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ASPECTS OF SOCIAL ORGANIZATION AND MATERIAL CULTURE
OF THE SEMINOLE OF BIG CYPRESS SWAMP1
Robert F. Greenlee
1. CLAN AND CAMP
Among the Seminole both of the Cow Creek and Big Cypress bands, in-
creasingly being concentrated on reservations in the southern part of Florida,
the clan remains a significant social group. Nine clans are found among the
Big Cypress people, all but two of them named after some animal. The Panther,
Wildcat, Tiger, Bird, Otter, Wind, Wolf, Snake, and Town clans remain active.
Clan exogamy and matri-local residence after marriage are still the rule.
The nine clans are grouped into phratries, which assume importance pri-
marily with respect to marriage prohibitions. The clans are said to stand in
an uncle-nephew relationship:
Panther and Tiger (uncle) and Wildcat (nephew).
Town (uncle) and Otter (nephew).
Wind (uncle) and Bird (nephew).
Formerly, the Wolf clan stood in a nephew relationship to the extinct
Bear clan in a fourth phratry. The remaining clan, the Snake, is composed
of the last remnant of Negroes living with the Big Cypress people.
Each settlement along the Tamiami trail or on the reservations is called
a camp, and contains the members of a matrilineal and matrilocal extended.
family. The following relatives may be found at the typical settlement: Father,
mother, several grown daughters, their husbands, and younger children. Dur-
ing the annual Green Corn ceremony, the clans have encampments rather
Under the linked-clan marriage restrictions, a member of the Bird clan
would be obliged to avoid marriage with a member of the Wind clan, but he
would be permitted to choose a mate from any other. A study of the marriages
recorded by the United States Government Seminole census shows that ex-
tremely few marriages occur which do not correspond to this usual pattern.
Mr. Greenlee's field work, upon which these observations are based, was accom-
plished in 1939, about the time Alexander Spoehr was investigating the social or-
ganization of the Cow Creek band (see Literature Cited at the end of this article).
Although studies by others have been in progress in recent years, unfortunately
little has been published on the contemporary organization of the Mikosuki or
southern band, and we are happy to record Mr. Greenlee's researches. --Editor.
Due to the fact that so few clans survive out of the once larger number,
it is now allowable, I understand, for a man to marry a woman of his father's
clan, although I was told that in the old days this one was prohibited to him
Of special interest is the group known as the Town clan, which, my in-
formant maintains, is composed largely of Indians of mixed blood. I was told
a bit of folklore about this non-totemic clan.
"When the Seminoles fought at St. Augustine, they found two white girls
wandering in the woods, lost, tired, and hungry. They might have been
Spaniards. Some of the tribe wanted to kill them, but the chief said not to,
since they were women, and could be kept and forced to work. Eventually,
they married Indian men. As these women were not Seminole, they belonged
to no clan. Thus, their children had no clan relations."2
In order to resolve this problem, the Town clan was created, its original
members being the children resulting from these two marriages. Descendants
of captives and of White-Seminole crosses, but not of Negro-Seminole mar-
riages, came to constitute the membership of the Town clan. Members of this
group include influential individuals of the Big Cypress band today. When
Clay MacCauley visited the Big Cypress in 1880, however, he did not list
the Town clan in his group of existing clans.3
The individuals comprising the core of a camp may belong to a single
family, but members of a single clan also congregate in a settlement. Along
the Tamiami Trail, members of the same clan live in adjoining camps, which
are relatively close together. Unmarried sons live with their mother's clans-
men. After marriage, they live in their wife's camp, and participate largely in
activities of the settlement to which she belongs. The father and mother
own the cheekee jointly. We are told that each married daughter has one for
herself and her husband. This dwelling is shared by young children of the
couple. Older unmarried girls sleep in a separate cheekee, as do the older
unmarried boys. Any relative coming to camp to spend a few days will have
a cheekee assigned to him. Usually this entails making room for husband,
wife, and children, as the Big Cypress people seldom visit without bringing
all of the immediate family. During the hunting season, men may go visiting
alone, but the length of a visit for a man or a woman individually is of short
duration. Automobiles, however, now enable the Seminole to shorten their
visits to a single day.
related by Josie Billie, my chief informant, a member of the Panther clan and a medicine man.
I have recast his language. As a rule, information of a traditional nature is none too reliable,
as much is changed in passing it from one generation to another. This information on the Town
clan is tradition.
3MacCauley, Clay, 1887.
Although it was not uncommon for one family to visit another in the old
days, visiting was not so frequent prior to the opening of the Tamiami Trail
as it is now. Nowadays, more communication between camps has developed,
and hence the personnel of the settlements is changing constantly. Then, too,
Indians frequently come from the inner swamp area to visit clansfolk who live
in camps along the Trail. If a man is accompanied by his wife, it is customary
for the party to stay with her clansmen.
Among the Big Cypress people, some clan origin myths have grown up
which are rather interesting, inasmuch as they mix Indian with Christian ele-
ments. Two are presented here:
"A long time ago, when the Indians were emerging from the mountain, God
spoke to the Panther clan and the Wind clan when they were still like ten-
month-old babies. God told them to come out of the mountain. So they dug and
they dug and were the first of the forty-seven Seminole clans to come out.
They were like brothers.
'Deer and Wolf clans were also very close, since both had four feet.
Then the Snake clan and all the others came out, and the Snake was called
'The Indians came out of the mountain first and last of all came the
Negro. lHe stayed in the mud so long that when he came out he was as black
"Panther clan followed Wind clan fran the navel of the earth. Panther
had a big head and couldn't get out. The Wind clan came out like a whirlwind."
The Wind clan came out of one side of roots which grew on a mound, while the
Panther clan members came out on the other side. Bird clan came out third,
and Snake last.
'The trees grew up so fast that Panther was held down at first. Wind
clan blew up the roots, and then panther came out followed by Bird and
Snake. They came out of the mound like babies."
2. MATERIAL CULTURE
Writers of magazine articles and others comment on the material aspect
of Mikasuki life often to the exclusion of other phases of more telling inter-
est.4 One reason for this is that the Seminole are reticent, and until recently
4Editorial liberty has been taken in combining with Mr. Greenlee's preceding re-
marks on clan and camp materials he prepared as a separate article, inasmuch as
they are complementary. Like his observations on social organization, these notes
are based largely on field work accomplished in 1939. In a letter, Mr. Greenlee
writes: "Recently my wife and I drove through the Everglades and Big Cypress
region to make a check on the material culture and we found that the Seminoles
had changed very little from the time we were there, in this respect." Other recent
discussions of contemporary Seminole material culture will be found in Wilfred T.
Neill, Florida's Seminole Indians, Silver Springs, 1952, and John Goggin, Florida's
Indians, Economic Leaflets, Vol. X, No. 8, University of Florida, Gainesville,
have shown hostility to those bent on studying their ways of life. Mikasuki
material culture has undergone marked changes since the construction of the
Tamiami Trail in 1928. Seclusion, once so prominent a feature of their life,
has yielded to contact. Dutch ovens, enameled pots and pans, phonographs,
sewing machines, cotton trousers, motor cars placed in palmetto-thatched
garages, and such children's toys as wagons and small automobiles are only
a few of the innovations.
Some Seminole have visited cities far removed from their local habitat,
and this has led to further acculturation at home. Josie Billie went to the
Chicago World's Fair in 1933, and my wife and I saw him at the New York
exposition in 1939. lie is a leading medicine man, and travel has made him
more worldly-wise than some of his fellows. At their camps along the Tam-
iami Trail, the Indians are subjected to the constant gaze and presence of
tourist visitors, and trade has induced them to retain, in an unnatural manner,
features of primitive life. The villages along the Trail are surrounded by
palisades made of wooden frames, to which innumerable palmetto fronds are
attached. Within the palisade the modern Indian lives with as little change
in his life as is consistent with modern conditions.
The camp thus devised, as noted, is a social unit as well as an impor-
tant kinship group, since each camp includes members of a single matri-
linealclan and their mates. Just outside the palisade one customarily finds
a counter on which are placed articles such as wooden salad bowls and sofki
spoons, palmetto fibre dolls dressed in replica of the Indians themselves,
baskets, men's and women's clothing, and so on.
At the center of the camp one finds the cooking shelter, and ringed
around this are the cheekees, or dwellings, which house the individuals of
component families. There is ,ilso a cook shelter, beside which one ordinarily
finds a table on which are placed pots and pans, scoured and made ready for
the next meal.
The ordinary living house is rectangular and open-sided. Its platform
serves as a bed and a place for lounging in the daytime. One cheekee is set
aside for eating purposes; at times this is placed at the edge of the camp,
on others, it is near the center of the village beside the cook shelter. Many
camps also have smaller houses called by Spoehr "baby houses." The
' 'baby house" among the southern band is rather similar to that found among
the Cow Creek Seminole s to the north. As a small edition of the larger
cheekee, it is built for the use of the Seminole mother and her newborn child.
The actual construction of the houses, I believe, may show influences of
the Negro slaves who were incorporated into the Seminole. We are not sure
about the origin of material culture features, and elements may have been
taken over from other tribes, since the Seminoles are a mixed group. In this
respect, it should be remembered that the Seminole, as such, did not exist
before about 1775. About this time, refugee Creek, Hitchiti, and Yuchi from
Alabama and Georgia were joined by a number of runaway Negro slaves.
About the beginning of the nineteenth century, this group moved into Florida
and began to overrun the peninsula, occupying for the most part the territory
of the Timucua and Calusa tribes, which had been largely exterminated. The
Second Seminole War, when Osceola was a leader, lasted from 1835 to 1842,
and during this time the camps must hve been constantly on the move and in
a disorganized state
The modern cheekee is rather simply made. A platform is constructed
from hand-made planks about three feet from the ground. Above this, upheld
by poles imbedded in the ground, is a framework supporting a thatch of
palmetto leaves. The eaves drop low, but admit light and ventilation. There
are poles which, strung across the ridge, secure the thatch and frames under-
neath, and serve as a pantry and cupboard. From these supports are suspend-
ed culinary equipment, clothing, and food. The typical camp on the Tamiami
Trail is composed of three thatched dwellings, an eating platform, a central
cooking shelter in which the usual spoke shave fire is placed, and two or
three sleeping shelters.
