SPANISH AND BRITISH SUBSISTENCE STRATEGIES AT ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA,
AND FREDERICA, GEORGIA, BETWEEN 1565 and 1783
ELIZABETH JEAN REITZ
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL OF
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Many people have assisted in this effort. The members of my commit-
tee, Elizabeth S. Wing, Kathleen A. Deagan, Charles H. Fairbanks, Maxine
L. Margolis, S. Jeffrey K. Wilkerson, and Ronald G. Wolff, have individ-
ually and collectively contributed to the quality of the research pre-
sented here. Due to their special impact on the course of my career I
wish to thank specifically two of these individuals. In my first
anthropology course twelve years ago Dr. Fairbanks interested me in
human behavior and Dr. Wing helped me focus that interest on subsistence
studies. Their advice and assistance has been greatly appreciated. I
consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with them.
Numerous other people have assisted in vital ways with the produc-
tion of this study. The following individuals have read portions of the
manuscript: Erik J. Bitterbaum, George H. Burgess, Thomas Chase, Peter
A. Meylan, Robert W. Simons, and Susan L. Scott. I appreciate their
efforts to improve the quality of the data and the presentation. Also
Dr. John F. Anderson, Dr. Amy Bushnell, Nancy Halliday, Dr. Stephen R.
Humphrey, Dr. Pejaver V. Rao, Dr. Robert L. Reddish, and Dr. Henry R.
Wilson provided needed assistance on difficult facets of the research.
Robert W. Taylor permitted access to his data on gopher tortoise weights.
I am grateful to Arlene Fradkin, Kathleen F. Johnson, L. Jill Loucks,
Henry M. Miller, Steven Ruple, Gary Shapiro, Erika H. Simons, and Robin
L. Smith for access to their unpublished faunal reports. I have also
benefited from conversations with Dr. Kathleen M.Byrd, Dr. Michael C.
Scardaville, and Sylvia Scudder. A special thanks go to Greg
Cunningham and Steven Wing for their help counting the faunal materials,
and to Pamela R. Johnson for typing the tables and text of this disser-
For faunal materials, financial aid, and work space several people
and institutions are to be thanked. Robert H. Steinbach as Director of
Research and Development, Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board,
permitted access to many of the faunal collections reported here and also
assisted in the interpretation of the data. Dr. Kathleen A. Deagan
excavated many of the faunal collections and provided information on
these sites. Theresa A. Singleton discussed SA26-1, the Lorenzo Josef
de Leon site, with me. Nicholas Honerkamp made available the faunal
materials he excavated from the Thomas Hird lot at Fort Frederica
National Monument, as well as answered numerous questions about the site.
John Bostwick assisted with information on the Plaza II well and the
British Period trash pit from SA7-4. The faculty of the Florida State
Museum of the University of Florida graciously provided unlimited access
to their facilities as well as financial support. The Department of
Anthropology of the University of Florida also provided financial assis-
tance, not to mention academic instruction. Faunal analysis for SA36-4
was funded by Florida Board of Regents STAR grant #77-081 to the Historic
St. Augustine Preservation Board and the Department of Anthropology,
Florida State University.
Finally I wish to acknowledge the debt I owe to my parents, Dr. and
Mrs. Herman J. Reitz, and to my brother, Max. My mother's totally biased
opinion of my merits has been and will continue to be an inspiration.
My father and brother both read drafts of the dissertation and provided
valuable suggestions for its improvement. All three have endured with
good grace endless conversations about a topic far removed from their
own spheres of interest.
While all of the above individuals, and many who are not mentioned,
have assisted me in many ways with this work, they are not to be held
responsible for the interpretation. I hope they feel, however, that I
have benefited from their counsel.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . .
LIST OF TABLES . . .
LIST OF FIGURES . . .
ABSTRACT . . . .
PART ONE: BACKGROUND AND ELABORATION
CWADTCD 1. TMTDnnRIrTTnM
Sn. 11 I L \ I . . .
Historical Archaeology and Human Ecology .
Hypotheses . . . . .
Organization of Presentation . . .
CHAPTER 2: SOCIAL CLASS AND ANIMAL RESOURCE USE
Archaeology and Social Class . . .
Archaeological Examples . . . .
Social Status in Spanish Florida . .
Discussion . . . . .
CHAPTER 3: AN ACCOUNT OF THE SPANISH AND BRITISH
OCCUPATION ON THE ATLANTIC COASTAL PLAIN, 1565-1783
A Brief History . . . . .
The Spanish Florida Population . . .
The British Population . . . .
Spanish Economics . . . .
British Economics . . . .
Discussion . . . . .
CHAPTER 4: CULTURAL AFFILIATION AND FOODWAYS ...... .49
Traditional British Foodways . .
Traditional Spanish Foodways . .
Old World Foodways . . .
Historic North American Foodways ..
Discussion . . . .
CHAPTER 5: ANIMAL RESOURCES OF THE ATLANTIC
The Atlantic Coastal Plain . .
St. Augustine and Frederica . .
Species Accounts . . . .
Notes on Capture Techniques . .
Summary of Faunal Categories . .
Discussion . . . .
PART TWO: SUBSISTENCE STRATEGIES AT ST. AUGUSTINE
CHAPTER 6: MATERIALS AND METHODS . .
Restatement of Hypotheses . . .
Materials . . . . .
Methods . . . . .
CHAPTER 7: ANALYSIS OF SUBSISTENCE PATTERNS
The Collection as a Whole . . .
Discussion of Each Site by Cultural/Tempora
Discussion . . . .
CHAPTER 8: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION . .
Cultural Affiliation and Local Resources
Social Class . . . .
Political and Social Environment . .
Conclusion . . . .
1 Division .
. . .
. . 49
A.- LIST OF FIELD SPECIMENS ANALYZED FROM EACH SITE 225
B. SPECIES LIST FOR EACH SITE . .. .. 239
C. SUMMARY OF FAUNAL CATEGORIES . . . 288
D. FREQUENCY OF BONE ELEMENTS FOR EACH SITE .... .305
E. REGRESSION DATA ..... ...... .. .. 319
BIBLIOGRAPHY ... ..-. .... ;..... ....-. ... .. 341
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .. ........ .... .. 358
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Chronology of Events . . .... .168
Table 2. Activity Period and Seasonal Patterns of Fauna
from the Coastal Plain . . .... .173
Table 3. Habitats and Habits of Fauna from the Coastal
Plain . . . . .. ... 182
Table 4. Commensal Species . . . .... .190
Table 5. Sites Discussed in Text, Listed by Cultural/
Temporal Division . . .. .192
Table 6. Regression Formulae Used in Estimating Biomass
of Animals Represented in Study . ... .194
Table 7. Diversity and Equitability Values Based on MNI 195
Table 8. Diversity and Equitability Values Based on
Total Biomass . . . ... .196
Table 9. Summary of Species Lists (Appendix B) . 197
Table 10. Summary of Faunal Categories (Appendix C):
MNI, Totals, and Percentages . . 198
Table 11. Summary of Faunal Categories (Appendix C):
Biomass, Totals, and Percentages . ... .200
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Florida and the Caribbean (Cumbaa 1975) . .. 202
Figure 2. The Atlantic Coastal Plain . . .... .203
Figure 3. The Environs of St. Augustine, Florida (after
Palmer 1862) . . . . 204
Figure 4. The Environs of Frederica, Georgia (after
Honerkamp 1975) . . . .... .205
Figure 5. The Town of St. Augustine, Florida (after
Puente 1764) . . ... ... 206
Figure 6. The Town of Frederica, Georgia (after
Honerkamp 1975) . . . .... .207
Figure 7. MNI and Biomass Diversity and Equitability Ranges,
Means, and Standard Deviations for the First
Spanish Period and 18th Century British Collections 208
Figure 8. Comparison of Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard
Deviations for the First Spanish Period and 18th
Century British Collections for Three Faunal
Categories, Biomass and MNI . . .. 210
Figure 9. Percentage Distribution of MNI from Six Faunal
Categories for Each Site . . ... .212
Figure 10. Percentage Distribution of Biomass from Six Faunal
Categories for Each Site . . .... .214
Figure 11. Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations of
Pig (Sus scrofa) Biomass and MNI for the First
Spanish Period and 18th Century British Collections.
SA26-1 Indicated by Arrow . . . 216
Figure 12. Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations
of Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) Biomass and MNI
for the First Spanish Period and 18th Century
British Collections. SA26-1 Indicated by Arrow 217
Figure 13. Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations
of Cow (Bos taurus) Biomass and MNI for the
First Spanish Period and 18th Century British
Collections. SA26-1 Indicated by Arrow ... .. 218
Figure 14. Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations
of Chicken (Gallus gallus) Biomass and MNI for
the First Spanish Period and 18th Century British
Collections. SA26-1 Indicated by Arrow .... 219
Figure 15. Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations of
Sea Catfish (Ariidae) Biomass and MNI for the
First Spanish Period and 18th Century British
Collections. SA26-1 Indicated by Arrow .... 220
Figure 16. Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations of
Drum (Sciaenidae) Biomass and MNI for the First
Spanish Period and 18th Century British Collections.
SA26-1 Indicated by Arrow . . .... .222
Figure 17. Percentile Ranges, Means, and Standard Deviations of
Mullet (Mugil sp.) Biomass and MNI for the First
Spanish Period and 18th Century British Collections.
SA26-1 Indicated by Arrow . . .... .224
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
SPANISH AND BRITISH SUBSISTENCE STRATEGIES AT ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA,
AND FREDERICA, GEORGIA, BETWEEN 1565 and 1783
Elizabeth Jean Reitz
Chairperson: Elizabeth S. Wing
Major Department: Anthropology
Anthropologists have for a number of years been investigating the
relationship between human populations and their environments. Although
much work has been done in this area using prehistoric archaeological
materials, historic archaeologists have been slow to recognize the value
of ecological studies in interpreting their data. The purpose of this
research is to demonstrate the applicability of ecological theory to
studies of archaeological materials from historic sites.
The study focuses upon the use of vertebrate animal remains from
the First Spanish Period, St. Augustine, Florida (1565-1763); the British
occupation at Frederica, Georgia (1736-ca. 1748); and the British Period
at St. Augustine, Florida (1763-1783). Using archaeological faunal
materials from several sites the influence of social class, political
and social environment, cultural affiliation, and local animal resources
on the adaptive strategy is assessed. Particular emphasis is placed upon
the types of species used; the habitat, habits, and seasonality of the
species exploited; and the proportion of wild to domestic species
incorporated in the diet. Standard zooarchaeological techniques are
employed to determine Minimun Number of Individuals and allometric
scaling formula are used to determine biomass estimates.
Analysis demonstrates that the adaptive patterns found at all
of the sites examined differ from the strategies reported for other
European settlements in North America. In addition, the faunal
samples from the British Period at St. Augustine are more similar
to the 18th Century First Spanish Period materials than to the faunal
samples from British Frederica. Environmental factors did have an
influence on the subsistence strategies employed by colonial British
and Spanish residents at St. Augustine and Frederica.
PART ONE: BACKGROUND AND ELABORATION OF HYPOTHESES
This is a study of human adaptation. Specifically it is a study of
subsistence patterns followed by Spanish and British colonists at two
military outposts on the Atlantic coastal plain of North America between
1565 and 1783 (Fig. 1). The study focuses upon the use of animal re-
sources by the Spanish colonists at St. Augustine, Florida,in the First
Spanish Period (1565-1763); British colonists at Frederica, Georgia (1736-
ca. 1748); and British colonists at St. Augustine during the British
Guided by principles of human ecology, analysis of faunal materials
from these historic archaeological sites will concentrate upon three
aspects: subsistence activities practiced by members of the same
cultural affiliation in different habitats; populations of distinct
cultural affiliation in the same habitat; and changes in subsistence
activity through time within a population occupying the same habitat.
Factors predicted to be influential in the adaptive strategies to be
observed are social class, political and social environment, cultural
affiliation, and local animal resources. In the ensuing chapters each
of these factors will be briefly discussed, but first the relationship
between historical archaeology and human ecology will be considered.
Historical Archaeology and Human Ecology
The Law of Uniformitarianism (Lyell 1850) states that the processes
which are observed in the present are the same ones which affected past
events. This principle is the basic interpretive link between past and
present human behavior, binding social-cultural, biological, and archae-
ological anthropologists into a single, unified discipline. It is this
same principle that unifies prehistoric and historic archaeology. The
processes which influenced prehistoric human behavior continue to affect
the behavior of recent populations. It follows that the analytical tools
developed in studies of modern ethnographic populations and applied to
the study of prehistoric groups may also be appropriately applied to
historic ones. The basic premise of this study is that subsistence be-
havior of historic populations can be explained in ecological, adaptive
terms on the same basis as the subsistence behavior of current popula-
tions and prehistoric ones.
Although ecological interpretations of anthropological data have
been common since the 1950's (Netting 1971), prehistoric archaeologists
followed this lead slowly (Meighan et al. 1958; Binford 1972; Deetz 1972;
Flannery 1972b). Historic archaeologists have lagged even further behind.
In fact, historic archaeologists have been chided recently for not being
anthropological at all (Schuyler 1970; Griffin 1978).
Traditionally historical archaeologists have been more concerned
with salvage projects, reconstructions, and public interpretive programs
rather than with exploring cultural patterns and questions of human
adaptation. We are faced with the paradox that more is known theoret-
ically about the adaptive behavior of prehistoric populations than of
historic ones. This is in spite of the fact that the presence of
historical documents should make studies of historic adaptations a
fruitful area of research where the validity of ecological interpretations
could be tested.
Part of the reason for the neglect of human adaptation in historic
occupations cannot be attributed solely to the funding base and research
interests of historic archaeologists, but rather to a common assumption
made about domestic plants and animals. Historic populations, at least
ones with a European background, were almost always associated with
domestic plants and animals. It has been assumed that such domestic
food sources somehow protected the human population from the need to
adjust to the natural environment in any but the most superficial sense.
The early discussions of the Neolithic Revolution clearly assume that
humans were consequently freed of environmental constraints (Childe 1958).
This assumption is particularly strong where historic European popula-
tions are involved.
There is ample ethnographic and archaeological evidence indicating
that the presence of plant and animal domesticates does not relieve the
human population of the need to deal with local environmental factors in
some coherent, integrated manner (Clark 1972; P. Lyon 1974; Stark and
Voorhies 1978). Human subsistence behavior must be responsive to
variables of the environment even where domestic plants and animals are
present. The few available examples of European colonial adaptations in
North America clearly indicate that French, British, and Spanish animal
use was highly variable in ways not explicable if the presence of
domestic animals rendered these European populations immune to environ-
mental influence (Cleland 1970; Cumbaa 1975; Barber 1976; Bowen 1976;
Shapiro 1978a, 1978b).
The interpretation of Spanish and British foodways made in this
study is explicitly ecological. Human behavior may be
studied as animal behavior and interpreted the same way
as behavior (or part of the behavior) of any other species,
for instance, in its adaptive aspects and consequent
interaction with natural selection. (Simpson in Vayda and
Adaptive requirements are placed upon human organisms just as they
are placed on non-human ones, with an intervening variable: culture
The culture, or part of the culture, of a human
population is regarded as part of the distinctive
means by which the population maintains itself in
the ecosystem. (Rappaport 1969:185)
It is presumed here that environmental factors are as applicable to
historic populations of European descent as to modern, non-industralized
groups or to prehistoric populations. Just as with these latter two
groups, it is possible to explore species and habitat exploitation,
subsistence scheduling, procurement techniques, and food preparation
habits for a historic population. It is also possible to compare changes
in subsistence activity through time, in different areas occupied by
members of the same cultural affiliation, and between different cultural
groups. Interpretation of human adaptation to the natural and social
environment is as basic to an understanding of historic archaeological
data as it is for prehistoric data.
Analysis of the subsistence patterns of North American colonists of
Old World ancestry can provide interesting insights into the adaptation
made by these people. The colonists arrived here with little under-
standing of their new environment and great naivete. Like modern
historical archaeologists, the early colonists seemed to think that their
domestic food sources and trans-Atlantic supply routes buffered them
from the new environment and made adjustments in their Old World subsis-
tence strategy unnecessary. Reports of "starving times" are almost a
hallmark of early colonial efforts (Weeden 1890; Bruce 1895; Gray 1933;
Thompson 1942) and show that the colonists quickly faced reality. They
had to modify their traditional Old World adaptation to suit the North
American habitats. The new adaptations developed at each outpost reflect-
ed the influence of available technology, political environment, tradi-
tional foodways, and the local natural environment.
One of the basic elements in human adaptations is the ability of
humans to make choices.
Choices of usable resources, decisions as to their
proportional use and time of utilization, and the
demographic and spatial arrangements chosen in order
to accomplish the exploitation, all allot human time
and energy and are visualized as structuring the
subsistence and settlement patterns of a human group.
