Table of Contents
 Editor's page - Brent R. Weism...
 Effects of environmental changes...
 Chronologies and cultures of the...
 Swift Creek manifestations along...
 Guale Indian pottery : A Georgia...
 Archaeological excavations at 8SJ42,...
 Prehistoric and historic settlement...
 The Hunter's creek site and the...
 Chapter spotlight : The St. Augstine...
 Back Cover

Group Title: Florida anthropologist
Title: The Florida anthropologist
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00027829/00048
 Material Information
Title: The Florida anthropologist
Abbreviated Title: Fla. anthropol.
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Florida Anthropological Society
Conference on Historic Site Archaeology
Publisher: Florida Anthropological Society.
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Frequency: quarterly[]
two no. a year[ former 1948-]
Subject: Indians of North America -- Antiquities -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Antiquities -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Summary: Contains papers of the Annual Conference on Historic Site Archeology.
Dates or Sequential Designation: v. 1- May 1948-
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00027829
Volume ID: VID00048
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01569447
lccn - 56028409
issn - 0015-3893

Table of Contents
    Table of Contents
        Page 97
    Editor's page - Brent R. Weisman
        Page 98
        Page 99
    Effects of environmental changes on late archaic people of northeast Florida - James J. Miller
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
    Chronologies and cultures of the St. Marys region of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia - Michael Russo
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
    Swift Creek manifestations along the lower St. Johns River - Keith H. Ashley
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    Guale Indian pottery : A Georgia legacy in northeast Florida - Rebecca Saunders
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
    Archaeological excavations at 8SJ42, the Crescent Beach site, St. Johns county, Florida - Stanley C. Bond, Jr.
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
    Prehistoric and historic settlement in the Guana tract, St. Johns county, Florida - Christine L. Newman and Brent R. Weisman
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
    The Hunter's creek site and the central Florida Lake district - Marilyn C. Stewart
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
    Chapter spotlight : The St. Augstine archaeological association - Julie C. Wizorek
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
    Back Cover
        Page 194
Full Text


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Volume 45 Number 2 Page Number
June 1992


Editor's Page. Brent R. Weisman 98
Effects of Environmental Changes on Late Archaic People of Northeast Florida. James J. Miller 100
Chronologies and Cultures of the St. Marys Region of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.
Michael Russo 107

Swift Creek Manifestations Along the Lower St. Johns River. Keith H. Ashley 127
Guale Indian Pottery: A Georgia Legacy in Northeast Florida. Rebecca Saunders 139
Archaeological Excavations at 8SJ42, The Crescent Beach Site, St. Johns County, Florida. 148
Stanley C. Bond, Jr.

Prehistoric and Historic Settlement In the Guana Tract, St. Johns County, Florida.
Christine L. Newman and Brent R. Weisman 162

The Hunter's Creek Site and the Central Florida Lake District. Marilyn C. Stewart 172
Chapter Spotlight: The St. Augustine Archaeological Association. Julie C. Wizorek 191

Cover. Human Figure of Chalky Ware Pottery, Kauffman Island (based on Goggin 1952:100), and forked eye motif from Mt.
Royal (based on Goggin 1952:123). Design by Theodore Morris. Cover type compliments of Prototype, Sarasota.

Published by the


Brent R. Weisman

The archaeology of northeast Florida is the focus of this
issue of The Florida Anthropologist. This broad area,
variously referred to as the St. Johns region, the East and
Central area, or East Florida, is the setting for some of the
earliest scientific archaeology done in the state, that of
Jeffries Wyman beginning about 1867. Among Wyman's
contributions is his observation that the numerous "shell
heaps" to be found on the banks of the StJohns River were of
cultural origin and not the result of natural processes of shell
deposition. Through the excavations of C.B. Moore many of
the sites for which the region was to become famous were
given their first wide archaeological audience, including
Mount Royal, Tick Island, and the Grant mound. Of course,
one cannot fail to mention William Bartram's poetic
description of an undisturbed Mount Royal; indeed, who can
stand at the site today and not hear Bar,tram's words
whispered on the breeze? In the present century northeast
Florida continued to be the scene of much archaeology, done
by some of the finest archaeologists the discipline had to
offer. James B. Griffin defined the now familiar St. Johns
pottery series of chalky wares and, with William Sears, gave
type names to the fiber-tempered pottery which preceded it.
John W. Griffin and Hale G. Smith, archaeologists with the
short-lived Florida Park Service archaeological survey,
excavated and published chronological studies on three
important sites in the area; Green Mound, the Gotten site,
and Nocoroco. Also completed during this flurry of activity in
1948 was John Goggin's doctoral dissertation at Yale, which
contained a chapter on St. Johns archaeology subsequently
published in 1952 as Space and Time Perspective in Northern
St. Johns Archeology, Florida. I feel certain that this work
continues to be the single most-cited reference on the area,
and is one of the most important publications in Florida
Our present authors show us that northeast Florida
continues to provide rich opportunities for archaeological
fieldwork and for advancements in knowledge about Florida
archaeology. The articles also demonstrate that the region is
wide open for new perspectives on space, time, and beyond,
as the authors tackle such diverse subjects as the relationships
between Archaic peoples and the natural environment
(Miller, Stewart, Bond), settlement patterns and culture
history (Russo, Ashley), and the potential correlation
between ceramic style and cultural identity (Saunders).
Major sites and survey areas described in the articles are
shown on the accompanying map.

This issue grew out of a series of regional roundtable
meetings organized by Stan Bond and Robert Thunen, who
served as the stimulus for most of the papers published here.
Other rumored papers resulting from these roundtable
conferences are still awaited and will appear, I hope, in future
issues of this journal. My greatest debt is owed to Christine
Newman and Louis Tesar, whose crucial and skilled
assistance in word processing and journal layout greatly eased
my burden.
Although this is only my first issue of The Florida
Anthropologist as the new editor, I can appreciate already the
tremendous amount of time and effort put forth by Louis
Tesar to bring the readership the kind of journal it expects.
The editor edits, as one would assume, but also does word
processing, cut and paste, layout, preparation of camera-
ready text, deliveries to the printer, and finally, the mailing.
While some of this labor can (and of necessity, will) be
divided among assistants, prospective authors also can do
their share to lessen the editor's workload, and by so doing
expedite the timely publication of the journal. Authors are
strongly encouraged to contact me when they begin to
develop their manuscript so that I can send out a style sheet
and eliminate simple problems at the beginning that become
complex and aggravating when deadlines loom large.
As a final note, I would like to clarify certain statements
made in the book review of Tatham Mound, by Piers
Anthony, which appeared in The Florida Anthropologist 45
(1), March 1992. Although I am responsible for the discovery
of the Tatham site and, because of my acquaintance with
Piers Anthony, obtained the funding to begin excavation of
the mound, it was Jeffrey Mitchem who wrote his doctoral
dissertation on the Tatham project and the Safety Harbor
archaeological culture (see Jeff s article in this journal,
December 1989). My doctoral research was focused on
Seminole Indian archaeology and history in the same area
(thus the accidental discovery of the mound) and was
published by the University of Alabama Press in 1989 as Like
Beads on a String: A Culture History of the Seminole Indians in
North Peninsular Florida. See the author's introduction to
Tatham Mound; Piers tells it pretty much the way it


June 1992

VOL. 45 NO. 2

-Santa Catalina (Amelia Island) (Saunders)

. Timucuan Preserve (Russo)

Lower St. Johns (Ashley)

-Guana Tract (Newman and Weisman)






Hunter's Creek 0



Crescent Beach (Bond)
Summer Haven (see Miller)

ya'al .
usso)i r,

gotten 4.
Site -
e Miller) .


.i '



Lake :
Kissimmee :'

Major sites and survey areas discussed in this issue of The Florida Anthropologist.

* Modern Municipality
* Archaeological Site
[i Archaeological Survey Area



James J. Miller

In the past several decades the relationship between
culture and environment has formed the basis for
methodological and theoretical advances in archaeology that
can lead to useful explanations of human behavior. Simple
and linear questions concerning the effect of environment on
people, and the converse, have been supplanted by more
complex questions exploring the systemic relationships among
the many interrelated elements of nature and culture. That
humans adapt to opportunities and constraints of their
surroundings is obvious; that their actions affect the
environment, in relation to population size and technological
ability, is widely recognized as the source of our
contemporary environmental crisis. These relationships are
often thought of as synchronic. It is more difficult to
understand the complex interaction the two spheres over
time--for example, how do human-induced environmental
changes affect future generations, to what extent are
environments a product of their histories, and what are the
effects of long-term natural change.
One way of simplifying the natural-cultural system is to
focus on environmental change that is clearly natural in
origin. Often this is not possible. The causes of the
extinction of Pleistocene megafauna and the subsequent
effects on human populations continue to be debated:
whether big game animals were hunted to extinction, whether
they failed to adapt to climatic and habitat changes, or to
what extent each of these factors contributed to extinction is
not likely to be absolutely known. In the case of a global
scale environmental change like sea level rise, however, the
possibility of a human cause can be eliminated (in the
preindustrial era at least) and one can focus on the effects of
this change on natural and cultural systems. For northeast
Florida, this subject is explored in relation to adaptations in
the St. Johns River basin and along the coast.
The time of transition from Middle to Late Archaic
times in northeast Florida is marked by major differences in
settlement pattern, subsistence strategies, and population
size. These fundamental changes occur around 5,000 years
ago--more or less the time when the sea level stopped its
post-glacial rise and when environments and climates began
to approximate their modern forms. It is argued that a
fundamental cause for this change was the onset of artesian
flow from sinkhole springs fed by the Floridan aquifer along
the St. Johns River followed by the formation of stable coastal
estuarine habitats. This period marked the rapid formation
of new aquatic environments, first in the river then on the
coast, capable of supporting larger and more sedentary

populations. To understand this environmental and cultural
change it is necessary to explain the nature and function of
the regional subsurface geology, hydrology, and coastal
There are two major subsurface bodies of water that
participate in the regional hydrology; the deep artesian
reservoir, and the shallow nonartesian reservoir that includes
the ground water table. The artesian aquifer is several
hundred feet below the land surface and consists of the
important Floridan Aquifer made up of the Ocala Group of
limestone formations of Eocene age as well as the overlying
Miocene or Pliocene beds of marl, clay, and dolomite of the
Hawthorn Formation that comprise an aquiclude, or
impermeable layer of sedimentary deposits. Although
hydrologically important, these geologic formations have no
surface expression in northeast Florida. Water in the artesian
reservoir below the confining beds (aquiclude) is under
hydrostatic pressure, and wherever the land elevation is below
the piezometric surface (that elevation to which water will
rise in a tightly capped well), water will flow freely from an
open well or sinkhole that penetrates the Floridan Aquifer.
Above the aquiclude is a reservoir of ground water
known as the nonartesian aquifer which does not have
sufficient hydrostatic potential or head to cause artesian flow,
but which will have surface expression depending upon the
relative elevations of the land surface and the water table.
Wherever the elevation of the water table is above the surface
of the land, water will stand in ponds or swamps, or flow in
streams. Elevation of the water table is locally variable and
depends upon the supply and demand experienced by the
nonartesian aquifer.
Both the deep and shallow aquifers exchange water by
slow seepage through the aquiclude which separates them,
and both are replenished by recharge from surface waters in
their respective areas of high hydrostatic potential. The
aquifers may be more directly connected to the surface by
sinkholes or springs, which act as conduits, and which,
depending upon local conditions, may provide great volumes
of water for surface flow, or may serve to recharge the aquifer
with surface water. There are seven permanently flowing
springs in northeast Florida, all situated near the St. Johns
River. They range in size from Silver Glen Springs west of
Lake George with an average flow of 111 cubic feet per
second (72 million gallons per day) to Nashua Springs near
Satsuma with an average flow of 0.46 cfs (Ferguson et al.
The aquifer characteristics described so far reflect


June 1992

Vol. 45 No. 2

modern conditions. What were the hydrologic conditions of
the early Holocene and how did they achieve their present
form? The complex relation between sea level and shoreline
position during the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene
depends on two factors; slope of the continental shelf and
depth of the water. Between 18,000 and 10,000 years ago sea
level rose about 40 meters from -100 to about -60 meters,
corresponding to a shore transgression of only about 3
kilometers along the steep outer edge of the continental shelf.
In contrast, during the Early and Middle Archaic, between
10,000 and 5,000 years ago, sea level rose about 50 meters
from -60 to about -10 meters, but the shoreline moved around
100 km landward along the gradual slope of the shallow shelf
itself. There are two important implications for Archaic
Period people of northeast Florida: the interface between
land and sea was an extremely dynamic environment as
shoreline position changed as much as 25 meters per year
around 6000 B.P.; and, second, at some time during the
Middle Archaic sea level rose sufficiently to dramatically
affect the local water table.
The level of the sea and the corresponding position of
the shoreline in northeast Florida are difficult to characterize
with precision. Most authorities agree that the rapid rise of
sea level had ended around 5,000 B.P., i.e., the rate of change
decreased. What is not so clear is where the shore was at this
time and whether the sea level rose above its present level or
One of the more widely accepted models of sea level rise
is that of Clark and Lingle (1979) who postulate separate
curves for six global zones corresponding roughly to latitude.
Their mathematical model takes into account glacial
unloading and ocean floor loading by meltwater as well as the
geoidal and gravitational responses of the crust (Bloom
1983:43). Variation in sea level at 5,000 years ago outside the
glaciated area is between -12 and +3 meters, with northeast
Florida showing a position somewhere between -12 and -4
A spring, then, represents a place where potentially
large volumes of water from a virtually limitless source may
be introduced into a local landscape. Although there are
some 54 fresh water springs within the St. Johns Hydrologic
Subregion (Rosenau et al. 1977) only 16 of these are first or
second magnitude, i.e., having average flows greater than 10
cubic feet per second. While it is difficult to be precise about
the source of water in a spring, it is safe to say that all of the
first magnitude springs (flow > 100 cfs) have their source in
the deep Floridan aquifer, as do most of the second
magnitude springs (Rosenau et al. 1977:13) Combined, these
16 springs contribute on average approximately 1600 cfs or
slightly more than one billion gallons per day to the St. Johns
River system stream flow. The entire stream flow of the St.
Johns River itself measured just south of Jacksonville
averages 5,500 cfs. These figures suggest that spring flow
from the Floridan Aquifer accounts for almost one-third of

the water volume in the St. Johns River system. What would
the region have been like without this contribution of
"outside" water?
The St. Johns River is an extremely slow-moving, broad
river system with an extremely shallow slope. As such, it is
tidally influenced more than 150 miles from the mouth.
While the average stream flow is recorded at around 5,500
cfs, the maximum stream flow for the period 1971-74 was
measured near Jacksonville at 64,000 cfs on June 20, 1972.
During the same year in October a negative or reverse flow of
62,700 cfs was measured. This is not an unusual occurrence;
the frequency curves of negative and positive flows are, in
fact, very similar (Fernald and Patton 1984:165).
Occasionally, during severe droughts, the combination of high
tides and northeasterly winds may cause reverse flow as far
south as Lake Monroe, 161 miles above the mouth.
In some respects, the modern St. Johns River is more
like an estuary or lake than a river. Topographically it
appears as a system of connected lakes within a broad
channel and an even broader flood plain. Its slope is so
shallow (less than 0.1 foot per mile) that the magnitude of
flow in the channel is more a function of channel cross section
than velocity. Finally, the river is tidally influenced
throughout its length and will flow backward almost as rapidly
as it flows in the normal direction. These are the conditions
necessary to understand the settlement of the St. Johns River
after the end of the Early Holocene.
The great majority of prominent archaeological sites on
the St. Johns River and its tributaries are vast accumulations
of snail shells, composed primarily of the species Viviparus
georgianus. While more than 95% of the volume of such sites
is made up of the shells of this species, the quantity and value
of food represented by Viviparus is more moderate. Cumbaa
(1977) has estimated that about one-fourth of the caloric
intake of Late Archaic people at one representative shell
midden on the St. Johns River was provided by these small
snails. White-tailed deer provided another quarter; plant
foods are estimated to have accounted for about 30% of the
total calories and the balance was made up by fish, small
mammals and birds.
It seems probable that the appearance of people on the
St. Johns River in great numbers around 5,000 years ago
coincides with the appearance of habitats for the fresh water
snails. Viviparus georgianus is not generally found in larger
rivers, but rather in the adjacent sloughs, creeks, lakes, ponds,
and springs. The snails occur in colonies which usually
exhibit uniform shell characteristics, and which are sometimes
widely separated. Colonies can exist where there is much soft
mud or in sandy areas, but only in quiet water (Clench and
Turner 1956:110). These are the conditions that currently
exist on the St. Johns, particularly in its upper or southern
section where springs and lake basins are common.
It has been suggested that the shift in settlement by
Archaic populations from the highlands of north-central

Florida to the St. Johns River was a result of climatic changes
which affected the vegetation and water sources in the
highlands (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:146). Rather, it is
more likely that the St. Johns River changed its character
dramatically around this time, offering a new, rich
environment for exploitation. Before sea level reached its
current position, the St. Johns would have behaved more like
a river than an estuary or lake. Its mouth at the edge of the
Atlantic would have been much further below the elevation of
its source and main body; because the stream base level was
lower, stream flow would have been more rapid, tidal
influence would have been greatly diminished or absent, and
the contribution of the Floridan aquifer to the river system
would probably have been significantly less.
As sea level rose, and with it the piezometric surface, the
deep aquifer became saturated, hydrostatic pressure
increased below the confining beds, and springs began fairly
suddenly to flow. The beginning of large scale flow of springs
in the St. Johns valley would have preceded the sea's reaching
its present level because the piezometric surface is higher
than the sea level; at present it is 5 to 20 meters higher in
northeast Florida. Exactly when the major springs fed by the
deep aquifer began to flow is not known, but they would have
followed a step function in their behavior; either the
piezometric surface was high enough and the flow was
present, or it was below the elevation of the spring outlet and
flow was absent.
In addition, as the level of the sea rose, the St. Johns
basin became essentially drowned. This probably began to
occur when sea level was 5 or so meters below present, based
on the recorded channel depths. Its water surface level was
very near sea level throughout its length. At Lake George,
for example, at the southern edge of northeast Florida
average lake elevation above mean sea level was 1.26 feet
between October 1982 and September 1983. The maximum
elevation was 2.43 feet and the minimum elevation was .29
feet. From this location to the mouth of the river is
approximately 100 miles. At Lake Monroe, another 60 miles
south, the average lake level was 2.49 feet above mean sea
level in 1983. During the period of record, 1920-1982, the
maximum elevation was 8.23 feet and the minimum level, in
April of 1945, was 0.45 feet below mean sea level (United
States Geological Survey 1984:214, 222).
On archaeological grounds, it is reasonable to correlate
the sea level induced flooding of the St. Johns basin with the
appearance in the archaeological record of the Mt. Taylor
culture. Radiocarbon dates from the Tick Island site, located
about 15 km south of Lake George, show that between 6000
and 4000 years ago Archaic people began to occupy the St.
Johns basin on a regular basis, perhaps year round, but
certainly seasonally. In the opinion of Milanich and
Fairbanks (1980:150) this "marks the time when this sporadic
occupation became more sedentary and village life began."
By definition, the Mt. Taylor Period is that portion of the

Late Archaic Period before the introduction or invention of
pottery. On the basis of artifacts, it would appear that Mt.
Taylor people were little different than their Early and
Middle Archaic predecessors. Based on settlement patterns
and strategies of exploitation of the environment, however,
the Mt. Taylor people differed in a major way. For the first
time in northeast Florida an environment existed which was
sufficiently productive in terms of food resources, and
sufficiently free from major change, to support a permanently
settled way of life. Whereas Paleo Indian as well as Early and
Middle Archaic people were somewhat obliged to follow their
food source, or at least to range widely during the course of
the year, Late Archaic people occupying the St. Johns River
Valley could spend at least part of every year in the same
location, relying upon the rich aquatic environments of the
newly watered valley for their subsistence and other needs.
The six sites in northeast Florida that have been
assigned to the Mount Taylor Period are, without exception,
situated on the St. Johns River or tributaries in the southern
part of the river system (Figure 1). The St. Johns Basin
comprises two distinctive sections: the northern (lower)
section between Palatka and Jacksonville characterized by a
wide channel; and the southern (upper) section known as the
St. Johns Offset (White 1970:107) because the channel is
offset to the west. The two segments differ in their geologic
history and in their landscape features. The lower section has
every appearance of being a drowned estuary. Its wide
channel is clear of swamp and floating vegetation; its course is
not braided; and its banks are well-defined upland margins.
South of Palatka in the offset section the St. Johns has more
the character of a series of shallow lakes connected by narrow
braided channels that wind through vast expanses of aquatic
vegetation. It is this upper section of river that is occupied
during Mount Taylor times; no Mount Taylor sites are
recorded between Palatka and the mouth of the river. Nor is
the Mount Taylor Period known to be represented on the
coast (Griffin and Miller 1978).
Pottery first appears in the archaeological record of
northeast Florida around 4000 years ago, and its presence is
the distinguishing characteristic of the Orange Period which
lasted roughly 1000 years. By this time adaptation to the river
environments must have been firmly established, and indeed,
despite this new technological development, it is likely that
the settled or semi-permanent occupation of the Late Archaic
hunters, gathers, and shellfish collectors continued with little
change until the introduction of agriculture. There is a
dramatic increase in the number of sites recorded in
northeast Florida throughout this period, attesting not only to
the success of the adaptation, but the relatively rapid growth
of population. No sites of the Paleo Indian Period are
present, and Early and Middle Archaic sites of the Early
Holocene average only 0.075 per century. Late Archaic
Mount Taylor sites increase to 0.35 per century. During the
Orange Period, site count within northeast Florida jumps to


) Early Archic

A Middle Archaic

Mount Taylor


0 5 10 15

n a 15 25


Figure 1. Distribution of Sites of the Preceramic Archaic.


4.5 sites per century, increasing by more than a factor of
twelve over the previous period. These figures are useful in
demonstrating trends in number and location of sites. They
should not, however, be construed to represent actual
numbers of sites or actual population levels, because many
parts of northeast Florida have not been surveyed for
archaeological remains, and many more sites have yet to be
found. Moreover, the number of components does not take
into account the size of the sites, which would be necessary to
construct any meaningful relationship between sites and
population. Finally, not all periods are easily recognized at
sites, especially in the absence of excavations; this may
account for the apparent decline in number of components
during the Transitional Period which is defined on the basis
of degree, rather than presence or absence, of fiber
tempering in pottery.
Along the coast, shell midden sites occur for the first
time during the Orange Period. It would appear then that the
formation of rich aquatic environments in the St. Johns Basin
preceded the formation of comparable environments along
the coast by 2000 years or more.
The current configuration of the northeast Florida
coastline can be generalized as a linear system consisting of a
littoral zone, a beach and dune complex on a barrier island or
barrier peninsula, a lagoon or estuary, and then a mainland
land mass extending westward to the St. Johns River. In
terms of landform development the key feature of this coastal
landscape is the barrier island. Although the barrier island
system is interrupted in two places (where consolidated
sediments prevent formation of lagoons behind the dune
systems), the dune/lagoon complex is the dominant coastal
pattern. Moreover, this complex, apparently absent during
Early Holocene/Early and Middle Archaic times forms a
significant new exploitable environment that accounts for a
dramatic increase in the number of sites and the number of
people living in northeast Florida (Figure 2).
The likely reason such sites do not appear earlier in the
archaeological record is that the rich lagoon environments did
not exist before sea level stopped its Early Holocene rapid
rise. During its most rapid rate of rise the sea was
transgressing at a rate of more than 20 meters per year.
Essentially no time existed for formation of coastal features;
those incipient coastal features that did develop, such as
storm deposited dunes or small estuaries, were submerged
within a year or two. Along such a rapidly eroding coast
there was certainly insufficient stability for faunal and floral
communities to become established and produce mature
individuals suitable for food. More likely, for the 5,000 years
or so of the Early Holocene the shore was a constantly
eroding stretch of previously established upland vegetation,
whose origin and composition had little or no relation to the
ocean or its edge.
The Orange Period with its distinctive pottery tempered
with plant fibers marks the first time in the archaeological

record of Florida that regional cultural variations may be
recognized. These appear as differences in ceramic designs
and styles but the degree to which they reflect more
fundamental differences in ways of life is not clear. From the
distribution of the different pottery series, termed Norwood
on the Gulf of Mexico coast and Orange in northeast, central,
and south Florida, it is apparent that distinct cultural groups
are now more settled. Both Norwood and Orange people
used resources obtained from outside their culture areas, but
exploitation of particular local environments appears
sufficiently well developed to alleviate the need for frequent
movement from one region to another.

,, ....D
S\ "D"U ""
SU-*DU2 ,as


i .


Bugln. (pur2 d s

Period, based primarily in differences in ceramics. The

years ago or so.

am" 4 \ $V

Figure 2. Distribution of Sites of the Orange Period.

Bullen (1972) defines four subperiods of the Orange
Period, based primarily in differences in ceramics. The
occurrence of the marker pottery types for each subperiod
show that occupation during subperiods 1 and 2 is confined to
the St. Johns River, while the coast shows no fiber tempered
Orange pottery until subperiod 3, beginning around 3300
years ago or so.


The earliest sites on the coast that have been excavated,
Summer Haven Site (Bullen and Bullen 1961) and Cotten Site
(Griffin and Smith 1954) [and see articles by Bond and Russo,
this issue, ed.] are largely composed of shells of coquina
(Donax variabilis), a small species of surf dwelling clam that
is most abundant during fall and winter months (Miller 1980).
Coquina continues to be used during all subsequent
prehistoric periods on the Atlantic coast, but it would seem in
relation to species like oyster and quahog to be an inefficient
source of meat. Perhaps it provided a necessary protein
source when other shellfish were unavailable, or perhaps it
was so easy to collect comparatively large volumes of shells
with a basket on the beach during times when large colonies
were present, that it was primarily a food of convenience.
Whatever the advantage of coquina in general, its comprising
the sole shellfish food at some coastal Orange Period sites is
an indication that shellfish of the lagoons like oyster, quahog,
and moon snail were not available. At least one sea level
curve (Fairbridge 1961) shows a high stand about three
meters above present at this time, suggesting that the
previously formed lagoons were inundated rather than
Milanich and Fairbanks have reconstructed the basic
life-style of the Orange Period as being similar in many
respects to that of the Mount Taylor Period: hunting, fishing,
and gathering in the St. Johns River valley with occasional
hunting trips into nearby hardwood forests (1980:154). In
their view, the yearly round was split between the coast and
the river, with winter collection of coquina, some clams and
oysters, and fishing. Hunting of the standard Florida food
animals, deer, bear, wildcat, and otter along with collecting of
the smaller species like opossum, rabbit, and turtle would
have occurred near the coast. Winter resident sea birds
would have also provided some food. Winter camps are
suggested to have been occupied by no more than 25 or 30
people, and camps were often moved as local resources
exhausted. In the spring and summer, people would have
moved across the sandy terraces of pine flatwoods to return
to the St. Johns River.
Here, villages would have developed adjacent to or near
the river, especially at locations where the channel flowed
adjacent to dry upland bluffs rather than meandering through
swamps. Over the centuries of seasonal or permanent
settlement the continuous deposition of shellfish remains and
other refuse material formed large shell middens, themselves
forming new high ground in the floodplain. The use of
canoes, present in the archaeological record of the St. Johns
as early as 5,000 years ago, would have opened up large
bodies of water for exploitation, would have improved the
efficiency of travel for people, and would have allowed the
transport of comparatively large loads that previously could
only have been carried on the backs of people. In this sense,
the river is not only a new environment, it is, with the
technology of the canoe, also a potentially larger

environment. Until the introduction of the horse by the
Europeans nearly 3000 years later, travel and transportation
of goods on land would be limited to the distance one could
walk or run and the load one could carry. Not only did the
rivers and lagoons provide new sources of food and raw
material, they also facilitated communication and
transportation, as they would continue to do even into the
early twentieth century.
Several fundamental aspects of prehistoric life during
Late Archaic times are explained by reference to
environmental conditions as they changed through time.
Periods of great environmental change are most likely to
show significant cultural changes as people adapt to new
environments. While environmental change is sometimes
sufficient to explain culture change, there are also important
cultural developments that occur during times of
environmental stability. These may be attributed to more
successful adaptations to familiar environments through new
knowledge or new technology, whether invented or
introduced by way of contact with other groups. Neither
materialist nor idealist explanations of culture can alone
account for the vast degree of culture change in the
archaeological record, yet there are certain episodes of
profound environmental change that should be examined in
detail to account for changes in the way people live. Finally,
it is useful to keep in mind the great magnitude of
environmental as well a cultural change evident in the
archaeological record as we attempt to anticipate the
environmental and cultural consequences of our own effects
upon the modern environments which support our own ways
of life.

References Cited

Bloom, Arthur L.
1983 Sea Level and Coastal Changes. In Late-Quatemary
Environments of the United States, Volume 2 The
Holocene, edited by H.E. Wright, Jr., pp. 42-51.
University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Bullen, Ripley P.
1972 The Orange Period of Peninsular Florida. In Fiber-
tempered Pottery in Southeastern United States and
Northern Colombia: Its Origins, Context, and
Significance, edited by Ripley B. Bullen and James B.
Stoltman, pp. 9-33. Florida Anthropological Society
Publications 6. Gainesville

Bullen, Adelaide K. and Ripley P. Bullen
1961 The Summer Haven Site, St. Johns
The Florida Anthropologist 21(1):14-16.

County, Florida.

Clark, JA. and C.S. Lingle
1983 Predicted Relative Sea-level Changes (18,000 Years

B.P. to Present) Caused by Late-Glacial Retreat of the
Antarctic Ice Sheet. Quaternary Research 9:265-287.

Clench, W.J. and R.D. Turner
1956 Freshwater Mollusks of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida
from the Escambia to the Suwannee River. Bulletin of
the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 1(3):97-

Cumbaa, Stephen L.
1977 A Reconsideration of Freshwater Shellfish Exploitation
in the Florida Archaic. The Florida Anthropologist

Fairbridge, Rhodes W.
1961 Eustatic Changes in Sea Level. In Physics and
Chemistry of the Earth, Vol. 4., edited by L.H. Ahrens
and others, pp.99-185. Pergamon Press, New York and

Ferguson, G. E., C. W. Lingham, S. K. Love, and R. O.
1947 Springs of Florida. Geological Bulletin No. 31, Florida
Geological Survey, Tallahassee.

Fernald, Edward A. and Donald J. Patton, co-editors
1984 Water Resources Atlas of Florida. Institute of Science
and Public Affairs, Florida State University.
Tallahassee, Florida.

Griffin, John W. and James J. Miller
1978 Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge Cultural
Resource Assessment. Report on file, National Park
Service, Atlanta, GA.

Griffin, John W. and Hale G. Smith
1954 The Cotten Site: An Archaeological Site of Early
Ceramic Times in Volusia County, Florida. Florida
State University Studies 16:27-59.

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

Miller, James J.
1980 Coquina Middens on the Florida East Coast. The
Florida Anthropologist 33(1):2-16.

Rosenau, Jack C., Glen L. Faulkner, Charles W. Hendry, Jr.,
and Robert W. Hull
1977 Springs of Florida. Bulletin 31, Florida Department of
Natural Resources, Bureau of Geology. Tallahassee.

1984 Water Resources Data, Florida, Water Year 1983. U.S.
Geological Survey Water-Data Report FL-83-1A,
Volume 1A: Northeast Florida Surface Water. USGS
Water Resources Division, Orlando, FL.

White, William A.
1970 The Geomorphology of the Florida Peninsula.
Geological Bulletin No. 51, Florida Bureau of Geology,

James J. Miller
Bureau of Archaeological Research
Division of Historical Resources
R.A. Gray Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0250

United States Geological Survey



Michael Russo


A recent survey of the newly established Timucuan
Ecological and Historic Preserve located near the mouth of
the St. Johns River (Figure 1) has resulted in the
identification of Late Archaic sites of numbers, size and type
previously unexpected in the region (Russo et al. 1992). In
addition, the survey has resurrected the problem of
"transitional" zones in archaeology. Situated between cultural
heartlands of east Florida and Georgia, late prehistoric sites
in the Preserve often yield a mixed assortment of artifact
assemblages reflecting overlapping inter-regional cultural
occupations and "influence." In terms of ceramic chronology,
subsistence, and settlement, the region displays a unique
culture history from those regions surrounding it. This paper
outlines recent research and problems encountered in
defining cultures and cultural periods in the area.
Noting conflicting interpretations, this paper suggests
that for much of its prehistory, research would best be served
if the area were studied as a separate cultural entity. Parts or
all of the region and its culture history have previously been
assigned to at least nine culture area classifications. These
include St. Johns (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:147; Stirling
1936:354); East and Central Lake District (Milanich and
Fairbanks 1980:22-23); Lower St. Johns (Sears 1957);
Northern St. Johns (Goggin 1952, Griffin 1952; Larson 1958);
Northeast Florida (Miller 1991; Russo 1991c; Vernon 1984);
lower Georgia Coast (Cook 1977); Orange (Sassaman 1991;
Shannon 1986); Deptford Atlantic subregion (Milanich 1973);
Proto-Timucuan (Espenshade 1983); and the Timucuan or
Eastern Timucuan (Deagan 1978; Milanich 1978:59).
To avoid conflicting with previously described temporal
and spatial boundaries, a term is introduced here for the area
in which the Timucuan Preserve lies, the "St. Marys Region."
It refers to the coastal area extending from the Satilla River,
Georgia to below the mouth of the St. Johns River, Florida
and is bisected at the state border by the St. Marys River
(Figure 1). Of the previous culture area classifications that
refer to more than a single period, only Larson's boundaries
for the Northern St. Johns region include both the Florida
and Georgia areas. His boundaries are isomorphic with the
St. Marys region and the name "Northern St. Johns" might
arguably be used to describe the region. That name,
however, has been employed by Goggin (1952) to describe a
different region that included both coastal and St. Johns River
areas to the south as far as Volusia County and excluded

southern Georgia.
In addition to the spatial confusion, the term "Northern
St. Johns" serves to diminish the contributions of Georgia
archaeology to research affecting the northeast section of
Florida. Thus, the designation "St. Marys" is, in part,
intended to bound a unit of study in order to promote
research among areas of Florida and Georgia that are linked
by a common cultural heritage. The area has often been
considered of marginal interest because of its long history as
a "border" or "transitional" zone. As will be shown, some
cultures seem to be unique to the region, while others often
exhibit characteristics of numerous surrounding cultures.
Societies in boundary areas, however, are no less viable
entitities than those in cultural heartlandss." They are simply
more difficult to describe archaeologically. By delimiting the
area as a separate unit of study, its unique cultural
contributions as well as its boundary characteristics can be
Figure 2 presents some of the competing chronologies
for the region from Florida and Georgia with a chronology
for the St. Marys region based in large part on radiocarbon
dates obtained from the recent Timucuan Preserve survey
(Table 1) and from data collected from Kings Bay, Georgia
(Adams 1985; Smith et al. 1981). It is the intent of the
following to discuss some of the problems inherent in defining
the region's spatial and temporal affiliations.


