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VOLUME 34 NUMBER 1
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Editor: Robert S. Carr
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Kathleen A. Deagan
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John W. Griffin
St. Augustine, Florida
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Assistant Editor: Irving Eyster
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George M. Luer
James J. Miller
Div. of Archives, History and
Records Management, Tallahassee
COVER: Barker's Bluff Mound, Indian River County. Being destroyed by
removal for fill (Ca. 1914-1916). Photographer; Paul Kroegel;
Photograph courtesy of Homer Cato.
THE FLORIDA *
VOLUME 34 NUMBER 1 MARCH 1981
Editor's Page .. . . 1
The Reagan Bulldozer Takes Aim at Preservation
by the Apalachee Anthropological Society 2
An Analysis of Four Types of Shell Artifacts
From South Florida
by John F. Reiger . . ,, 4
Salvage Excavations of the Patrician Shell Mound
by Thomas Ritchie, Frank Morrison and
Clivia Morrison. . . . 21
It had been my intention to have this March issue devoted to current
research on the Archaic Period in Florida, but several delays involved in
the receipt of manuscripts have forced me to postpone that issue until
June. Instead, this issue features two articles on recent archaeological
studies in Southeast Florida--one being a report on the Patrician Mound
by Thomas Ritchie and the Morrisons of the Palm Beach Archaeological
Society, and the second, presenting further discussions on shell tool
types by Dr. John Reiger of the Department of History of the University
By now, many of you may have pondered over the mysteries of pages 227
and 228 of John Griffin's book review of Florida Archaeology that appeared
in the previous issue of the Florida Anthropologist (Vol. 33, No. 4). Un-
fortunately, a slip of the page caused the problem. Page 227 should be 228,
and conversely, 228 should be 227. Please re-read this excellent review
with that correction in mind.
THE REAGAN BULLDOZER TAKES AIM AT PRESERVATION
an editorial by
the Apalachee Anthropological Society
Help! Our cultural heritage is in danger! In his recent budget
proposals, President Reagan has recommended to Congress that historic
preservation funds for the states and territories be eliminated entirely
in 1982. This will have disastrous effects on the preservation program
created by the National Historic Preservation Act (Public Law 89-665 as
amended by 96-515). Currently, this program provides for the identifi-
cation and protection of archaeological, architectural and historic sites.
Elimination of federal funds will cripple the states' abilities to
implement the federal laws and regulations which govern this program.
The President feels, basically, that the states should take over full
economic responsibility for the program. For Florida's Bureau of Historic
Sites and Properties this could mean the loss of at least 15 preservation
related positions, a 28% loss.
Florida has an active preservation program. For example, in the
Department of State, the Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties, employs
over 54 individuals whose jobs relate specifically to historic and pre-
historic preservation. In the past two federal years (October 1978 to
September 1980) 63 sites representing approximately 1500 properties have
been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This activity
has been done by staff members who are funded by the Heritage Conser-
vation and Recreation Service of the U.S. Department of Interior. When
the funds stop, it is not likely that new sites can be processed by the
skeleton staff remaining. In addition, grants representing more than
$1.7 million were awarded in the same two year period. The grant funds
also are from the HCRS and are administered by staff who are also funded
'by federal dollars. These grant funds are also jeopardized. Most of the
State's efforts are aimed at preserving cultural sites and materials from
the destructive aspects of construction and development, and the locating
and identification of important historical and archaeological sites.
As citizens of the State of Florida, now a leader in many preserva-
tion programs, we must work to preserve our state preservation programs.
Our best efforts should be directed towards informing our Representatives,
Senators and members of the Appropriations Committee about the need for
and importance of our cultural and historic past and equally, what its
destruction could mean economically, socially and culturally to Florida
and every other State.
We encourage you to contact your Senators and Representatives urging
them to oppose budget cuts in the state preservation programs. The best
ways to do this are by telegram, mailgram or letter (in that order) or
by telephone. The most important people to contact are members of the
appropriations committees and the Representative from your own district.
When you contact your congressman there are several facts you might keep
1. State programs implement federal laws and regulations.
There seems to be a misconception about the federal/state historic
preservation relationship. Federal financial assistance through the
federal Historic Preservation Fund is not a "pass through" grant program.
The federal/state relationship is a "partnership". The states match
federal funds using these moneys to implement federal laws which protect
historic and archaeological properties. Elimination of federal funds will,
at best, dictate a haphazard, piecemeal implementation of federal legis-
lation or, at worst, render these federal laws totally ineffective.
2. Preservation funds do not come from general tax revenue.
Money in the federal Historic Preservation Fund is derived from revenue
generated by offshore oil leases on the rationale that money gained from
the depletion of one non-renewable resource should be used to protect
another non-renewable resource, the nation's heritage. Federal historic
preservation funds are not derived from income tax revenue.
3. Preservation programs are beneficial to economic well-being.
Recent studies have shown that historic preservation contributes to
a greater housing supply, increased tax revenue, new business starts,
growth in retail sales, expanded tourism and convention activity, and
increased public and private investments.
If you or your chapter need a listing of those public officials
to contact, write to us and we will provide a list.
Apalachee Anthropological Society
P. 0. Box 834
Tallahassee, FL 32302
AN ANALYSIS OF FOUR TYPES OF SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM SOUTH FLORIDA
John F. Reiger
This paper will discuss four kinds of shell artifacts the author has
found in surface collections he has made in what John M. Goggin concep-
tualized as the "Glades Culture Area" of southern Florida (Goggin 1949a:
n.p.). In accepting Goggin's concept of how prehistoric peoples adapted
to the south Florida environment, I am, by implication, rejecting John W.
Griffin's more recent concept of a "Circum-Glades Area" (Griffin 1974:343),
which is based on the premise that the sites in the Everglades are merely
"short term [hunting] camps [used] by relatively small bands of people"
(Griffin 1974:343, 344). From my own experience, combined with that of
Robert S. Carr (personal communication, December 22, 1980), I have noted
the existence of large, seemingly permanent, village sites in the Glades
proper, and I have found two of the shell-artifact types being discussed
here (clam-segment tools and Busycon adzes) on both interior and coastal
Three of the four kinds of artifacts to be analyzed in this article
have been cited at least once in the archeological literature on south
Florida. The fourth type, however, represents a new variety for this area,
one that has never, to my knowledge, been described in print.
Mercenaria-campechiensis Segment Tools
The first type is represented by 12 examples (Fig. 1) from two sites
on the west coast: Chokoloskee Island (Crl) and Marco Island (Crl07),
both in Collier County. Though relatively rare on the east coast, these
cut, or intentionally broken-off, segments of clam shell are one of the
most abundant artifacts on the surface of large west-coast sites. The
species involved is Mercenaria campechiensis (formerly Venus mercenaria).
As shown in Fig. 2, the edge of these segments appears sometimes to
have been worked into a kind of serrated blade. Most specimens, however,
show little or no alteration of their edges, and the only point they have
in common is that they all seem to have been purposely cut, or broken off,
from the main portion of the clam shell.
With a few exceptions, researchers have overlooked these artifacts.
Yet, I believe that there is little doubt that many of them are tools and
not simply "scrap."
For one thing, Mercenaria shells are too hard and thick to cut or break
easily. For another, there would be no point in smashing the clam to get
at the meat when more efficient methods were available.
Probably, many clams were opened by placing them near a fire. The
heat would quickly kill the animal and cause the bivalve to open (Donald
R. Moore: personal communication, April 4, 1980). Related techniques
would have been to "steam them open" by piling them on wooden racks over
boiling pots of water or by simply putting them directly into the boiling
That the Indians obviously opened shellfish with some fire-related
technique is suggested by the historical record. When Pedro Mendndez de
Aviles visited the cacique "Carlos" on the southwest coast (probably Mound
Key) in February, 1566, he was given "oysters, raw, boiled and roasted"
(Solis de Meras 1964:148). If the "Calusa" boiled and roasted their shell-
fish to cook them, one can safely assume that the Indians used the same
techniques to open them in the first place.
