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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: An oblique view toward the south-southwest of the Snead Island temple
mound (8Mal7). The mound rises to a height of about 4 m and has a
lower subsidiary platform at the base of its west flank. The plaza
lies beyond the temple mound and extends southward to the Manatee
River. Situated to the west of the plaza (right) are two substruc-
tural shell mounds. To the east of the plaza (left) lies another
such mound as well as a large linear shell mound, possibly the
major habitation area. Illustration by George Luer.
Editor's Page . . . . .
Temple Mounds of the Tampa Bay Area
by George M. Luer and Marion M. Almy .
A Qualitative Field Method for Determining the
Presence of Phosphorus in Soils
by John M. King . . .
An Unidentified Shell Artifact From Grenada,
by Leon W. Wilder . . .
This issue features the article, "Temple Mounds of the Tampa Bay
Area", by George Luer and Marion Almy. They have become frequent contri-
butors to the FA, and this article, is by far, one of the best attempts
to survey and classify temple mounds within any Florida region. Also
featured in this issue is an article by John King on phosphorus testing of
a human cemetery in Hillsborough County.
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Growing increases in the cost of publishing the FA are now forcing
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officer. All donations will be tax deductible. Special themes proposed
for future issues include the Seminoles (next issue), historic archeology,
and underwater archeology. Other possibilities are regional issues on
various parts of Florida, the Caribbean, and particular culture periods,
TEMPLE MOUNDS OF THE TAMPA BAY AREA
George M. Luer and Marion M. Almy
Among the most impressive aboriginal remains around Tampa Bay are five
tremendous platform or temple mounds of the Safety Harbor period. Once
there were 15 or possibly 20 of these steep-sided, truncate mounds in the
Tampa Bay area, but most unfortunately,have been destroyed during the last
one hundred years, many for road fill. Their distinct shape and substantial
size attracted enough attention, however, that various observers described
many of the mounds. Heretofore, these descriptions have been scattered in
diverse, even obscure, publications as well as in unpublished maps and notes.
The difficulty of assembling this information and the disappearance of so
many mounds have contributed to the previous neglect of the mounds as a
subject of research.
This paper presents the first comprehensive study of the temple mounds
of the Tampa Bay area. The data compiled herein are used to characterize and
to compare the temple mounds with regard to configuration, composition, and
location. Several different types are distinguished by volume, height, and
shape and area of the summit platform. These types of temple mounds probably
had different functions, but most of the mounds consisted of layers of fill
and all were located at village sites near tidal waters. This and other
archaeological, ethnohistoric, and ethnographic information from Florida
and elsewhere in the southeast is used to support new interpretations con-
cerning the construction and use of such temple mounds, the geographic dis-
tribution of the Safety Harbor peoples, and the acceptance of Mississippian
culture by prehistoric inhabitants of the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region.
Many temple mounds in the Tampa Bay area were visited by early investi-
gators of Florida archaeology including S. T. Walker, C. B. Moore, R. D.
Wainwright, and M. W. Stirling. Two of these men, Walker and Moore, made
measurements and all four dug in the mounds. In 1880, Walker described the
flat-topped mounds, which he believed to have been "domiciliary mounds," at
Anclote, Dunedin, Maximo Point, Pinellas Point, Weeden Island, Safety Harbor,
and Ft. Brooke (Fig. 1). In 1900, Moore published descriptions of flat-topped
mounds, each with a "graded way" or ramp leading to the summit, at Maximo
Point, Pinellas Point, Mill Point, and Terra Ceia. Wainwright wrote in 1916
of the large mounds at the Whitaker site and at Pinellas Point. In a 1931
article, Stirling mentioned and included a photograph of the "large, flat-
topped shell mound" at Safety Harbor which he supposed ". .was once a
substructure for an Indian temple."
In "Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast" published in 1949, Gordon
Willey cited these early descriptions. Willey called the mounds "platform
or temple mounds" because each presumably served as ". an artificial
VOL. 34 NO. 3
A Old Myakka
Figure 1. Locations of Tampa Bay Area Temple Mounds and Other Central
Peninsular Gulf Coast Sites Mentioned in Text. Temple mounds:
dots; possible temple mounds: squares; and other sites: triangles.
LUER AND ALMY
platform for a temple or building," and he assigned them to the Mississippian
culture of the Tampa Bay area which he named the Safety Harbor culture (1949:
335,339,475-488). In 1950, results of excavations in 1948 at the Safety
Harbor temple mound were reported by Griffin and Bullen. In the same year,
the Whitaker temple mound was noted again (Bullen 1950). During the next
two years, descriptions were published of three temple mounds: the Bickel
temple mound at Terra Ceia (Bullen 1951:18-20), the Snead Island temple mound
(Bullen 1951:38), and the Harbor Key temple mound (Bullen, Reeder, Bell, and
SWhisenant 1952). Thus, by 1952, twelve Tampa Bay area temple mounds had been
described in the archaeological literature.
In 1955, Ripley Bullen, in "Archaeology of the Tampa Bay Area," presented
a list of these twelve temple mounds to which he added a thirteenth at Shaw's
Point (later called the Pillsbury temple mound); also he assigned all of these
mounds to the Safety Harbor period. Bullen explained that the term "temple
mound" was applied on the assumption that the mounds ". served as founda-
tions for buildings ." described in Spanish accounts and ". on the
assumption these buildings functioned as temples, although they may have been
priests' or chiefs' houses" (Bullen 1955:60). Although Bullen did not cite
supporting evidence, he characterized the Tampa Bay area temple mounds as
"flat-topped, rectangular mounds" having a ramp ". along one side .
towards the village area." Apparently based on his observations of such
arrangements at Safety Harbor, Whitaker, Terra Ceia, and Harbor Key, he gen-
eralized that there was ". a considerable space between" a temple mound
"and the village proper which does not produce pottery or other occupational
debris" and which he termed the "town square" (Bullen 1955:60).
In 1960, William Sears investigated the Bayshore Homes site where he
recognized the fourteenth Tampa Bay area temple mound. Sears suggested that
the Bayshore Homes temple mound was possibly "pre-Safety Harbor" (1960:29,32-33).
Sears also investigated the temple mound at Maximo Point in 1958 as did Bush-
nell in 1962. While excavating the Pillsbury burial mound near Shaws Point
in 1963, Bullen surveyed the nearby Pillsbury temple mound and dug a test pit
in the ramp (Bullen n.d.). The fifteenth Tampa Bay area temple mound, at the
Narvaez site, was mentioned by Al Goodyear in an unpublished paper written
in the early 1970's. Late in the 1970's, the authors investigated further
the Snead Island temple mound, and William Burger also made investigations
of the Harbor Key and Snead Island temple mounds.
Recently, Ripley Bullen mentioned the Tampa Bay area temple mounds in
his article "Tocobaga Indians and the Safety Harbor Culture" and, having
assumed that the temple mounds were of the Safety Harbor period, he equated
the distribution of these mounds with the territory of the Tocobaga Indians.
According to Bullen, "Tocobaga is a generic term for the aboriginal peoples
inhabiting the Florida Gulf coast from Tarpon Springs to Sarasota at the time
of European contact" (Bullen 1978:50). He again described a ". settlement
pattern for ceremonial centers of the Safety Harbor period around Tampa
Bay ." which included ". a midden paralleling the shore; a rectangular
temple mound with a ramp in the middle of one of its longer sides leading
toward the main part of the midden; .. a burial mound off to one side"
and "the area more or less surrounded by these features--the plaza. .
Most recently, the Tampa Bay area temple mounds have been contrasted with
several large, flat-topped mounds located in the Charlotte Harbor area (Luer
1980). The latter mounds differ in configuration from the Tampa Bay area
temple mounds and apparently are part of a different settlement pattern.
Also, new evidence including radiocarbon dates indicates that the Safety
Harbor period began earlier than previously assumed, perhaps by as early
as A.D. 1000 (Schnell, Knight, and Schnell 1979:360-361, 374-375; Luer 1980).
Temple Mound Data
Presented below is a summary of pertinent data on each of the fifteen
recognized Tampa Bay area temple mounds. The locations of these mounds are
shown in Figure 1.
1. Anclote Temple Mound (Walker 1880a:394,396,Plate II); mound now destroyed.
Location: Near the mouth of the Anclote River near the northern shore.
Configuration: Basal outline is oblong and measures about 51 m by
72 m; height is about 3 m; flat top; ramp descends from top
and apparently is centered on "southern" flank.
Composition: ". composed of alternate layers of sand and shell."
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: Two possible village sites (Florida Master Site File).
2. Dunedin Temple Mound (Walker 1880a:399,Plate IV); mound now destroyed.
Location: About 300 m from St. Joseph Sound.
Configuration: Basal outline is roughly rectangular and measures
about 24 m by 48 m, longer basal axis is oriented NW-SE; height
is about 2.7 m; flat top; ramp descends toward SW and is center-
ed on SW flank.
Composition: Composed of sand.
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: Shallow borrow pits near mound.
3. Bayshore Homes Temple Mound (Moore 1900:352-353; Sears 1960:2,13); mound
Location: About 245 m from the shore of Boca Ciega Bay-
Configuration: Basal outline is apparently roughly rectangular and
measures about 46 m by 53 m, longer basal axis is oriented E-W;
height about 4.5 to 5.5 m; flat top; perhaps a ramp toward the
S and centered on S flank.
Composition: Composed of alternate layers of sand and shell. Shell
is midden debris.
LUER AND ALMY
Interments: One burial in pit alongside ramp is recorded.
Nearby Features: Midden to W, burial mounds to SE and W, possible
plaza to S.
4. Narvaez Temple Mound (Goodyear n.d.:31; USGS Seminole 1974).
Location: About 200 m from the shore of Boca Ciega Bay.