The St. Marys region lies in the southern end of the Sea
Islands physiographic province. The islands within the
province are sandy, low islands set within a salt water marsh
characterized by cordgrass and needle rush. The higher
elevations are covered in maritime forests dominated by oak,
cedar, hickory, and cabbage palm. Lower elevations contain
wet flatwoods dominated by slash and other pines. The
majority of island edges and small intertidal marsh islands
are characterized by marsh grasses, sea oxeye, and occasional
sabal palms and cedars.

Archaeological Cultures and Periods

The Preceramic Late Archaic 3700-2300 B. C.

Prior to the Timucuan Preserve survey no definitive
preceramic "coastal" sites had been identified along the coasts


Vol. 45 No. 2

JUNE 1992

Figure 1. St. Marys Region and Location of Sites Cited in Text.



4 -I

St Johns

St Johns IB

St Johns IA


St Aug.



St Johns



St JohnsIIC

St Johns


St Johns

St Johns


........ ................. .......


St Savannah



3 : C
a k o
......... .......... n


Deptford ?






Trans- Trans- rns Trans-itiona ? 800 not assigned
itional itional itional
S1000 ____.....


1 4.



Orange? no dates

Orange I...."***"*""""""


Archai I c I.




Preceramic Late

not assigned




Orange III

Orange II

not assigned


St Johns IIB


Swift Creek



not assigned





Deptford 3

Deptford 2

St Johns

St Johns

St Johns








Savannah 1-2-3

St Catherines

Wilmington 2

Wilmington 1

Deptford 2

Deptford 1

Refuge 3

Refuge 2

Refuge 3

St Simons 2

St Simons 1

not assigned

St. Johns: Milanich and Fairbanks 1980; Amelia Island: Hemmings and Deagan 1973; Fort George Island: Dickinson and Wayne 1987;

Kings Bay1: Espenshade 1985; Kings Bay2: Borremans 1985; St. Simons Island: Milanich 1977; St. Catherines Island: DePratter 1979.

Figure 2. Comparative Chronologies from East Florida and Georgia.



Deptford 1

Orange 4

Orange 3

Orange 2

Orange I




of Georgia or east Florida (Hammersten 1988:9; Milanich
and Fairbanks 1980:150; Vernon 1984:96-97; cf. Bond 1988;
DePratter and Howard 1981; Goggin 1952:41-43; Hemmings
and Deagan 1973:56; Nelson 1918). Coastal sites, if they
existed at all, were assumed to have been drowned by a rising
sea level. Preceramic Archaic peoples were thought to have
been principally hunters and gatherers occupying interior
uplands and river valleys (Cumbaa 1976; Vernon 1984:95)
rather than coastal shellfish collectors and fisherfolk.
Archaeologists hypothesized that coasts were unproductive
and would not support extended or permanent settlement
(Goggin 1948:229; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:150; Miller
1991:135, 149).
Four sites in the Timucuan Preserve date to the
preceramic period based on corrected radiocarbon ages
(Table 1) obtained from midden oyster shell. These include
Oxeye Islands, 8Du7479 (2420 + 70 B.C., Beta 47531);
Pepper Island, 8Du7505 (2920 + 70 B.C., Beta 47533);
McGundo midden, 8Du7511 (2680 + 70 B.C., Beta 45924);
and the eastern section of Rollins Bird Sanctuary, 8Du7510
(2200 + 60, Beta 45925). In addition, the oldest date yet
found from a coastal midden in east Florida or Georgia (3620
+ 80 B.C., Beta 50153) was obtained from Spencer's Midden,
8Du5626, which borders the Preserve near Atlantic Beach.
Twelve other shell middens within the Preserve contain
preceramic components based on the absence of ceramics in
levels below Orange period strata.

McGundo Midden and Rollins Bird Sanctuary are large
mounded middens located on the large sea island of Fort
George. The other sites are small (less than 3 meters in
diameter) to large (greater than 100 meters in length)
intertidal marsh islands lying south and west of Fort George.
They are submerged at high tide, but at low tide, they can be
identified by the presence of the marsh shrub, sea oxeye,
which grows at the high tide mark upon the midden shell.
The middens extend from 20 cm to over a meter in depth and
are comprised predominately of oyster shell with variable of
amounts small fish remains. The presence of terrestrial snails
indicates their original deposition on dry land. The bones of
land mammals and freshwater turtles are rare compared to
Since these marsh island Preceramic sites lie wholly or
partially beneath high tide, sea level was undoubtedly lower
between 6000 and 4000 years ago. At one time, the sites lying
offshore from Fort George Island may have been connected
to the larger island. Isolated from these larger land masses,
they are disappearing beneath marsh sediments or are
eroding from tidal activity.
The two larger sites found on the southern third of Fort
George Island were mined for shell in the nineteenth and
early twentieth centuries. At one time the shell stood overten
meters high (Dickinson and Wayne 1987:6,33). On the
eastern side of Rollins Bird Sanctuary shell deposits up to
three meters in depth are eroding out of the high bluff

Beta- C-14 ( 11/14
Ana- Adjusted
ltic Age Adjusted A.D./BC Associated Artifacts Provenience Period
S B.P. Age B.P.


4753 82060 1240' 710 1 )ptford Check Stamp, 2 Sand Iempered Plain, I IU1/IA, Pelotes Island Seems too late.
753range May me mixed with Savannah midden D)cplford '
above See Beta# 47534
47537 106050 1410 540 Sand tempered Plain, 2 I)eptford Cross Simple IU6/,. Coffee Mond Depfo
Stamp iU6/A Co e Mound Deptford
33 Sand Tempered Plain, 15 Savannah Cord Mark, I EU1/L2, Peloles Island. Seems early
475 4 1080-50 1500' 450 Sand tempered Check Stamp. 1 St Johns Check May be mixed with Deptford midden be- Savannah ?
Stamp low Savannah levels? See Beta# 47536.
12 Sand tempered Plain, 8 Colorinda, 2 Sand
47S32 1160I10 1510 440 Tempered Stamped. 1 Deptford Check Stamp, 4 St FU4/13-6, Coffee Mound Colonnda
Johns Check Stamp, 1 St Johns Plain
5019S 3Vo600 17M0 1810 3 Orange 4850N/250 60-65 bs, Rolns Bird range
4755 M6060 3840 1890 11 St Johns Plain, 2 St Johns Stamp. 3 Savannah EU 1/13, Chapplle Midden Ceramics
4C75rd Mark3 1 Orange may he mixed mth lower Orange Orange '
(rd Mark, I Or e midden?
50154 385060 4210 2260 193 Orange 'IP 37/10-30cmbs, Cockfight site Orange
45925 3730tM6 4150" 2200 4750N/5251 100-120 cmbs, Rollins Bird Preram
47531 399070 4370 2420 IP3/60-80cmbs, Oxeye Islands Preceramic
45924 4210170 4630' 2680 EU4/1.18-19, McGundo Midden Preceramic
47533 4500170 4870 2920 TP1/0-30cmbs, Pepper Island Preceramic
90153 5210t80 5570 3620 EU 1/L18, Spencer's Midden Preceramic
SAll Dates obtained from oyster shell.
*Adjusments for C13/14 were not made by Beta Analytic. Subsequently adjustments of 420 years were added to C-14 age as recommended by Beta Analytic
based on averages of dates they have obtained in the region.

Table 1. Radiocarbon Dates' from the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve Archaeological Survey


shoreline. The midden runs for over a mile along the
southeastern shore of the island. How much of the midden
dates to the Preceramic is unknown, but the deepest deposits
in all test units failed to yield ceramics. The McGundo
Midden on the southwestern tip of Ft. George Island may
have connected with the preceramic component of the Rollins
Bird Sanctuary prior to the extensive damage it suffered from
mining. Today a historic tabby structure sits on top of the
remaining mounded midden.
The oldest site, Spencer's Midden, lies on the western
edge of the city of Atlantic Beach. It consists of an
oyster/coquina shell midden over a meter deep and 50 meters
in length surrounding what used to be a freshwater pond
prior to modern drainage. No ceramics were recovered from
extensive testing. Two stemmed Archaic points were
recovered by the property owner adjacent to the midden. The
radiocarbon age of 5570 B.P. (Table 1) makes it the oldest
known coastal midden on the southeastern seaboard.
Analyses of the zooarchaeological remains for
subsistence and seasonality have been undertaken on
Spencer's midden and other preceramic sites in the region
(Tables 2-4). These indicate multiple seasonal occupation
with emphasis on the collection of oyster, coquina and small
estuarine fish such as herring, pinfish, croaker and catfish.
Contrary to the notion that coquina are a strictly winter
resource (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:150; Miller 1980:12,
1991:158; Vernon 1984:99, 112; cf. Bullen and Bullen
1961:12), based on frequency of length measurements, the
coquina from Spencer's Midden were collected in the
summer, as is typical of Late Archaic sites (Hale 1984; Russo
et al. 1992; Russo and Ste. Claire 1992). Small estuarine
fishes were caught from spring through fall, and oyster was
collected during the winter. These data suggest that the coast
was occupied by Preceramic Archaic peoples throughout the
year. Larger sites probably served as permanent or
semipermanent villages. The unknown integrity of the
smaller marsh islands precludes determination of their
possible functions. They may be or may have once been
larger than their present surface expressions indicate.

Orange Period 2300-1000 B.C.

Fiber tempered ceramic cultures in both the St. Johns
area of Florida (Orange) and coastal areas of Georgia (St.
Simons and Sapelo) are viewed as having evolved from the
earlier Preceramic nomadic hunter/gatherers of the interior
coastal plain. Prior to the discovery of the Preceramic sites
from the Timucuan Preserve, it had been hypothesized that as
sea level rose, the coasts became inhabited for the first time
during the fiber tempered periods (Brooks et al. 1985;
DePratter and Howard 1981; Goggin 1948; Milanich and
Fairbanks 1980; Sassaman 1991; Thanz 1977). The models of
the initial coastal settlements, however, differ in detail
between Florida and Georgia.

In Florida, archaeologists suggest that the absence of
preceramic sites and the presence of relatively few fiber
tempered sites along the coast indicate that prior to and
during the Orange period, intensive occupation did not occur.
It has been hypothesized that interior peoples along the St.
Johns overexploited the St. Johns River resources and
gradually began exploiting coastal coquina seasonally during
the lean winter season. In this model, settlement on the coast
by Orange peoples was never permanent, but was only the
seasonal migration of interior groups (Cumbaa 1976;
Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:150; Thanz 1977; Vernon
In Georgia, many more coastal fiber tempered sites have
been recognized and included in the modeling of Archaic
settlement patterns. These sites include a wider range of
types than recognized in the Orange period model of Florida.
Artifact scatters, marsh shell middens, and shell rings
constitute a pattern of settlement that functionally represents
collecting and hunting stations, fishing and processing stations
and central base camps, and/or ceremonial centers
respectively (Marrinan 1975:95; Michie 1979; Sassaman
1991:68; Trinkley 1980:312; Waring 1968). Faunal and floral
evidence from these sites has been used to establish that the
coast was occupied permanently (Trinkley 1980:175). The
sizes of the sites indicate, however, that the settlements were
relatively small, perhaps 2 to 6 families per base camp
(DePratter 1979:37-38; Sassaman 1991:70). Unlike the
Florida model, the coastal inhabitants are seen as cultural
entities unto themselves rather than as seasonal visitors from
the interior (Sassaman 1991).
Which, if either, model does the St. Marys region best
fit? Neither can adequately account for the extensive,
numerous and diverse group of Orange sites that are found in
the Timucuan Preserve. These sites are represented by a
large mounded shell midden at McGundo Midden dating in
part to the Orange period, but largely destroyed. An
extensive series of mounded shell "rings" and crescents
reminiscent of the Georgia Archaic shell rings are found at
the Rollins Bird Sanctuary dating solely to the Orange period
based on ceramics and a single radiocarbon date (Table 1).
These rings are connected by mounded shell ridges up to
three meters high and are associated with level "plazas"
largely devoid of shell. Living areas are identified by hearths
on these level areas and within the mounded shell midden.
Together the complex of Orange deposits extends for a
quarter of a mile and may have originally extended over a
mile to the southern tip of Fort George Island (Corse n.d.)
Extensive sheet middens have been identified on elevated sea
islands (Pelotes, 8Du7523; Broward Island, 8Du7463), on the
tidal creek shores of low sea islands (Cock Fight site,
8Du7460), and on large intertidal marsh islands (Pepper
Island). Smaller intertidally drowned shell middens (Deep
Creek, 8Du7509; Channel Corporation Islands, 8Du7468;
Little and East Oxeye Islands, 8Du7480, 8Du7481), and

South Bunker EUI

---------9Cill71 Bluff



9Ct177 Harsh Feat 12
South Bunker EU2
Feat. 34
North Bunker Eu3
8Du634 JEA Borrow Feat. 4
Feat. 6
Feat. I
8Du669 Feat. 7
0Na41 Harrison Feat 52

B1a31 Piney Point
9Cl171 Bluff

Artesian Well

9Cml77 Harsh EU8 3
[1117 2



667 & 668




Feat I

Feat. 23

Feat. 6

802U460 Cockfight IP37"
6Ou7510 Rollins 4750525t

*()nly sample collcocd with 0.7 mm mesh screen. All other samples collected with 1.6 mm mesh.

Table 2. Se;lsons of Oyster Collection in the St. Marys Region, Florida/Georgia

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec PROVENIENCE UNIT LEVEL ID#

-- --- ------- ---- ----- --- -- -..8--- ----- 0u7491 Oglivie Pot TP31 Za90
8nul499 Planted Pine IP3&4 Za81
SPB Za46
3/4/7/8/11 57.50
BOu28 C(olor 'oint 301 7lt Zai4
-80,64 Ceder P'oint Noi th 440N/6fiW 2 adb
-----..- Za6
440N65W Za55
.. ---C.. --l 77 South Bunker
Fea 34
S. H ... .... Marsh Area
---------- -- N Bunker
BNa4ld Harrison 2286
.F----- ea. 52
-8H--- Na709 Crain Island
---..---...-....- ....... 8Du64 Cedar Point North 513N76E 4 Za69
---------- 5 Za70
-- -- ---- .-.. --. ........6 Za71
-.-----.----.---..- ... ... ZaZB
..-- -------- ----. -- .. --... .. -. ...... ..........500N25W Za56
--.--..-. 400N65E Za60
-------------..--...-..- 8Du7498 Jones EUI 2 Zal39

3 Zal41
-0u7484 Colphin Island surface ZalOl
8Na31 Piney Point Fea. 1 6
---------- 9Cmll7 Poisonberry
-------------- Artesian Well
-------. --- -i.. g Cedar *
96n57 Cannons Point

*After Ouitmycr 1985.

Table 3. Seasons of Quahog Collection in the St. Marys Region, Florida/Georgia

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec PROVENIENCE UNIT LEVEL ID#

.. ..

.1 ----------.


Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec PROVENIENCE UNIT LEVEL ID# SPECIES
-- 9GnS7 Cannons Pt uahog
-.--- 8Du7510 Rollins 4850N250E 19-20 Za43 Menhaden
---10-12 Za42 Menhaden
-. 4800N225E 3 Za10 Coquina
...-- ---- 8Du7460 Cockfight TP37 2-3 Za20 Oyster
--- 8Du7510 Rollins 4750N525E 10-12 Za45 Oyster
.--.---- -. -- 8u7511 McGundo TP4 7-10 Za40 Menhaden
Du5626 Spencer Fea 1 3-4 2.3/4 Menhaden

*Cannons Point is contemiptorancous with Orange and lies just north of the region, after Ouitmyer et al. 1985.
Table 4. Seasons of Fish and Shellfish Collection during the Late Archaic in the St. Marys Region, Florida/Georgia

East Oxeye Islands, 8Du7480, 8Du7481), and isolated ceramic
scatters with little or no associated shell (Neck site, 8Du7471;
Buckhorn Bluff, 8Du7473) have also been located. Other
surveys in the area commonly identify Orange components
within multicomponent shell midden sites (Dickinson and
Wayne 1987; Johnson 1988).
Three radiocarbon dates associated with Orange
deposits were obtained (Table 1). The date from the
Cockfight site is the earliest for a coastal Orange site and
rivals the preceramic age obtained from Rollins Bird
sanctuary. As such, it represents the earliest date from a
coastal fiber tempered site. This, together with the
Preceramic data obtained from the Timucuan Preserve,
suggest that Orange occupants were not newcomers or
seasonal visitors to the coast. The coast had been productive
and occupied for at least 1000 years prior to the adoption of
pottery. Based on seasonality determinations (Tables 2-4),
settlement was characterized by multiseasonal if not
permanent occupation of the coastal region. Base camps or
villages occurred on the larger sea islands such as Fort
George and Pelotes. These are characterized by large ring,
mounded, and sheet shell middens. The Rollins Bird
Sanctuary Orange site is particularly significant. The size and
structure of the complex indicates it may have served
additionally in some ceremonial context. Numerous small
shell midden and artifact scatters indicate that Orange period
activity was spread throughout the region.

Transitional-Refuge 1000 B.C. to 500 B.C.

In the St. Johns Region the Transitional period is seen
as a time between the Orange and the later St. Johns and
Deptford periods (Bullen 1959, 1971:63; Vernon 1984:102)
when pottery contained elements of both early and later
traditions. An example is St. Johns Incised which contains
designs reminiscent of the late Orange fiber tempered
ceramics but on a chalky St. Johns paste. Other ceramics
termed "semi-fiber tempered" contain a mixture of St. Johns
paste or sand tempered paste with additional small amounts

of fiber tempering (Bullen 1971:68, 64). In addition, the
incised motifs on Deptford and Pasco ceramics of
neighboring regions are thought to have been derived from
Orange period motifs (Bullen 1971:63, 1969:54). These and
other trade wares are seen as marker types of the
Transitional period in the St. Johns region.
Curiously, only one single-component Transitional site
has been identified on the east coast, and that in the extreme
southern portion of the St Johns region (Atkins and
MacMahan 1967; Bullen 1971). None are known in the St.
Marys region, although sites with pottery dating to the period
have been identified (cf. Miller 1991). Unfortunately, many
of the ceramic markers of the period are problematic.
Deptford ceramics, for example, thought to be trade wares
into the St. Johns region during the Transitional period
(Bullen 1969:54) are now generally recognized to have been
produced after 500 B.C., the end of the Transitional period.
In the St. Marys region, they are probably not trade wares
since actual Deptford occupations are ascribed to the area
(Bullen 1969:55, 1971; Milanich 1973). Their presence in sites
would indicate a post-Transitional occupation.
A basic problem with fiber tempered and "semi-fiber
tempered" wares is that formal descriptions of their
characteristics are intuitive and subjective (Shannon 1986:73).
These have not been open to objective verification. Many
fiber tempered Orange sherds also contain sand in their
paste, and the question remains as to when such sand
tempering signifies semi-fiber tempering. In the St. Marys
Region, the proximity to Stallings and St. Simons regions
whose earlier fiber tempered wares often contains sand
tempering (Shannon 1986) further complicates the use of
semi-fiber tempered wares as a temporal marker.
Chalky semi-fiber tempered wares are even more
problematic (Bullen 1971:68, 1969:53; Goggin 1952:97). Like
sand tempering, chalkiness is subjective. Sherds can appear
chalky to one observer and not to another. Sponge spicules
are the mineralogic components that make St. Johns wares
chalky, and under stereoscopic examination sponge spicules
are often absent in sherds identified as chalky semi-fibered

tempered (Cordell 1985). Since many wares in the southeast
are "chalky" for reasons other than the inclusion of sponge
spicules in paste (Borremans and Shaak 1986; Shannon 1985)
similarity between chalky semi-fiber tempered wares and St.
Johns pottery in east Florida may be incidental. The
correlation of semi-fiber tempered wares to a Transitional
period in the absence of more definitive temporal markers,
thus, may be inappropriate.
In Georgia the "transitional" period is referred to as the
Refuge phase. As in Florida, the time is seen as transitional
based on changes observed in ceramics. Fiber in St. Simons
wares is thought to be gradually replaced by sand and grit
tempers until fiber tempering is completely supplanted
(Depratter 1979:117; Espenshade 1985:304). Similarities in
incising and punctation between the two series are also
suggestive of an evolutionary connection. Eventually,
refinement in surface finish and changes in vessel shape
allowed for the gradual evolution of Refuge into Deptford
types (Depratter 1979:117). Deptford and Refuge phase
pottery is so similar that identification of Refuge sites may be
obscured (Borremans 1985:279; Depratter 1979; Saffer 1979).
In Georgia and South Carolina, many have
demonstrated clearly that sea level was lower during the
Refuge phase (Brooks et al. 1985; Colquhoun et al. 1980;
DePratter and Howard 1980, 1981). Most Refuge sites are
thus buried beneath present-day marsh sediments. They
suggest that estuaries were largely drained and subsistence
strategies changed to interior sites and a greater dependance
on terrestrial foraging and hunting (Colquhoun et al.
1980:152; DePratter and Howard 1980:12).
This subsistence pattern differs from the model
proposed for Florida which sees an uninterrupted pattern of
subsistence and settlement from that of the Orange period
(Bullen 1971:69; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:154-155;
Vernon 1984:104) seasonally dependent on coastal resources.
Bullen (1971:68-69) saw the period as one of definite
"geographical expansion and the movement of people and
ideas," but on the east coast of Florida the settlement pattern
remained largely unchanged from that he envisioned for the
Orange period ancestors, i.e., a "shell midden-village" way of
life supplemented by horticulture." Miller (1991:161) concurs
on the description of settlement and goes further and suggests
the period "marks the revolutionary change from hunting and
gathering to agriculture." At this point, these views represent
hypotheses. The paucity of sites of this period precludes any
definitive statement on settlement patterning. No evidence of
horticulture has been recovered.
Based on the evidence from Georgia, Transitional
period sites in the St. Marys region are probably buried
beneath marsh sediments or the Atlantic east of the present
day coast. This would explain their relative rarity in the
region. A slightly lower sea level, however, does not
necessarily equate with unproductive estuaries, and continued
exploitation of the coastal resources probably continued,

albeit in different locations. The estuaries would simply have
shifted further east. Today's lower marsh locations would
have become less productive upper marsh or freshwater
regimes. Since these were not the effective environments that
promoted long term settlement, less extensive occupations
are evidenced in the region than are found for those periods
when occupation of the coast took place during higher sea

Deptford/St. Johns I/Swift Creek 500 B.C. 800 A.D.

St. Johns I. South of the St. Marys region, St. Johns I
sites are defined by the dominance of plain chalky St. Johns
wares with Dunns Creek Red ceramics frequently present.
The St. Johns Ia early is distinguished from the later St. Johns
la and Ib periods by a paucity of associated trade wares in
burial contexts. Traded Deptford ceramics are more
common during the early St. Johns la, while Hopewellian
artifacts such as copper ornaments and clay pipes, and early
Swift Creek pottery are associated with the late St. Johns la
(Goggin 1952:48-49). By St. Johns Ib, late Swift Creek
complicated stamped and Weeden Island pottery replaces the
Hopewellian trade items in burials.
Little is known of the subsistence and settlement pattern
of the St. Johns I peoples. Goggin noted that for the first
time the center of settlement seems to have shifted from the
central St. Johns River valley north and to the coast. He
hypothesized that the shift was linked to the development of
estuaries capable for the first time of producing a sustainable
coastal resource, oysters, and that better horticultural lands
were found along the St. Johns River north of Palatka
(Goggin 1952:48; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:158; Miller
1991; Vernon 1984:105-106). Goggin (1952:69) based this
hypothesis, in part, on the ethnohistoric record. Milanich and
Fairbanks (1980:158-159) later expanded it by suggesting that
corn and other horticultural crops were grown along the river
in the summer, and shellfish were exploited along the coast in
the winter.
Whether or not the proposed St. Johns I settlement
pattern is applicable to the St. Marys region is problematic.
The idea that people from the St. Johns region moved out to
the central river valley to its lower reaches is not well
supported. This idea was based on the increase percentage
(16 of 21) of burial mounds dug by Moore (1895, 1922) near
Jacksonville which Goggin placed in the St. Johns I period
(Goggin 1952:48, 51). It is important to note, however, that
Moore did not distinguish between St. Johns and sand
tempered wares. Instead of using St. Johns Plain as a marker
for the cultural occupation, Goggin used Swift Creek and
Weeden Island ceramics, whose manufacture was assumed to
be foreign but contemporaneous with St. Johns I. Because
Moore emphasized the descriptions of decorated wares from
mounds, it is difficult to assess the relative presence of
"undecorated" plain wares, but they are usually the most


common sherds, along with Swift Creek wares. Two more
recent excavations of St. Marys regional mounds of this
period indicate that sand tempered wares (mostly plain) are
most common with St. Johns Plain being secondary, 34% and
17% respectively (LaFond 1983; Wilson 1965). No villages
characterized by a dominance of plain St. Johns wares have
been excavated (Goggin 1952:47).
Deptford. One reason for the abundance of sand
tempered wares in the St. Marys region may be due to
occupations by other non-St. Johns groups. Vernon
(1984:108-110) notes that the St. Marys region differs from
most of the St. Johns district to the south by the occupation of
Deptford groups from Georgia. The St. Marys region has far
more extensive estuaries than that of the central east Florida
coast and Vernon suggests that Deptford peoples, who were
dependent on aquatic resources, may have moved into
northeast Florida as far as the St. Johns River. While causes
for their movements are arguable (St. Johns people were
equally adapted to the exploitation of aquatic resources), the
Deptford distribution into north Florida has long been
recognized (Bullen 1969, 1971; Milanich 1973).
What types of Deptford sites exist in the St. Marys
region have not been described. At Greenfield Site #5,
8Du5541 (Johnson and Ste. Claire 1988) a "pure" Deptford
component has been identified, although not yet reported
(Robert Johnson, pers. com., March 1991). It consists of an
extensive spread of marine shell characterized by an
undulating surface of low-lyings ridges and mounds. The
depth of the shell is rarely more than 50 centimeters. Many
Deptford sherds have been recovered during surveys, but
single components have not been isolated (Dickinson and
Wayne 1987; Russo et al. 1992). Certainly, a number of the
mounds identified as St. Johns I by Goggin (1952) yielded
mostly sand tempered plain wares (Moore 1895) and might
more accurately be viewed as Deptford rather than St. Johns
I. LaFond (1983) identified Queen Mound, 8Dull0, as a
Deptford site. It yielded 82% Deptford sherds (77% of which
were plain) and 17% St. Johns Plain sherds, Although
researchers have continued to identify sites dominated by
sand tempered plain wares as St. Johns I sites (e.g., Lee et al.
1984:223; Sears 1957), the appropriateness of such a
designation is open to question given the usually smaller
presence of chalky St. Johns compared to sand tempered
wares in the region (cf. Goggin 1952:48-49).
Swift Creek. In the St. Marys region, Swift Creek
complicated stamped pottery has long been found in burial
mounds (cf. Moore 1895, 1897:10) but has typically been
viewed as trade from nearby Georgia or the Gulf coast region
(Goggin 1952:50). Some mounds, however, have contained
Swift Creek ceramics in sufficient quantity to suggest that
actual Swift Creek peoples lived at and constructed the
mound sites (Ashley 1992; Wilson 1965). It is not clear what
criteria are used to make such a determination, however,
since Swift Creek ceramics are rarely the dominant ware (cf.

Moore 1895:51). At the Mayport Mound (8Du96) St. Johns
sherds made up 34% of the ceramic assemblage while Swift
Creek complicated ceramics constituted 8%. Most of the
ceramics from the site were plain wares. Of the
reconstructible pots, 24% (6) were Swift Creek, 16% (4) St.
Johns, and 40% (10) were sand tempered wares of
contemporaneous or unknown periods of construction.
Recently archaeologists have identified Swift Creek sites
and "components" from midden sites in the St. Marys region.
At Kings Bay, Georgia, archaeological contexts containing
Swift Creek ceramics which ranged from 5% to 28% of the
total assemblages (Saunders et al. 1985:187, 189, 243-5, 273,
275) have been identified as Swift Creek sites or components.
Comparing complicated stamped to plain wares, Swift Creek
wares averaged 29% of the assemblage (Saunders et al.
1985:275). Along the St. Johns River Bluff, sites yielding
Swift Creek wares have been described variously as having St.
Johns I components (Johnson 1988:107, 112), being
contemporaneous with St. Johns I and Wilmington (Sears
1957:14, 15, 20, 29, 32), or as being actual Swift Creek sites
(Ashley 1992; Johnson 1988:109). From these ceramic
assemblages (>20 sherds) Swift Creek complicated stamped
ceramics constitute from 1% to 44%.
As has been shown, at most sites in the region during
the period, plain ceramics are the dominant types, and St.
Johns, decorated Deptford and Swift Creek complicated
stamped wares are always a minority, when present at all.
Partially for this reason, Sears (1957) called the period "plain
sand tempered." Although it is rarely explicitly stated (cf.
Saunders et al. 1985:194), archaeologists identifying sites in
the region as Swift Creek apparently view plain ceramics
when found in association with Swift Creek ceramics to have
been manufactured by Swift Creek potters. With this in
mind, the identification of sites as Swift Creek may be more
supportable. At some sites, combined plain and Swift Creek
complicated stamped sherds make up the dominant wares in
an assemblage. Des Jean (Saunders et al. 1985:194), for
example, states that although diagnostic Swift Creek ceramics
make up only 15% of the assemblage from the Poisonberry
area of the Kings Bay site, when combined with plain wares,
the "Swift Creek" constituent represents 88% of the
assemblage, which is a "sufficient indication that the area of
the site was predominantly Swift Creek." Certainly, a ceramic
assemblage from the Swift Creek heartland looks remarkably
similar (e.g. Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:120).
Within a "transitional" area, however, where sand
tempered plain wares are found in most assemblages together
with Deptford and St. Johns Plain sherds, the ascription of
any or all plain wares to a specific culture becomes more
problematic. In lieu of specific criteria for assigning those
wares to a particular culture, it becomes an arguable point as
to the cultural affiliation of those wares -- St. Johns, Deptford
or Swift Creek? LaFond (1983), for example, associated
sherd tempered plain sherds (11% of the total assemblage)

with Deptford occupations at the Queen Mound. Such sherds
may actually be the type Sears (1957, 1959) identified as
Colorinda, which he thought belonged to a separate, local
culture group.
Colorinda. "Colorinda" is a sandy paste ware tempered
with crushed St. Johns sherds. Sears believes the
manufacture of this pottery reflects influence from the
Wilmington cultures in Georgia who tempered their wares
with broken pottery. The wares were so common at sites on
the south side of the St. Johns river that Sears felt their use
superseded that of St. Johns Plain pottery during the St. Johns
Ib. He consequently determined the manufacture of the ware
to be unique to the lower St. Johns river and named that
period "Colorinda." The Timucuan survey revealed that
Colorinda wares are found across a wider area of the region
(Russo et al. 1992). A radiocarbon date associated with
Colorinda wares from the Coffee Mound, 8Du7472,
demonstrates contemporaneity with the St. Johns Ib period
(see Table 1).
The variety and dominance of plain wares in the region
may ultimately require technological analyses to distinguish
among them. In addition to Sears' formal description of the
Colorinda ware, Ashley (1992) suggests that plain wares with
charcoal or "hole" tempering (Sears 1957, 1959) are strongly
correlated with assemblages containing Swift Creek
complicated stamp wares. Cordell (1992a) notes the presence
of sponge spicules (a characteristic of St. Johns wares) can
also occur in the local sand tempered wares associated with
decorated Deptford ceramics, and further specifies the range
and character of paste and temper of these and Deptford
wares. Since plain wares are the most common ceramic in
the St. Marys region, these studies may ultimately serve to
identify cultural occupations specific to the St. Marys region.
Meanwhile, the problem of dealing with sites of the
period arises. The designation "Deptford/St. Johns I/Swift
Creek/Colorinda is awkward and not particularly heuristic.
Something like "St. Marys I" solves the problem with
awkwardness, but does nothing to enlighten us as to what the
apparent convergence of so many ceramic types in one region
might mean. It has not been suggested above that a single
culture of the period made or used the wide variety of
ceramics. It is only suggested that St. Johns I peoples, as
recognized in the St. Johns region by the dominance of St.
Johns Plain wares in their assemblages, are not similarly
recognizable in the St. Marys region.
Ironically, although the Swift Creek occupations in the
area are latest to be recognized, due to work at Kings Bay,
their settlement and subsistence patterns may be the best
known. Based on a limited data base, Des Jean, Quitmyer,
and Walker (1985) hypothesize that Swift Creek peoples built
communities with households arranged in arc patterns. This
is evidenced in the distribution of shell and fish refuse. One
oval structure 8 X 5 meters in size has been identified.
Habitation of the coast was permanent with the collection of

small estuarine fish and shellfish being the dominant
economic activity (Des Jean, Quitmyer and Walker 1985;
Quitmyer 1985).

Savannah/St. Johns II800 1500 A.D.

