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.
THE ,i15 'IIN 1959 j
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY
VOL3 II 7JE1
VOL. XII JUNR I m wou 9
,v 0 vv
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
Membership is open to all interested in the aims of the
Society. The Florida Anthropologist is published by the Florida
Anthropological Society during the months of March, June, Sept-
ember, and December. Subscription is by membership; annual dues
are $3.00 (81.50 for students),of which $1.25 is for subscription
to The Florida Anthropologist and other publications as issued.
The Florida Anthropologist is published at The Department of An-
thropology, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.
Second-class mail privileges authorized at Tallahassee, Florida.
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. 1-35, 8.15 each). General inquiries should be
sent to the Secretary, manuscripts to the Editor, and Newsletter
items to the President.
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.
43 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 C. Smith,
150 pages, frontispiece, 6 maps..................... 2.00
No. 5. "Florida Anthropology," C. H. Fairbanks, ed......... 1.25
President: John M. Coggin, 312 Peabody Hall, Univ.
of Fla. Gainesville Florida
let Vice President: Marvin J. Brooks, 805 N.W. 15th Ct.
Miami 33, Florida
2nd Vice President: Cliff E. Mattox, 209 Beverly Rd.,
Secretary: William C. Massey Dept. of Anthro-
pology Univ. of Fla.,Gainesville,Fla.
Treasurer: Harry L. Goetz 5012 buwannee,
Tampa 3, Florida
Editor: Charles H. Fairbanks, Box 3051 Fla.
State Univ., Tallahassee, Florida
Executive Committeemen: Irving Rouse, Yale University
E. Y. Guernsey,Box 426,Cocoa Beach Fla.
Wm. C. Sturtevant,Bureau of Am. Eth-
nology, Washington 25, D.C.
The Florida Anthropologist, Vol.XII, No. 2, 1959
EXCAVATIONS IN DADE AND BROWARD COUNTY, 1958
D. D. Laxson
As part of salvage archaeology in this region, three middens
two in Dade and one in Broward County, were excavated during 1958;
they are presented here in descriptive form to record the data.
As has been the policy in the past, with the exception of the
Miami Springs which now no longer exists, large areas of the cul-
tural deposits were left untouched for future excavators.
The numerous shell fragments found in the sites included
Strombus, Fasciolaria, Macrocallista, Ampularia, Planorbis, VAenu,
Codakia, Mytilus, and Ostrea. Four thousand bone fragments from
the three middens included turtle, fish, deer, bird and rodent. A
small percentage of human bones were found widely scattered in the
Miami Springs and Tamiami Trail 3 sites.
BROWARD COUNTY SITE
The site is located in a hammock two thousand feet south and
fifteen hundred feet west of the intersection of Snake Creek Road
and the Hollywood Boulevard extension in Broward County. It is in
the SE 1/4 of Section 14, Range 40 East, Township 51 South.
The midden, covering some 120 feet NE-SW and 75 feet NW-SE.
is surrounded by low, marshy ground in which shallow water stands
a considerable part of the time.
Three pits, confined to the north and east side, were excava-
ted. Soil strata showed two feet of black dirt, a few inchesof
grey sand and hard marl down to the limestone.
MIAMI SPRINGS SITE
This midden was in a vacant lot about 200 feet north of the
intersection of Apache and Raven Streets in Miami Springs, Dade
County. It is located in the SE 1/4 of the SW 1/4 of Section 13,
Range 40 East, Township 53 South.
Elevations above Mean Sea Level showed 5.0 feet for the inter-
section, 6.5 feet for the lot and 10.6 feet for the midden.
The habitation refuse was revealed when the owner started re-
moving soil for fill. The exposed material attracted the attention
of a neighboring resident who called the University of Miami who,
in turn, called the author.
Excavation began in November and by December the entire lot
had been removed down to bedrock. By May, 1958, new homes occu-
pied the site and a through street bisected the area.
TAMIAMI TRAIL 3 SITE
This large, high and prolific mound is well known and is de-
signated as "Tamiami Trail 3" by Goggin (1950). It is located
1100 feet south of the Tamiami Trail, one mile west of SW 117th
Ave., in the NW 1/4 of Section 12 and the NE 1/4 of Section 11,
Range 39 East, Township 54 South, Dade County.
The mound measures 5.0 feet above the surrounding sawgrass
and since it is easily accessible to within 200 feet by car, ex-
cept following heavy rains, it has been trenched in a number of
Salvage excavations, with the exception of one pit, were con-
fined to the slopes in the NE quadrant.
