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FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST is published quarterly in March, June,
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THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOLUME 33 NUMBER 1 MARCH 1980
Cover "Preparing for the Feast" by Jacques
Editor's Page . . . .... .. .. 1
Coquina Middens on the Florida East Coast,
by James J. Miller . 2
Historically Important Plants of Southeastern Florida,
by Daniel F. Austin . .. 17
Archeological Research Strategy for the Granada Site,
by Shawn Bonath . ... 32
This issue of the Florida Anthropologist is the first issue
under my editorship and represents an earnest attempt to continue
the level of excellence that Jerry Milanich has provided to the
Anthropologist during his period as editor. It is my long term
goal to continue to publish quality articles by both professionals
and non-professionals on Florida as well as geographic and cultural
areas that are relevant to Florida studies.
This first issue has been published much later than I'd like,
but I'm afraid that when I took over the reins of editor in January,
the back file of available manuscripts for the Florida Anthropologist
was bone dry. This fact explains in part the lateness of this issue
and why it seems to have a slight bias towards southeast Florida.
The two articles by Shaun Bonath and Daniel Austin were originally
intended for publication in a book on South Florida archeology being
compiled by the editor. I decided to use those articles to fill the
void. This explanation underscores our need for manuscripts, so
please, get those articles to us as soon as possible.
Beginning with this issue, the Florida Anthropologist will have
pictorial covers and I welcome any ideas or contributions for future
covers. These may include old photos, postcards, etc. All contri-
butors will be given credit and original material will be returned.
This issue's cover is a copy of Lemoyne's "Preparing for the Feast"
and is provided courtesy of the Historical Association of Southern
COQUINA MIDDENS ON THE FLORIDA EAST COAST
James J. Miller
Over the past five years survey on the Atlantic coast in St.
Johns and Flagler Counties has revealed several small middens com-
posed primarily of coquina, Donax variabilis (Figure 1). Middens
of this type have not been previously recorded and have several
features which make their further investigation worthwhile.
Past archeological study in the Southeast has mostly concen-
trated on large and impressive sites. Major earthworks and burial
mounds attracted early attention, followed by large, deep middens,
usually with extensive and complicated horizontal and vertical
stratification. Such sites have proved valuable in establishing
regional chronologies and in demonstrating change in various aspects
of the archeological record, but their complexity discourages rel-
iable interpretation. Small sites, often overlooked and only recently
recognized as significant, offer several advantages to the archeologist.
They are, first of all, necessary for a proper understanding of any
regional settlement pattern (Moseley and Mackey 1972), and can be
thoroughly investigated with a modest expenditure of time and money.
Perhaps more important is their capacity for yielding reliable
cultural information of a comparatively simple sort. Small sites
represent a single event in archeological time and are usually isolated
culturally. As Binford plainly observed, dig the little,
simple sites first. What you learn from them might permit you to
intelligently dig the big, complicated ones" (1972:130). Small sites
are now being (or should be) seriously considered as sources of sig-
nificant data during cultural resource assessments (Talmage and
Chesler 1977), and several excavation reports have appeared (Smith
1978, South and Widmer 1976, Ward 1978).
The first small coquina midden was discovered during a cultural
resource survey of the Innlet Beach development in northern St. Johns
County, performed under contract with Fletcher Properties, Inc. The
Fletcher site (8SJ57) is situated in a mature live oak hammock some
1.2 km from the Atlantic coast just south of the community of Ponte
Vedra Beach. Modification of the surrounding landscape resulted
from heavy mineral mining in the 1930s and an earlier nineteenth
century occupation of the hammock, so distribution of immediate micro-
environments cannot be accurately reconstructed. Less than 1 km to
the south a typical northeast Florida coastal environment is present,
characterized by a coast-parallel arrangement of landscape features,
including from east to west Atlantic Ocean, beach strand, dune line,
brackish or fresh lagoon, oak-palm hammock, then upland pine flat-
woods (Kurtz 1942). Of these,hammocks are the most desirable for
habitation, and such a preference is evident in the distribution of
both prehistoric and historic sites all along the northeast coast
of Florida (Griffin and Miller 1978).
5 10 20011
5 10 20 30kl __
VO L U S I A
Figure 1. Northeast Florida coast showing site locations.
Note absence of lagoons at Fletcher site and
Palm Coast Midden.
The midden was first noticed in a ditch profile as a thin shell
zone about 10 cm thick. Results of post hole testing and an initial
0.5 m square test pit suggested that information could be recovered
regarding subsistence activities, age and possibly duration of occu-
pation, seasonality, and technological aspects of adaptation to en-
vironments assumed to be similar to those presently occurring in the
area. Coquina lenses and zones were known from several large coastal
sites, among them 8SJ1 located about 1.5 km to the southeast and the
Castle Windy Midden near New Smyrna (Bullen and Sleight 1959). The
Gotten site (Griffin and Smith 1954) and Summer Haven site (Bullen
and Bullen 1961) are largely composed of coquina shells, but these
date to the middle of the Orange Period when coastal environments
may not have included brackish lagoons suitable for oysters (Goggin
1948, Griffin and Smith 1954, Griffin and Miller 1978). It was hoped
that some of these topics could be explored by further excavation,
as described below, but it is now apparent that the major value of
the project has been in demonstrating the age and range of materials
which can be expected in this type of site, and in clarifying questions
for future excavations at less disturbed sites of the same type.
Five excavation units were investigated as shown in Figure 2.
Squares were placed where earlier post hole tests indicated a con-
tinuous midden zone. The ditch profile extended the entire length
of the exposed midden. In total 26.5 m of profile were recovered.
A midden sample covering 0.5 sq. m. was taken from +6L4 for later
laboratory analysis. Several screen mesh sizes were used as shown
in Table 1; larger mesh for overlying humus and smaller for the mid-
den zone. Test 1 was passed through window screen since it was the
only size available during the initial survey. In squares +7 and
+7L2, inch screen was used for Zone I which consisted mostly of
modern trash, while inch screen was used for the midden (Zone II).
In an effort to collect a more reliable faunal sample, the midden
from +6L4 was passed through window screen. After the squares and
profile were completed and recorded a 30 sq. m. area at the north
edge of the midden was stripped with heavy equipment to reveal fea-
tures in the light, sandy subsoil. Additional grading was prevented
by ownership and vegetation. No features other than the coquina zone
itself were found.
In every test, stratification was essentially the same. Over-
burden near the ditch from spoil accounted for a brown sand layer
above the humus in some profiles. Elsewhere 10 to 15 cm of grey,
sandy, humic soil covered the site. This was usually covered by or
mixed with modern trash, mostly glass. All soil above the midden
was included in Zone I. The shell layer, Zone II, was nearly every-
where 7 to 15 cm thick and exhibited no internal stratification. It
was composed of coquina and other shell, bone, and pottery in a black,
greasy soil. Underlying the midden was an ill-defined layer of tan
to brown midden-stained sand. This was not found in shovel tests
placed outside the midden, and is attributed to leaching of the soluble
organic components of the midden. Sterile, white sand was reached
at a depth of 30 to 40 cm below the surface (Figure 3). All soil
1 2 3 4 5m
5 10 5I t
8SJ57 SITE MAP s.c 27 .ec 28
Figure 2. Plan of Fletcher Site,
] Ditch .spoil
] Grey sand with mixed rtlfrscle
Coquine shell midden
L White or ten sterile send
OL6.2 to +S.SLS.4
Figure 3. Ditch profile at 8SJ57
below the midden was termed Zone III. Cleared floors in this zone
showed disturbances from roots and rodents well, but no intrusive
cultural features were noted.
In each excavation unit all sherds and shell, other than coquina,
were saved, as was all bone, except from the humus zone which contained
recent bone fragments along with other trash. Material recovered from
each provenience is listed in Table 1. It should be noted that no
stone of any kind was recovered from the site. Only 93 sherds were
found, mostly small, eroded pieces. St. Johns Plain and St. Johns
Check Stamped are present, but most sherds must be classified as
sand tempered plain. Two sherds show possible stamping but are too
eroded to identify clearly. Ceramics are listed by provenience in
Ceramics Bone Shell
Test 1 Zone I
Test 1 Zone II
Sq. +7 Zone I
Sq. +7 Zone II
Sq. +7L2 Zone I
Sq. +7L2 Zone II
Sq. +6L4 Zone II
4 13 1
30 31 11 9
6 57 32 3
Total 9.5 sq. 93 93 93 61 16
*not collected from Zone I
FDAHRM Accession No. 75-642-01 to 75-642-09
TABLE 2. CERAMIC DISTRIBUTION
Provenience St. Johns St. Johns Sand Not Total
Plain Check Tempered Identified
Surface 1 2 1 4
Test 1 Zone I 4 3 3 10
Test 1 Zone II 2 1 3
Sq. +7 Zone I 4 1 6 11
Sq. +7 Zone II 5 12 1 18
Sq. +7L2 Zone I 1 3 7 11
Sq. +7L2 Zone II 9 19 2 30
Sq. +6L4 Zone II 1 4 1 6
Total 26 28% 10 11% 53 57% 4 4% 93 100%
In an attempt to learn about subsistence activities and season
of occupation at the site the single midden sample of 0.5 sq. m.
from +6L4 was analyzed for weight, volume, and content. Total dry
weight of the midden sample was determined to be 12,70 kg, of which
380g were bone, sherds, charcoal, and shell other than coquina. A
hand picked sample of 1000 coquina valves chosen without regard to
size weighed 332 gm. From this it was estimated that the +6L4
sample contained about 38,000 valves, and as the sample represented
0.8% by surface area of a relatively homogeneous midden, the number
of whole coquina for the entire site was estimated to be about 2.27
million. The reliability of this type of determination could be
improved in future tests by taking a larger number of unbiased sam-
ples from different portions of the midden, determining site limits
more accurately, and counting rather than weighing shells in the
sample. For 8SJ57 average midden depth is based on 38 profile
measurements and likely to be accurate, Areal extent of the deposit
is delineated by sterile posthole tests and could not be more than
10% underestimated, Judging from midden content and depth in other
excavation units the midden sample is typical, so the largest poten-
tial source of error is the estimated number of shells in the sample.
