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-

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
01569447 ( OCLC )
56028409 ( LCCN )
0015-3893 ( ISSN )


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Full Text



Volume 43 Number 3
September 1990


Editor's Page: FA 43(3) -- September 1990 .... ............. 154

The Contribution of Nels C. Nelson to Florida Archaeology Jeffrey M. Mitchem 156

Florida Canoes: A Maritime Heritage From the Past Lee Ann Newsom and
Barbara A. Purdy . .. .... .. .... . 164

The Alabama de Soto Commission Debates: A Reply to the Criticisms by Charles Hudson
Keith J. Little and Caleb Curren ... ................ ... .181

The Archaic in East Florida: Archaeological Evidence from Early Coastal Adaptations
Dana Ste. Claire . ............... .. ..... 189

The Sheephead Bayou Site (8BY150): A Single Component Fort Walton Hamlet Site in
Northwest Florida Gregory A. Mikell .. ................. 198

The Role of Maize in South Florida Aboriginal Native Societies: An Overview
William Gray Johnson . .. . . . ... 209


Powhantan's Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast, edited by Peter H. Wood,
Gregory A. Waselkov and M. Thomas Hatley. Reviewed by Jeffrey M. Mitchem 215

The Juan Pardo Expedition: Exploration of the Carolinas and Tennessee, 1566-1568,
by Charles Hudson. Reviewed by John H. Hann ........ . 217

FAS CHAPTER FOCUS ...... ..... ......... .. .. .219

One of FAS' Younger Chapters Has Had A State-wide Impact Review of Time Sifters
Archaeology Society by Arthur R. Lee ........... . .... .219


NEWS RELEASE: Join in the Activities' at the Theodore Roosevelt Area of the Timucuan
Ecological and Historical Preserve ............... .. .. 222


COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Nels C. Nelson in 1930. Photograph courtesy of the American Museum of
Natural History (negative # 326586, filing # 50.92).

Published by the



First the good news. As many of you
know, our membership dues have been cover-
ing only around half of our publication
costs during the past several years in
which I have been your FA Journal Editor.
The balance of the funding to bring you
the expanded issues which you have been
receiving has been raised through back is-
sues sales, grants and donations. Earlier
in the year, it appeared as if we would be
unable to raise the additional funding,
and it was announced that this issue would
be a joint September-December volume if
such funds were not found. For that rea-
son, publication of the issue was delayed
until midway between the two dates. The
good news is, as indicated by the front
cover, that funds have been found. Robert
S. Carr, who proceeded me as the FA Jour-
nal Editor, has arranged for funds to pro-
duce a Special South Florida focused issue
-- which Bob has also agreed to guest
edit. It will not be ready for publica-
tion until after December 1990 and will be
distributed to all of you who are current
members. I have obtained a duplicate set
of mail lables for this year's members to
avoid confusion with any membership
changes during 1991.
While on the subject of 1991 member-
ship in our Society, the last page in this
issue is a convenient membership renewal
form/envelope. Why not join/ rejoin early
and save $2.00 off our membership sub-
scription price. For those of you who
wish to make a tax deductible donation be-
yond your subscription fee to help defray
the publishing costs of expanded issues,
please add it to your membership renewal
form and ear-mark your donation to the
Monograph Account. Large individual or
corporate endowments to the Monograph Ac-
count would be appreciated. Issue spon-
sors will be acknowledged unless they re-
quest anomynity.
Next, it is with mixed emotions that
I have agreed to extend my swan-song. I
have agreed to continue as the FA Journal
Editor until March of 1992. This agree-
ment has been made with the understanding

that we will have a series of guest edi-
tors for topical issues. Thus, I will be
fully editing every other issue, and func-
tioning as an editorial assistant on the
other issues. This will make my personal
life less obligated as it were. Being an
after hours, volunteer editor has its
drawbacks with all of the obligations and
deadlines to be met. The greatest burden
has been the time involved in wordprocess-
ing authors' articles. Coordinating the
editing of the manuscripts and preparing
the galleys is, however, satisfying -- es-
pecially when the final product is pub-
lished. Thus, editing has its reward in
the satisfaction of producing a quality
product and serving' in a capacity which
can help further the goal of protecting
the past for the future. If it did not do
so, neither I nor any of my predecessors
would have taken on the job.
Turning to the articles in this is-
sue, I think that you will be pleasantly
surprised. We have a general mix of arti-
cles, in contrast to the more topic fo-
cused issues which have proceeded this is-
The first, "The Contribution of Nels
C. Nelson to Florida Archaeology" by Jef-
frey M. Mitchem, makes interesting read-
ing. It is a concisely written summary of
Nelson's background as it contributed to
and influenced his archaeological efforts.
It also, as the title indicates, reviews
Nelson's archaeological work in the con-
text of his contribution to Florida ar-
chaeology. The photographs, including the
cover photograph, put flesh on the skele-
ton of Mitchem's summary.
The second, "Florida Canoes: A Mari-
time Heritage from the Past" by Lee Ann
Newsom and Barbara A. Purdy, provides an
excellent summary of its topic. The photo-
graphs help make this a more readable and
understandable article. Dr. Purdy is also
thanked for her donation to help defray
some of the publication costs.
The third, "The Alabama de Soto Com-
mission Debates: A Reply to the Criticisms
by Charles Hudson" by Keith J. Little and


Vol. 43 No. 3

September, 1990


Caleb Curren, is published in the interest
of fairness and to continue to provide a
forum for topics of interest to our read-
ers. The article is self-explanatory.
Dr. Hudson was provided with an opportu-
nity to respond in the same issue, but no
response was forthcoming.
The fourth, "The Archaic in East
Florida: Archaeological Evidence from
Early Coastal Adaptations" by Dana Ste.
Clair, is summarized by its title. Dana
has prepared a fairly comprehensive sum-
mary of his subject.
The fifth, "The Sheephead Bayou Site
(8BY150): A Single Component Fort Walton
Hamlet Site in Northwest Florida" by Gre-
gory A. Mikell, contributes further to our
understanding of Mississippian adaptations
to Gulf coastal environments. Of interest
to many will be the reported discovery of
maize at site 8BY150.
The sixth and last article, "The
Role of Maize in South Florida Aboriginal
Native Societies: An Overview" by William
Gray Johnson, is described in its title.
We have two book reviews in this is-
sue. The first, "Powhantan's Mantle: In-
dians in the Colonial Southeast," edited
by Peter H. Wood, Gregory A. Waselkov and
M. Thomas Hatley, is reviewed by Jeffrey
M. Mitchem. The second, "The Juan Pardo
Expedition: Exploration of the Carolinas
and Tennessee, 1566-1568" by Charles Hud-
son, is reviewed by John H. Hann. Both
reviewers provide concise, pertinent com-
With this issue, we initiate a new
subsection in our journal -- FAS CHAPTER
FOCUS. The purpose of this subsection will
be to highlight FAS chapter accomplish-
ments. It will do so in two ways. First,
there will be a narrative on a selected
chapter. Second, photographs of anthropo-
logical or historical merit illustrating
chapter activities or historic resources
in the area covered by a chapter will be
In this issue, Time Sifters Archae-
ology Society is featured in Arthur R.
Lee's review: "One of FAS' Younger Chap-
ters Has Had A State-wide Impact." The
featured photograph and accompanying arti-
cle, "Left Hand Valves," was submitted by

W. R. Lyons of the Archaeological Society
of Southern Florida.
Finally, we have a NEWS RELEASE from
the National Park Service. It concerns
the opening of the Theodore Roosevelt Area
of the Timucuan Ecological and Historical
Preserve in Northeast Florida.

Best Wishes and Pleasant Reading:
Louis D. Tesar, Editor
The Florida Anthropologist

~T ~t~



Jeffrey M. Mitchem
Arkansas Archeological Survey


Some of the earliest professional
archaeological work in Florida was con-
ducted by Jeffries Wyman (1868, 1875),
first curator of the Peabody Museum of
Harvard University. Wyman excavated shell
middens on Florida's Atlantic coast and
along the St. Johns River, proving that
these mounds were constructed by humans
and recording stratification in some of
the sites (1875:31-32). His fieldwork was
stimulated by similar work in Europe
(Willey and Sabloff 1980:43).
A few years later on the Gulf coast,
S. T. Walker (1880a, 1880b, 1885) exca-
vated a number of mounds and shell mid-
dens, recording changing pottery styles in
different strata. However, as Willey and
Sabloff (1980:44) point out, the work of
both of these pioneers had little direct
effect upon the overall field of Florida
archaeology, and did not immediately stim-
ulate work aimed at constructing cultural
chronologies in the state.
Clarence B. Moore later conducted a
tremendous amount of fieldwork in the
state, on both coasts and in the interior
(e.g., Moore 1892, 1894, 1900, 1905, 1922;
Willey and Sabloff 1980:52). William
Holmes (1894) studied the pottery recov-
ered by Moore from the St. Johns region,
distinguishing wares such as chalky (now
known as St. Johns) and fiber-tempered.
He was also among the first to mention the
importance of ceramic evidence in the de-
velopment of a chronology for the St.
Johns region (1894:106), although he did
not succeed in developing one.
John Goggin (1952:34) noted that
both Wyman and Moore had recognized ce-
ramic changes in the St. Johns River
drainage, but virtually nothing had been
accomplished for the Atlantic coast.

However, it remained for N. C. Nel-
son, fresh from his new strati-
graphic ceramic approach in the
Southwest, definitely to point out a
ceramic sequence at Oak Hill on the
Atlantic Coast. This was done by
controlled collecting from the ex-
posed face of a shell mound being
removed for road material
(Goggin 1952:34).

Nelson (Figure 1), of the American
Museum of Natural History, visited Florida
in May, 1917, at the invitation of E. H.
Sellards, the State Geologist (Rouse
1951:66). He visited a number of sites in
north and east Florida, and conducted sal-
vage excavations at a shell mound (8Vol25)
near Oak Hill on the Indian River (Griffin
1948:49; Nelson 1918:77). This mound was
being removed to provide fill for road
building, and Sellards had noted that the
exposed surfaces indicated that the site
was stratified, providing a fine opportu-
nity for investigating possible changes in
the artifact styles in the various strata.
This particular site piqued the in-
terest of Nelson, who had previously exca-
vated shell mounds in California (Nelson
1909, 1910). One of his special interests
was stratigraphy (Warren 1973:224), which
made Sellard's invitation to investigate
Oak Hill especially attractive.
Nelson's work at Oak Hill set the
stage for the development of cultural
chronologies based on changing artifact
styles in Florida. But before discussing
his contribution to Florida archaeology,
it is necessary to briefly discuss some of
Nelson's previous work elsewhere.

The Southwest

During the first decade of the twen


Vol. 43 No. 3

September, 1990

Figure 2. Nels C. Nelson in January,
1925. Photograph courtesy of the
American Museum of Natural History
(negative # 253810, filing # 50.92 N).

Figure 1. Nels C. Nelson, photographed in
May, 1922. Courtesy of the American Museum
of Natural History (negative # 10582, filing
# 50.92 N).

tieth century, Nelson was associated with
the University of California Museum at Af-
filiated Colleges in San Francisco (Nelson
1916b:398). It was during this period
that he excavated several California shell
mounds, attempting (unsuccessfully) to
demonstrate stratigraphic changes in arti-
facts (Nelson 1909, 1910; Warren 1973:220-
At the beginning of the next decade,
he was employed by the American Museum of
Natural History in New York. From 1912
through 1915, he worked at a number of
sites in New Mexico (Nelson 1914, 1916a).
He particularly concentrated on the Galis-
teo Basin, where well-stratified trash de-
posits were present (Kidder 1962:98).
This work began a revolution in Southwest-
ern archaeology, which led to the first
systematic classification of remains with
respect to time and space (Cordell
1984:51; Willey and Sabloff 1980:89).
His work was revolutionary because
he employed a strategy of systematic,
stratigraphic excavation of deposits, de-
veloping a typology and recording the num-
ber of sherds of various types from each
level (Cordell 1984:51; Nelson 1916a).
According to Trigger (1978:90), Nelson's
interest in stratigraphic excavation was
the result of a visit to European archaeo-
logical sites in 1913. Since many of the
Southwestern deposits did not contain vis-
ibly distinct strata, Nelson introduced
the technique of excavating in arbitrary
levels. This technique was soon adopted
by a number of other Southwestern archae-
ologists (Cordell 1984:51-52; Kidder
1962:162; Spier 1931; Thomas 1989:270-274;
Woodbury 1960a, 1960b).
It was also revolutionary because he
was demonstrating the value of excavating
midden deposits rather than merely concen-
trating on structures (Fairbanks
1977:134). This method allowed him to de-
termine the chronological sequence of
types, using data from many different
sites (Nelson 1916a). This chronology was
especially valuable in the region, because
many of the ruins contain only a single
type of pottery (i. e., are single compo-
nent), and there had previously been no
way to determine the chronological place-
ment of these sites. The sequence also

simplified the ordering of features
(graves, pits, etc.) within multicomponent
sites (Kidder 1962:98).
Nelson used the direct historical
approach (Steward 1942) to set up his

It remained for Nelson, however, to
recognize that the most reliable re-
sults could be obtained by passing
downwards, so to speak, from the
known to the unknown. He attacked
the problem, accordingly, at the
early historic ruins of central New
Mexico and worked backwards, basing
his conclusions on stratigraphic ev-
idence, and using pottery as the
criterion for classification. In
this way he was able to arrange in
their proper sequence the principal
pottery types, and hence the princi-
pal chronological periods, of the
Rio Grande (Kidder 1962:162).

He excavated trash deposits at San Cristo-
bal Pueblo, which had been abandoned early
in the historic period. The results of
these excavations allowed him to determine
the sequence of pottery styles, and he was
then able to apply the order of types to
other sites where the sequence was incom-
plete (Cordell 1984:51-52).
Kidder (1958:xii, 1962:97-98) was
impressed by Nelson's results, and adopted
stratigraphic methods of excavation for
his work at the famous site of Pecos
Pueblo. One of his aims was to test and
refine Nelson's type definitions and
chronology (Kidder 1962:97-98). Subse-
quent archaeological research in the re-
gion relied on Nelson's foundation.

The Oak Hill Site (8Vo125)

As noted previously, Nelson traveled
to Florida in 1917, at which time he con-
ducted his research at the Oak Hill shell
midden in Volusia County. This site was
located on the west bank of the Mosquito
Lagoon on the Indian River. When Nelson
arrived, only about one-seventh of the
site was intact. The rest had been re-
moved for road fill over a period of four
months (Nelson 1918:82). At its highest


point, it rose to 5.5 m above the ground-
water level. In places, it also extended
to at least 1.2 m beneath the water level
The site had been previously men-
tioned by several writers. Francis
LeBaron (1884:781) was the first to record
it. Andrew E. Douglass (1885:79) also
noted its presence. Charles Brower
(1906:333) indicated that it had a
"diameter of many hundred feet" and a
height of 5.5-6.1 m. Amos Butler
(1917:104) recorded measurements of 6.1 m
high, covering an area of 1.6 ha. He also
noted that there were two small shell
mounds nearby. Interestingly, Butler also
mentioned that the Oak Hill site had re-
cently been sold to the county for use as
road fill (1917:106).
Well-defined strata were clearly ev-
ident in the exposed faces (Nelson
1918:Figures 2 and 3). Nelson noted fea-
tures in the exposed strata, including
concentrations of ash and calcined shell
(1918:85). He recorded that 90% of the
mound volume was made up of oyster
(Crassostrea virginica) shells, with
smaller percentages of other marine
species. He also observed some other sub-
sistence information, noting the occur-
rence of deposits of charred palm berries
and faunal remains (1918:88).
However, the most important observa-
tions recorded by Nelson were the data
pertaining to artifact types, especially
ceramic types. After briefly describing
the few bone, shell, and stone artifacts
(1918:90), he devoted most of the discus-
sion section of his report to a considera-
tion of the vertical sequence of the 190
sherds recovered from the exposed strata
(1918:92). It should be noted that Nelson
indicated that he did very little digging
at the site, and most of the sherds were
collected from the exposed face of the cut
He stated that no pottery was pre-
sent in the lowest portion of the shell
midden (approximately 2 feet thick).
Plain pottery (a total of 113 sherds) was
recovered from all levels above this, but
was most abundant in the middle and lower
strata. The 77 decorated specimens were
found exclusively in the topmost level of

the midden (Nelson 1918:92). While Nelson
did not produce careful drawings of the
strata, he did provide a rough sketch that
showed that the levels containing orna-
mented pottery corresponded closely with
the upper stratum of the midden
(1918:Figure 5).
It is clear from Nelson's (1918:94)
description of the plain pottery that it
was all of the St. Johns Plain type. This
chalky, virtually temperless ware was
first named by James B. Griffin
(1945:220), and was later formally de-
scribed by Hale G. Smith (1949:27-28) and
Vera Ferguson (1951:22-26). Nelson indi-
cated that all of the decorated sherds
from Oak Hill were exactly like the plain
ware, with the addition of "checker-
stamped" impressions on the exterior
(1918:94-95). This decorated ware is St.
Johns Check Stamped, also first given a
type name by Griffin (1945:220). Vera
Ferguson (1951:27) formally described it a
few years later.
Both St. Johns Plain and St. Johns
Check Stamped are analogous to the types
Biscayne Plain and Biscayne Check Stamped
described by Goggin (1940:30-32) and Wil-
ley (1949:444-446). The Biscayne name was
officially eliminated in favor of the St.
Johns name by a group of Florida archaeol-
ogists in 1968 (Bullen 1968:8), but still
shows up in the literature occasionally
(Brown 1982:25).
Nelson correctly inferred that the
check stamped decoration had been produced
by applying a carved wooden paddle to the
exterior while the clay was still mal-
leable, and noted that many earlier
Florida researchers had mistaken the deco-
ration for basketry impressions (1918:95-
95). After discussing the distribution of
check stamped wares over the Southeast, he
suggested that the east-central part of
Florida was the place of origin of check
stamped pottery (1918:98). He based this
hypothesis on the fact that it occurred at
Oak Hill and other sites in the area in
the absence of other decorative styles.
He believed that it diffused out to other
parts of the Southeast from the Indian
River "heartland." Subsequent studies
have demonstrated that this hypothesis is
incorrect (Brown 1982:24), and that St.


Johns Check Stamped did not become popular
in eastern Florida until about A. D. 800,
long after check stamping was well-estab-
lished elsewhere in northwest Florida and
the Southeast.
Nelson (1918:97) indicated that most
of the observations he made based on the
Oak Hill work had already been made by
previous researchers in eastern Florida.
He felt that the most significant contri-
bution was that Oak Hill and surrounding
sites on the Indian River contained large
amounts of chalky, check stamped pottery,
stratigraphically above and mixed with St.
Johns Plain. However, he also assumed
that St. Johns Plain was the first ware to
be produced in the area, since he found no
pottery in the lowest stratum of the
mound. We now know that fiber-tempered
wares, such as Orange Plain, Orange In-
cised, and Tick Island Incised predated
the appearance of St. Johns ware by sev-
eral centuries (Milanich and Fairbanks

Nelson, The Man

Nels Nelson's brief work in Florida
was only one small part of a wide range of
interests and accomplishments. His life
was interesting in many ways. Born on a
poor farm in Denmark in 1875, he had to
work to help support his large family, and
received little formal schooling. In
1892, his aunt and uncle in Minnesota sent
him a steerage steamship ticket to come to
the United States to help on their farm.
When he arrived in the New York harbor on
the way to Ellis Island, he threw his mat-
tress and old clothes out the porthole of
the ship, as a symbolic gesture of start-
ing a new life (Barton 1941:293; Mason
Upon arriving in Minnesota, he found
that his life as a farmhand was little
different from his life in Denmark. He
could speak no English, and could only at-
tend school part time. Nevertheless, he
entered the first grade at the age of 17,
graduating from high school at the age of
26 in 1901. He planned to go into the
ministry, but met a family from Califor-
nia, who talked him into heading west
(Barton 1941:293; Mason 1966:393).

Once in California, Nelson began at-
tending Stanford University, majoring in
philosophy. He followed one of his pro-
fessors to the University of California at
Berkeley, and in 1906, he accompanied a
friend on an archaeological excavation
north of San Francisco. As has happened
to so many other students since, he was
fascinated with the field, and changed his
major to anthropology. He received a
bachelor's degree in 1907, followed by a
master's degree in 1908 (Mason 1966:393).
In 1912, he was hired by the American Mu-
seum of Natural History in New York, where
he worked until his retirement in 1943.
Nelson's work was not solely in
North America, however. During the period
of 1925-1927 (Figure 2), he was the ar-
chaeologist on the Museum's famed Central
Asiatic Expedition, investigating sites in
the Yangtze River Valley in China and in
the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. This work
was carried out with an interdisciplinary
team of scientists, including geologists,
paleontologists, topographers, and
botanists (Andrews 1926:271-280, 1932:542-
549, 598-601).
It was on this expedition that a
legendary event occurred. While in Mongo-
lia, the expedition members were sur-
rounded at one point by a well-armed band
of nomads, apparently intent on robbing
the scientists. Nelson, who was blind in
one eye, removed his glass eye and held it
out to the nomads, who fled in terror
(Hellman 1969:203-204; Preston 1986:104).