Limestone appears on the surface in the southern portion of
the midden. Marl is reached at a comparitively shallow depth on
top. Black dirt to a depth of two feet is found on the north
slope. A few feet off the northern rim of the mound, water can
be reached at two feet. Just above the waterline can be found a
white, clayey marl that can be molded with the fingers. It of-
fers the possibility that such local deposits might have been
used to make the "muck" or temperless pottery sometimes found.
Specimens from the three sites are listed in the vertical
DISTRIBUTION CHART by 6 inch levels. The results, in terms of
changes in pottery types with depth, are very satisfactory.
The marker for the Glades III period, Glades Tooled was limi-
ted almost entirely to the highest 6-inch level at all three
sites. St. Johns Check Stamped sherds have the same vertical dis-
tribution. Surfside Incised, a very early Glades III type, had a
slightly deeper average distribution. Similarly, Matecumbe In-
cised (Fig. 2, 11) seems in these tests to span the Glades II/III
Pottery types of the Glades II period Key Largo Incised,
Dade Incised, Miami Incised (Fig. 2, 6-7), Ova Locka Incised and
Ft. Drum Incised show up in quantity in the second level and con-
tinue to be found, in reduced numbers, in the third level. Of
these Glades II pottery types, Ft. Drum Incised seems to have
been the earliest. Several variants of Key Largo Incised are il-
lustrated (Fig. 2, 5-8).
Unique sherds, some of which may be presumed to indicate
trade or other influences from the Gulf coast, seem to be attri-
butable to late Glades II and early Glades III times. Of two uni-
que sherds in the 6-12 inch level at the Trail site, one had a
"feather" incising (Fig. 1, 6) and the other was "chevron"-marked
(Fig. 1, 5). A lateral rim projection with Ft. Walton-like mark-
ings (Fig. 2, 9) was found on the surface of the Trail hidden.
Two examples of the zig-zag" incised motif, suggesting possible
communication with Cuba (Bullen and Laxson, 1954), were found in
the 6-12 inch level of the Miami Springs (Fig. 2, 1) and of the
Tamiami Trail site.
It will be noted from the chart that the lowest level at
Snake Creek and the two lowest levels at the Trail site produced
only undecorated pottery (except for one sherd). While the quan-
tities are relatively small by comparison with higher levels, it
is possible these lowest levels represent Glades I deposits.
Comparison may be made with Goggin's test at the Bear Lake 1
site in the Everglades National Park (Goggin, 1950, p. 233). In
Goggin's test pit 2, Ft. Drum Incised was the lowest decorated
sherd while a small amount of plain pottery was found continuing
downward for 18 inches. The situation is similar to that given
in the chart for the Tamiami Trail site. Data from the Trail
site (and possibly also from Snake Creek) supports that found at
Bear Lake 1 to indicate an undecorated Glades 1 period character-
ized, chiefly, by Glades Plain pottery.
Seminole beads, both faceted and spherical, mostly blue in
color, were found at the Snake Creek and Trail sites. The facet-
ed beads were badly worn and are presumed to be an earlier type.
A single "laurel leaf" chert arrowhead was found just below
the surface at the Trail site.
Bone points, both fluted and socketed, were at all sites.
As usual they were much more common in Glades II than in Glades
III deposits. The socketed variety, (Fig. 2, 2-10) on the aver-
age, were at the greater depths.
Stromubs celts were common. One specimen, (Fig. 1, 2) re-
sembling a large spear point or arrowhead, was located at the 18"
level at Snake Creek. A grooved columnella plummet, (Fig. 1, 1)
rare in the interior Glades middens, was found in Miami Springs
at the 6-12 inch level. At Snake Creek an unfinished shell orna-
ment, (Fig. 1, 3) with the beginning of a perforation at the top,
was found at the 12-18 inch level.
In the 24 inch level at Snake Creek was found a single-ended,
bone tool socket (Fig. 1, 4). It was 3.1 inches in length, 1.1
inches in diameter and constructed from the antler of a large
Circular drill marks in the bottom formed an inverted cone.
The socket plainly showed it had been scraped, both inside and
out, with a shark's tooth. The top had been squared off and the
other end "angled". The object bore a resemblance to sockets
found at Belle Glade and illustrated by Willey (1949).
Appreciation is expressed to the following; Broward County
site, Mrs. G. Dana Johnson, owner, for permission to excavate;
Miami Springs site, Mr. Lee Johnson, owner, for permission to ex-
cavate, William Hagan, who located the site, Dr. Richard Aldrich,
University of Miami and Tex Burger; Tamiama Trail site, Mr.
Samuel Schwartz, owner, for authority to dig and Dr. Richard Ald-
Gratitude is also expressed for the help of Noel Herrmann,
Bob Masters and John Hackett in screening and digging; Mr. Rip-
ley Bullen and Dr. W. T. Neill for help with identifications.