To investigate further the value of coquina as a food source a
sample of 28 preserved specimens of Donax variabilis was measured
and weighed to determine the ratios meat wt.: shell wt. and meat
wt.: shell length. The average length of the shells was found
to be 22.9 mm while the wet meat weight was 9.04 g or 0.32 g per
individual. Approximately 310 shells, then, would yield 100 g
of meat. Food values for 100 g of clams, meat and liquid, are
listed in Watt and Merrill (1962/63) as: water, 85.8%; calories,
54; protein, 8.6 g; fat, 1.0 g; carbohydrate, 2.0 g. If the esti-
mate of 2.27 million coquina in the midden is valid, then the food
values represented by this species for the entire site is about
Caloric values for other species represented in the midden
cannot be accurately determined because of the small sample size,
but it is interesting to note that a single white-tailed deer may
provide about 45,000 calories (Severinghaus and Cheatum 1956,
Watt and Merrill 1962/63). Or, more simply, eight deer could pro-
vide the same energy and nearly three times as much protein as all
the coquina in the site.
It is apparent that species other than coquina were not relied
upon. Other shellfish remains are shown in Table 3. Only three
species are likely to have been eaten, and the presence of eroded
and broken shell fragments probably results from use of a basket
to collect coquinas. Mercenaria and Polinices are common in shell
middens and easily gathered from mud flats at low tide; the latter
may also be collected from the beach. Noetia is a deepwater form
and was probably collected as a single valve. Anatina and Pecten
shells were not used as food, but may have accidently been col-
lected with the coquina.
Only 93 animal bones were recovered from the midden zone.
One-fifth of the sample could be identified to family or lesser
taxa; 24% of the bone fragments were non-diagnostic. All of the
species represented (Table 4) could occur in lagoon-estuary and
adjacent upland environments (Marrinan 1975).
TABLE 3. SHELLFISH
+7, +7L2, +7L2 +6L4 Total
Zone II Zone I Zone II Zone II
Polinices duplicate Say 2,2,2, 2,2,2 5,5,5 8,8,8 17
Mercenaria campechiensis 8,1,1 2,1,1 5,3,3 7,2,2 7
Noetia ponderosa Say 2,2,2 11,2,1 3
Anatina canaliculata Say 4,2,0
Pecten gibbus Linne 1,1,0
unidentified 1,1,0 1,1,0 2,2,0
11,2,1 = fragments, minimum of 2 individuals, 1 edible
individual. Total is estimated edible individuals.
drum fish family
Chrysemys or Deirochelys or chicken turtle
Further library research into the food of coquina turned up an
interesting study of the life history of D. variabilis, results of
which could possibly be applied to the question of seasonality
at 8SJ57. Tiffany (1968) reviewed the Donax literature, then
investigated a population of D. variabilis at Alligator Harbor on
the northwest Florida Gulf Coast. The most striking characteris-
tic of the species is its ability to maintain large populations.
Tiffany recorded between 130 and 1021 individuals per square meter,
depending on the season. From Mustang Island, Texas, Loesch (1957)
recorded 31,000 clams (D, variabilis) per linear yard, while Orton
(1929) reported that 100 million D. vittatus died along a three
mile stretch, of beach in Lancashire, England. No population
figures could be found for the Florida Atlantic Coast, but the
beach at Ponte Vedra was littered with coquina shells, and it is
reasonable to assume that the animal supplied an abundant food
source, at least during certain months of the year.
To determine the breeding season and life span of D. variabilis
Tiffany constructed a frequency histogram of shell length for each
month of a single year. It was shown that the clams live for about
17 months, spawning in the spring at Alligator Harbor. The high-
est density of mature individualsoccurs in the fall, although the
population is highest during April when the majority of shells
are between 1 and 5 mm in length.
Since the species is annually variable an attempt was made to
use it for a seasonal indicator. During the cleaning and analysis
of the midden sample from +6L4, Zone II, the first 1000 whole
valves of coquina were saved. Five hundred of these were measured
for shell length with a vernier caliper, and a frequency histo-
gram was constructed. The distribution of lengths was compared
to similar data collected by Tiffany (1968:35-41) from Alligator
Harbor and found to resemble most closely the characteristics of
an October population (Figure 4). To suggest that the coquina at
8SJ57 were collected around October requires making several assump-
tions: that the sample from+6L4 is representative of the entire
site; that a natural distribution of coquina sizes was collected
as food; and that the life cycle of D. variabilis from Alligator
Harbor at present is similar to that of animals from the Atlantic
coast during the St. Johns II period.
The 330 g sample of coquina valves was submitted for radio-
carbon dating after being measured for length. Two separate
determinations by the University of Miami Radiocarbon Dating
Laboratory yielded an average date of A.D. 863 + 50 radiocarbon
years (Piepgrass and Stipp 1977:120).
In conclusion, the excavation results suggest that 8SJ57
represents a short term occupation based upon the exploitation
of lagoon, beach, and adjacent environments similar to those now
occurring in the vicinity of the site, and if the method of deter-
mining seasonality by coquina length is valid then that occupation
occurred during the Fall months. A St. Johns IIa placement is
supported by the radiocarbon dates and the ceramics. The following
interpretations of the Fletcher site have served as a basis for
planning research at another coquina midden to be discussed shortly.
Questions which came up during the analysis and reporting of the
8SJ57 materials are now being asked more explicitly at a better
In terms of site environment, there is little indication that
conditions are much changed since the site was inhabited. Delinea-
tion of immediate environmental zones in a less disturbed area
could indicate relative availability of resources represented at
the site. From the small sample it appears that 8SJ57 is most
closely related to Wing's Coastal Ridge constellation of vertebrate
resources (Wing 1977). Unfortunately, shellfish are not considered,
and an understanding of the relative importance of shellfish in this
case would be valuable. It appears that coquina account for the
large majority of midden content, but provide a lesser proportion
of the total food value. By improved sampling and recovery
11 COQUINA MIDDENS
djusted to samples of 500 shall.
I I i
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
SHELL LENGTH IN mm
Figure 4. Frequency histogram of shell length by month of
modern coquina from Alligator Harbor, Florida
compared to archeological sample from 8SJ57.
techniques mollusc and vertebrate resources can be compared.
Moreover, in an undisturbed midden of the same type as 8SJ57,
plant remains may be recoverable and amenable to similar analysis.
If not, Cumbaa's (19761 estimates for proportion of the diet supplied
by plants at a St. Johns River Viviparus midden might be applied.
The absence of shell tools and stone of any sort may be due
to sampling, but may also indicate very limited activity at the site.
It may have served as a short term collecting station for coquina
and other easily obtainable small animals, occupied once, or
seasonally over a few years' time. Determination of total food
value of the midden could suggest the size of the group and its
length of stay, and certain species represented in a larger faunal
sample might support the indicated fall occupation or suggest addi-
tional seasons of occupation.
As a suggestion for future inquiry it is hypothesized that
inhabitants of 8SJ57 and similar, small St. Johns II middens prac-
ticed a seasonal round involving inland agriculture during the spring
and summer months and coastal collecting and hunting at other times.
Ethnographic sources are clear in attributing this pattern to the
Saturiwa, the Eastern Timucua tribe occupying the northeast coast
at contact (Deagen 1978:104). Further, Milanich has suggested that
during St. Johns II times agriculture was practiced at the large
villages along the St. Johns River where soils were suitable for
cultivation, and that after the end of the growing season the pop-
ulation moved to other areas where wild food was more available
If this is so, evidence for alternate seasonality can be expected
in the coastal middens and along the St. Johns. The hypothesis
could be further supported by showing that total food value represented
at a small coastal midden like 8SJ57 was insufficient to support a
family group for more than half a year. Artifact forms should be
comparable from the river and the coast, as they do seem to be, and
the absence of tools in small coastal middens, if confirmed, should
support an interpretation of short term, limited activity occupations.
It was not until last year that another opportunity arose to
investigate a small coquina midden. Cultural resource assessment
of a portion of the Palm Coast tract in Flagler County supported
by the ITT Community Development Corporation resulted in the dis-
covery of seven prehistoric sites. One of these, 8F115, was very
similar to the Fletcher site, but virtually undisturbed. By this
time we had reviewed the local and regional archeology thoroughly
(Miller and Strassburger 1977, Griffin and Miller 1978) and, as
already mentioned, small sites were being widely discussed in the
literature. At least five coquina middens were now known and it
seemed that their distribution was related to the presence of topo-
graphic highs behind the coastal ridge which prevented the local
formation of shellfish rich lagoons. Several coquina middens in
Volusia County have been reported by Jim Davis of Flagler Beach in
locations west of the lagoon. These have not been visited by the
author, but their presence suggests a lack of estuary shellfish.
Following the hypothetico-analog method of Smith (1977, 1978) a
research design was formulated for the Palm Coast site which
focused on group size and composition, seasonality, subsistence
including diet and exploitation of local fauna, degree of seden-
tism, and relationship between shellfish and vertebrate food
resources. While three excavation units were completed at the
Palm Coast Midden the major part of the field and laboratory
time has been devoted to the collection and analysis of some 30
column samples. A series of live coquina samples has been col-
lected locally to allow the comparison of growth curves,and other
species of shellfish are being analyzed to obtain meat weight/
shell weight regressions. Most of this work is still underway
and results should be available in the near future when they will
be presented in the larger context of additional survey and
excavation on the Palm Coast property.
This preliminary report is intended to alert others to the
existence of a generally unrecognized type of site on the Florida
coast and present results of a small excavation at one such midden.
A new method of judging seasonality, so far untested by independent
data, is presented, and an argument is made for more complete midden
analysis involving invertebrate as well as vertebrate resources, as
well as plants, when recoverable. Work currently underway at the
Palm Coast Midden has been planned to overcome deficiencies in past
excavations and will, it is hoped, illustrate the unique importance
of small sites in gaining a more complete understanding of Florida's
I am grateful to Fletcher Properties, Inc. for contract
funding, to Joe N. Hutto for field assistance, to Dr. Rochelle
A. Marrinan who analyzed the vertebrate remains, to Dr. R.W.
Menzel for invertebrate identifications, and to John W. Griffin,
George W. Percy, and an anonymous FA reviewer who read an earlier
draft of the report. Excavation and analysis of the Palm Coast
material is being supported by ITT Community Development Corporation.
I am indebted to John W. Griffin, David E. Swindell, and Dale G.
Benton for their participation at Palm Coast. Shortcomings in
the design and completion of the projects are my own.
1979 An Archaeological Perspective. New York: Seminar
Bullen, A.K. and Bullen, R.P.
1961 The Summer Haven Site, St. Johns County, Florida.
Florida Anthorpologist 14 (1-2):1-15.
