The Florida anthropologist

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


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


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

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University of Florida
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01569447 ( OCLC )
56028409 ( LCCN )
0015-3893 ( ISSN )


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Volume 45 Number 3
September 1992
Page Numbe

Editor's Page. Brent R. Weisman 194

80K5: A Coastal Weeden Island Village in Northwest Florida. Greg A. Mikell 195

Pioneer Fisherfolk of Southwest Florida's Barrier Islands: An Interview With Esperanza Woodring
of Cayo Costa. Robert F. Edic 221


Urban Archaeology in the City of Sarasota, Florida: The Whitaker Archaeological Site Complex. George M. Luer 226

Archaeology and Planning at the Tocobaga Bay Subdivision, City of Sarasota. Lauren C. Archibald 242

The Palmetto Lane Midden (8SO96): Some Stratigraphic, Radiocarbon, and Shell Tool Analyses
for a Manasota Period Site in Sarasota, Florida. George M. Luer 246

Seasonal Growth Patterns in the Shells of Southern Quahog Mercenaria Campechiensis
from the Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096), Sarasota, Florida. Irvy R. Quitmyer 253

The Boylston Mound: A Safety Harbor Period Shell Midden; With Notes on the Paleoenvironment
of Southern Sarasota Bay. George M. Luer 266

Lazarus Essay: So Much To Do; So Little Time. Arthur R. Lee 280

New Light on the First Spanish Period: A Review Essay. John W. Griffin 283

A Folsom-Like Projectile Point From the Mouth of Florida's Santa Fe River. Louis D. Tesar and Chris Lewis 287

Chapter Spotlight: The Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society. John Darsey 290

Cover: Effigy Vessel from the Ware Mound (see Mikell). Drawing by Paula Cook.

Copyright by the

ISSN 0015-3893



Brent R. Weisman

Florida's Gulf coast is the setting for most of the articles
in this issue of The Florida Anthropologist. Together, these
articles demonstrate that contemporary archaeology in
Florida is often conducted as a cooperative effort between
private landowners, city and county planners, community
volunteers, zooarchaeologists, and other archaeological
specialists. Our authors also convince us that the rewards of
such joint ventures often exceed expectations, given the usual
constraints of small budgets, tight deadlines, and the typically
narrow (as dictated by contract) scope of work. Yet from
these small projects new findings emerge, as is shown by
George Luer in his study of shell tool dating and evolution at
the Palmetto Lane Midden. Here, type AX cutting-edge
tools, first described by Bullen, are provided with their first
radiocarbon-dated context (ca. 100 B.C.-A.D. 500) which
places them in the early to mid Manasota period. Speaking of
Manasota, this is the appropriate place perhaps to encourage
the reader to become reacquainted with the original use of
the term to designate a culture period. See the 1979 article by
Luer and Almy in The Florida Anthropologist.
Any archaeologist who has excavated a shell midden
must envy the project at 80K5 reported by Greg Mikell. The
structural remains and associated artifacts are particularly
intriguing, and make us look again at the much-debated
sacred versus secular aspects of Weeden Island society. We
hope to learn more about this site in future issues.
We are fortunate to be able to include two insightful
essays in this issue. FAS president Art Lee offers the first in
a series of Lazarus essays (to be written by the recipients of
the annual FAS Lazarus Award). Art, not one to mince
words, has written a worthy piece that I hope will set the
standard for future Lazarus essays. The second essay, a
review by John Griffin of several recent publications on
Florida mission archaeology, stands as a contribution in its
own right to the burst of scholarship on this subject.
During a recent trip to Jacksonville I took the time to
dash to the Fort Caroline National Memorial, where, in the
Visitor Center, the clay human figurine from Kauffman Island
shown on the cover of FA 45(2) is on display. The figure is
larger (by chance, the cover illustration is nearly actual size)
and more finely executed than I expected from the drawing
published in Goggin's 1952 St. Johns monograph.
In this issue a brief "About the Authors" section is
introduced (see the inside back cover). Future authors are
encouraged to submit biographical information with their

Thanks go to Christine Newman and Louis Tesar, who
again assisted greatly in the layout and production of the
journal. Without their help timely publication would not have
been possible. Irvy Quitmyer is thanked for his help in
converting computer files and diskettes for use on my
machine. Prospective authors, please write me first for
guidelines and helpful hints for manuscript preparation.


Vol. 45 No. 3




Gregory A. Mikell

80K5 is a Weeden Island village site in Okaloosa
County, Florida that was investigated initially by Gordon
Willey in 1940 (Willey 1949:213). The most recent
investigations were intermittently carried out over a two year
period by the author and numerous volunteers, both
professional and avocational. Excavations in midden and non-
midden areas encountered numerous features, including a
structure floor, and yielded a wealth of data pertaining to a
significant Weeden Island occupation as well as the previous
occupants of the site. A large assemblage of Weeden Island
artifacts, including ceramics, faunal and floral remains, bone
and shell tools, and items of personal adornment, was
recovered. These artifacts and several features permit a
glimpse into Weeden Island village life and ceremonialism
along the Santa Rosa Sound at about A.D. 600 to A.D. 900.


80K5 is a large, multicomponent site located in
Okaloosa County, Florida along the shoreline of Santa Rosa
Sound adjacent to the city of Mary Esther (Figure 1). The
site is situated in an extensive coastal hardwood hammock
that now contains private residences. The site area is covered
by hardwood hammock vegetation dominated by live oak,
water oak, and red oak, hickory, and various species of pine.
Pine and turkey oak dominate the vegetation north (inland)
of the site. While the majority of the site is located within 150
m of Santa Rosa Sound, cultural remains were recovered as
far north as a drainage area, which is a former spring run and
forms one border of the site (Figure 2). The now intermittent
spring run empties into a marsh area west of the core area of
the site.
80K5 has long been a locus of human activity. The site
has yielded evidence of occupation and use as early as the
Late Archaic to Early Woodland or Deptford period. Clear
evidence of occupation from Weeden Island times through
the Fort Walton period also is present, with the Weeden
Island occupation being the dominant prehistoric presence at
the site. Historically, the site was the location of a late
nineteenth to early twentieth century lumber wharf as well as
twentieth century home sites, including those presently
located on the site. Although historic modification of the
landscape has damaged some of the prehistoric components
of the site, recent development has been limited to
construction of houses, outbuildings, and related features on
large lots. The establishment of large lots and private

residences has left sizeable portions of the site unaffected by
landscaping and large-scale excavation.
The site was brought to my attention when a property
owner notified me about materials discovered while digging
out a footing for a patio. The previously intact nature of the
patio area archaeological deposits was easily recognizable and
so a background search of the area was conducted to see if
the area contained a previously recorded site. As it turned
out, the site was recorded by Gordon Willey in 1940 during
his now famous Gulf Coast survey (Willey 1949:213). Willey
recovered 27 pottery sherds from the shoreline of the site
area. In the 1970s, William Lazarus of the Fort Walton
Temple Mound Museum also had reviewed ceramic
collections from the site and assisted one property owner with
the excavation of a small burial mound. Since several of the
property owners were interested in documenting the site, an
agreement was reached to conduct limited testing of the
general area, and to excavate areas on two properties deemed
potentially threatened by future landscaping or construction. I
conducted investigations on an intermittent basis, usually on
weekends, from late 1987 through the summer of 1990. The
work would not have been possible without the assistance of
the property owners and numerous avocational and
professional volunteers. Their labors cannot be overlooked.

Methods and Excavations

During the course of field investigations, 23 one-meter-
square excavation units and numerous shovel tests were
excavated. Shovel tests were initially placed at 10 to 30 m
intervals across the apparent central portion of the site to
determine site boundaries and internal variation to the extent
possible within the scope of this work. Excavation units were
primarily placed in areas potentially threatened by future
disturbance, and form small blocks of contiguous units. Some
units were also individually placed or paired in various areas
to test for "intactness" of subsurface deposits in both "hot
spots" and previously disturbed areas. A 1/4 inch steel probe
was utilized to determine the horizontal limits of shell
middens identified by shovel testing (Figure 2).
Standard archaeological methods were used in
conducting and recording excavations. The majority of the
excavated matrix was screened through 1/4 inch mesh, but all
features and midden deposits were sampled for flotation and
radiocarbon-datable materials. Excavation proceeded in 10
cm levels, with features and distinct midden deposits


Vol. 45 No. 3



Figure 1. General Vicinity of 80K5.

excavated and documented separately. Features were
recorded, sectioned, and excavated as sub-units immediately
following recognition in excavation floors or on unit walls. In
certain situations, features were excavated in 5 cm levels to
ensure accurate mapping of artifacts.
Certain limits of the present study should be recognized
from the outset. First, the entire site could not be
investigated. Not only were certain properties not available
for subsurface testing (the entire site surface area was
examined), but areas extensively disturbed by development
were obviously lost to the present investigation. A second
major limit is the fact that excavations occurred on an
intermittent basis and for various reasons, units could not be
left open. This meant that excavations proceeded one small

unit at a time (1 m square or 1 x 2 m square) and did not
form true block excavations. The major drawback was that
the structure encountered could not be photographed as a
single unit.
As excavations proceeded, basic research questions
about the site quickly developed into more specific questions
pertaining to certain characteristics of the site. For instance,
as will be detailed below, discovery of two distinct midden
types (oyster and marsh clam) led to the belief that they
represent distinct occupations. The presence of numerous
features, including the partial remains of a structure floor,
also presented an opportunity to document spatial patterns
and specific aspects of the village remains and their
relationship to the previously documented burial mound.


U.S. Highway 98

14 15 (
S1" 1. .
6 o 12 23

SArea II .
5 7

17 t

"Area III
Area IV

o110 S,

Area I

Santa"- Ros Sou -o Shovel Test, no recovery
-- a*1 m2 Test Unt with recovery
Shell Midden
0 M -- Ware Mound (Area VI)

Figure 2. 80K5 Site Map.


Flexible excavation strategies were designed to allow us
to meet the developing situation that seemed to unfold with
each day of work. One persistent question was whether
Gordon Willey ever imagined that the site from which he
collected only a handful of sherds could be such a enjoyable
place to work, but then he had the Carrabelle, Mound Field,
Sowell, Fort Walton, Gulf Breeze, and Lake Jackson sites all
in one project.
As illustrated in Figure 2, a large linear midden deposit
(Area I) extends along a low bluff above Santa Rosa Sound.
The linear midden is multicomponent, containing Deptford,
Santa Rosa, Swift Creek, Weeden Island, and Fort Walton
ceramics and midden debris. The midden likely consists of
numerous overlapping deposits similar to those described by
Milanich (1974) for the Sycamore/Aspalaga and other sites in
Northwest Florida (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:115- 16)
except that a longer and more varied set of occupations is
represented. "Hot spots" are evident in the midden that are
recognizable as concentrations of ceramics and higher
densities of midden materials compared to other areas. The
hot spots, if carefully excavated and compared, could define
areas used during specific periods of occupation or discrete
activity areas. Several discrete midden areas of variable
density and organic soil richness are located inland of the
larger linear midden. The present investigations located eight
such midden areas (Figure 2). The discrete middens may
represent household trash deposits or distinct activity areas.
Those that were investigated through the excavation of 1 m
square units are detailed below, but each is generally 20 to 50
cm thick, composed of various shellfish species and rich with
vertebrate faunal remains. Ceramics are present in each
midden area and Weeden Island types dominate those
recovered. There are, undoubtedly, additional discrete
midden areas similar to those documented thus far for the

The Excavation Units

Figure 2 shows the location of all subsurface excavations
completed during this study. Shovel tests are not discussed
separately here, but a brief summary of the results of each
unit, or excavation block or in groups is presented below.
Five separate areas are described in terms of the results of
test excavations. A detailed discussion of each midden area,
cultural feature, and associated materials follow in
subsequent sections.
Test Units 1 through 5 were excavated in the linear
midden deposit (Figure 2, Area I). These units documented
an area of buried and little disturbed oyster (Crassostrea
virginica), clam (Rangia cuneata and Mercenaria mercenaria),
scallop (Argopecten irradians), conch and whelk (Melongena
and Busycon) midden deposits between about 9 and 40 cm
below surface (Figure 3). The Area I midden deposits

revealed no vertical or horizontal differences in shellfish
species composition although an area of burned oyster shell
was encountered in the upper 15 cm of the midden stratum in
Units 2 and 3. A variety of Deptford, Santa Rosa/Swift
Creek, and Weeden Island ceramic types were recovered
throughout the midden and the leaching zone below it. The
upper portion of the midden is, however, dominated by larger
Weeden Island sherds. The midden also is rich in vertebrate
faunal remains, particularly estuarine fish, white-tailed deer,
and freshwater turtle remains. Sorting of the ceramics from
Units 1-5 indicates that while several Weeden Island sherds
are fairly large (3 to 8 cm square.), the majority of earlier
ceramics (Deptford, Santa Rosa series, and Swift Creek
Complicated Stamped types) are small and often eroded,
possibly indicating that the Weeden Island occupants
disturbed the material remains of previous inhabitants.
Test Units 6 and 7 (Area II), and Test Unit 9 were
excavated in non-midden areas of the site (see Figure 2).
Test Unit 9 came down on an area disturbed by construction
of a water line trench. Test Units 6 and 7, however,
documented in situ deposits in Area II. A basin-shaped pit
feature (Feature 1) was excavated along the east wall of Test
Unit 6 (Figure 4). Feature 1 was filled with Rangia shell,
wood charcoal, and contained three large Wakulla Check
Stamped sherds. Vertebrate faunal remains present in the pit
consist of a few deer and numerous fish bones. Much of the
shell is burned. Test Unit 7 documented a scatter of Weeden
Island ceramics, several of which are small and somewhat
eroded. Approximately one-half of a ceramic earspool was
found among the ceramic vessel fragments. The majority of
the ceramics in this unit were recovered from the interface of
two distinct soil strata situated between 26 and 28 cm below
surface (Figure 5: Strata II and III). The soil strata break
may represent an old ground surface as there was no evidence
to suggest that the excavation unit had intruded into a cultural
Test Units 8 and 22 were excavated in a large (ca. 1000
m square), dense shell midden (Area III) located north of
Area I. The 10 to 18 cm thick midden deposit is dominated by
Rangia (93% of shellfish) and is situated 8 cm below the
present ground surface (Figure 5). A variety of Weeden
Island ceramics, scattered oyster, scallop, and quahog shell,
large quantities of vertebrate faunal remains, charred plant
remains, and charcoal are also components of the midden
deposit. The midden is rather homogeneous throughout,
except for a virtually solid layer of Rangia (Feature 6) in Test
Unit 8 (Figure 6). The midden appears to be a fairly short-
term accumulation of food processing and general community
or household refuse. A sample of charred wood from the
Feature 6 yielded a carbon date of ca. A.D. 855 (Table 1).
Scattered ceramics and shell were recovered from soil strata
located immediately below the midden, but they can not be
clearly differentiated from the midden materials and are, in
part, associated with downward leaching of midden materials.


Figure 3. Area I Matrix Profile.

East Wall Profile

?".:' .: .. :...

III Feature 1


North Wall Profile


0 40

Test Unit 6

Stratum I: 10YR5/2 grayish brown sandy humus
Stratum II: 10YR5/1 gray sand
Stratum Ill: 10YR3/2 very dark grayish brown pit
feature containing Wakulla check stamp sherds,
charcoal, Rangia, and faunal remains
Stratum IV: 10YR5/8 yellowish brown sand subsoil

Test Unit 7

Stratum I: 10YR5/2 grayish brown sandy humus
Stratum II: 10YR5/1 gray sand
Stratum IIl: 10YR5/2 grayish brown sand
Stratum IV: 10YR5/8 yellowish brown sand subsoil

Figure 4 (Top) and Figure 5 (Bottom). Area II Matrix Profiles.

East Wall Profile
Stratum I Root

VI "

Stratum I: 10YR5/2 grayish brown sandy humus
Stratum II: 10YR6/6 brownish yellow redeposited sand
Stratum III: 10YR3/2 very dark grayish brown buried sandy humus
Stratum IV: 10YR7/2 very dark brown to 10YR2/1 black shell midden
Stratum V: 10YR5/1 gray sand with organic leaching
Stratum VI: 10YR7/3 very pale brown sterile sand subsoil


East Wall Profile



Stratum |: 10YR5/2 grayish brown sandy humus

Stratum Il: 10YR7/2 light gray sand

Stratum Ill: 10YR2/1 black sandy shell midden with
Rangia (95%) and oyster

Stratum IV: 10YR4/1 dark gray sand with organic leaching

Stratum V: 10YR5/1 gray sand

Stratum VI: 10YR5/8 yellowish brown sand subsoil

Figure 6. Area III Matrix Profile.

Test Units 10 and 11 were excavated as a 1x2 m unit in
a portion of Area I. The units documented both a 20 cm
thick Rangia, oyster, and scallop midden and a basin-shaped
area of dense oyster and Melongena shell (Feature 2).
Feature 2 appears to be a pit filled with general midden
debris. What distinguishes Feature 2 from the sheet midden
is the shell density within the feature and its extension below
the midden. Both the midden and pit fill contained scattered
Weeden Island sherds, faunal remains, and charred plant
remains. Organic leaching and scattered shell and sherds are
present in the soil strata to 20 cm below the midden.

Test Units 12 through 19 and Test Unit 23 form a block
excavation on the edge of a large (ca. 1150 m square) midden
(Area IV) located approximately 60 m inland of Santa Rosa
Sound (see Figure 1). The block was located in a threatened
area where there was an opportunity to document a shell
midden edge. Several surprises developed during the
excavation of the nine units: a distinct midden zone
differentiated by shellfish species composition (Figure 7) and
several cultural features below the upper midden stratum.
Although the area had been partially disturbed by the recent
removal of a large tree, disturbance was limited. The
integrity of the deposits is evidenced by the in situ nature of
most of the midden and other features, the high density of
cultural remains, including numerous large sherds, which in
several cases articulate into partially reconstructed vessels.

The two shell midden zones are easily distinguishable
within the block of units (Strata II and III, Figure 7). Stratum
II is a five to 30 cm thick oyster, whelk, and Melongena

midden which lies immediately on top of a truncated, five to
20 cm thick Rangia midden (Stratum III) and associated
features. While the Rangia midden contains some scattered
oyster shell, the upper midden contains no Rangia. Several
questions were raised by the presence of distinct midden
zones, but later ceramic analysis and radiocarbon dates
indicate that the middens represent two distinct zones of
Weeden Island remains. In addition to the middens, several
cultural features were encountered that are related to the
lower Rangia midden. These features - five post molds
(Feature 4), a partially shell-lined hearth (Feature 5), and
concentrations of various types of artifacts - constitute the
remains of a portion of a structure floor.

Two Weeden Island occupations are represented in
Area IV. A late Weeden Island occupation is indicated in the
upper midden by a radiocarbon date (ca. A.D. 800) and a
ceramic assemblage dominated (>88%) by check stamped
and plain ceramics. The lower midden and structure, on the
other hand, yielded radiocarbon dates of ca. A.D. 600 and a
wider variety of decorated Weeden Island ceramics, including
several well-made sherds and partial vessels. The midden
deposits are rich in faunal and charred plant remains. Several
domestic artifacts such as grinding stones, bone and shell
awls, a chert drill, a chert projectile point, and food remains,
as well as personal items (bone pendant, shell beads, stone
gaming piece?) were also recovered from the structure floor.
The significance of the midden deposits and the remains of
the structure are detailed below.

Test Unit 20 was excavated in a partially disturbed 20 to
25 cm thick shell midden (Area V) located just 10 to 15 m
north of Area IV (see Figure 2). The upper 10 to 15 cm of
the midden in Test Unit 20 had been disturbed and appeared
jumbled and mottled. Unfortunately, the majority of the
ceramics recovered from the unit were in the disturbed zone.
Weeden Island ceramics dominate the types identified from
Area V, but one Deptford Linear Check Stamped sherd was
also present in the midden. The midden contains both oyster
and Rangia shell, but faunal remains were relatively sparse
and charred plant remains consist of burned wood only.

The only non-Weeden Island feature documented on
80KS5 to date, was found in Test Unit 21. Test Unit 21 was
excavated in an old flower bed where no shell midden was
apparent from shovel tests. A stained soil stratum and basin-
shaped feature containing a few Deptford ceramics, two
Elliot's Point baked clay objects, a quartz projectile point, and
two fiber-tempered plain sherds was encountered in the unit.
Excavation revealed a 10 to 15 cm, mottled grey humus and
sand stratum containing small unidentifiable and Weeden
Island sherds, a sloping and deep (to 67 cm below surface)
dark-grayish brown stratum containing sparse oyster and
Rangia shell, and an area of dense oyster shell and organic
staining (Feature 3) which form the base of the stratum in
profile (Figure 8). Two sterile sand strata are situated below
the feature.


Figure 7. Area IV Matrix Profile.

East Wall Proile



Stratum 1: 10YR5/1 gray to 10YR4/1 dark gray sandy humus
Stratum II: 10YR4/2 dark grayish brown to 10YR3/2 very dark
graysh brown shal midden arid Neature
Stratum III: 10YR5/1 gray to 10YR7/2 light gray sand
Stratum IV: 10YR5/8 yellowish brown sand subsoil

Figure 8. TU21 and Feature 3 Matrix Profile.

West Wall Profile
TU12 T1U18 1n14 TU17

Post Mold


East Wall Profile
TUIS TU15 TU19 T23

IV tree roofl disturbance


o so

Stratum I: 10YR5/2 grayish brown humus
Stratum II: 10YR3/2 very dark grayish brown oyster midden
Stratum III: 10YR3/3 dark brown to 10YR2/2 very dark brown Rangia midden
Stratum IV: 10YR5/1 gray sand
Stratum V: 10YR5/8 yellowish brown sand subsoil


The Features

Feature 1 is a 38 cm deep, basin-shaped pit feature
excavated along the east wall of Test Unit 6 (see Figure 4).
Test Unit 6 was extended 25 cm to the east to ensure
complete recovery of the pit contents. The pit was recognized
initially at 18 cm below surface of the SE corner of the unit as
separate areas of concentrated shellfish remains. At 25 cm
below surface the pit measured 53 cm (N-S) by 62 cm (E-W)
and narrowed to 18 cm by 20 cm near its base at 55 cm below
surface. The feature contained a dense deposit of Rangia
shell, wood charcoal, and three large Wakulla Check Stamped
sherds. Vertebrate faunal remains present in the pit consist
of five deer long bone fragments and numerous fish bones.
Much of the shell is burned and the pit may represent an
earth oven or fire pit.
Feature 2 is a basin-shaped area of dense oyster and
Melongena shell. It appears to be a pit filled with general
midden debris. Feature 2 could only be distinguished from
the adjacent sheet midden by its depth below the midden.
The feature initially appeared as a concentration of shellfish
remains at 25 to 30 cm below surface, measuring about 161
cm (N-S) by 70 cm (E-W) and narrowing to 48 cm by 40 cm
at 65 cm below surface. Both the midden and pit fill
contained Wakulla Check Stamped, Carrabelle Punctated,
Carrabelle Incised, Ruskin Dentate Stamped Ruskin Linear
Punctated, Weeden Island Plain, Weeden Island Incised,
Baytown Plain, and unidentified plain sherds, fish bone, and
wood charcoal. Organic leaching and a few scattered shells
and sherds are present in the two soil strata into which the pit
intrudes, 20 cm below the midden.
Feature 3 is a stained, basin-shaped stained soil stratum
and oyster shell layer feature (see Figure 8) containing a few
Deptford Bold Check Stamped ceramics, two Elliot's Point-
like baked clay objects, a quartz projectile point/knife, two
fiber-tempered plain sherds, charred wood, and charred
hickory nutshell. Excavation of Test Unit 21 revealed a 10 to
15 cm thick, mottled grey to dark grey humus and sand
stratum with small unidentifiable and Weeden Island sherds
lying immediately above a sloping, deep (to 67 cm below
surface) dark-grayish brown stratum, which contains sparse
oyster and Rangia shell, and an area of dense oyster shell and
organic staining (Feature 3) that forms the base of the
stratum in profile. Whereas Feature 3 is an oval lens of
oyster shell and may be the base of a large pit, only the shell
layer contained charred wood and nutshell and it contained
all of Deptford and fiber- tempered ceramics and other
associated artifacts. The layer of oyster shell measured 36 cm
(N-S) by 31 cm (E-W) at 60 cm below surface.
Features 4 and 5 consist of several cultural features that
are related to the lower Rangia midden in Area IV. The
features consist of five postmolds (Feature 4), a partially
shell-lined hearth (Feature 5), and concentrations of various
types of artifacts. These features are the remains of a

partially disturbed structure floor (Figure 9) that formed a
slight depression later filled in by a very distinct accumulation
of oyster shell midden. Figure 10 illustrates the depression
created by the house floor. Wood charcoal samples from the
structure area produced interesting radiocarbon dates. The
hearth is dated to ca. A.D. 637, while the midden that lies
immediately above it produced a calibrated date of ca. A.D.
826. A sample of Rangia shell from the lower midden
immediately outside the walls of the structure (TU 12)
produced a date virtually identical to that of the hearth, A.D.
625 (Table 1). When midden matrix and associated artifacts
are separated by upper and lower deposits that are
differentiated by shellfish species composition, it is readily
apparent that the ceramics can be sorted into two distinct
assemblages. A late Weeden Island assemblage, dominated
by check stamped and plain wares, is associated with the
upper midden whereas an earlier Weeden Island assemblage
from the lower midden, associated with the structure,
contains Weeden Island incised and punctated pottery types
in significantly greater proportions. The ceramics fit well with
the radiocarbon dates. The separation of components is
accentuated by the fact that the upper and lower middens are
dominated by different shellfish species.
The structure is clearly identified by the presence of the
hearth, postmolds, areas of artifact concentrations, and the
character and location of individual artifacts. Although a
portion of the structure floor had been disturbed by the
removal of a tree and the remainder of the structure is yet to
be excavated, the features and their spatial relationships
clearly indicate a structure floor. The dimensions of the
structure are a matter of speculation at this point, but it may
have been similar to the Weeden Island domestic structure
documented by Milanich (1974:14) at the Sycamore site. The
postmolds mark a section of a presumed outer main wall of
the structure. The five postmolds, which are spaced between
40 and 50 cm apart, range in diameter from 18 to 26 cm, but
three are semi- ovate rather than circular. The postmolds
extend to between 28 and 37 cm below the point where they
became clearly recognizable at about 30 cm below surface.
No distinct wall trench was visibly associated with the
postmolds, but an area of soil along the presumed wall of the
structure appeared slightly stained and mottled and may be
the faint remnant of a wall trench.
Feature 5 lies approximately 120 cm southeast of the
wall segment. The shell-lined hearth is oval-shaped,
measuring 69 cm by 32 cm and is surrounded by an ashy
"shadow" that may be cleaning and rebuilding debris. The
hearth contained burned and fragmented shell, charred and
unburned animal bone, charred grape seed, charred hickory
nutshell, and other charred plant remains, predominately
wood charcoal and residual materials. Ceramics associated
with the floor and hearth are clearly part of a Weeden Island
assemblage, including Weeden Island Plain, Weeden Island
Punctated, Weeden Island Incised and Zoned Red, Weeden


------ Boundary of Sherd Concentration
Edge of Rangia Midden
SPost Molds (Feature 4)

Figure 9. Area IV Structure Floor Plan View at 30 cmbs.



Island Red Filmed, Ruskin Dentate Stamped, and Wakulla
Check Stamped.
Artifacts recovered from between 30 and 38 cm, where
the postmolds and hearth became clearly evident, are
materials typically associated with a living floor or surface.
Figure 10 illustrates a profile of the floor in profile showing
one structure wall postmold and the hearth within the
structure. Of particular interest in the profile and plan view
illustrations (Figures 9 and 10) are: an area of hard packed
gritty sand containing several small or trampled sherds, the
distribution of domestic activity tools, the partial vessels and
concentration of associated sherds adjacent to the line of
postmolds, and the presence of beads and pendants within the
outline of the structure.
Table 2 provides an inventory of artifacts directly
associated with the living floor of the structure. The presence
of high quality, finely decorated ceramic vessels and items of
personal ornamentation may indicate that this structure was
associated with high status individuals or some form of
ceremonial function, or both. Not only are there numerous
examples of fine Weeden Island ceramics and items of
personal adornment from the house, but both occupation

zones associated with the structure yielded greater densities
of ceramics than did other portions of the site. Ceramic
density in the midden associated with the structure may
simply be a case of conspicuous consumption, while the
ceramics (and other materials) deposited in the later (upper)
midden may indicate that the depression left by the house
floor provided a convenient refuse receptacle.
Feature 6 is a nearly solid layer of Rangia shell and
animal bone situated at the base of the shell midden in Test
Unit 8 (Figure 4). The shell layer was semi-circular in plan
view, measuring approximately 55 cm in diameter at 20 cm
below surface, and was between 12 and 18 cm thick. Feature
6 first appeared as a concentration of shell and bone at 17 cm
below surface in the SE portion of Unit 8. Weeden Island
Plain rim sherds, unidentified plain, and check stamped
(Wakulla) sherds were in the feature along with numerous
fish and turtle bones. Interestingly, many of the fish bones
and all of the turtle bones are from freshwater species. A
charcoal sample from the layer yielded a calibrated date of
ca. A.D. 855 (Table 1), thus indicating that Rangia was still
utilized during the later Weeden Island occupation of the site.

Test Unit 12 Test Unit 23

rindig' stone

IV floor

Stratum I: 10YR5/2 grayish brown humus
Stratum II: 1YR3/2 very dark grayish brown shell midden

Stratum IV: 10YR5/1 gray sand
Stratum 1: 10YR5/2 grayish brown humus

Stratum V: 10YR5/8 yellowish brown sand

Figure 10. Area IV Structure Floor Profile Showing Upper Midden, Wall Postmold,
Hearth, Subsoils, and Associated Artifacts.

Calibrated Date*
)D^vtq (1 c1 imw

.L V 1L .Af.. CI'.4 SUJI*. 0d .LAL4*IC k tLt.ILEJ. i

TU 12/L 2: upper midden, 1140+60
Area IV

TU 8/L 3: Feature 6,
Area III

TU 14/L 3: lower midden,
Area IV

TU 23/L 4: Feature 5,
Area IV




A.D. 826
A.D.788 to A.D.868

A.D. 855
A.D.824 to A.D.895

A.D. 625
A.D.590 to A.D.658

A.D. 637
A.D.600 to A.D.679





*Calibration by CALIB (Stuiver and Becker 1986)

Table 1. 80K5 Radiocarbon Sample Analysis Results.

Vessel 1: Complete Weeden Island Punctated, three-sided
beaker-like bowl or cup. Inverted on floor 14cm
north of hearth (Figure 10).
Vessel 2: Rim and body fragments of Weeden Island Incised,
Zone Red shallow bowl. Interior incising with "frog
eye" effigy on two rim segments (Figure 11).
Vessel 3: Approximately 1/4 of Weeden Island Plain shallow
bowl or plate (Figure 12).
Vessel 4: Large Wakulla Check Stamped rim sherd (Figure 13).

Individual Sherds: Weeden Island Plain (15), Weeden Island
Incised (1), Carrabelle Incised (1), Carrabelle
Punctated (1), Wakulla Check Stamped (9), Ruskin
Dentate Stamped (2), Swift Creek Complicated
Stamped (1).

Lithic Artifacts
Jackson Projectile Point (chert)
expanded head drill (chert)
bipointed drill (chert)
Bone and Shell Artifacts
deer bone awl/pin
deer bone awl
columella awl
engraved bone pin fragment

2 sandstone grinding stones
sandstone disc/gaming piece
quartzite cobble pestal

2 drilled shell beads
bird bone bead
engraved bone pendant

Table 2. Area IV Structure Floor Artifact Inventory.

1 ~ *

A ,*f


C~o'm\1a <"


The Ware Mound

Although the Ware Mound (Area VI) and the area
immediately around it were not investigated during this study,
it is an important aspect of the site. The Area IV structure is
situated about 65 m west of the former location of the mound.
The mound was excavated by the property owner, for which it
is named, in 1974 with the help of personnel from the Fort
Walton Temple Mound Museum. Details are sketchy, but
the mound was apparently less than 1 m in height and
measured about 4 m in diameter (Yulee Lazarus, pers. com.,
The remains of at least six individuals, two projectile
points, a chert blade fragment, ground hematite, a piece of
sheet mica, and grinding or abrading stones were found
within the mound along with ceramics. One complete
Weeden Island Plain shallow bowl, one small Carrabelle
Punctated bowl, a partial small Weeden Island Incised bowl, a
partial red-filmed shallow bowl, one large Weeden Island
Incised sherd, and the majority of a human effigy vessel
(Figure 11) make up the ceramic assemblage within the
mound. The mound is clearly associated with Weeden Island
The human effigy vessel is a finely made sand tempered,
incised, and burnished piece very similar to an example
recovered by C.B. Moore at the Basin Bayou Mound
(8WL13) located 25 miles northeast of 80K5 (Moore
1901:457-58; Willey 1949:P1.41). Moore also documented
several other generally similar human effigy vessels from Gulf


y- '^\ /
; ^ ^^,/

Coast Weeden Island sites between Basin Bayou and the
Aucilla River area (Moore 1902:142, 147-49, 179-80, 201, 204-
206, 332; 1918:546, 566-67. The Ware effigy vessel is clearly a
male with folded arms, closed eyes, and closed mouth. The
mouth is curiously perforated between the lips so that it may
have held some decorative object. Both the top of the head
and the base of the vessel are missing and the fragmented
condition may indicate that it was broken prior to or when it
was placed in the mound. The vessel has been interpreted as
a funerary urn (Yulee Lazarus, pers. com., 1989).
The other ceramics from the Ware mound, while
Weeden Island types, are not the truly fine wares often found
in Weeden Island mounds. Although burnished, incised, and
punctated vessels are present, both the decoration and paste
are of similar quality to many of the decorated and burnished
wares recovered from the village middens, especially the
lower midden and structure in Area IV. It is curious that the
Area IV structure and associated features contain ceramics
that are generally similar to those found in the Ware mound
as well as other northwest Florida Weeden Island burial
mounds. Unfortunately, records at the Fort Walton Temple
Mound Museum indicate that the Ware mound excavations
were not a "controlled" effort and comparisons of ceramics
from the mound with other portions of the site are tenuous at
best. General comparisons and relationships can be
identified, however, and it appears that the mound and the
Area IV structure were part of the same village and may have
been functionally related.


Figure 11. The Ware Effigy Vessel.


Materials Recovered

Although long-term prehistoric use of the site is
indicated by the Deptford, Santa Rosa/Swift Creek, and Fort
Walton ceramic types previously documented from 80K5,
excavations primarily have recovered Weeden Island
materials. There are apparently other portions of the site
that contain greater amounts of other ceramic types, but the
controlled excavations conducted to date demonstrate that
the Weeden Island occupations were dominant events. For
that reason, the recovered Weeden Island cultural materials
will be the emphasis of the following discussion.