Similar problems concerning ceramic cultural affiliations
that characterize the earlier ceramic periods in the St. Marys
region also attend the period from 800 A.D. to contact.
Within the region, two neighboring cultural heartlands, the St.
Johns of Florida and the Savannah/Wilmington of Georgia,
seem to meet in some form of cultural "transition." St. Johns
II sites are thought to be dominated by chalky St. Johns Plain
and St. Johns Check Stamped wares (Goggin 1952:53;
Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:148; Vernon 1984:112), while
Savannah sites are dominated by sand tempered cord marked
and plain wares (Adams 1985; Lee et al. 1984). The frequent
admixture of Savannah and St. Johns ceramics in the region
has often resulted in treating the assemblages on a
managerial level as a single Savannah/St. Johns group
(Bullen and Griffin 1952; Dickinson and Wayne 1987, 1990),
or in viewing the peoples who manufactured these ceramic
types as a single or related cultural entity (Deagan 1978:93-
94; Espenshade 1985:333; Smith et al. 1981:610; Walker
1985). Equally frequently sites may be said to contain both
Savannah and St. Johns II "components," "influences," or
other such terms (Johnson 1988).
Often overlooked, Goggin (1952:56) noted that St. Johns
II sites in the St. Marys region differ from those to the south
in that they often yielded "an unnamed plain gritty ware," and
cord marked sherds, some of which resembled the Savannah
form. Sites yielding these wares in combination with St.
Johns Plain and St. Johns Check Stamped sherds are often
classified as St. Johns II sites (Goggin 1952; Sears 1957;
Larson 1958:16; cf. Hart and Fairbanks 1982:84). The
implicit assumption behind such designations would seem to
be that St. Johns II period peoples in the St. Marys region
differed from their relatives to the south in that in addition to
St. Johns wares, they also manufactured sand tempered plain
wares. No one has ever suggested such a scenario, however.
A likely explanation for the absence of discussion on the
matter is that sand tempered plain wares are considered
ubiquitous and thus not useful as temporal or spatial markers,
or they are considered trade wares. Goggin (1952:180)
stressed that the addition of St. Johns check stamping was the
ceramic hallmark of the St. Johns II occupations in the
Others suggest that separate occupations by St. Johns
and Savannah peoples may account for the mixed
assemblages found in the region (Borremans 1985:284;
Hardin and Russo 1987:32; Larson 1958, Saunders 1989).
Borremans notes that St. Johns wares at certain Savannah
sites in the region are relatively rare, while at nearby sites
they dominate the ceramic assemblages. Such a distribution


may indicate occupation of the region by separate groups at
separate times so closely spaced as to be archaeologically
Saunders (1989) suggests a reason for the particular
assemblages found in the region. She notes that early sites
are characterized by more even distributions of Savannah and
St. Johns Check Stamped wares, while later sites are
dominated by Savannah Cord Marked pottery. Saunders
(1989) notes that check stamping may have served as a
symbol of cultural identity and that the absence of Savannah
Check Stamping in the St. Marys region (which is common in
Georgia) may be due to the fact that a similar design is found
on St. Johns wares. She suggests that through time, Savannah
ware manufacturers in the region simply attempted to
maintain a separate cultural identity by abandoning the use of
check stamping. Under this scenario, the "pure" St. Johns
sites and the "pure" Savannah sites are seen as the result of
two cultures living in close proximity, while the "mixed" sites
result from trade relationships. Mixed assemblages occur
early, while the purer assemblages occur later as competition
increased and cultural identities needed to be maintained.
The criteria for distinguishing between "pure" and
"mixed" ceramic assemblages is problematic. At "pure"
Savannah sites, occupations are most often identified by an
"abundance" of cord-marked Savannah pottery. At the two
JEA sites, the presence of cord marked wares in abundances
ranging between 20% and 40% each initially helped define
the sites as Savannah (Lee et al. 1984:140, 226). Savannah
occupations are described at a number of areas within the
Kings Bay region of Georgia based on the presence of cord
marked wares (Des Jean, Walker, and Saunders 1985:102,
120; Smith et al. 1981:910; Walker 1985:69) which usually
make up between 30 and 50% of the sand tempered wares.
At these sites sand tempered plain wares frequently occur in
numbers greater than cord marked wares. It is implicit that
they are associated with Savannah cultures, and are not trade
wares. St. Johns ceramics are not found or represent minor
At "mixed" sites, sand tempered plain wares often
dominate the assemblages with lesser amounts of St. Johns
Check Stamped or Savannah Cord Marked wares present. At
Walker Point, 8Na28, 42% of the sherds were sand tempered
plain, 32% St. Johns Plain and Check Stamped, and 8%
Savannah Cord Marked. The site was linked culturally to the
St. Johns II period (Hemmings and Deagan 1973). At Piney
Point, 8Na31, 50% St. Johns wares, 25% sand tempered plain
and 18% Savannah wares resulted in a similar classification as
a St. Johns II period site (Hardin and Russo 1987:32). From
survey level data, such mixed assemblages are reported in the
variety of ways outlined above that serve to associate sites
with a period of time rather than a culture (Bullen and Griffin
1952; Russo et al. 1992; cf. Dickinson and Wayne 1987:7.2).
Surprisingly, few definitive St. Johns II occupations have
been identified through stratigraphically controlled

excavations at any habitation site in the region. St. Johns
wares are a minority or of about equal distribution relative to
sand and grit tempered wares (Hardin and Russo 1987:25;
Hemmings and Deagan 1973:42; Smith et al. 1981:442, 668).
One exception to the general rule is found at Old Town,
8Na9, on Amelia Island where a dominance (1029 to 708) of
chalky wares is noted (Bullen and Griffin 1952:50). The
Timucuan survey (Russo et al. 1992) has also identified strong
St. Johns II components at the Cedar Point North, 8Du64,
and the adjacent Jones site, 8Du7498, on Black Hammock
Island. Perhaps significantly, all three of these sites may have
been occupied relatively late in the period based on the
mixture of St. Johns and the protohistoric San Marcos
ceramics at the Black Hammock sites (Russo et al. 1992) and
the possible location of the early Spanish mission Santa Maria
de la Sena at Old Town (Rebecca Saunders, pers. com.,
December 1991).
The questions arise then, are the sand tempered plain
wares part of the Savannah series and evidence for Savannah
occupations? Or are they part of typical St. Johns II
assemblage and evidence for St. Johns occupations. A limited
discussion of the possible local manufacture of sand tempered
wares was recently begun at Piney Point. There less than 1%
of the sherds were sand tempered plain. Twenty-four percent
were classified as sand tempered plain with sponge spicules
present. Sponge spicules are constituents in clay which gives
St. Johns wares their distinctive chalky feeling (Borremans
and Shaak 1986). These spicule laden clays and thus St.
Johns ceramics are thought to be limited to the St. Johns
region (Espenshade 1985:305-306). Thus, the sand tempered
wares from Piney Point might more appropriately be termed
Sandy St. Johns wares. Such wares are not always or usually
"chalky," and the identification of the sponge spicules most
often requires microscopic examination. Such examination
was not conducted on those sherds identified by Goggin
(1952) as plain gritty wares often associated with St. Johns II
sites in the St. Marys region. It is, perhaps, inquiries such as
these that may help solve the problem of local origin and
cultural affiliation of the regional plain wares.
To this end, Cordell (1992a) has also shown that plain
wares associated with Savannah wares of the JEA sites
variably contain sponge spicules. In addition, a microscopic
reexamination of a few of the ceramics identified as Savannah
Check Stamped from the Piney Point site, a rare type for the
St. Marys region (Saunders 1989) has shown that nearly all
contain sponge spicules and might better be classified as
Sandy St. Johns than as Savannah (Donna Ruhl, pers. com.,
January 1992). These data may ultimately serve to distinguish
local from traded Savannah wares and help solve the
problems of cultural affiliations of regional sites.
As they have been traditionally described, neither
Savannah nor St. Johns II ceramic assemblages characterize
the region. Savannah and sand tempered sherds variably
contain sponge spicules in their paste and may be less gritty

than types from Georgia (Caldwell and Waring 1968:127).
Some "St. Johns" sherds may be more sandy than traditionally
thought. And assemblages may be dominated by plain wares.
As Hemmings and Deagan (1973:46) suggested for the
Walker Point site, the majority of evidence indicates that in
the St. Marys region "sandy plain pottery was ... in addition
to St. Johns Plain, the utility ware for the inhabitants" --
whoever they were.
Other characteristics that distinguish the region can be
found in site types and settlement patterns. Large truncated
mounds such as Grant and Shields (Moore 1895) on the
southern bank of the St. Johns River evidence Mississippian
influence, but elsewhere in the region such large mounds have
not been found. These two mounds have been linked to St.
Johns II cultures based principally on Mississippian trade
items and resemblances to the Mt. Royal mound in the
central St. Johns River valley (Goggin 1952). Given the
atypical St. Johns period ceramic assemblages from regional
middens, such identification based largely on trade foreign
artifacts may be problematic. Moore (1895) notes both the
presence of check stamped and cord marked sherds at the
Shields Mound, 8Dul2, in assemblages otherwise dominated
by plain wares. Since chalkiness and sandiness of the plain
wares is unspecified (Moore emphasized the collection of
"freak" wares over utilitarian wares), we may never be able to
distinguish between alternative possible cultural associations
of many of the mounds he investigated. The Grant Mound,
8Du14, may be an exception to this. It has been destroyed
recently by development, and Robert Thunen (pers. com.,
January 1992) has collected stratified ceramic data from the
midden contexts beneath and surrounding it. Preliminary
indications hint at a strong St. Johns II assemblage (i.e. an
abundance of check stamping), although the relative
proportions of the chalky and sandy plain wares that might
help distinguish between a St. Johns tradition or a St. Marys
tradition has yet to be defined.
Elsewhere in the region, only the Walker Point mound
has been investigated using controlled stratigraphic
excavations (Hemmings and Deagan 1973). Its assemblage
has previously been discussed as "mixed." Bullen and Griffin
(1952:46; Moore 1922:55-68) identify only one other burial
mound on Amelia Island dating to this period, although other
low sand mounds of unknown cultural association are noted.
Goggin (1952:58) lists only one other mound beside the Grant
and Shields mounds as definitely dating to the period.
Hammersten (1988:82) lists only one on Talbot Island.
The paucity of sand burial mounds in the region,
particularly those definable as Savannah, is, on one hand,
surprising given the abundance of Savannah wares in
middens, but perhaps expected given the lack of controlled
excavations. If, however, the region represents a "borderland"
during most of late prehistory characterized by movements
back and forth between competing populations, the
construction of large ceremonial structures may have been

restrained. Only Savannah shell midden sites, and no burial
mounds, have been found south of the St. Marys River
(Vernon 1984:117), while in Camden County, Georgia, two
mounds dug by Moore (1897) have been linked to St. Johns II
construction based on copper artifacts similar to those found
in mounds of the St. Johns region (Larson 1958:16-17).
Outside the region, Savannah mounds are characteristically
low with a central pit covered by a shell core. The mound fill
and burial ceramics are various Savannah types, including
plain sand tempered wares (Larsen and Thomas 1986:40-41).
Shell midden sites are numerous. There seems to be a
clinal distribution with more "pure" Savannah sites located
north on Amelia Island and in south Georgia (Adams 1985;
Russo 1991a; Saunders 1987), and more "pure" St. Johns II
sites located on the south bank of the St. Johns River
(Johnson 1988; Sears 1957). In between, mixed assemblages
are the hallmark (Dickinson and Wayne 1987, 1990; Russo et
al. 1992). Exceptions, occur and "pure" Savannah
assemblages have been identified near the St. Johns River
(Lee et al. 1984), while "mixed" St. Johns II/Savannah sites
are found on Amelia Island and in south Georgia (Bullen and
Griffin 1952; Hardin and Russo 1987; Hemmings and Deagan
1973; Smith et al. 1981:428, 442).
These midden sites include extensive sheet middens,
isolated shell deposits, and series of "house" middens
(Dickinson and Wayne 1987; Johnson 1988; Russo et al.
1992). However, no large mounded middens characteristic of
the St. Johns heartland and dating to the period have been
identified (Moore 1894:5-6). The few large mounded
middens in the area seem to date to earlier periods (Russo et
al. 1992; cf. DAHRM 1980:40).
Larson (1958:12-13) notes that small scattered middens
characterize the contact period Guale Indians in Georgia in
contrast to the "huge shell middens and carefully constructed
burial mounds and occasionally truncated pyramidal mounds"
of St. Johns sites. As shown, such St. Johns manifestations
seem muted in the St. Marys region, but Larson's description
of Guale sites characterizes many of the Savannah sites in the
region (Adams 1985; Russo et al. 1992; Smith et al. 1981).
When these overlie previous occupations, they may appear as
contiguous sheet middens (e.g., Russo et al. 1992:8Du7523).
When they do not, they may appear as small discontiguous,
but often closely spaced shell middens occasionally mounded
to about 50 centimeters in height (e.g. Lee et al. 1984; Russo
et al. 1992: 8Du7495-6, 7499-7501). Sheet midden sites also
commonly yield varying amounts of St. Johns Check Stamped
sherds alone and in combination with Savannah sherds
(Dickinson and Wayne 1987; Johnson 1988; Sears 1957).
Questions pertaining to subsistence and the seasonal
occupations of these sites have been addressed at Kings Bay.
All Savannah sites are characterized by the exploitation of
shellfish (predominantly oyster) and small estuarine fish
(Quitmyer 1985; Russo 1991a). Seasonal indicators of these
resources suggest a year-round occupation of the coast (see


Tables 2,3), although individual sites may have been occupied
only seasonally. By measuring the seasonal growth
increments of the small parasitic snail, Boonea impressa,
(Russo 1991a) it was determined that oysters were collected
during summer and fall. (The methods of recovery [1.6 mm
mesh screen] of the samples prohibits a definitive measure of
spring collection when the snails are their smallest). Quahogs
were collected in spring and winter and also throughout the
year. Although the samples for St. Johns II sites, including
the "mixed" St. Johns/Savannah Piney Point site, are fewer, a
similar pattern is observable.
These seasonal data are significant because current
models of settlement and subsistence view St. Johns and
Savannah peoples in terms of seasonal agricultural corn
production in which the coast is abandoned by a large
segment of the population after the growing season (Crook
1986; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:158-159, 166). In the St.
Marys region limited evidence for corn production is known
(Lee et al. 1984), further suggesting a distinct settlement and
subsistence pattern.

Protohistoric-Mission 1492 A.D. 1704

The Protohistoric/Mission period is arbitrarily defined
as that period of time beginning at first Spanish contact in the
New World and extends to Col. Moore's raids and the
effective end of the mission system in La Florida in 1704. In
the region, archaeological sites are distinguished from earlier
sites by the presence of European ceramics and San Marcos
wares associated with the Guale natives who moved down
from Georgia around 1650. However, early Protohistoric
contexts may contain mostly Savannah and/or St. Johns wares
of local Timucuan groups.
"Timucua" is a term identifying a number of political
groups in north Florida and southeast Georgia at historic
contact loosely related by an apparent common linguistic
heritage, although dialectically distinct (Deagan 1978). The
region from the St. Marys to the St. Johns Rivers is associated
with the Timucuan Saturiwa group who manufactured St.
Johns wares as utilitarian pottery (Deagan 1978:90). North of
the St. Marys river to the Satilla river, a number of separate
Georgian Timucuan groups resided on the islands and
mainland. The utilitarian wares are sand tempered and cord
marked (read Savannah) (Deagan 1978:93-94). The
Tacatacuru of Cumberland Island are noted for making a
sherd tempered plain and cob marked pottery similar to
contemporary pottery on the north Georgia coast (Deagan
1978:101; Milanich 1971).
Although the St. Marys region was occupied by
linguistically related groups, they used differed ceramics,
reflecting to a great degree the St. Johns/Savannah
dichotomy that preceded historic contact. Problems
associated with the earlier mixtures of ceramics, of course,
follow into the succeeding Protohistoric period.

Consequently, specific protohistoric components are often
difficult to separate from prehistoric components. The
general trend for Georgia populations to move into the
region, first Timucuan and later Guale with their San Marcos
wares, accelerated this conflation of ceramic types.
Excavations on Amelia island have revealed
predominately Savannah ceramics rather than the expected
St. Johns wares in the village and mission sites (8Na41)
preceding and intermixed with San Marcos wares (Hemmings
and Deagan 1973:12; Russo 1991a:218). Elsewhere, at the
Jones and Cedar Point North sites, St. Johns ceramics are
found in direct association with San Marcos wares at the
possible location of the Santa Cruz visit (Russo et al. 1992).
At the nearby mission of San Juan del Puerto, 8Du53,
Dickinson and Wayne (1985:5.3) note a paucity of St. Johns
ceramics in a village dominated by San Marcos wares.
Deagan (1978:104) notes that Tacatacuru ceramics are
evidenced at that same mission on Fort George Island
(McMurray 1973). Obviously the particular aboriginal
ceramic assemblage at a given protohistoric site reflects
specific chronological events associated with specific
definable groups. Until these are more clearly understood,
the general aboriginal cultural manifestations may be referred
to as Protohistoric.
Most investigations in the region have been
architecturally oriented or otherwise focused on the recovery
of Spanish-related artifacts (Jones 1967; McMurray 1973;
Saunders 1991) with the consequence that sites away from
immediate Spanish influence have been little studied (cf.
Hemmings and Deagan 1973) in terms of native American
subsistence, overall settlements, and material culture. In
Georgia, away from mission contexts, protohistoric middens
seem to be "irregularly shaped non-contiguous, thin shell
deposits" (Larson 1978:132; Walker 1985:70). In Florida, this
seems to describe the character of the protohistoric
components of the Jones and Cedar Point sites (Russo et al.
1992) as well as the associated villages of San Juan del Puerto
(Dickinson and Wayne 1985:5.1-5.3) and Santa Maria
(Hemmings and Deagan 1973:29-30). Unfortunately, as has
been discussed, such a generalized "pattern" describes a
number of other cultural deposits, including those of
Deptford and Savannah periods.
Surprisingly little subsistence archaeology other than
species lists (Hemmings and Deagan 1973) has been done on
mission period sites within the St. Marys region. At Kings
Bay, 1/4" screened material was identified, and a pattern of
exploitation of estuarine resources noted (Smith et al.
1981a:520-524). The authors correctly note that the reliance
on fish was probably greater than their sample indicated since
1/4" screen does not recover most fish remains. No seasonal
measures were noted. Later work at the Kings Bay and
nearby Devils Walking Stick sites recovered fauna with 1/16"
screen and identified protohistoric economies heavily
dependant on exploiting small estuarine fish and shellfish

(principally oyster) (Ouitmyer 1985:78-80). No season of fish
collection was metrically determined except to note the some
of the fish were of a size and abundance that would indicate a
spring to fall period of collection (Quitmyer 1985:89).
Quahog and oyster from Protohistoric contexts indicated
multi-seasonal or year-round occupations along the coast (see
Tables 2,3).
Most models of protohistoric settlement and subsistence
are derived from ethnohistorical rather than archaeological
data. Several historic accounts (e.g. Laudonnire 1975) have
suggested to archaeologists that Timucuans of the period
practiced transhumant settlement with movement away from
the coast to interior forest to hunt during the fall and winter
(Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:226; Vernon 1984:119; Walker
1985:64), although later missionaries discouraged such
movements (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:226). Larson
(1978:122-123) notes a similarity with the Guale.
However, it is also suggested (Larson 1978:133,
1980:226) that the historic Guale were permanent residents of
the coast dependant more on corn horticulture than the
people who preceded them, but still exploited shellfish to a
great degree. He suggests that due to the high tides of the
Georgia and South Carolina coasts, fishing using weirs and
netting was less viable than in neighboring regions, and thus
agriculture became more significant in the economy of the
It must be noted that the data upon which Larson's
model was based come from north of the St. Marys region.
The degree to which horticulture was practiced has not been
determined archaeologically in the St. Marys region. It is
unknown if the Guale increased their fishing activities when
they moved into this region which is noted for its exploitable
estuaries (Larson 1980:227). Certainly the archaeological
evidence from the Kings Bay sites demonstrates a heavy
dependance on estuarine resources as in earlier periods at
sites not directly connected to missions. As in earlier periods,
models of behavior based on direct historic analogies do not
always mesh with archaeological data in the St. Marys region.


Problems associated with interpreting the archaeological
record in the St. Marys region have been outlined above.
Historically, three anthropological perspectives have been
used to characterize the region. Traditionally, it has been
seen as a border area in which competing cultures from
central east Florida and coastal Georgia won and lost
territory in an as yet poorly understood chronological
sequence. The sequence went something like this: Orange
peoples (Florida) were replaced by Deptford peoples
(Georgia) who may have lost a little territory for a short while
to St. Johns I cultures (Florida), only to be met by Swift
Creek folks (Georgia/Florida?) who were joined or replaced
by indigenous people who made Colorinda pottery, and who

themselves were replaced by another Florida culture, St.
Johns II or Savannah groups from Georgia who ultimately
lost the territory to St. Johns II groups shortly before historic
contact, only to be replaced by the Georgia Guale subsequent
to demise of indigenous cultures under Spanish influence.
Under this view, cultures are seen as competitors for
Another view sees the area as a "transitional" zone in
which "influence" from neighboring regions is manifest in
ceramics exhibiting characteristics of both Georgia and
Florida wares. Pottery such as the sandy paste/St. Johns
sherd tempered Colorinda; sandy St. Johns; and sponge
spicule bearing Savannah and Deptford wares seem to reflect
a melding of the two neighboring cultural regions. Implicitly,
cultural diffusion and acculturation are the operative
mechanisms that foster change.
A third perspective is offered. The cultures in the region
are unique from those surrounding them. For one, the
Preceramic occupation of the coastal zone serves to
distinguish the St. Marys region from its neighbors. In
addition, coastal Orange period settlement patterns in the
region are more complex and permanent than previously
thought for east Florida, and may serve to distinguish the
local societies from their contemporaries. In post Archaic
periods, the manufacturers of Colorinda and "charcoal"
tempered wares have been viewed by some as separate and
distinct peoples from those surrounding them. Beyond these
more obvious "unique" cultures, the perspective holds that
even the most mixed, "transitional" cultures such as the
Deptford/St. Johns/Swift Creek or the Savannah/St. Johns
are unique and separate entities. The cultures were simply
groups that were involved with more than one pottery
Undoubtedly to some extent all perspectives hold truth.
Currently, the meager regional data base does not allow a
definitive assessment among alternative interpretations for all
cultural periods. The point of this paper, however, is that the
view of cultures as unique has not been adequately addressed.
The cultures in the region are too often classified as
"transitional" and relegated to a marginal status of historic
importance and archaeological study simply because their
ceramics do not fit neatly into existing typologies. In such
contexts, the use of the term "transitional" may serve to
obfuscate separate and distinct cultural identities. Most
certainly it retards further investigations. For transitional
areas such as the St. Marys region, we need to get past
classifying cultures on the basis of decorated wares if we are
to gain an accurate understanding of the region's prehistory.
The distinct ceramics and ceramic assemblages of the St.
Marys region may be either the result of differing resource
bases or conscious decisions to make distinctive wares. In
either case, ceramic differences are the primary tool
archaeologists use to identify distinct cultures. That tool has
not been used to full effectiveness in the St. Marys region.


Due to a dependence on decorated wares as cultural markers,
most archaeologists view the unique potteries of the region as
variants of neighboring ceramics. It has been shown recently,
however, that technological attributes, even of plain wares,
can prove equally useful in distinctions in regional wares
(Cordell 1992a,b; Russo et al. 1989; Saffer 1979, 1980). Such
studies are needed in the St. Marys region.
Ultimately, however, archaeologists need not be
dependent on ceramics alone to identify distinct cultures.
Settlement and subsistence data can be used to determine
characteristic site types, locations, periods of settlement, and
exploitation patterns. If specific patterns are distinct in a
given geographic areas from those in other areas, then it can
be inferred that the people who lived in those regions were
separate cultural entities. The Late Archaic populations in
Florida provide the best example of this approach.
The Late Archaic has long been discussed as if it were a
single entity. Due to an absence of ceramics in the
Preceramic, and the presence of only Orange wares in the
Orange period, markers to distinguish among separate
cultures have not been identified. The result has been that
Late Archaic sites of any given period are treated as if they
are the seasonal components of a single annual pattern of
exploitation and settlement, i.e. they are one part of a larger
whole society. It has been shown (Russo 1991b; Russo et al.
1993) that both coastal and riverine sites were occupied
throughout the year during the Late Archaic and the people
were exploiting distinctively different resources. Thus, by
definition, the people in both zones could not be the same
hypothesized bands moving seasonally among resources.
In addition, burial patterns vary among sand mounds,
shell middens, and cemeteries in the Late Archaic, and these
differences further serve to distinguish among separate
cultural groups (Jahn and Bullen 1978; Jones 1981; Russo
1991b). Based on these differences in burial patterns, tool
technologies, subsistence exploitation patterns and the year-
round occupation of often widely separated geographical
areas, it is clear that separate and distinctive cultural groups
existed in Florida along the the state's southwest coast, the
upper St. Johns River valley, the middle St. Johns River, the
Atlantic east coast of Florida (Russo 1988, 1991b), and on the
basis of the Timucuan survey results, the coastal St. Marys
region. The same approach can be used to distinguish among
cultures within and adjacent to the St. Marys region during
the ceramic periods.
In the St. Marys region, chronometric and ceramic
chronologies will need to be refined prior to and in
conjunction with settlement and subsistence analyses in order
to define specific cultural occupations. Obviously, subsistence
strategies cannot be determined for Swift Creek or Colorinda
or Deptford sites until we determine the degree to which sites
with these ceramic series are or are not related. On the other
hand, because of the confusion caused by ceramics which are
similar but differ technologically from those identified in

neighboring regions, we may need to employ subsistence
patterns to help determine cultural identities. The kinds of
resources, methods of exploitation, and seasons of collection
are cultural signatures as valid as the decorated pottery
traditionally used by archaeologists to distinguish cultures.
These difficulties in interpreting areas of "transition" need not
dissuade us from the endeavor. Solutions to issues which
were raised above may not only help solve practical
archaeological concerns within the region, but can lead to a
better archaeological understanding of diachronic questions
of acculturation and diffusion.


Thanks go out to the editor and anonymous reviewer
who provided important suggestions to improve the original
manuscript. Also thanks go to Donna Ruhl, Ann Cordell, and
Becky Saunders who read earlier versions. Thanks go to
Robert Johnson, Keith Ashley, William Jones, and Robert
Thunen who allowed me access to their unpublished data.
Special thanks go to the Southeastern Archeological Center
and the Florida Museum of Natural History for their
continued research and funding of the Timucuan
Archeological survey. Gracias Team Timu.

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1973 The Southeastern Deptford Culture: A Preliminary
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1977 A Chronology for the Aboriginal Cultures of Northern
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Miller, James
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1895 Certain River Mounds of Duval County, Florida.
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1897 Certain Aboriginal Mounds of the Georgia Coast.
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Nelson, Nels C.
1918 Chronology in Florida. American Museum of Natural
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from Horr's Island. PhD. dissertation, Department of
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1989 Phase III Archaeological Excavations at Edgewater
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1980 Technological Analysis of Some Sapelo Island Pottery:
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Sassaman, Kenneth
1991 Economic and Social Contexts of Early Ceramic Vessel
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Massachusetts, Amherst.

Saunders, Rebecca
1987 Modeling Coastal Adaptation: Minimizing Maximizing
Error. Manuscript on file with the author, Gainesville.

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the 1989 Meeting of the Society for Georgia

1991 Architecture of the Missions Santa Maria and Santa
Catalina de Amelia. The Florida Anthropologist 44:126-

Saunders, Rebecca, Thomas DesJean, and Karen Jo Walker
1985 Descriptive Archaeology of the Kings Bay Site
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Archaeology of the Kings Bay Locality, vol. 1, edited by
William H. Adams, pp. 169-293. University of Florida,
Department of Anthropology Reports of Investigations
1. Gainesville.

Sears, William H.
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Museum Contributions, Social Sciences 2, Gainesville.

1959 Two Weeden Island Period Burial Mounds, Florida.
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Shannon, George W., Jr.
1986 The Southeastern Fiber-Tempered Ceramic Tradition
Reconsidered. In Ceramic Notes 3, edited by Prudence
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Smith, Robin L., Chad O. Braley, Nina T. Borremans, and
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Thanz, Nina
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Michael Russo
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Southwestern Louisiana
P.O. Box 40198
Lafayette, Louisianna 70504-0198


Keith H. Ashley


The results of a series of recent archaeological
investigations have demonstrated that Swift Creek pottery
was more common along the lower St. Johns River than
originally anticipated (Johnson 1988; Ashley and Johnson
1990; Russo 1991a, 1991b; Ashley 1991). In the past, limited
quantities of Swift Creek pottery have been recovered from
multicomponent sites within northeast Florida, but the
regional significance of this ceramic type seems to have been
underestimated. The intent of this paper is to examine our
current state of knowledge concerning Swift Creek
manifestations along the lower St. Johns River. An overview
of past research at sites containing Swift Creek ceramics in
the Jacksonville area will be presented, as well as preliminary
results derived from an ongoing reanalysis of artifacts
recovered from the Dent Mound (8Du68) during the years
1977-1984 (Lafond n.d.). Finally, a hypothetical model
explaining the presence of early and late Swift Creek pottery
types within the lower St. Johns is presented.

Lower St. Johns River

The lower St. Johns lies within the northern extent of the
St. Johns or East Florida culture area (Goggin 1952; Milanich
and Fairbanks 1980). Definition of this area as an
archaeological district was alluded to, but never explicitly
defined by Sears (1957, 1959). For the purpose of this paper,
the lower St. Johns will refer to the terminal segment of the
northern St. Johns River valley, from downtown Jacksonville
to the Atlantic Ocean (Figure 1). From its mouth at
Mayport, the waterway's low gradient combined with daily
tidal flow allows the river to remain brackish for over 100
miles upstream (McLane 1955; Anderson and Goolsby 1973).
The study area covers approximately twenty-four miles and
includes archaeological sites located along the north and
south banks of the St. Johns River.
The lower course of the St. Johns is rich in
archaeological resources, with cultural components
representing both indigenous and non-local aboriginal
activities. The assemblage of archaeological sites investigated
within the lower St. Johns River valley has generated a variety
of cultural data pertaining to the aboriginal history and
development of the area (Goggin 1952; Sears 1957, 1959;
Jordan et al. 1963; Wilson 1965; Nidy 1980; Lee et al. 1984;
Dickinson and Wayne 1987; Johnson 1988; Johnson and Ste.

Claire 1988; Ashley and Johnson 1990). In terms of
prehistoric manifestations, the region is a "cultural ecotone",
maintaining local cultural traits as well as non-local artifacts
generally viewed as peripheral to Northeast Florida. St.
Johns influences have migrated up from the south, while non-
local Deptford, late Swift Creek and Savannah influences
have filtered down from the lower Georgia coast.

Environmental Setting

The St. Johns River is the paramount hydric feature
within Northeast Florida (Figure 2). From its headwaters in
central Florida, this tannin stained waterway flows in a
northerly direction and covers a total distance of
approximately 315 miles. Along its lower course, excess
surface runoff and ground water is channeled into the river
which eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The
reversal of flow by tidal action forces marine waters to
displace and mix with freshwater, creating a tidal estuary
along the lower reaches of the St. Johns. Within the study
area, salinity levels maintain a range of 900-9,600 ppm near
downtown Jacksonville and 11,400-20,000 ppm near the river's
debouchment (McLane 1955:17; Anderson and Goolsby
1973:12). The importance of the St. Johns' estuarine
resources to the region's native inhabitants is demonstrated
by the presence of numerous oyster shell middens along the
banks of its lower course.
The physiography of the lower St. Johns region has
developed as the result of deposition and erosion caused by
fluctuations in Pleistocene and Holocene sea levels (White
1970). The south bank of the lower St. Johns is comprised of
marine terraces and high relict beach dunes, while the north
side contains remnant ridge and erosional hill formations
surrounded by expansive networks of coastal marshes
(Brooks 1981). As a result of Jacksonville's urban sprawl,
little remains of the xerophytic and mesophytic forest
communities that once thrived along the south bank of the
lower St. Johns River. Congested residential and commercial
developments now dominate the river's shoreline. In contrast,
the river's north side is comprised primarily of marsh, with
small scattered hammock islands. Portions of the grassy
marshes have been filled to accommodate urban
development. The city's burgeoning rate of development and
its adverse effects on the natural landscape has prompted the
implementation of two reconnaissance level surveys along the
river's south bank (Johnson 1988; Ashley and Johnson 1990)..


June 1992

VOL. 45 NO. 2


Figure 1. Lower St. Johns River Study Area. (Site numbers are Florida Master Site File designations; all Site numbers are preceded by 8Du.)