Bullen, R.P. and Sleight, F.W.
1959 Archaeological Investigations of the Castle Windy
Midden. Willian L. Bryant Foundation American
Studies Report No. 1.
1976 A Reconsideration of Freshwater Shellfish Exploi-
tation in the Florida Archaic. Florida Anthro-
pologist 24 (1):49-59.
1978 Cultures in Transition. Pp. 89-119 in Jerald T.
Milanich and Samuel Proctor, eds., Tacachale.
University Press of Florida.
Goggin, John M.
1948 Florida Archeology and Recent Ecological Changes.
Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences
Griffin, John W. and Miller, James J.
1978 Cultural Resource Reconnaissance of Merritt Island
National Wildlife Refuge. Unpublished manuscript
on file at Interagency Archeological Services-Atlanta
and Florida Division of Archives, History and Records
Griffin, John W. and Smith, Hale G.
1954 The Cotten Site: An Archaeological Site of Early
Ceramic Times in Volusia County, Florida. Florida
State University Studies 16:27-59. Tallahassee.
1942 Florida Dune and Scrub Vegetation and Geology.
Florida Geological Survey Bulletin 23. Tallahassee.
1957 Studies on the Ecology of Two Species of Donax on
Mustang Island, Texas. Publications of the Institute
of Marine Science 4:201-227. University of Texas.
Marrinan, Rochelle A.
1975 Personal communication, letter of December 8, 1975.
On file, Florida State Museum Zooarchaeology
Milanich, Jerald T.
1978 The Western Timucua: Patterns of Acculturation and
Change. Pp. 59-88 in Jerald T. Milanich and Samuel
Proctor, ed., Tacachale. University Presses of
Miller, J.J. and Strassburger, R.
1977 Phase I Results of the Palm Coast Cultural Resource
Assessment: Data Collection and Analysis. Unpublished
manuscript on file at Florida Division of Archives,
History and Records Management.
Moseley, M.E. and Mackey, C.J.
1972 Peruvian Settlement Pattern Studies and Small Site
Methodology. American Antiquity 37(11:67-81.
1929 Severe Environmental Mortality among Abra (Syndosoma)
alba, Donax vittatus, and other Organisms of the
Lancashire Coast. Nature 124:911.
Piepgras, D. and Stipp, J.J.
1977 University of Miami Radiocarbon Dates VIII. Radio-
Severinghans, C.W. and Cheatum, E.L.
1956 Life and Times of the White-tailed Deer. In P. Taylor,
ed., The Deer of North America. Stackpole.
Smith, Bruce D.
1977 Archaeological Inference and Inductive Confirmation.
American Anthropologist 79(3):598-617,
Smith, Bruce D.
1978 Prehistoric Patterns of Human Behavior. New York:
South, Stanley and Widmer, Randolph
1976 Archaeological Sampling at Fort Johnson, South
Carolina. Research Manuscript Series 93. Institute
of Archeology and Anthropology, University of
Talmage, Valerie and Chesler, Olga
1977 The Importance of Small, Surface and Disturbed Sites
as Sources of Significant Archeological Data. Cul-
tural Resource Management Studies, Interagency
Archeological Services, Washington, D.C.
Tiffany, William James III
1968 The Life Cycle and Ecology of the Beach Clam Donax
variabilis (Say) CMollusca:Pelecypoda:Donacidae).
Unpublished M.S. Thesis, Florida State University
Department of Biology. Tallahassee.
Ward, Albert E., compiler and editor
1978 Limited Activity and Occupation Sites. Contributions
to Anthropological Studies No. 1. Albuquerque, NM:
Center for Anthropological Studies.
Watt, Bernice K. and Merrill, Annabel L.
1962/63 Composition of Foods: Raw, Processed, Prepared.
U.S. Department of Agriculture Research Series,
Agriculture Handbook 8.
1977 Subsistence Systems in the Southeast. Florida
Anthropologist 30(2) :81-87.
HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT PLANTS OF SOUTHEASTERN FLORIDA
Daniel F. Austin
Reports of plants and the maps by early visitors to Florida provide
basic information that can be used in a variety of ways. Among the
methods of use is as a base-line for measuring changes. Some of the
comments by these visitors to Florida provide records of early habitat
destruction (Romans, 1775); others give ecologically important infor-
mation (DeBrahm, 1773; Romans, 1775; Pierce, 1970); while others record
plant utilization by the Indians (Fontaneda, 1575; Dickinson, 1699;
Romans, 1775). However, it should be mentioned that plants described
by Europeans in regards to their use by Indians were probably the most
obvious ones, with a bias towards their potential use by Europeans, and
by no means touched on what undoubtedly was an extensive exploitation
of local flora by native populations.
Obtaining this information from the reports is a tedious task.
To make some of the data more available, the following lists have been
compiled for the period between 1513 and 1791. This termination date
was chosen because the publication by Bartram (1791) heralded scientific
studies of Florida. A few species considered important for one reason
or another are discussed in detail, and others are handled briefly.
All are listed alphabetically by the earliest or most frequent name
encountered. I have chosen what I consider to be pivotal taxa for
The first complete surveys made by the English in East Florida
were carried out in the 1760's by W.G. DeBrahm (1773) and Bernard
Romans (1775). These surveys were apparently more complete than those
done by the former rulers of the peninsula, the Spanish (Fontaneda,
1575; Barcia, 1723). Not only were these and other surveyors adept
at their chosen work, but they paid attention to plants as potentials
for food, medicine, naval stores and shelter. Theirs was a period of
close association with the living world. Unfortunately, because our
society is almost totally mechanized in the United States, much valu-
able information is being lost. Few citizens are aware of the natural
products around them, and fewer care to become aware.
The following is an annotated list of plant names given in the
early historical accounts of southern Florida. Species are listed
alphabetically by the names given in the original publications.
Alkekenge (DeBrahm, 1773: 229, 236). A species of Physalis
(Solanaceae). A medicinal plant.
Aloe (DeBrahm, 1772, 1773: 211, 236); Bamboo (Small, 1933).
Aloe barbadensis Mill. (Liliaceae). Also called Aloe vera by various
authors including Small (1933). DeBrahm found these plants in apparent
abundance on the Florida Keys. Since the species is native to the
Mediterranean region, it must have been introduced at an early date.
DeBrahm surveyed the area in 1765 and was much impressed by the pot-
ential for medicine to be had from the plants. In his official report
to England, DeBrahm (1773) detailed the preparation and use of these
The habitat of the Keys apparently suited the plants because
Small (1933) indicated that the plants remained abundant. He goes on
to point out that its abundance led to the naming of Bamboo Key, a
small island north of Key Vaca
Annona (Romans, 1775: 147). Annona glabra L. (Annonaceae). This
was a common plant in swamps. The fruits were used for food.
Ash tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 236). Fraxinus caroliniana Mill.
(Oleaceae). A frequent swamp plant.
Barilla (DeBrahm, 1773: 232). Perhaps a species of Salicornia
(Chenopodiaceae). Used for making salt.
Bay tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 236). Persea borbonia (L.) Sprengel
(Lauraceae). Used as a spice.
Blackwood (Romans, 1775: 268). Undoubtedly Avicennia germinans
(L.) L. (Avicenniaceae). Wood used.
Borassus (Romans, 1775): Cabbage tree (DeBrahm, 1773): Cabbage
Palm (Small, 1933). Sabal palmetto (Walt.) Lodd. ex Schultes (Arecaceae).
Romans (1775) made reference to the cabbage palm in numerous places,
usually calling it by the Latin Borassus, an Old World genus
of palms for which he mistook the plants. It was recognized as a ham-
mock plant and recorded in various sites including north Cape Canaveral
and Hobe or Hobe Sound as an aid to navigation (Romans, 1775). DeBrahm
was interested in the plant because it provided food (DeBrahm, 1773).
He described its taste as of young Wallnuts," and recorded that
he had seen specimens ". near 100 feet in height, and 12 inches in
diameter." If his measurements were accurate, he saw trees ten feet
taller than the present national record in Highlands Hammock. Fronds
were also used in thatching (1566 in Barcia, 1723; Boniface, 1971).
One of the "palms" mentioned by Fontaneda (1575) was this species.
According to his report the Indians made breechcloths and shawls from
the fronds. The Calusas used them for ropes and nets (Gilliland, 1975).
Bread of roots (pan de raises, Fontaneda 1575: 13, 43). Zamia
integrifolia Ait. (Cycadaceae). This is the Seminole "conti hateka"
or white bread, hence the common English name coontiee." The plant
was a staple starch source for the Glades Indians with whom Fontaneda
lived and also later for the Seminoles and European settlers. Perhaps
the "Abalachi bread" (p. 16) mentioned by Fontaneda was also Zamia.
Bromelia (Romans, 1775: 283). Tillandsia sp. (Bromeliaceae).
Bunch grass (DeBrahm, 1773: 212). Possible Andropogon sp.
Cabbage tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 212). Sabal palmetto (Walt.)
Lodd. ex Schultes (Arecaceae). See also: Borassus.
Canes (DeBrahm, 1773: 213), Possibly Arundinaria tecta (Walt.)
Capsicum (Romans, 1775: 268; Bartram, 1791: 464). Capsicum
frutescens L. (Solanaceae). Bird Peppers. Romans was apparently
the first to record this species from Florida (Brevard County). Later
Bartram gave a northern record (Nassau County).
Casseena (Dickinson, 1699; 46, 47). Ilex vomitoria Ait.
(Aquifoliaceae) is the plant normally associated with this name and
the strong tea the Americans came to call "black drink." St. Lucie
Inlet where Dickinson reported "casseena" is south of the range of
this species. Either the Ais Indians had the leaves of I. vomitoria
as trade items from the people farther north, or they used another
species. Some have reported that the Ilex cassine L. that grew there
may have been used.
Cereus triangularis (Romans, 1775: 283). Probably the native
Cereus pentagonus (L.) Haw. (Cactaceae). Small (1933) was of the
opinion that C. undatus Haw. was not introduced until the Seminole
Wars. Otherwise it could be that species.