Configuration: Basal outline described only as "large"; height is
"tall"; perhaps a ramp descends toward the W.
Composition: Not described.
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: "Other smaller" mounds and "a low area" (plaza)
lying toward the W.
5. Maximo Point Temple Mound (Walker 1880a:404-405; Moore 1900:253-254;
Sears 1958:2; Bushnell 1962:89-101).
Location: About 75 m from shore of Boca Ciega Ray.
Configuration: Basal outline is roughly circular, diameter of base
about 30.5 m; height about 3 m; flat top; ramp descends toward
Composition: Composed of alternate layers of sand and shell. Shell
is midden debris.
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: Surrounded by middens and causeways, ramp of temple
mound connects with midden.
6. Pinellas Point Temple Mound (Walker 1880a:407; Moore 1900:355-356;
Wainwright 19.16:142-143; Goodyear n.d.:29); also called the
Location: About 400 m from the shore of Tampa Bay near the southern-
most shore of the Pinellas peninsula.
Configuration: Basal outline is oblong and measures about 15 m by
47 m, longer axis of base and summit oriented E-W; height is
about 5.2 m; flat top measuring about 32 m in length and about
5.8 m in width at each end and 9.1 m in width at the center where
the ramp joins the summit; ramp descends toward the S and appar-
ently is centered on S flank.
Composition: Composed of irregular and apparently alternate layers
of sand and shell.
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: None described in immediate vicinity, but Pinellas
Point midden is nearby (Goodyear 1968).
7. Weeden Island Temple Mound (Walker 1880a:409-410; Bullen 1955:61).
Also called "Mound at Papys Bayou"; mound now destroyed.
Location: On N side of Papys Bayou on Old Tampa Bay near W end of
Configuration: Basal outline is oblong and measures about 14 m by
46 m; longer basal axis is oriented E-W; height about 1.4 m;
apparently flat top; ramp is centered on S flank.
Composition: Composed of ". alternate layers of sand and
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: Middens and a burial mound located to the E and
SE (Fewkes 1924: Fig. 1).
8. Safety Harbor Temple Mound (Walker 1880a:410-411; Stirling 1931:171-172;
Griffin and Bullen 1950:7, 15, Fig. 1).
Location: Borders shore of Old Tampa Bay at E end of Phillippi Point.
Configuration: Basal outline is egg-shaped due to the large base of
the ramp and measures about 45 m by 50 m, longer axis of base
is oriented N-S; height is about 6.1 m; flat top is roughly
oblong and measures about 15 m by 30.5 m; ramp descends toward
W and is centered on the W flank.
Composition: Composed ". of sand and shell in alternate layers."
Interments: Possible burials in southern portion of mound.
Nearby Features: Midden along shore to the NW and SW, burial mound
about 400 m to NW, possible plaza to W.
9. Ft. Brooke Temple Mound ("Sketch of Cantonment Brooke," circa 1824,
"Sketch of the Military Reserve at Fort Brooke," circa 1840's,
Record Group 92, Cartographic Division of the National Archives,
Washington, D.C.; Walker 1880a:411-413; Willey 1949:339); also
called "Vodges Mound;" mound now destroyed.
Location: On shore of Hillsborough Bay near Hillsborough River and
site of Ft. Brooke.
Configuration: Basal outline is roughly rectangular and measures about
31 m by about 33 m, axes of base and summit oriented N-S and E-W;
height is about 2.5 m; flat top; apparently no ramp existed.
Composition: Composed of ". alternate layers of sand and
Interments: One burial recorded.
Nearby Features: "Shell midden" (Fisher 1980; Piper, Deming, and Piper
LUER AND ALMY
10. Mill Point Temple Mound (Moore 1900:356-357); mound now destroyed.
Location: Bordered north shore of Alafia River where U.S. 41 crosses
Configuration: Basal outline is oblong and measures about 19 m by
45 m, longer basal axis is oriented approximately N-S; height
is about 3.4 m; flat top; ramp descends toward the W and is
centered on the W flank.
Composition: Composed of sand and ". .. local layers of shell."
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: Middens are located to the S and the W of temple
mound, burial mound to the W, and apparent plaza to the W;
possible borrow pit near mound.
11. Harbor Key Temple Mound (Bullen, Reeder, Bell, and Whisenant 1952:21-23;
Burger 1979). Also called Bishop Harbor temple mound.
Location: On east side of Harbor Key near the shore of Bishop Harbor.
Configuration: Basal outline is roughly rectangular and measures
45 m by about 25 m, longer axis of base and summit oriented
NNE by SSW; height is about 6 m; flat top is roughly rectangular
and measures about 30 m by about 9 m; ramp on ". the middle
of the western side, pointing a little north of west."
Composition: ". Shell and other village debris
Interments: Two bundle burials near lowest portion of ramp are
Nearby Features: Shell midden to the W and SW, burial mound to the
W, possible plaza to W.
12. Bickel Temple Mound (Moore 1900:360; Bullen 1951: 18-20).
Location: About 600 m east of the shore of Miguel Bay on Terra Ceia
Configuration: Basal outline is roughly rectangular and measures
about 30.5 m by 52 m, longer axis of base and summit oriented
NNE-SSW; height is about 6 m; flat top measuring about 7.7 m
by 21 m; ramp descends toward WNW and is centered on WNW flank.
Composition: Alternate layers of shell (midden debris) and of sand.
Interments: None recorded.
Nearby Features: A shell midden to the W, burial mound to N, apparent
plaza to the WNW between the shell midden and the temple mound.
13. Snead Island Temple Mound (Bullen 1951:38; Florida Master Site File
Form for Ma-17; Bullen 1955;61; USGS Anna Maria 1964 (69PR);
Luer, Almy, and Almy n.d.; Burger n.d.); also called the
Location: On Snead Island about 100 m from the northern shore of the
Manatee River, about 1 km NNW from McKay Pt.
Configuration: Basal outline is oblong and measures about 75 m by
about 45 m, longer axis of base and summit oriented WNW-ESE;
height is about 4.0 m; flat top is oblong and measures about
46 m by 24 m; no ramp is present; abutting base of NW flank
is an "apron" or lower subsidiary platform measuring about 30 m
by 30 m at the base and about 1 m in height.
Interments: None recorded.
Composition: Soil mixed with midden debris.
Nearby Features: Several large mounds of soil mixed with midden
debris to the W, SW, and SE, plaza to S.
14. Pillsbury Temple Mound (Stirling 1930:186; Bullen n.d.); mound now
Location: About 60 m from the shore of Tampa Bay at the mouth of
the Manatee River, about 1 km W of Shaw's Point.
Configuration: Basal outline is roughly rectangular and measures
about 26.5 m by 34 m, longer basal axis oriented NNE-SSW;
height is about 3.7 m; flat top; ramp descends toward ESE and
is centered on ESE side.
Interments. None recorded.
Nearby Features: Pillsbury burial mound immediately E of temple
mound and near base of ramp; possible borrow pits near mound.
15. Whitaker Temple Mound (Wainwright 1916:140-141; Bullen 1950:21-22);
mound now destroyed.
Location: About 360 m E of the shore of Sarasota Bay and about 60 m
from Whitaker Bayou.
Configuration: Basal outline is not described; flat top; ramp
descends toward the W.
Composition: Sand and scattered shell.
Interments: About 8 burials in mound are recorded.
Nearby Features: Middens W of temple mound, burial mounds to the SW,
and possible plaza to the W.
LUER AND ALMY
These data support many previous generalizations about the Tampa Bay
area temple mounds. For example, others have characterized most of the temple
mounds as having: 1) an oblong or roughly rectangular outline at the base and
at the summit; 2) a flat summit; 3) a single ramp centered on a long flank;
and 4) a substantial height of 4 to 6 meters. By assembling the above infor-
mation it is now possible to make some new distinctions and generalizations
concerning the configuration, composition, and location of the Tampa Bay area
Temple Mound Configurations: Some Calculations and Considerations
The dimensions of the temple mounds presented above are important not
only in helping to visualize the mounds but also in comparing sizes and shapes
of the mounds. For example, on the basis of calculations, 13 of the Tampa Bay
area temple mounds (the Narvaez and Whitaker temple mounds are excluded for
lack of data) can be grouped into several distinct categories, according to
volume, height, and the shape and area of the summit.
Approximate volumes of five temple mounds can be readily determined from
recorded measurements as shown in Table 1 and Figure 2. Estimated volumes of
eight other temple mounds can be calculated by using recorded measurements
and estimated ratios (Table 1 and Figure 2). Volumes range from about 650
to 7,700 cubic meters and fall into two distinct categories. There are four
mounds with volumes of about 6,500 to 7,700 cubic meters. The remainder have
volumes of 3,500 cubic meters or less. Thus, based on volume, temple mounds
will be termed for the purposes of this paper, either "greater" mounds (6,500
cubic meters or more) or "lesser" mounds (3,500 cubic meters or less).
The heights of the mounds range from about 1.5 meters to about 6 meters.
Five are 5 meters or more in height. These mounds will be termed "high" mounds.
The remaining eight mounds are 4 meters or less in height and will be termed
Shape of the Summit
Tampa Bay area temple mounds include "narrow-topped" and "broad-topped"
mounds. "Broad-topped" mounds have summit length: width ratios ranging from
1:1 to 2:1. "Narrow-topped" mounds have ratios of greater than 2:1 in com-
paring length and width. There are six "narrow-topped" mounds and seven
Area of the Summit
The areas of the summits of the temple mounds vary greatly. Actual
measurements of five mound summits range from 160 to 1100 square meters.
Rough estimates (Table 1) of the areas of the summits of the remaining eight
temple mounds range from 270 to 1500 square meters. On the basis of area, a
summit will be termed "large" (>1000 sq.m), "medium" (440-760 sq.m), or "small"
Recorded (units in meters):
h wb lb ws Is
Calculated: Approx. area of
slf ssf summit (sq. m.)