In regard to the routine of camp life and diet, the men depart for their
customary tasks of fishing for gar in the neighboring canal, hunting, or plant-
ing corn, at an early hour of day. Modern life, with the decline of game, has
left the men few dailv activities, and many of them simply lounge around in
their cheekees. Loafing is not uncommon, and drink is not unknown. In the
division of labor between the sexes, the men hunt for furs and skins; they
often bring in the wood, build the shelter and help in the gardens. The women
grind flour with their primitive pestles, prepare and cook food, tend to the
children, and work in the garden. The women often remain at home sewing
on brightly-colored patchwork dresses and shirts, making dolls for the sale
to tourists, washing clothes, and around noon they prepare a simple meal.
They are fond of visiting each other and small talk is quite a feature of their
In the late afternoon the men return. Soon thereafter the evening meal is
eaten, and not long before dark the camp is closed for the day, but a pot of
sofki remains on the eating platform and members of the group dip into this
as their inclination directs.
Spoehr (1944) says of the northern group, 'Usually men, women, and
children all eat together. If visitors come during the day, the sofki pot will
more than likely be warmed up and some fry bread gotten out. Sofki, similar
to a thin corn gruel, is served with all meals and as an in-between snack.
Fry bread and coffee are always on hand. Boiled meat and turtle, boiled
vegetables, and fresh citrus fruit comprise most of the remainder of the Cow
Creek Seminole diet."
The diet of the Mikasuki, or Big Cypress band, includes cabbage palmetto,
which is nourishing and tasty, squash, corn, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and
sugar cane. The fruits consist of guavas, melons, bananas, and citrus fruit.
The southern band use some bakery bread and regular store flour. They
also have hot bread, made of biscuit dough shaped into large flat cakes about
a quarter of an inch thick, One cake completely fills the frying pan. These
cakes are fried in deep grease over an open flame. The dough rises just as
biscuit dough does, and is fried to a golden brown. We were told that they
often add bits of food tothe dough, such as bananas, mashed sweet potatoes,
or minced meat scraps.
Gar fish caught in the canal nearby are often baked on camping grills.
They are baked whole without any cleaning and broken in two before being
eaten. Meat is prepared in an iron pot, and often is mixed with rice. One of
oldest foods known as part of the diet is kumpti. This is prepared from a
root like cassava, dried and ground into flour. A bread and a drink are made
from kumpti. MacCauley describes the strainers used when he visited the
southern group in 1880 (1887, pp. 513-15). The strainers used now are about
the same as those described then. The drink is colored either red or white,
depending on the manner of its preparation. There still are hollowed out log
stumps which serve as sofki mills or corn grinders.
In the matter of dress, the woman joins together with her sewing machine
cotton strips of many colors. Diamonds and geometrical designs are popular,
but curves are seldom used. The womanâ€™s hair is often arranged with a hair
net, an imitation of the pompadour popular in the nineties. The dress design
is an invention of this century, and the dresses are long, sweeping the ground
when the women walk.
Guns are used almost exclusively now, although older Indians say that
the bow and arrow was used when they were boys. Today the bow and arrow
serve as toys for the children. My own personal interest is far removed from
hunting and I learned only that deer, wild turkey, and ducks are hunted to
some extent. Alligators were once hunted, but they have become hard to obtain
now. The domestic animals found in a typical camp are pigs, dogs, and chick-
ens. Eggs are kept for household consumption, but the chickens are some-
Basketmaking for the tourist trade has developed to a surprising extent.
This has been accomplished under the auspices of the the Glades Cross
Mission, an Episcopal Church project. Work baskets, shopping baskets,
purses, dolls, and dugout canoes are some of the items produced for the
tourist trade. The Indians make many of their baskets in the villages in the
Glades and take their handiwork to the mission, where they find a ready
1887. "The Seminole Indians of Florida," Bureau of American
Ethnology, Fifth Annual Report. Washington.
1941. "Camp, Clan, and Kin among the Cow Creek Seminole,'
Field Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Series,
vol. 33, no. 1
1944. "The Florida Seminole Camp." Field Museum of Natural
History, Anthropological Series, vol. 33, no. 3.
Ft. Pierce, Florida
UNUSUAL RATTLES FROM SILVER SPRINGS, FLORIDA
Wilfred T. Neill
In central Florida, a number of very large springs issue from the ground
as sizeable rivers, Vlost of these springs once supported extensive aboriginal
populations, as evidenced by shell mounds or old village sites: along their
borders. Inevitably some of the possessions of the Indians found their way
into the water, and the deeper holes of the spring bottoms became catch-alls
for artifacts of all sorts. Silver Springs, in central Marion County, was no
exception. The deep â€˜â€˜boilsâ€™â€™ of Silver Springs have yielded potsherds and
chipped stone implements, along with the remains of turtles, alligators, and
extinct elephants. Of course, this assemblage of material represents a time
span of thousands of years.
Perhaps the most interesting objects recovered from Silver Springs have
been wooden rattles, one of which is now in my possession. This rattle con-
sists of two hollow, woody seed pods mounted on a carved wooden handle.
The handle is broken; the fragment that remains measures 226 mm. in length.
The general appearance of the rattle is shown in an accompanying figure.
The handle appears to have been carved by a sharp blade. There is no
indication of the fine scoring produced by shark-tooth knives. The wood of
the handle is hard, and not at all decayed. The water of Silver Springs is
mineralized and low in oxygen; it might perserve wood for a long while
The seed pods are round, woody objects, and appear to have been
naturally hollow. A pentagonal or hexagonal hole has been cut in each end
of the pods. The pods contained a total of 44 seeds. Of these, 40 were hard,
round, and buckshot-like; two were smaller and oval; and two were castor-
beans. (As the castor-bean was introduced into this country from Africa, it
seems unlikely that the rattle is very old.) When dry, the implement would
produce a loud, harsh, rattling sound.
The end of the rattle is blunted and worn on one side, as though the
implement had been repeatedly tapped or beaten on some hard object. The
curve and balance of the rattle is such that it can be comfortably held only
in one position; when the rattle is grasped in this position, the worn area
is just where it should be if it had been produced by repeated tapping.
I showed the implement to Charlie Cypress, one of the oldest living
Seminole Indians and a noted shaman. He thought it was a medicine-rattle,
but not of Seminole manufacture.
A second rattle was recovered from the springs, but is not at hand now.
It was much like the first, although a bit longer. The handle was. similarly
broken off. A single pod was found in the springs, and is in my possession.
It displays a carved hole at each end.
At one time Silver Springs was ringed about with docks, where commercial
craft loaded for trips to the Oklawaha River and thence to the St. Johns. Later
it became a tourist attraction visited by great numbers of people. It is there-
fore quite possible that the rattles were brought to the springs from some
other area. Perhaps a reader of this journal can identify these artifacts.
Ross Allen Reptile Institute
Silver Springs, Florida
Fig. 1. Rattle from Silver Springs, Florida
A STONE SPUD FROM FLORIDA
John W. Griffin
The stone spud, or spatulate celt, is generally considered to belong to the
widespread ceremonial complex usually referred to as the Southern Cult. Finds
of this type of artifact in Florida are relatively rare, and those which have
been found are from the northern St. Johns Area. Goggin (1952, PI. 10) il-
lustrates six of them, and in his text indicates that they may be attributed to
St. Johns II times. The present specimen, the archaeological context of which
is unknown, is of interest in that it was found in north central Florida.
Fig. 1. Stone Spud from Union County, Florida
The illustrated specimen was founu in 1915 by Mr. Roland Thomas while
plowing on his farm about ten miles west of Lake Butler, Union County,
Florida. It was on loan to the Florida State Museum, Gainesville, for a brief
period during 1939-40. The photograph was made at that time, and the infor-
mation on its discovery was obtained from the son of the finder, Mr. Murray
Thomas, who was the owner of the specimen.
The photograph is unsealed, but members of the museum staff recall the
piece to have been in excess of one foot in length, which is in keeping with
Goggin, John M.
1952. 'Space and Time Perspective in Northern St. Johns Arche-
ology, Florida," Yale University Publications in Anthropology,
no. 47. New Haven.
AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA
Ripley P. Bullen an-dJohn W. Griffin
Amelia Island, the extreme northeastern part of Florida, occupies a
strategic archaeological position. To the north is coastal Georgia, where
Indians predominantly made sand-tempered pottery decorated with compli-
cated-stamped or cord-warpped paddles. To the south is the valley of the
St. Johns river, whose inhabitants, during most prehistoric ceramic periods,
made a chalky pottery without temper and decorated it with check stamping,
or left the surface smooth, virtually to the exclusion of other pottery types.
This dichotomy has existed for a long time, as the earliest pottery of both
regions, made two thousand or more years ago, was fiber-tempered, but
decorated with linear punctations in the north and with incised lines in the
During July and August, 1950, the Florida Park Service conducted a site
survey with test excavations at Amelia Island. The major part of the work
consisted of extensive excavations at the Plaza lot in Oldtown, Fernandina,
where Fort San Carlos was bult about 1815, during the second Spanish pe-
riod, upon an Indian shell heap.
Results of our analysis of the data show occupation of Amelia Island by
Indians during at least four periods: the fiber-tempered (circa 3, 000 years
ago), Deptford, St. Johns-Savannah, and St. Augustine (circa 1600-1700 A.D.).