Aside from faunal remains (shellfish and vertebrates),
ceramics constitute the largest category of cultural materials
recovered. The majority of these are from shell midden
contexts. Approximately 1,100 sherds (n=1159) were
recovered from the site during the present investigation. An
additional 350 sherds collected by other individuals are also
considered in this discussion. An account of all ceramics
recovered from controlled excavations is presented in Table
3. Other ceramics, especially those from the Ware Mound
were also examined, but are not included in Table 3. Table 3
is organized by general provenience (Areas I V) as well as
by more specific proveniences such as test units, levels, and
Other than pottery, only one fired clay artifact was
recovered. A little more than one half of a ceramic earspool
was recovered from Test Unit 7 at about 26 cm below surface.
The earspool has a "dimpled" center that is 4 mm thick, a 16
mm wide rim around the dimple, and an diameter of 60 mm
(see Figure 19). The earspool was associated with Weeden
Island pottery.
Ceramics are primarily Weeden Island decorated and
plain wares. Pottery types attributable to the Weeden Island
occupation of the site are Wakulla Check Stamped, Weeden
Island Plain, Weeden Island Incised, Weeden Island
Punctated, Weeden Island Zoned Red, a variant of Crystal
River Negative Painted described here as Weeden Island
Painted, Carrabelle Incised, Carrabelle Punctated, Keith
Incised, Tucker Ridge Pinched, St. Petersburg Incised,
Ruskin Dentate Stamped, Ruskin Linear Punctated, Swift
Creek Complicated Stamped (late variety), West Florida
Cord Marked (late variety), Mound Field Net Impressed,
Pontchartrain Check Stamped, Mulberry Creek Cord
Marked, Mulberry Creek Plain, Baytown Plain, Weeden
Island Effigy Vessels (plain, red-filmed and incised), and
unidentified smooth and rough-surfaced plain. All of these
types have been described by Willey (1949), Jenkins (1981),
and Brown (1981). The Pontchartrain, Mulberry Creek, and
Baytown ceramic types are indicators of at least indirect
contact with cultures from the Mobile Bay/Lower Tombigbee

region or further west and, concomitantly, they are types not
usually associated with Florida Weeden Island sites. With the
exception of the Weeden Island Painted ceramic type, all
other types correspond to Willeys (1949) type descriptions.
Doran and Piatek (1985) and New World Research (1990)
have documented similar Weeden Island assemblages, which
include the Mobile Bay area types, from Pensacola Bay and
Choctawhatchee Bay Weeden Island sites.
The type described here as Weeden Island Painted, is
essentially Crystal River Negative Painted secured from a
middle Weeden Island context (ca. A.D. 600). Weeden Island
Painted sherds from 80K5 are from both a simple globular
bowl and at least two shallow bowls with painted interiors,
including one partial vessel specimen. The painted sherds are
either burnished, tan to buff or black painted with red and
brownish hued mineral or vegetable dye paint. Painted motifs
vary from negative painted flower-like designs and concentric
squares to a painted band around the interior rim of the
vessel (Figure 12).
Although numerous late variety Swift Creek
Complicated Stamped sherds were recovered from the site,
the vast majority are from Area IV excavation units. A single
rim form is present and the stamped design from the Area IV
specimens is a single design. Most of these sherds probably
come from a single vessel. The rim style is a complex lipped
and folded straight rim with stamping occurring up to the top
of the lip.
The majority of Weeden Island ceramics are, of course,
sand tempered, with micaceous paste color ranging from tan
and buff to grey and black. Grain size of the temper varies
greatly and some sherds contain grit in the form of small
pieces of quartzite pebbles. Some Weeden Island types also
contain small clay tempering inclusions, but not in sufficient
quantity to be considered "grog tempered" wares. The
Pontchartrain Check Stamped ceramics are differentiated
from Wakulla Check Stamped by limestone inclusions as
tempering. The Mulberry Creek and Baytown ceramics are
differentiated by their limestone and/or grog temper. Sherd
thickness is also variable depending on the portion of the
vessel represented or the size and type of vessel in question,
ranging from as little as 3 mm to as much as 12 to 15 mm.
Rims, collar areas, and vessel bases are usually somewhat
thicker than body walls.
Rim forms from 80K5 consist of three general types.
The most common is the classic Weeden Island thickened or
folded rim with an underlining incised line. Both incurvate
and excurvate rims are present and rim lips are generally
rounded. Incised lines occur on 78% of the thickened rim
types with the line usually occurring between 5 and 20 mm
below the rim edge. The second most common rim forms are
simple rounded lips, with or without the underlining incised
line. The simple rounded lip form includes incurvate,
excurvate, and straight rims with some thickening of the rim
margin. The third rim mode present is a simple straight rim

Type/Classiftiation Tm

Lake Jackson Plain 2
Fort Walton Incised 1
Pensacola Plain 3
Pensacola Incised 1

Wakulla Check Stamped 16
Pontchartrain Check Stamped 1
Carrabelle Incised 6
Carrabelle Punctated 1
Keith Incised
St. Petersburg Incised
Tucker Ridge Pinched
Weeden Island Incised 3
Weeden Island Punctated
Weeden Island Zoned Red
Weeden Island Painted
Swift Creek Comp. Stamped 1
Ruskin Dentate Stamped
Ruskin Linear Punctated
Weeden Island Plain 21
Baytown Plain 3
Mulberry Creek Plain
Mulberry cr. Cord Marked 1
West Florida Cord Marked
Mound Field Net Impressed
Deptford Linear Ck Stamped
Deptford Bold Ck Stamped
Deptford Simple Stamped
Unidentified Plain 14
Unidentified Decorated 1

ml Area 1
its T1-5 TUIO-11/Fea.2
(Lavels 1-3)
1 -/-


Area 2
TU6/Fea.1 TU7
(Levels 1-3)

1/3 5
-/- 1
-/- 2

-/- 1

-/- 1

2/- 4
-/- 1
-- 1

1/- 1

-/- 13
-/- 1

Area 3
T08/Fea.6 1T22
(Levels 1-3)

Area 4 Area 5
TUl2-19 U23/Fea.5 TU20 TU9 Ta21
(Levels 1-3) (Levels 1-3) (LI-3) (Ll-4)

-/- -_

75 56 20/8

5/3 30 19/13 57

441 138/11

61 36 10 995

Type/Classifioation Tea

Deptford Linear Ck Stamped 2
Deptford Bold Ck Stamped 13
Deptford Simple Stamped 1
Fiber Tempered Plain 1
Santa Rosa Stamped 1
Swift Creek Comp. Stamped 1
New River Comp. Stamped 3
West Florida Cord Marked 1
Franklin Plain 2
Makulla Check Stamped
Weeden Island Plain
Weeden Island Incised
Weeden Island Punctated
Carrabelle Incised


m1 Areal
ts TD1-5 TUmO-ll/Fea.2
(Levels 4-5)
2 1/-
1 -/-

2 1/-
2 -/
S -/
-/ _

1 -/-
2 1/-
2 -/-
1 -/-
1 -/-
3 2/-

13 5/-

Area 2
TU/Fea .l T7
(Levels 4-6)


-/- 1
-/- 1

-/- 1

1/- 1

1/- 3

**Ceramics recovered from features are not presented by level
*Count includes partial or whole vessels) where each specimen = 1
***Includes 2 Elliot's Point Clay Ball

Area 3
TUr/Fea.6 To22
(Levels 4-6)

1/- 1
-/- 2

-/- 3
-/- -
-/- -

1/- 1
-/- 2

-/- -
-/- -
1/- 3

3/- 8

Area 4 Area 5
TU12-19 T3/Fa. 5 TU20 T109
(Levels 4-8) (Levels 4-5) (L4-6)
1 -/- -

1 -/- -
3 1/- -

1 -
9 3/- 2 1
31 10/- 1 -
6 3/-
4 1/-
3 /-
9 5/- 5 4

69 24/-

TU21/Fea.3 Total
1 8
1 7
2 3
6*** 40

5 10 174

Grand Total 1169

Table 3. Ceramics Recovered: By Area, Test Unit, and Feature**.



Figure 12. Weeden Island Painted Sherds From a Single Vessel.

with a flattened lip. This rim mode occurs on only a few
Wakulla Check Stamped and plain sherds. The few
Pontchartrain, Mulberry Creek, and Baytown series rim
sherds are either rounded lip, excurvate or folded rim modes.
The three rim forms occur in both the early and late Weeden
Island assemblages.
Identifiable vessel forms include utilitarian types such as
simple globular bowls, collared globular bowls, open-
mouthed shallow bowls, and deep cylindrical vessels. Exotic
non- utilitarian and elaborately decorated vessel forms are
also represented, and include a three-sided beaker-like bowl
or large cup and a four or five-sided plate-like vessel. The
80K5 Weeden Island vessels, where identifiable, have either
flat or rounded bottoms. Measurements from a sample of 22
rim segments indicate that the vessels tend to cluster into two
size categories: rim diameters of 12 to 18 cm (n=9) and rim
diameters of 31 to 39 cm (n= 13). The smaller vessels are
usually decorated types (incised, punctated, complicated
stamped), but a few small plain and check stamped vessels
are also present. Larger vessels are, without exception, plain
and check stamped wares. Ceramic types recovered are
illustrated in Figures 13 through 18.

As is indicated in Table 3, Deptford, Santa Rosa/Swift
Creek, and Fort Walton series ceramics are present at 80K5.
Table 3 also indicates, however, less than 7% (n=57) of the
sherds recovered during the present excavations are
identifiable fiber- tempered plain, Deptford, Santa
Rosa/Swift Creek, and Fort Walton series types. Ten of the
57 sherds were found in an apparent Deptford pit feature
(Feature 3). The remaining sherds were recovered in general
midden contexts or at the base of Weeden Island occupation
debris. Deptford Linear and Bold Check Stamped, Deptford
Simple Stamped, fiber tempered plain, Santa Rosa Stamped,
New River Complicated Stamped, Franklin Plain, Lake
Jackson Plain, Fort Walton Incised, Pensacola Plain and
Incised, and, perhaps, some of the West Florida Cord Marked
and Swift Creek Complicated Stamped body sherds make up
the excavated non-Weeden Island assemblage. The Deptford
sherds are sand and grit tempered and the Santa Rosa series
sherds are tempered with fine to medium sand and mica.
Fort Walton sherds are sand and/or grit tempered, while
Pensacola sherds are shell tempered. Only one Deptford
Bold Check Stamped rim sherd was recovered. The Deptford
rim and is a simple, slightly excurvate, rounded lip from with


Figure 13. Selected Ceramics Recovered From Area IV Structure Floor. a: Three-Sided Weeden
Island Punctated Bowl; b: Weeden Island Plain; c: Wakulla Check Stamped; d: Weeden Island Zoned
Red "Frog Eyes" Effigy Vessel.


Figure 14. Selected Weeden Island Plain Rim Sherds.

Figure 15. Selected Weeden Island Punctated and Incised Sherds. All but e, g, and r are Weeden
Island Punctated.


Figure 16. Selected Weeden Island Ceramics. a-e: Carrabelle Punctated;
f: St. Petersburg Incised; g: Keith Incised; h-k: Carrabelle Incised.

the check stamping extending up to the lip. The presence of
Deptford and Fort Walton ceramics at 80K5 is not
unexpected since two sites (80K126 and 80K134) with
Deptford and Fort Walton components lie less than 2.5 km
west of 80K5 on the Santa Rosa Sound (New World
Research 1990).


Like most Florida Panhandle coastal sites, 80K5 has
yielded very few lithics. Three points, two chert drills, two
chert, two quartz, and three quartzite flakes, three grinding
stone pieces, two pieces of ground hematite, and two ground
ferruginous sandstone artifacts make up the entire lithic
assemblage from non- mound contexts. Two points, a large
chert blade, pieces of mica, hematite, and grinding or
abrading stones were recovered from the Ware mound. Of

the lithic debitage recovered from midden contexts, six pieces
are tertiary (non- cortical) thinning flakes. The remaining
flake is a quartz cobble reduction flake with a dorsal surface
partially covered (70%) with cortex. The other lithic artifacts
are described in more detail.
Projectile Points/Knives: Three very different point or
knife types were recovered from three different contexts at
80K5. The earliest point type recovered is a fairly well made,
small quartz Putnam-like specimen. The specimen is smaller,
has a relatively thick blade, and has a more pointed base
element than typical Putnams and may be reworked from a
larger point. This Putnam-like point/knife was recovered
from Feature 3.
An unclassified stemmed quartzite point/knife was
recovered from the upper (oyster) shell midden zone in Test
Unit 12 at about 15 cm below surface. This is poorly made on
a fairly thin flake and has a battered distal end. The point


Figure 17. Selected Weeden Island Stamped Ceramics. a-j: Wakulla Check Stamped Rim Sherds; k-l:
Swift Creek Complicated Stamped Rim Sherds.

Figure 18. Partial Pontchartrain Check stamped Vessel From Upper Midden in Area IV.

probably served as a hafted knife. This specimen was
associated with Weeden Island ceramics, primarily Wakulla
Check Stamped and plain wares.
A broken Jackson point was recovered from the midst of
an area of small (trampled) sherds near the hearth (Feature
5) at the base of the structure in Area IV. The Jackson point
also came from Test Unit 12, but at a depth of 29 cm below
surface. It is retouched and well-made on a blue- grey chert
resembling cherts from the Tennessee Valley. The point
appears to have an impact fracture on the distal end where
about one-quarter of the blade has been snapped off, but
there is no other sign of heavy use.
Drills: One small, bipointed chert drill and one
expanded head chert drill (Figure 19) were recovered from
the Area IV structure. The bipointed drill is 2.1 cm in length
and may be a hated micro- drill or engraver similar to
specimens recovered in Weeden Island contexts at the Palm
Court Site, also in Northwest Florida (Morse and Tesar
1974). The expanded head drill measures 4.6 cm in length
and is made on a thin (4 mm) tan chert flake. Both the drill
head and bit are retouched, but the bit has apparently been
resharpened numerous times.
Grinding Stones: Two ferruginous sandstone grinding
stone fragments were recovered from the structure floor in
Area IV. One is pitted and may also be an anvil. A similar,
but larger sandstone grinding implement was also recovered
from a general midden context in Area I. The grinding stones
are generally square and flat with one surface partially ground
smooth. These tools were probably utilized in food
preparation and only one exhibits evidence of use as an anvil
for heavy pounding.
An ovate, fist-sized quartzite river cobble with evidence
of grinding on both ends and one side was recovered from
shell midden context adjacent to the structure in Area IV.
This grinding stone is considered to be a pestle-like
implement used with grinding stones or wooden and ceramic
Ground Stone Artifacts: Four ground stone artifacts
were recovered from two contexts; three pieces from the
structure in Area IV and one from the Area I shell midden.
A circular ferruginous sandstone disk or gaming piece
measuring 3.9 to 4.2 cm in diameter and two pieces of ground
hematite (Figure 19) were recovered from the structure floor.
The sandstone disk is extensively ground around its edges, but
its dorsal and ventral surfaces are only minimally ground.
One of the pieces of hematite is irregularly shaped and
appears to have been "cupped out" while in use; the other 2
cm thick piece is ground flat on both surfaces, presumably for
use as pigment. A curiously shaped, flat piece of ground and
smoothed ferruginous sandstone (Figure 19) recovered in
Test Unit 5 may be a gorget fragment. This gorget-like piece
exhibits no evidence of drilling, but both ends, where the
drilled holes would have likely occurred, are broken off.

Shell and Bone

A small number of shell and bone tools and personal
ornaments were recovered from 80K5, the majority of which
were associated with the structure and middens in Area IV.
Shell and bone tools will be discussed separately from
ornaments. All of the pieces classified as ornaments were
recovered in the structure floor.
Ornaments: Two drilled shell beads, one bird long bone
bead, and a drilled and engraved bone pendant were
recovered in or adjacent to the Area IV structure (Figure 19).
The drilled shell beads are of two distinct types: a broken 15
mm long cylindrical section of columella (Busycon?) drilled
lengthwise and a thin (3 mm), flat, rounded (10 mm
diameter) piece of shell centrally drilled with a 4 mm wide
hole. The bone bead is a 19 mm long section of smooth,
straight bird long bone cut at both ends. This bead is about 4
mm in diameter. The bone pendant is made on a piece of
mammalian long bone measuring 35 mm in length and
between 7 and 10 mm in width. The pendant is narrower at
its top where it has been drilled through and it has three
additional partially drilled decorative holes down its length.
This specimen is also engraved with cross-hatching lines that
form grooves along the margins and intersect at the
decorative holes. Two very small fragments of shell still
adhere to the bottom decorative hole that may be the
remnants of "inlaid" shell ornamentation.
Tools: Several shell and bone tools or tool fragments
were recovered from both the structure floor and various
midden contexts. Shell tools consist of three Busycon
columella picks or gouges, one columella awl, one oyster shell
modified to form a point at its hinge or proximal end (awl?),
one hated Melongena "axe" or hammer, one Busycon shell
scraper, and one Mercenaria scraper. The columella awl was
recovered from the structure floor along with a deer bone
awl. Two of the columella picks/gouges and the oyster shell
tool were found in the upper midden in Area IV. The
remaining shell tools were recovered from the Area I midden.
Each of these shell tools exhibit wear on either distal ends
(columella tools) or one lateral edge (scrapers). The
columella awl is noticeably sharpened to a distal point and is
polished from use. The Melongena axe exhibits wear and
battering on its distal (lower) margins and is drilled through
the body in a manner allowing it to be hated on to a handle.
Three large (6.1 to 10.9 cm), broken deer metapodial
bone awls or pins and two smaller awl/pin fragments were
recovered (Figure 19). The larger deer bone awls/pins are
made on proximal to mid- shaft portions of metacarpals and
metatarsals that have been split and carved to form pointed
distal ends. One awl specimen indicates that the original
point was broken off to be reworked into a lateral edge point.
Judging from their size, the larger awls or pins may have been
utilized for fairly heavy hide working or possibly in net or


Figure 19. Selected Artifacts Associated With the Area IV Structure Floor. a: Ground Hematite; b: Sandstone Gaming
Piece; c-e: Shell Tools; f-h: Bone Tools; i: Chert Drill; j: Jackson Point; k: Bipointed Chert Drill; 1: Ceramic Ear Spool; m:
Engraved Bone Pin; n: Bone Pendant; o: Bone Bead; p: Shell Beads.

textile work. The smaller awl/pin fragments are distal end
pieces made on mammal long bone. They could have served
a number of purposes. One example (Figure 19) is engraved
with numerous v-shaped lines and may be a hairpin or some
other piece of adornment.

Faunal and Botanical Remains

Shellfish remains comprise the vast majority of faunal
remains present on the site. Numerous species are present
and they undoubtedly made up a large portion of the diet.
Primary taxa, listed here in order of descending frequency,
are oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and wedge clam (Rangia
cuneata), scallop (Argopecten irradians), quahog (Mercenaria
mercenaria), conchs (Melongena and Strombus), whelks
(Busycon), moon shells (Naticidae), tulip shells (Fasciolaria),
olive shells (Olivella), and several other species that occur in
small amounts. These shellfish species generally inhabit

estuarine or shallow saltwater environments. The majority of
the shellfish remains left on the site were likely procured
from the Santa Rosa Sound and its nearby tributary stream
and marsh systems.
The two dominant species present (oyster and wedge
clam) are of particular interest since they inhabit waters of
different salinity. Rangia cuneata requires a more consistent
fresh to brackish water environment than Crassostrea
virginica. Although the two species inhabit otherwise similar
environments, Rangia are found in the muddy bottoms of
coastal rivers and marshes while oysters attach to hard
surfaces, including sandy estuarine and shallow water
bottoms. The presence of distinct middens in Area IV (upper
oyster and lower Rangia) indicates that either two distinct
estuarine micro-environments were exploited for shellfishing
or that a large-scale environmental change occurred that
affected the availability of one species versus the other. The
distinct midden zones suggests several implications ranging

from environmental change, to a shift in shellfish preference,
to an interpretation as specific events or activity areas (White
A large assemblage of vertebrate faunal remains was
recovered from various midden and feature contexts.
Although no quantification will be presented here, analysis of
specific samples indicates that a homogeneous assemblage is
present, dominated by estuarine fish species. White-tailed
deer, raccoon, black bear, domestic dog, rodent, turkey,
cormorant, alligator, freshwater turtle, freshwater fish, and
snake remains are also present. Deer and freshwater turtle
bone is quite common on the site, but other non-estuarine
fish bone is only sparsely represented. Certain features and
midden areas such as Feature 1 and the Area IV lower
midden contain greater densities of certain remains, such as
deer and turkey or turtle and freshwater fish. These areas
may represent the remains of specific activities, but the
majority of the midden is quite homogeneous and clearly
dominated by both estuarine fish and shellfish.
A list of animal species identified from the collection is
presented in Table 4. Estuarine and shallow water marine
fish clearly provided a substantial portion of the diet for the
site inhabitants. The seafood diet was supplemented by
hunting, fishing, and collecting the coastal hardwood
hammock and stream/marsh areas and, perhaps, inland
riverine and woodland environments. The presence of several
charred acorn and hickory nut parts (meat and nutshell) is
also indicative of the importance of the coastal woodland and
riverine environments during the Weeden Island occupations.
Botanical remains were recovered from both features
and midden contexts. As with the faunal remains, recovered
plant remains have been identified, but not quantified (Table
5). No domesticated plant remains were recovered, but wild
plant food remains were. Grape seeds, persimmon seeds,
hickory and acorn nutshell, and acorn nut meat were
recovered from the site along with sumac seeds. The vast
majority of these remains were recovered from Feature 5.
Wood charcoal identified to genus includes oak, hickory, pine,
maple and grape vine. The plant remains identified are
indicative of both hardwood hammock and forest edge
exploitation for plant food and fuel.

80K5 and Northwest Florida Weeden Island Culture

As Milanich (1974:39) pointed out, there is not a single,
uniform Weeden Island culture. There are instead, several
regional variants that can be distinguished from each other.
Weeden Island variants shared numerous general
characteristics which, of course, changed through time.
Variations in Weeden Island cultures) have been addressed
by numerous investigators in a variety of ways (Fewkes 1924;
Willey 1949; Sears 1956, 1958, 1960, 1973; Percy and Brose
1974; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980; Milanich et al. 1984;
White 1992).

The term "Weeden Island" has variously been utilized to
describe both a sacred and/or a secular ceramic series, a
temporal period, a ceremonial complex, and a socio-political-
economic complex. As a matter of consensus, it can be said
that Weeden Island is a term that describes a set of Middle to
Late Woodland cultural characteristics that represent a
general stage or level of social, political, ceremonial, and
economic evolution that occurred along the eastern Gulf
Coast and associated Coastal Plain river valley systems.
Definitions for many of the regional and temporal variations
or phases of the Weeden Island variant of Woodland culture
have not been formailzed. The data recovered from 80K5,
however, provide evidence for two distinct phases of Weeden
Island culture, commonly referred to Weeden Island I and
Weeden Island II (Willey 1949), which existed in northwest
Florida during the seventh through the ninth centuries.
The Weeden Island occupations of 80K5 are defined by
both ceramic assemblages and radiocarbon dates.
Radiocarbon dates (Table 1) clearly indicate that significant
depositional episodes occurred sometime between about A.D.
600 and A.D. 900. What is not clear is whether the site was
continuously occupied between A.D. 600 and A.D. 900 or the
extent to which the site was occupied or utilized prior to and
after these dates. It is clear, however, that these dates are
associated with at least two major Weeden Island occupations
of the site. The site was a permanent base or village type of
settlement, but the length and size of each cycle of occupation
is not evident. In other words, the site was probably not
inhabited by a large group on a continuous basis over several
years, but was apparently abandoned and re-occupied one or
more times during the Weeden Island period.
The 80K5 ceramic assemblage and radiocarbon dates
also indicate that there are two Weeden Island components at
the site. The Weeden Island ceramics associated with the
lower midden zones, the lower stratigraphic levels of the site
in general, and with the features dated to approximately A.D.
600 in Area IV contain a greater proportion of Weeden
Island decorated types (23.9%), relative to check stamped
and plain types (76.1%). The upper middens, upper
stratigraphic levels, and features dated to about A.D. 800
produced, without exception, an assemblage consisting mainly
of check stamped and plain wares (88.9% in Area IV), along
with smaller amounts of common Weeden Island decorated
types (10.3%). Pontchartrain, Mulberry Creek, and Baytown
ceramics are also more frequently associated with the later
occupation levels. Table 6 illustrates the distinctiveness of the
radiocarbon dated Weeden Island ceramic assemblages
recovered from the two distinct zones documented in Area
There are a couple of ways that the Weeden Island
ceramics could be interpreted chronologically given the
present literature. The most obvious interpretation is the
presence of middle and late Weeden Island components,
where both could fit into Willey's Weeden Island II

Class Mammalia:

Odocoileus virginianus (deer)
Ursus americanus (black bear)
Canus familiaris (domestic dog)
Procyon lotor (racoon)
Sciurus spp. (squirrel)
Rodentia (unspecified rodent)
Unspecified mammal

Class Aves:
Meleagrls gallopavo (turkey)
Phalacrocorax spp. (cormorant)
Unspecified bird

Class Reptilia:
Alligator miss. (alligator)
Pseudemys spp. (cooter turtle)
Trionyx spp. softshelll turtle)
Testudinidae (unspecified turtle)
Serpentes (unspecified snake)

Class Osteichthyes:

Lepisosteus spp. (gar)
Amia calva (bowfin)
Elops saurus ladyfishh)
Clupidae (shads and herrings)
Ariidae (saltwater catfishes)
Caranx hippos (jack)
Sciaenidae (drum fish)
Cynoscion spp. (seatrout)
Pogonius cromis (black drum)
Sciaenops ocellata (red drum)
Archosargus probatocephalus
Mugilidae (mullet)
Mugil cephalus (mullet)
Paralichthys spp, (flounder)
Diodontidae (burrfish/puffer)
Unidentified fish

Class Chondricthyes:
Raja spp. (skates)
Dasyatis americana (stingray)

Table 4. Identified Faunal Remains From 80K5.

Plant Food Remains Wood Charcoal

Vitus vitus (grape seed) Quercus spp. (oak)
Rhus spp. (sumac seed) Carya spp. (hickory)
Dryopsyros spp. (persimmon seed) Acer spp. (maple)
Quercus spp. (acorn nut meat/shell) Pinus spp. (pine)
Carya spp. (hickory nut shell) Vitus vitus (grape vine)

Cedrus spp. (cedar)

Table 5. Identified Floral Remains from 80K5.

OType/Clas oyster Hidden (ca. 8-23cbs) Rangia MIdden/Structure (ca. 25-50cMbs)
Type/Classification Count/(Percent) Count/(Percent) Totals
Wakulla Check Stamped 148/(40.0%)* 96/(31.9%)* 244
Other check stamped 7/( 1.9%) 0 7
Weeden Island Plain 104/(28.1%)* 89/(29.6%)* 193
Baytown Plain 14/( 3.8%) 3/( 1.0%) 17
Mulberry Creek Plain 4/( 1.1%) 0 4
Residual Plain 52/(14.0%) 41/(13.6%) 93
Mulberry Cr. Cord Marked 3/( 0.8%) 0 3
Mound Field Net Impressed 1/( 0.3%) 1/( 0.3%) 2
St. Petersburg Incised 1/( 0.3%) 0 1
Keith Incised 1/( 0.3%) 0
Carrabelle Incised 9/( 2.4%) 5/(1.7%) 14
Carrabelle Punctated 7/( 1.9%) 4/(1.3)11
Weeden Island Incised 7/( 1.9%) 12/( 4.0%) 19
Weeden Island Punctated 6/( 1.6%) 15/( 5.0%)* 21
Weeden Island Zoned Red 0 11/( 3.7%)* 11
Weeden Island Painted 0 10/( 3.3%)* 10
Ruskin Dentate Stamped 3/( 0.8%) 4/(1.3%) 7
Ruskin Linear Punctated 1 0.3% 3/( 1.0%) 4
Swift Creek Comp. Stamped 2/( 0.5%) 7/( 2.3%)* 9
totals 370/(100%) 301/(100%) 671
* Count includes partial or whole vessel where each specimen = 1

Table 6. Weeden Island Ceramics Recovered in Area IV.



(1949:Figure 76), if his dates are pushed back about 500
years. On the other hand, if the five part scheme forwarded
by Percy and Brose (1974) was used, the occupations could be
labelled as Weeden Island 3 and 4/5. The problem with both
of these schemes is that they rest entirely on ceramic
assemblage characteristics alone and depend on the presence
or "influence" of Swift Creek Complicated Stamped ceramic
types and their gradual "replacement" by Wakulla Check
Stamped ceramics. The relatively infrequent occurrence of
Swift Creek pottery at 80K5 makes either scheme a difficult
Although there are sites in the vicinity of 80K5 that, like
80K5, have produced Santa Rosa and Swift Creek ceramics,
there is simply no evidence that Swift Creek ceramics were an
important aspect of the Weeden Island occupation of 80K5.
If it were not for the presence of Santa Rosa/Swift Creek
sites in the region, it would be very easy to accept the notion
that there is no clearly defined Santa Rosa/Swift Creek
period between Deptford and Weeden Island in Northwest
Florida west of the St. Andrew Bay region (see Sears 1963;
Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:94,114). There is certainly no
obviously intervening intensive occupation between Deptford
and Weeden Island at 80K5. Interestingly, the idea that
Santa Rosa/Swift Creek may actually represent a mix of
Porter and a Florida version of Swift Creek (Brose 1985:160-
61) is quite attractive given the presence of Baytown, and
Mulberry Creek ceramics (post-Porter types) in the 80K5
No matter how the relationship between the Weeden
Island and Santa Rosa/Swift Creek ceramics is interpreted, it
is certain that there are two distinct Weeden Island ceramic
assemblages in distinct midden contexts. They may represent,
in part, local phases of a regional Weeden Island variant.
Both phases are represented by "typical" regional Weeden
Island ceramic assemblages in a village setting, with a
mortuary and ceremonial, or sacred, aspect present in the
earlier materials. Mound sites with attendant on site or
nearby villages are common along the Northwest Florida Gulf
Coast (Moore 1901, 1902; Milanich 1974; Knudsen 1979;
Doran and Piatek 1985; Mikell et al. 1989).
The Buck Burial Mound (80K11), located less than 3
miles to the east of 80K5, may represent a true mortuary and
ceremonial center for the earlier Weeden Island phase as
represented at 80K5. Dated to between A.D. 560 and A.D.
730, the Buck Mound was an elaborate conical burial mound
that held mortuary goods easily rivalling any identified with
the Weeden Island culture (Lazarus 1979). Aside from the
dominance of village wares at 80K5 and the Buck Mound
zoomorphic effigy vessels, ceramics from the two sites share
numerous similarities. The Ware effigy vessel and the human
effigy from Buck (Lazarus 1979:29) are similar in style despite
the fact that the Ware effigy is a hollow vessel and is much
larger. Another mound site, which is thought to be a small
Weeden Island burial mound (80K23), is located to the south

of 80K5 across Santa Rosa Sound on Santa Rosa Island.
There is no doubt that the present Fort Walton/Mary Esther
area was a "hot spot" of Weeden Island occupation and
ceremonial activities.
It is particularly interesting that 80K5 is a fishing village
site that has such prominent sacred or ceremonial aspects.
The domestic nature of the site should not be downplayed,
however. The midden deposits represent both long-term
general accretion of refuse, such as is the case for the larger,
multicomponent midden (Area I), and more limited refuse
disposal events such as the household or specific activity
middens scattered around the site. Each feature so far
recorded appears to be primarily related to domestic activity.
The everyday domestic remains recovered suggest that the
Weeden Island villagers enjoyed a rich harvest from the local
estuaries and hardwood hammocks. Although the Area IV
structure (Features 4 and 5) may have been a special purpose
building, it was the scene of domestic activities and was not
strictly a ceremonial structure. The late Weeden Island
component shows a general continuation of the earlier
subsistence economy, but any hint of ceremonial activity is
conspicuously absent and a general decline in the quantity
and quality of decorated ceramics is notable.


80K5 is a Weeden Island coastal fishing village site with
mortuary and ceremonial aspects. Two distinct Weeden
Island occupations are present on the site identified here as
middle and late Weeden Island period occupations. The
middle phase dates to between about A.D. 600 and A.D. 750
and the late phase dates to somewhere between A.D. 750 and
A.D. 900. An outstanding feature of the site is the remains of
a possible special purpose structure, which dates to the earlier
Weeden Island occupation. This structure is temporally
related to the Ware Mound, a small burial mound that
contained an elaborate human effigy vessel among other
Weeden Island burial goods. The structure, which contained
numerous pieces of high-quality Weeden Island ceramics,
domestic and/or craft-related tools, items of personal
adornment, and subsistence-related remains, hints of both the
"sacred and secular" in Weeden Island society. The structure
and deposits associated with it are very distinct from other
deposits on the site in that the density of ceramics is much
greater and the quality and ceremonial character of several
items is indicative of status and/or use in ceremonial
The site also contains a large, organically rich shell
midden along the present shoreline bluff and several discrete
household or activity area shell and black sand middens.
Numerous other features indicate that the site consists mainly
of Weeden Island domestic refuse above and mixed with a
scattering of Deptford, Santa Rosa/Swift Creek, and Fort
Walton materials. These other components appear


superficial relative to the Weeden Island remains and
probably represent the remnants of short-term, small- scale
occupations of the site. One apparent Late
Archaic/Deptford pit feature was encountered and excavated
that contained Deptford ceramics, plain fiber-tempered
sherds, and baked clay balls (Elliot's Point Objects?), along
with fish and oyster remains. Weeden Island features consist
of shell lenses and dark stained, organically rich pit-like
features within shell middens and refuse- filled pits.
Subsistence remains abound in the midden deposits and they
certainly indicate that the primary focus of food-getting was
estuarine fishing and shellfish collection. A secondary source
of subsistence was hunting and gathering in the coastal
hardwood hammocks adjacent to the site.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the site unearthed
to date is the remains of the two distinct Weeden Island
occupations. The ceramics data provide one more example of
the variety found in Weeden Island assemblages that make
pigeon-holing into generalized schemes difficult. Although it
is hoped that further work at 80K5 will add to what we know
about Weeden Island and other cultures in northwest Florida,
the site has now significantly contributed to our knowledge.

Acknowledgments and Notes. None of this work would have
been possible without the interest, cooperation, and toil of the
property owners and the many volunteers who participated.
Thanks go out to Ginny and Harry Barr, Fred and
Mayrelizabeth Pryor, Jenny Allen, Paula Cook, Bill and Jean
Lucus, Prentice Thomas, Glen Doran, Calvin Jones, and last,
but not least, the persons who got this into print. An
archaeology field school was held at the site during the
summer of 1992, so look for 80K5, Part II or Revisited, in FA
before too long.

References Cited

Brose, David S.
1985 "Willey-Nilly" or the Archaeology of Northwest Florida
and Adjacent Borderlands Revisited. The Florida
Anthropologist 38:156-162.

Brown, Ian W.
1981 An Investigation of Check Stamped Pottery in the Petite
Anse Region. Lower Mississippi Survey Bulletin, Petite
Anse Project Research Notes 9. Peabody Museum,
Harvard University.

Doran, Glen H. and Bruce J. Piatek
1985 Archaeological Investigations at Naval Live Oaks,
Studies in Spatial Patterning and Chronology in the Gulf
Coast of Florida. National Park Service, Southeast
Archeological Center, Tallahassee, Florida.

Fewkes, Jesse W.
1924 Preliminary Archaeological Explorations at Weeden
Island, Florida. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections

Jenkins, Ned J.
1981 Gainesville Lake Area Ceramic Description and
Chronology. Office of Archaeological Research Report
of Investigation No. 12. The University of Alabama,

Knudsen, Gary D.
1979 Partial Cultural Resource Inventory of Tyndall Air Force
Base, Florida. National Park Service, Southeast
Archeological Center, Archaeological Reports No.7,

Lazarus, Yulee W.
1979 The Buck Burial Mound A Mound of the Weeden
Island Culture. Temple Mound Museum, Fort Walton
Beach, Florida.

