an apex above 7.7 m on th e northern aspect. Based on surface survey, this point likely reflects upheaval of underlying matrix from a large tree positioned on the ridge, and not the prehistoric differential deposition of midden across the surface. The downslope edge west of the ridge is evident only as a subtle bulge topographically. Coring indicated the central ridge is composed of dense shell that terminates abruptly to the east in non-shell terrace sands, and trails off to lower elevations in the west as low density shell. Test Unit 2 Test Unit 2 was positioned on the eastern e dge of the central ridge with the goal of penetrating thick shell deposits and documenting the re lationship between shell and non-shell matrices. Eight stratigraphic units were identified during excavation. One preceramic Archaic ethnostratig raphic unit is present, based on a radiocarbon assay and recovered artifacts. Composite profile drawings and photographs of TU 2 are presented in
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 47 Figure 3-8. False color topographic map showi ng the location of Test Unit 2 within the boundaries of Node-2, 8VO215. Figure 3-10, and descriptions of identified st ratigraphic units are provided in Table 3-3. Tabulation of recovered material culture is presented in Table 3-4, and photographs of selected artifacts are presented in Figure 3-11. The most significant result of TU2 excavati ons was the identific ation of a stacked sequence of shell midden situated adjacent to unconsolidated shell-free midden above culturally-sterile basement sands. Overlying the entire unit was Stratum I, a relatively thin root mat. During excavation Stratum I was initially designated Zone A. As excavation progressed this zone designation was retained for all non-shell matrix. Lying below Stratum I in the western 180 cm of TU2 is a stacked sequence of shell midden lenses lying more or less horizontal, excluding the basal Strata V and VI. Shell midden was designated Zone B after Level D and ex cavated separately from Zone A when possible. This shell midden is consistent with primary midden, and is composed of densely packed Viviparus shell, with varying frequencies of bivalve and Pomacea shell. Non-shell matrix was primarily a fine sand that was ashy in texture. Charcoal was not routinely encountered.
48 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-9. Photograph of Node-2, facing southwest. Test Unit 2 excavations are visible in the background, while orange flags denote the location of soil cores. In profile, no less than five ca. 10-cm thick shell midden strata are discernable based on the relative abundance of whole and crushed shell. These strata can be grouped as couplets alternating between primarily whole and primarily crushed shell. The mechanical taphonomic process responsible fo r crushed shell lenses is not known. We have traditionally considered crushed shell the result of post-depositional trampling, and indicative of heavily used activity areas (Randall and Sassaman 2005; Sassaman 2003a). Others have suggested that they result mostly from bioturbation (Beaton 1985). While we cannot currently rule out either of these factors, both are fundament ally indicative of a hiatus between depositional ev ents and post-depositional m echanical alteration. In the case of TU2, at least three such events are present. Stratum II is a tapered, flat lying deposit that increases in thickness to the west. It is characterized by abundant crushed and some whole Viviparus shell, with some bivalve and Pomacea shell, and very little nonshell matrix. Shell appears more crushed at the contact with the overlying root mat. The underlying Stratum III is differentiated from Stratum II by the increased frequency of whole Viviparus shell. Throughout this stratum we enc ountered isolated clasts of partially concreted midden. A second occupational event is suggested by Strata IV and V. Stratum IV is a flat-lying crushed shell lens with occasional concreted midden occurring throughout. This lens is superimposed on th e flat surface of St ratum V, composed primarily of whole Viviparus and some crushed and burned bivalve shell. Unlike later strata, the base of Stratum IV dips to the west, apparen tly mirroring the slope of the underlying basal sand deposit ( Stratum VII). A third occupational event is suggested by Stratum VI, a crushed bivalve lens that was restricted to the northwestern edge of the unit.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 49 Figure 3-10. Composite profil e drawing and photographs of Test Unit 2, 8 VO215. Note: photographs are not to scale.
50 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 3-3. Stratigraphic Units of Test Unit 2, 8VO215. Stratum Max. Depth (cm BS) 1 Munsell Color Description I 4 10YR2/1 Organically enriched loamy fine sand with abundant palm roots; trace amounts of crushed shell. II 16 10YR3/1 Very abundant crushed and some whole Viviparus and bivalve, occasional Pomacea ; crushed at contact with Stratum I; limited non-shell ashy very fine sand in shell matrix III 35 10YR3/1 Abundant whole and crushed Viviparus and Pomacea with some crushed bivalve; notable concentrations of whole Pomacea and other areas of crushed bivalve; slightly more sand in matrix than overlying Stratum II; zones of concreted shell throughout IV 48 10YR4/1 Very abundant crushed and whole Viviparus bivalve and some Pomacea ; more crushed shell and very fine sand than Stratum III; some concretion in horizontal layers V 61 10YR3/2 Abundant whole and crushed Viviparus and bivalve; some crushed Pomacea ; some bivalve appears to be burned; increasing sand in matrix with depth; concreted in some portions VI 55 10YR3/1 Very abundant crushed and whole bivalve, in addition to abundant whole and crushed Viviparus ; some Pomacea VII 75+ 10YR4/2 Fine silty sand; occasi onal palm toots throughout; shell only occurs in trace amounts VIII 75+ 7.5YR3/2 Loamy fine sand, some roots throughout, shell free 1maximum depth in west profile below surface at southwest corner (N870.757 E1047.19 7.69 m) Table 3-4. Cultural Materials Rec overed from Test Unit 2, 8VO215. Lithic Marine Shell Level Flake Biface Fragment Modified Modified Bone Paleofeces Vertebrate Fauna (g) A 1 5 9 A Zone A 1 120.0 B 1 3 288.2 C 1 461.2 D 2 1 2 294.6 E Zone A 31.8 E Zone B 1 1 46.9 F 1 F Zone A 30.7 F Zone B 1 3.4 G 2 0 4 H Zone C 2.6
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 51 Figure 3-11. Selected bone a nd marine shell artifacts recovered from Test Unit 2, 8VO215. a. bone tool fragment, b. modifi ed columella fragment, c. modified Oliva sp. shell, d. fragmented Busycon sp. apex. A fragment of marine shell (Figure 3-11d) recovered at ca. 9 cm BS submitted for a radiometric assay returned a conventiona l age estimate of 5570 60 BP (6480-6260 Cal BP [Beta-217769]). This age estimate falls well within the accepted range of the preceramic Archaic Mount Taylor period, and provides a useful terminus ante quem for preexisting deposits. Shell midden tapers out into a shell-free midden to the east. In the eastern edge of the unit, approximately 15 cm BS, Stratum I gr ades into VIII, a dark grayish brown fine silty sand. This stratum appears to be an organically enriched pedon lacking any clear vertical divisions in profile. Stratum VIII was virtually shell free, excluding with adjacent shell deposits, and contained occasional vert ebrate fauna that decreased in abundance with depth. At approximately 40 cm BS Stra tum VIII grades into Stratum VII, a dark brown loamy fine sand with occasional mo ttling and mineral concretions throughout. This was excavated as Zone C. Excluding th e contact between the overlying shell midden in Strata V and VI, this basal sand deposit is free of shell and vertebrate fauna. Excavation ceased at the base of Level H (80 cm BS) due to water. Diverse, if low density, artifact assemb lages suggest a wide range of activities occurred onsite. Relatively abundant faunal remains were recovered from throughout the sequence, although there is a trend of decr easing faunal remains by depth, particularly
52 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 below 40 cm BS (Level D). Paleofeces were also recovered, although it is unknown if these are of human origin. Excluding a biface fragment from Stratum I (Level A/Zone A), all material culture was recovered from the shell deposits. The lithic assemblage includes two chert flakes and a small medial fragment of a biface. Three m odified bone fragments were recovered throughout the strata. These a ll appear to be portions of cut and ground bone awls (Figure 3-11a). A fair amount of marine shell was also recovered, including both fragments and modified tools. Modified fragments in the assemblage include a columella with a bitted siphonal canal (Figure 3-11b), an Oliva sp. shell with a fractured apex (Figure 3-11c) and a battered fragmented apex of a Busycon sp. (Figure 3-11d). This latter fragment was the marine shell submitted for radiometric assay from Stratum II. Summary Excavations of TU2 identified a preceramic Archaic Mount Taylor sequence of shell midden deposits in primar y context, associated with a shell-free, organically enriched midden. Judging on stratigraphic supe rposition, Stratum VII is the original, sloping terrace surface upon which shell midden was initially deposited. Over the course of at least three depositional events, shell midden was successively added to this surface in ca. 20-cm thick lenses, the surfaces of which were either trampled or bioturbated resulting in crushed shell. A separate prep ared area to the east of the shell midden is implied by the presence of vertebrate faunal re mains in a shell-free, organically enriched matrix. The sharp contact between shell and non-shell matrices sugge sts the eastern edge of the midden was routinely kept clean of shell debris. Further testing would be necessary to determine whether there are domestic features such as posts or hearths associated with the shell. Finally, limited sedi ment deposition is implied by the lack of interstitial sand within the shell, and th e relative elevation of eastern non-shell deposits. RESULTS OF TESTING NODE-3 The center of Node-3 is located approximately 50-m south of Node-2. Evident as a sub-triangular dome on the su rface, Node-3 measures 25m long and 20-m wide, and is centered between 7.5 and 7.9 m in elevation (Figure 3-12). Coring within this central dome encountered both dense and low-density shell midden on the te rrace. Coring also identified a low-density midden extendi ng along the western slope, above 6.6 m in elevation. As described above, bucket auge ring along the southern edge of Node-3 encountered a 10 to 20-cm thick low-dens ity shell midden at lower elevations. Test Unit 1 Test Unit 1 was situated on a noticeable ri dge that extended out from the southern edge of Node-3. As the first test unit of the 2005 season, placement was guided by the presence of shell midden on the surface, derived from a nearby uprooted palm. The unit was oriented parallel to the slope of the ridge. A total of seve n shell and non-shell stratigraphic units were identif ied. Based on the distribution of diagnostic ceramic sherds, one ethnostratigraphic unit dating to the ceramic Archai c Orange period is present.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 53 Figure 3-12. False color topographic map showing the location of Test Units 1 and 9 within the boundaries of Node-3, 8VO215. Profile drawings and photographs are pres ented in Figure 3-13, with stratigraphic descriptions presented in Table 3-5. Tabulatio ns of recovered material culture by level are presented in Table 3-6, while photographs of selected ar tifacts are presented in Figure 3-14. Test Unit 1 revealed a sequence reminiscent of TU2. The northern, higher half of the unit is characterized by dense shell midden which decreases in thickness to the west, and terminates in an organi cally enriched shell-free sand. Despite general similarities with TU2, there are a number of important differences. Most notable is that Orange period fiber-tempered sherds were recovere d throughout the shell and non-shell midden
54 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-13. Composite profil e drawing and photographs of Test Unit 1, 8 VO215. Note: photographs are not to scale.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 55 Table 3-5. Stratigraphic Units of Test Unit 1, 8VO215. Stratum Max. Depth (cm BS) 1 Munsell Color Description I 10 10YR5/1 10YR2/1 Organically enriched fine loamy sand with abundant palm roots and detritus II 21 10YR5/3 Fine silty sand with modera te amount of palm roots; small flecks of charcoal throughout III 38 10YR3/1 Fine silty sand with abundant whole and crushed Viviparus moderate whole and crushed bivalve, occasional Pomacea IV 57 10YR5/1 Fine silty/gritty sand with moderate amount of whole and crushed Viviparus occasional bivalve and Pomacea ; shell appears to decrease with depth, no lenses of crushed shell apparent V 62 10YR2/2 Organic very fine silty sand with occasional roots throughout; buried Organic A horizon associat ed with Stratum III/IV deposits VI 62 10YR4/2 Sterile gritty silty fine sand; very rare shell fragments throughout VIa 75+ 10YR4/2 Sterile concreted silty fi ne sand with occasional calcreted root casts and gleying throughout basal depths; contact with parent Stratum VI undulates 1maximum depth in west profile below surface at northwest corner (N820.87 E1060.69 7.85 m) Table 3-6. Cultural Materials Rec overed from Test Unit 1, 8VO215. Orange Sherd Lithic Level Plain Crumb Flake Hafted Biface Marine Shell Frag. Mod. Bone Paleofeces Vertebrate Fauna (g) A Zone B 1 11 1 77.1 B Zone A 20.9 B Zone B 1 26 2* 1 178.4 C Zone A 1 24.4 C Zone B 7 22 1 290.1 D Zone A 7 33 1 195.9 D Zone B 26 1 2 376.2 D Zone C 6.5 E Zone A 1 11 3 2 251.1 E Zone C 22.7 F Zone C 5.2 *recovered in adjacent subsistence column (Stratum III)
56 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 matrices. Secondly, only one or two depositional events are suggested by the sequence in TU1. Because of the significant slope of th e surface, Level A was a 20-cm deep cut. Initially encountered was Stratum I, a 5 to 10cm thick organic root mat in a fine loamy sand, present across the entire uni t. In the field non-shell stra ta were designated Zone A, and excavated separately from the Zone B shell midden. No cultural materials were recovered from Stratum I, including shell. This root mat is underlain by Stratum II, a culturally sterile tan/brown fine silty sand that becomes thicker downslope from north to south. Although a small amount of vert ebrate fauna and one Orange crumb2 sherd were recovered, these were derived from the contact with the underlying Stratum III shell midden. Below this sterile overburden the un it is characterized by shell midden in the north half of the unit, and sh ell-free midden in the south. In the northern half of the unit at approximately 20 cm BS we encountered Stratum III, a 20-cm thick shell midden excavated in Levels A, B, and C. This is a very dense shell midden in an organic dark brown fine sand matrix. The midden is composed primarily of whole and crushed Viviparus shell, with bivalve and Pomacea shell occurring in small quantities throughout. The midden is relatively homogeneous, although slightly more crushed shell was ev ident at the contact with the overlying Stratum II. The base of the Stratum III is essentially lying flat above shell midden ( Stratum IV) to the north and culturally sand to the south ( Stratum VI). At approximately 42 cm BS the shell trails off at the c ontact with shell-free Strata V and VI. Beneath Stratum III in the north half of the unit is Stratum IV, a fine gritty sand with moderate amounts of whole and crushed Viviparus, bivalve, and Pomacea shell. Shell abundance is considerably lower than the overlying midde n. In profile this stratum has pit-like truncated margins, and the base of the deposit tends to slope down to the north. Whether this stratum is actually a sa ndand midden-filled pit or a localized biogenic disturbance cannot be determined fr om the excavations in TU1. The cultural contents of this stratum (excavated as Level D) were similar to Stratum III. In addition to 26 fiber-tempered crumb sherds, the deposit also contained a marine shell fragment, along with two fragments of paleofeces. In the southern half of TU1, Stratum II graded into Stratum III between 40 and 45 cm BS (Level D). Stratum V is a very dark brown organically-enriched very fine silty sand. This stratum appears to be a buried A horizon contemporaneous with the Strata III/IV shell deposits in the northern half of the unit. Finally, the cultural matrices are underlain by sand, designated Zone C. Underlying Stratum III in the center of the unit we encountered Stratum VI, a gritty fine sand with abundant calcreted root casts and gleying throughout. Below Strata IV and V, below 60 cm BS, Stratum VI became fully concreted. Designated Stratum VIa, this concreted sand form s the base of the unit, and is the original terrace surface upon which midden debris was de posited. Except for the contact with overlying shell and shell-free midde n, it appears to be cultura lly sterile. Using picks and 2 Sherds that could be passed through a .5 square screen were designated crumb sherds.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 57 Figure 3-14. Selected bone, cera mic, and lithic artifacts reco vered from Test Units 1 and 9, 8VO215. a-c. modified bone, d-e, g. hafted bifaces, f. Orange Engraved crossmended rim sherd.