Swift Creek Distributions and Chronology

Swift Creek is a Woodland culture that seems to have
originated within the hinterland river valleys of southwestern
Georgia and southeastern Alabama, subsequently expanding
its influence into the Gulf coastal section of Florida. The
emergence and pervasive spread of the Weeden Island
culture (A.D. 500-1000) seems to have forced Swift Creek
groups into peripheral areas that included the northern
piedmont and lower Georgia coast regions (Kelly and Smith
1975; Cook 1977; Blanton 1979; Kirkland 1979; Adams 1985;
Desjean et al. 1985; Wood et al. 1986). Except for the Swift
Creek deposits found along the northern St. Johns River, the
vast majority of Florida sites affiliated with this cultural
tradition are found between Escambia County (Escambia
River) on the west and Taylor County (Steinhatchee River)
on the east (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:117; Milanich et al.
1984:114; Johnson and Kohler 1987:282).
Although the origin of Swift Creek is unclear, cultural
sequences demonstrating a ceramic assemblage evolution
from check stamped (Deptford) into complicated stamped
(Swift Creek) decorated wares have been revealed at several
inland and coastal Woodland sites (B. Smith 1975; Phelps

1966; Thomas and Campbell 1985, 1990). This transitional
pottery assemblage dates to A.D. 140-245 at Mandeville
(9Call) in southwest Georgia (B. Smith 1979:182), and to a
slightly earlier time (50 B.C. A.D. 140) at Pirates Bay in
northwest Florida (Thomas and Campbell 1985:118).
Although specific dates for regional variants of the Swift
Creek ceramic complex differ throughout the Southeast, the
culture as a whole generally belongs to the period A.D. 100-
In southwest Georgia, chronometric dating of the
Mandeville site revealed that Swift Creek domestic and
ceremonial activities occurred during the time span A.D. 250-
420, while the chronological position of the Swift Creek
ceramic assemblage nearby at Kolomoki (Sears 1956) is
estimated at A.D. 100-500 (Milanich et al. 1984:19-20). A
single C-14 sample from the Halloca Creek site in eastern
Alabama produced a date of 70 B.C. + 150 (Milanich et al.
1984:13). Radiocarbon dates obtained from several sites
along the lower Ocmulgee River in south-central Georgia
place the range of Swift Creek occupation between A.D. 100-
580 (Snow et al. 1979:8; Snow 1980:7; Snow and Stephenson
1990:5). Although absolute age determinations for the Swift
Creek type site (9Bi3) in middle Georgia are lacking, the
site's complicated stamped component was assigned a relative
seriation date of A.D. 500-750 (Kelly and Smith 1975:114).
Within northwest Florida, the Swift Creek component at
the Tucker site (8Fr4) was radiocarbon dated to A.D. 345
(Phelps 1966:20), whereas further to the west near Pensacola,
the Third Gulf Breeze Site (8Sa8) produced a series of
absolute dates ranging from A.D. 390 to 675 (Phelps 1969:18).
Additional radiometric data obtained from several coastal
Swift Creek contexts near Eglin Air Force Base (Fort Walton
Beach) indicate dates of A.D. 150-450 for Swift Creek
presence in northwest Florida (Thomas and Campbell 1990:5-
6). Based on the latter set of dates, researchers now concur
with Phelps who suggested that the terminal date of A.D. 675
was too late for Gulf coast Swift Creek (Thomas and
Campbell 1990:6).
A collection of radiometric dates secured from Swift
Creek deposits at the Kings Bay site (9Caml71a) along the
lower Georgia coast ranges from A.D. 300-700 (Adams
1985:44; Desjean et al. 1985:162; Saunders 1986:23). At the
Catfish Creek site (9Mc360) in the Altamaha delta, a large,
refuse filled storage pit attributed to the site's Swift Creek
inhabitants was radiocarbon dated A.D. 500 + 100
(Dickinson and Wayne 1986:3-10; Wayne 1987:56). There are
two prevailing hypotheses explaining the presence of Swift
Creek middens along the lower Georgia Coast. Some
researchers suggest that Swift Creek peoples from the interior
of Georgia moved to the coast (Kelly and Smith 1975; Cook
1977; Blanton 1979; Desjean et al. 1985; Wayne 1986), while
others contend that the Atlantic coastal Swift Creek culture
developed out of the local Deptford culture (Adams 1985; R.
Smith 1986).

Regional Data Base

Subsequent to the recent identification and relocation of
sites containing Swift Creek ceramics (Johnson 1988; Ashley
and Johnson 1990), a review of past archaeological
investigations involving the occurrence of Swift Creek pottery
within the study area was undertaken. Published studies
shedding some light on local Swift Creek manifestations
include Moore's (1894, 1895, 1896) early mound explorations;
Goggin's (1952) summary of Northeast Florida archaeology;
Sears' (1957, 1959) shell midden and mound investigations;
Wilson's (1965) excavation of a sand burial mound at
Mayport; two recent reconnaissance surveys within a
restricted segment of the lower St. Johns (Johnson 1988;
Ashley and Johnson 1990); and, limited sampling of a
saturated shell midden near the river's mouth (Ashley 1991;
Russo 1991a, 1991c). Additional information concerning
Swift Creek manifestations can be derived from a large
artifact collection retrieved from the Dent Mound (8Du68),
which is located along the river's north side (Lafond nd).
During the late 19th century, Clarence B. Moore made
several explorations along the St. Johns River, excavating a
total of 28 sand mounds within the study area (Moore 1894,
1895, 1896). Of these 28 mortuary earthworks, 26 were
situated along the river's south shore, while only two were
located to the north. Based on vague references to the
presence of complicated stamped pottery, as well as several
detailed drawings made by Moore, 11 of the burial mounds
appear to have contained Swift Creek ceramics. These
earthworks include the Johnson, Shields, Monroe, Grant,
Grant A, Grant E, Horseshoe Landing, Reddie Point, Alicia,
Arlington, and South Jacksonville mounds. Within these
mortuary features, Swift Creek pottery occurred as intact and
killed pots, broken and scattered vessels, and isolated sherds.
There is the possibility that not all ceramic remains were
intentionally deposited within the mounds as burial wares;
some may have been displaced from nearby refuse contexts
(middens) during earthwork construction.
Unfortunately, Moore's improvident field
methodologies, which incorporated haphazard data recovery
and recording techniques, have greatly diminished the
interpretive value of his excavations. Today, many of the
burial mounds within the lower St. Johns are no longer
extant, and others are severely impacted. In addition, none of
the study area's mounds have been subjected to controlled,
scientific investigations. Survey level sampling procedures
were conducted near the Shields Mound in 1988, while
limited test excavations have been conducted within shell
middens adjacent to the Grant and Reddie Point mounds
(Johnson 1988; Ashley and Johnson 1990). Only the latter
contained appreciable quantities of Swift Creek ceramics.
According to Goggin (1952:106), Swift Creek pottery
occurs infrequently throughout the St. Johns area, but is most
common along the lower St. Johns River. He interprets the

presence of Swift Creek ceramics within the northern St.
Johns area as the consequence of trade with Gulf coast
natives, indicating transpeninsular exchange networks
between the two culture areas (Goggin 1952:50). Further,
Goggin (1952:39, 49-51, 70) views the complicated stamped
ware as a mortuary item primarily found within St. Johns I
period mounds, and generally occurring in association with
exotic, non-local grave goods.
At the time of Goggin's research, few systematic
archaeological investigations had been conducted within the
region, forcing him to rely heavily upon information derived
from surface collections, limited excavations, and the past
work of others (Goggin 1952:38). In fact, most of Goggin's
interpretations concerning local Swift Creek pottery were
deduced from a detailed study of mortuary mounds excavated
by Clarence Moore. Because of his strong reliance on
Moore's data, Goggin placed excessive emphasis on Swift
Creek ceramics as a ceremonial ware within the northern St.
Johns region. Willey (1949:380) also viewed Swift Creek as
an "important minority type" along the St. Johns.
Unfortunately, neither Goggin nor Willey specifically discuss
the occurrence of Swift Creek ceramics within village sites of
northeast Florida.
In the fall of 1955, William Sears of the Florida State
Museum conducted test excavations at six shell middens (sites
8Du58-62 and 8Du66) along the south bank of the St. Johns
River near Fort Caroline (Sears 1957). One of these
multicomponent sites (8Du62) also contained a sand
earthwork (Browne Mound), which Sears later interpreted as
a single phase mortuary construct dating to circa A.D. 800-
1200 (Sears 1959:10). Although varying amounts of Swift
Creek pottery were recovered from four of the six middens,
the complicated stamped ware was always a minority type.
The only context in which Swift Creek was the dominant
decorated variety was the general fill comprising the Browne
Mound (Sears 1959:8). Sears (1959:9) interprets these
ceramics as "accidental inclusions" removed from an adjacent
borrow pit during mound construction. In light of the data
derived from these excavations, Sears (1957, 1959) devised an
"idealized" chronological classification for aboriginal ceramics
from the lower St. Johns region.
Within Sears' temporal sequence and without the benefit
of local radiocarbon dates, Swift Creek pottery was assigned
to the period A.D. 1-400. In addition, Sears identified a local
"limestone/hole-tempered" ware consisting of a plain and
complicated stamped variant. However, Sears did not
associate this unique ceramic type with the Swift Creek
pottery tradition. Recently, sherds thought to represent the
limestone/hole variety described by Sears have been
recovered from several shell midden sites within the study
area (Johnson 1988; Ashley and Johnson 1990; Lafond nd).
Rim forms associated with these pottery fragments include
assorted notched forms similar to those classified as early
Swift Creek by Willey (1949). To date, no evidence of folded


rim vessels (late Swift Creek) have been found of the
limestone/hole-tempered variety, reinforcing the contention
that this pottery type is part of an early to middle Swift Creek
pottery assemblage (cf. Caldwell 1978:60; Snow 1980:9).
A preliminary examination of several limestone/hole-
tempered sherds from the Dent Mound (8Du68) by Lee
Newsom and Ann Cordell of the Florida Museum of Natural
History, identified the presence of pine charcoal inclusions
rather than burned or leached out limestone flecks (Michael
Russo personal communication, 1991). Since charcoal-
tempered complicated stamped wares have not been reported
elsewhere, it seems safe to conclude that this unique Swift
Creek variant is a local product. A detailed microscopic
examination of this type specimen should shed some light on
local Swift Creek ceramic technologies and potential clay
Unfortunately, Sears did not provide any interpretable
data on Swift Creek subsistence, settlement or culture change
through time. The major contribution of Sears' work was his
development of a relative ceramic chronology for the lower
St. Johns region; this cultural sequence has not been accepted
by recent archaeologists (cf. Milanich and Fairbanks 1980).
The ceramic chronology posited by Sears is as follows:
Orange, Deptford, limestone-tempered, sand-tempered,
Colorinda, and St. Johns II, with complicated stamping
occurring during the limestone and sand tempered phases
(Sears 1959:16-17). Unfortunately, Sears' ceramic seriations
are inserted within a temporal framework based on non-local
radiocarbon dates, and his chronology remains to be tested.
At another Swift Creek related area, Rex Wilson
conducted archaeological excavations at the Mayport Mound
(8Du96) and midden (8Du97) sites. Forty-five human
interments were systematically removed from the oblong
earthwork at 8Du96 (Wilson 1965). The presence of Swift
Creek mortuary ceramics and exotic burial items made of
mica and copper suggests the incorporation of non-local
mortuary traits within the indigenous St. Johns culture system
(Wilson 1965:30). Because the lack of extensive village or
shell midden excavations at the Mayport sites, however,
settlement by migrant Swift Creek cannot be completely ruled
The Mayport Mound was a "continuous use type", as
defined by Sears (1958), formed over "a period of years" by
successive interments (Wilson 1965:26). Complete mortuary
vessels recovered from the 8Du96 include St. Johns Plain,
Dunns Creek Red, Deptford, Swift Creek, and Weeden Island
types. In addition, two plain limestone/hole-tempered vessels
similar to the type described by Sears (1957) near Fort
Caroline were retrieved from the Mayport Mound. Wilson
classified six of the Swift Creek vessels as late variants, while
only one was viewed as early Swift Creek. Based on
macroscopic identification of tempering agents, Wilson
identified sand/grit-tempered complicated stamped
ceramics (Swift Creek) as well as a fine sandy paste variant

that may have been manufactured locally (Wilson 1965:21-22,
A charcoal sample obtained approximately two feet
below the mound's surface produced a radiocarbon date
range of 10 B.C. A.D. 180 (Wilson 1965:31). This date
seems too early to be associated with the collection of pottery
vessels recovered from the mound during excavation. The
possibility exists that the dated context was located below the
base of the mound, suggesting that the C-14 date is unrelated
to mound construction. However, the A.D. 180 date could
conceivably relate to an incipient stage of mound preparation
and/or building. Based on the ceramic data, the Mayport
Mound's pottery assemblage dates to the St. Johns Ia period
(A.D. 100-500), as defined by Milanich and Fairbanks
In conclusion, Wilson (1965:31) states that "the Mayport
Mound represents a marginal Swift Creek manifestation
which ... was substantially influenced by the Hopewellian
tradition of north central United States". Following the lead
of Sears (1957, 1959), Wilson (1965:30-31) attributes the
presence of Deptford and Swift Creek materials within the
lower St. Johns to influences and/or population migrations
from the Georgia coast. In addition, he acknowledges local
interaction with groups indigenous to the Florida Gulf Coast.
Although it is unclear whether 8Du96 was occupied by Swift
Creek peoples, there is no question that the builders of the
Mayport Mound were in contact with and influenced by Swift
Creek groups.
Two Florida Department of State, Division of Historical
Resources grant-funded archaeological reconnaissance
surveys have been conducted along the lower St. Johns River
over the past four years (Johnson 1988; Ashley and Johnson
1990). The surveyed area included the south side of the St.
Johns River from Reddie Point eastward to Mayport (see
Figure 1). Although developmental impact and access
restrictions to lands with a high potential for archaeological
site occurrence resulted in a biased sampling design, 46
prehistoric sites were either identified or relocated during
fieldwork. Swift Creek ceramics were recovered at 14 of the
46 archaeological sites. Two additional sites contained small
amounts of charcoal-tempered plain and/or complicated
stamped sherds, but no sand-tempered Swift Creek pottery.
Unfortunately, most of the Swift Creek sites suffer from low
ceramic samples, resulting from limited excavations and, in
some instances, short-term site occupancy.
Swift Creek pottery recovered during the St. Johns Bluff
surveys was found at three different site types: large
multicomponent middens with dense shell (8Du14, 8Du61,
8Du66, 8Du5597); smaller, multicomponent deposits with
scattered shell (8Du5602, 8Du5604, 8Du5609, 8Du5611,
8Du6815, 8Du6816); and small artifact scatters generally
confined to the higher sand ridges (8Du5600, 8Du5610,
8Du5612, 8Du6818). A fourth Swift Creek component type
found in the area is the sand burial mound, but ceremonial

earthworks were not excavated during the two surveys. Most
of the sites containing Swift Creek pottery occurred on sandy,
well drained soils, and all are situated within at least 300
meters of the river or a tributary.
The relative percentage of Swift Creek pottery at each of
the 14 St. Johns Bluff sites ranged from less than one to 75
percent. The frequency of Swift Creek sherds (n=26) was
highest at 8Du5602, with the complicated stamped ware
comprising approximately 59% of the site's diagnostic ceramic
sample (Johnson 1988:93). Plain sand-tempered sherds
(n= 116) were the dominant variety at this shell midden site,
with very minor quantities of Deptford, Weeden Island, and
St. Johns pottery also recovered. According to Johnson
(1988:94), the Swift Creek sherds at 8Du5602 occurred in
discrete clusters suggesting possible household loci. The site
is now located within a heavily developed residential
neighborhood, but intact site areas may exist (Johnson
Sites 8Du5610, 8Du5612, and 8Du6818 were described
as low density artifact scatters and interpreted as small sand
ridge encampments (Johnson 1988; Ashley and Johnson
1990). Swift Creek Complicated Stamped was the dominant
diagnostic type at these ephemeral campsites, comprising
25%, 75%, and 50% of the pottery assemblages, respectively.
At 8Du66, only one complicated stamped sherd was found
during the reconnaissance survey. However, a recent surface
collection from this large shell field resulted in the recovery of
over 150 Swift Creek pottery fragments (Robert Richter
personal communication, 1992). Since the focus of the St.
Johns Bluff surveys was reconnaissance, the nature and intra-
site structure of sites containing Swift Creek ceramics has yet
to be fully explored.
Subsequent to the St. Johns Bluff project, four one-half
meter square shovel tests were excavated within the extreme
northwest segment of 8Du5611 (Ashley and Wheat 1991). In
addition, a private surface collection of pottery from the site
was analyzed (Ashley and Wheat 1991). Sand-tempered plain
ceramics (n= 167) dominated the site's artifact assemblage,
with Deptford (n=44) and Swift Creek (n=44) representing
the most prevalent diagnostic decorative wares. However,
since the vast majority of these Woodland ceramics were
retrieved via surface collection, the stratigraphic relationship
between Deptford and Swift Creek at 8Du5611 is unclear. A
heavily folded rim and a notched variant were recovered,
suggesting the presence of early and late Swift Creek pottery
types. The sampled segment of 8Du5611 suggests that the
shoreline deposit was the scene of short-term settlement from
the late Archaic and into the St. Johns II period. Although a
sparse oyster shell scatter was revealed, the low density of
invertebrate remains suggests that shellfish were not heavily
exploited at the site.
The Naval Midden (8Du7458) is a multicomponent site
comprised of a series of adjacent and overlapping shell
middens (Russo 1991a, 1991b; Ashley 1991). This extensive

deposit measures 300x100 meters and contains St. Johns I,
Swift Creek, St. Johns II and Savannah components. The site
was first discovered during a reconnaissance survey within the
Mayport Naval Station (Russo 1991a). This field study was
conducted in association with an investigation of the
Timucuan Historical and Ecological Preserve sponsored by
the National Park Service. Subsequent archaeological
monitoring activities were performed at two small areas to be
impacted by proposed construction along the northwest
section of 8Du7458 (Ashley 1991). Presently, the site consists
of a wet, "mucky" oyster shell and bone midden buried
beneath 60-90 cm of artificial fill. Unlike the St. Johns Bluff
sites, this midden was not located on well drained soils, but
rather refuse seems to have been originally deposited along
the bank of a tidal creek (Russo 1991b).
Two fine screen samples (50 cm square) were
systematically removed from the Swift Creek/St. Johns I
component of the midden during controlled monitoring
activities (Ashley 1991). Although a large, well preserved
faunal and floral collection was gathered, budgetary
constraints precluded detailed identification and analysis. A
cursory inspection of the subsistence remains indicates a
coastal economy based heavily on the exploitation of
estuarine aquatic resources, especially fish. The midden's
anaerobic environment has resulted in excellent preservation
of floral and faunal materials. In spite of survey-level data
recovery at the Naval Midden, both investigations concluded
that the site is potentially significant (Ashley 1991; Russo
1991a, 1991b).
Finally, several archaeological studies have been
conducted at sites along the river's north side, but very few
Swift Creek remains have been unearthed (Rudolph 1980;
Rudolph and Gresham 1980; Lee et al. 1984; Dickinson and
Wayne 1987). Extensive excavations have been conducted on
Fort George Island, but only a handful of Swift Creek sherds
have been found (McMurray 1973; Nidy 1980; Hart and
Fairbanks 1981; Hart 1982; Dickinson and Wayne 1987; Jones
personal communication 1991). A recent reconnaissance
survey of lands along the north side of the St. Johns River,
including Fort George, resulted in the recovery of little Swift
Creek pottery (Russo 1991b). The paucity of complicated
stamped wares from sites along the river's north bank led
Dickinson and Wayne (1987:3-10) to conclude that there is
"little evidence" of Swift Creek along the northeast Florida
coast. In contrast, Swift Creek ceramics are quite common
on the south side of the river, from Reddie Point eastward to
Mayport (see Figure 1).
From 1977 through 1984, members of the Northeast
Florida Anthropological Society excavated a small, mortuary
earthwork known as the Dent Mound (8Du68). This sand
burial mound is situated on Pelotes Island amid prehistoric
shell middens, dating from Orange through Savannah times.
Pelotes Island is part of a series of small islands within an
extensive network of marshes along the river's north shore



(Figure 1). Almost the entire mound was excavated as well as
small, select portions of the surrounding shell midden
(Lafond n.d.). While early and late Swift Creek and Weeden
Island vessels were common within the mound (Lafond n.d.),
few sherds representative of these pottery types were
recovered from adjacent refuse deposits (Russo 1991b). A
mantle of shell and bone refuse dating to the subsequent St.
Johns II period blanketed the southern and northern slopes of
the mound (Lafond n.d.).
Recently, the author has undertaken a reanalysis of
artifacts recovered from the Dent Mound. These materials
along with field notes and maps are currently curated at the
Jacksonville Museum of Science and History. The mound's
artifact inventory is impressive in terms of the quality and
quantity of prehistoric remains. Reconstructed vessels
unearthed at 8Du68 include early and late Swift Creek, St.
Johns Plain, Dunns Creek Red, Weeden Island and charcoal-
tempered plain and complicated stamped wares. The latter
variant demonstrated either simple round or notched rim
forms, whereas the sandy paste Swift Creek vessels displayed
simple round, notched, and folded rims. A radiocarbon date
of 690 + 90 B.C. was obtained from a charcoal sample near
the base of the mound (Lafond n.d.). Based on our current
knowledge of mound building practices within the northern
St. Johns area, this date probably does not relate to
construction of the mound, but rather dates to a submound
Orange/Transitional component clearly revealed during
excavations. Russo (1991b) also described an Orange
component within close proximity to the mound.
The Dent Mound manifests many of the same
characteristics as the Mayport Mound (8Du96). Both are
"continuous use" type mounds containing St. Johns, early and
late Swift Creek, and Weeden Island mortuary ceramics.
Both earthworks also possessed exotic items of mica,
indicating possible Hopewellian affinities. Mound interments
included extended, flexed, bundle, and partial burials. Albeit
limited, the available data from midden excavations near both
mounds support the hypothesis that Swift Creek pottery
served mainly a mortuary function at 8Du68 and 8Du97.
Deptford and St. Johns series ceramics were the dominant
pottery types found within the nearby shell middens (Wilson
1965; Russo 1991b), suggesting a potential sacred-secular
ceramic dichotomy at the sites. The combined presence of
Swift Creek and Weeden Island vessels within the earthworks
suggests that both mounds served as repositories for the
dead during the period A.D. 100-500. It is hoped that future
radiocarbon dates will be generated for the Dent Mound
from samples now curated at the museum.


Recent studies along the lower St. Johns River have
convincingly demonstrated that Swift Creek ceramics were an
important part of the region's Woodland pottery tradition. In

spite of the recovery of complicated stamped ceramics from
the study area during the 1950s and 1960s, the regional
significance of this ware is only now coming into focus. To
date, Swift Creek pottery has been recovered from sand
burial mounds (8Du14, 8Du62, 8Du68, 8Du96, 8Dull0),
multi-component middens (8Du14, 8Du59, 8Du61, 8Du66,
8Du669, 8Du5597, 8Du5602, 8Du5604, 8Du5609, 8Du5611,
8Du6815, 8Du6816, 8Du7458), artifact scatters (8Du5600,
8Du5610, 8Du5612, 8Du6818), and at least one single
component shell midden (8Du5543). This latter deposit is
currently under investigation by Florida Archeological
Services and interpretable data are unavailable at this time.
In addition, complicated stamped sherds and vessels
suspected to be Swift Creek were found in at least 11 burial
mounds (8Dul0, 8Du12, 8Du13, 8Dul4, 8Du15, 8Du19,
8Du21, 8Du25, 8Du31, 8Du33, 8Du35) investigated by
Clarence B. Moore (1894, 1895, 1896).
Presently, the origin of Swift Creek pottery within the
northern St. Johns area is unclear. While Swift Creek
ceramics seem to have evolved out of Deptford pottery
assemblages elsewhere in the Southeast (Phelps 1966; B.
Smith 1975; Thomas and Campbell 1985, 1990), there is
currently no evidence indicating the development of the
complicated stamped ware from an earlier ceramic complex
along the lower St. Johns River. Based on the available data,
the stylistic idea for Swift Creek pottery seems to have spread
into the area from the west. From a stratigraphic perspective,
both early and late Swift Creek ceramics are undeniably a St
Johns I period occurrence (500 B.C. A.D. 800).
Unfortunately, local contexts demonstrating the presence of
Swift Creek pottery are poorly documented in terms of C-14
Because of the lack of radiocarbon dates, analysis of
pottery attributes provides the best means by which to date
local Swift Creek manifestations. Both the early and late
varieties of the complicated stamped ware, as defined by
Willey (1949), occur along the lower St. Johns. Diagnostic
criteria used to distinguish between early, late and an
intermediate middle style include rim morphology, basal
mode, and design field (Phelps 1969). Analysis of Swift
Creek ceramics from the Gulf coast and inland Georgia sites
has indicated that rim forms are temporally sensitive .
Scalloped and notched rims characterize early Swift Creek
pottery; rounded and slightly folded rims identify middle Swift
Creek ceramics; and medium to large folds are indicative of
late Swift Creek pottery (Willey 1949; Kelly and Smith 1975;
Caldwell 1978; Snow 1980). Examination of middle to late
Swift Creek ceramics recovered from the Kings Bay site
(9Caml71a) demonstrated wide variability in rim fold depths,
although the "mean rim depth" of the Kings Bay sample
closely approximated that at coeval interior Swift Creek sites
(Saunders 1986:19-20).
Assuming that notched rim forms denote early Swift
Creek wares and folded rims signify middle to late Swift

Creek pottery, a preliminary model can be developed for
Swift Creek manifestations along the lower St. Johns River.
Within this model, three primary factors are responsible for
the presence of Swift Creek ceramics in northeast Florida:
acquisition of early and late varieties through trade;
production of early Swift Creek pottery by indigenous groups
(i.e., Deptford, St. Johns); and local manufacture of the late
variety by immigrant Swift Creek peoples. Because of the
dearth of local radiocarbon dates, comparative temporal data
from the lower Georgia seaboard and the Florida Gulf coast
are utilized. Since this model has not been tested, its
speculative nature is emphasized.
It is hypothesized that groups indigenous to the lower St.
Johns region were first introduced to Swift Creek pottery
through a transpeninsular exchange network, which brought
exotic mortuary items to northeast Florida. It is postulated
that the increased demand for complicated stamped ceramics
along the lower St. Johns led to a period of local
manufacture. The resultant product was a charcoal-tempered
ware (interpreted by Sears as limestone-tempered) that
included a plain and complicated stamped version. This
unique pottery type represents regional variation in the
widespread Swift Creek pottery style. Although primarily
used as a mortuary ware, charcoal-tempered sherds are
scattered throughout various shell middens within the region
(Sears 1957, 1959; Ashley and Johnson 1990; Ashley 1991). It
is suggested that local Swift Creek pottery may have been
manufactured at a only a few sites and dispersed throughout
the lower St. Johns through local trade.
Examination of the Dent Mound ceramics as well as a
review of published pottery descriptions and sherd
photographs and illustrations indicates that notched rim
forms are most characteristic of the local charcoal-tempered
variant (Moore 1895; Sears 1957, 1959; Wilson 1965; Ashley
and Wheat 1991; Lafond nd). Moreover, charcoal-tempered
vessels and/or sherds demonstrating folded rims have yet to
be recovered, implying local florescence during the period ca.
A.D. 150-300. Classic sand- and/or sand/grit-tempered Swift
Creek ceramics displaying notched and deeply folded have
been recovered locally (Sears 1957, 1959; Wilson 1965;
Johnson 1988; Ashley and Johnson 1990; Ashley and Wheat
1990; Lafond nd), suggesting acquisition of extra-local trade
wares throughout the period A.D. 100-500. Wilson (1965:21-
22, 30) hinted that a very sandy paste Swift Creek variant at
8Du96 may have been manufactured locally, but this remains
to be investigated.
With regards to the initial source of Swift Creek
influence along the lower St. Johns, we again must primarily
depend on ceramic data at this time. The Florida Gulf coast
seems to be the most likely donor, since scalloped and
notched rims predominate in that region during early Swift
Creek times (Willey 1949). Moreover, early Swift Creek rim
forms are lacking along the lower Georgia coast to the north
(cf. Kirkland 1979; Adams 1985; Desjean et al. 1985;

Dickinson and Wayne 1986). Only one scalloped rim was
recovered from the Kings Bay site (9Caml71a), and the
morphology of this specimen differed slightly from the classic
early Swift Creek version (Saunders 1986:74). Settlement of
the northeast Florida through a cross-state migration of Swift
Creek peoples seems highly unlikely, since very few Swift
Creek sites are known for the North Florida culture region
(Milanich et al. 1984: 10,16,40,198). Thus, the development of
local Swift Creek pottery occurred only after interaction with
Gulf coast groups.
Local production of the charcoal-tempered variant
apparently ceased around A.D. 300, since folded rim vessels
are non-existent. However, evidence of late Swift Creek
pottery within local mound and midden contexts has been
presented by several excavators (Moore 1894:plate 33,
1895:plates 77 and 80; Sears 1957:26-27, 1959:8-9; Wilson
1965:21; Ashley and Wheat 1990:16; Lafond nd). Although
indigenous groups may have continued limited or sporadic
production of Swift Creek pottery (sand-tempered), local
populations presumably imported late Swift Creek vessels
from the Florida Gulf coast. In addition, survey level data
from sites 8Du66 and 8Du5602 as well as preliminary
indications from 8Du5543 suggest that late Swift Creek
populations may have actually inhabited sites along the lower
St. Johns River. At this point, data supportive of late Swift
Creek occupation of Atlantic coastal Florida are not
overwhelming, however, the possibility cannot be completely
Movement of inland Swift Creek to the Atlantic
seaboard around A.D. 300-500 is well documented for the
lower Georgia coast (Kelly and Smith 1975; Cook 1977;
Blanton 1979; Kirkland 1979; Adams 1985; Desjean et al.
1985; Dickinson and Wayne 1987). Presently, there is no
reason to reject the possibility that the southern range of
Atlantic coastal Swift Creek extends down to the mouth of the
St. Johns River. Speculative migrations of coastal Swift
Creek groups into the area was limited, and currently there is
no evidence suggestive of a massive Swift Creek population
intrusion. The few possible late Swift Creek sites (e.g.,
8Du66, 8Du5602, 8Du5543) suggest occupations that are
smaller than those attributed to Deptford, St. Johns and
Savannah groups. Preliminary data derived from ongoing
Phase II excavations at 8DU5543 suggest that the local Swift
Creek economy was oriented toward the exploitation of
estuarine vertebrate and invertebrate species (cf. Quitmyer
1985; Reitz and Quitmyer 1988).
The hypothetical explanations presented in this study are
tentative and unproved at this time. Future researchers
working in the region need to formulate and implement
specific archaeological measures that will attempt to solve
questions regarding local Swift Creek manifestations. Of
paramount importance are radiocarbon dates from secure
contexts containing the various Swift Creek pottery styles.
Confirmation of the precise chronological position and


temporal range of Swift Creek pottery within northeast
Florida must await such chronometric analysis. In addition,
detailed microscopic examinations should be undertaken to
determine whether complicated stamped wares are
manufactured from local and/or foreign clays. Finally, future
ceramic studies similar to those conducted by Broyles (1968),
Snow (1975), and Saunders (1986) should provide valuable
comparative data about social uses and regional distributions
of Swift Creek Complicated Stamped pottery.
To test the hypothesis that late Swift Creek groups from
the lower Georgia coast expanded southward to the mouth of
the St. Johns, future studies should examine the settlement
structure of components containing high percentages of late
Swift Creek pottery. The settlement pattern at these sites
should be similar to that demonstrated at Kings Bay and
other permanent Swift Creek sites (cf. Adams 1985; Desjean
et al.). Theoretically, these sites should contain similar
features such as arc-shaped shell midden accumulations, large
storage features, and shell-lined pits. In addition, late Swift
Creek deposits should be located along estuarine
environments along the Atlantic coast between the St. Marys
and St. Johns rivers. Clearly more work must be done in the
region to support the inferences presented in this study.


The objectives of this study have been to provide an
overview of the known occurrences of Swift Creek ceramics
along the lower St. Johns, and present a preliminary model
regarding regional Swift Creek manifestations. Ongoing
investigations at Swift Creek sites such as 8Du5543 contain
immense research potential, and it is anticipated that final
analysis of the artifactual, ecofactual and contextual data from
this site will contribute substantially to our understanding of
the coastal Woodland period within northeast Florida. It is
hoped that this study has provided a general foundation from
which subsequent, more detailed interpretations of Swift
Creek life along the lower St. Johns River can be built.


I would like to thank Bob Johnson, James Wheat and
Bob Richter for commenting on an earlier version of this
paper. Jim along with Angela Ashley assisted with both
figures included in this report. Nada McClure of the
Jacksonville Museum of Science and History deserves special
thanks for allowing me to utilize the unpublished Dent
Mound material. Dean Sais should be acknowledged for
letting me examine his pottery collection from 8Du5611.
Frank Snow of South Georgia College was gracious enough to
send me copies of several of his Swift Creek reports. William
Jones constantly entertained me with informative stories
relating to his work on Fort George Island. I am greatly
indebted to Mike Russo and an anonymous reviewer for their

insightful comments and editing suggestions. Finally, I wish to
thank Angela and Avery Ashley for their help and patience.

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Rebecca Saunders


Sometime around A.D. 1650, the European rivalry for
dominance of the southeastern Atlantic coast, coupled with
the demise of the native Timucuan population of northeast
Florida, culminated in the virtual replacement of the Timucua
by the Guale Indians of the northern and central Georgia
coast. This population replacement is amply recorded in the
documentary record. It is also visible in the archaeological
record, in which Timucuan St. Johns wares were almost
completely supplanted by Guale San Marcos pottery between
1600 and 1700 (Deagan 1990:300, Table 20-1). There has
been little formal study of the effects of Spanish colonization
on St. Johns wares. Slightly more work on the subject has
been done with San Marcos pottery (Otto and Lewis 1974;
Smith 1948); however, none of those works consider the
changes in the pottery from pre-contact to post-contact times.
This paper concerns the continuity (or discontinuity) in
the cosmological beliefs and social identity of the Guale as
reflected in changes in both the technological and the stylistic
attributes of their pottery. Pottery assemblages from three
sites, spanning the period from about A.D. 1400 to 1702, were
examined. These included the Meeting House Fields site, a
late precolumbian Irene phase site on St. Catherines Island,
Georgia (ca. A.D. 1400-1550); the mission compound of
Santa Catalina de Guale on St. Catherines Island (A.D. 1594-
1680); and, the mission compound of Santa Catalina de Guale
de Santa Maria on Amelia Island, Florida (A.D. 1686-1702).
This set of discrete, temporally-sequential proveniences
provided a series of pottery assemblages that could be studied
to characterize the rate and the nature of change in
technological and stylistic attributes of Guale Indian pottery
through time. The present study, then, traces the changes in
pottery produced from the late prehistoric (in Georgia)
through the mission period (in both Georgia and Florida)--a
time of population depletion and consequent disruption of
traditional political and social structures of prehistoric times.
The study relies on two complementary approaches to
pottery analysis. To examine cosmological beliefs, the
"semiotic" approach of David et al. (1988) is employed.
Semiotics is a philosophical theory of signs and symbols and
the way they function in languages (see Hodder 1987:2).
David et al. extended the fundamentals of this theory to
consider the function of artifact decoration in society. They
postulated that the repetition of a small number of motifs
displayed in many artifact classes and physical contexts
indicate that those motifs were "condensed symbols"
expressive of underlying cosmological principles. The filfot

cross motif stamped on the pottery of the Guale Indians from
A.D. 1350 to 1702 is hypothesized to be one of these
condensed symbols.
The second orientation implicit in this study is the
information approach (see e.g., Wobst 1977). Hodder (1982:
13-56), one of its principle proponents, has demonstrated that
people use decoration, on pottery or other artifacts, to
emphasize differences between groups, particularly where
there is competition for resources. Style is also used to
promote within-group cohesiveness.
The information approach has been contrasted with the
interaction approach, in which the similarity of designs is
related solely to the degree of interaction of different social
groups (e.g., Friedrich 1970; Redman 1978). The argument
between Sackett (1985) and Weissner (1985) epitomized this
Most recently, researchers have proposed a synthesis of
these viewpoints, arguing that they are not mutually exclusive,
but instead reflect the "multidimensional" nature of style
(Redman 1978). The synthesis relies on the concept, first
introduced in the interaction studies of Friedrich (1970), that
design is hierarchically organized. The composition of a
design proceeds from the smallest irreducible element, to the
combination of a few or many elements into a design or
motif, to the relationship of the components parts in design
configuration and symmetry, to the relationship of the design
to the vessel in design layout. Style is multidimensional
because variation in each of the aforementioned components
of style could result from different factors including individual
variation, interaction, and the necessity to convey information
about political or other social affiliations (see Saunders 1986
for a more comprehensive review of all of these theories).
As noted, the emphasis in this study is on the
information aspect of the synthetic approach. It is argued
that the use of a particular execution of a single motif in the
decoration of Guale Indian pottery, the use of certain rim
treatments, and the association of surface treatments and
vessel forms served to discriminate the Guale from their
coastal neighbors and to maintain an identity distinct from
but associated with polities in the interior. This formulation,
however, is best perceived as an hypothesis, subject to
confirmation through a larger study of the distribution of the
filfot cross design motif in the late prehistoric period
currently underway.