When I was about halfway through my research on this article, I
hypothesized that many of these clam sections were probably used as "wedges"
for opening other, live clams. I now know that this hypothesis is false.
In experimenting with several live Mercenaria-campechiensis clams, averaging
about 8 centimeters in length, I found that the clams could "close up" so
tightly that it was impossible for me to insert the "blade" of the segment
tool into the slit between the two edges of the clam's shells.
Another reason the author has for believing that these Mercenaria
clam sections are tools and not merely scrap is the fact that living
Strombus-gigas and Strombus-costatus conchs are rarely, if ever, found on
the Gulf coast (Donald R. Moore: personal communication, April 4, 1980).
As a result, the versatile Strombus celt, one of the most abundant shell
tools of the southeast coast, is a very scarce artifact on the Gulf side.
Though Busycon-contrarium "adzes" would have made a good substitute--as
will be discussed later in this article--the kind of cutting and scraping
action achieved by the Strombus celt could also have been approached by the
cut Mercenaria segments. Since the clam shell is softer than the conch,
it would have had to have been replaced more frequently, but because the
shell is abundant and the tool easily made, this requirement would have
posed no problem,
These clam sections could well have been one of the most useful tools
of the west-coast Indians. Depending on whether they had a smooth, sharp,
or serrated edge, one can visualize them being employed as spoons, to
smooth clay, as knives, and for scraping the fat off of skins and the
charred wood out of dugout-canoe reforms,
As noted earlier, most students have overlooked these Mercenaria
segments or failed to hypothesize them as tools. There are exceptions,
Frank Hamilton Cushing in his 1897 Preliminary Report on the Key Marco
site, on northern Marco Island (Cr48), makes a vague reference to clam-shell
tools, nothing that "large clam shells, deeply worn at the backs, as well a.
showing much use at the edges, seemed to have served both as scrapers and
as digging implements or hoes" (Cushing 1897:40).
Marion Gilliland, in her study of Cushing's work at Key Marco, mention!
the presence of clam-shell tools in the artifactual collections made by
Cushing. In addition to what she describes as anvils, hoes, and spoons,
nine cut sections of Venus [Mercenaria] clam shells with a
straight edge which shows wear (Plate 124D). The lower edge
of the lip also is worn, The shell is cut approximately in
half. Its use is unknown. There are also several triangular
and rectangular cut sections of Venus [Mercenaria] shell which
show use (Gilliland 1975:199;Pl. 124-.
Figure 1. Twelve cut, or intentionally broken-off, segments
of Mercenaria-campechiensis clam. For scale, the
one in lower left-hand corner is about 7.3 cm long
and about 5.6 cm wide.
Figure 2. Close-up view of edges of two of the cl
in the bottom row of Fig. 1.
In another part of her study, Gilliland records "twenty cut sections
of Venus [Mercenaria] shell. Many of these show use and some of them were
cut from Venus [Mercenaria] anvils" (Gilliland 1975:202).
In his "Notes on the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida," Clarence Moore
also cites the use of clam segments as tools. In surface collections made
in the vicinity of Cushing's Key Marco site, Moore notes the finding of
"a fragment of clam-shell wrought on one side to a very sharp cutting
edge.... These probably were hafted as knives or, perhaps, were the blades
of small hand-adzes..." (Moore 1907:460).
A drawing of only one clam "chisel blade" is included in his article
(Fig. 9), though he reports that "the inhabitants say that many [of these
artifacts] have been gathered from the surface" in the vicinity of the Key
Marco site (Moore 1907:460). Interestingly enough, the artifact pictured
in Fig. 9 is only about 2.6 centimeters long by 2 centimeters wide.
Other researchers who have taken notice of the use of clam segments
as tools are John and Linda Van Beck, who worked at a location very close
to Cushing's Key Marco site; and Dan Laxson, who excavated the Turner River
site (Cr95) in the Big Cypress Swamp of Collier County. In both instances,
the researchers in question make only the briefest and vaguest references
to clam-shell tools.
In the case of the Van Becks, the reference consists merely of listing
"CLAM CELTS" in the "Distribution of Shell Tools," by levels, in Pit A
and Pit B (Van Beck and Van Beck 1965:14, 15). Dan Laxson, on the other
hand, observes that "in the representative material gathered [at the Turner
River site,] there were no signs of the concave Busycon adze or gouge or
of Strombus tools. The large, hard shell clam seemed [sic] to have been
used instead" (Laxson 1966:129). There is no doubt that he is referring
to the Mercenaria-campechiensis clam, because he lists it opposite its
common name of "Hard Shell Clam" in Table No. 1 on p. 132.
Pleuroploca-gigantea Composite Anchors
As shown in Fig. 3, this artifact type is represented by 5 specimens.
Unlike the clam-segment tools, this Pleuroploca-gigantea (formerly
Fasciolaria-gigantea) artifact seems to be distributed equally on both
coasts of south Florida.
Starting in the upper left-hand corner and going clockwise around the
photograph, the "horse conchs" in Fig. 3 are from Key Largo (Mo25) in
Monroe County, the Goodland area of Marco Island (Cr46) in Collier County,
Upper Matecumbe Key (Mol7) in Monroe County, Chokoloskee Island (Crl) in
Collier County, and Key Largo (Mo25). Despite the fact that several re-
searchers have described these artifacts as parts of a composite anchor,
many contemporary students of archeology seem to have overlooked them.
For example, the two shells in Fig. 3 from Key Largo were simply
thrown out of a pit being excavated by a local archeological society and
left on the surface as refuse from the dig. When I asked about them, I
was told that they were "food shells" and not worth recording. But as
shown in Fig. 3, the pecked-out holes in this type of artifact are always
below the shoulder and, thus, too far away from the columellar-muscle
attachment to be the result of trying to break that attachment in order
to remove the animal (Donald R. Moore: personal communication, April 4,
1980). Obviously, the holes must have been made for another reason.
Figure 3. Five Pleuroploca gigantea with large, pecked-out
holes below the shoulder. The longest is about
31 cm in height.
Their purpose can be understood when we remember that the Pleuroploca
gigantea is, as the name suggests, a huge shellfish; in fact, "it shares
with one other species, Megalotractus auruanus (Linn.) of Australia, the
honor of being the largest univalve in the world" (Morris 1973:219). Reach-
ing a height of 60 centimeters (Morris 1973:219), these heavy shells would
have proved most useful to Indians who needed a hard, durable substitute
for the lithic resources they lacked.
Just how heavy these shells are is indicated by the fact that the
average weight of the three specimens in the top row of Fig. 3 is exactly
2 pounds or a little less than 1 kilogram each. Though I have found a few
as long as 36 centimeters, 5 centimeters longer than the longest shell in
Fig. 3, and with a correspondingly heavier weight, the five perforated
horse conchs in the photograph are probably fairly close to the average
length and weight of the many that I have noted on the surface of coastal
With pointed ends that "dig" into the bay bottom and "catch" in the
marine vegetation (.like the flukes of a modern anchor), five or six of
these shells tied together would have had sufficient weight and "holding
power" to have kept a dugout canoe anchored in the shallow, grassy waters
adjacent to south Florida. That specimens of the Pleuroploca gigantea
were used as parts of a composite, or multi-shell, anchor is confirmed by
Cushing's discoveries in the muck of Key Marco. In his 1897 Preliminary
Report he states that he found three types of "anchors": Cl) a limestone
"boulder" about 30 centimeters in diameter with two holes for attaching
a line; (2) a composite anchor made up of a number of large, flat, per-
forated stones, all tied together; and (3) the composite "horse conch"
anchor being discussed here (Cushing 1897:38).