58 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 chisels, we excavated into this sand to a ma ximum depth of 75 cm BS. This material was not screened. The recovered cultural assemblages were diverse and consistent with Late Archaic Orange period habitation debris. W ithin shell matrices (Zone B), vertebrate fauna was found in moderate abundance, with density increasing with depth. Two small fragments of unidentified marine gastropod shell were also recovered. Orange plain sherds were present throughout the deposit, but were found in greatest abundance towards to base of the shell strata. Two fr agmentary hafted bifaces manufactured from chert were recovered within the subsistence column, lying adjacent to each other at a depth of 20 cm BS. Both are consistent w ith Late Archaic stemmed varieties. One is represented by a distal blade element, and wa s snapped at the junc tion between the haft and blade (Figure 3-14d). The other hafted biface is reminiscent of the Culbreath type (Figure 3-14e). Although the base is intact, the distal edge and a medial blade margin have numerous fractures. Vertebrate fauna was recovered in abundance throughout the non-shell midden at lower elevations. A total of 8 fiber-tempered sh erds and 44 crumb sherds were present. In addition, a large Archaic stemmed hafted biface manufactured out of chert was recovered at 41 cm BS (Figure 3-14g). The biface is narrow-shouldered and char acterized by a short stem with an incurvate base. The blade is bico nvex in cross-section, and is in remarkably pristine condition with a sharp edge intact. The distal end of the biface has evidence of double-patination, suggesting it may have been scavenged from a preexisting deposit and subsequently resharpened. Also recovered fr om the shell-free midden were two distal bone tool tips (Figure 3-14b-c). Test Unit 9 Test Unit 9, a 1 x 1-m unit, was placed on the northern edge of Node-3. Coring in this upslope component encountered an uneve n pattern of lowand high-density shell deposits interspersed with the occasional core lacking shell altogether (Figure 3-5). The unit was oriented roughly 45-degrees from grid-north, and was positioned less than a meter south of core 50-13 which yielded de nse shell midden between 10 and 40 cm BS. The goal of testing in this location was to characterize upslope dense shell deposits. Contrary to our expect ations based on coring, excavation of TU9 exposed a complex sequence characterized by a dichot omy between flat-lying shell and non-shell deposits in the northern half of the unit, and dense shell in the southern half of the unit. In contrast, the east and west prof iles contain discontinuous and interbedded lenses of shell and non-shell matrices. The structure of this unit registers at least one shell-filled pit associated with a non-shell midden. An Orange period ethnostratigraphic unit is indicated by the presence of plain and engraved fi ber-tempered pottery. A lower preceramic Archaic component may also be present. Pr ofile drawings and photographs are presented in Figure 3-15, with stratigraphic descriptions presented in Table 3-7. A plan map and photographs of features 2 and 3 are presented in Figure 3-1 6. Tabulations of recovered material culture by level ar e presented in Table 3-8.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 59 Figure 3-15. Composite profile drawings of Test Unit 9, 8VO215. Features 2 and 3 are highlighted. Photographs of north (left) and east (right) profiles in cluded for comparison.
60 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 3-7. Stratigraphic Units of Test Unit 9, 8VO215. Stratum Max. Depth (cm BS) 1 Munsell Color Description I 8 10YR2/1 Organic Root mat Ia 8 10YR2/1 Organic Root mat Ib 15 10YR2/2 Organically enriched fine silty sand; some roots II 39 10YR4/2 Silty fine sand, some palm roots III 56 10YR3/2 Silty medium sand; no shell IIIa 52 10YR3/2 Silty fi ne sand; moderate amounts of whole and crushed Viviparus and Pomacea ; may be a mixture of Feature 2, Strata III and VI IV 66 10YR4/2 Silty fine sand with some whole and crushed Viviparus bivalve in trace amounts VI 52 10YR4/2 Gritty, silty fine sand with occasional whole and crushed Viviparus and Pomacea VIa 68 10YR4/2 Silty fine sand with a moderate amount of crushed shell; likely mixture of Strata VI and Feature 2 VII 65 10YR3/2 Loamy, very fine sand with rare shell fragments VIII 68 10YR4/2 Fine silty sand with so me grit; trace amounts of shell fragments IX 70 10YR6/2 10YR8/3 Concreted fine sand X 23 10YR3/2 Silty fine sand with abundant whole and crushed Viviparus ; may be related to Feature 2 1maximum depth below surface ( 7.83 m) Table 3-8. Cultural Materials Rec overed From Test Unit 9, 8VO215. Orange Sherds Level Plain Engraved Crumb Modified Bone Paleofeces Vertebrate Fauna (g) A 1 55.2 B 26 26 253.5 C Zone A 1 1 83.4 C Zone B 11 5 6 43.2 C Zone C 4 7 49.0 D Zone A 1 6 1 57.4 D Zone B/C 1 37.0 E 1 34.8 F 19.0 G 3.4
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 61 Excavations initially enc ountered Stratum I, a culturally-sterile A horizon within Level A. Subdivisions of this stratum (Ia, Ib) were made on the basis of varying amounts of organic detritus and root abundance within each profile. Shell midden was encountered in the southwest corner at the base of Leve l A. Continued excavation of Level B exposed another patch of shell midden in the southeas t corner. These semi-circular areas were not contiguous, and were truncated by the profiles. Field notes suggest that all of the Orange sherds were derived from the shell midden. Before excavating Level C these different matrices were given separate zone designations. The non-shell matrix was designated Zone A, and corresponds to Stratum II, a tan/brown silty fine sand. The eastern shell midden was denoted Zone B and the western ar ea was designated Zone C. Zones B and C correspond with the locations of features 2 and 3, respectivel y. All fiber-tempered sherds were recovered from Zones B and C with the exception of one sherd from Zone A. Also recovered from Zone B were five fragments of one Orange Engraved sherd. Four of these sherds refit, and all are likely a portio n of the same vessel (Figure 3-14f). At the base of Level C, Zones B and C merged in the southern half of TU9 and were subsequently excavated as Zone B/C in Level D. While no sherds were recovered from the shell midden, one large Orange E ngraved body sherd was piece plotted within Zone A at a depth of 35 cm BS. This sherd wa s refitted to the Engraved sherds recovered from Zone B in Level C (Figure 3-14f), sugge sting that the shell a nd non-shell matrices are coeval. Features 2 and 3 were delineated at the base of Level D when it became apparent that Zones B and C reflected two different shell pits connected by a lens of shell midden. These features were mapped in plan view and then excavated separately. At the same time, the Zone A shell free northern half of the unit became significantly darker with depth. This approximates the transition to Stra tum III, a silty medium fine sand with out shell. This stratum is consistent with ot her buried A horizons identified elsewhere on Hontoon Island, and is particularly reminiscen t of the southern, downslope component of TU1. In order to expose a clean plan view to fu rther discriminate the features at depth, Level E was excavated with a shovel. Although most of the matrix from this zone was from the shell free midden, some admixture of feature matrix is likely due to the diffuse interface between the features and Zone A matrix. Within Level F we encountered Stratum VI, VII, and VIII. Stratum VI is a dark brown gritty sand with occasional fragments of Viviparus Pomacea and bivalve throughout. St rata VII and VIII are similarly composed of fine to gritty sand with occasional shell fragme nts. No sherds were recovered in this level, and faunal remain s were sparse. Excavation of TU9 ceased between 60 and 67 cm BS within Level G due to concreted shell-free hardpan (Stratum IX). No attempt was made to dig through this stratum. Although limited in scale and volume, TU9 yielded a remarkable artifact assemblage. Orange Plain sherds dominated th e pottery assemblage, particularly at higher elevations. However, within the context of F eature 2 and the associated shell-free Stratum II we recovered two objects of particular note. One is the reconstructed decorated fiber-
62 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 tempered rim sherd (Figure 3-14f ). Superficially, this sherd appears consistent with the Tick Island variety of the Orange Incised type. The surface is characterized by zonal decorations composed of circ ular motifs, radiating lines, and curvilinear punctations. All of these design elements can occur on Orange Incised vessels. On closer inspection, however, the surface treatment was apparently conducted after the vessel was fired. That is, this is an engraved design. Not only is th e core exposed at the base of the design, but there are visible chatter marks on the edges of the design. In addition to the sherd, a large and well made distal bone pin fragment wa s recovered from Zones B and C (Figure 314a). Although not decorated, it is highly polished and reminiscent of larger bone pins typical of personal adornment. Features of TU9 Two features were recognized during the excavation of TU9 (Figure 3-16). Only Feature 2 is a legitimate pit. Feature 3, in contrast, appear s to be a later nonanthropogenic intrusion. In association with th ese features are discont inuous shell, sand, and grit lenses reflecting the mixture of ma trices during the prehistoric pit excavation (Strata IIIa, VIa, X) or the later postdepositional disturbance (Stratum IV). Feature 2 A ca. 65-cm wide semi-circular shell midden concentration was first noted in the southeaster corner of TU9 between 10 to 20 cm BS (Level B). In Level C it was treated as Zone B, where the shell matrix contracted s lightly to the southern edge of the unit. In Level D the matrix merged with Zone C to the west and both were excavated as Zone B/C. Except for Level D, fiber-tempered sher ds were recovered throughout these zones. This assemblage is dominated by plain a nd eroded sherds, excluding the six Orange Incised rim sherds. As previously discussed, these incised sherds were recovered from both the shell and non-shell matrices, and are part of one vessel. At the base of Level D (40 cm BS) the shell concentration was desi gnated Feature 2 (Figure 3-16). The western half of the feature was excav ated and matrix was bagged an d later processed through 1/8inch screen. A one gallon sample of matrix was removed from east half of the unit for flotation, and the remainder bagged and then screened with 1/8-in ch screen. Excavation of the feature ceased at 67 cm BS because the basal layer, composed of shell and ash, was concreted. Additionally, at 54 cm BS a large root was encountered runni ng through the base of the feature. Although initially thought to be a charred log, continued exposure demonstrated that the wood was an old, he avily stained root fragment cross-cutting Feature 2 and Stratum VI. As revealed in profile (Figures 3-15, 3-16), Feature 2 is a 65-cm deep pit that originates at the top of Stratu m II. The feature has tapered margins and is composed of at least 5 lenses of shell midden. The upper por tion of the feature (lens 2a) is a postdepositional disturbance that in trudes over Feature 3 to the west. In the field this lens was reminiscent of an animal burrow, where matr ix from Feature 3 was m obilized to the west. Below that, lenses can be seen superimposed and slightly dipping down towards the
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 63 Figure 3-16. Plan map and photographs of F eatures 2 and 3 in Test Unit 9, 8VO215. center, typical of a pit that has been filled in successive depositional events. Lenses b-d vary in the midden content and the amount of crushing (Table 3-9) The overlying lens (b) is composed of both whole and crushed Pomacea and Viviparus Below that, the fill alternates between diverse con centrations of shell species, and lenses almost exclusively containing bivalve shell. The underlying lens (e ) appears to have the same matrix as the overlying fill, but is concreted. Feature 3 A semi-circular patch of dark organic sand and low-density shell was first noted at the base of Level A in the southwest corn er of TU9. This concen tration expanded to an area approximately 60-cm wide within Level B and was subse quently designated Zone C.
64 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 3-9. Stratigraphic Units of Feature 2, 8VO215. Lens Max. Depth (cm BS) 1 Munsell Color Description a 37 10YR3/1 Loamy fine sand with abundant crushed and whole Viviparus ; possible animal burrow b 55 10YR4/1 Abundant crushed and whole Pomacea and whole Viviparus c 70 10YR4/2 Abundant whole and crushed Viviparus Pomacea and bivalve; fine silty sand within shell matrix d 73 10YR6/2 Abundant cr ushed and whole bivalve, occasional whole and crushed Pomacea and Viviparus e 73+ 10YR6/2 Concreted crushed and whole bivalve, occasional whole and crushed Pomacea and Viviparus 1maximum depth in south profile below surface ( 7.85 m) In Level D the matrix merged with Zone B to the east and both were excavated as Zone B/C. At the base of Level D (40 cm BS) th e shell concentration was designated Feature 3 (Figure 3-16). The feature was excavated to a depth of 61 cm BS. The matrix was a dark brown fine sand with moderate whole Viviparus shell scattered throughout. One eroded fiber-tempered sherd was recovered during excava tion. As seen in profile, the feature has an irregular outline and dips significantly to the north. Based on this configuration it is likely that the feature is a relatively more recent disturbance resulting from animal burrowing activity. Lens 2a within Feature 2 is likely associated with this event. Summary Inhabitation of Node-3 occurred pr incipally during the Orange period. Excavations of TU1, TU9, and associated coring suggest that the Node is composed of discrete activity areas associated with dome stic activities. Two depositional events and a possible living surface were exposed along the western, swamp-facing shell midden escarpment in TU1. The shell midden contained two macrostratigraphic deposits of shell midden likely representing two periods of deposition. The lower shell-free surface of TU1 appeared to contain a buried A horizon that contained both lithics and Orange sherds. Whether this horizon represents an occupational surface is unclear. Coring identified a flat surface with low-density shell a few meters to the southwest. This extension of shell may represent yet another activity surface, but this cannot be verified with the current data. Upslope on the terrace edge TU9 encountered at least one large shell pit truncating a shell and shell-free midden sequence. The lower strata may actually date to the Mount Taylor period. Like TU1 the upper shell midden was situated immediately adjacent an organically enriched horizon that contain vertebrate fauna in addition to Orange pottery. Other features in the vicinity are suggested by the generally hit-or-miss results of coring in this upslope co mponent of Node-3. It is likely that other features are present on this landform, and may provide evidence for an organized domestic structure.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 65 RESULTS OF TESTING NODE-4 Node-4 is a diffuse shell deposit located immediately south of Node-3. Coring in this locality identified widespread high and low-density shell across the terrace. In maximum dimensions the midden is 48-m long and 20-m wide (Figure 3-17). Like other shell nodes it is characterized by a centralized dome of midden. Within Node-4 this dome is relatively small at 15-m long and 6-m wi de, and rises 20 cm above the surrounding terrace surface. Test Unit 4 Test Unit 4 was positioned to the west of Node-4s central do me with the goal of documenting the structure of downslope deposits (Figure 3-17). The unit was oriented roughly parallel to the slope of the terrace, and rotated 45 degrees off grid north. A sequence composed of developed soil horizons superimposed on shell midden was documented. One Orange period ethnostratigra phic unit is represented by several fibertempered crumb sherds. Profile drawings a nd photographs are pres ented in Figure 3-18, with stratigraphic descriptions presented in Table 3-10. Tabulations of recovered material culture by level are pres ented in Table 3-1l. Shell-free matrices were encountered in all levels. Stratum I, a dark gray A horizon containing abundant orga nic matter, was initially enc ountered in Level A. At the base of the level we also encountere d underlying Stratum III shell midden. Although vertebrate faunal bone was recovered in Leve l A, field notes suggest that they were derived from this stratum. Beginning with Leve l B, shell-free matric es were designated as Zone A, while shell midden was designated Z one B. Within this level the shell free matrix graded into Stratum II, a tan/brow n fine sand with small charcoal clasts throughout. Stratum II disappeared within the ea stern half of the unit by the end of the level, and finally disappeared at ca. 25 cm BS within Level C. Small pockets of shell-free soil continued within Level D, mostly within the western half of the unit. These may represent animal burrows, as they were s lightly darker in color indicating a higher organic content. Vertebrate faunal remains were encountered in relatively low numbers throughout these levels, although there is an increase in bone density with depth. Moreover, fiber-tempered crumb sherds were recovered throughout, albeit as isolated occurrences within each level. As seen in profile, Stratum III is a mode rately dense shell midden that decreases in thickness, from 24 cm to 10 cm towards th e western, downslope edge of the unit. This stratum is characterized by whole and crushed Viviparus shell, with bivalve and Pomacea occurring in lower frequencie s throughout a tan/brown fine sand. Throughout this stratum we routinely encountered small and large clas ts of concreted she ll midden. These clasts occurred as thin lenses and la rge globular masses, and were or iented in a variety of ways. The impression was that these concretions had been broken up and mobilized postdepositionally. Several possible animal burro ws were noted during excavation, and are
66 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-17. False color topograp hic map showing the location of Test Unit 4 within the boundaries of Node-4, 8VO215. the likely source of midden movement. Mode rately dense vertebrate faunal bone was recovered throughout this stratum, in addition to two fiber-tempered crumb sherds and one non-diagnostic biface fragment. Towards the base of Level C, we also noted Stratum IIIa, a dark organic sand matrix with low-de nsity shell occurring throughout. This stratum is only visible in the southern profile (not shown in Figure 3-18), as a 10-cm thick flat lying deposit. In terms of content, Stratum IIIa appears to be derived from Stratum III.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 67 Figure 3-18. Composite profil e drawing and photographs of Test Unit 4, 8 VO215. Note: photographs are not to scale.