Guale Indian Prehistory and Ethnohistory

At contact, the Guale inhabited the area between


Volume 45 Number 2

June, 1992

Ossabaw and St. Simons Island (though prior to about A.D.
1400 they may have occupied an area as far north as Edisto
Island in South Carolina [Anderson 1986: Figure 2; Hann
1987:2-4; Jones 1978:186-187]). The Guale were some of the
first Native Americans of the southern Atlantic coast to come
into contact with Europeans. Slave raids began along the
coast at least as early as 1516 (Hoffman 1990:6). Lucas
Vasquez de Ayllon organized a series of slave raids along the
coast in the 1520s, and, in 1526, he attempted to establish a
colony of 600 persons (including African-Americans and
Dominican friars), probably on Sapelo Sound (Hoffman
1990:70, 321-328). The colony failed, but not before
introducing one of the first European epidemics in the region.
Giovanni da Verrazano may have touched on the Guale coast
in 1523-1524 and there were numerous other reconnaissance
missions by the English, French, and Spanish in the period
between 1520-1560 (Hoffman 1990). In 1562, the French
attempted to settle "Charlesfort" in what is now Port Royal,
South Carolina. That colony also failed but generated a
relatively good ethnographic account (Laudonnire 1975).
The Spanish eventually defeated the French in the
contest for the southern Atlantic seaboard, gaining nominal
control of the Guale coast in 1565. The Jesuits arrived two
years later. The Black Robes made no converts and left La
Florida in 1570. The Franciscans who followed also made few
inroads on the traditional belief system prior to the 17th
century. They did establish a few missions along the coast
before 1600, including the mission of Santa Catalina de Guale
on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, which was founded in 1594
or 1595 (Hann 1990).
In general, however, the last quarter of the 16th century
was notable for the numerous skirmishes between the Guale
Indians and Spanish colonists. These included two organized
revolts, one in 1576 and another in 1597. Both revolts were
followed by brutal Spanish reprisals, causing famine and
disease among the Guale. In 1601, a federation of Guale
chiefs, seeking to appease the Spanish, successfully attacked
the leaders of the 1597 rebellion (Jones 1978:184). The
Spanish regained control of the coast and missions were
established in a line along the coast from St. Catherines
Island to St. Augustine. The next 70 years saw peace, but for
the Guale there was not much respite from disease and the
drudgery of mission life.
The English settled Charleston in 1670, and the
international rivalry for the coast heated up once again.
Native Americans allied with the English began to harass the
mission settlements. In 1680, the Santa Catalina mission was
attacked, and though the attackers were repulsed, the
decision was made to move the mission inhabitants south to
Sapelo Island (Thomas 1987:56-57). There they were
attacked by French and British pirates, and in 1686, the
Spanish withdrew all their missions and outposts to locations
south of the St. Marys River (Bushnell 1986:5). The St.
Catherines Island Guale were resettled in a new mission,

Santa Catalina de Guale de Santa Maria, on Amelia Island,
Florida (Santa Maria was the Spanish name for Amelia
The British were not satisfied with a limited victory,
however. In 1702, South Carolinians systematically attacked
and burned all the missions along the coast on a march to St.
Augustine (Arnade 1959:14-22). Although they failed to drive
the Spanish from the continent, the mission system was
destroyed and never reestablished (Hann 1990:8).

Guale Indian Pottery, A.D. 1350-1702

Guale Indian pottery belongs to the "Lamar" tradition,
which extended throughout the lower southeastern United
States (Williams and Shapiro 1990:5, Figure 1). The term
"Chicora" ware also encompasses Guale Indian pottery
(Anderson 1989:109). Lamar tradition wares were either
paddle stamped, incised, or left plain and sometimes highly
burnished. Rims were either plain, decorated with punctation
directly on the vessel below the lip, or were embellished with
an applique rim strip. The applique strip could be punctated
with a variety of styluses, the most common of which (in the
late prehistoric) was a piece of hollow cane.
Prehistoric Guale Indian pottery, called Irene phase
pottery, can be distinguished from other phases within the
Lamar tradition by the fact that the filfot cross motif was the
only motif stamped on the vessel (Figure 1). This motif, and
variations thereof, could be found elsewhere, up into South
Carolina and inland up the Savannah River drainage as far
north as Augusta, Georgia (Waring 1968:125). It may occur
throughout the Lamar area. Outside of the core Guale area,
however, the fifot cross was never the only stamped design
(Figure 1).

Figure 1. Counterclockwise from upper left: Irene Filfot
Cross; Irene Incised; (from Brewer 1985) overstamped
mission period sherd; and, mission period sherd with world


Hally (Hally et al. 1990:133; Hally and Rudolph 1986:63-
69) has demonstrated that each identifiable chiefdom in the
interior Southeast (for which adequate data are available) can
be distinguished by variations in the motifs and frequencies of
motifs of Lamar Incised and Complicated Stamped pottery.
Whether or not these distributions can be attributed to
interaction or "information" can be tested by examining the
abruptness of the change in frequencies of particular motifs--
in general, distributions that result from interaction should
show gradual change with distance (though this is not always
the case, see Hodder 1982:8-9) while motifs that convey social
affiliations should have marked boundaries. Hally's
distributions (personal communication, April 1992) show the
kind of abrupt change one would expect if the motifs did
describe social affiliations. While the distribution of the
Irene variant of the filfot cross within the Lamar region is still
unclear, it is suggested that the predominance of the stamped
filfot cross motif in the ethnohistorically-known territory of
the Guale indicates that it functioned to symbolize group
affiliation in the same way as design functioned in the interior
The filfot cross probably also represented a
cosmological concept for all Lamar-related peoples
(Willoughby 1932:59). It certainly satisfies the criteria
outlined by David et al. above. This same motif, or variations

on the theme, was replicated in a number of media in the late
prehistoric southeast (Figure 2), occurring alone or with other
mythological symbols on shell gorgets, pottery, banners
(Fundaburk and Foreman 1957:58), gamestones (Fundaburk
and Foreman 1957: Plate 96), copper (Fundaburk and
Foreman 1957: Plates 109 and 110), pottery, and clothing
(Willoughby 1932:62, 64). The cross was (and still is)
represented in the sacred fire of the Creek and Seminole
Indian green corn dance and perhaps in the plan of the
Muskohogean square ground itself (Howard 1968).
Wauchope (1966:436) suggested that the Lamar filfot cross
may be related to the Middle Woodland Swift Creek filfot
cross; this may indicate that the cosmological concept
associated with the filfot cross has great antiquity in the
Southeast (Figure 2).
The filfot cross design has been interpreted by
Willoughby (1932) and by Hudson (1976:122) as "the world
symbol." Willoughby (1932:59-61) noted:

To the Indian the world was a body of land like a
great island entirely surrounded by water; this was
covered by a great dome, across which the sun took
its daily course from east to west. The water
extended to the lower edge of this sky dome, which
formed a great circle enclosing both water and

Figure 2. Examples of the World Symbol on Shell Gorgets (from Fundaburke and Foreman 1957).

land. The four cardinal points were determined by
the course of the sun, and the direction of the
winds, which came from the north, south, east, and
west. The Indians therefore graphically
represented the world by one or more circles
enclosing a cross, and with or without a central
circle, which symbolized the sun in the zenith, at
the period of its greatest power.

Unfortunately, Willoughby does not give a source for this
data, though he relies on the work of earlier ethnographers
for much of the other information in his review. Hudson
(1976:122) has offered a similar interpretation, but again
without attribution. If one accepts that these able
ethnographers were correct in identifying the cross within the
circle as the world symbol, then the close correspondence
between the examples of the world symbol (see Figure 2) and
the filfot cross (see Figure 1) should leave little doubt that the
filfot cross was a variant of the world symbol.
Irene pottery appeared along the Georgia coast around
A.D. 1350. The dates usually cited for the disappearance of
Irene pottery are between A.D. 1550 and 1580 (DePratter
1979: Table 30; Braley 1990:36); that is, after the Ayllen
colony, and perhaps after the first Guale rebellion of 1576,
but before the establishment of the Georgia Santa Catalina
mission and the second Guale rebellion of 1597. These dates,
however, are at best guesses. The entire range could be
earlier or later than suggested, or there may have been a
great deal of variability in the rate of change in pottery
depending on local histories. Particularly where questions
about the contact period are concerned, the failure of
radiocarbon dating or ceramic sequences (prehistoric or
historic) to narrow time ranges to less than 50-100 years is
especially frustrating.
In any event, sometime in the middle to late 16th
century, Guale Indians began to make a new type of pottery
designated Altamaha. Although Irene and Altamaha phase
pottery are clearly related, several key changes in stylistic
attributes define the new type. One obvious change was the
abandonment of the applique rim strip in favor of a folded
rim. In addition, the filfot cross became a bolder, rectilinear
design long thought to consist simply of parallel lines. Brewer
(1985) observed that this was not quite correct. She
demonstrated that the motif on the Altamaha pottery
produced by the Guale Indians at a mission period village site
on St. Catherines Island consisted of a (heavily overstamped)
central dot surrounded by four sets of parallel lines (see
Figure 1). Though the curvilinear element (the scroll)
dropped out, this design retains the essence of the filfot cross.
While we may never know for certain, it is possible that the
cosmological message inherent in the design may have
remained the same from the prehistoric through the mission


The coding system established for the study of the three
sites was set up to test the relative frequency of central dots at
all three sites, as well as to record changes in numerous other
technological and stylistic attributes (see Saunders 1992 for a
more thorough discussion of all aspects of this study).
The pottery assemblage from the Meeting House Fields
site provided baseline values for attributes against which
change could be measured at the subsequent proveniences.
Date ranges for the Meeting House Fields site were based on
the comparison of 1) stylistic attributes between the Meeting
House Fields site and other late Irene phase sites, 2)
computer generated cluster analyses of both surface
decoration and rim attributes, and 3) radiocarbon dates
(Table 1). These data indicated that the shell middens of the
Meeting House Fields site could be seriated into two groups,
with one group probably deposited in the mid-15th century
(Cluster 1) and the second group in the mid or possibly late
16th century (Cluster 2). Indeed, a few of the radiocarbon
dates suggested that a portion of the site might have been
occupied into the 1600s. However, no Spanish artifacts were
found on the site.

Table 1. Radiocarbon Dates from Meeting House Fields.




Beta-30265 Oyster
Beta-30263 Clam
Beta-30264 Charcoal
Beta-30270 Oyster
Beta-30268 Clam
Beta-30269 Charcoal
Beta-30266 Clam
Beta-30267 Clam
Beta-30262 Clam
Beta-30271 Clam

E L2
E L2
E L3
E L3
E L5
E L7
E L7
E L8
21 L3
21 L3
21 L3
M L3
M L3
M L3
H L2
H L8
12 L3
N L3

1190 60
1510 50
1630 60
1370 60
1260 60
1270 60
1360 50
1265 60

1610 50
1420 60
1410 60
1550 80
1630 80
1660 60
1560 60
1350 80
1500 60
890 70

While there were some differences in the frequency of
various surface decorations, rim treatments, and rim
decorations between clusters (Table 2), these differences
appeared to be a continuation of changes in the pottery type
begun before contact, and were attributed to "drift." There
were no pottery attributes (for instance, bold stamping or
folded punctated rims) suggestive of a transition to the
Altamaha phase pottery associated with mission period Guale
Indians (Table 2).


Table 2. Summary of Proveniences and Selected Attributes.


MHF CLUSTER I 71.7% 19 2% 89% 0.1% 25.0% 10 7% 14.3% 50.0% 00% 25.8% 0.0% 42.0% 65% 0.0% 25.7%
MHF CLUSTER 2 52.4% 35.4% 5.5% 66% 53.7% 14.7% 0.0% 29.5% 2.1% 39.8% 8.1% 24.8% 80% 9.7% 96%
SC GEORGIA. 80.7% 8.8% 5.6% 2.8% 40.0% 6.7% 67% 0.0% 46.7% 37.5% 125% 18.8% 6.2% 62% 18.8%
SC GEORGIA. 76.4% 12.9% 44% 6.2% 55.3% 4.0% 07% 0.0% 40.0% 32.9% 310% 13.6% 97% 5.8% 70%
SC FLORIDA 79.1% 157% 3.9% 1.4% 48.1% 4.7% 0.5% 02% 46.5% 44.5% 8.4% 20.2% 93% 50% 48%

Note: Surface decoration data is based on sherds for comparative purposes. All other attnbute values are
based on Minimum Number of Vessels (MNV).
MHF Cluster 1= Meeting House Fields Cluster 1. N=717, MNV=30
MHF Cluster 2= Meeting House Fields Cluster 2. N= 1660, MNV=97
SC Georgia, Early= St. Catherines Island mission, early proveniences. N=249, MNV= 17
SC Georgia, Late= St. Catherines Island mission, late proveniences. N=2476, MNV= 159
SC Florida= Amelia Island mission. N= 16.232, MNV =477

The earliest proveniences from the St. Catherines Island
mission presumably date to the 1594-1597 period, that is, just
before the Guale rebellion of 1597, when the mission was
burned by the Indians (Thomas 1988:40-41). Another set of
proveniences extends the temporal range from 1604, when the
mission was rebuilt, to 1680 when it was burned by the
Spanish and abandoned. Even from the earliest mission
proveniences, possibly deposited no more than a single
generation after the Meeting House Fields Cluster 2
materials, there was no Irene pottery (note that the sample
size for this context is small). Lands and grooves were bold
and there were no curvilinear elements on the sherds. In
addition, there were no applique rim strips (see Table 2);
these were completely replaced by folded rims. However, in
both the early and late proveniences, the same kinds of
styluses used to decorate rims in the late Irene phase
(predominantly cane punctation and fingernail punctation)
were used to decorate the folded rims of the mission period
(Table 2).
Stamped wares became more frequent in the mission
period (Table 2). However, the Guale continued to favor
certain surface decorations for specific vessel forms.
Throughout the period under study, bowls were most
commonly plain or incised and jars were stamped (Table 3;
this distribution was statistically significant at all three sites).
Moreover, the same vessels (jars) which were once decorated
primarily with applique strips were given folded rims in the
mission period (Table 4; apparently the increase in stamped
jars over plain jars lead to an increase in jars with folded
rims). In other words, design "correlates" (Arnold 1984)
remained essentially the same from the late prehistoric
through the mission period. In addition, a comparison
between Meeting House Fields and the St. Catherines Island
mission of the number of sherds on which the central dot was
visible (around 6% at both sites) showed that there was no
decline in the frequency of the use of the symbol (Tables 3, 4)

There was no significant decline in technological
attributes between the Meeting House Fields site and the
Georgia or Florida missions. For instance, the frequency of
sherds with interior burnishing (which has been shown to
decrease in some Spanish colonial contexts [Charlton 1968;
Tschopik 1950]), remained the same in the mission
proveniences as in the late Meeting House Fields
proveniences (around 20% of sherds). Fired color (the color
of the surfaces and core of the pottery, which gives a rough
approximation of the temperature the pottery was brought to
during firing) of a subsample of the pottery from the three
sites indicated some technological advancements in the
mission period. More pottery appeared to have been fired at
high temperatures at the missions than in the Irene phase
The diversity of forms and surface treatments increased
at the missions (colono ware forms appeared in the earliest
proveniences, and red and black slips or paints were applied
to a small number of vessel surfaces), but the vast majority
(80-85%) of vessels retained the traditional forms and
finishes. Comparison of the pottery from the later
proveniences of the St. Catherines Island Santa Catalina
mission with that from the earlier proveniences showed that
there was almost no change in stylistic or technological
attributes of Altamaha phase pottery throughout the 80 year
occupation of the site.
As noted above, Guale Indians began migrating to
Florida in the mid-17th century. Pottery produced by the
Guale in Florida is known as San Marcos pottery. The name
derives from the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine,
Florida, where Hale G. Smith (1948) recovered the pottery
used to define the type. (Several of the motifs depicted by
Smith [1948: Plate XXXI], though in the Lamar tradition, are
clearly not Guale Indian designs. The mixed assemblage
from the fort moat probably reflects the presence of Indian
laborers from throughout La Florida.)


Table 3. Surface Treatment by Vessel Form.

MHF 56.5% 42.1% 21.7% 1.8% 21.7% 56.1% 23 (100%) 57(100%)
SC GEORGIA 15 8% 23.7% 51.3% 10.5% 32.9% 65.8% 76 (100%) 38 (100%)
SC FLORIDA 25.4% 18.6% 17.1% 5.3% 57.5% 76.1% 181(100%) 113 (100%)
Note Forms other than bowls and jars not included Bowl designations include simple, carinated, and brimmed bowl forms.
Plain includes Burnished Plain

Table 4. Vessel Form by Rim Treatment.

MHF 773% 36.8% 9.1% 158% 9.1% 3.5% 4.5% 42.1% 00% 1.8% 22(100%) (100%)

SC GEORGIA 89.5% 17.1% 0.0% 4.9% 2.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 7.9% 78.1% 38 (100%) (100%)
SC FLORIDA 76.9% 16.3% 3.9% 7.8% 1.3% 0.7% 0.0% 0.0% 18.0% 75.2% 75 (100%) (100

Note Forms other than bowls and jars not included. Bowl designation includes simple bowl forms only.
One applique rim strip from SC Florida on UID vessel form not included.

There has been little agreement among researchers
working in Georgia and north Florida over whether Altamaha
and San Marcos pottery should be considered separate types.
Comparison of pottery attributes from the Amelia Island
mission to those from the St. Catherines Island mission
indicated that, despite documentary evidence of continuing
heavy mortality among the mission Indians in these late sites,
and an increasingly heterogeneous mission Indian population,
there were few differences in attribute values (such as vessel
form or rim treatment) between the two missions.
Two attributes did display significant changes. First,
while some excellent examples of incised vessels were
recovered from the Amelia Island mission, there was a
dramatic decrease in the incidence of incising at the late
mission (see Table 2), from 6.2% of the sherd assemblage
and 28.9% of the Minimum Number of Vessel assemblage at
the Georgia mission to just 1.4% of the sherds and 9.0% of
the vessels at the Florida mission (MNV incised vessel counts
may be inflated with respect to stamped and plain vessels
because of the ease of recognition of individual incised
The reasons for this decline are not known. It may be
partially related to differences in vessel assemblages--
carinated, brimmed, and simple bowls, the forms most likely
to be incised, make up 50.3% of the Georgia mission
assemblage and only 40.5% of the Florida mission
assemblage. An alternative hypothesis relates more to the
function of the incised designs. Speck (1909:54) noted that
incised designs on modern Catawba pottery had an "emphatic
religious meaning." As such, the decrease in incising may
indicate the erosion of the beliefs that inspired the designs. If

the latter hypothesis is accepted, the decline in incising can be
related to the second significant change--a decline in the use
of the world symbol.
The number of sherds on which the central dot of the
world symbol was visible decreased by almost half at the
Amelia Island mission as compared to the mission on St.
Catherines Island (from 5.0% to 2.2%). At the same time, a
few stylistic attributes from the Irene phase (and for which
there were no precedents in Florida prehistory) reappeared,
so it is unlikely that the loss of the central dot was due to a
breakdown in the transmission of design concepts from one
generation to another. Instead, the decline in the use of the
world symbol might be interpreted to indicate a loss of
traditional cosmological concepts among some of the Guale
Indian inhabitants of the Amelia Island Santa Catalina.
Nevertheless, the world symbol continued to be used in the
late 17th century. How much cosmological content the
symbol retained cannot be known.

Summary and Conclusions

The analysis of Guale pottery from the three sites has
produced some interesting results and, typically, more
questions. Comparison of the Meeting House Field
assemblage with that of the earliest proveniences at the
Georgia Santa Catalina de Guale suggested that the transition
from Irene to Altamaha wares was quite abrupt. Other
researchers (e.g., Wallace 1975; Crook 1981:18) have found
Irene and Altamaha wares in the same proveniences, though
this evidence is limited to mortuary or disturbed (plowed
field) contexts. More data is needed to answer the question


of when Irene became Altamaha. Only when the dates of the
transition become clearer can we proceed to answer the
question of why Irene became Altamaha, and from there to
an understanding of ceramic change in general.
Though the transition between the two types was abrupt,
a great deal of stylistic continuity is evident. Folded rims
replaced applique strips, but the rimfolds were embellished
with the same kinds of punctations (and in similar
frequencies) as the strips. Though new forms were produced,
the bulk of the wares at both missions preserved traditional
forms. Despite exposure to several new ceramic types,
traditional forms retained their "design correlates." Finally,
the traditional motif, the world symbol, continued to be
stamped onto pots throughout the mission period, though the
move to Florida saw a reduction in its use, as well as in the
use of incised designs. Viewed from the perspective of the
information and semiotic approaches outlined above, these
data suggest that, despite the erosion of traditional beliefs,
the Guale retained their social identity throughout the
mission period.
How the Guale achieved their "remarkable cultural
resiliency" (Deagan 1991:159) in the face of the disruptions of
the mission period remains to be understood; comparative
data are scarce. However, if future studies of the Guale and
other Native American groups of the colonial period can be
conducted with the approaches used here, we might begin to
delineate some social and ideological changes in cultures
affected by colonization. Such data would help us to
understand how and why some ethnic groups cohere and
perpetuate themselves while others are physically destroyed
or assimilated. The present emphasis on "multi-culturalism"
in our own society indicates that the information is sorely

Acknowledgements. The author (and the paper) have
benefitted from the comments of Brent Weisman and the
anonymous reviewers, as well as a long association with
Jerald T. Milanich. Funding for the excavation and the
analysis of the artifacts from the three sites discussed has
come from the Florida Department of State, Division of
Historical Resources, the St. Catherines Island Foundation,
George and Dottie Dorion, Gus and Marion Heatwole, and
Mitch and Beanie Wenigman. My thanks to all concerned.

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Rebecca Saunders
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Museum Road
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611


Stanley C. Bond, Jr.


From July to December 1985 the author, with volunteers
from the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board,
excavated three test units on 8SJ43, the Crescent Beach site.
Portions of the site tested were to be disturbed by the
movement of a house already located on the site and the
construction of a second single-family dwelling. The site
offered a good location for training volunteers interested in
acquiring skills in field archaeology. Excavations were
sponsored by the Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board
with the support of the George Hamilton family, owners of
the property.
The Crescent Beach site is located within the
unincorporated town of Crescent Beach. More specifically it
is bounded by Cubbedge Road to the south, Pomar Street to
the east, and the Matanzas River (Intracoastal Waterway) to
the west. The northern boundary of the site (north of the
Hamilton property) could not be determined due to earlier
development and a lack of owner permission to survey this
area. A portion of the site may once have extended south of
Cubbedge Road but that portion has been destroyed by the
development of a fish camp and boat basin. The site itself is
adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway and the western edge
has been eroded by tidal action. In general, residential

development, erosion, and the construction of the original
State Road (SR) 206 bridge have disturbed major portions of
the site (Figure 1).
The purpose of this project was to mitigate the impact of
construction on the site, to determine the chronology,
stratigraphy, and integrity of the deposit, and to train
volunteers in archaeological techniques. To fulfill these goals,
a subsurface survey of the site and test excavations were
required. While a lack of permission from adjoining property
owners did not allow a complete determination of site size,
we were able to document site stratigraphy and chronology.
Information from site excavations was supplemented by the
analysis of material collected along the riverfront by local
residents. Without a full site survey it is difficult to determine
the exact loci of specific occupational periods. However,
some general statements are presented below.
Artifacts collected by local residents represented a wide
range of prehistoric and historic occupational periods in St.
Johns County. These artifacts included nineteenth and
twentieth-century ceramics, Columbia Plain majolica, olive jar
fragments, and San Marcos, St. Johns, and Orange aboriginal
pottery. Lithic evidence from surface collections and data
from Test Unit 1 suggests an occupation of the site during the
preceramic Mt. Taylor period. Test Units 2 and 3 document
the shift from Donax collection along the beachstrand to the


Skor, Line Matlnzes River



Figur Sit e. Map,. 8 4...
Figure 1. Site Map, 8SJ43.


Vol. 45 No. 2

June 1992


collection of oysters and other shellfish in the Matanzas

Present Environment

This shell midden is located within a maritime hammock
consisting of oak and red cedar. There is a substantial rise
along the eastern edge of the site created by the deposition of
a coquina shell midden. There is also a high oyster shell
midden in the northwest corer of the property which caps a
deeper coquina midden. Informants (Jack Genung;pers.
com., April 1985; George Hamilton;pers. com., April 1985)
state that portions of the shell midden were hauled off for use
as road paving during the early twentieth century.
Differential removal of shell from the site may explain the
differences in elevation between the remnant section of the
oyster shell midden.
Physiographically, the Crescent Beach site falls within
the Atlantic Coastal Lowlands province (White 1970:85).
Within this broad category, the site is located on the Atlantic
Beach Ridge, defined as a set of barrier islands separating the
Atlantic Ocean from the Intracoastal Waterway.
Geologically, this is part of the Silver Bluff marine terrace
formed less than 30,000 years ago (Bermes et al. 1963:32-39).
The site is directly adjacent to the Matanzas River and is less
than one kilometer from the present Atlantic Ocean
shoreline. The soil series found on this site is classified as
Pomelo fine sand (USDA 1983).
The environmental features of this site place it within
the dry hammock category defined by the St. Johns County
archaeological survey (Smith and Bond 1984:29-30). Dry
hammocks have the highest probability for site locations in St.
Johns County. The Crescent Beach site conforms to one
hypothesis that prehistoric sites are located on well-drained
soils within maritime hammocks adjacent to the Intracoastal

Past Environment

While the current environment supports a diverse
saltwater estuary, the environmental setting of the Crescent
Beach site was probably quite different at the time of its
earliest occupation. Fifteen to twenty thousand years ago
sea level was approximately 130 meters lower than it is
presently (Komar 1975:155). Sea level rose rapidly at the end
of the Wisconsin glaciation until about 7000 B.P.(Before
Present). Sea level rise was more gradual from 7000 B.P.
until 4000 to 2000 B.P., when sea level reached its
approximate present position. Even relatively small changes
in sea level can have dramatic impacts on the coastal region.
John Goggin (1952:20-21) speculates that the sea level was
not high enough to create the salt water lagoon system during
the Mt. Taylor and Orange periods. The original freshwater
system behind the barrier dunes inhibited the growth of

oysters and explains the lack of oyster shells on Orange
period sites. Rising sea levels eventually breached the coastal
barrier and created the saline Intracoastal Waterway system
during the Transitional or St. Johns I period.
Recently Russo (1989) and Ste. Claire (1990) have
demonstrated that there are Orange period middens with
oyster shell as the primary component. Their work does not
cite, however, the numerous coastal Orange period sites now
known to be present which have no associated shell midden.
It seems likely that oyster beds in the Orange period were in
specialized environments and that much of the current
Intracoastal Waterway previously consisted of fresh water
ponds. Until the dredging of the Intracoastal Waterway in
modern times there were areas north of the St. Augustine
Inlet and South of the Matanzas Inlet which contained only
fresh water ponds. It appears that during the Orange period
a pattern of less salt water estuary and more fresh water
ponds was present.
Today sea level continues to rise. Over the last 100
years sea level has risen from six inches to one foot (Titus and
Barth 1984:7-8; Titus 1986), and is expected to rise between
three and five feet in the next century. While much of this sea
level rise is due to the recent use of fossil fuels and the
greenhouse effect, it is apparent that sea level has risen
continuously since the last glaciation and continues to rise
today. These new data tend to support Goggin's hypothesis
that changes in sea level created a more favorable
environment for coastal settlement sometime between the
Orange and St. Johns periods.

Project Goals

Early and more recent excavations on coastal Orange
period sites have suggested a number of hypotheses which can
be archaeologically tested. Some authors have suggested
dramatic environmental changes occurred between the
Orange and St. Johns periods (Goggin 1952, Milanich and
Fairbanks 1980). The first project research goal was to
distinguish proposed environmental differences between the
Orange and St. Johns periods. Several parts of the data base
could be used to focus on this issue. First, subsistence
information recovered from the Orange component of the
site could be compared with similar information from St.
Johns period sites. This step would require the recovery of
faunal remains from 1/4 inch and 1/16 inch screens.
Differences in species utilization, especially marine species,
should point toward environmental differences.
Second, intra-site differences between the Orange
period component and the St Johns period component on the
Crescent Beach site may point toward a changing
environment. These changes may be especially apparent in
the use of shellfish and other marine species.
Finally, site stratigraphy may provide clues to
environmental changes. Stratigraphic differences should be


greatest between the St. Johns and Orange period
components. If previous assumptions about environmental
change are correct, then the Orange period component
should be composed primarily of coquina while the St. Johns
occupation should consist primarily of oyster shell.
A second goal of this research was to determine the
seasonal occupation of the site. It has been hypothesized that
these coastal coquina middens were occupied during the late
fall and early winter. The type and size of shellfish used by
the site occupants should indicate seasonality. Other faunal
material, including fish, turtle, and bird remains, may further
substantiate this hypothesis.
A final goal of this project is to assess the integrity of the
Crescent Beach site. The Florida Site File and neighborhood
informants indicate that the site has been heavily disturbed.
Site survey and test excavations should determine which areas
of the site may still contain important cultural resources.

Post Hole Survey

In order to establish site stratigraphy and chronology a
series of 13 post holes was excavated in 10 meter intervals
parallel to the Intracoastal Waterway (generally south to
north) (see Figure 1). The first line of post holes (1-7) was
placed on the western edge of the site. These post holes
began at the Florida Department of Transportation
monument and were excavated on a line at 346 degrees north
to a point 57 meters from the monument. The second set of
post holes (8-13) began at the transit datum and were
excavated north on a line of 296.5 degrees north to a point 48
meters from the datum.
Post holes 1 through 4 were excavated in the southwest
portion of the site and the area of lowest elevation. This area
had the greatest disturbance due to shell removal. The
stratigraphy of these post holes showed a level of crushed
coquina shell to a depth of approximately 40 cm. Below this
layer a level of oyster shells 30 cm to 40 cm thick occurred.
The third level consisted of a coquina shell midden from a
depth of 90 cm to 110 cm. Sterile sand was encountered
below the coquina layer.
Post holes 5 through 7 were placed in the high oyster
shell midden in the northwest corner of the property and
adjacent to the Matanzas River. The upper 30 cm to 40 cm of
these post holes was composed of oyster shell midden. Below
the midden occurred a coquina shell level from 100 cm to 110
cm. Sterile sand was located below the coquina shell layer.
These post holes did not offer enough information to
determine if this higher northeast area was a product of
cultural deposition during the prehistoric period or due to
differential shell removal. The consistent depth of sterile
sand in all of the post holes would seem to argue for a
depositional difference. Yet, the abrupt change in elevation
between this midden and the surrounding area when
compared with depositional patterns at other shell middens

makes it more likely that the difference is due to shell
Overall most of these post holes contained Orange
ceramics, St. Johns ceramics or both. Modern material was
also present in all Transect 1 post holes (Table 1). Shell
weights varied slightly between post holes but generally
averaged around 10,000 grams (Table 2).
Post holes 8 through 13 were excavated on the higher
ridge along the eastern edge of the property. Except for a
large disturbed area encountered in post hole 10, all post
holes showed a deep and compact coquina midden. Post
holes were excavated to a depth of 120 cm; however, in most
post holes the base of the midden could not be reached. Most

Table 1. Artifacts From Post Hole Excavation.
O.P. O.I. S.J.P. S.J.C. Other

PH 3 1
PH 4 19

Shell Modern

2 P
U.G.T.-1 3 P
U.G.T.-1 3 P
5 P
1 P

PH 7 1 4 P

PH 8
PR 9 4
PH 10 7
PH 11
PH 12 8

2 P

PH 13 13 1 P

O.P.-Orange Plain U.G.T.-Unidentified Grit Tempered
O.I.-Orange Incised Shell- Potential Shell Tools
S.J.P.-St. Johns Plain P-Modern Material Present
S.J.C.-St. Johns Check Stamped A-Hodern Material Absent
Other- Other Ceramic Types

Table 2. Shell Weights From Post Hole Excavation (in grams).