Nels Nelson died in 1964, after a
distinguished career in archaeology (Mason
1966). His brief visit to Florida re-
sulted in a significant contribution to
the archaeology of Florida. While some of
his conclusions were incorrect, he was the
first to demonstrate stratigraphically
that St. Johns Check Stamped occurred
later than St. Johns Plain in eastern
Florida (Goggin 1952:38-39). As John
Griffin (1948:49) noted, Nelson's sequence
was the only empirically-defined strati-
graphic sequence for the region for many

As a final’ note, it should be men-
tioned that the property including the Oak
Hill site was recently purchased by the
Nature Conservancy, and subsequently do-
nated to the National Park Service. It is
now included in the Canaveral National
Seashore (Florida Nature Conservancy


The author would like to thank David
Hurst Thomas, Curator of the American Mu-
seum of Natural History, for providing the
photographs of Nelson included with this
article. I should also note that my cu-
riosity about Nelson was first aroused
while perusing some books formerly owned
by him, which are now in the Ford Library
at the Florida Museum of Natural History
in Gainesville.

References Cited
Andrews, Roy Chapman

1926 On the Trail of Ancient Man: A Nar-
rative of the Field Work of the Cen-

tral Asiatic Expeditions. Garden
City Publishing Co., Garden City,
New York.

1932 The New Conquest of Central Asia: A
Narrative of the Explorations of the
Central Asiatic Expeditions in Mon-
golia and China, 1921-1930. Natural
History of Central Asia, Vol. I,
Chester A. Reeds, general editor.
American Museum of Natural History,
New York.

Barton, D. R.

1941 Mud, Stones, and History: The Rise
of N. C. Nelson from Danish Farm Boy
to One of America's Outstanding
Chroniclers of the Life and Times of
Prehistoric Man. Natural History 47:
293-296, 303.

Brower, Charles de Wolfe
1906 The Shell Heaps of Florida. Records
of the Past 5:331-338.

Brown, Ian W.
1982 The Southeastern Check Stamped Pot-


tery Tradition: A View from Louisi-
ana. MCJA Special Paper 4. Kent
State University Press, Kent, Ohio.

Bullen, Ripley P.

1968 Report of the Florida-South Georgia
Group. Southeastern Archaeological
Conference Bulletin 8:7-10.

Butler, Amos W.

1917 Observations on Some Shellmounds of
the Eastern Coast of Florida. Pro-
ceedings of the 19th International
Congress of Americanists, pp. 104-
107. Washington, D. C.

Cordell, Linda S.
1984 Prehistory of the Southwest. Aca-
demic Press, Orlando.

Douglass, Andrew E.

1885 Some Characteristics of the Indian
Earth and Shell Mounds on the At
lantic Coast of Florida. American
Antiquarian 7:74-82, 140-147.

Fairbanks, Charles H.

1977 Backyard Archaeology as Research
Strategy. Conference on Historic
Site Archaeology Papers 1976 11:133-

Ferguson, Vera Masius

1951 Chronology at South Indian Field,
Florida. Yale University Publica
tions in Anthropology No. 45. New

Florida Nature Conservancy

1990 Canaveral Property Transferred to
National Park Service. Florida
Chapter News. Spring:1. Winter Park.

Goggin, John M.

1940 The Distribution of Pottery Wares in
the Glades Archaeological Area of
South Florida. New Mexico Anthro-
pologist 4(2):22-34.

1952 Space and Time Perspective in North-
ern St. Johns Archeology, Florida.
Yale University Publications in
Anthropology No. 47. New Haven.


Griffin, James B.
1945 The Significance
Tempered Pottery
Area in Florida.
Washington Academy

American Naturalist 26:912-922.

of the Fiber-
of the St. Johns
Journal of the
of Sciences 35:

Griffin, John W.
1948 Toward Chronology on Coastal Volusia
County. The Florida Anthropologist

Hellman, Geoffrey
1969 Bankers, Bones and Beetles: The
First Century of the American Museum
of Natural History. Natural History
Press, Garden City, New York.

Holmes, William H.
1894 Earthenware of Florida:
of Clarence B. Moore.
the Academy of Natural
Philadelphia 10:105-128.

Journal of
Sciences of

Kidder, Alfred Vincent
1958 Pecos, New. Mexico: Archaeological
Notes. Papers of the Robert S.
Peabody Foundation for Archaeology
Vol. 5. Phillips Academy, Andover,

1962 An Introduction to the Study of
Southwestern Archaeology with a Pre-
liminary Account of the Excavations
at Pecos. Revised ed. Yale Univer-
sity Press, New Haven.

LeBaron, J. Francis
1884 Prehistoric Remains in Florida.
Annual Report of the Smithsonian
Institution for 1882:771-790.

Mason, J. Alden
1966 Nels Christian Nelson, 1875-1964.
American Antiquity 31:393-397.

Milanich, Jerald T. and Charles H. Fair-
1980 Florida Archaeology. Academic Press,
New York.

Moore, Clarence B.
1892 Certain Shell Heaps of the St. Johns
River, Florida Hitherto Unexplored.

1894 Certain Sand Mounds of the St.
John's River, Florida. Journal of
the Academy of Natural Sciences of
Philadelphia 10:5-103, 129-246.

1900 Certain Antiquities of the Florida
West-Coast. Journal of the Academy
of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

1905 Miscellaneous Investigations in
Florida. Journal of the Academy of
Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

1922 Additional Mounds of Duval and of
Clay Counties, Florida. Indian
Notes and Monographs 26:9-34. Museum
of the American Indian, Heye Founda-
tion, New York.

Nelson, Nels C.
1909 Shell Mounds of the San Francisco
Bay Region. University of California
Publications in American Archaeology
and Ethnology 7(4). Berkeley.

1910 The Ellis Landing Shellmound. Uni-
versity of California Publications
in American Archaeology and Ethnol-
ogy 7(5). Berkeley.

1914 Pueblo Ruins of the Galisteo Basin,
New Mexico. Anthropological Papers
of the American Museum of Natural
History 15(1). New York.

1916a Chronology of the Tano Ruins, New
Mexico. American Anthropologist 18:

1916b Flint Working by Ishi. In Holmes
Anniversary Volume; Anthropological
Essays, edited by Frederick W.
Hodge, pp. 397-402. J. W. Bryan,
Washington, D. C.

1918 Chronology in Florida. Anthropologi-
cal Papers of the American Museum of
Natural History 22(2). New York.


Preston, Douglas J.
1986 Dinosaurs in the Attic: An Excursion
into the American Museum of Natural
History. St. Martin's Press, New

Rouse, Irving B.
1951 A Survey of Indian River Archeology,
Florida. Yale University Publica-
tions in Anthropology No. 44. New

Smith, Hale G.
1949 Two Archeological Sites in Brevard
County, Florida. Florida Anthropo-
logical Society Publications No. 1.

Spier, Leslie
1931 N. C. Nelson's Stratigraphic Techni-
que in the Reconstruction of Prehis-
toric Sequences in Southwestern
America. In Methods in Social
Science, edited by S. A. Rice, pp.
275-283. University of Chicago
Press, Chicago.

Steward, Julian H.
1942 The Direct Historical Approach to
Archaeology. American Antiquity 7:

Thomas, David Hurst
1989 Archaeology. 2nd ed. Holt, Rinehart
and Winston, Ft. Worth, Texas.

Trigger, Bruce G.
1978 Time and Traditions: Essays in Ar-
chaeological Interpretation. Colum-
bia University Press, New York.

Walker, S. T.
1880a Preliminary Explorations Among the
Indian Mounds in Southern Florida.
Annual Report of the Smithsonian
Institution for 1879:392-413.

1880b Report on the Shell Heaps of Tampa
Bay, Florida. Annual Report of the
Smithsonian Institution for 1879:

1885 Mounds and Shell Heaps on the West
Coast of Florida. Annual Report of

the Smithsonian Institution for

Warren, Claude N.
1973 California. In The Development of
North American Archaeology: Essays
in the History of Regional Tradi-
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pp. 213-249. Anchor Books, Garden
City, New York.

Willey, Gordon R.
1949 Archeology of the Florida Gulf
Coast. Smithsonian Miscellaneous
Collections 113. Washington, D. C.

Willey, Gordon R. and Jeremy A. Sabloff
1980 A History of American Archaeology.
2nd ed. W. H. Freeman, San Fran

Woodbury, Richard B.
1960a Nels C. Nelson and Chronological
Archaeology. American Antiquity 25:

1960b Nelson's Stratigraphy.
Antiquity 26:98-99.

Wyman, Jeffries
1868 An Account of the
Heaps of the St.
Florida. American
403, 440-463.


Fresh-Water Shell
Johns River, East
Naturalist 2:393-

1875 Fresh-Water Shell Mounds of the St.
John's River, Florida. Peabody Aca-
demy of Science Memoir No. 4. Salem,

Jeffrey M. Mitchem
Parkin Archeological State Park
Arkansas Archeological Survey
Parkin, AR 72373


Lee Ann Newsom and Barbara A. Purdy


A maritime heritage exists in
Florida that deserves to be investigated
and preserved. The largest number of
prehistoric and early historic canoes in
the world have survived in the state's
numerous waterways. Records exist for
nearly 200 canoes that date from 5120
years BP to the 19th century; thus they
span the Archaic through the Seminole
Indian periods. In this paper we
summarize what is known about these canoes
and what should be done in order to make
the records more complete. Investigations
are needed to organize and expand the
existing canoe records in a four-phase
project. Phase 1: contact canoe owners
(including institutions such as museums)
to determine if the canoes still exist and
to request permission to measure,
photograph, and sketch them, acquire wood
samples for radiocarbon dating and
microscopic identification of the species,
and assess their present condition and
preservation requirements. Phase 2:
obtain radiocarbon dates and identify the
wood species. Phase 3: conduct a
literature search to bring together
historic descriptions of canoe manufacture
and use, and produce a monograph that
includes all of the data about the canoes
and examines the importance of watercraft
to the early inhabitants of Florida. It
is possible to speculate about universal
behaviors in maritime environments that
crosscut time, space, and culture. Phase
4: undertake the preservation of the
canoes and exhibit them either in a
centralized location or in the various
areas where each was found.

Prehistoric and early historic
canoes form one segment of our
investigations of all wooden artifacts
that have survived in Florida (MacDonald
and Purdy 1982; Purdy and Newsom 1985;
Purdy 1988). Canoes are reported at the
rate of one or more a month. Twenty
canoes, for example, were reported in 1985
(Newsom and Purdy 1986) and 19 canoes were
retrieved and examined when Florida
experienced drought -conditions in 1977.
Emergency funds for the 1977 project were
provided by the National Science
Foundation and the National Endowment for
the Arts. In that year also, two wooden
totems were found in the St. Johns River
near Hontoon Island in the same vicinity
as the owl totem recovered in 1955 (Bullen
We now have records of nearly 200
canoes, by far the largest number of
prehistoric and early historic watercraft
in the world. Hundreds more must have
been found that were not reported or were
destroyed during peat mining operations,
development projects, or installation of
drainage canals for agriculture. Hundreds
more are probably still entombed.
Destruction of canoes is not a thing of
the past as is illustrated by the
following story.
In the summer of 1985, we received a
call from the public relations people of a
large corporation who told us that a
number of canoes, wooden structures, and
other artifacts had been uncovered by
their earth moving equipment. The people
were helpful when we visited the area and
permitted us to take a sample of one of



September, 1990

Vol. 43 No. 3



From Wet s i te s
I n F I o ri da


1 5 10E O20
1 5 10 20



Figure 1. Geographic Distribution and Density of Canoe Finds
in Florida. (a) Compiled by L. A. Newsom in 1982;
(b) updated version compiled by R. M. McGee in 1987.


Figure 3. The Oldest Canoe in the Western
Hemisphere from DeLeon Springs, Florida
(5140 BP).

Figure 2. An Illustration of the Nature
of the Deposits in Which Many Canoes are
Entombed. Photograph Shows Ollie Strick-
lin at the Stricklin Peat Co., Clay


the canoes for radiocarbon analysis for
which they paid. The water table was very
high at the time and we were unable to
conduct a thorough investigation. The
public relations people promised to call
us when the water table dropped. When
they did not call by mid-winter, we
contacted them and in May 1986, we visited
the area again. As before, we were
treated well and were taken to the
location where the canoes had been found.
To our dismay -and, seemingly, to the
dismay of the corporate representatives,
the entire area had been destroyed. We do
not believe that this was done maliciously
but, perhaps worse, they did not
understand the importance of these
remains. The canoe was 3300 years old.
At that time, it was the oldest canoe in
the Western Hemisphere, but since then a
canoe from DeLeon Springs, Florida has
been dated at 5120 BP and another from
Florahome is ca 4000 years old. With the
rapid development occurring in Florida it
is probable that the above incident will
be repeated over and over again.
We need to salvage as much informa-
tion as possible about the existing canoes
and attempt to increase the public's
awareness of their significance. To accom-
plish these goals requires visits to areas
where canoes are housed in order to photo-
graph or sketch them for pictorial docu-
mentation, take measurements, obtain sam-
ples for radiocarbon analysis and for
species identification, look for manufac-
turing marks, assess their present condi-
tions and preservation requirements,
record and map geographic locations and
environmental circumstances in which the
canoes were found, and evaluate their cul-
tural significance.

Present State of Knowledge

Figure la shows the geographic dis-
tribution and density of the canoe finds
in 1982 as compiled by L.A. Newsom; Figure
lb is an updated version compiled by Ray
M. McGee in 1987 after the completion of a
one-year project funded by a State of
Florida Historic Preservation Grant-in-
Aid. The majority of the finds have come
from the Northcentral Highlands where the

many lakes and streams in the region might
have been interconnected prior to the ad-
vent of ambitious drainage projects in the
late 19th and early 20th centuries. Even
under natural conditions these lakes, lo-
cated on relic dune ridges in an area of
karst topography, are frequently affected
by drought. We believe the concentration
of canoes here may be more a function of
geology and hydrology than a reflection of
the greater cultural importance of the
dugout in the Northcentral Highlands. The
proximity of this area to the University
of Florida may also be a factor.
We do not have records of the matri-
ces in which many of the canoes were
found. Some of the canoes were reported
to have been buried in sand but the great
majority were found entombed in organic
deposits of varying thicknesses. Their in-
tegrity was maintained for the same reason
that the twigs, seeds, leaves, etc. com-
prising the deposit remained intact. They
can be identified after thousands of years
because of the anaerobic environment that
preserved them. Florida has the second
largest peat resources in the nation. It
is not surprising, therefore, that cul-
tural items were incorporated and pre-
served in these organic deposits in areas
where people exploited the resources of
swamp or marsh (Fig. 2).
Most of the canoes have not been
dated by radiocarbon analysis. There is
as yet no evidence of canoes from the Pa-
leoindian Period. The oldest canoe in
Florida thus far dated is from DeLeon
Springs in Volusia County near the St.
Johns River (Fig. 3). Its Archaic date of
5120 years BP makes it more than 1000
years older than its closest four rivals
in the Western Hemisphere, three from
Florida and one from Ohio all of which
date from ca 3100 to 4000 years BP. A ma-
jority of the Florida canoes, for which
radiocarbon analysis has been conducted,
date between A.D. 700-950 (see Table 1).
At least three styles are recognized for
the prehistoric canoes. From the Historic
Period, we have records of 37 canoes.
While only three of the Historic Period
canoes have been dated by radiocarbon,
other evidence suggests they are recent.
Of these, at least two types were probably


Figure 4. Style 1 Canoe: (a) Canoes from Florahome (third
from left is Style 1); (b) Style 1 Canoe from
Strickland Peat Co., Clay County, Florida.

Name County
Stricklin #4 Clay
Lake Hancock Polk
Crooked Lake #3 Polk
Suwannee R. #2 Suwannee
Hall Lake Clay
Florida Rock Putnam
Stricklin #7 Clay
Crooked Lake #1 Polk
Lake Galilee Putnam
Stricklin #5 Clay
Magnolia Lake’ Clay
Pine Lakes Lake
Cowpen Lake Putnam
Wildcat Lake Marion
Loch Low Lake Seminole
Hampton Lake Bradford
zZellwood Orange
Dog Island Franklin
Swisher Lake Putnam
Lakeland Polk

IMC #1 Polk
Davis #4 Putnam
Harney Flats Hillsborough
DeLeon Springs Volusia

*BP (before present = 1950)

C-14 Age BP*

320+ 80





8007 60















C-14 Age




Table 1. Uncorrected Ages of Florida Canoes Listed





(a) Canoe in
Storage, and (b) Canoe Recovered in Putnam
County During Drought of 1977-1978.

Figure 5. 2 Canoe.



made by the native Florida Indians and a
more recent type is characteristic of
those made by the Seminoles.
Florida canoes can be divided into
several stylistic groups based on shape,
size, and fineness of finishing. The
first group (Fig. 4) includes the crudest
and the earliest canoes. These are
roughly hewn with blunt, largely unmodi-
fied ends and outer surfaces. The bow and
stern are indistinguishable. These canoes
were manufactured by the fire-hollowing
technique described in numerous ethnohis-
toric accounts (see, for example, Ribaut
1964). Often a large portion of the
charred surface is not scraped away and,
in a few examples, the bark of the tree is
partially intact. Canoes of this type
were all made of hard (or yellow) pine.
They average 15 feet (3.6 m) long by 16
inches (40.6 cm) wide.
A second style appears to coexist
with, and later replaces, the first type.
It is the most common form found. It also
was manufactured by the fire-hollowing
technique but the finishing process was
carried beyond simply hollowing out the
inside and roughly finishing the outer
surfaces as was done in the first type.
There was an attempt to shape the bow and
stern so that both ends are usually bev-
elled slightly upward and smoothed on the
upper surface. In addition, the finishing
of the gunwales and inside was carried out
to a much greater degree (Fig. 5). These
canoes average 18.4 feet (5.6 m) long by
16 inches (40.6 cm) wide. They range from
11 feet (3.35 m) to 30 feet (9+m) long.
The narrowness of the canoes supports
Dickinson's statement made in 1696 that
"the canoe was just wide enough for us to
sit down in" (Andrews and Andrews 1945).
Canoe Types 1 and 2 are commonly found in
the inland lakes and streams.
A third type appears to coexist also
with the two types described above. It is
distinguished by a distinctive bow which
is possibly a modification for larger and
rougher bodies of water. These canoes
have been discovered primarily on the At-
lantic coast, St. Johns River, and some of
the bigger lakes. The style is comparable
to type 2 in overall dimensions, manufac-
turing technique, and finishing except

that the bow extends upward and outward
into a marked "platform" (Fig. 6). This
extended, overhanging bow is believed to
have been designed to override large waves
while negotiating rougher bodies of water.
On some of these canoes the undersurface
beneath the bow has been shaped slightly
into a "V"-form which also would facili-
tate travel through such waters. Aft of
the bow, the undersurface is smooth and
At least four canoes represent a
fourth stylistic class which seems to have
appeared first in the early historic pe-
riod. In overall shape they resemble most
closely canoes of the second type but the
use of metal tools (Fig. 7) is clearly ev-
ident. All lines and surfaces are very
sharp and cleanly cut, and the square,
broad-bladed tool marks of a metal axe are
numerous. In contrast, the tooling marks
found on prehistoric canoes, when present,
generally indicate a tool with a rounded
bit. In shaping some of the type 4 ca-
noes, the fire-hollowing technique still
was used in conjunction with the metal
adze, but others exhibit no sign of the
use of fire. It could, of course, have
been adzed away during the final finishing
process. It is possible that type 4 was
-made by 16th and 17th century Europeans or
by more recent white settlers, but a ra-
diocarbon date of A.D. 1500 on one canoe
supports the probability that they were
manufactured by aborigines who had come
into possession of iron tools.
The four canoe types described thus
far were manufactured predominantly of
pine. Exclusive of Seminole canoes
(described below), less than 5% of the ca-
noes have been identified positively by
thin section analysis as having been manu-
factured of cypress. Those made of cy-
press came from river basin areas where
cypress is more readily available than
"Composite" craft make up the fifth
type. The catamaran as observed in use by
both Pedro Menendez and Jonathan Dickinson
in the 16th and 17th centuries falls into
this category. Menendez tells us that the
Calusa chief Carlos "came with as many as
12 canoes and two of them fastened one to
the other, with decks covered with awnings

Figure 6. Style 3 Canoe Showing Overhang-
ing Bow.