In describing the discovery of the shell anchor, he writes:
I came across an ingenious anchor. It consisted of a bunch of
large triton [Pleuroploca gigantea] shells roughly pierced
and lashed together with tightly twisted cords of bark and
fibre so that the long, spike-like ends stood out radiatingly,
like the points of a star. They had all been packed full of
sand and cement, so as to render them, thus bunched, suffi-
ciently heavy to hold a good-sized boat (Cushing 1897:381.
It was probably more than coincidence that Cushing found the composite
anchor near the remains of two boats, one "a long, light cypress-wood canoe'
(Cushing 1897:38). Like theother perishable artifacts at Key Marco, the
canoe's gunwales and part of the bow had been preserved by being buried in
the muck, away from the air.
Before leaving the subject of shell anchors, it should be noted that
medium and large-sized Busycon-contrarium "whelks" are also found with large
ragged holes just below the shoulder, opposite the aperture. Of course,
since the Busycon shells are "left-handed," with the aperture or opening
on the left side of the shell, the man-made holes are found on the right
side of the shell, instead of on the left side as in the case of the horse-
It is probably safe to assume that because of the lighter weight and
more rounded shape of the Busycon shells, they would have made inferior
anchors as compared to the Pleuroploca shells. Yet, the horse conchs may
not have always been in sufficient quantities for the needs of the Indians,
necessitating the use of whelks as substitutes. One should also remember
that the smaller perforated specimens of both the Ple~roploca and Busycon
shells would have made excellent net weights, even if they were notlarge
enough to be part of a composite boat anchor.
Two researchers who have noted the occurrence of the Busycon anchors
are Ripley P. Bullen and Marion Gilliland. Working on Terra Ceia Island
in Manatee County, a location somewhat northward of the Glades Culture Area
being discussed here, Bullen found "in the 6-12 inch level... a large Busycc
perverse shell with a 1 3/4 inch hole cut through the wall near its mouth.
Such shells," he observes, "are sometimes referred to as anchors" (Bullen
1951:16). Although Bullen uses a form of the older name of Busycon perversum,
"authorities now agree that the common left-handed shell is the Lightning
Whelk, B. contrarium, and that B. perversum is the swollen shell that may be
either dextral ["right-handed"] or sinistral ["left-handed"J" (Morris 1973:
As mentioned, Gilliland, in her study of Cushing's Key Marco dis-
coveries, also cites the probable use of large Busycon shells as anchors
(Gilliland 1975:201). One of these shells, with part of the cord still
attached, is illustrated in P1. 117(D).
This artifact type is represented by a single specimen. It is a
Busycon-contrarium shell tool found by the author in a surface collection
he made in July, 1980, on Upper Matecumbe Key (Mol7) in the Florida Keys.
From the spoil of a deep, wide hole recently dug by a pothunter in
the eastern part of the site, the writer picked out several artifacts that
had apparently been discarded. Later, when I washed off the film of black
midden dirt that covered the specimen, I realized that here, for the first
time since Cushing made his discoveries in the muck of Key Marco, was a
shell tool with the stained outline of the rawhide thong that helped hold
its handle in place.
The stain is reddish brown in color, with blackish "borders." As
shown in Figs. 4 and 5, it runs in a slightly curving line across the top
of the shell to the edge of the shoulder, directly above Cand on line with)
a notch cutin the lip where one end of a wooden handle would have protruded.
Because of its perfect alignment with the notch, and the fact that there
are minuscule particles of stain at the edge of a small hole (Fig. 5) cut
into the spire just above the shoulder on the opposite side of the shell
from the notch, it is obvious that the rawhide thong was attached to the
end of the wooden handle sticking out of the notch, and then was stretched
tightly around the curved spire of the shell (just below the apex), finally
to be pushed through the small hole (Fig. 5) cut into the spire on the side
opposite the notch. From there, the thong could have emerged from another,
larger hole (Fig. 6), below the shoulder and opposite the notch, where the
other end of the wooden handle (after being wedged against the columella
inside the shell) would have protruded. Or the thong could have been pulled
tightly against the columella and emerged from the natural opening (aperture)
of the shell somewhere near the notch.
Regardless of exactly how the thong was lashed to the haft, the im-
Portant point is that this remnant of perishable, soft-tissued organic
material proves that one method--perhaps the most common method--for securing
a handle in a shell tool was with a rawhide thong rather than with a cord
nade out of vegetable fiber. This is significant because Cushing's finds
at Key Marco show that cordage was widely utilized, particularly in all
activities relating to fishing CGilliland 1975,237),
The use of rawhide, instead of cord, would have resulted in a stronger,
longer-lasting attachment. In addition, the flatter, wider surface of the
thong would have produced a more secure fastening, particularly if it were
wet when lashed to the implement. In the process of drying, the rawhide
would shrink, binding the tool to the handle.
At its widest point, the thong stain measures about 1.4 centimeters.
Today, the source of "rawhide" is cattle; then, it was deer, probably the
same diminutive form of the white-tailed dear (Odocoileus virginianus) that
still inhabits a portion of the lower Keys,
The possibility that the stain in question was made by a tree root and
not by a rawhide thong is eliminated, I believe, by the fact that the end
of the stain (where it meets the edge of the shoulder) is in perfect align-
ment with the notch below (Fig. 4). Furthermore, Cushing describes the same
type and color of stain on tools from Key Marco.
In his 1897 Preliminary Report, he observes that the types of lashings
that held the handles of shell, bone, horn, and teeth implements in place
could be classified as "rawhide thongs or... twisted sinew or fishgut."
The classification could be made "by impressions left... in the surrounding
mud," even though the lashings themselves
had wholly dissolved, or else remained merely as a dubious
sort of gelatinous mass or slime. Such bindings had, however,
in many instances been reinforced with cements of one kind or
another--a sticky red [my emphasis] substance, the stain only
of which remained--or else rubber-gum, asphaltum, or a com-
bination of rosin and beeswax and rubber, which still endured
and retained perfect impressions of the fastening cords,
whether coarse thongs or finely twisted threads (Cushing
One may well wonder why the relatively dry midden dirt of the Upper
Matecumbe site had some of the same preservative properties as the muck of
Key Marco. One student of archeology, John Beriault, has given thought to
the question and suggests that the dark gray material adhering to much of
the Upper Matecumbe shell, particularly the inside wall of its aperture, is
ash partially solidified by the leaching of humic acids. In
part, the fine state of preservation of the surface finish
(i.e., the lack of erosion) is the result of the high alkaline
(.low pH) of the ash deposit in which the tool was resting, It
is analogous to the fine preservation of faunal and coprolitic
material in the black dirt of deep Everglades midden sites
(Beriault: personal communication, July 20, 1980).
Though the rawhide-thong stain may be the most unusual aspect of this
particular Busycon tool, its "blade," also incredibly well preserved, needs
to be commented on. As shown in Fig. 7, the implement has an adzelike
blade, very unlike the so-called "pick" blade that John Goggin used as a
classifying term for these cutting implements (as distinct from those with
a flattened "working end," which Goggin aptly classified as "hammers").
In fact, I believe that these tools should be reclassified, and given a more
precise definition of their probable use than the one offered by Goggin in
Figure 4. Busycon-contrarium tool, about 17 cm in height,
with stain from rawhide thong.
Figure 5. Another view of Busycon-contrarium tool.
Figure 6. Another view of Busycon-contrarium tool,
Figure 7. Close-up view of blade of Busycon-contrarium tool.
his frequently cited article on different Busycon "pick" types found in
a surface collection he made on the southeastern corner of Marco Island
In an earlier article CReiger 1979:130-132), I analyzed the method
for making the hafting hole, or holes, for this type of implement by com-
paring a Busycon-contrarium shell I found on Chokoloskee Island with one
found earlier by Clarence Moore on Dismal Key, which is about 13 statute
miles northwest (not "west" as I stated in the article) of Chokoloskee.