Even granting the proposition that relatively small
amounts of energy may be expended by hunters and
gatherers in the food quest (Lee 1968; Sahlins 1968),
the allotment of these expenditures depends on choices
among competing or mutually exclusive activities; the
"scarcity" pertains to time and energy devoted (by
choice) to subsistence. (Jochim 1976)
David L. Clarke (1968:490) has defined a strategy as "a program or
plan of an entity's moves.... ." Humans are rational beings who attempt
to maximize satisfactions by choosing between competing objectives, the
decision often involving a compromise among those objectives. There are
several criteria for guiding the food procurement decision making process
according to game theorists (Clarke 1968). The one which appears to be
most useful in explaining human adaptive strategy is the Simon satisficer
criterion in which the objective is to satisfy a safe, low-risk, sub-
maximal aspiration level rather than to provide a maximum yield. Humans
generally attempt to provide themselves with sufficient goods while ex-
pending the minimum or least effort (Haggett 1965; Marshall 1968; Paine
1971). Human adaptive systems are distinctive, however, in their flexi-
bility so a mixture of other game criteria may be implemented to deal
with a problem (Clarke 1968). While the basic strategy may be a satis-
ficer one, during seasonal runs of bluefish or caribou, a maximizing
strategy may be followed.
According to Michael A. Jochim, a population must deal with three
problems: resource use schedule, site placement, and demographic arrange-
ment, with the pattern of resource use being the most important in influ-
encing other aspects of the adaptation (1976). In developing a resource
use schedule, conflicts in seasonal cycles of preferred and possible
foods as well as the distribution of these resources in the area must
be resolved (Flannery 1972a). Humans must also conform to Liebig's "Law
of the Minimum," that is, the adaptation must be to the weakest elements
in the subsistence system rather than to the most favorable ones (Odum
1971; Hardesty 1977). The group adapts to the worst years rather than
to the best ones.
In establishing and following a resource use schedule the primary
goal is to obtain necessary foods and raw materials while keeping the
cost/risk/effort factor low (Jochim 1976). In terms of food species,
it is important to exploit several resources, some of which provide a
moderate return for little effort and with little risk and others which
yield a high return but are costly in terms of effort and low in security.
The more reliable resources will be emphasized in the diet, since it is
of primary importance to have a secure food and raw materials source
available providing high yield at minimum cost. However, the resources
requiring great effort, involving high risk, but providing large yields
will be the more prestigious. Prestige or luxury items are those which
provide high fat and meat content but are scarce and/or highly mobile
(e.g. deer, caribou, cattle). Procurement and processing techniques such
as traps, nets, weirs, and storage facilities increase the efficiency of
capture and help reduce the cost of exploitation. Species which can be
captured with greatest efficiency will be more heavily exploited, though
less valued, than the species which are more difficult to obtain.
Settlement location reflects the resource use strategy (Jochim 1976).
Sites for habitation tend to be selected to minimize the distance to the
most secure and most abundant resources. These are the same resources
which have the lowest prestige. Temporary camps are placed near the less
secure, high-prestige resources. Sites are also selected to provide
protection from the elements and for observation of strangers.
The third problem identified by Jochim (1976) is demographic arrange-
ment. Decisions about group size must be based upon provision of food
for the population, resource distribution, and social interaction. These
will not be reviewed here since it goes beyond the scope of the research
presented here to do so. This decision does not imply that demographic
arrangements for historic occupations cannot be profitably studied.
For a valuable ecological interpretation it is desirable to incor-
porate studies of cultural and historical data, human biology, zoological
and botanical data, demography, and other sciences. Unfortunately all
of this material is not yet available from the study area or on the study
groups. Emphasis is placed here almost entirely upon an interpretation
of human adaptation as revealed in subsistence activities. Subsistence
activities are further delineated to include only those which can be
studied via analysis of faunal remains from archaeological sites. Much
could be learned to supplement the faunal study if floral materials were
also available, but they are not. It is acknowledged that there is more
to an ecological reconstruction than this, but time, space, and available
data do not permit a broader study. As has been implied earlier, there
is little comparative material available on historic, colonial adaptations.
Consequently it is felt that work with material from these sites must be
basically descriptive. The interpretations offered here are tentative
ones, models to be tested carefully in future studies rather than ones
to be accepted without further analysis.
1. The implication of the preceding discussion is that a human
population must adapt to the resources of the local environment. When a
population moves into a new environment, as happened during the coloni-
zation of the New World by Europeans, cultural traditions relating to
subsistence patterns had to be modified to exploit the new resources and
habitats available. It can be predicted that when two populations of
distinct cultural affiliation occupy the same location, their adaptive
strategies will be similar. The British Period subsistence pattern at
St. Augustine, as reflected in the faunal materials, will be more
similar to the Spanish pattern at St. Augustine than to the British one
at Frederica. Local environment will have more influence than cultural
affiliation upon the subsistence strategy of cultural groups occupying
the same environment, where technological level is the same.
2. It is further predicted that within cultural affiliations, where
environment, political events, and technology are held constant, socio-
economic level will be the most useful explanation of the range of adap-
tive patterns observed (Homans 1950; Warner 1962). Income, occupation,
and ethnic affiliation are used to indicate socio-economic level at St.
Augustine (Poe in prep.) and these have been observed to be important at
St. Augustine (Deagan 1976a). The most frequently used species will be
those that were easily caught near the settlement with a minimum of
effort. Social status can be inferred from the presence of species which
were more risky to obtain, but were larger and provided more meat (Jochim
1976). Variability in social affiliation will be reflected in variability
in the adaptive pattern as observed in the faunal record.
3. Changes in the political and social milieu of the two colonial
occupations will also have some impact on the adaptive strategies ob-
served in the faunal record. This is not a contradiction of the basic
ecological position assumed in this study. The social and political
milieu is part of the environment to which a population must adapt
(Sahlins 1964). Changes in the socio-political environment, just as
changes in the natural one, must be accommodated in the basic adaptive
strategy. This is just as true for prehistoric populations as for
historic or ethnographic ones; however, for prehistoric populations
political events are generally unknown. Some of the adaptive changes
observed through time at Spanish St. Augustine are best explained by
Organization of Presentation
Each of these hypotheses will be elaborated on in the following
chapters. Part One will present background material from the historical,
archaeological, and environmental literature. The importance of social
status to subsistence activities, and consequently to excavated faunal
materials, will be discussed with reference to examples of social class
reflected in the faunal record from several historic sites (Chapter 2).
The historical background of the St. Augustine and Frederica populations,
as well as demographic and economic information, will be presented with
a summary of the impact which these factors might have had on local
subsistence strategies (Chapter 3). Following this, traditional British
and Spanish Old World foodways will be described. This material will be
supplemented by reference to zooarchaeological reports from historic
sites in North America in order to contrast British Old and British New
World foodways (Chapter 4). Finally the wild and domestic animal re-
sources of the Atlantic Coastal Plain will be reviewed (Chapter 5).
Part Two will cover the new material being presented here. The
hypotheses outlined above, and refined in Part One, will be tested using
British and Spanish faunal collections recovered during archaeological
excavations at St. Augustine, Florida,and Frederica, Georgia. Of the
sixteen faunal collections that are reviewed, eleven were drawn from the
Spanish occupation at St. Augustine, and five were from British house
lots at St. Augustine and Frederica. They represent a variety of cultural
and temporal divisions as follows: 16th Century First Spanish Period,
St. Augustine (five sites); 17th Century First Spanish Period, St.
Augustine (one site); 18th Century First Spanish Period, St. Augustine
(five sites); British Frederica (two sites); and the British Period at
St. Augustine (three sites). These materials and the methods employed
in analysis are reviewed (Chapter 6), analyzed (Chapter 7), and conclu-
sions drawn (Chapter 8).
SOCIAL STATUS AND ANIMAL RESOURCE USE
It has been predicted that variability in faunal use during the
First Spanish Period at St. Augustine will reflect socio-economic level.
It was mentioned briefly that social status might be inferred for an
archaeological collection on the basis of faunal materials (Chapter 1).
This possibility will be explored using evidence of social stratification
in archaeological faunal samples from documented colonial and plantation
sites. The outline of the major social strata in the Hispanic Empire
is well known. These will be described here as they might affect access
to animal resources at St. Augustine. The discussion begins with a
review of the concept of social status.
Archaeology and Social Class
The concept of social class as defined by William Lloyd Warner
incorporates the following socio-economic symbols: occupation, source
of income, house type, and dwelling area (1962). According to Warner,
"a social structure is a system of formal and informal groupings by which
social behavior of individuals is regulated" (Warner and Lunt 1941:14).
Social stratification serves to set limits upon attainment of goals, and
to maintain authority relationships (Lipset 1968). Social criteria are
not based purely upon economic criteria, but also upon self-identification,
life-style, and prestige (Goldschmidt 1968:332). To be a member of the
highest social class a person must not only be wealthy, but must also
display appropriate symbols of importance. These include such conspicu-
ous traits as prestigeful house location, personal adornment, associations,
employment, ceramic assemblages, social behavior, and food. Only some of
these symbols of high social status survive in the archaeological record.
Lewis R. Binford (1972) postulates that it is possible to identify
status grading in archaeological sites from socio-technic items. He
defines these as "the material elements having their primary functional
context in the social subsystem of the total cultural system" (1962:95).
An individual's social status might be inferred from ceramics, metal
objects, items of apparel, house construction materials, house size, and
house location, just to mention a few durable symbols.
In more strictly economic terms,
the stratified society is distinguished by the differential
relationships between the members of the society and its
subsistence means--some of the members of the society have
unimpeded access to its strategic resources while others
have various impediments in their access to the same
fundamental resources.(Fried 1974:32)
Elevated social status is not without its burden of responsibility
however. To maintain rightful access to strategic and luxury resources,
leaders must continually validate their status by supporting the system
and publicly displaying the appropriate symbols of authority. Leaders
must also conform more closely to the norms of acceptable behavior than
do individuals of lower social standing (Homans 1950).
Persons of lower social status experience restricted access to valued
resources. They may be predicted to occupy the less desirable locations,
build with less prestigious materials, and use less valued ceramic vessels.
They may also be predicted to have access to less preferred foods. If,
however, they commit infractions upon social norms, perhaps in the food
quest, this is viewed less harshly than if a person of higher social
standing commits the same offense.
The best documented example of differential access to scarce
resources provided by historical archaeology has been provided by John
S. Otto (1975). Otto excavated cultural and faunal materials from a Sea
Island cotton plantation on St. Simons Island, Georgia, occupied between
1793 and 1861. He had samples from three social-economic levels (planter,
overseer, and slave) from Cannon's Point Plantation. Otto was able to
demonstrate a close correlation between diet as reflected in the faunal
collections and materials found in the cultural collections. He found
that the slave diet included proportionately more domestic animal
individuals than did the planter diet. Slaves had more pigs (Sus scrofa)
and more cattle (Bos taurus). Otto explained this difference by suggesting
that the planter had the ability to employ slaves as hunting specialists
and so had access to more wild resources than did the slaves. Slaves had
to use the nearest available, most secure resource: domestic animals.
In this case, wild animals might have been the prestige food.
Another example of differential access to scarce food resources is
provided by Stephen L. Cumbaa from the 18th Century First Spanish Period
at St. Augustine (1975). Cumbaa analyzed patterns of animal use from
three households whose social status in the community was known from the
documents. He found that the diet of a household (SA16-23) occupied by
an Indian woman, Maria de la Cruz, and her Spanish husband, incorporated
less domestic meat than did the diet of the other two households studied.
This household, of lower social status than the others, made use of more
wild resources from the nearby salt marsh. Occupying an intermediate
social position, the Gertrudis de la Pasqua household (SA13-5) made use
of more domestic individuals than did the de la Cruz household, but of
fewer such animals than the Cristoval Contreras household (SA34-2).
Contreras was from the Canary Islands and a wealthy man, yet he used wild
resources to a greater extent than Cumbaa had expected based on his social
status. Cumbaa interpreted this as an indication that Contreras had
engaged the services of a hunting specialist, possibly one of his slaves.
This contrasts with the de la Cruz household which probably secured its
wild resources through its own or kin group efforts.
It is interesting to note that Dona Katherine Beidleman, in an
analysis of ceramics from the lot occupied by Contreras (SA34-2) found a
close correlation between ceramics and social status (1976). During the
late First Spanish Period, British goods were illegally, or at least
illicitly, imported into St. Augustine (Harman 1969). A member of the
upper class, however, did not make use of these cheaper goods because
of the expectation of behavior associated with higher status and so had
to use the more expensive, lower quality items legitimately shipped to
St. Augustine by Spanish sources. Here is an example of leaders con-
forming strictly to the legal code, to their own discomfort.
Cattle (Bos taurus) were part of the illicit British trade (Harman
1969). Could it not be possible that individuals of high social standing
not only had to avoid using British delftware, but also had to avoid
using British cattle? While the de la Cruz household may have had limited
access to cattle due to low social status, the Contreras household may
have had limited access to cattle due to an elevated status.
Social status is also studied via the faunal record by Henry M.
Miller (1978). Miller analyzed materials from two late 17th Century
homesites on the James River. The Pettus Plantation was occupied by a
wealthy Virginia colonist, while Utopia Cottage was on land owned by
Pettus, and may have been occupied by a tenant farmer. Structure size,
ceramic analysis, and documentary evidence all indicated that Utopia
Cottage was occupied by a person of lower social standing than the Pettus
Plantation site. Cattle (Bos taurus) contributed about equal proportions
of edible meat at both sites, and was the dominant animal food source.
Next in order of edible meat importance were swine (Sus scrofa), which
were also used about equally at both sites. Analysis of elements re-
covered from the two sites, and of butchering patterns, failed to indicate
a substantial difference between the two collections. Swine were more
selectively butchered by age at Pettus than at Utopia and more fish were
consumed at Utopia than at Pettus; however, neither of these differences
was of major importance.
The homogeneity of the Pettus and Utopia faunal materials is
interesting considering the documentary evidence and the clear indication
of lower social status provided by architectural and ceramic materials.
Miller concludes that diet may have been one of the first patterns to
change as a household became upwardly mobile. This interpretation is
supported by the fact that in inventory lists cooking utensils and
bedding are the first things to increase in numbers with increased
wealth (Miller 1978).
This last example serves to provide a cautionary note to interpre-
tations of socio-economic level from faunal collections. Two households
of different social status might well exhibit a similar faunal collection,
although for different reasons. In order to avoid a :misinterpretation
it is critical to incorporate as much cultural and documentaryevidende
as possible into the analysis. Only by doing so was Miller able to avoid
a mistaken interpretation of Pettus and Utopia. Otto also found that the
material assemblages of-the planter and slave habitations he analyzed
were superficially similar, but was able to avoid mis-identifying'the
status of each group of occupants using detailed analysis of the ceramics
in conjunction with documentary evidence. This does not negate the`''
hypothesis that social class is an important variable in the subsistence
strategy practiced, but it does emphasize the difficulty inherent in such
an interpretation. The possibility that the two extremes of a social *:
continue might be similar in the fauna utilized is well worth exploring
and the possibility that social status may be identified using faunal'
materials merits closer examination. It is best to remember, though,-
that patterning is most accurately reflected in the total assemblage
rather than in a single component of the complex.
Social Status in Spanish Florida
Spanish society in the New World was highly structured with over
sixty racial classifications (Morner 1967). The influential posts, and
the persons accorded highest prestige by the Crown, were persons of Old
World birth, called peninsulares (Haring 1947). Immigrants from either
the Spanish Iberian peninsula or the Canary Islands (as Contreras in the
above example) belonged to this favored group. The governors of Florida
were always peninsulares, although criollos (persons born in the New
World) might serve as temporary appointees. Policy as well as custom
combined to maintain the social distance between peninsulares and
criollos. Peninsulares in responsible positions were usually transferred
to a new post after a few years, serving to further isolate them from
local populations. There were rarely enough peninsulares in Florida to
satisfy the Crown (Corbett 1974).
Spaniards of New World birth, creoles or criollos, were excluded
from positions of influence and authority generally, even though the
wealth and local prestige of many might have better qualified them to
serve. They were also barred from major commercial enterprises, which
by law were based only in Seville or Cadiz, Spain (Haring 1947).
Criollos were said to be lazy, indolent, and quarrelsome. It was felt
that no criollo should be on the government payroll (Bushnell 1978b).
The power struggle between peninsulares, assigned to positions of author-
ity for only a few years and essentially outsiders and strangers, and
local, wealthy criollos was intense throughout the Spanish New World.