Mikell, Gregory A., Janice L. Campbell, and Prentice M.
1989 Archaeological Site Recording and Testing at Tyndall Air
Force Base, Florida. New World Research, Inc. Report
of Investigations No. 183.

Milanich, Jerald T.
1974 Life in a 9th Century Indian Household, a Fall-Winter
Site on the Upper Apalachicola River, Florida. Bureau
of Historic Sites and Properties, Division of Archives,
History, and Records Management Bulletin 4:1-44.
Florida Department of State, Tallahassee.

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

Milanich, Jerald T., Ann Cordell, Vernon Knight, Jr.,
Timothy Kohler, and Brenda Sigler-Lavelle
1984 McKeithen Weeden Island: The Culture of Northern
Florida,A.D. 200-900. Academic Press, Orlando, Florida.

Moore, Clarence B.
1901 Certain Aboriginal Remains of the Northwest Florida
Coast, (Part 1). Journal of the Academy of Natural
Sciences 11. Philadelphia.

1902 Certain Aboriginal Remains of the Northwest Florida
Coast, (Part 2). Journal of the Academy of Natural
Sciences 12. Philadelphia.

1918 The Northwest Florida Coast Revisited. Journal of
the Academy of Natural Science 14. Philadelphia.


Morse, Dan F., and Louis Tesar Gregory A. Mikell
1974 A Microlithic Tool Assemblage from a Northwest 7707 Shadow Bay Drive
Florida Site. The Florida Anthropologist 27:89-106. Panama City, Florida 32404

New World Research (P. Thomas and J. Campbell editors)
1990 Cultural Resources Investigations at Eglin Air Force
Base, Florida: Technical Synthesis. New World
Research, Inc. Report of Investigations No. 192.

Percy, George W., and David S. Brose
1974 Weeden Island Ecology, Subsistence, and Village Life
in Northwest Florida. Paper presented at the 39th
Annual Meeting of the Society for American
Archaeology, Washington.

Sears, William H.
1956 Excavations at Kolomoki, Final Report. The University
of Georgia Series in Anthropology 5. Athens.

1958 Burial Mounds on the Gulf Coastal Plain. American
Antiquity 23:274-84.

1960 Ceramic Systems and Eastern Archaeology. American
Antiquity 25:324-29.

1963 The Tucker Site on Alligator Harbor, Franklin
County, Florida. Contributions to the Florida State
Museum No. 9, Gainesville.

1973 The Sacred and Secular in Prehistoric Ceramics. In
Variations in Anthropology, Essays in Honor of John C.
McGregor. edited by D. Lathrop and J. Douglas, pp. 31-
42. Illinois Archaeological Survey, Urbana.

Stuiver, M. and B. Becker
1986 The CALIB Program for Calibration of C-14 Dates
and Its Implications. Radiocarbon 28:863-910.

White, Nancy M.
1991 Testing Remote Shell Middens in the Lower
Apalachicola Valley, Northwest Florida. The Florida
Anthropologist 44:17.

1992 The Overgrown Road Site (8Gu38): A Swift Creek
Camp Site in the Lower Apalachicola Valley. The
Florida Anthropologist 45:18.

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



Robert F. Edic

Editor's Introduction. The story of the pioneering fishing
families of the southwest Florida coast and the history of
Cayo Costa are deeply connected. Cayo Costa, a seven mile
long barrier island in Pine Island Sound south of Boca
Grande Pass (Lee County), saw the establishment of fishing
ranchos by the 1850s (Gibson 1982:30-31) if not before. The
fishery centered on the taking and curing of mullet for the
Cuban market. Not for the weak-willed or gregarious, life for
rancho families closely followed the natural cycles of tide,
weather, and the life habits of mullet. Perhaps the most
colorful figure to come out of this milieu is Tariva Padilla, a
native of the Canary Islands, who founded a fishery on Cayo
Costa in the 1870s and later, allegedly, took up smuggling of
aquardiente, or “fire water" (Gibson 1982:53). The arrest and
conviction of Tariva and his wife Laini in 1901 for smuggling
effectively removed the Padilla clan from the northern tip of
Cayo Costa but they later returned to the central area of the
island. Esperanza Woodring (EW), born in 1901 on Cayo
Costa, grandaughter of Tariva and Laini Padilla, recounts
Padilla family oral history and her own memories of early life
on the island and nearby Sanibel in the following interview
with Bob Edic (BE).

The interview took place on April 17, 1990 at the home

of Mrs. Woodring on Sanibel Island (Figure 1). The
complete transcript, from which this interview is excerpted, is
on file with the Oral History Department, Florida Museum of
Natural History (FMNH), and the C.A.R.L. Archaeological
Survey Project Office, Gainesville, Florida. Funding for the
oral history project (which includes interviews with other
Padilla descendants) was provided by the FMNH Year of the
Indian Project and the C.A.R.L. Archaeological Survey.
The modern visitor to Cayo Costa can walk the well-kept
nature trails of Cayo Costa State Park past the sites of the
former bustling Padilla settlements to find that nature has
reclaimed most traces of the pioneer occupation.

BE: Would you say everybody from your family has been in
the fishing business around here?

EW: Yes, more or less.

BE: And mostly right on the barrier islands out here between

Cayo Costa and Sanibel?

Vol. 45 No. 3


EW: My grandfather used to have what they call a fishing
camp. He had one on Captiva and one on Sanibel down there
by the lighthouse. In run season, [as] they used to call it, he
used to have these great big nets. I guess he used to have
about twenty men to pull this huge net. They used to take the
mullet and cut the roe out and salt it and then they would sell
it to Cuba or any place you could find a market.

BE: What was your grandfather's name?

EW: My grandfather was Tariva Padilla) That was my
mother's father. He used to have a fishing camp down here
near the lighthouse [on Sanibel]. There used to be a deep
well, and all the fishermen and boatmen that came along
there would go to that well to get water. They had these
wooden barrels [down the sides], and they would rot and cave
in. So somebody would come along and put a new one in
there. Years and years, until they developed that down there,
that well was down there, and they called it Tariva's Well. I
could have killed them when they went and filled it in with
sand and dirt. Of course, you know that was an old well, and
there is lots of background to it because that is what the
fishermen depended on [for] their water.

BE: When did Tariva come to Sanibel?
EW: Well, he did not live on Sanibel. He just had his fishing
camp there.

BE: He lived on Cayo Costa?

EW: Mostly. And lower Captiva. See, these fish used to
come in schools, and they would take these huge big nets and
rope them in.

BE: Were they gill nets or seine nets?
EW: Seines. A great big heavy, long, and real deep seine.

BE: Were they flax or cotton?
EW: Cotton. Oh, there was no such thing as flax in those

BE: What kind of fish do you think was the most

economically important species to you?
EW: Mullet. Probably they were easier caught in the nets,


Figure 1. Bob Edic and Esperanza Woodring, 1990.
(photo by Karen Walker)

and I do not know if there were more of them, but I presume
there were.

BE: Were they caught in the winter when they were
EW: Yes. It would last about three months out of the year.
November, December, and January.

BE: What other type of fish did you fish for after the mullet

EW: I do not think they bothered about it. [They] probably
[fished] enough to eat, but I do not think they did [much
fishing]. They probably made what they could in those three
months, and then they survived with whatever they could rake
and scrape out of the water: clams, oysters, and they ate a lot
of fish. Probably [they also hunted] birds, [too], and maybe
they killed a deer once in a while or something like that. But
they survived entirely off of the land.

BE: Nobody pompano fished then?
EW: No, [they] never heard of it.

BE: How about redfish and trout?
EW: I do not think they fooled with those either, at least I
know my grandfather did not. Now, my father did. He had a
gill net. He used to mullet fish in season. Then when the
season was over, he used to catch trout or redfish or whatever
would sell at the market.

BE: What fish did you eat the most?
EW: Mullet. You can take a fisherman, and he has got all
kinds of fish in his boat. If he is going to eat well once in a
while he might change, but most of the time what do you
think he would take home to eat? Mullet. I like most any
kind but a snook. I do not like snook.

BE: Do you eat redfish and trout?
EW: Oh, yes.

BE: What kind of fishing did you do?
EW: Well, I used to take fishing parties out, mostly.

BE: You were a fishing guide?
EW: Yes. Well, I used to try to fish, too, in between times. I
used to net fish. I had my own net and boat.

BE: You used a pole skiff?
EW: Yes.

BE: With a cotton net?
EW: At first. Then we started using flax. Then [we]
eventually [switched to] nylon, and I do not like nylon very

BE: Did you hang the nets in?
EW: Oh, yes. Sure. We did all of our own work. [If] you
were a fisherman, you had to know how to do a little bit of

BE: Did the netting material come from the Punta Gorda
EW: Well, we ordered most of ours from New York from a
company. The name of them was W. A. Auger in New York.
I still have some of their advertisements.


BE: So how many nets did you own to mullet fish with?
EW: Well, at one time we had some sheds down there that we
used to keep our nets in that we did not use. We would have
about three different sizes. We would have one for trout, one
for the mullet, and we had one for mullet when they were in
the roe season. And then we had one for after they spawned.
It took a smaller mesh. We generally always had three nets
[for mullet]. When the mullet were running, they would be
the easiest because they would be in these schools.
Now, you are not going to believe this, but they used to
come along the edge of that beach there, and the porpoise
and big fish would be [in] just schools and schools. My
husband Sam used to go out there with a pitchfork. Now, you
are not going to believe that, [but] he would catch whatever
he wanted to eat the next day with a pitchfork. They would
be right up there. I imagine you could have picked them up
with your hand because they were so close to the beach. You
see, they were running from these other big fish that were on
the outside. Every now and then they would get in there and
get them a mouthful of whatever they wanted, and the poor
old mullet were trying to get away from them. They were
right up [close to the beach], most especially on moonlight
nights. You could just see them, you know.

BE: So the fish would be dried and put on racks?
EW: Well, mostly they would put them down in brine. See,
they had these great big wooden barrels, and they would brine
them down because they keep better that way.

BE: Did they fire them with palmetto fronds before to dry
them out, or were they sun dried?

EW: No, they [would] just salt them and then pack them.
They would take the mullet and salt it real good, and then
they would put them together like this because they would go
in the barrels easier. Then they would ship them out. They
would go down as far as Key West, and then these boats
would pick it up and take them to Cuba or wherever they
could get a market for them, I suppose. In those days it was
all sailboats, you know. There was no such a thing as ice.

BE: Right. The people that bought these fish would just
come around during run season? I mean, after run season
did any Spanish smacks come around to buy the fish?
EW: No. They used to mostly ship their fish from Key West
out to Cuba. There was, I imagine, a special boat to come
and pick them up every so often.

BE: But the only thing they bought was mullet?
EW: Yes. These smacks used to have these great big huge
wells in the middle of the boat, and they used to catch mostly
grouper. They used to go way back out in the Gulf and fish
for red grouper and black grouper.

BE: And that is how they kept them preserved alive so they
could make the trip back to Cuba.
EW: And, of course, if some of the fish died, then they would
salt them and hang them up and cure them.

BE: When they hired a fishing team, where did these people
come from?
EW: Well, whoever was in the family, that is the ones that
worked. Once in a while, probably, there was a straggler [who
was] looking for work. But they were all local people. I do
not think he got any outsiders. You see, they all mostly lived
like a family all together in these huge palmetto houses. They
could not possibly get outsiders or strangers who they did not
know. They would have to know them on account of having
his daughters and his wife there. I guess they all ate together
and slept in these shacks.

BE: And they lived there all year long? Was there a bigger
population on the island during mullet season?
EW: No. I think he was the only one that I know of. Well,
there might have been another one or two, but they did not
have set fishing camps like he did.

BE: I guess what I do not understand is [how] could they
make enough money in three months to not have to do
anything for nine months.
EW: Evidently they did because that is what they survived on.
Well, they might have done like I said. You know, they ate
fish and clams and oysters, and they probably had some hogs.
The original hogs on Cayo Costa were from my grandfather.
Really, he was the first one that brought them there. They
had chickens and ducks and stuff like that.

BE: There were deer out there then also?
EW: Well, there might have been a few deer on the island,
but if there were, they would not have killed them.

BE: Did anybody keep the pigs out there, I mean, did they
pen them up and feed them?
EW: No, they just let them run wild.

BE: When they put the big mullet nets out to catch the roe
mullet, where they fishing on the beach or in the bay?
EW: Well, mostly they would go around these passes. When
the fish would come in, you know, they would have to go pull
them in. In those days, those passes, like Redfish Pass and
those places, were not as wide as they are now. So when the
fish would come in [they had less room to get through the
pass]. They did not have not motors. All of that was done by
rowboats. They used to take these boats and bore a hole on
the side of the boats and put wooden pins in there. Then they
would take rope or whatever they had and tie the oar to the
pin to hold the oar so it would not get away. There would


probably be, maybe, four or six people. Each one would have
an oar. I guess you have seen them rowing that way.
Somebody would hold the end of that net, and they would just
make a circle around and haul them to the beach.

BE: Was there more that one boat working together?
EW: No, just one. Well, maybe they had two or three boats,
but the one big boat had this big net in it. [Do] you know how
they pulled the nets out of the boat? They had this great big
thing, I think you would call it a wheel, I suppose. It was
make out of palmetto stalks or wood or whatever they could
find. It was up on the forks like this, see, and then this thing
would roll on these forks. That is the way they would put the
net in to repair it or put it out or anything.

BE: Did they lime it before they put it on?
EW: I do not think they had lime in those days. If they did, I
do not remember.

BE: When did they start liming the nets?
EW: Well, I guess my dad had lime for his nets. I do not
remember that he did, but I am pretty sure they started
limingg their nets].

BE: Did you do any fishing off of the beaches for mackerel or
pompano or anything?
EW: Later years the Colemans and the Darnas [did] [The
Colemans and Darnas were pioneering Cayo Costa families
descended from or married to Padillas, ed.]. I guess my dad
had a mackerel net. But they used to go on the outside when
they would be spawning in schools, and they would catch
them in the nets. But I do not think they ever came close
enough to the beach where any man could have caught them.

BE: Would that be a deeper net?
EW: I think so, yes. See, they would go out at night and catch
these mackerel and bluefish, and then the next day they had
to gut all of them, you know, take the insides out of them.

BE: Did you fish for silver mullet at all, or did they [fish for
them] on Cayo Costa?
EW: Yes, they used to but not as much as they did for the
others. I guess they probably did not have as good a sale for
those. But they did not fool with those [silver mullet] to salt
them or anything. They were too small.

BE: So you think the most important areas for fishing on
Cayo Costa were the passes?
EW: For mullet in mullet season I am sure that was true.

BE: And how about out in the harbor?
EW: Well, I think they used to have to have a beach or
something to back them up because they had to haul those
fish up. See, those mullet did not gill in the net at all. It was a

small mesh net, so they just roped them in like a blanket or

BE: You know, there is a lot of those old green demi-john
bottles all over Cayo Costa and Useppa Island and around.
Do you know anything about them?
EW: I know we used to have a whole bunch of them, and now
we do not even have one.

BE: Were they the five-gallon bottles, the big round green
EW: Well, they were about four gallons. They had wicker on

BE: They had straw wrapped around them?
EW: They used to come from Cuba. I have handled a many
of those, too. We had a whole bunch of them, and we carried
them back here in the bayou and tied them
to the mangrove roots with ropes. Of course, we did not have
any use for them, and I guess the high tides and the hurricane
tides washed them all out.

BE: There are a lot that seem to be around the harbor. Do
you think that they were used for water bottles after they
were emptied?
EW: No. They were only used for what was in them.

BE: What was in them?
EW: Well, there was, I guess, shine. They called it aguadin.
It came from Cuba.

BE: Aguadin was rum?
EW: Yes.

BE: And moonshine would be ... ?
EW: Well, it was white. Some of them call it lightning.

BE: What was red whiskey? Was that the same thing as
EW: No. Aguadin was white, pure, all white. It would knock
your head off if you smelled of it. I do not know how they
could drink it. But I have handled a many of those [bottles], I
can tell you that much.

BE: When the early settlers on Cayo Costa sold their fish to
the Cubans, would they get some aguadin back and some
EW: No. No money. Money? Nobody knew what that was.
They just traded back and forth whatever they had.

BE: Would you get any of your fishing supplies or anything,
oil for your lanterns or anything?
EW: No. They used to have some kind of [food]. I do not
know what it was. I guess it was made out of wheat because it


was brown. It was like a flour, and they used to bring a lot of
that in. They used that sort of like a dessert. They put sugar
and milk in it, and they used that from these Cuban smacks.
And they would bring olive oil and knickknacks [and] stuff
like that. And they traded some fish or whatever the islands
used to have.

BE: Where did you get money from?
EW: Ha! I do not remember seeing any money until I was
grown. Arthur Coleman's mother had a little boarding house.
She had about five or six fishermen living with her, and they
paid her, I think, $20 a month for room and board. I used to
go and help her wash and scrub all day long for twenty-five
cents a day. Gosh. I do not know how I lived.

BE: When the Punta Gorda Fish Company started coming
into that area, was the fish sold to them?
EW: Well, at that time, the name of the fish company from
Punta Gorda was Shabbick Brothers. Then later the Punta
Gorda Fish Company took it over.

BE: And they had a run-boat that would come around?
EW: We had a run-boat that used to come up there in
Tarpon Bay and pick up our fish.

BE: You would have a running account with them for
EW: Well, if we wanted groceries or shoes or anything, we
would just write up an order and send it back on the fish boat.
The next boat would bring it down, they would deduct it out
of your pay.

BE: But they would give you some money if you had any
EW: Yes, a little bit.

BE: How about during the slow season when you were not
really catching fish? Could you still run an account with the
fish company?
EW: Oh, yes.

BE: And then come run season, they would just take it out of
your fish?
EW: Yes. They used to buy nets and boats and everything
else for the guys. I imagine when they went out of business
they lost a lot of money from debts that these fishermen had
never paid out. In fact, I guess some of them did not want to
pay. [laughter] And they used to own a lot of the boats that
they used to fish on.

BE: I heard they asked everybody to leave Cayo Costa in
EW: Well, I heard that the government ran some of the
families that lived there [off] [technically the area had been a

military reservation since 1848, ed.], but I never heard it when
I was a kid.

BE: You were still living there?
EW: In 1910, yes. We moved from the Macadow place in
1910 to Cayo Costa. That is when they started building there.
The families bought lots, and they built houses.

BE: They had the school on Cayo Costa then?
EW: Yes. That is the school I went to. Well, the

first teacher that I had was named Captain Peter
Nelson [whose grave is in the Cayo Costa cemetery, ed.].
Now, I know that you have heard of him. He was a great old
guy, I will tell you.

BE: Then they moved that [school] to Punta Blanca [an island
just east of Cayo Costa, now state and federal-owned, ed.]?
EW: I do not know if they moved the house, but they had a
schoolhouse on Punta Blanca. I have a picture of that
somewhere in there, where the kids are getting in the boat. It
is from the "News Press." That is a valuable piece of material.
I bet there is not anybody else who has got one like it.

BE: VWhen the Punta Blanca school closed, is that when they
set up the school on Boca Grande?
EW: Yes.

BE: Everybody from Cayo Costa went to Boca Grande to go
to school?
EW: Well, some of them moved to Bokeelia. When my
grandfather lived on Cayo Costa, I do not think that there was
any other family there but just his immediate family and
maybe two or three of the men who worked for him. The
people who lived there were all related one way or another. I
guess he was a hard-boiled old customer. [laughter] He did
not like a lot of strangers around.

BE: I guess the people on Cayo Costa always were kind of
independent, and nobody really knew what they were up to.

References Cited

Gibson, Charles Dana
1982 Boca Grande: A Series of Historical Essays. Great
Outdoors Publishing Co., St Petersburg.

Robert F. Edic
Box 571
Boca Grande, FL 33921



George M. Luer

The Whitaker archaeological site complex contains more
than a dozen prehistoric and historic sites in a mixed
commercial and residential section of northwest Sarasota
(Figure 1). The Whitaker complex includes remains of
prehistoric shell middens, a Spanish fishing rancho, a Second
Seminole War encampment, a pioneer homestead, and
historic buildings.
Thus far, at least 18 Florida Site File numbers have been
applied to these archaeological resources, most of which are
untested and little-known. This article provides background
for several articles in this issue which focus on two
archaeological sites within the Whitaker complex.


The Whitaker archaeological site complex straddles a
tidal inlet, called Whitaker Bayou, and runs along the
adjoining shore of Sarasota Bay (Figure 1). Urbanization has
created a relatively compact land use in this part of the City
of Sarasota.
Here, the archaeological sites which form the Whitaker
complex occur in a variety of settings. Some are in residential
lots where new houses, pools, and other amenities have been,
and continue to be, built. Others are in parcels being
subdivided or developed for commercial use. In this
constantly changing environment, it is our challenge to
protect, preserve, and understand these irreplaceable
archaeological sites.


The area around the Whitaker complex has undergone
so many man-made changes that the landscape of just a
century ago is scarcely recognizable (see Figure 3). The
former natural environment was rich and varied. It was fairly
open country, with pine and saw palmetto dominating the vast
flatlands to the north and east of the Whitaker complex.
These pinewoods and prairies were subject to relatively
frequent fires, and were dotted with seasonal wetlands and
ponds. The natural environment also included small patches
of other habitats. For example, cabbage palms and live oaks
flanked portions of Whitaker Bayou. On higher ground, low-
growing scrub oaks and other xeric vegetation grew atop well-
drained sandy ridges. One ridge with scrub habitat was
between Whitaker Bayou and Hog Creek.
A hundred years ago, rural frontier life already had
begun to alter this natural environment. By the 1880s, it had
been modified by at least 30 years of cattle grazing, probably
accompanied by intentional burning to promote the growth of
grasses. Wild hogs rooted through many of the woods and
clearings. Hunting for deer and other wildlife was
commonplace. Near Whitaker Bayou, some areas had been

cleared and cultivated for sugar cane and citrus; other areas
had been cleared for homesteads and gardens (see Figure 3).
Over the last 100 years, natural habitats have
disappeared. The land has been timbered, turpentined,
subdivided, drained, and built on. Exotic plants and lawns
have replaced native saw palmettos and pines. Dredging and
filling have altered the shore of Sarasota Bay and its adjoining

Shell Middens Along the Bay

In pre-Columbian times, Native Americans lived along
the shore of Sarasota Bay. Their lifestyles combined access to
both water and land. On the creeks and bay, they traveled in
dugout canoes and caught fish for food. They swam and
waded for edible shellfish, collecting them in baskets and
transporting them to their camps along the shore. On land,
Native Americans traveled by foot, hunting and gathering in
pinewoods and swamps.
Gradually, remains from these daily activities
accumulated to create shell middens. Today, shell middens
stretch for about 2.3 km (1.4 miles) along the shore, from
Sarasota Jungle Gardens at the north to Yellow Bluffs at the
south. The middens are especially large near Indian Beach
and around the mouth of Whitaker Bayou (Figure 1).
In the years before intensive land development, these
shell middens were conspicuous features of the landscape.
Indeed, they were so prominent that one early land-owner,
Dr. F. H. Williams, named his tract after them. He wrote:

When, in 1891 it was given to me to name the shore
north of Sarasota, recognizing the nature of the
shell heaps, I named it Indian Beach (Williams

In 1907 through 1913, Dr. Williams collected artifacts
from Indian Beach. He deposited these in his "ethnological
museum" in Bristol, Connecticut (Williams 1913).
In the winter of 1916, avocational archaeologist R. D.
Wainwright of Roanoke, Virginia, visited the area. Observing
shell middens at Whitaker Bayou, he wrote:

... visited a shell mound on Whittaker's Point.
Mound running Northeast by Southeast about 20
feet high .... Mound is ... situated on Sarasota Bay
(Wainwright 1916:140).

This shell mound can be identified as today's Palmetto
Lane Midden (8SO96) (see Figures 1 and 4, and articles in
this issue).
Wainwright also traveled farther north toward Indian
Beach where he observed two large shell middens which can


Vol. 45 No. 3


0.3 km


Sarasota Bay

Whitaker Bay
Palmetto Lane

Acacias Midden

Charlotte ]

Figure 1. Some Sites in the Whitaker Archaeological Site Complex, City of Sarasota.





be identified, respectively, as today Boylston Mound (8SO35)
and Shell Road Midden (8SO94). He wrote:

Visited "The Oaks" private residence situated on
Sarasota Bay. Land on shell ridge more or less
cultivated; ... height about 20 feet. ... About one-
half block from there, North of the Oaks, on an
estate called "The Palms" and on Sarasota Bay,... is
a fine mound .... Both of these mounds are
composed of kitchen refuse, shells and earth, and
ashes, a little ornamented pottery, very coarse in
texture being found (Wainwright 1916:140).

Figure 1 shows the locations of these shell middens.
(The Boylston Mound is addressed by an article later in this

Whitaker Mound (8S081)

This large sand mound, now destroyed, was located on
the north side of Whitaker Bayou about 460 m (1500 feet)
from the shore of Sarasota Bay (Figure 1). An old postcard
shows the mound with a road-cut through it (Figure 2, top).
This photo probably was taken around 1900 since an original
postcard has a postmark of July 12th, 1906 (Lee Harrison,
pers. comm. 1991). Visible in the photo are narrow ruts in a
sandy roadbed; presumably these were wagon wheel ruts
since the first car owned in Sarasota reportedly arrived in
1909 (Stockbridge 1991).
According to a local newspaper report (Anon. 1916a),
several human burials were dug from the mound, perhaps in
the 1910s or earlier:

The skeletons found there by Mr. H. V. Whittaker,
who did the work on the family estate, were not
like those of Indians, Mr. Whittaker says, but of
some other ancient American race. They were all
buried about a quarter of the way from the top of
this large and high mound; and all with their faces
toward the east. One body had a full set of teeth in
perfect preservation (Anon. 1916b).

A few additional burials also were reported. In 1916, R.
D. Wainwright observed the road cut through the mound and
met a "Mr. Thompson" who had "dug into this mound from
the top and ... found some six skeletons, all having the right
occiput gone ..." (Wainwright 1916:140-41). Wainwright
found "near the middle of mound, two feet down, two
skeletons in frail condition"; he also noted a stratum
composed of clam shells and another of "black ... burnt
material, pottery and shells" which contained "four or five
large pieces of pottery, plain, not ornamented." Nearby, he
found "four large pieces of pottery" belonging to two vessels
and having "ornamented" handles (Wainwright 1916:141).
Also in 1916, the mound probably was damaged further
by more road construction. Automobiles were becoming
common, and plans were proceeding to incorporate the road
through the mound into the "gulf branch of the national
'Dixie Highway'." This new asphalt highway would lead
southward via Indian Beach Drive, then turn and pass
through the mound on its way to Sarasota (Anon. 1916b). It

would supplement the nearby north-south "range-road"
(running between Ranges 17 East and 18 East) which is
today's Old Bradenton Road (Figure 1). Around 1925,
remaining portions of the Whitaker Mound were demolished.
The mound's destruction was witnessed by avocational
archaeologist J. E. Moore (see Luer and Almy 1987:304 and
Luer 1992:54-55 for additional information about Moore).
Twenty-five years later, Moore told archaeologist Ripley
Bullen that the mound had a flat top, a ramp which led
westward, and a height of "35 feet" (Bullen 1950:22).
Moore's estimation of the mound's height, like
Wainwright's report of "50 feet," probably was exaggerated. If
the ruts in the postcard photo (Figure 2) are about five feet
apart, the road cut through the mound would have been
perhaps 3 or 4 meters (about 10 or 12 feet) deep. This size
seems accurate based on the sizes of the palm fronds in the
photo and other vegetation. The photo suggests that the
mound's height might have been closer to 5 or 6 meters (15 to
20 feet), which is nonetheless a large mound for the area.
Also uncertain are the age and function of the Whitaker
Mound. Wainwright's sherds with "ornamented" handles
probably date to Mississippian-influenced times (circa A.D.
1000-1700) (Figure 9). This age is consistent with the mound's
large size, an attribute which also suggests that it was an
important burial mound. Like the large sand burial mound at
Pineland in Lee County (Luer 1991:71, Fig. 4 and 5), it may
reflect a chiefdom and social power in the landscape. The
Whitaker Mound's large size and its reported "ramp" have led
some archaeologists to classify it as a "ceremonial" or "temple
mound" (Bullen 1950, 1955, 1978; Luer and Almy 1981).
While this may be correct, such a function remains tentative
owing to the paucity of data.
It also should be noted that two ceramic vessels
reportedly came from the Whitaker Mound (Sarasota County
Department of Historical Resources, Grantham
collection:GRAN 3 and GRAN 6). However, these vessels
may be from the Englewood Mound (8S01), also in Sarasota
County. One of the two vessels may be shown in a 1934 field
photo of excavations at the Englewood Mound (Stirling
1935:P1. 3, photo 2).

Webber Mound (8S020) and Vicinity

In addition to the Whitaker Mound, the north side of
Whitaker Bayou had many other archaeological components.
The area included shell middens and sand mounds, all of
which have been, and continue to be, impacted by residential
land use.
In April 1950, three human burials were exposed when a
bulldozer removed the top "5 feet" from a sand burial mound.
Ripley Bullen, then with the Florida Park Service, inspected
the burials and investigated the mound, calling it the "Webber
Mound" after a land owner. Scant evidence suggested that
the mound dated to the Weeden Island and/or Safety Harbor
periods (perhaps circa A.D. 800-1500) (Figure 9). The
mound had been about 3 to 3.5 m (10 to 12 feet) in height, 18
m (60 feet) in diameter, and was situated about 210 m (700
feet) north of the bayou (Figure 1). Local residents reported
that people had dug in the mound for many years, finding
flexed and prone burials (Bullen 1950:22-27).

Figure 2. The Whitaker Mound. Top: Road cut through mound from turn-of-the-century post card (courtesy Sarasota County
Department of Historical Resources). Bottom: The same view in June 1991 of the location of former Whitaker Mound. Both
views to southeast.


Bullen also investigated shell middens on the north side
of Whitaker Bayou, just south and west of the Webber
Mound. Five test units disclosed abundant quahog clam shell,
a fighting conch shell "hand hammer," columella (whelk
shell?) "hand hammers," and many sand-tempered plain
sherds (Bullen 1950:27-28). Based on Bullen's descriptions,
these middens appear to have similarities with the Palmetto
Lane Midden located on the opposite side of Whitaker Bayou
(see articles later in this issue).
While at the Whitaker complex, Bullen (1950:29) met
Chester Bullock, a local resident who had collected artifacts
from the immediate area for many years. Bullock continued
collecting into the 1970s, walking the shore of Sarasota Bay
from Whitaker Bayou northward to Indian Beach Drive (27th
Street). Some of his finds include a perforated quahog clam
shell (Luer 1986:140, Fig. 9, Table 1:artifact #33) and a
number of shell and stone plummets. Interestingly, most of
the shell plummets were fashioned from horse conch
In the mid-1970s, most of the visible middens and
mounds at the Whitaker complex were recorded in the
Florida Site File (FSF). First, archaeologist Marion Almy
(1976) recorded seven sites (8SO34 through 8SO40) which
had been referred to by Bullen (1950:Fig.1) and Fales and
Davis (1961). When added to the Whitaker complex's three
previously-recorded sites (8SO4, 8SO20, 8SO81), these
increased the total to ten. The next year, five more sites were
recorded during a reconnaissance of historic and
archaeological sites in the City of Sarasota (Monroe, Wells,
and Almy 1977). Thus, by 1977, the number of recorded
prehistoric archaeological sites at the Whitaker complex had
reached fifteen.

Ranchos, Fort, and Land Claims

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, new historical research
showed that Sarasota Bay had been the scene of many
activities during the first half of the 1800s. In the last few
years, archaeological work in the northern portion of the
Whitaker complex has begun to reveal tangible evidence of
some of them.
Ranchos. In the 1810s and 1820s, several Spanish fishing
ranchos existed around Sarasota Bay (Matthews 1983:71-72).
In the early 1830s, one Sarasota Bay rancho was owned by
Antonio Pacheco and his wife Quintana. In 1834, the
Pachecos and their neighbor, Jose Elzuardi, complained that
Seminoles were taking some of their cattle (Matthews
1983:79, 176, 408:note 34). The Pacheco Rancho was also a
trading post, and an 1835 Key West Customs House inventory
records a shipment to it (Matthews 1983:77-78, 106). After
Antonio Pacheco died and prior to the outbreak of the
Second Seminole War in 1835, a black slave named Luis Fatio
worked at the Pacheco Rancho (Matthews 1983:80). By 1840,
it appears that this rancho belonged to Manuel Olivella
(Matthews 1983:106).
Today, an occasional Spanish olive jar sherd found along
the shore of the Shell Road Midden suggests that a fishing
rancho was located there. The recent archaeological recovery
of Second Seminole War period artifacts (see below) suggests
that this area was the location of the Pacheco/Olivella

Fort Armistead. During the Second Seminole War, this
military encampment was established at the Olivella Rancho
on Sarasota Bay. It was occupied for about six months, from
November 1840 to May 1841. Its mission was to help deport
Seminoles to Oklahoma, and about 85 Seminoles of Chief
Hospetarke's band surrendered, although the elderly chief
eluded capture. The young Chief Holata Mico ("Billy
Bowlegs") visited Fort Armistead, but he and his band also
avoided removal. The camp was abandoned due to the poor
health of its several hundred troops (Matthews 1983:104-122).
In 1989, a limited archaeological search disclosed
evidence of this military encampment near the Shell Road
Midden (Carr et al. 1989). Recorded as 8SO1873, the site
yielded no traces of buildings or other structural features.
Nonetheless, such features may be present, and the site
deserves protection.
Olivella and Elzuardi Land Claims. Manuel Olivella and
Jose Elzuardi, both of whom had worked at Sarasota Bay
ranchos before the Second Seminole War, filed land claims
after the Armed Occupation Act of 1842 (Matthews 1983:173-
175, 1989:6-15). Late in 1842, Elzuardi lived at his claim in a
"crude palmetto shack" (Grismer 1946:31). Figure 3 shows
the locations of these claims; archaeological evidence of them
remains to be detected.

Pioneer Homestead

Soon after the Armed Occupation Act made land
available to homesteaders, two half-brothers from northern
Florida arrived at Sarasota Bay. The men decided to settle
just south of the Olivelli and Elzuardi land claims (see
above). Elzuardi, whom the men called "Alzartie," was at his
claim when they arrived (Grismer 1946:31).
The half-brothers, named Hamlin Snell and William
Whitaker, built a log house and a detached kitchen, planted
oranges and guavas, and fished (Grismer 1946:31; Matthews
1983:173-175). Snell eventually left the area, but Whitaker
stayed. He began raising cattle in 1847, purchased adjacent
land in 1850 and 1851, married in 1851, and began a family.
Although Seminoles burned the Whitaker house in 1856, the
family already had fled, returning to build another house two
years later. By 1858, the Whitakers had four children, several
slaves, about 100 acres of land, a wagon, horses, sheep, and
1400 cattle (Matthews 1983:176-79, 220, 248).
The Whitakers' second house was a frame cabin of
modest size and "southern-type" vernacular style. It appears
to have had some French Colonial influences, probably from
Louisiana by way of the Tallahassee region, or "Middle
Florida," where William Whitaker had lived as a teenager in
the 1830s (Matthews 1983:149-50, 171-72). Based on historic
photos (Whitaker 1969:10; Marth 1973:12; Tricebock
1973:22), it was a one and a half-story gable-roofed structure
with two exterior end-wall brick chimneys, and sat on piers
without a basement. The western front of the house had a
full open porch, and another porch was on the back. The
gable ends were clad with horizontal wood siding, and the
roof apparently was covered with wood shingles. Six straight
wood posts supported an ample front porch and overhanging
roof. The lower slope of the roof projected well beyond the
walls so that it incorporated the porches. The house would
have had an "open" feeling with several large entryways

Olivella land claim' 'M

Boylston Mound

Sarasota Bay


Palmetto Lane Midden



Yellow Bluffs

Hog Creek'

0.2 km

.* *
S**" ** ".. :".'""
% D.. .
.*-~ ** r '
bi A-- .9*

.". .' ..
*** ^ a. *

S. .. .-."'

"~"'-Whitaker homestead
I '.* .-,.,' -.