At that time, regrettably, I followed Goggin's example and used the term
"pick." Later, in an article coauthored with Robert S. Carr, I endeavored
to refine further our understanding of how these tools were made and used
by commenting on a Busycon-contrarium artifact found in a site on the
eastern edge of the Everglades: "The tip of the columella is smooth and
wellworn, with the interior edge being flattened, suggesting a chisel-like
profile" (Carr and Reiger 1980:69). Furthermore, we classified the Busycon
shell as a "woodworking tool" (Carr and Reiger 1980:73), scrupulously avoid-
ing the term "pick" or "hoe," which suggests, erroneously, that these im-
plements were used mainly for gardening, digging up roots, etc. Many have
followed the example of Clarence Moore, who goes so far as to say: "These
[Busycon and Pleuroploca] implements we believe to have served mainly as
chisels, gouges, adzes, scrapers, hammers, and grinders, and especially
[my emphasis] as hoes and picks in the cultivation of the soil" (Moore
The difficulties in understanding the main function of the Busycon
bladed tools are compounded when we realize that some prehistoric Indians
in Florida did use these shells as picks or hoes, but they were not the
so-called "Calusa" or "Tequesta," who were on the southern tip of the
peninsula when the Europeans arrived. In one of Le Moyne's famous paintings
(later engraved by De Bry) of the "Timucua" of northeastern Florida, the
artist shows the Indians' "MODE OF TILLING AND PLANTING" at the time the
French encountered them in the 1560's. Le Moyne accompanies his painting
with the following description: "The Indians cultivate the earth diligently;
and the men know how to make a kind of hoes [sic] from fishes' bones, which
they fit to wooden handles, and with these they prepare the land well enough,
as the soil is light" (Fundaburk 1969:100).
It seems obvious to me that the "fishes' bones" are the shells or
"bones" of shellfish. Despite iCushing's hypothesis that the painting shows
Indians employing clam-shell hoes (Cushing 1897:40), I believe that a close
examination of the tools being used by the two Indians in the back of the
picture reveals that their implements have the elongated appearance of a
conch or whelk. In addition, one can make out a wide, dark area that runs
almost the entire length of each of their hoes, which almost certainly was
intended to represent the shell's aperture (Fundaburk 1969:Fig. 21).
It is the author's contention that the terms "pick" and "hoe" might
be acceptable for a bladed Busycon-contrarium artifact when it comes from
north Florida, an area where agriculture was widely practiced in prehistoric
times. But the terms are unacceptable--because they.are misleading--when
applied to artifacts employed by the prehistoric "Tequesta" and "Calusa,"
who, as far as we know, did not practice agriculture (Goggin 1948:235;
The term adzee" describes, far better, the intended use for most of
these tools. In examining scores of these implements from large sites on
the Gulf coast, I have found that only a small minority have a picklike
blade. The overwhelming majority have chisel or gougelike blades, and
the only reason why I have chosen adzee" as the classifying term, instead
of "chisel" or "gouge," is because the latter tools are usually associated,
in use, with a wooden mallet or some other type of hammering implement.
An adze, on the other hand, can be used with one hand,by itself.
According to Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language,
an adze is "an axlike tool for trimming and smoothing wood, etc., with a
curved blade at right angles to the handle." Although it was difficult for
the Indians to obtain a really "curved" cutting edge, the rest of the
definition describes quite accurately what I believe to have been the major
function of these implements. They would have proven very useful in strip-
ping the bark off of trees, cutting away the charred wood from dugout-canoe
reforms, and a dozen other woodworking tasks.
Once again, Frank Hamilton Cushing comes to the aid of our under-
standing with his amazing discoveries at Key Marco. In Pl, XXXII, Fig. 1
he illustrates a hafted Busycon tool, which, when found, still had the
handle of "buttonwood" inserted in it. Significantly, he labels it as
"a hafted busycon- [sic], or conch-shell gouge or adze" (Cushing 1897:95).
And in another picture from the same report, he illustrates a wooden stool
(Pl. XXXIV, Fig. 7), which he describes as having been "blocked out with
shell adzes--as shown by traces of hacking still visible on its under side,
then finished with shark tooth knives..." CCushing 1897:100).
One can probably safely assume that on the west coast, the Busycon-
contrarium adze did much of the work performed by the Strombus celt on the
east coast. As already noted, the Strombus gigas and Strombus costatus
are rarely, if ever, found on the west coast, and artifacts made from them
are correspondingly rare.
All Busycon tools were, presumably, "food shells" before they were
turned into implements, and there seems to be general misunderstanding about
how the meat was extracted from the shell. The notion is that whelks were
usually opened by punching a hole in the spire, near the apex, and breaking
the columellar-muscle attachment that connects the animal to the shell.
For example, in the recently published Florida Archaeology, authors Jerald
T. Milanich and Charles H. Fairbanks tell the reader: "Some of the platform
and temple mounds of the prehistoric Calusa are constructed almost entirely
of millions of busycons [sic], all of which have small holes placed in the
end through which the muscle attaching the meat to the shell was cut"
(Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:2441.
While I cannot comment with certainty regarding the construction
techniques of the "Calusa," I can state positively that the overwhelming
majority of Busycon shells do not possess any such hole. In the last three
years, I have examined literally-hundreds of these shells from large village
sites on the west coast from Chokoloskee to Mound Key, and have been struck
by how few had a hole in the top that could possibly be construed as having
been made to break the columellar-muscle attachment.
"Food shells" usually have no hole at all, and those Busycons that have
been turned into tools after the meat was removed may, indeed, have one or
even two holes above the shoulder, but they were made Clike the one in
Fig. 5) in order to help lash the handle to the implement and not to
extract the meat. Invariably, these holes are just above the shoulder,
too far away from the muscle to have cut it.
For the record, Clarence Moore's observations on the many Busycon
shells he examined on the southwest coast should be added to this
While it is true that some conch [whelk] shells (more from
some localities than from others) which have no hole or holes
in the body-whorl for the insertion of a handle, and do not
seem to have served as tools, have a small hole above the
shoulder, or periphery, it is equally true that a large
proportion of the shells found on the keys do not have this
hole, and, as the contents of these shells were brought to
the keys as an article of food, it is clear that a hole above
the shoulder, or periphery, was not necessary to separate the
shell-fish from the shell (Moore 1907:465).
In passing, it might also be noted that I have found few if any
Strombus gigas or Pleuroploca gigantea with a hole that one can claim--
without the slightest doubt--was made "for removing the animal," even
though I had been led to believe that it should be present in-a majority
of the "food shells" of these species. But because I have not examined
a large sample of these kinds of shells--as I have done with the Busycon
contrarium--it would be premature to assert that their meat was not fre-
quently obtained by cutting the columellar-muscle attachment.
It seems logical to assume, however, that the comments made earlier
in this article regarding the methods for opening the Mercenaria-campechiensis
clam would apply equally well to the univalves. Why would an Indian go to
the trouble of pecking out a hole in the amazingly hard, dense shell when
all he had to do was to place the shellfish near his campfire, which would
kill the animal, allowing it to be extracted easily?
There were probably very few occasions when an Indian did not have
access to fire, a fact that may have encouraged him to keep the shellfish
Ln its shell, alive and fresh, for as long as possible. Rather than simply
piling them up in the bottom of a dugout canoe, where they might dry out
ind die in the hot Florida sun, the Indians may well have taken the time to
ceep them wet and alive, particularly if they were to be transported any
The fourth and last kind of shell artifact to be discussed in this
article is a new type for south Florida, one that has never, to my knowledge,
been described in print. As shown in Figs. 8 and 9, this new variety is
presentedd by 6 specimens. The largest of these "crown conchs," in the
Lpper left-hand corner of Figs. 8 and 9, was picked up in February, 1980,
>y Daniel Markus, in company with the author, on Horr's Island (in the part
>f the island near Goodland, Marco Island). The other 5 specimens were
.ound by the writer in March, 1980, on Chokoloskee Island CCrl).
