The Florida anthropologist

Material Information

The Florida anthropologist
Abbreviated Title:
Fla. anthropol.
Florida Anthropological Society
Place of Publication:
Florida Anthropological Society.
Publication Date:
Quarterly[<Mar. 1975- >]
Two no. a year[ FORMER 1948-]
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ; 24 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Indians of North America -- Antiquities -- Periodicals -- Florida ( lcsh )
Antiquities -- Periodicals -- Florida ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )
periodical ( marcgt )


Contains papers of the Annual Conference on Historic Site Archeology.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
v. 1- May 1948-

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
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Resource Identifier:
01569447 ( OCLC )
56028409 ( LCCN )
0015-3893 ( ISSN )


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.A. ^o i



Shells and Archaeology in
Southern Florida

JULY 1986
q III r? c-

iTHE FL0RIDA Am DSO[GIST is published by the Florida Anthropological Society
Inc., P.O. Box 1013, Tallahassee, Florida 32302. Subscription is by membership
in the Society. Membership is not restricted to residents of the State of
Florida nor to the United States of America. Membership is for the calendar
year, January 1st through December 31st. Except as otherwise noted in
periodic special offers, membership may be received for any current year by
remitting dues for that year ON OR BfORE SEPMBER 30TH of that year. Dues
postmarked or hand delivered on October 1st or later will be applied to
membership in the following calendar year. Annual dues are $12 (Individual),
$18 (Family), $15 (Institutional), $25 or more (Sustaining), $100 or more
(Patron) and $150 (life; $200 after January 1, 1987). Foreign subscriptions
are an additional $5 US to cover added postage and handling costs for individ-
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purchases, copies of the journal will only be sent to members with current
paid dues.

Requests for information on the Society and membership application forms, as
well as notifications of changes of address, should be sent to the Membership
Secretary. Donations should be sent to the Treasurer or may be routed through
the Editor to facilitate acknowledgement in subsequent issues of the journal.
Requests for copies of the Editorial Policy and Style Guide (see FA 37(1)),
orders for back issues, submissions of manuscripts for publication and notices
of non-receipt or damaged issues should be sent to the aEitor. Newsletter
items should be sent to the President. Address changes should be male AT LEAST
30 days prior to the mailing of the next issue. The Post Office will not
forward bulk rate mail. Except for combined issues, we publish the journal
quarterly in March, June, September and December of each year. Special issues,
the Florida Anthropological Society Publications series, are published irregu-
larly as finding and available material permit.


Karen Malesky
S FL Museum
201 10 St W
B.adenton, FL

Harold Cardwell Marlene Levy Elizabeth Horvath
1343 Woodbine Street Dept. of Anthropology 7404 12th Street N
Daytona Beach, FL Florida Atlantic Univ. Tampa, FL 33604
32014 Boca Raton, FL 33431

John F. Scarry
P.O. Box 1013
Tallahassee, FL

aGET: Wallace Spears
109 Blais Trail
Daytona Beach, FL

(Tharee Years):
Ralph Golin
7347 Hennessey Road
Jacksonville, FL


(Two ears):
Jeffrey Mitches
Florida State Miseun
.University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611

(One Year):
William Goza
Florida State Museum
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 33611


Louis D. Tesar Joan Deaing George Luer Gandy Printers, Inc.
Rt. 1 Box 209F 1839 Fine Cone Circle 3222 Old Oak Drive 1800 S Monroe St.
Quincy, FL Apt. # 28 Sarasota, FL 33579 Tallahassee, FL
32351 Clearwater, FL 33520 32301


James J. Miller
Div. of Historical
Dept. of State
The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL

William H. Marquardt Morgan H. Crook John W. Griffin
Florida State Museum Dept. of Sociology Route 5 Box 19
University of Florida and Anthropology St. Augustine,
Gainesville, FL 32611 West Georgia College FL 32084
Carrollton, GA 30118

Robert S. Carr
Historic Preservation Div.
Office of Community and
Economic Development
Warner Place-Suite 101
111 SW Fifth Avenue
Miami, FL 33130

John F. Scarry
Div. of Historical
Dept. of State
The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL

COWVE ILLUSTRATIOI: (FRONT, left) Illustration of left-handed whelk shell tool
blank, apertural view; (FRONT, right) Illustration of whelk shell cutting-
edged tool, "Type A; (BACK, upper) Illustration of perforated quahog valve,
front and back views; (BACK, lower left) Illustration of quahog valve tool,
anvil/hamer/chopper; and, (BACK, lower right) Illustration of paired valves
of southern quahog viewed from above, umbo and ligament uppermost. All illus-
trations by George Luer. Scale 1:1.



JULY 1986

SPECIAL ISSUE: Shells and Archaeology in

Southern Florida



Editor's Page . . . . .

Guest Editor's Comments . . . .

Whelk Shell Tool Blanks From Big Mound Key (8Chl0), Charlotte County,
Florida: With Notes on Certain Whelk Shell Tools by George Luer,
David Allerton, Dan Hazeltine, Ron Hatfield and Darden Hood

Some Interesting Archaeological Occurrences of Quahog Shells on the
Gulf Coast of Central and Southern Florida by George M. Luer

Observations Concerning Shell Mounds and a System for Classifying
Shell Material by John G. Beriault . . .

Historical Use Interpreted from a Conch Shell Feature in Southern
Florida by Robert S. Carr . . .

BOOK REVIEW of American Archaeology Past and Future: A Celebration of
the Society for American Archaeology 1935-1985, David J. Meltzer, Don
D. Fowler, and Jeremy A. Sabloff, editors Reviewed by Louis D. Tesar

COMMENTS: Counterfeit Coins and the Columbian Quincentennial: An
Archaeological Early Warning by Russell K. Skowronek .

CURRENT RESEARCH Southwest Florida

by William H. Marquardt .






S 164


S 177





As many of you already know, I have been
reappointed as the Editor of The Florida
Anthropologist. I wish to again thank
John Beriault, then FAS President, and
the FAS Board of Directors for my original
appointment. I also wish to again thank
subsequent FAS Presidents Claudine Payne,
Joan Deming and most recently Karen
Malesky for my reappointments during their
terms of office. This job offers an op-
portunity to continue to work to improve
cooperation between professional and
avocational archaeologists/anthropologists;
to further historic preservation planning
efforts to protect our historic heritage;
and, of course to educate and bring a
broader understanding of the nature and
importance of historic resources, both
archaeological and historic sites, in
Florida and elsewhere. It also gives me
something to work on during my early
mornings and late evenings and weekends,
such that I am less likely to carry as
much of my regular work home to complete
for lack of staff and time at work.

I am still working on ways to increase
the Society's membership in order to in-
crease funding to continue efforts to
expand the size and otherwise improve our
journal. To this end, the Society's
Board of Directors authorized the initia-
tion of the back issues acquisition credits
program for finding new members (See last
page, this issue). Our regular issues are
funded with membership/subscription dues,
over 75% of which go to publish and mail
issues of the journal.

In addition to our regular issues, we have
an irregular series, the Florida Anthropo-
logical Society Publications (FASP), which
is published as an extra issue of our
regular series, The Florida Anthropologist.
The FASP is published with funding obtained
through grants, donations, special fund
raising activities, and back issues sales.

Last year we were able to publish FASP No.
11 (July 1985) with a grant from the

University of South Florida and special
fund raising activities. It was our first
FASP since 1978. This year we are able to
publish FASP No. 12 (July 1986) with monies
raised through back issues sales and dona-
tions ($25 from Harry Piper and $500 from
George Luer).

George Luer is the Guest Editor for this
issue. He became slightly impatient with
the amount of time it takes to raise funds
(over a year) and also wished to retain
his line drawings at full size (1:1) rather
then have them photoreduced to reduce
publishing costs. He has produced excel-
lent line drawings, and they do look bet-
ter full size.

The focus of this special publication is
shells and archaeology in southern Florida.
It was conceived by George Luer who has
been on the journal's Editorial Board for
over five years. He is a knowledgeable
paraprofessional with whom it is easy to
forget the qualifying prefix. The two
lead articles had been accepted for publi-
cation over a year ago, when George pre-
sented the idea of a special issue and in-
dicated a number of potential contributors
and topics. As I presume he is, I find it
disappointing that several of the solicited
contributors later withdrew. Nevertheless,
I believe that this is an issue which you
will enjoy and George deserves credit for
preparing and editing the galleys, as well
as for going through the joys and frustra-
tions of editing. This is also an issue
which will serve as a reference work for
future studies of whelk and mercenaria
shell tools.

Louis D. Tesar, Editor
The Florida Anthropologist
June 24, 1986

Vol. 39 Number 3 Part 1


July, 1986


Guest Editor's Comments

Throughout the world, shells have
attracted the attention of peoples of
diverse cultures. The varied shapes
and colors of shells have stimulated
peoples' artistic expression. Shells
have figured in ritual and myth. They
have served for personal adornment,
emblems of status, money, and as tools
for many uses.

Today the importance of shells in
ancient Florida is becoming ever more
apparent to students of our past.
Indeed, a revolution is taking place
in our study and understanding of them.

This publication presents some of
that recent progress. Its articles
are united by a common theme and
shared geographic scope: shells
and archaeology in southern Florida.

If these articles pique your curiosity,
read further about how people of other
cultures used shells in Spirals from the
Sea, An Anthropological Look at Shells.
The book, written by Jane Fearer Safer
and Frances McLaughlin Gill, is beauti-
fully illustrated and well documented.
Much of the research behind the book
was done for the Hall of Mollusks and
Mankind at the American Museum of Natu-
ral History. Published in 1982, it is
distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc.

A Special Acknowledgement

The typing and editing of this shell
tool publication would not have been
accomplished without the skilled assist-
ance of Kate Wheeler in Sarasota.

George Luer
Sarasota, Florida

Vol. 39 Number 3 Part 1 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST July, 1986



George Luer, David Allerton,
Dan Hazeltine, Ron Hatfield,
and Darden Hood

This paper describes a previously
unrecognized type of whelk shell arti-
fact (see Figure 1). Archaeological
evidence is presented indicating that
the artifact is a tool blank which was
made by prehistoric Indians and which
occurred in caches. By analyzing this
artifact and certain related whelk shell
tools, the paper reveals the steps in
the process of fashioning "blanks" and
of creating tools from them. This helps
lead to the new interpretation of a
"continuum of modification" -- that is,
the progressive use and intentional
fashioning of whelk shells which pass
from an unmodified state to a blank
stage, then to a cutting-edged tool
stage, and ultimately to a hammering
tool stage. Finally, the paper briefly
discusses the relative rarity of whelk
shell tools and tool blanks within the
overall assemblage of left-handed whelk
shells occurring at the site where the
tool blanks were found.

Specimens of whelk shell tool blanks
were recovered during archaeological
salvage work conducted on a remote
island called Big Mound Key (8ChlO)
now located within the Charlotte Harbor
State Reserve on the Gulf coast of
south-central Florida (Figure 5).
Salvage work was done in 1982 through
Archaeological Consultants, Inc. (ACI)
of Sarasota, Florida with an archaeo-
logical research permit granted by the
Florida Department of State, Division of
Archives, History and Records Management
(DAHRM). This emergency work was in
response to extensive and illegal bull-
dozing of large portions of 8ChlO by
treasure hunters in 1980. Whelk shell
tool blanks were incidental finds of the
salvage work. The first specimens found
were recognized to be artifacts of some

sort. Their identity as "tool blanks"
was established by this careful study
done after the fieldwork.

Tool Blank Description

The following paragraph serves as a type
description for this newly recognized
shell artifact. The description is
based on 19 specimens recovered from two
apparent caches on Big Mound Key. Their
recovery is described in the next sec-
tion of the paper.

A whelk shell tool blank (Figure 1) is
an artifact fashioned from the shell of
a left-handed whelk (see Figure 2). It
possesses four distinct modifications:
1) a perforation in the spire's
ultimate whorl situated opposite
the aperture and midway between
the suture and the nodules
2) a shortened siphonal canal from
which the natural columella tip and
adjoining lip was removed
3) a thick-walled modified outer lip
from which almost the entire length
of the natural, thin outer lip was
4) a very rough bevel on the basal
end of the shortened columella
These modifications are the same for
almost every specimen recovered. The
perforation in the spire can be shown
to have been similarly placed on each
specimen. By taking a radial measure-
ment from the central tip (or apex) of
the spire (see Figure 1), a perforation
can be shown to lie within an arc of 30
to 40 degrees. Furthermore, such meas-
urements show that the perforations on
the specimens usually fall within a
range of 60 degrees. This range is
situated between 60 to 120 degrees in a
counterclockwise direction with respect
to an imaginary line drawn between two
points: the apex of the spire and the
termination of the suture (Figure 1).
Often, a small portion of the natural,
thin margin of the outer lip remains
near the suture. The removal of the
original thin outer lip is slightest
near the suture and increases toward

July, 1986



Figure 1.

Figure 1.

A Whelk Shell Tool Blank, Two Views. The view at the left shows:
1) the perforation in the spire, 2) the shortened siphonal canal,
3) the thick, modified outer lip, and 4) the roughly bevelled base
of the shortened columella. The apical view (right) shows how the
spire can be measured to locate the perforation. The natural end
of the suture and the apex of the spire determine a line, marked
0 and 180 degrees, from which measurements can be referenced. This
particular perforation lies 80 to 120 degrees in a counterclockwise
direction from the end of the suture located at 0 degrees.


end of suture IZ
anal canal


/ body whorl

aperture /

siphonal canal

Figure 2. Features of a Left-Handed Whelk Shell.

the nodules. Below the nodules, enough
of the lip is removed to produce a new,
modified lip which is straight and
thick-walled. This thick lip has a wide
and generally flat surface which is
often intentionally smoothed. The lip's
mostly straight outer edge cuts across
some of the lines of growth of the body
whorl and can be said to describe a
plane which intersects these growth
lines. Near the end of the modified
lip, the shortened columella is bevelled
inward usually at about a 45-degree

Care and skill were required not only in
the placement of modifications but also
in the general fashioning of this shell
artifact. The usually oblong-shaped
perforation was neatly pecked from the
outside. Careful chipping removed most
of the lip's natural, thin, tapered
margin. The end of the siphonal canal
was knocked off without fracturing the
columella and adjacent body whorl.
More skillful chipping produced a flat
lip whose thick wall was then carefully
smoothed. The exposed basal columella
tip was neatly pecked to make the rough-
surfaced bevel.

The recovered specimens indicate that
care was exercised in the selection of
shells as well as in their modification.
Only the robust, sturdy shells typical
of a specific form of whelk were
selected for modification into the 19
tool blanks discovered. These shells
were of a distinct, unclassified, and
seldom recognized kind of whelk allied
to both Busycon contrarium Conrad and
Busycon perversum Linne which also occur
in the Charlotte Harbor area. A rare
description of the distinctive shape of
the shell of this seldom recognized
whelk is provided by Perry and Schwengel
(1955:164) for specimens from the Gulf
of Mexico near Sanibel Island:

The shells approach the type
of B. perversum .... They
are thicker, heavier, more
solid, the shoulder wider and
more sloping, ... the spire

flatter, aperture wider and
canal much shorter than in the
common B. "contrarium" ....
The prominent characters of
this shell are the squat out-
line -- a reversed pyramid; its
weight and solidity; the decidedly
great proportion of shoulder
breadth to the total height and
the thick, swollen columella.

Thus, shells of this whelk are distinct
from those of the typical varieties of
B. contrarium and B. perversum. (For
descriptions of the latter two forms,
see Morris 1951; Pulley 1959; Abbott
1974). That shells of only one of these
kinds were selected for fashioning into
whelk shell tool blanks indicates that
the makers of the blanks distinguished
among the three locally available forms.
Their morphologic differences are pic-
tured by Perry and Schwengel (1955:
Pl. 33, 34) and examples of extreme
forms from prehistoric contexts on
8Ch10 are shown by Figure 3.

Shells of the unclassified, robust form
probably were selected for their attri-
butes of weight, strength, and compact-
ness which made them well-suited for
fashioning into tool blanks (see Figure
4). Choice was based not simply on
availability because living specimens of
the especially robust form are uncommon
in the Charlotte Harbor area, being
restricted to the nearby Gulf of Mexico
and adjoining passes located some
distance west of 8Ch10. In contrast,
specimens of the "typical" form of
B. contrarium are common in the
estuarine waters of Charlotte Harbor
which surround 8Ch10. The shell charac-
teristics of the "typical" whelks, how-
ever, are not well-suited for tools.
Their shells are thinner-walled, lighter
in weight, and less sturdy than those of
the robust form. (This difference in
shell calcification may be partly a
result of different temperature, pH, and
oxygen levels in the Gulf versus the
estuaries. For general effects, see
Vermeij 1968:18.) -The careful choice of
the uncommon, robust form shells from a

Extremes of Form Among Sinistral Whelk Shells, Big Mound Key, 8Chl0.
Left: a large, gerontic, estuarine Busycon contrarium shell; upper
right: two large B. perversum shells; lower right: smaller estu-
arine B. contrarium shells including a juvenile at far right. Note
the robust character, large nodules, and contorted columellae of the
B. perversum shells. These contrast with the long, straight colu-
mellae, the small nodules, and gracile character of the estuarine
B. contrarium shells. The scale at far left applies to all photos.

Figure 3.

Figure 4. The 19 Specimens Comprising the Two Caches of Whelk Shell Tool Blanks.
Note their similarity in size and the regular placement of perforations.


relatively distant and specific environ-
ment will have additional significance
when other aspects of whelk shell tool
blanks are discussed later in the paper.

It is also important that a careful
choice of shell size was made. That
shells of a certain range of size were
selected can be noted in Table 1. The
19 whelk shell tool blanks have lengths
ranging from 151 mm to 227 mm and widths
ranging from 104 mm to 156 mm. The
average size of the first five specimens
(cache A) is slightly larger than the
average size of the other 14 specimens
(cache B). Although the specimens com-
prising each apparent cache resemble
each other most closely in size, all the
specimens fall within a well-defined
range. None of the shells is small, and
only one, A05, is especially large. The
measurements of the thickness of their
modified lips indicate that the shells
of all the specimens are robust (see
Table 1).

The shells of all the specimens were
carefully chosen for their excellent
condition. They are unusually free from
blemishes, weathering, and other damage
aside from the cultural modifications
described above. A few specimens,
however, do show slight, fresh damage
from the bulldozer, and one has a minor
blemish caused by boring sponge (Cliona
sp.). The shells of all the specimens
are in such excellent condition that
each retains the fine lines of growth on
its ultimate body whorl. The inner and
outer lips surrounding the aperture and
siphonal canal are still highly glossy.
A few shells even retain several small
barnacle remains on their outer body
whorls. Traces of the original reddish-
orange shell coloration can be noted on
the spires of several specimens. The
lack of blemishes shows that the shells
were collected in excellent and un-
weathered condition. Their presently
unweathered and unbroken state is
exceptional and is evidence of their
having lain in a protected depositional
environment before exposure by the

Artifact Occurrence

Whelk shell tool blanks were found at
state-owned Big Mound Key (8ChlO) near
Charlotte Harbor (Figure 5). Part of
the site consists of several large,
contiguous shell mounds bordered by
numerous, very low-lying areas of shell
which, together, form an island or
"key." Associated with the island
portion of 8ChlO are other nearby site
components. They include an enormous,
slightly curved sand ridge, modified
and possibly built aboriginally which
connects to a natural area of high
ground, and a large, circular, tidally-
influenced body of water locally termed
a "hole," apparently mostly natural.
The tool blank specimens were recovered
from the site's shell mound portion
which is about eight acres in extent.

The configuration of 8ChlO has long been
a subject of curiosity. Generations of
local fishermen have marveled at the
large size and regular form of 8ChlO's
accompanying "hole" and ridge. For
years, some treasure-hunters have
likened the key's unusual outline to
that of a spider (see Figure 6). Every
visitor to the site has been awed by the
size of the key's shell mounds and has
wondered about their age and form.
Today archaeologists, geologists, and
biologists find these topics equally
intriguing. For them, however, the
topics are rather troublesome and
complex since accurate and testable
answers are not easy to provide.

Some answers are now available from
research in the aftermath of recent
unlawful bulldozing by treasure hunters.
Beginning in the 1950s and continuing
even to today, various small groups of
men frequently have visited 8ChlO's
shell mounds to search for "buried
treasure." A few of these often rival
groups have been extremely busy
destroying the mounds through their
futile treasure-hunting efforts. One
of several tragic episodes of destruc-

Artifact Artifact Artifact Thickness Location of
Number Length Width of Lip Perforation

A01 180 132 5.3 65 100
A02 191 124 5.4 90 110
A03 210 147 5.4 30 70
A04 213 138 7.0 110 125
A05 227 156 10.4 60 80

B01 151 106 3.7 80 120
B02 164 104 4.6 80 115
B03 167 110 3.8 60 100
B04 169 120 4.5 90 120
B05* 172 --- --- 75 105
B06 173 112 4.4 70 100
B07 173 123 3.8 80 110
B08 176 122 5.2 65 100
B09 177 114 4.5 90 120
B10 179 114 4.4 85 130
B11** 182 124 4.0 50-70,95-125
B12*** 185 135 4.4 80 100
B13 194 134 4.9 70 105
B14 197 125 3.7 75 100

Table 1. Measurements of Whelk Shell Tool Blanks. The 19
artifacts from the two caches are identified by cache (A or B)
and by number. Artifact lengths were measured from the tip of the
spire to the end of the modified columella; widths were measured at
the shoulder between the nodules and include the nodules. Length
and width are maximum figures obtained using an osteometric board.
Measurements of "thickness" are of the edge of the modified lip and
were taken about 30 mm below the last nodule with a Manostat dial
micrometer. The location of a perforation on an artifact's spire
was measured counterclockwise from the end of the suture (zero
degrees) using a protractor placed over the spire as indicated in
Figure 3. Length, width, and thickness are in millimeters; angular
measurements are in degrees.