Safety Harbor 6.1 45 50 15 30.5 0.41 0.63 460 6500
Pinellas Point 5.2 15 47 5.8 32 1.1 0.69 190 2000
Harbor Key 6.0 25 45 9.0 30 0.8 0.8 270 3500
Bickel 6.0 30.5 52 7.7 21 0.5 0.4 160 3100
Snead Island* 4.0 45 75 24 46 0.38 0.28 1100 (900) 7700(8600)
Measures RecCalculated from recorded measures
Measures Recorded (units Estimated:
S in meters): and estimated ratios:
Temple Rough esti-
Mound h wb lb slf ssf ws is mates, area of Estimated volume
____ __ summit (sq. m.) (cubic meters)
Anclote 3.0 51 72 0.3 0.25 31 48 1500 7000
Dunedin 2.7 24 48 0.5 0.4 13 34 440 1900
Bayshore Homes 5.0 46 53 0.4 0.6 21 36 760 6900
Maximo Point** 3.0 30.5 -- 0.5 -- 18.5 -- 270 1600
Weeden Island 1.4 14 46 0.5 0.5 8 40 320 650
Ft. Brooke 2.5 31 33 0.5 0.5 21 23 480 1800
Mill Point 3.4 19 45 0.8 0.7 10 35 350 1900
Pillsbury 3.7 26.5 34 0.7 0.6 16 22 350 2100
Table 1. Recorded, Calculated, and Estimated Measures of Tampa Bay Area Temple Mounds.
Abbreviations and calculations are explained in Figure 2. Snead Island temple
mound measures include figures, in parentheses, for the area of the subsidiary
platform and the total volume of the mound including the subsidiary platform.
** Calculations for the Maximo Point temple mound were made using formulae for
the area of a circle and the volume of a cylinder.
Approx. Volume of Core plus Approx. Vol. of Two Smaller Flanks plus Approx. Vol. of Two Larger Flanks
(h ws Is)
(h 1sf wsf)
(h llf wlf)
Equals the Approximate Volume of the Mound
max. width of base
max. width of summit
max. length of base
max. length of summit
max, width of shorter flank = (lb-ls)
max. width of longer flank = (wb-ws)
max. length of shorter flank = ws
max. length of longer flank = Is
slope of shorter flank = h/wsf
slope of longer flank = h/wlf
Calculation of the Volume of a Tampa Bay Area Temple Mound As Listed in Table 1. Diagrams,
equation,and abbreviations a: schematic representation of a temple mound without a ramp;
b: temple mound sliced and separated to show core, two smaller flanks, and two larger flanks;
c: representation of the solid formed by adding together flanks and core, the volume of this
solid is the sum of three smaller solids and the volume is described by the equation which
"Equals the Approximate Volume of the Mound;" d: diagram showing linear dimensions used in
calculating volume, abbreviations used are explained below the equation and are used also
in Table 1.
138 TEMPLE MOUNDS
Temple Mound Configurations: Discussion of Categories
The above categories describing the volume, height, and the shape and
area of the summits can be used to place Tampa Bay area temple mounds into
three classes. These classes are shown diagramatically in Figure 3 and are
There are two Class A temple mounds: Snead Island and Anclote. Both of
these temple mounds are "greater" mounds (6,500-7,700 cubic meters in volume)
with a "low" height (4 meters or less) and with a "broad" summit (a ratio
of length to width of 2:1 or less) which is "large" in size (greater than
1000 square meters in area).
There are two Class B temple mounds: Safety Harbor and Bayshore Homes.
Both of these temple mounds are "greater" mounds with a "high" height (greater
than 5 meters) and with a "broad" summit which is "medium" in size (440-760
square meters in area).
There are nine Class C or "lesser" temple mounds (3,500 cubic meters or
less in volume). Three of these mounds have a "low" height and a "broad"
summit: Pillsbury, Ft. Brooke, and Maximo Point. Five of these "lesser"
mounts have a "high" height and a "narrow" summit (a ratio of length to width
of greater than 2:1): Pinellas Point, Mill Point, Harbor Key, Bickel, and
Dunedin. One of these "lesser" mounds has a "low" height and a "narrow"
summit: Weeden Island. All of these Class C mounds have a "small" summit
(less than 350 square meters in area) except the Ft. Brooke and Dunedin temple
mounds, which have "medium" summits.
Arranging the data into the above classes forms several distinct types
of Tampa Bay area temple mounds. Possibly, the existence of various types of
temple mounds is the result of mounds having been built for different functions.
The size and shape of the summit platform of a temple mound was probably
related to the function of the mound, especially to the activities which tran-
spired upon it. Different sizes and shapes may indicate that the same kinds
of activities did not occur on all of the mounds. For example, the "small"
and "narrow" summit of the Pinellas Point temple mound (190 square meter area;
32 m x 5.8 m) probably could not have accommodated the same activities as the
"large" and "broad" summit of the Snead Island temple mound (1100 square meter
area; 46 m x 24 m). Conversely, the "small" and "narrow" summits of the Harbor
Key, Mill Point, and Weeden Island temple mounds are about the same size and
shape and could have been similarly used.
"Greater" and "lesser" volume mounds may have differed in importance and
may have had different functions. The construction of each temple mound in-
volved an enormous expenditure of labor, a considerable amount of time, and
a coordinated work force. The "greater" mounds would have required much more
effort to construct than the "lesser" mounds, most of which have only one-third
the volume, indicating the importance of the former. Based on volume, the
most "important" Tampa Bay area temple mounds are Anclote, Safety Harbor,
LUER AND ALMY
Class A: "large" volume, "low" height, and "broad-topped" temple mounds.
Class B: "large" volume, "high" height, and "broad-topped" temple mounds.
Class C: "small" volume temple mounds.
Group I: "low" height and "broad-topped" temple mounds.
"high" height and "narrow-topped" temple mounds.
I a a -
Figure 3. Diagrams of the Tampa Bay Area Temple Mounds Arranged Accord-
ing to Class. Solid lines of outlines are based on descrip-
tions, including maps and diagrams, and dotted lines of
outlines are conjectural.
Bayshore homes, and Snead Island. These mounds are not close to each other,
but are situated at intervals of 25-30 km along the coast. In contrast, the
more numerous "lesser" mounds can occur much closer to each other (Fig. 1).
The singular "importance" of the Snead Island temple mound is perhaps re-
flected by a lower subsidiary platform abutting the northwestern flank. The
volume of this subsidiary platform itself (about 900 cubic meters) is greater
than the volume of the entire Weeden Island temple mound. When the volume of
the lower subsidiary platform is added to that of the Snead Island temple
mound proper, the mound is clearly the largest temple mound in the Tampa Bay
Also, the "greater" mounds have the largest and broadest summit platforms
(Table 1). Clearly, this is not an accident nor even a geometric consequence
of great volume. "Large" and "broad" summits could have been made on "lesser"
mounds simply by shortening and widening the "lesser" mounds. Also, "narrow"
summits could have been made on "greater" mounds simply by lengthening and
narrowing the mounds. This, however, was not done. As a result, there is
a clear correlation between "large" and "broad" summer platforms and mounds of
greatest volume (Class A and B mounds). Class A and B mounds seem to be par-
ticular types of mounds and are not simply "over-grown" or longer-used Class C
mounds. This agrees with information from other areas where there were distinct
types of Mississippian platform mounds.
Temple Mound Composition
Most of the Tampa Bay area temple mounds had similar compositions. Twelve
of the mounds consisted of sand and shell and at least nine of these twelve
mounds exhibited layering. Two temple mounds, Dunedin and Pillsbury, are re-
ported to have consisted of only sand, and layering was not noted. There is
no information concerning the composition of the Narvaez temple mound.
These mounds were constructed of the most readily available fill materials:
sand and shell. Sand was probably obtained from the local sandy soils, and
sand and shell were taken from shell middens. Borrow pits for sand, however,
were lacking near most of the mounds. Fill was probably transported by basket
loads and Bullen (n.d.) noted a "slight suggestion of basket loading" in the
ramp of the Pillsbury temple mound.
The layered structure of many Tampa Bay area temple mounds suggests that
the mounds were built in stages and that fill was added to the mounds as dis-
crete layers or mantles probably over extended periods of time. Mounds built
gradually would not have needed a single large amount of sand fill, and this
may account for the lack of large borrow pits.
Both "greater" and "lesser" mounds were layered. The addition of suc-
cessive layers of fill would have enlarged the mounds, but it may be suggested
that most additions preserved the general size and shape of the summit plat-
form. This would have been necessary if the size and shape of the summit
platform bore a direct relationship to the function of the mound, and the
function of the mound remained the same. Indeed, the apparent successive addi-
tions of fill to many Class C mounds did not change the "small" and "narrow"
summits into "large" and "broad" summits but did result in making these mounds
taller (Table 1). Even though Class A and B mounds may have served different
functions than did Class C mounds, mounds in each class were layered and prob-
ably were built in successive stages.
LUER AND ALMY
Temple Mound Location
The temple mound data also contain information regarding: 1) the place-
ment of temple mounds at sites; 2) their orientation; 3) the association site;
and 4) the distribution of temple mounds in the Tampa Bay area.
Most temple mounds in the Tampa Bay area were situated immediately to
i the north or east of a plaza. A plaza is recorded lying next to many mounds.
At those sites where a plaza was not noted, the placement of the mound with
respect to the plaza is assumed on the basis that the ramp was oriented toward
the plaza. Six temple mounds lay to the north of plazas, one lay to the north-
east, and five lay to the east; at the extremes, the Bickel temple mound lay
to the east-southeast of a plaza and the Pillsbury temple mound lay to the
west-northwest. Thus, a Tampa Bay area temple mound was neither placed to
the west nor to the south of a plaza.
