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I OF F. LIlARL;
PUBLISHED BY THE
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
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The Arch Creek Site, Dade ty, prepared by Bert Mowers,
Wilma Williams, Ma ene, and Wesley Coleman 1
An Orange Plain Vessel from Enterprise, Florida
E. Thomas Hemmings and Don L. von Burger .. 14
The Wheeler Series and Southeastern Prehistory
Ned J. Jenkins . . . 17
Coushatta Basketry in the Rand Collection
Donald G. Hunter . 27
Carved Fossil Bone from Volusia County, Florida
D. L. von Burger . . 38
OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY
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Directors at Large
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1st Vice President Wilma B. Williams 1020 4th Street North
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2nd Vice President Raymond Williams
Dept.of Anthropology, University of
South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620
Secretary Wilburn Cockrell, Division
of Archives, History, and Records
Management, The Capitol, Tallahassee,
Two years; Wesley Coleman
10 NW 124th Avenue
Miami, FL 33126
One year: J. Anthony Paredes
Department of Anthropology,
Florida State University
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THE ARCH CREEK SITE, DADE COUNTY
Miami-West India Archaeological Society
and Broward County Archaeological Society
The area known as Arch Creek was one of the larger aboriginal Indian
sites in southeast Florida. By Indian dugout Biscayne Bay is a little more
than two miles to the east. Westward, the creek leads to the Glades. The high,
dry hammock, with deep water access made an ideal village location as shown
on an early 1870 map (Fig. 1). A natural bridge formed of oolitic limestone
spans the creek (Fig. 2). The road that passed over its top was, originally,
the Capron Trail built to connect Ft. Pierce with Ft. Dallas, now Miami.
General Harney coming from the south used it to lead his men to victory over
the Seminoles. Much later the road was the land route to Miami used by the
early white settlers. The name was changed to Military Road, as it appears
on the early map (Fig. 1).
No story about the Arch Creek site would be complete without reference
to the physical characteristics that made it so attractive to the aboriginal In-
dian. According to Laymond Hardy (1972), naturalist, "This tract contains ex-
cellent samples of natural waterway, hardwood hammock, a wet glade and
South Florida' s only natural stone bridge. Rich in legend as well as its physi-
cal attributes, Arch Creek is a most striking composite of South Florida's
archaeology, geology, history, flora and fauna. "
The 1870 map (Fig. 1) delineates the many branches of the creek and the
vast expanse of Everglades. Within a quarter mile of the natural bridge was a
sulphur spring probably used medicinally by the Indians. The local shaman had
plenty of herbs, roots and barks to fill his medicine bag, for there are at least
105 known species of plants found on the hammock as well as 71 species of
birds and 7 species of rare tree snails (Hardy 1972). Many animals inhabited
the area including deer, raccoon, wildcat, and fox. Turtles were plentiful and
probably one of their diet staples. Fish and shellfish were well represented in
the surrounding waters.
Dan D. Laxson (1957)' of Hialeah, made an extensive study of this site
and recorded it as DA 23. Arthur Marler (1967) of the Broward Society also
worked there while Dr. John M. Goggin was familiar with the site but so far
as is known never worked there.
Wesley Coleman of the Miami-West India group and Robert Patton of the
Broward group surveyed the site. Areas to be excavated were staked out from
a central datum and a site map drawn locating excavated areas (Fig. 3). Stan-
Florida Anthropologist, vol. 28, no. 1,, March 1975.
2 TOWNSHIP N* .2Z Soaatf
'^ f c
A.CE .- f P- cS. A&,
RANGE N? 42 Eas- of Pr-i-^ci~p
- .-P~ I ~ 11Y111.. ~ -~ I ___ 3.~~ZL L~~LL.:~1 ~ I L.~.ZL4
S 6 Z ,
. / o l
ii P or LLY'l( i
"-!3S .o C e ..
s3. f s \ --- "- i (
J Jb i
2*4 94& C& On
Fig. 1. First survey of Arch Creek region,
and Natural Bridge in lower center
note Military Road
,, c- --
- .-n- -,---,.-u- -r-u ---- ~-; --- --,
LO-11 -- I r
- ..-- -..--
I "- .
* Io -,e,
e ~ jJ
^- r #O4r
fc'wjw'^''''lll^ "' k
A) I 38 !