By 1696, and despite objections against the practice from the Crown,
criollos filled half of the garrison posts at St. Augustine (Arana 1960)
and all of the leadership positions except that of the governor (Arnade
1965). They also managed the extensive, lucrative commercial cattle
ranches that flourished in the latter part of the 17th Century (Bushnell
1978b). The wealthier criollos might have attempted to define their
status by identifying with peninsulares, although not all criollos were
Mestizos, or persons of mixed ancestry, were accorded a low social
status. Since the title originally referred to illegitimate children of
Spanish and Indian parents, the term had a connotation of illegitimacy
(Haring 1947). Peninsulares and criollos alike disdained mestizos, who
were thought tobe vagrants. Mestizos were the ones who did manual labor,
while the "whites" avoided such.work insofar as possible (Morner 1967).
In some areasof the Hispanictworld, mestizos were legally denied educa-
tion beyond religious instruction. In spite of the feelings against
them, mestizos served in the Florida military garrison (Corbett 1976).
Blacks and Indians were at the lowest social level. LegallyIndians
were of a social status above mestizos but this was not so in practice
(Haring 1947). Blacks at St. Augustine may either have been slave or
free. Spanish Florida was a haven for escaped British slaves.since they
were not returned to their owners (Tepaske 1964). Many artisans at St.
Augustine were slaves or Indians (Boniface 1971), and Indians may have
served on St. Augustine ships (Bushnell 1978c) .
As examples cited above serve to illustrate, the identification of
social status from faunal assemblages is not without risks. Had documen-
tary assistance been lacking, the slave faunal collection from Cannon's
Point might have been identified as belonging to the planter; and the
households of Pettus Plantation and Utopia might have been interpreted
as belonging to the same social statum.
Is an analysis of differential access to scarce resources justified
in the absence of documentary evidence? Prehistoric archaeologists are
accustomed to doing so using cultural materials. Social value is assigned
to objects excavated from archaeological context on the basis of such
observed evidence as local availability, quality of materials and manu-
facture, scarcity at the site, and distribution within the site. It
seems reasonable to assume that observed differences in faunal use could
also be used to infer social status where social stratification is known
to have existed.
The difficulty lies in assigning value to animal foods. While
archaeologists feel themselves to be safe in predicting that oriental
porcelains were highly valued, who feels secure enough to do the same
for deer? It is here that Jochim's analysis of a valued food source
may be useful (1976). Large animals which provide abundant quantities
of meat, but which are difficult to raise or obtain may be more highly
valued than animals which are reliably secured locally with a minimum
of effort. Archaeological faunal collections which contain larger
quantities of these valued animals may be from households of higher
social status than comtemporaneous sites of the same cultural affiliation
which have these species in lower numbers.
The intent in this study regarding social status is to predict
social status for the 16th Century First Spanish Period sites for which
we have no documentary evidence. It is known that social status was
important at St. Augustine and it will be seen that cattle (Bos taurus)
was a valued commodity (Chapter 5). Members of high social status,
either peninsulares or criollos, might be expected to have the greatest
access to cattle. In the 18th Century, peninsulare access to this
commodity was restricted due to the fact that it was available through
dealings with illicit traders. Upwardly aspiring criollos might also
have followed the high status model and avoided such dealings, so that
both groups may not have had cattle to the extent that their social status
would suggest. Thus in the 18th Century two groups would lack cattle:
low status mestizo households such as that of Maria de la Cruz and high
status individuals such as the peninsulare Contreras.
In the 16th Century there was no illicit British trade to confuse
the issue. Cattle during this time were scarce, however, and therefore
potentially a prestigious item. It is felt, therefore, that socio-
economic level in the 16th Century can be predicted on the basis of
access to cattle. Unfortunately there is no good way to test the inter-
pretation until documentary evidence is found, nor can absolute status
be predicted. While the two extremes of the continuum can be observed
and interpreted with reasonable confidence, identification of households
between the two extremes is more difficult.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE SPANISH AND BRITISH
OCCUPATION ON THE ATLANTIC COASTAL PLAIN, 1565-1783
The documented history of British and Spanish interaction in the Old
and New World provides a framework within which to study the subsistence
patterns at St. Augustine and Frederica. The two garrisons were part of
an international struggle which affected the daily lives of the residents,
in as much as their reason for being was based more upon military strategy,
than upon commercial enterprise. Although Frederica was pleasantly
situated, St. Augustine's location was not selected for its pleasing
agricultural prospect. The wealth of Florida and of Frederica lay in
their strategic locations. Much of the subsistence activity at both
locations was formed within constraints imposed by political alliances
and mercantile policies stated by their respective Crowns. Military
duties, disrupted supply lines, relations with natives, and unofficial
trade networks all had to be incorporated into the subsistence plan.
In this chapter the history of the region will be summarized. In
addition, the populations of St. Augustine and Frederica will be
described and the economic conditions of Spanish and British residents
A Brief History
There are many excellent histories of the Spanish Empire (Haring
1947), of the Caribbean (Haring 1966; Sauer 1969), of early explorations
in North America (Sauer 1971), and of Florida (Chatelain 1941; Tepaske
1964; Bolton and Ross 1968; Lyon 1977a). It is not the intent here to
supplant these, but only to highlight some of the processes which
directly affected the lives of colonists at St. Augustine and Frederica.
Significant events are summarized in Table 1.
Shortly after Columbus claimed the New World for Spain, Spanish
explorers had extended effective dominion throughout the Caribbean, onto
the mainland of Mexico, and down into South America. Spanish explorers
had also explored much of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of North America
(Sauer 1971). Compared to the wealth known to exist in Central and South
America, North America seemed to hold little promises of riches. None-
theless several attempts were made to explore and settle the area named
"la Florida" by Juan Ponce de Leon. These attempts all ended in failure,
which prompted Filipe II of Spain in 1561 to forbid any further efforts
The very next year France, recognizing the value of the Atlantic
coast's proximity to the wealth of the Caribbean (Fig. 1), began to
establish colonies in the New World. The initial effort at Port Royal
Sound, South Carolina, revived the Spanish Crown's interest in Florida
(Fig. 2). A hostile fortification so close to the vital shipping lane
used by the Spanish treasure fleets each summer could not be tolerated.
This initial French settlement failed before the Spanish could launch
their counter offensive. However, the French established a second out-
post even closer to the sea lane, at the St. Johns River, in 1564. It
was this second French installation which the Adelantado Pedro Menendez
de Aviles attacked and destroyed the following year.
As part of his royal charter Menendez was required to establish two
towns. He did so at once, the first and most southerly of which was
named St. Augustine. In the following years Menendez established a string
of fortifications along the Atlantic coast as far north as Port Royal
Sound (Santa Elena) and around the tip of Florida up the Gulf coast to
Tampa Bay (Lyon 1977a). The purpose of these outposts was to prevent
further foreign intrusions on the Atlantic coast, to protect the vital
Spanish treasure fleet sailing to Spain from Cuba up the Bahama Channel
or Florida Straits, and to aid victims of shipwreck in the treacherous
Although the initial intent was for the Florida garrisons to be self-
supporting, this proved to be impossible (Lyon 1977a). Shortly after the
Adelantado's death, the Florida garrison became a dependency of the
Spanish Crown. Unlike other Spanish colonies in the New World, the Royal
subsidy, or situado, rather than commerce, was intended to be the chief
support of the Florida garrison. Consequently there were no encomiendas
(large land grants) or repartimientos (Indian labor grants) on the scale
that these institutions occurred elsewhere, nor were there confirmed
deeds (Gold 1969). As a result there were no fortunes to be made and
most of the population was composed of soldiers on military assignment
rather than colonists there to make a fortune (Corbett 1976).
Spain claimed possession of all of North America east of New Mexico
under the name "La Florida," but in reality control was exercised only
over the narrow geographical strip occupied by the missions and forts
northward from St. Augustine along the Georgia coast and westward across
the northern end of the Florida peninsula. This area was divided into
four provinces: Guale, eastern Georgia and the coastal islands; Timucua,
north-central Florida and a portion of southern Georgia; Apalachee,
southwestern Georgia, southern Alabama, and Florida between the St. Marks
River and Pensacola; and Provincia Nueva, southern Florida (Gillaspie
During the last half of the 16th Century, existence at St. Augustine
was a tenuous affair. British and French soldiers as well as Indians
continually harassed the Spanish officials with raids and uprisings
(Bolton and Ross 1968). A series of Indian insurrections along the
Georgia coast, culminating in the Guale Revolt of 1573, caused the
virtual abandonment for a while of the Atlantic coast down to present-
day Savannah and by 1597 all of the Georgia missions had been temporarily
deserted. The garrison at St. Augustine was further strained in the
1500's by pirate attacks, pestilance, fires, floods, and worries about
unconfirmed English activities to the north.
At the turn of the century, with Spanish resources strained by war
with England, the outlook for survival of the presidio at St. Augustine
was in doubt. Thoughts were entertained of abandoning the unprofitable
and complaining post entirely (Arnade 1959). When British activity to
the north was confirmed, however, the decision was made to remain at
St. Augustine. After 1602 a series of missions was established westward
from St. Augustine across the Florida peninsula to present-day Tallahassee,
and the chain of missions previously abandoned north of St. Augustine
along the Georgia coast was reestablished. By the mid-1600's Spanish
missions once again extended as far north as Port Royal Sound (Lanning
1935). In conjunction with the interior missions, cattle ranches were
established, principally in the vicinity of present-day Gainesville but
also between St. Augustine and the St. Johns River. In spite of occa-
sional Indian revolts, disturbing intrusions by English traders in the
interior, and pirate attacks, the St. Augustine outpost enjoyed a period
of relative calm during the 1670's and 1680's.
Effective control of the area was being eroded, however. French
and British raids in the Caribbean were becoming increasingly bold.
Around 1686 St. Augustine officials once again began to withdraw the
northern mission chain, this time down to the St. Marys River. English
traders were generating major unrest among the Indians once allied with
the Spanish (Wright 1971). The beginning of the 18th Century marked a
major shift in Spanish control of Florida, bringing with it the disas-
trous raids of British Colonel Moore and French encroachments in the
west of the peninsula. The interior mission system and the cattle ranches
were destroyed. Spanish authority for a while was more strictly limited
to the immediate vicinity of the presidio at St. Augustine than it had
been for a long time.
Frederica and its companion fortifications were established in the
first half of the 18th Century as part of the British southward advance
into territory claimed by Spain as part of "la Florida." Frederica's
mission was primarily strategic, although the colonists were expected to
be self-sufficient and profitably employed in the export of raw agricul-
tural crops such as silk. While there was little cause, the garrison
continually watched for a Spanish raid, and even lost a crop one year
because of an alarm (Wright 1971). Indian relations were not a major
problem to the settlers themselves, although the Salzburger farmers
complained that Indians raided their fields, gardens, and stole their.
livestock (Bonner 1964). In 1739 the War of Jenkin's Ear between.,_
England and Spain began. A raid on St. Augustine, led from Ft. Frederica
by General James Oglethorpe in 1740, did much damage to the town. The
Spanish garrison retaliated in 1742 with a raid of their own. Shortly
after this the war was drawnto a close. Frederica was abandoned by the
British military personnel, and the shopkeepers quickly followed (Reese
In spite of the exchange of raids between St. Augustine and
Frederica, the period between 1733 and the early 1750's was one of
relative security at St. Augustine (Tepaske 1964). Hostilities among
England, France, and Spain continued, however, with France and England
resuming a state of war in 1756. Although Spain remained aloof from
this confrontation for a while, the Crown eventually joined France
against England, just in time to be on the.losing side. England captured
Cuba in the closing days of this warrand Spain was eager to regain that
island, even if it cost them Florida to do so. As the British prepared
to occupy the peninsula (all that remained of the once extensive Spanish
"la Florida") virtually the entire Spanish and Florida Indian population
evacuated the province (Dunkle 1955).
Britain remained in control of.the Florida colony for twenty years.
Initially it was an idle backwater (Wright 1975), but when-the American
Revolution began St. Augustine remained loyal to the Crown and once again
assumed strategic importance. The town experienced a florescence as,it
became a staging area for British troops and supplies going north. The
town also served as a refuge for Tories fleeing the rebellious colonies.
As part of the agreement ending the Revolution, however, Britain returned
the Florida peninsula to Spain and most of this refugee population evac-
uated the town along with British soldiers and local citizens (Dunkle
The history of the region between 1565 and 1783 was clearly marked
by unrest and danger. Throughout the Spanish and British occupations
war or the threat of war hung over the garrisons. During much of the
time it was unsafe for Spanish residents at St. Augustine to venture far
from the protection of the fortification. Although the British colony at
Frederica was not so clearly under immediate threat of attack from Indians,
the possibility of a Spanish or French raid was very real to the residents
The Spanish Florida Population
The demographic composition of the population in Spanish Florida has
been studied by John R. Dunkle (1955) and Theodore G. Corbett (1974; 1976).
They found that people who came to the presidio at St. Augustine originated
from two basic sources. The first major source was the Iberian peninsula
and the Canary Islands. The second source was Mexico and the Antilles.
During the First Spanish Period these two areas alternated in supplying
manpower to the garrison. For example, between 1658 and 1691, migration
to St. Augustine from Mexico and the Iberian peninsula was strong (Corbett
1974). After that fewer people arrived from Spanish America, and more
blacks came to the town, either as escaped slaves from the British
Carolinas, or as slaves from the Spanish Antilles. Iberian and Canary
Island migrations also increased. Between 1733 and 1756 a large number
of Cuban criollos came to St. Augustine (Corbett 1974). A census in
1607 also listed twenty-eight Portuguese, six German, twenty French, and
two Flemish residents. After 1685 English Catholics were also allowed,-
to settle in Florida (Dunkle 1955).
The initial migrants to Florida were carefully selected for skills
representing virtually all of the major 16th Century crafts (Lyon 1977a)
but eventually this trend was reversed. .Most of the later migrants to
the presidio were urban poor. Many had either served time in prison,or
had been sent to St. Augustine as part of their sentence. For example,
men who participated in the 1694 food riot in Mexico City were sentenced,
to labor on the Castillo de San Marcos (Corbett 1974). Mexican soldiers-
were generally described as "impressed Indians and half-breeds" (Arana .-:
1960:90-92). Those from the Iberian peninsula were the urban poor, or
criminals, from cities such as Seville, Cadiz, and Granada in the
southern province of Andalusia (Corbett 1974). Settlers from Cuba and
from the Canary Island tended to be more affluent, having the social
advantage also of being either criollos or peninsulares, rather than
mestizos. It must have been difficult for wealthy criollos at St.
Augustine to be viewed in an inferior light to the type of peninsulare
coming from the streets of Cadiz, however.
The size of the population shifted dramatically through time. Some
1,500 people may have come with Menendez to Florida in the initial settle-
ment of 1565 (Boniface 1971). As the focus of Royal attention shifted
elsewhere, and dreams of wealth and glory vanished, the population
declined dramatically. By 1574 only 300 settlers remained, most of whom
were soldiers or sailors. Between 1685 and 1702 there were about 1,500
military and civilian residents (Corbett 1976). The garrison size in
1699 was 315 men, of whom thirty-three were not able to serve, and many
of whom were stationed at outlying posts. By the late 16th Century over
a third of the garrison strength was criollo (Boniface 1971). When the
town was abandoned at the end of the First Spanish Period, 2,996 to 3,104
people were evacuated, including Florida Indians and blacks (Corbett 1976).
At the time of the evacuation St. Augustine was the second largest city
in the south after Charleston, South Carolina (Gold 1969).
The Indian population at St. Augustine deserves special mention.
While there were some Indians living in villages near St. Augustine
(Grinan 1757; Lyon 1977a), the number of Indians living near the forti-
fication grew steadily as English slaving raids became more intense in
the interior (Tepaske 1964). By 1738, 1,350Indians lived in the St.
Augustine area, although only twenty-four actually lived in the town
(Benavides 1738). During work on the coquina Castillo de San Marcos,
as many as 300 Indians were sent to the town from the missions each year
(Dunkle 1955). Some Indians may even have served as sailors on the
presidios' ships (Bushnell 1978c). Most Florida Indians prior to Moore's
raids, however, had little contact with the presidio. Even the Indians
living near the missions had little to do with St. Augustine itself.
As elsewhere, European disease took its toll on the Indians (Swanton
1946; Dunkle 1955). While the Indian population was increasing in the
vicinity of the fort in the last part of the First Spanish Period, the
number of Indians generally was declining.