* B05 lacks some of the modified lip due to bulldozer damage.
** B11 has two perforations.
*** B12 was taken from the Boca Grande fish-house and was not

,Shaw's Point-
,Pillsbury Mound

20 km


Shell Ridge-


Englewood Mol

Big Mound

Location of Big Mound Key, 8ChlO, on the Gulf Coast of South-central
Florida near Charlotte Harbor. Portions of each large site complex
shown including 8Ch10 were part of the Weeden Island culture. Inset
shows the approximate extent of late Weeden Island culture in the
peninsula. Note its occurrence at Charlotte Harbor.

Figure 5.


* !


S60 m

Figure 6.

Big Mound Key (8Ch10) in Charlotte Harbor State Reserve. Any visit
to the Reserve, including its archaeological sites, requires a state
permit. Upper map of key shows a spiderlike shape and 5-foot con-
tour intervals from a treasure hunter's map of the mid-1970s. Lower
outline is based on an infrared aerial photograph (Pelham n.d.).
Stipple shows the area badly damaged by treasure hunters prior to
state acquisition. Dotted line encloses area shown by Figure 7.




Close-up of Damaged Western Portion of Big Mound Key (8Ch10) in the
Charlotte Harbor State Reserve (visits by permit only). The dashed
lines represent walls of bulldozer cuts through the mounds. Fine
stipple shows 1980 bulldozer spoil; heavy stipple shows 1975 spoil.
Letters "A" and "B" show where caches A and B were found. Contours
are in meters above mean high water and based in part on Gray n.d.
Tree symbols represent mangroves.

Figure 7.


tion was in late 1980 (McCarthy n.d.;
Woolverton n.d.) when a group used a
bulldozer to make enormous canyonlike
cuts through two of the key's mounds.

The 1982 emergency salvage work at 8Ch10
was in response to the 1980 bulldozing.
A full report of that work will be
forthcoming. The work produced ceramic,
radiocarbon, and stratigraphic evidence
indicating that two of the key's shell
mounds were constructed around A.D.
800-1000 and a third soon thereafter.
This evidence and the discovery of a
diverse assemblage of Weeden Island
period sacred ceramics at one of the
site's components indicate that the
builders of some of the key's mounds
participated fully in the Weeden Island
culture of the central Florida Gulf
coast. Artifacts recovered from the
bulldozer cuts and spoil indicate that
their secular material culture was
similar to that found at many other
shell mound sites along the Gulf coast
of south-central and southern Florida.

Nineteen whelk shell tool blanks were
found in two apparent caches, each from
a different mound on the west portion of
the key (Figures 6 and 7). The first
five specimens, designated "cache A,"
were recovered in May 1982 by Dan
Hazeltine. He found them near the
bottom of the tremendous, 6-meter (20-
foot) deep bulldozer cut through the
western platform mound, the largest
mound on the site. The five specimens
were lying among shells in a small area
at the base of a spoil slope on the west
side of the bulldozer cut near its north
end (see Figure 7). This spoil con-
sisted mostly of shells which had slid
and tumbled down from a section in the
uppermost meter of the cut's west wall.
That section had been "peeled back" by
artifact-hunters a few months after the
bulldozing (Anon., pers. comm.). Thus,
the section and its spoil had been
exposed for nearly a year by the time
Dan found the specimens. While it was
exposed, rains had washed away much of
the spoil's matrix of dark organic-rich
sand. Nonetheless, the surface texture

and color of the shells in this spoil,
including the five specimens (which also
retained some dark, sandy matrix within
them), matched those of the shells still
in the peeled back wall above. This
peeled back section was situated at an
elevation of between 5 to 6 meters above
sea level and was located between grid
N110, E100 and N120, E100 (Figure 7).

The complex layering in the walls of the
cut through the western platform mound
shows that it is a complicated structure
built primarily of shells and sand. As
explained above, the five specimens of
cache A apparently were derived from a
section near the top of the cut's west
wall. The post-holes, pit features,
lenses of charcoal and ash, and numerous
superimposed summit levels exposed in
the uppermost meter of this west wall
show that there was intensive occupation
on the mound's summit. Situated high in
this west wall was an especially large
pit feature, associated with summit
layers, which was located just 10-20
meters southeast of where cache A
apparently originated. Stratigraphic
evidence and three radiocarbon dates
from this pit feature indicate that the
pit was in use around A.D. 900 (Diener
1983; Luer 1982). That the western
platform mound was constructed around
that time is indicated by nine radio-
carbon dates of shell and charcoal from
the mound's top six meters (20 feet)
which all fall within about 900 to 1300
years of age (Hood 1982; Luer 1982). (A
pre-Mississippian occurrence of platform
mounds in Florida has been suggested
previously by Willey 1949c; Sears 1960:
29,32-33; and Tesar 1980:98-103.) This
evidence suggests that cache A is about
1000 years old.

The remaining 14 specimens, designated
"cache B," were recovered in July and
August 1982 by David Allerton and George
Luer. They were found along the base of
the north face of the enormous tongue of
spoil which the bulldozer had pushed and
dumped onto the west flank of the south-
west mound (Figure 7). The specimens
were nested together in close proximity,

an area of about 0.5 square meter, and
were partially buried. They were in the
next to last large pile of material
dumped out as spoil and, together with
other material, had slid down the pile
to become partially buried at its base.
This spoil pile consisted of very clean
marine shell and appeared to represent
material removed from the uppermost 3
meters of the southwest mound. Such a
provenience would have been about 2 to
5 meters above sea level. Layers of the
southwest mound have not been radio-
carbon dated. However, ceramic sherds
exposed by the bulldozer cuts in the
mound suggest an age slightly younger
than that of cache A. (These ceramics
are sand-tempered plain and Belle Glade
Plain sherds like those from the western
platform mound with the addition of Pi-
nellas Plain, various Glades decorated,
and St. Johns Check Stamped sherds.)

Although these 19 specimens were not
found in situ, there are indications
that they originally had been deposited
in caches. First, sizeable left-handed
whelk shells, whether unmodified or
artifactual, were relatively uncommon in
the bulldozer spoil at 8Ch1O. Indeed,
any large whelk shell occurring in the
spoil was conspicuous and, of those
found, none was an unmodified, sizeable
example of the "robust" variety. Thus,
it was extremely unusual to have dis-
covered 5 or 14 sizeable, robust whelk
shell artifacts occurring together
(these were the only instances noticed
during examination of the spoil).
Second, it was an unnatural occurrence
for so many of the "robust form" whelk
shells to.have been found at 8Ch10 when
such shells are uncommon in nature and
their nearest source (the Gulf and ad-
jacent passes) is at least 7 to 8 km
from the site. Third, it is doubtful
that so many similarly sized artifacts
of the same kind should have occurred
together unless they had been grouped
together on purpose (again see Figure
4). Finally, deposition in caches seems
in keeping with the apparent value of
the artifacts considering the rarity of
the shells, the difficulty of their

obtainment, the care of their selection,
and the skilled labor spent to fashion
them into their artifactual form.

C-14 Dating of Whelk Shell Tool Blanks

In order to verify the age of the arti-
facts, two specimens from each cache
were chosen randomly for radiocarbon
dating. All of specimen B05 and por-
tions of the ultimate body whorl from
the three other specimens, A01, A03, and
B10, were submitted to the University of
Miami Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory.
These four samples consisted of clean',
hard shell without any observed replace-
ment of carbonate.

At the laboratory, these samples first
were etched with a strong hydrochloric
acid solution in order to remove any
extraneous carbonates on the surfaces
and any zones of replacement. After
this pretreatment, the samples were sub-
jected to procedures of synthesis and
counting which are normal for radio-
carbon dating by the benzene method
(see Tamers 1960). The resulting
dates are shown in Table 2.

Three of these dates are "good" dates in
that they fall within the anticipated
range. That is, the dates resemble each
other and are about 1000 years of age or
slightly younger. These three dates are
"very good" in that they overlap each
other even when compared at one standard
deviation. (Dates are usually compared
at double this or at two standard devia-
tions.) The contemporaneity of the
shells in cache B is suggested by the
closeness of the dates for specimens B05
and B10. In contrast to the three
"good" dates, specimen A01 yielded an
unexpected, older date (see Table 2).
A second sample from specimen A01 was
dated, UM2762(b), to test the date ob-
tained first. A similar result verified
the anomalous, older date as accurate.

Two different explanations for the
unexpected, older age of specimen A01
each seem plausible. First, a storm

Submitters' Specimen Laboratory Uncorrected
and Sample Sample Date in
Identifications Designation RCYBP +/- 1S


1) A03, RCS#40 UM 2763 830 +/- 60 A.D. 1055-1270
2) B05, RCS#41 UM 2764 810 +/- 60 A.D. 1065-1285
3) B10, RCS#42 UM 2765 740 +/- 50 A.D. 1215-1330

4) A01, RCS#39 UM 2762(a) 2090 +/- 50 375 B.C.- A.D. 25
UM 2762(b) 1980 +/- 60 165 B.C.- A.D.210

Table 2. Radiocarbon Dates of Whelk Shell Tool Blanks. The four
specimens dated are: A03, 805, B10, and A01. The dates are reported in
radiocarbon years before present (RCYBP), with the present taken as A.D.
1950, and have not been corrected for either the reservoir effect or
isotopic fractionation in nature which, in southern Florida, tend to
cancel each other. These uncorrected dates are based on the Libby
half-life of 5568 years, and each quoted plus or minus reflects a 68%
probability (one standard deviation: IS) derived from counting of the
modern standard, background, and sample. In contrast, the "true"
calendrical ages reflect a 95% probability and are based on the
calibration tables of Klein et al. (1982).

Sites, north Cutting-
to south Edged

1)Snead Is. (8Ma17) 1
2)Martin (8So57) 0
3a)Shell Ridge (8So2) 0
3b)Shell Midden (8So2) 1
4)Paulson Pt. (8So23) 31
5)Cash Mound (8Ch38) 9
6)Turtle Bay 3 (8Ch39) 1
7)John Quiet (8Ch45) 1
8)Indian Field (8LL39) 0
9)Wightman (8LL54) 100
10a)Key Marco (8Cr48,49) 65
10b)Marco Is. (8Cr48) 20
11)Goodland Pt. (8Cr45) 13
12)Turner R./J.Gardens 14
13)Upper Matecumbe (8Mo17) 3


Hammers Edged



Site Period

Safety Harbor
Late Archaic-Manasota
Late Archaic-"Late"
Glades II, III
Glades II, III
Glades I, II, III
Glades I, II, III
Glades II, III

Table 3. Numbers of Left-handed Whelk Shell Cutting-edged Tools and
Hammers at 13 Lower Gulf Coast Sites. The table shows that the number
of hammers is usually greater than the number of cutting-edged tools.
This is consistent with the continuum of modification hypothesized in
the text since hammers would have been the terminal product of such a
continuum. The pattern does not hold in southernmost Florida (sites
12,13) apparently because the whelk shells found there were not robust
and also because queen conch shell celts might have been used in lieu
of hammers. These 13 post-Archaic sites have been chosen for their
pertinent data obtained from the following sources: Luer, pers. comm.
(sites 1,2); Bullen and Bullen 1976 (site 3); Bullen 1972 (site 4);
Bullen and Bullen 1956 (sites 5,6,7); Luer n.d. (site 8); Goggin 1949a
(site 9); Gilliland 1975 (site 10a); Van Beck and Van Beck 1964 (site
10b); Goggin 1949b (site 11); Laxson 1966 (site 12); Goggin and Sommer
1949 (site 13). The site period designations for some sites are
informal: "Early" (2500-1600 B.P.); "Middle" (1600-1000 B.P.); and
"Late" (1000-500 B.P.).

* Percentages represent the number of cutting-edged tools over the
total number of tools (cutting-edged tools plus hammers).

might have buried the shell in a geo-
logic context, such as a beach deposit
of a barrier island, and there it could
have escaped weathering as well as wear
from wave action. After having been
buried for a millennium, another storm
could have exposed the shell and tossed
it on a beach along with fresh robust
whelk shells. These shells then could
have been gathered and brought to 8ChlO
about 700 to 900 years ago and fashioned
into tool blanks.

A second plausible explanation is that
the shell of specimen A01 might have
been preserved in an early shell midden
deposit at 8ChlO and, later, it could
have been removed from such a deposit
and then modified. This seems possible
considering that an early shell midden
component (C-14 dated at about A.D. 200
to 600) does underlie the more recently
constructed western platform mound.
Furthermore, some shells in the mound's
fill and cap yielded older dates than
did surrounding materials. These older
shells, also dated around A.D. 200 to
600, might have been borrowed from an
early cultural deposit at the site for
use as building material.

What is especially important about the
radiocarbon dates is that three of four
specimens have ages very close to what
was anticipated. The fourth date,
though older than expected, does fall
within the range of dates obtained from
the site as a whole. In addition, the
three "good" dates are statistically the
same. This is more evidence in support
of contemporaneity for the 19 specimens,
and another indication consistent with
their possible occurrence in caches.

Artifact Interpretation

Examination of the artifacts from caches
A and B reveals information about their
identity as well as the manufacturing
process for the creation of certain
whelk shell tools. That these 19 shell
artifacts are tool blanks is evidenced
by features shared with whelk shell

cutting-edged tools (compare Figure 1
with Figures 8 and 9). First, both were
manufactured from whelk shells of the
robust form. Second, whelk shell
cutting-edged tools display general
modifications like those described above
for the artifacts from caches A and B.
The modifications shared by the tool
blanks (Figure 1) and cutting-edged
tools (Figures 8 and 9) are:
1) a perforation in the spire's last
body whorl
2) a shortened siphonal canal
3) a modified lip
4) a modified columella tip

Some of these modifications were noted
by John Goggin (1949a) when he gave the
following general description of a com-
mon form of whelk shell cutting-edged
tool which he called "Busycon pick A"
(Figure 8):

It was prepared by taking a
shell and carefully chipping
or pounding the thin edge of
the lip back a short distance
until the uniform thickness of
the mature shell was reached.
Part of the lower lip or beak
adjacent to the canal was
... removed and the canal
was ground to a chisel like
rounded blade .... A short
distance below the shoulder
a notch was cut into the lip.
Opposite this notch, in the
body whorl on the other side
of the shell, a perforation
was made. Some incomplete and
complete perforations show evi-
dence of having been made by
careful pecking which has pro-
duced a neat rounded hole ....

The placement of hafting holes differed
among whelk shell cutting-edged tools.
There were several modes of placement.
For example, in describing an uncommon
form of whelk shell cutting-edged tool
which he called "Busycon pick B" (Figure
9), Goggin (1949a) wrote:

Busycon picks B are similar to

Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tool,
"Type A." This type is the most
frequent among whelk shell cutting-"
edged tools. Note the squat, heavy
character of this robust shell.
The specimen (1:1) is from the
Wrecked Site, 8Ch75.

Figure 9.

Whelk Shell nutting-Edged Tool, "Tyne B."
This is an uncommon type of whelk shell
cutting-edged tool. This specimen (1:1)
is from Kice Island, Collier County, cour-
tesy of John G. Beriault.

Figure 8.

Figure 10. Preparing a Shell for a Strong
Cutting Edge. Only a very weak edge could
ever be fashioned on an unmodified shell's
thin, tapered outer lip, recurved siphonal
canal, and small columella tip (see cross
section to left). However, by removing
these shell extremities, the lip can be
rotated backward to expose the columella's
thick hump and adjoining thickest portion
of the shell's outer body whorl where a
strong bevel and cutting edge can be made
(see dotted line, left). When the shell
on the left is thusly modified and turned
toward the viewer, the major bevel can be
seen head-on (above, right). Rarely, the
minor bevel on the shell's outer surface
approaches the size of the major bevel (see
photograph above; note breakage at adjoin-
ing body whorl).




i ,


Figure 11.

Modified Outer Lip of Whelk Shell Tool Blank and Pecking on Specimen B09. Note that the straight
and smoothed modified lip cuts across lines of growth on the ultimate body whorl.

t, .

type A except for a difference

in hafting. The hole in the back
of the whorl is about in the same
place as in type A but no notch
is made in the lip. Instead a
hole is made in the whorl oppo-
site the lip and to the right of
the columella ....

Historically, tools such as these have
been given various names and have been
poorly described, especially with regard
to their cutting edge. They have been
called weapons (Wyman 1875:59; Rau

1880: 66-67; Holmes 1883:210-211),
gouges (Cushing 1897; Steinen 1982),
shell implements (Moore 1900, 1905,
1907, 1921), picks (Goggin 1949a, 1949b:
77-79; Goggin and Sommer 1949; Willey
1949a, 1949b; Bullen 1965), spokeshaves
(Luer and Almy 1979:40), and adzes
(Cushing 1897; Goggin 1944; Reiger 1981;
Steinen 1982). However, since these
tools are cutting-edged implements
(Figures 8, 9, and 10) and very seldom
pointed, the often-used term "pick" is
inappropriate. Although a term such as
"adze," “axe," "gouge," or “spokeshave"
may be accurate for a particular speci-
men, each term is too restrictive to be
used for this general tool class. An
important reason for using an unre-
strictive term is that the manners of
hafting and bevelling, and thus appar-
ently the methods of use, were quite
varied for whelk shell cutting-edged
tools. Therefore, the general term
"cutting-edged tool" is used here.

The four features shared by whelk shell
cutting-edged tools and the tool blanks
seem to be preliminary, preparatory
modifications toward creating a cutting-
edged tool. That is, the blanks' modi-
fications anticipate and make possible
the series of further modifications seen
on cutting-edged tools. Thus, a blank's
shortened siphonal canal and roughly
bevelled columella tip prepare the shell
by: 1) making its tip more squat and
durable; and 2) readying its columella
for sharpening to a cutting edge. Simi-
larly, a blank's modified lip prepares
the shell for a strong cutting edge.


It rotates the shell's lip backward to
expose the columella's thick hump where
the strongest and best located bevel
could be made. Such a bevel places the
cutting edge directly on the columella
and adjoining thick lip rather than on
the thinner whorl -- see Figure 10.
Finally, the perforation on a blank's
spire may forsee the tool's need for an
accessory hafting hole.

That such a perforation in the spire of
a cutting-edged tool did aid in hafting
was first suggested by Rau (1880:67).

Later it was reported by Cushing (1897:
40) on the basis of finds at Key Marco:

. adzes and gouges made from
almost entire conch shells were
found, handles and all .... The
whorl was usually battered away
on the side toward the mouth ....
The lip was roundly notched ...
the back whorl also perforated
oppositely. Thus the stick or
handle could be driven into
these ..., past the columella in
such manner that it was sprung
or clamped firmly into place.
Nevertheless it was usually fur-
ther secured with rawhide thongs

passed through one or two
additional perforations in the
head [spire], and around both
the stick and the columella.

The function of the spire's perforation
as an accessory hafting hole has been
described further by Moore (1921) and
Reiger (1981:10) on the basis of stains
observed on two specimens of cutting-
edged tools, apparently caused by the
decomposition of leather thongs against
the shell. (Another indication of such
a function is the similar perforation in
the spire of whelk shell hammers -- see
the following discussion and Figure 14.)

There is further evidence suggesting a
link between the tool blanks and whelk
shell cutting-edged tools. One of the
tool blank specimens, B09, has a pecked
area on the shoulder of its ultimate
body whorl (Figure 11) in the area where

the principal hafting hole is often
located on whelk shell cutting-edged
tools. Moore (1921:P1. I) and Reiger
(1979:Fig. 1) have each pictured a
different worked whelk shell possessing
a half-pecked hole or, as Moore called
it, a "round semi-perforation." They
both concluded that the pecked area
represented initial work toward making
a tool's hafting hole. Considering such
pecking, it may be significant that the
flat surface of each blank's modified
lip (Figure 11) allows the blank to be
placed face down (aperture downwards)
on a flat surface without wobbling.
This might have facilitated the further
working of the blank, in this case
aiding the pecking of the principal
hafting hole. (Interestingly, shops
which sell queen conch [Strombus gigas
Linne] shells to tourists for display
purposes usually remove and flatten
the shell's outer lip since unmodified
queen conch shells -- like unmodified
whelk shells -- would wobble if placed
face downwards on a flat surface.)
Thus, the pecking on specimen B09
suggests an intermediary modification
in creating of a cutting-edged tool
from a tool blank.

The modifications of the tool blanks
disclose some of the manufacturing
processes for cutting-edged tools.
The very existence of whelk shell
tool blanks shows that one series of
modifications preceded a second series
which would create a tool from a blank.
Specifically, the four modifications
described above for the blanks precede
notching of the modified lip, pecking
and perforation of the ultimate whorl
below the shoulder, and grinding of the
roughly bevelled columella tip into a
smooth bevel with a cutting edge. This
is a revelation considering that, as
recently as 1979, Reiger stated:

In creating these tools, the
Indians went through a number
of procedures, the exact order
of which is impossible to de-
termine now. One step was to
grind the beak into ... a cut-

ting edge ... (Goggin 1949[b]:
79). Other procedures included
breaking off the edge of the
lip and putting a notch in it,
making a hole in the body whorl
opposite the notch, and wedging
a handle through the notch,
against the columella, and out
the hole ... (1979:130).

Taking this further, even a sequence of
modification leading to the creation of
the tool blanks can be deduced. First,
that perforation of the spire preceded
lip removal is suggested by comparison
of the blanks. Cursory comparison in-
dicates that the spire perforation was
placed variably, but closer inspection
and measurement (Figure 1 and Table 1)
show that the perforation was placed
quite regularly with respect to the end
of the suture and the apex of the spire.
The appearance of variable placement is
due to different amounts of removal of
the original outer lip, a small portion
from some shells, more from others. The
end of the suture marks the end of the
original unmodified outer lip and,
hence, the regularity of placement shown
by measurements suggests that the
original outer lip was present when a
perforation was made.