Brooks, Marvin L., Jr.
1956. "Excavations at Grossman Hammock, Dade County, Flo-
rida." The Florida Anthropologist, Vol. 11, No. 2,
pp. 37-46, Gainesville.
Bullen, Ripley P., and D. D. Laxson.
1954. "Some Incised Pottery From Cuba and Florida." The
Florida Anthropologist, Vol. VII, No. 1, pp. 23-25,
Goggin, John M., and Frank Souaer, III.
1949. "Excavations on Upper Matecumbe Key, Florida." Tale
University Publications in Anthropology, No. 41, New
Goggin, John M.
1950. "Florida Archeology 1950." The Florida Anthropologist.
Vol. III, Nos. 1-2, pp. 9-20, Gainesrille.
1950. "Stratigraphic Test in the Everglades National Park."
American Antiquity, Vol. XV, No. 3, pp. 228-46,
Laxson, D. D.
1953. "Stratigraphy in a Hialeah Midden." The Florida Anth-
ropoloKist, Vol. VI, No. 1, pp. 1-8, Gainesville.
Willey, Gordon R.
1949a. "Excavations in Southeast Florida." Yale University
Publications in Anthropology, No. 42, New Haven.
1949b. "Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast." Smithsonian
Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 113, Washington.
Fig. 1. Shell, bone and pottery from
Snake Creek, Miami Springs and Trail
sites. 1, Columnella plummet; 2,
Strombus celt; 3, shell ornament; 4,
bone tool socket; 5-6, Unique Incised
sherds; 7, Miami Incised.
t a. 3
Fig. 2. Sherds and socketed bone points.
1, Unique "zig-zag" incised; 3, 5, 8 Key
Largo variations; 6, 7 Miami Incised; 9,
lateral rim projection; 11, Matecumbe In-
cised; 2, 10 pocketed bone points.
Site Nae Snake Creek Miami Springs Trail Site Totals
No. of pits 3 3 8 1
Denth in 6" levels 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5
Body shards 276 367 100 31 402 393 153 2275 1833 1018 225 58 7131
Glades Plain rims 46 57 13 8 52 57 12 338 368 111 35 5 1102
Glades Tooled 6 18 A 112 5 145
St. Johns Check Stamped 18 4 13 1 15 51
Surfslde Incised. 1 1 2 U11 19
Matecunbe Incised 1 2 1 1 5
Key Largo Incised 5 2 1 12 1 13 O U. 1 89
Dade Incised. 3 2 5
Miami Incised 9 1 3 7 35 12 67
Ova Looka Incised 1 4 2 5 12
Ft. Drua Incised 4 1 3 1 13 5 27
Ft. Drum Punctate 1 1
Zig-zag motif, top of rim 3 3
Zi--Zag motif, side 2 2
Ticked rim 1 1
Ft. Walton "like" rim mg 1 1
Chevron marked 1 1
Unique "feather" marked 1
Drag and lab. top of rim 1 1
Weeden Island "lie" 3 3
Stromb.u celt 2 2 1 3 7 2 1 1 19
Buarcon nick 1 1 2
Fasciolaria diggiLn tool 1 1 2
Columela awl 1 1 3
Buacon scoop 21 3
Colmnella pltmst 1 2
Macrocallista knife 1 1
Bone tool socket
Bone projectile point 9 3 4 6 2 2
Bone awls or pina 2 1 1 3 2 1 10
Unfinished petaloid shell- 1 1
Seminole beads 7 2 9
The Florida Anthropologist, Vol. XII, No. 2, 1959
AN ABORIGINAL SHELL MOUND AT DRUM POINT,
ALLIGATOR HARBOR, FRANKLIN COUNTY, FLORIDA
Interest in the geological features of Alligator Harbor led
the writer to make a limited archeological investigation of this
area in the hope of gaining some sort of time perspective necess-
ary for considering the numerous geological aspects in their pro-
The work has thus far resulted in the recent discovery of an
aboriginal shell mound (to be described in this paper) and a pro-
gressive step toward establishing a minimum age for an extensive
portion of the peninsula. This dating will prove to be a weigh-
ty argument against any remaining theories of recent peninsula
formation (within the past 1000 years), and should be considered
when studying the general stability of the area.
The shell midden, buried in an ancient sand dune,is located
on the western side of Drum Point, on the Harry Morrison property.
It covers an area of at least 100 ft. long and 150 ft. wide, ori-
ented E by NE bordered to the west by Alligator Harbor and to the
south by Drum Point Creek. The dune is covered for the most part
by dense vegetation of scrub oak, saw tooth palmeto, slash pine
and evergreen shrubs. Grasses are spare. South of Drum Point
Creek is a broad low lying salt marsh of spartina grass separated
from the Gulf by a chain of more recent sand dunes along the
southern edge of the penninsula.