Despite the fact that these little conchs reach a height of almost
13 centimeters (Morris 1973:214), the ones being discussed here are far
smaller. The largest is about 8.3 centimeters in height, while the smallest
is only about 5 centimeters.
All of the specimens have two ragged holes pecked in the body whorl
opposite each other, below the shoulder. This characteristic, plus the
fact that the end of the columella, or "beak," has been flattened out by
battering (Fig. 9), is proof that these artifacts are tiny hammers and not
simply discarded "food shells" that later incurred breakage on the surface
of the site.
Although they failed to publish any information on this south Florida
tool-type, several students of archeology who worked in the Glades Culture
Area have recognized these artifacts as implements. On September 21, 1980,
I visited the Museum of Archaeology of the Broward County Archaeological
Society in Fort Lauderdale, which had not yet opened officially to the
public. In a display that was being set up, a crown conch with two holes
in it opposite each other, below the shoulder, and with a flattened "beak,"
was fastened on an exhibit board and labeled as a "pick." Aside from the
erroneous classification, the displayed artifact proves that someone else
has understood that these artifacts are tools.
John Goggin also noted the existence of the crown-conch hammer in his
unpublished manuscript on "The Archeology of the Glades Area, Southern
Florida," written about 1949. According to Goggin, "Two examples of an
artifact made from the small Melongena corona shell were found by [Clarence]
Moore at Chokoloskee Key.... These are prepared and used like the Strombus
[sic] hammer" (Goggin 1949a:n.p.).
Apparently, Moore found the crown-conch hammers but never published
his discovery in any of his papers on south Florida. Goggin implies that
he knows of them from having seen the conchs in the museum collection re-
ceived from Moore (Goggin 1949a:n.p.).
When Goggin states that these tools were "prepared and used" in the
same way as the "Strombus hammer," he is probably referring to the kind of
"Strombus pugilis [alatus ?]" hammer described by Moore in his article,
"Certain Antiquities of the Florida West-Coast" (Moore 1900:Fig. 45). From
Russell Key, northwest of Chokoloskee, the artifact has "two holes to permit
a handle to pass through to the left of the axis. The beak is much chipped.
In all probability, this little shell was used as a hammer to open shell-
fish..." (Moore 1900:392).
From the illustration in Moore's article (Fig. 45), it would appear
that the Strombus is only about 5.7 centimeters in height, which puts it
in the same size range as the smaller crown conchs being discussed in this
paper. Although Moore uses the older name of Strombus pugilis, the shell
he is describing is almost certainly the Strombus alatus (Morris 1973:167),
which is heavier and much more common in south Florida than pugilis,
In one copy of Goggin's unpublished manuscript that I have seen, he
added, in a handwritten note, the following sentence to his discussion of
Moore's Melongena-corona hammers: "As far as is known the only other
occurrence of this artifact in Florida is at Cedar Key[s?] where it is very
abundant, numbers being found" (Goggin 1949a:n.p.). If Goggin is correct,
Figure 8. Six Melongena-corona hammers, the largest about
8.3 cm in height and the smallest about 5 cm.
Figure 9. Another view of hammers in Fig. 8.
and the crown-conch hammer is a common artifact on one or more sites on
the northern Gulf coast, it would mean that this implement was part of
the tool kit of people living in an entirely different ecological and
archeological area from the Glades Culture Area of south Florida. The
significance of his implication that this type of artifact is not found on
coastal sites between the Cedar Keys and the Ten Thousand Islands cannot
be determined at this time, because it is beyond the scope of this paper
to review the published research on that area since Goggin made his
I very much appreciate the contributions of several individuals.
Robert Carr and John Beriault shared their ideas. Professor Donald Moore
of the University of Miami identified, and commented on, the shells. Daniel
Markus helped the author measure and weigh artifacts and also contributed
one of the crown-conch hammers. And once again, Hugh Turner did the superb
Bullen, Ripley P.
1951 The Terra Ceia Site, Manatee County, Florida. Florida
Anthropological Society Publications, No. 3.
Carr, Robert S. and John F. Reiger
1980 Strombus Celt Caches in Southeast Florida. Florida
Anthropologist, 33: 66-74.
Cushing, Frank Hamilton
1897 A Preliminary Report on the Exploration of Ancient
Key-Dweller Remains on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society,
Vol. 35, No. 153.
Fundaburk, Emma L., ed.
1969 Southeastern Indians: Life Portraits, A Catalogue of
Pictures, 1564-1860. Scarecrow Reprint Corporation,
Metuchen, New Jersey.
Gilliland, Marion S.
1975 The Material Culture of Key Marco, Florida. University
Presses of Florida, Gainesville.
Goggin, John M.
1948 Culture and Geography in Florida Prehistory. Unpublished
Ph.D. dissertation, Yale University.
Goggin, John M.
1949a The Archeology of the Glades Area, Southern Florida.
Unpublished manuscript in library of Southeast Arch-
Goggin, John M.
1949b Cultural Occupation at Goodland Point, Florida. Florida
Anthropologist, 2: 65-91
Griffin, John W.
1974 Archeology and Environment in South Florida. In Patrick
J. Gleason, ed., Environments of South Florida: Present
and Past. Miami Geological Society Memoir No. 2,
1966 The Turner River Jungle Gardens Site. Florida Anthropolo-
gist, 19: 125-140.
Milanich, Jerald T. and Charles H. Fairbanks
1980 Florida Archaeology. Academic Press, New York.
Moore, Clarence B.
1900 Certain Antiquities of the Florida West-Coast. Journal
of the Academy of Natural Sciences, 11: 351-394.
Notes on the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida, Journal of
the Academy of Natural Sciences, 13: 458-470,
Morris, Percy A.
1973 A Field Guide to Shells of the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts
and the West Indies. Houghton Mifflin Company,.Boston,
Reiger, John F
The Making of Aboriginal Shell Tools: Clues from South
Florida. Florida Anthropologist, 32: 130-138,
Solls de Meras, Gonzalo
1964 Pedro Menendez de Aviles. University of Florida Press,
Van Beck, John C. and Linda M. Van Beck
1965 The Marco Midden, Marco Island, Florida. Florida
Anthropologist, 18: 1-20.
Widmer, Randolph J.
1978 The Structure of Late Prehistoric Adaptation on the
Southwest Florida Coast. Unpublished M.A. thesis,
Pennsylvania State University,
Dr. John Reiger
Department of History
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL
SALVAGE EXCAVATIONS OF THE PATRICIAN SHELL MOUND
Thomas Ritchie, Frank Morrison and Clivia Morrison
Presently, four five-story condominium buildings, The Patricians of
Palm Beach, stand on a 1.33 hectare prehistoric site 1.2 km south of
the Lake Worth Bridge in the Town of Palm Beach. The plot measures approx-
imately 157 m (E-W) by 85 m (N-S) and extends from the Atlantic ocean dune
line westward to South Ocean Boulevard (AIA)(Figure 1). Before grading and
the construction of the condominiums, the mound rose sharply behind the first
dune forming a N-S ridge and included four prominent peaks in the southern
half that were 10 m above MSL. The western flank sloped gently to AIA
at 2 m above MSL. The ridge had extended further southward but that
portion was destroyed by the earlier construction of The Renaissance
The site contained numerous trees that included the following:
seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera), cabbage palm (Sabal palmetto), coconut palm
(Cocos nucifera), live oak (Quercus virginiana), paradise tree (Simarouba
glauca), mastic (Mastichodendron foetidissimum), and strangler fig (Ficus
aurea)--and dense under brush-most notably castor bean (Ricinus communism ,
saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia), rattlebox crotalariaa spectabilis),
Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia), nickerbean (Caesalpinia alba), prickly
pear (Opuntia stricta), periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus), poor man's patch
(Mentyelia floridana), and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).