The British Population
As with their St. Augustine counterparts, most of the British
immigrants to Frederica had an urban background. Many also came from
the poor, or "middle poor" (Saye 1943), Unlike their Spanish counter-
parts, they were not criminals. Most were highly skilled craftsmen and
almost all came from Britain, Scotland, or Germany. The first group of
settlers, 230 persons, came from England together landing first at
Savannah. Many of the German Salzburgers then refused to continue to
Frederica. Those Salzburgers who did continue settled in a small.
farming community apart from the main town of Frederica surrounding the
fortification. The first group to settle on St. Simons Island numbered
104 persons. In 1739 Oglethorpe's Regiment of 700 soldiers and their
families arrived. There were some slaves at Frederica in spite of a
prohibition against slavery in the founding charter.
During the British Period at St. Augustine (1763-1783), the popu-
lation experienced some major shifts (Wright 1971). Initially the town
was settled by a small contingent of Scottish soldiers, a few merchants,
and some large land-owners. Indian allies and slaves also were found at
St. Augustine. In 1777 the Minorcan colony at New Smyrna collapsed and
some 409 of these people took refuge at St. Augustine. Once the American
Revolution began the population swelled rapidly. By 1778 there were 1,000
resident whites, 3,000 local blacks, and 8,000 refugees from the northern
colonies (Dunkle 1955). Most of these were transients waiting to go
north to fight, or waiting for the war to end so they could return to,
their homes. Many of these acquired land for cultivation between the
coast and the St. Johns River, although there was not enough land for all
the refugees (Williams 1976). The Seminole Indians, who had been in the
process of occupying the interior of the Florida peninsula during the
last part of the First Spanish Period, continued to become more populous
during the British Period. In addition, some British settlers lived in
the interior either as traders or as farmers. When the British Period
ended approximately 13,000 people evacuated the province, although some
British citizens avoided the Spaniards by moving further into the
interior of the peninsula (Dunkle 1955).
As a military garrison, governmental center, and mission base, most
of the income at St. Augustine was supplied by a royal subsidy (Chatelain
1941; Tepaske 1958; Bushnell 1978c). The Spanish Crown assumed responsi-
bility for the colony's support shortly after Menendez's death in 1568
(Hoffman 1977). The annual subsidy, or situado, was paid out of the
coffers of New Spain and was initially administered by the Viceroy of
New Spain in Mexico City. The situado included pay in cash and in goods.
Commodities might be beeswax, wine, oil, lard, salt pork and beef, ham,
salt, rice, corn, flour, beans, and fabrics (A.G.I. 87-3-13, December
1758). It could also include axes, bows, caldrons, pails, machetes, drills,
goatskins, paper, bells, church furniture, cassava, and munitions (A.G.I.
87-3-12, June, 1740; A.G.I. Contraduria 962 A, 1751).
Delivery of the situado was irregular at best (Tepaske 1958, 1964).
The Viceroy of New Spain frequently delayed payment, or neglected to
supply the necessary funds at all. Once items purchased by the St.
Augustine agent in Mexico using the New Spain funds were aboard ship,
they might be captured by French or British raiders or otherwise lost at
sea. The situado might be delayed for only a matter of months, or for
as long as ten years (Bushnell 1978c).
The situado was unsatisfactory for other reasons as well. Often the
goods purchased by the St. Augustine agent in Mexico were of poor quality
initially, or spoiled during the delays incurred in shipment. Inflation
was a major problem throughout the Hispanic Empire and the goods purchased
for St. Augustine were always exhorbitantly priced. The personnel on the
Royal payroll in Florida received their annual salary in goods and the
remainder in currency. Due to inflation and gouging by Mexican merchants,
once the cost of the goods had been deducted from the annual salary,
little remained of an individual's income to be disbursed as cash
As a result government employees seldom saw any cash money (Bushnell
1978c). In addition, rations were not enough to support a family so that
St. Augustine residents had to purchase additional supplies from the
Royal warehouse or from local merchants and vendors. Due to the lack of
cash in the town such purchases were usually made against future salaries
(Grinan 1757; Chatelain 1941; Bushnell 1978c). When the situado finally
arrived, outstanding debts incurred by the citizens of the town to the
Royal storehouse and favored local merchants, taxes, and church tithes
were deducted before the employee received payment. Often there was no
cash left and the cycle continued. Many of the presidio personnel
served in virtual debt peonage. There was enough cash available in the
town, however, for some wealthy criollos to order personal supplies to
be shipped for their own use, to purchase property at auction, and to
buy maize for speculation (Bushnell 1978c).
In order to correct these conditions responsibility for administra-
tion of the situado payment was shifted in 1702 to the Bishop of Puebla,
assuming that a cleric might be more responsible. He was not (Tepaske
1964). It should be noted that the Bishop of Puebla did not exercise
ecclesiastical responsibility for Florida. Finally, in 1740, the
responsibility for supplying the situado was transferred to the Havana
Company of Cuba in exchange for trade concessions granted to the company
by the Spanish Crown. After this, situado payments became more regular,
and the amount of cash circulating in St. Augustine increased since the
British goods purchased by the Havana Company were less expensive than
the Spanish goods purchased in Mexico and Cuba (Bushnell 1978c).
While officials of New Spain continually neglected the needs of the
garrison, England was eager to serve the St. Augustine market. Legally
British merchants could only deal with New World ports by going through
Spain first. By the early 1600's even this trade was being curtailed.
English trade, originating principally in the North American colonies,
gradually became more and more a matter of contraband and freebooting
(Wright 1971). Under the mercantilist policy it was strictly forbidden
that New World Spanish colonies trade with English merchants directly,
or even between themselves (Haring 1947). All trade legally had to go
through Iberian ports. However, by a treaty signed in 1670, English
vessels could call at Hispanic ports when in distress, or to exchange
prisoners (Harman 1969). Under this guise, or without it, foreign
traffic at St. Augustine was common and continued regardless of any
state of hostility or open warfare that might have prevailed at the
time. During periods of open warfare, Spanish St. Augustinians did
appropriate English merchant vessels by force, when they could, and
British merchants in St. Augustine sometimes had their goods seized by
local governors attempting to enforce the law, or angered that they had
been slighted by some trade deal.
St. Augustine officials and private citizens traded heavily with
English merchants from Charleston, New York, and Virginia. They exchanged
local oranges, fish, deer skins, naval stores, and even sea turtles for
liquors, vinegar, apples, corn, peas, flour, biscuits, salt,beeswax,
fabrics, barrels of salted beef, pork, cod and herring, as well as cheeses,
tools, clothing, and household goods (Harman 1969). In spite of the risks
involved, English goods were of better quality and were cheaper than the
Spanish ones available through the situado (Grinan 1757). In addition to
the maritime trade with the British colonies, there was an active over-
land and inland waterway trade in livestock from the southern British
colonies. Pigs (Sus scrofa) and cattle (Bos taurus) were regularly
smuggled into St. Augustine, or purchased openly (Harman 1969). At one
point in the 1700's it was said that British merchants walked the streets
of the presidio just as if they were in London (Tepaske 1964).
Trade with British merchants was legalized in 1740 when the Havana
Company of Cuba was authorized to act as supply agent for St. Augustine
(Tepaske 1964). The Company could purchase goods from the British
colonies if no Spanish equivalent could be found. This action only made
legitimate a source of trade which had been flourishing for years. After
1740 the repetitious complaints from St. Augustine of privation and
starvation subsided and the amount of cash to be invested by residents
at the town increased. The period between 1733 and 1756 marks, in fact,
one of the two brief periods of stability the colony enjoyed (see above).
St. Augustine residents also conducted limited trade with Hispanic
ports (Gillaspie 1961; Boniface 1971). The colony was allowed to send
one ship a year to Spain, with the Canary Islands being included in this
exchange. An official quota of deer hides could be traded for military
supplies, clothing, wine, and staples such as rice, beans, flour, and
corn. From the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, St. Augustine obtained corn,
salt, henequen, wax, and cacao, among other things, although this trade
was not entirely legal (A.G.I. 54-4-15/89, 1692; Gillaspie 1961). Some
commerce was done also with Veracruz as part of the situado payment.
Cuba was the favored trading partner. From this port the garrison
at St. Augustine received spices, rice, beans, salt pork, tools, and
munitions. The population exchanged deer hides, naval stores, salt beef,
beans, chickens, hams, and lard. It is interesting that this list
contains so many agricultural products since it is not usual to think of
St. Augustine exporting food. Many of these items are found on ship
manifests of 1674-1694 and reflect the production of the interior cattle
ranches near present-day Gainesville. Two or three ships came from
Havana to St. Augustine twice a year between 1731 and 1741 (Grinan 1757).
Purchases were usually made on credit and occasionally Havana merchants
would claim as security the St. Augustine situado ship(s) as it laid
over in Cuba on its voyage from Veracruz to Florida (Bushnell 1978c).
Mercantile ties between Cuba and Florida were supported by extensive
kinship bonds between influential criollos in both communities (Gillaspie
1961). In the 16th Century the Governor of Cuba and Florida was the same
individual although this practice was soon ended because of suspected
graft (Bushnell 1978c).
In conjunction with this extensive external exchange system, St.
Augustine also obtained supplies from within the province of Florida
itself. The Spaniards traded with near-by Indians, and relied heavily
upon livestock and produce from the Apalachee missions near modern
Tallahassee, once those missions were established (Boniface 1971).
Indians were encouraged to supply produce and meat, as well as other
goods to the population at St. Augustine. In a letter written to
Governor Joseph de Zuniga about 1700 his correspondent wrote that fifty
chickens were being sent to the Governor via some Indian carpenters
going to work at St. Augustine. The Governor had originally requested
chickens, hides, tallow, and yarn. At some point Zuniga sent 500 yards
of cloth to San Luis to barter for corn, tallow, hogs, beans, chickens,
deer skins, and wheat (Boyd et al. 1951). Jonathan Dickinson in his
journey on the Atlantic coast of Florida between 1696 and 1697 encoun-
tered Indians going to St. Augustine to trade ambergris (1975). Indians
brought produce to the market at St. Augustine. Their wares included
cassina, sassafrass, deer and buffalo skins, nut oil, bear grease, tobacco,
canoes, rope, fishnet, dried turkeys, fresh fish, and game (Bushnell
1978c). These goods were either bartered or sold on credit. Yards of
cloth amd ambergris were used as units of exchange also (Bushnell 1978c).
Indians contributed to the Spanish economy in other ways as well.
They owed tithes to the religious community and tribute payments to the
Crown (Bushnell 1978c). These were paid either in produce or in a labor
draft. Indians at Apalachee were under orders to supply sixty batches
of cassina each month to the Spanish personnel stationed in that province.
The Franciscans sold excess produce they obtained in this way either in
St. Augustine or, preferably, in Havana. The governors used the tribute
in kind as rations for the soldiers, or sold it at public auction. The
labor of Indians was put to use either in the public fields, on fortress
maintenance, or in private fields. Indians not only tilled the fields,
but guarded the crops-against .crows and wild animals (Bushnell 1978c).
Service Indians were fed and housed during their stay at St. Augustine.
There isrsome suspicion that trade with the Indians was not always
equitable or voluntary (Lanning 1935; Tepaske 1964).-In a report from
San Luis, the administrative center of Apalachee located at the western
end of the mission chain across the northern peninsula, an Indian cacique,
or chief, complained that the wife of the deputy governor had taken fish
and milk from the Indians without compensation (Boyd et al. 1951). The
labor tax also was subject to abuse (Lanning 1935; Gannon 1965).
To compound their-problems the St. Augustine population had to
compete with French, British, and Cuban traders as well as the local
Franciscans for access to the Indian's produce. The Franciscans carefully
guarded the Indians from official requisitions, preferring to sell Indian
products in Havana, where these commanded a better price. Cubans came to
Florida to fish and to trade with the Apalachee ranches for produce, deer
skins, and wild turkeys (Bolton and Ross 1968). Traders from Havana also
dealt with Indians on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. In 1685
one collection of 185 deer skins and 200 beaver and otter pelts which had
been destined for British markets in Carolina was captured (Lanning 1935).
The British merchants also traded with the Atlantic coast Indians of
southern Florida for ambergris and goods salvaged from Spanish shipwrecks
(Bushnell 1978c). The French traded with the Georgia coastal Indians for
pelts and sassafrass in the 16th Century and with the Apalachee Indians
in the 18th Century.
Soldiers supplemented their incomes by working at trades and pro-
ducing food in their own fields and gardens. Trades included burning
charcoal, fishing, weaving fishing nets, building boats, rounding up
cattle, and hauling firewood (Bushnell 1978c). They cultivated small
plots of land outside the town which were assigned to them, and had
access to the wooded commons. The garrison personnel was essentially
urban and ill-suited for such work. Efforts to produce wheat and other
Iberian crops were particularly doomed to failure. In order to encourage
local food production Governor Mendez Canzo ordered his soldiers into the
fields and constructed both a mill and a market place in 1598 (Manucy
1962). Time and manpower were lacking for large scale plantings, however
(Otto and Lewis 1974), and Indian predations on crops and soldiers made
such work hazardous during some periods. Maps as early as 1597 show field
crops being grown north of the fort and between Maria Sanchez Creek and
the San Sebastian River (Fig. 3; Chatelain 1951:Fig. 2, 3, 4).
Some produce and livestock were grown within the town itself. Maps
show gardens and orchards growing on house lots (Jeffries 1762; Chatelain
1941:Fig. 2). Dickinson reported that such crops as figs, grapes, oranges,
pomegranates, mulberries, squash, radishes, kidney beans, onions, garlic,
lettuce, peppers, cabbage, and sweet potatoes were grown in these gardens
and orchards (1975). Chickens (Gallus gallus) and pigs (Sus scrofa)
roamed the streets of the town (Boniface 1971). In 1602, Governor
Mendez Canzo complained of the cattle (Bos taurus) running loose in the
streets (Arnade 1959).
A major advance in food production coincided with the lull in Indian
hostilities between 1650 and 1700. During this time cattle ranches
flourished in the interior of the Florida peninsula, particularly around
the area of present-day Gainesville. Some ranches also existed along
the St. Johns River and around San Luis in the panhandle of Florida
'(Arnade 1965; Bushnell 1978b). These ranches were operated by the small
cluster of landed criollo families, althoughlsuch large-scale land owner-
ship was prohibited in Florida (Lyon T977a). Many of these ranchers
preferred to ship their produce to the better markets in Havana, using
the Suwannee and St. Marks Rivers as outlets.' Between 1680 and 1687,
Governor Marques Cabrera attempted to stop this trade by ordering that
all cattle be processed through a slaughterhouse he had built at St.
Augustine. A tax was levied on the cattle las well.' Governor Quiroga
in 1693 even attempted to blockade the Suwannee River with debris to stop
'the Havana cattle trade. The era of the cattle ranches coincided with
the most bustling and prosperous period in Spanish Florida as a whole in
conjunction with the construction of the coquina Casti-llo de San Marcos
-at St. Augustine (Bushnell 1978b). It is interesting"to note that in the
1680's this abundant -supply of fresh meat supplanted the usual salted or
dried meat in the soldier's rations. The soldiers complained of this
(Bushnell 1978c), perhaps because fresh meat did not keep well in the
Days prior to refrigeration.
S'Although the only legal retail outlet ih St. Augustine was the
market place and the royal storehouse at the town plaza (Boniface 1971),
there were other retail facilities as well. The market, houses for fish
and meat vendors, as well as a grinding mill were established by Governor
Mendez Canzo in 1597. The market was a place to barter produce (Arnade
1959). Don Pedro Sanchez Grinan reported that between 1731 and 1741 as
many as twelve stores were operating (1757). These sold rum, wine,
vinegar, sugar, tobacco, spices, lard, soap, suet candles, silk, wool,
linen, and ribbons. John J. Tepaske, referring to English traders in the
18th Century, says that these merchants were driving local Spanish shop-
keepers out of business (1964). Criollos, as hidalgos or gentlemen, were
not supposed to be merchants (Bushnell 1978a). This did not prevent
many criollos from trading ambergris and cattle (Bushnell 1978b), and
one even operated two stores in St. Augustine in the late 1600's, one of
which was in his home (Gillaspie 1961). At least one commercial fisher-
man existed in the town in the 17th Century since such an individual was
on salary to supply fish to the laborers working on the Castillo de San
Marcos in the late 1600's (Chatelain 1941). Commercial fishermen and
hunters existed in the 1500's as well (Lyon 1977b). A soldier's partner-
ship in the 16th Century sold venison in the town (Lyon 1977b). A
tannery and slaughterhouse were present and in the 1750's one of the
butchers was an Englishman (Solana 1960). The tongue of the slaughtered
cattle was reserved for the governor (Bushnell 1978c).
It is not known what volume of food consumed at St. Augustine was
sold or exchanged at the market, purchased from Indian vendors, secured
through private agriculture, hunting, fishing or collecting efforts, or
acquired through barter and private exchange systems. While the evidence
is tentative, the following assumptions will be made: that there was a
public market where produce could be purchased or bartered; that there
were a few shops also; and that there were a few people, who may have
been Indians, willing to serve as hunting and fishing specialists.
