2000 Florida Anthropological Society Inc.
The Florida Anthropological Society Inc. holds
source text of the Florida Anthropologist
considered the copyright holder for the text
all rights to the
and shall be
and images of
The Florida Anthropological Society has made this publication
available to the University of Florida, for purposes of
digitization and Internet distribution.
The Florida Anthropological Society reserves all rights to this
publication. All uses, excluding those made under "fair use"
provisions of U.S. Code, Title 17, Section 107 are restricted.
Contact the Florida Anthropological Society for additional
information and permissions.
C7I 9fotuila d wn~iofiofogii
Vol. IX December, 1956 Nos. 3-4
NOTES ON THE HUNTING DANCE
OF THE COW CREEK SEMINOLE ....... ........ ... uLouis Capron 67
SAILING VESSELS OF THE FLORIDA SEMINOLE ......... Wilfred T. Neill 79
MELTON MOUND NUMBER 3 ........ ... ............. William H. Sears 87
THE SURFACE COLLECTOR ........................ Robert Nero 101
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE .............. ................ 104
NOTES ON THE HUNTING DANCE
OF THE COW CREEK SEMINOLE
These notes, taken in October, 1946, were made with every intention
of following them up, but, except for certain individual questions answered
since that time, circumstances prevented their completion. Tobey John
and Johnnie Josh, 2 of the major participants, have since joined the
church, and when I speak about the dance to Nahaw Tiger, the third prin-
cipal, he shakes his head and says, "No, boys!" These notes do, how-
ever, give a detailed description of part of the dance.
The purpose of the Hunting Dance, or, as the Seminole call it, the
Snake Dance, is, as its symbolism indicates, twofold. It is to insure good
hunting during the hunting season then opening and to protect the hunters
from snake bite.
For a great many years the Hunting Dance of the Cow Creek Seminole
was put on by Billy Stewart, who died about 5 years ago. After his death
Barfield John put it on for 4 or 5 years. Now Barfield has become a
Christian and is at the Lakeland Baptist Bible School. He would, there-
fore, not put it on, nor would he be allowed to do so by his church.
Three Indians put the dance on in 1946: Nahaw Tiger, Tobey John
(Barfield's brother), and Johnnie Josh. Nahaw Tiger has studied the
Medicine some, but got into trouble with his sale of pa-see to a Tampa
doctor in the days when Billy Smith was Medicine Man, before Sam Jones.
Nahaw still has some individual Medicine, which he puts with the tribal
Medicine every Green Corn Dance. I could not see what part he played
in the Hunting Dance, but Tobey bossed the hunting, and Johnnie led the
This dance, Tobey told me, was late. It should be performed on the
full moon in September. Minnie Moore-Willson says it is put on every 4
years; Tobey says every year. The fact that Barfield put it on 4 or 5
times would substantiate Tobey's statement, for that is about how
long Billy Stewart has been dead. I mentioned to Billy Bowlegs the fact
that Minnie Moore-Willson had been to a Hunting Dance, knowing that he
had probably taken her and her husband. "Yeah," he said, "Indiantown."
Billy Stewart had put that one on.
THE DANCE GROUND AND PREPARATIONS
With new people putting the dance on, a new location was chosen,
near Nahaw Tiger's camp on the Brighton Reservation. Three clumps of
cabbage palms formed a rough triangle. The 2 largest were about 50 yards
apart with the fire and dance circle midway between them (Fig. 1). The
third was about 75 or 100 yards away on a line perpendicular to the line
joining the first 2. Standing on the line at the dance fire, the clump to the
right had 2 cooking fires, the clump to the left 1 fire, and the clump di-
rectly ahead 1.
C 4 ^ DISTANT HAMMOCK CAMP
Fig. 1. Ground plan of the Hunting Dance.
Relative positions of the various units are shown, though actual
distances are much greater.
The palm clumps were not camped according to clan. For example, the
camp on the left had Nahaw Tiger, Jake Smith, Tobey John, and Sam Jones'
family. Sam Jones, the Medicine Man, was not there. One camp on the
right had Charlie Micco, Johnnie Josh, and others. The other had Sampson
Snow, Johnnie Gopher, and others. There were also Osceola kids and
Billy kids, but Willie Billy was not there, nor were any of the Mikasukis,
which would include all the Tommies. Jack Tommy would have been a
logical one to have been there, since he lives near Fort Pierce. I asked
Tobey John if anyone came up from Miami or the Tamiami Trail or Big
Cypress. He said no, they had their own dance. The distant camp had
the Tom Smith girls, and, later, when Andrew Jackson Bowers arrived,
he was there also.
Altogether, I should say, there were about 100 Indians at the dance -
all Cow Creek, all Creek-speaking. There were usually from 47 to 52
Indians dancing, for this was all the field would accomodate.-Even this
number made more than a double line around 3 poles, and Johnnie
Josh had to mark time to round the end posts until the kids got by at the
tail end of the line.
I was the only white person present. Some of the reservation force
had said they might come, but none showed up. All of them had seen the
dance before, however. W. D. Boehmer, the Brighton education field
agent, drove the school bus out after school with some of the kids, but
drove right away again.
The place was fairly accessible about a mile and a half, I should
say, from the reservation buildings. It was down a sand road and then
off across the country on some tracks for half a mile. Parts of the latter
were hub-deep in water, but the bottom was hard and the tracks were
navigable with the car. This field will now be the Hunting Dance field
as long as this group puts it on, I imagine.
The calendar showed the full moon for Thursday, October 10. I was
there Friday, October 11. Tobey told me they had danced 4 nights, but
not the night before, when they had all been hunting. This would mean
that they had danced first the night of Sunday, October 6, and again
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. The ball posts showed marks
on the score panels, indicating that they had had ball games each of the
nights they danced, but they had probably not played the night before,
since all the men were away, and they did not play on Friday night.
If the procedure of the Green Corn Dance is any criterion to judge
from, the days from Sunday through Wednesday were probably spent in
building the new floors, the evenings at the ball game, and the nights in
dancing. There were not nearly enough floors, so there were a lot of
~'- A .l "
S, .. _.'. -.- ,
Fig. 2. A, The Hunting Dance Ground. In the center is the dance circle
with the fire in the middle, and the ball game pole on the near
side. To the right is the wood pile, to the left the men's log
seats and the water-pail stake. B, The meat table, with 1 wand
against the right corner and a smudge fire beneath.
tarpaulins and light muslins stretched over the ground. The huts were
built of palmetto (cabbage palm) trunks, and the fires I noticed in the
camps were also of palmetto logs 6 or 8 of them, smoldering except
when they were pushed together and the fire built up for cooking. One
hut I noticed in particular. Four cabbage palms in the right position had
been cut off 2 feet up, notched, and the cross logs laid between them.
The floors were of any cut boards that could be found, some of them old
and partly decayed. My impression is that most of the huts were in the
That Friday when I was there, as I remember, the Indians ate no
meat until the big feast. I am certain, at any rate, that when I was
asked to eat with Tobey John there was coffee, bread (store and Indian),
sofkee, thin yellow corn gruel, and store canned baked beans, but nothing
A branched pole, 3 inches in diameter and about 4 feet high, was
stuck permanently in the ground to the left rear of the dance ground
near the men's log seats (Fig.2). The 2 white enamel pails, used for
giving water to the dancers, hung on the fork of this pole. The 4 poles
used later in the dance leaned against it, and the 2 wands used by
Longore Kit and Bob Snow, who were her alds, guards, and police, were
stuck in the ground against it.
The wands were straight saplings about 10 feet long. Hanging from
the top were 2 hoops about 9 inches in diameter, one below the other,
and, hanging from the bottom one, a deer tail. The 2 boys, called hod-
chee sha-ka-lee' "deer tail bearer", went to the water-pail post at
intervals throughout the day, got their wands, and carried them when-
ever they were on official business. This was sometimes awkward,
especially when they were carrying the food brought by the women onto
the dance ground. The boys carried the wands straight up, inside the
arm and against the shoulder, just as the men hold the wands in the
Feather Dance. It was later explained to me that the 2 hoops, in a figure
eight arrangement, represent the snake. The deer tail is used because
a deer is never struck by a snake.