68 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 3-10. Stratigraphic Un its of Test Unit 4, 8VO215. Stratum Max. Depth (cm BS) 1 Munsell Color Description I 14 10YR5/1 Organically enriched fine sand; abundant palm roots and detritus II 25 10YR5/3 Fine sand; occasional palm roots and charcoal flecks; contact with Stratum III undulates III 40 10YR4/2 Abundant whole and crushed Viviparus some crushed bivalve and Pomacea ; shell appears more crushed at the contact with Stratum II; matrix is a fine ashy sand IIIa 48 10YR3/2 Fine loamy moist sand with moderate amounts of whole and crushed Viviparus occasional crushed bivalve and Pomacea ; appears to be organically enriched low shell density zone associated with Stratum III, possibly a buried A horizon; only present in south wall IV 54 10YR5/3 10YR7/3 Moist gritty fine sand with occasional shell fragment; occurs as either unconsolidated matrix or as small clasts IVa 54+ 10YR5/3 10YR7/3 Concreted gritty sand; surface undulates with Stratum IV; concreted terrace sands Root/Animal Disturbance 54+ 10YR2/1 Loamy very fine organic sand; occurs in pockets throughout 1maximum depth in north profile below surface at northeast corner (N774.64 E1082.65 7.59 m) Table 3-11. Cultural Materials Reco vered from Test Unit 4, 8VO215. Level Orange Crumb Sherd Biface Fragment Vertebrate Fauna (g) A 65.6 B Zone A 1 59.1 B Zone B 1 288.2 C Zone A 1 116.5 C Zone B 187.6 D Zone A 52.1 D Zone B 1 1 106.4 D Zone C 7.6 D Zone D 2.5 E Zone C 0.2
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 69 However, Stratum IIIas origins remain unclear. At least three animal burrows were noted in the field, and these likely contributed the organic content to the stratum. A similar pocket of material was identified within Level D in the eastern end of the TU4 and designated Zone D. Underlying all shell deposits is a gritty fi ne sand (Stratum IV) that graded into a concreted sand (Stratum IVa). These strata re present the original, pre-habitation terrace surface. Stratum IV was first encountered in Level D, where it was treated as Zone C. The contact between this gritty sand and the overlyi ng shell midden undulated, and pockets of concreted gritty sand were f ound within the shell mi dden. Except for a few pockets, TU4 was concreted at elevations be tween 34 and 40 cm BS. Excavation in Level E was restricted to a pocket of non-conc reted Stratum IV sand in the northwest component of the unit, as seen in profile. As was the case with Stratu m III, it appears that there has been significant biogenic reworking of these deposits. Summary Excavation of Test Unit 4 yielded a largely convoluted picture of midden deposition. One ethnostratigraphic zone dating to the Orange period was present, based solely on a few Orange crumb sherds. This shell midden was generally thin and without clear internal structure. Moreover, wi despread evidence for post-depositional disturbances, including animal burrows an d possible tree-throws in antiquity were evident. However, the characteristics of this component of Node-4 provide some perspective on thin and diffuse downslope deposits elsewhere at 8VO215. Test Unit 4 documented that at least in this vicinity, we stern edges of shell nodes do not appear to have been high-use areas. This is suggested by the lack of well-defined crushed shell lenses. RESULTS OF TESTING NODE-5 Node-5 is coterminous with the shallow southern deposits of Node-4, as defined through coring. At a maximum the node measur es 50-m long and 40-m wide. Like other locales within 8VO215, the eastern margin is marked by an abrupt shift between topographic relief and non-shell deposits. The southern margin is characterized by a steep escarpment, reflecting bank-erosion from Snake Creek. The western margin is characterized by low-density shell deposits that are diffused within the swamp. Sub-areas differentiated by micro-topogra phic variations are evident within the boundaries of this node. These ar e labeled areas A for the north and B for the south in Figure 3-19. The division between areas is the 7.9 m contour interv al. Locus A is the center of Node-5, composed of a central dome 20-m in diameter that rises 50 cm above the terrace. A semi-circular depression is also evident on the northern aspect of Area A. This depression is bordered on the east and west by arcuate extensions of shell midden. Area B to the south is a more typical central dome of shell mi dden, measuring 15 m in diameter, and separated from Area A by a slight depression.
70 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-19. False color topographic map showi ng the location of Test Units 5-8 within the boundaries of Node-5, 8VO215.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 71 Trench: Test Units 5, 6, 7 Coring in the depression between the arcuate extensions of shell along the northwestern margin of Area A encountered a low-density shell deposit with organic enrichment. As seen in Node-2, the close-in terval dichotomy between shell and non-shell middens is suggestive of activity or residential areas adjacent shell deposits. At Node-5, however, concreted shell midden was also present on the surface 5 m north of this locality, suggesting a recent disturbance. Thre e adjoining 1 x 2-m test units (TUs 5-7) were excavated as a linear trench along the northwestern margin of Area A to determine whether the structure of the shell deposit reflects organi zed prehistoric midden deposition or modern land alteration. This trench was positioned to bisect the two arcuate lobes and associated depression (Figure 3-19). After es tablishing the boundaries of each test unit, we first excavated TU5 and TU7 by 10-cm arbitrary levels. TU6 was initially left intact to provide intact witness profiles. After co mpletion of TU5 and TU7, the intact profiles guided excavation of TU6 by natural stratigraphy. Collectively, excavation of the trench revealed a sequence of shell midden lenses, upwards of 80-cm thick, overlying concrete d terrace sands. A composite profile and photographs are presented in Figure 3-20, and the correlated stratigraphic units across the trench are presented in Table 3-12. As will be detailed, Strata II and IV reflect a largely intact depositional sequence dati ng to the St. Johns I period. Some localized disturbances are present (Strata III, V, VI), but appear to have occurr ed in antiquity. While an Orange period occupation is also sugge sted by diagnostic ar tifacts, these were recovered at the top of the sequence implying they were moved from their original context. Test Unit 5 Test Unit 5 was positioned on the shell midden extension to the east of the central depression (Figure 3-19). The surface slope s to the west from the top of the midden extension to near the base of the depression (Figure 3-20). Be cause of this slope, the first three levels were wedge-shape d. A summary of arti facts recovered by level is presented in Table 3-13, and photographs of sel ected artifacts are in Figure 3-21. Excavations first encountered a very thin root mat (Stratum Ia) across the entire unit. After 5-cm, this stratum gave way to Stratum II, a dense shell midden composed primarily of whole and crushed Viviparus, with some crushed Pomacea and bivalve occurring sporadically throughout. Throughout St ratum II small flecks of charcoal were noted in each level, as were occasional isolated, flat-lying c oncreted midden clasts, typically 1-2 cm thick. As seen in profile, Stratum II is approximately 40-cm thick in the east, and becomes gradually thinner to the west. This stratum was present in all levels. Starting in Level D it was desi gnated Zone A. Underlying St ratum II are Strata VII and VIII, culturally sterile sand. Stratum VII is a transitional lens composed of mixed matrices derived from the overlying Stra tum II and underlying Stratum VIII. It is characterized by gritty, partially concreted sa nd that contained occasional fragments of shell. Vertebrate fauna was recovered in low-dens ity in the vicinity of this Stratum (Level
72 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-20. Composite profile drawing a nd photographs of the South wall of Test Units 5, 6, and 7, 8VO215. Note: photographs are not to scale.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 73 Table 3-12. Stratigraphic Units of Test Units 5, 6, and 7, 8VO215. Stratum Max. Depth (cm BS) 1 Munsell Color Description Ia 42 10YR6/1 10YR2/2 Organically enriched fine sand; abundant palm roots and organic detritus Ib 60 10YR4/2 Organically enriched fine sand; moderate palm roots Ic 52 10YR3/2 Organically enriched fine sand with few roots II 78 10YR2/2 Abundant whole and crushed Viviparus some bivalve and Pomacea in greasy fine sand IIa 30 10YR4/1 Abundant whole and crushed Viviparus ; some Pomacea and bivalve; in TU7 west profile only IIb 16 10YR4/2 Abundant crushed Viviparus ; occasional crushed bivalve; significantly less sand in matrix than Stratum II; localized lens in TU7 south profile. III 40 10YR4/2 Silty fine sand with so me shell fragments and occasional fauna; appears intrusive in east, west, and south profiles in TU5; likely animal burrow IV 78 10YR4/1 Moderate amount of whole and crushed Viviparus bivalve and Pomacea in silty/loamy fine sandy matrix; significantly more sand in matrix than Stratum II IVa 58 10YR3/2 Moderate amount of crushed and whole Viviparus some bivalve and Pomacea in fine ashy sand; occasional concreted clasts IVb 68 10YR2/2 Moderate amount of crushed and whole Viviparus some bivalve and Pomacea in fine ashy sand; occasional concreted clasts IVc 78 10YR3/2 Moderate amount of crushed and whole Viviparus some bivalve and Pomacea in fine ashy sand; occasional concreted clasts; more silt than Strata IVa and IVb; present only in north profile. V 55 10YR4/2 Gritty fine sand, grit consis tent with Stratum VIIII (concreted sand); appears mostly devoid of shell and fauna; likely disturbance VI 50 10YR3/1 Loamy fine sand; no shell; localized zone below Stratum I in north profile of TU6 VII 82 10YR5/2 10YR5/3 Gritty fine sand; concreted and mottled; upper contact with Strata II and IV contains occa sional shell fragments; increasingly concreted with depth VIII 82+ 10YR7/1, 10YR5/1, 10YR5/4 Concreted gritty fine sand, highly mottled; root casts present throughout; contact with overlying shell strata contains cemented shell
74 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 3-13. Cultural Materials Reco vered from Test Unit 5, 8VO215. Ceramic Sherds Lithic Marine Shell Level St. Johns Crumb Flake Uniface Hafted Biface Frag. Tool Bone Tool Vertebrate Fauna (g) A 85.6 B 2 1 1 281.7 C 5 1 1 2 519.8 D 20.3 D Zone A 5 2 3 1 462.6 D Zone B 26.3 E Zone A 2 1 222.2 E Zone B 26.8 E Zone C 96.6 F Zone A 1 116.6 F Zone C 16.9 G Zone A 45.4 F Zone A). The base of the unit was composed of Stratum VIII, a fully concreted gritty fine sand with extensive mottling throughout. In profile Stratum VIII can be seen dipping from the east to west across the entire tr ench, and appears to be the original preinhabitation surface. In addition to intact stratigraphy, two disturbed zones were also evident. Stratum V is an amorphous, pit-like stratum encountered in the eastern half of the unit. The stratum was initially recognized at the base of Level C as a semi-circular patch of shellfree matrix below the shell midden. In successive layers it was treated as Zone B. The matrix was a gritty fine sand devoid of she ll, and is consistent with the underlying Stratum VIII sand. Given the stratigraphic superi ority of shell, it would appear that this disturbance occurred in antiquity. Stratum III re presents another disturbance. It was first recognized as a black organic mostly shell-fr ee matrix emerging from the southern profile at the base of Level C. In successive levels it was treated as Zone B. In profile it is evident as a biconvex lens. Pottery sherds we re recovered adjacent two, but not within this stratum. Similarly, vertebrate fauna was encountered only in low densities. This stratum is likely an animal burrow, given th e amorphous shape, the lack of artifacts, and the highly organic matrix. Excluding occasional finds, all material culture was restricted to Stratum II. Diagnostic St. Johns Plain sherds were recovered in Levels C and D (Table 3-13). Also recovered was a basally notched hafted biface, consistent with the Woodland period Hernando type (Figure 3-21g). Non-diagnosti c materials were recovered throughout. Vertebrate fauna occurred in moderate abundance throughout Stratum II, although there is a general trend towards decreasing vertebra te fauna with depth. Fragments of modified bone were found at higher elevations in th e stratum. This assemblage includes two polished medial fragments (F igure 3-21b, d), as well as a long-bone fragment with a circumferential incision at one end (Figure 3-21c). The marine shell assemblage
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 75 Figure 3-21. Selected artif acts from Node-5, 8VO215. ad, f. modified bone; e, k. modified marine shell; g-h. hafted biface; i. hammerstone ; j. St. Johns Check Stamped sherd.
76 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 contained a small fragment of unmodified she ll as well as a mostly intact portion a celt, likely manufactured from the lip of a Strombus sp. shell (Figure 3-21k). While fragmented, the base appears to be latera lly notched, likely for hafting purposes. The lithic assemblage consists of nine lithic waste flakes recovered in low densities, and a marginally modified flake. Test Unit 6 Test Unit 6 was situated within the depression between the two shell midden extensions. Three primary stratigraphic units were recognized during excavation, as guided by the profiles of previously excavat ed TU5 and TU7 profiles. Stratum I was present across the unit surface. As seen in Profil e, this stratum dips towards the center of the test unit where it is the thickest. Sub-divi sions (Strata Ia, Ib, Ic) were evident after excavation. These represent moderately well-d eveloped shell-free soil horizons situated above the Stratum II shell midden. A related soil horizon (Stratum VI) of organically enriched shell-free sand was observed in the north profile of TU6. Stratum II within TU6 was slightly darker and appeared to cont ain higher amounts of organic matter. The surface of this stratum had the appearance of a buried A horizon situated below the Stratum I sand. Excavation of TU6 also encoun tered Stratum VI, similarly situated above concreted basal sand. A relatively high density of material culture was recovered from TU6 despite the thin deposits (Table 3-14). St. Johns Plai n body and crumb sherds were recovered from all recognized strata. The highest density were recovered in the non-sh ell Stratum I, with occasional sherds recovered in Strata II an d VII. Three Orange fiber-tempered sherds were also recovered from Stratum II. Small marine shell fragments were similarly recovered throughout all strata. Vertebrate faunal remains peaked in density within Stratum II, but they were recovered in moderate density within Stratum I as well. Table 3-14. Cultural Materials Reco vered from Test Unit 6, 8VO215. Ceramic Sherds Stratum St. Johns Plain St. Johns Crumb Orange Plain Marine Shell Fragment Vertebrate Fauna (g) I 6 16 2 170 II 2 7 3 2 302.7 VII 2 4 1 42.3 Test Unit 7 Test Unit 7 was situated on the western arm of the shell extension from Node-5. Strata I and II continue unabated from the eastern component of the trench, and are superimposed over a lower sequence of shell midden designated Stratum IV. As seen in the west profile Test Unit 7 provided the deepest sequence within the trench, due in part to the original sloping te rrace surface (Figure 3-22).