In addition to the above efforts to obtain needed goods, the Spanish
employed another strategy as well. Throughout almost the entire 200 year
occupation, complaints from the presidio were regular and consistent.
Almost every governor wrote.reports to the Crown complaining of short or
unsatisfactory rations and requesting additional assistance from the
Crown both in cash and in.the form of reprimands to New Spain officials.
At one point an official letter wrote that the population "ate herbs, fish,
and other scum and vermin. ; ."(Conner 1925:99). After British seizure
of the situado ship in 1712, Governor Don Francisco de Corcoles y Martinez
reported that the population ate rodents, dogs, cats, and horses (Tepaske
1964). While these complaints were persistent, they did not usually
produce the desired result.
As at St. Augustine, most of the residents at Frederica were expected
to do military duty; however, the colony was also expected to be self-
supporting. The roster of Frederica residents, and their trades, indicates
that the colonists were basically self-sufficient in craft skills, much
as St. Augustine had been originally (Saye and Coulter 1949). There were
at least three shopkeepers included among the colonists, but few farmers
(Saye and Coulter 1949). The settlers were given small grants of land,
agricultural tools, and seed. Efforts to produce small fruit and
vegetable gardens as well as field crops were successful. Most of the
British townsmen did not farm, but preferred to rely upon the Salzburger
farmers for produce (Deagan 1972). Using Frederica and Savannah as head-
quarters British merchants James Spaulding and William Panton traded
extensively with Indians, exchanging firearms, trade goods, and liquor
for deer skins. It was trade such as this that was so annoying to the
Spaniards at this time. Frederica was not entirely independent, however,
and as late as 1741 was still dependent upon Georgia trustees for rations
of food (Bonner 1964). The period between 1737 and 1741 was a particu-
larly trying one as bad weather caused a series of crop failures (Bonner
The British Period at St. Augustine was marked more by military
activity than by economic prosperity. Recognizing that the town, with
its increasing population could not possibly feed the refugees produced
by the American Revolution, the English Crown supplied food for these
people (Wright 1971). The British residents continued to use the small
backyard gardens established by the Spaniards earlier, and also cultivated
plots of land outside the town (Wright 1971). There were merchants in the
town, and some large landowners who produced rice, indigo, naval stores,
and barrel staves for the export market. Due to favorable Indian treaties
many colonists lived outside the fortifications as far away as the St.
Johns River (Bartram 1955; Covington 1961). Traders such as Spaulding
and Panton (originally from Frederica) continued the Indian trade with
posts in the interior although raids by the Indians on these posts were
not unknown (Bartram 1955). Local butchers not only maintained their
own cattle herds, but also purchased cattle from Georgia (Wright 1975).
Indian hunters were employed on at least one plantation on the St. Johns
River (Bartram 1955).
-In terms of Spanish and British subsistence patterns, several points
are of importance. One is that the Spanish population at St. Augustine
and the British population at Frederica and, to a lesser extent, at St.
Augustine during the British Period, were essentially military in
orientation. Among the Spanish residents almost every individual was a
part of the military or civilian bureaucracy, a dependent of it, or a
member of the religious community.- While the British populations included
some merchants and large landowners, they also were basically military
communities. This fact, in conjunction with the urban orientation of the
population, left the colonists ill-prepared for efficient food production.
'The second observation is that during most of the First Spanish
Period it was dangerous for Spanish residents to venture far from the
fort (Tepaske 1964). Essentially St. Augustine was the Florida colony.
Only during the mid-1600's and again in the last decades of the First
Spanish Period was the interior a place of relative safety. This contrasts
-sharply with the comparative security of the British frontier where the
;colonists could exploit the resources of their environment more peaceably.
In addition to the hazards of the interior, the Spanish residents at
St. Augustine had difficulties with their supply network. Trade with the
Indians must have been tricky, with-watchful missionaries anxious to
'protect their charges, the Britons eager to supplant the Spaniards as
allies and trading partners, and the Indians given to periodic revolts
-against Spanish control. The situado was undependable. Illicit trade
with British merchants was subject to the vagaries of international
politics, pirates, Spanish official seizures, and acts of God. While
British ships were not immune to accidents on the high seas, supply lines
to Frederica and British St. Augustine seem to have been more secure.
After all most of the pirates that plagued the Spanish shipping lane were
Guided by Liebig's "Law of the Minimum," it is predicted that the
Spanish population at St. Augustine did not simply starve in the face of
the irregular supply routes. Liebig's "Law" states that a population's
adaptation must be toward those elements which are most important to
survival, but available in limited quantities. Adpatation must be made
to a complex of limiting factors. If an environment is subject to a
severe drought during the span of a generation on a regular and routine
basis, the population, to survive, adapts to the drought, not to the
intervening years of plenty. The Spanish population, to have survived,
must have been adapted to an irregular situado rather than to a prompt
one. This adaptation included trade with British merchants and Indians,
in conjunction with some production of food locally. The faunal record
should indicate reliance upon the animal resources obtained through
Based on Liebig's "Law," it is doubted that the Spanish claims to
have eaten unusual food items will be supported in the faunal record. It
is expected that the quantity of dog (Canis familiaris), cat (Felis
domesticus), rodent, and horse (Equus caballus) remains in Spanish and
British collections will be about the same. Periods of starvation caused
by a failure of every strategy would have been rare and would be camou-
flaged in the record by the intervening years in which the strategy
employed functioned successfully.
Due to the hazards of venturing away from the fort during much of
the First Spanish Period, the faunal collections will probably contain
little wild terrestrial fauna, or cattle (Bos taurus). Reliance upon the
nearby marine resources, and upon pigs (Sus scrofa) and chickens (Gallus
gallus), which could have been raised in the backyards and streets of the
town, may be predicted. In the 17th Century faunal collection from the
Spanish occupation, cattle may be more prominent, reflecting the presence
of cattle ranches in the interior and the relative safety of that region.
The British, both at Frederica and at St. Augustine, enjoyed unham-
pered access to the area around their settlement. They were, therefore,
free to exploit wild terrestrial fauna if they wished, and to raise
cattle with only minor interference from Indian predations.
The military and urban composition of all three components, Spanish
St. Augustine, British Frederica, and British St. Augustine, should be
reflected in the faunal samples also. The species exploited should be
those which could be captured near the settlements, with a minimum of
time expenditure due to the need to resolve the scheduling conflict
between military duties and subsistence activities. Highly seasonal
resources which might conflict with official duties would not be a regular
item in the diet of any of these components. Emphasis can be expected
to be placed on species which could be caught in large numbers, or using
untended devices, during off-duty hours.
The predictions expressed in these last three paragraphs are
slightly contradictory. The Spanish and British components at St.
Augustine may be similar to each other for two different reasons, and
it is not altogether clear how to distinguish the valid explanation for
each sample. If the British Period component at St. Augustine is more
similar to the Spanish one at St. Augustine than to the British Frederica
collection, this may indicate that both the Spanish and British diets
used immediately available resources due to scheduling conflicts rather
than to restricted access to the interior, which would not have been a
factor in the British adaptation. Both explanations, scheduling conflicts
and restricted access to the interior may have been influential in the
Spanish adaptation. This question will be returned to in Chapter 5 when
the resources of the environment are discussed. It may have been un-
necessary for either the Spanish or the British garrisons to venture more
than a mile or two from the confines of the fort to obtain any of their
animal resources other than cattle. If that is the case the Spaniards
at St. Augustine could have exploited local resources just as safely as
did the Britons and the Spanish adaptation will best be explained in
terms of scheduling conflicts.
CULTURAL AFFILIATION AND FOODWAYS
In addition to social status, historical events, demography, and
economics, the subsistence strategies Followed by the Spanish and British
households being studied here may have been influenced by traditional
Old World foodways. Although the origins of the populations at
Frederica and St. Augustine were mixed, the predominant traditions would
have been either from England or from Spain. These two foodways will be
discussed here. Recognizing that many of the British Period residents
at St. Augustine would also have been more correctly described as
American colonists rather than British citizens, some foodways of the
American colonies will also be explored as they have been examined in
zooarchaeological studies. As will be seen, these materials have little
value in predicting the subsistence strategies observed from the faunal
collections of Frederica and St. Augustine beyond the initial observation
that domestic animals predominate.
Traditional British Foodways
Since very little information is available on traditional British
foodways of the 17th and 18th Centuries, emphasis will be placed here
upon a single source, 'A Solid Suffiency': An Ethnography of Yeoman
Foodways in Stuart England, written as a dissertation by Jay Allan
Anderson in 1971. This excellent work represents a synthesis of primary
materials dealing with the 17th Century English yeoman/husbandman class.
According to Anderson, there are virtually no other works on pre-
industrial English food habits which deal with this material. Conse-
quently this section will be confined to a summary of some of Anderson's
findings as they relate to food habits at Frederica or St. Augustine.
Two reservations about the adequacy of this treatment must be noted.
First, Anderson deals with basically rural food habits, whereas most of
the British residents at Frederica and St. Augustine had an urban back-
ground. Secondly, he is dealing principally with the 17th Century and
the present study of British foodways is placed in the 18th Century.
However, Anderson himself addresses the first objection by indicating
that even those few people who did live in market towns and cities in
the 17th Century kept barnyard animals on their lots, which also included
a garden and an orchard (1971:20). "The majority of these part-time
farmers were craftsmen who because their skills were long and difficult
to learn gradually became specialists" (1971:5). This description might
well fit the specialists that joined Oglethorpe's Frederica expedition.
In fact, Anderson equates the urban artisans, craftsmen, and tradesmen
as the urban counterparts of the rural husbandmen and yeomen (1971:15).
Perhaps many of Oglethorpe's people had a similar background. The second
objection is addressed simply by questioning how much change would have
occurred in yeoman foodways between the 1600's and the early 1700's.
The procurement technique employed by the English husbandman was
mixed farming incorporating locally available products and emphasizing
self-sufficiency with a little surplus to be used in trade or converted
to cash. Most of the cash crops produced were cheese, barley, poultry,
and eggs (1971:27). While field crops such as wheat, barley, oats, rye,
and legumes were important in this strategy, so also were garden vege-
tables and orchards. Apparently few wild fruits or herbs were used in
the diet (1971:45).
Domestic stock included horses, oxen, dairy cattle, goats, sheep,
swine, rabbits, poultry, pigeons, and bees (1971:58-77). Other fowl
included geese, ducks, capons, hens, and "thirty tame birds usually
baked in pies" (1971:59). The dairy herd was the most valuable and
productive of these since they produced a variety of milk products.
Almost no cattle were bred for meat and usually only those animals not
expected to last the winter were slaughtered. Cattle butchered in this
manner were typically at least 10 years of age (1971:187). Beef was not
a major food source (1971:66). Sheep were a basic source of meat, al-
though they also supplied milk, milk products, and wool. The most
significant source of meat was swine (1971:68). Some of these were
confined to the yard, but most roamed the wooded lowlands in the nearby
commons. The yeomen of Stuart England were not blind to the good yield
for minimal effort that pigs provided. Goats also were allowed to fend
for themselves, but were not a major food source.
Wild mammals, birds, and fish constituted a small, but important,
part of the diet (1971:77). Wild birds were usually snared, but some
were also shot with fowling pieces. Birds included wild goose, lark,
plover, teal, mallard, quail, woodcock, partridge, and pheasant. Wild
hares were trapped both as a food item and to eliminate a crop pest.
Deer were rare. It was a symbol of the New World's bounty that so many
deer could be hunted. Yeomen also fished, using eel weirs, herring nets,
or gaffs. Most seafood was purchased at market, however. Seafood was a
dietary staple due to "fish days," which were retained after the
Reformation. Fish were more frequently consumed in the cities than in
the country since meat was more expensive to purchase in town (1971:80).
Over one hundred different kinds of fish were regularly consumed, either
fresh or salted. These included ray, mullet, skate, sole, and whiting.
Most of the produce of the farms had to be preserved. Mammals,
birds, and fish were usually preserved by salting, either wet or dry.
Beef and pork were the basic preserved meats, with pork as the most
important. Ham and bacon were first wet or dry salted and then exposed
to slow drying or smoking. Smaller cuts of meat, as well as fish and
birds were often potted. Potted meat was salted and/or cooked and then
sealed with congealed fat. Pickled meat could either be "collared" or
"souced." Collared meat was first deboned and then allowed to sit in
an herb brew until needed. It was best kept only about a week. Souced
meat was much the same except that it included wine and the product
could be kept longer. Mutton was usually not brined (1971:68).
Food preparation techniques included a variety of different methods.
Bread, cheese, and ale figured prominently at most meals, although dinner
usually included roasts, stews, hot salads, and eggs. Vegetables often
were consumed raw. Roasts of beef, pork, poultry, mutton, kid, lamb,
and veal were popular, but boiled foods were more common since they
required less attention. Meat or fish was consumed in some form every
day. "Spoon-meats," the name for soups, gruels, and porridges were made
with cereal grains and perhaps some spices and dried fruits. Rice, an
imported item, was also popular and considered a staple. Pies were
eaten in large quantities, and contained almost any flesh. To quote
Anderson on one type of pie "the 'battalion' pie, included almost any-
thing that happened to be perched or swimming around" (1971:198). Tartes
contained fruit, custards, or vegetables. Stews included meat, while
pottages contained vegetables and broth. Interestingly, the omelette or
quelquechose was popular. The idea had just recently been imported from
continental Europe (1971:227). Eggs were also consumed in fried, hard
boiled, roasted, and baked form.
Traditional Spanish Foodways
Traditional Spanish foodways will also be summarized from a single
source, although for a different reason than given above. There are a
number of interesting sources available dealing with foodways of the
Iberian peninsula. These were consulted by Stephen L. Cumbaa in his
dissertation Patterns of Resource Use and Cross-Cultural Dietary Change
in the Spanish Colonial Period written in 1975. He cited this material
in order to demonstrate for the 18th Century Spanish adaptation at St.
Augustine what I hope to demonstrate for the entire First Spanish Period
as well as the British occupations at Frederica and St. Augustine: that
traditional foodways were modified to meet New World conditions. His
position is well supported and it seems unnecessary to expand upon his
work. His contribution will be summarized here for the convenience of
the reader, who may not have Cumbaa's dissertation at hand.
Many of the more popular dietary items in Spain were those also
popular in England. The traditional Iberian field crops included wheat,
barley, oats, rye, as well as legumes. Fruits such as oranges, figs, and
apples were also prominently used. Maize was grown after its introduction
from the New World and quickly became a major food crop, supplanting rice.
Sheep were the most important animal produced. Although principally
grown for wool, mutton, milk, and cheese were also consumed from the
animals. Cattle were primarily draft animals, with milk and meat
consumed after the animal had served its time. Goats likewise were
present, but in small quantities. Young horses, called "red deer" were
commonly eaten, as were dogs in some parts of Spain. Swine were present
in small numbers, but were not allowed to forage on their own as in
England. From these domestic species, pork was the most expensive meat,
followed by beef and lastly by mutton. Fowl had a price similar to that
Wild mammals, birds, and fish were not a major component of the
diet generally. Hunting was a marginal activity, with hares and deer
being the primary game species. Deer were protected by royal decree,
but may have been hunted at least by the nobility. Birds, especially
partridges, pheasants, and cormorants, were hunted. Young birds were
caught on the nest for consumption. Most fish were obtained by
commercial fishermen in the Atlantic and Meriterranean. Species
included grouper, pompano, cod, tuna, sole, mullet, drum, and shark.
Non-commercial fishing was done by hook and line on the interior mountain
streams, which in Spain are rare, and using cast nets. Fish sold more
cheaply than did domestic meats.
The most popular food preparation techniques included a boiled stew,
puchero or olla podrida, and a cold soup or broth, gazpacho. Puchero and
its more elaborate form, olla podrida, included a combination of meats
and vegetables boiled in a covered earthenware pot. Roasting was also
popular, as were frying and broiling.
Old World Foodways
If the traditional patterns of animal use described above were
transferred to the New World as a complete complex several patterns
could be expected to be observed in the faunal record. The British
faunal pattern would include mostly swine remains, followed by sheep and
a few aged cattle. Goat might also appear in limited numbers. There
would be a few domestic rabbits, wild hare, and an occasional deer. A
wide variety of domestic fowl should be recovered, as well as a large
number of wild fowl of various species. Fish would be quite common in
the collections, with marine species being most abundant.
The Spanish pattern would be quite different. Sheep would dominate
the collection, followed by cattle and pigs. Some domestic fowl such as
chickens, pigeons, and ducks would be present. Wild species such as deer
and wild hare might be present in small numbers; but wild birds, particu-
larly young ones, would be fairly common. Fish would be common also, and
be mostly pelagic species. Cumbaa's research demonstrated that this
pattern was modified in response to New World conditions.