At various times during the afternoon Longore and Bob got their
wands and went to the camps announcing the dance. Towards the end of
the day they carried pieces of meat and, at the last, one time, Longore
Kit had 2 winnowing baskets with meal in them. The 2 boys walked
rapidly in single file with Bob always leading.
The men had hunted hard all the day before and most of the night.
Tobey John said they were all very tired "too tired to dance good,"
Fig. 3. A, Preparing the meat before putting it in the bags. B, The men
at the meat table. Two heralds stand at the left with snake-deer
tail wands, one of them carrying a pail probably of sofkee.
he said. He showed me where his legs had been chafed from so much
tramping in wet pants. They had hunted down on the ridge in the re-
servation and had gotten 4 deer and all sorts of birds. This was
the only game mentioned. "Not many deer?" I asked. "Plenty of
deer," Tobey replied, "but hard to shoot with shot gun. Country too
open. See 'em long ways off."
About 2 o'clock, Tobey, in the left hand camp, said he was going
over to the two-fire camp and asked me to come. We crossed the dance
ground and, for the first time, I saw the meat platform (Figs. 2 B, 3).
It was just at the edge of the palmetto clump. Four palmettos had been
cut off about 3 feet up and notched. Other logs had been laid across and
a table made about 6 by 6. On top of this clean palmetto leaves were
spread, and on the these the cooked meat was placed. The heap must
have been 2 feet high. In it were legs, plates of ribs about 15 inches
square, deer heads, backbones, large birds cooked whole (just split
and spread open), and a heron cooked with long curved neck and beak.
Small birds were spread open and spitted, 3 or 4 to a spit. The spits
were the stems of palmetto leaves, split to about 3/8 of an inch and
about 2 feet long. Meat was also spitted after cooking in 3 inch cubes,
6 to 8 hunks to the spit.
From what everyone had said, the meat had been brought in that
morning (Friday), and, as it was cooked, placed on the meat table. Two
smudge fires were kept going beneath the table, the smoke filtering up
through the logs and the meat. This was to keep the flies off. There
were 2 cooking fires on the side of the table toward the dance ground.
Though they were still smoldering, the cooking was over.
The men had gathered about the meat and were looking it over and
commenting on it. Just then a shower came up that developed into quite
a heavy rain. All the men took shelter under the nearest hut and the 2
boys, Longore and Bob, hustled to get a big tarpaulin, which they spread
over the meat.
Here I made my plea to take some pictures, I had gotten Nahaw's
permission to take pictures in the camps before the dance started. Now
I asked Tobey John if I could take a picture of the meat. This I asked
when the men were all standing out of the rain. He put it to them, they
talked it over, and finally agreed that I could.
The rain over, the meat was uncovered and the men all gathered
around it again. Then they began to break it into small pieces. Some
had hatchets with which they chopped ribs and backbones. Others
broke the meat up with their hands. They took the chunks and small
birds off the spits (Fig. 3, A) and did them up in packages of about 50.
These were tied with strips of palmetto leaves tied together and piled
on the staging. Longore and Bob had climbed up and were standing on
the staging. Others had climbed up and were sitting on the cross logs
cutting. The rest just stood on the ground.
Toward the end of the cutting I saw some mud fish. I asked later
and found that these had been caught by the young boys too small to
hunt (everyone must provide food if he is to take part in the dance).
These were broken up by Longore and Bob into about 4 pieces. Both
the boys joked a bit about the fish.
Now they began to fill some croaker sacks with the meat. An effort
was made to have the division equitable pieces being passed from one
to the other. About 8 or 9 bags were filled and piled on the table.
Longore fixed one with a rope to go over his shoulder why was
evident later. Then the whole was covered with a tarpaulin. Later I
asked Tobey John if there was any type of animal they did not shoot
and bring in. He was self conscious about the question, so I suggested
rabbit, knowing they did not eat that. Tobey said they did not eat snake,
possum, or coon.
At 3:15 p.m. about 22 men and boys gathered at the dance ground
and marched off in single file. About 5 of the men had axes. In due
course of time they returned, still single file, each carrying a log or
a large branch of wood. This seemed to be more ritualistic than other-
wise, since there was already a big pile of wood, and they contented
themselves with 1 trip, and no one came back heavily loaded. This
procedure took about 20 minutes.
At 6 o'clock the men gathered at the meat table and took the bags
of meat. It was necessary to call out other men so that each man would
be carrying only 1 bag. Suddenly they streaked out on a run in single
file for the dance circle. Longore Kit was in the lead. He had a bag of
meat roped over his shoulder and held the 2 flat, square, shallow
baskets of meal, one on top of the other, in both hands. Bob Snow
followed him with a bag of meat and a small kettle (probably of sofkee
or coffee). The other men followed, each carrying a bag of meat, and
the boys brought up the rear, each carrying a bundle of the spits. One
boy had a pole, which must have been used in the meat cooking, too.
They were chanting "C-I-O! C-I-O! C-I-O!" They ran 3 times
around the dance circle and then piled the meat and bundles of spits at
the open end of the 2 logs on the side where the water-pail stake was.
The men dispersed or sat around, several of them on thelogs at the
edge of the dance circle.
Then the women came down from the camps with the grain and
vegetable foods in kettles and saucepans. They left it about 12 feet
from the dance circle and went back and brought more. There seemed
to be no rule for this they came and went with no apparent system.
Two or 3 boys sat with the food, probably to keep the dogs and nigs
After a little, Longore Kit and Bob Snow began bringing the food
into the dance area and putting it around the log nearest the fire.They
carried their wands while they were doing this, sometimes creating
quite a problem of carrying and wand-balancing at the same time. They
carried 2 pails or kettles at a time. As all the food guarded by each
group of boys was carried in, the boys wandered into the dance circle
and joined the men, 1 group of boys after another.
Among the varieties of food were: sofkee, a heavier gruel than
sofkee, palmetto berries au natural, a tuber resembling small sweet
potatoes (evidently cooked), a root resembling dates (Indian potatoes),
peeled grapefruit, peeled guavas, baked Indian pumpkins cut in sec-
tions, and a solid cornmeal mush with large chunks of meat, the latter
in an iron kettle.
At 6:30 the food was all bestowed and covered with tarpaulins -
1 over the meat and 1 over the other food. At 6:25 Longore and Bob
built up the fire in the center of the dance ground and set the 4 poles
in for the dance. They were set in the same places they had been
on previous nights and wobbled back and forth until they were firmly
in the ground. They were not pounded in. Before the poles were
placed the 2 boys swept the dance floor with long leafy branches,
about 12 feet long, and then threw these to one side.
Now the men lined up facing the logs, with Johnnie Josh on the
line's left the onlooker's right. He was dressed in a brilliant coat
of red calico, trimmed with rickrack almost to the waist in front but
dropping below in a square tail in the rear. He had on a big, gray
cowboy hat, in the side of which was an egret plume. Then, taking
the hand of the man behind him in his right hand, and so on down the
line, he turned and circled the fire 3 times, chanting. The others re-
peated each chant in unison. He stopped the line in front of the log
and there took part in a short, staccato, chanting dialog.
After a minute's rest, Johnnie took up the chant again, the dancers
clasped hands again, and Johnnie led them in a figure eight around the
Fig. 4. A, Course followed by the dancers around 2 poles at a time, before
the women come in. B, Course followed by the dancers around 3
poles when the women have joined the dance and there are about
50 dancers in the line.
first 2 poles (Fig. 4, A). He did this twice and then went on to poles
2 and 3, then poles 3 and 4 (the poles being numbered counterclockwise
looking toward the dance fire from the log seats). From the figure eight
around poles 3 and 4 he led the line in front of the log seats and
stopped. The line stopped behind him, rounding the circle. The men re-
leased hands and faced out.
After resting, the men resumed the dance, repeating the figure eights
around the poles (Fig. 4, B).Now the women were beginning to join the
dance, and the rattles on their legs made the cadence. This is the only
cadence except the chant.