Figure 7. Style 4 Canoe of the Early His-
toric Period Showing Metal Tool Marks.
See also Fig. 11.


of hoops and matting" (Connor 1964). We
have records of two canoes that may have
been catamarans. Both of these canoes
have carved or drilled holes along the
length of the gunwales which might have
been used for the purpose of lashing the
center platform or connecting ties in
place. One of the canoes exhibits the use
of fire-hollowing and metal tools and is,
reportedly, made of cedar although this
has not been verified by us. Both canoes
have tapered, uplifted bows and are 16
feet (5.08 m) and 19 feet (5.93 m) long.
Also, a toy catamaran was found at the Key
Marco site (Cushing 1897:365; Gilliland
Four other "composite" craft have
been located. Three of these can be com-
pared to a dugout that has been sawed in
half and the sides reattached. In both
cases hollowed logs of hard pine were
spliced together with a series of cleats
or cross pieces and wooden pegs. The
halves apparently were hewn without the
use of fire but metal tool marks are abun-
dant (Fig. 8). Another type of composite
canoe is from Key West and was fashioned
of three planks or boards. The bow is
pointed and the stern is squared. It is
very similar to a modern rowboat except it
is very narrow. It would have been a good
craft for navigating the shallow shoals,
inlets, and estuaries of the keys. Swan-
ton (1946) made brief mention of a similar
craft citing Garcia (1902) which, accord-
ing to Garcia, "had been made by the Indi-
ans in the Spanish style."
The sixth canoe type is that of the
historic period Seminole Indians. We have
records of 20 Seminole canoes (Fig. 9).
They average 19-20 feet (5.7-6 m) long and
23 inches (58 cm) wide. They tend to be
wider at the bow and taper toward the back
into a slightly elevated and rounded
stern. The bow is even more elevated and
the forward portion of the hull is usually
shaped into a "V" cross section with a
projecting anterior keel. A Seminole in-
formant (Neill 1953) stated that this de-
sign aided travel through the sawgrass
marsh of the Everglades. In some cases,
the bow was shaped upward and forward to
project over the water as in the third na-
tive canoe type described earlier. All of

the Seminole canoes examined by us have
been made of cypress.
The Seminole commonly employed an
interesting manufacturing technique. This
involved cutting a series of holes into
the hull along the centerline while the
canoe was being hollowed out. These holes
were used to gauge the thickness of the
hull during construction (Fig. 10). They
were later plugged with wooden dowels. At
least five of the canoes we have recorded
sport gauging holes, two with plugs still
intact. Some of the Seminole canoes are
fitted with thwarts to support seats or
decking. The Seminoles were also known to
have constructed sailing canoes (Neill
1953), and three of the canoes in our sam-
ple have a mast support near the center
bow. One of the canoes, found in the
Everglades in 1979, has two keels, one an-
terior and the other astern.
Four canoes do not fit comfortably
into our typology. Two of these are excep-
tionally large, 50 feet and 46"feet long,
and the other two are made of tropical
woods that do not occur in Florida. All
of these probably belong to the historic
period, but they have not been radiocar-
boned dated.
The present condition of the canoes
is a topic that cannot be neglected. All
of the canoes are in stages of preserva-
tion ranging from fair to extremely poor.
The most intact canoes are those with both
ends remaining. All of the canoes seem to
be missing portions of the gunwales. Many
are fragmentary, and often this occurred
in antiquity rather than from present-day
recovery methods. There are some amazing
stories about canoe acquisition and subse-
quent curationn" procedures. Since 1977-
1978 when we received emergency funds to
investigate canoes reported during that
drought period, we have had growing coop-
eration from people who wish to be in-
formed of the right way to retrieve a ca-
New problems arise after canoes are
removed from the water. Often they fall
apart because they are left on the bank to
dry out. In some cases, canoes will not
disintegrate under these conditions but,
usually within a day or two, they will
crack and split as moisture is liberated


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-*- -- *'^ s-c *^;-
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8 ~ : -:


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- ^ Z h- .'^C :.r '; ?; -,

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~1" -,4


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Figure 8. Style 5 Composite Variety Canoe.


.r L

"' -'^-.-

PI ~


Figure 9. Style 6, Seminole Indian Canoe.

Figure 10. Manufacturing a Seminole Indian Canoe (gauge holes).


s~r~ ?-?:' '~JLI~LUr
Il.~kl -~

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;~i~3~i~La~LC ''
r rt
rLI~C~P~ ~F~-~~ r

~ L~IL 9

Figure 12. (a) Canoe from Magnolia Lake, Clay County that has a Circular Charred Area (b) Probably
Resulting from Carrying Fire.


from the interstitial spaces of the wood.
The large size of canoes presents a
major problem in keeping them wet until
preservation can proceed. We have brought
some canoes together in holding ponds or
have returned them to the lakes in which
they were found awaiting the construction
of vats. There are many disadvantages to
the holding pond "solution" to the canoe
problem; damages that occur during trans-
port or in the new environment are two ma-
jor concerns.
Some landowners have opted to try
their hand at preserving canoes. In one
case, since the price of building a vat
and purchasing polyethylene glycol was
prohibitive, a gentleman was advised to
preserve the canoe with turpentine and
linseed oil. This procedure might have
worked fairly well but after the canoe was
treated, he placed it in a specially con-
structed glass enclosure that caught a
good portion of Florida's daily sun. Af-
ter four years in this display case, the
canoe had disintegrated completely (Fig.
Major difficulties pertain to the
size and quantity of canoes found in
Florida, and to the cost of preservative
chemicals. An ideal situation would be to
have a preservation laboratory with enough
vats to treat several canoes at one time
and space to study and exhibit them after
treatment. If space is not available to
exhibit the canoes after they are pre-
served, an alternative solution would be
to return them to the area in which they
were found and place them on display some-
where, such as a local historic museum.
The State of Florida's Division of Histor-
ical Resources in Tallahassee has been co-
operating with us in an effort to preserve
the canoes.


Since the use of watercraft presum-
ably predates the peopling of the Western
Hemisphere, it is possible that people
were using canoes 10,000 or more years
ago. The probability of finding a canoe
that old in Florida is slim, however,
since the widespread development of or-
ganic deposits, in which most canoes have

survived, did not occur in Florida until
about 6000 years ago. Surface water in
rivers and lakes, in fact, may not have
been very plentiful until around 6000
years ago and, therefore, canoes would not
have been too functional. In the begin-
ning, the rate of deposition of peats was
only a few centimeters a century but depo-
sition increased exponentially with time.
Between A.D. 1200 and the late 19th and
20th centuries, when drainage projects be-
gan, deposition is estimated at 16
cm/century (Gleason et al. 1974). The
oldest canoe in Florida was found at
DeLeon Springs. It was resting slightly
above the contact between the bottom of
the peat deposit and the underlying lime-
stone bedrock. The date of 5140 BP for
this canoe, therefore, supports data from
geologic and climatic studies about the
deposition of organic deposits and about
the growth of aquatic resources and their
use by aboriginal Floridians.
Most large prehistoric .settlements
in Florida are found along the coasts and
inland waterways. Canoes were used for
transportation of people, goods, trade,
warfare, exchange of ideas, and in the ex-
ploitation of aquatic and flanking terres-
trial resources. The Middle Preceramic
Archaic Period throughout the southeast
(approximately 7000-4000 years BP) marks
the beginning of a continuing trend toward
expansion and diversification of the sub-
sistence base including a heavy reliance
on aquatic resources. The dugout canoe
must have played an integral role in this
expansion making widely distributed re-
sources more readily available and cost-
effective. That the exploitation of
Florida's aquatic resources increased
through time may be reflected in the
greater numbers and stylistic diversity of
the canoes. Evidence of prehistoric
economies demonstrates that aquatic re-
sources provided a large percentage of the
diet even after the cultivation of crops
began. Insights into the value of the ca-
noe to the Indians of Florida can be
gained by reviewing the early historic
literature. Nearly all accounts of Indian
travel mention movement by water which the
Europeans soon emulated.
It is interesting to contemplate why


watercraft in Florida and most of North
America did not evolve beyond canoes hol-
lowed from a single log to the more com-
plex composite vessels. (The composite
vessels described in this paper probably
were influenced by Europeans.) Possible
explanations are that there was no need
(or perceived need), or the technological
skills had not been developed. This lat-
ter reason hardly seems tenable given the
fact that woodworking was advanced and all
manner of lashings and resins were known.
We are left then with the lack of per-
ceived need or the lack of diffusion as an
incentive or stimulus for innovation.
Even in the Old World, complex watercraft
did not appear very early. Their appear-
ance is contemporaneous with expansion or
trade into areas where perilous seas had
to be traversed. In Florida, the Indians
travelled long distances but apparently
did not cross oceans, although the short
passage between Cuba and the United States
may have been traversed. In the Historic
Period, travel by Arawaks and "Spanish"
Indians did occur between Florida and Cuba
(Smith 1854). Canoes varied in size and
design somewhat depending on the body of
water to be navigated, the purpose they
served, and the size of available trees.
The use of the catamaran in Florida proba-
bly predated the historic period as sug-
gested by the toy catamaran from the Key
Marco Site (Gilliland 1975), and such
craft might have solved the need, at least
partially, for larger vessels. (See also
Luer 1989.)
We are attempting to examine the use
of watercraft in Florida from a holistic
point of view:
1. We are studying the technology
of canoe manufacture beginning with selec-
tion of the tree, properties of the wood,
the methods of felling, splitting, and
shaping the wood, and the implements used
to perform these tasks. It was important
to socialize the young to learn how to
make canoes. We have come across one ca-
noe that appears to represent a blunder as
one might expect from a novice. It is
crude and was left unfinished, apparently
because a large hole burned completely
through the deck during the fire-hollowing

2. The integration of canoes into
society as a whole was important to the
smooth functioning of the culture. For in-
stance, compare the things that could not
or would not be done without a canoe with
those things that could or would be done
if a canoe were available. It was impor-
tant to teach young people how to operate
canoes; this was part of the socialization
process also and part of the value system
of the culture.
3. The implication that the use of
waterways has for determining energy cap-
ture, capital building, and cultural evo-
lution. By using canoes to transport peo-
ple, supplies, and raw materials, thou-
sands of calories were saved that could be
put to other tasks. Some of the Natchez
canoes of the lower Mississippi Valley,
for example, were 40 feet long and could
carry 12 tons. The capacity of such
large canoes was recognized by Henry Hud-
nel who, prior to the Civil War, commis-
sioned the Seminole Indians to construct a
canoe for the purpose of hauling crates of
oranges from his groves on the St. Johns
River. This same canoe was purchased in
1880 by a Mr. Bartley who used it to haul
wood to Jacksonville. One load consisted
of 1 cord of oak, or 1-1/4 cords of pine,
or 18 persons. (A cord is 128 cu ft--8
feet long, 4 feet high, and 4 feet wide.)
Canoes were pack animals but they did not
have to be fed.
The output of canoes was more com-
plex than their input. So much energy and
expertise were expended in their manufac-
ture, however, that it can be assumed that
they were cared for. Although there is no
mention of it for Florida, there are ac-
counts from other areas that Indians de-
liberately sunk their canoes if they were
going to be gone for awhile in order to
prevent their destruction from natural or
enemy forces (Bakeless 1964:249,359).
This practice might explain why we have
found many canoes near shorelines in sev-
eral small lakes. Canoes may have been
needed to exploit the resources of a lake,
but the population might have been season-
ally nomadic and for some reason never re-
turned to retrieve their sunken canoes.
There have been at least five instances of
multiple canoes found together. In one re-


cent find, a cluster of nine canoes was
discovered in a peat area.
We have verified another practice
that is reported in many ethnohistoric ac-
counts, that of carrying fire in a canoe.
they killed him with a hatchet
while he fanned a fire trying to cook a
fish in the middle of the canoe" (Bennett
1968). (This incident refers to a French-
man and two Indians near the St. Johns
River in 1565.) While all descriptions
state that fire was used to facilitate ca-
noe manufacture, we believe that some
burned areas represent the cultural prac-
tice of carrying fire in a canoe. One ca-
noe with a circular charred area is 1100
years old (Fig. 12). Eight additional ca-
noes have similar burned areas, including
one with six and another with eight. The
Indians of Virginia and Tierra del Fuego
are pictured in early historic documents
carrying fire in their canoes.
A final comment about the signifi-
cance of the canoes is in order. These
objects are made of wood, an organic mate-
rial. Their preservation in Florida's wa-
terways is unique in the Western Hemi-
sphere since very few have been found in
other regions. The canoes will eventually
disintegrate without treatment with
polyethylene glycol and continuing cura-
tion no matter how well preserved they ap-
pear at present. Perhaps some of the ob-
jects will last for fifty years or so but
if they are to last for a thousand years
or more, they must be preserved and pro-
tected, at least by written records, pho-
tographs, and scaled drawings.


The development of the technology to
produce and use canoes is an analyzable
part of the infrastructure of Florida's
prehistoric and early historic Indians.
The behavior associated with the manufac-
ture and use of canoes involves the cap-
ture of large amounts of energy and, thus,
this behavior is of significant systemic
importance. Since the records we have
compiled about Florida's dugouts are still
fragmentary, the ideas presented in the
previous sections and summarized below

should be considered hypotheses to be
tested when additional data are available.
1. The growing availability and
utilization of aquatic resources about
6000 years ago in Florida led to the de-
velopment of canoe technology as a cost-
efficient means to exploit both aquatic
and flanking terrestrial resources.
2. Canoe manufacture became more
refined through time as is demonstrated by
better construction and stylistic vari-
ability (including size) depending upon
the waterway to be traversed and the tasks
to be performed.
3. Pine was chosen over cypress for
canoe manufacture in the prehistoric peri-
ods because of (1) tradition, (2) prefer-
ence, (3) availability, and/or (4) because
of the resin canals that aided in the
fire-hollowing process.
4. Cypress was chosen over pine in
the historic period (1) because of the
availability of iron tools that negated
the need to use the fire-hollowing tech-
nique, (2) because the idea of using cy-
press was introduced in the 16th to 18th
centuries by non-Florida Indians and Euro-
peans, and/or (3) because of the abundance
of cypress in the Everglades where the
Seminoles Indians reside.
5. Indians from areas to the south
travelled to Florida by canoe at least by
the early historic period in an attempt to
flee Spanish enslavement and disease.
Such journeys probably took place prehis-
torically also.
A study of Florida's canoes has nu-
merous ramifications because canoes func-
tioned in many realms of Indian culture
including economic, social, and ritual.
Watercraft, in general, provide a way to
look at continuities through time and
space. In many places in the world today,
all major activities occur along water-
ways. The development of modern Florida,
for example, depended on the use of water
routes. Until the advent of cars and
trains, steamboats were the lifeline that
linked Florida's people and resources to
the rest of the world (Mueller and Purdy
1984). In the prehistoric and early his-
toric periods, canoes provided the same


In 1978 emergency funds from the Na-
tional Science Foundation and the National
Endowment for the Arts, and a generous
supply of polyethylene glycol (PEG; CAR-
BOWAX) from Union Carbide Corporation were
provided to retrieve and to care for the
canoes. In 1987, Union Carbide supplied
additional PEG and a small grant was re-
ceived from the State of Florida. Occa-
sionally, a land owner has paid for ra-
diocarbon analysis. The canoes have gen-
erated a great deal of publicity, coopera-
tion, and interest but no monetary support
has been attained other than that men-
tioned above. The rapid growth that
Florida is experiencing impacts the canoes
as well as other aspects of Florida's mar-
itime heritage.


The National Science Foundation, Na-
tional Endowment for the Arts, and the
State of Florida have provided money to
investigate Florida's aboriginal canoes.
We wish to express our appreciation to
those agencies and to Union Carbide Corpo-
ration for supplying the polyethylene gly-
col we use as a wood preservative. We are
especially grateful to all of the landown-
ers who have notified us when they found
canoes and for their cooperation in re-
trieving them. Dr. Raymond Willis and Ray
M. McGee have worked on the canoe project.
Dr. Willis initiated the first systematic
investigation in 1977. Mr. McGee has been
responding to reports of canoe finds since
1986 and computerized all of the canoe
records in 1987. Much of the information
contained in this paper is the result of
the work accomplished by both Willis and
McGee. Apparently, the project is end-

References Cited

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1986 Florida's canoes. Paper presented
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Purdy, Barbara A. and Lee Ann Newsom
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respecting Florida. (Reprinted with
revisions in 1944 by the University
of Miami and the Historical Associa-
tion of Southern Florida, edited by
David O. True.)

Swanton, John R.
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United States. Bureau of American
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Wyman, Jeffries
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Lee Ann Newsom
Barbara A. Purdy
Department of Anthropology
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611


A Reply to the Criticisms by Charles Hudson

Keith J. Little and Caleb Curren
Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commission and Pensacola Junior College

EDITOR'S NOTE: Following receipt of
the manuscript for this article, after
its slight revision in response to FA
Editorial Review Committee remarks, it
was forwarded in June, 1990 to Charles
Hudson to provide him with an oppor-
tunity to respond in the same issue.
While Marvin Smith responded regarding
citation of one of his correspondence
comments to Keith Little, after Dr.
Hudson showed him a copy of the manu-
script, to date no response has been
received from Dr. Hudson.
LDT September 19, 1990


Criticisms of our research by
Charles Hudson were published in the Work-
ing Paper Series of the Alabama De Soto
Commission (Hudson 1989). The Chairman of
the Alabama De Soto Commission declined to
publish our response to Hudson's criti-
cisms in the Working Paper Series. There-
fore, we are publishing our reply to
Hudson's critique in The Florida Anthro-
We are pleased that the Alabama De
Soto Commission decided to provide further
forum for debate by publishing Charles
Hudson's criticisms of our ethnohistoric
archaeology model. Our model postulates
the locations of aboriginal polities en-
countered during the sixteenth-century
Spanish conquest of present-day Alabama.
Although may of our differences of opinion
with Charles Hudson concern the very dif-
ferent methodological approaches, his
criticisms of our hypotheses exemplify re-
search inadequacies which we also have
identified in his other works (see Ap-
pendix in Little and Curren 1990). The
following reply to Charles Hudson's cri

tique of our research addresses some of
these inadequacies.

Scientific Methods vs
Historic Reconstructions?

Charles Hudson appears to question
the value of scientific methods in archae-
ological research, at least concerning
these issues. He insists that an historic
reconstruction is a more appropriate
method for discovering the localities of
aboriginal societies encountered by the
Soto expedition, rather than our tried and
proven method of posing and testing ethno-
historic archaeological hypotheses. He
describes his position on this matter as

I insist that our reconstruction of de
Soto's route is a piece of historical
research. It is not a model. It is not
even appropriate, I think, to call it
a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a propo-
sition that is testable, refutable.
No such test is possible for a recon-
structed De Soto route (Hudson 1988).

Although Hudson's and his col-
leagues' Soto route reconstruction through
Alabama was not published until 1985
(Depratter et al. 1985), their basic re-
construction was presented in a paper at
the University of Alabama "Borderlands
Symposium" in 1981. The following year
Marvin Smith, one of Charles Hudson's co-
authors, wrote:

I do think you [Curren and Little] are
correct in stressing that the route
must be fitted to the archaeological
data. I can never convince Hudson of
this. He picks his route, and then
hopes to find archaeological sites to


fit. .As you [Curren and Little]
state so well, these routes are simply
models to be tested. Look how much we
benefited from your [Curren and Little]
testing of Lankford's model (Smith to
Little letter of March 16, 1982).

Marvin Smith's comparisons of our methods
with those of his associate [in 1982] ob-
viously speak for themselves and need no
further clarification. [**See EDITOR'S
NOTE at the end of this article.]

Contradictory Distance Estimates

In our rebuttals of Charles Hudson's
work we pointed out that he indiscrimi-
nately used different distances for the
maximum number of miles traveled by the
army in a day. When he needed 27 miles
(eight leagues) per day for the Soto army
to get from Athahachi to Piachi he said
that this distance was "well within the
army's capabilities" (DePratter et al.
1985:122; see Appendix in Little and
Curren 1990). Later,' when he had changed
his locations for those towns and no
longer needed those 27 miles per day he
simply ignored that he had ever said it
and decided that 17.5 miles per day was
the limit of the army's travel per day.
Charles Hudson attacked our hypothe-
ses, saying that we exceed the above es-
tablished 17.5 miles upper limit. In re-
ality, nowhere in our model do we exceed
that magic number, not even the decimal
point. The majority of the day's marches
along our proposed route cluster around 14
to 15 miles per day with only two day's
marches requiring Charles Hudson's 17.5
According to Charles Hudson, the so-
called "long league" was used by the Soto
chroniclers when they gave their estimates
for distance traveled per day (DePratter
et al. 1985:109-110). Nevertheless, he
managed to get the army from Tampa Bay to
Tallahassee in the same number of days and
following an almost indentical route that
John Swanton did using the short league.
The bottom line concerning all this
business of league and days' marches is
that Charles Hudson's application of these
figures contradict his own stated rules,

and he had manipulated its use to try to
force his route to fit through the South-
east. We argue that it is a mistake to
place so much emphasis on a single line of
data such as distance estimates. This is
particularly true since a wealth of addi-
tional evidence is available using a mul-
tidiscipline method of interpretation such
as provided by Brain and associates (1972)
in their ethnohistoric archaeology.