Of these, Deptford is represented only by sherds found at sites also occupied
during other periods. Stratigraphic evidence for a succession of fiber-tempered,
St. Johns-Savannah, and St. Augustine periods was found during work at Fort
San Carlos. Otherwise, stratigraplic superposition could not be found, due to
extensive removal of shell deposits for construction purposes. The St. Johns-
Savannah period, representing a blend of check-stamped chalky pottery from
the south and sand-tempered cord-textured pottery from the north, was found
at most sites. Our data indicate the St. Johns component of this period to be
the earlier. However, both check-stamped and cord-marked containers were
used simultaneously for a long period of time. We have, therefore, divided this
period into early (predominantly St. Johns), middle, and late (predominantly
Although there has been a fair amount of investigation of Indian sites on
Amelia Island by local residents, including partial destruction of mounds
near the high school, the only recorded work is that of the last century when
Mitchell in 1848, Brinton in 1856, and Moore in 1895-6 excavated mounds
(Mitchell, 1875, p. 390; Brinton, 1859, pp. 166-167; Moore, 1922, pp. 51-68).
Results of these explorations will be discussed under appropriate sites.
Amelia Island is located in the extreme northeastern part of Florida,
between the mouths of the St. Marys and Nassau Rivers (Fig. 1). It is border-
ed on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by extensive salt
marshes and tidal streams. The island, while not particularly good for farming,
due to its sandy soil, formed an ideal location for food gatherers, who could,
with a minimum of effort, exploit the large resources of marine, estuarine,
and land life.
Devoid of rocks, Amelia Island is made of sand, which, in places at least,
rests on impure clay or clayey marl. Like many similar islands along the At-
lantic coast, it was formed from alluvium deposited by rivers and piled up by
ocean currents and wind action. The surface of most of the island is less than
twenty feet above sea level. Scrub-pinelands occupy the central and west cen-
tral areas. Sand dunes, reaching an elevation of twenty to thirty feet, cover
the northern, eastern and southern portions of the island. Only in the north-
eastern environs of the city of Fernandina is an elevation of fifty feet attained.
In this general area, south and west of Clark Creek, at elevations of
twenty to thirty feet, live the great majority of the present population. That
it was also favored as a place of residence in Indian times is shown by a
concentration of Ind ian sites (Fig. 1).
Between the old dunes of the present city and recent dunes to the north-
east, Clark Creek extends for a considerable distance. Today, Clark Creek
is navigable only at high tide by small boats for about a mile above its mouth,
while the upper part is swampy. Due to the location of large shell deposits
two to three miles from its mouth (Fig. 1, Sites 2, 3, and 24), it seems likely
Clark Creek was a tidal flat supplying shellfish during Indian times. It may
even have been open to the ocean at its southern end.
Southward growth of the island by a succession of "hooks" is shown by
the present topography. While high dunes with north-south axes border the
eastern edge of Amelia Island, Walkers Point, Piney Point, and the other
four westward extending points south of Harrisons, are formed of dunes with
east-west axes. Dates for this southward growth of the island cannot be
estimated, but it is, perhaps, worth noting that fiber-tempered pottery was
not found south of Suarez Bluff.
Except for shell picks, a shell spoon, two projectile points, a celt, and
a clay pipe, all specimens found by us at Amelia Island are sherds. Where
possible, sherds have been classified under recognized types whose defini-
tions may be found in the literature (Caldwell and McCann, 1941; Griffin,
4to 7 0
II9 II III
I'C \. 'E.
I,-I /C I l2
G II I SA --
4I F I ",
/ U REX
jE A I Id
VILLE SL K 0
0A41L4 1 2
Fig. 1. Map of Amelia Island, Florida, showing location of Indian sites. Insert, map
Amelia sLAND .
1945; Goggin, 1948; Griffin and Smith, 1949; Smith, 1948; Willey, 1949; Griffin
and Bullen, 1950). Variations from the norm and unique sherds will be com-
mented upon in this section.
In Table I, sherds have been tabulated under primary divisions based on
temper. Consequently, certain types may appear under more than one temper
San Marcos Stamped. Predominantly, sherds of this type from Amelia
Island are decorated with crossed simple-stamping (Fig. 2, F). Rims are
simple or thickened and decorated at the bottom with circular punctations
(Fig. 2, E). One sherd from N-9 bears incised lines over the stamping. One
unique rim sherd (Fig. 2, H) from N-ll exhibits incised decoration. Similar-
ly decorated rim sherds are known for San Marcos Stamped vessels from St.
Mission Red Filmed. Both examples are from plate forms. One (Fig. 2,J)
is red in color on the top of the wide, flat rim, while the concave surface
(dark in the illustration) is buff. Decoration on the other side of this sherd is
San Marcos Stamped, and exhibits overstamped, concentric curved lines.
Savannah Fine Cordmarked. Sherds under this heading meet the defini-
tion given by Caldwell and McCann (1941, pp. 43-44), except that interior
burnishing is not as common as might be expected. Lips are flat (Fig. 2,L),
rounded (Fig. 2, M), or bevelled by the paddle (Fig. 2, N). Nearly all ex-
amples from Amelia Island are cross stamped. While Savannah Fine Cord-
marked envisions decoration by means of a ccrd-wrapped paddle, the imprint
sometimes appears to be that of woven materials. Inconclusive examples have
been classified as Savannah Fine Cordmarked, but when weaving was defi-
nitely indicated sherds have been called "textile-impressed."
St. Johns Check Stamped. Checks are medium to small in size, the illus-
trated specimen (Fig. 3, A) being at the large end of the range. Included
under this type are four sherds, three from N-9 and one from N-15, which are
unique. On them, checks are diamond-shaped, have sharp edges, and the area
inside the check is marked with fine lines at right angles to its major axis
(Fig. 3, B-C).
Random-punctated. This category covers four sherds of chalky paste bear-
ing randomly spaced, shallow punctations. Both in surface treatment and noded
rim, these sherds are reminiscent of "Random-punctated" sherds from the
Safety Harbor site, where, however, such sherds were made of a crumbly
Pinellas paste (Griffin and Bullen, 1950, p. 11) .
Miscellaneous Incised, Punctated, and Stamped. Most sherds in this group
are those exhibiting part of an incised line, a few punctations, or part of a
Fig. 2. Pipe, stone points, and pottery from Amelia Island. A, fragment of clay
pipe. B-C, projectile points of chert. D, fragment of chert knife. E-G,
San Marcos Stamped. H, San Marcos Stamped with incised rim. I, unique
folded rim. J, Mission Red Filmed, plate form. K, cordmarked. L-O, Savan-
nah Fine Cordmarked. P, Textile impressed. Q, unique, brushed-over cord-
marked. R, Wilmington Heavy cordmarked. S-T, net-impressed. U, plain,
TABLE 1. POTTERY TYPES AT AMELIA ISLAND SITES.
2 4 7 9 9A 11 12 15 19 21 22 24 28 30 31 37 41 44 OTHERS TOTALS
San Marcos Stamped
Savannah Fine Cordmarked
King George Check Stmaped
Misc. Inc., Punct. & St'd
San Marcas Stamped
Savannah Fine Cordmarked
Mission Red Filmed
Savannah Fine Cordmarked
Savannah Check Stamped
Weeden Island Plain
Swift Creek Complicated
Stamped (Late Variety)
2 5 1 26
5 4 2 26 4
2 1 1 1 3
4 4 1 1 16 3 3 2 6 10 16
20 1 259
17 1 42
2 21 10 11
2 10 4
14 12 24
15 3 31
2 3 1 2 2 3
7 1 3 6
Deptford Simple Stamped
Misc. Inc., Pu., & St'd
St. Johns Check Stamped
St. Johns Scored
St. Johns Simple Stamped
Dunns Creek Red
Misc. Inc., Pu., St'd
35 750 12
1 1 5 3 1 4 1 1
11 3 3 4 14 2 39 8 19 4
4 3 9 2
20 1 1 19
1 1 4
1 1 1
3 2 2
1 13 5 36 8 2 20 4 3
Orange Incised 1 15 16
Fine punctations 1 1
Indented surface 1 1
Orange Plain 30 8 5 1 1 5 60 1 111
TOTALS 266 128 81 2369 30 66 86 19 25 47 24 185 24 48 74 58 67 304 108 4009
SPANISH tinaja SHERDS
tuLj ~B a-
Fig. 3. Miscellaneous sherds from Amelia Island. A, St. Johns Check Stamped
(used as hone). B-C, unique St. Johns Check Stamped. D, miscellaneous
incised. E, miscellaneous punctated. F, unique shell-impressed. G, Little
Manatee Zone Stamped (?). H, cob-marked. I, unique punctuated. J, St. Johns
Scored. K, Weeden Island Plain. L, unique punctated, Weeden Island rim.
M, zoned punctated. N, unique punctated. O-P, Swift Creek Complicated
Stamped, late variety. Q, unique brushed. R, Deptford Bold Check Stamped.
S, Deptford Simple Stamped. T-V, Orange Incised.
stamped design. A few unique sherds, included to save space in the pottery
table, are mentioned below.
At N-2 were found a sand-tempered sherd decorated with a very large
herringbone stamped design, and a unique shell-impressed sherd of chalky
paste (Fig. 3, F).
N-9 supplied two incised-over-corded sherds (Fig. 2, Q) and five unique
chalky sherds. One has four boldly incised lines paralleling the lip (Fig.
3, D). It may be a fragment of a Lamar Bold, Irene, or Pinellas Incised type
of design. Another has small punctations made with a triangularly pointed
tool (Fig. 3, E). A third, with shell imprints between incised lines (Fig. 3,
G), is remarkably similar to Little Manatee Zoned Stamped of the lower
Florida Gulf Coast. The fourth (from N-9A) has zoned punctations made with
a forked tool (Fig. 3, I).
Two quartz-tempered sherds from N-11 combine large punctations with
San Marcos curvilinear stamping. Two sherds, one tempered with quartz from
N-19 and the other of chalky paste from N-34, bear imprints of a large cord or
Five sand-tempered sherds from N-19 are decorated with "comb-brushing"
(Fig. 3, Q). They appear to be similar to unique brushed sherds from Irene
illustrated by Caldwell and McCann (1941, p. 52, Fig. 24, A-C).