/ VAR ean
Fig. 2. 1973 drawing of natural bridge at Arch Creek.
dard 5- by 5-foot pits were measured but, because of time limitations, ad-
joining pits were excavated in 5- by 10-foot plots. Using arbitrary 6-inch
levels all material was screened through rocker screen with 1/4 inch mesh
and recorded by pit number and level. All artifacts, after washing, counting
and recording, were turned over to the Miami-West India Archaeological So-
ciety for preservation. In places, Miami oolite, riddled with intersecting so-
lution holes was found at 6 to 8 inches below the surface. All such holes were
dug out by hand down to barren sand and materials found in them assigned to
the level of the top of the rock in which they occurred.
From the 8 pits excavated, a total of 6097 sherds were recovered. Some
sherds were found on the surface, but only those from the excavation were
used in this report (Table 1). Almost all of the sherds were of four main
wares typical of Glades sites: Glades gritty ware, Goodland Plain, Belle
Glade Plain and the St. Johns series.
Glades Gritty Ware is the usual sand-tempered pottery of the Glades
area. An attempt has been made to break this down into recognizable divisions,
of which Goodland Plain is a West Coast variant with a fairly definite descrip-
tion. However, Goodland Plain was not separated in other earlier reports of
this site. Belle Glade Plain is a distinctive pottery made in the Lake Okeecho-
bee area. It is found in all levels but in the largest amounts in the latest levels.
The St. Johns series is a northern import into the Glades region. It is a
chalky, temperless ware with only a little very fine sand in the paste. The 21
St. Johns Plain sherd ware equally distributed vertically but the 2 St. Johns
Check Stamped sherds, and an impressed lattice-like decorated version of the
same paste a marker for Glades III times, were limited to the highest level
The Glades Gritty Ware is subdividable, in our present knowledge of the
ware, into several undecorated types: Broward Plain, Peace Camp Plain,
Glades Plain and Goodland Plain. Decorated pots in the Glades series are many.
,Commonly found are Glades Tooled, Surfside Incised, Key Largo Incised, Dade
Incised, Opa Locka Incised, Miami Incised and Matecumbe Incised (Goggin
1964). Three new designs were found at Arch Creek on at least two pots each,
and designated as Natural Bridge Incised, North Miami Beach Incised and Arch
Creek Incised (Fig. 7, a-c).
In addition to these, sand-tempered sherds from the Florida Bay and
West Coast areas that adjoin the Glades were found. These include the Cane
Patch Incised (jab and drag), Ft. Drum Incised, Punctated and Rim-Ticked,
Sanibel Incised and Plantation Pinched (Table 1).
135 ST to US I
Fig. 3. Excavation plan, Arch Creek site.
O 5 10 feet
.*: ; ; ^ i fl ^ ------* *...: ...... .
6 ARCH CREEK
Table 1. Pottery distribution by levels, all tests.
St. Johns Check Stamped
Belle Glade Plain
Arc Creek Incised
Key Largo Incised
Natural Bridge Incised
St. Johns Plain
Dunns Creek Red
Ft. Drum rim-ticked
Ft. Drum Punctated
Cane Patch Incised
L-l L-2 L-3 L-4-5 Total %
6 8 7
Totals 1964 2827 1171 135 6097 100.0
Table 2. Non-ceramic artifacts by levels, all
Socketed bone points
L-1 L-2 L-3 L-4-5 Total
393 384 191 24 992
12 1 1 4 18
20 9 2 7 38
25 18 10 3 56
22 14 13 2 51
2 2 1 5
- -- -
Fig. 5. Miami-Dade Incised
and unclassified finger-
nail(?) imprinted sherds.
Fig. 4. Shell pendant,
7.4 cm. long.
Fig. 6. Strombus adze and
pumice abraiding stone.
Glades Red was represented by 6 sherds. These are an early colored
slip version of Glades Plain. Dunns Creek Red sherds numbered 5. These are
a colored slip version of St. Johns Plain. A few incompleted patterns of unique
designs are listed as "unclassified incised" (Fig. 7). Also, a few unrecognized
exotic wares, probably from the West Coast, are listed as "unclassified wares. "
The chronology of the site is indicated by the known time markers. Only
a few sherds of St. Johns Check Stamped and Glades Tooled, time markers
for Glades III period, were found. They were limited to higher levels (Table 1).
It is significant that no sherds of Surfside Incised were found since it is sup-
posed to be a local product. Either such material was removed from the site
during real estate development or it was never deposited there.
At the other end of the temporal spread, very little early pottery was
found. The Ft. Drum designs are believed to be older than the locally made
incised designs with the Dade County names and are definitely concentrated
in the lower levels. Dunn' s Creek Red, typical of the St. Johns I period but
also present in St. Johns II times, likewise had a deep concentration. But on
the whole, there is very little to indicate use of the site before 400-500 A. D.