Historic North American Foodways
A number of faunal collections will be reviewed here. A variety of
geographical locations are represented, but all date to the pre-Revolu-
tionary period, and most coincide with the French and Indian War. Both
domestic and military occupations are represented. All should follow
the British traditional foodways extrapolated from Anderson's study if
these traditional foodways were transferred unmodified to the New World.
It should be noted at the outset that this comparison is handicapped
by a methodological problem common to zooarchaeology. There is little
comparability in reporting techniques. Some use the Minimum Number of
Individuals technique (MNI), others refer to bone count or bone weight,
still others present their data as pounds of edible meat, but their
techniques of determining pounds of edible meat are not standard. This
problem will be further discussed in the chapter on methods and materials.
As the moment there appears to be no way to resolve the issue. Emphasis
in this analysis will be upon MNI where that is available since the
technique by which this is derived is fairly uniform among faunal
analysts. Where MNI is not available, emphasis will be placed upon the
species utilized rather than upon the proportion of species contributing
Fort Loudoun, in eastern Tennessee, was a British fort used
during the French and Indian War (Parmalee 1960; Bowen 1976). The
faunal assemblage indicates that cattle were most heavily used, followed
by pig and deer. There were no sheep or goats identified in the
collection. Some waterfowl were identified, but emphasis was placed
upon the domestic chicken and turkey. There were also passenger
pigeons identified from the site. Some fish, particularly freshwater
catfish, were identified from the sample. There was also a small
collection of aquatic turtles, as well as bear, beaver, and woodchuck.
At Fort Ligonier, a French and Indian War fort located in western
Pennsylvania, domestic animals contributed most of the MNI (Guilday 1970),
19% of which were sheep and 19% of which were cattle. Pigs represented
only 5% of the individuals. Wild fauna contributed 40% of the individuals.
Most of these wild animals were mammals (26%), with some birds, reptiles,
and two fish. Deer contributed 13% of the MNI, but bear, fox, bobcat,
squirrel, and rabbit were also present.
Fort Pelham, a third French and Indian War fortification, is located
on the northern border of Massachusetts (Bowen 1976). At this fort, there
were no sheep at all. Cow and pig contributed 40% and 49% respectively
of the individuals. It is not known what other species may have been
Mott Farm, a farm site in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, was occupied in
the mid-18th Century (Bowen 1975, 1976). Pigs constituted 40% of the
individuals identified from the faunal collection, cattle contributed
36% of the individuals, and sheep 24% of the individuals. By comparing
the ages of the sheep, Joanne Bowen concluded that sheep were raised
primarily for wool, and incidentally for sale or consumption. Over 80%
of the cattle in the collection were older than three years of age, which
indicated to Bowen that cattle were used as draft and dairy animals and
slaughtered after a period of useful service.
Joanne Bowen, from whose studies (1975, 1976) the above sites have
been summarized, concluded (1976) that the predominance of domestic
animals at the sites reflected the basic foodway pattern in England,
that the changing proportions of domestic animal use at the four sites
indicated local, regional variation in that basic tradition. The
frontier Ft. Loudoun materials, on which more information was available,
indicate some significant departures from the yeomen pattern described
by Anderson (1971), particularly in the use of an extensive range of
Several samples of faunal materials from Fort Michlimackinac have
been analyzed, first by Charles E. Cleland (1970) and recently a new
collection was studied by Gary Shapiro (1978a and b). FortMichlimackinac,
located at the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan, was occupied by the French
between 1715 and 1760. British soldiers manned the post from 1760 until
1780. Cleland found that both the French and British occupants relied
heavily upon domestic animals. Pig was the only domestic animal
identified by Cleland from the French Features studied, whereas the
British Features also contained cattle and sheep, in that order. Bear,
snowshoe hare, and beaver were found in both components, as well as a
wide variety of wild birds and fish. The French population at the fort,
according to Cleland, used a greater variety of mammals than did the
British occupants, who used a greater variety of fish.
While Cleland interprets the differences between French and British
collections to be quite distinct, I would interpret them to be fairly
similar, except in the use of cattle and sheep. Certainly it would not
be possible to confuse either of these collections with those discussed
by Bowen (1975, 1976) or Anderson (1971). The British adaptation at
Michlimackinac as revealed in the faunal collection studied by Cleland
supports the hypothesis being tested here that the British colonists did
not transfer their barnyard complex to the New World unmodified. There
is very little similarity with the pattern that would be expected from
Anderson's study (1971).
Gary Shapiro directed his study to British adaptations at
Michlimackinac, testing the assumption made by Cleland and others that
the British were "transplanted Englishmen" unwilling to modify their
traditional foodways to a new environment (1978a and b). Comparing
faunal materials from three archaeological Features, Shapiro found that
the British collections followed a seasonal round exploiting wild species,
indicating that the British colonists adapted their foodways to a schedule
similar to that of local Indians, with account being taken for the more
sophisticated technological level of the British residents. It might be
added here to Shapiro's analysis that the British adaptation to the
seasonal availability of resources appears to be similar to that of the
French occupants in the same location.
Turning now to faunal reports from colonial sites in the southeast,
Henry M. Miller (1978) has analyzed two late-17th Century Virginia
households, Pettus Plantation and Utopia Cottage. These two sites,
adjacent to each other on the James River, were very similar to one
another in their faunal use, in spite of documentary and archaeological
evidence of different social class (Chapter 2). Important to this
discussion is that at both sites swine constituted a plurality of the
individuals, followed by cattle, while sheep were a minor component.
Deer, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, and rabbit were also used, as were
chicken, goose, and turkey. Catfish, gar, striped bass, and marine red
drum were identified along with a few aquatic and terrestrial turtles.
The Pettus Plantation was sold in 1700 to James Bray II (Miller 1978)
and the faunal materials from one of Bray's wells has been analyzed
(Barber 1976). Barber discusses his materials in terms of usable meat.
However, to make his material comparable to that discussed above, his
presentation will be reviewed in terms of MNI, which will alter the
interpretation he made of the data. Of the domestic species, sheep were
the most abundant, followed by pigs and cattle. Cattle provided the bulk
of the edible meat followed by pigs and sheep, which were about equal
contributors. Goats were also present. Several of the cattle were
apparently under three years of age. Deer, raccoon, and opossum are
absent from the collection, although a large number of wild rabbits were
present as well as a bear and a muskrat. There are a number of birds in
the collection, but not the variety of barnyard fowl that might have
been expected from Anderson's discussion (1971). Some freshwater fish
were used, and several aquatic and terrestrial turtles.
From Williamsburg, Virginia, a similar pattern of species use
emerges. Williamsburg faunal analysis was done by Stanley J. Olsen and
recently published by Audrey Noel Hume (1978). Although proportional
contributions are not known, cattle, pigs, and sheep were reported from
all sites. Mutton was less popular according to Noel Hume than was pork
or beef (1978). In addition deer, rabbit, opossum, squirrel, and otter
were consumed, as well as a variety of wild and domestic birds. The
Williamsburg fauna also included marine fish such as black drum, sturgeon,
shad, and catfish. Turtles were esteemed as were shellfish (Noel Hume 1978).
It is clear from the above discussion that, just as Bowen had
concluded on a smaller sample of sites (1975, 1976), the British
adaptation in the New World was a highly varied one,.and not altogether
similar to the one which would have been predicted from Anderson's study
(1971). Just as Cumbaa concluded from Spanish New World materials (1975),
it appears that the British subsistence pattern in the New World was
adapted to new, local environmental conditions. Cultural affiliation,
that is traditional Old World foodways, had little to do with British
foodways in the New World. Clearly domestic animals did not buffer the
colonists from the need to adapt to new environmental factors. Efforts
made by the early colonists to transfer the English barnyard animal
complex to the New World did not entirely succeed, although a few sites
discussed above appear to conform to the Old World pattern more closely
than others. The differences observed particularly in the British,
French, and Indian War fort samples, where temporal and cultural factors
are constant, probably reflect adaptations to local environmental factors.
Using the New World British colonial foodways as a guide, a series
of predictions will be tested using the Frederica and British Period
St. Augustine faunal collections. First, it appears that either cattle
or swine will be the dominant species in the collections, with preference
to.cattle biomass. This will be in contradiction to the yeoman pattern
in which swine predominates. Wild terrestrial species were used, but not
extensively. Deer were the most popular wild species. There was a
wide range of wild birds, but not of domestic ones, a departure from the
yeoman pattern. Fish were rare (Barber 1976; Miller 1978), another
departure from the yeoman pattern. Turtles, a class not mentioned by
Anderson, were included as a minor component of the species used. It
is further predicted that the trend seen here, for British subsistence
patterns to reflect local conditions, will continue to be a factor. To
this extent, the British and the 18th Century Spanish faunal collections
from St. Augustine may be quite similar to each other, just as the
British, French, and Indian collections from Ft. Michlimackinac are.
These predictions may be refined in the following discussion as it is
seen how the British residents at St. Augustine and Frederica adapted
to those environments and the Spanish population adapted to the environs
of St. Augustine.
ANIMAL RESOURCES OF THE ATLANTIC COASTAL PLAIN
In the first chapter, four factors were identified as being
influential in the formation of Spanish and British subsistence strategies.
Social class, political and social environment, and cultural affiliation
have been reviewed. In this chapter the last factor, animal resources,
will be considered. The Atlantic Coastal Plain and the estuarine
environments occupied by Frederica and St. Augustine represent a series
of intergrading biotopes. These will be described in terms of their
proximity to St. Augustine and Frederica. The major portion of the
chapter will deal with local wild and domestic animal resources. Habits,
habitats, seasonal occurrences, and size of the species identified from
Frederica and St. Augustine will be discussed, along with information
about colonial use of these species where possible. As will be seen,
all of the species used at these two sites could have been encountered
within a mile or two of either Frederica or St. Augustine.
The Atlantic Coastal Plain
The Atlantic Coastal Plain (Fig. 2) is the old coastal region of
the southeastern United States. Its northern and western edge is
defined by the Fall Line, a Mesozoic Era shoreline (Johnson et al. 1974).
The coastal plain was deposited by a series of marine advances during
the Tertiary and Quaternary Periods. The soils are sands and sandy clays
of marine origin which are usually acidic. They possess a low native
fertility due to excessive leaching.
In Georgia the climate found on the coastal plain is a mild one
(Johnson et al. 1974). The average annual temperature is 60-70F.
Daily temperature maxima in July and August range within the 80's and
90'sF. Average winter temperatures are around 430F, with occasional
winter freezes. The coastal islands may be somewhat cooler than the
mainland. The rainfall pattern is for a summer rainy season, followed
by a winter drought. Average annual rainfall is about 53 inches.
Hurricanes in the late summer affect the Georgia coast about every ten
years, between August and October. A major hurricane was recorded in
The climate at St. Augustine is similar to that in Georgia. It has
been described as humid-subtropical (Mehta and Jones 1977). Most of the
precipitation falls in July and September, with spring and fall droughts
and a mean annual rainfall of 47 inches. The average annual temperature
is 690F, with daily means ranging from 810F in July to 570F in January
(Dunkle 1955). St. Augustine experiences about one hurricane every
The Atlantic coastal plain is a low, flat region of well drained,
gently rolling hills and poorly drained flatwoods extending east and
south of the fall line to the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico from
southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas, excluding the southern end of
Florida (Johnson et al. 1974). On well drained soil the dominant plant
species are long-leaf pine (Pinus palustris), loblolly pine (P. teada),
and several species of oak (Quercus sp.). On poorly drained soil the
dominant species are long-leaf pine and slash pine (P. ellioti) with a
dense ground cover of saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), gallberry (Ilex
glabra), and wire grass (Aristida stricta). This is the community
referred to as the Pine Barrens sector by Lewis Larson (1970). The long-
leaf pine is adapted to a humid subtropical climate of mild winters, hot
summers, high rainfall, and frequent ground fires. Today the long-leaf
pine community is much less extensive and formidable than it was in the
Other biotopes also are found on the coastal plain. Where the soil
is very poorly drained pond pines (P. serotina) dominate. Slash pine
(P. ellioti) is the common member of the Pine Flatwoods community along
the coast of Florida, while long-leaf pines are less common on the coast
than they are further inland. At St. Augustine, sand pine (P. clausa)
together with evergreen species of Lyonia and Quercus forms a scrub
community that is common on the dunes of ancient shore lines that form
sandy ridges back from the present coast. Sand pine do not occur on the
coast (Simons pers. comm.).
The Southern Mixed Hardwood community is dominated by oaks (Quercus
sp.), although the composition of this community can be quite diverse.
Live oak (Q. virginiana), laurel oak (Q. laurifolia), sweet gum
(Liquidamber styraciflua), magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), red bay
(Persea borbonia), pignut hickory (Carya glabra), cabbage palm (Sabel
palmetto), and Florida elm (Ulmus americana floridana) are the more
common species. Near St. Augustine this forest type is found bordering
freshwater creeks and floodplain swamps or in low, fertile areas near
the coast. Wooded swamps are composed principally of pond cypress
(Taxodium ascendens), swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), and/or red maple
(Acer rubrum). The coastal plain is traversed by many sluggish, meander-
ing streams and dotted by innumberable swamps, ponds, and lakes where
these latter communities can be found.
S Another important terrestrial community is one caused by human
activity. Disturbed habitats are found in urban centers, as garden plots,
and as agricultural fields. While the plant species found in these areas
are largely selected by human agents, the wild animal populations exploit-
ing them are self-selected. Usually the animals are attracted either to
the crops grown there, to the prey species attracted to the crops,or to
the hedgerows bordering the fields.
An important topographic feature of the coastal plain is a series
of offshore islands known as sea, or barrier, islands. While a chain
of these islands stretches from New Jersey to Texas, the segment between
North Island, South Carolina, and Anastasia Island, Florida, shares a
similar natural history (Johnson et al. 1974). The Georgia islands,
such as St. Simons Island where Frederica is located, are separated
from the mainland by extensive marshland, tidal streams, and sound
systems (Fig. 4). Anastasia Island is separated from the mainland by
less than half a mile (Fig. 3). Nonetheless, between Anastasia Island
and the mainland lies a rich estuarine environment containing many of
the same features as at St. Simons Island. Low sandy beaches border
the seaward edges of the islands. Elevation on the islands is usually
less than 25 feet, although individual dunes may be much higher.
' The major communities on these islands are maritime oak forests
and pine forests. The oak forest is dominated by live oak (Q. virginiana)
with cabbage palms (Sabel palmetto) and a low woody understory. Pine
forests are found on better drained portions of the islands and may be
the by-product of old agricultural clearings (Johnson et al. 1974).
Between the beach and the first dune crest there is a salt spray
tolerant community of grasses and herbs characterized by sea oats
(Uniola paniculata). At St. Simons Island, the pine community is
composed principally of loblolly pine (P. taeda) with some slash pine
(P. ellioti) or long-leaf pine (P. palustris) (Johnson et al. 1974).
Anastasia Island at St. Augustine is vegetated by a saw-palmetto scrub
on the highest elevations, with a live oak-palmetto biotope bordering
this (Deagan 1976). There is a mildly brackish marsh dominated by clump
cordgrass (Spartina bakeri) on the southern part of the Island.
Michael Dahlberg has defined two major habitats for marine organisms
(1975). The inshore area includes the waters along the beaches and in
the estuaries. The offshore region encompasses the continental shelf.
The inshore beach waters are an area of turbidity and surf made uneven
by sandbars. Many of the same species found inside the estuary are also
found adjacent to the beaches.
The estuarine environment lies behind the barrier islands and is
protected from the ocean by them. Estuaries are subject to regular tidal
fluctuation through a series of inlets which separate the islands from
one another. There is considerable current in these inlets due to tidal
flow and as a consequence the inlets are usually deeper than adjacent
coastal or estuarine waters (Larson 1970). The lower estuary is a saline
environment diluted by freshwater runoff from the mainland. It contains
deep bays, or sounds, surrounded by salt marshes which are traversed
throughout by tidal creeks of various sizes. These creeks are the access
route for humans into this area of dense vegetation and soft mud.
Using the height of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) as an
index, the salt marsh biotope has been divided into several communities
(Johnson et al. 1974). Spartina sp. forms vast flat marshes within the
estuary. The "Tall Spartina edge marsh" is the border of vegetation
found immediately adjacent to the low tide mark. Where the marsh is
inundated by tidal waters for several hours each day the "Short Spartina
low marsh" is defined. The Short Spartina high marsh" biotope occurs
where daily tidal flow is short. Smooth cordgrass is replaced by salt-
meadow cordgrass (Spartina patens) where the marsh is only flooded a few
times a week, and by needlerush (Juncus roemerianus) where tidal inunda-
tion is rare. Bordering the saltmarsh is a shrub community of salt
myrtle (Baccharis glomeruliflora), groundsel tree (B. halimifolia), and
southern red cedar (Juniperus silicicola).