,.. ..'"i ? .,

e.* .I:.:.
r N,',:rS^

Figure 3. U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey's 1883 Map Showing Area Around Whitaker Bayou (or "Snell's
Bayou"). Some modern streets are shown for orientation.


Elzuardi land cl
"Alzarti Acres"

.. .w~'.. -.*
*~~ p


(resembling French windows) along the front porch and
windows on the northern gable end.
This house was destroyed in the 1920s. A separate
kitchen was located behind and south of it (Whitaker 1969:10;
Marth 1973:12). Presumably, other outbuildings would have
included an outhouse and chicken coop. Also behind the
house was a small family cemetery (8SO25) which is still
maintained (Matthews 1983:179, 409:note 51).
An organic pattern of land use grew up around the
Whitaker homestead (Figure 3). Fences around garden crops
kept out livestock, and a dirt road bordering a grove led
northwest to "Snell's Bayou," today called Whitaker Bayou.
This grove, first planted by Hamlin Snell in the 1840s,
produced such tasty oranges that, in the 1880s, a local nursery
sold trees propagated from it (Zilles 1976:35-36; Matthews
1983:272). At that time, fruit often was shipped by boat, and
a nearby shed at the mouth of the bayou was perhaps a citrus
packing house (see Figure 4). The Whitakers also shipped
wild hogs by boat, loading them from pens at the mouth of
Hog Creek at the southern edge of their homestead (Grismer
1946:72-73) (Figure 3).

Hotel, Houses, and Subdivisions

In the late 1800s, the Sarasota area was beginning to
grow. It attracted settlers and small numbers of wealthy
winter visitors from northern states. There also were second-
generation residents such as one of the Whitaker sons who
had a house at Yellow Bluffs and one of the Whitaker
daughters who lived just north of the homestead at "Alzarti
Acres" (Grismer 1946:61,127; Whitaker 1978:12).
In 1895, the Whitaker heirs platted their bayside
homestead. The Whitaker subdivision extended northward to
another subdivision, named Indian Beach, which was platted a
few years before (Indian Beach Subdivision Plat 1891).
Indian Beach became a community separate from Sarasota.
Its houses and docks clustered along the sweeping shore of
Sarasota Bay.
At the southern edge of Indian Beach, a hotel
overlooking the bay was built in 1891 (Grismer 1946:119).
Known as the "Tarpon Club," the "Palms Villa," or "The
Palms," it was described as "one of the prettiest small hotels
on Florida's west coast ... and many noted guests were
entertained there" (Anon. 1915). It had 21 rooms and
landscaped grounds which included exotic bamboo, sago
palm, African date palms, jasmine, roses, and native
"magnificent" live oaks (Anon. 1910; Anon. 1916a:1).
The structure was erected on top of a shell midden
(8SO94). An observer noted that "the original beauty of the
landscape was left undisturbed; the Indian mound ... retains
its outlines ..." (Anon. 1915:4) (Figure 5:bottom). In 1900, the
hotel's owner refused permission for antiquarian C. B. Moore
of Philadelphia to dig in the shell mound unless Moore
"bought the place" (Moore 1900).
An old photo of the frame hotel (Figure 5:top; Marth
1973:32, top) shows a local adaptation of late Victorian
eclecticism including Queen Anne and Shingle styles
(Blumenson 1977:60-63). The graceful building was well-
proportioned but unflamboyant. It had two stories with a side
gable roof and a front tower with conical roof and finial (a
small ornamental pinnacle). It was clad with horizontal

siding, and was roofed with unpainted wood shingles. A one-
story encircling porch extended along the main west facade
and north side of the building, giving guests an unobstructed
view of the bay. The porch was supported by slender wood
posts and it featured a decorative scalloped balustrade.
Popular during the last quarter of the 1800s, frame Victorian
hotels were once part of the Florida landscape (Rinhart and
Rinhart 1986). Today, similar buildings can still be found in
other coastal resorts of that era, such as Cape May, New
Jersey, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Newport, Rhode Island.
When The Palms changed hands, a new owner added a
rose garden and raised sweet potatoes, chickens, and 8-acres
of orange trees. By 1916, the hotel had a 350-foot dock and a
new acetalene gas lighting system (Anon. 1916a; Anon.
1916c). The hotel burned in 1927. In its place, a large private
residence combining Moderne and Italian styles was built in
1935 (Stiles 1989).
Today, Indian Beach has become a residential
neighborhood within the City of Sarasota. In 1991, a
proposed subdivision in the neighborhood triggered a Phase I
archaeological survey (Luer and Archibald 1991). Shovel
tests disclosed a small quantity of artifacts, including
fragments of turn-of-the-century items which apparently were
derived from The Palms hotel. They were related mostly to
food and drink, including pieces of ceramic plates and
saucers, and glass soda and wine bottle fragments. With few
exceptions, ceramic fragments were plain (white)
undecorated earthenwares; wares such as porcelain were less
abundant. Other items included thin clear glass fragments,
possibly from broken lamp chimneys.
Interestingly, two colorful majolica ceramic fragments
(pink interior, green and yellow exterior) were found. This
type of majolica was inspired by southwestern European
majolica. In the late 1800s, it was produced in the United
States for items such as candy bowls, serving dishes, and
flower vases. Fashionable in late 19th-century households, it
often was fancifully-shaped like fruits or vegetables; one
fragment found during the archaeological survey was from a
vessel apparently shaped like an ear of corn. Such decorative
items suggest an exuberant taste and intimate setting, both in
keeping with a late 19th-century small coastal hotel such as
The Palms.

Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound (8S04)

This mound, now destroyed, was a large burial mound
situated atop a high sandy ridge overlooking Sarasota Bay
(see Figure 1). The mound was just east of Yellow Bluffs, an
erosional escarpment of yellowish sandstone, marl, and clay.
The bluffs reached about 4 to 5 meters (13 to 17 feet) in
height, and were a landmark for early settlers and tourists
who traveled by boat.
In pre-Columbian times, Native Americans built the
Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound on the sandy ridge above
Yellow Bluffs. This was an attractive place to live. It offered
exposure to breezes and a view over the bay. In addition, the
ridge was well-drained compared to most surrounding land
which was subject to flooding before modern artificial
In the 1910s, Yellow Bluffs was the location of 'The
Acacias," an estate built in 1911 by Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin


Figure 4. The South Side of the Mouth of Whitaker Bayou. Top: Turn-of-the-century photograph shows north
end of Palmetto Lane Midden at arrow to left of frame structure (courtesy of Sarasota County Department of
Historical Resources). Bottom: The same view in August 1991 with bayou in foreground and Sarasota Bay to
right. Both views toward southeast.


Figure 5. Historic Photographs, circa 1900. Top: The Palms hotel (photo from Dave Boylston, courtesy of
Richard McLeod, Sr.).
Bottom: Road cut in the Shell Road Midden (8S094) (courtesy of Sarasota County Department of Historical

.Kiii r" ii'

t ~8~


Figure 6. Artist's Rendition of Pergola (Now-Destroyed) Atop Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound in "The Acacias" Estate. Based
on photos, April 1969, courtesy of Jerald T. Milanich (on file, Florida Museum of Natural History).

Honore (Tricebock 1973:88). The Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker
Mound was incorporated into the landscaped grounds of The
Acacias. A pergola was built on top the mound, affording a
view over the surrounding grounds and bay (Figures 6 and 7).
Pergolas were part of the Classic revival movement
(Greek and Roman styles). They were integral features of
fashionable formal gardens in the first quarter of the 20th
Century. The pergola atop the Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker
Mound resembled the contemporary pergola at Mrs. Potter
Palmer's estate located just south of Sarasota in Osprey (now
restored at Historic Spanish Point). Mrs. Potter Palmer was
a niece of the Benjamin Honores. It is possible that the two
pergolas were designed by the same person, possibly the
French landscape architect Achille Duchene.
The Acacia's pergola was rectangular, measuring 14 by
21 feet, with paired columns on each long side (Figures 6 and
7). The eight smooth unfluted Tuscan-style columns had
unadorned capitals and bases, and were probably masonry.
They held a wooden trellis with cross-pieces and projecting
decorative cut ends. The steps leading up the mound's
southern slope had two levels joined by a small landing.
Within the pergola was a large table with two decorative
supports, each shaped in the form of paired eagles, an eagle
facing outward on each side. One newspaper account
described this table as "marble" and the trellis as "vine-
covered" (Fritts 1969). To each side of the table was a low
bench, each having a crescent-shaped seat supported by two
squat molded legs.
In 1969, the pergola and Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound
were demolished to make way for a planned condominium
which was never built. The adjoining mansion stood until

1981 when it too was razed for another planned condominium
which again did not materialize (Anonymous 1981; Austin,
Ballo, and Hansen 1989:10).
The tragic destruction of the mound was accompanied
by limited archaeological salvage work (Milanich 1972).
Mapping showed that the mound reached a height of about
2.4 m (8 feet) and was oval-shaped, having a base of about 29
m (95 feet) northeast-southwest and about 37 m (120 feet)
northwest-southeast (Figure 7). Features uncovered included
about a dozen human burials, some accompanied by "food-
shell" deposits (Milanich 1972:34; Luer 1986:151). Pottery in
the mound, including Pinellas Plain sherds, and a lack of
European-derived artifacts indicated a late prehistoric Safety
Harbor period age of circa A.D. 1300-1500 (Milanich
In 1991, the author inspected six rim sherds salvaged by
Milanich from the Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound (now
curated at the Sarasota County Department of Historical
Resources). The sherds consisted of one Pinellas Plain with a
notched lip and five Glades Tooled (Figure 8). Milanich
(1972:29) noted the similarity of the latter sherds to Glades
Tooled pottery from the Charlotte Harbor area, but he
erroneously classified them as Pinellas Plain.
These Glades Tooled sherds help to date the Yellow
Bluffs-Whitaker Mound. That is, the presence of Glades
Tooled pottery coupled with the lack of European contact-
period artifacts indicate an age of circa A.D. 1400-1513
(Figure 9). This age would equate with Goggin's Glades IIIb
period or Widmer's Caloosahatchee IV period (Goggin
1950:245-46; Widmer 1988:86; Griffin 1988:125). These
Glades Tooled sherds represent the first of two general


shell walkway




0 10 20 30

Contours in Feet Above Mean Sea Level

Figure 7. Plan View of Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound with Pergola and Steps (Now-Destroyed) from "The
Acacias" Estate. Based on photographs and maps, courtesy of Jerald T. Milanich (on file, Florida Museum of
Natural History).


3 cm
| _


......*.. ... *
S.- ." -..

Figure 8. Glades Tooled Rim Sherds From Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound (courtesy of Sarasota County
Department of Historical Resources).

r~-c~r ,-


i::r'' ''~-"
t. :'~' :'


Palms Hotel
Whitaker homestead
SFort Armistead
Pacheco Rancho


A.D. 2000

A.D. 1900 -

A.D. 1800 -

A.D. 1700

A.D. 1500 -

A.D. 1400 -

A.D. 1200 -

A.D. 800 Acacis Midden B, upper level
Acacias Midden B, upper level

Acacias Midden B, lower level

Palmetto Lane Midden, Drainage Culvert



Bayview Phase

Tatham PTfias-e


Pinellas Phase

Englewood Phase

late Weeden Island


Figure 9. Culture Sequence and the Whitaker Site Complex. This is a portion of the culture sequence for the
Central Peninsular Gulf Coast Region.


Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound

Boylston Mound

A.D. 1000 -

A.D. 500 -

A.D. 100 -



"vessel shapes" or forms of Glades Tooled pottery (see Griffin
1988:70). Some researchers believe that this first form
originated prior to the second form (see below).
The Glades Tooled (form 1) sherds from the Yellow
Bluffs-Whitaker Mound point to contact with Native
Americans from farther south. Indeed, these sherds appear
to represent the farthest north location where Glades Tooled
pottery has been found. Glades Tooled (form 1) pottery
occurs infrequently on coastal sites along the southwest
Florida coast from Charlotte Harbor to the Florida Keys. In
contrast, a second and possibly later Glades Tooled (form 2)
pottery (with flaring "pie crust" lips and incisions
perpendicular to the lip) has a different geographic
distribution, occurring particularly on tree islands in the
sawgrass Everglades of southeast Florida (J. Beriault pers.
comm. 1985; Robert S. Carr, pers. comm. 1985).
The presence of Glades Tooled (form 1) pottery at the
Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound suggests direct contact with
the Calusa of coastal southwest Florida, perhaps through
trade via dugout canoe. This possibility is strengthened by
additional evidence from the Whitaker complex (see this
issue's article about the Boylston Mound).
In addition to the Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound,
Milanich (1972:23) observed a midden to the west of the
mound. Recorded as the Acacias Midden (8SO97) (Monroe
et al. 1977), the midden was relocated in a recent
archaeological survey, which concluded that it should be
preserved (Austin, Ballo, and Hansen 1989). The survey
identified an extension of the midden (8S097B) which was
tested in 1992. Analysis revealed two separate components,
one yielding uncorrected radiocarbon dates around 1200
years B.P. and the other around 1750 years B.P. (Austin
1992:31, Table 3) (see Figure 9).

Recent Archaeological Work

In the last few years, archaeological work has begun to
refine our understanding of the Whitaker site complex. In
1988, a grant from the Florida Department of State to the
City of Sarasota led to the recovery of a few artifacts from
Fort Armistead (Carr et al. 1989) and to an assessment of the
condition of sixteen prehistoric sites within the Whitaker
complex (Almy 1989). At Yellow Bluffs, a rezoning and site
development plan led to Phase I and II archaeological work
(Austin et al. 1989; Austin 1992). In 1989 and 1991,
archaeological work at two proposed subdivisions resulted in
Phase I surveys (Archibald 1989; Luer and Archibald 1991)
and limited archaeological salvage work (Luer and Archibald
This recent archaeological work has produced new data
of local, regional, and state significance. It has revealed shell
middens of varied composition and age, containing evidence
of different cultures spanning hundreds of years (Figure 9).
Likewise, it has begun to offer insights into life during the
historic period.

Concluding Remarks

This article provides information about the overall
Whitaker archaeological site complex. It is by no means
complete; much more will be learned. As this issue's

following articles show, discovery is an on-going process. The
articles demonstrate that the Whitaker archaeological site
complex deserves preservation and study. If investigated and
protected properly, it can help enrich our understanding of
Florida's past.


The author is indebted to Lauren Archibald for her
assistance with architectural information and historic
ceramics. Other data was kindly given by a number of
individuals including: April Fehr, Archaeologist at the
Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources, Lee
Harrison, Sarasota preservationist, Jerald T. Milanich,
curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History, and Al
Barrett, Planner with the City of Sarasota.
Assistance with photos was given by Maynard Hiss,
Sarasota natural resources specialist, Richard McLeod, Sr.,
and Richard McLeod, Jr., owners of the "Old Oaks" estate,
and Robert Viol, former Archivist at the Sarasota County
Department of Historical Resources. Thanks are owed also
to Mary B. Davis of the Huntington Free Library and
Reading Room, Bronx, New York, for her assistance with C.
B. Moore's field notes owned by the Huntington Free Library
and the Museum of the American Indian.

References Cited

Almy, Marion M.
1976 A Survey and Assessment of Known Archaeological
Sites in Sarasota County, Florida. MA. Thesis on file,
Department of Anthropology, University of South
Florida, Tampa.

1989 "Inventory of Prehistoric Archaeological Sites." In
Archaeological and Historical Investigations at Indian
Beach, Sarasota County by Robert S. Carr, Janet S.
Matthews, Kathy Rogers, Marion Almy, Lee D.
Harrison, and Lorrie Muldowney. Pages 33-53.
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy.
Unpublished report dated September. Miami.

1910 "'The Palms' Sold." November 24. The Sarasota Times
Clipping on file, Sarasota County Department of
Historical Resources. Sarasota.

1915 "Palms Villa On The Bay." April 29. The Sarasota
Times, page 4. Copy on file, Sarasota County
Department of Historical Resources. Sarasota.

1916a "'Palms Villa' On Sarasota Bay." Thursday, January
13. The Sarasota Times 17(33):1. Copy on file, Sarasota
County Department of Historical Resources. Sarasota.

1916b "Good Roads Mean Much." Thursday, January 20.
The Sarasota Times 17(34):1. Copy on file, Sarasota
County Department of Historical Resources. Sarasota.


1916c "A Thriving Grove." June 15. The Sarasota Times,
page 2. Copy on file, Sarasota County Department of
Historical Resources. Sarasota.

1981 "Acacias doomed to razing for condo project."
Sarasota Journal, August 13, 1981.

Archibald, Lauren C.
1989 Archaeological Survey of Tocobaga Bay, Sarasota
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Technical Report
11, Miami.

Austin, Robert J.
1992 Phase II Excavations at the Acacias Site (8SO97B &
C), Sarasota County, Florida. Unpublished report dated
March. On file, Piper Archaeology/Janus Research,
Inc. St. Petersburg, Florida.

Austin, Robert J., Janice R. Ballo, and Howard Hansen
1989 Cultural Resource Assessment Survey of the Proposed
Sarasota Conference Centre Development Site, Sarasota
County, Florida. Unpublished report dated January. On
file, Piper Archaeological Research, Inc. St. Petersburg,

Blumenson, John
1977 Identifying American Architecture. W.W. Norton and
Company, New York.

Bullen, Ripley P.
1950 Tests at the Whittaker Site, Sarasota, Florida. The
Florida Anthropologist 3:21-30.

1955 Archaeology of the Tampa Bay Area. The Florida
Historical Quarterly 6:9-37.

1978 Tocobaga Indians and the Safety Harbor Culture. In:
Tacachale, Essays on the Indians of Florida and
Southeastern Georgia during the Historic Period, edited
by Jerald T. Milanich and Samuel Proctor. Pages 50-58.
The University Presses of Florida. Gainesville.

Carr, Robert S., Janet S. Matthews, Katherine Rogers,
Marion Almy, Lee D. Harrison, and Lorrie Muldowney
1989 Archaeological and Historical Investigations at Indian
Beach, Sarasota County. Report dated September.
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc. Miami,

Fales, John, and Doris Davis
1961 An Archaeological and Historical Survey of Sarasota
County, Florida. Unpublished manuscript. On file,
Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.

Fritts, Bill
1969 "'Indian Mound' Studied At Future Building Site."
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, April 17.

Goggin, John M.
1950 Stratigraphic Tests in the Everglades National Park.
American Antiquity 15:228-246.

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

Grismer, Karl H.
1946 The Story of Sarasota. The Florida Grower Press,

Indian Beach Subdivision Plat
1891 "Map of Indian Beach. Being a Subdivision of ...
Section 12, T. 36 S., R. 17 E." Filed October 1, 1891.
Plat Book #1, Page 96. Copy on file, Sarasota County
Department of Historical Resources. Sarasota.

Luer, George M.
1986 Some Interesting Archaeological Occurrences of
Quahog Shells on the Gulf Coast of Central and
Southern Florida. Florida Anthropological Society
Publication, Number 12.

1991 Historic Resources at the Pineland Site, Lee County,
Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 44:59-75.

1992 Mississippian-Period Pop-Eyed Bird-Head Effigies
from West-Central and Southwest Florida. The Florida
Anthropologist 45:52-62.

Luer, George M., and Marion M. Almy
1981 Temple Mounds of the Tampa Bay Area. The Florida
Anthropologist 34:127-155.

1987 The Laurel Mound (8S098) and Radial Burials, With
Notes on the Safety Harbor Period. The Florida
Anthropologist 40:301-320.

Luer, George M., and Lauren C. Archibald
1990 Monitoring and Limited Archaeological Salvage at the
Palmetto Lane Midden (8SO96), Tocobaga Bay
Subdivision, Sarasota, Florida. Archaeological and
Historical Conservancy, Technical Report 18, Miami.

1991 An Archaeological Phase I Survey of the Eastern
Portion of the Old Oaks Estate in the City of Sarasota,
Florida. Archaeological and Historical Conservancy,
Technical Report 50, Miami.

Marth, Del
1973 Yesterday's Sarasota, Including Sarasota County.
Published in cooperation with the Sarasota County
Historical Commission. E. A. Seemann Publishing, Inc.,

Matthews, Janet S.
1980 Edge of Wilderness. Caprine Press, Tulsa, Oklahoma.


1989 "Research of the Historic Archaeological Site." In:
Archaeological and Historical Investigations at Indian
Beach, Sarasota County by Robert S. Carr, Janet S.
Matthews, Kathy Rogers, Marion Almy, Lee D.
Harrison, and Lorrie Muldowney. Pages 6-15.
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy.
Unpublished report dated September. Miami.

Milanich, Jerald T.
1972 Excavations at the Yellow Bluffs-Whitaker Mound.
The Florida Anthropologist 25:21-41.

Monroe, Elizabeth, Sharon Wells, and Marion M. Almy
1977 Historical, Architectural, and Archaeological Survey of
Sarasota, Florida. Miscellaneous Project Report Series,
No. 51. Florida Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties,
Division of Archives, History, and Records
Management. Tallahassee.

Moore, Clarence B.
1900 Field Notes, Notebook 17. On file, Huntington Free
Library/Museum of the American Indian. The Bronx.

Rinhart, Floyd, and Marion Rinhart
1986 Victorian Florida. Peachtree Publishers Limited,
Atlanta, Georgia.

Stiles, Wilson
1989 "Old Oaks." In: A Duet of Historic Homes. Published
by The Symphony Association, Designers' Showcase
1989. Sarasota.

Stirling, Matthew W.
1935 Smithsonian archeological projects conducted under
the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, 1933-
1934. Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for
1934:371-400. Washington, D.C.

Stockbridge, Dorothy
1991 "Family History. Wilson Brothers See Lots of Changes
in Sarasota." Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 9:1D, 8D.

Tricebock, Ken
1973 Explore Sarasota and Vicinity. In the Explore Southwest
Florida, A Bicentennial Tribute series. Sponsored by
United First Federal Savings and Loan Association.
Privately published.

U.S.C.G.S. (United States Coast and Geodetic Survey)
1883 "Sarasota Bay, Florida." Register Number 1517a.
Scale 1:20,000. J. E. Hilgard, Superintendent. Copy on
file, Sarasota County Department of Historical

Wainwright, R. D.
1916 Two Month's Research in the Sand and Shell Mounds
of Florida. The Archaeological Bulletin 7:139-144. Hico,

Whitaker, Anton K.
1969 "One Man's Family, Part 1." An address given by A. K.
Whitaker to the Manatee County Historical Society.
March 19. Unpublished copy of typescript on file,
Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.

1978 "One Man's Family, Part 2. Furman Chairs Whitaker
and Nellie Louise (Abbe) Whitaker." Unpublished copy
of typescript on file, Sarasota County Department of
Historical Resources.

Widmer, Randolph J.
1988 The Evolution of the Calusa, A Nonagricultural
Chiefdom on the Southwest Florida Coast. The
University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Williams, F. H.
1913 "A Good Idea. Dr. F. H. Williams, the Famous
Antiquarian, Suggests a Museum of Indian Relics."
Saturday, March 15. The Sarasota Sun 1(6):4. Copy of
clipping on file, Sarasota County Department of
Historical Resources.

Zilles, Jack
1976 A History of Agriculture of Sarasota County Florida.
Sponsored by Sarasota County Agriculture Fair
Association and The Sarasota County Historical
Commission. Privately published, Sarasota.

George M. Luer
3222 Old Oak Drive
Sarasota, FL 34239



Lauren C. Archibald

This article is a review of steps taken by planners,
archaeologists, and a developer to save significant
archaeological data and resources on a parcel undergoing
subdivision and resale. The subdivision planning process and
how archaeology and planning fit into it are described.
Administrative steps which a local government can take in
helping to protect archaeological resources are outlined also.

In this instance, archaeological work was triggered by
local citizens, a city planning board, and city planning
department staff who were guided by goals of both city and
regional comprehensive plans. The latter says: “After 1988,
There Will Be No Further Loss Of Significant Historical And
Archaeological Resources" (SWFRPC 1987:18-4). In
addition, this archaeological work was conducted to ensure
compliance with Florida Statute 872.05, "Offenses Concerning
Dead Bodies and Graves."


In Florida, as in other states, local governments may
impose requirements on new subdivisions when they are
platted or approved. Traditional subdivision regulations make
applicants provide improvements necessary to develop the
site, such as roads, sewer, and water lines. However, other
requirements also may be imposed on a subdivision, such as
the dedication of parkland, or the avoidance of damage to
environmental resources (Mandelker 1982:265-266). Some
local governments, such as San Diego County, California,
have specific subdivision regulations for significant historic
and archaeological sites. Courts have upheld the authority of
local governments to consider the impact of proposed
subdivision on historic resources (National Trust for Historic
Preservation 1991:2014).

During the planning process, planners review subdivision
applications and other development plans to see if they are in
compliance with the comprehensive plan and with local
ordinances. This “site plan review" process is one of several
avenues which local jurisdictions can use to implement
archaeological protection. However, subdivision rules do not
regulate use of land. In the example presented below,
protective covenants were attached to the deed to help
control future land use activity.

The subdivision process is only one avenue for
archaeological site review. Subdivisions are for residential
development and do not apply to commercial, mixed-used,
industrial, or other types of development. Since many
urbanized areas have been subdivided already, most new
development in these areas does not trigger subdivision
review. Ideally, all new construction should be reviewed for
its impact on historic resources. Some communities, such as
Alexandria, Virginia, have devised a tracking system for this

Vol. 45 No.3



Palmetto Lane is a quiet residential street in the
northwest portion of the City of Sarasota. The lane is one of
the oldest streets in Sarasota and is depicted on the 1883
government coast chart as a dirt road within the pioneer
Whitaker family's homestead compound (U.S.C.G.S. 1883).
A dozen years later, it was shown on the original 1895 plat of
the area (Whitaker Subdivision Plat 1895). Today, Palmetto
Lane is a narrow shady street lined by old cabbage palms.

The Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096) is one of the last
remaining portions of a long linear shell midden which
paralleled the shore of Sarasota Bay. The midden was shown
on a 1950 map of the Whitaker Site by archaeologist Ripley
Bullen (1950:21). In 1977, archaeologist Marion Almy named
and recorded the midden with the Florida Site File (FSF)
during an archaeological inventory of known sites in the City
of Sarasota (Monroe, Wells, and Almy 1977). At that time,
the shell midden was visible as a ridge running through
several bayfront parcels in a residential area just south of
Whitaker Bayou.

In early 1989, the City of Sarasota Planning Department
and Planning Board began to review a new subdivision plat
where the Palmetto Lane Midden is located. When the
developer learned that a shell midden was on the property, he
decided to name the proposed subdivision "Tocobaga Bay’
after the historic period Tocobaga Indians of the region.
Since subdividing this land would have destructive impacts on
the midden, the City asked the developer to begin steps to
protect the site. First, the Planning Board required a Phase I
archaeological survey to delimit the midden and to locate
other archaeological resources on the property.

Delimiting and Assessing the Site

In May 1989, the developer engaged the Archaeological
and Historical Conservancy, Inc. (AHC) to conduct a Phase I
archaeological survey of the proposed Tocobaga Bay
subdivision. The survey's field methodology, background
research, findings, and recommendations were presented in a
report prepared by the AHC for the developer (Archibald

At that time, the Tocobaga Bay property was especially
beautiful. It overlooked Sarasota Bay, and many native
cabbage palms, live oaks, walnut trees, and marlberry bushes
grew along the midden's gentle ridge. On the sandy ground
east of the midden were exotic trees including orchid trees, a
royal palm, a date palm, and a large camphor tree. These
plantings remained from an elegant estate which was torn
down in the early 1970s. The estate included a 1920s two-
story residence of brick and hollow tile, as well as gardens
and a decorative circular garden pool (Sanborn 1929;



Archibald 1989). A possible remnant of this estate was a
handsome stuccoed wall with a gate which, in 1990, graced
the property's entrance along Palmetto Lane.
The AHC's Phase I archaeological survey included the
following results and recommendations:
1) it delimited a linear shell midden running north-
south across the Tocobaga Bay property for a distance of
about 86 meters (280 feet),
2) it discovered human remains in a knoll or mound
directly east and adjacent to the midden, a discovery which
would help the developer to avoid impacting them and
thereby to avoid delays,
3) it determined that the burial mound and shell
midden contained locally and regionally significant historic
and scientific data,
4) as significant cultural resources, the burial mound
and shell midden merited preservation and were eligible for
listing in the National Register of Historic Places,
5) it located the mound and midden on engineering
maps to help avoid unnecessary future impacts during
development, and
6) it recommended several preservation alternatives.

Subdivision Development

Meanwhile, plans also proceeded to subdivide the
parcel. The need to optimize economic returns on such a
relatively small parcel precluded creating a greenspace for the
midden (a more favorable step for preserving it) and dictated
that a maximum number of lots be created. This meant that a
total of ten lots were planned, with the archaeological site
falling on three of them. The engineering plans which
accompanied this design included a central roadway, water
and sewer lines, and internal drainage within the limits of the
parcel. All of these planned changes would impact the
midden but were unavoidable given the circumstances.
In December 1989, the developer engaged AHC
archaeologists to conduct archaeological work while a large
backhoe dug three trenches across the shell midden. The first
trench was for sewer, the second was for potable water, and
the third was for drainage. The large sizes of these trenches
meant that considerable amounts of the midden would be
destroyed, and this required archaeological salvage work.
Thus, limited salvage work was conducted, including artifact
retrieval, profile mapping, and some sample collection (see
Construction commenced in late 1989 (Figure 1).
During this phase of subdivision development, the City of
Sarasota Planning Department took additional steps to
protect the archaeological site. These included a list of
archaeological compliance conditions for subdivision
approval. These conditions clarifed on-site scheduling with
the developer's excavation crew. Also, these formal
conditions required the addition of protective fill over
portions of the midden as well as over the knoll where a
human burial had been discovered by Phase I archaeological

Limited Archaeological Salvage Work

While a large backhoe dug trenches, the archaeologists
carefully observed the removal of midden material. Attention
was paid to the possible presence of human bones or
prehistoric features (such as fire pits, postmolds, or burials)
that would deserved more intensive work and study. As
digging proceeded, the backhoe bucket was used to place
midden material in sizeable piles. Different piles were made
in order to separate materials originating from various depths
and locations.
Artifact Retrieval. The collecting of artifacts was very
intensive. A valuable aid was the archaeologists' familiarity
and expertise with shell tools, and particularly with shell tool
debris. Large collections were made because they
undoubtedly would be critical for giving clues about the
prehistoric lifeways at the Palmetto Lane Midden. Artifacts
were collected during all stages of machine digging and
backfilling, and while the trenches were open. They were
bagged separately according to their approximate place of
Profile Mapping. After the trenches were dug, the walls
were inspected closely for features and details of stratification
(Figure 1). Then, datum points were established with
reference to surveyors' points and elevations. Next, a
measured line of reference stakes was established alongside
two of the trenches to assist in mapping. Profile maps were
carefully measured and drawn for a single wall in each of
these two trenches. Archaeological field notes documented
these activities.
Sampling. Samples were collected specifically for
radiocarbon and seasonality (clamshell) analyses. Analyses of
these samples were critical for understanding the site, but
were not funded by the developer. They were necessary for
scientific work, and would be essential for future public
interpretation and appreciation. Thus, archaeological analyses
were conducted and funded separately by the Archaeological
and Historical Conservancy (AHC) of Miami (see
accompanying articles in this issue).
Archaeological Report. Results of limited archaeological
salvage work were presented in a report prepared by the
AHC for the developer (Luer and Archibald 1990). It
included profile maps of backhoe trenches, artifact and
sample inventories, and recommendations for future
development. The recommendations included: marking the
limits of the archaeological site prior to construction, placing
protective fill over portions of the site, and a request to design
and build so that the least amount of midden would be
impacted as possible (this specified houses, pools, garages,
landscaping, and drainage).

Protective Covenants

As part of the final plat approval of the Tocobaga Bay
subdivision, the City of Sarasota Planning Department
advised the City Commission to require that the developer to
include legally-binding protective covenants. They would be
attached to the subdivision deeds. The covenents would


Figure 1. Palmetto Lane Midden (8SO96). Top: Archaeologist and Construction Worker Discuss Placement of the Sewer Line
During Subdivision Development, December 1989 (View to Northwest). Bottom: Archaeologist and Shell Midden at the South
Profile of the Sewer Trench, January 1990 (View to Southeast).


create a framework for cooperation, triggering further
archaeological work when future construction would impact
the site. Furthermore, they would help protect the developer
and future lot owners from destroying unmarked human
burials, a felony under Florida Statute 872.05.
The protective convenants contained stipulations
requiring professional archaeological supervision for specified
ground disturbances on the property, such as tree removal or
house construction. The City of Sarasota planning staff, the
City Attorney, and AHC archaeologists reviewed and
commented on this document.
The covenants are binding on "all persons having any
right, title or interest in or to" any Tocobaga Bay subdivision
property. As with all covenants, these were filed permanently
in the public records. As such, the covenants run with each
lot in the subdivision, and are incorporated by reference in all
subsequent deeds, mortgages, or other instruments pertaining
to the land. Thus, current and future lot owners or lessors
must abide by the convenants.
The stipulations in the covenants are triggered when
ground-disturbing activity is to take place on the property,
regardless of whether a permit is required from the City. For
example, when someone purchases a lot at Tocobaga Bay,
they must go through an archaeological review process before
they can begin land-altering activity on the lot. The City
Manager guides this process, and if archaeological work is
required, the lot owner engages a professional archaeologist.
Ideally, it should be the responsibility of a single
individual or group, such as the City's Historic Preservation
Board, to monitor this process. Consultation involving the
developer, lot buyers, engineers, architects, archaeologists,
and city officials (staff of the Building and Zoning
Department, the City Manager) is needed, both during the
design phase and well in advance of anticipated construction.
This will ensure that proper steps are taken, and that the
protective covenants are satisfied.


The archaeological survey and salvage work at Tocobaga
Bay showed that the Palmetto Lane Midden is a significant
cultural resource deserving of protection. Thanks to the
cooperation of the developer and city officials, some
significant and irreplaceable information was saved. They
were willing to take extra steps to help save some of the City's
heritage, and set a precedent by creating protective covenants
for an archaeological site in Sarasota.


The following individuals are thanked for their
cooperation and assistance: developer Frank Cameron
Lambert, engineer Herman Weinberg, construction manager
Mark McCabe, City Zoning Administrator Tim Litchett, City
Planner Alfred Barrett, and Robert Carr, President of the
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy. Archaeologist
George Luer offered valuable insight and support throughout
this project.

References Cited

Archibald, Lauren C.
1989 Archaeological Survey of Tocobaga Bay, Sarasota
County. Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc.
Technical Report No. 11, Miami.

Bullen, Ripley P.
1950 Tests at the Whittaker Site, Sarasota, Florida. The
Florida Anthropologist 3:21-29.