Chamaerops (Romans, 1775): Palm or Palmetto )Fontaneda, 1575;
Barcia, 1565 in 1723); Shrubby Palmetto (Dickinson, 1699); Saw Palmetto
(Bartram, 1791). Serenoa repens (Bartr.) Small (Arecaceae). Bartram
(1791) originally named this species Corypha repens and it was not
until 1930 that Small transferred the epithet to Serenoa. Dickinson
and his party have given an account of practically surviving on the
fruits of this common palm, although they did not like the taste,
Dickinson (1699: 38) suggested that the fruits could only be com-
pared in taste to ". nothing else, but rotten cheese steeped in
tobacco." Before their ordeal ended the Dickinson party learned to
eat the fruits with as much enthusiasm as the Indians. Incredibly
Bartram (1791) considered the berries of this palm ". delicious
and nourishing food. ." Romans (1775) recorded that the fruits
were also eaten by the Choctaws. To preserve them during the winter
these Indians ". dry peaches and persimmons, chestnuts and the
fruit of the chamaerops and passiflora ." Bartram said
that bears as well as humans ate the berries (1791: xxv).
Fontaneda (1575), Dickinson (1699) and Barcia (17231 have recorded
how important the fruits of the saw palmetto were to Indians of South
Florida. At some seasons the only fruits available were palmetto, coco-
plum, sea-grape and prickly pear. Most important, according to Spanish
accounts, was the saw palmetto.
Cocoloba folis oblongis, etc. (Romans, 1775: 15). This is
the Coccoloba diversifolia Jacq. (Polygonaceae), a hammock plant.
Coco Plum (Barcia, 1565 in 1723: Dickinson, 1699); Hicoco Plum
(DeBrahm, 1772, 1773). Chrysobalanus icaco L. (Chrysobalanaceae).
One of the first records we have of this plant in Florida is when
Menendez traveled south along the coast in 1565. At the village of
the Ais the Indians greeted him. He found them with the same things
they had over a century later when they hosted Dickinson (1699): fish,
coco plums and palmettos. Later Debrahm (1772) listed the plants for
the Martyr Islands (Florida Keys) and in his report (1773) translated
the name "hicoco" as "fig plum." DeBrahm indicated that these fruits
were among the articles preserved and exported "among the West Indian
A faulty translation of Brother Francisco Villareal's letter
from Tequesta (McNicoll, 1941) has caused other authors (e.g. Douglas,
1947) to write that the coconut (Cocos nucifera) was in Florida in
the 16th century. According to most authorities this tree was intro-
duced later (Williams, 1837; Small, 1929; Austin, 1978).
Coco-nuts (Romans, 1775: 299). Romans says "the coconuts found
on the shore (of Florida) likewise convince us, that Cuba sends much
or her outcast this way." This may be the first record of Cocos nucifera
L. (Arecaceae) in Florida.
Conocarpus (Romans, 1775: 283). The button mangrove tree Cono-
carpus erectus L. (Combretaceae).
Cortex eleuthera, cortex winteranus, cascarilla (Romans, 1775:
154). The medicinal tree Canella alba Murray (Cancellaceae).
Cotton tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 211). DeVorsey thought that this
plant was wild cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L. (Malvaceae). I believe
the plants were actually Hibiscus tiliaceus L. in the same family.
Dickinson (1699: 61) also made reference to the "cotton tree like
those of Jamaica. ." The name "cotton tree" is still used by some
people in Florida to refer to this Hibiscus. See also: Mahoe tree.
Cypress swamps (DeBrahm, 1773: 213). Reference to the dominant
in some swamps, Taxodium distichum (L.) Richards (Taxodiaceae).
Romans (1775) called them "cypress galls" (p. 22). The wood is used.
El Palo para muchas cosas (Fontaneda, 1575): Gum elemi (DeBrahm,
1772; Romans, 1775; Small, 1933); Gumbo Limbo (Williams, 1837); West-
Indian Birch (Small, 1933). Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg. (Burseraceae).
For many years it has been assumed that the tree called "el palo para
muchas cosas" by Fontaneda was Lignum-vitae (Guaiacum sanctum), but
a more reasonable interpretation is the gumbo limbo. The sap of the
gumbo limbo was used medicinally (DeBrahm, 1773), and the soft wood
was made into domestic and fishing instruments. Since gumbo limbo
wood is soft, it was easily worked with bone or shell tools (Gilliland,
1975). Lignum-vitae is so hard it would be difficult to work with
these tools. Sap of the gumbo limbo has also seen use as a birdlime
by the Indians and Spanish. For the purpose of catching birds, the
sticky sap was spread on limbs where birds were known to land. Par-
ticularly favored were the cardinal, which brought up to $10 each
(Barcia, 1723), and mockingbirds, since the market in Havana pre-
ferred these. When the birds landed on the limb they were unable to
fly away because their feet became stuck. According to the Webster's
dictionary (Gove, 1966), the common name was derived from the Bantu
words "Ngombo" and "ulimbo" and means birdlimee of the slaves."
Romans (1775) recorded a usage of the plant which I have not seen
elsewhere. He wrote it is very useful for cattle either in
dry seasons in the southern part of the country, or for such as are
kept up at the farm yard, which are a wholesome food, increasing milk,
and keeping cattle in a thriving condition." Although Romans mistook
the plant for a species of Pistacia, his comments are interesting.
One cannot help wondering where he saw farms which would have cattle
fenced in the period between 1769 and 1771.
Ficus citri folio (Romans, 1775: 283). Romans was using a var-
iant of the correct name, Ficus citrifolia Mill. (Moraceae).
Fig (DeBrahm, 1773: 237). Not enough detail but probably the
common Ficus aurea Nutt. (Moraceae).
Gourd (Dickinson, 1699: 37). Dickinson described the fruit,
saying that it had ". a long neck and at the top of it a small
hole which the top of one's finger could cover, and at the side of it
a round hole of two inches diameter ," This suggests that it may
have been Lagenaria siceraria Standl. (Cucurbitaceae). Recently it
has been shown that the Calusa had both Lagenaria and Cucurbita pepo
var. ovifera in pre-Colombian times (Cutler in Gilliland, 1975).
Grape tree (DeBrahm, 1772, 1773); Sea Grape (Dickinson, 1699;
Romans, 1775). Coccoloba uvifera (L.) L. (Polygonaceae). One of the
early records of this plant was made by Dickinson (1699: 58).
In the early part of their trip northward toward St. Augustine the
Dickinson party ate mostly this fruit and coco plum because there was
little else except palmetto berries. DeBrahm (1772) listed the tree
for the Florida Keys and later (1773) indicated his belief that any-
where the "grape tree" would grow should be ideal for the grape "vine."
Romans (1775) also recorded the pigeon plum or tie tongue (Cocco-
loba diversifolia Jacq.) for Florida, but apparently mentions the plants
only in his list of hammock trees. Both of these are frequent trees
in the remaining hammocks and must have been equally common in the
time of Dickinson and Romans. Pigeon plums go as far north as Cape
Canaveral (West & Arnold, 1956) and it is possible that Dickinson
may have eaten the fruits of both species.
Grape vine (DeBrahm, 1773: 211). A species of Vitis, probably
V. rotundifolia Michx. (Vitaceae). See also: Soco.
Grass that grows on trees (yerbas que nazen de unos arboles,
Fontaneda, 1575); Silk grass (Dickinson, 1699; Romans, 1775): Palmeta
royal (DeBrahm, 1773); palmetto royal (Bartram, 1791); luka (DeBrahm,
1773); Spanish dagger (Small, 1933); Spanish bayonet (Long & Lakela,
1971). Yucca aloifolia L. (Agavaceae). There is a complicated and
confusing history behind this series of names. Buckingham Smith, who
originally translated Fontaneda's account in the late 1800s, identi-
fied these plants as Tillandsia usneoides L. (Bromeliaceae). Small
(1933) agreed with Smith, but careful examination of the original
Spanish indicates that this interpretation is not correct.
Fontaneda (1575) described briefly the clothing of three groups
of Florida Indians. Of the Matacumbes (p. 11 & 66) he wrote that
they ". andan en cueros sino solamente vnos brageros tejidos de
palmaque los honbres cubren sus berguen as / y las mugeres vnas yerbas
que nazen de unos arboles estos yerbas paresen lana aunque son dif-
ferentes. ." (they go naked, except only some breech-cloths woven
of palm, with which men cover themselves; the women do the like with
a certain grass that grows on trees. This grass looks like wool,
although it is different). The people he called the Tequesta he said
(p. 13 & 68) ". andan desnudos y las mugeres con un mantellin de
vans palmas ragadas y tejidas ." (the men go naked, and the women
in a shawl made of a kind of palm-leaf, split and woven). About the
Abalachi he recorded that (p. 16 & 70) ". andan desnudos los honbres
sino vnos pellegos de benado curtidos hazen bragueros con que se cubren
solamente sus verguenzas / y las mugeres vnas pajuelas que nazen de
los arboles a manera de estopa / o lana y no es blanco sino pardo i
con aquellas yerbas se cubren dellas a la redonda / a la sinta. ."
(they go naked, except some dressed deer-skins made into breech-cloths,
with which they only conceal their shame. The females cover themselves
about the waist with the straw that grows on trees. In the appendix
Fontaneda added (p. 24 & 77)" de Abalachi que andan desnudos los
Indios i las Indias con panpanillas de heno nacida de los arboles, que
es como lana, ." (the men of the Abalachi go naked, and the women
have waistbands of the straw that grows from trees, which is like wool).
There are several key words in the Spanish which are obscured by
Smith's English translations. Fontaneda makes the continued reference
to the similarity with wool ("lana") that led Smith and Small to assume
that the plants were Tillandsia. They apparently missed the comparisons
to straw ("heno") and tow or burlap ("estopa"). Also Fontaneda said
that the fibers were not white but brown ("pardo"). These terms are
not applicable to Tillandsia since it is gray before processing and
It was the account by Dickinson (1699) that provided the first
apparent correct identification of the plants used by the Indians.
Dickinson (1699: 28) first recorded that the Indians near Jupiter Inlet
were clothed with loin-cloths of palm and ". horse tail in the like-
ness made of a sort of silk-grass." Later (p. 46) he again said that
there was a ". horsetail of a bunch of silk-grass exactly resembl-
ing it, of a flaxen color." These plants called "silk-grass" were
undoubtedly Yucca aloifolia L. (Agavaceae) since their fibers match
the descriptions by Fontaneda and Dickinson. As he often did, it
appears that Fontaneda compared an unfamiliar product (the Indian fiber)
with one that was familiar in Europe (wool).
As abundant and frequently used as this plant was in the south one
is left wondering why earlier authors did not mention it in more detail
(Fig. 11). Most early comment is brief. Perhaps some did not know
the source of the grass-like material yielding the fibers used by the
Indians. DeBrahm (1773) discussed the plant only for South Carolina
where he said that it was called silk grass shrub or palmetto royal.