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 77 Figure 3-22. Profile drawing and photograph of the West wall of Test Unit 7, 8VO215. Note: photograph is not to scale. As in TU5, excavations first encountered a thin root mat that gave way to Stratum II shell midden within Level A. Because of the significant slope of the surface deposits Stratum I was encountered as deep as Leve l D. Although not treated separately from Stratum II in the field, notes indicate that no material culture was derived from Stratum I. As excavation progressed, shell midden even tually expanded across the entire unit. Several sub-units of Stratum II were recogn ized at the contact of Stratum I and II. Stratum IIa is a localized lens in the west profile of TU7 composed primarily of whole and crush Viviparus with some Pomacea and bivalve throughout. In the southern half of the unit we also documented Stratum IIb, a ca. 10-cm thick lens dominated by crushed Viviparus shell and notably less sand in the matrix than Stratum II. This lens is reminiscent of other near-sur face shell deposits encountered particularly Stratum II in TU2. Beginning in Level D, ex cavators noticed an increas e in sand as well as a darkening of the matrix. This transition appr oximates the division between Stratum II and Stratum IV. As a major stratigraphic unit, Stratum IV is characterized by moderate density shell midden composed of crushed and whole Viviparus with bivalve and Pomacea occurring throughout. This midden is within a gray/brown ashy fine sand. Throughout these zones, small and large clas ts of concreted midden, between 5 and 10cm thick, were encountered (one is depicted within the southern pr ofile in Figure 3-20). After excavation of the trench was completed subtle divisi ons based on sand abundance
78 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 3-15. Cultural Materials Reco vered from Test Unit 7, 8VO215. Ceramic Sherds Lithic Marine Shell Level St. Johns Plain Orange Incised Crumb Flake Hafted Biface Frag. Tool Vertebrate Fauna (g) A 1 73.8 B 1 1 182.0 C 2 3* 1 272.4 D 8 428.9 E 1 1 2 148.7 F 140.2 G Zone A 1 1 82.8 G Zone B 34.2 *1 crumb Orange Plain, 2 St. Johns Plain and color were noted within Stratum IV. Th ese zones dip to both the south and west. Stratum IVa is the uppermost lens, and is ch aracterized by a dark grayish brown sand matrix approximately 10-cm thick. In profile th e surface of this stratum dips to the east, but it otherwise is lying flat. Between 50 and 60 cm BS, the ma trix graded into the very dark brown Stratum IVb. In the west profile we also recogn ized Stratum IVc, which is wholly contiguous with Stratum IVb. It is characterized by an increase in silt within the matrix, and is a slightly lighter dark grayish brown in color. Towards the base of TU7 in Level G (70 cm BS), excavators designate d two zones of shell midden. Zone A was described as a gray/brown shell midden and wa s located in the eastern two-thirds of the unit. Zone B was described as a shell midden w ith dark brown matrix, restricted to near the western profile. This division approxima tes the division between Stratum IVb (Zone A) and Stratum IVc (Zone B) noted in profile. Level G was excavated as a 20-cm cut, due to the presence of concreted basal sands at higher elevations in the east half of the unit. As seen in profile, the concreted basal Stratum VIII dips down to the west, a maximum of 82 cm BS. As in the rest of the trench, non-concreted mostly shell free sand (Stratum VII) was noted above concreted sand. Material culture was present throughout the TU7 shell strata. A total of 11 St. Johns Plain sherds were recovered, between depths of 20 and 60 cm BS. These were all noted to be lying flat within the matrix. On e St. Johns Plain sherd was also noted within the each of the Strata IVa a nd IVb column samples. Two Orange fiber-tempered sherds were also recovered, apparently out of their original stratig raphic context. A portion of a heavily eroded Orange Incised rim sherd was recovered at the base of Level B, and one fiber-tempered crumb sherd was recovered from the shell matrix within Level C. Both were likely derived from Stratum IIa. The lithic assemblage from TU7 included one hafted biface found at 24 cm BS, in additi on to two flakes found in lower levels. The hafted biface is characterized by high-angle corner-notching and a slightly incurvate basal stem. The form is reminiscent of Bulle ns Ocala type, thought to date to the St. Johns period.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 79 Test Unit 8 Approximately 20 m to the southeast of the trench is a slight depression that forms the boundary between areas A and B within Node-5. Test Unit 8 was situated partially within this depression, and roughly aligned with grid-north (Figure 3-19). The goal of testing TU8 was to document thick de posits in the interior of the shell node. Although there are higher deposits to the so uth and north these were covered with impenetrable vegetation. The surface of TU8 ranged between 7.92 m in the north and 7.65 m resulting in a significant sl ope trending down to the south. Test Unit 8 was excavated to a maximu m depth of 136 cm BS. The unit exposed a bipartite sequence composed of mostly intact ca. 70 cm-thick shell midden above 60 cm of low density shell and shell-free midden. Wh ile the relationship between shell and sand dominated matrices is convoluted in the north and west profiles, a relatively uncomplicated sequence is apparent in the east and south profile s (Figure 3-23). The complexity apparent in the north/west portion of the unit represents a localized disturbance in the unit. Othe rwise, at least one largely intact ethnostratigraphic unit dating to the St. Johns period was identified based on diagnostic sherds. A preceramic Archaic component may also be present. A composite profile drawing and photograph are presented in Figure 3-23, with stratigraphi c descriptions presen ted in Table 3-16. Tabulations of recovered material culture by level are presente d in Table 3-17, and photos of select material culture are presented in Figure 3-21. The first three levels within TU8 we re wedge-shaped, and did not expose the entire unit because of the slope of the surf ace. These levels cross cut an overlying root mat (Stratum I) and lower shell midden (Stratum II) that can be seen dipping to the south in profile. Stratum I is a shallow A horizon characterized by gray organically enriched fine sand with abundant roots and organic de tritus. Subdivisions between upper ( Stratum Ia) and lower ( Stratum Ib) components of this stratigraphic unit were based largely on color and not composition. Although both shell a nd non-shell matrices were excavated in Levels A-C, they were not treated separate ly as zones. Excavation notes, including pieceplot data, indicate that all pr ehistoric artifacts were recove red from within shell midden. However, one metal fitted pipe fragment wa s recovered near the surface from Stratum I in Level C. By 35 cm BS within Level D, excavation had gone below Stratum I. A total of 25 metal fragments, including tin, wire nails, and a .22 caliber bullet casing were recovered from Stratum I at this depth. Shell midden associated with Stratum II was initially encountered within Level A. As seen in profile, the surface of this deposit dips down to the south. Excluding a disturbance in the north end of TU8, the base of Stratum II lies relatively flat above a mostly shell-free sand matrix (Stratum IIIa). Beginning with Level D, Stratum II was treated as Zone A. As a major stratigraphic unit, Stratum II is characterized by abundant whole Viviparus with trace amounts of Pomacea and bivalve shell in a sand matrix. The upper Stratum IIa contains a sm all amount of sand, wh ile the lower Stratum IIb midden is characterized by a higher freque ncy of minority shell species and a sand matrix that is
80 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-23. Composite profil e drawing and photographs of Test Unit 8, 8 VO215. Note: photographs are not to scale.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 81 Table 3-16. Stratigraphic Un its of Test Unit 8, 8VO215. Stratum Max. Depth (cm BS) 1 Munsell Color Description I 35 10YR4/1 Organically enriched fine sand; abundant roots and detritus Ia 30 10YR4/1 Organically enriched fine sand; abundant roots and detritus Ib 35 10YR3/1 Organically enriched fine sand; abundant roots and detritus IIa 60 10YR2/1 Abundant mostly whole Viviparus trace amounts of Pomacea and bivalve; fine loamy sand in matrix IIb 70 10YR3/1 Whole and Viviparus and a lesser amount of whole Pomacea and bivalve; ashy gray fine sand in matrix IIIa 90 10YR4/1 Fine loamy sand; trace amounts of shell IIIb 98 10YR4/2 Partially concreted gritty sand; trace amounts of crushed shell IIIc 105 10YR5/1 Coarse sand, rare shell IV 136+ 10YR5/2 Partially concreted gritty sand; no shell V 88 10YR3/1 Crushed and whole Viviparus and Pomacea in fine loamy sand; possible intrusive disturbance in north profile VI 75 10YR5/1 Silty fine sand; trace amount s of crushed shell; possible intrusive disturbance in north profile 1maximum depth in west profile below surface at northwest corner (N734.36 E1122.20 7.92 m) Table 3-17. Cultural Materials Reco vered from Test Unit 8, 8VO215. St. Johns Sherds Lithics Marine Shell Level Plain Check Stamped Crumb Flake GroundStone Frag. Tool Bone tool Vertebrate Fauna (g) Metal A 10 1 4 1 284.4 B 3 9 314.0 C 4 17 1 782.8 1 D 3 1 D Zone A 37 1 45 1 5 1115.1 25 D Zone B 5.8 E Zone A 48 18 3 1231.0 E Zone B 42.2 FZone A 2 1 1 228.2 F Zone B 1 31.3 G Zone A 1 153.3 G Zone B 24.3 H Zone C 231.9 I Zone C 53.7 L Zone C 10.6 M Zone C 3.6
82 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 darker and more abundant. St. Johns potte ry was recovered throughout Stratum II, typically lying flat in clusters of two or three sherds. Vert ebrate fauna was recovered in very high densities. No macrostratigraphic divisions w ithin Stratum II were observed during excavation. However, excavators noted occasio nal discontinuous lenses composed either of crushed shell or charcoal matter. Lenses of crushed shell are almo st entirely restricted to the contact between Stratum IIa and th e near-surface Stratum I (Figure 3-23). The tendency for crushed shell to be present near surface is consistent with other test units at 8VO215. Charcoal lenses were seen throughou t Stratum II. One of the more discrete charcoal concentrations was designated Featur e 1 at a depth of 54 cm BS. In plan, this feature was an elongated oval, approximately 49-cm long and 38-cm wide (Figure 3-24). In cross-section the feature is a 7-cm deep depression. Th e core of the feature is composed of highly organic sediment with cl asts of charcoal throughout. Underneath the feature there are darker shell and sand ma trices, likely resulting from the downward movement of particulate orga nics. There was no evidence fo r thermal alteration, and this features appears to be a localized lens possibly relating to refuse disposal. Excavators also encountered a coarse and gritty gray sand matrix with rare shell fragments in the north half of the unit in Level D. This was designated Zone B and excavated separately from the shell midden. As excavation proceeded, this section of TU8 remained largely shell free. At times la rge clasts of concreted and semi-concreted gray sand was also encountered. In comparison with the Zone A shell midden, Zone B yielded considerably low dens ities of vertebrate fauna, and no material culture was recovered (Table 3-17). Dense shell midden disappeared near the base of Level G, thereafter all matrix was treated as Zone C, a gray/brown sand containing low densities of shell, and which was occasionally concreted in lenses. Vertebrate fauna was most dense within Level H, and dropped off to only a few fragments after that. At elevations between 30 and 70 cm BS, Zone B represents a number of related strata that are likely disturbed. As seen in the northwest corner of TU8, this elevation range corresponds with Strata II Ic, V, and VI (Figure 3-23). Stratum IIIc is a coarse gray sand lacking shell. Excluding a plume that ex tended upwards in the north profile, Stratum IIIc is primarily restricted to lower elevations. In contrast, both Strata V and VI are fine loamy sand with variable amounts of Viviparus and Pomacea present. These appear to be derived from higher elevation, as they are found intercalated with Stratum IIIa, a fine loamy sand with trace amounts of shell, as we ll as small and large clasts of concreted gray sand apparently derived from Stratu m IIIb, a partially concreted gritty sand. Below 70 cm BS, the profiles of TU8 appear to be largely intact. Stratum IIIa, present in the west profile, is a low-dens ity shell midden situated below the dense Stratum II midden and above concreted and par tially concreted gritty sand. Based on the lack of ceramics, and the different midden composition, this may represent an earlier aceramic component. Below this stratum, she ll and bone density dropped off significantly although not entirely. Excavation was ceased in Level G due to the near-complete cementation of Stratum IV.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 83 Figure 3-24. Plan map, cross-section drawing and photograph of Featur e 1 in Test Unit 8, 8VO215. Out of all test units excavated in 2005, TU8 yielde d the highest density of material culture. Diagnostic St. Johns Plain sherds dominated the pottery assemblage, with a total of 107 sherds recovered from Le vels A through F. Additionally, two St. Johns Check Stamped sherds were recovered at highe r elevations (Figure 3-21j). Together these indicate at least a St. Johns II culture-historical associat ion for the Stratum II shell midden. The lack of St. Johns Check Stamped sh erds at lower depths suggests a St. Johns I affiliation, although without radiocarbon assays this can not presen tly be determined. Non-pottery objects were recovered throughout this ethnostratigraphic zone. The lithic assemblage included three lithic waste flakes in addition to a sandstone hammerstone that may have been burned (Figure 3-21i). Mari ne shell was recovered at lower depths, including four fragments of whelk shell as well as a bitted siphonal canal fragment (Figure 3-21e). The bone tool assemblage contains four distal and medial elongated polished bone fragments, as well as a bone tool that may be socketed (Figure 3-21f). Finally, vertebrate fauna was recovered in ve ry high densities th roughout levels that intersected Stratum II. Level D and E yielde d the highest density by weight, with lower densities occurring throughout. As noted before, the presence of moderate bone density in association with shell midden lacking pottery in Levels G through I suggest the presence of an earlier, aceramic component. There is currently not enough information to verify this possibility.