Three sand-tempered sherds from N-21 have large areas bearing fine
punctations. Unfortunately the design cannot be ascertained. Two sand-
tempered sherds from N-24 combine check and simple stamping. A small
cross-engraved sherd came from N-29.
Three punctated, sand-tempered sherds (Fig. 3, L-M) from N-14, 37 and
44, remind one of the Weeden Island type of decoration found on the Florida
Gulf Coast but conform to no recognized type.
Before closing this section, a few words about tempering as found in
pottery at Amelia Island are necessary. Quartz-tempered sherds contain a
fairly large amount of aplastic, usually quartz sand but occasionally crushed
quartz, which commonly shows through the surface. These sherds are buff to
gray in color.
Sherd-tempered pottery contains numerous particles and sizable pieces
of buff or red material, in one instance as large as 1.2 cm. across. These in-
clusions are softer than the surrounding matrix and do not react to hydrochloric
acid. Sometimes they protude on the surface, or were dragged across it during
smoothing operations. That this material represents ground-up sherds seems
reasonably certain. Of the illustrated examples (Fig. 2, S-U) the last shows
more temper than is usually the case. Color of sherd-tempered pottery, while
including buffs and grays, also includes various reds.
Sand-tempered pottery from Amerlia Island requires no special comment.
While its use spans several periods, tempering is uniformly fine and the pot-
tery is well made. Color ranges from black through red to buff.
Much of the chalky paste is at the hard or gritty end of the range of St.
Johns ceramics. Color, as usual, ranges from white through buff to dark gray.
Semi-fiber-tempered sherds contain numerous vesicles but the quantity
of them is substantially less than for Orange Plain. Color is gray-brown,
both on surfaces and in cores of sherds, and the paste more nearly approaches
a gritty than a chalky matrix.
Fiber-tempered sherds are reddish, sometimes gray-tan, on both outer and
inner surfaces. This oxydizing effect does not penetrate more than a few milli-
meters and cores of sherds are black. Two sherds from N-44 indicate some
vessels, at least, to have had flat bottoms and outward sloping sides.
Locations of Indian sites on Amelia Island are shown on an accompanying
map (Fig. 1). The ceramic inventory from them is given in Table I. Brief
mentions of geographical features, cultural affiliations, and other pertinent
information are included below. Further discussion of these data will be found
in the next section.
N-1. This number covers a burial mound, completely excavated by Moore
(1922, pp. 55-68), which was located in a shell field (N-2). Moore describes
the mound as having been twelve feet in height with a basal diameter of
seventy-five feet. To the north and northwest were borrow pits, three to four
feet deep. The mound was stratified as follows, from the top downward: dirty
brown sand, two feet, six inches; dark sand with oyster shells, one foot; pink
sand mixed with oyster shells and white sand, one foot; yellow sand, five
feet, eight inches; dark sand and oyster shells, seven inches; light to yellow
sand of the base, two feet.
It is not clear from Moore's report whether or not the lower zone of dark
sand and shells was continuous with the midden and, hence, that the mound
was built on the midden. As the depth to the top of this zone totals ten feet,
two inches and was measured a little north of the center of the mound, where
strata should be a little thinner, such construction seems likely. However, as
Moore mentions a dog skeleton at a depth of fifteen feet, ''or three feet below
the level of the surrounding territory," it is possible construction of the mound
started with the excavation of a pit.
Burials seem to have been concentrated between depths of eight and twelve
feet which would place most of them in the lower part of the yellow sand zone
or core of the mound. Seventy-four skeletons, 'all seemingly in anatomical
order," and one deposit of charcoal and calcined human bones were uncovered.
Moore mentions a high percentage of pathological specimens but is not specific,
so that this comment cannot be evaluated.
Specimens from the mound include deposits of hematite, pottery fragments,
eight stone celts, several picks, three gouges, a drinking cup, two pins, and
some beads, all of shell, a bone awl, a large canine tooth, and two small
fragments of sheet copper. Sherds are described as plain, cord-marked, stamped,
and, in one case, incised marginal decoration.
Sherds answering these descriptions were found in the surrounding shell
field. Undoubtedly the mound was built during the St. Johns-Savannah period of
Amdia Island, probably at a time equivalent to the Weeden Island period of the
Gulf Coast, or about 700-1450 A.D.
N-2. An extensive shell field, covering some ten acres of fairly high land
adjacent to Clark Creek, was the village site of Indians who built the mound
(N-l) just discussed. Most of the shells have been removed. To the ceramic
inventory should be added two Busycon picks, Type X. Sherds indicate oc-
cupancy during Deptford and middle St. Johns-Savannah periods. Attention is
called to trade sherds of the Weeden Island period. Absence of St. Johns
Check Stamped but presence of Savannah Check Stamped should be noted.
N-3. A fairly large shell heap, originally four or five feet high, from which
many shells have been removed, is located on the east side of the Clark Creek
swamp. Diligent search and a few small tests failed to discover any pottery or
other artifact. While oyster shells predominated, all kinds of local shells were
present. Contrary to other sites, shells extended downward to rest on impure
clay at the elevation of the water table. These facts suggest this site may
have been a midden of pre-ceramic people and, also, that Clark Creek was at
that time a tidal flat supporting various shellfish.
N-4. This site occupies ten acres of high land about a tenth of a mile from
the nearest water. Presumedly, it represents an agricultural settlement. Scat-
tered shells (mostly oysters but including some clams) and pottery occur only
in the sandy loam, which is about eight inches thick. Below is sterile sand.
One of two greenstone celts, found here by Robert Walker and Robert Sal-
vester,was kindly given us by the former.
The ceramic inventory from this site differs from that of any other site on
the island for which adequate collections are available, in that the majority of
pieces are sherd-tempered, and no chalky pottery was found. Absence of
chalky pottery cannot be judged the result of collecting chances, as this site
was carefully covered. While presence of check-stamped and cord-textured
pottery places this site as occupied during the general St. Johns-Savannah
period, these discrepancies suggest that there may have been a time interval
on the island when chalky pottery was not made, or that this site was the
home of migrants from Georgia. For classificatory purposes, N-4 is placed very
late in the St. Johns-Savannah period.
N-5. This number refers to a mound, one and one-half feet high and thirty
feet across, located about a half mile east of Harrisons and excavated by
Moore (1922, pp. 51-52). Information given us by an old resident of Franklin-
town would place this mound at N-42, where we noted a disturbed area.
Moore describes the mound as built of yellow sand, with pockets of white
sand, several inches thick, considerably below the level of the surrounding
land. About a dozen burials were found, both bunched and in anatomical
order, all located at the periphery. One cremation was found. Several of the
burials were beneath deposits of oyster shells. Artifacts consisted of Olivella
shell beads, part of a shell pin, and two sherds.
We suspect this mound to be of the domiciliary type, and not a mound
built primarily for burial purposes. We also suspect, on scant evidence, that
this mound is later in time than N-1. Presence of bundle burials, not mention-
ed earlier, should be noted.
N-6. This burial mound is located at the southwestern part of N-7 on land
now owned by Mr. Jack Woodward, who kindly took us to the site. Two-thirds
of the mound was excavated by Moore (1922, pp. 52-53), who describes it as
six and one-half feet high, forty-four feet across, and built of sand. Our observa-
tions would agree with'those of Moore, except that today the mound appears
oval, with minor and major axes of about forty and sixty feet.
Moore uncovered nineteen burials, all in anatomical order, and mentions
a few shell beads, a deposit of fifteen marine univalves, pockets of sand
colored with hematite, and a few sherds. Undoubtedly, this burial mound was
constructed by inhabitants of the contiguous village site, N-7.
N-7. This large village area, consisting of various concentrations of
shells, covers ten to fifteen acres adjacent to marshes bordering Harrison
Creek and the South Amelia River. The land has long been under cultivation
and today is in grass. This site produced the highest percentage of St. Johns
Check Stamped sherds of any site on the island. While it was occupied during
the St. Johns-Savannah period, such occupation and the construction of the
burial mound (N-6), considering stratigraphic evidence to be presented later,
should have occurred early in that period.
N-8. This number has been assigned to cover a mound, five feet, two
inches high and sixty-eight feet across, excavated by Moore (1922, pp. 53-55).
Built of yellowish sand, the mound covered a layer of oystershells and midden
refuse two feet thick, which appear tohave had vertical sides. Moore foundno
burial and but one artifact, an arrow point.
We were unable to locate the site of this mound, which apparently was
domiciliary in type. The location shown on the map (Fig. 2, 8?) is approxi-
mately that given by Moore, and refers to a place where disturbed dirt was
noted and a sherd of chalky paste found.
N-9. Nearly all of Oldtown, the original settlement of Fernandina, is built
on an Indian village, located on a high bluff overlooking the Amelia River.
Shells and occasional sherds are scattered over forty acres, but the heaviest
concentration and greatest depth are at or near the Plaza lot, where the bluff
meets the river. Here excavation revealed part of the early nineteenth Century
Spanish fort and extensive deposits of shells. The latter, however, were not
particularly thick, rarely extending downward more than three feet below the
present surface. During construction of the Spanish fort, and during subsequent
installation of drains for later nineteenth century buildings, a substantial dis-
turbances occurred. These disturbances affected the upper one-foot stratum of
the whole area and frequently went deeper, sometimes to seven feet. Pits dug
by Indians also were found. Nevertheless, in certain places, stratigraphic
data were procured.
A large portion of the western end of the bluff has been washed away by
storms. In a trench along the face of this cliff, we found scattered deposits
of oyster shells six to nine inches below the base of the main shell deposit.
Shells of the lower deposits were eroded more than those at lesser depths.
Associated with the lower shells and, in places, at the base of the main
shell deposit, were found fiber-tempered sherds. At positions only slightly
less in depth, but not definitely associated with the lower shell deposits,
were a few semi-fiber-tempered sherds.