[Date from National Park Service tests in Everglades National Park, J. W.
Griffin, personal communication, Ed. ]. The evidence indicates that Arch
Creek is probably a Glades II site, with only a token use of the site in later
Glades III times. This would give an occupation range from about 500 A. D. to
about 1250 A. D.
The percentage composition of the various types of pottery reveals that
Glades Gritty Ware, the typical sand-tempered sherds of the Glades region,
accounts for nearly 95% of all sherds collected. The balance consists of Belle
Glade Plain with a trace of St. Johns chalky ware. The above agrees well with
the findings of Dan Laxson and Arthur Marler, considering that they did not
separate Goodland Plain from Glades Plain. Also, the "pot method" of report-
ing sherds, used in the present dig, gives slightly higher percentages of dec-
orated patterns. This method results in a more sensitive sherd analysis.
Key Largo Incised sherds had the highest count, with Dade Incised a
close second. Opa-Locka Incised and Miami Incised were well represented.
The West Coast sherds, Ft. Drum and Goodland Plain, would indicate fre-
quent contacts across the Glades. Dunns Creek Red and St. Johns Check
Stamped vessels must indicate contacts with northeast Florida.
Of more than passing interest in the pottery of this site is the great
number of large sherds with similarity in thickness, rim profile, color, tex-
ture, hardness and temper. This was noticed especially in pits with a large
sherd count. The effort to match body sherds to rim sherds for accurate
Fig. 7. Unique decorated sherds.
a, Natural Bridge Incised; b, North Miami Beach Incised; Arch
Creek Incised; d, unclassified incised; e, unclassified fingernail
imprinted; f, unclassified over-printed SS; g, possible Dade In-
cised variant; h, Ft. Drum Punctated; i, unclassified punctuated.
classification and for possible pot restoration was defeated by the similarity
of materials. This site seems to be the place of origin of ceramic variants,
made of the same clay bodies, fired by the same technique, and made by the
same craftsmen. Conceivably, this could be referred to as an Arch Creek
Close study of the incised patterns found on these similar sherds leads
to further conclusions and reinforces the first one. Key Largo and Opa-Locka
Incised are represented by a series of designs, apparently continuous from
single loops around the rim to stacks of from three to nine loops. Key Largo
probably evolved into Opa-Locka by the addition of more loops. Dade Incised,
with a single loop open at the top, looks like an inverted version of Key Largo.
A new design was found which combines these two forms in a running
pattern. We named it "Natural Bridge Incised" (Fig. 7, a). Also, a Dade In-
cised, evolved by multiple loops into a sort of inverted Opa-Locka Incised,
was named "North Miami Beach Incised" (Fig. 7, b). Other unusual designs,
such as "Arch Creek Incised" (Fig. 7, c), with its double zig-zag motif ap-
plied repeatedly around the edge below the rim and variants of older patterns,
The conclusion is inescapable that here a vigorous ceramic industry
existed which used more variation in patterns than previously known. Added
to the fact that many large sherds, unmarred by use, and almost indistinguish-
able one from another were recovered, and that many patterns occurred on
identical pastes, it is easy to believe that this site is the home of a ceramic
industry in the Glades area. No good source of clay was found, nor any iden-
tifiable kilns. However the existence of a natural bridge (Fig. 2) might indi-
cate a cave deposit or concentration of clay material near the site.
These artifacts are listed by levels in Table II. The Arch Creek site,
while not a typical shell mound, contains a vast amount of shell, presumably
brought from Biscayne Bay for food. The location on a stream navigable by
dugout canoe is ideal because of the inexhaustible supply of fish and shellfish
near by. Many shells apparently served as cooking pots, spoons, knives,
scrapers, shell openers and decorative ornaments.
The Busycon whelk is a large, plump shell with a handle-like extension
on it. Archaic people cooked food in these before ceramic pots were invented
(Webster 1970). With the addition of a long wooden handle, the whelk became
a pick for digging. Tips of shell columnellas broken off at an angle to form a
hard, sharp .point, were found by the thousands though only 245 were chosen
for a count. Perhaps they were used for wedges to open shellfish.
The Strombus celt, an axe, adze, or scraper made from the heavy conch
lip, was a primary tool here. Many of these celts are long, thin, and narrow,
and may have been used as scrapers in hide dressing.
A fine columnella pendant, or plummet, with a circular groove for sus-
pension was found in Level 1 of Pit 6A (Fig. 4). There were many worked
shell artifacts. Some were fragments shaped by grinding. Some were drilled
and made into gouge-like tools.