Commenting on its useful qualities he said the shrub of the
Palmeto Royal, its Roots when 24 hours soaked in Water is good Succadan-
cum to use it in lieu of Soap for washing coarse Cloth, and its Leaves,
when boiled may be used as Strings, and made up into extemporaneous
Ropes." The first definite records of this prickly plant in Florida
after Fontaneda's cryptic comments were given by Dickinson (1699) and
later by Bartram (1791) during his visit in 1774.
Guava tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 236). As far as I am aware this is
the first report of Psidium guajava L. (Myrtaceae) from Florida.
Gum elemi (DeBrahm, 1773: 211, 234). The plant we now call
"gumbo limbo" or Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg. (Burseraceae). See also:
El palo para muchas cosas.
Hicoco plum tree (1565 in Barcia, 1723; DeBrahm, 1773: 211, 234).
The modern coco-plum, Chrysobalanus icaco L. (Chrysobalanaceae), with
Iron wood tree (DeBrahm, 1773; 2111, Undoubtedly Krugiodendron
ferreum (Vahl) Urban (Rhamnaceael, a hammock tree,
luka (DeBrahm, 1773). Yucca aloifolia L. (Agacaceae). See also:
Grass that grows on trees.
Lignum-vitae tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 211). The famous Guaiacum
Sanctum L. (Zygophyllaceae), valued for medicine and its unusually
Live oak (DeBrahm, 1773; 213), Surely Quercus vlrginiana Mill,
(Fagaceae), a hammock tree used in ship-building.
Loblolly bay (DeBrahm, 1773: 213). The common species in bay-
heads in the central part of the state, Gordonia lasianthus CL.)
Ellis (Theaceae), which comes south to Martin County. See also;
Romans, 1775; 22.
Madeira (Barcia, 1524, 1684 in 1723); DeBrahm, 1773); Mahogany
(Romans, 1775). Swietenia mahagoni CL.) Jacq. (Meliaceae). The
valuable wood taken from these trees has long been recognized. This
tree was used for fine lumber throughout the Spanish and English
periods (Tebeau, 1968). The natural range of the species appears to
have been in the hammocks between Flamingo and Madeira Bay on the
mainland, and from Key Largo to the Matecumbes in the Florida
Keys. When Romans visited the region in 1769-1771 he gave commen-
taries on the impact man had already had in the area. For Matancas
Key he said that ". the people from Providence came here
for Mahogany wood (and) little or none now remains
here." Regarding Key Largo, Romans said that the peninsula
affords in this place Lignumvitae, Mastick, and Mahogany, the last
two are indeed found on every part thereof, but on none of the keys
south of Saunders Key or Las Tetas nor on none to the south of the
last key north of young Matacumbe, all of these timbers are however
now nearly cut off," On the same page of the appendix Romans pointed
out that few people occupied the region except for timber cutters.
These people, or perhaps some associated with Cuban ranchos and plan-
tations hidden on the southwestern coast, had left turtle craals.
Magnolia glauca laurifolia, etc. (Romans, 1775; 21). This is
the sweet bay, Magnolia virginiana L. (Magnoliaceae).
Mahoe tree (Romans, 1775: 147). This is the name most commonly
used for Hibiscus tiliaceus L. (Malvaceae). See also: Cotton tree.
Maize (Fontaneda, 1575: 16). The food plant Zea mays L.
(Poaceae), now called corn, was mentioned by this Spanish captive of
the Calusa as being among the Abalachi Indians. No mention was made
of its presence among the Calusa or Tequesta. The plant was culti-
vated by the Timucua (Dickinson, 1699).
Mamhenilla tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 211). The infamous manchineel
or Hippomane mancinella L. (Euphorbiaceae). Legend has it that the
Indians tied their captives to this poisonous tree and left them to
die in agony. DeBrahm lists it as a hammock tree in the keys.
Mangroves: Red mangrove or mangles, Rhizophora mangle L.
(Rhizophoraceae): Blackwood or Black mangrove, Avicennia germinans
(L.) L. (Avicenniaceae); White mangrove, Laguncularia racemosa Gaertn.
f. (Combretaceae). From the account left by Dickinson we know that
there was an Indian village about five miles north of the present
Ft. Pierce Inlet. This village was called Jece by Dickinson and some
have speculated that it may have been identical with a village formerly
called Ais on maps of the area in the 1500s (Dickinson, 1699). This
village was surrounded by white mangroves. These mangroves were not
mentioned much farther up the coast and Romans (.1775) did not mention
them from the Cape Canaveral area even though he did list their associ-
Black mangroves were listed by DeBrahm (1772) for the Florida
Keys; later Romans (1775) recorded the trees from Cape Canaveral;
Bartram (1791) listed the species from as far north as St. Johns
County. This is undoubtedly the same as Roman's "blackwood." Wood
from these trees is dense, and was formerly prized because of this
and other qualities. When first cut it is light in color; with
exposure the wood turns an attractive blackish shade.
Red mangroves were probably more highly prized by the early
settlers than the other two. DeBrahm (1773) spent almost half a
page discussing this plant. The Spanish used the bark as a dye, for
Morocco Leather according to DeBrahm. Wood from the trunk DeBrahm
said ". is very close, and fine grained, after cut and dryed
grows as hard and near the Colour of Lignum sanctum, takes a very
fine Polish." He exaggerated the hardness of the wood but the com-
parison with the prized Lignumvitae shows how highly the wood was
appreciated. Discussing another important aspect of the plant, DeBrahm
stated that ". the Coals the Wood burn clear, and leave little
or no Ashes." From this point on DeBrahm indicated his taxonomic
inadequacy. According to him the genus was represented by two species,
a tall straight tree and a short, crooked tree. As late as the 1930s
red mangrove was still being made into charcoal for the Key West and
Miami markets. Now few appreciate the plants but usually consider
them only as places for mosquitos to reproduce. Studies are continu-
ing to show, however, that the mangroves are extremely important as
nurseries for fisheries. Pollution and development have damaged this
community and the fisheries yields may be reflecting this degradation.
Maple swamp (DeBrahm, 1773: 213). The red maple, Acer rubrum
Mastick (Romans, 1775: 283); Mastic, Wild-olive (Small, 1933).
Mastichodendron foetidissimum (Hacq.) Cronquist (Sapotaceae). Cur-
iously DeBrahm did not mention this tree in either of his books
DeBrahm, 1772, 1773). Romans (1775), however, mentioned the plant in
several respects. Most of his comments were to record the tree as
an important member of hammocks. Perhaps he was also aware of the val-
uable wood to be obtained from the plants. The early Indians of Florida
used this wood for their domestic utensils as well as war tools (Gilli-
land, 1975). Small (.1933) said the orange, heavy and strong heart-
wood was also used by settlers for cabinets and boat-building. Not
only was the wood used, but the fruits have been used as food by several
groups of people. Glades Indians apparently ate them; the Seminoles
considered them food; and some of the pioneer Americans also used them.
Two species related to the mastic are worthy of note. The bustic,
Dipholis salicifolia (L.) DC., is similar to the mastic and may have
been confused by early visitors to the southeastern coast.
Although Small (1933) listed the species only for the Everglades and
Florida Keys, plants now grow on Singer Island and in Jonathan Dickinson
State Park. There are not many of these and they may be extending
their range. Satinleaf, Chrysophyllum oliviforme L., is remarkable for
its dark green upper leaf surfaces and satin-brown lower surfaces.
Like the bustic and mastic the satinleaf has edible fruits.
and all were used by native Americans. Likewise the wood of these
small trees was used because of its color and strength.
Myrica (Romans, 1775: 1101. The wax myrtle, Myrica cerifera
L. (Myricaceae), whose berries were used as a wax source. The wax
was often used to make candles.
Opuntia, prickly pear, Indian fig (DeBrahm, 1773: 211, 234).
Probably Opuntia strict (Haw.) Haw. var. dillenii (Ker.) L. Benson
(Cactaceae). Fruits of the prickly pear comprised an important part
of the Indian diet.
Palm (Fontaneda, 1575: 11, 14). Probably Sabal palmetto (Walt.)
Lodd. ex Schultes CArecaceae).
Palma elata (Bartram, 1791: 586), In his travels Bartram des-
cribed a palm in what is now Volusia and Lake Counties with a .
strait trunk. sixty, eighty or ninety feet high, with a beautiful
taper of a bright ash colour ." There is no palm nat-
urally occurring there now that matches the description. Harper and
others have called the plant Roystonea elata (Bartr.) Harper (Arecaceae).
The normal range of this palm at present is in the southern three
counties. Plants are cultivated north to Hillsborough County on the
west coast and to Indian River County on the east coast. North of
this success is poor due to freezing. Bartramts plants are remarkable
because of the distance they occurred north of the modern limits.
The Florida population of this palm is considered by some to be
conspecific with the Cuban royal palm, Roystonea regina Cook.
If the Cuban and Florida populations are the same species, their dis-
persal to the peninsula becomes an interesting question. Plants could
have arrived in pre-Colombian times as did other West Indian species.
Also possible is their importation by the Spanish. Fruits of the trees
were used as food for pigs (Millspaugh, 1907: 216-217; Bailey, 1951);
the Spanish often had these animals on their ships. Once introduced
the palms naturalize rapidly as witnessed by the seedlings now invading
Matheson Hammock in Miami. The Mikasukis and Creeks also showed great
fondness for pigs (see "Hogtown" in Simpson, 1956). It seems possible
that Indians and Europeans could have introduced the plants, the seed-
lings naturalized, and subsequently carried about by birds and man.
Those trees described by Bartram may have been planted by Indians to
survive for only a short while.
Palmetoe tree (DeBrahm, 1773; 307). Sabal palmetto Waltl
Lodd. ex Schultes (Arecaceael. Recorded at Jupiter nlet which. was
closed in 1765 and open in 1768.
Palmetto (Dickinson, 1699: 281, See also; Chamarops, Serenoa
repens CBartr.) Small (Arecaceael.
Papajos CDeBrahm, 1773; 211, 235), No one has successfully iden-
tified this plant. DeVorsey CDeBrahm, 1773) and Romans thought it
might have been Carica papaya. The description shows that it probably
is not that genus. Perhaps it might be Casasia clusiifolia (Jacq.)