Inconsistent Rules of Interpretation

To begin with, Charles Hudson in-
sisted that the estimated of 40 leagues
given by the Soto chronicles for the dis-
tance from Mauvila to the Gulf coast was
important and used it in support of his
location of Mauvila at Old Cahawba as well
for his criticism of our hypothesis that
Mauvila was situated farther south in the
lower Alabama River basin (Hudson
1989:20). He also insisted that the dis-
tance estimate of 40 leagues given in the
Luna papers from the Gulf to Nanipacana
was an important confirmation of the loca-
tion of both Nanipacana and Mauvila, be-
cause Nanipacana and Mauvila were likely
situated near one another (Hudson
Earlier, we pointed out that the
proximity of Mauvila to the sea was highly
questionable because the Spanish never
made the trip (Curren 1986). The Indians
likely gave the Spaniards the estimated
distance in travel time and certainly did
not give it in leagues. The Spaniards ob-
viously interpolated the estimates into
leagues, thus the distance estimate is
Later, Hudson attempted to justify
his new proposed location of Mauvila even
farther inland than Old Cahawba by revers-
ing his previous stance on the question of
the 40 league estimated. In his effort to
answer the criticisms of Nicholas Holmes,
Charels Hudson stated: "This northerly lo-
cation (of Mauvila) goes far beyond the
forty-league estimate, but remember that
his estimate was based on second-hand in-
formation from someone from another cul-
ture "(Holmes to Curren, Hudson, Jones,
and Oak letter communication of September
24, 1989; Hudson to Holmes letter communi-


cation of October 3, 1989; Holmes to
Hudson letter communication of October 17,
1989). Although Charles Hudson had
strongly opposed our views questioning the
accuracy of the forty-league distance es-
timate, when he realized that his Old
Cahawba/Mauvila location proposal has lost
merit, he quickly reversed his earlier
stance and cast dispersions on the Indian
Further, when it supported his Old
Cahawba/ Mauvila proposal, Charles Hudson
was quick to point out that very likely
the towns of Mauvila and Nanipacana were
near one another (Hudson 1989:20). In
their letter exchange, Nicholas Holmes
pointed out that given Hudson's proposal
that Mauvila was located as far away as
the Black Warrior River drainage, there is
no known candidate for Nanipacana. Hudson
then reversed his previous position. This
time he argued that Mauvila and Nanipacana
actually might not have been near one an-
These are but two of the striking
examples of Charles Hudson's incongruent
uses of data in his criticism of our hy-

Invalid Methodological Rule

At one point, Hudson criticised us
for "violating" one of his "methodological
rules." The rule that we "violated"
stated: "Indian place names on maps dating
to the eighteenth century or later should
not be used to located sixteenth-century
Indian towns" (Hudson 1989:7). However,
this rule is too simplistic and unneces-
sarily rejects an important line of evi-
dence that may be used when certain ar-
chaeological requisites are met. We con-
tend that when historic continuity can be
documented in the archaeological record by
linking eighteenth-century archaeological
manifestations with those of the six-
teenth-century, then the known locations
of the eighteenth-century aboriginal
groups may provide an important line of
evidence regarding the location of that
group's sixteenth-century ascendents (see
Little and Curren 1990).
Vernon J. Knight used this same ba-
sic logic to argue for the placement of

sixteenth-century Mauvila in the lower
Alabama River region where we also hypoth-
esized the chiefdom was located: "But the
circumstance of finding them (Mobile
Indians) to be the local historic bearers
of the Pensacola archaeological complex
argues against any major population dis-
placement during the protohistoric period"
(Knight 1981:15). In addition, Knight has
archaeologically established similar rela-
tionships of historic continuity for the
Apica in Talladega County, Alabama and
Talisi in the lower Tallapoosa River val-
ley -- the same locations we have postu-
lated for those two sixteenth-century abo-
riginal polities (see Curren 1986; Little
1986; Little and Curren 1990; Curren et
al. 1989). Thus, our findings are congru-
ent with those of Knight.

Entangled in Long Strings of Data

Hudson has compared the tracing of
Soto route to a ribbon-like trail through
the Southeast or a long string of events
that has to be taken in its entirely to be
accurate. Conversely, it has been our ex-
perience that it is much easier to get a
long string tangled then a short one.
A researcher does not necessarily
have to know the specific landing site of
the Soto army to hypothesize with accuracy
the location of, for example, the Mauvila
chiefdom. The sixteenth-century Spanish
documents and archaeological record indi-
cate very clearly that in Alabama the Soto
army moved down the Alabama River
drainage. Rather, it is essential to fo-
cus attention on the archaeological record
and match it with the chronicle descrip-
tions. Researchers who know the local ar-
chaeological data in most detail and who
learn how to use the Spanish chronicles
are the ones most likely to present viable
hypotheses. Then, researchers from one
region to another can link their "short
strings" into a very powerful and accurate
model of the locations of Indian chiefdoms
encountered during the Spanish conquest.
Conversely, researchers who attempt to
deal with the entire southeastern United
States, through necessity, probably will
spend less time on any one section of the
route. Consequently, major portions of


the route reconstruction may be flawed by
a weakened foundation due to a lack of de-
tailed archaeological knowledge of spe-
cific areas. That long string then be-
comes very easy to tangle and break, as it
has at numerous points along Hudson's pro-
posed route reconstruction (see Appendix
in Little and Curren 1990).

Archaeology 101:
Introduction to Archaeology

In our model, we specifically dis-
cussed hypotheses that warranted archaeo-
logical testing concerning the location of
Coosa at the Terrapin Creek site (lCe309)
(Little and Curren 1990). One postulate
was that another contemporaneous site
should be present on an opposite bank of
the stream junction conforming with the
Luna document descriptions of a stream
confluence within the town of Coosa. We
also recommend further survey in the area
to determine whether there was evidence
matching the Spanish description of numer-
ous settlements in the vicinity. Neverthe-
less, without such studies Hudson
(1989:19) presented a comparative chart
which stated that neither of these condi-
tions was met for the Terrapin Creek site.
While it may be true that these postulates
have not yet been verified, we are confi-
dent that few archaeologists would support
his conclusions without first conducting
adequate field work in the area to assess
properly the validity of the hypostheses.

Hidden Concessions

Since 1986, we have presented
Charles Hudson with numerous rebuttals of
his proposed Soto route reconstruction
through Alabama (Curren 1988b; Little
1986, 1988a, 1988b, 1988c, 1988d; Little
and Curren 1990:Appendix). While he has
conceded many of our points of rebuttals,
his concessions are typically not overt.
Nevertheless, the following concessions
are of note:
1. A nineteenth-century artesian
well could not possibly be the pond at
sixteenth-century Mauvila described by the
Elvas account (Hudson 1989:24-25). Ear-
lier, Hudson and his associates had pro-

posed such an idea. Although Charles
Hudson (1989:25) tried to belittle the
significance of this error, when taken in
account with the numerous other examples
of research inadequacies, including mis-
quoting of Spanish documents (see Appendix
in Little and Curren 1990), this incon-
gruity cannot and should not be disre-
garded as a simple oversight.
2. There was no large town during
the sixteenth-century situated at Dormant
Bend where Hudson and his colleagues
(DePratter et al. 1985:122) placed Piachi
(Hudson 1989:24). Hudson (1989:24) now
says that Piachi could be in a larger area
around Selma, Alabama, but he fails to
name a specific site -- likely due to the
fact that other than his Mauvila candi-
date, the Old Cahawba site, no large six-
teenth-century town is known to have ex-
isted where he now says Piachi was lo-
3. The Cohuttas are a segment of
the north-south running Blue Ridge Moun-
tains (Hudson 1989:15). Although Charles
Hudson insists that the Cohuttas were the
mountains north of Coosa described by the
Luna expedition (Hudson 1989:15-16), the
fact that the Cohuttas are part of the
north-south trending Blue Ridge Mountains
is incongruent with the Luna documents de-
scription of an east-west trending moun-
tain range north of Coosa (Priestly
1928:24). His argument that the Spaniards
were confused by the perception that the
Appalachians ran east-west as shown on
several maps is not very credible, partic-
ularly since the Luna party "saw the moun-
tains with their own eyes" (Hudson
1989:15). Furthermore, many of them maps
he cited post-date the.Luna expedition so
they could not possibly have influenced
the 1560 expeditionaries' perceptions.

Disregarding Important Data Contexts

Charles Hudson (1989:25) attempted
to discredit one of the most important
Spanish contact sites in the Southeast in
his haste to ignore our hypothesis that
the Mauvila chiefdom was likely located in
the southwest corner of present-day
Alabama. At the Pine Log Creek site
(lBa462) in the lower Alabama River


drainage, an incredible group of six-
teenth-century Spanish artifcats has been
recovered. It is one of the largest col-
lections in the entire Southeast. More
sixteenth-century Spanish artifacts have
been recovered from this site than from
the Soto winter encampment site at Talla-
hassee, Florida. The list is a long one
and includes: a portion of an altar set
comprised of a brass candlestick and a
brass holy water container, an iron gun
barrel, an iron ladle, sword fragments, an
iron pike head, an iron knife, an iron
bridle and cheek plate, an iron horse
shoe, a reworked iron kettle fragment, an
iron axe, an iron chisel, an iron wedge,
an iron sickle, four iron spikes, eight
unidentified iron objects, four seven-
layer faceted chevron glass beads, four
blue glass beads, and an earspool made
from a reworked Columbia Plain pottery
sherd (Stowe 1982). Hudson (1989:25)
tried to pass this assemblage off as be-
longing to the Luna expedition or
"sixteenth-century coastal voyages."
The very fact that this collection
is so different strongly indicates that
they are artifacts from the battlefield of
Mauvila itself. Many of the artifacts are
military in nature: the gun barrel, sword,
knife, and pike head. The military
weapons and certainly the altar set would
not have been traded to Indians. The
Spanish thought that their physical lives
depended on the former and that their
spiritual lives depended on the latter.
Moreover, the artifacts from the re-
ligious atlar set are one of a kind from
the Southeast. Their uniqueness is magni-
fied by the fact that the Soto chroniclers
specifically said that they lost their
precious altar set at Mauvila. The col-
lection from Pine Log Creek in southwest
Alabama may be the most important group of
artifacts ever found in the vicinity of
his proposed six Mauvila locations near
Faunsdale or Selma, Alabama.

Neglecting the Basic Archaeological Record

In attempting to discredit our hy-
pothesis that Mauvila was located in the
region of the Mobile Delta, Hudson alleged
that "Little and Curren do not bother

themselves to explain what such a settle-
ment would be doing in the middle of hy-
draulic basin that is frequently under wa-
ter" (Hudson 1989:21).
In an earlier response to this same
criticism, we pointed out that Mississip-
pian settlements were typically situated
in river valleys subject to flooding
(Curren 1988a). Later, Nicholas Holmes
responded to Charles Hudson and expanded
on the facts of Mississippian settlements
in the lower Alabama River region, partic-
ularly their typical associations with al-
luvial settings (Holmes to Hudson letter
correspondence of September 22, 1989).
Although Hudson has since conceded the va-
lidity of Holmes' criticisms along these
lines (Hudson to Holmes letter correspon-
dence of October 3, 1989), we are sur-
prized that he would have
overlooked such obvious and basic data
concerning the archaeological record of
the southeast.

Data Manipulation

The Luna documents describe an east-
west trending mountain range north of
Coosa; the Spaniards did not know where
the mountains began or ended (Priestly
1982:241). According to Hudson (1989:19)
there is no "notable mountain range north"
of our proposed Coosa location at the Ter-
rapin Creek site. We seriously doubt,
however, that he can successfully convince
the Cherokee County, Alabama residents
living in that area the blue silhouettes
extending across the northern horizons are
not really mountains. Nor, is it likely
that the U.S. Geologic Survey will modify
their topographic maps by removing the
clusters of contour lines marking the
ridges in the region north of the Terrapin
Creek site.

Inadequate Research

Hudson erroneously concluded that
given our proposed locations of Coosa and
Ulibahali, "Itaba would have to lie some-
where on the headwaters of either Terrapin
Creek or Choccolocco Creek" (Hudson
1989:12). He further stated that "Both of
these are such small watercourses they

would have required a deluge of Biblical
proportions to have detained De Soto for
eight days" (Hudson 1989:12). Neither of
his conclusions is valid.
First, Itaba also could have been
located along the Ohatchee Creek drainage.
John Walthall (1980) illustrated an effigy
pipe from that drainage that very likely
dates to the sixteenth-century Barnett
phase (Little 1986). We also have exam-
ined a private collection from Ohatchee
Creek which included Lamar Bold Incised,
Lamar Plain, and Lamar Complicated Stamped
pottery, all indicative of a sixteenth-
century occupation.
Second, the statement speculating
that Terrapin Creek and Choccolocco Creek
were very unlikely to present a serious
flooding problem demonstrates a signifi-
cant lack of research and knowledge of
that region. Before flood control reser-
voirs were constructed on the headwaters
of these streams, both creeks were notori-
ous for their expansive flooding. These
are two of the largest tributaries of the
Coosa River in Alabama, and they still ex-
hibit overbank flooding several times each

The Archaeological Reality of
the Lower Black Warrior River Basin

The primary criticisms by Charles
Hudson (1989:26) were concerned with our
hypothesis that the southern portion of
the province of Pafallaya was situated in
the lower Black Warrior River basin in the
vicinity of Demopolis, Alabama. A major
premise of this hypothesis was that six-
teenth-century Moundville III phase occu-
pations were present -in that area. We
(Little et al. 1989) cited the recovery of
a spatulate axe from the region by a col-
lector as one line of evidence indicating
the likely presence of late Mississippian
occupations. He considered our arguments
"preposterous" (Hudson 1989:23).
The University of Alabama State
Museum of Natural History conducted an ar-
chaeological field project to test our
premise that Moundville III phase occupa-
tions were present in the Demopolis re

gion. The report of their investigation
indicated our premise that significant
Moundville III phase occupations were pre-
sent in the lower Black Warrior River
basin was invalid (Shogren 1989). How-
ever, the University of Alabama conclu-
sions regarding the absence of Moundville
III Phase occupations were premature and
unwarranted (Curren and Knight letter com-
munication of May 8, 1989; Jenkins 1989).
To assess further the validity of
our premise, the Alabama-Tombigbee Re-
gional Commission sent a field crew to the
Stephens Bluff Site (lGrl4). The limited
archaeological investigation recovered im-
pressive evidence of a Moundville III
phase occupation on the mound and the ad-
jacent village area of lGrl4 (Hayward et
al. 1990). An additional pottery collec-
tion made by U.S. Army Corps pf Engineers
archaeologists from site lHa54 produced
evidence of another. Hence, our premise
that Moundville III Phase occupations were
present in the Demopolis area is now an
archaeologically verified fact. Conse-
quently, one of Hudson's major criticisms
regarding our model has been invalidated.


We maintain that debate can be a
healthy procedure for discovering truth
and welcome this opportunity to address
Hudson's criticisms of our postulates.
Concerning the Soto route through Alabama,
we are confident that anyone who cares to
check objectively the details will surely
concur with the points we have made in our
reply to Charles Hudson. At any rate, we
are continuing to gather new evidence for
testing the validity and accuracy of our
model. The strength of our model lies in
its archaeological testability as we have
demosntrated with our field investigations
in the Demopolis, Alabama region as well
as other areas of the state. Furthermore,
we still contend, despite Hudson's objec-
tions, that hypothesis testing in enthno-
historic archaeological research is a
valid and valuable methodology for dis-
cerning the localities of aboriginal c en-
countered by the early Spaniards explorers

References Cited

Alabama De Soto Commission.

Brain, Jeffery P., Alan Toth, and Antonio
1972 Enthnohistoric Archaeology and the
De Soto Entrada into the Lower Mis-
sissippi Valley, Conference on His-
toric Site Archaeology Papers 1:232-

Curren, Caleb
1986 The Route of the Soto Army through
Alabama. Submitted to American
Archaeology revised in 1989.

1988a Comments on the Blake Rebuttal. Sub-
mitted to the Alabama De Soto Com-

1988b A Rebuttal of the "Georgia Recon-
struction" of the Soto Route through
Alabama. Submitted to the Alabama
De Soto Commission.

Curren, Caleb, Keith J. Little, and Harry
O. Holstein
1989 Aboriginal Societies Encountered by
the Tristan De Luna Expedition. The
Florida Anthropologist 42(4):381-395

DePratter, Chester, Charles Hudson, and
Marvin Smith
1985 The Hernando de Soto Expedition:
From Chiaha to Mabila. In Alabama
and Its Borderlands, from Prehistory
to Statehood, eds. R. Badger and L.
A. Clayton. University of Alabama

Hayward, Hampton Dart, Caleb Curren, Ned
J. Jenkins, and Keith J. Little
1990 Archaeological Investigations in the
Proposed Pafallaya Province. On file
Alabama-Tombigbee Regional Commis-

Hudson, Charles
1988 Critique of Caleb Curren's De Soto
Route. Submitted to the Alabama De
Soto Commission.

1989 Critique of Little and Curren Recon-
struction of De Soto's Route through
Alabama. De Soto Working Paper 12.

Hudson, Charles, Marvin Smith,
DePratter, and Emilia Kelley
1989 The Tristan De Luna
1559-1561. Southeastern

Chester B.


Jenkins, Ned
1989 A Few Comments on "A Limited Testing
Programs at Four Mound Sites in
Greene County, Alabama, De Soto Com-
mission Working Paper 11". Submitted
to the Alabama De Soto Commission.

Knight, Vernon J., Jr.
1981 Late Prehistoric Adaptation in the
Mobile Bay Region. Paper presented
at the Tulane University Conference
on Gulf Coast Archaeology. Avery
Island, Louisiana.

Little, Keith J.
1986 A Segment of the Sixteenth Century
Soto Route through Alabama. Submit-
ted to American Archaeology.

1988a A Critical Evaluation of the Pro-
posed Locality of Mavila in the
Selma, Alabama Vicinity. Submitted
to the Alabama De Soto Commission.

1988b A Critical Evaluation of the Hudson
and Associates Use of Distance Sta-
tistics. Submitted to the Alabama De
Soto Commission.

1988c The De Soto Route Debates: A Pre-
sentation for the General Public.
Bulletins of Discovery No.2, Alabama

1988d A Critical Evaluation of the Place-
ment of Casiste in the Taladega
Springs Area. Submitted to the
Alabama De Soto Commission.

Little, Keith J. and Caleb Curren
1990 Conquest Archaeology of Alabama. In
Columbian Consequences, editor David
Hurst Thomas. Smithsonian Institu-
tion Press.

Little, Keith J., Caleb Curren, Curtis E.
Hill, and Harry 0. Holstein


1989 A Spatulate Axe from the Demopolis,
Alabama Area. Submitted to the
Journal of Alabama Archaeology.

Priestly, Herbert Ingram
1928 The Luna Papers. The Florida His-
torical Society.

Shogren, Micheal G.
1989 A Limited Testing Program at Four
Mound Sites in Greene County,
Alabama. De Soto Working Paper 11.
Alabama De Soto Commission.

Stowe, Noel R.
1982 A Preliminary Report on the Pine Log
Creek Site lBa462. Report of the
University of South Alabama Archae-
ological Research Laboratory.

Walthall, John A.
1980 Mississippian Pipe from Alabama.
Journal of Alabama Archaeology 26(1)

Keith J. Little
Alabama-Tombigbee Regiona
Archaeology Laboratory
Post Office Box 269
Camden, Alabama 36726

Caleb Curren
Pensacola Jr. College
Archaeology Laboratory
1000 College Blvd.
Pensacola, Florida 32503


EDITOR'S NOTE: On June 29, 1990, Marvin
Smith wrote to me objecting to the use
of the quote used on Little and Curren
on the first page of their text, stat-
ing that it "is taken out of context,
and is used without my permission." I
sent the authors a copy of Dr. Smith's
letter to me and requested a copy of
the letter from which the quote is
cited. They provided a copy of the
requested letter. It is written from
one professional to another on official
departmental stationary and contains no
indication that it is to be treated as
privileged information. As such, it is

my understanding that it became part of
the public record, and is citable as
are similar professional letters and
personal communications. Regarding the
context issue, the paragraph from which
the quote was taken and that which
follows it are as follows:

I found your route model very inter-
esting. I know that Hudson, DePratter
and I certainly do not have it figured
out, and your proposed route makes
pretty good sense. It does bother me
that you use the long league, since we
have been successful in going through
Georgia with the short league. I do
think that you are correct in stress-
ing that the route must be fitted to
the archaeological data. I can never
convince Hudson of this. He picks his
route, and then hopes to find archaeo-
logical sites to fit it.
You are going to have to come up
with a reasonable location for the
Napoochies that Luna visited. That
is one thing that I like about our
route. The Chattanooga area fits
very well for the Napoochies. As you
state so well, these routes are simply
models to be tested. Look how much we
benefited from your testing of Lank-
ford's model. Someday, we will actual-
ly have all this worked out. (Smith to
Little letter of March 16, 1982).

Where the issue of context may be
called into question is in the authors'
con-cluding statement following the
quote. The quote is time dated, and
Dr. Smith rightly objects to its use to
imply a criticism by him of Hudson's
work since 1982. Indeed, Dr. Smith
states: "Clearly Hudson and I have
settled our differences since 1982 and
gone on to work fruitfully together for
years" (Smith to Tesar letter of June
29, 1990). A review of recent
publications supports this conclusion.
For that reason, I inserted the "[in
1982]" to avoid confusion with respect
to the issue of context.