I had a chance to observe these rattles at the Green Corn Dance, when
some of them were in the huts before the owners put them on for the danc-
ing. They were ordinary tin cans (evaporated milk cans intact except for
the 2 pouring holes), tied together in batteries of 10 or a dozen, 2 cans
high. These were tied to the women's legs, which are protected from
abrasion by burlap pads made from croaker sacks. The cans are pierced
with nail holes and filled with shot or gravel, though beads are more
usual. The beads are put in through the original pouring holes, which are
then bent shut as far as possible. The rattles make a very loud noise that
can be heard for a long distance over the chanting. The rhythm was de-
termined by the movement of the women's legs, which, in turn, was re-
gulated by the dance step. The cadence was perfect.
As the number of dancers increased, the line grew too long for the turn
around the number 1 pole as they went into the second figure eight. When
this happened Johnnie Josh lengthened the movement to circle 3 poles on
each round. That is, he took the line around pole 2 and on to pole.3, then
back around the outside to pole 1 where he crossed to the inside of pole
1 and circled it (Fig. 4, B). Even so, when all the women and children
were dancing, Johnnie Josh got to the cross-over at the number 1 pole and
had to wait every time for 4 or 5 little tykes at the end of the line. There
were anywhere from 47 to 52 in the line.
The chants were all practically the same. One or 2 syllables might
be changed. I asked Andrew Jackson Bowers what they were saying. He
replied, "I know it, but I don't know how to say it in your language."
They were similar to "Wah-ho-ho--hay-lee-ah!" These syllables were
chanted by Johnnie Josh and repeated by the line of dancers over and
over again. Then, as they reached the end of that particular round and
stopped in front of the logs, there was a series of monosyllabic
ejaculations repeated one after the other.
After they had danced an hour or an hour and a half, they turned and
faced the fire. Then Johnnie Josh led them in a three-time circling of
the dance circle, ending at the logs. They all faced out and the heralds
got the pails that were hanging on the stake, filled them with water, and,
equipped with a dipper, went down the line giving the dancers a drink of
water. Longore Kit went first and gave a drink to the men. Bob Snow
followed and offered his to the women. They carried their official
wands, as they always did when they were on official business. During
most of the day, and during the dancing, the wands were stuck upright
in the ground beside the stake at the dance circle. While the food was
being cut up, they were stuck by each corner of the meat table on the
side towards the dance circle.
At 9:30 the dancers broke ranks for a rest, after dancing continuously
since about 6:30. The plan was to rest half an hour and then dance an
hour and a half more. Then they would have their feast and, after that,
dance till 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. Having to work the next day and
still a hundred mile drive ahead of me, I left after leaving a present with
Tobey John for the 3 men who had put on the dance.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA
SAILING VESSELS OF THE FLORIDA SEMINOLE
Wilfred T. Neill
The subject of American Indian sailing vessels is of special interest
to Florida anthropologists, there being a vague indication that such craft
were used in Caribbean waters during early historic times if not sooner.
Several authors have considered the possibility that there were cultural
connections between Florida and the West Indies in various prehistoric
periods (Rouse, 1949), but even a convincing demonstration of such con-
nections would not necessarily imply the existence of sails. For example,
the Ciboney of the Greater Antilles came either from Florida or from
South America in Archaic times, but sails apparently were unknown to
them; and the Arawak, who spread from South America to Cuba and the
Bahamas, seemingly did so by paddling dugout canoes (Rouse, 1948).
Thus we must turn to documentary sources for information concerning
the early use of sails in the New World.
There is considerable evidence that sails were known on the west
coast of Central and South America in prehistoric times (Heyerdahl, 1955),
but early references to aboriginal sailing craft in Atlantic or Caribbean
waters are few. The Carib, of South American origin, used sails in
historic times, but it is not certain that they did so before the coming of
the white man. The largest Carib vessels were pirogues of dugout
construction; the sides were built up with planks, and 3 masts, as well
as topsails and square mainsails. The sails were of cotton or of palm-
leaf matting (Rouse, 1948). The Carib boats apparently do not represent
the culmination of any widespread sailing tradition, but stand out as a
curiously isolated phenomenon. This circumstance, coupled with the de-
tails of Carib vessel construction, suggests contact with white mariners.
One recalls that the Carib were among the first Indians to observe Spanish
The Carib lived no farther north than the Lesser Antilles or perhaps
eastern Puerto Rico, but occasionally they raided as far as Cuba and the
Bahamas. Other Antillean tribes were ignorant of sails, so far as is
known. The Cuban Arawak occasionally visited the Calusa country of
Florida in the 16th century (Fontaneda, 1945), but presumably they made
the trip by paddling.
Turning to Florida, we find just a few pertinent literature references,
all of them exasperatingly vague. On Marco Island, Collier County,
Cushing (1896) found many artifacts of wood and other perishable sub-
stances; the specimens are now attributed to the protohistoric or late
prehistoric Calusa. In the Marco collection were bark matting, cordage,
a worn spar, and wooden "tackle-blocks." Cushing thought these implied
the use of sailing vessels, but of course this interpretation is debatable.
In the early 16th century, Florida Indians sometimes visited the Bahamas
to hunt birds (Anghiera, 1912), but their method of transportation is un-
known. In the latter part of that century the Tekesta of the Florida Keys
employed shallops ("chalupas") as well as dugouts to travel from island
to island (Ldpez de Velasco, 1894). One can only guess as to whether
the Tekesta vessels were typical European shallops, or were of aboriginal
design. Near the end of that century a Spanish expedition encountered
16 South Florida Indians in a vessel which, although paddled, was "made
in the Spanish manner" (Garcia, 1902). While this report tells nothing
about sails, it suggests that Indians were copying the design of European
craft. In 1763 the last of the Calusa, consisting of about 80 families, left
Key West and Key Vaca for Havana (Romans, 1775); but again the mode
of transportation is not recorded.
The Indians of the Southeastern United States, in general, were not
sailors. Swanton (1946) in his study of the Southeastern Indian cultures,
made no mention of sails. However, 1 Indian group, the Florida Seminole,
frequently manufactured sailing vessels and used them extensively.
Fortunately, it is possible to determine the construction of some of
these craft, even though they are not in use among the Seminole today.
Many documents refer to sea-faring by the Seminole. Just a few of
these will be cited, for most of them throw but little light on the type
of vessel employed. Bartram (1792) remarked that the Seminole on the
Apalachicola River of North Florida visited Cuba and the Bahamas in
their commodious dugouts. He encountered a Seminole crew who had re-
turned from Cuba a few days before, with a load of tobacco, sugar, coffee,
and liquor. Bartram did not mention sails. Not long after the beginning
of the Seminole exodus to peninsular Florida, an independent band of
Mikasuki (Hitchiti-speaking Seminole) removed to Charlotte Harbor and
vicinity, where they affiliated themselves with Spanish fishermen and
became known as the "Spanish Indians." These Seminole followed the
sea; some were registered seamenand many of them never visited the
interior of Florida. They frequently sailed to Havana, and also had
friendly relations with wreckers from the Bahamas. When they attacked
the Perrine settlement on Indian Key they used not only dugouts but also
a large launch; and some of them, attempting to elude Col. W. S. Harney's
soldiers at Chakaika's Island, employed a sail-equipped dugout. According
to modern Mikasuki tradition, on one occasion the Spanish Indians mis-
took small naval vessels for their own sailing dugouts. (Remarks on the
Spanish Indians are documented in Sturtevant, 1953, and Neill, 1955.) The
Spanish Indians maintained close contact with their Seminole brethren of
Central Florida, and some of the interior Seminole were employed from
time to time at the West Coast fisheries. Nautical lore could easily
have passed from the Spanish to the Seminole proper by way of the
Spanish Indians. As a matter of fact it appears that scattered bands of
Seminole were operating or working at fisheries all along the South
Florida coast, from Jupiter on the east to Tampa on the west (Steele, 1835).