Freshwater is found in a few locations. As ponds or sloughs on
barrier islands they-contain a variety of aquatic plants depending on
depth. Freshwater and brackish marshes are found around the mouths of
large mainland streams. As they extend up the rivers these become the
cypress-gum or hardwood swamps discussed above. There is a small fresh-
water spring on the northern end of Anastasia Island.
The offshore habitats lie beyond the barrier island beaches and are
defined by depth rather than by vegetation or salinity (Dahlberg 1975).
The continental shelf on which these biotopes are located is about 70
to 80 miles wide, with a gentle drop of about two feet per mile. The
coastal habitat is a zone of transition between the beaches and a depth
of 8 to 10 fathoms. When these waters are diluted by freshwater (around
inlets), they are turbid and productive. Both offshore and inshore
fauna are found here, due to the transitional nature of the habitat.
The open shelf, between 10 and 30 fathoms, is of intermediate fertility
and does not support a rich fauna, nor do the shelf edge (30-40 fathoms)
and the lower shelf edge (60-100 fathoms) habitats. The open waters
beyond are clear and less productive (Johnson et al. 1974). Where live
bottoms, or reefs, are found (9-30 fathoms) a diverse subtropical and
tropical fish faunas are found also. These include groupers (Serranidae),
snappers (Lutjanidae), and porgies (Sparidae). Two such reefs occur
off St. Augustine (Freeman and Walford 1976). It is not known if similar
reefs are found off St. Simons Island. A reef has been recently identified
off Sapelo Island, an island just north of St. Simons, at 10-12 fathoms
(Dahlberg 1975). Such shallow reefs are less-diverse than deeper ones
St. Augustine and Frederica
Comparing Figures 3 and 4 it can be seen that both communities are
located within estuarine environments. Two important differences appear.
First, Anastasia Island is much smaller than St. Simons Island. Second,
St. Augustine is located directly on the sound, whereas Frederica lies
some three miles north of St. Simons Sound on the Frederica River and
three miles south of Sapelo or Altamaha Sound.
St. Augustine occupies a low, sandy spit of land between the
Matanzas River and Santa Maria Creek. Originally located on Anastasia
Island, the town was moved to its present position in 1572 (Chatelain
1941). The Matanzas River is not actually a river at all, but an arm
of the sea extending behind Anastasia Island from Matanzas Inlet at the
south end of Anastasia Island north to St. Augustine Inlet, a distance
of 15 miles. The North River parallels the Atlantic coast for 13 miles
and did not originally have a northern outlet. Its waters were fresh
in the upper reaches before channelization. To the west about a half
mile beyond tiny Santa Maria Creek lies the San Sebastian River. Although
subject to tidal action in its lower reaches, the San Sebastian is fresh
upstream. Inland from the coast the land slowly rises in elevation to a
broad coastal plane of pine flatwoods interrupted by freshwater streams,
swamps, and ponds and by sand pine scrub on the ancient dune ridges. At
about the latitude of St. Augustine the Gulf Stream current so important
to Spanish shipping begins to flow away from North America toward Europe
(Boniface 1971). Anastasia Island is about 3 miles long and less than a
mile wide. The lagoon behind it is deep and is one of the few protected
harbors on Florida's Atlantic coast.
The garrison at St. Augustine used this environment in a number of
ways. Two sentinel posts were maintained on Anastasia Island as part of
the defense system, one at Matanzas Inlet, and the other at the northern
end of the island. Ships were often anchored at the north end of
Anastasia rather than off the town proper and a wharf was built here in
the 18th Century (Olano 1740; Jeffreys 1762). In the 1500's at least
there were fields on Anastasia (Chatelain 1941:Fig. 2), and later fisher-
men possibly maintained a weir on the bars in the Inlet itself (Jeffreys
1762). In addition the marsh north of the fort, known as Hospital Creek
today, could have been extensively used, as it is today, by fishermen.
There were fields grown within sight of the fort between Santa Maria
Creek and the San Sebastian River (Chatelain 1941:Fig. 2, 4, 10, 13).
St. Simons Island is a more hospitable island than Anastasia and
today is graced by large oak trees with occasional pine hammocks. The
island is about 12 miles long and 3 miles wide. On the seaward side it
is buffered from the Atlantic by Little St. Simons Island and Sea Island.
Consequently the only strip of beach on the island is on the southern
tip along St. Simons Sound. The town is located on the Frederica River,
which may be likened to the North or Tolomoto River at St. Augustine
except that the Frederica River eventually connects with Altamaha Sound
at the north end of the Island. The river is a meandering stream which
is eroding into the bluff on which the town of Frederica is located. On
the far side of the stream is an extensive marsh system. There are
several freshwater sloughs and small streams on the island, which is
separated from the mainland by about 3 miles of marsh and tidal streams.
Like the Spanish colony, the garrison at Frederica also manned an outpost
on the southern end of their island, and had extensive fields adjacent
to the fort (Reese 1963).
A wide variety of animals use the biotopes discussed above, not all
of which will be reviewed here. In order to make the following presen-
tation reasonably manageable, only those species which have actually been
identified from either Frederica or St. Augustine will be reviewed. In
addition, Tables 2 and 3 summarize the data on seasonality, habits, and
preferred habitat presented here. When possible, these data will be
supplemented by traveler's accounts and data on colonial use of these
species. The classes will be discussed in the text in the same order as
they appear in the Tables: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, sharks,
rays, and bony fish. Unless otherwise noted, species accounts were
compiled from the following sources: Bent 1962a, 1962b, 1963; Bull and
Farrand 1977; Burt and Grossenheider 1964; Caldwell et al. 1959; Carr
1952; Conant 1975; Dahlberg 1975; Freeman and Walford 1976; Golley 1962;
Hoese and Moore 1977; Howell 1932; Iverson 1977; Jennings n.d.; Johnson
et al. 1974; Jordon 1969; Kortright 1943; Lowery 1974; McClane 1974a and
1974b; McIlHenny 1935; McLane 1955; Palmer 1976; Peterson 1947; Robbins
et al. 1966; Schwartz and Burgess 1975; Sprunt 1954; and Youatt 1847.
An animal's use of its environment is not as clear-cut or restricted
as Tables 3 and 4 suggest. Species generally use a variety of biotopes,
with preference for one or two of these. Likewise nocturnal animals can
occasionally be found abroad during the day, and vice versa. The daily
cycle of many marsh animals is timed to coincide with the tides. Peak
feeding activity occurs at the turn of the tides, whether that is at
noon or midnight. However fish that prefer to feed at night may be more
active at the evening tide than at the diurnal tide. Species which
hibernate further north, seldom reduce their activity on the coastal
plain except during spells of exceptionally cold weather. In terms of
human use of animal species, the capture technique employed can circum-
vent the habits of the animal. For example, use of a turtle trap makes
the fact that turtles are diurnal immaterial to the collector, who can
collect the trapped animals whenever it is convenient.
The presence of marine species is correlated with shifting water
temperatures and the salinity of the inshore waters. The salinity of
the estuary varies considerably according to rainfall and freshwater
drainage (Gilmore 1977). During the wet season, runoff may lower
salinity considerably, and affect the species present. Species which
require greater salinity must temporarily retreat to more saline off-
shore waters. During cold spells water temperature drops to lethal
levels for some of the more tropical fish and these also must retreat
to warmer offshore waters. In addition, inshore waters become colder
in Florida during July and August due to cold water upwellings. Fishing
is usually poor during these months (Gilmore 1977).
The opossum, Didelphis virginiana, is a small, cat-sized animal
weighing about 1.9 to 2.8 Kgs. Opossum are omnivorous and nocturnal.
They prefer deciduous forests in bottomlands, and along streams. Through-
out the study area they are a common mammal, but not very prevalent in
salt marshes. Opossums are often accused of raiding gardens and hen
houses. William Bartram in his travels reported (1955) that they were
eaten by residents of Florida and Georgia, who considered them a deli-
cious, healthy food. Some considered opossum better than raccoon, which
was tough and stringy (Hilliard 1972).
Two rabbit species may be found in the study area, the cottontail
(Sylvilagus floridanus) and the marsh rabbit (S. palustris). In most
cases the post-cranial skeletons of these species are difficult to
distinguish from one another. The cottontail weighs about 1 Kg and is
a nocturnal herbivore. The marsh rabbit weighs around 1.2 Kgs. The
cottontail prefers uplands, both wooded and open, particularly old fields
with thickets, or hedgerows of thick grass and is common near agricul-
tural lands (Hilliard 1972). The marsh rabbit prefers lowlands, partic-
ularly swamps and brackish water areas, and is characteristic of high
Two species of squirrels also inhabit the area, the gray squirrel
(Sciurus carolinensis) and the fox squirrel (S. niger). The gray
squirrel, about 461-512 grams, is found in hardwood forests and urban
areas, usually near trees. The fox squirrel, 821-972 grams, prefers
pine uplands. Fox squirrels tolerate more open conditions than gray
squirrels and are frequently seen near corn or soybean fields, in which
they feed by day.
The hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus), a small rodent weighing
about 86 grams, has been called the most abundant mammal in Georgia by
Frank Golley (1962). They do much damage to garden crops because they
are moderately abundant in cover around house sites.
The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus), roof rat (R. rattus), and house
mouse (Mus musculus), are all introduced species of Old World origin.
Presumably their introduction was unintentional since they are serious
pests, doing extensive damage to human property and acting as transport
for disease. The Norway rat is omnivorous, but are particularly attracted
to stored grains and garbage dumps. They are also found in salt marshes.
Roof rats live by preference in walls and lofts of barns, or under refuse.
Corn is a major food source. House mice are also human commensals living
in old fields, barns, and houses. They are omnivorous, preferring small
grain seeds and herb seeds.
The domestic dog (Canis familiaris) may have been of almost any
known size and either of Old World or New World ancestry. The Florida
Tocobaga ate dogs (Bullen 1978). The Spanish claimed to have eaten them
when placed under extreme privation due to delays in the situado.
Although it is not expected that the dog remains to be studied will show
evidence of butchering marks or burning, the possibility that the Spanish
did consume dog remains. It should be noted that dogs were a regular
food item in the Mediterranean region and Frederick J. Simoons reports
that dog flesh is still valued as a delicacy in Extremadura, Spain (1967).
If the Spaniards at St. Augustine did eat dog flesh, it may not have been
out of necessity.
The gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) is a medium sized animal
(ca. 3.5 Kg) which is nocturnal and prefers a habitat with a mixture of
fields and woods. Areas of cultivated fields surrounded by woods are
particularly favored. This is reasonable considering that their pre-
ferred prey species are rabbits, hispid cotton rats, mice, pocket gophers,
Norway rats, and gallinaeceous birds which also frequent shrub thickets.
Fox have often been implicated as barnyard raiders (Johnson and Brown
1903). During the colonial period there was some trade in fox skins
The black bear (Ursus americanus) weighs around 120 to 150 Kgs, is
omnivorous, and generally nocturnal. While they may den in the winter,
they may not always do so. They prefer heavily wooded areas but also
frequent corn fields and swamps. Bartram (1955) noted that bear and
raccoon were both extremely fond of young corn. Bear meat was occasion-
ally preserved for storage (Reddish pers. comm.), was thought to be
"least apt to rise" in the stomach, and was valued as an aphrodisiac
(Booth 1971). Bear fat was a valued grease (Gray 1933) and served as
candle material in St. Augustine (Bushnell 1978c), and to keep firearms
clean (Kirkland ca. 1967). It also served as an insect repellant
The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is one of the most abundant mammals in
the salt marsh. These animals weigh about 5-10Kgs and are generally
nocturnal. Besides being members of the salt marsh community they also
utilize low lying farmland and mixed woodlands. They frequently raid
garbage areas and have been associated with garden and barnyard thefts
as well. Bartram, discussing an encounter with raccoon and opossum,
considered coons delicious eating (1955), and the British in Virginia
thought that coon meat was equal to lamb (Weeden 1890). In addition to
being good to eat, there was some trade in raccoon skins. Raccoon meat
was thought to be beneficial on swellings and inflammations of the body
The bobcat (Lynx rufus) weighs about 8.2 Kgs,is nocturnal, and
prefers river bottoms and swamps. Primarily carnivorous, it seeks out
rabbits, mice, and opossums as food. It is found around old fields and
thickets and has been implicated in barnyard raids. There was some trade
in bobcat hides during the colonial period (Bruce 1895). Its flesh was
compared with veal, although it was thought to be sweeter than veal
The domestic cat (Felis domesticus) was transported from Europe as
was the horse (Equus caballus). The horse, like its allies the mule
and donkey, were not very common in the British colonial period (Gray
1933; Bonner 1964). However, the supply of horses in Georgia increased
after Oglethorpe's 1740 attack on St. Augustine. He returned to
Savannah with several hundred head of captured cattle and a number of
horses (Bonner 1964). There were some horses in Spanish St. Augustine,
although they do not appear to have been plentiful. The elite seem to
have access to them (Bushnell 1978c), and some wild horses were hunted
in the spring (Grinan 1756). According to Grinan, there were no wild
ass or mules (1756).
Both Spanish and British colonists claim to have eaten horses
during periods of starvation. Consumption of horse flesh had once been
common in Europe. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church attempted
to abolish this "pagen" practice (Simoons 1967), but Spain was occupied
by Moors during much of this time so the custom of eating horses endured
in that country longer than elsewhere. There was a revival in horse-
flesh consumption among both the poor and the elite of France in the
18th Century (Simoons 1967).
The pig (Sus scrofa) is one of the most interesting and important
of the mammalian food species, although Bonner says that they were of
less importance in Georgia than cattle (Bos taurus) (1964). One of the
principal reasons that swine were popular animals was that they require
very little care. In Britain (Fussell 1937b; Anderson 1971) and in the
British colonies (Weeden 1890; Bruce 1895; Grey 1933; Bonner 1964) pigs
were almost totally neglected. Occasionally pigs would be set out on
islands in order to limit their dispersal (Thompson 1942), but this
was not a universal habit. The Spanish as a matter of policy released
both hogs and cattle during their explorations so that their increase
could support travelers on passing or wrecked ships. The increase was
remarkable in many cases (Haring 1966; Sauer 1969). The Indians of
Florida provided the French colonists with pigs before St. Augustine
was founded and also supplied pigs to settlers in South Carolina (Towne
and Wentworth 1950). Presumably these had been wild animals, escapees
from Hernando de Soto's journey or from a passing ship.
The feral pig is a wild and resourceful animal.
The real American hog is what is termed the wood hog; they
are long in the leg, narrow on the back, short in the body,
flat on the sides, with a long snout, very rough in their
hair, in make more like the fish called a perch than any
thing I can describe. You may as well think of stopping
a crow as those hogs. They will go to a distance from a
fence, take a run, and leap through the rails three or
four feet from the ground, turning themselves sidewise.
These hogs suffer such hardships as no other animal could
endure.(Parkinson in Gray 1933)
They prefer moist bottomlands, feeding on seeds, roots, fruits, nuts,
mushrooms, snakes, larvae, worms, eggs, carrion, mice, small mammals,
kitchen refuse, and feces. As a feral animal the pig is nocturnal and
Pigs are frequent raiders of gardens and fields and it may be an
incident related to this habit that gave Bonner the impression that pigs
were not valued in the Georgia colony. Oglethorpe did not permit pigs
to roam the streets of Frederica as they did other towns (hogs roamed
the streets of New York City well into the 19th Century). When a herd
of pigs invaded Frederica, Oglethorpe had them all shot (Bonner 1964).
Prior to the 1800's there were no standard breeds of hogs, or other
domestic livestock (Rouse 1977). The size range of the animal appears
to vary dramatically, as does the conformation, depending upon heredity
and food supplies. In 1827, a contest was held in North Carolina for
the largest hog, neatly dressed. The winner was a 2 1/2 year old
weighing 238 Kgs (Southern Agriculturalist 1828). An average slaughtered
weight of 4,000 southern hogs in 1860 was 63 Kgs (Fogel 1965), which is
more likely. A feral hog of about eight months weighed at the Florida
State Museum recently tipped the scales at 8.5 Kgs. Two adult feral
females of about 1 1/2 years weighed 34 Kgs and 38 Kgs. A male of the
same age weighed 58 Kgs. The hogs sold by John Pynchon, of Massachusetts,
in 1662-1683 averaged 77 Kgs (Weeden 1890).