The main shell deposit, consisting of oysters plus a few clams and other
shells of the region (Ostrea virginica, Venus mercenaria, Arca sp., Busycon
canaliculata, Busycon carica, Cassis sp., Dinocardium robustum, Fasciolaria
distans, Fasciolaria gigantea, Mdaiolus plicatulus, Murex sp., Nortia pon-
derosa, and Snails including Euglandia rosea and Polinices duplicate.) as well
as bones of edible animals (deer, fish, bird and turtle, produced St. Johns
Plain, St. Johns Check Stamped, Savannah Fine Cordmarked, textile-impressed,
and plain, sand-tempered sherds. Excavation was by arbitrary six-inch zones.
Out of thirteen five-foot squares in this trench, chalky pottery was found six
to twelve inches deeper than sand-tempered sherds in nine cases, a sand-
tempered sherd was deeper in one case, and in three cases relative depths
were equal. Similarly, in another area a short distance to the northeast, where
undisturbed shell deposits were met with below the disturbed zone, chalky
sherds were deeper in four squares and at the same depth in two instances
as sand-tempered sherds.
These data suggest a priority at Amelia Island of chalky pottery over
sand-tempered Savannah wares. Additional evidence for this priority will
will be given later under N-9A and N-12. In no case is there an suggestion
of a plain chalky period (St. Johns I) before the advent of check stamping.
In all excavated areas of the Plaza lot, San Marcos Stamped and other
quartz-tempered sherds, as well as sherd-tempered pottery, when present,
were limited almost entirely to the upper twelve inches. This upper twelve
inches was uniformly a zone of disturbance. Nevertheless, this consistent
stratigraphic position would seem to establish the relative lateness of these
Relative vertical provenience of each temper type by percentages is
given in the following table which does not take into consideration the
effects of disturbance.
TABLE 2. PERCENTILE DISTRIBUTION OF DIFFERENT TEMPERED
WARES IN THREE EXCAVATION LEVELS
DEPTH IN INCHES NUMBER
TEMPER TYPE 0-12 12-24 below 24 OF SHERDS
Quartz 78.7 13.5 7.8 141
Sherd 92.8 7.2 14
Sand 57.7 26.1 16.2 567
Chalky 58.6 25.8 15.6 1029
Semi-fiber 66.7 33.3 6
Fiber 23.0 77.0 26
Total sherds 1783
The ceramic inventory from the Plaza lot shows the site to have been
occupied during all known ceramic periods of Amelia Island. This is not
surprising, because it would seem to be the best available location for a
village, irrespective of the economy of the inhabitants.
Part of a clay pipe and three stone tools were found during excavations
at the Plaza lot (Fig. 3, a-d). Of these one projectile point (Fig. 3 c) was
found in undisturbed deposits associated with St. Johns Check Stamped,
Savannah Fine Cord-marked, cord-marked, and textile-impressed sherds.
SThe burial of a middle-aged adult was uncovered in the trench nearest the
river. Bones were in very poor condition and were broken into short lengths
by pressure in the ground. Interment was tightly flexed, on the right side, head
towards the northeast, and left hand under head. Wear of teeth was excessive,
but otherwise they were in excellent condition at death.
The uppermost part of this burial was at a depth of four feet, three inches,
or six inches below the base of the main deposit of shells which, at this
point, appeared undisturbed. While we were unable to trace a burial shaft up-
wards, a sherd of St. Johns Plain from the sand above the burial would seem
to date interment as having been made during the St. Johns-Savannah period,
probably early in that period, which would account for the undisturbed, over-
lying deposit of shells.
N-9A. This designation is used to refer to part of the site at Oldtown
which is located on the next lot north of the Plaza. Here, on land a little
lower in elevation than that of the Plaza, two five-foot tests were made, one
to the north and one to the southwest of the Decker residence. Permission
of the owner, Mr. J. William Decker is appreciated.
In the test towards the north, recent objects were found in the superficial
sod and dirt, which was three inches thick. Below was an undisturbed shell
deposit, two feet thich, underlaid in part by a large Indian pit filled with
brown sand and some shells, which penetrated two feet further into the under-
lying yellow-brown sand. The shell deposit consisted of whole oyster shells
plus a few shells of Busycon carica, Busycon canaliculata, Tagelus gibbus,
Venus campechiensis, Polinices duplicate, and mussel, as well as some
bones of fishes, turtles, and mammals, and ash and charcoal. It was noted
that oyster shells were considerably thicker or heavier than those from the
main shell deposits of N-9.
Eight sherds of Orange Plain, five in the upper six inches, one each be-
tween depths of twelve and eighteen, eighteen and twenty-four, and twenty-
four and thirty inches, showed this midden to have been deposited during
fiber-tempered times. A Busycon pick, Type X, found in the upper six inches,
was presumedly made during this early period.
The test towards the southeast revealed an entirely different situation.
The upper six inches, consisting of sod and black-brown dirt, produced two
Savannah Fine Cordmarked, eight St. Johns Check Stamped, and six St.
Johns Plain sherds as well as non-Indian specimens. The next six inches,
composed of dark brown dirt mixed with shells, contained three St. Johns
Check Stamped and two unique punctated sherds of chalky paste (Fig. 4, i).
Below was a deposit of shells, nine inches thick, which produced one St.
Johns Check Stamped sherd, and which rested on sterile yellow-brown sand.
This situation is similar to that mentioned earlier for N-9, in that chalky
pottery underlay a mixture of St. Johns and Savannah wares, seemingly indi-
cating priority of the former.
N-10. A small site on a high sand ridge, where some shells and two plain
sherds, one sand- and one quartz-tempered, were found. Construction of the
present road removed most of the site.
N-11. At this site at the Bosquebello Cemetery, artifacts, including San
Marcos Stamped vessels, have been found during the digging of modern graves.
Our surface collection shows occupation during the St. Augustine, St. Johns-
Savannah, and fiber-tempered periods.
N-12. This site, covering some fifteen acres on both sides of the road
at the location of the old town gate, is probably an extension of N-9. It has
been nearly ruined, archaeologically, by removal of shells and dirt, cultiva-
tion, and road construction. Burials were found during installation of water
mains, but data concerning them are not available.
Excavation of a test square near the western end of the site uncovered a
deposit of black dirt and shells sixteen inches thick. In the upper six inches
were seven early nineteenth century European, one sherd-tempered, one
quartz-tempered, one St. Johns Check Stamped, one simple stamped (?), one
random punctated, and two St. Johns Plain sherds. The middle six inches con-
tained three textile-impressed and one plain sand-tempered, one St. Johns
Check Stamped, two St. Johns Scored, three textile-impressed, two St. Johns
Plain (burnished), and an Orange Plain sherd. The lowest six inches produced
Five St. Johns Check Stamped sherds.
The stratigraphic situation at N-12 is similar to and supports that at N-9
and N-9A, with sherd- and quartz-tempered pottery the latest, Savannah and
St. Johns wares intermediate, and, again, some priority for St. Johns Check
Stamped. The sherd of Orange Plain (fiber-tempered) is out of place. The
surface collection agrees with the test sample to show occupation during the
middle St. Johns-Savannah period and during St. Augustine times.
N-13. A small and probably late site on a sandy knoll where shells and
sherds, one sherd-, two quartz- and two sand-tempered plain, were found in the
N-14. A small area of hammock land, where shells and dirt have been re-
moved. Two San Marcos Stamped and two plain quartz- and sand-tempered
sherds were found.
N-15. This site at Suarez Bluff (Amelia City) is located at the Sandbar
Restaurant, whose owner, Mr. Forrest Osburn, kindly permitted us to make
Away from the river, lenses of oyster shells were found at depths of
eight and twelve inches in the lower part of gray sand which overlay sterile
yellow-brown sand. Nearer the river black dirt and oyster shells were found
from the surface downward to a depth of ten inches. All sherds were of the
St. Augustine period.
N-16. Small site consisting of shell deposits in a sheltered area between
sand dunes. One limestone-, ten sand-, one sherd-, two quartz-tempered and
three chalky sherds, all undecorated, were found on an adjacent eroded dune.
N-17. Small site, where three sherds, including one St. Johns Stamped, and
oyster shells were found.
N-18. Fairly large site, where shells and sand have been removed. A
collection of ten sherds shows occupation during early St. Augustine times.
N-19. Large site between sand knolls, where a great deal of shell has
been removed. Sherd collection suggests occupation during late St. Johns-
N-20. Small site on high, sandy knoll, where a few oyster shells and four
sherds, including one textile-impressed, were found.
N-21. Shell field, covering an acre in protected area between high sandy
knolls. Most of the shells have been removed. Residual sherds indicate main
occupation to have occurred during middle St. Johns-Savannah times.
N-22. Small shell ridge, originally about thirty inches in height, and
100 yards long, bordering marsh at head of Long Draw Creek. Sherds show
occupation during midi le part of St. Johns-Savannah period.
N-23. What appear to be several mounds are located on the northwestern
part of the Fernandina school grounds. Burials have removed from here in
recent years but no record is available of the finds. Due to the dune terrain
and the amount of disturbance, it is impossible, pending excavation, to deter-
mine how many mounds may be in this group.
These mounds are undoubtedly those seen by William Bartram while
visiting the Edmont estate in 1774 (Van Doren, 1940, pp. 76-77). Brinton
worked at this site in 1856 but noted only one mound which he describes as
20 feet high. Part of his account (Brinton, 1859, pp. 166-167) follows:
''It is composed of the common surface sand, obtained from the east side,
close to the base, where an excavation is visible. A few live oaks and pines
grow upon it, the largest of which, at the time of my visit (1856), measured
seventeen inches in diameter.... From excavations, made by myself and others,
it proved, like every similar mound I examined, or heard of as examined, in
Florida, to be, in construction, a vast tomb. Human bones, stone axes, darts,
and household utensils, were disinterred in abundance. Quantities of rudely
marked fragments of pottery, and broken oyster, clam, and conch shells, were
strewed over the field. I was informed of a second mound, smaller in size,
somewhat south of Fernandina-light house (See N-l) .... I could learn nothing
of the other two large tumuli on the island, known as the 'Ogeechee Mound,'
mentioned by the younger Bartram.''