In the early 1800's, a band of Seminole, or more likely of Seminole
Negroes, sailed in large dugouts from Cape Florida to the Bahamas,
landing on Andros Island and the Joulter Cays. Their descendants retain
a clear tradition of the voyage (Goggin, 1946). Cape Florida was, in fact,
a rendezvous for the Seminole and the Bahamian wreckers. There were
several movements of the Indians to the Bahamas, sometimes in British
wrecking vessels but often in dugouts. At least 1 band of Seminole fled
to Cuba, landing at Guanabacoa on the outskirts of Havana.
Thus it is clear that the Seminole Indians often became mariners, and
employed sailing dugouts on occasion. Such craft were in use until
relatively recent times, and some of them are still in existence. One,
minus its mast, is on display at The Oldest House in St. Augustine.
This type of vessel is a large dugout of typical Seminole design, but
fitted for a mast. The method of stepping the mast is simple. A block
of wood, bearing a deep concavity, is nailed to the dugout's floor some-
what aft of the bow. A thwart, bearing a large perforation, is nailed just
below the gunwales, so aligned that the perforation is directly above the
concavity of the block. The mast is passed through the perforation in the
thwart, and is seated in the concavity of the block. In some dugouts the
block was carved during the manufacture of the vessel, and not simply
nailed on later. The method of stepping the mast probably was borrowed
from the white man, whose sailboats are similarly equipped with mast-
step and mast-thwart.
Dugouts like those described above reveal how the mast was stepped,
but tell nothing about the sail. However, some of the older Indians recall
sailing on Lake Okeechobee and elsewhere; they know how dugouts were
rigged. One of my informants, a middle-aged man of the Cow Creek band,
said that a sail was called biLo:sintohaowiLa in Muskogee, and
pisinhacil: in Mikasuki. (The orthography follows that of Sturtevant,
piLl:sinhacili: in Mikasuki. (The orthography follows that of Sturtevant,
op. cit., p. 66. This orthography was developed to transliterate the
Mikasuki language only, and it is a little less than precise when used
for certain Muskogee words.) He stated thatthe sail was merely a
triangular affair, with no spar other than the mast; the luff was lashed to
the mast, and the clew was secured by a rope to the stern. A loose-footed
rig of this sort has the advantage of simplicity, and a dugout so equipped
could sail into the wind. My informant said that his father often used a
sailing dugout of this kind on Lake Okeechobee.
An older Indian, a Mikasuki from Collier County, recalled a more
elaborate rigging, and described for me the sailing vessels he had known
in his youth. In these there was a gaff-rigged mainsail. The rigging was
much like that of a cat-boat, but the mast was stepped farther aft as on a
sloop. Unlike a sloop, the Seminole craft had no jib. A stay, secured to
the gaff, ran through a tackle-block on the masthead, back to a similar
block on the gaff, and then to the masthead again. Thus the gaff was
supported at 2 points, as is usual with small sailboats of white manu-
facture. When the sail was spread, the free end of this stay was knotted
about a staple or spike in the bow. This informant thought that the boom
stay passed directly from the end of the boom to the stern, and not through
any arrangement of tackle-blocks. If he was correct, the Seminole rig rep-
resents a simplification of the white man's in this regard. The sail was
lashed firmly to the gaff and the boom, loosely to the mast.
Hoping to verify the accuracy of the Indian's recollection, I searched
the literature, finding 2 illustrations of a Seminole vessel. The first of
these appeared in a magazine article by Kirk Munroe (1890). Although
an engraving, it obviously was copied very carefully from a photograph.
(Munroe subsequently published some of the photographs from which
this article's engravings were made.) It portrays a dugout with a gaff-
rigged mainsail, much like those described. The other illustration is a
painting in a book my Munroe (1899, opposite p. 310). Ordinarily, no
documentary significance could be attached to a painting of this kind.
However, Munroe, a friend and student of the Seminole, is known to
have demanded accuracy of the artists who illustrated his Indian stories.
One of the paintings in this book, that of a standing Seminole man
(opposite p. 220), was copied accurately from-a photograph which Munroe
published elsewhere. Probably the painting of a Seminole vessel fulfilled
Munroe's desire for ethnographic accuracy. It shows a large, gaff-rigged
dugout of the kind described by my Collier County informant.
There are 4 primary ways in which a mainsail may be rigged. Square-
rigged, sprit-rigged, and lateen-rigged sails are all very ancient; but
gaff-rigging was invented by civilized man in the 17th century (Casson,
1954). The available evidence therefore implies that the Seminole adopted
a sailing rig from the whites, adding it to their own dugouts. Small,
gaff-rigged boats have long been used by white fishermen in Florida
The Seminole modified the white man's rig in 1 regard, by stepping
the mast farther aft even though no jib was mounted. This procedure was
nautically sound, considering the shape of the Seminole's dugout. In a
small sailing vessel, the "center of effort" (i.e., of the wind's effort
against the sail) should be directly over or slightly in advance of the
"center of lateral resistance" (i.e., of the hull's resistance to side-
slipping). In a long, narrow dugout the center of lateral resistance is
somewhere amidships; and so, for maximum utilization of air currents, the
mast should be stepped in such a position as to bring the center of effort
amidships also. This the Seminole did.
A large Seminole dugout, gaff-rigged, appears adequate to cross from
Florida to Cuba or the Bahamas. In the absence of a keel or centerboard,
the gaff-rigged dugout could not sail into the wind. However, the knife-
like entrance of the bow, and the overhanging stern, would tend to resist
side-slipping; and further resistance could be obtained if a paddle were
thrust deep into the water. (Although the recent Seminole pole their dug-
outs, they have a knowledge of paddles. According to 1 informant, the
implement is called simakofka in Muskogee, and simoaliki: in Mikasuki.)
A dugout, being heavy and sitting deep in the water, would not be greatly
affected by wind; and in the event of an unfavorable wind, the sail could
be lowered and paddles employed. Furthermore, a capsized dugout does
not sink, but floats just at the surface; the water can be splashed out so
that the vessel rides again.
I have described Seminqle dugouts (Neill, 1953), and the coracles or
skin boats formerly known to the Mikasuki and other Southeastern tribes
(Neill, 1954). The use of sailing vessels constitutes a third mode of
water transportation reported for the Seminole. A photograph in Moore-
Willson (1928, opposite p. 123) shows a few of these Indians posing with
a typical Canadian birch-bark canoe; but of course the craft must have
been taken into the Seminole country by some white canoeist. As a
matter of fact, Dimock (1908), who was interested in the Seminole, stated
that he took 2 birch-bark canoes into the Everglades. Moore-Willson's
photograph was probably obtained from Dimock. Bark canoes were made
in parts of the Southeast (Swanton, op. cit., pp. 595-6); they were known
to the Cherokee, among others, and were employed by the Yuchi on the
Savannah River of Georgia. Possibly they were familiar to those Upper
Creek and Yuchi who eventually became a part of the Seminole; but of
this there is no proff. Catamarans were used by the Calusa, judging from
Cushing's (op. cit.) finds, and were also used by the Ais of the Indian
River Area (Dickinson, 1945); but the Seminole apparently did not make
such craft. However, a fourth method of water transportation, rafting,
was occasionally used by the Seminole. My informants believed that
rafts were of pre-white origin, and in this'they probably were correct;
for these simple devices were widespread in the Southeast at an early
date (Swanton, loc. cit.).
I am indebted to Mr. W. Van B. Claussen for information about sailing
vessels and their use.
Anghiera, Pietro Martire d' (Peter Martyr)
1912. De orbe novo decades: The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr
d'Anghera.F. A. McNutt, translator. Two vols. New York.
1792. Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East
and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive
Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy,
and the Country of the Chactaws. London.
1954. "The Sails of the Ancient Mariner." Archaeology, Vol. 7,
No. 4, pp. 214-19. Brattleboro, Vermont.
Cushing, Frank H.
1896. "Explorations of Ancient Key Dwellers' Remains on the
Gulf Coast of Florida." Proceedings, American Philosophical
Society, Vol. 35, pp. 329-432. Philadelphia.