Next in the sequence, careful chipping
removed most of the lip's natural thin
tapered margin. The siphonal canal
could then be knocked off without frac-
turing the columella and adjacent body
whorl. More careful chipping produced
a thick, flat modified lip and a rough
bevel on the shortened columella. Thus,
the steps in creating the tool blanks
were: 1) perforation of the spire,
2) removal of most of the thin outer
lip and the siphonal canal with its
adjoining lip and columella, 3) removal
of the remaining outer lip followed by
smoothing of the new edge, and 4) rough
bevelling of the shortened columella.

The reason for initially perforating the
spire might have been to remove the mol-
lusk from the shell. Such a hole would
have allowed the cutting of the whelk's

columellar muscle, thereby detaching the
animal. (Today, this is still a common
method of extracting sizeable gastropods
from their large shells.) It should be
noted, however, that at 8ChlO the major-
ity of whelk shells are small in size,
and spire perforations are rare. Shells
which do have a perforation in the spire
are usually large and often artifacts.

As for the order of modification beyond
the stage of the tool blanks, lip
notching and perforation below the
shoulder seem to have come next. These
steps would have allowed the modified
shell to be hafted by the insertion of
a handle and the probable attachment of
leather thongs. The final step might
have been the grinding of the rough
bevel since the desired orientation of
the finished bevel and its cutting edge
would have been dependent on the angle
of the handle with respect to the modi-
fied shell.

Some remarks may be made about the
varied character of the finished bevels
and cutting edges. Whelk shell cutting-
edged tools have a major bevel on the
end of the columella, which in many
cases extends even onto the adjoining
modified lip (Figures 8 and 9). Some
of these major bevels have flat surfaces
whereas others have curved surfaces.
This produces various shapes and kinds
of cutting edges. Furthermore, some
whelk shell cutting-edged tools have
a minor bevel on the dorsal, or outer,
surface of the shell adjoining the
cutting edge. The shapes and sizes of
these minor bevels vary also. Many are
scarcely noticeable. Rarely, a minor
bevel approaches the size of the major
bevel (only two such instances have been
observed by the authors -- see Figure
10). Krenov provides an explanation for
such bifaciality:

No well-ground and honed edge
will ever really be sharp, much
less stay sharp, unless both
its sides are polished and
smooth (1977:114).

This precaution would have prolonged the
sharpness of the edge, assuring longer
use of the tool before resharpening was
necessary. Although earlier researchers
neglected to describe this bifacial
edge, the apparent cutting character of
the edge led some to believe that such
sharp-edged whelk shell tools were used
in woodworking (Cushing 1897:95,100;
Gilliland 1975:47; Carr and Reiger 1980:
73; Reiger 1981:10-15; Steinen 1982:94).
That woodworking was very well developed
during late prehistoric times is evi-
denced by the wooden artifacts found at
Key Marco (see Cushing 1897; Gilliland
1975), Belle Glade (Stirling 1935;
Willey 1949a), and various other sites.


There is evidence suggesting that robust
left-handed whelk shells passed through
a sequence of deliberate reshaping and
reuse. There appears to have been a
"continuum of modification" consisting
of: 1) the manufacture of blanks, 2) the
fashioning of cutting-edged tools from
blanks, and 3) the fashioning of hammers
from cutting-edged tools (Figures 12
through 16). Evidence for the first two
steps is presented above. Evidence
supporting the third is presented here.

Goggin realized that one type of hammer,
which he called "Busycon hammer A," was
a converted cutting-edged tool. He
wrote that it was:

... exactly similar to Busycon
pick A except that instead of
a cutting edge it has a pounding
surface. Some of these specimens
may have been made specifically
for this purpose but many are
clearly picks which were blunted
and never resharpened. They were
continued in use as hammers

A more common form of whelk shell hammer
is a type Goggin called "Busycon hammer
C." It was fashioned from only the
central portion of a robust whelk shell

Figure 12. Intermediary Stage Whelk Shell. This specimen is a former cutting-
edged tool undergoing reduction to make a hammer. The hafting notch
is broken open at the right, and the minor bevel is visible at the
base of the columella. The specimen's two rough notches in its
ultimate body whorl show that the whorl was being chipped away in
two directions: toward the shoulder in order to remove the whorl's
spire portion, and toward the siphonal canal in order to remove
more of the body whorl's lower portion. A remnant of the lower
rough notch along the siphonal canal is often visible on "type D"
hammers. The shell reduction which produced this intermediary
specimen would have created many ultimate body whorl fragments,
whelk shell debitage. This specimen (1:1) was recovered from the
treasure hunters' backhoe trench on 8Chl0.

whelk shell
tool blanks

unmodified shell,
except for
perforation in spire
/outer lip debris,
end of siphonal canal,
basal columella debris

notch and hafting hole
-debris, basal columella
sharpening debris

cutting-edged tool
type A, type B,
and others


robust shells


type A

body whorl


type C

type D

Figure 13.

The Continuum of Modification. This diagram shows the progressive stages and resulting debris
of tool manufacture. Use breakage is not included here so that the diagram can show clearly
the modification continuum.

Figure 14.

Whelk Shell Hammer, "Type D." The long columella (right) is typical of this type of hammer.
Note the remnant of a shallow chipping notch at the edge of the siphonal canal which was made
during shell reduction from a cutting-edged tool stage (compare with Figure 12). The two
apical views (left) show specimens with and without an accessory hafting hole in the spire.
The solid lines represent the position of the haft. The arrows point to the natural end of
the suture. Note how much of each ultimate body whorl has been removed in a clockwise direc-
tion from each arrow. These specimens (1:1) are from bulldozer spoil on 8Chl0.

Figure 15. Whelk Shell Hammer, "Type C." The three views help show the central shell portion from which
the hammer was fashioned. Note the telltale anal canal (at left), the open end of which lies
directly under the natural end of the suture. The remnant of the ultimate body whorl can be
seen between the anal canal and the suture and shows how greatly this shell has been reduced.
This specimen (1:1) is from bulldozer spoil on 8Chl0.

Figure 16.

Stages of the Continuum of Modification Superimposed on One Shell.
The portions of a shell which were progressively utilized are shown
by these two views: apertural, left; apical, right. Dashed line
shows unmodified shell. Solid line shows tool blank. Dashed-and-
dotted line shows cutting-edged tool. Dotted line shows hammer,
type C.

(Figure 15). Goggin (1949a) wrote that
a "type C" hammer:

... has the lip greatly cut
back and notched, and a hole
made in the whorl on the oppo-
site side. In addition the
front whorls of the shell and
spire are broken away usually
to such an extent that the
hole in the back whorl is par-
tially broken open, leaving a
notch there. Thus the haft
passes behind the columella of
the shell resting on a notch on
each side .... The end of the
columella is always gently
rounded and bears signs of
extensive use from pounding

Inspection of "type C" hammers from
8Ch1O reveals that each was fashioned
from a central shell portion. Each
corresponds to the shell portion which
would be left if a robust-shelled
cutting-edged tool were further modified
1) removing the cutting edge and
bevel by shortening the columella
even more
2) removing the modified lip and
peeling back the adjoining ultimate
body whorl almost to the penultimate
whorl where a notch is then made
3) reducing this remaining central
shell portion even more by removing
the whorls and spire on the side
where most of the ultimate whorl was
just removed
4) fashioning a perforation or second
notch opposite the first
5) fashioning a hammering surface on
the shortened columella

These steps can be reconstructed because
a central shell portion thusly modified
into a hammer usually has certain ori-
ginal shell features remaining. This
allows comparison with an unmodified
shell. By finding the still-remaining
natural end of the suture (below which
the shell's tell-tale anal canal is
located), the part of the original,

unmodified shell from which it was
derived can be determined (Figures 15
and 16).

The process of shell reduction which
transformed a cutting-edged tool into
a hammer also made byproducts. Whelk
shell debitage was the principal one,
especially ultimate body whorl frag-
ments. Shells which were undergoing
such reduction are occasionally found
(see Figure 12). These represent an
intermediary stage between cutting-edged
tools and hammers (see Figure 13).

There is also quantitative evidence
suggesting that many whelk shell
cutting-edged tools were modified into
hammers. Table 3 shows that, in the
Central Peninsular Gulf Coast and
Caloosahatchee Regions, hammers are
consistently more numerous than cutting-
edged tools, termed "picks" in the
literature. This was certainly true at
8ChlO where many hammers were the common
"type C" form as well as another form,
Goggin's "type D" hammer. The latter
resemble the former except that the
columella was not shortened (Figures 14
and 15). Although modification of a
whelk shell could have ceased at any
stage, the evident numerical superiority
of hammers over cutting-edged tools
supports the hypothesis that hammers
were the terminal product in a shell
tool continuum of modification.

The continuum hypothesized above is
applicable to the Gulf coast of south-
central and southern Florida. That is
the stretch of Florida's coast where
robust left-handed whelk shells were
utilized most extensively for tools.
In the Ten Thousand Islands, however, a
rather complex situation occurs because
non-robust left-handed whelk shells were
utilized also to make "type C" hammers.
At an intensive occupational component
of Addison Key, for example, non-robust
small shells were commonly fashioned
into small "type C" hammer blanks and
hammers (Beriault, Carr, Luer, and
Johnson n.d.). Nonetheless, the
progressive use of robust shells appar-

ently was practiced too since heavy
robust-shelled cutting-edged tools as
well as hammers also occur at the
Addison Key component.

In contrast, whelk shell hammers are
rather rare in the Florida Keys and on
the lower east coast of Florida. Goggin
(1949a) observed that, in southern Flor-
ida, "type C" hammers were restricted to
the west coast. As evidenced by Table
3, hammers indeed do become progres-
sively scarcer as one moves southward
along the Gulf coast. Perhaps whelk
shell hammers are rare in the Florida
Keys and lower southeast coast because:
1) left-handed whelks on the east coast
are smaller and less robust than those
of the west coast and 2) heavy, multi-
purpose queen conch celts (fashioned
from the shell lip of Strombus gigas,
a conch native to the Florida Keys and
southeast coast but not to the west
coast) were used in lieu of whelk shell

On the Florida west coast, robust whelk
shells seem to have been prized. Their
inherent qualities of weight, strength,
and durability made them valuable for
use as tools. Their usefulness to the
Indians is reflected by the effort they
must have expended to obtain the shells
considering their limited environmental
occurrence, numerical uncommonness,
and specificity of the kind of shell
selected. Since labor and time were
spent fashioning them into blanks, and
then into tools, the shell's value would
have increased. When a shell reached a
stage so extensively modified as a ham-
mer, its potential for further fashion-
ing was usually spent. Thus, by a
continuum of modification, these shells
were utilized to their fullest extent.

It should be mentioned here that robust
whelk shells of various sizes were made
into tools. Very small as well as large
examples of cutting-edged tools and ham-
mers have been found. Considering this,
future researchers can expect to find a
similar range of size among whelk shell
tool blanks.

This discussion should emphasize that
whelk shell tool blanks, cutting-edged
tools, and hammers comprise a very
limited portion of a much greater left-
handed whelk shell assemblage at 8Ch10.
The vast majority of left-handed whelk
shells on the key are of the typical
variety, B. contrarium. Most of these
are unmodTfied, small shells of juvenile
whelks. Large shells of adult or geron-
tic specimens are relatively uncommon.
Occurring very rarely on the key are
shells of B. perversum (Figure 3); just
a few were found after careful searches
of the extensive spoil areas.

Small, juvenile left-handed whelk shells
were extremely common in the bulldozer
spoil and in the walls of the bulldozer
cuts. Not one of them was found to have
been modified for use as a tool. Many
were unbroken, but a fair number did
display some rough breakage of shell
extremities such as portions of the
ultimate body whorl. Many previous
researchers have viewed such shells as
"food refuse." Indeed, at 8ChlO these
abundant, small left-handed whelk shells
were well mixed with other marine shells
such as king's crown, banded and brown
tulip, pear whelk, oyster, and ribbed
mussel shells, which seemed to be food
refuse. The nature of the occurrence of
these shells in the platform mounds at
8Ch10 suggests that they also had been
used as constructional material.

The large, gerontic shells of the
"typical" B. contrarium observed in
the bulldozer spoil were few in number.
Some were unmodified, others were
utilized. There were so-called whelk
shell "anchors" like the specimen
pictured by Gilliland (1975:201, P1.
117D). There were also several whelk
shell dippers or drinking cups. Like
others from central and southwest
Florida, they had been made from large,
adult or gerontic shells. The shape of
these shells and their lack of robust-
ness indicated that they were from
estuarine environments. The large,
comparatively fragile nature of these

"typical" B. contrarium shells made
them better-suited for fashioning into
drinking cups (by removing the columella
and portions of the whorls) than the
more sturdy, compact shells of the
robust variety.

It appears that the size distribution of
left-handed whelk shells in the spoil at
8Ch10 is the result of intensive collec-
tion of this resource. The presence of
numerous juvenile shells is abundant
evidence of this. That so many small
left-handed whelk shells were collected
suggests that juvenile specimens were
abundant in the local population. (This
population may have been one with a
large number of immature individuals
like a population of knobbed whelks,
B. caricum Gmelin, reported by Magalhaes
[1948:390] for the Beaufort region of
coastal North Carolina.) A population
of such character would help explain the
relative uncommonness of large left-
handed whelk shells in the spoil. This
also might have been a result of the
sustained practice of intensive collec-
tion of whelks. As Pulley (1959:74) has
noted, whelks consist of "... small,
highly localized populations of slow-
growing but long-lived individuals."
Thus, intensive harvesting of a popula-
tion of such nature would make large,
old shells uncommon.

One last observation should be made
regarding the presence of sizeable
concentrations of large, "typical"
B. contrarium shells on the surface at
8Ch10. These concentrations of large
shells do not contradict the relative
uncommonness of large shells reported
above for the spoil because they post-
date most of the aboriginal occupation
of the key. This is indicated by their
superficial and peripheral locations on
the site. These concentrations appar-
ently represent refuse from a late
aboriginal occupation. The decrease of
aboriginal population in the 1500s and
1600s may have relieved collecting
pressures on the whelk population and,
thus, numerous large whelks might have
become available to late occupants of

the key. A somewhat similar pile of
large Strombus gigas shells dating to
historic times has been excavated in
southeastern Florida (Carr 1985; also
see this issue).

Additional Comments

We should comment on whelk shell debi-
tage which is an important and as yet
little investigated byproduct of the
prehistoric fashioning of whelk shells.
At 8ChlO for example, many pieces of
robust whelk shell body whorl were ex-
cavated from the large pit feature in
the summit of the western platform
mound. It seems that these particular
pieces of body whorl do not include "use
breakage" pieces but instead, are frag-
ments produced in fashioning tool blanks
and tools. This apparent debitage sug-
gests that the summit of the western
platform mound was a place where time
and skilled labor were spent modifying
valuable robust whelk shells. It should
be recalled that cache A was derived
from this same summit.

The spacious high summit (800 square
meters, 6 meter elevation) of the west-
ern platform mound might have been a
high status area. Summits and high
status have been linked at other plat-
form mounds in the southeastern United
States. Considering this, it is
tempting to speculate that shell tool
making was performed, and perhaps con-
trolled in the case of the tool blanks,
by high status specialists on the mound
summit. The high status working of
marine shell on a platform mound summit
already has been hypothesized in Georgia
(Schnell, Knight, and Schnell 1981:61).
The future analysis of the faunal mate-
rial from the large pit feature at 8Ch10
(which includes abundant deer, sea tur-
tle, and large fish bones) might suggest
that it is high status food refuse which
would help build a case for high status
usage of the summit.

We also should mention in these comments
that the hypothesized whelk shell con-

tinuum of modification does not apply to
all cultures which used whelk shell
tools. For example, the continuum does
not appear to have existed during the
late Archaic period. This is evidenced
at the Hill Cottage Midden (8So2) near
Osprey, Florida. There, whelk shell
cutting-edged tools of an early form
occur. This early form of cutting-edged
tool lacks perforations below the shoul-
der and has one or two holes in the
spire only. These apparent hafting
holes are like those in specimens pic-
tured from the also early Canton Street
Site at St. Petersburg (Bullen et al.
1978:Fig. 11). Significantly, whelk
shell hammers like those discussed above
were absent in the late Archaic deposit
of the Hill Cottage Midden. Instead,
there were numerous whelk shell pounding
implements which were not related to any
prior tool nor to any continuum of modi-
fication. These unusual, early pounding
implements include whelk columella ham-
mers and whelk shell pounders like those
already pictured from the Hill Cottage
Midden by Bullen (in Bullen and Stoltman
1972:Fig. 7:b-d,g) and by Bullen and
Bullen (1976:P1. III:l-m,s).

We should add that the continuum of
modification might have been more
prevalent during later, post-Archaic
periods than during earlier ones. For
example, in the Sarasota area, whelk
shell hammers are common by the end of,
and after, the Manasota period. Double-
holed fighting conch shell hammers occur
abundantly from the beginning to the end
of the Manasota period and apparently do
not occur thereafter (Luer and Almy
1982:44). Perhaps fighting conch shell
hammers served a purpose similar to
whelk shell hammers, and perhaps the
latter replaced the former as the con-
tinuum of modification became a more
prevalent practice.


This paper reports the discovery of
whelk shell tool blanks at 8Ch10 near
Charlotte Harbor on the Gulf coast of

south-central Florida. Nineteen speci-
mens were recovered in disturbed con-
texts, but evidence indicates that they
were derived from two caches, each ori-
ginally deposited in a different shell
mound on the site. The shells of all 19
specimens were carefully-selected robust
examples of a particular, uncommon vari-
ety of B. contrarium which occurs in the
Gulf of Mexico at least 7 to 8 km from
the site. These shells probably were
gathered from this source and brought to
the site where they were carefully and
skillfully modified into shell tool
blanks. Radiocarbon dating of several
of the tool blank specimens indicates
that they were fashioned about 700 to
900 years ago. Careful study of the
tool blanks and of related shell tools
reveals the step-by-step manufacturing
process for blanks as well as the tools
into which they were made. The manu-
facturing steps of these tools and the
tool blanks suggest a continuum of
modification in which unmodified shells
passed to a blank stage, then to a
cutting-edged tool stage, and ultimately
to a hammering tool stage. Finally, it
is emphasized that the whelk shell
assemblage at 8Ch10 consists mostly of
small, unmodified shells of the common,
typical, estuarine variety of B. con-
trarium. Within this assemblage, whelk
shell tools and tool blanks are rela-
tively rare.

Curatorial Note
All archaeological materials from 8Ch10
are property of the State of Florida.
The whelk shell tool blanks recovered
are presently curated by ACI, Sarasota.


This article is a result of emergency
salvage work on state-owned 8Ch10 con-
ducted in 1982 through Archaeological
Consultants, Inc. (ACI) of Sarasota.
Many private individuals voluntarily
aided this work. Fieldwork commenced in
February with the generous help of Ed

Woolverton of Placida and with assist-
ance from John Beriault and Guy Fisher
of Naples, and Bob Carr and Jeanie
McGuire of Miami. A second phase of
fieldwork began in May with the involve-
ment of Travis Gray of North Port, Dan
Hazeltine of Venice, Mary Ellen Shelton
of Englewood, Darden Hood and David
Allerton of Miami, and Ed Woolverton.
This work progressed through the summer
with the aid of David Allerton, Dan
Hazeltine, and Mary Ellen Shelton. A
third phase of fieldwork took place in
September with the involvement of Lisa
Diener of Miami and the help of Andy
Coblentz of Sarasota.

In obtaining archaeological research
permits for the salvage work, Marion
Almy, president of ACI, and the authors
acknowledge the cooperation of the
Florida Division of Archives, History,
and Records Management and thank George
Percy, Louis Tesar, and John Scarry for
their kind assistance. The authors are
especially indebted to Dr. J. J. Stipp
of the University of Miami Radiocarbon
Dating Laboratory for radiocarbon dates.

Special thanks are owed to Ed Woolverton
who, while wintering at Placida, used
his boat to ferry people and supplies to
the key and who, during the summer, lent
his boat for general use in the salvage
effort. Lee Bennett of Guif Cove kindly
provided storage for an outboard engine
and other gear. A special debt is owed
to Travis Gray who shared his truck in
addition to helping greatly with field-
work. Thanks go also to Joe Long of
Naples who loaned his alidade for use on

Vital to the fieldwork were the staging
areas where boats, archaeological and
camping gear, and food supplies were
readied. These places were: Ed
Woolverton's trailer and dock at Placi-
da, one of the University of Miami's
trailers at North Port, and the Luer and
Bennett residences at Sarasota and Gulf
Cove. The difficulties of mounting
expeditions to a distant wilderness
island, not to mention the immensities


of the salvage tasks, were compounded by
the effects of changing tides and winds
on the vast expanses of tidal shallows,
by summer heat, humidity, and rains, and
by an abundance of chiggers, no-see-ums,
deerflies, and mosquitoes. After con-
tending with such conditions, staging
areas often became recuperation areas
once gear and archaeological materials
were unpacked and cared for. Follow-up
work at the UM Radiocarbon Dating
Laboratory in February and October 1982
was facilitated by Bob Carr and Lisa
Diener, both of Miami, who generously
provided lodging.

Aside from this archaeological work,
the senior author is grateful to Bob
and Linda Edic and to Ron Fraser of
Boca Grande, for their interest in

"The Mound." The senior author gave
them help in 1982 and in early 1983
with the hope of attracting protection
for Big Mound Key. Thanks go to William
L. Sheftall, Jr., former Manager of the
Charlotte Harbor State Reserve, for his
assistance with permits and mapping in

Lillian Burns of the Gulf Coast Heritage
Association gave permission to monitor
cable trenching during November 1982 in
the Hill Cottage Midden at Spanish Point
at the Oaks located in Osprey near
Sarasota. Finally, David Allerton
wishes to thank the personnel of the
Florida Collection at the Richter
Library, University of Miami for their
assistance in securing some of the
material necessary for this paper.