Archaeological Evidence for Early Coastal Adaptations

Dana Ste. Claire


The St. Johns River Valley is be-
lieved to have been the predominant region
of prehistoric occupation in East Florida
during the Middle to Late Archaic
(Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:147) while
Archaic period occupation along the nearby
east coast of Florida has generally been
viewed as limited in nature (Figure 1).
The apparent absence of preceramic coastal
shell middens (Milanich and Fairbanks
1980:150) and the relative paucity of
fiber-tempered sites along the east coast
have led archaeologists to view the Ar-
chaic coastal presence as infrequent and
peripheral to this well-documented inte-
rior riverine occupation. The currently
accepted model of early settlement for the
Archaic populations away from the North-
Central highlands to the St. Johns River
basin around 4000 B.C., followed by a
later shift to coastal resources at the
end of the Late Archaic/Transitional and
early St. Johns period (1000-500 B.C.).
Goggin (1948, 1952:20-21, 45), among
others (cf. Griffin and Smith 1954; Thanz
1977; Griffin and Miller 1978), attributes
this virtual absence of Archaic period
coastal sites to environmental factors,
suggesting that the east coast of Florida
remained relatively unoccupied until about
1000 B.C. when changing ecological condi-
tions favored the growth of oysters in
coastal lagoons.
New archaeological data are cur-
rently emerging regarding the prehistoric
occupation of the coastal regions of east
Florida (these regions are defined as
those which include sites on or within the
immediate range of the present-day coast-
line) during the Middle and, more promi-
nently, the Late Archaic periods of
Florida (ca. 5000-1000 B.C.). Moreover,
recent evidence suggests that areas near

Figure 1. Key Archaic Period Coastal
Sites in the St. Johns Region
of East Florida.

the coast were utilized as early as 6000
B.C., or during the Early Archaic Period.
The following overview utilizes data from
both previously documented and newly dis-
covered sites to illustrate a pattern of
Archaic period resource utilization and
occupation along the east coast of

Orange Period Late Archaic Sites

Orange Period (Late Archaic) sites
(ca. 2000-1000 B.C.) are currently known
for the east coast of Florida from the
Georgia border area south to the Glades
region. On Fort George Island to the
north, a number of fiber-tempered ceramic
sites have been observed including the
Fort George Shell Ring (8Du72), a Late Ar-
chaic shell midden reported by John Goggin
and later reexamined by Dickinson and
Wayne (1987)). In addition, the Fort

September, 1990


Vol. 43 No. 3

George Island midden (8Du5) and the
Muncilla-McGundo midden (8Du379) (Wayne
and Dickinson 1986; Dickinson and Wayne
1987), which are located just south of
8Du72, contain significant fiber-tempered
components (Russo 1988b:63). Also located
in the general area is an unnamed Orange
Period sand mound (Dickinson and Wayne
1987). Other sites, including the Chap-
pelle midden (8Du542), the Ribault Club
midden (8Dul36), and site 8Du2576, all
contain recognizable Orange Period compo-
nents (Dickinson and Wayne 1987). Located
in the same general area is the Sherrol
site (8Dul544), a defense oyster midden
containing fiber-tempered ceramics (Hart
and Fairbanks 1982:89; Hart 1982:102;
Russo 1988b:64).
In northern St. Johns County several
Orange Period sites have been reported for
the coastal Guana river area including the
Guana River site (8SJ2463), the Little Or-
ange site (8SJ2548), and the Guana River
Shell Ring (8SJ2554) (DAHRM 1985). Deagan
(1981:73-74) in a survey of archaeological
sites in St. Johns County describes two
Orange Period shell middens, the Ponte
Verde Beach site (8SJ1) and the Fort Moosa
(Mose) site (8SHJ40). The Fountain of
Youth site (8SJ31) in St. John County was
originally reported by Lillian Seaberg
(Goggin 1952:45) and reexamined by Merritt
(1983:139, 145-146). It too contains a
significant Late Archaic component. The
Summer Haven site (8SJ46) in the same
county has been identified as an Orange
Period site by Bullen and Bullen (Bullen
and Bullen 1961; Cumbaa 1976:85).
Recent investigations at the Cres-
cent Beach site (8SJ43) in St. Johns
County have been conducted by Bond (1988).
This site, originally recorded as the
Crescent Beach Bridge site (Goggin
1952:45, 84), is located along the Matazas
River (Intracoastal waterway) on the coast
approximately six miles north of the Sum-
mer Haven site. Artifacts recovered at
Crescent Beach substantiate an Orange Pe-
riod occupation and evidence of a prece-
ramic component was recovered as well
(Bond 1988:33).
In his inventory of archaeological
sites of St. Johns County, Bond (1988:6)
lists other sites which were occupied dur-

ing the Late Archaic. All are located
along the coastal strand or are adjacent
to the intracoastal waterway. These in-
clude Wright's Landing (8SJ3), South of
Wright's Landing (8SJ33), Shell Bluff
Landing (SJ32) (see Goggin 1952:45), and
the Point Vedra Beach midden (8SJ1)
(Deagan 1981:73). To the south in Flagler
County, related sites include the
Marineland midden (8FL6), originally
recorded by Webb (1984) and Lame (1941),
and the Palm Coast Midden (8FL15) docu-
mented by Miller (1980) and Miller and
Strassburger (1977).
The most well known and extensively
investigated Orange Period site on the
east coast is located in northern Volusia
County just below Flagler County. Origi-
nally documented by Douglas (1882:108),
the Cotton site (8V083), also known as the
Hernandez site, has been the subject of a
considerable amount of research and dis-
cussion (cf. Hay 1902; Batchley 1902;
Hitchcock 1902; Lucas 1903; Griffin
1948:50; Goggin 1952:45; Hale 1984;
Classen 1986; Russo 1988a, 1988b). The
site was tested thoroughly in 1947 by
Griffin and Smith (1954) of the Florida
Park Service.
The Cotton site was composed of
loosely-packed coquina shell and measured
approximately 12 feet in height (Griffin
and Smith 1954). In addition to a large
collection of Orange Period ceramics, many
stone and shell tools, carved bone arti-
facts, and an abundance of faunal materi-
als were observed (Griffin and Smith
1954). Archaic stemmed projectile points
are often recovered from what remains of
the midden along the inundated and eroding
margins of the site (Roger Alexon, per-
sonal communication), and a large amount
of faunal material can still be observed.
A recent analysis of a sample of faunal
remains from the site (Hale 1984) suggests
a diet based predominantly on marine
species. Russo (1988a:164) concludes that
the wide range in the variety and sized of
shark remains, which comprise a large per-
centage of Hale's (1984) sample, indicates
both mass and individual capture tech-
A similar and recently documented
site is located approximately three miles


to the north of the Cotton site along the
eastern margins of a peninsula that expends
into the Tomoka Basin near Tomoka State
Park (Ste. Claire and Alexon 1989; St.
Claire, Russo and Alexon n.d.). The
Tomoka Stone site (8V02571) is a partially
inundated, low-lying conquina midden near
the confluence of the Halifax and Tomoka
Rivers. It contains an relatively large
amount of fiber-tempered pottery and fau-
nal material, including shark remains.
The inundated and tidal-affected portions
of the site are characterized by exposed
areas of "cemented" coquina midden which
are fused with fiber-tempered ceramic and
faunal material. One porjectile point, an
unidentifiable side-notched variety, was
collected from the site.
Orange Period coastal sites are also
known for Brevard County, just south of
Volusia County. These include the DeSoto
Grove site (8BR82), the Norris Mound
(8BR89), and 8BR232, all of which contain
Late Archaic components consisting of
fiber-tempered ceramic and faunal material
(Levy, et al. 1984). These sites, as well
as two others with Orange Period com-
ponents, the Futch Cove site (8BR181) and
the Heath Road site, are located in the
coastal regions of Cape Canaveral.
Futch Cove (Ste. Claire and Johnson
1988; Johnson 1989) is characterized by a
lengthy cultural continue of prehistoric
coastal resource expolitation as evidenced
by an abundance of marine and terrestrial
faunal materials and a diverse range of
excavated ceramic types spanning Orange
through St. Johns III periods. The Heath
Road site (Ste. Claire 1988) is located
just north of the Futch Cove site. It is
evidenced by a surface scatter of steatite
sherds and Orange Plain and Incised fiber-
tempered sherds. While not presently sub-
stantiated, lithic and faunal material
which underlie Orange Period components at
Futch Cove and the Norris mound may repre-
sent earlier preceramic Archaic occupa-
Also located in coastal Brevard
County are the Herndl Beach site (8BR109)
and the Bill Herndl site (8BR113) (Rouse
1951:205,206), two Late Archaic middens
which are characterized by a dominance of
coquina shell (Russo 1988b:62).

In the extreme southeast, only a few
sites which contain Orange Period ceramics
have been identified from the Glades area
(cf. Carr 1981a; Carr and Beriault 1984;
Carr et al. 1984). However, it is possi-
ble that Late Archaic sites occur more
frequently in the region and have not yet
been discovered.

Middle Archaic-Preceramic Sites

Most significant in establishing an
early time frame for coastal resource ex-
politation along the east coast of Florida
are several preceramic Archaic period
sites which are currently known for the
area. Previously mentioned sites which
contain evidence of a perceramic Archaic
component include several of the Guana
River sites (DAHRM 1985:21-22), the Cre-
sent Beach site in St. Johns County (Bond
1988), and Futch Cove (Ste. Claire and
Johnson 1988; Johnson 1989 a the Norris
mound (Levy et al. 1984) in Brevard
County. Bond (1988:6) in a reanalysis of
materials recovered from the Coontie Is-
land site (8SJ13) in coastal St. Johns
County has determined that his non-shell
bearing site was also occupied during the
preceramic Archaic. Artifacts recovered
from Coontie Island includes a large num-
ber Newnan Archaic Stemmed projectile
points, drilled stone beads, and several
atlatl weights. The Ponte Vedra site
(8SJ1), another coastal site in St. Johns
County, may also have been occupied as
early as the preceramic period (Russo
1988b:62; Deagan 1981:73).
Other preceramic sites in Volusia
County which are situated near the present
day coast line have been identified. Re-
cent investigations have been conducted by
the Museum of Arts and Sciences' Division
of Archaeological Research at the McDonald
Farms site (8V02570) near Port Orange.
The site is located along the upper
reaches of Spruce Creek and within three
miles of the coast estuaries environment,
although not directly associated with this
Materials recovered thus far, which
include several Archaic period projectile
points, indicates a preceramic Archaic oc-
cupation, most likely a biotic extractive


camp (Ste. Claire 1989). The McDonald
Farm site artifact assemblage is dominated
by relatively small lithic debitage in-
dicative of tool (hafted biface) repair,
resharpening, and general maintenance.
Although marine shell and other materials
indicative of coastal resource utilization
have not yet been recovered, it is possi-
ble that Middle Archaic people who used
the site over time were small hunting par-
ties which originated from the coast,
rather than from the St. John River Basin
which is located some 25 miles to the
Several other locations of prece-
ramic Archaic deposits are known for the
Upper Spruce Creek basin (Harold Cardwell,
personal communication). In addition, a
relatively extensive site which at one
time contained a large quantity of lithic
debitage and Archaic Stemmed points was
known to exist near Ormond Beach within
three miles of the coast (Roger Alexon,
personal communication). These and other
sites will be documented in the near fu-
Investigations by Michael Russo and
Vicki Roland of the Florida Museum of Nat-
ural History at the Spencer's Midden site
in Duval County have revealed this site to
be a preceramic Middle Archaic oyster mid-
den with coquina lenses occurring through-
out (Russo 1989b). The midden, which ex-
tends in a horseshoe shape around a former
pond, is characterized by faunal material
composed mainly of estuarine fish and
medium to large animals. There is an ab-
sence of ceramic in the midden and several
Archaic Stemmed projectile points have
been recovered from the surface (Russo
In that there are no documented Pre-
ceramic coastal shell middens of substan-
tial size in East Florida (Milanich and
Fairbanks 1980:150), Spencer's Midden rep-
resents an important archaeological site
for establishing Archaic period coastal
settlement patterns.
The Guthier site in Brevard County,
a Middle Archaic Period (ca. 4000-3000 B.
C.) cemetery located on the barrier island
of Cape Canaveral (Carr 1981b), is also
important in establishing the geographic
range of Archaic settlement in East

Florida. Like many other Archaic period
cemeteries in Florida (cf. Doran 1988;
Wharton, et al. 1981; Beriault, et al.
1981; Clausen, et al. 1975, 1979; Jahn and
Bullen 1978), burials at Gauthier are pri-
mary and flexed. Recent analyses of asso-
ciated midden materials at Gauthier (Russo
1985, 1986, 1988a:165) have shown that
small immature fish were the dominant
source of edible meat. The faunal remains
suggest mass capture techniques and a
warm, wet season of coastal exploitation
(Russo 1988a:165).
Other preceramic Archaic sites have
been recorded for East Florida directly on
or near the coast but most of these lack
the secure contexts and adequate investi-
gations necessary to confidently establish
relative chronogical. placement (Russo
1988a:163). These include the Oak Hill
mound (8V0125) (LeBaron 1884:781; Douglass
1885:79; Browner 1906:333; Butler
1917:104; Nelson 1918; Griffin 1948; Gog-
gin 1952:41), sites within the Merritt Is-
land National Wildlife Refuge (Miller and
Griffin 1978:52-54), and several sites in
southeast Florida (Rouse 1951; Carr and
Beriault 1984:2).

Early Archaic Sites

Middle Archaic sites do not repre-
sent the earliest documented coastal occu-
pation in East Florida. Archaeological
evidence from the recently excavated Win-
dover site (8BR246) in Brevard County in-
dicates that Early Archaic cultures were
inhabiting coastal regions some 8,000
years ago (ca. 6000-5680 B.C.) (Doran
1988). The site, one of the earliest and
most well-examined along the east coast,
is an Early Archaic pond cemetery located
approximately five miles west of the Cape
Canaveral coastal environs. Although no
associated shell midden deposits were
found (Nabergall 1987), recovered arti-
facts include a manatee bone atlatl
weight, an incised pelican bone tube, mod-
ified lightening whelks and fragments,
worked quahog, and shell beads (Russo
1988a:162). More importantly, anaylsis of
burial remains (stable isotope analysis of
carbon and nitrogen in bone collagen)
(Tuross 1988) may suggest that Windover


inhabitants were oriented towards s marine
subsistence base (Russo 1988a:162), al-
though this has yet to be substantiated
(Glen Doran, personal communication). The
mere geographic positioning of such an
early site like Windover (within relative
distance to a past coastline) strongly
suggests that prehistoric populations were
frequenting the coastal regions of East
Florida long before what is generally ac-

Summary and Conclusions

Current research by Michael Russo
(1985, 1986, 1988a, 1988b, 1989a) regard-
ing prehistoric subsistence patterns for
the east coast of Florida demonstrates
that the generally accepted model of pre-
historic coastal settlement is largely in-
accurate. This model describes a correla-
tion of oyster availability in the estuary
systems with a relatively late period pop-
ulation shift to the coastal environments.
The idea that oyster and other re-
lated species emerged in abundance and
consequently provided a prehistoric food
staple after the Orange Period (ca. 1000
B.C.), and that coquina was the principle
shell fish resource during the Archaic due
to contemporaneous environmentally-related
unproductive estuaries has been forwarded
by many, most recently Classen (1986)
(also see Griffin and Miller 1978; Thanz
1977; Griffin and Smith 1954; Goggin
1952:20-21, 43, 45, 67; Rouse 1951; Goggin
While this model may have applica-
tion in certain parts of East Florida (see
Rouse 1951), recent evidence suggest that
coastal resource availability patterns
have been, for the most part, misunder-
stood. Recent data indicates that coastal
resources during the Archaic were not as
limited as once thought and a wide range
of littoral and estuarine species were ex-
ploited (Russo 1988a:164). Research has
shown that Archaic period midden sites
contain a predominance of estuarine
species such as oyster and quahog clam
rather coquina (Russo 1988a, 1988b). This
phenomenon is clearly demonstrated at the
previously mentioned Spencer's Midden site
in Duval County (Russo 1989b). Moreover,

recent analyses of midden remains (Hale
1984; Russo 1986, 1988a) indicate that
coastal Archaic peoples were primarily
fisherfolk and shellfish collectors, with
terrestrial animal hunting activities con-
tributing comparatively little to the
overall diet (Russo 1988a:164). Archaic
fishing industries, in particular, seem to
have been greatly underestimated. It has
also shown that the relative abundance of
certain shellfish species in Florida east
coast middens (that is, coquina vs. oys-
ter) has little utility in dating these
sites (Russo 1988b). While coquina was
undoubtedly an important coastal resource
during the Archaic, it also is found in
abundance in late period sites, and, as
previously mentioned, estuarine shellfish
species are commonly found in Archaic pe-
riod sites (Russo 1988a:164, 1988b).
It is apparent then, that early pop-
ulations had available a much more diverse
range of coastal resources than.previously
believed, and that they possessed the
technological means to utilize these re-
Another element of the traditional
settlement/subsistence model that has been
called into question is the extent of sea-
sonal migration during the Archaic. It
has been presumed that habitation of the
east coast of Florida was seasonally based
and occurred during the winter months
(Thanz 1977:16; Milanich and Fairbanks
1980:150). However, recent evidence sug-
gests otherwise. Hale (1984) presents
seasonality data which indicates that many
Orange Period coastal sites were occupied
during the summer months as well as during
the winter, and both Hale (1984) and Russo
(1988a:165, 1989a:21) suggest that at
least some Late Archaic Period residents
were occupying the coast year-round. Cur-
rent seasonality studies seem to support
this hypothesis as they reflect a wide
range of seasonal occupations for the
coast during the Archaic (see Russo
1989:20-21, 1988:164 for a discussion of
this). While seasonal migrations probably
occurred throughout time, it is also possi-
ble that many prehistoric populations,
both early and late, occupied the coast
throughout the year. Identifying the kind
and amounts of variability exhibited in


prehistoric scheduling of subsistence pur-
suits with a greater degree of specificity
than currently is available will be a ma-
jor focus of future research. More impor-
tantly, it is necessary to understand why
as well as when groups were frequenting
the different environments and resource
bases. It is possible that many of these
seasonality studies, given their limited
nature, are accounting for only segments
of an otherwise year-round occupation.
The relative paucity of coastal Ar-
chaic sites in comparison to later St.
Johns period site may reflect differing
settlement patterns and levels of occupa-
tional density. However, it is probable
that many coastal Archaic sites have yet
to be discovered.
Sea level fluctuations may account
in part for the relatively low frequency
of Archaic period sites in this region,
although levels were relatively stable
during the Late Archaic for the southern
east coast (Crusoe and DePratter 1976). A
pattern similar to that the west coast of
Florida where inundated sites are known
(see Ruppe 1980; Cockrell 1980) may have
application to the esat coast. Although
there are no documented intact submerged
perceramic Archaic sites along the east
coast, partially inundated Orange Period
sites are known for this area (eg., the
Cotton site, Griffin and Smith 1954 and
the Tomoka Stone site, Ste. Claire and
Alexon 1989). The partial inundation of
Late Arachic sites suggests that many ear-
lier coastal sites may be submerged or
possibly destroyed. It is also possbile
that many known later period sites contain
eariler components that have not yet been
In light of recent evidence, includ-
ing an increasing frequency of documented
early coastal sites and related subsistence
and seasonality studies, the hypothesis
that inland hunting and gathering were
primary subsistence activities and coastal
resource expolitation was only a minor
seasonal occurrence among Florida Archaic
populations should be reassessed. In this
light, the treatment of the coastal Ar-
chaic sites are peripheral, isolated oc-
curences only hinders an accurate inter-

pretation of early prehistoric settlement
in Florida.


Many thanks to friend and colleague
Bob Austin for his editorial contribu-
tions; to Mike Russo for his informative
discussions and use of his invaluable re-
search; to Roger Alexon for his continuing
assistance in locating and investigating
sites pertinent to east Florida research;
and to all the members of ASET (The Ar-
chaeological Salvage Excavation Team), Di-
vision of Archaeological Research, Musemum
of Arts and Sciences, for their volunteer
help in investigating several of the sites
mentioned in the text of this paper.
ASET members include Dot Moore, George
Wolsfelt, Peg Wolsfelt, Rosey Ankney, Jodi
Russell, Nona Keating, John Williams,
Yvonne McDonald, Murray McDonald, Laurie
Mancuso, Virgil Taylor, Peggy Wilburn,
Bill Ort, Jill Stoetzel, Darlene Sharp,
and Walter Hirsch. Finally, thanks to
Carol Ste. Claire for all her assistance.

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Gregory A. Mikell

Test excavations at the Sheephead
Bayou site (8Byl50) have documented
a single component Fort Walton
period hamlet that was occupied be-
tween A.D. 1250 and A.D. 1450. Sev-
eral classes of remains were recov-
ered that are pertinent to the study
of subsistence, ceramic assemblages
and settlement patterns along the
northwest Florida Gulf Coast during
the Fort Walton period. Evidence for
the utilization of domesticated
plants was recovered from a directly
dated feature. The ceramic assem-
blage and radiocarbon dates suggest
that this site is related to Sneads
phase sites identified along the
Apalachicola River and is one of
many Fort Walton sites located well
to the west of the Tallahassee Red
Hills, Chattahoochee and Apalachi-
cola River Valleys, and adjacent
coastal areas that can not be
identified as a "Pensacola" site.


In the late summer and fall of 1988 New World
Research, Inc., under contract with the National Park
Service, conducted a program of evaluative testing at 16
sites on the Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. Many of
these sites were certainly impressive, but one, the
Sheephead Bayou (8Byl50) site,- stood out among the rest
because of the important data it produced. The Sheephead
Bayou site is one of many Fort Walton period sites around
the St. Andrew Bay system of the northwest Florida Gulf
Coast. What makes it a major contributor to Fort Walton
period research interests is that the site represents the
little-disturbed remains of a hamlet that was occupied for
a fairly brief period of time during the middle of Fort
Walton cultural developments. The data produced by limited
test excavations at Sheephead Bayou, while not revolution-
ary, provide insights into Fort Walton adaptations to the
coastal environment as well as spatial distribution of
specific cultural traits.


8By150 is located in southern Bay County, Florida
adjacent to Sheephead Bayou. Sheephead Bayou is a brackish
and saltwater tributary to St. Andrew Bay located near the
western end of St. Andrew Peninsula (Figure 1). The gen-
eral environment of the peninsula is typical of the
coastal strand with pine and scrub oak dominating slightly
elevated interior areas, pine flatwoods in poorly drained
areas, and mixed mesic hardwood hammocks located adjacent
to fresh water sources and along well to moderately
drained relict marine terraces adjacent to bayous and por-
tions of the bay system. 8Byl50 is located in such a mesic
hardwood hammock on an extensive terrace segment that
rises two to three meters above the waters of Sheephead
Bayou. The terrace is dissected by several small freshwa-
ter streams that feed into the bayou. This bayou is sur-
rounded by large areas of coastal hardwood hammock which
are dominated by mature live oak, hickory, magnolia, cab-
bage palm and cedar.