Six mounds were oriented to the cardinal directions. The basal and
summit axes of four other temple mounds deviated from such alignment by about
20 degrees or less. The ramps of four other temple mounds were aligned either
north-south or east-west suggesting that those mounds also were oriented to
the cardinal directions.
Tampa Bay area temple mounds were associated with large village sites
with substantial shell middens and usually at least one sand burial mound.
These large Safety Harbor period villages were distributed along the coast of
the Tampa Bay area. Specifically, nine of these mounds surrounded Tampa Bay,
five mounds lay on the western shore of the Pinellas peninsula, and one mound
was near Sarasota Bay. Five temple mounds were located at the mouths of major
rivers including one each on the Anclote, Hillsborough, and Alafia Rivers,
and two on the Manatee River. All 15 of these temple mounds were located
within a few hundred meters of tidal waters.
Both the coastal distribution and the association of temple mounds with
large village sites have significant implications. Temple mounds do not occur
at small Safety Harbor period sites located on the shore. Moreover, temple
mounds are not found at Safety Harbor period sites inland from the shore in
the Central Peninsular Gulf coast region. For example, inland Safety Harbor
sites in the region such as Picnic (Willey 1949:335-336; Bullen 1952:61-71;
Jones pers. comm.), Parrish (Willey 1949:142-158; Bullen 1978:51), and Old
Myakka (Almy 1976; H. L. Schoff n.d.) have village areas and one or more burial
mounds, but do not have temple mounds. (A temple mound is recorded at an in-
land site east of Tampa Bay, but the site lies in the Peace River drainage
outside of the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region [Wharton and Williams 1978,
1980; Wharton 1981]). This suggests that the Safety Harbor inhabitants of
small shoreside sites and of sites lying inland from the shore in the Central
Peninsular Gulf Coast region were oriented to the coastal temple towns. Even
the four large Class A and B temple mounds may have been foci for the people
of the more numerous villages with Class C temple mounds. This may account
for the four large temple mounds having been situated at substantial intervals
along the coast of the Tampa Bay area and for the Class C temple mounds having
occurred much closer to each other, several even clustering near the Snead
Island temple mound.
The locations of the Tampa Bay area temple mounds with respect to the
plazas are significant also. The fact that the mounds lay only in certain
directions from the plazas suggests purposeful site planning, and the orienta-
tions of temple mounds indicate the significance of the four cardinal directions.
142 TEMPLE MOUNDS
PT.Point, Harbor Key, BPINELLAS
Figure 4. Distribution of the Thirteen Tampa Bay Area Temple Mounds
Assigned to Classes. Class A: Anclote and Snead Island;
Class B: Safety Harbor and Bayshore Homes; Class C: Dunedin,
Maximo Point, Pinellas Point, Weeden Island, Ft. Brooke, Mill
Point, Harbor Key, Bickel, and Pillsbury.
LUER AND ALMY
Temple Mounds: Further Considerations
Our understanding of Mississippian culture provides new interpretations
concerning: 1) the construction of Tampa Bay area temple mounds; 2) their
use; 3) the geographic distribution of the Safety Harbor peoples; and 4)
possible influences which led to the acceptance of certain Mississippian
traits, such as temple mounds, by prehistoric inhabitants of the Central
Peninsular Gulf Coast region.
Temple Mound Construction
The layers of sand and shell which composed many Tampa Bay area temple
mounds suggest that the mounds structurally resembled other Mississippian
platform mounds. In northern Florida and in Georgia, such Mississippian
platform mounds as the Ft. Walton temple mound, Mound 2 at the Lake Jackson
site, Mounds A, B, and C at Cemochechobee, and the temple mound and funeral
mound at Ocmulgee are composed of distinct layers or mantles (Griffin 1950;
Pope 1956; Fairbanks 1965; Lazarus and Fornaro 1975; Schnell et al.1979).
The mantles apparently represent discrete, periodic additions to mounds which
were used for centuries. For example, the recent excavations at Cemochechobee,
an early Mississippian site in central western Georgia, disclosed ten mantles
composing Mound B which were added separately over the course of several
centuries (Schnell et al. 1979:209-210,398).
Archaeological evidence suggests that the addition of mantles to Miss-
issippian platform mounds had religious significance. The excavation of
Mound A at Cemochechobee revealed ". evidences of summit ceremonialism.
which pertained ". not to the prior mantle stage but to the subsequent
one;" that is, ceremonies occurred "immediately prior to the next con-
struction ." (Schnell et al. 1979:195). Some final mantles at Cemochecho-
bee may even ". .represent ceremonial aspects of a planned abandonment;"
the final mantles on both Mounds A and B consisted of a clay cap covered by
a sand coat (Schnell et al.1979:204). Clay caps occur also on Mounds 2 and 4
at the Lake Jackson site (Griffin 1950:99-101).
Evidence of Mississippian ceremonialism, including platform mound con-
struction, has been interpreted using historic accounts and ethnographic
studies of the Green Corn or Busk ceremony and other rituals of the historic
southeastern Indians (Waring 1968; Howard 1968; Schnell et al.1979). Indeed,
regarding the Southeastern Green Corn ceremony, Howard writes that ". .an
understanding of its procedures, ritual equipment, and ground plan is basic
to the interpretation of the archaeology of Mississippian ceremonial centers"
(1968:88). In interpreting evidences of Mississippian ceremony, Waring
(1968:57) cites the importance to the Creek of extinguishing "the old year's
fire" and kindling ". a new fire each year at the busk." Regarding the
addition of mantles to some Mississippian platform mounds, Waring writes that:
the periodicity shown by the central pyramidal mounds can
well be conjectured, and a process of presenting a completely
new mound surface to the new fire may even have been a yearly
affair. As these accretional deposits grew there was a shift
to fewer and higher mound-building efforts (1968:58)
The addition of mantles to other platform mounds, however, "might well take
place upon the death of .individuals," such as the chief and "other high
officials" (Waring 1968:58).
Possibly, the construction of the Tampa Bay area temple mounds can be
interpreted also through consideration of the Busk ceremony and other rituals
of historic southeastern Indians and through consideration of evidence of
Mississippian ceremonialism. The layers in many Tampa Bay area temple mounds,
for example, may represent separate mantles which were added periodically in
connection with ceremonial activities. Many of these mounds may have been
used for centuries during which many successive mantles could have been added.
Perhaps the uppermost layer of some mounds represents a cap which was added
as part of a ceremony of mound abandonment. The abandonment of a Tampa Bay
area temple mound followed by a shift to another temple mound could help to
account for the presence of several temple mounds in a relatively small area.
Another clue to temple mound construction may lie in an historic account of
a Busk ceremony which records that fill was added to a square ground and sub-
sequently added to a mound (Schnell et al.1979:209). Similar ceremonial
activities involving a plaza and a temple mound could account for the re-
latively small size or lack of borrow pits near the Tampa Bay area temple
Temple Mound Use
Like many Mississippian platform mounds, the Tampa Bay area temple mounds
apparently were substructural mounds for buildings constructed on the summits.
Archaeological excavation has revealed post holes, possibly of structures, in
at least two summit levels of the Safety Harbor temple mound (Griffin and
Bullen 1950:17). There is an historic account which mentions a structure
upon a "high mount" at the Indian village of Ucita near Tampa Bay (Smith
There were apparently at least two functionally different kinds of
Mississippian substructural mounds. The structures on some platform mounds
. undoubtedly served as the actual residence of the Mikos [chief] and
other high officials" (Waring 1968:58). Based on studies of the Busk cere-
mony and on archaeological evidence, Waring has hypothesized that other plat-
form mounds such as the "large central mounds on southeastern sites supported
prototypes of the square-ground complex" of the historic Busk ceremony
Possibly, the different classes of Tampa Bay area temple mounds are the
result of some mounds having supported chiefs' houses, while others supported
larger and more elaborate structures where Mississippian ceremonies took place.
Research has shown that the square-ground where the Busk ceremony was performed
by historic southeastern Indians was a direct outgrowth of the large rectan-
gular communal structures, the remains of which have been found archaeolog-
ically on the summits of Mississippian platform mounds ." (Howard 1968:34).
The "broad" summit platforms of the Class A and B Tampa Bay area temple mounds
resemble the rectangular shape of historic square-grounds (Howard 1968:124,
132-133). The summits of these Class A and B mounds are aligned with the
cardinal directions like the square-grounds which were ". oriented by the
pole star to the four corners of the compass" (Howard 1968:125). That a Tampa
Bay area temple mound supported a chief's house is documented historically
(Smith 1968:32-37). Perhaps the summits of Class C temple mounds supported
chief's houses and were not "large" and "broad" enough to accommodate the
ceremonies possibly performed on Class A and B mounds.
Tampa Bay area temple mounds also were used for burials as were many other
Mississippian platform mounds in the southeastern United States. These burials
LUER AND ALMY
were often of "high status" individuals (Pope 1956; Fairbanks 1965; Larson
1971; Schnell et al.1979). In the Tampa Bay area, however, only a few burials
have been found in temple mounds, some in the ramps and others in the mound
proper. Possible "high status" items such as exogenous ceramics and Safety
Harbor Incised water bottles were not associated with any of these burials,
but these have been found in sand burial mounds of the Safety Harbor period.
The ramps of Tampa Bay area temple mounds provided access to the summits
of the steep-sided mounds. Possibly the ramps were stepped as were the ramps
of other platform mounds in the southeastern United States (Schnell et al.
1979:150-151; Lewis and Kneberg 1946; Fairbanks 1956). Inset steps similar
to those on the side of the "funeral mound" at Ocmulgee (Pope 1956) could
explain the lack of a ramp on the Snead Island temple mound--or possibly the
ramp was destroyed by recent construction (Adams 1962:98-99). The lack of
a ramp may be another special attribute of the Snead Island temple mound.