Luer, George M., and Lauren C. Archibald
1990 Monitoring and Limited Archaeological Salvage at the
Palmetto Lane Midden (8So96), Tocobaga Bay
Subdivision, Sarasota, Florida. Archaeological and
Historical Conservancy, Inc. Technical Report No. 18,

Mandelker, Daniel R.
1982 Land Use Law. The Michie Company, Charlottesville,

Monroe, Elizabeth, Sharon Wells, and Marion M. Almy
1977 Historical, Architectural, and Archaeological Survey of
Sarasota, Florida. Florida Bureau of Historic Sites and
Properties Division of Archives, History, and Records
Management. Miscellaneous Project Report Series, No.
51. Tallahassee.

National Trust for Historic Preservation
1991 New Developments in Preservation
Preservation Law Reporter 10:2003-2015.


Sanborn Insurance Company
1929 Map bf Sarasota Florida, map sheet 18. Sanborn
Insurance Company. New York.

Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council (SWFRPC)
1987 Regional Comprehensive Policy Plan for Southwest
Florida. Part Two: Southwest Florida Regional Goals,
Issues, and Policies. Adopted by the Southwest Florida
Regional Planning Council.

United States Coast and Geodetic Survey (U.S.C.G.S.)
1883 "Sarasota Bay Florida." J. E. Hilgard, Superintendent.
Copy on file, Sarasota County Department of Historical

Whitaker Subdivision Plat
1895 "Subdivision Plat ... Section 13, Twp. 36 South, Range
17 East ... the heirs of W. H. Whitaker." Filed October
16, 1896, Manatee County Plat No. 1, Page 120. Copy
on file, Sarasota County Department of Historical

Lauren C. Archibald
21 Cardinal Road
Wyomissing, PA 19610



George M. Luer

The Palmetto Lane Midden is a remnant of a significant
but little-known shell midden near Sarasota Bay, just south of
Whitaker Bayou. Located in a residential area, the midden is
being impacted by new residential development.
Archaeologists using radiocarbon-dating have
discovered that some of Palmetto Lane Midden dates to circa
A.D. 150, or the middle of the Manasota period (which dates
to circa 500 B.C. to A.D. 700). By studying shell tools from
the midden, archaeologists have discovered that they occupy
an intermediate position in a long continuum of shell tool
These and other findings are explained below. They
show that local governments, developers, and archaeologists
can work together to save irreplaceable information which is
useful to scientists and of lasting benefit to the public.


In January 1990, archaeologists conducted limited
salvage work at a portion of the Palmetto Lane Midden
situated within a new subdivision being developed in the City
of Sarasota. The city's Planning Department required
archaeological work (just as surveying, engineering, etc. were
required) because trenching for sewer, water, and drainage
would destroy portions of the midden (see Archibald, this
issue). The developer engaged the Archaeological and
Historical Conservancy (AHC) whose personnel mapped
profiles, collected artifacts and samples, inventoried salvaged
materials, and prepared a report (Luer and Archibald 1990).
Funds were lacking, however, to perform normal follow-
through analyses of recovered samples. These included
artifact, radiocarbon, and clam shell (seasonality) samples.
Because analyzing them was a necessary part of salvage work,
and because analyses were essential for public interpretation
and scientific understanding, the AHC independently funded
some of them. These are reported below, except for clam
shell analyses which are presented by Quitmyer, this issue..


During subdivision development, backhoes dug three
long trenches through the shell midden: 1) a wide Sewer
Trench, 2) a narrow Water Line Trench, and 3) a deep
Drainage Culvert Trench. In the Sewer and Drainage Culvert
Trenches, archaeologists mapped two profiles across the
entire width of the midden (see Figures 1 and 6 in
Quitmyer,this issue). This revealed two midden deposits, a
thick multi-layered upper midden and a thin lower midden,
separated by a culturally-sterile layer of sand.

Midden Assemblage

Both upper and lower middens consisted primarily of
quahog clam shells. Left-handed whelk and adult fighting
conch shells were common; surf clam and king's crown shells
were infrequent. Stone crab, ponderous ark, bay scallop, and
oyster shells occurred rarely. Animal bone was uncommon,
apparently due to poor preservation in both midden deposits.
Observed bone fragments were from deer, tortoise, sea turtle,
burrfish, jack, catfish, sheepshead, several types of sharks, and
possibly from mullet, rabbit, and porpoise. These remains
indicate that the Native Americans who created the Palmetto
Lane Midden hunted on land, and fished and gathered
shellfish in Sarasota Bay. The abundant quahog shells show
that they gathered, shucked, and ate vast numbers of quahog

Shell Midden Growth

The profiles across the Palmetto Lane Midden give
important insights into its formation. For example, many of
the upper midden's layers slope downhill to the east. Most
are relatively thin near the surface, and become thicker with
greater depth. Within the sloping layers, the shells have the
same angled orientations. These characteristics show that the
layers: 1) accumulated fairly rapidly on sloping surfaces, 2)
accumulated in an eastward direction as shells and other
debris were discarded on the upper midden's landward side,
and 3) were deposited from the west as debris was generated
on the midden's shoreward side.
The profiles indicate that the activities which created the
upper midden focused on the bayfront. There, Native
Americans shucked clams and other shellfish gathered from
the bay, dumping their shells in a landward direction to keep
the bayfront clear for a variety of activities. Besides shucking
shellfish, they probably also beached dugout canoes, cooked,
and used various shell tools (see below). Several buried
activity areas may be represented by dark horizontal strata in
the western or bayside portion of the Drainage Culvert
Trench's profile (one can be seen at 18 to 19 meters west in
Figure 6 in Quitmyer,this issue). It should be noted that a
similar pattern of shell midden accumulation was revealed at
a site in neighboring Charlotte County (Bullen and Bullen
1956:29, Fig. 4).
Interestingly, the Palmetto Lane Midden is shaped like a
ridge paralleling the bayshore. In light of the depositional
process described above, the midden's greater height and
width near the mouth of Whitaker Bayou suggest that
shucking shellfish was more intensive there. This is reflected



Vol. 45 No. 3


ridge paralleling the bayshore. In light of the depositional
process described above, the midden's greater height and
width near the mouth of Whitaker Bayou suggest that
shucking shellfish was more intensive there. This is reflected
by the profile in the Drainage Culvert Trench where large
volumes of discarded shells meant that the upper midden
grew substantially upward as well as eastward. This
disproportionate growth probably was encouraged by nearby
fresh water (apparently a short distance to the east where a
dredged pond exists today) and by calm waters for beaching
canoes near the bayou's mouth (see Figure 4 in this issue's
"Urban Archaeology in the City of Sarasota: the Whitaker
Archaeological Site Complex"). The thin lower midden may
reflect similar growth: it is thicker in the Drainage Culvert
Trench than in the Sewer Trench, suggesting that it is thickest
toward Whitaker Bayou.

Geologic Influences

The profiles across the Palmetto Lane Midden also
divulge three episodes of erosion and/or deposition which
occurred before, during, and after the midden formed. First,
erosion exposed a marl layer which became the site's original
ground surface. Second, after the lower midden was
deposited on the marl, sand washed downhill from the east
and covered the lower midden; this happened rapidly since
the sand is culturally-sterile, is contiguous with the upland to
the east, and is lacking in ecofacts such as estuarine shells.
Third, after the upper midden was deposited, sand and diffuse
midden shells accumulated over its eastern edge; again, these
appear to have washed downhill from adjacent higher ground.
A combination of natural and human forces could account for
these episodes: 1) shoreline erosion might have exposed the
marl, 2) heavy rains might have washed sand over the lower
midden, an event perhaps amplified if Native Americans had
cleared the upland to the east for firewood and other
purposes, and 3) gradual deposition from rain and wind might
have buried the upper midden's east edge, a process probably
helped by the clearing and cultivation of the adjacent upland
(begun by pioneers in the 1840s).

Radiocarbon Dates

Archaeologists recovered samples for radiocarbon
dating from the Sewer and Drainage Culvert Trenches. The
samples were from primary midden deposits and consisted of
discarded "food shells" such as quahog valves and left-handed
whelk shells (Luer and Archibald 1990:Appendix II). It was
likely that such shells would yield radiocarbon ages for the
time of the midden's accumulation.
The AHC's available funds allowed only three samples
to be dated. Thus, they were chosen carefully to yield a useful
set of dates. Three samples from the Drainage Culvert
Trench were selected (Figure 1). They were from close
horizontal proximity and offered a wide vertical range. One
came from the lower midden, and the other two came from
the upper midden, one from its lower portion and the other
from nearer the surface.
Each radiocarbon sample was a quahog shell collected
for seasonality analysis. One shell (RCS#4) was from
Clamshell Sample #4 (CSS#4), another (RCS#5) was from

Clamshell Sample #5 (CSS#5), and a third (RCS#6) was
from Clamshell Sample #6 (CSS#6). Each of these shells
was sawn in half (cross-sectioned) for seasonality
determination, and then the anterior portion was submitted
for radiocarbon dating. All three shells were left valves.
The radiocarbon dates (Table 1) cluster between 100
B.C. to A.D. 400. The dates are "fairly good" dates in that
they almost overlap each other when compared at two
standard deviations. An average of the three dates yields a
calendrically-corrected age of cal A.D. 117 to cal. A.D. 220
(Stuvier and Reimer 1987). This age falls near the middle of
the long Manasota period which ranged from circa 500 B.C.
to circa A.D. 700. Interestingly, a similar age (around A.D.
200 in uncorrected radiocarbon years) was obtained from a
portion of the nearby Acacias Midden (8S097B) (Austin
1992:Table 3).
An age of circa A.D. 150 for the Palmetto Lane Midden
is consistent with artifacts from the trenches. For example,
both upper and lower midden deposits yielded similar thick
sand-tempered plain pottery sherds. Some of these are
incurving rim sherds with chamfered lips which, based on a
study of similar sherds (Luer and Almy 1980), suggest an age
around 300 B.C. to A.D. 400. Both middens also yielded shell
tools which are consistent with this age (see below). These
artifacts, like the radiocarbon dates, suggest that there is no
great hiatus between upper and lower middens.

Shell Tools and Debris

The trenches through the Palmetto Lane Midden were
combed intensively for shell tools. They were not abundant,
but a fair number were collected due to the large amount of
midden material removed by the backhoes. In addition,
careful attention helped to recover pieces of broken shell
tools and other shell fragments. This special effort produced
an informative sample of shell tools and associated debris.

Shell Tools

The following paragraphs discuss the kinds of shell tools
found. A full inventory can be found in the AHC report
(Luer and Archibald 1990:Appendix III). Some of the shell
tools resemble types from earlier sites, others resemble types
from later sites, and one is an important "transitional" tool
type. These attributes are consistent with the sample's
intermediate temporal position in a long continuum of shell
tool evolution, discussed below.
Left-Handed Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools. One
"Type X" (also called "Type E") and four "Type AX" (also
called "modified Type E") cutting-edged tools were found.
Type X tools have one, two, or no hafting holes in the spire.
Type AX tools also have one, two, or no hafting holes in the
spire as well as an additional hafting hole in the outer body
whorl located close to the shoulder and near the modified
outer lip. Based on limited evidence from the Canton Street
Site in St. Petersburg, Bullen et al. (1978:12, Table 2, Fig.11)
suggest that Type AX represents a transitional form between
Type X (an Archaic period form) and Type A (a form
appearing sometime after A.D. 0).
It is significant that finds at the Palmetto Lane Midden
support and clarify Bullen's interpretation. That is, the


10mW 11mW

12mW 13mW




Figure 1. A Portion of the South Profile, Drainage Culvert Trench, Palmetto Lane Midden (8SO96). Note locations where
radiocarbon samples (RCS#'s) were collected. The ground surface at 10 meters west (10 m W) is approximately 3.3 meters
above mean sea level.

Table 1. Radiocarbon Dates from the South Profile of the Drainage Culvert Trench, Palmetto Lane Midden (8SO96). Listed
for each are: submitter's lot number, lab number, uncorrected age in radiocarbon years before present (present = A.D. 1950)
with one sigma standard deviation, and corrected one sigma calendar age range with intercept(s) in parentheses based on Stuvier
and Reimer (1987) using their 20 year atmospheric record. These dates have not been corrected for isotopic fractionation (C-
13/C-12) nor for the reservoir effect which, in southern Florida, tend to cancel each other. See text for an average of these dates,
and see Figures 1 and 2 for proveniences.

1. CSS#4, Beta-54002 1820 + /-60 cal AD 117 ( 214) 250
2. CSS#5, Beta-54003 1990+/-60 cal BC 92 (AD 8) AD 72
3. CSS#6, Beta-54004 1730+/-60 calAD 233 ( 261, 288, 327) 392






Palmetto Lane Midden is the first site where archaeologists
have recovered a number of Type AX cutting-edged tools
and, moreover, from contexts which are radiocarbon-dated.
For example, the Drainage Culvert Trench yielded two Type
AX specimens from the lower midden and one Type AX
specimen apparently from the upper midden (Luer and
Archibald 1990:26, 27). These same deposits did not yield
Type A cutting-edged tools, a type known from later times.
This supports Bullen’s contention that Type AX precedes
Type A, and indicates that Type AX was indeed a
“transitional form" in vogue around 100 B.C. to A.D. 400 (see
“Radiocarbon Dating," above).

The Palmetto Lane Midden's single Type X cutting-
edged tool came from the Sewer Trench (Luer and Archibald
1990:22) and suggests that some Type X tools continued to be
used in early and mid Manasota times. Locally, Type X (also
called "Type E") tools have been found at earlier Florida
Transitional (circa 1000-500 B.C.) and/or late Archaic
contexts at Canton Street (Bullen et al. 1978:Table 2), the top
of the Palmer Site's Hill Cottage Midden in Osprey (Luer
1984; Luer et al. 1986:121), and Calusa Island in Lee County
(Bob Edic, pers. comm. 1989; Luer 1989:252).

It should be noted all three forms of the whelk shell
cutting-edged tool were very important to Native Americans.
The tools apparently were used for heavy-duty hewing and
chopping, perhaps for making fire-hollowed dugout canoes,
paddles, and other wooden items. The shifts from Type X to
Type AX to Type A were gradual and presumably are
technological refinements. The shifts represent changes in
hafting mode, perhaps to a more efficient tool.

Left-Handed Whelk Shell Tool Blank. The recovery of
a single tool blank shows that preforms for whelk shell
cutting-edged tools were being fabricated by mid-Manasota
times. Similar specimens have been found at later sites in the
region (Luer et al. 1986; Luer and Archibald 1988:8Ch35).

Columella Chisels and Hammers. Several left-handed
whelk and horse conch columella hammers were found. They
resemble examples from the Hill Cottage Midden (Bullen
1972:Fig. 7:b-d; Luer 1984). The Sewer Trench yielded an
intact horse conch columella chisel made from a long full-
length columella; its basal end had a sharp point and a
delicate bevel. It was identical to another specimen found in
the top of the Hill Cottage Midden (Luer 1984). The Sewer
Trench also yielded two additional pieces of horse conch
columella chisels, apparently snapped from usage. Also
found was a sizeable robust left-handed whelk shell columella
with a large bevel on its basal end.

Left-Handed Whelk Shell Pounders. Four unbroken
specimens and six fragments were found (see Figure 2). The
fragments appear to have been broken from use; they are
columella and spire sections apparently produced when the
handle of the tool snapped in half. This tool type was
recognized by the Bullens at the Cash Mound in Charlotte
County (Bullen and Bullen 1956:P]. VI:E) and at the Hill
Cottage Midden (Bullen 1972:Fig. 7:g; Bullen and Bullen
1976:P1. TII:s). Additional specimens have been recovered
from the top of the Hill Cottage Midden (Luer 1984) which
appears to be of the late Archaic (circa 1000 B.C.) period.
Specimens post-dating the Palmetto Lane Midden were found
at the nearby Boylston Mound (see this issue).


Notched Shell Hammers. A few reduced left-handed
whelk and horse conch shell hammers were found which have
paired hafting notches. The former include two or three Type
D hammers, such as a heavy specimen from the lower midden
in the Sewer Trench. The horse conch specimens include two
unbroken examples and fragments of two others. All these
specimens resemble tools found in local sites of the late
Weeden Island (circa A.D. 800-1000) and/or Safety Harbor
(circa A.D. 1000-1700) periods.

Unperforated Left-Handed Whelk Shell Hammers.
About a dozen unreduced whelk shells were found which
show wear on their basal tips from hammering. They are
unusual for their lack of hafting holes or notches, and appear
to be expedient tools.

Unperforated_and Perforated Fighting Conch Shell

Hammers. The midden's most numerous shell tools were

small hammers fashioned from reduced adult fighting conch
shells. About one-half of their outer body whorl is removed,
and they show wear on their modified basal ends. However,
95% of these tools have no holes for the insertion of a handle:
of a total of 75 specimens, 71 have no holes and four have a
pair of hafting holes. The former look like one of Bullen's
“hand hammers" from the Vanderbilt site (Bullen and Bullen
1956:Pl. VI:A). The perforated specimens resemble the two-
holed fighting conch shell hammers which are common at
several local Manasota period middens such as at Roberts
Bay (Luer 1977:Fig. 4, i and j). Perhaps unperforated
specimens are an expedient form especially useful for a task
in demand at the Palmetto Lane Midden: shucking clams.

Tool Uses

A variety of activities is shown by the midden's shell
tools and shell debris. The various chisels and cutting-edged
tools reveal a range of wood-working. Robust whole-shell
Type AX cutting-edged tools were for heavy-duty hewing and
gouging. The lengthy horse conch columella chisels served in
lighter work, such as delicate carving.

As may be expected in a midden produced largely by
shucking quahog clams and discarding their shells,
hammering tools are the most prevalent tools. The
unperforated whelk shell hammers, like the unperforated
fighting conch shell hammers, probably met the large demand
for simple and expendable shucking tools. Less numerous
whelk shell pounders apparently served as a more specialized
form of hammering tool.

The midden's shell debris divulges different shucking
techniques. Many of the large left-handed whelk and horse
conch shells had their outer body whorls battered away. This
activity produced numerous fragments of body whorl and
other shell portions such as many items collected from the
trenches and labelled whelk shell "mashers" and "spikes"
(Luer and Archibald 1990:Appendix III). The former
consisted of basal portions of left-handed whelk shells and,
except for a lack of use-wear, they resembled the "masher"
pictured by Blanchard and Marquardt (1989:13). Shucking of
quahog clams involved breaking the right valves. This
resulted in fragments of right valves and intact left valves (see
Luer 1986). The trenches through the Palmetto Lane Midden
exposed tens of thousands of intact left valves.


Figure 2. Whelk Shell Pounder. These Tools Were Grasped by the Columella and Used for Striking Objects.

Some Contrasts in Shell Tools

Some of the types of shell tools occurring at the
Palmetto Lane Midden do not occur at later sites, and vice-
versa. This reflects the appearance of some new types of
tools, and the disappearance of some old ones. For example,
the Palmetto Lane Midden's shell tool assemblage can be
compared to the nearby Boylston Mound's assemblage which
dates to circa A.D. 1250 (see article in this issue). Both of
these assemblages are derived from large volumes of general
midden deposit, and appear to be representative although not
exhaustive samples. Obvious differences include the Boylston
Mound's Type A whelk shell cutting-edged tools, numerous
Type C and Type D whelk shell hammers, perforated
ponderous ark valves, quahog valve anvils, and perforated
quahog valve, as well as the Boylston Mound's lack of Type X
or Type AX cutting-edged tools and fighting conch shell
The causes of these differences are still little-known.
Innovation seems to have played a part, as in the shift from
Type AX to Type A cutting-edged tools. It has been
suggested that social change may account for the
disappearance of fighting conch shell hammers and the

appearance of numerous whelk shell Type C hammers (Luer
et al. 1986:121). This change seems to parallel an increased
use and re-use of robust left-handed whelk shell for tools. It
may reflect a growing role and specialization of shell tool
makers in Native American societies along Florida's lower
Gulf coast.


While a tract was being subdivided in the City of
Sarasota, archaeologists worked in construction trenches cut
through the Palmetto Lane Midden where they discovered
cultural deposits belonging to the Manasota period.
Subsequent radiocarbon-dating shows that much of the
midden dates to the mid-Manasota period, circa A.D. 150.
This is one of the first clearly-identified midden deposits of
that particular time and culture.
Besides giving insights into daily life, such as wood-
working and shellfish-shucking, the midden's shell tools are
scientifically useful because they occupy an intermediate
position in a long continuum of shell tool evolution. The
midden yielded significant new data about an important tool:
the whelk shell Type AX cutting-edged tool which is


"transitional" between Type X and Type A cutting-edged
tools. Such findings show that archaeological work in
conjuction with development can save information which is
important to science and of lasting benefit to public
interpretation and appreciation.


Besides cultural data, the Palmetto Lane Midden also
contains other irreplaceable information as yet untapped.
For example, studying the midden's quahog shells could
divulge new biologically-useful data about the growth, health,
and age distribution of a prehistoric population of quahogs.
Why do some shells have deeply-indented growth rings, and
why do some have wavy growth lines? What conditions in the
paleoenvironment favored an abundance of quahogs? Do the
midden's vast numbers of quahog shells suggest the existence
of prolific clam beds, perhaps like one which existed near
Gasparilla Island in the 1960s (Woodburn 1962:25;
Godcharles and Jaap 1973:32)? In striking contrast, why is
quahog "food shell" so rare in the nearby Boylston Mound
(see this issue)? Is it because conditions in Sarasota Bay
stopped favoring quahogs, or is it due to cultural differences
between the inhabitants of the two sites?
Finally, it should be noted that additional portions of the
Palmetto Lane Midden have been impacted since 1990 when
the archaeological salvage work (reported above) was
conducted. Some impacts occurred when a new house was
built on the midden in Lot 3 of the Tocobaga Bay Subdivision.
To the north and outside the subdivision, two older houses
were demolished and a large portion of the northern end of
the midden was removed.


Funding for this article's radiocarbon dates was possible
thanks to the cooperation of Robert S. Carr, President of the
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc.


Collections from the Palmetto Lane Midden are curated
at the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources
in Sarasota.

References Cited

Archibald, Lauren C.
1989 Archaeological Survey of Tocobaga Bay, Sarasota
County. Report dated June. Archaeological and
Historical Conservancy, Inc. Technical Report No. 11,

Austin, Robert J.
1992 Phase II Excavations at the Acacias Site (8S097B &
C), Sarasota County, Florida. Report dated March. On
file, Piper Archaeological Research, Inc. St. Petersburg,

Blanchard, Chuck, and Bill Marquardt
1989 Shell Tools in Southwest Florida and the Importance of
Cash Mound. Calusa News 3:13.

Bullen, Ripley P.
1972 The Orange Period of Peninsular Florida. In Fiber-
tempered Pottery in Southeastern United States and
Northern Columbia: Its Origins, Context, and
Significance, edited by R. P. Bullen and J. B. Stoltman,
pp. 9-33. Florida Anthropological Society Publications,
No. 6.

Bullen, Ripley P., Walter Askew, Lee M. Feder, and Richard
L. McDonnell
1978 The Canton Street Site, St. Petersburg Florida. Edited
by Jerald T. Milanich. Florida Anthropological Society
Publications, No. 9.

Bullen, Ripley P., and Adelaide K. Bullen
1956 Excavations on the Cape Haze Peninsula, Florida.
Contributions of the Florida State Museum, Social
Sciences, No. 1. Gainesville.

Godcharles, Mark F., and Walter C. Jaap
1973 Exploratory Clam Survey of Florida Nearshore and
Estuarine Waters with Commercial Hydraulic Dredging
Gear. Florida Department of Natural Resources,
Marine Research Laboratory, St. Petersburg.

Luer, George M.
1977 The Roberts Bay Site, Sarasota, Florida. The Florida
Anthropologist 30:121-133.

1984 The Palmer Site, Osprey, Florida: The Hill Cottage
Midden and the Shell Ridge Re-Visited, With A
Comparative Analysis of Midden Shell. Unfinished
manuscript on file with author.

1986 Some Interesting Archaeological Occurrences of
Quahog Shells on the Gulf Coast of Central and
Southern Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 39:125-
159. Also: Post-Printing Corrections for FASP#12. The
Florida Anthropologist 39:193.

1989 Notes on the Howard Shell Mound and Calusa Island,
Lee County, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 42:249-

Luer, George M., David Allerton, Dan Hazeltine, Ron
Hatfield, and Darden Wood
1986 Whelk Shell Tool Blanks from Big Mound Key
(8Ch10), Charlotte County, Florida: with Notes on
Certain Whelk Shell Tools. The Florida Anthropologist

Luer, George M., and Marion M. Almy
1980 The Development of Some Aboriginal Pottery of the
Central Peninsular Gulf Coast of Florida. The Florida
Anthropologist 33:207-225.


Luer, George M., and Lauren C. Archibald
1988 An Assessment of Known Archaeological Sites in
Charlotte Harbor State Reserve. Report dated July.
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc.
Technical Report No. 6, Miami.
1990 Monitoring and Limited Archaeological Salvage at the
Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096), Tocobaga Bay
Subdivision, Sarasota, Florida. Report dated July.
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc.
Technical Report No. 18, Miami.

Stuvier, Mince, and P. J. Reimer
1987 Radiocarbon Calibration Program 1987, Rev.1.3.
Quaternary Isotope Lab. University of Washington.

Woodburn, Kenneth D.
1962 Clams and Oysters in Charlotte County and Vicinity.
Florida Board of Conservation Marine Laboratory, No.
62-12. Unpublished report on file, Florida Department
of Natural Resources, Marine Research Laboratory, St.

George M. Luer
3222 Old Oak Drive
Sarasota, FL 34239



Irvy R. Quitmyer

First, this article is a brief introduction to seasonality
determination in Florida shell middens. Next, methods and
materials are explained for assessing seasonality of quahog
shell samples. Then, data derived from the Palmetto Lane
Midden's quahog samples are presented. Finally, broader
perspectives of interpretation are discussed.


Peninsular Florida encompasses approximately 3,700
miles of coastline that is subject to contact with the marine
environment. The aboriginal shell middens that occur along
much of this expanse document over 5,000 years of Florida
cultural prehistory and attest to a highly productive marine
environment. Extensive study of shell middens over the past
40 years has helped to define the material culture of the
people that lived in the coastal realm; however, archaeologists
are now just starting to define these people in specific terms
of human ecology.
Basic to understanding human ecology is understanding
when (seasonality or paleoseasonality studies) aboriginal
people occupied these sites (Clark 1979; Claassen 1986, 1990;
Deith 1983, 1986; Koike 1980; Lightfoot and Cerrato 1989;
Miller 1980; O'Brien and Peter 1983; Quitmyer et al. 1985;
Quitmyer and Jones 1992). The question arises: Were the
builders of Florida's shell middens full-time residents of the
coast or did they seasonally abandon these sites for resources
in the interior?
Questions concerning aboriginal seasonality have been
addressed using a variety of techniques. Early studies relied
on the presence or absence of migratory species such as the
common loon (Gavia immer) that visits the Gulf Coast of
Florida from October to May (Howell 1932:73). The
problem with this technique is that the absence of an animal
species does not necessarily constitute a signature of
seasonality (Quitmyer 1992; Russo 1991:161-163).
Notwithstanding, the tropical or near tropical climate of the
Florida Peninsula negates the need for most animals to
aestivate or hibernate for long periods of time. Such animals
are therefore not always suitable indicators of seasonality.
Further confounding attempts to establish the seasonality of
prehistoric coastal people has been the lack of
zooarchaeological studies or inadequate midden samples
when such research is undertaken.

Recent research has shown that the skeletons of several
species of marine organisms contained in shell middens are
biochronometers that reliably record seasonal changes in the
marine environment and can provide important data about
aboriginal seasonality (Arnold et al. 1991; Jones et al. 1989;
Jones et al. 1990; Quitmyer et al. 1985; Quitmyer and Jones
1992; Russo 1991). Many of these species represent major
zoological constituents of shell middens. One such
chronometer is the Southern Quahog (Mercenaria
campechiensis). Quahogs secrete an alternating pattern of
light and dark shell increments that are associated with the
annual cycle. These incremental shell structures are
analogous to tree rings in that they contain a record of the
environment (Dodd and Stanton 1981:189-221; Jones et al.
1989; Peterson et al. 1985; Lutz and Rhoads 1977).
Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096), located along Sarasota
Bay (Figure 1), contains dense deposits of Southern Quahog
shells. Quahogs are a common faunal constituent of most
Southwest Florida shell middens. Luer and Archibald (1990),
however, report that this species is much more numerous at
the Palmetto Lane Midden than at most other shell middens.
The purpose of this research is to provide an estimate of site
seasonality by comparing a modern analog of incremental
shell growth of Southern Quahog with samples of shells
collected from the Palmetto Lane Midden.

Methods and Materials

Modem Reference Series

A long-term study of living Southern Quahogs from
Charlotte Harbor, Florida was undertaken to correlate the
annual cycle of incremental shell growth formation with the
seasons of the year in Southwest Florida (Quitmyer and Jones
1992). This reference series is the model against which
archaeological specimens are compared.
Approximately 66 (average) live quahogs were collected
each month for a one-year period (March 1986 -- February
1987) from two Charlotte Harbor localities: Bokeelia ,n =
367, and Catfish Creek, n = 420 (Quitmyer and Jones 1991).
The growth increments of 399 (50.7%) specimens were
readable from this collection.
Most quahogs exhibit concentric "growth rings" on the
external surface of their shells that mark the annual internal


Vol. 45 No. 3


Patan tet head
"Ww buried pipe

-â„¢ Drainage Culvert Trench

Nor, h

15 meters

Contours in Feet Above
Mean Sea Level

ee ee

Water Line

Palmetto Lane
--«, Midden


: “y Sewer Trench
filled area“)

| Tocobaga Bay

filled area 3 see Sahdtision

Sarasota Bay


Figure 1. Plan View Maps. Left: Location of Palmetto Lane Midden (8SO96) and Tocobaga Bay Subdivision Near Whitaker
Bayou in Sarasota. Right: Locations of Backhoe Trenches Across Midden.


Ventral margin


Figure 2. An Illustration of the Position of the Radial Cut of the Quahog Shell, Mercenaria spp. (Quitmyer et al. 1985.

shell layer

Annual Growth cycle

Opaque Increment


Middle Shell Layer/

Hinge plate

Ventral Margin

Figure 3. An Illustration of a Cross-Sectioned Quahog Shell (Mercenaria spp.) and the Internal Incremental Growth Structure
(Quitmyer et al. 1985).


shell growth increments (Figure 2). False rings resulting
from periodic events such as storm surges can be manifested
in the shell surface, but these do not always correlate with the
annual cycle of microstructural change found in the shell
(Jones et al. 1978:63-64; Claassen 1982:151).

Shell Preparation

The most accurate method of observing the internal
shell growth features associated with the annual cycle is to
cross-section the shell radially along the greatest growth axis
from the umbo to the ventral margin (Figure 2; Quitmyer and
Jones 1992). A high speed, water-cooled, lapidary saw
equipped with a thin diamond blade was used to expose the
alternating shell growth increments (Figure 3). These
increments were evaluated microscopically (10x or 20x) and
with the unaided eye.
An alternating pattern of white and dark (usually gray)
growth increments are apparent in quahog shells cross-
sectioned radially (Figure 3). Back-lighted thin-sectioned
shells show that the white increment is opaque because the
microcrystallites are loosely positioned and reflect light. The
opaque increment is usually wider than the dark increment
and marks a period of rapid shell growth. In thin section,
well-organized tightly-packed aragonite crystallites allow

transmitted light to pass through the dark growth increment.
Slow shell growth is marked by this smaller translucent
increment. One opaque and one translucent increment form
during the annual cycle of growth in Mercenaria spp. (Arnold
1991; Jones et al. 1990; Peterson et al. 1985 Quitmyer and
Jones 1992). A count of the number of translucent
increments provides the age (in years) of the animal.
Water temperature, or factors relating to water
temperature, seem to have the greatest influence on the
timing of the incremental shell formation although all causal
factors have not been fully identified (Ansell 1968; Dodd and
Stanton 1981:216-217; Jones et al. 1989; Jones et al. 1990;
Quitmyer and Jones 1992). The optimum temperature for
maximum shell growth in Mercenaria spp. is 200C (Ansell
1968). Growth decreases (marked by the translucent growth
increment) above and below the optimum temperature and
there is no growth at temperatures below 90C or above 310C
(Ansell 1968).

Temporal Control of Contemporary Incremental Shell Growth

Temporal control of the alternating translucent and
opaque growth increments (Figure 4) was established by
evaluating the increments found in the cross-sections of
contemporary quahog using a convenient six-part subdivision

Figure 4. An Illustration of the Arbitrary Six-Part Subdivision of Incremental Shell Growth (Quitmyer et al. 1985).


contemporary quahog using a convenient six-part subdivision
of the annual shell growth cycle (Arnold et al. 1991; Jones
1980; Quitmyer et al. 1985; Quitmyer and Jones 1992). Each
subdivision is referred to as a growth phase. The formation
of the translucent growth increment was divided into three
growth phases: a) Translucent 1 (T1) translucent growth just
starting; b) Translucent 2 (T2) translucent increment
approximately one-half the size of the previous year's
translucent increment; and ,c) Translucent 3 (T3) the
translucent growth is equal to or greater than the previous
translucent increment. The formation of the opaque
increment was also divided into three growth phases: a)
Opaque 1 (01) opaque growth just starting; b) Opaque 2
(02) opaque increment approximately one-half the size of
the previous year's opaque increment; and, c) Opaque 3 (03)
- increment nearly completed, almost equal in size to the
previous year's opaque growth. Terminal growth phases
compared to the previous shell growth increments to establish
temporal control does not indicate that growth is a linear
process through life. Growth rate is exponential throughout
ontogeny and highly seasonal in nature (Jones et al. 1990;
Quitmyer and Jones 1992). Furthermore, there is some
individual variability among quahogs living in the same bed, in
different years, and in different habitats (Quitmyer and Jones
The method of comparing the most recent growth
increment with the previous annual growth increment is a
concern. Annual growth increments become progressively
smaller, especially during the initial years of life; thus there
exists a chance of misassigning the proper growth phase for
young individuals (Jones et al. 1990). In this study, our
categorization of shell growth considers the previous growth
of the individual quahog, as well as the incremental growth of
all individuals in the one-year sample.