Alligator Penninsula has been subjected to extensive develop-
ment since the second World War, but the sand dune here described
as Drum Point has survived (to date) man's aspirations to remodel
nature. Erosion by wave and stream action however, has cut deep-
ly into the dune along its southern and western exposures. Just
how much of the dune and its archaeological contents have been re-
moved by erosion is still a question. Observation in the field
and study of aerial photographs, leads one to consider the loss
significant. Especially along the southwestern exposure where
active stream erosion resulting from tidal oscillations has cut
through this section of the dune and its shell midden producing a
vertical bank 10 or 12 feet high. There is no visible evidence of
the dune south of this point so that the adjoining salt marsh pro-
duces an interesting contrast.
As with many archaeological findings, the element of chance
played its part. In this case it certainly dominated any scien-
tific deductions on the part of the writer. Discovery and primary
excavation of the shell mound occurred simultaneously, at sites
where nature offered the least resistance--the vertical bank cut
by Drum Point Creek. Here a well defined layer of shell a few
inches thick rests 12 to 15 inches below the surface.
The excavation consisted of two pits five feet by five feet.
Test pit A was located on the southwestern periphery of the dune
overlooking Drum Point Creek. Test pit B was located approximate-
ly 50 feet northeast of test pit A on somewhat higher ground.
Both test pits were excavated in 3 inch levels. A total of 23
sherds were recovered from test pit A and all were classifiable.
No sherds were found above or below the 12 to 15 inch level. Test
pit B yielded no sherds--merely an abundance of shell frafments
at the 12 to 15 inch level. A limited number of sherds were
found scattered about the surface. A classification of the sherds
from test pit A and their level of appearance is shown in Table I.
TABLE I. POTTERY TYPES AT DRUM POINT, TEST PIT A
LEVELS 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 TOTALS
WAKULLA CHECK STAMP 0 0 0 0 0 21 0 21
KEITH INCISED 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
TOTALS 0 0 0 0 0 23 0 23
Identification of Wakulla Check Stamp and Keith Incised is
based on the descriptive' classifications defined by Willey. No
artifacts other than sherds were found in the midden. Shell frag-
ments found in level 5 were divided largely between the Eastern
Oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and the Venus Clam or Southern Qua-
hog (Mercenari compechiensis). Other shells present, but in few-
er numbers, were: The Lightning Conch (Busycon contrarium); Pon-
derous Ark (Noetia ponderosa); Banded Tulip (Fasiolaria hunteria);
Fig Shell (Fiscus conmunis); Crown Conch (Melongena corona); and
the Surf Clam (Spisula Solidassima).
The soil, from the surface to a depth of 15 inches, is pri-
marily silica sand, dirty gray in color due to organic content.
Below the 15 inch level, corresponding approximately to root
depth, the sand is strikingly clean and white to the 5 foot level
and probably beyond.
Interpretation of this site (based on information to date)
follows that previously described for the Weeden Island I period
of the Northwest Gulf Coast by Willey.
It is interesting to study the Drum Point mound in the light
of earlier discoveries made by C. B. Moore and described in 1949
by G. R. Wiley. There have been three sites previously establish-
ed on St. James Island, (see map).
(Fr. 2.) The Carrabelle Cemetary site (Moore, 1918) is described
as Depford Complex (Depford Simple Stamped) by Willey.
(Fr. 4.) The Tucker site (Moore, 1902) located between Alligator
Harbor and Tucker's Lake, shows Depford as the earliest complex
but is predominately Santa Rosa-Swift Creek and Weeden Island I.
(Fr. 5.) The Yent Mound (Moore, 1902), a half mile southeast of
the Tucker Mound has been described by Willey as Santa Rosa-Swift
How the Drum Point mound should be interpreted with respect
to the sites mentioned above will be left to more capable authori-
ties in the field. At this time, it is the writer's intent mere-
ly to describe his findings and hope the information can be of
some help when applied by persons in other fields of science
studying this area. At Alligator Harbor an interesting example
of such archaeological application to its sister sciences can be
shorn by the recent discovery of an earthern pot found 300 feet
vest of the Florida State University Marine Laboratory pier, in
an area exposed only during the ebb of a Spring Tide. Here at
less than three inches beneath the bottom sediments, directly un-
der a gnarled and thinly matted system of spartina roots, were
found net only the pot sherds in orderly arrangement--but bits of
charcoal and fragments of oyster shells as well. Unfortunately
the pot is unadorned and gives no Justifiable clue as to age. A
reliable estimate dates it at about 1000 A. D.