Urban (Rubiaceae), at least in part, More than likely DeBrahm con-
fused and mixed more than one species. The fruits of Casasia are
edible and it grows on high land in the Keys.
Papaw, Papaya, Custard-apple, Melon-tree (Small, 1933). Carica
papaya L. (Caricaceae). DeBrahm C1772) reported this plant originally
as "Papa" omitting the final letter and the comma separating it from
the next word. The following word was "papajos" which DeVorsey
(DeBrahm, 1773) has interpreted as Carica papaya. From the description
written by DeBrahm, there is no doubt that his "papa" of 1772 and
"papaw" of 1773 are Carica. His "papajos" however is a mystery. The
description combines elements of the pawpaw, satinleaf, and a citrus
videe DeBrahm, 1773: 235). Whatever the identity of his "papajos"
DeBrahm recognized the utility of Carica and listed some of its pro-
perties for the British Crown, Two years later Romans C1775) pub-
lished his survey and mentioned the species near New Smyrna north of
Cape Canaveral. Then as now the plants were in coastal hammocks.
Apparently it has been believed since 1902 (Sargent, 1902) that
William Bartram was the first to notice this plant in Florida (Bartram,
1791: 465). This is incorrect since at least two reports of the
species preceded Bartram's. DeBrahm recorded the trees in the Martyr
Islands (Florida Keys) in 1765 CDeBrahm, 1772), and Romans (1775) found
them near Cape Canaveral in 1769. It was not until 1774 that Bartram
found the plants. While Bartram was not the first to note them in
Florida, he was the first to record them from as far north as the St.
Pine (DeBrahm, 1773: 211-212, 233). Several species are mentioned
and recommended for use as lumber, turpentine, pitch and tar. Shrubby
pine may be Pinus clausa (Engelm.) Sarg.; tall pine is probably P.
palustris Mill.; white spruce pine is P. clausa; and yellow pine P.
Persimon tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 236). This is Diospyros virginiana
Salsola (Romans, 1775: 283). This has been called Salsola kali
L., a European immigrant. While this species occurs in the area, it
is not common. More common is the genus Salicornia, with two species.
Both are in the same family (Chenopodiaceae); probably Romans made
reference to Salicornia. See also: barilla.
Sambucus (Romans, 1775: 281, There are two species of elderberry
in Florida. Sambucus canadensis L, CCaprifoliaceael is found in the
northern parts of the state; S. simpsonii Rehder in the south,
Sapadilla tree CDeBrahm, 1773; 211). Manilkara bahamensis
(Baker) Lam. & Meeuse (Sapotaceae) was recorded from the Florida Keys
where it now grows.
Silk grass (Dickinson, 1699: 28; Romans, 1775: 108, 156). See
also: luka and Palmeto royal. Yucca aloifolia L. (Agavaceae). See:
Romans, 1775: 108 for uses by fishermen.
Soco (Fontaneda, 1575: 16). This was the name of a village ruled
by cacique Carlos. It is an Indian word which refers to the grape,
Vitis rotundifolia Michx. (Vitaceae). See also: wild wine vine.
Spice tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 229, 234). This tree was reported
from the high land in the Keys and said to yield "cinnamon spirits."
The plant is Canella alba Murray (Canellaceae). See also: Cortex
Squile sea onion (DeBrahm, 1773: 229), also squilla plant (p.
211). These were reported from the high land in the Keys, DeVorsey
(DeBrahm, 1773) thought they were Clematis baldwinii Torrey & Gray
(Ranunculaceae). His identification may be correct, but seems doubt-
ful. Insufficient information is given but perhaps they were Hymeno-
callis sp. (Amaryllidaceae).
Sugar cane (Fontaneda, 1575: 21). Certainly Fontaneda's attempts
to grow sugar cane in Florida was one of the first. Saccharum offici-
narum L. (Poaceae).
Torch tree (DeBrahm, 1773: 211). A hammock tree, Amyris elemi-
fera L. (Rutaceae) is found throughout the Keys where DeBrahm saw it
and along the tropical parts of the coast.
Turma (Rayses a manera de turmas, Fontaneda, 1575: 13, 43, 67).
In the past this plant has been identified as either a Smilax root
("Conti chatte" or red flour of the Seminoles) or the legume Apios
americanus Medicus. For a variety of reasons, I am inclined to reject
both these interpretations. In North and South America there are
fungi called in a variety of languages "Indian bread" (Singer, in
litt., 1978). While these are not true "truffles" they resemble them
and Dr. Singer has written me that on two occasions when he saw them
his first thought was of truffles. In the eastern United States the
structures are carpophores of the genus Polyporus. Perhaps more than
one species occurs. I believe that it was a fungus of this type that
Fontaneda made reference to.
Uniola (Romans, 1775: 283). Sea oats is a common coastal plant.
Uinola paniculata L. (Poaceae).
Wax myrtle (DeBrahm, 1773: 230). Called myrtle by Romans, this
is Myrica cerifera L. (Myricaceae).
Whitemangrove (Dickinson, 1699: 51). Laguncularia racemosa
Gaertn. f. (Combretaceae).
Wild cinnamon (DeBrahm, 1773; 211, 234). Canella alba
Murray (Canellaceae}. See also; spice tree. This is the same
as Roman's (1775: 1061 cortex eleuthera or cortex winteranus or
Wild mulberry (DeBrahm, 1773: 213). Our native mulberry is
Morus rubra L. (Moraceae).
Wild pine (Romans, 1775: 283) also called Tillandsia lingulata
by Romans. Harper (Bartram, 1791) identified this species as T.
utriculata L. (Bromeliaceae).
Wild wine vine (Romans, 1775; 28), This is our wild muscadine
grape, Vitis rotundifolia Michx, (Vitaceae). See also: Soco.
Willow (Romans, 1775; 2831. The common willow in southern
Florida is Salix caroliniana Michx, CSalicaceae).
Wire grass (DeBrahm, 1773; 2121. Wire grass is abundant in
pinelands, wet prairies and several other habitats in peninsular
Florida. This one is Aristida stricta Michx, (Poaceae).
Modern distribution of the species is based on specimens in the
herbaria at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Florida.
My thanks goes to D. B. Ward (University of Florida) for providing
information on the ranges of the plants outside the southeastern
coast. D. B. Ward and David M, McJunkin (Department of Geography,
University of California, Los Angeles) criticized the original manu-
script and offered several suggestions. This study was funded, in
part, by a grant from the FAU-FIU Joint Center and the Botanical
Survey Fund, Florida Atlantic University.
1978 The Coconut in Florida, Principes 22(3); 83-87.
1951 Manual of Cultivated Plants, MacMillan, New York.
Barcia, Don Andres de,
1723 Baricats History of Florida, 1512-1722. Translated
by Anthony Kerringan, University of Florida Press,
1791 The Travels of William Bartram, Naturalist's Edition.
Edited by F, Harper, Yale University Press, New Haven,
Boniface, B. G.
A historical geography of Spanish Florida, circa
1700. M.A. thesis: University of Georgia, 252 pp.
Atlantic Pilot, Edited by Louis DeVorsey, Jr.,
University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Bicen-
tennial Floridiana Facimile Series, 1974.
DeBrahm's Report of the General Survey in the Southern
District of North America. Edited by Louis DeVorsey,
Jr., University of South Carolina Press, Tricentennial
Edition, No. 3, 1971.
God's Protecting Providence or Jonathan Dickinson's
Journal, Edited by E.W. Andrews and C,M. Andrews,
Yale University Press, New Haven, 1945.
Memoirs of Do. DtEscalente Fontaneda respecting
Florida. English translation by Buckingham Smith,
1854. Reprinted with revisions, D.O. True, editor.
Historical Association of Southern Florida, Misc.
Publ. No. 1, 77 pp., Miami.
The Material Culture of Key Marco Florida, University
Presses of Florida, Gainesville.
Gove, P. B., editor
1966 Webster's Third New International Dictionary, G. & C.
Merriam Co., Springfield.
Long, R.W. and 0. Lakela
1971 A Flora of Tropical Florida. University of Miami
Press, Coral Gables,
The Caloosa village Tequesta: A Miami of the
Sixteenth Century. Tequesta 1(11; 11-20.
1907 Flora of the Sand Keys of Florida. Field Col. Mus.,
Bot. Ser. 2C51; 191-245,
Pioneer Life in Southeast Florida. Edited by D.W,
Curl, University of Miami Press, Coral Gables.
A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida.
Edited by R.W. Patrick, University of Florida Press,
Facsimile Reproduction, Gainesville, 1962.
Silva of North America. 14:7.
Florida Place Names of Indian Derivation. Edited
by M.F. Boyd, Florida State Board of Conservation
Special Publication No. 1, Tallahassee.
Solis de Meras, G.
1567 Pedro Mendez de Aviles. Translated by J.T. Conner,
1923. Facsimile Reproduction, Quadricentennial
Edition, University of Florida Press, Gainesville,
The coconut-palm -- Cocos nucifera. Journal
New York Botanical Gardens 30: 153-161.
1933. Manual of the Southeastern Flora. University of
Notrh Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.
1968 Man in the Everglades. University of Miami Press,
West, E. and L. E. Arnold
1956 The Native Trees of Florida, University of Florida
1837 The Territory of Florida. Facsimile Reproduction,
University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 1962.
ARCHEOLOGICAL RESEARCH STRATEGY FOR THE GRANADA SITE
The Granada site, located on the north bank of the Miami River,
provided a strategic location for its original inhabitants, the
Tequesta Indians. The site provided access to both Biscayne Bay
and to the Everglades interior via the Miami River. The site was
also easily accessible to the Spanish explorers and missionaries of
the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries who persisted in their attempts
to establish a settlement and Christianize the Indians of South
Florida. Their dreams became a reality in the 19th century as
settlers gradually flowed into the Miami area. The Granada site
blossomed as a plantation under the ownership of Richard Fitzpatrick,
and was later the site of Fort Dallas, a Second and Third Seminole
War fort. Throughout the ensuing years, the property changed hands
several times until 1920 when it became the site of the Granada
Hotel. Most recently, it was used as a city park.
The archeological significance of the Granada site area, which
encompasses both the north and south banks of the Miami River and
embraces the expanse from Biscayne Bay westward to the area of the
present day FEC railroad, was recognized by Andrew Douglass (1885:
146), Clarence B. Moore (1905: 304), J. Sewell (1933:46), and Karl
Squires (1941:41). However, it was not until August of 1952, that
the site was finally described and recorded by John M. Googin and
placed on file with the Archeological Site Survey at the University
of Florida in Gainesville. In March of 1974, a formal excavation
of the Granada site, directed by L. Ross Morrell, the State Archeo-
logist of Florida, was carried out with the aid of volunteer excavators.