A lithograph giving a "Birds Eye View of Fernandina, Florida," published
by J. J. Stoner of Madison, Wisconsin, in 1884, and now in the J. Wm Decker
collection at Fort Clinch, shows three mounds at this site. In this view, one
mound is larger than the other two. Apparently, Bartram referred to the group
of mounds and Brinton only to the largest one.
N-24. Very large site, covering twenty to thirty acres, where shell removal
has been extensive, on west side of Clark Creek. Sherds indicate occupation
during fiber-tempered, St. Johns-Savannah, and St. Augustine periods. Fiber-
tempered sherds were limited to one small area.
N-25. Small site on sandy knolls, nearly destroyed by roads and sand re-
moval, with a shell zone six inches thick at base of loam. One Savannah
Check Stamped, one sherd-tempered plain, and two St. Johns Plain sherds
N-26. A small site where shells have been brought to the surface by cul-
tivation, from a thin shell deposit in the loam at a depth of five inches. Seven
plain sherds were found.
N-27. A very small site, similar to N-26, where two sherds were found.
N-28. Extensive deposits of shells are to be found near the marsh and in
the woods at the western end of Walkers Point, now owned by Mr. Loeb, who
kindly let us investigate this site. In the southern part of the site is a burial
mound about eight feet high and thirty to forty feet across. A large amount of
shells has been removed from the deposits in the woods while those at the
shore are not very thick. Our sherd collection is inadequate for an appraisal
of this site but occupation during the St. Johns-Savannah period seems indi-
N-29. A small site, evidenced by scattered shells in the loam along the
sides of the state road. To judge from our small collection of nine sherds,
occupation occurred during very late St. Johns-Savannah times.
N-30. Scattered deposits of shells found along roads and in woods over an
area of about five acres. Little of the site or sites remains due to removal of
shells. Each shell deposit might represent one family unit. Occupation occurred
during late St. Johns-Savannah and St. Augustine times.
N-31. This large site at Piney Point consists of a shell ridge at the shore,
reworked by wave action, and extensive shell deposits on western ends of
sand ridges. Shells, also, form small "islands" in the level, slightly swampy
land between the sand ridges. These islands, about eighteen inches high and
eighteen feet across, may represent individual house locations. Near the
southern end of the site is a dome-shaped knoll, fifteen feet high, which was
found by test to be of natural origin.
Three Busycon picks, Type X, and a Busycon spoon were collected, as
well as the pottery listed for this site. Occupation during the middle St.
Johns-Savannah period is evident.
N-32. This number was assigned to a small area where shells, but no
sherds, were found.
N-33. This site consisted of several areas in the woods, where shells
and six plain sherds were found. Again, each shell deposit, now mostly
removed, may represent an individual house site.
N-34. Shell deposits at this site form the extreme western end of a nar-
row, westward extending sand ridge. Fourteen sherds, including King George
Check Stamped, Savannah Check Stamped, and one of cord- or rope-impressed
chalky paste, suggest habitation during late St. Johns-Savannah times.
N-35. This number refers to a burial site removed during construction of a
road. Two copper hawk's bells, a larger brass bell, and a celt, seven to eight
inches in length, were associated with the burials.
N-36. Small site in a cultivated field where shells and seven sherds, in-
cluding textile-impressed and King George Check Stamped, were found.
N-37. This site covers about five acres of land bordering marsh adjacent
to Jackson Creek. Shells and sand to a depth of about five feet have been
removed from parts of the site. Our collection indicates occupation during
St. Augustine and late St. Johns-Savannah times, but it may also have been
a site in earlier periods.
N-38. This site was removed as shells and sand years ago. Today a thin
zone of shells in the loam may be seen near the periphery. Mr. Curtis Lassere,
who kindly took us to this site, advised us that arrow points have been found
here in the past.
N-39. Undisturbed shell deposits, three to four inches thick, were found
in the loam at this site. Very small tests produced no pottery.
No-40. In this area a small deposit of undisturbed shells in the loam in-
dicated the location of a very small site.
N-41. This site covering some ten acres of the Harrison Plantation of the
last century, is now owned by Mr. L. O. Huggins, who kindly permitted us to
make a careful investigation. Unfortunately, it has been under cultivation for
the last 150 years. The surface collection indicates occupation during late St.
Johns-Savannah and St. Augustine periods. Attention is called to ten spanish
tinaja sherds. This is the only site besides N-9 which produced such sherds.
In the fall of 1950 parts of several skeletons were exposed in the bank of
the creek after a hurricane. Four San Marcos Stamped sherds (not included in
the pottery table) were found at the location of these burials
N-42. This site consists of a thin but extensive deposit of shells in the
loam. It is located between two ponds and is probably the village site of a
mound (N-5) excavated by Moore. One quartz-tempered, plain sherd and a Busy-
con pick, Type X, were found.
N-43. A drainage canal has been dug through this site. Shells and a few
sherds were scattered in various concentrations over an area about 150 feet
across. Two fiber-tempered (one bearing fine punctation), one sherd-tempered,
one cord-marked, and seven sand-tempered, plain sherds were found.
N-44. A large site from which a great deal of shell has been removed. The
western end has been eroded by wave action and most of our collection came
from the beach. Apparently, this was a good location for the procurement of
oysters and was a popular spot during all archaeological periods at Amelia
N-45. A small site consisting of shells exposed by wave action. No
pottery was found.
N-46. Same situation as at N-45.
N-47. Similar to the last two sites, but located on a marsh island.
N-48. This number has been assigned to record a mound excavated by
Augustus Mitchell in 1848, Mitchell locates the mound in the "southern
portion of Amelia Island" and states that during the work he was "furnished
colored laborers, and aided by Dr. R. Harrison." The mound may, therefore,
have been near the Harrison Plantation. If so it is not recorded by local
Mitchell (1875) describes the mound as fifteen feet high, thirty feet across,
and composed of light, sandy, yellowish loam. lie estimates the mound to have
contained about 400 burials which, to judge from the following description,
were flexed interments.
''They must have commenced by digging into the surface of the ground
about two feet. Then partially filling the excavation with oyster-shells, placed
the dead on the shells in a sitting position, their legs bend under them, their
faces to the east, and their arms crossed upon the breast. Next they spread
over them a layer of earth. It is evident that in the successive burials the earth
was reopened and the additional bodies were placed close either to the back
or the side of those who had been previously interred, until the first layer was
complete. Then the circumference of the mound well walled in by a compost
of marsh-mud, and another layer of oyster-shells was placed over the heads of
the first layer of bodies and continuation of the mud wall, until the superin-
cumbent layer completed the mound to its apex." (Mitchell, 1875, p. 390).
One of the skulls had an arrow head in its left parietal bone and several
had holes which Mitchell believed had been made by stone axes. Charcoal,
red ochre, four stone axes, and a small amount of pottery also were noted for
DISCUSSION OF SITES
That Indians lived on Amelia Island before the advent of pottery is likely.
The only evidence, however, is from site N-3, where sherds were not found
during two visits. The fact that shells at this site rest on clay, contrary to
all other known sites on the island, suggests the possibility they were de-
posited prior to building up of sand dunes found immediately to the east. Such
a suggestion may sound radical, but if the most recent estimates for the end
of the pre-ceramic period and the introduction of fiber-tempered pottery, circa
1500B.C., approaches reality, ample time would be allowed (Goggin, 1950,
p. 10). The likelihood of a slightly different environmental situation, with
Clark Creek open to the ocean and supporting abundant shellfish, has been
Fiber-tempered sites occur in three restricted locations. Of these N-44
(plus one sherd at N-43) and the Oldtown group (N-9, N-9A, N-11, and one
sherd at N-12) occur in localities where it is evident shellfish would be
abundant. The third locality, N-24 and one sherd at N-21, is well up Clark
Creek. It seems reasonable to believe shellfish found at these sites came
from Clark Creek before it became as swampy as it is now.
Decorated fiber-temperedpottery from Amelia Island exhibits parallel in-
cised lines, rarely in connection with punctations (Fig. 4, t-v). It is, there-
fcre, Orange Incised, and typical of the fiber-tempered period of the Florida
East Coast and not similar to decorated fiber-tempered pottery from eastern
Georgia, such as Stalling's Island Punctated or St. Simons Incised and Punc-
tated. The inhabitants of Amelia Island during fiber-tempered times appear to
have been oriented, culturally, towards the south. Some connection between
these major areas existed, however, as the Orange Incised type of decoration
was found in small amounts at Stalling's Island in Georgia, (Claflin, 1931,
pl. 15), and both Orange Incised and Stalling's Island Punctated have been
found at a site on St. Simon' s Island, Georgia (Antonio J. Waring, personal
communication, Jan. 12, 1949).
The Deptford period (N-2, N-9, N-44) is not well represented at Amelia
Island. As before, sites are located beside water (including Clark Creek).
It seems significant that the areal distribution of Deptford sherds follows that
of fiber-tempered pottery. At N-9 we have simple-stamped, semi-fiber-tempered
pottery which would seem to fill the gap between the fiber-tempered and Dept-
ford periods. The first settlements at N-2 and possibly at N-31 and N-37
started at this time, and this may indicate the beginnings of an expanding
Priority of the St. Johns component of the St. Johns-Savannah period has
been shown at N-9, N-9A, and N-12. Parts of these sites, N-6, N-7, and pos-
sibly N-31, belong to the early part of the St. Johns-Savannah period. No
doubt several sites which we have allocated to the middle part of this period,
based on surface collections, were also occupied during the earlier phase.