1945. Jonathan Dickinson's Journal from Port Royal in Jamaica
to Philadelphia between August 23, 1696, and April 1, 1697.
E. W. Andrews and C. M. Andrews, editors. New Haven.
Dimock, Anthony W.
1908. "A Vanishing Race." Colliers Weekly, October 17, 1908,
pp. 16-17. New York.
Fontaneda, Hernando de Escalante
1945. Memoir of Do. d'Escalante Fontaneda Respecting Florida,
Written in Spain about the Year 1575. Translated from the
Spanish with notes by Buckingham Smith. David O. True,
editor. Coral Gables.
1902. Dos Antiguas Relaciones de la Florida. Mexico.
Goggin, John M.
1946. "The Seminole Negroes of Andros Island, Bahamas." The
Florida Historical Quarterly, Vol. 24, pp. 201-06. St. Augustine.
1955. "The Balsa Raft in AboriginalNavigation off Peru and
Ecuador." Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 11,
pp. 251-64. Albuquerque.
Lopez de Velasco, Juan
1894. Geografia y Descripcion Universal de las Indias, Recopilada .
desde el Ano de 1571 al de 1574. Madrid.
1928. The Seminoles of Florida. New York.
1890. "A Forgotten Remnant." Scribner's, Vol. 7, pp. 303-17.
1899. Canoe Mates: A Story of the Florida Reef and Everglades.
Neill, Wilfred T.
1953. "Dugouts of the Mikasuki Seminole." The Florida Anthropolo-
gist, Vol. 6, No. 3, pp. 77-84. Gainesville.
1954. "Coracles or Skin Boats of the Southeastern Indians." Ibid.,
Vol. 7, No. 4, pp. 119-26. Gainesville.
1955. "The Identity of Florida's 'Spanish Indians'." Ibid., Vol. 8,
No. 2, pp. 43-57. Gainesville.
1775. A Concise Natural History of East and West Florida. Vol. 1.
1948. "The Ciboney," "The Arawak," and "The Carib." In
Handbook of South American Indians, Bureau of American
Ethnology, Bulletin No. 143, Vol. 4, pp. 497-503, 507-46,
1949. "The Southeast and the West Indies." In The Florida Indian
and His Neighbors, pp. 117-37. Winter Park.
1835. (Letter to Wiley Thompson, dated January 10, 1835) 24th U.S.
Congress, 1st Session (1836), House Document No. 271, p. 83.
Sturtevant, William C.
1953. "Chakaika and the 'Spanish Indians': Documentary Sources
Compared with Seminole Traditions." Tequesta, No. 13,
pp. 35-73. Coral Gables.
Swanton, John R.
1946. "The Indians of the Southeastern United States." Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 137. Washington.
ROSS ALLEN REPTILE INSTITUTE
SILVER SPRINGS, FLORIDA
MELTON MOUND NUMBER 3
William H. Sears
In June of 1956, the Florida State Museum was informed that the land
on which Melton Mound Number 3 was situated was being cleared for
development purposes. Since this mound, in southeastern Alachua
County, was already extensively disturbed, it was decided to excavate
the remaining portions. In this, we had the full cooperation of the owner,
Mr. W. H. Edwards, Jr. We hoped to salvage what information remained
and at the same time gain some information on burial mounds of the
Weeden Island St. Johhs I period in Central Florida. Sherds in
disturbed areas indicated that the mound would probably fall in this
At first sight it appeared that disturbances in this sand structure,
some 4 feet high by 50 feet in.diameter, were limited to the central
portion. After clearing away brush and weeds in preparation for staking
out, more old pits came to light. As excavations progressed still more
holes, partially or completely filled by backfill from later ones, were
This is pointed out here largely to explain the lack of normal precise
documentation and accuracy in this brief report. We do have a certain
amount of specific and useful information, and there are a number of less
specific inferences which can be made. Unfortunately, full profiles,
accurate recording of the placement of burials, and full recording of other
features, was not usually possible. Too, due to the disturbances, there
was little point in excavating, using proper controlled techniques, more
than a small portion of the total volume of the mound.
A base line was staked out running north and south along the slightly
disturbed western edge of the mound. It was used as 1 axis in establishing
a grid with five-foot squares. With the main reference points of the grid
established, excavation began in a five-foot wide trench running east
from the west edge of the mound, into the extensively pitted area in the
mound center. A north-south trench ran from the 30 foot stake northward,
along the only line in the northern one-half of the mound which might
fall mostly in undisturbed areas. In both cases, excavation was by
squares, from top down, in arbitrary six-inch levels. Use of the arbitrary
levels was discontinued in several instances in order to uncover properly
some of the features described below.
Fortunately, we located several features of some importance which
had not been too greatly disturbed by the promiscuous pitting which
was such a feature of this mound. With specific information from un-
disturbed areas in hand, some estimate may be made of the nature and
extent of several heavily disturbed features. The features encountered
are described below, as are several burials, which by virtue of type or
associations, are better considered with major constructional or
ceremonial features than with burials as such.
Sherd Path (See Fig. 1)
A rather solid area of sherds was encountered when the trench reached
a point about 10 feet east of the western edge of the mound. The sherds
formed a layer roughly 6 inches thick and 5 feet across, with a length
of nearly 15 feet. Many of the sherds were of considerable size, 8 to 10
inches across. It was clear in the ground that a very large proportion of
them had been broken in place from even larger sherds, perhaps up to
half pots. No complete vessels had been present however. The layer
followed an otherwise indefinable surface about 18 inches below the
present surface of the mound, apparently the same surface on which the
next 2 features to be described were placed. Recent pitting definitely
involved the southern edge of the deposit and probably had disturbed
its western periphery as well as its northeastern corner. In spite of this,
it does not seem probable that the total area was ever much larger than
that indicated in Fig. 1.
This was the flexed burial, on the right side, of a young adult female.
Fragments of infant bones were associated, in the abdominal area, pre-
sumably indicating pregnancy. This was the only primary burial encoun-
tered, and had associated with it the only 2 complete pottery vessels
found, the 2 Franklin Plain jars illustrated in Fig. 2. The body, its head
to the south, was placed on the same surface as the sherd deposit, and
roughly adjacent to its eastern, interior end. The two complete vessels
were placed next to the east side of the body. This burial then serves
to delimit the eastern edge of the sherd deposit and the western edge of
the next feature, Burial 3, a mass secondary burial.
This feature contained, in the 2 small segments excavated, the remains
of 7 or 8 persons. Bones were found in a completely jumbled mass, with
no direction or purpose apparent. The only explanations perceptible are
that the bones were dumped in an area, on a surface, by basketfuls, or
that a large mass of bundle burials was piled up, the original order being
lost through collapse of the pile over the years. The base of the mass of
bones seemed to occupy the same surface as that recognized for the sherd
path and Burial 2.
It is certain that recent pitting took out large parts of this burial. I
am sure that at one time this mass burial, with its base on a definable
surface occupied the entire center of the mound. The burials in the L-30
trench, although definite bundles of varying composition and a cremation
were present, were part of this central deposit. The very extensive
pitting in the center of the mound, with 1 huge pit over 10 feet in diameter
penetrating to well below mound base, certainly removed a very large
part of this burial deposit as well as other features.
As noted above, the apparent center of the mound had been completely
and thoroughly pitted. Our trench was run deliberately into the largest of
these central disturbances, which enabled us to document the fact that
at its lowest point it extended to well below mound base.
Dump piles from old pits were carefully inspected and, in cases where
they contained material, they were sifted. One fact which emerged from
this was that absolutely no material was to be found in the walls or dump
piles of the pits in the eastern part of the mound. In view of the many
fragments of human bone and sherds which were found in the fill and spoil
piles of other pits, this constitutes almost complete proof that no pottery
or burials were placed in the eastern part of the mound.
From the tremendous number of human bone fragments and the number
and kind of sherds in the fill of these pits, we infer that they inter-
sected 2 kinds of features:
1 The central secondary mass burial. Disturbance of this feature
was documented rather tightly in at least 1 instance where the edge of
the mass of bones and the edge of the largest central pit coincided.