Bone projectile points were fairly numerous, but only the bi-points were
found. The bi-points were typical slit deer bone ground and polished in the
Glades fashion. Several fragments of bone pins, a flat bone pendant, some
flat bone pieces, notched or drilled, were found. (Table 2)
Shark vertebrae were abundant but only a few were drilled and so true
artifacts. The rest could have been used as ear plugs for personal adornment.
There were comparatively few shark teeth recovered and only one was per-
forated. This may indicate little use of the shark tooth knife or engraving tool
here, in sharp contrast to Glades sites in general.
A faunal analysis, assembled by the Miami-West India Archaeological
Society and made from excavated bones from the site include: Odocoileus
virginianus (white tail deer), racoon type animals, fox, Testudinata (turtle),
terrapene (box turtle), caretta (sea turtle), Alligator mississippiensis
(alligator), shark and fish.
There were a number of pieces of pumice found in the site. It is possible
that they were used for grinding and polishing bone points or celts. One Strom-
bus adze, found just prior to our excavation at this same site, was associated
with a large piece of pumice (Fig. 6). One tiny flake of chert was found but no
Summary and Conclusions
The Arch Creek site was a substantial village, well located and acces-
sible, with a good game supply and well stocked streams. It probably sup-
ported a sizable population over a long time span. The archaeological rich-
ness of the area would indicate a favorable place in which to live. Its position
on the waterways and close to the bay suggests trade with others by dugout.
The time span for the use of the site, based on the pottery found there,
appears to be from around 500 A. D. to the end of the Glades II time, around
1250 A. D., with only occasional use thereafter. It is possible that Arch Creek
was the ceramic center for the lower East Coast area during Glades II times,
based on ware and design similarities. Clay deposits found there may have
been exhausted, leading to removal of the population westward into the Glades
or elsewhere. According to Dan Laxson, an astute observer and a local au-
thority on the Tequesta Indian, the Arch Creek villagers may have abandoned
the site in favor of another site at Madden' s Hammock, further west on the
same waterway. Glades III pottery was found there but little Glades II material.
Arthur Marler, in his report, suggests a move to sites along the Uleta River
just north of Arch Creek.
There is no definite knowledge that this was not also a Glades III site.
Vandals have pot-holed the area for forty years. In the early 1930' s a trailer
park was built on the site, and it is possible that the top level was destroyed
when asphalt was put down.
The Tequesta Indians were in the ascendency of their culture towards
the end of the Glades II times. Why would they abandon such a rich area, if
indeed it was abandoned, when there were few other sites in the Glades to
compare favorably with this one?
Permission to excavate the site for a period of 60 days was given by the
attorneys for the Chrysler Corporation through Mr. Harvey Ruvin, attorney
for the Miami-West India Archaeological Society. The Broward County Ar-
chaeological Society assisted in the many phases of the work.
Alice Cohen of North Miami Beach and Jessie Freeling of Belle Glade
led the movement to preserve the site. They were joined by Maureen Horvitz
and hundreds of school children and, through their concerted effort, the site
was brought to the attention of the State of Florida. Early in 1973 the State
acquired the site for use as a park.
We wish to acknowledge the special contributions by the following peo-
ple: Dr. Gillis of Fairchild Gardens, Laymond Hardy, naturalist, and Wesley
Wilson, naturalist, for flora identification. Our appreciation to Adelaide and
Ripley P. Bullen of the Florida State Museum who visited the site and later
helped to classify pottery. Our thanks to Joseph Pellar for the Strombus adze
and pumice abrading stone found together in the site during an earlier investi-
gation. Artifacts, bone and shells were described and recorded by Bert Mow-
ers and Wilma Williams. To the many members of both groups who worked at
the excavation for the entire two months we wish to say thank you, for without
their work this report would have been impossible.
The entire report is a combined effort by the two Chapters, prepared
from field notes and records by Bert Mowers and Wilma Williams of the Brow-
ard group and Mark Greene and Wesley Coleman of the Dade group. The mate-
rials were coordinated by Wilma Williams, Marion Henriquez
and Norcott Henriquez. Credits: photographs by Stephen Baig,
artifact drawings by Wilma Williams.
Wesley Coleman, President, Miami-West India Archaeological Society
Ted Huna, Vice-President, Miami-West India Archaeological Society
Wilma Williams, President, Broward County Archaeological Society
Bert Mowers, Vice-President, Broward County Archaeological Society
Goggin, John M.