The plazas associated with the Tampa Bay area temple mounds could have
served several functions. Bullen (1955:60) suggests that games and ceremonies
could have taken place on the plazas. Recently, Howard (1968:61-63, 142-148,
150) has hypothesized that Mississippian plazas served as ball grounds for
the single-pole ball game. As mentioned above, plazas may have functioned in
the construction of temple mounds as earth was ceremonially deposited and
removed from the surface of the plaza.
Distribution of Safety Harbor Peoples
A greater understanding of how the Safety Harbor peoples were distributed
can be gained by combining historic and other archaeological evidence with the
temple mound data presented above.
Accounts of the Narvaez, DeSoto, and Menendez expeditions, as well as
the account of Fonteneda, refer to towns located at Tampa Bay (Bullen 1978).
When Menendez visited the Calusa chief, Carlos, he learned of another power-
ful "chief" residing to the north, apparently in the Tampa Bay area. Menendez
and Carlos sailed northward to meet this chief, Tocobaga, and disembarked at
his village which was located on the shore. The account of this expedition
records that Tocobaga was able to summon 29 "subchiefs" from the surrounding
area who arrived within four days (Solis de Merds 1964:228). If each of these
"subchiefs" represented a village or town, there must have been many towns
located within a short distance of Tampa Bay. DeSoto also disembarked at a
shoreside village in the Tampa Bay area. The account reports a chief's house
near the beach on a very high hill which had been artificially built (Smith
1968:23-27). Thus, historic accounts suggest many villages near Tampa Bay,
and record that many lesser chiefs paid allegiance to an important chief of
a coastal village.
There is archaeological evidence that, during the Safety Harbor period,
one of the most intensely inhabited areas was near the mouth of the Manatee
River. In referring to this area, Stirling wrote that "the largest sand mound
which the writer has yet seen was located near Palma Sola [Pillsbury temple
mound]. ." and that "the village to which the mound belonged .. was pro-
bably the largest of all the Tampa Bay sites" (Stirling 1930:86). Indeed,
there existed in this area a Class A temple mound, three Class C temple mounds,
numerous shell middens, and about a dozen burial mounds which have yielded
artifacts of the Safety Harbor period (Wainwright 1916; Bullen 1951;
Bullen et al.1952; Tallent n.d.; Burger 1979; Florida Master Site File;
personal communication with local informants). The three Class C temple
mounds were located near the Snead Island temple mound, the largest temple
mound in the Tampa Bay area and the only one with a subsidiary platform.
In the southeastern United States, subsidiary platforms are not common, but
occur on some of the largest and most important platform mounds. For example,
. the central mound at Etowah, the big mound at Moundville, Monk's
Mound at Cahokia, and Mound A at Macon all have an 'apron' or lower
subsidiary platform to one side ." (Waring 1968:56-57). All of these
mounds were at sites of regional importance. Furthermore, these four sites,
and only the Snead Island site in the Tampa Bay area, have smaller mounds
which surround the plaza. Thus, by analogy with archaeological evidence, it
may be suggested that the Snead Island temple mound had regional importance
in the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region.
There is even more evidence to suggest intense occupation of the southern
Tampa Bay area during the Safety Harbor period. Two additional temple mounds
may have existed near the mouth of the Manatee River: the Kennedy Mound on
Terra Ceia Island appears to have been a ceremonial mound (Bullen
1951:35, Fig. 1) and, at Bishop Harbor, a second temple mound (Harbor Key II,
Fig. 1) may have existed in addition to the one on Harbor Key (Burger 1979:102).
If these were indeed temple mounds, there would have been six such mounds near
the mouth of the Manatee River. Also on southern Tampa Bay,at least four
temple mounds occur on the southwestern shore of the Pinellas peninsula 20 km
across Tampa Bay from the Manatee River (Fig. 1).
Still other temple mounds probably existed along the shores of Tampa Bay.
At Bull Frog Creek, near the eastern shore of Tampa Bay, Walker (1880b) re-
corded a large shell mound which may have been a temple mound. Near the mouth
of the Little Manatee River, there was a large shell mound (8Hi536) with a "long
ramp" (Miller 1962; Florida Master Site File). Hence, there may have been,
all together, 19 temple mounds along the coast of the Tampa Bay area.
Immediately outside of the Tampa Bay area were other temple mounds. To
the south, one may have existed near Englewood (Bullen and Bullen 1963). Al-
though Bullen mentioned this possible temple mound in a brief article dealing
with the Safety Harbor period of the Tampa Bay area (Bullen 1971), it is un-
known whether or not this mound was similar to Tampa Bay area temple mounds.
As previously mentioned, to the east of the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast
region, "a large rectangular platform sand mound ." has been recorded in
Hardee county (Wharton 1981:5). In Pasco county, located just to the north
of the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region, a roughly rectangular, flat-
topped mound lacking a ramp was described by Walker (1880a:392; P1. 1).
The distribution of the Tampa Bay area temple mounds may well reflect the
occurrence of a single cultural group. As mentioned above, Ripley Bullen
recently assigned these mounds to the Tocobaga Indians, the bearers of the
Safety Harbor culture (Bullen 1978). Luer has found that at least three flat-
topped mounds in the Charlotte Harbor area, which apparently are temple mounds,
are distinct from the Tampa Bay area temple mounds. These three flat-topped
mounds--the Acline Mound at the Aqui Esta site near Punta Gorda [Luer 1980],
the Howard Shell Mound on Bokeelia Island [Luer n.d.:l1, and Brown's Mound at
the Pineland site on Pine Island [Luer n.d.:21--each lack a ramp and have a
U-shaped summit platform. The southwestern coast of Florida was occupied by
another cultural group, the Calusa Indians (Goggin and Sturtevant 1964; Lewis
1978), and differences in temple mound configuration may reflect the distribu-
tion and the cultural boundary of the Tocobaga and the Calusa Indians.
LUER AND ALMY
Temple Mound Origins
The practice of building and using temple or platform mounds did not
originate in the Tampa Bay area. Although ". the concept of the temple
mound is Mesoamerican in origin," the practice was adopted by many peoples,
and temple mounds and plazas occur widely in eastern North America after
about A.D. 900 (Wicke 1965:410). Temple mounds spread into eastern North
America apparently from northeastern Mexico (Wicke 1965:413-414) and into
Florida apparently from adjacent areas of the southeastern United States.
The earliest date obtained for a platform mound in Florida is A.D. 1111 from
a temple mound in the Apalachicola valley (Scarry 1980:43). In the Central
Peninsular Gulf Coast region, an explanation for the adoption of building and
using temple mounds can perhaps be based on two apparent conditions: 1) con-
tact between the inhabitants of the Tampa Bay area and other southeastern
Indians, and 2) a fairly sizeable and settled population around Tampa Bay.
Inhabitants of the Tampa Bay area could have learned of platform mounds
through the extracultural contact possibly provided by trade as evidenced by
the occurrence of artifacts Of marine shell at many Mississippian sites
throughout the southeast. Many of these artifacts were made from shell of
the left-handed whelk (Busycon contrarium) which is abundant along the penin-
sular Gulf coast of Florida, especially in and near Tampa Bay. Whelk shells
could have been traded to the people of northern Florida in exchange for
certain ceramics. Sherds of such northern Florida ceramic types as Ft. Walton
Incised, Lake Jackson Plain, and Pt. Washington Incised occur in many sand
burial mounds along the peninsular Gulf coast (Moore 1905:302; Bullen,
Partridge, and Harris 1970; Luer 1980), especially in Safety Harbor period
burial mounds around Tampa Bay (Willey 1949; Bullen 1952; Ostrander 1960;
Sears 1967). In turn, the peoples of northern Florida may have traded whelk
shells to peoples even farther north in return for items of copper, mica, and
steatite (Jones 1980:168-170). Significantly, there is archaeological evidence
that this trade was maintained by "high status groups" closely associated with
temple mounds (Larson 1971:66; Schnell et al.1979:89,121-123; Jones 1980).
Hence, there was apparently a direct link between trade and temple mounds.
A fairly large and settled population of Indians in the Central Penin-
sular Gulf Coast region could have accepted temple mound ceremonialism.
Clearly, Mississippian ceremonialism was not suited to small, nomadic groups.
Sizeable and settled groups, however, could have accepted the use of platform
mounds which supported structures and which required considerable labor to
build. That temple mound cermonialism helped to reinforce the social structure
of fairly large and settled groups is suggested by the spread of temple mounds
in the southeastern United States which apparently accompanied the rise of
complex chiefdoms (Schnell et al.1979:205; Scarry 1980:43). It is well known
that many of these southeastern Mississippian groups developed intensive
agriculture. Indeed, much Mississippian ceremonialism apparently was agri-
culturally oriented. Its outgrowth, the historic Busk ceremony,
was, and is, often called the Green Corn ceremony, as it
took place at the time when the maize or green corn had matured
sufficiently to be eaten. In fact the Busk is basically an
agricultural rite, and one of its main functions was to prepare
the people to eat this important food crop .(Howard 1968:81).
Unfortunately, there is yet no archaeological evidence for maize cultivation
by prehistoric inhabitants of the Tampa Bay area. It would appear from the
connection between temple mounds, Mississippian ceremonialism, and maize
cultivation in much of the southeastern United States, however, that maize
was cultivated by the Safety Harbor peoples. Indeed, Willey (1949), Griffin
and Bullen (1952), Bullen (1955), and Goodyear (n.d.) have suggested that the
Safety Harbor peoples practiced agriculture in addition to hunting, shellfish
collecting, and fishing. Some cultivation of maize around Tampa Bay even may
have preceded the Safety Harbor period and may have helped to support fairly
large, settled groups which could have been ready to accept Mississippian
culture including temple mound ceremonialism.