2 Some sort of central pottery deposit, probably a mass of sherds
again. Far more pottery was found here, in the disturbed pit fill, than
anywhere else excepting in the sherd path area. Too, as indicated below,
more of the decorated types of the Weeden Island Series were found here
than might be expected on the basis of normal mound fill. For example,
all complicated stamped sherds came from this central area. In view of
these facts, a central deposit, probably in the primary mound, was
probably present. This may be substantiated to a degree by the extreme
depth of the largest of these pits, assuming that whoever dug it was
guided to some degree by his finds. In all probability the person or
persons who dug the hole collected some specimens, so that even the
large number of sherds and bone fragments in the backfill represents
only a portion of the amount aboriginally present.
I feel certain that a primary mound existed in Melton Mound No. 3,
in spite of the lack of any direct proof. The combination of tree roots
---. u IMTIIV PIT
-*-,t*M T tlNOUNlD (GE
B am auns
Fig. 1. Floor Plan, Melton Mound Number 3.
.., .-- -
and pot-hunters' pits made location of a definite surface in a profile
impossible. A few hints were observed, but in no case were they
definite enough to permit recording on a profile drawn to scale. We
did note that the mass sherd deposit or path, flexed Burial No. 2 with
its accompanying complete vessels, and mass Burial No. 3, all followed
a predictable level 18 to 24 inches below the surface of the complete
mound. The burials in the L-30 trench, to be described below, all occur
at the same level.
Unfortunately, again, we were not able to pick up any definite traces
of mound base. Sherds were found to a depth of 48 inches in a few spots
where recognized disturbances could not account for their position. This
would indicate that earth, with sherds deliberately included, was placed
on a surface at least this far below the final surface from which we
worked. It seems possible, as stated above under the heading Old Pits,
that some sort of pottery deposit, and possibly further burials, were
placed in this primary mound. I would guess that it was about 30 feet in
diameter and had a height of perhaps 2 feet. The secondary mantle
covering this extended 10 feet or so further out in all directions and
added 18 to 24 inches to the height of the completed structure.
Burial type, and rough horizontal and vertical locations, are as
follows. Horizontal locations are also recorded in Fig. 1.
Partially disturbed burial, probably a bundle, in south central part
of square 0-15. Nineteen inches from the surface. Recent pitting had
cut between this burial and the sherd path, but the burial seems to have
originally been directly adjacent to the south edge of the path and at
the same level.
Burial 2 (See earlier reference)
Burial 3 (See earlier reference)
Originally separately numbered. On inspection, with allowance for
disturbances, part of central mass secondary burial, Burial 3.
Compact bundle burial, parallel long bones with skull in center of
bundle. In northwest corner of square 30L20. Probably original depth
about 18 inches. Some soil removed by bulldozer at this point.
Deposit, probably a basketfull, of thoroughly cremated and pulverized
bones. Adjacent to stake 30L25 and Burial 5. Depth, 18 inches.
Bundle or mass secondary burial, 2 or more persons. No apparent
orientation of long bones. Two skulls definitely present. In southeast
corner of square 30L15. Depth 18 to 24 inches.
Bundle burial. One complete skull, parts of another. Long bones for
1 body, which seems to have been disarticulated in the flesh, and com-
ponents such as limbs and vertebral column, placed in bundle parallel
to each other. Southwest corner of square 30L20. Eighteen inches deep.
Mass secondary burial, may have been bundles, 4 or more persons.
Squares 30L25 and 30L30. Depth 18 to 24 inches.
Although only 1 cremation was recognized, charred bones present
in the central area indicate that at least 1 more deposit of cremated
remains had been present in the mound.
All sherds found in this mound must have been placed there inten-
tionally, even though the distribution of many of them in the fill is
quite erratic. Most, if not all, of the earth used to build the mound
seems to have been taken from borrow pits directly adjacent to the
mound. There is no village material present in this area at all, and
consequently no way the sherds could have gotten into the mound
except through deliberate introduction by the builders. The location
of the village to which this mound is related is at present unknown.
No. % of Total Sherds
St. Johns Plain .......... .. ...... .
Dunns Creek Red .......... ...... .
Sand-Tempered Plain ......... ........
Carrabelle Punctated . ... . ...
Oklawaha Incised.......... ... .....
7eeden Island-like Incised . . . .
Weeden Island Red . ... . .
Miscellaneous Incised, St. Johns Paste . .
Total Sherds ....... ......... .
53 ...... 5.0
Central Distrubed Area. Collected from pit fills and sifted from dump
St. Johns Plain ......... ...... .
Dunns Creek Red. ......... ....
Sand-Tempered Plain .............
7eeden Island Incised ................
Weeden Island-like Incised .............
Weeden Island Red ...................
Oklawaha Plain .......... ...........
Miscellaneous Incised, St. Johns Paste.....
Indian Pass Incised ..................
Oklawaha Incised.......... .. ......
Smooth Plain, sand-tempered ............
St. Johns Red on Buff ................
Mound Field Complicated Stamped ........
Kolomoki Complicated Stamped ..........
Swift Creek II Complicated Stamped .......
Total sherds ....................
No. % of Total Sherds
16 .. .. .
11 .. .. .
Sherd Path Area. Sherds from above and below the path, plus disturbed
and undisturbed areas on the south edge of the path, are included. Count
includes mound fill sherds plus sherds from path thrown back with pit fill
from recent disturbances.
No. % of Total Sherds
St. Johns Plain ........... .... .... 355 ...... 81.0
Dunns Creek Red ................... 65 ...... 12.5
Sand-Tempered Plain ................ 9 ...... 2.1
Miscellaneous Incised, St. Johns Paste . 1
'eeden Island Red ................... 5...... 1.1
Smooth Plain, sand-tempered ............ 1
St. Johns Red on Buff ................ 2
Total sherds ................... 438
Western End, East-West Trench. To the west of the sherd path.
Type No. % of Total Sherds
St. Johns Plain .................. .
Dunns Creek Red ...................
Miscellaneous Incised, St. Johns Paste . .
Weeden Island Red ....................
Total sherds ....................
73 ...... 72.3
24 ...... 23.8
2 ...... 1.9
2 ...... 1.9
30 L Trench. All sherd counts combined. Undisturbed fill plus some
material disturbed by recent pits.
St. Johns Plain ........... .........
Dunns Creek Red ...................
Sand-Tempered Plain ................
Oklawaha Plain ....................
Total sherds .......... ..........
No. % of Total Sherds
19 ...... 13.3
University of Florida Collection. The University of Florida Anthro-
pology Laboratory has a collection made from this mound by an amateur
some years ago. Certain of the Dunns Creek Red sherds appear to be
from the same vessel as a number of our larger sherds. Part of this
collection may then have come from the pit intrusive between the edge
of the sherd path and Burial No. 1.
M e& 0
Fig. 2. A-B, Franklin Plain vessels; C, St. Johns Plain; D, Dunns Creek
Red; E, Sand Tempered Plain; F, Oklawaha Incised; G, Oklawaha
Plain; H, Miscellaneous Incised, St. Johns Paste; I, Weeden Island
Plain; J, Weeden Island Red; K, Carabelle Punctated; L, Indian
Pass Incised; M, Kolomoki Complicated Stamped; N, Mound Field
Complicated Stamped; O, Swift Creek II Complicated Stamped.
No. % of Total Sherds
St. Johns Plain ......... ...... .. 731 ...... 55.7
Dunns Creek Red .................... 272...... 20.7
Sand-Tempered Plain ................ 276 ...... 21.0
(About half of these immediately above are from 1 vessel, a tall bowl
bowl which had a pre-fired kill hole.)
Weeden Island Red ................... 8...... 0.6
Weeden Island Incised ................ 3
Oklawaha Incised .................... 12...... 0.9
Oklawaha Plain ................... 2
Smooth Plain, sand-tempered ..... . 7 ...... 0.5
Swift Creek II Complicated Stamped .... .. 1
Only a few of these pottery types need any comment. References for
types may be found in Goggin (1952) for the St. Johns Series and in
Willey (1949) for the Weeden Island Series.