Pigs have several attractive qualities that make them a profitable
crop. In addition to the fact that they are easily reared (as long as
you do not try to pen them in) and will subsist on a variety of foods,
they will also provide a larger and quicker return of flesh in proportion
to their live weight and food consumed. The pig stores 35% of the calories
it consumes, contrasted to 11% for cattle and sheep (Towne and Wentworth
1950). A carcass yields 65-80% dressed meat compared to 50-60% for
cattle and 45-55% for sheep. A pig gains one pound for every three to
five pounds of feed, and it will eat a great variety of foods. In 18
months a pig may gain 90 Kgs,with a yield of 54 usable kilograms. Almost
the entire carcass can be put to some use, and pork takes more kindly
to preservation than do other meats. Nutritionally pork is very
satisfying due to its high fat content. Pork also contains more thiamin
than any other meat (Towne and Wentworth 1950). It is little wonder
that salt pork was one of the habitual foods of the urban poor in Europe
between 1391 and 1560 (Braudel 1967).
The Spanish at St. Augustine made use of both feral and penned hogs.
In 1574, Dr. Alonso de Caceres reported that there were fifty pigs
running loose and that these were wild and skinny (1574). This number
surely increased. Pigs roamed the streets of the town and were raised
in the backyards along with poultry (Boniface 1971). Due to the
difficulty of confining hogs, some of these animals may have been free
without the design of their owners.
Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, was also an important species in the
colonial economy, not only for meat, but for skins as well. The average
weight of deer on the coastal plain is around 46-54 Kgs on the coastal
plain. It adapts to a wide variety of habitats, such as deep forests,
swamps, and open farmland. It also will feed at the edge of salt marshes.
Its preferred habitat is a brushy woodland, or disturbed situation.
Deer feed during dawn and dusk hours, and are attracted to fields and
gardens. Deer were said to have destroyed three acres of peas belonging
to one Georgia colonial farmer (Coulter and Saye 1949). Today they eat
young citrus trees and are a major crop pest. Trade in deer skins was
extensive prior to the Spanish settlement at St. Augustine. In the'
1560's Indians brought quantities of deer skins to trade with English
ships scouting the Florida coast (Chatelain 1941). As was mentioned
earlier the British continued this trade. A collection of skins evac-
uated in front of a Spanish scouting party in 1685 required 150 Indians
to carry. At another time the Spanish were successful in capturing a
shipment that included 500 deerskins (Bolton and Ross 1968).
Like pigs, cattle (Bos taurus) were popular colonial livestock and,
like hogs, they usually roamed free over the countryside. According to
John E. Rouse (1977) there were two basic sources of cattle in the New
World. The British brought with them, or imported from Ireland, a pre-
breed which he calls the Native American cattle. These animals were not
well adapted to the humid subtropics of Florida or the rest of the
The cradle of the cattle industry instead lay in Spain, around
Castile, where a tough, hardy pre-breed which he calls the criollo
developed. In Spain, as in England, cattle were originally raised for
traction rather than for beef. By the end of the Reconquest of Spain
in 1492 some of the northern provinces of Spain also raised vast herds
of cattle for beef and hides (Bishko 1952). In these areas cattle even
took precedence over sheep. These animals were tough, resourceful, and
adapted to a hot, humid environment where pasturage was low in nutrients,
and scarce. The Galician and Castilian method of herding was very similar
to the round-up technique transferred to the New World with the cattle for
whom it had been developed (Rouse 1977).
The weight of cattle is highly variable. An English beef in 1710
weighed about 167 Kgs (Thompson 1942) although by 1795 the average weight
had risen to 362 Kgs (Fussel 1929, 1937a). A modern Florida scrub cow,
descendent of the original Spanish criollo cattle, weighs about 204 Kgs
when grazed on pine flatwoods, and 294 Kgs on prairie. A bull weighs
slightly more (Rouse 1977). The average weight of a cow in colonial
Georgia was 317 Kgs, with oxen averaging 362 Kgs (Bonner 1964).
Cattle usually were allowed to fend for themselves. In Georgia
the Spanish pattern was followed, and in both Florida and Georgia roving
cattle were a problem since they raided fields and gardens (Bonner 1964).
In an effort to control this cattle were occasionally confined to islands
(Andres de San Miguel in Garcia 1902). The Spanish (Grinan 1757; Arnade
1965; Bushnell 1978b) and the British (Bonner 1964) conducted annual
cattle roundups, but cattle thefts were common. There was also a good
deal of raiding across the border in territory claimed by both Spain and
England. Spanish Florida in the 1700's must have had more cattle than
is normally credited if Oglethorpe could return from his 1740 seige with
several hundred head of cattle. In 1727 Governor Perier of French
Louisiana requested to purchase 800 head from Florida (Gray 1933). It
was reported in 1602 that every family at St. Augustine had four to ten
cows (Arnade 1959).
Cattle raising, however, is not quite as easy as swine raising.
Although cattle will forage for themselves, the product is a scrawny,
rather than a lean, beast. They will not produce a good weight gain
except with improved feeds, and never provide as good a yield as hogs.
They are also more subject to debilitating diseases. A pig in its first
eight months attains almost adult size although it was not the general
custom to slaughter them until 18 months (Commissioner of Patent Reports
1844). Cattle do not provide the return for effort of pigs. In addition
beef does not preserve as well as pork and so was not as highly valued
on the market (Weeden 1890). There was, however, an active demand for
cattle hides (Rouse 1977) and both cheese (Harman 1969) and milk (Boyd
et al. 1951) were used by the Spanish residents in Florida.
Sheep (Ovis aries) and goats (Capra hircus), appear not to have been
very popular in the southern colonies or in Florida. Sheep were partic-
ularly disfavored because they were helpless to defend themselves against
wild dogs and wolves and would not reproduce themselves freely (Weeden
1850; Thompson 1942). Since the preferred animal husbandry technique
was to turn the animals loose, this was an obvious drawback.
The early colonists did bring sheep and goats with them. The French
had brought sheep with them to Ft. Caroline and Menendez also brought
sheep with him, but they did not do well (Lyon 1977a). When sheep were
turned loose at Frederica in 1735, they reverted to wildness and could
not be herded as they had been in England (Bonner 1964). Goats also were
included among the Spanish livestock inventories (Lyon 1977a). They
fared better than did sheep because they could defend themselves against
carnivores (Bonner 1964). Goats were introduced to Georgia in 1741 when
Robert Williams brought some over, but they were not immediately popular
Sheep had been a major herd animal in Spain, perhaps because the
Moors preferred mutton to beef (Rouse 1977), and were prohibited from
eating pork (Simoons 1967). It may be no coincidence that northern Spain,
the area under Moorish domination for the shortest period of time and the
first area to free itself, was the center of cattle raising in contrast
to the more southerly provinces which did not expel the Moors until 1492,
and were sheep raisers.
A great variety of wild birds and some domestic ones appear in the
species lists from St. Augustine and Frederica. It should be noted that
birds provide a number of useful items in addition to flesh. Eggs of
wild birds were often consumed (Johnson and Brown 1903; Sprunt 1954;
Braudel 1967) and feathers were a valuable commodity. In 1702, five
pounds of feathers could be bartered for the value of one beaver skin
in Massachusetts (Weeden 1890). In Georgia, geese, in particular, were
raised for feathers, and it was also thought that having geese graze a
field was beneficial to the crop (Bonner 1964). It is not possible to
assess the use of the birds identified for these purposes. The flesh
of a wide variety of birds was consumed, both adults and juvenile birds,
called squabs (Bartram 1955). It would appear that in terms of exploi-
tation, birds might not only have been captured at their preferred day-
time feeding area, but at their rookeries as well. Consequently,
reference to roosting habits will be included below. In order to keep
the account as succinct as possible, the birds will be reviewed by order
rather than by genus.
Pelecaniformes are represented in the collections by cormorant
(Phalacrocorax auritus) and gannet (Moris bassana). Both are water birds
which are gregarious and feed on fish. Gannets are essentially winter
residents in the study area and the number of resident cormorants
increases in the winter as northern individuals come south.
Ardeiformes present in the samples include the great blue heron
(Ardea herodias), American egret (Casmerodius albus), Louisiana heron
(Hydranassa tricolor), little blue heron (Florida coerulea), black-
crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), and white ibis (Eudocimus
albus). With the exception of the night heron all are commonly found in
the salt marsh as well as around freshwater ponds, sloughs, and streams.
The great blue heron and the American egret are found also on the beaches
and along the sounds where they can wade in search of fish. The white
ibis is not only frequently found in the salt marshes, but also visits
fields and pastures. The other three species are either salt marsh
residents, or found near freshwater. All of the species are diurnal in
habit, except the night heron, and all are communal roosters at night;
in fact, many of these species share their night-time abode with one
another in trees and low hanging brush near water.
Many of these birds were part of the once-active feather trade, but
also could have been used for food. Night herons, particularly young
ones, were often shot, and white ibis, called "curlews," were referred
to in Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings novel The Yearling (in Sprunt 1954).
Until very recently heron eggs were a favorite food (Johnson and Brown
1903). Herons, egrets, wild swans, bitterns, cranes, and flamingos were
consumed in France between 1391 and 1560 (Braudel 1967).
Anseriformes is a varied order which includes the following: the
Canada goose (Branta canadensis), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), black
duck (A. rubripes), Florida duck (A. fulvigula), gadwell (A. strepera),
green-winged teal (A. carolinensis), blue-winged teal (A. discors),
shoveller (Spatula clypeata), wood duck (Aix sponsa), redhead (Aythya
americana), ring-necked duck (A. collaris), scaup (Aythya marilla),
hooded merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) and red-breasted merganser
(Mergus serrator). With the exception of the wood duck and the Florida
duck most individuals of these species are migratory, being found here
only in the fall and winter. All are found in flocks either in sheltered
waters or in tidal streams. The wood duck prefers quiet, secluded bodies
of freshwater. Geese often visit fields and gardens. Until recently
only the mottled duck or Florida duck of the genus Anas would be found
nesting in salt marshes, although the black duck, which often interbreeds
with the Florida duck, also is found in salt marshes. The shoveller
prefers freshwater, as does the wood duck, the redhead, the ring-necked
duck and the red-breasted merganser. Scaup, however, raft in salt water
during the winter in large flocks and the hooded merganser also is found
in estuaries. The redhead is a nighttime feeder but they, like the
scaup, form large daytime rafts.
Several of these birds may have been tamed. The Canada goose and
mallard were listed in the earliest American Poultry Association's
Standard of Excellence (1874) and breeding experiments had been done to
improve the breeds (Johnson and Brown 1903). Wood ducks had been tamed
successfully (Johnson and Brown 1903). It will be remembered that
Anderson also referred to tamed birds (1971).
Accipitriformes are represented by several birds of prey, which
could not be identified down to a useful category, and two genera of
vultures, the turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) and the black vulture
(Coragyps atratus). These two birds are common scavengers around garbage
dumps and may represent non-food activity; however, they and other
members of this order were hunted widely as food (Booth 1971).
Galliformes include several genera, some of which might have been
domestic species. These include: the bobwhite (Colinus virginianus),
the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus), and the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo).
The turkey is thought to be a wild rather than a domestic species because
of the difficulty encountered in raising them until recently due to
diseases (Johnson and Brown 1903; Schorger 1966). The wild turkey was
once very common in the area, preferring moist hardwood swamps, where it
is found today in a habitat shared with feral swine. Although flocks of
3-4 individuals are found today, flocks of up to 40 individuals were
reported by Jamestown settlers (in Bruce 1895). Turkeys roost in trees.
Bobwhite prefer open pine-lands and thickets. In the winter coveys of
up to 24 birds can be seen foraging in open fields. Neither of these
species is found in the salt marsh and both are gregarious birds.
As with the other Old World domesticants introduced by the colonists,
chickens were introduced before breed registers were established. Since
chickens were basically allowed to fend for themselves, with occasional
scraps to keep them close, it is assumed that the chickens used by the
early colonists would have been small in size, roughly comparable to a
Mediterranean class, Brown Leghorn Bantam (Wilson pers. comm.). A
Bantam dozen eggs weigh about 396 grams (Johnson and Brown 1903) and
the bird itself weighs about 680 grams (Florida State Museum files).
Chickens, although small, nonetheless represented an available food
supply which could be raised in the yards or streets until needed, when
the tough bird was probably boiled rather than baked! Chickens will
eat a variety of table scraps, and the Spaniards even fed them shellfish
(Caceres 1574). Predators, including opossums, raccoons, foxes, owls,
and snakes take a heavy toll on barnyard chickens and their eggs.
Sam Hilliard suggests, though, that chickens were experts in survival
in an era when protection provided by humans was minimal (1972). They
could fly well and roosted twenty to fifty feet above the ground. In
spite of these qualities they may at one time have been very expensive
in Spanish St. Augustine (Geiger 1937), although Indian villages had
these birds as early as the 16th Century (Garcia 1902).
Gruiformes includes a number of varied species: whooping crane
(Grus americana), sandhill crane (Grus canadensis), and clapper rail
(Rallus longirostris). Since whooping cranes no longer are found in the
area it is not known if they were permanent residents or not, but they
once were found in salt marshes. The sandhill crane is today a resident
of freshwater marshes and has both migratory and non-migratory popu-
lations. Both species are gregarious, and once fed in grain fields as
well as in marshes. Bartram says that the "Savannah crane" makes an
excellent soup (1955) although it is not known to which crane he was
referring. Clapper rails are still popular game birds. Clapper rails
are one of the most typical of the salt marsh species, where they are
concealed in the tall grasses. Rails are permanent residents of the
Charadriiformes include the following species: killdeer (Charadrius
vociferus), Wilson's snipe (Capella gallinago), long-billed curlew
(Numenius americanus), willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus), dowitcher
(Limnodromus griseus), black-necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus), and
two-striped thick knee (Burhinus bistriatus). This last bird is an
introduced species from Mexico found at the mestizo household of 18th
Century St. Augustine (SA16-23) by Cumbaa and discussed at length by
him (1975). He interpreted the bird to be a watch-bird. The other birds
are common beach and mud flat species except for the snipe which is a
freshwater slough and open ground resident. The willet is found more
often in the salt marsh than on the beach and killdeer often feed in
fields and pastures. These last two species are permanent residents,
as are stilts. Most of these species were in recent years popular game
birds, and generally referred to as curlews.
The razor-billed auk (Alca torda) is also a member of Charadriiformes,
but Florida does not constitute its normal range. Unlike the thick-knee,
it was probably not brought here as a watch-bird, but came here on its
own. The auk is a small arctic bird which frequents the open sea and
occasionally winters as far south as New'England. No explanation is
offered for its presence at St. Augustine other than to add that there
have been several sightings of these birds on the Florida coast
(Cruickshank 1967; Robertson 1967; Kale 1976) and they have also been
reported from a few aboriginal sites in Florida (Hamon 1959; Fradkin
Columbiformes include the rock dove or domestic pigeon (Columba
livia) and the mourning dove (Zenaidura macroura). The rock dove was a
European domestic introduction which soon became feral. As feral animals,
they continue to prefer human habitations and urban areas where they
congregate in large numbers on public monuments, buildings, and in parks.
Mourning doves are permanent residents in Florida whose numbers are
swelled in the winter by migrants. They are found in large groups in
urban areas, cultivated fields and pastures, and on dunes.
Strigiformes are represented by a single species, the barred owl
(Strix varia). It is not.known if this bird was eaten, but considering
the number of rodents and chickens which might have been around houses
in the colonial period, the owl may have been attracted to that resource
and accidently been included in the refuse. The barred owl today is
found as a permanent resident near the edges of towns. In view of the
range of wild fowl that did end up in the stew pot (Braudel 1967; Anderson
1971) it does not seem unlikely that the owl also was eaten.
Passeriformes is a diverse order of perching birds, represented here
by the fish crow (Corvus ossifragus) and the common grackle (Quiscalus
quiscula). Both of these animals are common birds in coastal areas and
both are attracted to garbage dumps, gardens, and fields. Considering
the nursery rhyme about "4 and 20 blackbirds" and the fact that bird pies
were common menu items (Anderson 1971) these species may well be food
items rather than accidental inclusions. Blackbirds are mentioned by
Braudel (1967) among birds commonly consumed in France.
Reptiles and Amphibians
The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) can attain a
length of between 1.8 meters and 5.0 meters, with a record of 5.8 meters.
Its flesh is quite tasty and is esteemed, as are the eggs. Alligators
prefer quiet freshwater sloughs and ponds on barrier islands or on the
mainland, but they also are found in tidal creeks and sounds as they
move between freshwater and brackish marshes. Alligators also inhabit
salt marsh. Colonials thought that alligator meat would cure ulcers
and cancer (Booth 1971).
Most turtles are rare in the estuarine environment. Six species of
normally terrestrial or freshwater turtles do manage to survive in the
coastal area, including the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina). The