Another possible influence which could have contributed to the adoption
of temple mounds by Indians of the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region was
the possible arrival of some Mississippian Indians from outside of the region.
Immigrant Mississippian Indians may have influenced many aspects of Tampa Bay
aboriginal culture. For example, they could have introduced the manufacture
of certain kinds of Mississippian ceramics such as water bottles. Many
Safety Harbor Incised water bottles bear Mississippian motifs of the South-
eastern Ceremonial Complex (Howard 1968) such as concentric circles of the
"sun circle" motif (Sears 1967:Fig.10:1) and human hand motifs (Moore 1905:
302; Bullen 1952:Fig.22:1; Warren, Bushnell, and Spence 1965: Sears 1967:
Fig.8:l; Luer 1980). On some Safety Harbor Incised water bottles, red paint
was used ". to fill incised lines," a classic Mississippian trait (Sears
1967:42). "Even a Caddoan ear spool, complete to the kind of stone material
and copper coating .came from the Picnic Mound (Bullen 1952:Fig.22)"
according to Sears (1967:69). Perhaps even the manufacture of Pinellas Plain
pottery, a ceramic ware which appeared around A.D. 800 or soon thereafter in
the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region (Luer and Almy 1980), could have been
introduced by Mississippian Indians from outside of the region. Pinellas Plain
pottery is related to several Mississippian ceramic types, including the Ingram
Plain ware of Georgia, which have similar ware characteristics and even share
lip-notching or "nicking" (Schnell et al.1979:283-285). Finally, in dis-
cussing the possible movement of peoples and the spread of temple mounds,
Wicke (1965:417-418) has noted the importance of water-routes for aboriginal
transportation, especially major rivers. Although the Tampa Bay area is not
accessible to the southeast by major rivers, the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast
region is directly accessible by protected Gulf waters.
The distribution of temple mounds presented in this paper shows that the
habitation of southern Tampa Bay was more intense than previously recognized.
Moreover, the existence of a large and regionally important temple mound with
a subsidiary platform and a plaza surrounded by other mounds was previously
unknown. The location of this mound, the Snead Island temple mound, not only
reflects the prominence of southern Tampa Bay, but may cause archaeologists
to reconsider the "location: and "archaeological identity" of the village
of Tocobaga. Fontaneda wrote:
Between Abalachi and Olagale is a river the Indians call Gausaca-
esqui, which means in our language, Rio de Cafas (river of canes).
On this river, arm of the sea, and coast, are the pearls, which are
got in certain oysters and conchs. They are carried to all the pro-
vinces and villages of Florida, but principally to Tocobaga, the
nearest town; because in it resides the king, who is chief cacique
LUER AND ALMY
of the region lying on the right-hand side coming to Habana.
He is called Tocobaga chile, has many vassals, and is an in-
dependent king. He lives inland on the last cape of the river
According to Solis de Meras (1964:224), Menendez sailed ". in the direction
of Tocobaga; he arrived at the harbor ." and "one could sail up close
to the side of his [Tocobaga's] house by a channel of salt water .
While these two descriptions traditionally have been applied to Old Tampa
Bay and the Safety Harbor site (Willey 1949; Bullen 1978) the descriptions
could apply equally well to the Manatee River and the Snead Island site. "A
channel of salt water" leading from a "harbor" aptly describes the Manatee
River and Tampa Bay (Fig. 1). When sailing out of the Manatee River, Snead
Island lies inland just to the right beyond the last cape of the river, McKay
Point. It should be noted that this area has yielded much evidence of his-
toric Safety Harbor Indians.
The authors also would like to make some remarks concerning some recent
research in Hardee county just to the east of the Central Peninsular Gulf
Coast region. It has been argued that the Hardee county area was neither a
"hinterland" nor a "no-man's land," but was an area with its own history of
cultural development. Even the existence of a platform mound in eastern Hardee
county has been reported.
The occurrence of a platform mound in Hardee county is interesting con-
sidering the temple mound evidence presented above. This mound, the Bostic
temple mound, has an associated village area and a burial mound that is coeval
with the Safety Harbor period of the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region
(Bullen 1954; Wharton and Williams 1980:217). Furthermore, the Bostic temple
mound is of tremendous size, reported to have a base of 92 m by 55 m and a
height of 4.5 to 6.5 m (Wharton 1981). The presence of a temple town, of
water bottles in burial mounds in both Hardee county (Jones, pers. comm.) and
De Soto county (Willey 1949:346), and of other Mississippian artifacts in the
area suggest that the inhabitants of the Peace River drainage participated in
the Mississippian cultural complex.
We suggest that the location and great size of the Bostic temple mound
are evidence that Indians in the Peace River drainage were oriented to an
inland temple town. We doubt, however, that the advent of "agricultural
production" resulted in ". the upset of the balance of political power"
and the eclipse of so-called "formerly nuclear" areas "such as the Tampa Bay
coastal zone ." by the Hardee county area (Wharton and Williams 1980:219).
In contrast, we suggest that the inhabitants of both the Peace River drainage
and the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast region participated in similar but
distinct cultural and political developments, the inhabitants of each area
maintaining their own cultural and political centerss.
In this first study of the temple mounds of the Tampa Bay area, three
classes of temple mounds are distinguished by volume, height, and the shape
and area of the summit platform. The three classes of temple mounds probably
had different functions, but most of the mounds were situated immediately to
the north or east of a plaza, were aligned to the four cardinal directions,
were composed of layers of fill, and all were located at village sites near
tidal waters. This information is interpreted further using archaeological,
ethnohistoric, and ethnographic information from Florida and from elsewhere
in the southeastern United States. New interpretations are offered concerning
the Tampa Bay area temple mounds which were constructed in stages and pro-
bably used as substructural platform mounds in connection with Mississippian
ceremony. Also, new interpretations are offered concerning the relationship
of the Safety Harbor peoples, who primarily lived on the coast and on southern
Tampa Bay in particular, to inland and more southern coastal groups.
The authors wish to thank Dr. Adelaide K. Bullen for giving us permission
to use the late Dr. Ripley P. Bullen's field notes concerning the Pillsbury
site. We also wish to thank Dr. Jerald T. Milanich for helping us with the
field notes. We appreciate very much the assistance of personnel at the
Division of Archives, History, and Records Management: Mary Katherine Jones
and Claudine Payne provided information from the Florida Master Site File
and Calvin Jones shared his knowledge of various sites with us. Phil Werndli,
former Director of the Historic Tampa/Hillsborough County Preservation Board,
graciously provided information concerning early sketch maps of Ft. Brooke
and the Ft. Brooke temple mound.
Adams, Robert M.
1962 The Romance of Snead Island. Florida Historical Quarterly
Almy, Marion M.
1976 A Survey and Assessment of Known Archaeological Sites in Sarasota
County, Florida. Masters thesis on file at Department of Anthro-
pology, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Bullen, Ripley P.
1950 Tests at the Whitaker Site, Sarasota, Florida. Florida Anthro-
1951 The Terra Ceia Site, Manatee County, Florida. Florida Anthro -
pological Society Publications, No. 3.
1952 Eleven Archaeological Sites in Hillsborough County, Florida,
Florida Geological Survey, Report of Investigations, No. 8,
1954 The Davis Mound, Hardee County, Florida. Florida Anthro-
1955 Archaeology of the Tampa Bay Area. Florida Historical Quarterly
1971 The Safety Harbor Period: A Brief Statement. Southeastern
Archeological Conference (1961), Newsletter 10:50-51.
LUER AND ALMY
1978 Tocobaga Indians and the Safety Harbor Culture. IN: Tacachale:
Essays on the Indians of Florida and Southeastern Georgia
During the Historic Period. J. T. Milanich and S. Proctor (eds.).
The University of Presses of Florida, pp. 50-58. Gainesville.
n.d. Field Notes Concerning the Pillsbury Site in the possession
of Adelaide K. Bullen, Florida State Museum, Gainesville.
Bullen, Ripley P. and Adelaide K. Bullen
1963 The Lemon Bay School Mound. Florida Anthropologist 16:51-65.
Bullen, Ripley P., William L. Partridge, and Donald A. Harris
1970 The Safford Burial Mound, Tarpon Springs, Florida. Florida
Bullen, Ripley P., G. R. Reeder, B. Bell, and B. Whisenant
1952 The Harbor Key Site, Manatee County, Florida. Florida Anthro-
1979 Man in the Coastal Zone: Bishop Harbor/Terra Ceia Island,
Manatee County, Florida. Unpublished B.A. Thesis on file at
New College of the University of South Florida, Sarasota.
n.d. Map of Ma-17 (Snead Island temple mound) and surrounding
mounds. On file, Florida Department of Archives, History
and Records Management, Tallahassee.
1962 The Maximo Point Site--1962. Florida Anthropologist 15:89-101.
Fairbanks, Charles H.
1965 Excavations at the Fort Walton Temple Mound, 1960. Florida
Fewkes, J. W.
1924 Preliminary Archaeological Explorations at Weeden Island,
Florida. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections,
Fisher, Elizabeth A.
1980 Report of Excavations of the Ft. Brooke Site (8-Hi-13).
Florida Scientist 43:221-224.
Goggin, John M. and William C. Sturtevant
1964 The Calusa: A Stratified, Non-Agricultural Society (with notes
on Sibling Marriage). IN Explorations in Cultural Anthro-
pology. W. H. Goodenough (ed.), McGraw-Hill, pp. 179-219.
Goodyear, Albert C.
1968 Pinellas Point: A Possible Site of Continuous Indian Habitation.
Florida Anthropologist 21:74-82.
n.d. Political and Religious Change in the Tampa Bay Timucua: An
Ethnohistoric Reconstruction. MS on file at the Department of
Anthropology, University of South Florida, Tampa.