Previous Fort Walton Period Research

Thanks largely to the works of Brose (1984), Brose
and Percy (1978), Lazarus (1961a), Scarry (1980, 1981a,
1981b, 1984, 1985, 1987) and Tesar (1980a, 1980b, 1981), a
synthesis of Fort Walton culture has been gleaned from the
work of many who labored before them. Scarry (1980, 1981a,
1981b, 1984, 1987) and Brose (1984) have provided
chronologies and models for developments throughout the
Fort Walton period. The models are based on external
sociopolitical influences and internal adaptations which
brought about an evolution of certain cultural character-
istics not evident in the proceeding Weeden Island cul-
ture. Characterized as components of a generalized Missis-
sippian culture, Fort Walton and the Pensacola variant
(Fuller and Stowe 1982), share numerous traits with other
Southeastern Mississippian groups. Regional variations in
ceramic vessel manufacture technology, ceramic decorative
design elements, and settlement-subsistence patterns can
be used to distinguish between these Mississippian social
groups (Brose 1984; Knight 1980; Lazarus and Hawkins 1976;
Tesar 1980a). Willey (1949) defined Fort Walton as a cul-
tural period to which the Pensacola ceramic series was ap-
pended, but more recent studies indicate that they may be

September, 1990


Vol. 43 No. 3

J- Panama City *-**



^ ^a :.":: ',( I ;i"




Figure 1. Map of Tyndall AFB and Vicinity showing
8Byl50 and Major Landmarks.

considered distinctive Mississippian cultural expressions
or as variants of a general Southeastern Mississippian
culture (Fuller and Stows 1982; Stows 1985; Tesar 1980a).
Fort Walton and Pensacola have been traditionally
distinguished from each other primarily on the basis of ce-
ramic assemblages and geographical distribution of sites
along the Gulf Coast and coastal plain. There are, how-
ever, a great deal of similarities in ceramic decorative
motifs and overlap in geographical distribution which make
it difficult, at best, to place a distinct division be-
tween the two geographic regions (Brose 1984; Milanich and
Fairbanks 1980; Tesar 1980a). Fort Walton is generally
characterized by distinctively incised and punctated as
well as plain grit and/or sand tempered pottery found in
both coastal and inland riverine sites (Willey 1949:452-
488). Fort Walton sites are found from the Choctawhatchee
Bay east to the Aucilla River drainage along the Gulf
Coast and inland through the Red Hills of northwest
Florida and along the Chattahoochee-Apalachicola River
Valley into the Georgia-Alabama coastal plain. The Pen-
sacola variant (Fuller 1985; Stows 1985) is distinguished
from Fort Walton by its shell tempered decorated and plain
ceramics (Willey 1949) that dominate assemblages with mi-
nor sand and/or grit tempered components (Fuller and Stowe
1982; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:193). Pensacola sites
are found along the Gulf Caast from the Choctawhatchee Bay
west to beyond Mobile Bay and inland into Alabama, but
Pensacola ceramics have been recovered from sites at least
as far east as the Apalachicola drainage. West of the
Apalachicola River area, the relative percentage af shell
tempered ceramics tends to increase in Fort Walton sites
to a point where shell tempered wares dominate obvious
Pensacola assemblages from sites in the Pensacola and
Mobile Bay areas (Bense 1989; Doran and Piatek 1985;
Fuller and Stows 1982; Lazarus 1971; Mikell et al. 1989;
NWR 1981; Phillips 1989).
The Fort Walton Mound (80k6) has long been regarded
as the Fort Walton type site with much of the northwest
Florida Gulf Coast and adjacent inland areas considered as
the culture area (Moore 1901; Willey 1949; and Fairbanks
1960, 1965). However, as major works were conducted on
Fort Walton sites along and in the vicinity of the Lower
Chattahoochee and Apalachicola Valleys, a new definition
of Fort Walton culture emerged (Scarry 1981a). Although
Fort Walton is regarded as a manifestation of Mississip-
pian culture that utilized both river valley agriculture
and coastal subsistence resources, some researchers have
heen willing to place an emphasis on the inland riverine
manifestations of the culture and to restrict the culture
area to Lower Chattahoochee and Apalachicola alluvial val-
leys, the Tallahassee Red Hills area, and immediately ad-
jacent coastal areas. Implicitly in some cases (Brose
1984) and quite explicitly in others (Scarry 1981a, 1984,
1985, 1987), recent literature has perhaps over-emphasized

the substantial amount of data retrieved from sites in the
eastern portion of the culture area in attempts to forward
a general conceptualization of Fort Walton. There has been
a recent tendency for Fort Walton cultural manifestations
known from areas west of the proposed "heartland" to be
termed "Pensacola" or "Pensacola Fort Walton" in spite of
the presence of numerous sites that have produced very
strong Fort Walton ceramic assemblages with minor Pen-
sacola constituents (Lazarus 1961a, 1961b, 1964; Lazarus
and Hawkins 1976; Mikell, Campbell and Thomas 1989; NWR
1983; Tesar 1980a, 1980b; Willey 1949). It is also clear
that various nagging questions about the spatial and tem-
poral spheres of Pensacola variant influence still persist
which indicate that the relationship between Fort Walton
and Pensacola is not well defined (Brosq 1984:182-185).
The Sheephead Bayou site is just one of many late
prehistoric sites located west of the Apalachicola Valley
region that has produced a ceramic assemblage dominated by
Fort Walton types. Interestingly, the Sheephead Bayou site
has produced several classes of data that may associate it
with sites located along the Apalachicola River valley.
Sheephead Bayou not only yielded a ceramic assemblage and
radiocarbon dates that would be considered indicative of a
Sneads phase site if it was located in or near the
Apalachicola Valley, it also yielded domesticated plant
food remains.

The Sheephead Bayou Site (8Byl50)

8By150 is a moderately large, single component Fort
Walton hamlet site covering approximately 11,000 square
meters. The site is composed of 11 distinct oyster shell
midden heaps laid out in a roughly open-ended circular
pattern (Figure 2). The shell middens contain dense ce-
ramic deposits; small numbers of lithic tools, debitage
and debris; daub; bone and shell tools; carbonized plant
remains; vertebrate faunal remains; and, obviously, shell-
fish remains. The area inside the circle of shell middens
also produced ceramics and lithics, but in much smaller
quantities. The central area may represent a commons or
plaza that was kept relatively clean of refuse and debris.
A similar pattern of scattered cultural material deposi-
tion was documented for areas outside the middens. One
basin-shaped, charcoal-filled pit feature was also encoun-
tered and excavated. Although no other features such as
post molds or house floor patterns were located, it should
be noted that test excavations were limited to four, 1m
square units and several 50cm square shovel tests (see
Figure 2).
Apparently 8Byl50 was a domestic habitation site
where a few structures were located and a small group of
people carried out their daily routines. The former exis-
tence of structures is implied by the presence of daub,
and the shell midden heaps may well be "out the back door"

.I. -

...." om

.. . ";... .---- *: '..."; \.

'. :?!':." .'"!': *.' <: 1 "1\

50cm2 Shovel Test with recovery Ba
50cm2 Shovel Test, no recovery
1m2 Test Pit with recovery
o Looters Hole
48 Discrete Shell Midden
-- Dirt Road i

West Wall Profile

Stratum I: 10YR5/1 gray sand and oyster shell midden
Stratum I: 10YR6/2 light bronze gray sand transition zone with leaching
Stratum IM: 10YR6/6 yellowish brown subsoil
Feature 1: 10YR2/1 black to 10YR2/2 very dark brown feature fill

Figure 3.

Profile view of Feature 1 at
the Sheephead Bayou site (8Byl50)

Figure 2. Contour map of the Sheephead Bayou site (8Byl50)


0 20
E i cm

l Charcoal Concentration





Table 1. Vertebrate Faunal Remains Recovered from 8By150.


Shovel Tests
Count Percent

Test Pit 1 Test Pit 3 Test Pil 4 Total
Count Percent Pnt Count Percent Count Prcnt Count Percent

Unidentified large mammal

docnilcus virginiantl

Unidentified small mammal

Unidentified waves

Mcle s g. (turkey)

Unidentified lulle

PscudesnDsnp. (cooler)

Unidentified osteichthyes

Lepisoscidac (gar)

Bothidae (flounlcr)

Mugililae (unnllcl)

Alrct osarus p. sheepsheadd)

Sciaenidae (drum)

Carangidae (jack fish)

Ariidae (saltwater catlislh)

Unidentified chondrichtlhyes



1 50 16


14 .4

2 <.1

2 17 1 50 2 .2

897 78.5 2487


16 1.5 46

32 2.8 67

11 .9 108

26 2.3 216

2 .2 15

106 93 89

3 25

2.8 316


*Shell Midden Conlext

Table 2. Summary of Carbonized Plant Remains
Recovered from 8By150

Provenience Test Pit Test Pit
3 4

Total Sample Weight (grams) 29.3 41.5












31 .7

5 .1

1 <.1

I <.l
1 <.1

1 <.1

8 .1

2 <.1

3384 74,5

12 .26

62 1.3

99 2.2

119 2.6

245 5.4

17 .4

196 4.3

2 <.1

353 7.7

Test Pit 4
Fea. 1


Sample Composition
(Weight in grams / % of sample)

Sample Composition
Pinus sp.(pine)
Quercus sp.(oak)
Acer sp.(maple)
Carya sp.(hickory)
Quercus sp.(acorn)
Zea mays(corn)
Phaseolus vulgaris(beans)
Vitis sp.(grape vine)
Diospyros virginianus
Phytolacca americana


9.4/32.1 22.5/54
.2/0.7 ---/--
---/--- .2/0.
19.7/67.2 18.8/45

43 27
17 7
8 6

3 -

---- I-

72 471

72 47







Table 3. Ceramics Recovered from 8Byl50, by Provenience.

Surface Shovel TPI
Test 1 2 3 4

1 2 3 IA 1B 2 Floa. 1 2 3

Chauahoochee Brushed
Leon C(ec-Stumrpcd
Jeffenon Ware
LIke JIckLon PIln
Lake Jackson Incited
For Waho Incised
Point Wushmeton Incised
Columbia Inlied
Marsh Islmnd Incised
Pensacola Plun
Pensacola Incised
Sand Temper
Gri Tmper*
Clay/rog Temper

*Majority equivaln o Lake Jackson Plain.

1/5 /3
1/2 5/1 /I I 4 1
6/1 6/2
/3 11

22 1 1
33 51/1 4 17 17 3

3 4/1 1/1

45/12 109/8 8/1 23/1 23/1 5
10 14 1 1 2 2

/1 13
/1 I/

3 13 2/1

II /I 2/1
11 /1 I1
1/2 2/1 5/1 8/5
/1 9/1 2
a 1/1
1 8 3
1 1

1 1
22 6 19 21/2 12/1 2

1/1 1 1 1 1
I 1
3/2 165 3/1 1 25/4 17/2 27/3 39/10 24/4 3
2 2 6 3 7 4 1 1

Table 4. Radiocarbon Dates from 8By150.

Provenience Age Corrected Date Lab No.
Test Pit 3,
Level 4 (39cmbs) 570+50 A.D. 1380 Beta 12895
Comment: Charcoal recovered from base of oyster shell midden.

Test Pit 4,
Feature 1 (44cmbs) 670+50 A.D. 1280 Beta 12896
Comment: Charcoal recovered from Feature 1, below oyster shell midden.

Table 5. Summary of the 8By150 Ceramic Assemblage*

Chattahoochee Brushed

Leon Check Stamped

Jefferson Ware

Lake Jackson Plain

Lake Jackson Incised

Fort Walton Incised

Point Washigton Incised

Columbia Incised

Marsh Island Incised

Pensacola Plain

Pensacola Incised

Unidentified Plain

Unidentified Decorated










































100 100

*Includes all documented ceramics recovered from the site.
"Majority are Lake Jackson Plain body sherds.


2/1 31/16
1 25/5
2 17

17 242/5

1 3
1 11
23/1 394/55
2 58


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
I. % 1 CM

Selected incised and plain ceramics recovered from 8Byl50.
a-b, Fort Walton Incised (6-pointed bowl); c, Marsh Island Incised;
d-f, Columbia Incised; g-n, Fort Walton Incised; o, Lake Jackson
Plain; p, Pensacola Plain; q, Lake Jackson Incised; r, Jefferson

Figure 4.

S ~4-~-

+r r



1 2 3 4 5 6 789 10
I C ,,J

Figure 5. Selected Incised Fort Walton ceramics recovered from 8Byl50.
a, Fort Walton Incised; b, Point Washington Incised.


refuse disposal areas. Siubsistence was directed primarily
toward estuarine resources such as oyster and shallow salt
and brackish water species of fish, but terrestrial mam-
mals, birds and freshwater turtles were also exploited
(Table 1). Over 97% of the shellfish remains recovered
were oyster, but various clam, conch and whelk species re-
mains were also present. Of particular interest in terms
af subsistence remains is the recovery of domesticated
plant food remains.

Plant Food Remains

Carbonized corn cob and cupule fragments (Zea mays)
and bean cotyledons (Fhaseolus vulgaris) were recovered in
a 47 liter flotation sample taken from a basin-shaped fea-
ture located immediately beneath the shell midden deposit
excavated in Test Pit 4. The charcoal-filled feature was
15 to 25 cm deep in profile (Figure 3), measured 30 x 32
cm in plan view at its mid section, and was located 11 cm
below an 18 cm thick shell midden deposit. Flotation sam-
ples (Table 2) taken from general midden deposits also
produced wild plant seeds such as persimmon (Diospyros
spp.) and pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), grape vine
fragments (Vitis spp.) and hickory nutshell (Carya spp.),
as well as Lake Jackson Plain and Point Washington Incised
sherds. A wood charcoal sample recovered from the feature
yielded a corrected radiocarbon date of A.D. 1230 to 1330
(670+50, Beta 12896). The feature appears to have been a
hearth of some kind, but apparently also served as a
refuse pit.
Although it has long been suspected that coastal
Fort Walton groups utilized domesticated plants to at
least a limited extent (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:195),
the vast majority of domestic plant remains have been re-
covered from inland riverine village sites (Brose 1984;
Bullen 1958; Neuman 1961). Sheephead Bayou is among the
first Fort Walton sites located along the coastal strand
of the Florida Gulf Coast to yield direct evidence of do-
mestic plant utilization. Whether or not the corn and
beans were grown at the site could not be determined, but
such a scenario is certainly plausible. In fact, the pres-
ence of pokeweed and persimmon, which are both disturbed
habitat and forest edge species, may be taken as evidence
of cleared areas near the site where horticulture could
have been practiced.


Over 500 ceramic vessel fragments have been recov-
ered from Sheephead Bayou to date, including 449 recovered
during site testing (Table 3). The ceramic assemblage con-
sists of the remains of a minimum of 64 various Fort Wal-
ton and Pensacola vessels. The assemblage is dominated by
several incised varieties, including numerous striking ex-

amples (Figure 4 and 5), as well as grit and shell tem-
pered plain wares. The Fort Walton, Point Washington,
Columbia, and Marsh Island Incised vessel fragments are
varieties of classic Fort Walton types as are the Lake
Jackson Plain and Incised wares (Willey 1949:460-466). In-
cised vessel forms identified include shallow bowls or
plates, shallow bowls with lateral expansions or six
pointed shallow bowls, casual bowls, collared bowls, car-
inated bowls and short collared jars. The various types of
incised vessel fragments generally exhibit excellent qual-
ity and technical execution. Plain wares are dominated by
Lake Jackson Plain sherds and the majority of unidentified
grit tempered vessel body sherds are equivalent to Lake
Jackson Plain. A small number of shell tempered Pensacola
Plain ceramics are also among the non-decorated wares, and
only four Pensacola Incised sherds were recovered.
The presence of a very few late Fort Walton/Leon-
Jefferson ceramics (Chattahoochee Brushed, Leon Check
Stamped, and Jefferson Ware) likely represent a later oc-
cupation of the site or could represent a continuum of
site occupation in to the terminal Fort Walton period. The
corrected radiocarbon dates, A.D. 1230 to 1330 and A.D.
1330 to 1430 (Table 4), and the overall ceramic assemblage
do, however, indicate that the main occupation occurred
during the height of Fort Walton period cultural develop-
ments. A middle Fort Walton period time frame is also in-
dicated by the complete absence of Wakulla Check Stamped
ceramics. Apparently plain wares had replaced check
stamped types as the main utilitarian vessels by the time
Sheephead Bayou was occupied. Only plain shards from this
site were burned on the exterior or heavily sooted,
thereby indicating their function as utilitarian wares.
Table 5 summarizes the 8Byl50 ceramic assemblage
recovered to date. The assemblage is virtually identical
to Sneads phase assemblages known from sites in the
Apalachicola Valley such as Coe's Landing (8Jal37) and
8Ja8 (cf. Scarry 1980:41, Table 7). The radiocarbon dates
from 8Byl50 are coeval with late Sneads and early Lake
Jackson phase dates, and the ceramic assemblage lacks the
complicated stamped types and incised and punctated design
motifs characteristic of later Yon phase assemblages
(Scarry i980:41). The only variation from Sneads phase as-
semblages that the Sheephead Bayou site exhibits is that
Cool Branch Incised, Pinellas Incised, and Cob Marked
types are not present, and that the percentage of Pen-
sacola ceramics may be slightly higher. These minor dif-
ferences appear, however, to be regional variations or
even incidental.


The Sheephead Bayou site is noteworthy, therefore,
for providing us with a small slice of life as it occurred
during the height of Fort Walton period developments. The


people who inhabited this settlement fished and collected
the shallow waters af the St. Andrew Bay system and its
tributaries, hunted and collected terrestrial animals and
plants, and likely practiced limited horticulture near
their hamlet. The inhabitants of 8Byl50 manufactured or
otherwise obtained classic Fort Walton period ceramic ves-
sels and left behind evidence of subsistence practices and
dwellings constructed around a possible commons or plaza
area. Where these people locally buried their dead and
practiced formalized religious or socio-political func-
tions is not known, but there is little evidence for ei-
ther activity at this site.
Archaeologically, the Sheephead Bayou site is sig-
nificant because it provides dateable, intact, single com-
ponent deposits. This site has provided direct evidence of
the utilization and likely cultivation of domesticated
plants often associated only with riverine environment
Fort Walton sites. The subsistence and ceramic vessel re-
mains are similar to those associated with Apalachicola
River Valley Fort Walton sites and they provide a link to
the populations that inhabited the river valley and it pe-
Although Tesar (1980a:153) has proposed the "St.
Andrew Fort Walton," it is poorly defined and the classi-
ficaton of 8Byl50 as a St. Andrew variant site must be
considered tentative. The Sheephead Bayou site can not,
however, be considered a "Pensacola site" despite the fact
that several decorative design motifs (see Figures 4 and
5) are typical of ceramics from the Choctawhatchee and
Pensacola Bay area. Indeed, Sheephead Bayou serves to note
the presence of what are, by definition of cermaic assem-
blage characteristics, a multitude of poorly documented
Fort Walton variant sites located along the coastal strand
between Apalachicola Bay and Choctawhatchee Bay.

References Cited

Bense, Judith A.
1989 Pensacola Archaeological Surveyu and Summary of
Archaeology in the Pensacola Area of West Florida to
1988. The Pensacola Archaeological Society Publica-
tion No. 2.

Brose, David S.
1980 Coe's Landing (8Ja137), Jackson County, Florida: A
Fort Walton Campsite on the Apalachicola River.
Florida Department of State, Bureau of Historic
Sites and Properties Bulletin 6:1-31.

1984 Mississippian Period Cultures in Northwestern
Florida. In Perspectives on Gulf Coast Prehistory,
Ripley P. Bullen Monographs in Anthropology and
History No. 5, Dave D. Davis, editor. University
of Florida Press, Gainesville.

Brose, David S. and George W. Percy
1978 Fort Walton Settlement Patterns. In Mississippian
Settlement Patterns, Bruce Smith, editor. Academic
Press, New York.

Bullen, Ripley P.
1958 Six Sites near the Chattahoochee River in the Jim
Woodruff Reservoir Area, Florida. River Basin Sur-
veys Paper No. 14, Bureau of American Ethnology
Bulletin 169. Smithsonian Institution, Washington,
D. C.

Fairbanks, Charles B.
1960 Excavations at the Fort Walton Temple Mound. Report
to the City of Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

1965 Excavations at the Fort Walton Temple Mound, 1960.
The Florida Anthropologist 18(4):239-264.

Fuller, Richard S.
1985 The Bear Point Phase of the Pensacola Variant: The
Proto-historic Period in Southwest Alabama. The
Florida Anthropologist 38(1-2, Pt. 2):150-155.

Fuller, Richard S. and Noel R. Stowe
1982 A Proposed Typology for Late Shell Tempered Ceramics
in the Mobile Bay/Mobile Tensaw Delta Region. In
Archaeology in Southwestern Alabama. A Collection
of Papers. C. Curren, editor. Alabama Tombigbee
Regional Commission, Camden.

Knight, Vernon J., Jr.
1980 Interregional Relationships and the Study of Fort
Walton Mississippian Ceramic Style. Paper presented
at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern
Archaeological Conference, New Orleans.

Lazarus, William C.
1961a The Fort Walton Culture West of the Apalachicola
River. Southeastern Archaeological Newsletter 10(2).

1961b Ten Middens on the Naval Live Oaks Reservation. The
Florida Anthropologist 14(3):49-64.

1964 The Postl's Lake II Site, Eglin AFB, Florida (80K71)
The Florida Anthropologist 17(1):1-16.

Lazarus, Yulee, W. and Carolyn B. Hawkins
1976 Pottery of the Fort Walton Period. Temple Mound
Museum, Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Milanich, Jerald T. and Charles H. Fairbanks
1980 Florida Archaeology. Academic Press, New York.