Coquina Moonsnail Oyster Clam


PH 1 505 33 2,625 400 3,203
PH 2 4,550 350 4,915 410 10,225
PH 3 5,655 230 2,995 815 9,695
PH 4 4,735 430 4,810 245 10,220
PH 5 8,075 822 7,780 165 16,842
PH 6 2,800 183 1,402 252 4,637
PH 7 7,030 330 4,340 230 11,930
W. Line 33,350 2,378 28,867 2,517 66,752
W. Line 4,764 340 4,124 360 9,536
PH 8 9,610 725 3,130 100 13,565
PH 9 13,780 310 240 10 14,340
PH 10 5,870 270 400 25 6,565
PH 11 21,200 1,475 6,320 160 29,155
PH 12 15,340 660 250 0 16,250
PH 13 19,030 670 450 300 20,450
E. Line 84,830 4110 10,790 595 100,325
E. Line 14,138 685 1,798 99 16,720


post holes contained Orange Plain ceramics but few
contained any modern material (Table 1). Shell weights were
very high, ranging from 15,000 grams to almost 30,000 grams
(Table 2). In general these post holes revealed a deep and
relatively undisturbed coquina midden.

Test Unit 1

Test Unit 1 was placed on the upper portion of the
coquina midden ridge (see Figure 1). This one meter by two
meter test trench was excavated to the base of the coquina
midden. As described in the methodology section, all
material was screened, artifacts and faunal material saved,
and all shell was sorted and weighed. A 25 cm by 25 cm 1\16-
inch screen sample was taken.
Test Unit 1 showed the stratigraphy of the coquina
midden to be undisturbed below 20 cm and relatively complex
(Figure 2). The midden itself began 5 cm to 10 cm below the

ground surface and extended to a point approximately 150 cm
below the surface. The highest layer consisted of
unconsolidated coquina shells 37 cm thick. This shell deposit
was very loose and coquina shells would tumble from the
profile at the slightest disturbance. Almost no sand or other
soil was deposited within this zone.
Also occurring within this zone was a charcoal and ash
lens and a concentration of moonsnails (Polinices duplicate).
The moonsnails overlay part of the ash area, which appears to
be a hearth. A second hearth area was also uncovered in the
western quarter of the test unit. This feature was not present
in the profile. All of these features were encountered in
Level 3 (Figure 3).
Below this unconsolidated coquina existed a complex
stratigraphy of loose to compact coquina shells, charcoal and
ash lenses, possible hearth areas, and a trash pit filled with
coquina and charcoal in the northeast corner of the test unit
(see Figure 2). The coquina midden terminates at a sterile

0 10cr
Figure 2. North Profile, Test Unit 1.


~..;... I,

Unio.lOl~ld 5~11
:::''' :i-;
wl* 1,1

o ~al

Figure 3. Plan View, Level 3, Test Unit 1.

white sand between 150 cm and 160 cm below the ground
Since this midden was composed mainly of coquina
shell with little sand or other soil in the deposit, shell weights
were very high. Table 3 lists these shell weights by shell type

documented preceramic shell middens in the Atlantic coastal
region. If this was a preceramic site it would show a strong
link between Mt. Taylor and Orange period people. There
appears to be little difference in artifact assemblages (except
for ceramics) or coastal subsistence patterns between these
two groups. This evidence suggests a gradual and in-place
transition from the Mt. Taylor to the Orange period. Further
excavations are necessary to confirm or refute this initial
Other artifacts found include a carved bone pin from
Level 12 and a double drilled shark's tooth from Level 14. A
large number of shell tools and potential shell tools were also
recovered. These include Busycon picks, dippers, chisels,
gouges and columella. A number of B con shells have
single or double pecked holes. A more detailed description
of artifacts is given below. Table 4 in lists the artifacts
recovered from Test Unit 1.

Test Unit 2

and gives the total weight for each level. Test Unit 2 was a one meter by two meter trench
excavated in the low area adjacent to the Matanzas River (see
Table 3. shell Weights (in gra.), Tst Unit 1. Figure 1). The purpose of this test square was to determine
coquina Noon Oyrter Cla Other Total site stratigraphy, chronology, and integrity in the most
L. 1 6955 310 75 97 7,437 disturbed area. This excavation unit answered the questions
L. 2 32,160 2,760 2,545 220 935 88,62o about this depositional sequence and ultimately supported the
L. 3 108,745 3,125 2,515 210 113,995 hypotheses concerning environmental and subsistence
L. 4 112,680 7,408 1,295 10 is 121,963 changes between the Orange and St. Johns periods.
L. 5 11s,115 8,45s 1,340 125 920 12,985 In Test Unit 2 a crushed coquina and oyster shell
L. 6 98,720 2,770 1,500 0oo 795 103,885 midden was present directly beneath the grass surface (Figure
L. 7 77,755 6,440 1,475 405 745 86,820 5). The material recovered from this upper shell zone
documented that it was a shell fill. Modern material such as
L. 8 76,750 2,040 935 260 611 80,696 .
L. 9 59,25 2,455 S3 10 320 ceramics, glass, and iron was mixed within the shell to the
L. 9 59,285 2,455 580 180 320 62,820
L. 10 50,360 ,440 S 200 2 ,40 base of this disturbed zone. Also present were Orange and
St. Johns ceramics.
L. 11 34,300 695 1,535 960 520 38,695 Below this shell fill was a zone of oyster shell midden.
L. 12 32,750 2,410 790 1,030 1,642 38,622 The midden was from 20 cm to 25 cm thick and had a dense
L. 13 27,100 1,400 ,065 2,170 2,205 37,554 concentration of oyster shell and clam. Early St. Johns
L. 14 10o,o0 165 265 sso 125 11,185 pottery was also present as were faunal remains and possible
L. 1s 70 s5 so5 20 1,s55 shell tools. This intact oyster shell midden fit the model that
L. 16 95 70 25 25 215 the St. Johns people relied mainly on riverine resources.
An abundance of faunal material, especially marine From the number of oyster shells present it is apparent that
species, was recovered. Included are shark and a wide range the Matanzas River contained the salinity necessary for them
of fish. Fish size varies greatly and may reflect different to grow. This deposition is different than that in Test Unit 1
capture techniques. Fresh water species include turtles and a where almost no oysters are present.
species of Viviparus snail (Irv Quitmyer: pers. com., July, The next zone in Test Unit 2 also shows a lack of oyster
1987). This material awaits detailed analysis by a shells. This zone is a coquina shell midden but, unlike Test
zooarchaeologist and should offer important information Unit 1, displays a strong Orange period occupation. The zone
about subsistence, seasonality, and the local environment, is between 20 cm and 25 cm thick and is composed of a brown
Very few artifacts were recovered from Test Unit 1. No sand and coquina shells. The coquina shell content is much
Orange period ceramics were found below Level 3. It seems lower than in Test Unit 1. Diagnostic artifacts for this zone
quite likely, given the size of the test sample, that this portion include large quantities of Orange plain ceramics. This
of the midden represents a preceramic occupation of the site. includes a portion of an Orange period vessel which extends
The Crescent Beach site would be one of the first south into Test Unit 3. Also present are shell tools and a

S.J.P. S.J.I. S.J.C. Other Shell Mod
1 P

Test Unit 3

Test Unit 2

Unid-1 1 P

- 1 P

L. 1
Fs 15
L. 2
PS 20
L. 3
F8 23
L. 3-S
F8 25
L. 4
F8 26
L. 4
F1 27
L. 4
F8 31
L. 5
FS 30
L. S
F8 33
L. 6
F8 34
L. 7
FS 37
L. 8
FS 39
L. 9
FS 41

0 icm.

Figure 4. West Profile, Test Units 2 and 3.

- 1 A artifacts recovered from Test Unit 2.

L. 10 -
FS 43
L. 11 -
FS 46
L. 12 -
FS 49

L. 13 -
Fs 69
L. 14 -
FS 69
L. 14 -
FS 76
L. 1 -
FS 76A
L.16 -
FS 77
O.P.-Orange Plain
O.Z.-Orange Incised
S.J.P.-St. John Plain
.:J.I.-pt. Johns Incised
S.J.C.-St. Johns Checked
Unid.-Unidentified Ceramic
Unid Lithic-Unidentified Lithic

1 A Test Unit 3

Bone-3 1 A
The purpose of Test Unit 3 was to recover the Orange
2 A period vessel partially uncovered in Test Unit 2 and to obtain
a 1\16 inch screen sample. Test Unit 3 was an extension of
k Tooth 2 A Test Unit 2 (see Figure 1 and 5) and contained the same
Drilled-1 stratigraphic sequence (see Figure 4). The same levels of
1 A modern shell fill, Early St. Johns oyster shell midden, Orange

1 A period coquina shell midden, and sterile white sand were
present. Artifacts similar to those from Test Unit 2 were also
A recovered. The Orange period vessel was wrapped in a

A plaster cast, removed m situ. and taken to the Preservation
Board laboratory for reconstruction. Part of the hearth
Bone-Worked none described in Test Unit 2 also extended into Test Unit 3 (see
k Toot.nh-ishark ooth Figure 5). Tables 7 and 8 list shell weights and artifacts from
Shell-Potential Shell Tool
Mod-Modern Raterial Test Unit 3.
P-Preentest nit 3.

large amount of faunal material.
The brown sand of the above level graded into a yellow
sand level which contained a diminishing number of coquina
shells. Within this level was the dark stain of a hearth. This
stain corresponded to the location of the Orange period
vessel mentioned above. It appears that the Orange pot
broke in the fire and was left in place (Figure 5).
The eastern portion of this level extended below the
water table. No basal level was recorded in this area. The
western quarter of this level is 15 cm thick and terminates in a
white sterile sand. Tables 5 and 6 give shell weights and


The artifact assemblage from the Crescent Beach site is
similar to other Early St. Johns and Orange period sites in the
coastal area. St Johns Plain ceramics were recovered from
the disturbed layer and the oyster shell midden in Test Units
2 and 3. Within the oyster shell midden these ceramics were
plain, with a soft, chalky, orange-gold paste. One fragment
displayed a leg or lug handle. Also present were fragments of
St. Johns Incised and a few sherds of grit-tempered Deptford
Check Stamped. The ceramic assemblage places this midden
level within the Transitional or St Johns Ia period. This time

Table 4. Artifacts, Test Unit 1.

O.P. O.I.


25 1 4 -

a- Sn-1 41A Midden

irown Sena and CoQuina

- A Yellow Sand and Coqulna .=

A ." .

- 1 A

Unid. 2
- A

0 10cm


Figure 5. Plan View, Level 10, Test Units 2 and 3.

Table S. Shell Weights (in gram.), Test Unit 2

L. 1
L. 2
L. 3
L. 4
L. 5
L. 6
L. 7
L. 8
L. 9
L. 10
L. 11


Moon Oyster Clam
210 4,085 450
1,860 2,572 415
2,645 10,310 1,818
2,115 13,035 1,090
152 75,945 435
40 77,380 430
50 65,290 9,090
590 26,560 17,900

5,586 1,437 5,130 1,310
7,310 710 860 760
5,560 605 640 225



period is the same general time for the hypothesized
environmental change in the Matanzas River.
The other major ceramic type uncovered during the
excavation was Orange Plain. These ceramics were found in
the upper 40 cm of Test Unit 1, and in the modern shell fill
and coquina midden levels of Test Units 2 and 3. The most
significant set of Orange ceramics uncovered was the Orange

vessel found in Test Units 2 and 3 (Figure 6). The vessel was
found lying in a hearth area and has been fractured into
approximately 100 pieces. It became obvious that vessel
reconstruction would be difficult if not impossible without
removing the vessel in situ and bringing it back to the
laboratory. This was accomplished by covering the vessel
surface with cotton and wrapping the vessel and surrounding
soil with plaster-impregnated gauze. When the cast was
firmly in place, the pedestalled vessel was cut away from the
lower level with a section of sheet metal. The sheet metal
then provided a base on which the vessel could be removed
from the excavation unit and transported to the lab.
From that portion of the vessel which has been
reconstructed some basic measurements can be given. The
vessel is an oval basin with excurvate sides. It is 24.5 cm long
by 15.4 cm wide across the base (interior) and 38.5 cm long by
29.4 cm wide from rim to rim. The height of the vessel is 13.8
cm. Overall the vessel conforms to previous descriptions of
Orange period vessel shapes and paste characteristics (Griffin
1945; Sears and Griffin 1950; Bullen 1972). The shape is
quite different than an Orange period vessel described by
Hemmings and VonBurger (1975). Figure 7 gives a profile of


Table 6. Artifacts, Test Unit 2.

O.P. O.I. S.J.P. S.J.I.

L. 1 5 7

L. 1
FS 16

L. 2
FS 17

L. 2
FS 19

L. 3
FS 21

L. 3
FS 22

L. 4
PS 24

L. 5
FS 28

L. 6
FS 29

L. 7

22 -

6 -

19 -


- 1

L. 8 54 78 1
FS 35

L. 9 9 1
FS 36

L. 10 66 1 3
FS 38

L. 11 15 1
FS 40

O.P.-Orange Plain RW-
O.I.-Orange Incised Uni
8.J.P.-St. Johns Plain Bon
S.J.I.-St. Johns Incised She
8.J.C.-St Johns Checked Mod
SM- San Marcoa P-PI
Dep-Deptford A-AJ

Table 7. Shell Weights (in grams), Test

Coquina Moon Oyster

L. 1-4 102,490 4,095 24,285

L. 5 62,155

L. 6 25 66,930

L. 7 729 23,813

L. 8 2,260 425 2,505

L. 9 5,295 1,300 1,560

L. 10 8,084 340 1,279

L. 11 6,495 372 725

S.J.C. Other



Shell Mod

Unid-2 4 P


Unid-3 2 A

19 A


- Dep-2

- Unid-2 2 A



d-Unidentified Ceramic
e-Worked Bone
ll-Potential Shell Tool
-Modern Material

Unit 3.

Clam Other

825 462

1,446 5

1,580 70

6,700 305

1,345 610

830 382

579 130

140 74










Table 8. Artifacts, Test Unit 3.

O.P. O.I. S.J.P.

L. 1-4 3 4
FS 42

L. 1-3.5 3 -
FS 52

L. 1-3.5 3 -
FS 60

L. 4
FS 53

L. 4
FS 61

L. 5
FS 44

S.J.I. S.J.C.



Shell Mod


- P



2 -

L. 5 -
FS 54

L. 5 3
FS 62

L. 6 -
FS 45

L. 6
FS 55

L. 6 2
FS 63

L. 7 6 1
FS 47

L. 7 2
FS 56

L. 7 3 23
FS 64

L. 8 11 1
FS 48

L. 8 -
FS 57

L. 8 4 4
FS 65

L. 9 6 -
FS 50

L. 9 -
FS 59

L. 9 24 -
FS 66

L. 10 10 -
FS 51

L. 10 1 1
FS 70

L. 10 -
FS 67

L. 10 2 3
FS 82

L. 11
FS 73

L. 11
FS 75

L. 11 1 -
FS 79

L. 11 1 -
FS 80

L. 11 1 -

O.P.-Orange Plain
O.I.-Orange Incised
S.J.P.-St. Johns Plain
S.J.I.-St. Johns Incised
S.J.C.-St. Johns Checked


1 A


10 A

1 A
- 1 A

-2 A

15 A


- A

S 9 A

1 A


Unid-2 1 A

- 1 A




- A

Unid- Unidentified Ceramic
Shell-Potential Shell Tool
Mod-Modern Material







the vessel in its present state of reconstruction.
A second important assemblage of artifacts is the group
of shell tools and potential tools found on the site. Shell
artifacts occurred in all levels but were most prominent in the
coquina midden context. The most obvious tools were those
made from conchs, mainly Busvcon and Strombus.
Three Busvco receptacles were recovered on the site.
One receptacle was collected on the surface, while the other
two occurred in Test Unit 1 (Figure 8). All three show signs
of burning and are identical to those described by Webster
(1970) and von Burger (1972). The presence of these burned
receptacles in Test Unit 1 are further evidence of a
preceramic occupation.
Numerous columellae were also uncovered throughout
the site. It is difficult to determine if all of these were
intentionally produced or are a product of natural breakage.
A particularly large example was recovered from the Orange
period occupation in Test Unit 2 (Figure 9). Similar
specimens were recovered at the Cotton site (Griffin and
Smith 1954:61) and Tick Island (Jahn and Bullen 1978:68, 69,
Busvcon shells with single or double perforations were
also common (Figure 10). Specimens of shells with pecked
holes are found throughout Florida sites (Griffin and Smith
1954:48-49, Bullen and Bullen 1961:11-12; Jahn and Bullen
1978:66; Reiger 1979; Reiger 1981; Luer et al. 1986). These
shell tools may have functioned as picks, hammers, chisels. or
net weights. One specimen had an unfinished hole similar to
one described by Reiger (1979:130-131).
Two Busvcon specimens had cut and smoothed tips for

use as possible adzes (Figure 11). They are similar to tools
described from south Florida (Reiger 1981:10-16; Luer et al.
1986), however, they have no holes.
A Strombus celt was recovered from post hole 13
(Figure 12). This fragmentary shell tool shows identical wear
patterns to one discovered on the Cotton site (Griffin and
Smith 1954:48, 61).
Two other whelk artifacts were recovered that did not
necessarily function as tools. One is a cut and polished side
section of Busvcon (Figure 13). The entire specimen has
been smoothed but this polishing is most apparent along the
edges. This artifact was recovered from the St. Johns period
The second artifact is a drilled shell bead manufactured
from a columella section. Unfortunately this bead came from
a disturbed context.
A second set of shell tools was derived from the clam
Venus mercenaria (Figure 14). These are all cut sections of
clam shell and show wear along the edge. Wear patterns are
in the form of serrations, striations, or missing sections.
These types of tools are identical to those described by Reiger
Faunal material was plentiful on the Crescent Beach
site, but bone artifacts were rare. Three segments of bone
pins were recovered from Orange period or preceramic
contexts (Figure 15). One section from the lower levels of
Test Unit 1 was incised with cross-hatched lines.
Also from the lower level of Test Unit 1 a double-drilled
sharks tooth was found (Figure 16). It may have been used as
a tool or for some form of decoration.

0 t 2 3 4 cm

Figure 7. Profile of Reconstructed Orange Plain Vessel.

Figure 10. Perforated Buscon Shells


Figure 9. Strombus or Busvcon Columella.

Figure 8. Buvo Receptadles.

Cr~~ ~~~C
, 1~ ''

^ .


Figure 11. Possible Busvcon Adzes.
Figure 12. Strombus Celt.
Several large fish vertebrae were found which were split,
contained holes, or showed both elements. It could not be
determined if this modification was intentional, unintentional,
or a product of deposition.


Although a major portion of the Crescent Beach site has
been disturbed, a significant portion of the site still contains
important archaeological information. Excavations were
successful in delineating basic environmental changes
between the Orange and St. Johns periods and assessing site
integrity. A general view of the site's seasonal occupation was
possible, but more explicit information will require further
study. An unexpected outcome of this excavation is the
possible documentation of a preceramic coastal shell midden.
Environmental differences between the Orange and St.
Johns periods comes from data gathered from Test Units 1
and 2. The oyster shell midden of the early St. Johns period Figure 13. Polished Busvcon Section.

Figure 14. possible Venus Mercenana Aruiacs.

Figure 15. Polished Bone Pin Fragments. Fij

overlying the coquina shell midden of the Orange Period
strengthens the hypothesis that the Matanzas estuary was
formed at the end of the Orange period. Further studies of
the faunal remains and shellfish from these two test units
should add more validity to this argument.
Seasonality statements are more difficult to make
without a detailed analysis of faunal material. For the
Orange and Preceramic periods the size of the coquina and
the other types of shellfish present suggest a fall occupation.
Again, further study of the faunal material and shellfish
sample is needed to answer questions about site seasonality.
Investigations proved that the Crescent Beach site
contains important information on the prehistoric occupation
of St. Johns County. Future work on this site could add to
our knowledge of the early St. Johns, Orange, and Mt. Taylor
periods. A vital part of any future work is the definition of
site boundaries. While this paper has attempted to outline
changes in site information, further work is necessary to
validate these claims.

gure 16. Double Drilled Sharks Tooth.


I want to thank the volunteers, Bob Dow, Jimmy and
BJ. McNair, Bob Neelands, and Fred White, for the time and
effort they gave to project. Jimmy McNair passed away
before excavations were complete, and I dedicate this report
to him. Gayle Prevatt prepared most of the art work and
James Quine photographed the artifacts.

References Cited

Bermes, BJ., G.W. Leve, and G.R. Tarver
1963 Geology and Ground-Water Resources of Flagler,
Putnam, and St. Johns Counties, Florida. Florida
Geological Survey Report of Investigations No. 32.
Florida Geological Survey, Tallahassee.

Bullen, Ripley, P.
1972 The Orange Period of Peninsular Florida. The Florida


Anthropologist 25 (2, pt. 2):9-33.

Bullen, Ripley P. and Adelaine K. Bullen
1961 The Summerhaven Site, St. Johns County, Florida. The
Florida Anthropologist 14 (1-2):1-15.

Goggin, John M.
1952 Space and Time Perspective in Northern St. Johns
Archaeology, Florida. Yale University Publications in
Anthropology 47. New Haven.

Griffin, James B.
1945 The Significance of the Fiber-Tempered Pottery of the
St. Johns Area in Florida. Journal of the Washington
Academy of Sciences 35 (7):218-223.

Griffin, John W. and Hale Smith
1954 The Cotten Site: An Archaeological Site of Early
Ceramic Times in Volusia County, Florida. Florida
State University Studies 16:27-61.

Hemmings, E. Thomas and Don L. VonBurger
1975 An Orange Plain Vessel From Enterprise, Florida. The
Florida Anthropologist 28:14-16.

Jahn, Otto and Ripley Bullen
1978 The Tick Island Site, St. Johns River, Florida.
Florida Anthropological Society Publications No. 10.

Komar, Paul D.
1975 Beach Processes and Sedimentation. Prentice-Hall,
Englewood Cliffs.

Luer, George, David Allerton, Dan Hazeltine, Ron Hatfield,
and Darden Hood
1986 Whelk Shell Tool Blanks From Big Mound Key
(8Chl0), Charlotte County, Florida: With Notes on
Certain Whelk Shell Tools. The Florida Anthropologist

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

Reiger, John F.
1979 The Making of Aboriginal Shell Tools: Clues from
South Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 32:130-138.

1981 An Analysis of Four Types of Shell Artifacts. The
Florida Anthropologist 34:4-20.

Russo, Michael
1989 A Commentary on Temporal Patterns in Marine
Shellfish Use in Florida and Georgia. Southeastern
Archaeology 7:61-68.

Ste. Claire, Dana
1990 The Archaic in East Florida: Archaeological Evidence
for Early Coastal Adaptations. The Florida
Anthropologist 43:189-197.

Sears, William H. and James B. Griffin
1950 Fiber-tempered Pottery of the Southeast. In Prehistoric
Pottery of the Eastern United States, edited by James B.
Griffin, Department of Anthropology, University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Smith, James and Stanley Bond
1984 Stomping the Flatwoods: An Archaeological Survey of
St. Johns County, Florida. Ms. on file, Historic St.
Augustine Preservation Board, St. Augustine.

Titus, James G.
1986 How to Estimate Future Sea Level Rise in Particular
Communities. Environmental Protection Agency
Worksheet, Washington, D.C.

Titus, James G. and Michael C. Barth
1984 An Overview of the Cause and Effects of Sea Level
Rise. In Greenhouse Effect and Sea Level Rise: A
Challenge for This Generation, edited by Michael C.
Barth and James G. Titus, pp. 1-56. Van Nostrand
Reinhold Co., New York.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
1983 Soil Survey of St. Johns County, Florida. Soil
Conservation Service, Washington, D.C.

von Burger, D.L.
1972 A Supplemental Note on the Busycon Receptacle.
The Florida Anthropologist 25:73-76.

Webster, William J.
1970 A New Concept for the Busycon Shell Receptacle. The
Florida Anthropologist 23:1-7.

White, William A.
1970 The Geomorphology of the Florida Peninsula. Florida
Bureau of Geology Bulletin 51, Tallahassee.

Stanley C. Bond, Jr.
Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board
Post Office Box 1987
St. Augustine, FL 32804



Christine L. Newman and Brent R. Weisman


About ten miles north of St. Augustine, between the
Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, lies 11,500
acres of coastal land called the Guana Tract. Called "Guano"
by the Spanish, meaning to them "River of Palms", the name
was officially changed to Guana because of obvious negative
implications. Considered by biologists to be a southern
extension of the sea island chain of Georgia and the
Carolinas, the Guana tract has a rich combination of natural,
cultural and recreational resources (Figure 1). Managed
jointly by the Florida Department of Natural Resources
(DNR) and the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission (GFC), a total of 35 known cultural sites can be
found on the property (Figure 2). The sites cover at least
5,000 years of human occupation and adaptation to this
diverse environment (Table 1).

Figure 1. 1984 Aerial Photograph of Guana Tract. Courtesy
Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission.

Environment and Site History

For the purpose of cultural resource management, the
Guana Tract, because of its size and diversity, has been
divided into four general environmental units (Tesar and
Baker 1985). The first unit is the Atlantic coastal beaches
and dunes. This tract is located east of U.S. Highway AIA.
No archaeological sites have been found in this unit on state
property, but approximately five miles north of the area, one
site has been recorded. This site (SJ1) is a midden largely
composed of coquina shell with pockets of clam, oyster and
snail. The site has been identified as a short-term seasonal
occupation (Griffin 1982:15).
The second environmental unit is the area between U.S.
Highway AIA westward to the tidal marsh. The area is
dominated by palmettos and wind sheared oaks. Two sites
(SJ3229, SJ3244) have been recorded in this tract. Both sites
are St. Johns Period middens. Little archaeological survey
has been conducted in the area and it is possible that
additional sites will be recorded.
The Tolomato River, the Guana River, and their
adjacent estuarine marshes and overwash plains compose the
third environmental unit. Much of the area is covered by the
Guana Lake. This brackish and freshwater impoundment,
created in 1957 to enhance the wintering habitat of waterfowl
species (Epstein 1990), covers the bed of the Guana River.
Tesar and Baker (1985) identified one site (SJ2552) in this
unit. They believed, based upon surface observation, the site
was the result of secondary deposition during dam
construction, but recent testing of the site (Dickinson and
Wayne 1991) identified intact portions extending from the
uplands to the lake edge. Work in process by the CARL
Archaeological Survey has identified several additional sites
much like SJ2552. The sites extend from the uplands into this
marsh and plain unit, although the majority of the site is
located in the maritime hammock (uplands) unit.
The last environmental unit is classified as maritime
hammock although several biological communities are
contained within this unit. The majority of the main
peninsula or "sea island", as well as additional isolated
hammocks, make up this environmental classification.
Vegetation consists of red cedar, live oak, old slash pine,
laurel oak, redbay, hickory and cabbage palm. Most of the
cultural resources are located here.

Historic Land Use

Lands that comprise the Guana Land Tract were


June 1992

Vol. 45 No. 2


acquired by the State of Florida through the Conservation
and Recreation Lands (CARL) program between 1984 and
1987 at the cost of about 50 million dollars. Prior to this, the
land was privately owned and precariously close to being
developed into a resort community. Recent uses of the of the

Table 1. Guana Tract Archaeological Sites.
Site Type Culture Periods Present
SJ0003 burial, mound, midden fiber, Deptford, St.



burial, mound
midden, well

burial, mound
midden, village

SJ2463 midden

SJ2464 midden, saw mill


shell ring
footings, chimney
single artifact

Johns, historic
St. Johns
fiber, St. Johns, historic
Archaic, fiber, St. Johns,
St. Johns
Spanish 1, British,
Archaic, fiber, St. Johns,
prehistoric, Spanish I,
19thC, 20thC
fiber, St. Johns
fiber, St. Johns
fiber, historic
Spanish 2
St. Johns
St. Johns, Spanish
St. Johns
fiber, St. Johns
St. Johns

Figure 2. Archaeological Sites in the Guana Tract.

property have varied from timber harvesting, cattle and hog
grazing, and beekeeping to use as a private hunting preserve.
Over 35 Spanish land grants were issued on what today
is the Guana Tract. Research into this area of the property's
history is limited. The 17th century Spanish mission of
Tolomato was located on the property at the Wright's
Landing site (8SJ3). During the late 18th century, exiles from
the northern colonies took refuge in British East Florida.
The exiles, loyal to Great Britain, traveled to Florida and set

up huts wherever possible, including the banks of the
Tolomoto River. Accounts of these loyalist occupations
appear in claims made to Parliament and in the 1784 census
(Parker 1991). By the late 19th and early 20th centuries
scattered settlements were present in today's Guana Tract.
Remnants of dike networks, levees and ditches, a sawmill,
individual homesteads, and an historic cemetery marked only
by conch shells, attest to the land's early and varied uses.

Culture Sequence

The Guana Tract is located in northeast Florida in the
Northern St. Johns archaeological culture area (Goggin
1952), part of the East and Lake District in the most recent
synthesis of Florida archaeology (Milanich and Fairbanks
1980:22). With the exception of the Paleo-Indian occupation
of Florida (15,000 B.C.-8,000 B.C.), all prehistoric culture
periods defined for the northern St. Johns area are
represented at the Guana Tract.
The pre-ceramic Archaic (8,000/6,500 B.C.-2,000 B.C.)
is represented by surface artifact finds at five sites, Wright's
Landing (SJ3), South Wright's Landing (SJ33), Booth
Landing (SJ50), Guana River (SJ2463), and Shell Bluff
Landing (SJ32). This occupation is identified primarily by
projectile points dating to the Archaic period. While the
stratigraphic position of the pre-ceramic Archaic is not yet
clear, it appears to occur in the orange to tan sand which
underlies the shell midden deposits.
The Orange period (2,000 B.C.-1,200/1,000 B.C.) is
represented by at least seven sites in the Guana Tract. The
same sites where Archaic projectile points have been noted
also have produced several fiber tempered sherds; Wright's
Landing (SJ3) and South Wright's Landing (SJ33), Guana
River (SJ2463), and Shell Bluff Landing (SJ32). In addition,
fiber tempered sherds have been recovered from the Little
Orange site (SJ2548) and it is likely that an unnamed site
(SJ2547) also dates to this time period. Fiber tempered
sherds have also been recovered from the Guana River Shell
Ring (SJ2554) and a large midden located to the north of the
ring (SJ2555). Like the pre-ceramic Archaic, purely Orange
period materials have yet to be found in definite association
with shell middens rather than in underlying deposits.
The Florida Transitional period (1,200/1,000 B.C.-500
B.C.) is poorly understood in this region of Florida. In the
Guana Tract it is marked by the disappearance of fiber
tempered pottery and its replacement by sand tempered and
"chalky" wares (the St. Johns series). St. Johns Incised has
been viewed as a transitional ware between the St. Johns I
period and the Orange period due to the continuation of the
Orange Incised design on the chalky wares (Goggin 1952:102;
Griffin 1945).
The documentation of the Transitional period in the
Guana Tract is difficult, again, as very few of the Guana sites
have been examined stratigraphically. Analysis of limited

excavation material at the Shell Bluff site (SJ32) (Baker
1988a) identified what may be termed a "transitional" ware,
although its context is questionable. The pottery is compact,
non-fiber tempered (sand present) exhibiting an incised
design. Additional testing of undisturbed middens in the
Guana tract will provide information about this period, but as
yet documentation is limited.
Certainly the majority of the prehistoric sites on the
Guana Tract have components that date to the St. Johns I
(500 B.C.-A.D. 800) and St. Johns II (A.D. 800-A.D. 1565?)
periods, but whether or not pure sites of either period are
present has not been determined. A total of 23 sites are
described as shell middens, all of which contain St. Johns
period artifacts. Additionally, two burial mounds, probably
dating to the St. Johns II Period, are located on the Guana
The St. Augustine period (1565-1763), marked by the
presence of San Marcos Stamped and related wares, is
represented by several sites in the tract. At least six sites have
components that date to this period.

Historic Sites

In addition to containing prehistoric components,
Wright's Landing (SJ3), South Wright's Landing (SJ33),
Guana River (SJ2463), and Shell Bluff are also have evidence
of historic period occupation. Spanish, British, and early
American components can be found at the Capo Creek site
(SJ72) and at an unnamed site (SJ2547). Later historic
occupations, represented by structural features or 19th and
20th century artifacts, can be found at Coquina Block
(SJ3243) and North Fire Cut (SJ3242). Other historic features
include the Old Saw Mill site (SJ2464) and the Booth
Cemetery (SJ3240). Recent research by Ron Booth into the
Booth family history at Guana reveals that at least seven
individuals are buried at the site. The deaths were a result of
an 1888 yellow fever epidemic (St. Augustine Historical

Previous Archaeological Investigations

Despite the visibility of the archaeological remains, the
rich history of the peninsula, and its proximity to St.
Augustine, few archaeological investigations have been
conducted at the Guana Tract. Recently, limited testing at
two sites, Shell Bluff Landing (SJ32) and Wright's Landing
(SJ3), was conducted by the CARL Archaeological Survey
(Weisman and Newman 1990, 1992). The purpose of the
testing was to obtain needed stratigraphic information for
nomination of the site to the National Register of Historic
Places. In addition, the banks of Guana Lake are presently
being surveyed by CARL archaeologists. Due to a "draw-
down" of the lake, areas that had been under water for over
three decades are now exposed for a short period of time.