Griffin, John W.
1950 Test Excavations at the Lake Jackson Site. American Antiquity
Griffin, John W. and Ripley P. Bullen
1950 The Safety Harbor Site, Pinellas County, Florida.
Anthropological Society Publications, No. 2.
The Southeastern Ceremonial Complex and Its Interpretation.
Memoir of the Missouri Archaeological Society, No. 6. Columbia.
Jones, B. Calvin
1980 Florida Anthropologist Interview with Calvin Jones. Florida
Archaeological Implications of Social Stratification at the
Etowah Site, Georgia. IN: Approaches to the Social Dimensions
of Mortuary Practices. J. A. Brown (ed.). Society for American
Archaeology Memoir No. 25.
Lazarus, Yulee W. and Robert Fornaro
1975 Fort Walton Temple Mound, Further Test Excavations,
De Pauw 1973. Florida Anthropologist 28(4):159-177.
Lewis, Clifford M.
1978 The Calusa. IN: Tacachale: Essays on the Indians of
Florida and Southeastern Georgia During the Historic Period.
J. T. Milanich and S. Proctor (eds). The University Presses
of Florida, pp. 19-49. Gainesville.
Lewis, Thomas M. N. and Madeline Kneberg
1946 Hiwassee Island, an Archaeological Account of Four Tennessee
Indian Peoples. University Press, Knoxville.
The Aqui Esta Site at Charlotte Harbor: A Safety Harbor-
Influenced Prehistoric Aboriginal Site. Paper presented to
the 1980 Florida Anthropological Society Meeting, Winter
n.d.l Notes on the Aboriginal Archaeology and Natural Environment
of the Bokeelia Island area. Manuscript in preparation.
n.d.2 The Pineland Site on Pine Island, Florida. Manuscript in
M. and Marion M. Almy
The Development of Some Aboriginal Pottery of the Central
Peninsular Gulf Coast of Florida. Florida Anthropologist
M., Marion M. Almy and Richard E. Almy
Unpublished notes and contour maps of Snead Island Site.
Notes in possession of authors.
LUER AND ALMY
Miller, W. D.
1962 Bahia Beach. Then and Now. Logan's Printing Co., Tampa.
Moore, Clarence B.
1900 Certain Antiquities of the Florida West Coast. Journal of
the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 11:350-394.
1905 Aboriginal Remains of Black Warrior River, Lower Tombigbee
River, Mobile Bay and Mississippi Sound, and Miscellaneous
Investigations in Florida. Journal of the Academy of Natural
Sciences of Philadelphia, Vol. 13, Philadelphia.
1960 The Johns Pass Mound. (Comment: W. H. Sears). Florida
Piper, Harry M., Joan Deming, and J. G. Piper
1981 Archaeological Survey in the Corridor of the Tampa South
Crosstown Expressway, Eastern Extension: Morgan Street to
Nebraska Avenue, Hillsborough County, Florida. Manuscript
on file at Piper Archaeology, Inc., St. Petersburg.
Pope, G. D., Jr.
1956 Ocmulgee National Monument, Georgia. Historical Handbook
No. 24, National Park Service, Washington.
Scarry, John F.
1980 The Chronology of Fort Walton Development in the Upper
Apalachicola Valley, Florida. Southeastern Archaeological
Conference Bulletin No. 22, Gainesville.
Schnell, Frank T., Vernon J. Knight, Jr., and Gail S. Schnell
1979 Cemochechobee: Archeological Investigations at the Walter
F. George Dam Mound Site, 9 Cla 62, Clay County, Georgia.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers--Mobile District and Interagency
Archaeological Service, Atlanta.
Schoff, H. L.
n.d. Acquisition Card for Water Bottle from Wilson Mound in Old
Myakka, Florida. Copy in possession of the authors.
Sears, William H.
1958 The Maximo Point Site. Florida Anthropologist 11:1-10.
1960 The Bayshore Homes Site, St. Petersburg, Florida. Contributions
of the Florida State Museum, Social Sciences, Number 6.
1967 The Tierra Verde Burial Mound. Florida Anthropologist 20:25-73.
1944 Memoir of D d'Escalente Fontaneda Respecting Florida Written
in Spain about the Year 1775. Translated from the Spanish with
Notes by Buckingham Smith (revision of 1854 Edition), Coral Gables.
1968 Narratives of de Soto in the Conquest of Florida. Original
translated edition 1866. Gainesville.
Solis de Meres, Gonzalo
1964 Pedro Menendez de Aviles. Facsimile of the 1923 edition,
translated and edited by J. T, Conner. University of Florida
Stirling, Mathew W.
1930 Prehistoric Mounds in the Vicinity of Tampa Bay, Florida.
Explorations and Field Work of the Smithsonian Institution
for 1929. Pp. 183-186. Washington.
1931 Mounds of the Vanished Calusa Indians of Florida. Explorations
and Field Work of the Smithsonian Institution for 1930.
n.d. Field Log, June 14-21, 1936. Copy in possession of the
Unites States Geological Survey
1964 Anna Maria Quadrangle Map, 7.5 minute series, photo-revised
1974 Seminole Quadrangle Map, 7.5 minute series.
United States National Archives
circa Sketch Map of Cantonment Brooke, Record Group 92, Cartographic
1824 Division, Washington, D.C.
circa Sketch of the Military Reserve at Fort Brooke, Record Group 92,
1840's Cartographic Division, Washington, D.C.
Wainwright, R. D.
1916 Two Months Research in the Sand and Shell Mounds of Florida.
Archaeological Bulletin 7:139-144.
Walker, S. I.
1880a Preliminary Explorations among the Indian Mounds in Southern
Florida. Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for the Year
1879, pp. 392-413.
1880b Report on Shell Heaps of Tampa Bay, Florida. Smithsonian
Institution Annual Report for the Year 1879, pp. 413-422.
Waring, Antonio J., Jr.
1968 The Southern Cult and Muskhogean Ceremonial. IN: The Waring
Papers, The Collected Works of Antonio J. Waring, Jr. Stephen
Williams (ed.). Peabody Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge,
Warren, Lyman O., Francis Bushnell, and Gerald Spence
1965 Six Contributions to the Hand Motif from the Safety Harbor
Burial Mound on Cabbage Key, Pinellas County, Florida. Florida
LUER AND ALMY
Wharton, Barry R.
1981 The Bostic Temple Mound Site, Hardee County, Florida. Abstract.
Florida Scientist 44:3.
Wharton, Barry R. and J. Raymond Williams
1979 An Appraisal of Hardee County Archaeology: Hinterland or
Heartland? Abstract. Florida Scientist 42:9.
1980 An Appraisal of Hardee County Archaeology: Hinterland or
Heartland? Florida Scientist 43:215-220.
Wicke, Charles R.
1965 Pyramids and Temple Mounds: Mesoamerican Ceremonial Archi-
tecture in Eastern North America. American Antiquity
30(4):409-420. Salt Lake City.
Willey, Gordon R.
1949 Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast. Smithsonian Miscellaneous
Collections, Vol. 113. Washington, D.C.
George M. Luer
Marion M. Almy
A QUALITATIVE FIELD METHOD FOR DETERMINING
THE PRESENCE OF PHOSPHORUS IN SOILS
John M. King
Archaeologists in their efforts to improve site surveying are con-
stantly in search of new methods. All too often the determination of where
to excavate within a site becomes a hit or miss proposition. In these efforts
to establish more accurate and scientific surveying, increasing use is being
made of the analysis of soils by chemical methods.
The enrichment of soils by human activities has been well documented by
Arrhenius (1954), Cook and Heizer (1965), Sjoberg (1976), and Eidt (1977).
Of the chemical compounds deposited in the soil by human activities, phos-
phorus appears to be the most durable and reliable over the long time span
used by archaeologists. There is very little leaching or dispersal of phos-
phorus from the area in which it is originally deposited (Black 1957).
Various methods have been developed for the detection of phosphorus in
soils. Unfortunately, most require expensive equipment, a chemical laboratory,
and much time. Any method devised for field operations should be inexpensive,
readily available, easy to use, fast, and still remain relatively reliable.
One such field test has been described by Eidt in American Antiquity
(Eidt 1973:206), but, this method can be rather sensitive and often gives
artificially high results. A modified version of the Fiske and Subbarow
(1925:375) procedure for phosphorus assay also fulfills the requirements of
a good field test without the problems of the Eidt method.
Field Testing Kit
The necessary items of equipment are 2 bottles 250ml size, 2 glass
pipettes, desired amount of three to four ml glass test tubes, a tube rack,
post hole digger, and a small trowel. Glass pipettes and test tubes are pre-
ferred because of the east in cleaning and they do not become contaminated as
easily or quickly as the plastic types.
The chemicals required are ammonium molybdate, sulfuric acid, 1-amino-
2-napthol-4-sulfonic acid, sodium sulfite, and sodium bisulfite. These are
common chemicals and are readily available in most chemical laboratories.
Based on 1981 chemical catalog prices, the cost of the chemicals for each kit
will be between $1.42 to $2.50 depending on the procurement source.
One ml of solution A is required for each sample that is to be processed.
By using 250ml containers for solutions A and B, 250 samples may be processed
before more solutions are needed. By gridding the area to be surveyed and
plotting the samples to be taken, it will be possible to determine the approx-
imate amount of solutions that are going to be needed in the field.
VOL. 34 NO. 3
The chemicals are prepared in two solutions which will remain useful for
about thirty days if uncontaminated. In warm weather, one of the solutions
must be kept cool as explained below. There is no need to mix a fresh batch
Solution A is prepared by mixing 2.5g ammonium molybdate, 100ml 10M
sulfuric acid, and 810ml of distilled water.