84 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Summary Four test units emplaced within Areas A and B in Node-5 demonstrate that it is principally shell midden deposited during the St. Johns I period. Excav ation of the trench failed to find clear evidence for either exte nsive disturbances or, alternatively, domestic architecture associated w ith the shell midden extensions and depression. Localized disturbances along the northern margin of the depression are evidenced by animal burrows and Orange pottery at the top of th e sequence. However, the presence of welldeveloped soil horizons above th e pottery suggests that the disturbances occurred well before Hontoon Island was cleared for Orange groves. Profiles expos ed in the western component of the trench are likely the most telling of the depositional activities involved. Here shell midden was emplaced, apparently in several depositional episodes, to extend the upslope midden. In profile shell midden dips both down to the west and north, suggesting deposition occurred from near the top of Area A. This sequence is different from other nodes in that Node-5 is has a wide summit. It may be that any residential structures were emplaced on top of the apex, and not adjacent to the node as is likely the case in Nodes 1, 2, and possibly 3. Alternatively, su ch features, if they exist at all, may be present in the non-shell upslope component of the terrace where shovel testing during 2001 recovered St. Johns sherds. Testing betw een the apexes in TU8 failed to identify any clear evidence for habitation features such as differentiated shell strata, post holes or pit features. Those features identified were apparently small di scontinuous lenses of charcoal or crushed shell. Finally, a precerami c component may be present at the base of Node-5 as suggested by low density shell below the concreted sand zone. Radiocarbon determinations may help resolve this issue in the future. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS The collective methods employed during th e 2005 field season demonstrated that the Hontoon Dead Creek Village site is composed of discrete shell deposits registering nearly 7000 years of repeated inhabitation, spanning the Mount Tayl or, Orange, and St. Johns periods. In terms of size and apparent significance, the Hontoon Dead Creek Village is at first glance dwarfed by the adjacent mound (Table 3-18). The seemingly mundane character of deposits within the confines of 8VO215 are overshadowed by the sheer cumulative quantity of shell and imp lied ceremonial significance of large scale activities at the Hont oon Dead Creek Mound. However, th e field schools investigations of 8VO215 brought to light numerous data on th e long-term history of domestic activities proximate the mound. In tandem with geomor phic and hydrological data, these details provide an opportunity to examine the social and ecological contexts surrounding the origins, construction, and subsequent abandonment of Mount Taylor ceremonial spaces that have heretofore gone uninve stigated within the region. While a full treatment of the significance of such pattern ing will have to wait for another monograph, a few key patterns evident at 8VO215 will be discussed. Disregarding intrasite temporal pa tterning, the shell nodes at 8VO215 share several characteristics in structure and placemen t. Comparative metric data on shell nodes
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 85 Table 3-18. Comparison of the Size, Spacing, and Culture-Historical Associations of Discrete Shell Deposits at 8VO214 and 8VO215. Shell Node 8VO214 1 2 3 4 5 Minimum Elevation (m)a 6.17 6.87 6.80 6.65 6.86 6.67 Maximum Elevation (m) a 12.21 7.37 7.78 7.96 7.82 8.25 Thickness (m) b 7.34 0.40 0.60 0.50 0.20 1.0 Length (m) 155 14 25 38 46 50 Width (m) 60 8 18 30 22 41 Area (m2) 6607 90 342 669 883 1594 Volume (m3) c 12495.60 9.46 74.92 74.30 264.65 484.71 Distance to Previous (m) d N/A 50 27 50 57 45 Distance from Mound (m) N/A 16 43 93 150 195 Culture-Historical Association e MT/O?/SJ? MT MT O/MT? O MT?/O/SJI/SJII a measured surface elevation b based on test unit data c minimum estimate based on core and test unit data d distance to nearest northern node center e MT=Mount Taylor, O=Orange, SJ=St. Johns, SJI=St. Johns I, SJII=St. Johns II are presented in Table 3-18. The wester n, swamp-facing aspects of nodes are characterized by low-density shell along the slope, indicative of di sposal activities oriented preferentially towards the water, and away from other upslope components. Shell nodes all terminate on the western edge at elevations between 6.65 m and 6.8 m above datum, and there is only limited evidence for deposition within the swamp itself. In most cases, the northern and southern margins were diffuse, with little evidence for an organized use of space. The eastern, upslope components are defined by abrupt topographic relief and a discontinuation of shell-midden. Shell was routinely deposited on the gently sloping terrace edge which was visi ble at the base of most test units. In each case the net affect was to create a linear or dome-shaped ridge of higher ground, and in some cases may have provided a foundation fo r architectural features. Finally, shell nodes are roughly equally spaced at interval s between 27 and 57 m, measured between the geographic center (centroid) of each node Taken together, the shell nodes likely represent discrete habitation localities differen tiated into multiple, prepared activity areas. While no architectural features such as postholes were forthcoming, the totality of the evidence points towards shell nodes representing organized resi dential compounds of unknown duration. Despite similarities in structural elements, a much more complex perspective on the long-term history of inhabitation emer ges when the shell node s are considered in spatial and temporal contexts. Illustrated in Figure 3-25 are two cro ss-sectional profiles of sites 8VO214 and 8VO215 with the distri bution of culture-historical components detailed at the bottom of the figure. Th e upper profile depicts the surface topography,
86 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 3-25. Cross-Sectional pr ofiles of the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound (8VO 214) and Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215), showing the temporal and spatial relationship of terrestrial and saturated shell midden. Elevation data is derived from the topographic survey, while the distribution of subsurface midden is derived from bucket augers.
Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) 87 with the presence of near-sur face shell deposits shown. As has been detailed in this report, elevated surface topography is the result of shell deposition. Also depicted in the lower profile are the swamp surface and subs urface stratigraphy. Most notable here is saturated shell midden fronti ng the Hontoon Dead Creek M ound and radiocarbon dated to 7150-6710 Cal BP. The midden is thickest in fr ont of the mound, and trails off to the north and south. More importantly, the cont act with the underlying sand can be seen dipping in front of the mound, a nd increasing in elevation to the north and south. Muck deposits are again thicke st in front of the mound, and thinne st in the north and south. This pattern likely reflects an in-filled channel or lagoon. It is unknown if midden deposition was subaqueous. Regardless, th is body of water appears to have been active only during the Mount Taylor period. Several time-transgressive trends emerge when taking the positioning of shell nodes in association with the mound and now-inundated lagoon into consideration. In terms of surface shell deposits, from north to south (notably away from Hontoon Dead Creek Mound), shell nodes become greater in size and generally you nger in age. Size differences through time are evident in both the aerial extent and total estimated volume of shell contained within each of the nodes (Tab le 3-18). These trends point to significant transformations in the scale and stru cture of inhabitati on through time. Mount Taylor period components were identified throughout 8VO214. Excluding saturated midden, all deposits documented by the field school in 2004 were likely ceremonial, deposited as relatively clean shell and lacking evidence for domestic activities. However, the field school did not penetrate the core of the mound. As identified at the Harris Cr eek site, domestic shell depos its were found beneath a later preceramic mortuary (Aten 1999). Similarly, at Hontoon Island North the field school identified preceramic Archaic domestic deposit s at the base of the mound (Sassaman et al. 2005). It is thus highly lik ely that such domestic deposits remain beneath the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. Exposed Mount Taylor de posits were documented in Node-1 and Node-2. These localities are the most spatially restricted and contain the lowest total volume of shell. Radiocarbon dates currently pl ace these deposits seve ral centuries apart. However, samples were taken from the basal portion of Node-1 and the surface of Node2. Suspected preceramic deposits may also be present in Node-3 and Node-5. The available data the earliest inhabitation occu rred during the Mount Taylor period, coeval with the basal component of the mound an d apparently predating the ceremonial construction of the mound. As suggested by th e shell-free, charcoal and bone dominated superficial stratum at Node-1, this local ma y have been reused as an area for large thermal events associated with the mound. Desp ite this time-transgressive spatial trend towards later, larger deposits to the south, there is at least circumstantial evidence for Mount Taylor middens at the base of both N ode-4 and Node-5. Future work is necessary to determine if these are truly preceramic deposits, and more importantly, if they were inhabited contemporaneously or serially. In contrast with the preceding precer amic inhabitation, Orange and St. Johns occupations shifted southward away fr om the lagoon and mound. Orange period components were restricted to Node-3, N ode-4, and Node-5. Successive depositional
88 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 episodes during the later Ora nge occurred at least 100 m away from the mound, and appear reoriented towards the swamp a nd nearby Snake Creek, although where Snake Creek flowed over the course of several millennia is unknown. Regardless, like the preceding Mount Taylor use of space, Oran ge inhabitation was distributed across multiple locales. Notably, these nodes are spaced at roughly 50 m intervals. However, upslope shell pits may reflect a change in the way in which domestic locations were organized. Orange period activities apparently did not involve the mound, suggesting the preexisting monument was largel y avoided or abandoned. This pattern is replicated at many, although not all, preceramic she ll ridges elsewhere in the region. In contrast to the widespread Archai c occupations, St. Johns inhabitation was largely restricted to the southern edge of th e terrace in Node-5. From this perspective, the St. Johns period deposits within Node-5 are the most spatially restricted and isolated on the landform. What this pattern represents is poorly understood. As s uggested earlier, the St. Johns focus on Snake Creek provides circumstantial evidence that the lagoon fronting the mound (in addition to Node-1 and Node-2) ha d either filled in or decreased in overall productivity. Alternatively, th e large shell dome created by St. Johns inhabitants may reflect a fundamental shift in the way domestic spaces were organized. More comparative research from St. Johns middens elsewhere is necessary to verify this possibility. Finally, there is some limited evidence for a resu rgence in mound-top ceremonies. Sassaman recovered three St. Johns sherds in surface contexts from site 8VO214 (2005:89). Additionally, Wyman (1875:27) not ed the presence of human bone within near-surface deposits on top of the mound. Based on comparisons with other similarly configured shell ridges, notably Live Oak Mound (8VO41), th e apex of the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound may be a St. Johns mortuary. The small body of evidence for St. Johns activities at the mound pales in comparison to the density of debris present within Node-5. While it may be that a St. Johns mortuary is present atop 8VO214, this has yet to be verified.
89 CHAPTER 4 RECONNAISSANCE SURVEY Asa R. Randall and Neill J. Wallis As in previous seasons, a shovel test r econnaissance survey was conducted on Hontoon Island by the 2005 field school. Me thods were designed to iden tify archaeological sites, finalize the boundaries of site s tested during the 2004 field season, and provide training for students in reconnaissance technique s. The survey resulted in the final characterization of two s ites, Indian Mound Trail (8 VO7493) and Hontoon Hammock (8VO8312), and identified four isolated archaeo logical deposits. This chapter provides a summary of previous reconnaissance work on Hontoon Island, and details the survey methodology and results. PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS Prior to the 2005 field season, a total of 10 archaeological sites had been identified on Hontoon Island (Figure 4-1): sites 8VO202, 8VO214, 8VO215, 8VO216, 8VO7493, 8VO7494, 8VO8312, 8VO8313, 8VO 8314, 8VO8315. Another two sites (8VO182, 8VO183) are listed in the Florida Master Site Files (FMSF), although they have never been located. K nowledge of sites on Hontoon Island is derived from three sources: Jeffries Wyman, Barbara Purdy and coll eagues, and four fiel d seasons of the St. Johns Archaeological Field School. Jeffries Wyman (1875:26-31) described two s hell fields in addition to two shell mounds. The shell fields, located on the southe rn and southwestern aspect of the island, were later designated sites 8VO215 and 8VO216 in the FMSF. The shell mound on the southwestern aspect of the Island is designated 8VO214, the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound, and the northern mound complex is designated 8VO202, Hontoon Island North. In addition, two sand and shell mounds (8 VO182, 8VO183) are recorded in the FMSF. The location of these two mounds is unknown. Th e FMSF site GIS layer has at least one of these mounds placed in the low-lying cypress swamp to the west of site 8VO202. Wyman, in his description of site 8VO202, not ed that two conical mounds were present directly to the south of the apex of the main ridge at s ite 8VO202. These are likely the mounds to which the FMSF refers, and are no longer evident as surface features (Sassaman et al. 2005). During the early 1980s, Bruce Nodine and Ray McGee performed a surface survey of the island concurrent with excavat ions at site 8VO202. They located two shellbearing sites, one on the eastern margin and one to the south. These were denoted on a map of Hontoon Island published by Purdy (1 991:Figure 35). No FMSF survey log was filed, and no details of these investigations were published. During the 2000 and 2001 St. Johns Arch aeological Field School seasons, reconnaissance focused on testi ng site-discovery transects, relocating sites documented in
90 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 4-1. Results of 2005 shovel test reconnaissance su rvey on Hontoon Island State Park. Elevation data derived from Volusi a County Public Works Department DEM.
Reconnaissance Survey 91 the FMSF, and refining the boundaries of known sites (Endonino 2003b). Four sitediscovery transects were tested across the inte rior of the island, with one intersecting an interior wetland. No sites were located in the interior of the island, and two sites were located on the west and east margins (s ites 8VO7493 and 8VO7494, respectively). The field school also relocated two previously documented sites. The Hontoon Dead Creek Village site (8VO215) was provisionally bounde d. Two transects were tested along the southern margin of site 8VO202, resulti ng in an expansion of known deposits. The results of this prior work were the ba sis for a shift in surv ey strategies during the 2003-2004 St. Johns Archaeological Field School seasons (Randall and Hallman 2005). Based on the distribution of known arch aeological sites and random transects, several patterns became evident. The four tr ansects excavated across the island indicated that the probability of locating sites in the interior is low, although a full-coverage survey would be required to verify this pattern, part icularly around interior wetlands. In contrast, all known sites were adjacent to wetland s around the perimeter of the island. Collectively, these surveys indicated that there was great potential for discovering archaeological deposits along the margins of th e island. On this basis, the field school initiated a testing strategy that targeted th e intersection of the wetlands and upland slopes along the periphery of the island. Survey along contiguous transects on the eastern, southern, and western aspects of Hont oon Island identified four sites (8VO8312, 8VO8313, 8VO314, 8VO8315), relocated site 8VO216, and expanded the boundaries of site 8VO7493. All terrestrial components of sites except for 8VO7493, 8VO8312, and 8VO8315 were bounded with negative shovel tests. SURVEY SCOPE AND METHODS For managerial and research purposes, the identification of new sites along the untested northern periphery of the island and the final characterization of previously recorded sites 8VO7493 and 8VO8312 were given priority during the 2005 season. Site 8VO8315 was excluded because of prohib itively dense ground cover. Following the research strategy establishe d in the 2000-2001 Field School, 30 x 30-cm shovel test pits (hereafter STP) were excavated along transe cts at 30-m intervals. Positive STPs were cruciformed at 10-m intervals. That is, wh en a STP encountered archaeological deposits, at least four site definitional STPs were test ed at 10-m intervals in cardinal directions until at least one negative STP was recorded. Excluded from testi ng were wetland areas that were saturated, leaving the interface be tween terrestrial and wetland components unbounded. Site discovery transects targeted the nor thern periphery of the island, following protocols established during the 2003-4 field seasons. This region is approximately 0.5 to 1.5 m in elevation above mean sea level. In the field, the elevation interval is characterized by a mixed hardwood/hydric ha mmock. It is bounded on the landward side by pine, saw palmetto, and low lying shrub a nd grasses. To the west and north this interval is adjacent to cypr ess swamp and open water. STPs were located approximately half way between the upland and lowland vegetation. Two contiguous transects were executed: TIN and T1J (Figure 4-1). Transect T1N was an extension of transect T1W,
92 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 surveyed along the western margin of the island during the 2004 fi eld season. Transect T1N extended from north of site 8VO7493 to the start point of Transect T1E, approximately 220 meters north of site 8VO7494. Transect T1J was a judgmental transect tested in the northern aspect of the island, near the current campground. Field crews also bounded 8VO7493 and 8VO8312 with negative STPs. Each four-person crew was split into tw o-person teams for digging and screening. Before an STP was started, the STP designation3 was recorded as was the azimuth and distance to the previous STP. In addition, a Garmin ETREX handheld GPS receiver was used to record the UTM location of each pos itive STP. The ETREX yielded a horizontal accuracy between 5 and 10 m. Taken together field maps based on the distance and direction data from the field were combined with the GPS data to georeference the transects and STPs. During excavation, all material was pa ssed through 1/4-inch hardware cloth shaker screens. Excluding freshwater shellfis h remains, all artifacts and vertebrate fauna were kept from each STP. In most cases, STPs were terminated at the depth of a meter. In some cases, STPs were terminated early due to obstructions such as concreted shell midden, water, clay, or roots. In the case of th e latter, attempts were made to offset the test pit laterally. After excavation, the strati graphic profile was reco rded. When possible, notes were made as to the depth and stratig raphic association of r ecovered materials. SURVEY RESULTS During the 2005 season, 215 STPs were co mpleted, 60 of which were positive. The field school located four isolated archaeological occurrences. These were single positive shovel tests that yielded shell mi dden, but extended less th an 20 m in maximum horizontal extent. The boundaries of site s 8VO7493 and 8VO8312 were finalized, excluding wetland deposits to the west or east respectively. Indian Mound Trail (8VO7493) The Indian Mound Trail site (8VO7493) is located immediately to the north of the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound (8VO214). It is situated within the hydric hammock 3 Each STP was given a unique identifier, based on the transect and kind of STP it is. All STPs excavated within a primary transect were given a serial number starting with 1. Site-defin itional STPs (hereafter SD) were given numbers in a sequence regardless of the transect, but retain the primary transect designation. For example, T1ESTP41 in dicates the 41st STP excavated on the T1E transect. However, T1ESD41 designates the 41st site definitional STP excavated, which is associated with a T1E STP. SD numbers are independent of the original transect, su ch that there could only be a T1ESD41 or a T1WSD41. In contrast, STPs could be designated as either T1ESTP41 or T1WSTP41 because the numbering sequence restarted at the beginning for primary survey STPs. During th e 2003 season site-definitional STPs were initially designated using multiples of 100 (200, 300, etc.), and in some cases the numbers started at 5000. These high numbers do not imply that 5000 STPs were excavated, but were a way of maintaining unique designations in the field. A few STPs were given duplicate designations in the field. These were later amended by appending an A to the newer STPs.