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George M. Luer Ronald E. Hatfield
3222 Old Oak Drive and Darden Hood
Sarasota, FL 33579 Geochemistry and
Geochronology Laboratory
David Allerton Department of Geology
Gainesville, FL University of Miami
P. 0. Box 249176
Dan Hazeltine Coral Gables, FL 33124
1017 Myrtle Avenue
Venice, FL 33595



George M. Luer

Quahog shells can be found in surprising
varieties of cultural patterns and arti-
factual forms in prehistoric aboriginal
shell mounds on Florida's lower Gulf
coast. This paper explains some of
those occurrences by combining archaeo-
logical observations, historical per-
spectives, and biological information,
the last being of special importance
for a successful archaeological inter-

Some shell mounds containing quahog
shells are among the world's most magni-
ficent. The extensive land development
accompanying Florida's phenomenal growth
in population has destroyed many of
these (Figure 3 and Appendix). Further
development threatens remaining ones
whose prehistoric resources have been
largely overlooked by archaeologists,
and whose unusual floral and faunal
communities are unrecognized by most

This deplorable situation needs to be
changed! Shell mounds are deserving
of respect, and they need appreciation,
protection, and study. Shell mounds are
far more than "piles of shells." Their
complex layering and compositions are
irreplaceable records of man's pre-
historic past and his relationship with
the natural environment. Their shells,
including quahog shells, hold much
worthwhile information.

The southern quahog (Mercenaria cam-
pechiensis Gmelin), also called "round
clam," "venus clam," or "hardshell
clam," produces the largest, heaviest
bivalve shells found in Florida (see
Figure 2). In size, weight, and
strength, their shells frequently
surpass those of any other sizeable
native bivalve (including sunray and
surf clams as well as oyster, disk,
cockle, scallop, ark, and pen shells).

These attributes make quahog shells
conspicuous and attractive for man's
use. This was especially true in pre-
historic times when they were put to
diverse uses. Seven distinct forms and
patterns of occurrence are addressed in
this paper: 1) chipped valves,
2) unmodified left valves, 3) notched
valves, 4) perforated valves, 5) anvil/
hammer/chopper valves, 6) large left
valves, and 7) mixed left and right

Chipped Valves: "Chips in the Lips"

In the late 1960s my attention was
attracted by quahog shells on the sur-
face of a large shell midden at the Old
Oak Site (8So51) overlooking Sarasota
Bay. These shells were sizeable and
heavy. Some had nicks or "chips" in
their lips (that is, along the valve's
ventral margin -- see Figure 4).

Ripley and Adelaide Bullen (1956) had
found similar "chipped" valves at some
of the large shell mound sites around
the periphery of the Cape Haze peninsula
near Charlotte Harbor. A decade later,
Ripley Bullen found more specimens at
nearby Englewood in southernmost Sara-
sota County while digging in the shell
mound (8So23) jutting into Lemon Bay at
Paulson Point. He wrote that "... why
some were chipped is not known" (1971:
25). Bullen viewed quahog shell in
midden deposit as "food refuse" and
asserted (although without evidence)
that "... shell hammers were used to
open shellfish and get the edible ani-
mal" (1971:26,27). (Similar views, also
unsupported by evidence, had been ex-
pressed previously in Moore 1921:15.)
I accepted these views and concluded
that chipped lips might have been made
"... from blows dealt while opening
the clams with left-handed whelk shell
hammers" (Luer 1977a:51).

Early in 1983, David Allerton and I
found an account of the predatory
feeding behavior of certain whelks, in-
cluding the left-handed whelk (Busycon

Vol. 39 Number 3 Part 1

July, 1986


St. Joseph Clearwater

Terra Ceia Island
Manatee River

Myakka River

Lemon Bay,

Coral Cres Uy
Cape Haze

Charlotte Harbor Okeechobee


Pine Island

Caloosahatchee River

Imperial River


Se Island

Cape Romano? ve

Ten Thousand Islands

Figure 1. The Lower Guif Coast of Florida Showing Place Names Mentioned
in the Text.


Figure 2. Native Sizeable Bivalve Shells of the Lower Gulf Coast of Florida.
From left to right, top to bottom: pen, giant cocKle, southern quahog,
surf clam, sun-ray, disk, ponderous ark, rose cockle, mussel, oyster,
bay scallop, cross-barred venus, coquina, and broad-ribbed cardita.



4 Thomas, Sellner
!ockroach Key
Curiosity Creek
!1 Shell Midden
I Island

Hill Cottage,
,Shell Ridge

,Wrecked Site





Figure 3. Locations of Sites Mentioned in the Text.



left right
Svalve eealve
argin cardinal


length: posterior edge to anterior edge posterior

A Quahog Shell. At the right are paired valves viewed from above, the umbo and ligament uppermost,
so that the left and right valves are clearly distinguished. At the left is the inner surface of a
left valve with features labelled and typical measurements shown. Such measurements are maximum
dimensions. Direct height is distinct from incremental height (see Figure 11, upper) which is a
measurement following the outside curved surface of the valve.

Figure 4.

contrarium Conrad). We read that a
left-handed whelk "can readily excavate"
a buried bivalve, such as a quahog, and
then use "... its own shell lip to chip
a small opening between the margins of
a clam's valves" after which the whelk
"... either inserts its proboscis into
the hole or wedges the clam's valves
apart with its shell lip in completing
the attack" (Paine 1962:518).

A week later, I was in a small boat
gliding slowly over the clear shallows
of Charlotte Harbor when I spotted the
paired valves of a large quahog lying
on the bottom. I scooped them up with
a hoop net. Both valves were clean and,
although slightly agape, they were still
held together by their tough brown-
colored ligament. There were the "chips
in the lips"! On close inspection, I
could see that there was really a pair
of chips, one chip opposite the other
on each valve, as if a bite had been
taken out of the shell (see Figure 5).
One chip was larger than the other and
deep enough to have broken through to
the inner shell surface along the lip's
margin. Thus, when both valves were
pressed shut, there was a neat slit
between the chips.

Turning to a library, I found articles
picturing quahog valves chipped by
whelks (Magalhaes 1948; Carriker 1951).
The pictured chips looked exactly like
the ones on the valves I had scooped up!
Pictures of other valves showed similar,
but more jagged, breakage made by preda-
tory crabs, such as the blue crab
(Callinectes sp.). These chips made by
whelks and crabs were exactly like the
familiar "chips in the lips"! (Such
chips are distinct from the slight nicks
which occur when valves decompose or are
walked on; they are also distinct from
notches made in the lips of some quahog
shell tools.)

There are probably various reasons why
quahog valves from archaeological sites
have predators' chips. If Indians
gathered valves from the shallows with
the intention of fashioning them into

tools (see the sixth section of this
paper titled "Large, Left Valves"), such
valves might have already had predators'
chips in them. If quahogs were col-
lected for food, perhaps some of their
shells were already chipped since
quahogs occasionally survive whelk
attack despite chipping (Warren 1916;
Carriker 1951:78) and since some quahogs
could have been collected while under
crab or whelk attack. The latter possi-
bility is plausible because left-handed
whelks are conspicuous while hunting and
feeding (in contrast to remaining buried
during lengthy rest periods) and because
some whelk attacks may last for days and
still not effect penetration (Carriker

The chipping behavior of whelks explains
the damaged outer lip of some left-
handed whelk shells in shell mounds.
Often, while chipping a quahog's heavy
shell, a whelk breaks off small pieces
of its own shell's outer lip (Warren
1916; Magalhaes 1948:399; Carriker 1951:
75). As a whelk grows, more shell is
added to its outer lip which, if damaged
from chipping, is repaired. Such re-
paired damage can produce a "conspicuous
indented nature of the lines of shell
growth" (Carriker 1951:75) which is
often visible on left-handed whelk
shells from shell mounds (Figure 5).

A rare condition of whelk shells in
shell mounds involves extensive damage
of a shell's body whorl and columella
accompanied by misshapen regrowth of
shell. Perhaps a shell became so
damaged because left-handed whelks,
like quahogs, are subject to predatory
attack. Magalhaes (1948) describes and
provides photographs of extensive damage
inflicted by predators, such as the
strong-clawed stone crab (Menippe sp.),
to the shells of whelks. She (1948:
Fig. 43,44) also pictures whelk shells
which underwent predatory attack, but
whose occupants survived to add more
shell to their remaining, damaged ones.
In 1973 at the Old Oak Site, I unearthed
two such whelk shells displaying consid-
erable damage and misshapen regrowth

Chips in the Lips and Outer Lip Damage. Top photo shows a predator's
fresh chips in a pair of quahog valves. Bottom photo shows slight
damage that a whelk may inflict on its own shell through its chipping
behavior. Each of the two prominent vertical dark lines visible on
this shell represent the edge of a former outer lip. Note that the
edge of each is straight and unbroken at the shoulder but is jagged
and broken farther below.

Figure 5.

past their broken portions (Luer 1977a:
50-51). At that time, I lacked an ex-
planation for their damage and regrowth,
but now it seems likely that their
condition is attributable to the whelks'
having survived attacks by powerful
predators, such as stone crabs.

Thus, the unexpected explanation for
"chips in the lips" provides new per-
spectives on some shells from shell
mounds. These new vantages help explain
the condition of some individual shells.
As the next section of this paper shows,
careful observation of individual shells
can lead a step further and divulge
patterns in the shell assemblage.

Unmodified Left Valves

Leaving the traffic of U.S. 41, I turned
onto a quiet, narrow, palmetto-lined,
sandy lane leading to an old estate,
Indianola, where I met my friend,
Dr. Selling Eide. Elling was upset.
A fire had started by the highway and
had spread across much of his property.
Selling guided me to a particular stretch
of fire break. "Here in these midden
lenses I found my 'Indian lunch'." He
smiled at my puzzled expression and
continued: "Let's go to the house and
I'll show you my 'Indian lunch'."

We took the path southward along the
wide, sandy slope which descended west-
ward toward Little Sarasota Bay. As we
walked, we could see across the brackish
pond to the main shell midden and the
bay beyond (Figure 6). The ridgelike
midden (8So69) stretched along the shore
between the natural high ground to the
north and south, forming a narrow bar-
rier between the bay and the brackish
pond behind. It passed from view as
Selling and I neared the old frame house.
We entered, and Elling ushered me to an
old chair tucked between piles of books
and boxes.

"Are you aware that clam shells have
right and left valves, each resembling
the mirror image of the other?" he

asked. I replied "Yes," and explained
that a valve's umbo was nearer the
valve's anterior portion and that he
should hold the umbo uppermost and the
anterior end away from him in deter-
mining whether he had a right or a left
valve (see Figure 4). Selling nodded his
agreement as he handed me a cardboard
box containing two to three dozen dirty
quahog valves. I looked at the valves
closely. Then I noticed! Every shell
was a left valve!

Selling smiled. He asked, "Can you
explain my 'Indian lunch'? I looked
but couldn't find a complete right valve
-- only pieces. Since each valve is
equally breakable, I suppose that there
was a superstition or religious taboo
against breaking left valves!"

I looked at Elling with astonishment
and disbelief. We returned to the fire
break and picked up more quahog shell.
With one exception, the only complete
shells we found were left valves! To
check if this pattern were a consequence
of some natural one, I inspected quahog
shells in fill material pumped up from
recent geologic deposits in Sarasota
Bay. At two such locations, however,
the ratio of whole right to whole left
quahog valves is 1:1.

In the years since, I have noticed a
predominance of unmodified left valves
(that is, not tools) at many archaeo-
logical sites from Tampa Bay to the
Ten Thousand Islands. Even inspecting
the literature revealed left valves!
For example, Gilliland (1975:P1. 116 and
124) pictured three valves from the Key
Marco collection, each a left valve.
Farther east in the Ten Thousand Islands
Moore (1907) noticed a predominance of
left valves among some modified quahog
valves (see this paper's section titled
"Perforated Valves"). Even deep in the
interior of southern Florida at the Fort
Center Site (8GL13) west of Lake Okee-
chobee, Steinen (1982) noticed that the
eight quahog shells uncovered there from
Mounds A and B were all left valves.
Steinen (1982:94) interpreted this as


60 m
- I

I. *



S00 o
00 000
000000 0
00000000 0
00000 000 00
00 0 0
0 00 grove

residence rh

Map of the Indianola Site (8So69) in the Mid-1970s. The x's on the
landward sandy slope show where notched quahog valves were found in
1981. Sparse stipple represents shell midden; dense stipple repre-
sents Gulf Intracoastal Waterway spoil (upper left) and bay shallows
(lower left). Contours in feet above mean high water. Tree symbols
represent mangroves along shore and citrus in grove.


Figure 6.


"... evidence that there was some kind
of cultural selection in operation."

Indeed, as the next three sections of
this paper reveal, the cultural pattern
of predominantly left valves extends to
modified quahog shells as well. Left
valves were used almost exclusively
for a variety of whole-valve tools.

Notched Valves

The notched quahog valve is distinctive,
consisting of a whole valve with a notch
in both sides (see Figure 7). Some of
the first mentioned in the literature
were found at the bayside shell midden
of the Roberts Bay Site (8So56) near
Sarasota in the early 1970s (see Luer
1977b:123, Fig. 4e, Table 1). In 1979,
Marion Almy excavated a notched quahog
valve during Interstate 75 salvage work
at a small occupational sand knoll site
(8Hi480) located about 8 km inland from
the shore of Tampa Bay near Curiosity
Creek in southern Hillsborough County
(Almy 1980). In 1980 I found another
specimen next to a freshly dug hole on
Josslyn Island (8LL32,50) in Pine Island
Sound. (That vandal's hole near site
coordinates 60S/75E is shown as a
"recent disturbance" on a 1983 contour
map of the complex shellworks on Josslyn
Island [Marquardt 1984:Fig. 9]). These
finds indicate that notched quahog
valves are widespread along the lower
peninsular Gulf coast. Besides such
secular occurrences, they also have been
found in a temple mound (8Ma31) and in
burial mounds (8So2 and 8Ch16). Most
temporal indications for the artifact
are in the range of about 300 B.C. to
A.D. 1200.

In 1981 I again visited Elling Eide at
Indianola where he was planting exotic
trees on the sandy slope behind the
lagoon and shell midden (Figure 6).
"Look at what I've been digging up!"
Selling exclaimed, holding out a half
dozen notched quahog valves. "And
guess what? They're all left valves!"
On reinspecting the plantings and now

weathered fire breaks, we found another
half-dozen specimens.-- all modified
left valves. They were scattered 20 m
to 100 m from the nearest midden deposit
(where Elling had gathered his "Indian
lunch") and had been buried in sand.
A range of wear typical of the artifact
(Figure 7) was represented: some had
limited wear in the area around the
hinge and umbo and on the dorsal or
outer surface, others had wear so exten-
sive that little, if any, of the umbo
remained and the dorsal surface was very
thin (see Figure 9). The lips of all
the specimens were unworn.

Cushing (1897:40) might have uncovered
such artifacts at Key Marco:

Large clam shells, deeply worn
at the backs, as well as showing
much use at the edges, seem to
have served both as scrapers and
as digging implements or hoes;
for some of them had been hafted
by clamping curved sticks over
the hinge and over the point
at the apex or umbo -- where it
showed wear ....

Had notched quahog valves been hafted
and used as clam-shell hoes or digging
implements? Could such use explain a
notched valve's occurrence at Curiosity
Creek (8Hi480) located inland from the
shore? Could the Florida Indians have
used clam-shell hoes for agricultural
purposes as Cushing (1897:40) suggested
and as Wood (1898:82,100) documented for
some of the coastal New England Indians
of the early 1600s? Both Cushing (1897)
and Holmes (1883:207) cited a Le Moyne
depiction of Timucua Indians cultivating
a field as a possible representation of
clam-shell hoes (see Le Moyne 1946:77).
Could the unusual site context of
notched valves at Indianola indicate
that the land behind the shell midden
was cultivated? Some sort of cultiva-
tion seems possible considering that
ceramic representations of gourds occur
by Weeden Island times on the peninsular
Gulf coast.

Notched Quahog Valve.

Front, back, and side views are 1:1.

Figure 7.

Figure 8. Different Degrees of Wear, from Slight to Extensive,
on Notched Quahog Valves (1:1).


Figure 9. Perforated Quahog Valve. Front and back views are 1:1.


Perforated Valves

is owing to the soft charac-
ter of the fiber.

About 90 years ago, Frank Cushing was
perhaps the first investigator to col-
lect a perforated quahog valve (see
Figure 10). Cushing catalogued a single
specimen in the Key Marco collection
(Gilliland 1975:199,254,P1. 124A), but
he did not mention finding the artifact
in his account (1897). This suggests
that the artifact was found elsewhere,
especially since the Key Marco collec-
tion does include some items not ob-
tained there (Gilliland 1975:26,27) and
since C. B. Moore's "... repeated search
made by ourselves and by the juvenile
population of Marco failed to discover
at that place a single perforated clam-
shell of the variety in question" (1907:
469). Moore had better luck elsewhere:

Fig. 25 shows an ordinary
southern, round clam-shell ...
from Fikahatchee Key, with a
circular hole knocked from the
inside through the central
part of the shell or, perhaps,
a little above it. Clam-shells
of this kind, of which we
obtained thirteen, -- twelve
from Chokoloskee and one from
Fikahatchee, -- usually show
considerable wear on parts
of the edge .... There seems
to be, however, no evidence
of wear on the sharp edges
within the holes, which fact
makes it still more doubtful
how these shells were used ....

Cushing, however, speaks of
varieties of Pectunculus
(... a kind of clam) as
having served as scrapers
and shavers, and being
"perforated at the apices,
in order that a loop might
be attached to them to
facilitate handling" ....
Probably it was in this
manner our clam-shells were
used and the comparative
absence of wear in the holes

One feature connected with
the thirteen clam-shells
found by us is of especial
interest. Of these shells
twelve are left valves ...
making it perhaps a trifle
easier for a right-handed
person to grasp in connec-
tion with a band. ... The
remaining shell ... probably
was selected by a left-handed
individual (Moore 1907:469-

Thus Moore apparently was the first
investigator to record a predominance
of left valves among examples of a
particular tool, but his "handedness"
explanation is too limited considering
the additional occurrences and general
nature of the left valve phenomenon.

Regarding the function of perforated
quahog valves, Goggin had a very differ-
ent interpretation. In an unfinished
manuscript (1949a), he wrote:

The function of these shells
is not known but it is most
probable that they were
weights. ... If the speci-
mens were weights and used on
nets the wear on the lip edge
would probably have been a
result of friction on the
bottom of the sea.

However, friction on shallow grassflats
and sandy bottoms would have been mini-
mal. It also seems unlikely that a
large valve, used as a weight, would
have been oriented vertically with the
heavy hinge and umbo uppermost and the
lip dragging below.

Goggin did compile information showing
that the perforated quahog valve had a
wide distribution along the peninsular
Gulf coast. The information suggested
that perforated quahog valves were most
common in two areas, the Ten Thousand

Figure 10. Anvil/hammer/chopper. Front and back views are 1:1.


Islands and the Tampa Bay region:

... They occur at ...
Chokoloskee Key, Wiggen's
Key [Sandfly Key], Fika-
hatchee Key, Addison's Key,
... and Mysterious Island
[Wightman Site]. .... Other
occurrences are from a site
on the beach between Sarasota
and Cortez (YPM 25321), Boca
Ciega Bay (Rochester Museum
of Arts and Sciences, Art.
1.032/20294), Cockroach Key,
Thomas Mound (USNM 394308)
and Safety Harbor (USNM
362380). It is possible
that this artifact will be
found to be more common in
this latter region .... The
time range in the Glades Area
is not certain but probably
is Glades III and possibly
earlier (Goggin 1949a).

Today, this passage by Goggin can be
clarified somewhat. His mention of
"a site on the beach between Sarasota
and Cortez" could apply to the Whitaker
Site. The author has seen perforated
quahog valves (Figure 8) from "Indian
Beach" north of Whitaker Bayou where
some of the Whitaker Site's shell
middens and shell mounds (8So35,39,94)
border the shore of Sarasota Bay.
I have also seen other perforated quahog
valves from locations which, when com-
bined with Goggin's reported geographic
distribution, indicate that perforated
quahog valves are distributed continu-
ously between Tampa Bay and the Ten
Thousand Islands. Those specimens were
recovered recently, one by Mary Ellen
Shelton from Lemon Bay in southern
Sarasota County, another by Sonny
Hazeltine from Coral Creek near Gas-
parilla Sound in Charlotte County, and
a third by Charlie Strader from the
Imperial River in southernmost Lee
County. Like the Whitaker specimens,
each of these artifacts was found in
the tidal zone adjacent to a shell
midden or shell mound (in these cases
8So81, 8Ch15, and 8LL709).

Very similar "beach finds" have been
made by Robert H. Atwood, an avoca-
tional archaeologist and resident of
Manatee County, who has found perforated
quahog valves near Bradenton. Like
those I had seen previously, Mr. At-
wood's specimens were fashioned from
left valves. Two came from Miguel Bay
near the Abel Shell Midden (8Ma83A) on
Terra Ceia Island. Three and a half
others came from the mouth of the
Manatee River: one from Shaw's Point
(8Ma7) and two and a half from the shore
bordering the tremendous shell mound
complex (8Ma17) on Snead Island.

These find-spots suggest ages between
500 B.C. and A.D. 1500. The specimens
from 8Ma17 are probably about 500-1000
years old judging by the cultural mate-
rial at the site and its shore. This
includes many Mississippian period
ceramics but little, if any, material
characteristic of earlier periods.
Pre-Mississippian material does occur
along the shores at 8Ma83A and 8So81.

Despite the meager contextual informa-
tion for these perforated quahog valves,
the specimens do seem to have a distinc-
tive provenience: the shore on the
periphery of sites, often in the tidal
zone. Such a site provenience could
suggest that perforated quahog valves
were used as anchors. Indeed, most of
the specimens have considerable weight,
and they resemble centrally perforated
anchor stones and sinker stones from
elsewhere in North America.