Solution B is prepared by mixing Ig l-amino-2-napthol-4-sulfonic acid,
6g sodium sulfite, 60g sodium bisulfite, and 500ml of distilled water.
Emphasis must be placed upon the dangers inherent in the handling of
sulfuric acid, particularly for those not familiar with the acid. Sulfuric
acid causes severe burns of the skin. Contact with the bare skin should there-
fore be avoided. When preparing the solutions, rubber or polythene gloves
should be worn. Goggles should also be worn in the event of splashes. During
the preparations it is strongly recommended that a fume hood be utilized. If
contamination of the skin should occur, wash immediately with plenty of soap
and running water. The soap will act as a neutralizer of the acid.
When mixing chemicals and water always add the acids to the water. Water
will dissipate the heat generated by chemical reactions faster than the acids
will. When water is added to acids, the generated heat can cause splashing
or spewing of the solution out of the container.
One of the glass pipettes is prepared by marking with a waterproof marker
at the measured Iml level. This pipette is to be used only with solution A.
The other pipette is for use with solution B and does not require any markings.
To perform testing in the field, dig a hole with the post hole digger.
Scrape the wall of the hole with a clean trowel to remove any contamination
from other levels. When several samples are to be taken from the same hole
at different levels, it is preferable to take the samples from the bottom-most
level and work upwards. This procedure will minimize the risk of having soils
falling from the upper levels and contaminating the lower levels.
If the hole is too deep to reach with a trowel, a long-handled soup spoon
bent in the shape of a scoop may be used to reach the sample level. Remove
about 50mg of soil from the sample and place it in a test tube. 50mg of soil
is roughly equivalent to the amount that will fit on the very tip of a small
trowel. The quantity of soil is not extremely critical as long as all the
samples are of approximately the same size. The remainder of the sample should
be retained in a sealed container for possible analysis later. The bag and
test tube will need to be marked, especially if a large number will be pro-
Add Iml of solution A to the 50mg of soil in the test tube with the
marked pipette and shake the mixture for a few seconds. Add three drops of
solution B and shake the mixture for about twenty seconds or until the soil
appears to be well mixed with the chemicals. After fifteen minutes the samples
may be visually compared to each other and to samples that have been obtained
from an area known to be outside the area being surveyed.
The sample mixture will change to a shade of blue depending on the amount
of phosphorus present in the soil. The color may range from clear to opaque
blue-black. The samples must be qualitatively compared to each other and the
samples used as standards. A notation such as low, medium, or high may then
be placed on a grid map at the location of the sample.
The sample mixture will reach its final color in fifteen minutes then will
remain stable. Samples processed by this method have been observed over a
36-hour period without any noticeable degradation of the color.
Phosphorus is a naturally occurring mineral in soils and is a vital part
of plant nourishment. The phosphorus is extracted from the soil by plants,
then redeposited by decay when the plant dies. A very small portion of the
redeposited phosphorus will become fixed in the soil by chemical action with
other compounds. If this cycle of growth and decay is interrupted, such as
occurs in cropland areas, the phosphorus is not returned to the soil naturally
and must be replaced by human intervention in the form of fertilizers.
Phosphorus applied as fertilizer does not move laterally and becomes
stabilized in the plow zone, just as naturally occurring phosphorus stabi-
lizes in the root zone. These applied concentrations of phosphorus and
naturally occurring phosphorus will rarely approach the amounts that result
from human habitation activities (Woods 1977:251).
Because of the naturally occurring phosphorus in soils, it is essential
that a number of samples be obtained from outside the area being surveyed.
These samples will indicate the relative amount of natural phosphorus that is
present and are the base with which test samples from inside the survey area
As a test, the field kit was used to process soil samples that had been
collected from the Marita site (8Hi558). The samples were visually com-
pared with each other and arranged by color from low to high. After the color
comparisons had been noted, the results were compared to the actual phosphate
concentration using a Gilford 240 spectrophotometer. The results of this test
are shown in Table 2.
As a second test,the kit was used to test soil samples obtained from the
Briarwood site in Pasco County, Florida. After the burials in the site had
been completely exposed, samples were collected every 50cm on a north-south
transect line across the site as shown in Figure 1. The samples were collected
by scraping the exposed surface with a clean trowel to remove any contamination.
A one dram plastic vial was then pressed into the soil forcing soil into the
vial. The extracted sample was then capped and labelled. Where the transect
line crossed the skeletal material, the samples were collected to the side of
the transect so as not to disturb the skeleton. The skeletal material in this
burial was so friable that a mere touch was enough to cause it to crumble.
After extracting 50mg of soil from each sample for processing with the
field kit, the remainder of the sample was retained for later laboratory
analysis using the same procedures as in the first test. The color compari-
sons of this test were the same as those used in the preliminary testing.
The results of this test are shown in Table 1.
As may be seen when comparing Tables 1 and 2, the kit was very reliable
in giving an indication of the presence of phosphorus in the samples. It must
be kept in mind that this field test is a qualitative test to provide assist-
ance in the field. To quantify the soil samples, they must be returned to the
laboratory for processing by equipment not available in the field.
Solution B of the kit is relatively unstable and should be kept in a cool,
dark place when not in use. To maintain this condition in the field, place
the bottle with solution B in a leak-proof container and keep it in an ice
chest. Keeping ice in the chest with the solution is recommended but not
necessary if the chest is insulated enough to keep the solution cool. During
winter solution B need only be kept in an opaque container.
If when adding solution B to a test sample, the mixture changes to a
shade of green rather than remaining clear or changing to blue, solution B
is no longer useable and should be discarded. This could be caused by allow-
ing the solution to become too warm or from age.
When doing the survey a grid system of sampling should be employed. An
irregular sampling technique increases the risk of missing smaller areas and
the results become very difficult if not impossible to interpret with any
meaning. The grid can also be used to plot the values observed and isolines
can be drawn to show the approximate outlines of the various phosphate con-
centrations. The finer the grid network, the more accurate will be the dis-
tinguishing phosphorus patterns within the site.
When attempting to interpret the results of the test in the field without
excavating, it would be very difficult to state with any degree of reliability
what is beneath the surface. However, the tests may show that the area was
utilized by humans, the size of the area, and the areas within the boundaries
that had a higher frequency of use. As experience is gained by the person
doing the testing more accurate interpretations may become possible.
In planning excavations with limited time or funds, those areas that have
shown a relatively high amount of phosphorus could be considered first for
excavation. Areas of medium or low phosphorus are still indicative of human
presence so they should also be subjected to sampling for the information they
may contain. If a large sample grid was used, high phosphorus concentrations
within areas mapped as low or medium may be missed. Other factors will also
enter into the decision of where and how much to excavate but the qualitative
phosphate test is useful in indicating areas where certain human activities
This procedure is intended to be used in conjunction with other surveying
methods that are available. It will be of greatest value when used to find the
most appropriate places to excavate within a site boundary. The kit is useful
in determining the horizontal boundaries of a site, the vertical limits within
a soil column, and in designating areas of greatest human activity within the
Fig. 1. Burial mound discovered during construction of the Briarwood Subdivision in
Pasco County, Florida. Samples were taken on a north south transect line beginning
L = Clear to light-blue coloration of the solution. Phosphorus
is absent or present in very low amounts. (Actual values
M = Medium-blue coloration. Phosphorus is definitely present
to significant. (Actual values 195-248 ppm.)
H = Dark-blue transparent coloration. Large amounts of Phosphorus
are present. (Actual values 400-688 ppm.)
H+ = Blue-black opaque solution. Very large significant amounts
of phosphorus are present. Suspect a primary burial or
refuse dump for animal remains. (Actual values 1407-2000 ppm.)
L = Clear to light-blue transparent coloration. Phosphorus is
absent or present in very low amounts. (Actual values
M = Medium coloration, transparent blue. Phosphorus is definitely
present to significant. (Actual values 95-208 ppm.)
H = Dark coloration, transparent blue to opaque blue-black.
Phosphorus is present in significant amounts. (Actual value
The visual observations were obtained by comparing the samples
between each other. The observations L-M and M-H are those which
are difficult to classify into either the lower or higher coloration.
1954 Chemical Denudation in Sweden. Tellus 6:326-341
Black, C. A.
1957 Soil-Plant Relationships, Second Printing. Wiley and
Sons, New York.
Cook, S. F. and R. F. Heizer
1965 Studies on the Chemical Analysis of Archaeological Sites.
University of California Publications in Anthropology 2.
Eidt, Robert C.
1973 A Rapid Field Test for Archaeological Site Surveying.
American Antiquity 38(2):206-210.
1977 Detection and Examination of Anthrosols by Phosphate
Analysis. Science 197(4311):1327-1333.
Fiske, C. H. and Y. Subbarow
1925 Journal of Biological Chemistry 66:375.
Phosphate Analysis of Anthropic Soils. Journal of
Field Archaeology 3:448.
Woods, William I.
1977 The Quantitative Analysis of Soil Phosphate. American
John M. King
AN UNIDENTIFIED SHELL ARTIFACT FROM GRENADA, WEST INDIES
Leon W. Wilder
In the spring of 1981,the author recovered an unusual shell artifact
(Figs.1,2) exposed in the roots of a cocoanut tree during low tide. This
eroding shoreline is within the site of a shell midden and is situated on
Little Bacolet peninsula on the south side of Grenada, West Indies.
The artifact is cleat-like in appearance and is constructed from a
conch shell. It is 3 inches in length from end to end, and 2 1/4 inches
in length along the base. The function of the artifact is unknown but is
possibly a hair ornament. Anyone who can identify this artifact's function
or know of anything similar that has been found, please contact the author
Fig. 1. Top view.
Fig. 2. Side view.
Leon W. Wilder
5584 Buring Court, S.W.
Ft. Myers, Florida
VOL. 34 NO. 3
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