An exact dating of this earthen pot would be highly desir-
able of course, but the fact that these sherds survived in an
orderly fashion for a long period of time, under the conditions
described, deserves thoughtful consideration by those studying
the many physical problems posed by this area.
The Florida State University
ir'< : L,a uruouo PalMr
WAV c S0 o/T st/AS o
rYAOICo3/OA S S9L AllvSr -AM ES Is AA,
/PAMN/'/ C/OtVY p r/ OR/ iDA (/3 :f )
SHERDS FROM DRUM POINT MIDDEN
The Florida Anthropologist, Vol. XII, No. 2, 1959
SOME CHICKASAW FETISHES
James H. Howard
With the passing of older native informants, it becomes more
difficult each year to secure accurate information on the aborigi-
nal life of American Indian tribes. Increasingly we must turn to
the evidence provided by archeology and ethnohistory. Unfortu-
nately, for the student interested in problems involving material
culture, both of these disciplines have serious limitations.
Usually only "hard" materials such as stone, shell, and bone
are preserved in archeological sites. Wooden, leather, and tex-
tile items occur only in rare spots, such as dry caves. Similar-
ly, the early writers, whose works are so skillfully collated by
the ethnohistorian, though they often provide us with excellent
data concerning the numbers, locations, warfare, and political
life of Indian groups, seldom go into enough detail when describ-
ing material culture objects to permit a real comparisons and dis-
tribution studies. Even the paintings and sketches of the early
historic period often are so stylized and generalized as to make
interpretation quite difficult.
These limitations are particularly pertinent in the case of
the tribes of the Southeastern United States. These tribes, al-
though they have in some instances retained up to the present
time certain features of their social organization, ceremonial,
and language, lost the greater part of their arts, crafts, and
costumes at an early date. For this reason "memory culture" eth-
nography, which still yields valuable data on material culture in
many parts of North America is usually of little aid in supple-
menting the archeological and historical record in the Southeast.
There remains, however, a largely untapped source of infor-
mation on these groups, of potentially great value. .I am refer-
ring to the various ethnological collections housed in museums
throughout the country. These collections often contain surpris-
ingly large amounts of material dating back as much as one or two
hundred years. A study of these materials and their sources,
dates of collection, etc. can help immeasurably in filling out
the picture of Southeastern Indian life whose broad outlines have
already been sketched in by historians, ethnographers, and arche-
ologists. Perhaps the term "museum-ethnography" would be an apt
designation of this field of endeavor.
Since it is usually impractical for the individual scientist
to visit each and every museum which might contain materials per-
tinent to his particular research project in the area of material
culture, museum personnel would perform a great service if they
undertook to publish illustrations and descriptions of selected
specimens from their collection. I am thinking here not only of
objects of a rare or unusual sort, but also of items once common
and typical in their respective cultures which are poorly repre-
sented in museum collections. It is with the hope of eliciting
further papers of this sort that this article, describing four
rather unusual objects from the Chickasaw tribe, has been written.
The Chiokasar are known as one of the principal tribes of
the Muskhogean group. Linguistically they are closely connected
with the Choctaw. Though they range over a number of the South-
eastern states, their principal seat was in northern Mississippi,
principally in the present Pontotoc and Union counties (Swanton,
The Chickasaw were known as one of the most warlike tribes
of. the Gulf area, and were frequently involved in the colonial
disputes of the French and English. The tribe was removed to the
Indian Territory, now included in the present state of Oklahoma,
in the years 1837-1847. Throughout their history they have num-
bered between four and five thousand. The census of 1930 return-
ed 4,745 Chickasaw in Oklahoma. Many of these are of mixed des-
cent (Swanton, 1952: 179).
Of all the "Five Civilized Tribes" the material culture of
the Chickasaw is perhaps the least known. So far as I an aware
the Chickasaw objects described here are unique, yet it is quite
possible that are typical of the fetishes of that tribe. If this
is so it is likely that similar objects, or at least the hard
parts thereof, have been or will be discovered in archeological
sites in the Southeast. Since there is little in their shape
which would indicate their function they would very likely, if un-
earthed by an archeologist, be relegated to that all-encompassing
category "unidentified ceremonial objects".
All of the specimens in this group were collected from the
Chickasaw after that tribe had been removed to the Indian Terri-
tory, and hence may be dated with certainty as post 1837. The ob-
jects are at present a part of the Edward Butts collection at the
Kansas City Maseem, Kansas City, Missouri. Butts, a well known
collector in the Kansas City area, apparently secured the pieces
from an unidentified person known as "as Wagner" who had origin-
ally secured them from an Indian or Indians sometime prior to
1907. I examined and photographed the objects while employed at
the Kansas City Museum in 1955-57.