At Key Marco, perforated pieces of
limestone and coral were found tied
together, apparently for use as an
anchor (see Gilliland 1975:224,P1.135).
Cushing (1897:38) described the find

Near the lower edge of the
eastern bench lay another
anchor. It was made of flat,
heart-shaped stones, ...
perforated and so tied and
cemented together with fibre

and a kind of red vegetable
gum and sand, that the points
stood out radiatingly ....

Moreover, perforated ponderous ark
valves (which are common artifacts on
the lower Gulf coast) were found tied to
nets as sinkers at Key Marco (Gilliland
1975:P1. 141). Such a use for bivalve
shells might have been widespread.
Perforated codakia shells are common
artifacts in the Florida Keys (Goggin
1949a), and perforated rangia shells
have been excavated on the northwest
Florida Gulf coast (Penton 1970:46,
Fig. 9).

In a very recent discovery, six perfo-
rated quahog valves were unearthed at
Chokoloskee Island (8Crl). The South-
west Florida Archeological Society
excavated these, the first ever recorded
in situ, from an intensive occupation
deposit dating from late Glades II to
early Glades III times. The six
specimens lay "in close association"
near the edge of an "ash pit" feature
(Beriault and Strader 1984). Their
clustered occurrence may suggest that
they had been tied together.

Of course, conclusive proof that perfo-
rated quahog valves served as anchors or
sinkers is lacking, but their perfora-
tions and other modifications do suggest
they were tied to something. Most of
the perforations are circular in outline
and small in size, usually measuring
about 15-25 mm in diameter. Two such
valves, each with a much larger hole,
have been pictured in the literature:
one a right valve (Griffin and Bullen
1950:P1. III:G) and the other, a left
valve (Gilliland 1975: P1.124:A). Some
perforations appear to be slightly worn
whereas others are rough, but all are
carefully made.

One of Mr. Atwood's specimens from 8Ma17
is unusual in that it has a shallow
groove on its outer shell surface which
runs from the central perforation to the
lip. Another specimen has a small notch
in its lip. These notches and groove

suggest that a cord ran through the per-
foration and passed over the shell and
around its ventral margin. Such an
arrangement could account for the "con-
siderable wear" on the edges of some of
Moore's specimens (1907). Edges with a
notch or wear are also displayed by some
of the small perforated anchor stones
from the Key Marco "anchor," several of
which have a shallow notch or flat edge
on one side, apparently where the cord
wrapped around the stone (compare Gilli-
land 1975:P1. 135 and 136).

Finally, the fact that Moore did not
notice any wear (smoothing) at the per-
forations on his specimens may be due
to the nature of the shell. A quahog
valve's edge has thick shell layers that
are curved in cross-section and which
probably would allow smoothing by (or
for) a cord. In contrast, the thinner,
flatter layering at the perforation
probably would flake some so that little
noticeable wear would occur. Some
flaking at the perforation also could
be caused by weathering.

Anvil/Hammers and Choppers

The quahog valve "anvil" is another
"whole valve" tool (see Figure 11).
One of the first published mentions of
"Venus shell anvils" was Ripley Bullen's
reference (1952:73) to specimens found
in 1937-38 during W.P.A. diggings at the
former Sellner Shell Midden (8Hi30,94)
located near the mouth of the Little
Manatee River on the east shore of Tampa
Bay. Other Tampa Bay specimens were
found at the Abel Shell Midden (Bullen
1951:16,Pl. III:0) and in the Harbor Key
Temple Mound (8Ma13) (Bullen, Reeder,
Bell, and Whisenant 1952:21). In 1954,
the Bullens recovered numerous "Venus
anvils" at several sites bordering the
Cape Haze peninsula near Charlotte
Harbor (Bullen and Bullen 1956). More
specimens were found at nearby Paulson
Point (Bullen 1971:25) and Gilliland
(1975) reported numerous examples in her
inventory of the Key Marco collection.
In 1982, specimens were recovered from


~~.0e gS

80 -

8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22

Age (years)

11-20 21-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71-80 81-90 91-100

Size Class (mm)

Figure 11.

101- 111- 121-
110 120 130

Growth and Size Data for the Southern Quahog. The top graph shows
mean growth by age for southern quahogs from Boca Ciega Bay, Florida
based on Saloman and Taylor 1969: Figure 4. The bottom graph shows
the number of individuals by size class for southern quahogs from
Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor based on Godcharles and Jaap 1973:
Figure 28 and Figure 29.

0 2 4 6

I r 1 I I i r I I I r I

disturbed as well as undisturbed con-
texts at Big Mound Key (8Ch10, 8Ch16)
and at the Shell Ridge (8So2) at the
Palmer Site (see Table 1 and the dis-
cussion below). All of these reports,
taken together, reveal that this arti-
fact is widely distributed along the
coast of central and southern Florida.
The temporal data (from 8Ma83A, 8So2,
8ChlO, and 8Ch16) suggest ages between
about 300 B.C. to A.D. 1200.

The quahog valve "anvil" can be a con-
spicuous artifact. This was the case at
state-owned Big Mound Key, a large shell
mound complex comprising an artificial
island, much of which was constructed by
Weeden Island period Indians in shallow
water adjacent to the Cape Haze penin-
sula. There, in 1975 and again in 1980,
men in search of "buried treasure" ille-
gally bulldozed portions of a huge shell
mound on the western part of the key.

In the spoil left by their bulldozers,
quahog valve "anvils" were easy to spot
among the thousands of sun-bleaching
shells. This was not only because of
their large size but also because other
quahog shells were rare in the spoil.
Some of these quahog valve "anvils" are
listed in Table 1.

All of the recovered specimens were
large, heavy, left valves with the
typical "pounded" area on an otherwise
unworn dorsal surface. The "mint
condition" of the umbo, the ligament
scar, and all or most of the lip of the
specimens indicated that fresh valves
had been utilized. Several exhibited
much more wear on the dorsal surface
than did others, but the wear on all the
specimens suggested that they had served
for pecking or slight pounding, rather
than for strenuous beating. At the
hinge on the ventral side of some
valves, the two protruding cardinal
teeth were unbroken and unworn. The
cardinal teeth of others also protruded
and lacked wear but were snapped, sug-
gesting that the teeth might have broken
as the right valve was pried apart from
the left. The lack of extensive break-

age and wear at the protruding teeth
suggested two things: 1) that the
specimens had rested on a soft surface
when pecked against, and/or 2) as Dan
Hazeltine suggests, that they might have
served as hammering tools grasped with
the whole hand and pecked with (in which
case "anvils" might have doubled as
hand-held "hammers").

Three of the 12 specimens collected
also functioned as a hand-held chopping
implement. This was evidenced by a worn
area on the dorsal portion of the lip of
each valve (Figure 11). The dorsal edge
was chipped and broken back, a little on
two specimens and considerably on a
third. Similar quahog valve "choppers"
that were not used as "anvil/hammers"
have been recovered from the Old Oak
site (8So51) and from the eroding,
brackish water shell midden (composed
primarily of Carolina marsh clam valves)
at the Wrecked Site (8Ch75) near the
mouth of the Myakka River. Again, each
of these quahog valve choppers was a
left valve!

The emergency salvage work on Big Mound
Key (8ChlO) was conducted with an
archaeological research permit from the
State of Florida, owner of the site.
Much of the work focused on excavating
a large "fire pit" exposed high in the
precipitous wall of a six meter (20
feet) deep bulldozer cut. A portion of
this intricate pit feature already had
crumbled and fallen away into the deep
cut before salvage work began. Careful
excavation of some of the remaining
feature revealed several quahog valve
anvil/hammers -- all left valves (Table
1). One specimen was uncovered just
outside and immediately below a small
lens containing charcoal of which a
sample was submitted to the University
of Miami Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory
(Luer 1982). That sample (UM2685), and
two others (UM2676, UM2679) from deeper
in the pit feature, each yielded dates
of about A.D. 900 (Diener 1983).

These dates combined with the strati-
graphic evidence indicate that these


Where Found
8So56, surface
8Hi480, 105E/101S
8L132, 60S/75E
8So69, slope
8So69, slope
8Chl0, spoil
8ChlO, spoil
8ChlO, spoil
8Chl0, spoil
8ChlO, spoil
8Chl0, spoil
8Chl0, spoil
8ChlO, spoil
8ChlO, spoil
8Chl0, spoil
8Chl0, spoil
8Chl0, spoil
U2Sq3W1/2,170cm bd
U1SqlS1/2,180cm bd
U1Sq4S1/2,215cm bd
U1Sq4N1/2,240cm bd
U1Sq4N1/2,262cm bd
U1Sq4N1/2,275cm bd
8So2, spoil
8So2, spoil
8So2, spoil
8Ch45, Test III
8Ch45, Test III
8Ch45, Test III
8Ch45, Test III
8Ch45, Test III
8Ma7, surface
8Ch15, surface
8Ma83A, surface
8Ma83A, surface

notched valve
notched valve
notched valve
notched valve
notched valve



Table 1. Measurements (in mm) of Quahog Valve Artifacts.
The 36 specimens represent left valves and include tools, as
described (see text), or unmodified valves each described as
a "valve." Artifact 1 is from Roberts Bay (Luer 1977b:Fig.
4e); 2 is from Curiosity Creek (artifact 79-93-72-538); 3 is
from Josslyn Island (see text); 4 and 5 are from the sandy
slope at Indianola; 6-23, from Big Mound Key, are from
bulldozer spoil (6-17) or a described depth below datum (bd)
in an excavation unit (U) and square (Sq) at the pit feature
on the summit of the western platform mound; 24-26 are from
the Shell Ridge at the Palmer Site; 27-31 are from spoil of
the Bullens' Test III at the John Quiet Mound; and 32-36 are
from the shore of Shaw's Point, the Whitaker Site, the Coral
Creek Site, and the Abel Shell Midden, respectively. All the
measurements are to the nearest millimeter except 1-5 which
are close estimates of the original unmodified dimensions of
the valves.




quahog valve anvil/hammers were used
a thousand years ago. Presumably, the
tools were used on the summit of the
platform mound in the vicinity of the
pit feature. This summit platform was
an area of intensive activity as evi-
denced by the successive, buried summit
levels and numerous, associated post
holes which were sliced through by the
higher portions of the bulldozer cut's
west wall.

Five quahog valve anvil/hammers were
excavated from the pit feature. Each
was found in a different layer of the
feature, each lying with its worn dorsal
or outer surface downwards. This posi-
tion might support Dan Hazeltine's hand-
held hammer theory since such a ham-
mering tool would be expected to be
found with its worn surface downwards.
In addition to these five quahog valve
tools (one of which doubled as a chopper
-- see Table 1), only one other whole
quahog valve was excavated from the pit
feature and that specimen was a large,
unmodified left valve (Table 1). Unlike
the five anvil/hammers, it was found
lying dorsal surface upwards. Aside
from these six valves, quahog shell was
broken and uncommon in the pit. Like
Big Mound Key in general, quahog shell
was relatively uncommon; whole valves
were rare, usually large and usually
anvil/hammers (and, of course, left

The various charcoal lenses and the
abundant animal bone and mollusk shell
excavated from the pit feature suggest
that the pit served for cooking and
refuse. If so, the anvil/hammers might
have been used in preparing food, such
as for cracking stone crab claws or for
extracting marrow. Only two striking
tools, both hammer stones, were found in
the pit feature. This may suggest that
two valves were used in conjunction with
each other: one as an anvil and the
other as a hammer or a chopper. These
three uses would be consistent with the
varied wear on the tools and the scar-
city of other striking tools in the pit

Large Left Valves

Biological studies reveal an abundance
of southern quahogs at various Gulf and
near-Gulf localities from St. Joseph
Sound near Clearwater southward to Cape
Romano near Marco Island (see Godcharles
and Jaap 1973). Woodburn (1962) notes
their abundance near Gasparilla Island.
Their abundance at such localities is
due, in part, to the fact that southern
quahogs thrive in "near ocean salinity"
(ocean salinity is 35 to 36 parts per
thousand salt), but do not tolerate
salinities under 20 parts per thousand
(Woodburn 1962:11).

Other biological studies describe the
growth, age, and size of quahog shells.
Young southern quahog shells increase
rapidly in size whereas large, old
shells increase very slowly (see Figure
12). Accumulated measurements of more
than 5000 southern quahog shells from an
estuary adjoining Tampa Bay showed that
shell length averaged more than 77 mm
within the third year of growth (Saloman
and Taylor 1969:50-51). Careful meas-
urements of very large shells showed
that later growth slowed considerably,
especially after 5 years of age. After
having grown for six to eight years,
some shells had reached a "large" size
and averaged 120-129 mm in length.
Others were even larger and older, the
oldest reaching an age of 22 years and
measuring 154 mm in length (Saloman and
Taylor 1969:49,50).

Other biological data show that large
southern quahogs are relatively rare
(Figure 12). Of a total of 364 quahogs
dredged from more than 38 stations in
Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor, none had
a shell greater than 130 mm in length
(Godcharles and Jaap 1973:32,40,41).
Only eight specimens of the 364 (about
2%) fell within the range of 111-130 mm
of length. In contrast, 277 of those
specimens (about 76%) measured 80 mm
or less in length (Godcharles and Jaap
1973:Fig. 28 and 29).

15 cm


Figure 12.

Shells Around Inverted Vessel in the Palmer Burial Mound, 8So2.
This feature is "P 1" in Bullen and Bullen 1976: Fig. 17. The
arrangement of shells is based on photos taken by the Bullens.




If such a sample were increased to
thousands, it obviously would include
more large shells. Indeed, shells which
are heavy and sizeable (80-120 mm) are
commonly picked up by casual shell
collectors who overlook smaller, lighter
shells. Especially large shells (130-
150 mm), however, are rare all along the
Gulf coast with one exception, a small
"embayment" near St. Petersburg which
has yielded specimens up to 172 mm,
breaking the former record of 153 mm
(Sims 1964; Saloman and Taylor 1969).

The quahog valves utilized prehistoric-
ally for tools were usually sizeable.
The larger seem to have been favored
for making perforated valves and anvil/
hammers whereas smaller ones were fa-
vored for making notched valves. The
latter were usually too altered by
manufacture and too worn from use to
allow a present-day, accurate measure-
ment of the original length of the
valve, but estimated lengths usually
range from 90-120 mm although smaller
examples have been seen. Since the
valve margins of quahog valve anvil/
hammers usually were not altered, their
original shell length can be measured
accurately. Table 1 records the length
and direct height of 21 valves so uti-
lized. Their average length was 124 mm.

The sizes of the 21 quahog valve anvil/
hammers indicate that large, heavy
valves were favored for this kind of
tool. Considering their natural scar-
city (even compared to slightly smaller
valves), there was a clear selection of
the largest, heaviest valves. Selection
was even more intensive because each
valve was a left one. Thus, although
large, heavy valves were relatively
scarce, only half of the natural poten-
tial resource (the left valves) were
utilized. Evidently the broad cultural
use of left valves overrode the scar-
city, even though a left or a right
valve would have been equally "useable"
as a hammer or anvil from a functional
What was the cultural mechanism that

produced and controlled such selective
utilization? Although archaeological
work may not explain the "why" behind
the apparent cultural bias between
valves, there may be tangible evidence
relating to "how" such selective utili-
zation was effected. An interpretive
perspective which may be of help is one
derived from careful study of whelk
shell tool blanks (see Luer, Allerton,
Hazeltine, Hatfield, and Hood, this
issue). This study indicates that whelk
shells to be fashioned into tools were
rigorously selected for certain attri-
butes. Once secured, these special
shells were skillfully fashioned into
tool blanks. At Big Mound Key, these
"valuable" tool blanks apparently
occurred in caches in the summits of
platform mounds.

Could scarce, large, left quahog valves
have been selected for later fashioning
into tools and hoarded in caches? The
possibility is suggested by the Bullens'
work at the John Quiet Mound (8Ch45),
another tremendous artificial island and
shell mound complex located very near
Big Mound Key. At that site they dug
a series of tests. Five feet below the
summit of the highest mound in Test III,
they uncovered a portion of "... an area
of intense occupation, possibly a house
floor" and, "within the floor was a pile
of fourteen large clam shells (Venus
sp.), carefully nested together" (1956:
31,35,36). The 14 "shells" might have
represented quahogg valve tool blanks,"
but were they left valves? Unfortunate-
ly, the Bullens did not say. In 1983,
however, this author found five quahog
valves on the spoil beside the Bullens'
Test III. Each was a large, heavy, left
valve (see Table 1). Two were anvil/
hammers and the others unmodified except
that one had a large chip in its lip.
The Bullens (1956:42) did note that "one
Venus shell with a chipped edge came
from a depth of 5 feet" in Test III.
This find raises the possibility that
some large, heavy, left valves with
predator's chips might have been gath-
ered with the intention of fashioning

them into tools.

The finding of a cache of large quahog
valves in a shell mound summit may be
a tangible clue to how the selective
utilization of quahog valves was accom-
plished. Such a cache, if comprised of
exclusively left valves, may suggest a
cultural system which controlled the
production of quahog shell tools. Such
a system might have been rigidly pre-
scribed. Cultural importance might have
been placed not only on which valve was
used (and hence on the shell tools
themselves), but also on who made the
tools and how they were made. The
occurrence of the Bullens' cache of
large quahog valves in a buried summit
level of a shell mound may suggest that
such a hypothetical cultural system was
a high status one.

A Case of Left and Right

A very interesting photograph is the
lower portion of Plate X in The Palmer
Site, a 1976 monograph by Ripley and
Adelaide Bullen. The Bullens took the
photo in 1960 during the second of three
seasons excavating in the Palmer Burial
Mound near Osprey in Sarasota County.
It pictures two of three undecorated
ceramic vessels which they unearthed on
the mound's southeast side in a 10-foot
by 10-foot grid unit designated Square
2C. The Bullens brushed away sand from
the vessels to reveal the in situ
arrangement: both were upside-down
and broken in place, one accompanied
by marine shells scattered around it,
apparently on a former "surface" of
the burial mound (see Figure 13). In
prehistoric times, the Indians had
covered this "surface" with more sand so
that, in 1960, it was "about 12 inches"
below the mound's surface (Bullen and
Bullen 1976:38-39).

The startling thing about this photo are
the shells: most are quahog shells,
including both left and right valves!
Close inspection reveals about a dozen
large- and medium-sized unmodified

valves, some of which seem to be
matching pairs! Besides these valves,
there are about a half dozen fragments
of broken quahog shell, and three or
four fragments of left-handed whelk
shell body whorl. Within the broken
base of the vessel are two whelk shell
columellae and a sizeable mineralized
fossil shark tooth (Figure 13).

This unusual find of an inverted vessel
with associated artifacts and apparently
paired quahog valves hints at additional
special treatment and significance for
quahog shells. The cultural context of
a burial mound is an uncommon and sacred
one (as opposed to a secular one). The
presence in such a context of apparently
matching quahog valves, a phenomenon yet
to be observed in a secular context on
the lower Gulf coast, suggests a special
sacred use for them. Furthermore, a
fossil shark tooth in such a context
suggests sacred activity. Large fossil
shark teeth were commonly placed in
prehistoric sand burial mounds in cen-
tral and southern Florida. In early
historic times, even facsimiles of
silver ("silver effigy shark teeth")
were placed with burials (see Allerton,
Luer, and Carr 1984). At the Palmer
Burial Mound, the Bullens (1976:39,44)
uncovered fossil shark teeth on the same
former "surface" on which the three
vessels of Square 2C were placed. They
took a photo (see their Plate XI, lower)
of scattered sherds, shells, and miner-
alized shark teeth in the adjoining
Square 2D. (It should be noted that
sizeable fossil shark teeth also had
other uses and that they occur in
secular contexts as well.)

The interpretation of a special, sacred
significance for the inverted vessel and
shells is reinforced by finds during the
Bullens' third season of field work in
1962. At the same depth as the vessels
in Square 2C and just 2 to 3 meters (6
to 12 feet) to the south and southwest
(in the adjoining and catty-cornered
units of Squares 1C and 1D) were the
skeletons of four dogs and an alligator,
the latter accompanied by two strings of


Peninsular /


Coast I














50 km
- 8 p I I

Figure 13.

Archaeological Regions. Regions are based on Luer and Almy 1982,
and Carr and Beriault 1984.




sawfish vertebra beads. The approxi-
mately 2 1/2-meter (8-feet) long alliga-
tor had been buried, belly-downward, in
an extended position oriented east-west
with its head to the west. Just to the
north, each lengthy string of beads was
laid out linearly and consisted of
extremely large, centrally-perforated
sawfish vertebrae. (The large number
and uniform large size of the vertebrae
indicate that they were from several
very large sawfish.) The Bullens
(1976:46) wrote that:

Special note should be made
of the two strings of sawfish
(Pristis ...) vertebrae beads
which were placed parallel to
the alligator's body. The
longer string, 5 feet in length,
stretches from an upper to a
lower limb of the animal and
is thus closely associated.
The other, 3 feet long, paral-
lels the first at a distance
varying from 6 to 12 inches.
In the illustration [Plate
XVII] are a few sherds. Those
near the shorter string of beads
consisted of 1 St. Johns Check
Stamped and 3 Dunns Creek Red
sherds. Found while excavating
the alligator skeleton were
6 St. Johns Check Stamped,
8 sand tempered plain, and
3 Belle Glade Plain sherds ....

These sherds and the location of the
alligator burial near the surface of
the mound indicate that the time of
interment was late in the mound's long
history of use. Judging from the
ceramics recovered in the upper portion
of the mound and from those found with
the alligator burial, it seems that
interment occurred between about A.D.
800 and A.D. 1000.

Just 1 to 2 meters to the north of the
alligator's skull were the four dog
skeletons. These skeletons represented
three burials, the northernmost being a
double interment (see the Bullens' Plate
XVI, lower). (According to Frank Bush-

nell who visited the Bullens' excava-
tions, the dog skeletons were of a kind
of small, terrierlike dog. Bushnell has
claimed [pers. comm.] that this is one
of two kinds of dog found in peninsular
Florida burial mounds.)