1964 Indian and Spanish Selected Writings. University
of Miami Press, Coral Gables.
1972 Save the Arch Creek Site. Unpublished manuscript.
Laxson, Dan D.
1957 The Arch Creek Site. The Florida Anthropologist,
Vol. 10:3-4, pp. 1-10.
Marler, Arthur L.
1967 Unpublished Report.
Webster, William J.
1970 A New Concept for the Busycon Shell Receptacle.
Florida Anthropologist, Vol. 23:1, pp. 1-7.
AN ORANGE PLAIN VESSEL FROM ENTERPRISE, FLORIDA
E. Thomas Hemmings and Don L. VonBurger
The nearly complete, fiber tempered, vessel shown in Figure 1 was un-
earthed recently in a highway project borrow pit near Enterprise, Volusia
County, Florida. Whole vessels of the Orange Period (ca. 2000 1000 B. C.)
in Florida are extremely uncommon because of the brittle nature of fiber tem-
pered pottery which is most often recovered as sherds, dispersed through
shell midden deposits. Among the few burials known for this period none have
been accompanied by ceramic vessels. This rather unassuming vessel war-
rants a careful description as one of the few, surviving, nearly intact exam-
ples of Orange Period ceramic technology.
Little further is known about the location of the find. It is not a site re-
corded in statewide archaeological site files, nor have other remains of ab-
original occupation been preserved in the immediate area of the borrow pit.
The position of the vessel in the ground and its relationship to the modern sur-
face were not observed or recorded by highway project workers. There are
many important shell middens within a few miles of the borrow pit on the
lakes or channel systems of the St. Johns River.
The vessel shape varies somewhat from our usual conception of Orange
Period, shallow, straight-sided bowls or shallow basin-like forms. In this
case the vessel walls are relatively high, 7. 5 inches, in relation to the greatest
diameter of 9. 5 inches, and converge at vessel mouth to a diameter of 6. 5
inches. As the greatest diameter is not much above the flat bottom, the ap-
pearance is "bag-shaped" (Fig. lb). The height and restricted mouth suggest
that the container was most suitable for jar-type uses, for example liquid
storage or transport and preparation or cooking of liquid foods. Capacity is
very nearly 1.5 gallons.
We cannot see true "coil breaks, but fiber axes are oriented parallel
to the rim wherever the ceramic fabric is exposed by breakage or weathering.
It' s hard to imagine that such a fabric could result from a simple slab-build-
ing technique. Many "flats" or slight depressions low on the exterior of the
body suggest that a paddle-and-anvil thinning and shaping technique was em-
ployed. Both interior and exterior surfaces were well-smoothed, but devel-
oped crazed areas and larger fractures during firing or subsequent weather-
ing (Fig. la). The bottom is not perfectly flat. There are no impressions on
the basal surface which would indicate building the vessel within another con-
Florida Anthropologist, vol. 28, no. 1, March 1975.
ORANGE PLAIN VESSEL
trainer or upon a textile or other rough-textured material. The missing por-
tion of the base is not a "kill hole, but appears to represent recent break-
age of the brittle vessel wall, as do the missing rim portions (Fig. la, c).
The vessel wall thickens from about 11 mm at the base to 7 mm at the
rim. The lip is simple, rounded, and irregular (Fig. lb). Surface color is a
strong reddish yellow (Munsell Soil Color 5YR 6/6), just slightly darker on
the interior. The core or interior of the vessel wall is black where exposed
In all respects, except its jar-like proportions, the vessel conforms to
the type description for Orange Plain (Griffin 1945) and subsequent descrip-
tions of this widespread early ceramic type in Florida (Sears and Griffin 1950;
Bullen 1954, 1972).
The Orange Plain, bag-shaped jar from the vicinity of Enterprise,
Florida, provides some new details for Orange Period ceramic technology.
Isolated sherds or small portions of vessels provide more limited possibili-
ties for observation. In this case a deep container with restricted orifice would
be difficult to reconstruct from one or a few sherds. Such a container would
seem to have much utility for the inhabitants of a riparian habitat and users
of shellfish resources. The attributes of the vessel adduce storage, trans-
Sport, or cooking of liquids, perhaps all of these functions. While generally
symmetrical, no great effort was made to achieve a perfectly flat bottom, an
even rim about the mouth, or to remove paddled facets produced in thinning
the vessel wall. We are thus left with clues to the manufacturing technique,
as well as to vessel use.
Bullen, Ripley P.