The four fetishes may have constituted a sacred bundle or
ceremonial kit originally, as the design, materials, and workman-
ship indicate that all four were made by the same person. Fur-
thermore they are all, apparently, of a religious or ceremonial
nature. Although all of the pieces utilized non-Indian materials
which serve to date them toward the latter part of the 19th or
early 20th century, they very likely represent artifact types
used by the Chickasaw in the pre-contact period.
The first fetish (Plate I, top) is described in the Kansas
City Museum accession record as follows: "Chickasaw Indian Tribe,
I. T. (Indian Territory, JHR) 'Shadow fighting knife' near Agawam,
Gus Wagner: ANW 198; 332-7; Loan Edward Butts". The object con-
sists of the rib of a horse which has been worked into the shape
of a crude knife. It measures 40 on. in length exclusive of the
pendant ornament at the grip, which adds an additional 12 am. to
the overall length. The upper end of the rib, which serves as
the handle of the knife, is wrapped with grey beaver fur, which
has been sewed in place with commercial black cotton thread.
Above and below this fur grip the knife has been painted in
ornamental designs with black paint. A simple black band en-
circles the bone below the grip and there is a rectanguloid de-
sign above it. The point of the knife is also painted black for
distance of 1.5 cm. from the tip. The knife is further ornament-
ed in a rather distinctive manner, perhaps typical of the Chicka-
saw. Tied above the grip is a buckskin thong on which several
large, light blue, beads of the type known as "neck beads" in the
Indian trade have been strung, together with a small pendant of
cut and drilled abalone shell, roughly rectangular in shape. An-
other pendant is attached to the handle of the knife, which has
been drilled for this purpose. This consists of a buckskin thong
on which have been threaded two of the blue neck beads and an
empty cartridge case with its top flattened to hold a tassel of
black horsehair. A second hole has been drilled at the tip of
the knife, possibly for the suspension of an additional ornament,
We have no reason to question the museum catalog's identifi-
cation of the object as Chickasaw, since the village of Agawam,
mentioned in the description, still exists. It is located a few
miles south of Chickasaw, Oklahoma, in the heart of the Chickasaw
Reservation. The Agawam area remained a center for conservative
Chiokasaw ceremonialism until about 1915, when the last "stomp"
dances were held.
Dr. John R. Swanton, perhaps the foremost authority on the
Indians of the Southeastern United States, was furnished with
photographs and descriptions of the various fetishes described
herein. He has graciously consented to my request for permission
to quote from his letters commenting upon the artifacts. Concern-
ing the "shadow fighting knife" he notes: "The 'shadow fighting
knife' is particularly interesting and it might have been used
either of two purposes. As in so many other tribes, the medicine
men or shamans (of the Chickasaw) engaged in spiritual encoun-
ters with one another. An object of this kind might also hai
been buried with the dead to help him in fighting off enemies on
his way to the world of spirits." (Letter to the writer dated Jan.
In his monograph on the religious beliefs and medical practi-
ces of the Creek Indians Dr. Swanton has recorded the report of
an Alabama Indian to the effect that a "butcher knife" was some-
times buried with the deceased to enable his soul to fight off a
great eagle, which was one of the several dangers encountered by
a soul on its journey to the underworld (1928a: 513). In view of
the widespread similarities in the beliefs of the various South-
eastern tribes the Chickasaw may have held this belief as well.
The second fetish in this group, to which we refer as Fetish
2 (Second from the top, Plate I) is listed in the museum asces-
sion record simply as "Chickasaw fetish, No. 332, Loan, Edward
Butts". It consists of a cartridge case (Peters 25.35) which has
been made into a pendant by means of a tassel of horsehair insert-
ed in the place formerly occupied by the bullet. The center of
the cartridge base has been removed and a buckskin thong inserted.
On this thong various ornaments are strung: two light blue neck
beads of the type also found on the "shadow fighting knife", a
piece of cut and drilled abalone shell, and two small white trade
beads. These last are kept from slipping off the end of the
thong by a knot in the buckskin. The overall length of the piece
is 25 on. Its use is not known.