Why were four dogs, a large alligator,
two long rows of large sawfish vertebra
beads, large fossil shark teeth, and
three inverted ceramic vessels placed in
the Palmer Burial Mound? The Bullens
(1976:44,46) wrote:

It should be noted ... that
three of the vessels were in
the next square north of the
alligator ... and also at the
same depth. It is possible
these features and the large
number of fossil sharks teeth,
also at about the same depth,
were deposited as part of the
same ceremony.

That a ceremony could account for these
interments seems possible. Their occur-
rence on the southeast side of the
burial mound might be an indication of
a ceremony, since there is a similar
placement of ceremonial pottery caches
in some burial mounds in Florida.

Why was one inverted vessel accompanied
by shells? The apparently matching
pairs of quahog valves suggest that
fresh quahogs were brought to the burial
mound and perhaps shucked (hence some
broken pieces). Possibly they were
carried or cooked in the accompanying
ceramic vessel. They might represent
some sort of ceremonial offering, either
of food or of the shells themselves.

There are previous instances in which
quahog shells in a sand burial mound
have been interpreted either as "food
offerings" or as an indication of some
"ceremonial function." The latter
interpretation was made by Sears (1982:
196) for a feature uncovered in Mound A
at the Fort Center Site:

Some further suggestion of the


ceremonial or sacred character
of this ... mound was offered
by a deposit (Feature 1) on its
eastern edge toward the ...
pond: a single adult human
skull in poor shape, the skull
cap of an infant with traces of
cutting on its margins, seven
Busycon dippers, three Venus
clam shells, a set of nested
shells consisting alternately
of four clam and four scallop
shells, two birdbone tubes,

and the cut and worked mandible
of a small carnivore (Sears

Presumably, these clam shells from
Feature 1 were seven of the eight quahog
valves recovered from Mounds A and B,
all of which were left valves according
to Steinen (1971;1982).

In the case of "food offerings," quahog
shells were among various marine shells
associated with some of the burials in
the now-destroyed Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker
Mound (8504) which overlooked Sarasota
Bay. Milanich (1972:34) recorded that
three burials (Burials 1, 2, and 3) were
associated with food bone including that
of deer, drumfish, and other fish as
well as organically stained areas con-
taining deposits of shell. A sample of
102 shells from the "food-shell deposit"
of Burial 1 consisted of "46 per cent
quahog ..., 37 per cent oyster ...,

8 per cent ribbed mussel ..., with the
remainder being conchs ...." (These
percentages are based on numbers of
shells [Milanich pers. comm.].) Re-
garding Burial 2, Milanich wrote that:

One side of a deer jaw...
cupped between two clam shells
was placed beside the burial

in the burial pit. Humic stain
suggests these shells were a
food offering. Several
other shells [were found] in
the pit (1972:34).

Unfortunately, whether or not these "two
clam shells" were a matching pair of

quahog valves was not stated.

Quahog shells, as well as other shells,
have been overlooked too often in burial
contexts. This disregard has been the
rule rather than the exception. A good
illustration of this is another burial
mound in Sarasota County, the former
Englewood Mound (8S01), excavated in
1934 as a Smithsonian-conducted federal
relief project (Stirling 1935:383-385).
In presenting summary results of that
project, Gordon Willey (1949:127) wrote
that "a few shell tools ... and dozens
of conch shells, whole and broken, were
found throughout the mound," but he
catalogued only three conch shell arti-
facts. Furthermore, he relegated all
other shells to an unqualified and
unquantified category: "miscellaneous
conchs and clams" (1949:134). From this
author's observations of other burial
mounds, there probably were numerous
marine shells, including quahog shells,
excavated from the Englewood Mound. The
fate of most of these shells might have
been similar to that of the undecorated
pottery: "... several thousand plain
potsherds from the excavation were dis-
carded in the field" (Willey 1949:131).


Historically, quahog shells have escaped
the focus of archaeological research.
Tools made from them have tended to be
incidental finds, overshadowed in the
literature by the other discoveries and
concerns of their finders. Due to this
lack of emphasis, few recent investiga-
tors have acknowledged that Cushing,
Moore, Goggin, the Bullens, and others
recognized various types of quahog shell

Very little scrutiny has ever been given
to quahog shell “food refuse" in Gulf
coast sites. Goggin and Sturtevant
assumed that the southern quahog was an
important part of the late prehistoric
diet along the southern Florida coast.
To emphasize its abundance, they pointed
to the former Ten Thousand Islands clam


fishery, among the most productive in
the United States during the 1880s-1940s
(Goggin and Sturtevant 1964:186; also
see Godcharles and Jaap 1973). However,
Goggin himself had once recorded the
relative scarcity of quahog shell at
Goodland Point (8Cr45) in the western
Ten Thousand Islands:

The composition of the midden
is mainly shell; in fact the
bulk of it is pure shell with
only narrow lenses or layers
of black dirt. In all, shell
constitutes about 95 per cent
of the total contents. Of this
shell an estimated 90 per cent
or more consists of small oys-
ters (2 to 3 inches long). No
other species of mollusc is of
great number but the Busycon
perverse is perhaps the most
numerous of the minor forms,
followed by the clam, Venus
campechiensis (Goggin 1949b:67).

A somewhat similar situation is indi-
cated by a recent analysis of mollusk
shell from the Venice Beach Site (8So26)
where quahog shells averaged about 10%
of the total number of the midden shells
analyzed (see Ruppe 1980).

Quahog shells are being further quanti-
fied in an ongoing analysis of four
shell midden samples from the Palmer
Site (8So2). Different amounts of qua-
hog shells have been found in the four
samples, ranging from about 7% to about
20% of a sample's total shell weight.
Each sample's quahog shells have been
subdivided into fractions based on shell
characteristics (such as left valve or
right), and the fractions counted and
weighed. The results for two samples
are shown in Table 2. As can be seen,
whole left valves outnumber whole right
valves in both samples. However, frag-
ments of right valves outnumber those of
left valves suggesting that "missing"
right valves are present but broken.
This is further supported by: 1) the
roughly equivalent numbers of right and
left umbos (whole valves plus fragments

with umbo) and 2) the weights of the
combined left and the combined right
valve material are each about half the
total quahog shell weight.

There is a wide geographic distribution
for each type of quahog shell tool
focused on in this paper. Thus, notched
valves, perforated valves, and anvil/
hammers are tools shared by the Central
Peninsular Gulf Coast, the Caloosa-
hatchee, and the Ten Thousand Islands
regions (the last region based on Carr
and Beriault 1984). Also widespread was
the predominant use of left valves for
tools. The broad occurrence of these
traits indicates that the three con-
tiguous archaeological regions (Figure
14) shared some of the same shell tool
traditions. Such traditions are impor-
tant because they point to cultural
relationships. The late cultures of
the three lower Gulf coast regions of
Florida held certain cultural aspects
in common.

This seems to have applied to the late
cultures of the Lake Okeechobee region
as well. The exclusive occurrence of
eight left quahog valves at the Fort
Center Site points to this. In addi-
tion, the whelk shell tools found there
in Mound A (Steinen 1982:Fig. 6.3) are
very similar to those typical of many
lower Gulf coast sites. These similar-
ities in quahog shells and whelk shell
tools should be emphasized since Steinen
has claimed that "... there is little
correspondence between the technomic,
sociotechnic, and ideotechnic systems
of the Gulf Coast and those of the
Okeechobee Basin" (1982:108-109).

The selective utilization of left quahog
valves may give clues to general pat-
terns of cultural behavior. If there
had been "a cultural system which con-
trolled the production of quahog shell
tools" (see "Large, Left Valves"), could
this system have been a reflection of
stratified societies like ones described
by the French and Spanish for several
Florida Indian tribes? Some of the
Indian men of high, religious status

Hill Cottage Shell Ridge

Number Weight Number Weight

Left valves 5 514 45 1392

Left valve fragments with umbo 47 1264 69 1153

Left valve fragments 128 1965 315 1938

Right valves 1 140 6 133

Right valve fragments with umbo 57 1019 92 870

Right valve fragments 274 3033 398 2965

Undetermined valve fragments 442 658 662 1095

Total left valve material 180 3743 429 4483

Total right valve material 773 4192 1152 3968

Total quahog shell material 1395 8593 2243 9546

Table 2. Quahog Shell Fractions Sorted from Two Midden Samples from
the Palmer Site (8So2). The volume of each unsorted sample was about
80,000 cubic cm. Weights are in grams. These data are based on Luer,
Blanchard, Sprinkel, and Williamson n.d.


encountered by early European explorers
might have controlled such a cultural
system among historic groups. If, in
late prehistoric times, the "principal
men" resided or worked on the summits of
shell mounds and if they controlled such
a system, that might account for the
Bullens' discovery of a cache of quahog
valves in a shell mound summit (again,
see "Large, Left Valves").

If there had been such a system con-
trolled by a few, it leads to some
interesting speculation. In describing
what they called "Calusa technology,"
Goggin and Sturtevant (1964:202) wrote
that "one might refer to the results as
a 'Shell-wood' culture" which they saw
as an "adjustment" to an "environmental
limitation ..., especially the lack of
hard stone for chipped or pecked-ground
tools ...." Marion Almy and I voiced a
similar view of "local adjustment" when
we described the prehistoric Manasota
Culture (with its well-developed shell-
wood technology) in a paper delivered at
the 31st Florida Anthropological Society
meeting at Coral Gables in 1979. Later
during the meeting archaeologist B. Cal-
vin Jones confided his disagreement to
us, and stated that had late prehistoric
Indians "wanted to," they could have
extensively utilized and traded lithic
materials, such as those abundantly
available around Tampa Bay, especially
along the Hillsborough River (see Up-
church 1980). Instead, Calvin believed
that the common use of shells for tools,
in lieu of lithics, along the central
and southwest coasts was attributable
to "something else."

Could localized control of shell tool-
making by a few individuals at each
major settlement along the coast be that
"something else"? Perhaps that is the
case considering that these late pre-
historic cultures apparently had fixed
coastal settlements based on largely
estuarine economies. In describing the
late prehistoric economy on the coast of
southwest Florida, Goggin and Sturtevant
(1964:207) wrote:
... subsistence was based

on the abundant, relatively
stabilized food supply pro-
vided by the rich inshore
marine resources. The role
filled by agriculture in
other cultures of comparable
type was here filled by
intensive fishing. It is
conceivable that the coopera-
tive work patterns necessary
for taking mullet by net were
related to other areas of ...
social interaction.

A "related" area of "social interaction"
might have involved shell tools. Per-
haps shells from local sources were
controlled by local high-status individ-
uals who skillfully fashioned them into
tools and exchanged them for food (fish)
with lower status members of the commun-
ity who were engaged in "the cooperative
work patterns necessary for taking
mullet by net." Such exchange or redis-
tribution might have been an adaptive
response to increased population and
competition for resources; it also might
have aided social "ranking" and allowed
an increased specialization in fishing
and in tools (see Whidmer 1978:119-120,
126-127 for a discussion of "ranking" as
an adaptive response of late prehistoric
groups to the rich coastal environment
of southwestern Florida).

Leaving this speculation behind, it
should be explained why I deleted the
word "Calusa" from Goggin and Sturte-
vant's passage quoted above and why,
in this paper, I avoid terms such as
"Calusa," "Mayaimi," and "Tocobaga."
These tribal designations are derived
from historic accounts only, and their
applicability to prehistoric times is
undemonstrated. Some recent investiga-
tors have applied the term "Calusa" to
archaeological remains from southern
Florida despite the fact that no one has
demonstrated who comprised the historic
"Calusa" and how they might be identi-
fied and distinguished archaeologically.
Even after seeing much early historic
material, David Allerton, Bob Carr, and
I felt that the evidence did not support

the use of historic tribal labels, and
we avoided their use altogether in the
paper on ceremonial tablets (1984).

Regarding prehistoric material, shell
tools may reveal some shared cultural
traits, but ceramic evidence indicates
that Florida's southwestern coast was
not culturally homogeneous in late
prehistoric times. For example, from
around A.D. 200-1200, the distinctive
decorated ceramics of the Ten Thousand
Islands region (Carr and Beriault 1984:
2,3; Beriault, Carr, Luer, and Johnson
n.d.) contrast sharply with the mostly
undecorated ceramics of the Pine Island
Sound area. Around A.D. 900, about 600
years before the existence of historic
"Calusa," the Indians who built some of
the Cape Haze peninsula sites, such as
8ChlO, used late Weeden Island sacred
ceramics -- apparently unlike Indians
in southernmost Florida but like the
Weeden Island Indians of the central
Florida Gulf coast. Later there were
varying degrees of Mississippian, Belle
Glade, and Glades ceramic influences at
different sites and at different times
along the southwest coast (Moore 1905;
Bullen and Bullen 1956; Luer 1980;
Beriault, pers. comm.). The application
of a blanket term such as "Calusa" to
these varied prehistoric remains is

Finally, quahog valves should give clues
to cultural development through time.
There is archaeological evidence indi-
cating an increase and diversification
in shell tool types through time, and
this may indicate increasing societal
complexity. For example, at the late
Archaic period Hill Cottage Midden
(8So2) near Osprey, Florida, the author
has noticed a lack of many kinds of
shell tools which are found in younger
shell middens in the same area. How-
ever, a predominance of left valves did
exist among the quahog shells from the
Hill Cottage Midden. Investigation of
the various traditions of shell selec-
tion and utilization, especially when
and how they developed, is a promising
avenue of archaeological research.

A Comment

Learning more about shell tools may
prove to be a race against time because
of the deteriorating condition of our
prehistoric resources. Most shell mound
sites along Florida's lower Gulf coast
(see Figure 1) are on privately-owned
land and are wholly unprotected against
land development. By the mid-1950s,
some sites had been impacted by bor-
rowing for fill material or by digging
of mosquito control ditches. Further
deterioration occurred when the late
1950s and the 1960s brought extensive
dredging and filling to many coastal
areas, including construction of the
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Both
decades also brought the building of
private homes on many shell mounds.
Site destruction increased many-fold
in the 1970s and 1980s as the building
of condominiums became commonplace and
as sprawling, so-called "urbanization"
appeared. The latter has brought
drainage, clearing, and construction
to vast tracts.

Today, the generally poor condition
of many sites along the coastal margin
in southern Florida is stated in the
Appendix which lists most of the sites
mentioned in this paper. There is a
clear trend of damage and destruction.
This alarming situation probably will
grow worse in years ahead because of
the continuing southward shift of our
national population and because of
insufficient steps by local and state
governments toward broader and more
effective site preservation. Popu-
lation influx should make Florida the
nation's third most populous state by
the year 2000, increasing from 9.7
million in 1980 to about 17.4 million by
2000, or an addition of about 8 million
people in 20 years (see Wetrogan 1983:
Table 1; also Terhune 1983:45, and
Bezold and Olson 1983). At present,
the prospect of long-term preservation
for most remaining sites on Florida's
lower Gulf coast seems slim unless we
all work to ensure that historic pres-
ervation issues are addressed by local

governments' comprehensive plans, and
that sites in state and federal owner-
ship are adequately protected. Citizen
awareness and participation is critical.
We all must be stewards of our prehis-
toric and historic resources.

Quahog shells occur in interesting
cultural patterns in the magnificent,
but disappearing, prehistoric aboriginal
sites of Florida's lower Gulf coast.
They occur in a wide variety of site
components including burial mounds,
platform mounds, shell middens, and the
landward and tidal peripheries of sites.
Notched valves, perforated valves, and
anvil/hammers are suggested, respec-
tively, to have been used as hoes,
anchors or sinkers, and multi-functional
pounding tools. Other quahog shell
tools are mentioned including hammer/
choppers and choppers. Temporal data
indicate that these tools are post-
Archaic and about 2000 to 500 years of
age. A predominance of unmodified left
valves is noted at several sites, and
a general predominance of large, left
valves among a few tool types is de-
scribed. The selective utilization
of large, left quahog valves for tools
suggests that some cultural importance
was placed on the shells as well as on
the tools themselves. Selective utili-
zation might have been achieved through
some cultural system which controlled
the obtainment, fashioning, and distri-
bution of quahog shells and quahog shell
tools. Future avenues of research sug-
gested include: 1) searching for evi-
dence of a selective cultural system,
such as caches of large left valves in
shell mound summits; 2) tracing tradi-
tions of shell selection and utilization
through time; and 3) quantifying quahog
shell food refuse in Gulf coast sites.

Curatorial Note

Most of the quahog valve tool specimens
described above are presently curated by
Archaeological Consultants, Incorporated
of Sarasota.


The sharing of Dr. Selling Eide, Marion
Almy, John Beriault, Robert Atwood,
Dr. Ernie Estevez, Calvin Jones, David
Allerton, and especially Dan Hazeltine
is gratefully acknowledged.

A small group of volunteers helped exca-
vate a portion of the pit feature on Big
Mound Key and save it from further van-
dalism or loss to erosion. They are:
Travis Gray (then at the University of
Miami's Little Salt Spring Research
Facility in North Port), David Allerton
(then of Miami), Ed Woolverton (a winter
resident of Placida), Dan Hazeltine (of
Venice), and Mary Ellen Shelton (then
of Englewood). Also participating were
Darden Hood of the University of Miami
Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory and Lisa
Diener, a radiocarbon-dating student.
Dr. J. J. Stipp, director of the UM
Radiocarbon Dating Lab, helped generous-
ly as did Robert S. Carr, Metropolitan
Dade County Archaeologist, who encour-
aged excavation of the pit feature. The
salvage work on the key was performed
with an archaeological research permit
granted to Archaeological Consultants,
Inc., of Sarasota, by the Florida Divi-
sion of Archives, History, and Records

The Gulf Coast Heritage Association
allowed me to monitor cable trenching
at the Palmer Site. Linda Williams,
director of Spanish Point at The Oaks,
provided a photograph of artifacts in
the Bullens' excavation of the Palmer
Burial Mound. Don and Pat Randell of
Pineland helped arrange my 1980 visits
to Josslyn Island. John Beriault and
Charlie Strader shared information
obtained from a Southwest Florida
Archeological Society excavation at
Chokoloskee Island. Mary Parks, librar-
ian at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sara-
sota, Florida, generously obtained some
biological literature. Kate Wheeler
helped type and proof drafts of this

Appendix. A Partial Inventory Showing
theSad State of Prehistoric Resources
along the Lower Gulf Coast of Florida.

This partial inventory shows the crisis
facing archaeological sites along Flor-
ida's lower Gulf coast. It reveals the
widespread process of site destruction,
primarily from uncontrolled land devel-
opment, and lists many sites as either
"threatened" with damage or "in danger"
of destruction.

The inventory's geographic focus is de-
rived from 28 sites or site components
mentioned in this paper, each marked
with an asterisk (*) preceding its name
and site number. The list has been
"rounded out" with 17 additional sites
on the same stretch of coast. Most of
these 45 sites are (or in many cases
were) shell mound sites. They have not
been chosen because of their poor condi-
tion, but are representative of most
sites with the exception of burial
mounds which are in even poorer

To date, there has been little academic
notice and no public outcry concerning
this widespread destruction of sites.
Some attention is beginning to be given
to impacts of coastal erosion (see
Garrett 1983), and indeed erosion has
damaged about 25% of the 45 sites listed

Site Name and Number;
North to South

1)*Sellner Mdns,8Hi30,94
2)*Curiosity Ck.,8Hi480
3)*Abel Midden,8Ma83
4) Bickel Md.,8Ma83B
5)*Snead Is.,8Ma17
6)*Pillsbury Md.,8Ma31
7) Perico Is.,8Ma6
8) Cortez Midden,8Mal40
9)*Tidy Is.,8Ma12
10) Walker Site,8So66
11) Arvida Midden,8So33
13)*Yellow Blfs. Md.,8So4
14) Sarasota Bay Md,8So44
15)*01d Oak,8So51
16)*Roberts Bay,8So56
17) Martin Site,8So57
19)*Hill Cottage,8So2
20)*Shell Ridge,8So2
21)*Palmer B. Mdi,8So2
22)*Venice Bch.,8So26
23) Gory Site,8So24
24)*Shelton Site,8So81
25)*Paulson Pt.,8So23
26)*Wrecked Site,8Ch75
27)*Coral Ck.,8Chl5
28)*Big Md. Key,8ChlO
29) Cash Md.,8Ch38
30)*John Quiet Md.,8Ch45
31) Howard Md.,8LL44
32) Indian Field,8LL39
33) Pineland,8LL33
34) Pine Is. Canal,8LL34
35)*Josslyn Is.,8LL32,50
36) Demorey Key,8LL31
37) Galt Is.,8LL27
39) Punta Rassa,8LL7
40) Mound Key,8LL2
41) Strader,8LL709
42)*Addison's Key,8Cr35
43)*Key Marco,8Cr48,49
44)*Goodland Pt.,8Cr45
45)*Chokoloskee Is.,8Crl

Condition of Site

Status of

destroyed in 1930s,1940s private
salvage excavations, 1979-80 1-75 highway
mostly destroyed: borrowing private
mostly intact; preserved state monument
some erosion,damage; in danger private
mostly destroyed; in danger private
mostly destroyed by 1970 private
mostly destroyed by 1970 private
damaged in early 1980s private
mostly destroyed: mid-1970s private
mostly destroyed: mid-1970s private
impacted: houses by 1950s private
excavated, destroyed in 1970 private
destroyed by mid-1970s private
impacted: houses; threatened private
damaged: construction,1970s private
destroyed: houses,canal,1970s private
damaged: erosion; threatened private
mostly intact; preserved priv.protected
damaged: erosion,houses,roads priv.protected
mostly excavated: 1959-62 priv.protected
destroyed: erosion,construction private
destroyed: Intracoastal W'way waterway
damaged: mosq. ditches; in danger private
damaged: excavation,W'way spoil county park
mostly destroyed: erosion,vandals private
damaged: railroad,treasure hunters private
badly damaged: treasure hunters state-owned
damaged: erosion,borrowing Natl.W.Refuge
intact; threatened Natl.W.Refuge
damaged: erosion,borrowing private
mostly intact: house,grove private
damaged, especially in 1960s private
mostly destroyed: clearing private
mostly ,ntact; threatened private
damaged: houses private
damaged: construction,1980 private
damaged: borrowing,1940s Natl.W.Refuge
destroyed: borrowing,1920s river channel
intact; preserved state park
damaged: erosion, construction private
mostly destroyed: borrowing private
destroyed: town site private
badly damaged: town site private
badly damaged: town site private


Allerton, David, George M. Luer, and Robert S. Carr
1984 Ceremonial Tablets and Related Objects from Florida.
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Almy, Marion M.
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1980 The Aqui Esta Site at Charlotte Harbor: A Safety
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John G. Beriault

Shell mounds can be regarded in the
abstract as complex aggregations of
potential cultural and natural infor-
mation. They are indeed such complex
and concentrated depositions of archaeo-
logical data that the prospect of re-
trieving more than a fraction of their
potential information by present-day
techniques seems daunting. Coastal
shell mound and midden deposits in
southwest Florida are excellent examples
of variety, quantity, and complexity in
terms of configuration, features, and

Speculation on form and function of
shell mounds and the settlement patterns
they represented in the southwest Flori-
da area began with early investigators
such as Frank Hamilton Cushing (see
Cushing 1897). Later researchers such
as Moore (1907), Stirling (1930), Goggin
(1949a, 1949b), the Bullens (1956), and
others have published information
concerning excavations and selective
collecting of material. Extensive and
intensive work on local shell mounds has
recently been forthcoming: Fradkin
(1976), Luer (1977, n.d.l, n.d.2),
Beriault et al. (n.d.), Beriault and
Strader (1984), Milanich et al. (1984),
and Marquardt (1985).