In that same year, 1974, further excavations were carried out by
the Broward County Archeological Society under the direction of
Bert Mowers. The results of these excavations and others have placed
the Granada site within the Glades Archeolgoical Tradition as de-
fined by Goggin. His definitions are based on the close inter-
relationships between the culture and environment of South Florida.
Goggin defined the Glades Tradition as "based on the exploitation of
the food resources of the tropical coastal waters, with secondary
dependence on game and some use of wild food plants. Agriculture
was apparently never practiced, but pottery was extensively used"
The Glades Area was defined in 1947 by Goggin (1947: 120) on
the basis of three sub-areas: the Calusa along the southwest coast,
the Tequesta along the southeast coast, and the area around Lake
Okeechobee. The Granada site is a typical black earth midden and
one of few stratified sites within the Glades area which portrays
a complete cultural sequence of sand-tempered pottery, bone tools,
and shell tools in its artifact assemblage.
Historically, and archeologically, the Granada site has
demonstrated a high information potential. Because the site was
considered to be eligible for listing in the National Register of
Historic Places by the Florida State Historic Preservation Officer,
certain steps were taken to mitigate the impact to the site result-
ing from proposed construction at the site by the City of Miami.
In 1976, the City of Miami submitted an application requesting
funds for a Local Public Works Grant to construct the James L.
Knight International Convention Center in Miami at the location of
the Granada site. Pursuant to the approval of this application and
qualification for the grant, the City was required by law, and,
specifically, the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and
Executive Order 11593, to assess the archeological value of the
site. Subsequently, the City entered into an agreement with the
State of Florida, Division of Archives, History, and Records Manage-
ment, to conduct a preliminary survey of the site and to supervise
the salvage excavation of the old Granada Hotel site located in
Because the Granada site (8Dall) was a known archeological
site endangered by the proposed City of Miami Convention Center, a
program of investigations was proposed by DAHRM to mitigate the
impact to the site. It was suggested by the State Historic Preser-
vation Officer (SHPO), Robert Williams, that preliminary test exca-
vations be implemented in order to determine which portions of the
site warranted full-scale excavation or preservation, and which por-
tions were either disturbed or contained no archeolgical components.
Because much of the project area was capped by asphalt or concrete
in 1976, it was impossible, through observation, to determine the
most prudent locations for the test excavations. Also, test excava-
tions would be difficult without the removal of the asphalt and
A feasible solution, suggested by the State Historic Preservation
Officer, was to conduct a solid-core study of the area. With core
samples placed at regular intervals, it would be possible to determine
the subsurface extent of the site even in areas where asphalt and
concrete were present. The preliminary solid-core investigation of
the site was designed specifically to: 1) assess the amount of
modern disturbance to 8Dall; 2) define those areas of the site that
were so disturbed that they did not warrant future preservation or
excavation; 3) define those areas of the archeolgoical site which
should be preserved because they were largely undisturbed and would
not interfere with construction plans or be disturbed by construction
and related activities; and 4) define areas requiring salvage exca-
vations and make recommendations concerning specific archeological
salvage activities at 8Dall. The preliminary investigations also
involved two other activities; standard archeolgoical test excava-
tions in the proposed convention center area; and interviews with
local interested persons familiar with the contents and history of
The solid-core study was authorized by the City of Miami in
July 1977, and, subsequently, was arranged in conjunction with
subsurface studies beign carried out by Wingerter Laboratories, Inc.
of Miami prior to construction of the proposed convention center
in order to determine the geological stability of the site. The
field portion of the solid-core study was carried out during a
four week period by Carlos Martinez, Senior Site archeologist,
in November and December of 1977. Although the results of the
solid-core study indicated that the site contained rich midden
deposits, the preliminary solid-core study did not constitute final
or satisfactory mitigation of impact to 8Dall resulting from the
construction of the James L. Knight International Convention Center.
The extent of the undisturbed portions of the site were much larger
and deeper than anticipated, and as a result, salvage excavations
were recommended which began in January of 1978.
Prior to the salvage excavations, a research design was devel-
oped to provide us with a framework for more efficient data
retrieval throughout the investigations. This research design
defined: 1) why the excavations were being carried out; 2) how
the research would be structured; and 3) what information we hoped
to gain from the data. With this methodological frame of reference,
the research was allowed to develop logically and in a controlled
manner that provided both the State of Florida and the City of Miami
with an acceptable research plan.
Because the Granada site was being endangered by proposed con-
struction, mitigation activities were required, as previously stated,
by law. In mitigating the impact of proposed construction to the
site, three options were available: 1) physically preserving the
site, 2) testing the site for cultural remains; and 3) salvaging
the remains. A combination of these three options was used. Be-
cause a small portion of the site would be undisturbed by the pro-
posed convention center, that portion was preserved for future
research. Testing of the site had been conducted in 1974 by Morrell
and again in that year by Mowers. The first mitigation efforts were
directed by Martinez with his solid-core tests in 1977. The 1978
salvage excavations were oriented towards retrieving a maximum amount
of data in the short time period available for mitigation within the
framework of a research design. By proposing specific research
problems in conjunction with the required mitigation, more efficient
data retrieval was made possible and resulted in a greater contribu-
tion to the archeological data base.
The area of investigation was defined on the basis of the pro-
posed construction. This area was approximately 2 acres in size and
located in a downtown urban section of Miami (Fig. 1). Because much of the
site was covered with asphalt and concrete, the solid-core tests
were suggested as a means of testing the subsurface extent of the
site and determining the location of cultural activities. These tests
were done in conjunction with geological tests necessary to determine
the stability of the site prior to construction.
Fig. 1. Granada Site Project Boundaries
The locations of the solid cores were staked out by the City
of Miami in approximately the same locations as the support columns
for the proposed convention center. The corings were taken by a
truck-mounted rig, the boom of which was positioned over the sample
location. The sample was then taken by driving a 2" (diameter) steel
tube with a metal bit on the end into the ground. The steel tube
was split longitudinally and threaded at each end with the soil
inside the tube held in place by friction and compression. Samples
were taken in two foot increments until bedrock was reached and then
cut in half and exposed. The strata within each sample were described
in terms of soil color, type, and content, and photographed in color.
These tests provided a complete stratigraphic profile of the site
to bedrock and also pinpointed midden concentrations. The results
were used to develop a sampling scheme for the salvage excavations.
The solid-core tests showed that much of the site had been
disturbed by hotel foundations and, consequently, of no cultural
significance. However, two areas showed deeply stratified concen-
trations of midden, while a third area was the location of the Third
Seminole War fort -- Fort Dallas. With this information in hand,
a grid composed of 2 meter square units was laid out over the site.
Because the excavations were concentrated in these three areas, a
systematic sampling scheme was suggested. This method allowed for
unbiased sampling in the areas of the site determined to contain
cultural remains. In order to sample all relevant variables within
the sampling units, the cultural items to be tested were predetermined
throughthe formulation of hypotheses and the excavation structured
to retrieve specific types of data. Because the research was especially
oriented towards retrieval of subsistence data, 20 centimeter square
column samples were left within each sampling unit from which pollen
remains and botanical remains were taken. Also, total recovery of
faunal remains and selected recovery of molluscan faunal remains were
emphasized. While great care was taken to recover as much subsistence
data as possible, cultural features were also highly important. As
the pattern of features became more apparent, contiguous units with-
in the grid were excavated in order to pursue more structurally oriented
In addition to the 2 meter square sampling units, a number of
exploratory trenches were excavated by backhoe. The purpose of these
trenches was to more accurately define the cultural zones present
on the site, to serve as a check for the solid-core tests, and to add
to the data base.
As the site became more clearly defined-- in terms of artifact
density, population of features, and cultural activity areas-- many
areas were stripped with machinery. This technique was used primarily
for exposing cultural features which could then be excavated by hand.
The information obtained by this process was supplementary, but sig-
nificant in the general interpretation of activity areas.
The salvage excavations were carried out during a six month
period, and followed-up by a four month observation phase. During
the final phase of investigations, construction activities were
taking place and an archeological observer was retained on the
site. Minimal excavation, trenching, and stripping werealso employed
during this phase.
Although the Granada site is defined as a typical black earth
midden, fourteen major stratigraphic zones were represented through-
out the midden. The first five zones date to the twentieth century
and represent different periods of construction and destruction of
modern buildings. The activity represented by these zones probably
obliterated, in many areas of the site, earlier historic material
dating to the 16th-19th centuries. The earliest radiocarbon date
below these disturbed zones is 1449 + 60 A.D. This date was taken
from an undisturbed context of black earth mixed with a heavy con-
centration of lucine clam shells and a moderate amount of bone frag-
ments which probably represents the period of Spanish contact with
the Indians of South Florida. This date falls within the Glades IIIB
time period established by Goggin (1952).
As one goes deeper into the midden, the amount of shell present
gradually becomes less until the amount of bone and shell present
becomes equal. A radiocarbon date from this level of 954 + 65 A.D.
has been established which falls within Goggin's Glades IIC period.
Below this level of equally mixed shell and bone, the shell gradually
disappears and the bone concentration becomes greater until only
bone and black earth are present. This level has been dated to 819
+ 50 A.D. and represents Goggin's Glades IIB, late period. The
bottom of this zone dates to 629 + 75 A.D. which falls within the
same time period.
Below the level of bone concentration, a zone of black earth
exists with sparse scatterings of bone and shell. This zone has been
dated, immediately above the limestone bedrock,to 199 + 100 A.D.
and falls within Goggin's Glades IIA period.
Throughout the midden, various concentrations of sand-tempered
pottery, shell tools, and decorated bone have occurred consistently.
At this writing, the analysis of the artifacts is not complete, and
further interpretation based on the artifacts is not available.
A total of 626 features were exposed during the salvage excava-
tions at the Granada site. Although the feature analysis is not
complete, some general statements can be made regarding these features.
The majority of features occurred below the zone of dense shell con-
centration and continued through the zone of dense bone concentration--
spanning a period of approximately 800 years (1449-629 A.D.). There
appears to have been a continuous, as well as intense, occupation
through this period. The variety of features represented throughout
these zones will be classified as to function on the basis of size,
shape, spatial location, and content. The features are largely defined
as hearths, storage pits, firepits, postholes and a number of anomolous
intrusions. The majority are filled with shell and wood ash, char-
coal, and bone, but a significant number are filled with white and
yellow sterile sand.