1954 Culture changes during the fiber-tempered period of Florida.
Southern Indian Studies, Vol. 6, pp. 45-48. Chapel Hill.
1972 The Orange Period of Peninsular Florida. In "Fiber-Tem-
pered Pottery in Southeastern United States and Northern
Columbia: Its Origins, Context, and Significance, pp. 9-33,
edited by R. P. Bullen and J. B. Stoltman. Florida Anthropo-
logical Society Publications, No. 6. 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, pp. 218-223. Menasha.
HEMMINGS AND VONBURGER
Sears, William H., and James B. Griffin
1950 Fiber-Tempered Pottery of the Southeast. In Prehistoric
Pottery of the Eastern United States. Museum of Anthro-
pology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Fig. 1. Orange Plain vessel, perspective (a), side (b), and bottom
(c) views. Dimensions are given in the text.
THE WHEELER SERIES AND SOUTHEASTERN PREHISTORY
Ned J. Jenkins
To date three major fiber-tempered ceramic series have been described
for Southeastern United States. Each of the fiber-tempered series has usually
been regarded as peculiar to a specific area: the Stallings Island Series has
been found in the Savannah River area and coastal Georgia-Carolina; the Or-
ange Series centers around northeastern Florida; and the Wheeler Series has
usually been restricted to the Tennessee Valley in northern Alabama, with the
exception of a few sherds from the lower Mississippi Valley. It is the intent
of this paper to discuss the Wheeler Series; its origin, development, and its
relationship to the other fiber-tempered wares of the Southeast.
In general, fiber-tempered pottery has been confined to the Coastal
Plain (the area below the Fall Line) in Southeastern United States. The Wheeler
Series of the Tennessee Valley is the only major exception to this. For the past
twenty years most archaeologists in Alabama and the Southeast have assumed
that the Wheeler pottery is unique to the Tennessee Valley. Although fiber-
tempered pottery has been found in Central and South Alabama, it is undec-
orated. Recent archaeological research within the Tombigbee drainage has
added new data and, subsequently, has modified our interpretation of the ,
Wheeler Series. This new data, along with a reevaluation of the Tennessee
Valley material, provides us with the opportunity to re-examine the Wheeler
Series and ascertain its position in relation to the other fiber-tempered wares
of the Southeast.
Recently there has been a renewed interest in the origins and develop-
ment of fiber-tempered pottery in the Americas. Ford (1969) has presented
data arguing a South American origin for the Stallings Island and Orange Se-
ries. Ford contends that the fiber-tempered wares of the Southeastern United
States cannot be attributed to any pre-existing pottery producing cultures in
North America. He supports the hypothesis that the north coast of South Amer-
ica may have been the point of origin for the Stallings Island and the Orange
ceramic series, therefore inferring some form of interaction between these
If we visualize Southeastern and New World prehistory as a whole in-
teracting system, what conclusions can we draw from the Wheeler Series as
a part of this system? Sears and Griffin (1950) note similarities between the
Wheeler and Stallings Island ceramics. Ferguson (1951) notes decorative
similarities between the Orange and Stallings Island Series. These decorative
similarities may be interpreted as evidences of interaction between these
Florida Anthropologist, vol. 28, no. 1, March 1975
W H WHEELER SITES *S
SSTALLINGS ISLAND SITES *
ORANGE SITES x
DISTRIBUTION OF FIBER TEMPERED POTTERY
0 100 200 300
--- - -I
M I L ESI
groups. It may therefore be possible to view the Wheeler Series as a part of
what one might call the "Fiber-tempering interaction sphere. This "sphere"
would include such diverse geographical areas yet similar ecological zones
as the Pearl-Tombigbee River drainages, the Western Tennessee Valley and
the Savannah River Valley as well as the Georgia-Carolina coast, most of the
Florida peninsula and possibly the northwest coast of South America.
On the basis of present information, this author would propose the hy-
pothesis that a ceramic sub-system, defined as the Wheeler Series, repre-
sents a limited movement of Stallings Island people from the Georgia-Carolina
coast along the Gulf, north of peninsular Florida, to the Pearl-Pascagoula
River drainages around 1300 B. C. Over a short period of time these people
moved up the Pearl and Pascagoula Rivers to interior east Mississippi and
subsequently over to the Tombigbee drainage in the vicinity, of Greene County,
Alabama. These people eventually made their way up the headwaters of the
Tombigbee River to the Western Tennessee Valley, where they found an en-
vironment very similar to that of the Savannah River Valley.