Coastal midden sites in southern Florida
are composed of marine shell, black mid-
den soil and ash, and sand and marine
marls. The first two components are
invariably found in some proportion,
whereas sand and other sediments may or
may not be present in quantity. Faunal
bone can be present in varying amounts
associated with any of the above materi-
als -- or as concentrations and distinct
features. Certain types of faunal
features can indicate specific paleo-
activities such as boiling many small
fish to create a "broth", straining out
and discarding the bones en masse. The

resultant bone concentrations frequently
form "ring" patterns around ash pit
areas (Beriault and Strader 1984).

Large shell mound complexes contain
areas and strata predominately of marine
shell with little or no cultural materi-
al present. There are also areas in the
form of "mounds", "knolls", or "ridges"
capped by a mantle of black midden soil
and ash concentrations overlying a shell
substrate. Distinct strata of midden
soil can also alternate with those of
marine shell. Intensive deposits of
midden soil suggest areas of direct -
habitation, whereas deposits of predomi-
nately unbroken marine shell probably
signify "dumping" areas away from habi-
tation floors.

Large site complexes with varying topo-
graphic relief exhibit intentional
deposition of midden materials to form
structures and precincts. In several
instances, redistribution of midden ma-
terials or reshaping of site areas was
practiced by the early Indian inhabi-
tants (see Fradkin 1976).

The rate of decomposition of various
sorts of organic materials comprising
middens can be disparate. Radiocarbon
dates derived from stratigraphic excava-
tions indicate one meter of uncrushed
shell may accrete in 50 years or less.
One meter of midden soil/ash may require
500 years or more of formation (Beriault
et al. n.d.). Moreover, the deposition-
al rate within a given feature or stra-
tum may vary due to the so-called
lensing effect whereby a single daily
or seasonal discarding may differ in
volume in a given location (Tesar pers.

Questions which need to be addressed by
future investigators of south Florida
coastal middens are: shell species
composition and comparative size through
time; depositional sequence of material
to determine if "planned" construction
took place; definition and interpreta-
tion of activity areas on large sites;
and artifiact assemblages, their distri-


July, 1986

bution, creation processes and probable

The investigation of any complex phenom-
ena requires a flexible and efficient
scheme of classification and descrip-
tion. Recent archaeological work on
coastal shell middens is expanding from
a narrow focus on demonstrable artifacts
to broad spectrum analyses of environ-
mental and cultural factors. Essential
to this effort is the examination of the
smallest divisible and discrete units of
archaeological evidence. A workable
system of description should be able to
classify any cultural or natural unit
(e.g., an individual shell) beyond spa-
tial and temporal provenience provided
by excavation and dating. Such a system
is the algorithm.

An algorithm is defined literally as
"a rule of procedure for solving a prob-
lem ... that frequently involves repeti-
tion of an operation." On a more imme-
diate level, an algorithm is an "either-
or" method of discrimination, a "sieve"
whose divisions move from general to in-
creasingly specific attributes. In a
simple algorithmic expression, something
"is" or "isn't" -- a binomial choice
very adaptable for use with a computer.
An object viewed within the framework of
an algorithm comprises the apex of a
pyramid of expanding and evermore speci-
fic data stages.

These data stages can reflect processes
as well as traits. An example is the
shell tool whose process of creation
involves stages of reduction from the
original unaltered shell and whose
pattern of use/wear is in itself a

Ideally, any shell, bone, stone, ceram-
ic, or other object or its fragment
could be described by algorithm. In
reality, an infinite description of cer-
tain esoteric aspects is impossible. A
shell fragment may be present on a site
because it represents debitage from
tool-making, usage, or breakage through
compaction (e.g., being stepped on).

There is, however, some hope that
careful qualitative and quantitative
research on tool manufacture, etc.
(see Luer et al., this issue) will
provide useful frameworks for
classification and analysis.

Figure 1 presents an example of an al-
gorithmic framework designed to classify
(in theory) any shell coming from an
archaeological context (e.g., coastal
shell midden). The framework attempts
to account for processes of alteration
as well as the physical traits that re-
flect process. Arrows leading from one
stage to the next indicate direction of
application for the algorithm. Two
basic divisions for a shell recovered
from an archaeological context are its
status as an artifact or non-artifact.
A category which spans and may blur this
distinction is that of the "advanta-
geous" shell artifact, a shell used with
little or no modification (i.e., reduc-
tion) to perform a function once or
several times and then discarded. An
example of this is a shell with a
pointed siphonal canal or spire, such as
a lightning whelk, which may have been
used casually to open other shells to
extract the animals. The key distinc-
tion may rest with the idea of modifica-
tion. I place this class of shell mate-
rial in the "unmodified" division of my
algorithm, though it could be argued
these shells constitute "artifacts" in
the strictest sense. Both artifactual
and non-artifactual shell can be classed
by traits, condition, and whatever in-
ferences can be made from these for its
context in a site.

Most of the algorithmic categories are
self-descriptive, with the exception of
the term "fellow traveler" which is ap-
plied to small mollusks that are gath-
ered by accident along with the larger
shells that are intended for food or
tools. The presence of these small
shells should enable researchers to
define precise environments where gath-
ering activities took place. These
shells may also reflect specific gath-
ering techniques. They may also repre-


(mollusk species)

(i.e. non-artifact)


PURPOSE: A. Slightly
(present by:) B. Moderately
A. Natural Causes C. Extremely
a. "fellow 4
traveler" Reason:
b. storm ac- a. advanta-
cretion geous t(
c. by animal use
activity or b. food ex-
own locomo- tractior
tion (in- c. compact
cludes nat- (by shel
ural sub- weight c
state) foot tra
B. Food Source fic)
C. Other d. structure
a. potential collapse
tool i. erosi
b. architec- ii. patir

tural (to
build up
or create





iii. other
e. debris

(by degree or stages)


A. Accepted B. Rejected or
Interrupted Use


Degree of Modi-
a. slight
2. FINISHED TOOL b. moderate
(purpose) c. extreme
Tool Types (includes
(assign #) debitage)
Degree of
A. Slight
B. Moderate
C. Extreme


A. Reworked Tool (x times) B. Discarded

a. debitage b. discarded

Shells and Shell Tools -- An Algorithm and System of Classification.


E (I)

Figure 1.

sent unintentional harvesting and de-
position as may have occurred when soil
from tidal flats was obtained to cap a
shell midden or to prepare a dwelling
floor or other activity area. The
excavation of canals and basins or the
construction of tidal basin weirs are
hypothetical activities that could re-
sult in the accidental introduction of
certain shell species to a specific site
area (Tesar pers. comm.).

Artifact-related shell reflects a proc-
ess of reduction to create a tool or
ornament. This process can be described
in stages (of reduction) with debitage
byproduct occurring from each stage.
Certain artifacts created from shell
probably required more or fewer stages.
Certain types of shell artifacts might
be reworked one or more times into the
same or different item.

Any system of classification runs the
risk, as an intellectual construct, of
oversimplification or other misinterpre-
tation. The intent of this paper is to
establish a basis for discussion leading
toward improved understanding of shell
mound components.


Beriault, John, Robert Carr, George Luer, and Richard Johnson
n.d. Archeological Tests at Addison Key, Ten Thousand
Islands, 1981. MS in preparation.

Beriault, John G., and Charles E. Strader
1984 A Preliminary Report of a Stratigraphic Excavation on
Chokoloskee Island, Florida. MS dated July 2, 1984;
on file, Southwest Florida Archeological Society.

Bullen, Ripley P., and Adelaide K. Bullen
1956 Excavations on the Cape Haze Peninsula, Florida.
Contributions of the Florida State Museum, Social
Sciences, Number 1. Gainesville.

Cushing, Frank Hamilton
1897 A Preliminary Report on the Exploration of Ancient
Key-Dweller Remains on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
Reprint from Proceedings of the American Philosophi-
cal Society 35 (153).

Fradkin, Arlene
1976 The Wightman Site: A Study of Prehistoric Culture
and Environment on Sanibel Island, Lee County,
Florida. MA Thesis, University of Florida.

Goggin, John M.
1949a The Archeology of the Glades Area, Southern Florida.
Unfinished MS on file at the Yale Peabody Museum.
1949b Cultural Occupation at Goodland Point, Florida.
The Florida Anthropologist 2:65-91.

Luer, George M.
1977 Excavations at the Old Oak Site, Sarasota, Florida.
The Florida Anthropologist 30:37-55.
n.d.l The Palmer Site (8So2), Osprey, Florida: The Hill
Cottage Midden and the Shell Ridge Revisited, with
a Comparative Analysis of Midden Shell. MS in
n.d.2 Big Mound Key, Charlotte County, Florida. MS in

Marquardt, William
1985 The Development of Cultural Complexity in Southwest
Florida. Grant Proposal submitted to the National
Science Foundation, Washington, D.C. by the Institute
of Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies,
University of Florida, Gainesville.

Milanich, J. T., J. Chapman, A. S. Cordell, S. Hale, and
R. A. Merrinan
1984 Prehistoric Development of Calusa Society in
Southwest Florida: Excavations on Useppa Island.
In: Perspectives on Gulf Coast Prehistory.
Dave D. Davis (ed.T- University Presses of
Florida. Gainesville.

Moore, Clarence B.
1907 Notes on the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida. Journal
of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia,
Second Series 13:458-470.

Stirling, Matthew W.
1930 Mounds of the Vanished Calusa Indians of Florida.
Explorations and Field Work of the Smithsonian
Institution for 1930. Pp. 167-172.

Tesar, Louis
1986 Personal communication
Tallahassee, Florida.

and editorial comments.

John G. Beriault
P.O. Box 7016
Naples, FL 33941


Robert S. Carr

In September 1984, the author conducted
an archaeological survey of the 34-acre
Bartlett estate in Broward County. The
estate, situated between the Atlantic
Ocean on the east and the Intracoastal
Waterway on the west, was recently owned
by Evelyn Bartlett who donated the tract
to the Florida Trust for Historic Pres-
ervation. The archaeological survey
(Carr 1985) was part of a comprehensive
inventory of the property's natural and
cultural resources to aid toward its
management and development as a museum
and preserve.

The survey discovered a shallow prehis-
toric shell midden (8Bd1102). Of par-
ticular interest was a pile of conch
shells associated with the site. Al-
though discrete features of shell refuse
have been observed and discussed among
students of south Florida prehistory,
few of these features have survived the
rapid development that has impacted all
of the known coastal middens in south-
eastern Florida.

Survey Methodology

Field work began on October 4, 1984 and
was conducted on an irregular schedule,
mostly on weekends, through mid Novem-
ber. Sampling included surface col-
lecting and subsurface testing. During
the course of the project, pedestrian
surveys were conducted along north-
south traverses across the two beach
berms and along their interfaces with
other environmental zones (Figure 1).

Subsurface testing included auguring at
4.5 meter (15 foot) intervals along the
east-west alignments on both berms. The
power augur had a one meter (three foot)
depth capacity, and subsurface testing
did not extend beneath that depth.
Additional subsurface testing included

shovel tests at six meter (20 foot)
intervals relative to the pedestrian
surveys, four 30 and 60 centimeter (one
and two foot) square test pits exca-
vated within the boundary of the pre-
historic midden, 8Bd1102, and finally,
an approximately 2 by 1.5 meter (seven
by five foot) excavation square to
remove Feature 1 within the site.
A metal detecting survey was also con-
ducted in the vicinity of the feature.

The prehistoric remains were confined to
an area of shell refuse situated along
the western sand berm on the most
southerly portion of the property
(Figure 1). The site encompasses both
the eastern and western slopes of the
berm but has the highest quantity of
shell refuse near the western slope
overlooking the marshy trough. Sub-
surface testing indicates that shells
are scattered throughout an area of
roughly two acres and that the deposit
is confined to the upper 15 centimeters
(six inches) of soil. This upper level
of sediment is organically stained
quartz sand varying from light to medium
gray in color. The shell refuse is
composed of three major species: oyster
(Crassostrea sp.), clam (Lucina sp.),
and some isolated conch shell (Strombus
gigas). The oyster is the most dominant
in number of the shell refuse, probably
representing over 90 per cent of the
shell observed except in the case of
Feature 1.

Feature 1 was a partially buried pile of
conch shells situated near the eastern
boundary of the site (Figure 2). The
pile was about one meter (four feet) in
diameter and contained a total of 27
conch shells intermixed with numerous
uncounted oyster shells. All of the
conch shells were entire specimens,
except for one lip fragment. All
specimens had a large hole in the body
of the shell -- undoubtedly for removal
of the animal. Most of these holes were
at least eight to ten centimeters in
diameter. Interestingly, the shell
fragments that would have been the
refuse resulting from making these holes


July, 1986

Vol. 39 Number 3 Part 1

:/ i
" ~''



. ......

Map of the Bartlett Estate showing environmental zones and boundaries of archaeological site 8Bd1102.
A = Feature 1; X= Location of auger units;3 = Location of Test Pit.

Figure 1.

Figure 2. Surface exposure of conch shell refuse (Feature 1) before excavation
(Looking west).

Feature 1 after excavation.

P^ 4

Figure 3.

were not found during the subsequent
excavation of the feature.

The feature was mapped and gridded
(Figure 3) and then removed, shell by
shell. Each shell was assigned a field
specimen number. Associated soil was
sifted through a one-quarter inch
screen. Only a single faunal bone was
recovered. No artifacts were recovered
from the feature or from anywhere else
on the site. A total of 18 conch shells
was collected from the test pit. The
weight of these 18 specimens is 30,945
grams. The weight of the oyster shells
from this same pit is 2,475 grams.

An inspection of the conch shells re-
vealed one specimen (FS#5) with a blade-
like hole near the base (Figures 4, 5).
This hole is typical of what would occur
from a metal knife, sword, or blade type
of tool. Obviously, the presence of a
hole from a metal tool suggests that the
shell was opened during the period of
historic contact and not during prehis-
toric times. More importantly, all of
the shells had been opened by breaking

a large hole on the shel] body beneath
the spires (Figure 6). Not only is this
method inefficient for removal of the
meat, but it is a technique that this
author has rarely observed at any pre-
historic site in Florida or the Bahamas.
The typical “hole" technique used by
native Americans of the area was to
break a small hole above the spires on
the crown. An opening there allows for
the detachment of the mollusk from the

Two radiocarbon dates were determined
for the shell refuse from Feature 1.
Oyster shells (Beta 11035) and a conch
shell, specimen #13, (Beta 11036) pro-
duced dates of 460 +/- 50 B.P. (1440 -
1540 A.D.) and 520 +/- 60 B.P. (1370-
1490 A.D.), respectively.


An archaeological survey of the Bartlett
Estate resulted in the locating of one

archaeological site, 8Bd1102. This site
is represented by a thin dispersed area
of shell refuse. While Crassostrea is
predominant, some scattered fragments of
Lucina and Strombus were discovered.
This shallow cultural horizon suggests
limited use for prehistoric habitation,
food procurement and preparation. An-
other explanation might be that the

site is actually the marginal area of a
much larger and deeper prehistoric site
that was once located adjacent to the
estate's southern boundary, and has
since been destroyed by development.
This explanation is given some credi-
bility by the author's observations of
areas of similar marginal shell refuse
in southeastern Florida near large
coastal shell middens such as Arch Creek
(8Da23) and Snapper Creek (8Da9). Some
of these shallow refuse areas extend up
to 500 meters from the main portion of
the site.

The pile of conch shells designated as
Feature 1 is of particular interest be-
cause it is not typical of prehistoric
conch shell refuse in southern Florida.
The large holes on the shell bodies and
the one specimen with the metal blade
incision suggest a non-Indian associa-
tion. While the radiocarbon dates indi-
cate a probable age of between 1370 A.D.
and 1540 A.D. for the feature, the
chronological range is narrowed because
of the historic period association indi-
cated by the use of metal tools. This
would limit the feature's probable age
range from the 1490s - 1540, a very
early date indeed for any historic
archaeological site or feature in
southern Florida. Whereas the evidence
is not augmented by the recovery of a
single European artifact, it must be
kept in mind that not all cultural
activities produce artifactual refuse.
Further, our subsurface sampling of the
feature and adjacent areas was less than
one per cent of the site's total area.

The discovery of this site and its
associated shell feature raises some im-
portant questions for further research.
The following hypotheses are submitted


Conch Shell Specimen Number 5.

Close-up of metal blade marks on Conch Shell Specimen No. 5.


Figure 4.

Figure 5.



-y -i-w n I


;-- -.-

.- .^.-.


.. ^-._

.-- .;




Figure 6. Conch shells from Feature 1 showing non-Indian breaking of shell
bodies for meat extraction.

to stimulate additional thought and

1. Site 8Bd1102 is a site of
occasional prehistoric activi-
ties and was not the site of
permanent activities.

2. Site 8Bd1102 was selected
for prehistoric use because it
was an upland location that was
adjacent to a natural landing
or inlet that allowed access
through the mangroves to New
River Sound.

3. Feature 1 is the result of
non-Indian activity and is prob-
ably the refuse of Europeans.

4. These Europeans arrived by
boat from New River Sound using
the same inlet or landing that
had been available to the Indians.

When one considers the early references
to the salty New River Sound on the Fre-
ducci map of 1514-1515 (True 1944), the
possibility of Spanish exploration with-
in New River Sound previous to the map's
date is a likely possibility, thus sug-
gesting that 8Bd1102 could have been a
site of early Spanish contact. Cer-
tainly the two radiocarbon dates from
Feature 1 reinforce this possibility.
Obviously, only additional artifacts re-
covered from the site can conclusively
demonstrate that site 8Bd1102 was
visited by Europeans during the early
sixteenth century. Nonetheless, re-
searchers are alerted to the fact that
observations of breakage patterns of
shell refuse in otherwise artifact-
barren activity areas can be used to
detect and interpret historic contact
associations with prehistoric sites.


I would like to espress my appreciation
to Carl Weinhardt, Evelyn Bartlett, and
the Florida Trust for Historic Preserva-
tion for the opportunity to do this

work. Field assistance was provided
by Debbi B. Carr, Emily and Larry
Dieterich, Jo Southard, Ron Phenix,
Ted Riggs, Debra Goldman, John Beriault,
and Ken Hughes. Thanks also go to
George Percy for his comments on the
original survey report.

Carr, Robert S.
1985 An Archeological Survey of the Bartlett Estate,
Broward County, Florida. A typescript on file
with the Florida Division of Archives, History
and Records Management. Tallahassee.

True, David 0.
1944 The Freducci Map of 1514-1515. Teguesta 4:50-55.

Robert S. Carr
Metro-Dade Historic
Preservation Division
Warner Place, Suite 101
111 S.W. 5th Avenue
Miami, FL 33130


BOOK REVIEW by Louis D. Tesar

A Celebration of the Society for
American Archaeology 1935-1985, David
J. Meltzer, Don D. Fowler, and Jeremy
A. Sabloff, editors. Publication
date: May 15, 1986. 479 pages avail-
able in cloth or paper editions.
Copies may be ordered from the Smith-
sonian Institution Press, P. O. Box
4866, Hampden Station, Baltimore, MD
21211 (301/338-6963). Order ISBN
0-87474-692-2 for cloth at $35.00 per
copy; ISBN 0-87474-693-0 for paper at
$19.95. Please include $1.50 postage
and handling for the first book and
50 for each additional book.

This is an excellent publication which
will be of interest to both profes-
sional and serious avocational archae-
ologists and anthropology students
alike. While its subtitle indicates
that it is a celebration of the first
50 years of the Society for American
Archaeology, its primary title, Ameri-
can Archaeology Past and Future, more
appropriately indicates its focus. It
could easily serve as a text book,
especially in a seminar format where
each of its articles could serve as a
point of discussion.

This publication is divided into four
chapters, beginning with an Overview,
"Five Decades of American Archaeology"
by Robert C. Dunnell. He provides an
historical review of the rise of cul-
ture history as American archaeology
developed an increasing sense of pro-
fessionalism; the emergence of the new
archaeology as a dominant force; and,
the recent appearance of anti-new

As the Editors in their introduction

Over the last 50 years much has
changed in American archaeology:
our substantive knowledge or pre-
history has increased thousand-
fold. The discipline has witness-

ed the evolution of archaeological
conservation from the first falt-
ering steps of the Antiquities Act
of 1906, through the lean years of
salvage archaeology, into the world
of corporate Cultural Resource
Management of the 1980s. Precisely
defined lines -- some would say
"trenches" -- have been drawn with-
in various classes of American
archaeology ... (Meltzer, Fowler
and Sabloff 1986:9).