It is evident, both from historical documents and the archeo-
logical evidence, that the Granada site was a locus of cultural
activity from approximately A.D. 200 up until the present. By
approaching the Granada excavations with specific problems to solve,
and also from a multi-disciplinary point of view, a holistic recon-
struction of prehistoric life patterns was made possible through the
analysis of both cultural and biotic materials. The total retrieval
of archeological data from the Granada site enabled us to reconstruct
the culture history reflected in the cultural remains and describe
and evaluate the paleo-climate and past land and marine environments
from the biotic remains. Combined, the interpretation of these
remains allowed the most complete functional understanding of the
Tequesta cultural system possible at this time.
Theoretically, the investigations at the Granada site were
based on a consideration of the Tequesta culture regarded as a
"cultural system." Within this cultural system, a number of inter-
related subsystems (i.e., technological, social, economic, religious,
etc.) may be discussed. By studying the activities and artifacts
associated with these functionally related subsystems, we are able
to reconstruct the sum of the subsystems, This sum then represents
the Tequesta cultural system.
Initially, subsystems may be defined on the basis of the arti-
facts present at the site. The physical attributes of the artifacts,
their behavioral and functional roles within the system, and how
they relate to other aspects of the cultural system reflect the
activities and behavioral patterning (cultural process) of the inhabi-
tants. When these patterns become established through repetition
from site to site, etc., certain regularities may be recognized.
When this happens, hypotheses regarding specific adaptations and pro-
cesses may be formulated prior to investigations and tested with the
results of the investigations. The data retrieved during the excava-
tions may or may not support the implications of these assumptions
and indicate the adaptations and processes which have occurred.
From the previous archeological research in South Florida, it
is evident that little systematic research concerning culture process
has been accomplished, although some work along these lines has begun
(notably by William H. Sears, John W. Griffin, John M. Goggin, and
Jerald Milanich who have dealt with such issues as the economic
system in South Florida, horizontal variability within a site, chron-
ology and cultrual diffusion, and environmental alteration by pre-
Prior to excavations at the Granada site, specific research
objectives and hypotheses, based on previous research and established
cultural patterns, were posed with hopes of retrieving supportive
data from the site. Although the excavations were generally contract
salvage in nature, every effort was made to orient the excavations
towards these problems.
The following hypotheses and bridging arguments were generated
and included in the research design for the Granada site excavations.
H1 The Tequesta did not practice agriculture.
1. There should be no evidence of domestic plant
or animal remains in the faunal and botanical
2. There should be no evidence of farming tools
in the artifact assemblage.
3. There should be no evidence for burning and
clearing for agriculture in the stratigraphy.
H2 The Tequesta exploited all available habitats in
their local environment.
1. Resources common to each habitat should be
reflected in the botanical and faunal remains.
2. The Tequesta used specialized weapons/tools/
implements to exploit their local resources.
H3 The Tequesta practiced selective exploitation.
1. Not all resources were exploited from each habitat.
2. The frequency of resources exploited from each
habitat is not equal to the occurrence of those
resources in nature.
H4 The Tequesta were sedentary people.
1. A complete sequence of resources should be present
in the archeological record and representative
of all seasons,
2. A complete range of tools representing all activities
of a sedentary group of people should be present
in the artifact assemblage,
H5 The site was occupied 'continuously from approximately
A.D. 200 up until the present.
1. A complete stratigraphic sequence of artifacts
should be represented in the archeological record.
2, Changes in stylistic and formal characteristics
of the artifacts though time should be reflected
in this sequence.
3. Radio-carbon dates should verify this continuous
4. Radio-carbon dates should support the existing
ceramic sequence (Goggin 1947).
H Different areas of the site were used for different
1. The depositional history of the site should
define separate activity areas on the basis
of the artifact assemblage.
H Sea-level fluctuations did occur throughout the
Granada site occupation,
1. During the early period of the site C800 B.C. A.D. 0),
the sea level was two meters lower than it is today.
The shoreline was a greater distance from the present
day site and the plants and animals being exploited
may have been much less tolerant to salt because of
2. During the later period of the site (A.D. 0 A.D. 400),
the sea level was 2 meters higher than it is today.
This means that the shoreline was encroaching upon
the present day site--if not covering it-- and
resulting in saline conditions that should be
reflected in the plant and animal species of that
These hypotheses and bridging arguments were, for the most part,
generated out of a desire to acquire further knowledge pertaining
to certain aspects of the Tequesta culture. Because so little research
has been carried out using subsistence data in South Florida (Fradkin
1976; Sears 1971, Widmer 1978; Wing 1965), many of the hypotheses deal
with subsistence and associated problems. Since the subsistence
analysis for the Granada site is not complete at this writing, justi-
fication for formulating these hypotheses will be discussed below.
The first hypothesis, dealing with the absence of agriculture
in the Tequesta culture, was developed on the basis of ethnographic
data, archeological data, and soil analyses. Recent soil surveys
(USDA 1947: 41) define the Rockdale soils of the Granada site as
having "very severe limitations or restrictions in use; require most
exacting special management for cultivation and maintenance." Archeo-
logical evidence indicates that the original occupation of the site
occurred at the level of the oolitic bedrock, when poor soils would
have been in existence. The black earth "midden" that currently
exists is an accumulation of organic debris deposited as a result
of human occupation and periodic flooding of the Miami River. Ethno-
graphic evidence indicates to us that agriculture did not exist in
the Calusa area of southwest Florida (Goggin and Sturtevant 1964:
183). Archeologically, agriculture has not been demonstrated in
the Tequesta area. Because of the Tequesta/Calusa alliance, it is
assumed that the Tequesta, also, did not practice agriculture.
Sears (1971) on the other hand, has demonstrated the use of domesti-
cated plants at Fort Center, near Lake Okeechobee. This evidence
presents the possibility of agricultural knowledge available to the
Tequesta Indians-- and perhaps practiced on a limited basis. In the
Granada assemblage, it is expected that there will be no domestic
plant remains, no tools that would have been used in exploiting
them (farming). Likewise, there should be no stratigraphic evidence
to support the practice of agriculture.
The second hypothesis was developed on the basis of the site's
location and available habitats. With its location at the convergence
of the Miami River and Biscayne Bay, exploitation of riverine, estua-
rine, and marine resources is to be expected. Terrestrial animals
and plant communities are available to a lesser extent. The faunal
assemblage will probably represent aquatic resources with an accom-
panying assemblage of tools used in procurement and preparation of
these resources. Shell net weights, plummets, bone projectile points,
fishhooks, and harpoons might be expected from expoiting the aquatic
resources. Projective points, bone or lithic, would be expected for
procuring terrestrial mammals, A variety of tools would be expected
in preparing these food resources for eating, including: shark
tooth knives, shell and stone knives, shell and stone scrapers.
Mortars and pestles might be expected for preparation of plant food
The third hypothesis deals with selective exploitation. Because
of the abundance of resources available to the Tequesta, it is likely
that they preferred certain foods over others. If this were true,
they may have exploited the different resources in varying degrees
according to their preference, and may not have exploited some at
all. Likewise, they may have exploited certain resources on the
basis of their availability and ease of procurement. For example,
they may have netted fish in the Miami River with great ease and
abundance, while it may have been considerably more difficult to
harpoon a shark or manatee in deeper waters. But at the same time,
they may have preferred conch, which occurs infrequently in nature,
and made exerted efforts to retrieve them. Selectivity may also
be influenced by the seasonality of resources. If there were an
abundance of resources during any one season, such as summer, the
degree of selectivity may be increased.
The fourth hypothesis states that the Tequesta were sedentary
people. According to historical documents, ethnological accounts,
and radio-carbon dates, it is likely that the Granada site was
occupied continuously since AD, 2QQ. If this is true, then a seasonal
sequence of all resources exploited should be represented stratigra-
phically. Complementing these resources should be a complete tool
kit for procurement, preparation, and cooking of foods as well as tool
manufacturing areas and food refuse areas. And, of course, a full
range of tools, weapons, and implements for other activities engaged
in by sedentary people would be present. The presence of resources
exploited on a year round basis, and their accompanying tool kits,
will demonstrate year-round occupation-- or sedentism.
Hypothesis #5 deals with continuous occupation, which may have
been seasonally, by different groups of people, as opposed to a sed-
entary occupation by one group of people. As previously stated,
there is historical and ethnological evidence of the site's long
occupation--as well as supporting radio-carbon dates. Continuous
occupation could be supported by a complete stratigraphic sequence
of artifacts as they have already been defined by Goggin (1947).
Goggin's sequence is based on a series of sites representing distinct
occupations in that sequence. This stratigraphic sequence could be
supported by radio-carbon dates which would in turn verify the
existing chronology established by Goggin. In addition to supporting
and verifying a chronological sequence of artifacts, changes in
stylistic and formal characteristics of the artifacts themselves
would be evident. These changes may simply be a reflection of time,
or they may be indications of the individual craftsman's style, or
It is likely that different areas of the site were used for
different activities (H6). We are interested in the details of those
activity areas and how they relate to each other. Defining the size
and limits of any one activity area, as well as it contents and their
interrelationships, would be significant in determining the function
of an area in space. The location of an activity area to other areas
might establish a predictable pattern for activities.
The last hypothesis deals with fluctuations in sea level. Accord-
ing to Fairbridge (1974), during the early period of the site's occu-
pation (8QOB.C. A.D. 0), the sea level was 2 meters lower than it
is today, and during the later period (A.D. 0 A.D. 400), the sea
level was 2 meters higher than it is today. This means that when
the water was low, plants and animals with low salinity tolerances
flourished, whereas when it was high, a saline condition prevailed
to which the flora and fauna were forced to adapt. Stratigraphically,
the presence of plants and animals tolerant to saline conditions
would represent a higher sea level.
Research is currently in progress on the Granada site. The
hypotheses stated here have yet to be tested through a computer
analysis defining: 1) the formal and functional characteristics of
the artifacts through timely and 2) the spatial analysis of artifacts
and cultural features through time. This data will allow us to support
or disprove the hypotheses set forward here, the results of which will
shortly be forthcoming.
Douglass, Andrew E.
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Gallatin, M.E., et al.
1958 Soil Survey of Dade County, Florida. U.S. Department of
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Goggin, John M.
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