Dr. Swanton commented upon this fetish as follows: "Too
little is known about the religious practices of the Chickasaw
Indians, but we know that they had charms which were carried a-
bout their persons by shamans or by the laity. In general they
were probably similar to those used by the Creeks. Your 'fetish'
would fall into that class." (Letter of Jan. 13, 1956)
In his Social and Religious Beliefs and Usages of the Chicka-
saw Indians (1928 b: 252) Dr. Swanton notes that the use of per-
sonal charms of this sort was so general among the Southeastern
Indians that it extended to many of the white traders who lived a-
mong them. In this connection he quotes James Adair, who says
that he "took the foot of a guinea deer out of the shot pouch of
one of these men and another from my own partner, which they had
very safely sewed in the corner of each of their otter-skin pou-
ches, to enable them, according to the Indian creed, to kill deer,
bear, buffalo, beaver, and other wild beasts in plenty." (Adair,
The third object in the group, which we will dub Fetish 3,
is not listed in the museum accession record. Fortunately, how-
ever, a small paper label with the legend "Chiokasaw Indian Tribe,
Fish fetish, near Agawam, Gus Wagner" is glued to one side of the
specimen. (Plate I, second from bottom)
This Fetish is composite in nature. The largest section con-
sists of the end of a horse metatarsal bone. Into the sawed off
end of this bone, but not exactly centered, a second piece of
bone has been inserted. This piece has a high polish and appears
to have been made from the handle of an old fashioned straight
razor. Indeed, some rather faint lettering is visable on one
side of the bone. The tip of this "blade" or "punch" section has
been rounded off and it is scored at regular intervals along the
Covering the end of the horse metatarsal into which this
*blade" is inserted is a piece of poorly tanned deerskin held in
place with a thong of the same material. The deerskin was appar-
ently fastened in place while wet, and adheres tightly to the
bone. At the lower end, below the thong fastening, this hide has
been fringed. Several netted Olive (Oliva reticularis Lamarck)
shell beads have been strung on the fringe elements at intervals,
so as to make a rattling noise when the object is moved The
other end of the fetish, that is, the end opposite the "blade",
is unworked except for two very small holes which have been drill-
ed obliquely into one side, possibly for suspension or the attach-
ment of ornaments, now lost. The piece is 26 cm. in length.
Concerning this object Dr. Swanton writes: "The object a-
bout which you inquire and of which you provide a sketch is, I
should say without much danger of being deceived, one of those
charms or "medicines" which so many Indians carried. Some of
these became palladia for the entire tribe but I do not remember
that the Chickasaw had one. This most likely belonged to some
medicine man but there is no certainty, and charms were used by
all kinds of people for all kinds of purposes. Mention of "fish"
in connection with this would indicate that it might have been
particularly employed during the season when pools containing
fish were left isolated where the Chickasaw went to capture the
fish by dragging or poisoning the water. This is very well des-
cribed by Adair. However, they also fished in the running streams
and it would seem as if a charm might be needed then rather than
in fishing pools the inhabitants of which could hardly escape."
(Letter to the writer dated June 11, 1956)
The fourth and last of the fetishes described here is not
listed in the Kansas City museum records nor identified by an at-
tached label. From details of its construction, however, it very
clearly belongs with those already described.
Fetish 4 (Plate I, bottom) consists of a small piece of com-
mercially tanned leather, painted red on the hair side and fring-
ed at one (the lower?) edge. To this is attached a cartridge
case and horsehair pendant of the type found on fetishes I and 2.
Four small white beads of the type used on fetish 2 are attached
to the thong which fastens this pendant to the leather element. A
second thong has been laced through the leather piece several
times to provide a rude decorative effect and, perhaps, to stiffen
it. It is 47 cm. long.
From the overall shape of this object one suspects that it
was worn on the person, most likely attached to the scalplock so
as to hang down behind the head in back. This was a common South-
eastern style in the 18th and 19th centuries. Small beadwork and
horsehair head ornaments of this general sort are still worn by
Creek and Seminole lacrosse players and "stamp" dancers in Okla-
homa. Quite possibly the fetish may have served as a "medicine"
headgear for a Chickasaw warrior or ball player.
In summary, we may say that the four fetishes described a-
bove provided us with valuable information on a little known as-
pect of Southeastern Indian culture. In design and ornamentation
they seem to be quite unique in North America. Though definite
information is lacking it appears that all of the fetishes were
made by the same person and that they may have constituted a
single medicine bundle or "ark". Although the objects utilize
materials of recent non-Indian origin they very likely represent,
in a slightly modified form, charms used by the Chickasaw and
other Southeastern tribes in precontact times.
The use of horse bone in two if the objects may be signifi-
cant, as horses, when first acquired by Indians, were often con-
sidered as supernatural origin. Horses were secured by the Chick-
awaw in the early 18th century, and there was a breed which came
to be known by the name of the tribe.
The use of brass cartridge cases in three of the fetishes
may likewise be important. When European objects were first in-
troduced into Indian country some of them, because of their un-
usual character and greater efficiency than those before avail-
able to the natives were clothed with supernatural power. This
was often the case with iron and steel. Because of this, for ex-
ample, the Haida Indians of British Columbia called the White men
There is probably no significance in the use of the Netted
Olive (Oliva reticularis) shells found on the "fish" fetish.
This species is common in southeast Florida and the West Indies.