The second part deals with Themes in
the History of Archaeology. It con-
tains articles by Jesse D. Jennings
("American Archaeology, 1930-1985"),
William G. Haag ("Field Methods in
Archaeology"), Donald K. Grayson
("Eoliths, Archaeological Ambiguity,
and the Generation of 'Middle-Range'
Research"), Don D. Fowler ("Conserv-
ing American Archaeological Resour-
ces"), Jacob W. Gruber ("Archaeology,
History, and Culture"), Bruce G.
Trigger ("Prehistoric Archaeology and
American Society"), and Curtis M.
Hinsley, Jr. ("Edgar Lee Hewlett and
the School of American Research in
Santa Fe, 1906-1912"). Jennings' and
Haag's articles provide personal ob-
servations on the history of the
field, while Grayson, Fowler, Gruber
and Trigger analytically approach
critical issues in the history of
archaeology. Hinsley, an historian,
provides an historical presentation
of his topic.

Haag (1986:64) notes that: "A few of
the most respected archaeologists of
the 1920s and 1930s were almost whol-
ly self-taught. Americanists have
always had a body of amateurs who
could rival any professional in
stature. Witness our two Webbs --
William S. and Clarence H. They
began as amateurs but made great and
enduring contributions to the disci-

In looking at our own organization,
the Florida Anthropological Society,
I would have to state that this is

Vol. 39 Number 3 Part 1


July, 1986


still true on the level of site lo-
cation and from a culture history
approach to site interpretation. It
is certain that many of today's pro-
fessionals who survey by the numbers
in the name of "science" -- spaced
transects with fixed interval shovel
tests (if any) and an apparent lack
of judgemental field ability (as it
would bias the results) -- come up
second best against amateurs (read
avocational archaeologists) when
asked to locate sites in any given
locale. This lack of sampling
ability within different environ-
ments needs to be corrected if our
survey field data is to be reliably
used in generating and testing
models. Regarding other aspects of
the profession, however, I would be
the first to admit and assert that
the level of knowledge and technical
training required of today's and
future archaeological endeavors vir-
tually precludes amateur participa-
tion beyond the role of field or lab
assistants. Yet, I would encourage
such participation wherever and
whenever possible.

While the culture history approach
to archaeology was approaching its
zenith in the 1950s, Jennings (1986:
59) suggests that:

The stimulation of the 1950s was
shattered in the 1960s by an ef-
fort, by a few vocal zealots (who
had read and varyingly understood
Binford's 1962 seminal article,
"Archeology as Anthropology") to
confine archaeological endeavor
within the sterile boundaries
established by the logical posi-
tivists and the philosophers of
science. ... To characterize
the decade of the 1960s and into
the 1970s, I paraphrase the felic-
itous words of the prominent
British scholar, and see it as a
time of polemic, the decline of
literacy, and the denigration of
field work. ...

When the stifling polemic dust
subsided and polarization dimin-
ished, a series of important,
useful, if not powerful, ideas
from geography, ecology, statis-
tics, and biology, among others,
can be identified as having sur-
vived. Archaeologists of the
1980s routinely invoke a series
of conceptual tools, most of
which can be subsumed under the
single rubric of human ecology.

Grayson's article is a refreshing
response to the polemics of the new
archaeologists. It clearly demon-
strates (1986:118) that "it is wrong
to assert that 'traditional archae-
ology did not recognize the need for,
nor even the possibility of develop-
ing, middle-range research' (Binford
1981:86)." He concludes (1986:119)
that "what distinguishes contemporary
archaeologists from those who went
before is the scope of the archaeo-
logical situations that are now per-
ceived as being ambiguous. Unlike
those we follow, we see ambiguity
virtually everywhere, in part be-
cause of the kinds of questions we
are now asking, and 'middle-range'
research is flourishing as a result.
'Middle-range' research, however, is
eternal in archaeology; what changes
are our perceptions of the archaeo-
logical record and of the ambigui-
ties it offers."

From another perspective, I see the
distinguishing quality of the new
archaeology as a dwelling on the
negative and what cannot be said
from the data, rather than what can
be said. This is not to say that
the rampant speculation of the past
should be revived (if it really
existed), but rather that any at-
tempt at data interpretation is bet-
ter than no attempt, since such in-
terpretation leads to questioning
and testing and refinement or re-
jection and a better understanding
of the archaeological record. While


it is true that we are in trouble
when we think that we have the cor-
rect and only interpretation of the
data, it is equally true that we are
in trouble when we become so para-
noid and uncertain that we are
afraid to offer any interpretation
for fear that it might be deficient.
The new archaeology has bred such

Fowler's article on the development
of a conservation ethic in American
archaeology was of particular inter-
est to me in my capacity as a cul-
tural resource manager in Florida's
historic preservation program. Equal-
ly important is his discussion of the
fact that associating the study of
prehistoric archaeological resources
with natural history, rather then art
history as is done with European ar-
tifacts, has influenced our approach
to how we treat with such resources.
This bias is further discussed in
greater detail by the following arti-
cles of Gruber and Trigger.

As Trigger (1986:193) states:

The low esteem in which Native
Americans were held was further
dramatized by displaying ethno-
graphic and archaeological col-
lections in museums of natural
history, alongside minerals,
fossils, stuffed animals, and
dried plants, rather than to-
gether with European and Near
Eastern antiquities in museums
of fine arts. This arrangement
not only physically expressed
the distinction between anthro-
pology and history but also im-
plied that "primitive" humans
remained more akin to the natur-
al world than to civilized peo-
ple. Hence on many levels these
displays symbolized to white
Americans their assumed superi-
ority and justified their treat-
ment of native people as the
working out of a providential,
if ruthless, historical order.

(Trigger 1985).

He concludes (1986:208), however,

The cultural needs of Native
Americans for a better under-
standing of their history and
the reciprocal need of archae-
ologists for their support
create a powerful incentive
for archaeologists to overcome
their prolonged estrangement
from the people whose past they
study. ... (More importantly)
Historically oriented archaeo-
logical research can also con-
tribute to reshaping social at-
titudes and help to bring to an
end the marginalization of na-
tive people with respect to
North American society that be-
gan with the attitudes adopted
by European settlers 400 years

This does not mean that archaeolo-
gists should intentionally misinter-
pret their data to present Native
Americans as an idelic people liv-
ing in harmony with their neighbors
and the environment. The truth is
exciting enough and significant
enough for Native Americans to be
satisfied. Indeed we must recognize
that both Native Americans and the
Europeans who displaced them were
equally ruthless and savage, there
were also qualities and acts of
which any people might be proud.

Archaeologists are in a unique
position in being able to compile
and interpret the record contained
in the material remains of our
Nation's cultural heritage from a
(presumably) neutral viewpoint. We
should all learn from our history
and prehistory (as it really was
and not the myth often presented
in our history books), as it is the
heritage upon which the present and
the future is built. By remember-
ing our mistakes we are less likely


to repeat them; by remembering our
common shared heritage we all gain
-- and Native Americans, Anglo-
Americans, Afro-Americans, Hispanic
Americans, Asiatic Americans and
others all have contributed their
share to the melting-pot which has
produced the mixture which is our
compound and diverse culture.

The third section, New Looks and Past
Problems, contains three articles.
The first, "Contemporary Hunter-
Gatherer Archaeology in America" by
David Hurst Thomas, focuses on the
problems of archaeological theory
building, particularly mid-range
theory, as it relates to hunter-
gatherer archaeology. The second,
"Origins of Food Production in the
New World" by Barabra L. Stark, pro-
vides a comprehensive review of the
evidence for plant food domestication
from both an archaeological and botan-
ical perspective, discusses new meth-
ods and techniques to procure data,
and discusses the status of various
explanations to account for the
changes leading to food production.
Finally, the third, "The Evolution
of Civilizations" by Henry T. Wright,
summarizes the current state of
knowledge on the origin and evolution
of cultural complexity in four major
regions of the world: Mesopotamia,
the Indus Valley, Mesoamerica and the
Central Andes.

The final section in this publication
deals with Current Trends and Future
Prospects. It contains articles by
George L. Cowgill ("Archaeological
Applications of Mathematical and
Formal Methods"), Ruthann Knudson
("Contemporary Cultural Resource
Management"), Mark P. Leone ("Symbol-
ic, Structural, and Critical Archae-
ology"), Patty Jo Watson ("Archaeo-
logical Interpretation, 1985") and
Lewis R. Binford ("In Pursuit of the

As the Editors note (1986:14), "in
recent years, there has been a grow-

ing chorus of discontent within
archaeology, fueled by the relative
lack of substantive accomplishment
by the new archaeology. This dis-
satisfaction must be partly attribu-
ted to the heady promises made in the
heyday of the new archaeology..." It
is also partly to blame on a failure
to recognize the limitations of the
new methodologies and equipment being
made available to archaeologists. The
use of computers has made a marked
contribution to the expanded use of
mathematical and formal methods of
data analysis. Cowgill provides a
critical review of this subject --
its past, its present, its future.

Ruthann Knudson's article on "Con-
temporary Cultural Resource Manage-
ment" is of particular interest to
me, and should be read by anyone
engaged in contract archaeology or
working for federal or state agencies
contracting for or reviewing work
conducted in response to historic
preservation laws and regulations.
Her review of the development and
role of key federal legislation is
noteworthy. Also of note are Leslie
Wildesen's remarks at the 50th annual
meeting of the SAA when she read
Knudson's paper. Knudson (1986:406)
added Wildesen's remarks as an appro-
priate conclusion to her own article:

Most important in the long run,
we have the opportunity to make
a difference. In our relatively
young, entrepreneurial nation,
we can help our fellow citizens
understand the depth and value
of the distant past, not as a
narrow special-interest group,
but as an integral part of our
own contemporary ethno-socio-
political-economic (e.g., Cul-
tural) milieu. By meeting our
basic responsibilities, and
taking advantage of our obvious
opportunities, we can help to
ensure, as the National Historic
Preservation Act (as amended,
Sec. I(b)(2)) enjoins, "that


the historic and cultural foun-
dations of the Nation should be
preserved as a living part of
our community and development
in order to give a sense of ori-
entation to the American people."

These remarks are particularly fit-
ting, as Knudson (1986:404) con-
cludes that "all professional or
avocational archaeologists have a
responsibility to provide the gen-
eral public with the most affirma-
tive treatments of the archaeolog-
ical resource base (sites, arti-
facts, samples, data, documentary
records, reports) possible..."
These efforts should be reflected
in the statewide comprehensive
historic preservation plan of each
state. In Florida, they also apply
to the historic preservation aspects
of local government comprehensive

Patty Jo Watson's article, "Archae-
ological Interpretation, 1985," in
some respects could be viewed as an
overview of trends in archaeology.
These trends are summarized (1986:
450) in her conception of the fol-
lowing sequence of phases or stages:

Phase I (Age of Innocence, pre-
1960s). The archaeological re-
cord is viewed as a direct re-
flection of the past, limited in
some ways because of obvious pre-
servation problems, but otherwise
comprising priceless relics of
the human past.

Phase II (First Burst of the New
Archaeology, 1962-1972). It is
believed that with the applica-
tion of sufficient ingenuity and
the use of new techniques and
methods, the archaeological re-
cord will yield a great wealth
of information about prehistoric
human social and cultural behav-

Phase III (Loss of Innocence,

Stage I, 1972-mid/late 1970s).
It is realized that interpreting
the archaeological record is ra-
ther problematic because of in-
terference by natural and cultur-
al site formation processes.
These must be studied mainly in
the present and hence mainly by
actualistic techniques (geoar-
chaeological, ethnoarchaeological,
and replicative (experimental ar-
chaeological)) so that the dis-
torting effects can be neutraliz-
ed in interpretation.

Phase IV (Loss of Innocence,
Stage 2, late 1970s-1980s). It
is believed that neutralization
of distorting influences is an
inadequate and possibly even an
erroneous way to arrive at in-
terpretation of the archaeologi-
cal record. The only hope for
achieving genuine advances in
archaeological theory (and hence
in archaeological interpretation)
is by means of atualistic studies.

Phase V (Terminal Skeptical
Crisis, possibly late 1980s-
1990?). Knowledge gained through
ethnography is impossible to ap-
ply to the past. Human behavior
is too complicated, too intricate,
too intangible to be captured and
preserved in material remains, and
too idiosyncratic and particular
to be understood even if it were
somehow so preserved. Moreover,
contemporary sociopolitical forces
inevitably warp and distort our
perceptions of all alien social
processes, present or past. And,
finally, the archaeological record
-- far from being static -- is so
dynamic a playground for all man-
ner of bio- and geoturbatory fac-
tors, that there is no hope of
retrieving past human behavior
from it.

QED: Archaeology is impossible.
There is no real past, or at any
rate no access to it.


Fortunately, Watson and most practic-
ing archaeologists are not that pes-

Watson (1986:451) states that "all
practicing archaeologists behave in
fundamentally the same way; they work
back and forth in a continuous dialog
between what they expect or think or
hope is correct (i.e., hypotheses,
theories, hunches about the correct
interpretation of a portion of the
archaeological record), and the ar-
chaeological record itself (Watson
et al. 1971:12-16, 114-121; Wylie
1985b) ."

The final article in this publication,
perhaps appropriately (although hope-
fully not the last word), is by Lewis
R. Binford who, with 20 years of prosy-
lethizing the one true and correct way
to heathen culture historians, may be
viewed as the high priest of the New
Archaeology, the moral majority of the
profession as it were. His article,
"In Pursuit of the Future," details the
goals and processes of the new archae-
ology; and takes reconstructionists and
contextual-strcuturalists to task for
their misguided efforts. He concludes
with the enthusiastic charge that:

The archaeologist, seated in the
present, is outside history in
the participant sense. We have a
chance to understand humankind in
a way that no participant, or no
social science addressing the
quick-time events of direct social
experience, could ever imagine. To
fail to recognize this potential,
to fail to grasp a new understand-
ing of humankind from this differ-
ent perspective -- the perspective
of the macroforces that condition
and modify lifeways in contexts
unappreciated by the participants
within complex thermodynamic sys-
tems -- is quite literally to
"abandon our birthright."

Whether you agree with Binford or not,
his contribution to the profession must

be acknowledged.

In conclusion, I found this publication
to consist of well-written, concise
articles representing a broad sampling
of perspectives. It provides a marker
for the profession as a whole and the
achievements of the Society for Ameri-
can Archaeology and its members during
the past 50 years. The Smithsonian
Institution Press is to be commended
for its support of this publication.
I recommend this publication to any
of our professional or avocational
readers, as well as to anthropology'
students in general.

Reviewed by:Louis D. Tesar, Editor
Florida Anthropologist
May 29, 1986



Russell K. Skowronek

In October of 1981 Jean and Russell
Parkins of Macomb, Illinois were va-
cationing on Sanibel Island, south
of Charlotte Harbor, Florida. On
the beach, a few hundred yards east
of their motel on East Gulf Drive,
Mrs. Parkins found two identical
brass alloy "coins." After they
were certified as genuine sixteenth
or seventeenth century Spanish mara-
vedis by a Fort Myers coin dealer,
the couple received media attention
in the local Sanibel "Island Repor-
ter" and their hometown paper, the
"Macomb Journal." Assured of the
coins' antiquity, the Parkins re-
turned home with the "treasured" re-
memberances of their holiday.

Disturbed by their inability to iso-
late identical analogues to the
coins and to receive an appraisal,
the Parkins continued to seek opin-
ions on their specimens. Their
search ultimately brought them to
Lawrence A. Conrad at the Western
Illinois University Archaeological
Research Laboratory who referred
the problem to the author.

An initial viewing of the coins by
the author at the Parkins home sug-
gested that they were real. Re-
search regarding their numismatic,
archaeologic and historic signifi-
cance was initiated by the author.
Later, independent analysis of the
coins was conducted by Herbert
Bump, James Levy and Frank Gilson,
Historic Conservators for the
Florida Department of State, Bureau
of Archaeological Research in
Tallahassee. Their study revealed
that the coins were recently made
counterfeits (personal communica-
tion July 27, 1984).

For future comparative purposes, the
2.5 cm diameter, 4.48 gr coins have
a specific gravity of 8.1 (personal
communication, Robert W. Shelton,
Department of Chemistry, Western
Illinois University). Microscopic
examination of the coins indicated
that they were not hand struck, as
coins of the period would have been.
Rather, they are potmetal brass al-
loy castings. Such an alloy and
method of manufacture was never used
for Spanish coinage. Designs and
inscriptions on the obverse and re-
verse of the coins were similar to
silver issues made in the first
half of the sixteenth century during
the reign of Charles I (see photo -
Castan and Cayon 1979:271; Calberto
de Grau 1970:552).

The presence of these counterfeits
may well relate to recent troubles
in the area of Sarasota and Lee
Counties where treasure hunters
were caught seeding archaeological
sites with both real and counter-
feit coins in order to stimulate
investments in their projects. Al-
though we do not yet know why the
counterfeits were made, the pos-
sibility that unscrupulous indi-
viduals are seeding Sanibel Island
during the tourist season when the
coins are likely to be found by
unaffiliated non-local individuals
cannot be discounted. Once enough
independent reports are made, the
perpetrators of a bogus treasure
salvage project could then enter
the picture with an investment
scheme to fund a salvage project
to find the source of the coins --
allegedly a shipwreck (personal
communication, Louis D. Tesar,
Bureau of Historic Preservation).

Vol. 39 Number 3 Part 1


July, 1986


The fact that these fakes fooled
coin dealers and at least one
archaeologist with a passing
knowledge of Spanish materials
should concern the archaeological
community. As excitement builds
toward the 1992 Columbian Quin-
centennial observations a heighten-
ed public awareness toward our
Spanish cultural heritage and
especially of the fabled wealth
of Spanish shipwrecks will open the
doors to more such scams. We owe
it to the public and the profession
to expose these and future frauds.

These efforts would be facilitated
by acquiring a knowledge of numis-
matics at more than a superficial
level through a published study of
the State of Florida's collections
in Tallahassee. Failure to do so
will allow unscrupulous con artists
in the treasure hunting community
to victimize more people like the
Parkins and those individuals who
subsequently invest their life
savings in a "treasure hunting"
scheme doomed to failure. Further-
more, such schemes and their associ-
ated publicity (before they are
exposed) will contribute to serious
damage to the State's cultural re-
source base through increased treas-
ure hunting at both known and un-
recorded sites.

Figure 1.


The author dedicates this paper to
Mr. Russell Parkins and to the
memory of Mrs. Jean Parkins whose
cooperation and unrelenting search
for the truth are responsible for
this manuscript. I wish to thank
Professors Lawrence A. Conrad and
Robert W. Shelton of Western Illi-
nois University and Louis Tesar,
Herbert Bump, James Levy and Frank
Gilson of the Florida Department of
State for their kind help in identi-
fying the bogus coins from Sanibel
Island. Thanks also to Professors
Charles Cleland, Kenneth Lewis and
Lawrence Robbins of Michigan State
University for their comments on
the draft version of this paper.

References Cited

Calberto de Grau, Gabriel
1970 Compendido de las Pieza de
Ocho Reales. San Juan,
Puerto Rico: Industrias

Castan, Carlos and Juan R. Cayon
1979 Las Noneda Espanolas desde
Don Pelayo a Juan Carlos I,
Anos 718 a 1979. Madrid:
Artegraf, I.G.

Russell K. Skowronek
The Museum
Michigan State University
East Lansing 48824

Photograph of the Parkins'
coins, obverse and reverse



CURRENT RESEARCH: Southwest Florida

The Institute of Archaeology and Paleo-
environmental Studies has been created
by the University of Florida to bring
together archaeologists, biologists,
geologists, historians, photogrammeters,
and other scholars interested in work-
ing together in the study of past envi-
ronments and cultures. The first major
project of the new Institute is the
Southwest Florida Project, directed by
William H. Marquardt.

Supported by the National Science Founda-
tion, the University of Florida, and the
private contributions of numerous south-
west Florida citizens, the research team
has conducted archaeological testing at
Josslyn Island (8LL32), Buck Key (8LL55),
Useppa Island (8LL51), and Cash Mound
(8Ch38), Lee and Charlotte counties.
Additional testing is planned for later
in 1986. A time range of approximately
3500 B.C. to A.D. 1000 has been documen-
ted from radiocarbon determinations and
pottery analysis. Paleoenvironmental
data are being gathered by means of de-
tailed archaeobotanical and zooarchaeo-
logical analysis of floated 10 cm column
samples. A comparative paleoethnobotani-
cal collection for southwest Florida is
being assembled for the first time. Maps
of some of the major archaeological sites
are being produced by computer-enhanced
photogrammetry. Ceramic technological
analyses and clay source studies are
underway. A coring program will provide
geoarchaeological data on site formation/
deformation processes and local geostruc-
ture. Mollusk and fish specimens are be-
ing collected systematically on a monthly
basis in order to provide the capacity to
make inferences on seasonality and envi-
ronmental characteristics from archaeo-
logically-derived specimens.

After a year of baseline data gathering
and analysis of the findings, the data
will be applied toward the understanding
of noncultural and cultural changes in
southwest Florida. This is an important

area because it is poorly known archaeo-
logically, yet it contains dozens of
well-preserved shell midden sites. At
the time of European contact in the
sixteenth century, the area was the
domain of the Calusa, whose sedentary,
complex, tributary -- but ostensibly
non-horticultural -- chiefdom dominated
the southern peninsula of Florida.

For further information, write to
William H. Marquardt, The Florida
State Museum, University of Florida,
Gainesville, Florida 32611 U.S.A.

Vol. 39 Number 3 Part 1


July, 1986




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