Except for the coconut palm, castor bean, rattlebox, and periwinkle, all
the major plant species found on the mound were native to this region of
The Palm Beach Archaeological Society found the mound to be in an
undisturbed state when they initially investigated it in the spring of
1976. However, at least 1.3 meters from the top of the ridge had been
removed before permission was received to conduct salvage operations on
weekends. Excavations continued from August, 1976, through January, 1977.
Holes one to two meters in depth were left by the uprooted trees and
were examined. This investigation indicated that the mound was composed
of a mixture of Atlantic mussel shells, green star shells, coquina, sand,
and black dirt. During earth moving for construction, parts of the mound
were lowered to about 1.7 meters above mean sea level, exposing an eroded
limestone bedrock. Probing demonstrated this rock surface to be very
irregular and in many places,probing to a depth of 3 meters provided no
contact with the bedrock, possibly indicating solution holes.
A small pit, 2.5 meters in diameter, was excavated just south of the
center of the mound complex, revealing a large number of bone fragments
(mostly shark vertebrae), some charcoal, and several potsherds. Whenever
possible a k" mesh screen was used to sift for small artifacts. Unfortu-
nately, the pit was destroyed by the ensuing construction before much
excavation could be accomplished. As construction progressed the surface
of the mound was lowered to elevation 4.3 m on the east side, and to 2.7 m
on the west side. Removal of a layer of oyster shells from the top re-
vealed the mound to be mostly sand and mussel shells. Several hard, com-
pacted areas were uncovered consisting of loggerhead sea turtle shell
0 .1.0 20 40 m
I-- 1 I I
Figure 1. Map of the Patrician Site C8Pb991 showing the original
contours of the site (in meters above MSL) and the
relative positions of the now existing structures,
a) general locations of the burials
b) trench made through the highest point of the
mound to reveal stratification,
fragments, charcoal, sea shells, and sand. It is possible these concre-
tions resulted from the sea turtles having been cooked in their shells,
with melted fat, blood, etc. serving as the adhesive agents. Only a few
shell fragments and stones show direct contact with fire. One plausible
explanation is that the turtles were laid on their backs (which was re-
vealed during excavations) covered with sand, and cooked by a fire built
on top of the sand covering, Clusters of green star shells ranging in
number from 25-100 were found throughout the lower levels. Table 2 lists
the species of shellfish recovered from the midden.
The construction crew removed the oyster shell layer from the top of
the main peak, and by our request cut a trench 3 to 4 m deep and 17 m long,
exposing the strata. This revealed a lens of oyster shells 7 m long by
1 m deep, and numerous concentrations of mussel shells which contained
charcoal, bone (including shark and bony fish vertebrae, and sea turtle
shell fragments), and some large sherds of Glades sand tempered plain
pottery. Peat like material from the base of the trench was analyzed at
the University of Miami's Geoarcheological Research Center and dated at
3960 100 years B.P. using carbon-14 dating techniques.
Near the north end of the ridge, 4 m below the original surface and
3 m above mean sea level, a human burial was uncovered. Proper excavation
procedures were impossible because of frequent collapses of the overhead
sand and oyster shell matrix, and continuing construction work. Ultimately,
portions of seven skeletons were recovered. The skeletons were all in
flexed positions, on their backs, and with the heads pointed southward.
No grave goods were found with the burials, with the possible exception of
25 Ampullaria snail shells around the skull of skeleton #3. Carbon-14
dating analysis of charcoal and fish bones indicate the burials took place
1955 85 years B.P.
In most cases post-cranial skeletal material is very fragmentary and
poorly preserved, or lacking entirely. Cranial and dental material was
recovered from seven individuals.
The skeketal material showed little evidence of any bone disease and
in no case could the cause of death be determined. However, the recovery
of a large proportion of the dental remains present evidence of their way
of life, and in particular their eating habits.
The skeletons have each been numbered 1 through 7, and are referred
to below. The dental formulae follow the system presented by Brothwell
Skeleton #1. The remains are those of an adult male. Only the left
half of the cranium was recovered. The parietal bone is very thick (9 mm)
and all sutures are fused both endo- and ectocranially. The frontal sinus
is well developed, the supraorbital ridge is prominent, the mastoid process
is extensive, the zygomatic process extends back beyond the auditory meatus,
but the muscular ridges are not very well developed, The dental formula is:
6--- 2 5 2 -
4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 X8
RITCHIE, MORRISON, AND MORRISON
The partial mandible is robust, the ramus is broad, the coronoid and
gonial processes are both well developed. There has been considerable
alveolar resorption in the lower jaw, and all the teeth have been worn
through the enamel of the occlusal surfaces exposing the secondary
dentine. The upper left second molar has a portion of bone fused to it
indicating a very advanced chronic abscess. Much of the postcranial
skeleton was also recovered, while the left femoral head shows signs of
osteoarthritis. The remains of the long bones are relatively robust.
Skeleton #2. The remains are those of an adult female. The parietal
bone is excessively thin, and all the sutures are completely fused both
endo- and ectocranially. All the teeth, except those associated with the
missing jaw segment, are present. The teeth are perfectly positioned, very
straight, and display no caries or abscesses. However, all the teeth except
the third molars are completely worn through the enamel of the occlusal
surfaces exposing the secondary dentine. The dental formula is:
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
87 6 ------- 1 12345678
The post cranial skeleton is very fragmentary and consists primarily of
pieces from the pectoral girdle, vertebrae, and phalanges.
Skeleton #3. These remains are those of an adult, probably female.
Two fragments of the cranium, as well as both jaws were recovered. Only
the lambdoid suture is not fused, possibly indicating relatively young
adulthood, and the parietal bone is very thick (about 1 cm). All the
occlusal surfaces are worn through to the secondary dentine except for the
lower right third molar, and the dental alvedi of the teeth lost ante mortem
are not completely ossified. The teeth are very straight, with medium
calculus deposits, but there are two severe abscesses which resulted in
the deformation of the roots of the two teeth associated with them. The
gonial inversion and small pointed chin are indicative of female origins.
The dental formula is:
-7 6 5 4 3 2 1 3 4 5 6 X
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 6 6 X
Only a few fragmented postcranial bones are collected, primarily pieces
of the pectoral girdle, The remains of the long bones are relatively very
slender and.short, indicating a person of slight build.
Skeleton #4. The remains are from a young adult female. The skull
is nearly complete, so numerous standardized measurements have been made
(Table 1). The cranial sutures are incompletely fused. The face is
relatively flat and broad, with the overall shape of the cranium rela-
tively spherical (very mongoloid-like). Both the supraorbital ridge and
the nuchal crest are small, while the mastoid processes are relatively
long. All the teeth are worn through the enamel of the occlusal surfaces
exposing secondary dentine, but are very straight and well positioned.
The dental formula is:
25 PATRICIAN MOUND
-- 6 54 32 1 1 2 3 4 56 7-
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
A significant portion of the postcranial skeleton was recovered. Enough
of the pelvis remains to show that the preauricular sulcus is present
(a female trait). The right arm bones are nearly complete, and the lengths
have been estimated as follows: humerus 29.8 cm, ulna 24.9 cm, and
radius 22.9 cm.
Skeleton #5. Portions of both jaws of an adult are all that were
recovered from this individual. All teeth, except the upper right canine,
and both first premolars and third molars on the right side, are worn
through the enamel of the occlusal surface exposing secondary dentine.