Shells of both Oliva and Marginella were commonly used for cloth-
ing ornaments in the Southeast. The abalone shell of fetishes 1
and 2 is somewhat harder to explain. Abalone shell was commonly
used for the "moon shell" neck disks worn by Plains Indians in
the 19th century and continues to be a popular material for danc-
ing costume ornaments among present day Plains tribes in Oklahoma.
It is presumably of West Coast origin.
As noted above, objects of the sort represented by these
four fetishes were common to most Southeastern tribes. Swanton
has discussed objects of this sort, particularly a class known as
"sabia", in his Religious Beliefs and Medical Practices of the
Creek Indians (1928 a: 498-510). The most common, or perhaps the
most important, of these "sabia" charms were small "crystals"
(probably calcite), though others consisted of vegetal compounds.
Still others, such as these, were of bone, shell, and metal.
It is hoped that through the publication of descriptions of
materials such as these we may eventually form a more complete
picture of the religious practices of the Chickasaw and other
tribes of the Southeast. It is interesting to note, in this con-
nection, that the Chickasaw seem to have approximated in their
customs and beliefs more to the Creeks than to their closer lin-
guistic relatives the Choctaw.
1. The Florida Siminole, of course, constitute an important ex-
ception to this general rule.
2. The animal bones in these fetishes were identified by Dr. E.
W. Pfeiffer, Department of Anatomy, University of North Da-
3. This information was supplied by Mr. Key Wolfe, a Chickasaw
interviewed in 1952.
4. These shells were identified by Dr. F. D. Holland, Jr., De-
partment of Geology, University of North Dakota.
1775 The History of the American Indians. London
Swanton, John R.
1928a Religious Beliefs and Medical Practices of the
Creek Indians. Forty-second Annual Report of The
Bureau of Ethnology, pp. 473-672. Washington.
1928b. Social and Religious Beliefs and Usages of the
Chickasaw Indians. Forty-fourth Annnal Report of
The Bureau of Ethnology, pp. 173-273. Washington.
1952. Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of Ameri-
can Ethnology Bulletin 145. Washington.
Department of Anthropology
University of North Dakota
.. .',:** "? ,- ,
S _t .
k -.. ,.
.~:1 .-- ._. -
,. --_._.- -
Bullen. Ripley P. & Frederick W. Sleight
1959. Archaeological investigations of the Castle Windy Mid-
den Florida. Wm. L. Bryant Foundation. American Studies. Re-
port No. 1 Central Florida Museum, Orlandoj vi, 32 pp. 9 pl.3
figs., 2 tables. $.75.
Report of stratigraphic tests in a St. Johns II A midden near
New Smyrna Beach.
Heizer. Robert F.
1959. The archeologist at work. A source book in Archaeolo-
gical Methods and Interpretation. New York, Harpers & Bros.,514
pp & index. $8.00.
A wide range of accounts of archeological dige all over the
world. Together with Heizer's "A guide to archeological field
methods" gives an interesting and valuable guide to how the arche-
Carter, Clarence Edwin, Ed.
1958. The Territorial Papers of the United States. Vol. XXIII
The Territory of Florida. 1824-1828. Washington, D. C. The Gov-
erment Printing Office. $6.50.
Chase. David W.
1959 The Avrett Culture. Coweta Memorial Association Papers
No. 1. n. p. [Columbus, Cal Mimeographed. n.p.
Caughey. John Walton
McGillivray of the Creeks. Norman, Okla., Univ. of Okla. Press.
let ed. 1938. 2nd printing by offset, 1959. $5.95.
Bodge. F. W.. Ed.
Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bull. 30. 2 vols. Reprinted 1959 by Pageant
Books, New York. $27.50.
THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST
VOL. III JUNE, 1959 NO. 2
Excavations in Dade and Broward County, 1958
....................................D. D. Laxson 33
An aboriginal shell mound at Drum Point, Alligator
Harbor, Franklin County, Florida ...Robert Schley 41
Some Chickasaw fetishes..............James H. Howard 47
Book Notices.........................C. H. F.
Inside back cover
The Florida Anthropologist publishes manuscripts on any
subject pertaining to Florida or Southeastern anthropology.
Manuscripts should be typed on one side of the sheet only,
with 65 spaces to the line, 35 lines to the page. Tables
must be typed in final form with inked lines. Citations
should follow the style of the American Anthropologist. Foot-
notes and bibliography should be typed on separate pages.
Members must advise the editor of change of address.
Current postal regulations make it prohibitive for the Society
to provide forwarding service. If you do not advise us of your
new address, you will not receive The Florida Anthropologist.
Annual dues for 1969 are now payable. They should be sent
to the treasurer. Continued publication of The Florida Anthro-
pologist requires a substantially enlarged budget.