Additional information about site distribution and site
boundaries will certainly be recovered.
A recent survey of a portion of the Guana Tract slated
for development by the North Florida Council of Boy Scouts
(Dickinson and Wayne 1991) delineated the boundaries of
two sites (SJ2552, SJ2550) and identified four additional sites
(SJ3235, SJ3236, SJ3237, SJ3238). In 1988 excavations were
conducted at the historic coquina well at Shell Bluff Landing
(SJ32) (Baker 1988a). The well, possibly part of the 19th
century Juan Andreu homestead, was in danger of being lost
to erosion into the Tolomato River. The lower portions of
four barrel wells at Wright's Landing (SJ3) were excavated as
part of the University of Florida's archaeological field school.
In addition, a surface collection of artifacts from the Wright's
Landing site (SJ3) was conducted by the university students
(Benton 1975).
The known archaeological sites in the Guana Tract were
summarized by Tesar and Baker in 1985, for inclusion in the
conceptual management plan developed by the Department
of Natural Resources. Additionally, Guana Tract sites were
included in Smith and Bond's (1984) and Deagan's (1981)
assessments of sites within St. Johns County.
The first document to discuss many of the Guana sites
and to place them in a chronological framework was Goggin's
classic work Space and Time Perspective in Northern St. Johns
Archeology (1952). While no excavations were carried out on
Guana Tract lands, Goggin was able to establish the
chronology of Northeast Florida using artifacts collected, in
part, from Guana Tract sites. He identified Orange through
St. Augustine Periods at three Guana sites (SJ32, SJ3, SJ33)
and included an additional three sites (SJ37, SJ38, SJ4) in his
synthesis (Goggin 1953:82). Goggin's majolica and other
European ceramic studies utilized artifacts collected from
many of these same sites. A reference to Guana Tract sites
was made by Douglass (1882:586, 1885:147) when he referred
to his work and observations at the Sanchez Mound (SJ4).

Selected Sites

Shell Bluff Landing (S132)

Several sites within the Guana Tract bear special
mention. The first of these is Shell Bluff Landing (SJ32).
This National Register site is an oyster shell midden located
on the east bank of the Tolomato River (Figure 3). The 10.3
acre site contains cultural deposits that record 5,000 years or
more of human occupation. All prehistoric periods, except
the Paleo-Indian Period, are represented at this site. Perhaps
one of the most dominant features at the site is the historic
coquina block well dating to the 19th century (Figure 4).
Baker's excavation (1988a) and historic research (Parker
1991) suggest that the well was part of an homestead
occupied by a Minorcan named Juan Andreu. In addition to
the well, sworn statements in 1804 indicate that Andreu had a

, .
\ ,1 .L

-- -,

I F3 -

: mvamU*
Co. U of Ere8nce Road
W-L band --- W**" I
a. 111 "^"
W Io.. aHmgmto..

0 5 10m

Figure 3. Topographical Map of Shell Bluff (SJ32).

comfortable house, kitchen and other smaller outbuildings for
storing crops and housing slaves. Andreu raised cows, pigs
and several species of birds in addition to "drawing cider" on
his farm (Parker 1991).
Artifacts dating to as early as the Middle Archaic Period
(ca. 3000-5000 B.C.) have been recovered on the beach west
of the large oyster shell midden. Limited excavation
conducted in 1990 by the CARL Archaeological Survey
(Weisman and Newman 1990) showed that at least two
culturally distinct strata exist. The first is a 20-40 centimeter
thick deposit of oyster, clam, and faunal remains (Figure 5:
Stratum III); and the second, overlying this, is a 15 centimeter
layer of crushed shell and black dirt containing historic
aboriginal and Euroamerican materials (Figure 5: Stratum
II). It is likely that additional field investigations would reveal
the presence of Archaic and Orange Period components.
Auger borings (Weisman and Newman 1990) revealed
that the midden deposit of large oyster and clam shell
(Stratum III) is not uniformly present across the site. While
most of the auger profiles indicated the presence of shell to
some degree, sometimes this was the crushed shell layer
(Stratum II) or a few shell in a matrix of black dirt. The
auger testing indicated that the site in part contains discrete
cultural deposits dating to different time periods, i.e., the site
is both horizontally and vertically stratified.


The Shell Bluff Landing site is experiencing severe
erosion brought on by a combination of rising sea levels, high
tides, storm surges, and boat wakes (Figure 6). It is likely
that as much as 12 meters of archaeological deposits have
washed away since 1942 (Baker 1988b:8). Based on
recommendations made by the Bureau of Archaeological
.- Research in conjunction with developing the National
Register nomination, the Florida Division of Recreation and
Parks applied for and was awarded an Historic Preservation
Grant-in-Aid to stabilize the eroding shoreline at the Shell
Bluff site. The stabilization project, a model cooperative
effort between archaeologists and natural resource managers
and the first of its kind in Florida designed specifically to
preserve cultural resources, calls for the placement of fill,
filter cloth, and a rip-rap buffer along a 100 meter section of
the bluff. The proposed construction is similar to that used
by the National Park Service to stabilize archaeological sites
in Voyageurs National Park (Lynott 1989). During the
stabilization project, the temporary wooden bulkhead
constructed by the Park Service in 1985 to protect the coquina
well also would be removed and replaced with the new
design. The stabilization of Shell Bluff is scheduled to be
completed by July 1992.

Figure 4. Shell Bluff Landing (SJ32), Coquina Well. From
Baker 1988a.

----1- -,7 I --


I Modam 1HUR5,. iv Brown to Tan Sand with Some
Sha iat Top and ConcrtbMl
I Cnohtd Shell and SBoik to Humw at Bottom
Sand (SJ32), Erodin BluffLine.
I LeO.Ioysteran. Shell a onva I,.. *TnSn Figure 6. Shell Bluff Landing (SJ32), Eroding Bluff Line.

Bwwn to Black Humc Sand. VI Tan Sand. Montted wh Whie and
Not Thick Lenss Of Shell Orange CGoncati.
0 10 30 50c111

Figure 5. Shell Bluff Landing (SJ32) Profile.

Wright's Landing (SJ3)

The Wright's Landing site is an extensive oyster shell


and dirt midden located south of Shell Bluff Landing (SJ23) w,.ver S.uni '.: 8" 3
GuPana River State Park
on the east bank of the Tolomato River. The 49 acre site has / C.. A. Arca.ooici 'Surv"y.
been divided into two parts, SJ3N, north of the landing, and F. or.ida Bureau of A:.haelogI Ree....
SJ3S, south of the landing. This site, too, is experiencing ATe. Loc0..
severe erosion (Figure 7). A National Register nomination is / / ...R.oa
presently being developed for Wright's Landing. S IP na .S. m..*
Recent testing at the site (Figure 8) revealed a : o... ... tu.... abovean ..... eae.......
substantial St. Augustine Period (ca. A.D. 1564-1763) T .
component (Weisman and Newman 1992) (Table 2). The St.
Augustine component, characterized by sherds of the San
Marcos series, is found in a stratum of tan to brown mottled
sand below modern humus (Figure 9). Shell in this stratum, '" .
when present, is scattered throughout the general matrix or ,s i'
sometimes loosely clustered. This is in contrast to the other /
two types of shell deposit present at Wright's Landing in
association with cultural materials: a consolidated but thin. s"
shell midden layer variably present at the surface or in i
modern humus, and small piles of oyster shell visible /
throughout the central portion of the site.
The relationship between these three types of deposit /
has not been determined, but the possibility exists that they < /
represent use of the site during different time periods.
Unfortunately, Spanish artifacts comparable to those ~ \=
found by Goggin on the beach were not found in the limited

Figure 8. Topographical Map of Wright's Landing (SJ3).

testing of the wooded site area. It is difficult to know at this
juncture whether this reflects small sample size or something
real about the site, i.e., that the central mission area may have
eroded almost completely into the Tolomato River. Other
artifact collections from the site have also shown this
component to be present (Tesar and Baker 1985; Benton
1975; Goggin 1952).
The abundance of St. Augustine Period artifacts (Fig
Springs Polychrome, San Luis Polychrome, Puebla
Polychrome sherds and San Marcos pottery) and historical
references prompted Goggin (1952:25,59,60) to tentatively
identify Wright's Landing as the location of the mission of
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Tolomato. Wright's
Landing represents the mission's second location. The
original Tolomato was located on the Georgia coast
mainland within the Guale mission province (Worth 1991).
During the late 1620s (Hann 1990:501; Worth 1991:1)
Tolomato was re-established approximately three leagues
north of St. Augustine. It served as a way station between St.
Augustine and San Juan del Puerto (located on present-day
Ft. George Island) and other points to the north. The site
apparently was destroyed in 1702 (Hann 1990:502, 1991:377;
Figure 7. Wright's Landing (SJ3), Eroding Bluff Line. Worth 1991). A third Tolomato mission re-emerges on the

Table 2. Wright's Landing (SJ3) Artifacts.

FS Zone, Level Object Count Weight

9.001 Z1, L1

9.002 Z1, L2

9.003 Z1, L3
9.004 Z2, L1
9.005 Z1, L1
9.006 Z2,L1
9.007 Z2, L2

9.008 Z1, L1
Z1, L1

9.009 Z2, L1

9.010 Z2, L2

9.011 Z1, L1

9.012 Z2,L1

9.013 Z3, L1
9.014 Z1, L1

9.015 Z2, L1

9.016 Z2, L2

faunal, UID
St. Johns check stamped
St. Johns plain
St. Johns plain, UID rim
San Marcos plain, rim
St. Johns check stamped
faunal, UID 2
faunal, jaw w/teeth
faunal, fish
faunal, fish
St. Johns plain
San Marcos stamped
St. Johns plain
San Marcos stamped
Pop top
San Marcos stamped
San Marcos stamped
San Marcos simple stamped
San Marcos plain
St. Johns plain
San Marcos stamped
chert, core
chert, shatter from core
chert, flake w/cortex
coral, flake, complete
chert, debris
chert, biface, drill/awl
shell, tool
St. Johns check stamped
chert, worked
St. Johns check stamped
St. Johns plain
San Marcos stamped
UID sherd, small
San Marcos plain
Metal fragment
San Marcos stamped
San Marcos plain
Pop top
Plastic, fork
faunal, UID
St. Johns check stamped
San Marcos stamped
St. Johns plain
faunal, drum tooth


1717 census, perhaps again at Wright's Landing (Hann
1991:377), but it was later moved to St. Augustine proper. If
indeed this is the site of the mission, and it seems likely, the
mission component at Wright's Landing can be dated with
considerable accuracy through documentation available in
Spanish archives (Worth 1991).
In addition to the historic component at the site, several
prehistoric components, Middle Archaic, Orange, possible
Deptford, and St. Johns II, are present. Artifacts
representing each of these periods have been collected either
from the surface or along the beach at the site.

Sanchez Mound (SJ4)

Located within Wright's Landing's (SJ3) boundaries is
the Sanchez Mound (SJ4) (Figure 10). This earthen burial
mound was first investigated by Douglass (1882:586,
1885:147) who reportedly removed 25 stone celts, 2
"whetstones" and 20 human bundle burials. The location of
these materials is at present unknown. Tesar and Baker
(1985) noted the presence of human bone fragments and a St.
Johns Check-stamped sherd in spoil dirt at the site. The
borrow pit for the mound construction is evident to the east
of the site.

Jones Mound (SJ37)

This earthen mound was first recorded in 1951. At that
time it was described as being approximately 65 feet in
diameter and 7 feet high, with three pits in the top.
Information as to who placed the pits in the top has not been
found. This description is still essentially applicable to the
site today, which was revisited by CARL archaeologists and
Game and Fish personnel in March of 1991. Borrow pits are
located on the northwest and southeast sides of the mound.

Guana River Shell Ring (SJ2554)

First recorded in 1985 by Tesar and Baker, this large
shell ring is composed of oyster, clam, conch, and coquina. It
has an estimated 100 meter diameter and is approximately 1
meter above the surface at its crest. An Orange Incised fiber
tempered body sherd was found associated with the ring
indicating a Late Archaic Period (ca. 2500-1000 B.C.) date for
the site (Tesar and Baker 1985). The Guana River Shell Ring
is one of four shell rings recorded in the Florida Site Files and
one of two known to be located on state lands, the other
being the Fort George Island Shell Ring (also acquired by
CARL) north of Jacksonville. Although the Guana Ring has
not yet been tested, the results of excavations at other shell
rings of the coastal southeast suggest that the rings reflect a
circular village arrangement, with occupation occurring on
the ring itself rather than inside (Trinkley 1985).


Total 103 275.1

top of bluff



< I 1000N/1020E
I 943N/1020E

$hell pile

ioomi looE
1 I00 00

Wright's Landing 8 SJ 3
Guana River State Park
Profile of Test Excavations
C.A.R.L. Archaeological Survey,
Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research
9 Oct. 11 Oct. 1991

Tan Sand
Tan Brown Sand
Orange Tan Sand
Orange Sand

NOTE: 1) Width of prollles shown with no scale
Intended. 2) Elevation given in meters above
mean sea level (mmst).

0 Humus
] Shell Midden
Black to Brown
SGray to Brown

920N /1000E

IN / 1000E

1.26 -

0 10 20 30 40 50 m

Figure 9. Wright's Landing (SJ3) Profiles.

Figure 10. Sanchez Mound (SJ4), View Looking Southeast.



0Lcmi I Ivw

Settlement Pattern

The existence of burial mounds in the northern and
southern portion of the Guana tract suggests that the
peninsula was a hub of aboriginal activity since the St. Johns
period if not before, but the size of the effective settlement
area and the total range of site types present have yet to be
determined. The size of the Shell Bluff, Wright's Landing,
and Guana River Shell Ring sites and the density of remains
present suggest intensive if not permanent use of the area
but little more can be said in the absence of seasonality
studies of archaeofauna. More difficult to explain are the
numerous Guana sites that are essentially extensive but
diffuse scatters of shell midden, such as sites SJ2557,
SJ2558, and SJ2559. What type of prehistoric activity these
sites represent and why they exist in close proximity to the
dense sites mentioned above are questions for future
Based on our current knowledge of site distribution,
there appears to be no correlation between the time period
of a site and its location except to note that the two most
substantial middens Shell Bluff and Wright's Landing are
found on the Tolomato River rather than the Guana River
on the east side. These sites plus others with historic
components are located on the west or Tolomato side
probably because they served as good landing spots for
northward travel from St. Augustine. The Dickinson
account of 1696, which traces the route from St. Augustine
north to San Juan del Puerto (Ft. George Island)
(Dickinson 1985) is a good illustration of the role of the
Guana tract in this travel route.

Research Potential and Site Management

The cultural resources on the Guana Tract are varied.
The area has seen some 5000 years of human occupation,
but is surprisingly undisturbed and provides an outstanding
example of "natural" Florida.
Archaeologically, the tract has the potential to answer
a seemingly endless variety of questions facing researchers.
Several of the sites span time periods from the Archaic to
Spanish and British occupation. The potential of these site
is substantial in contributing to theoretical concerns such as
the timing of major subsistence shifts, the testing of
seasonal movement hypotheses, the degree of social
complexity, and the introduction and use of horticulture.
Additionally, the sites have the ability to provide
comparative information about differing prehistoric and
historic lifeways.
The cultural resources on the Guana Tract are
protected by virtue of State ownership. There has been
little site vandalism, probably due in large part to the
inaccessibility of many of the sites until recent years. The
greatest threat to several of the sites is erosion, but, through

wise and forward-thinking management on the part of state
land managers, this problem has been acknowledged and
alternatives are being developed. The Guana Tract
provides a diverse combination of cultural and natural
resources to be enjoyed by the public.


Thanks are extended to Randy Hester, Guana River
State Park Manager, and Marc Epstein, Wildlife Biologist,
Guana River Wildlife Management Area, for their interest,
enthusiasm, and help. Betty Riggan, Dick Metzler, Mary
Willis, Mike Adams, Marianna Hamilton, Catalina Palting,
Jackie Bowman, George Allen, Julie Wizorek, Larry
Zimmerman, Doug Potter, and Beth Horvath volunteered
their time and labor during CARL Archaeological Survey
testing and excavations in 1990 and 1991. Julie Wizorek
also served as field and laboratory assistant during the
recent Guana Lake survey.

References Cited

Dickinson, Jonathan
1985 Gods Protecting Providence. In Jonathan Dickinson's
Journal or God's Protecting Providence. Being the
Narrative of a Journey From Port Royal in Jamaica to
Philadelphia Between August 23, 1996 and April 1,
1697, edited by Andrews, Evangeline Walter and
Charles McLean Andrews. Florida Classics Library.
Port Salerno, Florida.

Baker, Henry A.
1988a 1988 Archaeological Excavations of the Shell Bluff
Landing Site (8SJ32), St. Johns County, Florida.
v Florida Archaeological Reports 5. Bureau of
Archaeological Research, Division of Historical
Resources, Department of State, Tallahassee.

1988b Erosion at the Shell Bluff Landing Site (8SJ32) 1988:
A Report Prepared for the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station. Technical
Report 2. Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research,
Division of Historical Resources, Department of State,

Benton, Dale
1975 A Survey of the Wrights Landing Area, and
Excavation of Four Wells in Danger of Destruction.
Ms. on file Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research, Tallahassee.

Deagan, Kathleen
1981 Phase I Background Research and Assessment of
Historic and Prehistoric Archaeological Resources in

St. Johns County, Florida. Ms. on file, Historic St.
Augustine Preservation Board.

Department of Natural Resources
1985 Guana River State Land, Conceptual Plan. Ms. on
File, Division of Historical Resources, Tallahassee.

Dickinson, Martin F. and Lucy B. Wayne
1991 Archaeological Survey, North Florida Council, Boy
Scouts of America. Proposed Guana Lake Camp, St.
Johns County, Florida. Ms. on file, Bureau of
Archaeological Research, Tallahassee.

Division of Archives, History and Records Management
1985 Addendum IV, in Guana River State Land,
Conceptual Plan. Ms. on file, Division of Historical
Resources, Tallahassee.

Douglass, Andrew E.
1982 A Find of Ceremonial Axes in a Florida Mound.
American Antiquarian 4:100-9.

1985 Some Characteristics of the Indian Earth and Shell
Mounds on the Atlantic Coast of Florida. American
Antiquarian 7:74-82, 140-47.

Epstein, Marc
1990 River of Palms, Guana River Wildlife Management
Area. Florida Wildlife 44(4):31-34.

Goggin, John M.
1952 Space and Time Perspective in Northern St. Johns
Archeology. Yale University Publication in
Anthropology 47. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Griffin, James B.
1945 The Significance of the Fiber-tempered Pottery of the
St. Johns Area in Florida. Journal of the Washington
Academy of Sciences 35:218-23.

Griffin, John W. 1982 Preliminary Report on Archeological
Investigations at the Ponte Vedra Midden (Cabana
Club Site) 8SJ1, St. Johns County, Florida. Ms. on file,
Florida Site Files, Tallahassee.

Hann, John H.
1991 Missions to the Calusa. University of Florida Press,

1990 Summary Guide to Spanish Florida Missions and
Visitas with Churches in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth
Centuries. The Americas 46:417-513.

Lynott, Mark J.
1989 Stabilization of Shoreline Archaeological Sites at
Voyageurs National Park. American Antiquity 54:792-

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

Parker, Susan R.
1991 Document prepared for Shell Bluff National Register
Nomination. Ms. on file, CARL Archaeological
Survey Project Office, St. Augustine.

Smith, James and Stanley Bond
1984 Stomping the Flatwoods: An Archaeological Survey of
St. Johns County, Florida. Ms. on file, Historic St.
Augustine Preservation Board, St. Augustine.

Tesar, Louis and Henry Baker
1985 Guana River Cultural Resource Description. Ms. on
file, Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research,
Florida Site Files, Tallahassee.

Trinkley, Michael B.
1985 The Form and Function of South Carolina's Early
Woodland Shell Rings. In Structure and Process in
Southeastern Archaeology, edited by Roy S. Dickins,
Jr., and H. Trawick Ward, pp. 102-118. University of
Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Worth, John
1991 Tolomato in the Documentary Record: An Overview.
Ms. on file, CARL Archaeological Survey Project
Office, St. Augustine.

Weisman, Brent R. and Christine Newman
1990 National Register of Historic Places Registration
Form, Shell Bluff Landing (SJ32). Ms. on file, Bureau
of Archaeological Research, Florida Site Files,

1992 Draft National Register of Historic Places
Registration Form, Wright's Landing (SJ3). Ms. on
file, CARL Project Office, St. Augustine.

Christine L. Newman
501 Boating Club Road
St. Augustine, FL 32084

and Brent R. Weisman
714 NE 7th Avenue
Gainesville, FL 32601



Marilyn C. Stewart


The Orlando area generally has been viewed as a
cultural backwater, lacking large burial mounds, fine pottery,
temple mounds, and Paleo-Indian points. Until very recently
the area has generally been ignored by professional
archaeologists. Ironically, it is the sudden status of the once-
swampy Osceola Plain as a tourist mecca that is opening up
new opportunities for appreciating the archaeology of Disney
country. Archaeologists are sometimes ahead of the
bulldozers and looters in uncovering prehistoric camps and
villages. The Hunter's Creek site (80r471) is one fortunate
example. Found in 1983 during a site assessment survey for a
residential and commercial community near Disney World,
Hunter's Creek is a lithic site dating from about 4000-2000
B.P. Other lithic sites have been turning up with regularity in
surveys of Disney-related development in Orange and
Osceola Counties.
The Orlando-Lake Apopka area is the geographic center
of Central Florida (Figure 1), a region which Milanich and
Fairbanks (1980) partitioned into four subareas: Central
Peninsular Gulf Coast (recently elaborated by Daniel 1985),
North-Central (explored by Milanich 1971), Okeechobee
(now Kissimmee; investigated by Austin 1987) and St. Johns
(now subdivided into Northern St. Johns and Indian River;
Sigler-Eisenberg and Russo 1986; Rouse 1951; Goggin 1952).
Luer and Almy (1982) have added Manasota. The Orlando
area is the intersection point for all six of these culture areas,
plus Milanich and Fairbanks' North Peninsular Gulf Coast
area. Milanich and Fairbanks referred to this region as the
Central Florida lake district and included it in the St. Johns

The applicability of [the St. Johns] sequence to the
Central Florida lake district in Lake, Orange, and
Seminole counties has not been firmly established
due to the paucity of archaeological research
carried out in that region. However, the few
excavations and the collections gathered to date
strongly suggest that the prehistoric inhabitants of
that district followed the same evolutionary
sequence as did the St. Johns populations. No
variations in ceramic styles or other artifact types
have thus far been established and environmental
similarities exist between the lake district and the
middle portion of the St. Johns River. Thus, it is
not surprising that the same archaeological cultures
occupied both areas (1980:147).

The boundaries of the Central Florida Lake District are
not well-defined. The southern boundary is fairly easily
drawn below Lake Tohopekaliga, just south of the Orange-
Osceola county line, because there is a clear shift here to
Belle Glade ceramics, burial mounds and earthworks, all of
which link the Kissimmee Basin to the Okeechobee culture
area (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:147; Austin 1987:296).
The western boundary is along the Withlacoochee River and
the northern boundary is in the vicinity of Lake Harris. The
eastern boundary follows the St. Johns floodplain.
Prior to Disney World Orlando was a sleepy small town
surrounded by lakes, citrus groves, pine flatwoods and
swamps. As far as we know the area was sparsely populated
during most of prehistoric times as well. While the Orlando
area enjoyed an ancient boom-time from the Middle or Late
Archaic to early post-Archaic periods (ca. 5000 -1200 B.P.)
(Table 1), after that time there seems to have been very little
human occupation of the area -- a few dirt and shell middens
on the larger lakes -- until the Spanish contact period when
there may have been another short-lived boom period.

North Central
North Peninsula
Gulf Coast
Central Peninsula
Gulf Coast
Central Florida
Lake District
Northern St. Johns
Indian River



Figure 1. Central Florida Culture Areas.

The story of Orlando prehistory is primarily the story of
the Late Archaic to early post-Archaic (see Table 1 for
chronological periods). For most of the Archaic the
environment of Central Florida was not much different from
today's, except as noted below. We know that sea levels in
central Florida have risen considerably since the end of the
Pleistocene, and there is some consensus that almost all of


June 1992

VOL. 45 NO. 2



500 Proto-Historic St. Johns IIC

1,200 Late Post-Archaic St. Johns IIA,B Pinellas, Tampa

2,500 Early Post-Archaic St. Johns I Broward, Jackson

3,000 Terminal Archaic1 Tick Island2 Hernando, Citrus

4,500 Late Archaic Orange Culbreath, Lafayette

7,000 Middle Archaic Mt. Taylor Levy, Newnan

8,000 Late Early Archaic Kirk, Hamilton

9,000 Early Archaic Bolen, Greenbriar

10,000 Early Paleoindian Suwanee, Simpson
1 suggested replacement for "Transitional"
2 suggested phase name

Table 1. Lithic Chronology for the Central Florida Area (after Ste. Claire 1987)

the increase occurred prior to 5000 B.P. (Almesi 1983, cited
in Sigler-Eisenberg and Russo 1986). There is also some
consensus that inland water table levels rose along with the
sea level, due to increasing rainfall. Archaeological evidence
supports this contention in two ways. In addition to the fact
that bases of many shell mounds in the St. Johns are now
below the water table (Rouse 1951; Stewart 1985) early lithic
sites have been found on now-submerged lakeshores (eg.,
Bullen and Beilman 1973; Stewart 1979). Pollen core profiles
in central and southern Florida indicate that conditions
during the Middle Archaic were much drier than in any
period since, (Watts 1971, 1980). During this time vegetation
dominated by scrubby oaks and savannahs spread at the
expense of oak-hickory forests. By 6000 or 5000 B.P. the
warm wet climate returned, bringing vegetation, fauna, and
surface waters similar to those of today. Much of Orange and
Osceola County was by then the soggy flatwoods and cypress
swamps that later inspired the name Mosquito County. By
6000-5000 B.P., sea levels had also risen to near-modern
levels, covering the continental shelf and creating warm
shallow lagoons where shellfish beds proliferated.
The Florida Archaic unfolds by about 5000 B.P. in two
distinctive patterns, noted by Hemmings and Kohler (1974).
The upland pattern has a hunting focus, expressed in lithic
scatters with "vast numbers of projectile points" (Hemmings
and Kohler 1974:45). Lowland sites, on the other hand are

shell middens reflecting reliance on
molluscs and other aquatic resources,
as well as mammals, reptiles, and
birds. Lowland sites also contain
human and dog burials. The question
is: do these patterns represent
different people or the same people
exploiting two adaptive strategies at
different times? Hemmings and
Kohler suggested that the two
patterns represent different aspects
of the same cultures, with people
moving back and forth. Milanich and
Fairbanks (1980:146-154) elaborated
on this hypothesis, suggesting a
seasonal, but partly sedentary
pattern. Sedentary villages in the
river valley were occupied from fall to
spring and abandoned for hunting
and foraging in the uplands in the
summer, when, they suggest, shellfish
may have been inedible. They extend
this pattern back to the late Middle
Archaic (6000 B.P.) and explain it as
a response to declining oak-hickory
forests in the uplands. In 1980 there
was little evidence of a lowland
pattern having existed prior to 6000

Today there is increasing evidence that the
lowland/upland pattern extends back at least into the Early
Archaic, with early sites on both coasts as well as in the St.
Johns lowlands. Goodyear and Warren (1972) reported on
submerged shell middens on the west coast dating from late
Paleo-Indian to Middle Archaic and early post-Archaic. The
1-75 Highway Salvage Program in Hillsborough County near
Tampa (Jones and Tesar 1982) has amassed quantities of
data on buried lithic scatters of Middle Archaic and Paleo-
Indian age in lowland as well as upland contexts in the
Central Peninsular Gulf Coast. The numbers of early sites
found in the 1-75 surveys suggest that populations on the west
coast were much greater than once suspected, even during the
extreme dry conditions of the Paleo-Indian and early Middle
Archaic when access to fresh water was a major limiting
factor. Earlier researchers seem to have overlooked the
existence of the small springs on which these sites are found.
The presence of Middle and/or Early Archaic sites on
the east coast is suggested by partially inundated Orange
Period sites there (Ste. Claire 1990). Doran et al. (1987) cite
evidence (Almasi 1983) that the Indian River lagoon system
dates, in rudimentary form to Paleo-Indian times. They argue
that the Indian River area may have been relatively
"ecologically diverse and hospitable" even before the Middle
Archaic. The Early-Middle Archaic Windover pond cemetery

near the Atlantic coast proves a major presence there by 7500
B.P. (Doran and Dickel 1988). It may be only a matter of
time until spring-situated early habitations are found on the
east coast.
In interior Central Florida the Nalcrest site (Bullen and
Beilman 1973), a Middle Archaic lithic site in the uplands of
Polk County, and the Early-Middle Archaic component at the
Aldermann site on the upper St. Johns (Stewart 1979) prove
the existence of early sites in what are now submerged
lakeshore contexts. By 6000 B.P. there was a fluorescence of
shell mounds on both coasts and every major waterway,
including the St. Johns and Oklawaha watersheds. In the next
centuries all the major technological and social achievements
for which the southeastern United States is known were
developed, including agriculture, sophisticated ceramics,
elaborate mortuary rituals, and complex chiefdoms. For the
most part, however, these events bypassed the Central Florida
Lake District. Only on Lake Apopka and the tributaries of
the St. Johns itself (eg. the Twin Mounds site on the Wekiva
River, Weisman and Newman 1990) do we find post-Archaic
shell mounds prior to the historic period, and these bear
limited evidence of occupation after St. Johns I, probably
early in that period. Moore's embossed copper plate from a
sand mound on Lake Harris (Moore 1895) is the only
evidence of a late post-Archaic occupation. While there were
certainly people living in Lake County at the time of the
DeSoto expedition (Milanich 1989, 1990), it seems apparent
that the Central Lakes environment was essentially
unattractive to post-Archaic Indian populations.
The prehistoric population center was probably Lake
Apopka (which was almost twice as large before modern
drainage). There once were several large shell mounds or
sand mounds with some shell, and at least three burial
mounds located on the southeastern shore. The collections I
have seen are dominated by Late Archaic-early post-Archaic
materials. Rarely are check-stamped pottery or Pinellas
points present. Spanish contact artifacts were found, in the
water and probably in burial mounds. Most of the shoreline
sites are lithic or artifact scatters. One collector notes that
ceramic sites, at least on the east side, are further back on the
old terraces. The well-known Zellwood site (Bullen, Jahn,
and Brooks 1974; Dreves 1974) is primarily a Hernando-St.
Johns Plain site, with some earlier and later types. Here
there was abundant fauna, at least seven hearths, and,
reportedly, a line of postmolds. The Hull Island site, which
once had a burial mound and Spanish contact artifacts, had
Bolen, Newnan, and Pinellas points, but overwhelmingly plain
(mostly St. Johns) pottery. Other archaeologically-rich areas
in the Lake District include the Oklawaha headwaters in the
Eustis-Leesburg area and the Wekiva River Basin. While
properly in the St. Johns area, the Wekiva pattern resembles
that of Lake Apopka, with a virtual absence of late ceramic
sites. The known Wekiva/Rock Springs Run sites are shell
mounds within the hardwood swamp or on islands in the river

and the run. Burial mounds at Rock Springs and Wekiva
Springs were destroyed without record (Stewart 1982;
Weisman and Newman 1990; Newman 1991). What I am
able to glean from the Florida Site File and recent surveys
indicates a similar pattern for the Oklawaha lakes.
The longleaf pine-turkey oak hills that once surrounded
Lake Apopka and Lake Harris, Milanich believes, were in
part the farmlands of Urriparacoxi, to whom the Ucita of
Tampa Bay paid tribute (Milanich 1990:13). The Acuera too,
led by the feisty chief encountered by DeSoto in 1539, were in
the general vicinity of Lake Harris. Milanich suggests that
Urriparacoxi may have controlled the area from the
Withlacoochee River (Milanich 1989:307) or Lake Apopka
(Milanich 1990:13) south into Osceola County, while Acuera
was to the north. The Withlacoochee River is Mitchem's
suggested boundary for the Safety Harbor prehistoric culture
area (Mitchem 1989:335-336). If it is true, as I believe, that
the Lake District was sparsely inhabited after about 1200
B.P., it seems likely that the Acuera had moved there in
response to the changing economic situation engendered by
the Spanish presence, dating from the beginning of the
sixteenth century.
Such large-scale movements were common in all historic
periods in the eastern United States, resulting from a
combination of political and economic factors. Politically, the
peninsula was in a turmoil, with economic competition for the
new trade in silver, gold, and other shipwreck items, warfare,
slave raids, and disease all contributing. There is strong
evidence that maize agriculture was just becoming important
in Central Florida, as documented at Hontoon Island and Mt.
Royal (Newsom 1987:75). The Mt. Dora-Orlando hills would
have been very attractive to maize agriculturalists, and if
Milanich is correct, was occupied by agriculturists at the time
of the DeSoto entrada (Milanich 1989, 1990). Newsom
(1987:79) and Purdy (1987:38) suggest that migration is a
likely explanation for several changes that were occurring in
the early historic material culture of the middle St. Johns
Most of the former Acuera-Urriparacoxi domain has
now been developed, with virtually no record of the
prehistoric sites destroyed in the process. What little has
come to my attention has been Archaic or early post-Archaic.
Where are the Spanish contact Acuera habitation sites in the
Central Florida Lake District? Are they concentrated in the
locations of the earliest settlements now buried under greater
Orlando and Leesburg? Have artifacts evidencing these sites
disappeared with the collections of now-deceased collectors?
Or are they awaiting the bulldozers of progress, under the
freeze-dead groves of Lake County? With luck archaeologists
will have the opportunity to survey and excavate what is left of
the longleaf pine-turkey hills before they are developed.
Until then the Acuera will remain a mystery. We are
beginning to learn more about the Archaic and early post-
Archaic inhabitants of the Central Florida Lake District,


however. The Hunter's Creek site excavations are one
chapter in this emerging story.