Previous data, supplemented by recent research initiated during the
last two years, seems to support this hypothesis. A recent Carbon-14 date
for the Wheeler Series (1225 B. C.) at the mouth of the Pearl River (Marshall,
personal communication) gives us the Wheeler Series on the Gulf Coast prob-
ably close to its earliest inception, at a geographical point expedient for its
movement into interior Mississippi and Alabama. The migration inland is
documented by sites recently discovered in Eastern Mississippi and Western
Alabama. The Metzger Site in eastern Mississippi has yielded a large amount
of Wheeler ceramics (Marshall, personal communication) as has a site on Bro-
ken Pumpkin Creek in Noxubee County, Mississippi, and Site 1Gr2 in Greene
County, Alabama; the last produced a moderate amount of Wheeler pottery and
a restorable Wheeler vessel (Jenkins 1972). These data strengthen this hypoth-
Viewing the Wheeler Series as an introduction from the Gulf Coast, it
becomes apparent that the Wheeler pottery of the Tennessee Valley is merely
an extension of this same pottery from the Tombigbee Basin and Eastern
Mississippi. Sites in the Tennessee Valley containing Wheeler ceramics have
been found almost exclusively in the western portion of the valley; that portion
of the Tennessee Valley which most nearly approaches and is contiguous with
the Fall Line and the Coastal Plain. The area directly below-the western
Tennessee Valley and the Fall Line forms the headwaters of the Tombigbee
drainage. In the Pickwick Reservoir 6.4 percent of the 47, 966 sherds tab-
ulated belong to the Wheeler Series (Haag 1942:525). Upstream in the Wheeler
Basin only 3 of the 3,749 sherds tabulated were of the Wheeler Series (Griffin
1939:129). Further up the Tennessee River in the Guntersville Reservoir only
22 sherds out of over 250,000 were fiber-tempered (Heimlich 1952:58). More
recently Dye (1972) has noted the existence of fourteen other sites just north
of the Pickwick Reservoir. These figures demonstrate a western valley ori-
entation for the Wheeler Series, supporting the hypothesis of a northward ex-
tension of this ware from the Tombigbee drainage.
It is the opinion of this author that the reason for the locations of these
sites was ecological: the mussel shoals are located in this area and this seg-
ment of the Tennessee Valley is contiguous with the Coastal Plain. In other
words, this region of the Tennessee Valley was better suited to Wheeler peo-
ple for subsistence purposes.
When these people reached the Tennessee Valley they found an environ-
ment similar to that of the Savannah River, with extensive mussel shoals on
which they were primarily dependent for subsistence. Also, they found oak
and hickory trees, deer, and other similar flora and fauna which supplemented
their diet of mussels. Also living there were a group of preceramic people
similar to those living on the Savannah River when the first fiber-tempered
pottery was introduced there.
Evidence suggests that 1Lu59 (Webb and DeJarnette 1942) may be the
site of initial settlement by the Wheeler people. 1Lu59, a very extensive shell
mound, possibly served as a main base camp for this group. At this site there
was over six feet of midden containing Wheeler ceramics, the lower three feet
of which was a pure strata containing sherds only of the Wheeler Series. Al-
most half of the fiber-tempered sherds from the Tennessee Valley were found
at this site; also, this is the only site which has produced a strata in which the
Wheeler pottery was the only ceramic type present.
The nature of the Wheeler Series indicates that for some as yet unknown
reason the group of Stallings Island people that introduced the fiber-tempered
pottery into east Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley did not bring or retain
the complete Stallings Island ceramic assemblage.
Probably, the movement took place at a time when the incising, and
"stab and drag" modes were not in vogue in the Savannah River area as these
modes are not present in the Wheeler ceramics.
On the basis of their stratigraphic tests at Stallings Island, Bullen and
Green (1970:16) postulate three stages in the development of the Stallings Is-
land ceramic complex:
"After the initial plain period, simple punctating was
introduced and vessels boldly marked with half moons,
circles, and slight curves. Circles were probably
made by a hollow reed and the other marks by bone tools.
Both random and straight line patterns were found
but punctations were not placed extremely close to
each other. A few sherds with slashlike incising
were also found but not enough to justify a separate
category. In the third stage, linear punctation or the
stab-and-drag method was used and individual punc-
tations are very close together. "
This data indicates that there is a period in time during which the punc-
tate forms were being manufactured and the stab-and-drag modes were not.
It is during the second stage that the proposed movement could have occurred.
Although slash-like incising is not found in Wheeler ceramics, the punctate
forms described for stage two are present. The exact temporal unit for stage
two cannot be determined with any great accuracy, although a reasonable esti-
mate may date sometime between 2000 B. C. and 1400 B. C.