Reconnaissance Survey 93 adjacent to wetlands and Hontoon Dead Cree k, and extends into the mixed hardwood hammock to the east. As the name suggests, the site lies in proximity to a maintained trail between park headquarters and the mound. The s ite was first identified on the last day of the 2001 field school season. At the time, the site was known through three positive STPs (Endonino 2003b). During the 2004 season, the site boundaries were expanded with a total of 44 STPs, 32 of which encountered anthropogenic deposits (Randall and Hallman 2005). These were excavated along the T1W site -discovery transect. The site boundaries were extended to 450-m long and 125-m wide Shell midden was found to be distributed unevenly across the site, clustering in the then -defined southern and northern aspects. Material culture was found in both shell and non-shell midden deposits, suggesting the presence of multiple activities areas within the sites boundaries. Material culture also demonstrated that the site was multi-com ponent. A Preceramic Archaic component was confirmed by the presence of hafted biface fragments consistent with the Newnan type, while Orange and St. Johns components were demonstrated by the presence of diagnostic ceramic sherds. Based on the distribution a nd ubiquity of diagnostic artifacts, however, the site was interpreted as primarily preceramic Archaic in age, with limited later occupation (Randall and Hallman 2005). The results of the field schools 2005 seas on replicated many patterns identified in previous work (Figure 4-2). Field crews first bounded positive T1W STPs, and then continued testing north along th e T1N site-discovery transect A total of 101 STPs were tested within the vicinity of the site, and 50 encountered anth ropogenic deposits. Crews also performed a limited surface survey, and inve stigated several tree-throws that resulted from the active 2004 hurricane season. Only one tree throw yielde d shell midden (near T1N-SD175), which replicated the results of that STP. Surface survey failed to find any clear surface features like those documented at site 8VO 215, implying much of the sites anthropogenic deposits are subsurface. Fina lly, a limited survey of the Hontoon Dead Creek shoreline suggests that the creek has pa rtially eroded the central western edge of the site. Although shell deposits were rarely seen eroding out of this bank, the occasional small pottery sherd found within the creek bed suggests that some erosion has occurred in the past. Based on these results, th e site boundaries were e xpanded to 170-m wide in maximum east-west extent and 720-m long covering 11.3 acres (4.6 hectares). Anthropogenic shell midden deposits were identified adjacent to the wetlands and Hontoon Dead Creek, extending between 50 and 80 meters to the east. Because of both high water levels and the presence of conc reted shell midden, many of these STPs could not be excavated to maximum depth. Cons equently, it is unknown whether there are significant differences in midden thickness acr oss the site. Where STPs were excavated to maximum depths, shell midden deposits we re generally 20-50 cm thick and variously composed of Viviparus Pomacea and bivalve shell. Some STPs encountered concreted shell midden below 70-80 cm BS, which suggest s some burning of deposits occurred in the past. A typical STP in shell midden yiel ded the following stratigraphic profile: 0-10 cm below surface (hereafter cm BS) dark or ganic humus; 10-50 cm BS gray fine sand; 50-100 cm BS shell midden; 100+ cm BS gray/b rown fine sand with mineral concretions.
94 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Figure 4-2. Results of shovel test reconnaissance survey at the Indian Mound Trail site, 8VO7493. Elevation data derived from Volusi a County Public Works Department DEM.
Reconnaissance Survey 95 Table 4-1: Cultural Materials Recovered fr om Shovel Test Pits at the Indian Mound Trail Site, 8VO7493. Ceramic Sherds Transect STP # Orange Plain St. Johns Plain Crumb Lithic Tool Lithic Flake Paleofeces Modified Bone Vertebrate Wt. (g) T1W SD-113 8.6 T1W SD-116 1 T1W SD-119 4.2 T1W SD-120 81.6 T1W SD-121 1 4 3 3 3 83.3 T1W SD-122 1 83.1 T1W SD-123 1 T1W SD-127 1 3 3 3.4 T1W SD-128 4 T1W SD-134 1 1.7 T1W SD-141 1 T1W SD-142 0.3 T1W SD-143 1 T1W SD-144 1 14.3 T1W SD-148 7 98.2 T1W SD-150 12.7 T1W SD-151 13.4 T1W SD-154 1 T1W SD-161 14.3 T1W SD-162 1 T1W SD-163 6 T1W SD-165 5 T1W SD-167 1 T1N STP-1 21.5 T1N STP-2 25.3 T1N STP-3 3 144.9 T1N STP-4 3.1 T1N STP-5 1 2 81.9 T1N STP-6 11.2 T1N STP-7 33.6 T1N STP-8 13.6 T1N STP-9 2 8.7 T1N STP-12 2.4 T1N STP-13 0.2 T1N STP-14 1 T1N STP-26 5.4 T1N STP-30 0.4 T1N STP-34 1 T1N SD-152 1.2 T1N SD-168 1 T1N SD-171 4 108.6 T1N SD-172 1 23.7 T1N SD-174 1 1 148.0
96 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 4-1: (continued). Ceramic Sherds Transect STP # Orange Plain St. Johns Plain Crumb Lithic Tool Lithic Flake Paleofeces Modified Bone Vertebrate Wt. (g) T1N SD-175 4.0 T1N SD-178 1 T1N SD-180 0.1 T1N SD-183 1 T1N SD-186 110.3 T1N SD-187 58.7 T1N SD-188 32.2 T1N SD-190 35.5 T1N SD-194 21.4 In addition to shell, such deposits frequently yielded vertebrate faunal bone, and the occasional artifact. Anthropogenic non-shell midden was also identified within the boundaries of the site. With few exceptions such deposits were re stricted to higher elevations in the eastern aspect of the site A typical STP in nonshell midden yielded the following stratigraphic profile: 0-15 cm BS dark organic hu mus; 15-40 cm BS light gray sand; 40-60 cm BS dark brown sand; 60-100 cm BS dark brown sand. Anthropogenic inclusions such as vertebrate faunal bone a nd artifacts appear to have come from the lower 50 cm of most STPs. Isolated human cranial fragments were in cidentally recovered from one location, T1N-SD174. These were not recognized duri ng excavation, and were bagged with other materials recovered from the test pit. It was only during cataloging back in the lab that they were identified. The stratigraphic profile for this test unit was as follows: 0-40 cm BS light gray sand; 40-68 cm BS gray sand. No shell was encountered w ithin this test pit. The base of a what is likely an Archaic hafted biface (Figure 4-3b) was recovered in addition to vertebrate faunal rema ins and a lithic waste flake. Analysis of material culture from site 8VO7493 similarly replicated the 2004 seasons results, which yielded bon e tools, lithic flakes and t ools, prehistoric pottery, and vertebrate faunal bone fragme nts. The 2005 season results by shovel test are listed in Table 4-1. In general, the site is characte rized by assemblages of diverse materials, suggesting of a wide range of activities occu rred on-site. The most frequently recovered class of non-temporally diagnostic material was vertebrate faunal bone, followed by lithic debitage, paleofeces fragments, a modified fl ake, and modified bone. In total, 1100 grams of bone were recovered from 34 STPs. Most STPs were relatively low density, and yielded less than 30 grams of bone. Nine STPs were very dense, containing as much as 144 grams of bone. Six paleofeces fragments were recovered from two nearby shovel tests. Because these were fragmentary, it is unknown if these are human derived or from another mammal. A total of 51 lithic flakes was recovered from across the surveyed area, either as isolated finds or in low densities. A single modified flake was recovered (Figure
Reconnaissance Survey 97 Figure 4-3. Artifacts recovered from the Indian Mound Trail site (8VO7493): (a-b) hafted biface base, (c) modified flake, (d) modified bone, (e) possibly modified shark tooth. 4-3c). This flake has at least two edges with numerous micro-scars, suggesting it served as a tool, likely for an expedient task. A si ngle modified bone tool was recovered (Figure 4-3d). It was manufactured from a mammal bo ne, although the surf ace is too heavily altered to further identify th e taxa. The surface of the bone has been smoothed through scraping and possibly grinding. The proximal e nd of the tool is characterized by an irregular fracture plane. The di stal end of the tool is pointed, and appears to be polished. Also recovered were two shark teeth, which ar e traditionally thought to have been used as wood working tools (Wheeler et al. 2000:148). The basal porti on of one tooth is heavily eroded, but may have been m odified (Figure 4-3e). Temporally diagnostic artifacts were rela tively rare, but provide further evidence for multiple components at the site. Two ha fted biface stemmed bases were recovered from different shovel tests (Figure 4-3a,b). These appear to have resulted from snapping at the intersection of the tool and the haft. It is difficult to determine which hafted biface type these represent. However, they are si milar in shape and c onstruction with MiddleLate Archaic stemmed varietie s typical of the Preceramic Archaic period. Pottery sherds are equally rare. Two plain Orange fiber-tempe red sherds were recovered from two STPs,
98 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 in addition to highly fragmentary fiber-tempered crumb sherds recovered from the same STPs. St. Johns plain sherds we re restricted to a single STP. Taking the results of all s easons into consideration, so me preliminary conclusions can be made about the structure and use of the Indian Mound Trail site. The distribution of select classes of material observed duri ng testing are presente d in Figure 4-4. The distribution of positive shovel te sts reveals that the site generally follows the current shape of Hontoon Islands wester n terrace edge, and is largely restricted to elevations between 0.5 and 2.5 m. Excluding the central aspect of the site, anthropogenic deposits are restricted to elevations below 1.5 m. Shell midden deposits in particular tend to cluster adjacent to the low-ly ing wetlands. Because we could not test wet deposits, it is unknown how far shell midden extends to the west, although it is like ly that similar to other shell-bearing sites in the region, shel l midden is present in to the wetlands. The distribution of temporally diagnostic material culture across the site suggests that temporal components are in part spatiall y separated. Archaic hafted bifaces are widespread across the site, a nd do not appear to cluster in any one area. In contrast, Orange and St. Johns pottery is clearly restricted to the so uthern half of the site. A consideration of the density and asso ciation of non-diagnos tic artifact classes shows that these temporal patte rns are reflected in the differe ntial organization of space at the site. The density of recovered vertebrate fauna suggests that the site is composed of varying activity areas (Figure 4-4c). Not surpri singly, vertebrate fauna density is spatially correlated with shell midden. However, interpol ated weight values indicate the presence of at least four high-density clusters of vertebrate fauna l remains. These include two smaller clusters created by isolated shovel tests in the central and southern portion of the site, in addition to two larger clusters. Comparing these larger clusters with artifact assemblages, two trends emerge. The large southern cluster is associated with pottery and waste flakes, with pottery being found within shell midden deposits. In contrast, the northern-most large cluster (and likely Preceramic Archaic in age) is mostly devoid of material culture within shell midden context. To the east of this cluster, however, STPs routinely produced lithic flakes. This implies that there were discrete activity zones in this context, involving both the deposition of shell midden at the edge of the terrace, as well as the maintenance of stone tools to the eastern, higher terrace. Similar differences in spatial organization in Preceramic Archaic hab itation sites has been identified at the Lake Monroe Outlet Midden (Arch aeological Consultants, Inc. and Janus Research 2001). Taken together, the data suggest that the Indian Mound Trail site is a multicomponent habitation site. The Preceramic Ar chaic component appears to be the largest and most widely distributed and spatially organized component, ch aracterized by shell and non-shell midden deposits which yielded asse mblages indicative of a diverse array of activities. Later ceramic-bearing deposits are mo re tightly clustered to the southern aspect of the site, and may reflect less intensive use. It should be noted again that this site lies just to the north of the Hontoon Dead Cr eek Mound (8VO214). Testing at that site demonstrated that it is principally a Preceramic Archaic ceremonial mound, and lacks significant evidence for use as a habitation site dur ing either the Archaic or St. Johns
Reconnaissance Survey 99 Figure 4-4. Distribution of sele ct material classes recovere d from all seasons of shovel testing at the Indian Mound Tr ail Site (8VO7493): (a) shovel te st results; (b) shell midden presence, (c) interpolated vertebrate faunal bone density; (d) material culture distribution.