Growth Frequency Profiles of Contemporary Quahog

A growth frequency profile is constructed by
determining the percentage (frequency) of individuals in each
of the six growth phases and presenting the results in the
form of histograms (Figure 5). These growth frequency
profiles form an analog of shell growth within a quahog
population at three analytical levels; monthly, season, and
annual. The level at which archaeological seasonality can be
confidently assessed using these growth frequency profiles
rests on the amount of variability within each of the three
analytical levels.
Quitmyer and Jones (1992) found that, at Charlotte
Harbor, many of the growth profiles among adjacent months
are too similar to estimate confidently quahog harvest on a
monthly basis within a single bed or between habitats. There
was great similarity in the seasonal and annual growth
frequency profiles of quahogs living in different habitats
(Jones et al. 1990; Quitmyer and Jones 1992). The growth

profile data of quahogs collected from Bokeelia and Catfish
Creek was therefore pooled to form an analog of incremental
shell growth at the seasonal and annual levels (Figure 5).
Seasonal Growth Frequency Profiles. The season cycle
of growth increment formation proceeds in the following
manner (Figure 5). First, during the winter quarter
(December through February), a T3 growth phase dominates
the growth frequency profiles of both study areas with low
frequencies of T2 and 01. Growth phases T1, 02, and 03
are not present in the winter growth profiles. During the
spring quarter (March through May), the frequency of T3
growth phase is lower than the previous (winter) season.
Opaque shell growth is most prevalent during this season and
indicates the optimum period of shell growth. The presence
of traces of T1 and T2 shell growth represents the approach
of less favorable conditions of the summer quarter. In the
summer quarter (June through August), the growth profiles
may be characterized by the strong presence of all phases of
translucent growth with T1 being more apparent during this
season. Opaque phases are present, but in low frequency.
Finally, in the fall quarter (September through November),
the T1 growth phase is diminished from the previous season
(summer) and there is a marked increase in T2 and T3
phases. Opaque growth phases, with the exception of 01
(1.1%) are absent from the growth frequency profile.
Annual Growth Frequency Profile. The annual growth
frequency profile further confirms what is seen in the
seasonal growth frequency profiles. Translucent shell growth
is a long-lived phenomenon that first starts to form in the
summer months when water temperature is consistently
above 310C (Jones et al. 1990:219; Quitmyer and Jones 1992).
The low frequency of opaque shell growth, which is confined
primarily to a relatively short period during the spring, is a
short-lived phenomenon. At Charlotte Harbor, opaque shell
formation occurs at around 200C (Jones et al. 1990:219).
This confirms the observations of other researchers (Ansell
1968; Arnold et al. 1991; Jones et al. 1989).
Two important points about the use of these data should
be presented. First, a single individual or even a small sample
of quahogs may not be representative of the growth profiles
of the local quahog population. The time of quahog harvest
has to be based on a sufficiently large sample size. Second,
when the growth profile of the archaeological sample deviates
from the yearly growth profile, it is assumed that aboriginal
harvest of quahogs can be described by the seasonal growth
profiles (Quitmyer and Jones 1992).

Palmetto Lane Midden Archaeological Context

The archaeological quahog shells used in this study were
collected by archaeologists as part of a limited salvage project
conducted in late December 1989 to early 1990 at the
Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096) (see articles by Luer and

Percent %

TI T2 T3 01 02 03






V 1 T TI I 1 02 O
TI T2 T3 01 02 03

T1 T2 T3 01 02

Percent %

90.0 FALL., r 94




50.0- 48.9



10.0 7.4


T1 T2 T3 01 02 03

Percent %

90.0 ANNUAL, n-399

80.0 -

70.0 -


50.0 47.1



20.0 19.3
12.0 10.

T1 T2 T3 01 02 03

Figure 5. Growth Frequency Profiles Illustrating the Periodicity of Seasonal and Annual Incremental Shell Growth in Quahogs,
Mercenaria campechiensis, Collected From Charlotte Harbor, Southwest Florida.


Percent %

90.0- SPRING n-11l








0.9 0.9

- WINTER, n.97


1.6 16.4

11 *

Percent %

M SUMMER, n-92







40.0 -


20.0 -


t1. 0,0 00


I 1 1



Archibald, this issue). This site is in the City of Sarasota (see
Figure 1).
Samples of quahogs were collected from four
proveniences, two from the south profile of the Sewer Trench
and two from the south profile of the Drainage Culvert
Trench (Figure 6). The samples are: Clamshell Sample #1
(CSS#1), Layer E, 20-70 centimeters below surface (cmbs),
n=56; Clamshell Sample #2 (CSS#2), Layer B 50-70 cmbs,
n=49; Clamshell Sample #4 (CSS#4), general level of the
midden, 25-45 cmbs, n=25; and Clamshell Sample #5
(CSS#5), general level of the midden, 60-90 cmbs, n=41 (see
Figures 1,6). Quahog shells from two additional samples
(Clamshell Samples #3 and #6) were badly degraded and
could not be used in this study. Radiocarbon dating indicates
that this part of the site accumulated approximately between
A.D. 117 and A.D. 200 and represents the Manasota cultural
period (see Luer this issue).


The author conducted the analysis of the quahog shells
at the Zooarchaeology Laboratory, Florida Museum of
Natural History, Gainesville. The growth increments were
readable of 171 shells of 396 (43%) collected. Results of the
study are presented below.
Sample #1. 20-70 cmbs, surface at 0 m W. The sample
of quahogs collected from this provenience contained shells
that were in all phases of incremental growth (Figure 7).
Translucent three (T3, 25.0%), 01 (23.2%), and 03 (23.2%)
were the most frequently identified growth phases in the
sample. To a much lesser extent T1 (8.9%), T2 (10.7%), and
02 (8.9%) shell growth phases were present. This growth
frequency profile would result when quahogs are harvested in
late winter when T3 shell formation is robust and into the
spring quarter when opaque shell growth is at a maximum
(see Figure 5).
Sample #2. 50-70cmbs, surface at 2 m W. The growth
frequency profile of Sample #2 is similar to the previous
sample (Figure 7). Quahog shells contain a high frequency of
all phases of opaque incremental shell formation; 01
(18.4%), 02 (12.2%), and 03 (24.6%). All phases of
translucent shell growth are also present: T1 (2.0%), T2
(14.3%), and T3 (28.6%). This growth frequency profile is
best described by the combination of late winter and spring
(see Figure 5).
Sample #4. 25-35cmbs, surface at 9 m W. All phases of
opaque shell formation were identified in sample #4 (Figure
7); 01 (38.0%), 02 (8.0%), and 03 (4.0%). Shells containing
T1 (8.0%), T2 (12.0%), and T3 (32.0%) were present in the
sample. The high frequency of T3 and 01 indicate a narrow
period of quahog harvest. Such a profile would occur during
the late winter, when T3 shell growth is most prevalent, and
during the early spring before the onset of 02 and 03 shell
growth (see Figure 5).

Sample #5. 60-90cmbs, surface at 13 m W. The growth
profile of the quahog shells from Sample #5 differs from the
preceding three archaeological samples in that it is most
similar to the modern annual growth frequency profile (see
Figures 5 and 7). Translucent 3 growth dominates the sample
(43.9%), while T1 (2.4%) and T2 (24.4%) account for the
remaining individuals forming translucent shell growth. Like
the modern annual analog, all the phases of opaque growth
are below 10%: 01 (9.8), 02 (9.8) and 03 (9.8).


The data recovered during the course of this study
contain information about the seasonality of the people who
were living at the Palmetto Lane Midden some 1800 years
ago. Significant information about aboriginal seasonality and
resource use is apparent when these data are compared to
other sites from Southwest Florida. These data also indicate
that the methodological approach in determining seasonality
has to be carefully considered.


Growth increment analysis of quahog shells to
determine site seasonality is not a panacea. The method
represents a first step in determining site seasonality. The
use of the modern analog of incremental shell formation
through the annual cycle relies on a pattern of seasonal and
annual shell growth in a quahog population. A single
individual quahog cannot be used as a seasonal indicator and
samples have to be sufficiently large. To illustrate, T3 shell
growth phase may be found in the quahog population at any
time of the year (Figure 5). A single quahog shell in T3
growth is not indicative of any one discrete season.
Often growth increment data have been pooled to
increase sample size from a site. At the Catfish Creek site,
which is also located in Sarasota County, this technique
resulted in a spring growth frequency profile (Figure 8,
Austin and Russo 1989:79-80). It is not certain if the
periodicity of quahog harvest was the result of a single season
(spring) or an intermittent collection during the spring over
several years (Austin and Russo 1989:175). The general
archaeological construct of Catfish Creek seemed to indicate
a repeated seasonal occupation to exploit a narrow range of
resources (Austin and Russo 1989:79-80). Radiocarbon
results show the site was used over a period of 300 years,
A.D.700-1000 (Austin and Russo 1989:79).
When the growth frequency profiles from a site are
highly seasonal, as it is in Samples #1, #2, and #3 from
Palmetto Lane, it does not necessarily indicate that site
seasonality was of short duration (Figure 8). Hunter- fisher-
gatherers are known to ignore some commonly occurring
resources in favor of seasonally abundant high biomass
resources through the annual cycle (Meehan 1982). A

datum elevation = 2.3 meters
above Mean Sea Level

SE I4E 3E oE M O.E Iw 2jW 3aM

Sewer Trench, South Profile

datum elevation = 3.1meters

7. O. w BmW 1fwn
above Mean Sea Level

5"vW BOW 13mW
SI | II ,

U D CSS#4 15-- '--- i ,



Drainage Culvert Trench, South Profile


Figure 6. Profiles of Backhoe Trenches, Palmetto Lane Midden (8SO96). These are Portions of the South Profiles (Adapted
From Luer and Archibald 1990).

- M Sample 1, .n-s


T1 T2

Percent (%)

M Sample 2. n*49


U.3 H


T1 T2 T3 01 02 03

91 fN


T1 T2



T3 01 02 03

Percent (%)

SM Sample S. n-41


S T2

Figure 7. Growth Frequency Profiles Illustrating the Periodicity of Incremental Shell Growth in Archaeological Quahogs,
Mercenaria campechiensis, From Samples #1, #2, #4, and #6.

number of seasonality indicators therefore have to be studied
from an archaeological site (Quitmyer 1987; Russo 1991).
At Horr's Island, for instance, Russo (1991:179) found
that quahogs were most often collected during the spring and
summer quarters of the year (Figure 8). Atlantic threadfin
herring (Opisthonema oglinum), hardhead catfish (Ariopsis
felis), and pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides), were caught by the
Horr's Island inhabitants during the summer, fall, and winter
(Russo 1991:238). Contrary to many settlement pattern
models of the Archaic Period, these four seasonality
indicators suggest a continual presence at Horr's Island
through the annual cycle (Russo 1991:238).
The presence of an annual quahog growth frequency
profile may indicate the repeated collection of shells over
many years, or a group of people living at the site during a
single year (e.g., Palmetto Lane quahog shells from Sample
#5, Figure 8). In all cases of applying these data the
archaeologist has to interpret the context of the
archaeological proveniences.

Palmetto Lane Seasonality

Quahog shells from Samples #1, #2, and #4 were
harvested during the spring and summer quarters. It is not
certain if these parts of the site were abandoned at the end of
the summer or if other subsistence activities were conducted
through the remaining part of the year.
Shells from Sample #5 appear to represent a year-
round harvest of quahogs at the Palmetto Lane Midden
through the annual cycle for at least part of the history of the
site. This might have been several events through the year or
perhaps a permanent year-long residence.

Seasonality in Southwest Florida.

Figure 8 shows the estimates of site seasonality from 10
archaeological sites from the Southwest Florida coast.
Quahog shells from these sites portray the seasonality of
several distinct cultural groups of people over a 4,500 year

26.0 23.2 23.2



Percent (%)

I Sam*ple 4. n-26

80.0 -
50.0 --

T3 01 02 03
T3 01 02 O3

80.0 "
70.0 (


I Winter

I Spring

I Summer

I Fall |

Palmetto A.D. 117-200
Sample #1
Sample #2
Sample #4
Sample #5 11 1 1 11

111111111 n = 56111111
IIIlll Il In = 49111111
IlII lIn = 26111
I111ll In = 41111111111


Palmer A.D.
Level IA
Level IB
Level ID |
Level IE
Level IIA I
Level III
Palmer A.D. 2!
Level IV

1100 (Quitmyer 1991)
IIIll II n = 47111 1111
I111111ll1n = 126111111I
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII Illlllln = 421111111
IlillIllln = 721111111



n = 19111

I IIn = 25 I I

I IIn = 42 III

Catfish Ck.- A.D. 700-1000 (Austin and Russo 1989:55)
(a) I11n = 331111

Josslyn Is. A.D. 800-900 (Quitmyer and Jones 1992)
Test A-2 Illn = 5011

Horr's Is. Late Archaic (Russo 1991:179)


I In=131 I
1111lllln=10 II11111111111
11III11111111ln=331 1111111
1111111111llllllllln=241 1111111
Illn = 301111
Illn = 161111
I n=141
I n=521
III n=28 111111111 11
111IIl In=36 1111111 1111
II I 1111 n=34 1111111111111
II I 1111 n=27 1111111 11111
I I I I n = 2 0 11 1 1 1 1 1 I I II
I n=121
I n=141
1111111I n=35 111111111 111
IlI n = 251111
1111111 n=32 11111111 11111
11111111ln=31 1111111
I1111111 In=231 111111
IllllI n = 2111111111111
Illn = 151111

= estimate of seasonality.
= the sample size of the quahogs analyzed to determine the seasonal range.
= tentative estimate of seasonality, (see Russo 1992:179).
= sample obtained by combining all quahog specimens from across the site.
= combined proveniences, (see Russo 1991:179).

Figure 8. An Illustration Showing the Seasonality Estimates of Ten Southwest Florida Shell Middens.



I I-----------

F.S. 90
F.S. 93
F.S. 97







period of prehistory (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980). The data
indicate that the harvest of quahogs most often occurred
during the spring and summer quarters of the year. This
shows that these people did not observe the modern Euro-
american taboo of not consuming shellfish during the warm
months of the year (Russo 1991). Year-round harvest of
quahogs is also represented at many of these sites. These
data seem to indicate a year-round coastal presence of
prehistoric Southwest Florida people.


The uses of biochronometers have the potential to
identify the seasonality of resource use in aboriginal shell
middens found along the coastal waters of the world. Shell
middens represent repositories of data about human ecology
and the paleoenvironment.
Three samples of Southern Quahog (Mercenaria
campechiensis) from the Palmetto Lane Midden indicate that
this resource was exploited primarily during the spring and
summer quarters of the year. One sample from another part
of the site indicates year-round residency.
The shells of quahogs from 10 archaeological sites
representing different temporal periods and geographic
locations indicate that coastal Southwest Florida supported a
year-round occupation of aboriginal people.
Notwithstanding, a spring and summer periodicity of quahog
collection is well-represented at these sites.
The use of incremental growth structures in quahog
shells is only a first step in determining site seasonality. Due
to the nature of human subsistence behavior, several
biochronographic indicators need to be developed and used
rigorously. Such indicators will help in determining site
seasonality, site use, and the selection of resources through
the annual cycle of life.


I would like to thank Elizabeth S. Wing, Douglas S.
Jones, and William H. Marquardt, all of the Florida Museum
of Natural History, for their support in developing methods
used in this study. A National Science Foundation grant
[BNS-8519814] supported the biological study at Charlotte
Harbor, Florida. This was part of a larger study of Calusa
cultural complexity conducted under the direction of William
H. Marquardt. George M. Luer and Lauren C. Archibald
(Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc., Miami)
were instrumental in assuring that the Palmetto Lane midden
quahog shell analysis was conducted and published.

References Cited

Ansell, A.D.
1968 The Rate of Growth of the Hard Clam, Mercenaria
mercenaria (L.) Throughout the Geographical Range.
Journal du Conseil, Conseil Permanent International
pourl'Exploration de la Mer 31:364-409.

Arnold, William S., Dan C. Marelli, Theresa M. Bert,
Douglas S. Jones, and Irvy R. Quitmyer
1991 Habitat-specific Growth of Hard Clams
(Mercenaria mercenaria) from Indian River, Florida.
Journal of Experimental Marine Biolog and Ecology

Austin, Robert J. and Michael Russo
1989 Limited Excavations at the Catfish Creek Site
(8S0608), Sarasota County, Florida. Ms. on file, Piper
Archaeological Research, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida.

Claassen, Cheryl Patricia
1982 Shellfishing Patters : An Analytical Study of
Prehistoric Shell from North Carolina Coastal Middens.
Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology,
Harvard University, Cambridge.

1986 Shellfishing Seasons in the Prehistoric
Southeastern United States. American Antiquity 51:21-

1990 Investigation of Monthly Growth in Shellfish for
Application to Archaeology. Final Report, National
Science Foundation Grant #BNS-8507714.

Clark, George C., II
1979 Seasonal Growth Variations in the Shells of Recent
and Prehistoric Specimens of Mercenaria mercenaria
from St. Catherines Island, Georgia. Anthropological
Papers of the American Museum of Natural History

Deith, Margret R.
1983 Molluscan Calendars: The Use of Growth-Line
Analysis to Establish Seasonality of Shellfish Collection
at the Mesolithic Site of Morton, Fife. Journal of
Archaeological Science 10:423-440.

1986 Subsistence Strategies at a Mesolithic Camp Site:
Evidence from Stable Isotope Analysis of Shells. Journal


of Archaeological Science 13:61-78.

Dodd, J. Robert and Robert J. Stanton, Jr.
1981 Paleoecology, Concepts and Applications. John
Wiley and Sons. New York.

Howell, Authur Holmes
1932 Florida Bird Life. Coward-McClain, Inc., New

Jones, D. S., I. Thompson, and W. Ambrose
1978 Age and Growth Rate Determinations for the
Atlantic Surf Clam Spisula solidissima (Bivalvia:
Mactracea), based on Internal Growth Lines in Shell
Cross-sections. Marine Biology 47:63-70.

Jones, D.S., MA. Arthur, and DJ. Allard
1989 Sclerochronological Records of Temperature and
Growth from Shells of Mercenaria mercenaria from
Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Marine Biology

Jones, Douglas S., Irvy R. Quitmyer, William A. Arnold, and
Dan C. Marelli
1990 Annual Shell Banding, Age, and Growth Rate of
Hard Clams (Mercenaria spp.) from Florida. Journal of
Shellfish Research 1(9):215-225.

Koike, Hiroko
1980 Seasonal Dating by Growth Line Counting of the
Clam, Meretrix lusoria: Toward A Reconstruction of
Prehistoric Shell-Collecting Activities in Japan. University
of Tokyo Bulletin 18.

Lightfoot, Kent G. and Robert M. Cerrato
1989 Regional Patterns of Clam Harvesting Along the
Atlantic Coast of North America. Archaeology of
Eastern North America 17:31-46.

Luer, George M. and Lauren C. Archibald
1990 Monitoring and Limited Salvage at the Palmetto
Lane Midden (8S096), Tocobago Bay Subdivision,
Sarasota, Florida. Archaeological and Historical
Conservancy Technical Report #18, Miami, Florida.

Lutz, R. A., and D. C. Rhoads
1977 Anaerobiosis and a Theory of Growth Line
Formation. Science 198:1222-1227.

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

Meehan, Betty
1982 From Shell Bed to Shell Midden. Australian
Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra.

Miller, James
1980 Coquina Middens on the Florida East Coast. The
Florida Anthropologist 32:2-16.

O'Brien, Deborah Mayer, and Debra Peter
1983 Preliminary Report on the Analysis of Pottery and
Shell Seasonality from the Prehistoric Settlement
Pattern Project on St. Catherines Island, Georgia.
Paper presented at the 40th Southeastern
Archaeological Conference, Columbia, South Carolina.

Peterson, Charles H., P. Bruce Duncan, Henry C.
Summerson, and Brian F. Beal
1985 Annual Band Deposition Within Shells of the Hard
Clam Mercenaria mercenaria,: Consistency Across
Habitat Near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, Fisheries
Bulletin 83(4):671-677.

Quitmyer, Irvy R.
1987 Evidence for Aboriginal Shrimping Along the
Southeastern Coast of North America. Paper presented
in The Shrimpers Are Coming Symposium, 43rd Meeting
of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference,
Charleston, South Carolina.

1992 Determination of Habitat Exploitation and
Seasonality from Selected Zoological Indicators
Excavated from the Shell Ridge Midden, Palmer Site,
8S02. Ms. on file, Archaeological Consultants, Inc.,
Sarasota, Florida.

Quitmyer Irvy R. and Douglas S. Jones
1992 Calendars of the Coast: Seasonal Growth
Increment Patterns in the Shells Of Modern and
Archaeological Southern Quahogs, Mercenaria
campechiensis, from Charlotte Harbor, Florida. In
Culture and Environment in the Domain of the Calusa,
edited by William H. Marquardt, in press. Institute of
Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies, Florida
Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.

Quitmyer, Irvy R., Debroah Cannon, and Douglas Jones
1987 Paleoseasonality Determination Based on
Incremental Shell Growth in the Hard Clam, Mercenaria
mercenaria, and Its Implications for Future Analysis of
Coastal Shell Middens Found Along the Georgia Coast.
Paper presented at the 43rd Southeastern
Archaeological Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.


Quitmyer, Irvy R., H. Stephen Hale, and Douglas S. Jones
1985 Paleoseasonality Determination Based on the
Incremental Shell Growth in the Hard Clam, Mercenaria
mercenaria, and Its Implications for the Analysis of
Three Southeast Georgia Coastal Shell Middens.
Southeastern Archaeology 4(1):27-40.

Rhoads, D. C. and G. Pannella
1970 The Use of Molluscan Shell Growth Patterns in
Ecology and Paleoecology. Lethaia 3:143-161.

Russo, Michael
1991 Final Report on Horr's Island: The Archaeology of
Archaic and Glades Settlement and Subsistence
Patterns. Ms. on file, Florida Museum of Natural
History, Gainesville.

Irvy R. Quitmyer
Florida Museum of Natural History
Gainesville, Florida 32611



George M. Luer

The Bolyston Mound (8SO35) is a large Native
American shell midden in the Indian Beach section of the
City of Sarasota. In 1990, a portion of the midden was
destroyed when a swimming pool was built in the front yard
of a residence overlooking Sarasota Bay. Thanks to the
concern of the landowner, archaeologists observed the pool's
initial construction, and salvaged some data.
Analyses of finds at the Boylston Mound reveal new
insights into the Mississippian-influenced Safety Harbor
culture. Three radiocarbon dates from a profile in the
midden indicate an age of circa A.D. 1250, placing it early in
the Safety Harbor culture's prehistoric Pinellas Phase (A.D.
1200-1500). In addition to yielding cultural data, the midden
contains shells which give clues to some environmental
conditions in the area of southern Sarasota Bay about 750
years ago.


The Boylston Mound is a large and visually prominent
shell midden (Figure 1). In the 1880s, a U.S. government
coast chart showed it as a pronounced ridge extending back
from the bay (U.S.C.G.S. 1883). At that time, it was clear of
vegetation, probably a result of a series of historic period
activities in the immediate area including the Pacheco fishing
rancho, Fort Armistead, and the Olivella and Elzuardi land
claims (see Figure 3 in this issue's "Urban Archaeology in the
City of Sarasota: The Whitaker Archaeological Site
The Boylston Mound extends inland because it
accumulated along the south side of a narrow low-lying ravine
which runs back from the bay. Before modern artificial
drainage, a seep spring probably drained through the ravine
and provided a source of freshwater. Another midden, the
Shell Road Midden (8S094), also referred to as "Brown's,"
borders the north side of this ravine. Together, these two
middens form a major shell midden complex.
The land underlying the Boylston Mound and the Shell
Road Midden is high and well-drained compared to much of
the land along Sarasota Bay. It reaches elevations of two to
three meters (6 to 10 feet) above mean sea level. This high
ground juts slightly into the bay, forming a very blunt or
rounded point of land. The point bears an outcrop of marl
overlain with clay, sand, and shell midden deposit.
Storm tides have eroded this headland, exposing midden
shells and artifacts along the shore. Over the years, several
residents have collected artifacts from the beach in front of
the Boylston Mound and Shell Road Middens. They include
Chester Bullock who found shell and stone plummets and
other artifacts, and Walter Rolling and Jesse Cox who found

early 1800s pearlware and "black glass" fragments (Carr et al.
1989:Fig. 7, 8, and 10).
In the fall of 1985, Hurricanes Kate and Elena caused
erosion around Sarasota Bay. In January 1986, archaeologists
Marion Almy and the author walked the eroded shore of the
Boylston Mound where they noted sand-tempered plain
sherds and fragments of tools fashioned from left-handed
whelk and horse conch shells. In front of the Shell Road
Midden, they found historic period artifacts including an olive
jar sherd probably derived from a Spanish fishing rancho and
"black glass" fragments possibly associated with Fort
Armistead. The most common artifacts, however, were
fragments of ceramics and glass dating from the turn-of-the-
century and first half of the 20th Century, many apparently
derived from docks, houses, and a hotel which were in the
immediate vicinity.
The Boylston Mound was named for a former
landowner and recorded in 1976 on the Florida Site File
(Almy 1976). Its general outline was sketched after a visual
surface inspection in 1977 during the City of Sarasota's
Historic Sites Survey (Monroe, Wells, and Almy 1977).
In the winter of 1985-1986, landowner Frank Folsom
Smith renovated and built additions to a historic two-story
frame house on the Boylston Mound overlooking Sarasota
Bay. In conjunction with this work, Almy arranged with
Smith to conduct limited archaeological testing at the mound
with the goal of detecting evidence of a Spanish fishing
rancho and/or Fort Armistead. In January 1986, Almy and
the author dug several shovel tests measuring 0.5 x 1.0 m at
the surface and about 1 m in depth. They did not find any
evidence of a rancho or fort, instead encountering shell
midden. It contained fighting conch shells, surf clam valves,
and numerous stone crab, sea urchin, and bony fish remains.
Pottery sherds, including sand-tempered plain, Pinellas Plain,
and a Sarasota Incised rim sherd, suggested an age around
A.D. 1000-1300.

Digging a Swimming Pool

In July 1990, Sarasota architect Frank Folsom Smith
contacted Marion Almy because of impending construction of
a swimming pool in his front yard. Both Smith and Almy had
served on the City of Sarasota's Historic Preservation Board,
and they agreed that pool construction would require
professional archaeological work. The reasons included: 1)
the shell midden in Smith's yard was eligible for listing on the
National Register of Historic Places, and archaeologists should
be present to record information significant to the heritage of
the region; 2) archaeologists could detect the presence or



Vol. 45 No. 3


Figure 1. The Boylston Mound (8S032) From a Canoe on Sarasota
Edge of Swimming Pool (White Strip) is in Front of House.

absence of human burials so that, if necessary, proper steps
would be taken to comply with Florida Statute 872.05,
"Offenses Concerning Dead Bodies and Graves"; and 3)
archaeological work was consistent with elements of the City
of Sarasota's Zoning Code and Comprehensive Plan.
Smith engaged archaeologists Lauren Archibald and the
author who, several days later on July 23rd, were present as a
backhoe dug into the midden. The construction crew agreed
to stop digging if any unique feature were encountered, such
as a fire pit, house floor, or unmarked human burial.
However, digging did not uncover a human burial, or any
other exceptionally unusual feature (letter from G. Luer and
L Archibald to F. F. Smith dated July 29, 1990).
Figure 2 shows the area dug for the swimming pool
which was designed to be narrow and relatively shallow.
Thus, the backhoe trench measured about 4.5 m (15 feet) in
width and about 15 m (50 feet) in length. It was deepest near
the south edge of its mid-section where it reached about 2 m
(6 feet) in depth. There, the trench encountered culturally-
sterile dark gray sand which underlay the shell midden.
Material dug from the trench was spread to the west.
The spoil covered the midden's bayside slope and buried an
old road cut which had paralleled the shore. This road cut
was much less pronounced than a similar one located slightly
farther north in the adjoining Shell Road Midden (see Figure
5 in this issue's article titled "Urban Archaeology m the City
of Sarasota: The Whitaker Archaeological Site Complex").

Bay, August 1991. Two-story House Sits Atop Midden;

Limited Archaeological Salvage Work

Archaeological salvage work was a necessity because
pool construction destroyed such a large volume of
irreplaceable shell midden. Thus, several simple
archaeological tasks were conducted which were limited in
scope due to shortages of time and funding. These tasks
included: 1) recovering artifacts and other cultural materials,
2) mapping a profile, and 3) collecting and dating radiocarbon
Collecting Cultural Materials. While the backhoe dug
into the midden, artifacts and faunal bones were collected
intensively by hand. Six successive collection areas were
maintained as the backhoe dug from east to west. This
collecting had several purposes. First, it allowed the
archaeologists to scrutinize the midden deposit as digging
proceeded. Second, it produced a sample of pottery sherds,
shell tools, faunal bones, and other cultural debris which the
archaeologists could analyze. Third, it revealed a general
similarity in the kinds of sherds and shell tools being
uncovered. This suggested that all of the midden deposit was
of the same general age and culture period. This
interpretation was supported by profiling and radiocarbon
Profile Map and Description. In the late afternoon of
July 23rd after the trench had been dug, the archaeologists
drew a measured profile map along 12.5 m (41 feet) of its


north side (Figure 3). This North Profile was about 1.5 m (5
feet) in height and revealed numerous superimposed shell
midden strata, many of which were very thin. They were
nearly horizontal but, like the midden's present-day surface,
they did slope gradually downhill toward the bay to the west.
The base of the North Profile was 0.3 to 0.6 m (1 to 2 feet)
above the bottom of the midden; under the midden was dark
gray sand.

All the layers appeared to be in situ primary deposits.
They were composed mostly of shells and sand, and small
pieces of charcoal were common. Most of the shells were
lying flat where they had accumulated on exposed flat
surfaces. There was no disturbance observed in the profile.
Based on the clean unbroken condition of many of the shells,
the layers appeared to have accumulated relatively rapidly.

The archaeologists photographed the profile and noted
the general composition of its layers. The profile's shell
assemblage resembled that in the rest of the backhoe trench.
There were vast quantities of fighting conch shells and surf
clam valves. Left-handed whelk shells were fairly common,
and some pear whelk, brown tulip, apple murex, and bay
scallop shells were noted. Oyster shell was scarce. Horse
conch shells were uncommon. Quahog shell was rare, and
most of it consisted of whole or broken anvil/hammers made
from very large left valves (see below).

Almost all fighting conch shells had thick flaring outer
lips indicative of mature conchs. This morphologic stage is

typical of fighting conch shells in most local midden deposits, ”

and either reflects the character of the available fighting
conch population or human selection of adult conchs. These
shells showed the same three patterns of extraction
(unbroken, missing spire, hole opposite the aperture) as was
observed at the late Weeden Island-period Old Oak Site
(8SO51) located about 5.6 km (3.5 miles) to the south on
Sarasota Bay (Luer 1977:51).

Besides shells, the layers also contained other food
remains. Fragments of the tests and spines of sea urchins
were common, as were stone crab claw fragments. Fish
bones were abundant and, in places, fish scales and many tiny
fish bones were observed. Bird bone and possible sea turtle
shell fragments were noted also.

Radiocarbon Dating. Three radiocarbon samples were
collected from the upper, middle, and lower portions of the
North Profile (Figure 3). All three samples appeared to be
"food shell." That is, the shells represented mollusks gathered
while alive and used as food. As such, it was likely that the
shells would yield radiocarbon ages for the time of the
midden’s accumulation.


1. FFS#1, Beta-44390 950+/-70 cal AD
2. FFS#2, Beta-44391 680+ /-60 cal AD 1276 (1282) 1387
3, FFS#3, Beta-44392 810+ /-70 cal AD 1166 (1230) 1270

Table 1. Radiocarbon Dates from the North Profile, Boylston Mound (8SO35). Listed for each are: submitter's lot number,
lab number, uncorrected age in radiocarbon years before present (present = A.D. 1950) with one sigma standard deviation,
and corrected one sigma calendar age range with intercept(s) in parentheses based on Stuvier and Reimer (1987) using their
20 year atmospheric record. These dates have not been corrected for isotopic fractionation (C-13/C-12) nor for the reservoir

effect which, in southern Florida, tend to cancel each other. See text for an average of these dates, and see Figure 3 for

999 (1033, 1143, 1147) 1186

The uppermost sample (FFS#1) consisted of four
broken adult fighting conch shells, each lacking most of the
spire. Their damage indicated that they had been broken by
blows on the shoulder opposite the aperture, apparently in
order extract their meat. The other two samples (FFS#2 and
FFS#3) consisted of several intact small- to medium-sized
surf clam valves. Some of the valves comprising the deepest
sample (FFS#3) were matching or paired valves; apparently
their ligament was not severed during shucking, and both
valves had remained attached.

The radiocarbon ages of these three samples are shown
in Table 1. All three are "good" dates in that they fall within
the anticipated range of age (circa A.D. 1200-1500) based on
associated pottery (see below). Moreover, they are also
"good" dates in that all three overlap when compared at two
standard deviations. When these three dates are averaged,
they yield a calibrated age of A.D. 1211-1275 (Stuvier and
Reimer 1987). Thus, the North Profile in the Boylston
Mound dates to circa A.D. 1250.


After field work, specimens were identified, inventoried,
and placed in labeled bags. Since all specimens lacked
vertical provenience and since pottery and shell tools were
similar throughout the trench, all were treated as one general

Pottery. About 300 sherds of six kinds of pottery were
recovered. Most numerous are 218 sand-tempered plain
sherds (188 body, 29 rim), followed by 73 sherds of Pinellas
Plain pottery (55 body, 18 rim). A third category of 4 sherds
(3 body, 1 rim) is labeled “smooth plain." The remaining
sherds consist of 3 Belle Glade Plain body sherds, 2 St. Johns
Check Stamped sherds (1 body, 1 rim), and 3 body sherds (2
thick, 1 thin) of soft chalky plain ware.

Much of this pottery, especially the sand-tempered plain
ware, appears to be of local manufacture. The Pinellas Plain
pottery was either imported from around Tampa Bay or was
made locally. The small amount of Belle Glade Plain and St.
Johns Check Stamped pottery probably was imported.

Most of the Pinellas Plain sherds have laminated paste
and smooth surfaces, but several have contorted paste and
very "blistered" or bumpy surfaces. The Pinellas Plain rim
sherds have lips which are either rounded or flat. They are
undecorated except for one which displays wedge-shaped
notches on its flat lip's outer edge.


Figure 2. Plan View of Western Portion of the Boylston Mound. Note location of the North Profile.