Sand-Tempered Plain sherds, in paste and finish, are quite close to
the paste of the Alachua Series of the Gainesville area. The sherds are
heavily tempered with coarse sand. Smoothing is poor, giving the sherds
a gritty surface. Smooth Plain, sand-tempered, refers to very well
finished sherds tempered with a moderate amount of fine sand. These
sherds could quite easily be classified as Weeden Island Plain, but
this has not been done, traditionally, without rim sherds to confirm the
The sherds classified as Miscellaneous Incised, St. Johns Paste are
all small, and have 1 or 2 straight or curved incised lines crossing them.
No more specific classification is possible at present.
There are also a number of sherds classified as Weeden Island-like
Incised. These are sherds I would not hesitate to classify as Weeden
Island Incised if it were not for the crudity of the incision on the sandy,
poorly finished ware. Weeden Island style might be a better term.
Two sand-tempered, red-filmed sherds, 1 from the sherd path and
1 from the central area, may have come from effigies or other elaborate
forms. One was carved out on the interior, usually an effigy feature,
while the other had a projection which could have been part of a stylized
effigy of some sort.
The 2 Franklin Plain vessels (Fig. 2 A and B), both type specimens
of their kind, with notched rims and with pointed base in 1 case,
tetrapod feet in the other, seem somewhat anomalous in view of the
7eeden Island Series and period sherds found in the mound. On the
Florida Northwest Coast this type is a marker for the pre-Weeden
Island Santa Rosa-Swift Creek, Hopewellian level (Willey, 1949:393).
I will return to this point in the conclusions, since it is relevant to
the interpretation of the mound as a whole.
Non-ceramic artifacts in this mound were limited to a very large
number of flint chips, as uniformly distributed in the fill as the sherds;
1 crude triangular projectile point, which might in fact represent an un-
finished specimen or a reject; part of a small flint chopper; and some
fragments of conch shell from the central area and from the sherd path.
The latter are included under artifacts on the supposition that only 1
shell was involved and that it had probably been made into a dipper.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
To summarize, this mound seems to have been started with the
erection of a small primary mound, which may have had included in
it some sort of pottery deposit and 1 or more burials. An area or path
on the western surface of this primary mound, running about 15 feet
east and west and 5 feet north and south, was covered with a thick
layer of sherds, mostly classified in the St. Johns Series, but including
Weeden Island Series specimens. I rather suspect that this feature is
related to the east side pottery deposits of northwest Florida Weeden
Island period mounds.
One burial, No. 1, probably a bundle, was adjacent to the central
southern edge of the path. The main burial concentration, however, was
apparently on the surface of the primary mound. It seems to have been
a solid area of burials some 20 to 30 feet in diameter. One flexed
primary burial, No. 2, accompanied by 2 Franklin Plain vessels, appears
to have served as the eastern boundary of the sherd area and the western
boundary of the burial area. This was the only primary burial found by
us, although others may have existed, particularly in the disturbed
central portion of the primary mound.
Two things about this structure seem reasonably clear. First, that
it was made in the Weeden Island or St. Johns Ib period, as indicated
by the Weeden Island Series and complicated stamped sherds. Secondly,
that it is a distinct type of burial mound, differing in a rather large
number of ways from the Weeden Island mounds of the Florida Northwest
The ceramic complex, almost exclusively types of the St. Johns
Series, would indicate classification as a St. Johns culture burial
mound. However, a fairly exhaustive search of the literature failed to
locate other mounds with the same association of a mass secondary
burial on a primary mound and a west side sherd deposit. I have no
doubt that these features did exist, in association, in other mounds.
Certainly there are a great many other burial mounds in the St. Johns
River area, on the Gulf Coast, and in Central Florida with mass
secondary burials, or with a great many secondary burials. The list of
possibilities in mounds excavated by C. B. Moore is too lengthy to
reproduce here, particularly since no reasonably close matches for
our situation could be found in Moore's descriptions.
Goggin (1952:48) has pointed out that burial mounds of this period
in the northern St. Johns area are characterized by secondary interments.
They also seem to be characterized by sherds scattered through the fill,
a feature of the Melton Mound, although we had the pathway added to
Until more St. Johns Mounds have been dug, preferably undisturbed
ones, we will not know a great deal about period or cultural character-
istics, nor about ceremonialism in the St. Johns I period. It does not
help greatly to say that mounds with pottery of the St. Johns Series
have secondary burials somewhere in them when we know so little
about the types of the burials and about their arrangement with respect
to each other and to other features of mound construction and contents.
It does appear rather certain, basing judgment on the Melton Mound,
the various mounds excavated by C. B. Moore, and the as yet incom-
pletely excavated W. H. Brown Mound (Sears, n.d.), that these
peninsular Florida sand mounds are representative of a very different
mortuary ceremonialism from that which produced the Northwest
Florida Coast Weeden Island mounds. But, both sets of mounds were
made in the same time period and were produced by cultures with
definite interrelationships. Complete especially-made mortuary
vessels, mass deposits of these vessels on the east side of mounds,
and primary interments in the lower part of the mounds, are Weeden
Island features. These appear to be replaced in peninsular Florida
by sherds in the fill or associated with burials and by mass secondary
burials. Religious organizations would, then, appear to be quite
The great number of secondary burials, apparently interred
simultaneously, may indicate the existence of some sort of charnel
house or house of the dead, where the bones and basketfuls of
cremated remains were kept. Such houses of the dead occurred in a
large number of Southeastern tribes, although most often it seems to
have been restricted to use of the temple for storing the remains of
the chiefs and other upper-class personnel (Swanton, 1946). The
only definite account of burial mound construction to dispose of
charnel house contents is for the Choctaw. "After the charnel house
had become pretty well filled with boxes of bones, a final disposition
was made of them. The bone pickers of the various cantons agreed
on a day when the grave boxes should be moved, and they were carried
to one place in solemn procession, piled into a pyramid there, and
covered with earth" (Swanton, 1946:726). In most instances, as
noted above, placement in the charnel house or temple seems to have
been reserved for persons from the upper classes, but the Choctaw
apparently placed all bodies in them, possibly reserving a special one
for the chiefs (ibid.).
The various Timucuan groups, according to the accounts reproduced
or cited by Swanton, have no recorded usage of mound burial, unless
the small amount of grave fill indicated in Le Moyne's illustration can
be considered a mound ibidd, P1. 87). The cremation of some persons,
encountered in these peninsular Florida and Weeden Island mounds
survived until historic times among the Chitimacha, who burned the
bones and placed them in a basket which was then placed in a mound
It seems possible that the 2 Franklin Plain pots, as well as the
sherds of such early types in the St. Johns Series as Oklawaha Plain
and Oklawaha Incised (Goggin, 1952:103), are present in this mound
with later types of pottery through long term accumulation in the
charnel house. Certainly the accumulation of bones represents storage
over some period of time, and it is at least possible that some of the
pottery represents material associated with the charnel house and
mortuary ceremonialism. If this association be allowed, it indicates
that this burial mound represents the dead from some portion of a
village, perhaps a socially defined portion, over several centuries.
Goggin, John M.
1952. "Space and Time Perspective in Northern St. Johns
Archaeology, Florida." Yale University Publications
in Anthropology, No. 47. New Haven.
Sears, William H.
n.d. Archaeological Investigations Near the Mouth of the St.
Swanton, John R.
1911. "Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and
Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico." Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 43. Washington.
1946. "The Indians of the Southeastern United States."
Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 137.
Willey, Gordon R.
1949. "Archaeology of the Florida Gulf Coast." Smithsonian
Institution, Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 113.
FLORIDA STATE MUSEUM
THE SURFACE COLLECTOR
The archaeologist is constantly faced with a problem of diplomacy
concerning the "arrowhead collector." On the one hand he is expected
to show a proper enthusiasm for whatever new artifacts he may be
shown, while on the other he feels he must somehow curb an ardor
which may perhaps wreck some small part of the history he is
attempting to uncover. More than a few good sites have been ruined
by the frantic burrowing of thoughtless or uninformed collectors;
but a number of sites have also been found and reported by other
collectors and saved for scientific investigation.