There is no reason to believe that N-2, N-24, and N-44 were abandoned. About
this time construction of the burial mound at N-7 (N-6) was started and also,
now or a little later, of those at N-2 (N-1) and N-28.
The increased number of sites shows an increase in population. Whether
this was the result of natural growth or whether people moved north from the
St. Johns River area, bringing their pottery tradition with them, is not known.
All sites are still located adjacent to water.
Shortly afterward, Savannah Fine Cordmarked and Check Stamped pottery
was introduced from the north. Blending of this influence with the recent one
from the south produced the St. Johns-Savannah period. N-2, 9, 11, 21, 22,
24, 31, and 44 have their major occupation at this time. In spite of likely
shifting from site to site over a fairly long period of time, this seems to be
the period of maximum population, probably to some extent the result of im-
This cultural climax seems to have coincided with that of Weeden Island
on the Florida West Coast, as we have Weeden Island pottery at N-2. Green-
stone celts were imported from the north, as well as a little copper. Burial
mounds were built or added to. Presumedly agriculture was practised, but
sites are still located close to shellfish producing water.
We have defined the late St. Johns-Savannah phase as marked by a decline
in popularity of chalky pottery, a predonderance of Savannah wares over those
of the St. Johns, and the introduction, presumedly from the north, of the use
of sherds and quartz at tempering materials. Sites N-4, 19, 29, 30, 37, and 41
meet these specifications. Smaller sites, N-10, 13, 18, 23, and 42, may be-
long to this phase, as chalky pottery was not found at any of them. Large
sites, such as N-9 and N-24, were probably not abandoned, but we cannot
place them in this phase, with certainty, from surface collections.
Amelia Island is so small that shellfish could be and were carried to all
known sites, but for the first time some sites are not located beside shellfish
producing water. This slight but noticeable shift may reflect an attempt to
find better agricultural land, or the pressure of population. Site N-4, presum-
edly the best illustration of this late phase, is thinly scattered over a large
area and would definitely seem to be an agricultural community.
Culmination of northern influences was reached during the St. Augustine
period. San Marcos Stamped sherds and allied types were found at twelve
sites grouped chiefly into three areas: Harrisons (N-41 and N-30), Suarez
Bluff (N-14 and N-15), and Oldtown (N-9, N-11, and N-12). Other sites with
one or more sherds of this period are N-2, 18, 24, 37, and 44. Of these the
percentage of St. Augustine types is the highest at N-37. Harrisons (N-41)
with ten Spanish tinaja sherds, Suarez Bluff (N-15) with one Mission Red
Filmed, and Oldtown (N-9 with Mission Red Filmed and tinaja sherds, were
occupied into historic times. Historic burials are also recorded for N-35.
Identification of four of these sites as historic villages can be made.
While Calderon lists the Spanish "mission and village of Santa Maria" in
1675 on Amelia Island (Wenhold, 1936, p. 10), Arcos, writing the same year,
specifically lists all Indian towns on Amelia, including Santa Maria, to be
those of pagan Indians (Boyd, 1948, p. 183). In 1686, remnants of the Spanish
missions in Guale (Georgia and Carolina), which had become weakened due
to various reasons, were withdrawn southward to Amelia Island, Fort George
Island, and the mainland north of St. Augustine (Swanton, 1922, pp. 91-92).
From this date until 1702, a Spanish mission of Amelia can be documented.
In his list of 1675, Arcos gives the pagan villages on Amelia Island, from
north to south, as follows: a Yamasee village of sixty people, then one league
to Ocotoque with forty people, then two leagues to La Tama with fifty people,
then one-half league to Santa Maria with forty people, and finally three leagues
to the mission of San Juan del Puerto on Fort George Island (Boyd, 1948,
Distances given by Arcos can almost be taken literally. It is slightly less
than four leagues (ten miles) from the middle of Fort George Island to Harri-
sons on Amelia Island. From there it is half a league to Suarez Bluff, two and
one-half leagues more by water to N-37, and one and one-quarter leagues from
there to Oldtown. These distances agree so closely with those given by Arcos
that we can identify the sites at which we found the greatest amount of San
Marcos Stamped pottery, N-41, 15, 37, and 9, as, respectively, the pagan
Indian villages of Santa Maria, La Tama, Ocotoque, and that of the Yamasees.
Confirmatory evidence is found in Dickinson's journal of his trip north-
ward along the Florida coast in 1696 (Andrews and Andrews, 1945, pp. 88-91).
Dickinson' s party left St. Wans (San Juan) on Fort George Island the morning
of October 2, at about 10 o'clock. They walked about a mile to the sound,
where Indians in canoes took them to St. Mary's (Santa Maria), "a frontier and
a garrison town: the inhabitants are Indians with some Spanish soldiers" and
a friar, where they arrived about an hour before dark.
N-41 at Harrison's, with Spanish pottery and called Santa Maria by Arcos
nineteen years before, would be Dickinson's St. Mary's. This designation is
practically proven when Dickinson writes that "About a mile from this is an-
other town called St. Philips." According to the map the distance from Harri-
sons (N-41) to Suarez Bluff (N-15) is 1% miles. That St. Philips is to the
north and connected by water is shown by Dickinson's stopping there for an
hour on his way north on October 6.
Leaving St. Mary's and St. Philips in the morning, Dickinson was taken
northward by boat. ''About two or three leagues hence (from St. Philips or
Suarez Bluff) we came in sight of an Indian town called Sappataw; but we
went about a league to the northward of it to a sentinel's house, where we put
our boats on shore and had casseena brought us. Making no stay we went
hence rowing till next morning.' "This morning we put on shore having
passed an inlet of the sea" (the mouth of the St. Marys River).
It will be noted that Dickinson mentions four settlements on the west
side of Amelia Island, as does Arcos, and that the distances between them,
as given by both writers, are in agreement. These relationships, from south
to north, are summarized below. Apparently, both Arcos and Dickinson used
the Spanish judicial league of 2.63 miles.
ARCOS DICKINSON SITES AIR WATER
Santa Maria St. Mary's Harrison, N-41
1/2 league 1 mile 1 1/4 1/3/8
La Tama St. Philips Suarez Bluff, N-1S
2 leagues 2-3 leagues 4 3/8 6 1/2
Ocotoque Sappataw Jackson Creek, N-37
1 league 1 league 3 3 1/4
Yamases Sentinel's house Oldtown, N-9
The Spanish-Indian settlement at the Harrison Plantation was not only
the mission of Santa Maria but also the Spanish military headquarters for the
area during the last part of the seventeenth Century. This settlement did not
have a very long life, as it was destroyed by Colonel Moore in 1702 during
his expedition against St. Augustine (Bolton, 1925, pp. 59-60). This end
date is supported by a note on the Martinez map of 1765, which, referring
to Amelia Island, records in Spanish, 'Island of Saint Mary (Santa Maria)
on which there was a settlement of Spaniards until the year 1702" (Chatelain,
1941, map 1). Oglethorpe in 1745-6 describes Amelia Island as deserted, with
only peach and orange trees as mute testimony of the Spanish-Indian settle-
ments visited by Dickinson (Moore, 1744, p. 123).
Our survey of Amelia Island located forty-six Indian sites. Where col-
lections permitted, these sites have been grouped under pre-ceramic, fiber-
tempered, Deptford, St. Johns-Savannah (Early, Middle, and Late), and St.
Augustine archaeological periods. Indians lived on the island from long be-
fore the time of Christ until 1702.
Historic records show that during part of the last quarter of the seven-
teenth century, Indians and Spaniards lived together at Santa Maria and other
towns on the island. The four towns mentioned in the records have been
Amelia Island is situated between two "culture areas," the St. Johns
River area to the south and coastal Georgia to the north. During fiber-
tempered times, pottery decoration shows an orientation towards the south.
Deptford sherds of the succeeding period indicate influences from the north.
Chalky pottery of the St. Johns tradition to the south next appears, and is
shortly joined by Savannah wares from the north. These two pottery groups
were used concurrently for a long time, and probably imply a mingling of
northern and southern people. Finally northern influence won as Indians
drifted southward from Georgia as a result of Colonial unrest, forming the
St. Augustine archaeological period. Amelia Island seems to have been a
frontier during Indian times as it was later during Colonial periods.
Influences from the north bearing Savannah Fine Cordmarked pottery
were not able to exert as great as effect along the coast south of the mouth
of the St. Johns River as at Amelia Island. No doubt this was because of the
strength of the St. Johns tradition in that area. Their progress was not stopped,
however. Veering southwesterly into north central Florida, they are to be
recognized by Prairie Cord Marked pottery of the Hickory Pond and Alachua
periods (Goggin, 1949, pp. 39-40). The makers of this pottery may have been
attracted by the good farm lands of Alachua or, perhaps, they were under
pressure from Georgia Indians bearing the Fort George-St. Augustine culture.
While the dynamics of Indian cultures are obscure, we have here glimpses
of their waxing and waning and of territorial expansion which is so familiar
to us in the world of today.
The following table is an attempt to correlate the archaeological situa-
tion at Amelia Island, as we see it, with chronologies proposed for areas
to the north (Caldwell and McCann, 1941, pp. 1-41), and to the south (Goggin,
1949, p. 16). The correlation with the St. Johns region is not as good as we
might wish. This may reflect the small amount of excavation done in that
area. We suspect the St. Johns I period to be relatively shorter in time span
than has been suggested. Arrows denote direction of cultural movements, as
indicated by ceramic evidence.
TABLE 3. COMPARATIVE CHRONOLOGY OF CERAMIC PERIODS
AMELIA ISLAND, COASTAL GEORGIA, AND ST. JOHNS AREA
Coastal Georgia Amelia Island St. Johns River
Late Lamar St. Augustine --- St. Augustine
Irene S St. Johns IB
Savannah -- J
St. Johns II St. Johns II A
Wilmington ?? St. Johns I B
Deptford Deptford St. Johns I A
St. Simons, Orange, -- Orange,
fiber-tempered fiber-tempered fiber-tempered
Pre-ceramic Pre-ceramic (?) Pre-ceramic
Andrews, Evangeline W., and Charles McL.