The upper right first premolar is rotated forward to a position inside the
canine, making this the only example of crowded and rotated teeth from
this group of people. The dental formula is:
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 1 2 3 5 6 ----
8 7 6 5 4 32 ------ ----
Skeleton #6. The remains are those of an elderly female. Although
the very small cranium (see Table 1 and Figure 2) has been fractured along
some of the suture lines, all sutures appear completely fused. The
occipital region is strangely depressed, but this depression does not
appear to be intentional deformation. The supraorbital area is very gracile,
as is the only represented mastoid process. Only a portion of the upper
jaw and the anterior section of the lower jaw were recovered. There has
been considerable alveolar resorption, around the remaining teeth and in
regions where teeth had been lost ante mortem. The teeth are all worn
through the crowns nearly to the gum line. The dental formula is:
------ 321 123-----------
AB K 4 3 2 1 1 2 4 ---------
The postcranial skeleton is in a very bad state of preservation, but enough
of the pelvis remains to show the presence of a preauricular sulcus. Seg-
ments of the long bones indicate a small and slight body frame.
Skeleton #7. Only the partial mandible of an elderly adult was re-
covered. The left first molar and a portion of the root of the left third
molar is also present. The one tooth is worn down to the neck region. The
dental formula is:
--------------- ------ -- -
RITCHIE, MORRISON, AND MORRISON
Figure 2. Two fully reconstructed skulls (skull #6
on the left and skull #2 on the right).
Various measurements (in cm) of the three most com-
plete skulls (from skeletons #2, #4, and #6) re-
covered from the Patrician site. The measurements
are based on the system presented by Brothwell, 1972.
Maximum cranial length
Maximum cranial breadth
Upper facial height
Maximum projective mandibular
Over 2000 ceramic sherds were collected from the mound site. Several
examples of St. Johns Check Stamped, one Deptford Simple Stamped, and four
small rim sections of Key Largo Incisedwere the only decorated sherds
found. The remaining sherds are of two general types of paste and temper.
About half the pieces are a fine sandtemper, light to dark gray in color,
smooth, well-fired, and sometimes scratched or tooled (Belle Glade Plain).
The rest are a medium sandtemper, dark gray to black in color, some with
red slip on the outside and/or inside (Glades Plain).
Shepard (1965) described a pottery classification system based on the
overall shapes of the vessels. By this classification the vast majority
of pots were of simple, unrestricted design, but some simple, restricted
vessels were also recovered. Two nearly complete simple, unrestricted
bowls, both of which are Glades Plain types and exactly the same size
(20 cm diameter) and shape were found. One had been painted on both the
outside and inside with red slip, and the other,. found next to a 60 cm
diameter flat limestone cooking stone, was blackened from a cooking fire
and has a residual crust on its surface.
No firing pits were discovered, but many broken stones found buried
in the mound may-have been used for that purpose. Firing could have been
done on the surface or at another site altogether. Inturned rims from
bowls as large as 20 cm in diameter, and open vessels, show considerable
variation in size, but not in general shape. Lips are mostly flat or
rounded and some"bowls show a bend mark 3 cm below the rim. No flat
bases-or evidence of coil breaks, both of which could. ive insight into
the methods of manufacture, were found.
Flat hearth stones from 30 to 60 cm in length were uncovered in at
least five different locations and depths. Two of these had burned bones
of sharks,small fish, and sea turtles, potsherds, and charcoal on or beside
One curious fish bone, a pneumatic vertebra from a jack crevalle
(Caranx hippos) appears to have been carved into a human effigy. The ex-
panded region of the spine has two depressions and a straight cut, corres-
ponding perfectly to two eyes and a mouth. The remaining part of the spine
forms a top knot, while the vertebra itself forms the body (Figure 4). It
is impossible to determine beyond doubt whether this is a man-made artifact
or simply a bone with butcher marks or natural postmortem damage.
A single slightly worn shark tooth tool was recovered (Figure 5).
It is the tooth of a requiem shark (Carcharhinus sp..) with a hole drilled
through its base to facilitate hafting. Furey (1977) has documented and
described in an in depth study similar shark tooth tools from the Boca
Weir site in South Florida.
One large shark vertebra had been carefully reshaped-by removing most
of one centrum (Figure 5). It possibly was used as an ear plug, with the
reduced centrum inserted through a perforated ear lobe (see Willey 1949).
Three simple awls or punches and a double ended point made from deer
metapodials, and an awl made from a turkey femur are the only other bone
RITCHIE, MORRISON, AND MORRISON
A whelk shell (Busycon contrarium) fashioned into a bowl appeared
to be purposely filled with mussel shells (Figure 3) while another bowl,
made from a conch shell (Strombus gigas), one meter distant, was found
full of fish bones. Both had been burned on the bases and were probably
cooking vessels. (See Webster 1970). Numerous tools had been fashioned
from these two species of shellfish. Many of these tool types and their
methods of manufacture have been throughly described by Reiger (1979).
A large conch shell with a hole in the crown is probably a trumpet, and
a small piece of conch shell, perfectly fitted to the thumb and very smooth,
is possibly a potter's rib (Figure 6). Half of a beautifully made collar,
or chestplate, made from the whorl of a large conch shell with accented
lines and a crenulated edge, and a large scallop-shaped,pendant-like shell
artifact were also found (Figure 4).
Fourteen celts, scrapers, or chisels, made from conch shells were
recovered; two of these are illustrated in Figure 7. The majority of
celts are relatively small (7-12 cm lengths), roughly triangular, and
have ground beveled cutting edges. One notable exception is a chisel
made from the columella of a rather large conch, forming a long, twisted
tool with a narrow cutting edge (Figure 8).
Several scoops or small bowls fashioned from whelk and conch shells
were found, and all show signs of extensive use (Figure 9). Unlike the
larger shell bowls, these apparently were not used as cooking utensils.
Eight wetstones of coral and limestone were recovered which have
numerous grooves from the sharpening of shells or bones. The mound area
was probably settled before the date of 3860-4060 B.P. indicated by the
carbon-14 date determination, because the sample used to obtain this date
was collected from a point 5 meters above mean sea level (well above the
actual base of the mound). The construction crew, while excavating for
the foundation of the condominium, uncovered a spring located between the
burial ground and the midden. This may indicate that at one time there
was an inlet, or marsh, or other body of water, which separated the burial
ground from the living area. Separation of the living from the dead may
have been common practice among prehistoric Indians of Florida. The same
situation was found at Fort Center (Sears 1974), and at the Chosen Mound
complex (Stirling 1935, Willey 1949), and has been discussed by Hall
The higher mounds afforded excellent views of the ocean to the east,
and the marsh and lake to the west. If an inlet or stream was on the north
side as hypothesized, it probably was a site for oyster collecting.
Sea turtles coming ashore to lay eggs in the spring and summer months
(May through July) would have presented an easy source of food, but could
have been captured offshore during most of the remaining part of the year
as well. The thousands of shark and fish bones, and the tremendous amount
of shellfish remains, indicate a substantial population used the site for
a long time.
It is very possible that this may have been a seasonal village, for
several other sites have been found nearby on the mainland. Across the
Intercoastal Waterway, 3.75 km to the northwest, is the Littlefield site,
(8Pbl04), about 20 km to the southwest is the Boynton multiple mound com-
plex (Jaffee 1976), and 20 km to the northwest, in the Loxahatchee Slough,
is the Wellington site (not listed with the Florida State Master Site File
Figure 3. A whelk (Busycon contrarium) shell bowl
containing mussel shells (Modiolus demisses)
and crown conch shells (Melongena corona)
recovered from the midden mound.
RITCHIE, MORRISON, AND MORRISON
Various ornaments found at the Patrician
site include, (left) partial collar or chest-
plate, (center) possible human effigy fashioned
from a fish vertebra, and (right) possible shell
Artifacts fashioned from shark skeletal material
include (left) a possible ear plug and (right)
a drilled shark tooth tool.