The Hunter's Creek Site

The Hunter's Creek Archaeological Project began in
1983 with a site assessment survey of a residential and
commercial community near Disney World (Stewart and
Weiss 1983). A crew of two dug 40 cm diameter shovel test
pits along both sides of Shingle Creek covering some six miles
in 20 days. Three lithicc scatters" (literally scattered culturally
modified stone flakes) were found. Site 80r471, the largest
and most promising, was in the path of a proposed bridge
crossing. In spite of the apparent low density of artifacts (19
flakes in nine shovel tests), it was believed that this was a
potentially significant archaeological site. After further
investigations in 1984 Hunter's Creek rather surprisingly
proved to be a very rich site by Central Florida standards. In
approximately seven square meters of excavations we found
parts of 14 projectile points, one core, 15 apparent scrapers
and nearly 2000 flakes. Identifiable points included three
Florida Archaic Stemmed, three Culbreaths, and one Citrus.
We tentatively dated the site to the Mt. Taylor, Orange, and
Transitional periods, 6000-1000 B.P.
At the time the site was a bit of an enigma. There did
not seem to be any other lithic scatters in the Orlando area.
In 1984, I wrote:
80r471 is a unique site, which makes it highly
significant. It is the only known lithic reduction site in Orange
County, in the Central Lakes District, and perhaps in Eastern
Florida. The idea that people would have carried chert 70
miles from the nearest source [we now believe it was 40-45
miles] to the middle section of an obscure creek in one of the
least favorable environments of Florida is highly unexpected.
(Stewart and Weiss 1984:55).
Clearly Hunter's Creek warranted further excavations,
and we were fortunate in having two additional seasons, each
of which significantly altered our preliminary impressions.
We undertook Phase II excavations in 1984. Artifacts had
been found in widely separated test pits encompassing an
area of about five acres. The Phase II project (Figure 2) was
designed to sample this large expanse to identify areas) of
concentration, to determine the depths and stratigraphy of
deposits and to obtain artifacts useful for dating and site
function estimates. In five weeks a crew of four dug 176
shovel test pits plus three one-meter squares and most of a 2
m x 2 m unit, until it was flooded and caved in. We were
unable to dig a deep square as planned because of saturated
soil from heavy rains. At the end of Phase II we had defined
the site limits at 340 m x 160 m, locating a core area of 7200
square meters near the creek, and isolating the cultural zone
at 5-35 cm below surface.
The research design for Hunter's Creek Phase III
(Figure 3) was prepared by Phil Weiss (Stewart et al. 1987)

and featured a well conceived sampling process supplemented
by judgmental tests, a series of wide area excavations and a
commitment to the use of 1/8" mesh screens to maximize
artifact recovery. The sampling program aimed at defining
the boundaries of our assumed "core area" and at defining
variability in artifact densities and functions across the site.
We divided the site into a low-density northern and a high-
density southern zone, sampling the former at 1% and the
latter at 2%. Each zone was gridded in 10 x 10 meter units,
within which 2 x 2 meter squares were chosen by random
numbers, eight in zone 1, twenty in zone 2. While these 28
units were being excavated, the lab kept a running account of
artifact densities by count and weight. The sample was
supplemented by a series of .5 x 2 meter "slot trenches,"
which we found to be very economical and effective in
locating areas of high artifact density and easily compared
with 2 x 2 units.
At the end of the sampling program we had a good
overall picture of artifact distributions and densities. Wide-
area excavations were opened up in two high density areas (B
and C) and around a possible hearth and postmold (Area A).
Realizing that the assumption of a single core area had been
false, we returned to the northern zone in 1988. At that time
we believed that there might be an Early and Middle Archaic
occupation locus, based on Bolen-like and Kirk-like points
found mostly in the northern portion of the site. After
excavating nine slot trenches selected randomly within 5 x 5
meter quadrats, we then selected Area D for an additional
wide-area excavation. Over the three seasons a total of 295
square meters (a 4% sample of the site) was excavated, with a
crew of four for five weeks in 1984, twelve for eight weeks in
1987 and five for six weeks in 1988.
All units in 1987 and 1988 were excavated in 10 cm
levels, by shovel-skimming to the cultural zone (generally
about 15 cm below surface), then troweling, and sifting
through 1/8" mesh screen. Pinpoint proveniencing was
prescribed but not always achieved by our inexperienced
crew. In retrospect we should have followed Chance's advice
(Chance 1983:244) and abandoned it altogether as a needless
waste of time. While it is by far more fun to map projectile
points in situ than to separate thousands of tiny flakes from
flecks of charred rootlets in 1/8" screens, the interpretive
rewards are far greater in the latter.
Even when dealing with a single component, there is
little basis for assuming that artifacts were used in situ during
a single event and immediately buried for posterity. At
Hunter's Creek there is reason to suppose that several
different groups camped there at different times, sometimes
even reusing the artifacts of their predecessors.
Subsequently, the combined forces of wind, water, burrowing
animals, and creeping roots have worked to move artifacts in
ways that archaeologists are only recently beginning to
understand (Wood and Johnson 1978). For low-lying
flatwoods sites like Hunters Creek the most significant post-


Figure 2. Hunter's Creek Phase II Excavations, with Sample Area for Phase III.

240- -r - - -- - --

220- ---J r -

2------ \ OA
2 to A-

190 -

I0g- O

1 70 -


40 ]

: L_._]

N -
0 10tm

Sample 1
Sample 2
Sample 3
D 2x2m Unit
[] 1984 Unit

N 1 3 0 I .. ..
S 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 220

Figure 3. Phase III Excavations, 1987 and 1988.






* poss. postmold
0 poss. hearth
O amorphous

Figure 4. Features in Areas A, B, C, and D. Top, Plan View. Bottom, Possible Postmold in Area B.


0 4m
0 4m

depositional actors are water (which sinks quickly to the level
of the hardpan and then slowly drains toward the creek) small
burrowing animals, and roots of slash pines and saw


One of the most challenging aspects of the Hunter's
Creek project has been the question of possible features. Soil
stains thought to be of cultural origin (Figure 4) were found
in Areas A, B, and C. These were quite similar to spodics,
i.e., natural organic hardpan lenses commonly found in soils
of pine flatwoods environments (Al Furman, Orange County
soils scientist, pers. com., July, 1987). Upchurch (1982:207)
describes the process of their formation by precipitation of
dissolved and suspended minerals and organic from down-
filtering water as it hits the water table. Spodics resemble
large post holes or small hearths, not only in size and shape,
but also in their high carbon and phosphate content, as shown
in a phosphate survey of the site by Quincie Hamby. We
attempted to identify cultural features by consistent shape and
size and presence of charcoal inclusions. These traits also
distinguish the "cultural features" from buried tree stumps
found on the site. Tentative hearths varied from 50-60 cm in
diameter and 11-40 cm in depth. Several contained severely
heat-damaged artifacts. Possible postmolds were 16-24 cm in
diameter and 19-21 cm deep.
The "postmolds" in Area B form a pattern which can be
interpreted as part of a circular or ovoid shape 7.4 m across,
with a central post and one, slightly off-center hearth. The
"posts" average 2.75 m apart, and may be paired. Several
were set at an angle of about 80 degrees. One of the
problems in this interpretation is that the soil stains were
found by looking in predicted locations, but there was
insufficient time to dig the units around them. Is the pattern
just a creation of the digging plan? There is some additional
evidence in support of a cultural interpretation for the
Hunter's Creek features. Michelle Alexander (1987) did a
comparative analysis of flotation samples from the
"postmolds" and column samples that were in the same
vegetation area. Alexander found 0.5 gm or more of
carbonized wood in all but two of the "postmolds," compared
with less than 0.2 gm in the column samples. Moreover, she
found the largest amount of carbonized wood in any sample
from the "hearth" in Area B. Assuming that it is real, the
"house" would be similar to one of two Deptford period
(2500-1800 B.P.) structures found by Milanich on
Cumberland Island, Georgia. The Cumberland Island house
measured 6.7 x 4.3 m, with a slightly depressed floor and
"widely spaced" posts and contained a bell-shaped storage pit
instead of a hearth (Milanich 1973; Milanich and Fairbanks

Lithic Analysis

Lithic sites such as Hunter's Creek offer limited
interpretive possibilities. Generally lacking pottery, food
remains, and structural features, they require strenuous
efforts in extracting information from one class of artifacts:
chipped stone. The largest tool type category belongs to
projectile point/knife fragments, with bases out-numbering
tips (Table 2). The second largest category is bifaces, most of
which are production failures, as are many of the projectile
point/knives (Johnson 1979). Very few shaped tools other
than projectile point/knives, and even fewer utilized flakes
were found. The shaped tools (Table 3) are mostly bifaces
and include a microlithic perforator/drill and a "thumbnail"
scraper; two hafted scrapers; two elongated Hernandos which
may be perforator/drills; one ground-stone adze/celt; and a
rhyollite chipped biface.

Bases Tips Whole Other Total
Sample I 6 5 3 4 18
Misc. 9 4 13
Area 1 2 2 4 9
Area D 9 3 10 5 27

Total 25 10 19 13 67
Ratio of Bases to Tips = 2.5:1
Sample II 7 8 6 7 28
Misc. 9 4 6 6 25
Area B 20 10 13 8 51
Area C 22 13 14 25 74

Total 58 35 39 46 178
Ratio of Bases to Tips = 1.65:1
Site Total 83 45 58 59 245
Ratio of Bases to Tips = 1.84:1

Table 2. Projectile Point Parts
Projectile points are not very useful for analysis of
activities, usually turning out (after tedious microscopic
examination) to be multipurpose (Kelly 1988). Microscopic
analysis of debitage flakes for patterns of damage from
production and use is far more helpful. George Ballo has
examined a non-random sample of 91 artifacts and is
currently analyzing the remaining assemblage. So far he has
found a high incidence of production failures (broken blanks
and reformss, several scrapers (including two hafted bifaces)
used on hard material such as bone; saws used on medium-

Bifacial Unifacial Utilized Total Archaic Lafayette/ Citrus/ "Bolen"/
Stemmed Culbreath Hernando Broward Total
North: 2 1 3
Sample I 10 1 11 North:
Area A 3 2 5 Sample I 3 3 1 7
Area D 10 2 12 Misc. 3 4 2 9
Area A 2 1 3
Total 5 6 0 31- Area D 3 1 4 7 15
South: Total 11 8 4 11 34
Sample II 16 6 22
Misc. 13 2 1 16 South:
Area B 37 3 5 46 Sample II 2 4 2 2 10
Area C 33 2 4 39 Misc. 2 3 3 3 11
Area B 10 10 6 26
Total 9 1 10 122 Area C 3 14 1 5 23

Total 7 31 16 16 70
Site Total 124 19 10 153
StTo____al1__1910 Site Total 18 (17%) 39 (38%) 20 (19%) 27 (26%) 104
Table 3. Modified and Utilized Flakes.
Table 4. Identifiable Projectile Points.

D 0




FM A O 0 300 gm C 0-2000

A [ U 300 450 gnim O-_I [Eu D 2000-4000

0 4 m over 450 gin 0 4 ouer 4000

d D
Figure 5. Flake Weights by Excavation Area. Figure 6. Flake Counts by Excavation Area.




0 1-9
E over 9
0 4m

[] Figure 7. Tool Counts by Excavation Area.


hard material such as wood; one graver; two perforator/drills;
and a high proportion of impact damage on projectile points.
To date only 10 expedient flakes have been verified and few
candidates remain. By far the largest category of artifact
from Hunter's Creek is "small flakes," those which fall in the
0.125-1.0 cm (1/8-3/8 inch) range. The tiny flakes are
thought by some (eg. Ahler 1989) to be functionally
diagnostic for tool resharpening or reshaping. Although
debitage analysis (underway by Quincie Hamby) has not been
completed, the general pattern of the assemblage is clear.
The collection is dominated by non-decortication flakes of
fairly small size, with high numbers of very small flakes and a
high incidence of reforms in various stages of production.
Intrasite distributions of the flakes and tools indicate
definite loci of activity within the high-density areas selected
for wide-area excavation. Flake counts (Figure 5), which are
biased toward tiny flakes, are a measure of final stage
retouch. Flake weights (Figure 6), represent larger flakes,
earlier in the production sequence. Tool counts (Figure 7),
are primarily projectile point/knives and their reforms. The
categories used in the maps were determined from simple
graphs (Figures 8-10). While there are no recognizable
single-event clusters, such as the chipping stations described
for the Rock Hammock site (Austin and Ste. Claire
1982:137), each excavation area has a focus of high
manufacturing activity. In Area C the high density locus is
within the circle of soil stains. Overall, the artifact density is
impressive for a non-quarry site. There is no satisfactory way
to measure "density" for meaningful comparisons with other
sites, but a simplistic calculation of artifacts divided by area
excavated, where these figures can be deduced, gives a rough
idea (Table 4). Most of the sites listed, which are all in the
Tampa area, are much deeper deposits than Hunter's Creek
and most are close to chert outcrops.
Source materials for the Hunter's Creek assemblage
(identified by Sam Upchurch) are chert, chalcedony, and
coral from the Tampa Bay, Upper Withlacoochee, and
Hillsborough River quarry clusters, all on the West coast near
Tampa (Figure 11; Upchurch et al. 1981). One Bolen-like
point is of Bay Bottom chert (a subtype of Goodyear et al.
1983 Type 5) that is found only in remnant outcrops along the
near margins of Tampa Bay and is thought to originate in the
now-submerged (since 6500 B.P.) bay. The complete absence
of patina and the relatively crude chipping technique on this
specimen, however, argue against an early date for this and
other Bolen-like points (several of which are thermally
altered) from Hunter's Creek (Richard Estabrook, pers.
com., January, 1991). The sources are all at least 40 miles
from the site, unless rumors of small outcrops in northeastern
Polk County are verified. These would likely be what
Upchurch (1982:215-216) calls "klintars," silica-replaced
remnants of ancient coral reefs found in green clay swamps in
West Central Florida. Long distance trade is evidenced by an
unaltered crinoid stem and by a rhyolite biface, both coming

ultimately from the Appalachian Mountains.
What do the lithics tell us about what people were doing
at Hunter's Creek? They were certainly making tools,
especially bifaces, many of which fractured in the process.
They brought convenient hand-sized blanks from chert
sources to the west and shaped their tools, probably by
percussion, with antler or manatee rib flakers (Purdy
1981:111-112). They were also hunting, leaving behind whole
points with impact scars and bases which broke off along with
the shafts as the animals fled. Butchering is indicated by the
large number of tips, which would have been embedded in the
flesh. And they probably spent much of their time repairing
tools, resharpening the points (leaving piles of tiny flakes) and
working on wood and bone shafts with flakes and bifaces.
The center of activity was the southern part of the site. Here
there is tentative evidence of a structure (or perhaps a grove
of trees and of hearths). There is also more evidence of tool
manufacture and butchering in the south than in the north.


The possible structure was radiocarbon dated to ca.
2400-2200 B.P. (Beta 22147, 2260 + 60 B.P.; Beta 23352,
2490 + 90 B.P., uncalibrated). These dates conform with
Bullen's (1975:28) date for Hernando projectile points and
with the Deptford structures on Cumberland Island (Milanich
1973, discussed above). Projectile points (Table 5) were
identified, with help from Barbara Purdy, B. Calvin Jones,
and Richard Estabrook. Most conspicuous are corner
notched Lafayette and Culbreath and slightly later basal
notched types, including Citrus and Hernando. Also
represented are the ubiquitous Florida Archaic stemmed and
Bolen-like side-notched forms (Figure 12). The Bolen look-
alikes, which lack the beveling, patina, and fine workmanship
of true Bolens and are often thermally altered, are tentatively
classified as Browards, a rare type originally found along the
Peace River (Bullen 1975:15).
Bullen (1975:6) dated these types as follows: Florida Archaic
Stemmed, 7000-3000 B.P., Culbreath 5000-3000 B.P.,
Lafayette 5000-1200 B.P., Hernando, Citrus (which he
suggested "may be the knife form of the same complex"
Bullen 1975:25) and Broward 2500-1800 B.P. Lafayettes were
associated with charcoal dated 1900 B.P. at the Zabski site
(Atkins and MacMahan 1967). Culbreaths and Lafayettes are
generally found with Orange and Tick Island period pottery,
and Citrus-Hernandos with Tick Island, Deptford, and
Weeden Island pottery. Milanich and Fairbanks (1980:62,
129) and Austin and Ste. Claire (1982:129) therefore date
Hernandos to 3000-800 B.P. The Browards fall into Bullen's
category of "diminutive" stemmed points, which carry on the
Archaic stemmed tradition during the post-Archaic (Bullen
1975:3-4, 1976:35-36). The stemmed point tradition is further
complicated by the extensive reworking of earlier points by
Late Archaic and post-Archaic people (Purdy 1981:48-49). It





3000 L



Figure 8. Flake Counts By Excavation Area.

Figure 9. Flake Weights by Excavation Area.






Figure 10. Tool Count by Excavation Area.

Site Source Date Area Lithics Density

Fletcher Ave. Daniel &
Wisenbaker 1981 Early 26 2,628 101
Deerstand A Daniel 1982 Middle 30 4,445 148
Deerstand B Gagel 1981 Mid-Late 50 2,878 58
Diamond Dairy Chance 1983 Mid-Late 153 4,000 261
Crystal Beach Wolf 1975 Late 46 8,331 181
Cypress Creek Almy 1982 Late 44 1,889 43
Tampa Palms Austin & Ste. Middle 55 7,175 130
Rock Hammock Claire 1982 Late 80 13,797 172
Hunter's Creek This Article Late 295 18,0401 61

1 not including flakes under 1.0 cm

Table 5. Approximate Lithic Densities in Some Central Florida Archaic Sites


30 mi
0 30 km

I \
1 Lower Suwannee
2 Santa Fe River \
3 Galnesville ""R471
4 Ocala A
5 Brooksville/ -
6 Inverness
7 Lake Panasoffkee
8 Upper Withlacoochee / 10 /
9 Caledesi /
10 Hillsborough River / 12
11 Turtlecrawl Point
12 Peace River

Figure 11. Chert Sources (after Upchurch et al. 1981).




Figure 12. Projectile Points/Knives and Perforators. A) Core, B) Citrus type, C) Culbreath type, D,E) Perforator/drills, F)
Bolen-like (Coral), G) Bolen-like (Bay Bottom Chert).


might even be suggested, for some future analysis, that the
Browards are actually forms of Culbreaths, either in an early
stage, prior to notching (Richard Estabrook, pers. com.,
January, 1991) or reworked, after losing their barbs.
The specific distribution of types at Hunter's Creek
could be interpreted in at least three ways: 1) that there were
many components dating from 7000-1000 B.P.; 2) that the site
must date prior to 4000 B.P. because no pottery was found;
or 3) that there is basically one component (probably
consisting of repeated visits) dating within 3000-2000 B.P., or
a longer occupation from 4000-2000 B.P. The first is the most
conservative interpretation. It covers the full range of all the
projectile point types represented, based on dating by
stratigraphy and radiocarbon, and cross dating with
assemblages throughout the southeast. This explanation
seems unlikely, as argued below.
The second interpretation can be eliminated on the basis
of the radiocarbon dates, which are supported by radiocarbon
dates from the Zabski site (Atkins and MacMahon 1967) and
the evidence for ceramic sites belonging to the ceramic
period (eg., West Bay, Watson 1974; Crooked Creek, Haisten
1974). Perhaps the best evidence for a contemporary
relationship between the ceramic Culbreath-Hernando and
the ceramic Orange and Transitional (my Terminal Archaic)
is the Cypress Creek site, where there is an ceramic lithic
site adjacent and partially overlapping a ceramic midden
(Austin 1983:133).
The third interpretation, which is advocated here, is
based on seriation. It assumes that components are not
correlated with single projectile point types but that each
component, even when "pure," is characterized by a mixture
of types. This is because artifact styles follow the laws of
seriation. They do not disappear all at once when a new type
is introduced but continue to be made and used
simultaneously with more "popular" and "modern" types.
Chronological placement can be recognized by the relative
proportions (i.e., frequencies) of types. Figure 13 is a general
impression of what a seriation of Florida projectile points
might look like in the Central Florida area.
The Hunter's Creek assemblage fits the Terminal
Archaic, 3000-2000 B.P., time frame in the seriation. We
cannot altogether rule out the possibility that several
components are mixed, given the obvious effects of wind,
water, and bioturbation on the deposit, but there are several
arguments in favor of a moderately limited time period.
Among these are the clustering of artifacts in proximity to the
structure or trees; the shallowness of the deposit, given the
frequent flooding; and the consistency of the radiocarbon
dates with the Terminal Archaic. The most compelling
argument is the wetland setting. The site is seldom dry except
during times of unusually low rainfall. It does not seem to be
the sort of optimal location that hunter-gatherers return to
over thousands of years. On the other hand the numbers of
tools are comparable to Australian hunter-gatherer base

camps that are "quite intensively used" (Hayden 1986:84-85).
It is likely that a group of hunter-gatherers discovered the
spot during a dry year and
revisited several times before the normal rainfall cycle


We can look at several different natural systems.
Consider first river basins (see Figure 1). Shingle Creek is in
the Kissimmee River Basin, with good connections to the
Oklawaha chain of lakes, the St. Johns Valley, and the Peace
River. Perhaps Shingle Creek was a link between these three
drainage basins. Hunter's Creek is also strategically
positioned physiographically between major zones (Figure
14). The site is squarely within the Osceola Plain, but about
equidistant from the Mt. Dora/Lake Wales Ridge of the Polk
Uplands and the Eastern (St. Johns) Valley. Thus the
inhabitants were within easy access to the major vegetation
communities of these zones: the xeric oak-hickory forests of
the uplands, the pine flatwoods on the plain, and the
freshwater marshes of the St. Johns. All three zones have an
abundance of lakes and at least some xeric and mesic forest,
humic forests, and marshes. The only resource in truly
limited supply is chert, which is only found in the Polk
Uplands and further west in the Gulf plain (see Figure 11).
The Hunter's Creek occupants would have traveled at least 40
miles from the nearest known chert source.


Hunters Creek Sile


10,000 I Kirk
12,000 V

V i Hernando

Figure 13. Schematic Seriation of Diagnostic Florida
Projectile Points.

Within the immediate vicinity (Figure 15), the vegetation
is predominately pine flatwoods, cypress domes and creek
swamp. It seems an inevitable assumption that the
environment of the past offered considerably more in the way
of foods and other plant resources than the drained, pastured


0 25mi

AY~~'~:. ~:

.... . . .
. . . .. . ..
. . ..i.:

+ +O

Figure 14. Physiographic Provinces (after Vernon and Puri 1964).

CREEK I Flatwoods

L-' Cypress Swi
600m Mixed Hard

2000ft ] 100-Year FI

Figure 15. Hunter's Creek Environmental Setting.

wood Swamp
blood Zone












flatwoods of today. What was Shingle Creek like before the
Army Corps of Engineers channeled it in the 1930s? My best
guess is that it was a slow-moving shallow sheet-flow type
stream, wide and marshy. The wide expanse of cypress
swamp that characterizes its borders today was probably
present from as early as 5000 B.P. The entire area would
have been wetter than now, because recent occupants since
A.D. 1840 have drained it for pasture, but the vegetation was
primarily slash pine forest, as shown by analysis of charcoal
samples (Alexander 1984). We can conclude, then, that from
about 5000 B.P. (the beginning of modern environment and
climate) to A.D. 1840 the environment was similar to that of
today: pine flatwoods but very much wetter, with possibly a
wider cypress-hardwood swamp along the creek.
Until recently, when archaeologists began finding sites
there (Smith and Bond 1984; Forney 1985), flatwoods were
considered to be uninhabitable barren grounds for prehistoric
populations. This myth is shattered by Cynthia Puffer's
(1982) thorough study of the plant and animal communities
characteristic of flatwoods environments in Central Florida.
In the past on the higher areas of Hunter's Creek there were
likely patches of xeric oaks such as scrub, turkey, and bluejack
oak sheltering edible plants including coontie, gopher apple
and persimmon. There may also have been other edible
plants including cabbage palms, blueberry bushes and
possibly aquatic plants such as arrowroot, cattails, and
pickelweed which favor wet areas in slightly more alkaline
soils than present in the vicinity today. Puffer points out that
flatwoods support a high diversity of animal life because of
the abundant wetlands. The small fish, crayfish, frogs, toads,
skinks, and salamanders support larger fish, turtles, snakes,
water birds and raccoons. Other animals, including deer,
turkeys, opossum, squirrels, rabbits, and many rodents are
found in the flatwoods. Predators of the past would have
included bobcats, panthers, bears, hawks, and the now extinct
Florida red wolf. In the hardwoods swamp-hammock zone
early Floridians may have found persimmon and red mulberry
fruit, tallowwood plum, groundnut, Caloosa grape, bamboo,
and possibly live oak acorns.

Shingle Creek Prehistory

In the immediate vicinity of 80r471, on Shingle Creek,
only five other sites are known: two small lithic scatters
found in the Hunter's Creek site assessment survey, an
additional scatter destroyed in construction, two scatters
destroyed in construction of nearby developments, and Bass
Mound (80s24), a "domiciliary mound" excavated by C.B.
Moore (1905) and apparently destroyed during construction
of U.S. 441. The lithic sites yielded Newnan and Archaic
Stemmed projectile points.
What was so special about the Hunter's Creek site for
the Tick Island period occupants? The spot is next to a deer
crossing and a bass bed (Figure 16). If people were already

living in the area, Hunter's Creek would have been attractive
for hunting and fishing. A hunting party or a few families
could have camped there, gathering diverse plant and flesh
foods for a week or two. If the inhabitants of the area should
have stored food staples to bring with them, they could have
stayed longer, assuming that rainfall was low enough to keep
the site dry. Hunter's Creek would have been one site in a
seasonal round.
Were they small hunting parties or families? How long
did they stay there? How many times did members of a
particular band return? And why did they abandon Hunter's
Creek some time around 2000 B.P.? Such questions are
probably unanswerable for single sites. But we may someday
understand the overall lifestyle of the Central Florida Archaic
in general terms if we can find and investigate enough sites
representing different parts of the system.

Figure 16. The Hunter's Creek Site Excavations. Shingle
Creek is to the Left.

Where else were they living? The answer has to include
the shell mounds. The Hunter's Creek people must have
fished and gathered molluscs around Lake Tohopekaliga on
sites similar to Rollins Island (Weisman and Newman 1990),
Zellwood (Dreves 1974), Tick Island (Jahn and Bullen 1978)
and Gauthier (Carr and Jones 1983). There they made and
used pottery, bone and shell tools, a variety of ornaments, and
probably textiles and bottle gourds (found at Windover much
earlier, Doran et al. 1990). For some reason they had little
use for stone tools on the shell mounds, or at least did not
discard very many there. On the other hand, they obviously
did not use pottery at all at Hunter's Creek. They may have
used bone, shell, and wood, as hinted by the preliminary wear


evidence on the stone tools. Many tools and ornaments were
buried with the dead in cemeteries. The existence of special
cemeteries, as early as 7500 B.P. at Windover (Doran and
Dickel 1988) suggests that East Central Florida Archaic
populations were highly advanced. Some archaeologists (eg.,
Charles and Buikstra 1983) have suggested that "formal
disposal areas for the dead" represent corporate lineages
whose ties to the land are symbolized and validated in this
way. Since such territorial claims are rare among hunter-
gatherers (unknown for ethnographic hunter-gatherers
according to Charles and Buikstra 1983:120), the cultural
system represented by the Florida Archaic is of great
significance to archaeologists everywhere.


Hunter's Creek is an ceramic lithic reduction site
probably contemporary with the ceramic-making Late
Archaic and "Transitional," 4000 or 3000-2000 B.P. This
appears to be the beginning of the most intensive occupation
period for the Central Florida Lake District, which ends by
about 1000 B.P. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the
Hunter's Creek site is its location. The creek is small and
isolated, the soil wet, the vegetation apparently monotonous.
There is no high ground, no surface artifacts, no obvious
strategic significance. There must be many similar buried
sites on other creeks which have been overlooked and/or
undervalued. If we are ever to make sense of the Florida
Archaic period, we will have to find and excavate lithic sites
with sufficient numbers of points and other tool types to study
their manufacture and functions and to calculate meaningful
type frequencies. This of course means that we must give
high priority to unstratified and even disturbed lithic scatters
instead of writing them off. How will we recognize which
lithic scatters are likely to have sufficient numbers of artifacts
to provide useful data on chronology and functions? The only
tried and true method is Phase II testing, and this needs to be
There are many lithic sites in the survey reports for
Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Polk County, only one of
which was considered significant. Because the overwhelming
majority have not been accepted for Phase II excavations we
may well be missing an important part of the life system of
Central Florida prehistoric populations. When the Hunter's
Creek site was discovered in 1983 the entire record of the site
that would have been found in 1/4" screen was 14 flakes and
two "scrapers." Our criterion for identifying high-density
areas in the 1984 Phase II excavations was 9 flakes (from 1/8"
screens) per 40 cm shovel test. How many sites with this
density have been considered significant? Had we not
happened to choose one of the highest density 1 square meter
areas on the site, we would have recovered one diagnostic
point and about 200 flakes at the end of that season, and the
site would have been abandoned to the bulldozers.

After many years of benign neglect, the Archaic has
become a major research topic in the past decade
(Winterhalder and Smith 1981; Phillips and Brown 1983;
Neusius 1986; Price and Brown 1985; Keegan 1987). The
Late Archaic, if not the Archaic as a whole, has in a sense
replaced the "Transitional" as the genesis for most of the
elements that once made the Woodland seem so special:
horticulture, sedentary settlements, ceramics, elaborate
funerary ceremonialism, extensive trade networks, and social
stratification. The Central Florida Lake District and other
parts of Central and East Florida are bound to play a major
role in the exploration of this fascinating segment of human


This research would not have been possible without the
help of many people, including the crews and volunteers for
three seasons at Hunter's Creek and all those who helped in
the Central Florida cultural resources inventory project. I am
grateful to every one of them. I wish especially to thank Phil
Weiss, Quincie Hamby, Cynthia Pope, Michelle Alexander,
Claudia Gonzalez, and Ann Bungart for their work on the
Hunter's Creek project and Art Dreves, Grant Groves, Russ
Pounds, and Dean Sligh for help on the site inventory.
Funding and logistical aid were provided by American
Newland Associates, through the gracious efforts of Roger O.
Gatlin, Vice President for Engineering and Construction, and
by two Jack B. Critchfield Critchfield Research Grants from
Rollins College. For their invaluable advice and insights on
the lithics materials, thanks to George Ballo, Richard
Estabrook, Calvin Jones, Barbara Purdy, and Sam Upchurch.
Jerry Milanich always had exactly the right information I
needed for the big picture. I am indebted as well to the
anonymous readers and the new editor, Brent Weisman. Any
errors are of course my responsibility.

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Marilyn C. Stewart
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Winter Park, FL 32789


Julie C. Wizorek
SAAA President

The St. Augustine Archaeological Association was
founded in 1985 by a group of professional and interested
citizens of St. Augustine to provide a means of organizing and
training volunteers. Stanley Bond was the association's first
president in 1985. The SAAA assists the Historic St.
Augustine Preservation Board, the City Archaeologist, The
St. Augustine Historical Society, the University of Florida, the
CA.R.L. project and other professional archaeologists in
archaeological research in the city and St. John's County.
Over the years the Association has provided eager hands
to work on large and small excavation projects. Noteworthy
are the Fiesta Site excavation (1985), Crescent Beach (1985),
Fort Mose (1987) the Rosario Redoubt (1988), the Ribera
Gardens dig (1989), the Puente dig (1990), the Cofradia site
(1990), Cathedral Parish dig (1991), the Fountain of Youth
(1991) and the Kirby-Smith excavation (1991). Members
spent numerous hours at the screens spraying dirt away from
hidden artifacts and excavating units at these and other
The preservation of the Nation's oldest city's heritage is
a prime motivator for the members of the SAAA. In

conjunction with the professional archaeologists at the
Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board, the association
was helpful in securing and maintaining a city archaeology
ordinance. The SAAA provides a significant assistance to the
city archaeology program through fieldwork, lab analysis and
survey work. The city program is greatly enhanced by the
dedication and skill of the members of the association. The
active city program allows members to do field work and Carl
Halbirt, the City Archaeologist, is very keen on incorporating
members in various phases of research.
Members of the Association and the community came to
the rescue in January 1991 when a terrible flood in the
Preservation Board's basement inundated the archaeological
collections. Over 4,000 hours and eleven month's of work of
drying and re-bagging the artifacts were put in to help save
the nationally significant collections. Many new members
were recruited for the project and they continue to be an
active force in laboratory activities.
The maintenance of a strong archaeological program is
also kept through public education. The association has a
monthly speakers program of nationally recognized

Figure 1. SAAA Volunteers, L-R Richard Todd, Pauline Larrivey, Catalina Palting, Tom Schwarm, and Betty
Riggan at work.


Figure 2. SAAA Volunteers, L-R Bud Mohler, Jackie Bowman, and Richard Todd at the screen.

individuals who talk on archaeological and historical topics.
In 1991 some of the speakers included Gene Lyon, Jane
Landers, John Griffin, Pat Griffin and Becky Saunders. These
programs are open to the public. Outreach programs are also
part of each dig and public education is emphasized in SAAA
exhibits. Members put together and man outdoor exhibits at
festivals held in St. Augustine. Special exhibits on
archaeology are set up for the Minorcan and Lincolnville
festivals, the Days in Spain, the Workshop of the Sixteenth
Century, to mention a few.
Securing the future is a top priority of the St. Augustine
Archaeological Association. The education committee, under
Bruce Piatek, has developed slide presentations on
archaeology in Florida and St. Augustine. These teaching
packets will be available to the various schools and state and
local parks. The association has made a commitment to
providing information to the State Parks and local parks
which are used not only by local residents, but also Floridians
and visitors to the area from other states and countries. Thus
the SAAA hopes to widen its message of archaeological
understanding and preservation.
To ensure quality work by members of the association in
artifact analysis and excavation work, Stan Bond and Julie
Wizorek have over the last two years taught a ceramic
identification class to members. The six week course goes
into depth describing the aboriginal wares found in St.
Augustine and the multitude of European, Oriental and

American made wares. The SAAA also hosted George
Miller from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for his
English ceramic seminar.
Members also enjoy field trips to various excavation
projects such as the Fig Spring digs and local areas of
archaeological interest.
The St. Augustine Archaeological Association is proud
of its association with the Florida Anthropological Society
and its contribution to the archaeology of Florida.

Julie C. Wizorek
SAAA President
P.O. Box 1987
St. Augustine, FL 32085

-Santa Catalina (Amelia Island) (Saunders)

T~imucuan Preserve (Russo)

Lower St. Johns (Ashley)

Guana Tract (Newman and Weisman)

,, ...



Lake Weir 0



Hunter's Cre

ek 0


Crescent Beach (Bond)
SSummer Haven (see Miller)





\ Lkssimmee

* Modern Municipality
* Archaeological Site
SArchaeological Survey Area

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