1945. Johathan Dickinson's Journal. New Haven.
Bolton, Herbert E.
1925. Arredondo's Historical Proof of Spain's Title to Georgia.
Boyd, Mark F.
1948. "Enumeration of Florida Spanish Missions in 1675." Florida
Historical Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 181-188. St. Augustine.
Brinton, Daniel G.
1859. Notes on the Floridian Peninsular. Philadelphia.
Caldwell, Joseph, and Catherine McCann.
1941. Irene Mound Site, Chatham County, Georgia. Athens.
Chatelain, Verne E.
1941. The Defenses of Spanish Florida, 1565 to 1763. Carnegie
Institution of Washington, Publication 511. Washington.
Claflin, William H., Jr.
1931. "The Stalling's Island Mound, Columbia County, Georgia."
Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and
Ethnology, vol. 14, no. 1. Cambridge.
Goggin, John M.
1948. ''Some Pottery Types from Central Florida." Bulletin of the
Gainesville Anthropological Association, no. 1. Gainesville.
1949. "Cultural Traditions in Florida Prehistory." in The Florida
Indian and His Neighbors, John W. Griffin, Editor. Winter Park.
1950. "Florida Archeology 1950." The Florida Anthropologist,
vol. III, no. 1/2. Gainesville.
Griffin, James B.
1945. "The Significance of the Fiber-tempered Pottery of the St.
Johns Area in Florida." Journal of the Washington Academy of
Sciences. vol. 35, no. 7. Washington.
Griffin, John W., and Ripley P. Bullen
1950. "The Safety Harbor Site, Pinellas County, Florida." Publica-
tions of the Florida Anthropological Society, no. 2. Gainesville.
Griffin, John W., and Hale G. Smith
1949. "Nocoroco, A Timucua Village of 1605 now in Tomoka State
Park." The Florida Historical Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 4. St.
1875. "Antiquities of Florida." Smithsonian Institution, Annual
Report for 1874. Washington.
Moore, Clarence B.
1922. "Additional Mounds of Duval and of Clay Counties, Florida."
Indian Notes and Monographs, Museum of the American Indian,
Heye Foundation. New York.
1744. 'A Voyage to Georgia, begun in the year 1735." Reprinted
1840 in Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. I.
Pink, Helen R.
1949. Amelia Island: A Resource Unit for Teachers in Secondary
Schools. Master's Thesis. University of Florida Library.
Smith, Hale G.
1948. "Two Historical Periods in Florida." American Antiquity,
vol. 13, no. 4. Menasha.
Swanton, John R.
1922. 'Early History of the Creek Indians and their Neighbors,''
Bureay of American Ethnology, Bulletin 73. Washington.
Van Doren, Mark
1940. The Travels of William Bartram. New York.
Wenhold, Lucy L.
1936. "A 17th Century Letter of Gabriel Diaz Vara Calderon, Bishop
of Cuba, describing the Indians and Indian Missions of Florida. "
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, vol. 95, no. 16.
Willey, Gordon R.
1949. "Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast," Smithsonian Miscel-
laneous Collections, vol. 113. Washington.
Florida Park Service
Florida's Seminole Indians, by Wilfred T. Neill. 81 pp., 25 plates, map,
frontis., $1. Ross Allen's Reptile Institute, Silver Springs, Florida, 1952.
The Seminole have attracted much popular attention in Florida, and have
been written about frequently. However, since MacCauley's visit of 1880-81,
there has be en no serious attempt to present a general description of Seminole
life. The popular accounts are largely superficial and misleading, and there
is a considerable amount of erroneous information extant. Hence it is with
real pleasure that we note the appearance of a thorough and reliable popular
summary. Wilfred T. Neill, a professional herpetologist and Director of
Research at Ross Allen's Reptile Institute, has written a serious, sympathe-
tic, and relatively well-balanced account, which makes pleasant reading and
has already been widely distributed and very well received by those acquainted
with the Seminole.
Neill devotes a good part of his booklet to historical discussion. His
summaries of the history of the Seminole Wars, of style changes, population
trends, historic individuals, and the Oklahoma and Bahamas Groups are well
done. Perhaps the major emphasis of the work is on the relations of the
tribe with the whites. The author competently describes Indian Service
activities, missionaries, schooling, and health. To an anthropologist, these
sections would appear over-long in a brief account which attempts to cover
the whole range of Seminole culture and history. But in a popular treatment
they are not out of place, and the author's sensible handling of the topics
is refreshing after so many sensational newspaper accounts.
Nearly a third of the 81 pages are illustrations, well-selected and excel-
The best sections on present Seminole culture deal with economy, food,
clothing, languages, and burial. It is disappointing to find only brief mentions
of the existence of clans. The lack of information on social organization could
have been remedied by utilizing the publications of Alexander Spoehr on the
Cow Creek Seminole (Spoehr, 1941 and 1944) which are the only published
results of intensive field work among the Seminole by a trained anthropologist.
The existence of fully functioning matrilineal clans and the persistence of
matrilocal extended families are among the most interesting aspects of
The discussion of religion is hampered by the reticence of informants on
this topic and by the lack of any published description. (This lack will be
remedied soon when Louis Capron's excellent paper, "The Medicine Bundles
of the Florida Seminole and the Green Corn Dance," appears in Bulletin 151
of the Bureau of American Ethnology, now in press.) But Neill includes a nice
description of the "superstitions" of Southern backwoods whites, as a plea
for tolerance towards Seminole beliefs. The author's statement of the linguis-
tic situation is unusually fine for a work of this nature. The nine words given
in Mikasuki and Muskogee to illustrate the difference between the languages of
the two bands of Florida Seminole are in a make-shift transcription derivedfrom
English spelling, but this comes much closer to representing the original
sounds accurately than do most such attempts.
A few minor points may be mentioned. Most of the camps along the Tami-
ami Trail are permanent, not temporary as Neill says (p. 24). Rabbits are not
eaten by most individuals, because of the personality of Rabbit as the trickster
in folklore (p. 31). The Cow Creek Green Corn Dance is held in late June or
early July, usually after the Mikasuki Green Corn Dances, not in October or
November (p. 42); the other major ceremonial, the Hunting Dance, which is
not mentioned, occurs in the fall. Contrary to the statement (p. 43) that
''relatively few have adopted Christianity," nearly 100% of the people of the
Big Cypress and Dania Reservations, and many on the Brighton (Cow Creek)
Reservation, are now conscientious Baptists. The wholesale conversion of
the reservation groups began only ten years ago, and today almost all of the
off-reservation Seminole, slightly more than half of the total tribal population,
are still non-Christians. In the discussion of the practice of Seminole doctors
(pp. 52-53), the tremendous importance of singing is overlooked. An account
of Seminole medicine by Robert Greenlee (1944) makes this plain, but was
apparently not seen by Neill. The Seminole do not now call themselves
Ikanyuksalgi (p. 60; a Muskogee term given by MacCauley, as meaning
''People of the Peninsula"), but rather ydkitisci: (in Mikasuki) and istica: ti:
(in Muskogee), "red people." Also, the term "Mikasuki" does not occur in
the Mikasuki language and is known to only a few of the southern (Mikasuki
speaking) band (p. 60). As Neill says, the term simino: li: (which is the same
in Mikasuki and Muskogee) is not used by the Florida Seminole to refer to
themselves; its meaning is ''wild, non-domesticated," rather than ''separat-
ists, those who dwell apart," which Neill, following many others, gives as
the meaning (p. 5). These criticisms should not be taken to imply dissatis-
faction on the part of the reviewer with the job Neill has done. Most previous
popular accounts are so full of errors and misleading emphases as not to be
worth detailed consideration.
Since the work is intended for non-scholarly readers, footnotes are dis-
pensed with. However, a full bibliography and notes as to the sources of
various types of information are given in the last pages. It should be noted
that the bibliography contains the only serious misprint in the work-Mac-
Cauley's "The Seminole Indians of Florida" is listed under James Mooney.
Of the fifteen Seminole named, who "contributed toward the preparation
of this booklet'' (p. 77), all but three are Mikasuki, and all but two are
Christians. Neill's main informant was Charlie Cypress, a well-liked and
well informed Mikasuki man in his eighties.
The author tells me that he plans an enlarged and revised edition of this
work, and welcomes suggested additions or corrections.
Anyone who desires a brief, readable, and reliable statement of the his-
tory, culture, and present status of the Florida Seminole should be referred
to this booklet. It is to be hoped that we soon will have further results of
Neill's Seminole studies.
Greenlee, Robert F.
1944. "Medicine and Curing Practices of the Modern Florida Semi-
noles," American Anthropologist, vol. 46, no. 3.
1941. "Camp, Clan, and Kin among the Cow Creek Seminole of
Florida," Anthropological Series, Field Museum of Natural
History, vol. 33, no. 1.
1944. "The Florida Seminole Camp," Anthropological Series, Field
Museum of Natural History, vol. 33, no. 3.
William C. Sturtevant
Yale University, New Haven
CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ISSUE
Robert F. Greenlee, who is presently teaching in Ft. Pierce, has been a
long-time student of Seminole culture. He has made studies of several aspects
of Seminole life, in addition to social organization and material culture,
which are described in this issue of the Anthropologist.
Dr. Wilfred T. Neill, author of the most recent work on the Seminole, which
is reviewed in this issue, wrote the article on the ceremonial rattles recovered
at Silver Springs. He is the director of the Research Division of Ross Allen's
John W. Griffin and Ripley P. Bullen undertook the survey of Amelia Is-
land as archaeologists of the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials.
William C. Sturtevant, a graduate student in anthropology at Yale Univer-
sity, is doing field research among the Florida Seminole. He is returning to
New Haven in February to write his doctoral dissertation on Seminole culture.
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