100 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 periods. As discussed in Chap ter 3 of this report, analys is of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village site (8VO215) to the so uth of the mound suggests that both the earlier Preceramic Archaic component as well as later ceramic Archaic and St. Johns components were present, and may represent house mounds. In th is context, the Indi an Mound Trail sites Preceramic Archaic component is highly signifi cant, as it may reflect additional domestic space associated with the ceremonial mound. Hontoon Hammock (8VO8312) The Hontoon Hammock site (8VO8312) is located on the eastern margin of Hontoon Island. The site is situated within the hydric hammock, adjacent to emergent vegetation fronting the main channel of the St. Johns river which lies some 200 m to the east. The site was first test ed during the 2003 and 2004 field school seasons (Randall and Hallman 2005). At the time, the north-south extent of the site was determined to be 400m long and 40-m wide, and rest ricted to elevations betw een 0.5 and 1.5 m AMSL. The site is characterized by irre gular boundaries, due largely to the low-density and diffuse nature of deposits. Within site boundaries the field school iden tified three clus ters of lowdensity anthropogenic deposits, typically characterized by a few vertebrate faunal bone fragments in a non-shell midden. Shallow sh ell midden was restricted to only three shovel tests. The field school also identifie d a low-lying surface feature measuring 20-m long, 10-m wide, and 0.5 m high in the southern as pect of the site. This feature was tested with a single STP that encountered ash a nd freshwater gastropods. Five Orange plain pottery sherds were the onl y diagnostic artifacts rec overed, and the non-diagnostic artifact assemblage was limited to seven lithic waste flakes and a fragmented bone tool. Testing during the 2005 field school season targeted unbounded positive shovel tests in the central and southern aspect of the site (Figure 4-5). A total of 38 sitedefinitional STPs were excavated, 7 of whic h encountered anthropogenic deposits (Table 4-2). No shell midden was encountered in any of these STPs. Typical positive STPs without shell revealed the following stratig raphic sequence: 0-20 cm below the surface (cm BS), sterile organic root mat; 20-40 cm BS brown to gray sand containing vertebrate fauna and artifacts; 40-60 cm BS a light gray sand with mineral concretions and organic mottling and occasional fauna and artifacts; 60+ cm BS dense mineral concretions, hard pan, or in some cases clay. The stratigraphi c changes are more indicative of soil horizons than discrete anthropogenic strata. Artifacts from all shove l tests were non-diagnostic. With the exception of one modified lithic fl ake, all positive shovel tests yielded only vertebrate faunal bone fragments. Testing did not result in a significant ch ange to the site boundaries. The northern midden cluster was not expanded, and does not appear to be directly connected with more southerly deposits. Only one test pit (STP101) encountere d limited midden in this interstial area. Given the overall diffuse nature of cultural deposits across the site, it may be the case that continued testing between the northern and cen tral cluster would occasionally encounter sparse midden. Localized deposits were encountered within the central portion of the site, and do not extend into the we tland. Finally, the southern
Reconnaissance Survey 101 Figure 4-5. Results of shovel test reconnaissa nce survey at the H ontoon Hammock site, 8VO8312. Elevation data derived from Volusi a County Public Works Department DEM.
102 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Table 4-2: Cultural Materials Recovered from Shovel Test Pits at the Hontoon Hammock Site, 8VO8312. Transect STP # Modified Flak e Vertebrate Fauna Wt (g) T1N SD-135 2.6 T1E SD-213 1 0.3 T1E SD-211 0.7 T1E SD-209 5.6 T1E SD-208 4.4 T1E SD-206 0.3 T1E SD-101 1.1 boundary was established through negative shove l tests, with no further archaeological deposits identified. Some spatial patterning is evident when all classes of material culture are taken into consideration from all field seasons (F igure 4-6). Shell midden is present across the site, but was only located in f our shovel tests, isolated as clusters. The southernmost shell-positive STP is located within a low-lying shell midden ridge. These three shell midden clusters also have the highest density of vertebrate fauna by weight. This is not unexpected, given that shell deposits are idea l preservation regimes for bone. However, interpolated density values for the site suggest the presence of four semi-discrete middens. One shell-free STP did yield dens er-than-average vertebrate fauna. Finally, excluding the southernmost cluster, each cluste r is associated with discrete assemblages of lithic waste-flakes, and in some cases pot tery. It is currently unknown whether each of the clusters is contemporane ous. Sherds of the Orange pe riod were recovered from only the central two clusters, and no other diagnos tic materials were recovered elsewhere. Given the overall similarities in size, assemblage composition, and location, these clusters may represent either similar kinds of activities occurring in the same place repeatedly through time, or alternatively re present multiple co-resident encampments. Finally, the southernmost cluster is also asso ciated with a small shell ridge, similar in shape and form to those elevated shell deposits identified at th e Hontoon Dead Creek Village site (chapter 3, this volume), in add ition to the central middens identified at the South Hontoon Midden (8VO8314) and the Snak e Creek Midden (8VO216) (Randall and Hallman 2005). Like those other sites, the deposit at Honto on Hammock is surrounded by non-shell midden deposits. This portion of the s ite may reflect a longe r or more intensive occupation than the rest of the site. Isolated Archaeol ogical Occurrences Testing of transect T1N and T1J failed to identify any new archaeological sites. However, five shovel tests along the T1N transect encountered either isolated artifacts or shell-bearing deposits that did not extend more than 10 m in any cardinal direction. Such deposits approximate the Bureau of Archaeolo gical Researchs (1999) definition of an Isolated Archaeological Occurrence : At least three prehistori c artifacts (diagnostic or not) fit within a circle of thirty meters diameter, regardless of depth--that is, all the
Reconnaissance Survey 103 Figure 4-6. Distribution of sele ct material classes recovere d from all seasons of shovel testing at the Hontoon Hammock Site (8VO 8312): (a) shovel test results; (b) shell midden presence, (c) interpolated vertebrate faunal bone density; (d) material culture distribution.
104 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 artifacts fit within a hypotheti cal vertical cylinder of thirty meters diameter, including both the ground surface and the subsurface. While the occurrences identified during the 2005 season are lower density that the BAR gui delines, they are worthy of note due to their location along the northwe st terrace edge of Hontoon Island. These occurrences are denoted by their STP designation, plotted in Figure 4-7 and summarized in Table 4-3. Each occurrence is discussed separately below. T1N-STP14 This occurrence is located 70 m west of STP T1N-STP12, and was not bounded to the north due to surface water. This shovel test yielded one lithic waste flake, and did not encounter any shell midden. The stratigraphic profile for the STP is as follows: 0-7 cm BS dark organic humus; 7-16 cm BS gray fine sand; 16-62 cm BS light gray fine sand. The STP was stopped at 62 cm BS due to water. T1N-STP18 This occurrence is located approximately 90 m north of T1NSTP14. Faunal remains were noted in the field. Unfortunately the bag holding this material was lost prior to analysis. The stratigraphic profile for the STP is as follows: 014 cm BS dark organic humus; 14-70 cm BS gray fine sand; 70-96 cm BS light brown fine sand. The STP was stopped at 96 cm BS due to water. T1N-STP26 This occurrence is located approximately 90 m north of T1NSTP14. A single fragment of vertebrate faunal bone was recovered. No shell was noted in the field. The stratigraphic profile for the ST P is as follows: 0-20 cm BS dark organic humus; 20-46 cm BS light gray fine sand; 46-65 cm BS gray fine sand. The STP was stopped at 65 cm BS due to water. T1N-STP30 This occurrence is located 110 m northeast of T1N-STP26. A single fragment of vertebrate fa unal bone was recovered. Freshw ater shell fragments were observed between 10-72 cm BS. The stratigraphi c profile for the STP is as follows: 0-10 cm BS dark organic humus; 10-28 cm BS dark gray fine sand; 28-72 cm BS light gray fine sand; 72-82 cm BS orange clay ; 82+ cm BS compact orange clay. T1N-STP34 This occurrence is located 90 m northeast of T1N-STP30. A single lithic flake was recovered. No shell midden was observed during testing. The stratigraphic profile for the STP is as follows: 0-19 cm BS dark organic humus; 19-64 cm BS light gray fine sand; 64-92 cm BS dark brown fine sand. The STP was stopped at 92 cm BS due to water. Table 4-3. Cultural Materials Recovered fr om Isolated Archaeological Occurrences Identified on Hontoon Island. Transect STP # Lithic Flake Vertebrate Fauna Wt (g) T1N STP-14 1 T1N STP-26 5.4 T1N STP-30 0.4 T1N STP-34 1
Reconnaissance Survey 105 Figure 4-7. Location of isolated archaeolo gical occurrences iden tified during the 2005 field school. Elevation data derived from Volusia County Public Works Department DEM.
106 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Lacking temporally diagnostic materials, the culture-historical association of these isolated archaeological occurrences is unknown. In terms of location, these deposits share certain parallels with denser sites on Hontoon Island None are directly associated with water, ranging between 50 and 250 m fr om Hontoon Dead Creek. However, all are restricted to elevations below 1.5 m amsl, and are situated near or within wetlands. In terms of spacing and density, these occurre nces are similar to site 8VO8312 on the eastern margin of the island. Excluding one STP that yielded shell midden, all are characterized by non-shell an thropogenic matrices. Coll ectively these isolated archaeological occurrences suggest that the northwest corner of Hontoon Island was the locus of sporadic activities that were likely of short duration. Given that most other sites on Hontoon Island are multicomponent, it woul d not be surprising if these deposits register brief events separated by long periods of time. CONCLUSIONS The primary goals of the 2005 seasons r econnaissance survey were successfully accomplished. The boundaries of known site s 8VO7493 and 8VO8312 were fully established for all terrestrial components. Additionally, the circumferential survey of Hontoon Island was completed. Although no ne w sites were discovered, isolated archaeological deposits were encountered in fi ve loci on the northwestern margin of the island. As of the writing of this report, there is a total of 10 archaeological sites documented within the boundaries of Hontoon Island State Park (Figure 4-1). While additional site-discovery transects across the interior of the island will be necessary to conclusively rule out the presence of sites in the upland location (Endonino 2003b), the current inventory is arguably one of the most representative site distributions available for such a landform in the region. After five seasons of reconnaissance survey, several patterns in the size, location, structure, and culture-histor ical components present at si tes across Hontoon Island have emerged (Table 4-4). The one overarching si milarity between sites is elevation above mean sea level. Today sites are generally re stricted to elevati ons between 0 and 2.5 m amsl (0 to 10 ft amsl), and are situated on th e margins of the island. Sites are as likely as not to be located immediately adjacent to water. Seasonally inundated wetlands are present next to those sites where channelized water is quite dist ant (between 100 and 400 m away). In antiquity it is likely that significant change in the location of the St. Johns, Hontoon Dead Creek, and Snake Creek channe ls occurred. Recent channel change is indicated by the active erosi on of sites 8VO215 and 8VO7493. Similarly, the presence of saturated wetsite deposits at 8VO214 sugge sts that the mound once fronted a body of water. The implication is that most sites were likely near fresh water when inhabited. Another similarity between sites is the presence of multiple culture-historical components. St. Johns I components were mo st frequently identified, followed by the Orange period. While Mount Taylor components were only identified at five sites, they are suspected to be present at three others based on stratigr aphic observations. In contrast, artifacts diagnostic of St. Johns II inhabitati on were only recovered at three sites on the island.
Reconnaissance Survey 107 Table 4-4. Comparison of Archaeological Site s Identified on Hontoon Island State Park. Components Present Elevation (meters amsl) St. Johns Site Name Mount Taylor Orange I II Wetsite Deposit1 Shell Midden Thick. (m) Area (m2) Size (m) Distance to Water (m) Min. Max. Range 8VO202 Hontoon Island North X X X X X 3.0 + 53373.8 375 x 220 0.0 0.0 2.9 2.9 8VO214 Hontoon Dead Creek Mound X X X 5.9 + 10788.0 150 x 75 220.0 0.0 5.9 5.9 8VO215 Hontoon Dead Creek Village X X X X 1.0 7363.8 220 x 45 0.0 0.1 2.2 2.1 8VO216 Snake Creek Midden X X X ? 0.2 + 7684.9 125 x 90 0.0 0.0 1.6 1.6 8VO7493 Indian Mound Trail X X X ? 0.5 46086.1 725 x 150 0.0 0.0 2.7 2.7 8VO7494 East Hontoon X X X 0.7 6460.5 150 x 75 300.0 0.2 1.5 1.3 8VO8312 Hontoon Hammock ? X 0.8 8736.3 395 x 40 250.0 0.3 1.8 1.5 8VO8313 Dredge X ? 0.0 1453.7 60 x 30 120.0 0.5 1.4 0.8 8VO8314 South Hontoon Midden ? X X 0.5 + 7731.8 120 x 90 260.0 0.4 1.5 1.1 8VO8315 Saw Palmetto ? X 0.0 2565.8 200 x 30 0.0 0.0 3.0 3.0 1Reconnaissance survey methods were no t designed to identify wetsite deposits
108 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Differences in the size and organization of sites is also evident. At least two classes of sites are evident when consid ering the vertical sc ale of deposits. Not surprisingly, both of the shell mounds (8VO202 and 8VO214) have the thickest shell deposits, and eclipse all other sites by at least 2 m of int act shell midden. In contrast, other sites are characterized by shell midden between 0.2 and 1 m in maximum thickness. This difference is not readily explainable in terms of culture-historical associations or location. There is also significant diversity in the organization of deposits within nonmounded sites. Sites such as 8VO7493 and 8VO 8312 are laterally extensive, while others are more circumscribed and frequently cont ain centralized middens. Analysis of the shovel test data indicates that the differences in internal organization reflects the differential deposition of shell and non-shell debris as well as changes in site location through time. For example, at 8VO7493 repeat ed occupations spanning the preceramic Archaic, Orange, and St. Johns periods were spatially segregated, similar to the Hontoon Dead Creek Village. However, multiple activities were also separated in space as well. Shell midden deposition prefer entially occurred towards the water while activities not including shell were carried out on the ups lope, landward edge of the terrace. In comparison, site 8VO8312 contained similar divi sions in the density of shell midden and artifacts. Based on diagnostic artifacts, the site apparently dates only to the Orange period, although Mount Taylor deposits may be present in the elevated ash deposits. In this case, multiple small-scale occupations are inferred from the low-density middens. The possibility further exists that these register multiple, coeval occupations oriented along the terrace edge. Alternativ ely, such spatial divisions may simply reflect serial nonoverlapping depositional activities. The patterns identified through reconnaissa nce survey hint at important trends in the structure and organization of activit ies at non-mounded sites. Currently the interpretation of site distribution and organization identified on Hontoon Island is hampered by the coarse stratigraphic data available from the shovel tests. We would also add, however, that the lack of comparative data from elsewhere in the region is just as problematic. Future work will be necessary locally and regionally to detail how the differential distribution of shelland nonshell midden, as well as artifacts, reflects domestic activities in time and space.
109 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Asa R. Randall and Kenneth E. Sassaman Although only a five week season was conducte d on Hontoon Island State Park in 2005, the field school efforts built upon four prev ious seasons of research (Randall and Sassaman 2005; Sassaman 2003a), and contribute d significant results with relevance for Florida archaeology. As summarized below, the importance of detailing non-mounded localities for recovering data on domestic activities is unde rscored by the most recent work. In this context, numerous new questions regarding the scale of activities at shell mounds, their transformations th rough time, and the historical and spatial relationships between domestic space, ceremonial mounds and ecological proc esses have been brought to light. In the interest of advancing this research further, specifically with regard to the St. Johns region, we also offer a prospectus for additional field work in this closing chapter. The following recommendations are in keepi ng with the Unit Management Plan for the parks, which indicates that cultural resources should be protected, restored, and maintained as aided by archaeological resear ch (Department of E nvironmental Protection 2005:15-16). Efforts to identify and characte rize cultural resources in the parks is consistent with modern archaeological pr actice aimed at preserving sites through management of the information potential contai ned within such resources. To this point, the St. Johns Archaeological Field School has utilized low-impact surveying techniques and small-scale sampling to fu lfill these goals, and the work proposed below continues in this spirit. SUMMARY OF RESULTS During the 2005 field season, two interrelat ed projects were conducted within the boundaries of Hontoon Island Stat e Park: (1) mapping, coring, a nd stratigraphic testing of the Hontoon Dead Creek Village site (8VO215) ; and (2) continued reconnaissance survey of terrestrial components along the perimeter of the island. Hontoon Dead Creek Village The Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) is a horizontally extensive but lowlying shell midden situated between the Hontoon Dead Creek Mound to the north and Snake Creek to the south. First identifie d by Jeffries Wyman (1875), the site was relocated by earlier campaigns of St. Johns Archaeological Field School. Shovel testing demonstrated that the site contains multiple components that span the preceramic Archaic Mount Taylor through St. Johns II periods. Ca sual surface inspection also suggested the site was composed of discrete shell deposits. Collectiv ely, these prior observations indicated that site 8VO215 could provide significant information about the structure and organization of domestic pr actices associated with cer emonial mound construction.