Mikell, Gregory A., Janice L. Campbell and Prentice M.
Thomas, Jr.
1989 Site Recording and Evaluative Testing at Tyndall
AFB, Bay County, Florida. New World Research, Inc.
Report of Investigations 183.

Moore, Clarence B.
1901 Certain Aboriginal Remains of the Northwest Florida
Coast, Part 1. Journal of the Academy of Natural
Sciences 11:42-97.

Neuman, Robert W.
1961 Domesticated Corn from a Fort Walton Mound Site in
Houston County, Alabama. The Florida Anthropologist

New World Research, Inc.
1983 Cultural Resources Investigations at Eglin AFB,
Florida: An Interim Report on Phase I Investigations
New World Research, Report of Investigations 82-5.

Phillips, John C.
1989 Archaeological Testing of the Hickory Ridge Site
(8ES1280), A Mississippian Cemetery in Escambia
County, Florida. Institute of West Florida
Archaeology, Report of Investigations No. 26. The
University of West Florida, Pensacola.

Scarry, John F.
1980 The Chronology of Fort Walton Development in the
Upper Appalachicola Valley, Florida. Southeastern
Archaeological Conference Bulletin 22:38-45.

1981a Fort Walton Culture: A Redefinition. Southeastern
Archaeological Conference Bulletin 24:18-20.

1981b Subsistence Costs and Information: A Model of Fort
Walton Development. Southeastern Archaeological
Conference Bulletin 24:31-34.

1984 The Development of Mississippian Chiefdoms in North-
west Florida: Fort Walton in the Upper Apalachicola
River Valley. Ph.D. Dissertation, Case Western
Reserve University.

1985 A Proposed Revision of the Fort Walton Ceramic
Typology: A Type-Variety System. The Florida
Anthropologist 38(3):199-246.

1987 Mississippian Emergence in the Fort Walton Area:
Evolution of the Cayson and Lake Jackson Phases. In
Mississipppian Emergence: The Evolution of Agricul-
tural Chiefdoms in the Southeastern United Stataes,

edited by Bruce D. Smith. Smithsonian Institution
Press, Washington D.C. IN PRESS.

Stowe, Noel R.
1985 The Pensacola Variant and the Bottle Creek Phase.
The Florida Anthropologist 38(1-2, Pt. 2):144-149.

Tesar, Louis D.
1980a The Leon County Bicentennial Survey Project: An
Archaeological Survey of Selected Portions of Leon
County, Florida. Florida Department of State,
Division of Archives, History and Records Management
Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties, Miscellane-
ous Project Report Series No. 49, Tallahassee.

1980b Fort Walton and thed de Soto Entrada: Culture Change
in the Tallahassee Red Hills Area of Florida. Paper
presented at the 37th Southeastern Archaeological
Conference, New Orleans.

1981 Fort Walton and Leon-Jefferson, Cultural Development
in the Tallahassee Red Hills Area of Florida: A
Brief Summary. Southeastern Archaeological Confer-
ence Bulletin 24:27-29.

Willey, Gordon R.
1949 Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast. Smithsonian
Miscellaneous Collections 113, Washington D.C.

Gregory A. Mikell
1260 Wrightwood Court
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772



William Gray Johnson


Maize evidence, in the form of
pollen grains, was found in several undis-
puted prehistoric contexts at the Fort
Center site in the Lake Okeechobee Basin
of South Florida. Numerous earthworks,
including circular ditches and linear em-
bankments, are associated with this site
and are thought to have served as planting
surfaces for maize cultivation. Recent
analyses of soils from one of them
strongly suggest that the earthwork did
not support intensive maize cultivation.
However, the pollen indicates some use of
this cultigen. Was it the mainstay of the
diet as some researchers believe, or could
it have served in other contexts such as
trade or ceremony? This overview summa-
rizes what is known about maize in South
Florida aboriginal societies and provides
some thoughts on future research.


Maize was obviously an important
cultigen in the development of New World
cultures. Richard MacNeish (1970) studied
the evolution of this cultigen in the
Tehuacan Valley of Mexico and concluded
that settlement changes coincided with in-
creased reliance on maize. According to
MacNeish (1972:500), the use of more pro-
ductive hybrids of maize coupled with in-
creased interactions between developing
areas caused changes in settlements rather
than the reverse. Similarly, William
Sears (1982) believes maize was an impor-
tant basis for cultural changes within the
Lake Okeechobee Basin of South Florida.
The evidence for maize in South Florida,
however, has led to much debate over its
use, origins, and chronology.

Prehistoric Maize in South Florida

Evidence for prehistoric maize use

in South Florida is limited to maize
pollen documented at the Fort Center site
by Sears and Sears (1976; See also E.
Sears 1982). They found numerous pollen
grains in a variety of contexts at the
site including at least one undisputable
prehistoric context dating between A.D.
100 and 500 (pigment associated with a
wooden carving cf. Milanich 1987:177).
In addition, large earthworks, including
circular ditches, linear embankments, and
mounds were documented.
W. Sears (1982) believes the circu-
lar and linear earthworks served as plant-
ing surfaces for maize cultivation. The
origins of the maize and the earthworks
are believed to be the result of a migra-
tion of peoples from South America. W.
Sears (1977:6-7, 1982:191) -hypothesized
four routes but feels the most likely one
was from Venezuela through the Antilles
(Figure 1). He notes similar ceramic man-
ufacturing techniques and stylistic ele-
ments on pottery between South Florida and
Venezuela, as well as similarity between
terraforming techniques (presumably re-
lated to agriculture). His documentation
at the Fort Center site indicates the peo-
ple developed a complex ceremonial center
within a century or two of the beginning
of the Christian era (Sears 1977:7). By
A.D. 1000, the ceremonial center was aban-
doned and individual houses were placed on
single small house mounds, each with an
adjacent linear earthwork up to 1200 feet
long and 100 feet wide. This innovation,
Sears believes, was due to continued con-
tact with the South American population
(Sears 1977:7-9, 1982:200). Thus, for
Sears, the migration of a South American
population with knowledge of maize culti-
vation in wet savannah environments ex-
plains cultural development in South
Florida's interior. This interpretation
provides a comprehensive explanation for
the origin of the maize and the earthworks
but has left a myriad of questions in its

September, 1990


Vol. 43 No. 3


The Antillean Route:
A Not-so-likely Course.

Perhaps the most difficult problem
with Sears' chronology and origins of
maize of South Florida is its early ar-
rival, as much as 1000 years prior to its
presence in the Eastern Woodlands.
William Keegan (1987) addresses this issue
and concludes that present evidence indi-
cates the introduction of maize into South
Florida via the Antilles could not have
occurred until maize was already well es-
tablished in the Eastern Woodlands (circa
A.D. 1000).
According to Keegan (1987: 331), hu-
man groups arrived in the Greater Antilles
by 4000 B.C. These peoples were ceramic,
non-argicultural hunter-gathers who ex-
ploited terrestrial and marine resources.
Their way of life changed with the arrival
of the agricultural Arawakan-speaking pop-
ulation, except in western Cuba where it
survived until Spanish contact (Keegan
1987:331 cites Rouse and Allaire 1978 and
Rouse 1986). The' Arawakan-speakers, also
known as the Taino, began their expansion
into the Antilles from eastern Venezuela
around 200 300 B.C. (Haviser 1989).
Their arrival into the northernmost parts
of the Antilles, i.e. the Bahamas and
Cuba, was not until A.D. 600 700. As
with other parts of the Antilles, the ini-
tial colonization period diet included
cultivated roots and tubers with terres-
trial animals and a relatively minor con-
tribution from marine resources. Shortly
after colonization, a rapid shift to in-
creased reliance on marine resources oc-
curred but root crops remained the dietary
staple and maize did not appear until late
in prehistory (Keegan 1987:333).
Thus, Keegan (1987:336) concludes
that the available evidence indicates that
the Antilles was not the source of this
cultigen in South Florida. However, he
points out that this route concerns only
one of four possible routes hypothesized
by Sears (1977) for the arrival of maize
in South Florida and that little is known
of the prehistory of western Cuba and it
may yet be implicated in "a more direct
trans-Caribbean jump for Central or South
America to south Florida" (1987:339).

The Soils at Fort Center:
Not Productive for Maize

Regardless of Keegan's (1987: 339)
admission that alternative routes of entry
remain unexplored and this might have al-
lowed some more direct entrance of maize
in to South Florida, a problem closer to
the location of the pollen has recently
been addressed by Johnson and Collins
(1989). Their study of the soils from one
of the circular earthworks at Fort Center
strongly suggests that the earthwork was
not intended for maize cultivation. Their
reasons are twofold. First, Sears
(1982:189) readily admits that the circu-
lar ditches would have been cleaned out
occasionally in order for the earthwork to
function as a drained field. However,
particle size distribution and organic
carbon content indicate that the ditch was
dug once and that no periodic cleaning us
performed. Second, the naturally occur-
ring soils are too acidic (none higher
that 4.9) and their aluminum content too
high (over 100 mg/kg inside the earthwork)
to allow annual harvests of maize. Fer-
tilization coupled with liming could pre-
pare the soils for annual maize harvest
but Sears' (1982:176) repeated attempts by
surface inspection and excavations to find
any evidence that could be identified with
the function of the earthwork revealed no
indication that such preparation was done.
Thus, Sears' (1982: 197) strong belief
that "the economic system supporting the
center... acquired stability through de-
pendable maize crops" appears to be in-

South Florida's Ethnohistoric
Evidence: Conflicting Accounts

Perhaps the strongest evidence chal-
lenging Sears' (1982) belief that maize
served as the dietary mainstay comes from
an eyewitness account of life in sixteenth
century South Florida. Do. d'Escalante
Fontaneda, shipwreck survivor, lived among
South Florida's natives for 17 years. His
memoir, focusing on the Calusa of south-
west Florida, provides some details on
subsistence activities within the Lake
Okeechobee Basin. He refers to a bread


made from roots as the common food most of
the time except when the lake rises in
some seasons so high that the roots cannot
be reached and they are "for some time
without eating this bread" (Fontaneda
1945:13). He does not mentioned maize at
all. Sears (1982:201) acknowledges this
problem but questions whether Fontaneda
would have recognized maize if he had seen
Of course, there were probably many
things Fontaneda did not recognized and
could not describe but one must wonder why
it is that both the Narvaez and de Soto
entradas described maize in Florida years
before Fontenda lived among the Calusa.
Gerald Milanich (1987) believes this is
because both of these Spanish explorations
landed in present-day Tampa Bay, well
north of the South Florida aboriginal
groups that Fonteneda described. On other
hands, Henry Dobyns (1983) believes that
Narvaez and de Soto landed in Charlotte
Harbor and described maize use among the
Calusa. In either case, Fonteneda surely
would have known about maize by the time
he had written his memoir. If maize had
been as important in the Calusa diet as
Dobyns (1983) contends, how could
Fonteneda have omitted it?


Such an argument may go on indefi-
nitely except for the fact that of all the
archaeological research conducted in South
Florida only the Fort Center site has pro-
duced any evidence for maize (save that
which has been found in Seminole Period
contexts). On the southwest coast, the
few systematic attempts to recover plant
remains have produced no evidence of
cultigens (Marquardt et al. 1985). Simi-
larly, Margaret Scarry (1982) found none
on the Southeast coast. Indeed, John
Griffin (1988:298) remarks that there is
no evidence for maize cultivation in the
Caloosahatchee or Everglades archaeologi-
cal areas. Based on th maize pollen at
Fort Center, Milanich (1987:177) feels
certain that it was being cultivated there
sometime during the period ca. A.D. 100-
500. But, whether it was present before
or after that he feels is speculative.

Furthermore, Milanich and Ruhl (1986:2)
point out that the importance of maize
within the Belle Glade people's diet is
uncertain. They conjecture that it might
have been grown and used for special pur-
poses rather that as a dietary staple.
Collins and Johnson (in prep.) con-
cur with Milanich (1987) that the maize
pollen found at Fort Center indicates
maize was grown at the site but believe
that the circular earthworks were not dug
to create planting surface for a stable,
dependable maize crop. Following Milanich
and Ruhl (1986:2), they believe the maize
grown at Fort Center must have served some
other purposes) other than a dietary sta-
In addition, Carr (1985:229) notes
that all of the circular earthworks are
located near elevated hammocks or other
upland environments that could have natu-
rally offered the same drainage character-
istics that Sears (1982) believes the
ditches offered. Indeed, the only advan-
tage that the ditches offered was the ac-
cumulation of organic sediments which
could serve as a source of nutrients for
Sears' hypothesized planting surfaces
(Carr 1985:229) and that advantage appar-
ently was not realized (Johnson and
Collins 1989; Collins and Johnson in
On the other hand, Donald Lathrap's
(1987) study of the introduction of maize
into prehistoric eastern North American
questions current wisdom and warns us "not
to be overly skeptical of the presence of
maize in situations where its preservation
is a matter of chance, such as in 'Green
Corn' utilization." Such skepticism may
well be pertinent since some ethnohis-
toric evidence for "Green Corn" use ex-
ists. For instance, Ovideo (1959:2) is
apparently speaking of green corn use
among the Taino of the Greater Antilles
when he says "when the ears are tender
they are eaten almost like milk."
Furthermore, Lathrap (1987) outlines
a plausible early introduction of maize
which conforms to Sears' (1982) hypothesis
of its introduction into Florida and takes
exception to Keegan's (1987) view that
maize could not have passed through the
Antilles prior to the arrivals of the


Tanio. Lathrap (1987:347) notes that nav-
igation in the Circum-Carribbean is well
documented as early as 3100 B.C. and that
the early maize in the Southeast discussed
by Sears (1982) had a totally different
origin from the maize that was utilized by
Mississippian societies. Furthermore, he
believes that a two-pronged entry of maize
agriculture into the eastern United States
may well explain the herterosis and suc-
cess of Midwest Hybird Maize (1987:347).
However, mainstream opinion on this
topic has been at odds with Lathrap. Wal-
ton Galinat (1985) has provided a recent
summary of the domestication and diffusion
of maize into North America (north of Mex-
ico) and while he readily admits that iso-
lation of races of maize and subsequent
heterosis from reconvergence of divergent
populations accounts for the Corn Belt
Dent variety (what Lathrap is calling the
Midwest Hybird Maize), thd origins of the
heterosis are to be found in the introduc-
tion by the Spanish explorers of white
dent corn from Mexico blending with the
Northeastern Flint variety (originating as
Maize de Ocho in the Southwest around A.D.
Still, Lathrap's (1987) overview may
well be taken to heart by all researchers.
The importance of his study can only be
tempered by Robert Feldman's (1980:4) cau-
tion that "once a trait has been found in
the archaeological record, any number of
additional features are often assumed to
have been present from that date forward.
For example, the presence of maize at a
site -- however small the amount recovered
-- is often assumed to indicate that the
subsistence of the site was based on effi-
cient maize farming."


The problem with the current picture
is the lack of corroborative evidence for
which arguments are being based. If Lath-
rap (1987) is correct in his assertion
that a preservation bias exists because of
"Green Corn" utilization, then we must
look for corroborative evidence in the
pollen record. If possible, phytolith
analysis should be undertaken as well.
However, it is my understanding that

pollen can be highly mobile in the sandy
soils of the area and presumably this is
true of phytoliths as well. If true,
Sears, conclusions about the prehistoric
nature of the pollen found in the soil
samples at the Fort Center site could be
erroneous. Also, haphazard sampling of
other sites would only add to the confu-
sion that already exists. Thus, securely
dated contexts without the possibility of
contamination are necessary for tracing
the introduction of this important culti-
gen into the Lake Okeechobee Basin and be-

References Cited

Carr, Robert S.
1985 Prehistoric Circular Earthworks in
South Florida. The Florida Anthro-
pologist 38(4):288-301.

Collins, Mary E. and William G. Johnson
In prep. Soil Investigations of a Pre-
historic Circular Ditch in South
Florida. Submitted for review by the
Soil Science Society of America

Dobyns, Henry F.
1983 Their Number Become Thinned. Univer-
sity of Tennessee Press Knoxville.

Feldman, Robert A.
1980 Aspero, Peru: Architecture, Subsis-
tence Economy, and Other Artifacts
of a Preceramic Maritime Chiefdom.
Ph.D. dissertation, Department of
Anthropology, Harvard University,

Fontaneda, Do. d'Escalante
1945 Memoir of Do. d'Escalante Fontaneda,
Respecting Florida Written in Spain
about the Year 1575. Translated by
Buckingham Smith and edited by David
O. True. Glade House, Coral Gables.

Galinat, Walton C.
1985 Domestication and Diffusion of Maize
In Prehistoric Food Production in
North America, ed. by Richard I.
Ford, pp. 245-278. Anthropological
Papers Museum of Anthropology,


Univeristy of Michigan, No. 75.

Griffin, John W.
1988 The Archeology of the Everglades
National Park: A Synthesis. National
Park Service Southeast Archeological
Center, Tallahassee.

Haviser, J. B.
1989 Preliminary Results from Test Excava
tions at the Hope Estate Site (Sm26)
St. Martin. Paper presented to the
13th International Congress for
Caribbean Archaeology in Curacao,
Netherlands Antilles.

Johnson, William G. and Mary E. Collins
1989 A Study of Soil from the Fort Center
Archaeological Site in South Florida
Paper presented at the 41st Annual
Meeting of the Florida Anthropolo-
gical Society, April 28-30, Jackson-

Keegan, William F.
1987 Diffusion of Maize from South
America: The Antillean Connection
Reconstructed. In Emergent Horticul-
tural Economics of the Eastern
Woodlands ed. by W. F. Keegan, pp.
329-344.Southern Illinois University
at Carbondale Center for Archaeolo-
gical Investigations Occasional
Paper No. 7.

Lathrap, Donald W.
1987 The Introduction of Maize in Pre-
historic Eastern North America: The
View from Amazonia and the Santa
Elena Peninsula. In Emergent Horti-
cultural Economics of the Eastern
Woodlands. ed. by W. F. Keegan, pp.
345-371. Southern Illinois Univer-
sity at Carbondale Centerfor Archae-
ological Investigations Occasional
Paper No. 7.

MacNeish, Richard S. ed.
1970 The Prehistory of the Tehuacan Val-
ley, vol. 3. Austin: University of
Texas Press.

1972 The Prehistory of the Tehuacan Val-
ley, vol. 5. Austin: University of

Texas Press.

Marquardt, William H., H. Stephen Hale, C.
Margaret Scarry, and Karen Jo Walker
1985 Environmental and Cultural Change in
Southwest Florida: Some Preliminary
Results from Josslyn Island. Paper
presented at the 42nd annual meeting
of the Southeatern Archaeological
Conference, Birmingham, Alabama.

Milanich, Jerald T.
1987 Corn and Calusa; De Soto and Demo-
graphy. In Coasts, Plains and
Deserts, Essay in Honor of Reynold
J. Ruppe, ed. by Sylvia Gaines, pp.
173-184. Arizona State University
Anthropological Research Papers No.
38, Tempe.

Milinach, Jerald T. and Donna L. Ruhl
1986 Fort Center and the Belle Glade Cul-
ture, Florida. Pictures of Record,

Oviedo, Gonzalo Fernandez de
1959 Natural History of the West Indies.
Translated by Sterling A. Stoudemire
University of North Carolina Studies
in the Romance Language and Litera-
ture No. 32, Chapel Hill, University
of North Carolina Press (orig. 1526)

Rouse, Irving
1986 Migrations in Prehistory.
versity Press, New Haven.

Yale Uni-

Rouse, Irving and Louis Allaire
1978 Caribbean. In Chronologies in New
World Archaeology, ed. by R. E.
Taylor and C. W. Meighan, pp. 431-
481. Academic Press, New York.

Sears, Elsie O'R.
1982 Pollen Analysis. In Fort Center ed.
by W. H. Sears, pp 118-129. Univer-
sity Presses of Florida, Gainesville

Sears, E. O'R. and W.H. Sears
1976 Preliminary Report on Prehistoric
Corn Pollen from Fort Center,
Florida. In Southeastern Archeaolo-
gical Conference Bulletin 19:53-56.


Sears, William H.
1977 Seaborn Contacts Between Early Cul-
tures in Lower Southeastern United
States and Middle through South
America. In The Sea in the Pre-
Columbian World, edited by E. Benson
pp. 1-15. Dumbarton Oaks Research
Library and Collections, Washington.

1982 Fort Center: Archaeological Site in
the Lake Okeechobee Basin. Univer-
sity Presses of Florida, Gainesville

Scarry, C. Margaret
1982 Paleoethnobotany of the Granada Site
In Excavations at the Granada Site,
pp. 181-248. Florida Division of
Archives, History and Records Manage
ment, Tallahassee.