Figure 3. North Profile of Area Dug for Swimming Pool, Boylston Mound. Note locations where radiocarbon samples were


The Pinellas Plain rim sherds help to date the Boylston
Mound. They resemble other rim sherds from Maximo Point
(8PI19, 8PI31) and from middle and upper levels of the
Narvaez Midden (8PI54), both in St. Petersburg, Florida. At
Narvaez, rim sherds having flat lips and/or notched lips occur
in shallower and hence younger levels, whereas rounded lips
have a more general distribution including in deeper older
levels where they are the only form occurring (Bushnell
1966:Fig. 2). At Maximo Point, this pattern appears to be
duplicated, although less clearly (Sears 1958:Chart 1;
Bushnell 1962:Fig. 3).
The Boylston Mound's mixture of rounded and flat
Pinellas Plain lips, one of which is notched, suggests an age in
the middle or late Safety Harbor continuum. The three
radiocarbon dates (circa A.D. 1250) from the trench's North
Profile (see above), and the lack of historic period materials
from the pool trench, show that they belong to the middle
portion. Recently, this period of the Safety Harbor culture,
circa A.D. 1200-1500, has been called the Pinellas Phase
(Mitchem 1989:561-563).
Many of the Pinellas Plain rim sherds are outward-
curving, and are from shallow open bowls, whereas others are
straight and from deeper bowls. Most of the sand-tempered
plain rim sherds are outward-curving, and represent shallow
open bowls. The sand-tempered plain rim sherds have flat or
rounded lips; one has notches on its flat lip's outer edge which
are very similar to notches on Pinellas Plain pottery. The
sand-tempered plain ware is well-made with very fine sand;
several sherds have so little sand that they approach the
"smooth plain" category. The few "smooth plain" sherds are
chalky, light-weight, and very hard.
The rim sherd profiles provide an interesting glimpse of
some Safety Harbor period rim and lip forms. They suggest
evolutionary trends beyond the late Weeden Island-period
rim sherd profiles from the Old Oak site (Luer and Almy
1980:Fig. 4). For example, the average thickness of vessel
walls increases slightly, lips which are rounded and thickened
become more common, and lip notches, lips beveled to the
interior, and at least one excurviate rim appear.
While these sherds indicate changes in pottery styles, it
should be stressed that they lack vertical provenience. Do
relative amounts of sand-tempered plain and Pinellas Plain
sherds change with depth? Or, do they occur in ratios of
about 4:1 throughout the midden? Does this ratio reflect a
peripheral location to a Tampa Bay "heartland" of Pinellas
Plain pottery? For example, to the north in Pinellas County,
Pinellas Plain comprised 93% of the total sherd assemblage
at Maximo Point (Sears 1958:Chart 1) and about 99% of the
total sherd assemblage at the Narvaez Midden (Bushnell
1966:Fig. 2).
Answers to questions such as these are presently
unavailable due to scant data from Safety Harbor period
middens. In fact, the Boylston Mound is the first midden
identified in Sarasota County which contains a sizeable
amount of Pinellas Plain pottery. It is also farther south than
any other known location where a sizeable amount of Pinellas
Plain pottery occurs. At other middens south of Tampa Bay,
Pinellas Plain sherds occur in relatively very small quantities.
The presence of a fairly large number of Pinellas Plain sherds
(24% of the total) at the Boylston Mound suggests close
contact, perhaps through trade, warfare, or marriage, with

people who lived at coeval Tampa Bay sites such as Narvaez,
Maximo Point, and/or Snead Island (8MA17).
Lithic Material. Except for one stone celt, all lithics
appear to be local material. Most numerous are 22 sandstone
rocks, many of which are smoothed (apparently from use as
grindstones) as well as broken (fire-cracked?). Other pieces
of sandstone include a drill receptacle with a conical
indention, a hand-held maul, and a spherical hammerstone.
Mineralized fossil material includes seven pieces of sea cow
rib, one unidentified bone fragment, and a large shark tooth.
Three chunks of marl were found. No stone artifacts of
chipped chert or fossil coral were recovered.
The stone celt is broken, and only the tapered haft end
was recovered. The celt's outer surfaces and edges are
ground very smooth, except for a small rough area on one
corner of its tapered end. The opposite end exhibits a sharp
break, perpendicular to the celt's axis. The artifact is small,
measuring 6.3 cm in length, 3.6 cm in maximum width, and
1.4 cm in maximum thickness. At its tapered end, it measures
about 1.8 cm in width and 0.6 cm in thickness.
The celt is evidence of trade with people to the north. It
was fashioned from dark-colored stone, apparently
metamorphic material traded from the Appalachian region.
Imported stone celts are very rare in the Sarasota area. They
are also rare around Tampa Bay where Bushnell (1962:93)
observed three stone celts (all broken) in collections from the
Safety Harbor-period midden at Maximo Point.
Faunal Bone. The midden was rich in remains of
terrestrial and aquatic animals. Unfortunately, the
construction schedule and shortage of funding did not allow
for collecting and analyzing column samples. Only a general
unprovenienced collection of faunal bone was recovered by
hand from the backhoe trench. This collecting was biased
toward large bones, and it missed small bones such as the tiny
fish vertebrae observed in the North Profile.
Bone from deer, bird, freshwater turtle, and land
tortoise was common. Fragments of stone crab claws and of
sea urchin tests and spines were numerous. Identified fish
remains were from drum, sheepshead, bay catfish, pufferfish
or burrfish, mullet, jack, sawfish, and various kinds of shark.
Numerous remains of large predatory fish such as shark and
jack suggest that the trophic pyramid was intact, with smaller
"food" fish having been abundant.
Common in the midden were sizeable "tilly" bones from
large jack, presumably crevalle jack (Caranx hippos) (Figure
4). These bones suggest well-developed fishing techniques to
have caught so many of these powerful fast-swimming meaty
fish. Nets and/or hooks and lines could have been used to
catch jacks as they moved through Sarasota Bay feeding on
smaller fishes. That similar fishing was pursued by other
Safety Harbor period people is suggested by numerous
hemall bones," presumably from jacks, which were in every
level at the Narvaez Midden (Bushnell 1966:Fig. 2).
Shell Artifacts. A total of about 80 specimens of at least
a dozen types of tools were recovered; these were made from
five or six different kinds of shells. Several types of
hammering tools are the most common, followed by several
types of cutting-edged tools. The shell tool assemblage
reflects a diverse and well-developed shell tool technology
which combined shell with wood, rawhide, rope, and twine to
make a wide variety of useful items.


Figure 4. Crevalle Jack, Fighting Conch Shell, and Surf Clam.

Quahog Shell. Four types of quahog valve tools were
identified. Most common was the anvil/hammer (see Luer
1986:Fig. 10). Ten unbroken left valve specimens as well as
fragments of 15 others were found. In addition, one
unbroken right valve anvil/hammer and a fragment of
another were recovered. This predominance of large left
valves is typical in this region of Florida (see Luer 1986:145-
The use-wear on the dorsal surface of the unbroken
valves is not excessive; it suggests multi-purpose use-wear
from careful and focused tapping, cutting, and/or drilling.
These anvil/hammers presumably were used in domestic
activities such as food preparation. None of the specimens
show use-wear on their dorsal edge as is typical of quahog
valve "choppers" (Luer 1986:143-145).
Two basic patterns of use-related breakage were
observed among anvil/hammer fragments. Some valves had
broken in half so that a fragment consisted of either the
anterior half or dorsal half of a valve. Other valves had
broken so that a fragment consisted of either a valve's ventral
half or its opposite portion with umbo and hinge. Several of
the latter fragments were utilized further as another type of
tool. These fragments are heavy and thick, and they show
use-wear breakage on their dorsal surface from having been
battered on or behind their umbo.
Also recovered were two notched left valves. Such
valves might have been hafted and used for digging (Luer
1986:134, Fig. 7). In addition, a single perforated left valve
was found. Like another perforated valve from the shore of
the Whitaker site complex (Luer 1986:140, Fig. 9), it has a
round hole located slightly above its center; however, the hole
in this specimen from the Boylston Mound is larger and
measures 2.5 cm in diameter. Presumably, it was used as a
weight, possibly tied together with other perforated valves to
form a composite anchor (Luer 1986:140-141).
Left-Handed Whelk Shell. Eight types of left-handed
whelk shell tools were recovered. Most specimens are

modified "robust" shells (Luer et al. 1986) which were
carefully-made and originally hated with wood handles.
Most numerous are hammering tools including nine Type C
hammers, one Type D hammer, and fragments of 11 other
Type D hammers. Less common are cutting-edged tools
including three unbroken Type A cutting-edged tools and
fragments from seven others. In addition, one very large
robust preform or "tool blank" was discovered. These whole
and broken tools suggest that they were being fashioned and
used on-site. Hammers might have functioned in extracting
shellfish, and cutting-edged tools probably were used for
hewing wood.
A few smaller gracile whelk shell tools also were used.
For example, three crudely-made Type A cutting-edged tools
and 3 crudely-made Type A hammers were found. They may
represent expedient tools.
Other possibly expedient tools are represented by five
left-handed whelk shell "pounders." These are heavy shells
from which the outer body whorl was removed. They exhibit
use-wear on their apices and at the end of their sutures.
Finally, one worked section of outer body whorl was
found. It was roughly rectangular with rounded corners and
measured 13.3 cm in length and 4 cm in maximum width.
Presumably, it represents a tool used to gauge the mesh of
Ponderous Ark Shell. Two perforated valve "fish-net
sinkers" were found, one from the pool trench and another in
the North Profile. The former has a neatly-chipped circular
hole near the center of the valve; the latter has a more-typical
rougher hole near the intact beak or umbo.
Horse Conch Shell. Seven specimens, mostly broken, of
horse conch shell tools were recovered. Four represent well-
made hammers, each with the outer body whorl removed and
with use-wear on the modified basal end of the columella.
Two of these hammers have a pair of hating holes in the
penultimate body whorl, whereas a third hammer has a pair
of similarly-placed hafting notches. The fourth is too
fragmentary to allow determination of its hafting mode. Two
pieces of the basal ends of horse conch columellae also were
found, and they presumably are fragments broken from
hafted hammers. Finally, a broken piece of a horse conch
columella "plane" was recovered. Its basal end displays a
large bevel which shows that it had served as a cutting-edged
tool, presumably for hewing and planing wood.
Queen Conch Shell. Unexpected was the recovery of
three artifacts of queen conch (Strombus gigas) shell. This
shell is native to extreme southern Florida, far to the south of
the Sarasota area. The three artifacts are: a celt, a worked
piece of columella, and an unworked fragment of a
columella's basal end. Each specimen consists of robust old
eroded shell (as opposed to thin young shell -- see discussion
below). Each specimen is described here.
The celt's form is rectangular (as opposed to petaloid or
grooved) (see Masson 1988 for explanations of many of the
celt-related terms used here). Compared to sizeable samples
of queen conch celts from two now-destroyed sites in
southeast Florida, this celt is of average length (9.5 cm) and
thickness (1.0 cm), although its width (3.5 cm) is narrower
than average (see Masson 1988:Fig. 3, 4, 5, and 6). The celt
exhibits ventral peeling, less on its left side than on its right
side where three to four layers of shell have been stripped


old shell



Figure 5. Two Pieces of Worked Queen Conch Shell. Outline shows a very old eroded queen conch shell (based on Orr and
Berg 1987:20). a: worked basal portion of columella from trench; b: worked section of outer lip from surface.


away longitudinally. Apparently, this was done to make the
celt's thickness more uniform so that it would have symmetry,
a modification which added durability to the use of the celt
(Masson 1988:324). The edges of the celt are smooth from
grinding, a feature typical of most queen conch celts in
southeast Florida. The celt's distal or working end originally
had been ground to a cutting edge, but it had become dulled
and pitted, more on its right side than on its left. This kind of
use-wear occurs on some queen conch celts in southeast
Florida (Masson 1980:Table 3). The celt's distal surface
exhibits several ridges and furrows of the natural outer
surface of the shell lip. This surface is eroded by boring
sponge holes, and exhibits ground areas which extend slightly
onto it from the celt's edges.
The second queen conch shell artifact is an unworked
fragment of a columella's basal end which has a portion of the
siphonal canal and outer body whorl still attached (Figure 5).
This fragment exhibits a jagged edge where it was broken
from the rest of the shell. Besides having the eroded form of
a very old shell, it is riddled by boring sponge and is pitted by
burrowing bivalves; this made it a weak and friable fragment.
Apparently, it was removed by a blow during the process of
primary shell reduction, and it represents a peripheral
fragment which was discarded due to its heavily eroded
The third queen conch shell artifact is a worked piece of
columella; it is a massive basal piece with a small portion of
adjoining body whorl (Figure 5). Its upper edge was worked,
first by "sawing" and then by snapping off the rest of the
columella. The following scenario can be suggested: 1) the
columella was removed from the shell by pecking away the
body whorl, 2) "sawing" or "grinding" created two wide
shallow rounded grooves, one on either side of the flattened
columella, 3) when the grooves were deep enough, they were
broken open, leaving half of a groove on each side of a linear
fracture. This activity can be interpreted as secondary shell
reduction. It created smaller chunks of heavy shell which
could be modified further.

Interpretation of Queen Conch Shell

Evidence suggests that robust "old" queen conch shell
from extreme southern Florida was intentionally selected and
traded northward to the Boylston Mound. It appears that
some of this imported shell was being worked on-site,
perhaps into beads or bead blanks. Some of these, in turn,
might have been items of trade.
Importation. In Florida, the queen conch is found along
the Florida Keys and the southeast coast. Along Florida's
southwest coast, it reportedly has been found rarely as far
north as Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Lee County (Perry
and Schwengel 1955:146).
Archaeologists usually attribute the occurrence of
queen conch shell in sites outside of southern Florida to
trade. This is the case in west-central Florida where only
rarely have queen conch celts or celt fragments been found in
aboriginal sites.
The recovery of three pieces of queen conch shell from
the trench in the Boylston Mound is very unusual. Moreover,
two additional pieces, described below, were found on the
surface. These five pieces suggest that, at the Boylston

Mound, quantities of queen conch shell were obtained
through trade from southern Florida. Considering the weight
and size of the shell, trade might have been via dugout canoe
along the Gulf coast (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Possible Trade Route. Queen Conch Shell From
the Florida Keys Might Have Been Transported Northward
Along the Gulf Coast by Dugout Canoe.

Selection. All five pieces of queen conch shell from the
Boylston Mound were derived from old eroded shells. Such
gerontic shells are robust and heavy; they are distinguished
easily from thinner shells of younger morphological stages.
Some scientists call them "old" shells (Keegan 1982:79, Fig. 4,
left), and some local residents in the Bahamas call them
"samba" or "sanga" conchs (Orr and Berg 1987:15-20).
Keegan (1982:79-81) suggests that shells of three
morphological stages were recognized and treated differently
by prehistoric people in the Caribbean. The fact that all five
pieces from the Boylston Mound were of old shells suggests
that prehistoric Floridians also made distinctions between
shells and that they selected old robust shell for trade and


Reduction. While thick outer lips of old queen conch
shells were desirable for making celts, additional uses were
being made of imported robust queen conch shell at the
Boylston Mound. As noted above, two of the three queen
conch shell artifacts from the trench show evidence of shell
reduction: one is a fragment apparently produced during
primary reduction and the other is a worked piece of
columella which has undergone secondary reduction. The
two surface finds suggest the same: one is a lip fragment
apparently produced during primary reduction and the other
is a section of outer lip which has undergone secondary
reduction. The latter was ground and then snapped in a way
identical to the columella from the trench; this was done on
two sides of the piece (Figure 5).
Hypotheses. The intended function of the two thick,
ground, and snapped chunks of queen conch shell described
above is uncertain. Clearly, they were valuable as imported
shell, and additional value was added to them through
reduction, especially labor-intensive grinding. It is
hypothesized that they were being made into beads and/or
bead blanks. It is also hypothesized that, if they had been
finished as beads or bead blanks, they might have become
items of further trade. It is possible that they were prestige
items which were traded into the "mainland" Southeast.
These hypotheses can be tested. Future archaeological
work at the Boylston Mound should attempt to obtain a
larger sample of queen conch shell to determine what was
being made from it. Such working of shell also might have
taken place at other large Safety Harbor period coastal
middens. For example, at Maximo Point, Bushnell (1962:93)
mentions "partially drilled columella beads." At Narvaez,
Bushnell (1966:116-117) found one "unfinished (undrilled)
barrel-shaped Columella bead" from the uppermost level and,
a foot deeper, he found two others as well as "one large,
transversely broken" queen conch celt.
In addition, shell beads (especially barrel-shaped)
associated with burials need to be given greater scrutiny to
see if some were made from queen conch shell. For example,
it now seems that the two "barrel beads" found with a cache of
Safety Harbor Incised sherds in the sand burial mound at the
Myakkahatchee Site (8SO397) (Luer et al. 1987:147) might
have been fashioned from queen conch shell. Some beads
with other Mississippian-period burials elsewhere in the
Southeast also may be of queen conch shell (Figure 7). For
example, at the Moundville phase Perry Site (1LU25) in
northern Alabama, the "nine large shell beads from conch
columella" found with Burial No. 161 (Webb and DeJarnette
1942:85, P1. 120, Fig.1) may be sections of queen conch

Paleoenvironment and Sarasota Bay

The Boylston Mound's assemblage of "food shells" is
evidence of the local marine/estuarine paleoenvironment of
circa A.D. 1250. This assemblage reflects the site's exploited
habitats within its catchment area. The following discussion
addresses fighting conch and surf clam shells, focusing on
what they help reveal about the local paleoenvironment.
Habitat. The Boylston Mound's extremely abundant
fighting conch shells are evidence of high-salinity conditions.
Based on the author's observations over the last three

Figure 7. Example of Large Barrel-Shaped Shell Beads. In
This Case, They Were Used As a Necklace.

decades, fighting conchs (Strombus pugilis alatus) do not live
in low or moderate salinity habitats; rather they live in clear
high-salinity waters, especially Gulf waters along barrier
islands. Locally, the author has observed live fighting conchs
on shallow bottoms in the nearshore Gulf along Anna Maria
Island, and in the surf zone along Gasparilla Island and
Manasota Key.
The Boylston Mound's abundant southern surf clam
valves also appear to be evidence of high-salinity conditions.
Today, the southern surf clam (Spisula solidissima similis) is
most common in the surf zone along sandy Gulf beaches or
on sand bars around inlets. Their shells are common on
some local Gulf beaches, such as along portions of Manasota
Key. In contrast, they are uncommon within most bays.
The fighting conch and surf clam shells in the Boylston
Mound suggest that some of the habitats exploited by the
site's inhabitants were high-salinity ones. The midden's vast
numbers of these shells show that fighting conch and surf
clam were popular food items and that they were available in
quantity over time. Their abundance suggests the existence of


extensive habitats favorable to them. It appears that the
nearest habitats which could have produced such quantities of
these mollusks would have been the barrier beaches, inlets,
and adjoining shallows located across Sarasota Bay to the
west. As explained next, historic and geologic evidence are
consistent with this area having had favorable habitat for
these conchs and clams.
Historic Evidence. In the late 1800s, southern Sarasota
Bay had extensive shallows and lacked a well-developed
barrier island. In 1875, present-day Lido Key consisted of a
very narrow barrier beach and a series of small islands
(Apthorp 1875). By the 1880s, only the small islands existed
(U.S.C.G.S. 1888), and water flowed freely between the Gulf
and southern Sarasota Bay, encouraging high-salinity
conditions there (Figure 8, top). In addition, two inlets
connected southern Sarasota Bay with the Gulf. These were
New Pass, formed in 1848 (Grismer 1946:35), and Big Pass
whose origin predates historic times. Thus, historic evidence
indicates that both extensive shallows and high-salinity
conditions existed in the southern portion of the bay a century
ago. Both have diminished during this century, partly due to
dredging and filling (Figure 8, bottom).
Geologic Evidence. Geologic data show that southern
Sarasota Bay was "open" to the Gulf during late prehistoric
times, and that another inlet, now closed, once connected the
middle portion of Sarasota Bay with the Gulf. Both these
situations would have produced habitats favorable for fighting
conchs and surf clams.
In the case of southern Sarasota Bay, radiocarbon dates
and beach ridges indicate that extensive shallows and "open"
connections with the Gulf have existed during the last
approximate 1500 years. In this area, the deposition of beach
ridges and tidal deltas have been associated with the
development of Big Pass. For example, a low-lying beach
ridge on a former recurved spit near the south end of Lido
Key (Figure 8:LK#1) yielded a radiocarbon date of circa
A.D. 1500-1650 whereas an older beach ridge located near
the center of Bay Island (Figure 8:BI#1) yielded a date of
circa A.D. 650-750 (see Table 2). These relatively recent
dates contrast with older dates from other parts of Siesta Key
which are not associated with the development of Big Pass
(Table 2:SK#1-SK#5).

Coastal morphology suggests that the development of
Big Pass, and the deposition of extensive shallows in southern
Sarasota Bay, have been associated with larger trends in local
barrier island dynamics (Figure 9). Aerial photos showing
beach ridge alignments on Longboat Key and northern Siesta
Key (U.S.DA. 1959:sheets 1, 7, 8, and 13) suggest that the
barriers were at one time slightly curved (Figure 9:dashed
line), apparently when Buttonwood Harbor (now-closed) was
an inlet (Figure 9:1 and 2). Perhaps at this time, beach ridges
were deposited on northern Siesta Key such as the one on
Bay Island dated to circa A.D. 650-750. Next, southern
Longboat Key and present-day Lido Key grew Gulfward
(Figure 9:3 and 4), and a foreland began to form on Siesta
Key (just west of "5" on Figure 9). A beach ridge which was
deposited early in the growth of this foreland yielded a date of
circa A.D. 1400-1440 (Figure 9:SK#6 and Table 2). As Siesta
and Lido Keys grew farther Gulfward, spits formed on what is
now southern Lido Key such as the one dated to A.D. 1500-
1650 (LK#1).
Throughout this scenario, there would have been ample
habitats favoring fighting conchs and surf clams. The three
radiocarbon dates from around Big Pass show that beaches
and extensive shallows existed while the Boylston Mound was
inhabited. Indeed, the three dates bracket the radiocarbon
dates from the Boylston Mound. Interestingly, the date from
Siesta Key's foreland was derived from surf clam valves; they
had been deposited in a beach ridge composed mostly of fine
white sand. In addition, the samples from both Bay Island
and Lido Key included surf clam valves.
Shell Middens. Shells in several middens around
southern Sarasota Bay (Figure 9) also point to the existence
of extensive high-salinity shallows during the last approximate
1500 years. For example, fighting conch shells were abundant
at Longboat Key's Arvida Midden (8S033) (Luer and Almy
1979:37) and on the bay's mainland shore at the Old Oak Site
(Luer 1977:42-44, 1992:86-87), the Church of the Redeemer
Midden (8SO43), the Acacias Midden (8S097A & B) (Austin
1992:7, Tables 2 and 3), and the Boylston Mound. These
middens contrast with middens in low or moderate salinity
areas where fighting conchs are absent. For example, many
middens around portions of Charlotte Harbor lack fighting
conch shells and instead contain vast numbers of oyster, king's
crown, and ribbed mussel shells (Luer and Archibald 1988).

Table 2. Radiocarbon Dates from Beach Ridges on Siesta Key, Bay Island, and Lido Key. These dates were obtained by the
author in 1980-1982. Listed for each are: submitter's lot number, lab number, uncorrected age in radiocarbon years before
present (present = A.D. 1950) with one sigma standard deviation, and corrected one sigma calendar age range based on Stuvier
and Reimer (1987) using their 20 year atmospheric record. These dates have not been corrected for isotopic fractionation (C-
13/C-12) nor for the reservoir effect which, in southern Florida, tend to cancel each other. See Figures 8 and 9 for general
proveniences of dates 1-3.

Dates associated with evolution of Big Pass:
1. BI#1, Beta-4027 1320+/-50 calAD 657- 759
2. SK#6, Beta-2567 510 + /-60 cal AD 1398-1440
3. LK#1, Beta-4028 290+/-60 cal AD 1505-1657

Dates from other portions of Siesta Key:
4. SK#1, Beta-2565 3600+/-60 cal BC 2037-1888
5. SK#3, Beta-1977 3670+/-100 cal BC 2199-1920
6. SK#2, Beta-1976 2760+/-80 cal BC 1003- 828
7. SK#4, Beta-1978 2470+/-80 cal BC 791-406
8. SK#4-2, Beta-2566 2020 +/-70 cal BC 110-cal AD 59
9. SK#5, Beta-1979 2170+/-70 calBC 370- 116

Figure 8. Top: Southern Sarasota Bay (based on U.S.C.G.S. 1888). Bottom: Southern Sarasota Bay (adapted from Luer
1977:Figures 1 and 2).

Sarasota Bay

* 1

Boylston Mound
S"Palmetto Lane
Acacias Midden ,

a a 0

Church of
Redeemer ?


Gulf of Mexico

& .

0 *

4 5
S *


Figure 9. Barrier Islands and Sarasota Bay (adapted from Luer 1978). Note exaggerated curvature of dashed line because north-
south and east-west scales are not equal. Dashed line and numerals 1-5 are discussed in text.




. 2km


* *

% 0

* 9

1z "1 15


Shell middens are valuable collections of
paleoenvironmental information. In contrast to many
geologic deposits, middens often contain features or layers
representing very narrow ranges of time. Thus, they can be
very useful sources of paleoenvironmental data. For example,
Layer IV at the Old Oak Site might have been deposited
around A.D. 700-900 and was composed primarily of "densely
packed unbroken surf clam valves" (Luer 1977:42, Fig. 6,
1992:86-87). It has been suggested that:

Perhaps Layer IV represents a collection of a single
day of thousands of surf clams gathered on nearby
Gulf beaches, transported by canoe to the Old Oak
site, and shucked on the bayshore where perhaps
canoes were beached ... (Luer 1977:50).

A similar situation may apply to an apparently older
deposit of surf clam valves at the Palmetto Lane Midden
(8SO96), also located on Sarasota Bay (see Figure 9 and
articles in this issue). There, hundreds of unbroken surf clam
valves were encountered in the lower half of Level I (0-50 cm
b.s.) in Shovel Test #36 (Tocobaga Bay Subdivision, Lot 9)
(Archibald 1989:15, Fig. 7).
Comment. In the future, multiple radiocarbon dates can
provide rather precise ages for many shell midden deposits.
Analyses of their shells, fish bones, and other faunal and
floral remains could yield exceptional data about seasonality
and paleoenvironmental conditions. At present, however,
these irreplaceable deposits are poorly-studied, little-
appreciated, and under-protected. In recent years, sizeable
portions of all six Sarasota Bay middens mentioned above
have been destroyed by land development and/or
construction. The Arvida Midden has been essentially
Today, fighting conchs are very rare or absent in
Sarasota Bay. Repeated searches by the author in the early
1970s failed to find any in the bay. Similarly, searches failed
to find any live surf clams, although a few live bay scallops
were found. According to long-time residents, scallops had
been abundant until just 20 to 30 years before.
Human-made alterations of the natural environment
help account for such disappearances. The gradual closure of
southern Sarasota Bay (Figures 8 and 9) was a trend hastened
by this century's dredging and filling. In addition to habitat
loss, dredging and filling contributed to salinity changes and
turbidity, helping to bring tremendous biological changes to
the bay. Now, if an accurate long-term picture of the bay's
former environment is to be gained, shell middens need wider
recognition as sources of paleoenvironmental data.


The Boylston Mound contains information which is
significant to the prehistory of Florida, and it deserves
preservation and much further archaeological study. Pinellas
Plain pottery and radiocarbon dates of circa A.D. 1250 show
that the Boylston Mound belongs to the Safety Harbor
culture's Pinellas Phase. The midden's shell tools indicate a
variety of activity such as hewing wood and maintaining fish-
nets. Some faunal remains, especially bones of large fast-
swimming jacks (Caranx sp.), suggest well-developed fishing

techniques. A number of artifacts indicate long-distance
trade, including obtainment of queen conch (Strombus gigas)
shell from extreme southern Florida. This shell was being
worked, perhaps to make beads or bead blanks for further
As a midden containing abundant shells and other
faunal remains, the Boylston Mound can offer valuable
insights into the paleoenvironment of the southern Sarasota
Bay area around A.D. 1250. The midden's vast numbers of
fighting conch and surf clam shells suggest a catchment area
which included extensive high-salinity habitats around barrier
beaches, sand bars, tidal flats, and passes located west of the
site. A unique record, through time, of this little-known
paleoenvironment is preserved in the shell middens around
southern Sarasota Bay.


The author wishes to thank Frank Folsom Smith for
encouraging archaeological work and for funding three
radiocarbon dates, Marion Almy for laying the groundwork
for the archaeological fieldwork, Theodore Morris for his
assistance in the field and with figures, and Lauren Archibald
for her contributions in the field and inventorying recovered
materials. Maynard Hiss helped obtain photos of the
Boylston Mound.

References Cited

Almy, Marion M.
1976 A Survey and Assessment of Known Archaeological
Sites in Sarasota County, Florida. MA. Thesis on file,
Department of Anthropology, University of South
Florida, Tampa.

Apthorp, J. P.
1875 The United States Survey of Township 36 South,
Range 17 East. Surveyor's field notes on file, Bureau of
State Lands, Florida Department of Natural Resources.

Archibald, Lauren C.
1989 Archaeological Survey of Tocobaga Bay, Sarasota
County. Archaeological and Historical Conservancy,
Inc. Technical Report No. 11, Miami.

Austin, Robert J.
1992 Phase II Excavations at the Acacias Site (8S097B &
C), Sarasota County, Florida. Unpublished report dated
March. On file, Piper Archaeology/Janus Research,
Inc. St. Petersburg, Florida.

Bushnell, Frank
1962 The Maximo Point Site 1962. The Florida
Anthropologist 15:89-101.

1966 A Preliminary Excavation of the Narvaez Midden, St.
Petersburg, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 19:115-

Carr, Robert S., Janet S. Matthews, Kathy Rogers, Marion
Almy, Lee D. Harrison, and Lorrie Muldowney

1989 Archaeological and Historical Investigations at Indian
Beach, Sarasota County. Report dated September.
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy. Miami,

Grismer, Karl H.
1946 The Story of Sarasota. The Florida Grower Press,

Keegan, William F.

1982 A Biological Introduction to the Prehistoric
Procurement of the Strombus Gigas. The Florida
Anthropologist 35:76-88.

Luer, George M.
1977 _ Excavations at the Old Oak Site, Sarasota, Florida.
The Florida Anthropologist 30:37-55.

1978 The Formation of Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida.
Unpublished manuscript in possession of author.

1986 Some Interesting Archaeological Occurrences of
Quahog Shells on the Gulf Coast of Central and
Southern Florida. Florida Anthropological Society
Publication, Number 12.

1992 Was this Whelk Shell Damaged by a Predatory Sea
Turtle? The Florida Anthropologist 45:86-87.

Luer, George M., and Marion M. Aimy

1979 Three Aboriginal Shell Middens on Longboat Key,
Florida: Manasota Period Sites of Barrier Island
Exploitation. The Florida Anthropologist 32:34-45,

Luer, George M., Marion M. Almy, Dana Ste. Claire, and
Robert Austin

1987 The Myakkahatchece Site (880397), A Large Multi-
Period Inland From the Shore Site in Sarasota County,
Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 40:137-153.

Luer, George M., and Lauren C. Archibald

1988 An Assessment of Known Archaeological Sites in
Charlotte Harbor State Reserve. Archaeological and
Historical Conservancy, Inc. Technical Report No. 6,

Masson, Marilyn A.

1988 Shell Celt Morphology and Reduction: An Analogy to
Lithic Reduction. The Florida Anthropologist 41:313-

Mitchem, Jeffrey M.

1989 Redefining Safety Harbor: Late Prehistoric/Protohistoric
Archaeology in West Peninsular Florida. Ph.D.
Dissertation, University of Florida. University
Microfilms, Ann Arbor.


Monroe, Elizabeth, Sharon Wells, and Marion M. Almy

1977 Historical, Architectural, and Archaeological Survey of
Sarasota, Florida. Miscellaneous Project Report Series,
No. 51. Florida Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties,
Division of Archives, History, and Records
Management. Tallahassee.

Orr, Katherine S., and Carl J. Berg
1987 The Queen Conch. Windward Publishing, Inc. Miami,

Perry, Louise M., and Jeanne S. Schwengel
1955 Marine Shells of the Western Coast of Florida.
Paleontological Research Institution, Ithica, New York.

Sears, William H.
1958 The Maximo Point Site. The Florida Anthropologist
11:1-10. ,

Stuvier, Mince, and P. J. Reimer

1987 Radiocarbon Calibration Program 1987, Rev.1.3.
Quaternary Isotope Lab. University of Washington.

US.C.GS. (United States Coast and Geodetic Survey)

1883 Sarasota Bay, Florida. Register Number 1517a. Scale
1:20,000. J. E. Hilgard, Superintendent. Copy on file,
Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.

1888 Lemon Bay to Tampa Bay, Florida. Coast Chart 176.
Scale 1:80,000. F. M. Thorn, Superintendent. Copy in
possession of author.

US.D.A. (United States Department of Agriculture)
1959 Soil Survey, Sarasota County, Florida. USS.
Government Printing Office. Washington, D.C.

Webb, William S., and David L. DeJarnette

1942 An Archeological Survey of Pickwick Basin in the
Adjacent Portions of the States of Alabama, Mississippi
and Tennessee. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin 129. Washington, D.C.

George M. Luer
3222 Old Oak Drive
Sarasota, Florida 34239



Arthur F. Lee

A speaker at the "Summit" meeting of archaeologists at
the University of Maine three years ago on the peopling of
the Americas observed that there is increasing acceptance of
the concept that the public has an interest in cultural
resources overriding the rights of owners of property on
which they may be located.
To one from the southern part of Florida where
population is increasing at the greatest rate in the United
States and where title to land is valued above most virtues,
that sounded at best optimistic. Yet it sticks in the mind like
a burr -- a disquieting touchstone for the tumultuous events
affecting archaeology.
Witnessing the transformation brought by earth-moving
machines is like fast-forwarding the advance of a glacier. And
no one really knows what is being crushed: Collier county,
where I live, has undergone two archaeological surveys in the
past several years, yet we have nothing resembling an
accurate inventory of its sites. Florida is a large state and
much of it has been devoted to non-intensive use, leaving a lot
of space unvisited by knowledgeable people. Organized,
systematic exploration is needed; to date there has not been
either enough money or trained people to carry it out.
And it's at that point that the snake begins to eat its tail:
Exploration costs money, the legislature cannot appropriate
for purposes that are not backed by its constituencies, the
public won't pay for something it does not value, and the
money has not been forthcoming to buy the research, analysis
and publication adequate to demonstrate the value of the
state's cultural holdings.


Currently the knowledge necessary to delineate
archaeologically-sensitive areas so that they can be protected
is coming from varied sources; organized independent
explorations like Nancy White's survey of the Apalachicola
basin; county surveys made by contract archaeologists;
legally-required individual checks of areas due for
development, and efforts of individuals and volunteer groups.
Some of the areas surveyed are selected for convenience
or other reasons not related to their being imperiled. There
is not necessarily a pattern to individual contributions, and
efforts of local groups such as FAS chapters is spotty, some
being well-organized and recorded, others less so. In sum,
surveying has been inadequately coordinated and
Accompanying the shortage of money has been an

insufficient number of professionals; it has been encouraging
in the past couple of years to see graduates trained both in
archaeology and civic planning taking their places in
municipal governments: in one recent case the hiring of such
a person was followed nearly immediately by a re-survey of
her county. What one hopes to be a sign of the times was the
recent formation of an organization of civic planners having
archaeo-historic responsibilities to serve as a forum for the
exchange of information.
State law has required local governments to draft growth
management regulations, a component of which is the
protection of cultural resources. County governments have
not all hastened to enact implementing ordinances and the
surveys which follow, and in many cases it has been FAS
member chapters or other citizen groups that have pressured
local governments into compliance, at times under threat of
legal action.
Further, they have aided drafters by providing copies of
ordinances from other counties, have assisted in obtaining
state funds and have themselves sponsored surveys. (Their
members in some counties subsequently have been appointed
to historic preservation boards established by the protective
ordinances). To a degree they have had the counsel of
professional archaeologists, but these are not universally free
from contractual constraints.
Not only is exploration proceeding in a helter-skelter
fashion, but surveys have lacked uniformity (a question
contractors repeatedly have asked officials administering
county surveys: "What are your criteria for the preservation
of sites?' i.e. "How do you describe sites that you want
saved?"). Some county regulations protect only known and
listed sites, with no provision for advance checking of areas
likely to contain sites. And archaeologists' reports not
uncommonly conclude with the remark that sites are not
considered worthy of listing in the National Register of
Historic Places, dismissing the possibility that they may hold
information of local or regional value or that their
information, coupled with that from other lesser sites, may
hold a major truth.