110 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 The intensive investigations of 8VO215 during the 2005 season focused on delimiting the extent of shell midden and docum enting the structure and culture-historical association of these deposits. De tailed topographic mapping of the site revealed a series of low-lying topographic anomalies, typically 20 to 50 cm high, oriented in a linear array along the terrace edge. These locations of higher elevation were of similar size and shape, and spaced at roughly 20 to 30 m intervals. A close-interval soil core survey confirmed that these areas of higher elevation are composed of dense shell midden, while areas between are characterized by culturally ster ile terrace sand or low-density shell midden. These discrete shell middens are hereafter refe rred to as shell nodes. In general there was a distinct break between shell and non-shell midden on the upslope si de of shell nodes, suggesting these areas were kept clean of sh ell debris. Conversely, shell midden trailed off on the downslope aspect. These results su ggest that the shell nodes reflect highly structured living spaces. Additionally, a lim ited bucket auger survey demonstrated that there was no saturated shell midden in the swamp fronting the site. This is unlike the situation at the adjacent m ound, where saturated shell midde n was identified 30 m from the base of the mound under upwards of 1 m of muck and sand. This finding suggests that there was no lagoon immediat ely adjacent to 8VO215. A total of 10 test units were stratigraphically excavated within shell deposits. In each case, test units documented stacked sequences of shell midden, arguably the result of multiple occupation episodes, lying a bove the sloping terrace surface. Similarly, nonshell midden was frequently identified in upslope areas, again s uggesting shell node configurations reflect structur ed uses of space. On the ba sis of diagnostic artifacts and radiocarbon dates a time-transg ressive trend was also identif ied. From north to south (notably away from Hontoon Dead Creek Mound ), shell nodes become greater in size and generally younger in age. The earliest deposit s are adjacent to the mound. A radiocarbon assay from Node-1 returned an age esti mate of 6280 40 BP (7270-7160 / 7110-7100 Cal BP), the earliest published date on fr eshwater shell midden in the region. Mount Taylor period deposits were also present in Node-2, where a radi ocarbon assay on marine shell produced an age estimate of 5570 60 BP (6480-6260 Cal BP). Mount Taylor basal shell middens are also suspected in shell node s farther away from the mound. In contrast, plain, incised, and engraved fiber-tempered sherds diagnostic of an Orange period occupation were identified within the southerly three shell node s. In addition, at least one large shell-filled pit associated with the Orange inhabitation was identified at Node-3. Later St. Johns I and II occupation was restricted to the southernmost aspect of the landform. Although no evidence for architecture, such as post-holes or thermal features, was recovered the organization of the depos its suggest that 8VO215 was the locus of multiple overlapping, and possibly contempor aneous, domestic spaces through time. In particular, circumstantial evidence indicates the site may have been occupied by as many as five distinct domestic units during the M ount Taylor period. More radiocarbon assays from both 8VO214 and 8VO215 will be needed to determine whether these domestic places were in use during pe riods of mound construction. The 2005 investigations demonstrate that the Hontoon Dead Creek Village site is composed of discrete shel l deposits registering near ly 7000 years of repeated inhabitation. In particular, the data suggest that the site was the locus of multiple
Conclusions and Recommendations 111 domestic compounds, some of which may ha ve been in use during periods of mound construction at the adjacen t Hontoon Dead Creek Mound. These details provide an opportunity to examine the social and ecolo gical contexts surrounding the origins, construction, and subsequent abandonment of Mount Taylor ceremonial spaces that have heretofore gone uninvestigated within the region. Continued an alysis of subsistence data will contribute to a more comprehensive unde rstanding of lifeways across this temporal interface. Moreover, future work on both Hontoon Island and throughout the region will be necessary to determine whether the patt erns identified at 8VO215 are anomalous or part of larger social and ecological processes. Shovel Test Reconnaissance As in previous seasons, a shovel test reconnaissance survey was conducted on Hontoon Island during the 2005 season. Met hods were designed to identify archaeological sites, finalize the boundaries of two sites tested during the 2004 field season, and provide training for students in reconnaissance techniqu es. The primary goals of the seasons reconnaissance survey we re successfully acco mplished. The boundaries of known sites 8VO7493 and 8VO8312 were fu lly established for all terrestrial components. Additionally, the circumferentia l survey of Hontoon Island was completed. Although no new sites were discovered, is olated archaeological deposits were encountered in five loci on the nor thwestern margin of the island. The results of this surv ey expanded upon previously documented patterns on Hontoon Island. The perimeter of the island contains an almost unbroken chain of archaeological deposits containing both she ll and non-shell middens. These 10 sites are largely restricted to elevations between 1.5 a nd 2.5 m amsl (5 to 10 ft amsl). Differences in the location of midden and diagnostic artif acts hint at the differential organization of domestic activities through tim e. For example, at 8VO7493 the distribution of diagnostic material culture hints at the horizontal spatial segregation of components, not unlike the Hontoon Dead Creek Village. However, multiple ac tivities were also se gregated in space, with shell midden deposition occurring toward s the water, and activities not including shell carried out on the upslope landward e dge of the terrace. Site 8VO8312 contained similar divisions in the density of shell midden and artifacts. Multiple small-scale occupations possibly all dating to the Orange period are in ferred from the low-density middens. Future testing will be necessary to discriminate whether nearby middens register multiple, coeval o ccupations or serial non-overl apping depositional events. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ADDITIONAL WORK The insights garnered from excava tions on Hontoon Island have inevitably inspired many more questions. As stated in Chapter 1, answering these and other questions will require long term, multi-scal ar research projects and cannot be accomplished through a single field season. In this section we provide recommendations for additional work that will aid in detailing the lifeways of earlier inhabitants of the St. Johns as well as further enable the manage ment of archaeological resources on State Property.
112 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 Remote Sensing Survey of Sites on Hontoon Island Excavation data from East Hontoon (8VO7494) and Hontoon D ead Creek Village (8VO215) indicate that large subsurface features could be present in upslope components. Additionally, sites such as South Hontoon Midden (8VO8314), Hontoon Hammock (8VO8312), and Snake Creek Midden (8VO216) have surface features suggestive subsurface architecture (e.g., house mounds), and well defined areas of secondary and primary deposition. Ground Penetrating Radar (GRP) survey of Blue Spring Midden B (Sassaman 2003a) demonstrated the potential of remote sensing to identify subsurface feature clusters, in addition to delimiti ng primary and secondary midden deposits. We propose close-interval GPR transects at sel ected sites along the periphery of Hontoon Island. As GPR is inherently non-destructiv e, this method would allow for site-wide characterization of subsurface deposits without extensive excavation. Alternative remote sensing strategies such as magnetometry or soil resistivity may also provide useful results. Bucket augering, shovel testing, and limited controlled excav ation units (1 x 1 m or 1 x 2 m) may be employed to gro und-truth remotely sensed anomalies. Assess Airborne-identified Topogr aphic Anomalies on State Property High-resolution LiDAR elevation data wa s recently acquired for all of Volusia County, Florida (Volusia County Public Wo rks Department and Woolpert, Inc. 2006). This dataset consists of a bare-earth digital terrain model with 1-foot elevation resolution. A preliminary assessment of its utility in remotely identifying anthropogenic surface features suggests that many known archaeol ogical sites (both mounds and low-lying middens) can be quickly and accurately mappe d using a desktop computer, obviating the need for cumbersome field mapping (Randa ll and Sassaman 2007b). Moreover, using the patterns identified on Hont oon Island as a baseline, many topographic anomalies reminiscent of shell-bearing sites can be resolved. An assessment targeting surface anomalies through on the ground visual inspec tion and limited subsurface testing would be necessary to confirm or falsify the results of the remote sensing. Reconnaissance Survey of East Terrace of the St. Johns The results of five seasons of reconnaissance survey indicate that along the St. Johns River terrestrial sites wi ll be concentrated between the 5 and 10-ft contour interval. We propose shovel test reconnaissance along this elevation on the east terrace of the St. Johns River north of Blue Sp ring State Park. The low mound Wyman (1875) referred to as Palmetto Shell Mound (8VO40), north of Live Oak Mound (8VO41), is presumed to be along this span of terrace but has yet to be located. Preliminary surface reconnaissance in 2001 failed to detect any tr ace of this site. Shovel-test transects along the east terrace edge are needed to search for evidence of this site. If found, the site will be shovel tested and/or augered in a cruciform pattern to define its boundaries.
Conclusions and Recommendations 113 Subsurface Characterization of Small Shell-Bearing Sites on Hontoon Island Work at both East Hontoon (8VO7494) and the Hontoon Dead Creek Village (8VO215) has demonstrated the significant re search potential of small sites along the perimeter of Hontoon Island. We propose to ex amine other small sites using the same strategy: after delineatin g the horizontal and vertical extent of archaeological deposits at a given site through close interval coring and bucket-augering, three to four 1 x 2-m or 2 x 2-m units are needed to adequa tely characterize the component s present. In addition to collecting subsistence and strati graphic data, a particular goal of testing these sites is to locate materials suitable for radiometric dati ng. Given the lack of evidence for intensive habitation use of mounds such as Live Oak and Hontoon Dead Creek, it stands to reason that some of these shell-bearing sites are the locus of habitation for communities who use the mound for non-domestic purpos es. Sites earmarked for testing include Indian Mound Trail (8VO7493), Snake Creek Midden (8 VO216), South Hontoon Midden (8VO8314), Hontoon Hammock (8VO8313), Saw Palme tto (8VO8315), and Dredge (8VO8314). Subsurface Characterization of Shell-Bearing Sites along East Terrace of the St. Johns Two small shell-bearing sites fronting Lake Beresford (8VO38, 8VO39) and the shell midden at Starks Landing (8VO42) have never been mapped or characterized. We propose shovel testing, topographic mapping, and limited 1x 2m or 2 x 2-m test unit excavations to characterize subsurface depos its and collect samples for radiometric dating. Mapping and Limited Testing of Blue Spring Oxbow Mound (8VO44) Virtually nothing is known of this sma ll mound south of Blue Springs, which was relocated in 2003 by Richard Harris, the Wildlife Biologist at Blue Sp ring State Park, and investigated with two shovel tests by the Field School th at same year. We propose to map the site in its entirely. While excavation of preserved deposits is not warranted, there is a large trench-like disturbance pr esent in the southern aspect of the mound, cross cutting it. We therefore propose to re-excavate this disturbance for the purpose of recording stratigraphic data and recovering materials for radiocarbon dating. We suspect that this mound is preceramic in age, and can aid in interpreting other destroyed mounds in the region. In addition, we propose a close-inte rval bucket auger survey to identify subsurface deposits surrounding the mound. Block Excavation at 8VO202 Although Hontoon Island North (8VO202) was severely damaged by shell-mining in the 1930s, a subsurface midden and remnant mound deposits dating to the preceramic era are well preserved at and below the water table across most of the site, and in larger subaerial portions of the southern and western portion of the site. Our testing in the scarps and floors of shell-mining pits in the easte rn portion revealed preserved subsurface features consistent with habitation activities, and well as extensive secondary midden. Portions of the larger mining pits have fl oors situated just above the feature level,
114 St. Johns Archaeological Field School 2005 exposing these for the past 75 years to the damaging effect s of root action, animal burrowing, and surface erosion. These deposits were covered by mounded shell for six millennia before they were exposed, and now they are quickly becoming obscured by these various near-surface disturbances. Given that we know virtually nothing about habitation associated with shell mounds this old, we propose to conduct block excavation of the deposits exposed by sh ell mining at and immediatel y above the ancient surface (i.e., buried A horizon). This would be an expensive endeavor, requiring both in-field support and considerable analysis and curation costs. Depending on wa ter levels at the time of excavation, dewatering of th e excavation area may be needed. Coring and Testing Cypress Swamp along Ma rgins of Hontoon Island and the Eastern Terrace of the St. Johns River The 6000-year-old buried midden on the west ern fringe of 8VO214 is not likely to be an isolated example of mid-Holocen e deposits in saturated contexts. The entire western margin of Hontoon Isla nd holds great potential for more such deposits because of the nearly continuous distribution of precera mic and early ceramic sites along the terrace margin. Equally likely to contain mid-Holo cene deposits is the swamp fronting 8VO41, with a basal radiocarbon date of 6260 50 rcybp. Indeed, all wetland locales around the island and the eastern margin of the St. Johns River hold this potential and need to be examined with cores that can penetrate one meter or more of muck. Bucket augering is sufficient, though extremely difficult, to loca te such deposits, but more sophisticated coring technology is needed to extract samples conducive to dating and stratigraphic interpolation. Survey extensive and intensive enough to locate all bu ried deposits will be expensive and extremely time consuming, but wo rth the effort. As we have seen with wet-site excavations in general (e.g., Pur dy 1991), the extraordinary preservation of organic matter is not duplicated in terrestr ial contexts and thus its recovery has the potential to thoroughly change perspectives on ancient human technology, subsistence economy, even mortuary practice (Doran 2002b) However, we do not recommend largescale excavation of wet sites, at least not yet, for it seems more pressing that we locate and assess these deposits across entire locales or subregions so that their management and preservation can be incorporated into plans that hitherto have been shaped largely by terrestrial archaeological records. Core Survey of Mounds on State Property Stratigraphic excavations of several sh ell mounds on State prope rty have revealed striking similarities in construc tion sequences, as well as remark able intersite diversity. In order to document the full range of variati on in stratigraphic sequences, we propose a regional program of coring at shell mounds on public lands. Here again we have a technical challenge in that many such mounds exist in heavily woode d areas that preclude the use of truck-mounting hydraulic rigs. A sm aller rig mounted on an ATV or some such vehicle may prove effective. The goal in co ring mounds must be to retrieve continuous columns of sufficient diameter to both char acterize microstratigraphy as well as collect organic materials suitable for radiocarbon da ting. In addition, such cores can be split, with one half curated for future researc h. Few extant mounds on public land have been
Conclusions and Recommendations 115 tested in the modern era, and thus our know ledge of them has been largely assumed. For instance, many such mounds are listed in the FMSF as St. Johns period constructions because Wyman or Moore found pottery at or near their surfaces. We now know enough about mounds on and around Hontoon Island to s uggest that most ar e actually Mount Taylor constructions with lesser St. Johns components sometimes added on as conical mortuary features. A comprehensive assessment of the internal configuration and age of middle St. Johns mounds is sorely needed.
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127 APPENDIX A RADIOCARBON DATA
128 Beta Measured Conventional Lab 14C 13C/12C 14C 2-sigma 2-sigma Prov. Material Number Age BP Ratio Age BP Cal BC Cal BP 8VO215 TU3Charred 219933 6320 40 -27.6 6280 40 5320-5210 7270-7160 Block Wood 5160-5150 7110-7100 TU2Marine 217769 5950 60 -7.9 5570 601 4530-4310 6480-6260 Lv-B Shell 1Local marine reservoir correction of -380 years applied to measured age determination