William Gray Johnson
Florida Museum of Natural History
Department of Anthropology
Gainesville, Florida 32611



Powhatan's Mantle: Indians in the
Colonial Southeast. PETER H. WOOD,
editors. University of Nebraska Press,
Lincoln, 1989. xviii + 355 pp., figures,
tables, references, index. $50.00

This book is one volume in the
University of Nebraska Press' series on
the Indians of the Southeast. It contains
twelve papers by historians and anthro-
pologists detailing some of the most
recent research on Southeastern Native
Americans. The papers deal with a diverse
range of subjects, but reveal the healthy
state of historical and anthropological
research in the region during the past
decade, the results of which are leading
to new interpretations and a much better
understanding of American Indian societies
in the Southeast following European
The essays are grouped into three
sections: Geography and Population,
Politics and Economics, and Symbols and
Society. Each section is prefaced by a
brief introductory essay by one of the
editors. The first part, edited by Peter
H. Wood, consists of four papers focusing
on interactions and movements of abori-
ginal groups at the time of initial con-
tact and later. Helen Hornbeck Tanner's
contribution is an overview of land and
water communication and trade routes
utilized by many of the larger aboriginal
groups in the Southeast. While her data
are derived primarily from documents of
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
much of the information is also applicable
to study of earlier communication routes,
perhaps even prehistoric ones.
The second paper, by Marvin T.
Smith, summarizes historical and archaeo-
logical information about movements of
aboriginal groups in the Southeast after
initial European contact. Much of this
material was included in his dissertation
and subsequent book (Archaeology of
Aboriginal Culture Change in the Interior

Southeast, 1987), but is presented here in
a more succinct fashion and includes more
discussion of responses to English
settlements. Smith also offers some
interesting suggestions about why groups
may have moved into specific regions.
The third essay, by Peter H. Wood,
is an attempt to examine native population
changes in many areas of the Southeast
after contact. This is a research field
fraught with disagreements and arguments
about numbers, but Wood utilizes the
documents carefully and freely admits that
much work remains to be done on the late
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He
also shows that some aboriginal population
sizes actually increased after contact
with Europeans, though the overall trend
was one of decline.
The final paper in this section, by
Daniel H. Usner, Jr., is a study of
Indians in and around New Orleans in the
eighteenth century. This interesting
essay details the ways that various
Louisiana Indian groups adjusted to
political and economic changes by inter-
acting with the residents of New Orleans.
The second section of the book,
edited by Gregory A. Waselkov, consists of
five essays. Amy Turner Bushnell's
contribution details the Spanish methods
of governing Florida during the seven-
teenth century. She points out the many
misinterpretations made by the Spaniards
of aboriginal political systems, and how
the Spaniards used Catholic missionaries
to aid in controlling the Indians.
Stephen R. Potter dicusses histori-
cal and archaeological evidence of English
effects on aboriginal tribute and exchange
systems in seventeenth-century Virginia,
focusing especially on interactions be-
tween the Jamestown residents and the
Powhatan chiefdom. Using archaeological
data from burials, he examines changes in
control of prestige items (especially
copper) by Indian elites. Apparently, the
chiefs tried to control access to both
copper and European artifacts for as long
as possible.


September, 1990

Vol. 43 No. 3


Martha W. McCartney's essay is a
study of Cockacoeske, who was the "queen"
of the Pamunkey Indians from 1656 until
her death in the 1680s. McCartney notes
that much documentary evidence about this
female leader has been largely overlooked
by eariler scholars. Her dealings with
the English settlers are detailed, includ-
ing details about her efforts to gain
control over other aboriginal groups with
help from the English governor.
The next paper, by James H. Merrill,
is a study of European/Indian exchange
systems in the Carolina Piedmont area from
1650 to 1750. He describes methods used
by traders to gain the trust of native
groups in order to foster business rela-
tions, including becoming members of
tribes. Unfortunately, intercultural mis-
understandings often arose from these
efforts. As European goods were assimi-
lated into native lifestyles, becoming
necessities rather than luxuries, traders
became even more exculturated, becoming
political advisors in some cases.
M. Thomas Hatley's essay deals with
changes wrought by European contact in an
eighteenth-century Cherokee town, Keowee.
He discusses initial depopulation, af-
fected by changes in crops grown and
concomitant changes in trade in food-
stuffs. This led to gender-related
changes in trading, due in part to the
deerskin trade. Hatley points out the
differing strategies employed by Cherokee
males and females in their trade relations
with colonials. These economic changes had
far-reaching effects on Cherokee society.
The final section of the book,
edited by M. Thomas Hatley, consists of
three essays dealing with aspects of
social organizaiton and symbolism.
Patricia Galloway's paper is a study of
acculturation between French settlers and
Choctaws during the eighteenth century.
She concentrates on mistakes made by the
French concerning Choctaw society and
kinship relations, and examines how this
affected each group's dealings with the
other. This is an interesting study
because it views the situation from both
prespectives. As she points out, most
studies concentrate only on the European
point view, considering the aboriginal

society as victims. Her essay clearly
illustrates some of the strange situta-
tions that can occur when two very dif-
ferent cultural points of view come into
This followed by a consideration of
the symbolism of Mississippian mounds by
Vernon James Knight, Jr. Drawing on
belief systems as revealed in the myths of
various southeastern aboriginal groups,
Knight interperts the meaning of platform
mounds as symbols of the earth and of
their rebuilding as earth renewal symbol-
ism. These interpertations offer insight
into prehistoric uses of and beliefs and
about mounds.
The final essay, by Gregory A.
Waselkov, is a study of six aboriginal
maps of the Southeast. He uses these
documents to examine the ways in which
southeastern Indians viewed their world.
He points out that they are invariably
ethnocentric: the cartographer's group is
always located at the center, and rivers
and trails begin and end within the
confines of the map. He also notes that
the natives' conception of different
tribal groups do not always coincide with
these recognized by European contem-
poraries. Waselkov illustrates and dis-
cusses each map in detail.
This book is attractively presented,
and well-edited. I noticed very few typo-
graphical errors, and most of the essays
are written in a very readable style. It
would make a good college-level textbook
of case studies of European/Native
American interaction, if it could be
issued in paperback form at a more
reasonable price. The primary value of
the book, however, is its demonstration of
a wide variety of approaches to studying
the past, and the new interpertations that
have resulted from these methods.

Reviewed by:
Jeffery M. Mitchem
Parkin Archaeological Site Park
Arkansas Archaeological Survey
Parkin, AR 72373



The Juan Pardo Expedition: Exploration of
the Carolinas and Tennessee, 1566-1568, by
Charles Hudson. Smithsonian Institution
Press, Washington, 1990, 342 pages,
illustrations, maps, diagrams. ISBN 0-
87474-498-9. $39.95 (cloth).

Development of the potential of the
documentation from the two Pardo expedi-
tions has been long overdue. This work by
Charles Hudson and Paul E. Hoffman fills
the need admirably. Although the title
page bears only Hudson's name, this work
is two books in one presented in distinct
parts. Part I by Hudson (pp. 1-202) is
narrative and analysis. His principal
goals were to use the documents to recon-
struct the route of the Pardo expeditions
and extract as much information as pos-
sible about the native peoples whom Pardo
met. At the same time Hudson glances
backward to prehistoric developments that
shaped the native societies of the lands
Pardo explored and glances forward at what
happened to them during the century fol-
lowing Pardo's intrusion. Part II by
Hoffman (pp. 203-342) presents transcrip-
tions and translations of documents
resulting from the Pardo expeditions.
In five chapters Hudson discusses
European activity in the southeast prior
to the arrival of Pedro Menendez de
Aviles, the routes followed by the two
Pardo expeditions, Indians of the Caroli-
nas and Tennessee whom Pardo and de Soto
encountered, Menendez' grand plan for
"Greater Florida" that inspired the expe-
ditions, and the failure of that grand
plan and the impact of the European intru-
sions on the Indians. The opening chapter
is brief. Anyone expecting to find there
an updated reformulation of Hudson's ideas
on the de Soto route will be disappointed.
However, his demonstration in Chapter 2 of
the concurrence of portions of the de Soto
and Pardo routes should put to rest the
doubts of those who question Hudson and
his colleagues' placement of the de Soto
route farther north than the one espoused
by Swanton. Most anthropologists will
find the long 75-page chapter on the
Indians of greatest interest. Beginning

with the Mississippian transformation,
Hudson passes to analysis of the social
structure of chiefdoms in Carolina and
Tennessee with which Pardo had contact.
Blending his knowledge of the archaeolo-
gical sites of the region with historical
data from the Pardo and de Soto accounts,
he examines Cofitachequi, Joara, Guatari,
the Cherokees, and Coosa in some detail.
He closes the chapter with a brief section
on inferences about the natives' economic
system suggested by Pardo's transactions
with them. Of particular interest also
are sections in Hudson's last two chapters
on the outfitting of the second expedi-
tion, the pacifying of the Indians, houses
built by the Indians, forts built by the
Spaniards, and the decline and coalescence
of the various native polities between the
Pardo entradas and the first incursions of
the English about a century later. Hudson
closes with a section on the tales of
diamonds, silver, and gold generated by
the Pardo expeditions, which still rever-
berated in St. Augustine at the start of
the seventeenth century. Hudson's version
of Juan Ribas' testimony in 1600, based on
a translation by Mary Ross, appears to
differ from the one published by Manuel
Serrano y Sanz. Ribas is alleged by
Hudson to have said that Pardo and Moyano
were given "cups of gold and silver." In
the Serrano y Sanz version, the Indians
were said to have "chagualas of gold and
silver." Chagualas are items of adornment
such as the gold rings which the Cuna
Indians of the Republic of Panama wear in
their noses.
Some may question Hudson's placement
of the 40 leagues of Pardo's route from
Santa Elena to Guiomae between the Coosaw-
hatchie and Salkehatchie rivers or, at
least, his failure to note the possibility
of an alternate route. Two Spanish sources
from the first years of the seventeenth
century place Pardo's entry in the
vicinity of Cayagua (Charleston, S.C.).
Topographically, the Edisto river seems an
equally likely choice and more in concur-
rence with the Ecija journals of 1605 and
1609, which suggest that Orista and Ahoya
were coastal settlements north of Santa


September, 1990

Vol. 43 No. 3

Elena, rather than located directly inland
from it.
Consideration of the Ecija journals
would have benefited Hudson's work in
several other insatnces. One is his mysti-
fication as to the origin of Cofitache-
qui's salt. Ecija documented salt as a
commodity shipped inland from the mouth of
the Jordan river (probably the Santee) in
a trade network that reached as far as
Joara at least and included Pardo's Ylasi,
Guatari, Guando, and probably his Gueja as
well. The unavailability of salt in in-
terior Georgia noted by Hudson may be
explained by Fray Miguel de San Andres'
remark that in 1595 the Guale of Asao at
the mouth of the Altamaha had no salt.
In Part II Hoffman presents the
"Long" Bandera Account, published for the
first time here, and new translations of
the "Short" Bandera Account, the Pardo
Account, and the Martinez Account.
Hoffman's contribution concludes with
three hitherto unpublished and unused
documents that record a distribution of
Spanish footwear to. Spaniards and Indians
at Chiaha in 1567 and lists of supplies
for both expeditions, which Pardo received
in Santa Elena. For his transcription of
all the Spanish texts, Hoffman adopted the
labor-intensive option of reproducing all
the peculiarities of the original spelling
and use of capital letters and punctua-
tion, indicating even where each line and
each page ended. Somebody was not as
meticulous during the final preparations
for publication of the translation of the
"Long" Bandera Account. At the bottom of
page 267 the text seems to jump from folio
7 verso to folio 9 verso, seemingly
eliminating three pages. But, comparison
with the Spanish transcription reveals
that only three lines have been omitted.
Somehow the first two lines of folio 9
verso, which tell of Pardo's departure
from Olameco on October 13, 1567, were
substituted for the three lines toward the
bottom of folio 8, which tell of Pardo's
arrival at Tanasqui on October 6, 1567.
For readers who may not be able to
translate the Spanish transcription, the
missing lines are "the said captain, Juan
Pardo, continuing his journey on the sixth
day of the said month of October of the

said year of fifteen hundred and sixty-
seven arrived at a place that was called."
Hoffman's translation appears to be
flawless. I found nothing to quibble with
except his rendition of mandador as
"driver." I would render it as "order-
giver" or leave it in Spanish. On the
basis of the briefest possible comparison
of Hoffman's transcription with a xerox
copy of the document I received several
years ago from Richard Melvin of Franklin,
North Carolina, I can attest that
Hoffman's transcription seems to be
flawless as well. The work's lack of a
bibliography and index are to be regret-
ted. The absence of an index, in particu-
lar, will limit the volume's potential
utility for researchers.
Nevertheless, the work of Hudson and
Hoffman is a major contribution to the
little-known history of the important
Indian societies of the Carolina and North
Georgia hinterland and a portion of Ten-
nessee from Contact down to the 1670s.
This is definitely a work that anthropolo-
gists, archaeologists, and historians
interested in this region will want to add
to their libraries.

Reviewed by:
John H. Hann
San Luis Archaeological
and Historical Site
Bureau of Archaeological Research
Division of Historical Resources
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250




This is the first in a series of
articles which will highlight the
various chapters of the Florida
Anthropological Society.

One of FAS' Younger Chapters Has Had
A State-wide Impact

Arthur R. Lee



The combination of a group of
talented people, well motivated and
guided, has formed one of Florida's
younger FAS chapters into an organization
which has had a state-wide impact.
In October, 1986, several people who
had taken a Sarasota County VoTec course
in Florida archaeology under Marion Almy
held the first meeting of what was to
become the Time Sifters Archaeological
Society. In preparation, they had visited
the Southwest Florida Archaeological
Society and had gathered organization
material from it and other similar groups.
Since that time -- following their
purpose of helping "teach the public that
archaeology is a non-renewable resource
and that its preservation must be enforced
by education and legislation" -- they have
carried out a broad-based program which
has assisted the cause of cultural
resource conservation throughout Florida.

Wide use has been made of a folder
written, designed and produced by the
Society describing the then newly-enacted
Sections 872.02 and 872.05, Florida
Statutes, ("Offenses Concerning Dead
Bodies and Graves," -- which law makes it
a felony to disturbed human burials. In
good part distributed by member chapters,
it has been placed in the hands of law-
enforcement officials, contractors, and
developers throughout the state. For this
and other projects, Time Sifters received
a "Merit Award" of the Sarasota Herald
Tribune in September, 1989.
The organization now is at work on
another publication, a preservation, anti-
looting brochure to be entitled "Florida's
Archaeological Heritage: Protecting the
Past for the Future." The Florida
Department of State, Division of
Historical Resources on the advice of its
Historic Preservation Advisory Council, in
June, 1990, approved a grant-in-aid for
$1,300 to fund its printing.
In the field, members' trowels have
been put to work in a number of excava-
tions conducted by professional archaeolo-
gists; among them were:

At Spanish Point, more than 25 volunteers
worked for several weeks salvaging an
Archaic Period shell midden adjacent to
the Guptill House, where a sewer system
was to be installed. Fiber-tempered
pottery, some incised, dated at 4,000
years, and shell tools were recovered.

Also at Spanish Point, 500 volunteer hours
were given to the Gulf Coast Heritage
Association, Inc., on a project to be
called "Window to the Past."

Time Sifters volunteered more than 1,000
hours on the Manasota Key dig, which
uncovered a native American cemetery
carbon-dated to the First to Third
centuries A.D.

Members worked on three phases
Pineland dig conducted by Dr.
Marquardt of the Florida Museum of
History as part of the "Year

of the
of the


September, 1990

Vol. 43 No. 3


Indian" project.

Currently, work is being done on a
site in the Sarasota area under the
direction of FAS President George Luer, an
early Time Sifters director. Future work
is planned to assist the new Sarasota
County Archaeologist, Karen Kempton.
Field trips have included Useppa and
Pine Islands; Windover; Fort Foster a
Seminole War site in Hillsborough County;
St. Augustine; and, to see the exhibition
"First Encounters."
Seminars have been arranged on
technical subjects and member-speakers
carry the preservation and appreciation
message to civic groups.
Meetings are the fourth Tuesday
evening of the month, and have featured
lectures on subjects ranging from
paleontology and archaeology to art
history and historical architecture. They
are advertised in press and the public is
Membership is diverse, including
professional archaeologists, high school
and college students, teachers, attorneys,
retired persons, people in the
construction business, and county and city
The current President and co-editor
of their monthly newsletter is Cornelia
Futor, a history major retired from the
Foreign Service.

Figure 1. Cover of "Offenses Concerning
Dead Bodies and Graves" brochure.

Arthur R. Lee
FAS Chapter Liaison
P.O. Box 9965
Naples, Florida 33941



FAS has initiated a program to feature
anthropological/historical photographs
taken by FAS chapter members. The
black-and-white photographs, accom-
panied by descriptive narratives,

should be focused on topics reflecting

sites or properties, or outstanding
artifacts, representing the area in
which the chapter is located. This
program will be explained in greater
detail by FAS President George M. Luer
in our next issue.

FAS President's Note to W. R. Lyons:

"Thank you very much for your nice
photograph and accompanying narrative
titled "Left Hand Valves." You have the
honor of being the first person to respond
to the call for photographs of
anthropological or historical import for
The Florida Anthropologist.

"The photograph looks very nice. It
certainly is a graphic and startling way
of showing the left valve phenomena!"



W. R. Lyons
Archaeological Society of Southern Florida

After reading Florida Anthropologi-
cal Society Publication No. 12 on shells
and archaeology, I decided to experiment
in the making of a perforated quahog
shell. I gathered some quahogs I had and
proceeded to try making a hole in one.
All the shells broke into two or three

Needing more quahogs to experiment
with, I had the opportunity to stop by
Chokoloskee Island one day with my wife.
The mosquitoes were so bad it was all I
could do to get out and pick up a bucket
full of unbroken shells.

Vol. 43 No. 3


A few days later, while washing them
off, I began to notice they were
predominantly left hand valves. In fact,
when I was finished, discovered that they
were all left hand valves -- all 46 of
them (See attached photograph).

This was from a random collection in
the mangrove shoreline on the west coast
of Chokoloskee, in the vicinity of the old
trading post.

Some day I will continue the
experiment as I have not yet discovered a
method to produce a hole with any degree
of regularity.

W. R. Lyons
4365 S.W. 117th Avenue
Miami, Florida 33175


September, 1990


NEWS RELEASE u.s.department of the interior

national park service


Several visitor activities are now permitted, regulated and available to the
public at the Theodore Roosevelt area of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve,
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis announced today.

Interpretive activities include guided walks each Saturday and Sunday morning at
9:30 am beginning August 25, 1990. Meet the park ranger at the trailhead/parking area
for a two hour walk on Saturdays which will highlight the unique and diverse natural
resources encompassed within the 540 acre area. The nature walk will concentrate on
those aspects that illustrate the area as a symbol of the vanishing northeast Florida
wilderness including the importance of preserving plant and animal-babitats. Sunday
morning walks will focus on identifying the cultural history of the area including the
prehistoric and historic occupation of the area and the continuation of the
preservation legacy begun by Mr. Willie Browne. All interpretive walks will take place
along the 1.5 miles of established trail. Participants should wear comfortable
clothing and sturdy walking shoes, bring insect repellent, sun screen, foul weather
gear, binoculars and drinking water.

Other activities permitted, but regulated for the area include: day use hiking,
bicycling, picnicking and fishing. Visitors may use the area from 8:00 am to sunset
daily. The area is closed to all visitor use and access except for those times. No
parking after sunset or overnight stays are permitted. Bulletin boards throughout
the area contain information regarding the rules, regulations, uses and maps of the

Bicycling is permitted along the main Willie Browne trail only, in groups of 5
or less. Groups in excess of 5 or more bicycles should contact the park for a special
use permit. Bicycles may not be taken or riden off the main trail or on any secondary
trails at any time. Bicyclists must use caution and be alert to hikers and other
pedestrian users of the area.

Picnicking is permitted at the trailhead/parking area only, at the tables
provided. All trash must be packed out by the user. No trash cans will be provided
in order to prevent wildlife from feeding on food scraps and to prevent littering.
No fires or grills (gas or charcoal) are permitted.

Those visitors wishing to fish may do so at the marsh overlook site only in
accordance with the Florida State fishing laws and regulations. Access to this water
area is by foot only, along the main trail a distance of approximately 1.5 miles. All
trash associated with this activity must be packed out of the site. No digging for
bait is permitted.

Disabled visitors wishing to use the area should contact the park for specific

"This area presents a unique opportunity for the public to experience a part of
the landscape and heritage associated with Jacksonville," said Lewis. "The rules and
regulations are necessary to ensure the continued preservation of the area while at
the same time providing for public use," she added. "We look forward to the full
cooperation of the public in making this area a success." Park rangers conduct regular
patrols of the Theodore Roosevelt area.

Current facilities are limited. No restrooms or drinking water is available.
The area is open free of charge to the public. For more information concerning the
Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and the Theodore Roosevelt area please call
Fort Caroline National Memorial at 904-641-7155.


September, 1990

Vol. 43 No. 3


If you are interested in archaeology, ethnology, physical anthropology, cultural
anthropology and associated topics with a focus on Florida and surrounding areas in the
Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean, then The Florida Anthropologist, the quarterly journal of
the Florida Anthropological Society, the society's quarterly newsletter, and the papers
presented at our annual meetings will be of interest. If you want to join professional
and avocational archaeologists and others in efforts to preserve and protect our
prehistoricc heritage, then join the Florida Anthropological Society to achieve that
goal. If you are looking for that special gift, then a gift subscription to The Florida
Anthropologist is your answer. You do not have to be a resident of Florida to belong to
the Florida Anthropological Society. Your membership fee includes your subscription to
the Society's journal and newsletter. We are a non-profit organization founded in 1947.

REGULAR ($18) $16.00 $20.00 $23 US
FAMILY ($20) $18.00 $22.00 $25 US
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PLEASE NOTE: Memberships/subscriptions received after September 30th will be credited to
the following year. Membership is for the calendar year (January-December).

OPTIONAL: Please provide any of the following information which applies to you.
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Mail Application to: Membership Secretary, FAS The Federal Identification Number
308 6th St. NE of the FAS is: 59-1084419.
Largo, Florida 34640

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