Development of Information

Many of the major blocks of data about the past have been
swan songs -- information yielded before construction bars
further on-site research. Harney Flats resulted from 1-75
salvage; one of the major findings of Southeastern
archaeology was on Horr's Island; although work done there
by the University of Florida was efficient, it was performed


Vol. 45 No. 3



under strict time and money constraints; the islands hold
much more information that could have been developed
under more leisurely conditions. The Bay West site north of
Naples yielded valuable information but it was minimal
because there was no opportunity for in situ exploration; it
could have been another Windover, that pond near Cape
Canaveral whose far-sighted developers enabled it to yield an
entirely new perspective on the Archaic period. There are
other happy endings -- the tasteful blending of preservation
with construction at Tidy Island near Sarasota; Gait Island,
where public outcry turned a destructive development plan
into a scheme that should protect much of a major Calusa
community site, following limited excavation. But when
excavation takes place in the shadow of the bulldozer
information-gathering strategies are not necessarily drawn
from geographic or topical agenda priorities: the focus tends
to be on general salvage and there is a temptation to skimp
on fine-screening, flotation and the microscope work that
Frequently written off are the in-between sites, the shell
scatters and secondary occupation areas, the corridor or
seasonal hunting camps hard for the archaeologist to justify to
a developer or bursar. Here is a field for cooperation
between avocational and professional archaeologists. With
help in planning and supervision -- the degree depending on
the experience and training of individual groups -- avocational
organizations can salvage worthwhile information from these
doomed sites. There are problems -- coordinating schedules
and finding money to pay graduate students and experts for
field or laboratory help and for Carbon 14 dating among
them. But such sites have been successfully developed by
non-professional groups.
In other fields volunteer/professional cooperation is
successful: It has been a staple at St. Augustine; Miami-area
volunteers' trowels are used routinely by Bob Carr's
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy; some summer
field schools accept volunteers; other projects rely on Earth
Watch pay-to-dig amateurs, and over its near decade of
existence the University of Florida's Southwest Florida
Project under Bill Marquardt has developed a symbiotic
relationship with the Southwest Florida Archaeological
Society. Sarasota TimeSifters have enjoyed professional
cooperation and the fledging Kissimmee Valley
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy has profited from
Bob Austin's guiding hand. Judy Bense and a number of
other archaeologists regularly work with amateurs.
This subject cannot be dismissed without acknowledging
that friction between professional and avocational
archaeologists has not disappeared. The professional's time is
money; his work week does not fit that of weekenders; he is
not sure of the amateurs' ability. Should public contracts
encourage some use of avocational workers? Can the private
employer get more information for his dollar if some
volunteers be used?

Rarely, training is offered avocational archaeologists at
classroom-cum-test pit courses taught on a sporadic basis by a
few professionals and advanced amateurs, sometimes at vo-
tech schools, but there is need for a standard curriculum and
recognized levels of accomplishment. Given the need to
salvage information from endangered sites, especially those
regarded by surveyors as marginal, this training is urgently
needed and providing it should be high on the programs of
academic, contract, and avocational archaeologists alike. This
need for training extends into the laboratory. There are a few
labs operated by avocational groups which curate and report,
and some at universities have come to appreciate the interest
and dedication of their volunteers.

Report and Synthesis

Swan songs or not, reports have been pouring out of
laser printers and our notions about those who proceeded us
in Florida have been changed by them: Ornamental pendants
-- at least some of them -- have become fishing sinkers,

circular chest decorations now are spindle weights,
ceremonial regalia are net gauges, archaic people wore fine
cloth and weren't all the ramblers they once were considered.
The information comes from individual site reports, topical
reports on limited fields, status reports on continuing
projects, and there is no one place to go to learn what has
been written: Tallahassee keeps reports on legally-required
investigations, there is a national file of doctoral dissertations,
individual libraries have compilations. Can one library
and/or anthropology department be made the designated
repository for archaeological material?
Which leads to the topics of synthesis. Recently there
have been Griffin's Everglades study, Widmer's Evolution of
the Calusa, and the awaited monograph of Marquardt and his
fellow researchers of the University of Florida on the
Southwest is nearing press time, but there remain entire fields
to be brought together -- a new description of the Archaic
period from the findings at Windover, Horr's Island, and
other sites; a fresh look at pottery production and distribution
and coastal subsistence techniques. Needed is not only a
commitment of manpower but the universal lubricant, money.
Unfortunately, researchers continue to learn that it is easier
to fund digging than computing.
The story is told at Harvard University of the graduate
student who carried out field work in Alaska, won his
doctorate, was taken into the faculty where he served out an
honorable career and, on his retirement, returned to the
museum basement where he had stored his Alaskan artifacts
and started to analyze them.
That leisurely pace is not permitted Florida
archaeologists; data are piling up too rapidly and the need for
analysis and synthesis is pressing. Moreover, the need goes
beyond technical reports, it extends to information for our
society as a whole.


Lee county's Year of The Indian -- a joint venture of a
city historical museum, a county nature center and the Florida
Museum of Natural History -- was a noteworthy attempt to
carry this process from the test pit to the lab, the print shop,
the audio-visual studio and into the classroom and the
newspaper, breaking new ground in combining a broad-based
scientific pursuit with large-scale community participation and
There was an immediate impact: Volunteer workers
and site visitors learned a lot of archaeology on the spot, as
did school teachers and children, newspaper readers and
television viewers who were exposed to current developments.
But as promoters of the project appreciated, for it and other
areas the development of a climate in which archaeology can
flourish demands that basic books be written for adults and
children; that serious documentaries be filmed, exhibits be
prepared for museums, radio series be voiced.
This need has not been ignored; note that the Columbus
anniversary was observed, that a few "fairs" are put on by FAS
chapters and that some participate in local environmental
observances. Tip your hat to Gypsy Graves, whose shoulders
for more than a decade have borne the burden of Fort
Lauderdale's Archaeological Museum and whose tutelage has
put many an amateur trowel to saving endangered
information. But creation of an informed public demands a
wider effort.
The Florida Archaeological Council, the FAS and some
of its member chapters have programs to honor individuals
and institutions making exceptional contributions. However,
public knowledge of these awards is minimal -- there is an
obvious lack of public relations skill and enterprise.
Professional PR people cost money, but the Florida Public
Relations Association for the first time is undertaking a pro
bono publicity campaign in cooperation with environmental
groups. The association has district branches; perhaps they
or the state organization could be persuaded to work with
archaeological groups on a pro bono basis.
The subject of archaeology should be introduced into
history and social science curricula on a state-wide basis; a
good start was made by the Year of The Indian: Who is
going to carry it to the state educational system?
In many states archaeological and historic groups
cooperate with state and national park and forest services in
annual archaeology week observances which feature talks
before civic groups, local archaeology fairs, and appearances
before school classes. Efforts to get the Florida
archaeological community together on such an event have
fallen flat.
The small professional community can't handle all that
needs doing. But there are hundreds on the sidelines, from
buffs to very knowledgeable individuals, interested in
preserving our past. Together they can engender a greater
respect for sites as cultural resources. And cooperation based
on respect for one another's abilities can get us to the point

where the concept that private lands can hold public
resources will not seem as foreign as it now appears.

References Cited

Daniel, Jr., Randolph I. and Michael Wisenbaker
1987 Harney Flats: A Florida Paleo-Indian Site. Baywood
Publishing Company, Inc., Farmingdale, N.Y.

Griffin, John W.
1988 The Archeology of Everglades National Park: A
Synthesis. National Park Service, Tallahassee, Florida.

Widmer, Randolph J.
1988 The Evolution of the Calusa. University of Alabama
Press, Tuscaloosa.



John W. Griffin

Missions to the Calusa. JOHN H. HANN, editor and
translator. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 1991. xix
+ 460 pp., introduction, references, index. $49.95.

San Pedro y San Pablo de Patale: A Seventeenth-Century
Spanish Mission in Leon County, Florida. B. CALVIN
Archaeology, No. 5, Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research, Tallahassee, 1991. xii + 201 pp., foreword,
illustrations, tables, appendices. $12.00

Archaeology at San Luis. Part One: The Apalachee Council
House. Part Two: The Church Complex. GARY SHAPIRO,
Florida Archaeology, No. 6, Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research, Tallahassee, 1992. xxii + 278 pp. foreword,
illustrations, tables, appendices, references. $15.00

Excavations on the Franciscan Frontier: Archaeology at the Fig
University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 1992. xvii + 250 pp.,
figures, tables, appendices, bibliography, index. $29.95.

The four works reviewed and discussed here have a unity
in their concern with the archaeology and history of the
missions and mission efforts of the first Spanish period in
Florida, spanning the years 1565-1763. During these two
centuries numerous missions were established among the
native Americans of Timucua and Apalachee provinces in
north Florida. Sporadic mission attempts among the Calusa
and other south Florida peoples met with failure during the
same period. Three of these volumes address the
archaeology of particular sites, two in Apalachee and one in
Timucua territory, while the fourth presents the documentary
sources necessary for an understanding of the failures among
the Calusa.
John Hann's impressive volume on the mission activities
among the Calusa and their south Florida neighbors is a
welcome companion to his earlier study of Apalachee. I
mention it first because, in my opinion, historical research
and documentation should precede archaeological field work
on sites of the historic period. Too often the reverse situation
has prevailed, with documentary illumination occurring only
after the dig has been completed. In this case the data was
gathered as a part of William H. Marquardt's long-range
multi-disciplinary research program in southwest Florida.

Hann's book is divided into three parts, each centering
around an unsuccessful attempt to introduce missions in
south Florida. The first section relates to the decades
immediately preceding and including the 1697 Franciscan
mission effort among the Calusa. The second section brings
together materials relating to the somewhat better known
sixteenth century Jesuit mission activity among the same
people. Finally, Hann gives us pertinent documents from the
eighteenth century Jesuit attempt among the remnants of the
south Florida aboriginal population. The time order of the
sections of the book is initially perplexing, but given that the
impetus was for information on the 1697 mission, and that the
prior and later Jesuit efforts were added to round out the
sporadic ethnohistorical documentation of the Calusa area, it
is understandable.
Unlike the Apalachee volume this study consists
principally of translated documents, liberally annotated and
preceded by a useful introduction for each section. For the
first time those of us who are weak in Spanish (and Latin) can
utilize careful translations of very important documentary
sources on the ethnohistory of south Florida.
The value of critically revisiting even the sources
previously available may be simply demonstrated. For years
earlier translations had spoken of the Tequesta on the Miami
River in 1743 as living in a settlement "without huts." Hann's
translation is "five huts" in which up to 180 people were living.
Quite a difference between 180 shelterless people and the
same number housed apparently in five large structures.
The Patale volume is based upon the excavations of B.
Calvin Jones at the site in 1971. As is so often the case the
materials were largely untouched for about ten years and then
more years passed as the material was analyzed, the report
written, and the publication issued. This is not a criticism,
rather it is merely a statement of a fact of life which has
plagued archaeology. We are fortunate that in this case all
parties persevered and that we do have the finished product.
Since 1984 Rochelle Marrinan (1991) has been working
at this same site, and has been able to greatly expand the
coverage of the site. While some reference to her findings is
made by Jones et al., by and large, and properly, the book is
based on the data recovered in 1971.
Jones found evidence of three structures, interpreted as
the church, the convento (friary), and a kitchen or
outbuilding. Sixty-seven burials were recovered beneath the
church floor. At the time of discovery in 1971 sub-floor
burials were unknown from other missions in La Florida, and


Vol. 45 No. 3



in this report Jones regards Patale as unique in this respect in
Apalachee. Although recent work in Apalachee and
elsewhere has removed that exclusiveness, Jones was the first
in Florida to relate sub-floor burials to a church structure.
Jones, John Scarry and Mark Williams describe the
material culture in considerable and useful detail. One aspect
of such detail is that Patale appears to date from the earlier
part of the Apalachee mission period, and thus provides a
good sample to compare with a later expression such as San
Luis. Scarry also co-authored the introduction and
conclusions. John Hann provides a history of Patale from the
Spanish documents and appends translations of some of these
documents. Rebecca Storey and Randolph Widmer join
Jones in discussing the burials, which represent a population
appearing "to have consisted of healthy, relatively well-
nourished individuals," with little evidence of infection or
The Bureau of Archaeological Research is to be
congratulated upon having introduced this important
publication series, which is a well-produced and well-edited,
professionally oriented collection made available at a
reasonable price.
Investigations at the state-owned site of San Luis on the
outskirts of Tallahassee are on-going, and this is the second
volume in the Florida Archaeology series devoted to reports
of the work there. The two parts of the present volume focus
on the Native American council house and the Franciscan
church complex, which face each other across the plaza.
As McEwan and Vernon note in their preface, many
parts of the manuscript were written by the late Gary Shapiro;
their role "amounted to assembling much of what Gary had
already done. This report is really his." This is undoubtedly
true, but their editing was superb. The section on the field
investigations of the council house, for example, allows one to
follow the entire process of interpretation as the excavation
and analysis developed and changed during the two field
seasons. The story of first testing the site, deriving a
hypothetical model for the whole, and verifying that model by
further selected excavation is a fascinating one, which is well
presented. The successful project on this huge (36 m.
diameter) structure is a lasting tribute to Gary Shapiro.
Appendices on glass beads (Marvin T. Smith), soils
(Nancy Washer), and plant remains (C. Margaret Scarry), the
latter covering both the council house and the convento, are
detailed presentations of basic data with appropriate
Part Two, dealing with the church complex, also
embodies a certain dynamism. After presenting the results of
the original investigations of 1986 and 1987, which revealed a
wattle and daub building believed to be the church and
several nearby burials which were assumed to be in the
cemetery, the reader is told how later excavations in the
burial area and the evidence of the plant remains in the
"church" have caused a substantial reinterpretation of the

functions of these areas. On the basis of its plant contents,
the building formerly called the church is now regarded as the
convento, and the burials now appear to have been sub-floor
internments within a sizeable church. This burial practice is,
we have seen, evident at Patale, bringing Apalachee in line
with Santa Catalina de Guale and the mission on Amelia
Island, and also, as we will see, with Fig Springs as well.
Clark Spencer Larsen provides a short description and
discussion of the limited and fragmentary skeletal material
recovered by Shapiro in the initial cemetery excavations; we
await his report on his more recent and productive
excavations in the same area, particularly in view of the
apparent contrast between the Patale sample mentioned
above and the now well known appraisal by Larsen of
deteriorating health evident in the population of Santa
Catalina de Guale.
The Fig Springs mission site, probably San Martin de
Timucua, in Ichetucknee Springs State Park is the subject of
Brent Weisman's book. Between 1949 and 1952 John M.
Goggin collected quantities of historic period material from
an apparent underwater dump site at Fig Springs, and in 1972
Kathleen Deagan published a description and analysis of the
recovered artifacts. But until 1986 when Kenneth Johnson
tested the area the upland site of the mission itself had not
been located. Weisman's research included field sessions in
1988 and 1989, which included an initial auger survey followed
by excavations in both the church complex and the aboriginal
village area.
The church structure excavated by Weisman is unusual
in the Florida mission record. It appears to be an open-air
church with only the altar, sacristy, and pulpit in a covered
building. The congregation would have assembled outside
the small structure, either in the open or under a thatched
open ramada similar to some known from Yucatan (Andrews
1991). Immediately north of this church area several burials
were found which appear to be related to the church. Further
north more burials were located in a test, and it was assumed
that these came from a cemetery area. Nearby were other
European type structural remains which were interpreted as
the convento.
The artifacts are thoroughly described and illustrated
and provenience is indicated. The majolica indicates an early
to mid-seventeenth century date, with a few possibly later
(post 1650) sherds. In an appendix John Worth gives a
revised pottery typology for the Timucua mission province
and describes the Goggin series with three new types--Goggin
Plain, Goggin Incised and Goggin Cord Marked. My first
reaction was that pottery types should not be named for
archaeologists, and then I remembered the Langford series
which I had named for the excavator of the Fisher site in
Illinois. If the procedure is questionable, I am one of those
who provided a precedent. In another appendix Lee Newsom
and Irvy Quitmyer discuss the archaeobotanical and faunal
remains from the site. Old World domesticates included


watermelon, hazelnut, peach, and wheat while the New World
domesticates of maize and beans were present. The data
base on subsistence grows slowly but is one of the more
important contributions of most recent reports.
This is an attractive, well-written, and well-illustrated
book on an important Timucua province mission site dating
from the first half of the seventeenth century. It should be
noted that following Weisman's work further excavations in
the area originally ascribed to the cemetery were carried out
in 1990 and 1991 (Hoshower and Milanich 1991). It is now
believed that the cemetery is actually the site of a later church
containing sub-floor burials. This in no way invalidates
Weisman's interpretation of the early church, but rather
indicates a possible sequence of chapel types before 1650.
In a sense the three archaeological volumes are progress
reports. In each instance there has been further work at the
sites which has already expanded our understanding of them,
and in some instances calls for modification of the published
accounts. Marrinan (1991) summarizes her work at the
Patale mission in the years 1984-1991. In addition to gaining
a broader view of the settlement pattern, she has rethought
the interpretation of the church and believes that the altar
end was opposite to that suggested by Jones. In this the
present reviewer agrees. By the time that the San Luis
volume was put together it had already become apparent that
the structure originally designated as the church was probably
the convento and that rather than a cemetery the burials were
actually sub-floor church interments. At the Fig Springs site
it now appears that there were two churches, an early one
which Weisman describes in his book, and a later and larger
one with sub-floor burials. It remains to be seen whether
other Florida missions also were served by open-air chapels
in the early stages of their occupation.
The changes which further work has brought about in
our thinking on the churches of the Florida missions seems
finally to be leading to the recognition of a pattern which may
hold for all of La Florida. Several investigators have worried
about the lack of pattern in the missions of Apalachee which
have been tested, and have questioned the attribution of some
structures as churches. Limited testing and the more obvious
nature of some wattle and daub structures apparently has
contributed to an appearance of extreme variability. Some of
the mis-attributions probably began with the first modern
excavations, those of Hale Smith at the Scott Miller site, with
which the reviewer was tangentially involved. Now, at last,
the pieces seem to be falling into place insofar as the
patterning of the church complexes are concerned.
The problems of temporal and cultural differences in the
mission period are being addressed. As noted, Patale and Fig
Springs are relatively early in contrast to San Luis, and
ceramic differences between Apalachee and Timucua are
becoming more carefully defined. The century of the major
mission effort was certainly one that saw great change in the
lives of the affected native Americans. Demographic collapse

and external military attacks swept the area as the efforts
toward conversion and Hispanization altered the lifeways of
the inhabitants. The dynamism of the period challenges the
anthropological archaeologists who are studying it, and these
volumes reflect some answers to the challenges.
Each of the archaeological volumes contains exposition
of methods, narrative of excavations, details of architecture
and features, description and illustration of artifacts,
documentation of proveniences, supporting studies of
specialized topics, and pertinent summaries and conclusions.
Singly or collectively they definitely enrich the literature of
the mission period.
The recent special issue of The Florida Anthropologist
(vol.44, nos. 2-4, 1991) on the missions of Spanish Florida
gave a broad and authoritative picture of the amount and
variety of current research. In common with most journal
articles and papers delivered at meetings, the contributions,
of necessity, were condensed, with supporting data
summarized but not included in a form to be considered a
"final report."
Taken together, these four volumes and the recent
special issue of The Florida Anthropologist (vol. 44, nos. 2-4,
1991) contain the work of thirty-three authors (twenty-one in
the volumes being reviewed), with considerable cross-over
between the monographs and the journal, and even within the
monographs. Not only is it apparent that there are a large
number of scholars interested in the archaeology of the
mission period, but also that the singly supervised and singly
authored site report is a thing of the past. A site report
usually has a major author, or co-authors, but is supported by
the contributions of a number of specialists. The expertise of
these specialists ranges through categories of material
culture, historical documentation, bioanthropology, and a
number of areas in the biological and physical sciences.
The training of individuals in archeozoology and
ethnobotany has given us a group of scholars who are
proficient in two fields, successfully bridging anthropology
and their specialty. Years ago you could hardly find a
zoologist to look at your faunal remains, and certainly he/she
did not want to spend much time on this extraneous activity.
That is the other aspect of the growth of these specialties;
there are now people whose careers are built around their
specialty, they are full-time archeozoologists (the job market
permitting). The same is true of historians. There are now
some who occupy positions to work directly on sources of
ethnohistorical significance and to contribute to the
documentary side of the story in close cooperation with the
anthropologists; John Hann comes immediately to mind.
This was formerly an arena occupied by buffs of varying
degrees of training, or treated as a side-issue by academic
With this development and professionalization of the
diverse disciplines and sub-disciplines involved in a modern
archaeological project there come problems of


communication and integration. We have all seen
publications which appear to be a series of quite separate
reports bundled together without much attempt at unification
and synthesis. None of the present group fit that category.
The reports of the specialists are utilized by the major
authors in forming their summaries and conclusions. It is
also interesting to note that while the major author may be
primarily concerned with a single site, some of the specialists
have contributed their efforts to several sites, and are
interestingly enough in a good position to see the broader
inter-site picture.

We have in Florida (and in all of La Florida for that
matter) a large group of scholars who do make every effort to
communicate with one another, through meetings, papers,
and personal contact. This is a very positive atmosphere, and
very necessary with the number of projects and the rapidly
changing perspectives of the overall picture which is
emerging. However, there are those outside this circle of
scholars, in Florida and far beyond, who are most effectively
reached through publications such as these. The in-depth
presentation of data, methods, and conclusions in the books
under review serves that important purpose. They record the
state of knowledge at this time in our continuing quest.

References Cited

Andrews, Anthony P.

1991 The Rural Chapels and Churches of Early Colonial
Yucatan and Belize: An Archaeological Perspective. In
Columbian Consequences, Volume 3: The Spanish
Borderlands in Pan-American Perspective, edited by
David Hurst Thomas, pp. 355-374. Smithsonian
Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Hoshower, Lisa M., and Jerald T. Milanich
1991 Excavations in the Fig Springs Mission Burial Area.
The Florida Anthropologist 44:214-227.

Marrinan, Rochelle A.
1991 Archaeological Investigations at Mission Patale, 1984-
1991. The Florida Anthropologist 44:228-254.

John W. Griffin
450 Owens Avenue
St. Augustine, FL 32084



Louis D. Tesar and Chris Lewis


Lanceolate-shaped projectile points dating to the
Paleoindian-Early Archaic period have long been of interest
to professional archaeologists for their functional and
technological implications, and to collectors for their rarity
and aesthetic qualities. While hundreds of Suwannee,
Simpson, and Clovis-like projectile points, as well as lesser
quantities of Santa Fe, and Dalton-like points, have been
found in Florida, mostly by river divers, Folsom-like points
have rarely been found. Chris Lewis found one such point
and it is the subject of this brief report.
Describing Folsom points, which occur throughout the
High Plains of western North America, Frank Roberts (cited
in Bell 1958:26) writes:

A true Folsom specimen is a thin leaf-shaped
blade. The tip is slightly rounded and the broadest
part of the blade tends to occur between the tip and
a line across the center of the face. A typical
feature is a long groove extending along each face
about two-thirds of the length, which produced
lateral ridges paralleling the edges of the blade. A
cross-section of the object should give a bi-concave
appearance. The base is concave, often with sharp
base points. There normally is a more or less fine
marginal retouching, a secondary removal of small
flakes between the edges and the lateral ridge of
the central groove. Another feature frequently
observed is that of smoothed edges around the base
and extending along the edges for about one-third
the length of the blade. ...

A further trait not included in the above description, but
frequently present on Folsom points illustrated from the
Lindenmeier site in northern Colorado, is the presence of a
basal nipple (see Wilmsen and Roberts 1978). The nippled
area was prepared to serve as a platform for detaching flutes
from the blade (Waldorf 1984:56-63).
Bell (1958:26) provides a cautionary note: "The Folsom
point is well known but frequently not correctly identified.
Very often any fluted point is classified as a Folsom point in
spite of the fact that other types [of lanceolate points] also
exhibit fluting." This problem became evident while

conducting background research for this report.
In a 1948 article in The Florida Anthropologist, J.
Clarence Simpson described what he termed "Folsom-like"
points from Florida. He begins his article be stating that:

For many years the presence of Folsom points in
Florida was denied. More recently, however,
certain points exhibiting some of the essential
Folsom characteristics have been found, although it
may still be said that no "true" Folsom points have
so far been found. Following the procedure in
other areas of the eastern United States, we may
refer to the points from Florida as Folsom-like.

The three points which he illustrates (Simpson 1948:12
[Figure 3]) as representative of the eleven points that were
the subject of his report are all of the type now known as
Simpson points (see Bullen 1975:56; Daniel, Wisenbaker and
Ballo 1986:30 [Figure 2g and 2h], 32-33, 34 [Figure 4d and
4e]). It would have been more accurate for Simpson to have
referred to the points described in his article as Clovis-like.
Describing a projectile point found on the bank of the
Crystal River near the central Florida Gulf Coast, Ripley
Bullen (1967:2) writes:

... Fluted points are extremely rare in Florida.
This one more closely resembles Folsom than
Clovis fluted points, particularly in its shape, as the
point of maximum width of the blade is towards the
tip. Both the fluting and the careful shaping of the
basal "ears" also distinguish the Crystal River
specimen from Suwannee points.

Yet the point shown in Bullen's (1967:2, Figure 1) is more like
a fluted Simpson point than a Suwannee, and, with its short
flutes and more pointed (then blunt) tip, might be better
described as a Simpson-like Clovis point or more simply as
Clovis-like. It is, however, not Folsom-like in form.
No other reports describing Folsom or Folsom-like
points from Florida were found during our brief background
research. Thus, until the present study, no Folsom or
Folsom-like projectile points have been discovered and
reported in Florida.



Vol. 45 No. 3


Figure 1. Folsom-like point from the mouth of the Santa Fe River in north Florida. Left and

Right: Obverse and reverse views.
courtesy Louis D. Tesar.

The Santa Fe River Folsom-like Point

In early 1990, while diving at the mouth of the Santa Fe
River at its confluence with the Suwannee River during a
period when the river level was down and the water relatively
clear, Chris Lewis returned to an area which he had collected
from 1987-1989, and then abandoned when it became
unproductive. Chris believed that previous heavy rains might
have contributed to the scouring of new bottom areas, thus
exposing artifacts for collection. He anchored on the
Suwannee County side of the mouth of the Santa Fe River,
just upstream of a hole which he had frequently collected
during earlier dives. During his dive he collected the Folsom-
like point and 6-7 Suwannee points (both whole and broken),
as well as other artifacts. Only the Folsom-like point is
discussed in this report; the authors plan a larger report on
the more extensive collection of Paleoindian-Middle Archaic
artifacts in the Lewis collection.

The Folsom-like point (see Figure 1) is 49 mm long, 32
mm wide, 6 mm maximum thickness, and 2.5 mm minimum
thickness. The tip evidences damage and reworking. The
basal area and lateral basal edges for about 25% of the point
length have ground edges. While the flake scars on both
faces give the artifact a fluted appearance, they are not true
flutes and the point is classified as "pseudofluted." The
specimen retains a basal nipple, often found on fluted points
and generally utilized as a platform to facilitate detachment of
flakes to create flutes. It may have originally been prepared
to facilitate basal thinning, but not utilized when the maker
considered the point to be sufficiently thin. The point is made
from a tan (Munsell 10YR 5/6) patinated opalized chert, and
does not have any goethite coating. The presence of goethite
would indicate that the point had been exposed to the river's
water for some length of time. It is believed, based on the
lack of goethite and river abrasion, that the point likely
eroded from the adjacent upland site area.

Center: Side and cross-sectional views.


Comparison with Folsom Points from
the Lindenmeier Site

Summarizing Lindenmeier site research, Wilmsen and
Roberts (1978:111-112) write:

A substantial proportion of the [Folsom] points are
not fluted in the strict sense of that term; others are
only fluted on one face and have an apparent flute
on the reverse face. Apparent flutes on these
specimens are remnants of the original flake
surface from which the points were made. Roberts
recognized this phenomenon in his first report
(1935b:20). Several examples of such pseudofluting
are shown in Figure 110. Slightly less than one-fifth
(18%) of all finished fluted points in the
Lindenmeier inventory have pseudo-flutes on one
or both faces. ...

The pseudofluted points from Lindenmeier range 13.00-38.3
mm in length (mean = 28.9 mm; 10.0-25.0 mm in width
(mean = 17.9 mm); and 2.8-4.1 mm in thickness (mean = 3.4
mm) (Wilmsen and Roberts 1978:112 [Table 45]).

The Santa Fe River Folsom-like pseudofluted point is
larger in all dimensions to the pseudofluted Folsom points
from the Lindenmeier site. However, it otherwise appears
very like the Lindenmeier points. The battered and reworked
tip on the Santa Fe River point appears much like finished
Lindenmeier Folsom points with resharpened tips (see
Wilmsen and Roberts 1978:114 [Figure 105d], 173 [Figure
146a-c and e-f]).


We believe that if the point found by Chris Lewis at the
mouth of the Santa Fe River in north Florida had been found

in the western United States, it would have been classified as
a pseudofluted Folsom point. However, since it was found in
Florida at a site which has produced over 100 Paleoindian
lanceolate points of the type known as Suwannee and
Simpson, as well as other related early points, we have not
ruled out the possibility that its form may simply be
fortuitous. Thus, we have identified the point in our study as
We would be interested in learning about any similar
points which may have been found in Florida or elsewhere in
the southern coastal plain. Individuals with such information
are encouraged to write to us. Please include photographs
and/or sketches of any such points, and include descriptions
of the artifacts' measurements, material from each was
manufactured, where they were found, and what other types
of artifacts also occurred where such Folsom-like points were

References Cited

Bell, Robert E.
1958 Guide to the identification of certain American Indian
Projectile Points. Special Bulletin No. 1 of the
Oklahoma Anthropological Society.

Bullen, Ripley P.
1967 A Florida Folsom (?) Point. The Florida Anthropologist

1975 A Guide to the Identification of Florida Projectile Points
(Revised Edition). Kendall Books, Gainesville, Florida.

Daniel, I. Randolph, Jr., Michael Wisenbaker, and George
1986 The Organization of a Suwannee Technology: The View
from Harney Flats. The Florida Anthropologist 39(1-

Simpson, J. Clarence
1948 Folsom-like Points from Florida.
Anthropologist 1(1-2):11-15.

Louis D. Tesar
Bureau of Archaeological Research
Division of Historical Resources
Department of State
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250

Chris Lewis
4004 Pelham Heights Road
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35404

The Florida

Waldorf, W. C.
1984 The Art of Flint Knapping (Third Edition). Illustrated by
Valerie Waldorf. Branson, Missouri.

Wilmsen, Edwin N., and Frank H. H. Roberts, Jr.
1978 Lindenmeier, 1934-1974: Concluding Report on
Investigations. Smithsonian Contributions to
Anthropology Number 24.



John Darsey

The Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society was
founded in 1977 by a group of area residents who had a
common interest in the past cultures of early inhabitants of
what is now called Florida. The examination and
preservation of the archaeological record left by those
cultures was the primary motivation for the formal
PURPOSE as presented in the Bulletin of the Central Gulf
Coast Archaeological Society, Vol. 1, Number 1, dated May,
1977 reads as follows:

In February, 1977, the Central Gulf Coast
Archaeological Society was organized by a
group of concerned citizens, bound together
by a common interest in the study,
preservation, and protection of our State's
prehistoric cultural resources.
Towards these ends, the Society, under rules
and conduct appropriate to these aims, is
endeavoring to establish a new order for
amateur archaeology by providing an
environment where those with both
avocational and professional interest can
interact in mutual benefit, and out of this
relationship, ultimately foster an ongoing
public awareness and concern with our non-
renewable archaeological record.

The Society's Constitution listed several challenging
purposes for the formation of the group. The first
PURPOSE listed in the Constitution reads "to promote a
formal means by which individuals interested in
anthropological and archaeological studies in the State of
Florida and related areas may come together for mutual
benefit." CGCAS has met this and the other challenges over
the years through its activities and programs which are open
to the public.
Some of the original members who remain members
today are Joan Deming, Bill and Evelyn King, and Walter
Askew. The group's first president was Mr. Ralph Nelson.
Current members are residents of several counties in the
Central West Coast area. CGCAS has always had a diverse
avocational and professional membership and is open to
those who are just interested in archaeology.
CGCAS has been a chapter of the Florida
Anthropological Society since 1977. The members of
CGCAS have always thought that supporting FAS was

important and crucial to the study, understanding, and
protection of Florida's archaeological resources. Section 8,
under PURPOSE in the society's constitution, reads, "to
encourage the scientific collection, preservation, classification,
study, and publication of ethnological materials and
archaeological remains." CGCAS has always encouraged its
membership to document and properly record any
archaeological site which may come to their attention.
As with many formal groups, members come and go in
CGCAS as their respective interests change. We maintain
interest in the group by having a variety of activities designed
to meet the members' needs. We have seven or eight formal
meetings each year concluding with a family picnic, usually in
early summer. We try to maintain a good speaking agenda by

Figure 1. Maggie Goetze, A Cheerful "Backfiller" at Pope's
Cabin Site, 8JA391, June 8, 1988.


Vol. 45 No. 3



Figure 2. Pope's Cabin Site 8JA391. John Darsey Taking Soil
Profile On Stratigraphy Form. June 8, 1988.

choosing a diverse number of topics ranging from the
pyramids in Egypt to the archaeology at Cape Canaveral. We
also have a covered dish Christmas party each year where we
exchange gifts and talk archaeology.
CGCAS members have participated in many field trips
over the years. The sponsorship of these trips has been one
of the most popular activities of the group. In the past,
members have visited the Florida Museum of Natural History
in Gainesville, the Crystal River State Archaeological Site,
Spanish Point in Sarasota County, the museum in Safety
Harbor, and St. Catherines Island off the coast of Georgia, to
name a few.
We also plan certain other activities throughout the year
such as the excavation of the USF Village (8HI2178) site on
the University of South Florida property which was done in
1990. CGCAS members took part in the excavation of a
portion of the property which was being developed by the
university. Two 2 x 2 m units were excavated at this site
resulting in a good learning experience by club members.
One of our members, Mr. Luther Ross, videotaped the work
on this project and later presented the video at one of our
meetings. Among other sites on which members assisted
were the Race Track site in Hillsborough County, a public
park site in NE Hillsborough County, an historic site in
downtown Tampa, and an area in Citrus County where four
sites were documented and recorded as a result of CGCAS
surveys. Participation in these surveys and excavations is an
ongoing activity of CGCAS and, of course, always under the
supervision and direction of qualified archaeologists.

The CGCAS Board of Directors
has recently approved a plan to study
the feasibility of building an
"H archaeological exhibit at "Nature's
Classroom" which is located on
property managed by the
Hillsborough County school system.
All Hillsborough County sixth grade
students are given the opportunity to
attend a one day learning session at
Nature's Classroom where they can
see first hand the many species of
plant and animal life in the area.
This particular area, along the
Hillsborough River, also has a long
history of occupation by Native
Americans. For this reason we think
it would be a good learning
experience for the student to be
exposed to a cultural exhibit similar
to the Spanish Point exhibit in
Sarasota County. Having this project
Color Readings For as this site would assure that each
Hillsborough County student would
at least be acquainted with archaeology and the prehistoric
culture of the area. We are seeking assistance in the
procurement of a grant to assist in funding the construction.
We are also seeking assistance from someone experienced in
design and construction for such an exhibit. Hopefully most
of the construction can be done by members of CGCAS.
FAS has selected CGCAS to host the 1993 state
conference. We have formed a committee to work on this
conference and as of this date, have selected the time and
location. The conference will be held on May 7 9, 1993, at
the Sheraton Sand Key resort located on Sand Key, just south
of Clearwater Beach. Some very special activities are being
planned for this event as well as some interesting side trips.
The committee hopes to make this conference one of the
most memorable.
CGCAS currently has 47 active members. Officers
include Terry Simpson President, Lee Hutchinson-Neff -
Vice President, Margaret Goetze Treasurer, and Dawn
Hildreth Secretary. Board members include John Darsey,
Grant Hurst, William King, Evelyn King, Cynthia Cerrato,
and Luther Ross.
For further information on the Central Gulf Coast
Archaeological Society please call Mr. Terry Simpson at (813)

John D. Darsey, Jr.
1709 Woodhaven Drive
Brandon, Florida 33511

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