Figure 6. A carefully made shell tool which may have
been a potter's rib, used for shaping and
Figure 7. Celts made from conch shell, typical of those
found at the Patrician site.
r -b I I
RITCHIE, MORRISON, AND MORRISON
Figure 8. A chisel fashioned from the columella of a
large conch (Strombus gigas).
71 81 9'
Figure 9. A scoop or small bowl made from a whelk shell
Table 2. Species of shellfish recovered from the Patrician
1. Melogena corona (dwarf Florida crown conch)
2. Strombus gigas (pink conch)
3. Strombus pugilis (Florida fighting conch)'
4. Astraea tuber (green star shell)
5. Busycon contrarium (lightning whelk)
6. Fasiolaria hunteria (true tulip)
7. Livona pica (West Indian top shell)
8. Oliva sayana (lettered olive shell)
9. Polinices duplicatus (shark's eye)
10. Crepidula formicata (slipper shell)
11. Cypracea cervus (Atlantic deer cowry)
12. Sconsia striata (royal bonnet)
13. Vermicularia knorri (Florida worm shell)
14. Ampullaria (land snail)
15. Mercenaria mercenaria quahogg clam)
16. Americardia media (Atlantic strawberry cockle)
17. Antigona rigida (rigid venus)
18. Anadara lienosa floridana (cut-ribbed ark)
19. Tellina alternate (alternate tellina)
20. Labiosa plicatella (smooth duck clam)
21. Pecten nodosus (lion's paw)
22. Modiolus demisses (Atlantic mussel)
23. Ostrea equestris (crested oyster)
24. Ostrea frons (coon oyster)
25. Codakia floridana (tiger lucina)
26. Arca zebra (turkey wing)
RITCHIE, MORRISON, AND MORRISON 34
Table 3. Vertebrate species identified from the midden
area of the Patrician Shell Mound. A denotes
marine species,.** denotes freshwater species,
and ***denotes species which inhabit both marine
1. Odentaspis taurus (sand tiger shark)*
2. Galeocerdo cuvier (tiger shark)*
3. Carcharhinus sp. (requim shark)*
4. Rhizoprionodon terraenovae (Atlantic sharp-nosed shark)*
5. Myliobatis sp. (eagle way)*
6. Galeichthyes felis (sea catfish)*
7. Carangidae (undetermined jackfish)*
8. Caranx hippos (Jack crevalle)*
9. Scarus sp. (parrotfish)*
10. Diodon holacanthus (porcupine fish)*
11. Sciaenidae (unidentified drum fish)*
12. Sphraena barracuda (great barracuda)*
13. Kinosternon bauri or Sternothaerus sp. (mud or musk turtle)**
14. Chrysemys sp. (pond turtle)**
15. Caretta caretta (loggerhead sea turtle)*
16. Alligator mississipiensis (American alligator)**
17. Gavia immer (common loon)*
18. Branta canadensis (Canada goose)**
19. Grus canadensis (sandhill crane)
20. Aythya affinis (lesser scaup)***
21. Meleagris gallopavo (turkey)
22. Laurus argentatus (herring gull)*
23. Didelphis virginianus (Virginia opposum)
24. Procyon lotor (raccoon)
25. Odocoileus virginianus (white-tailed deer)
26. Tursiops truncatus (bottle-nosed dolphin)*
at this time). Potsherds collected from all four sites are generally
similar, and show relationships with the Belle Glade Culture. This
suggests the contemporaneity Of all of the sites.
The Indians of the Patrician site obtained much or most of their
foodstuff through hunting and fishing. The wide variety of animal species
they used as food must have been collected from tidal flats, ocean reef,
shallow saltwater, beaches, freshwater ponds, or marshes, and forest areas.
All these habitats must certainly have been in the vicinity of the mound
site at the time of its occupation. See Table 3 for a list of the verte-
brate species recovered from the midden.
No evidence of foreign trade was found. All the material used in the
manufacture of artifacts (limestone, coral, seashells, and bone) could
easily have been obtained locally. No artifacts made of flint or chert
The presence of numerous celts and other large tools, and the tremen-
dous amount of sea shells and fish bones probably indicates the inhabitants
used dugout canoes. Williams and Mowers (1979) documented similar shell
and bone artifacts from a water-oriented society at Bishops Hammock in
Broward County, and with infared photography have retraced ancient canoe
trails. Canoes must surely have been a very important factor in everyday
life at the Patrician mound area,
All the burial victims were adults, and in one case, two people may
have been buried in a common grave. Examination of the dental remains
reveals excessive tooth wear, undoubtedly the result of a large amount of
shellfish in their diets, A shellfish diet contains a great deal of
abrasive sand and shell material. The resulting quick rate of enamel
destruction makes accurate age estimates based on the condition of the
teeth difficult, and the sample is not large enough to determine a reliable
method for estimating their ages relative to one another on the basis of
their teeth. Judging from the numerous abscesses and ante mortem tooth
loss present in this small sample of skeletons, the general population
must have suffered from considerable dental disease and problems.
Potsherds dated from the Glades I, II, and III periods CDeptford
Simple Stamped from Glades I, Key Largo Incised from Glades II, and
St. Johns Checkstamp, and St. Johns Plain, from Glades III), in con-
junction with the carbon-14 dates indicate a relative constant occupancy
from sometime before about 4000 years ago to about 1200 years ago,
We are greatful to the Donner Enterprises, owners of the site, for
allowing us to conduct this investigation, and especially for using their
equipment to reveal the strata of the mound. David and Pat Hughes did
much of the work at the site and assisted with the survey of the mound,
Bert Mowers visited the site and gave helpful evaluations on the sherds.
Pierce Brodkorb of the University of Florida and Elizabeth Wing of the
Florida State Museum both made invaluable comparative skeletal collections
available to aid in the identification of the vertebrate remains, Mrs.
Lee Wilson and Miss Cynthia Plockeman identified the flora on the site.
David Washburn of the Science Museum and Planetarium of Palm Beach County
conducted a study of the stratigraphy of the mound and many other members
RITCHIE, MORRISON, AND MORRISON
of the Palm Beach County Archaeological Society devoted their time and
energy in.helping with all aspects of this project.
Brothwell, Don R.
1972 Digging Up Bones. British Museum (Natural History)
Furey, John F.
1977 An Analysis of Shark Tooth Tools from the Boca Weir Site
in South Florida. Florida. Anthropologist 3:89-102.
Gilbert, B. Miles
1973 Mamalian Osteo-Archaeology: North American Special Publica-
tions. Missouri Archaeological Society, Columbia, Missouri.
Ghosts, Water Barriers, Corn and Sacred Enclosures in the
Eastern Woodlands. American Antiquity 41:360-364.
1976 Preliminary Report on a Midden Mound and Burial Mound of
the Boynton Mound Complex. Florida Anthropologist
Reiger, John F.
1979 The Making of Aboriginal Shell Tools: Clues from South
Florida. Florida Anthropologist 32:34-45.
The Vegetation of the Atlantic Coastal Ridge of Palm Beach
County, Florida. Florida Scientist 40:281.
Sears, William H.
1974 Archaeological Perspectives on Prehistoric Environment
in the Okeechobee Basin Savannah. In Environments of
South Florida: Past and Present. Patrick J. Gleason, ed.,
Miami Geological Society, Memoir No. 2, pp. 347-351, Miami.
Shepard, Anna A.
1965 Ceramics for the Archaeologist. Carnegie Institute of
Washington. Publication 609, Washington, D.C.
Stirling, N. W.
1935 Exploration of a Mound at Belle Glade, Florida. Science
Webster, William J.
1970 New Concepts for Busycon Shell Recepticals, Florida
Willey, G. R.
Excavations in Southeast Florida. Yale University
Publications in Anthropology No. 42.
Williams, Wilma and Bert Mowers
1979 Bishops Hammock, Broward County, Florida.
Palm Beach Archaeological Society, Inc.
West Palm Beach, Florida
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