Arrowhead collectors have a good deal in common with
archaeologists and more to share than is ordinarily believed. For
example, both tend to have an aesthetic appreciation of primitive
artifacts (whether gleaming on the ground or numbered and in a
box) and an interest in prehistoric peoples. Furthermore, the
recreational benefits to be derived from actively pursuing a hobby
of collecting artifacts, both from a physical and mental viewpoint,
cannot be questioned. Thus arrowhead collecting has a useful
function in itself and should be encouraged, and, with a little
guidance, it may be made even more useful.
Some collectors spend more time in the field, cover a wider area,
and often pick up more specimens per unit of time than even the
professional archaeologist. The latter must necessarily restrict his
activities to a more limited area (since his interest in a site usually
goes "beneath the surface") even though his curiosity may know no
bounds. He is further restricted by an amount of laboratory time far
exceeding his field time. Thus the average collector is often in a
somewhat enviable position.
This odd situation can and should be exploited with greater
profit to both the collector and the archaeologist. The latter, confronted
by an avid collector with a box of mixed points gleaned from a dozen
different counties, can disapprovingly pronounce it "junk" and thereby
turn away one more disgruntled person, or he may, with a minimum of
instruction, encourage him to become a useful collector. This serves
2 ends, for such a person, after acquiring certain basic techniques
of archaeology, may directly aid the science; he is also less likely
to be destructive. The surface collector can aid archaeology in
several ways. He can discover sites; preserve material which might
otherwise become broken and scattered, such as pottery; provide
material by which an archaeologist can define the site; and report
the location of his sites so that they may be further studied.
The primary requirement for surface collections to be of value to
archaeology is locality data. The scientific value increases with the
specificity of the data. The slight effort required to maintain such
information should be more than balanced by the increase in
knowledge thus provided. Perhaps the simplest method of keeping
locality data is to assign a number to each site (kept in a notebook)
and then to place that number on each article found at the site. As
new sites are discovered, new numbers may be assigned and added
to the list in the notebook. This raises the question of what one should
consider an archaeological site, or from another viewpoint, to what
size an area the locality data should pertain. Since in many cases a
particular site cannot be located until after a certain number of
artifacts have been found, their location should be as specific as
possible. Sites to which numbers might be assigned could be
arbitrarily selected on the basis of physiographic features, such as
the opposite sides of a river or a valley, or the top of a hill or
ridge, or on any slight elevation such as an old terrace. Should
separate sites within these areas later become apparent, these
could be assigned letters in addition to the main site number. The
notebook should, of course, also contain information concerning the
location of each site. A sketch map showing the location of each
site in detail would be invaluable.
Another question often raised is what to collect. It needs to be
emphasized that all of the cultural material found at a site has
scientific value. This includes broken implements of all kinds,
discards, blanks, all pot sherds, bones, teeth, charcoal, etc., and
even stone flakes and chips (when in doubt always pick it up, a
rule of thumb). The latter can serve to indicate the stone varieties
employed as well as the amount of work done at the site. Moreover,
many kinds of simple flake implements are not easily recognizable,
but, if saved, could later be determined by experts. Material of
this sort could be kept in bags or boxes bearing the site designation.
The collector who consistently keeps a record of the locality
of his artifacts, and keeps them separate by sites, soon comes to
have an awareness of differences between the sites. As he
accumulates material from these same places, the differences become
more pronounced and tend to lead him into a level of interest which
lies outside of artifacts per se. It is just this way that the collector
begins to be scientific; he may also begin to derive a greater satisfaction
from his hobby.
A well-ordered collection of this sort has real scientific value, both
as an indication of site character, and as an inventory of cultures which
might not otherwise be obtained, since on some sites only surface
material may remain. This seems to be the case particularly for sites
of ancient man. The first inventory of a paleo-Indian culture in eastern
North America, believed to be 10,000 years old, has recently been
reported on the basis of material found at the Shoop Site in Pennsylvania.
A variety of tools: burins, gravers, scrapers, knives, as well as the
more typical fluted projectile points comprises this culture. All were
picked up on the surface of cultivated fields. (The association of
these artifacts was based on the similarity of the stone types employed
and their degree of weathering, plus the absence of any other recog-
nizable cultural artifacts). A similar culture complex has been reported
from a site in Vermont. In this case all of the artifacts were obtained
by surface collecting in an area of shifting sand dunes. The most im-
portant part played by amateur collectors in the investigation of these
and other sites was the discovery and gradual accumulation of arti-
facts. However, the Shoop Site might well have gone unreported if
the original collector had not kept the material from this site separate
from the rest of his collection, since in this case the artifacts were
Similar sites of ancient man probably await discovery in the northern
Mississippi Valley. Several fluted points have already been found in
the region, but many of these lack detailed data, and archaeologists are
unable to locate their exact place of origin. Thus sites are lost, but
may perhaps be recovered through the efforts of amateur collectors.
The collector who concentrates his efforts on a small local area
has the opportunity to become an expert in his locality and may well
consider himself an archaeological explorer. He may in time find
himself being consulted as a guide by professional archaeologists.
Should he later offer his collection to a museum he would probably
find a warm welcome. Such a person should feel considerable pride
in having made a real contribution to archaeology, and should share
with the professional the supreme satisfaction of uncovering a portion
of the buried history of early man.
(Reprinted, with slight changes, from the Journal of the Iowa
Archaeological Society, Vol. 2, No. 4, April, 1953, McGregor, Iowa)
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE
Louis Capron of West Palm Beach, long time friend of the Seminole
and author of several articles on them, is well known to most of our
readers through his excellent article on the Seminole Green Corn
Dance. It is with considerable pleasure that we print here his field
notes on the Hunting Dance of the Cow Creek Seminole.
Wilfred T. Neill, past president of the Society, hardly needs an
introduction. His many stimulating articles in past issues of this
journal speak eloquently for themselves. Dr. Neill is director of
research at the Ross Allen Reptile Institute, Silver Springs.
William H. Sears, assistant curator of social sciences at the
Florida State Museum in Gainesville and veteran archaeologist of
Kolomoki, Georgia, here adds to his earlier contributions to the
Robert Nero's article, reprinted here with permission of the Iowa
Archaeological Society, brings, we feel, a topic of considerable
importance to the reader, clearly presented and excellently put.
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Membership is open to all interested in the aims of the society;
regular dues, 33.00 a year; student dues, $1.50 a year. Members receive
The Florida Anthropologist, the Newsletter, and other publications as
issued. Applications and orders for back issues should be sent to the
Treasurer (each single number to members, .50; each double number,
$1.00; to non-members, $ .75 and $1.50 respectively; Newsletters Nos.
1-34, .15 each). General inquiries should be sent to the Secretary,
manuscripts to the Editor, and Newsletter items to the President.
President: Charles H. Fairbanks, Florida State Univer-
Ist Vice President:
2nd Vice President:
John W. Griffin, St. Augustine
J. E. Dovell, Gainesville
Marvin J. Brooks, 805 NW 15th Court,
Glenn T. Allen, 1207 Carraway Street,
Julian Granberry, University of Florida,
Wilfred T. Neill, Silver Springs
H. James Gut, Sanford
Charlton W. Tebeau, Miami
Publications of the Society
No. 1 "Two Archaeological Sites in Brevard County, Florida," by Hale
G. Smith. 32 pages, 4 plates .................. 0.50
No. 2 "The Safety Harbor Site, Pinellas County, Florida," by John W.
Griffin and Ripley P. Bullen. 42 pages, 4 plates ..... 0.50
No. 3 "The Terra Ceia Site, Manatee County, Florida," by Ripley P.
Bullen. 48 pages, 7 plates .................. 0.50
No. 4 "The European and the Indian," by Hale G. Smith. 150 pages,
frontispiece, 6 maps .......... ............... 2.00