All of the ceramic elements of the Wheeler Series, with the exceptions
of the flat based beaker form and dentate stamping, are found in the Stallings
Flattened bases on simple bowl forms are reported from the Stallings
Island ceramic complex by Bullen and Green (1970:16), however the overall
vessel form differs from the flat base beaker form of the St. Johns series and
What appears to be dentate stamping does occur late in the Stallings Is-
land or the Refuge material on the Georgia coast (Waring 1968; Peterson 1970).
However, this may be the result of further interaction with Wheeler people in
the eastern Mississippi region around 900 B. C. Although incising and the "jab
and drag" modes are not found in the Wheeler Series, a variety of punctate
forms, simple stamping and plain pottery are common to both series. The
Presence of the flat based cup or beaker form (Jenkins 1972) in the Wheeler
ceramics may be explained when one examines the events on the Gulf Coast
around 1000 B. C. At this time there were other groups on the Gulf Coast pro-
ducing ceramics. Bullen (1972) believes St. Johns ceramics had spread across
the Gulf Coast as far as Louisiana by 1000 B. C. It is speculated that people
producing terminal Orange ceramics as well as early St. Johns ceramics were
interacting with the Wheeler people in eastern Mississippi. Orange Plain and
St. Johns Incised were found in Zone 9 at Site J-5 on the lower Chattahoochee
River with a C-14 date of 3150250 B. P. or about 1200 B.C. '(Bullen 1972:18).
This is the latest date for purely fiber-tempered pottery and the earliest date
for St. Johns Incised. These data indicate that the St. Johns series was being
used when fiber-tempered pottery was still being used. Either the flat based
pan of the Orange Series or more likely the beaker form of the St. Johns Series
provided the stimulus for the Wheeler beaker vessel form. The simple bowl
form of the Stallings Island type was still used by the Wheeler people. One
intact specimen was found at lLu59 associated with Burial 49, a round grave
burial on its,back at a depth of 5. 3 feet (Webb and DeJarnette 1942:115). Al-
though the flat based pan is the emphasized vessel shape of Orange and St.
Johns Incised ceramics, the simple bowl shape is also present in the Orange,
Transitional, and early St. Johns I periods of Florida (Bullen, written com-
So far this author has failed to discuss dentate stamping, the unique
feature of Wheeler ceramics. Work done by Trickey (1971) and Wimberly
(1960) may provide us with clues to the origin of dentate stamping in the
Wheeler pottery. Wimberly (1960) defined the Bayou La Batre Series includ-
ing Bayou La Batre Stamped, which has been carbon dated at 1140 B. C. 200
years (Trickey 1971:121). There has been some controversy over the accep-
tance of such an early date for Bayou La Batre, however recent work in
southern Alabama seems to confirm the date. Chase has tested a single com-
ponent Bayou La Batre site in Clarke County, Alabama. At this site the only
projectile point types present were typical late Archaic types, Pickwick and
Little Bear Creek (Chase 1972). Therefore, a date of 1140 B.C. should be
about right for terminal Archaic and Early Woodland. The core area of the
Bayou La Batre Series is only about 50 miles from the Pearl River region,
from which the Wheeler ceramics have recently been reported. Therefore,
temporally and, probably, spatially, these two ceramic series overlap.
This author believes that the Wheeler people borrowed the mode of
stamping from the Bayou La Batre people. Probably Bayou La Batre stamping
was applied with a created scallop shell (Wimberly 1960) while Wheeler Den-
tate stamping was applied with a tool that had blunt-ended rectangular teeth;
however they were applied, the end products in both types were almost iden-
tical. Dentate stamping is therefore added to the basic Stallings Island pottery
assemblage after the introduction of this assemblage into the lower Pearl
This author views the introduction of decorated fiber-tempered ceramics
into eastern Mississippi and northern Alabama primarily as a result of a move-
ment of people from the Stallings Island area of coastal Georgia-Carolina about
1300 B. C. However, these people did not bring along the entire Stallings Island
ceramic assemblage; incising and "jab and drag" modes were left behind. Punc-
tate forms of the Wheeler complex find their closest similarities in the Stallings
Island complex, rather than the Orange complex. Dentate stamping in the
Wheeler complex is interpreted as a result of interaction of the newly arrived
Stallings Island group or groups with Bayou La Batre people about 1100 B.C.
The flat based cup vessel form of the Wheeler complex is interpreted as a re-
suit of interaction of these people with St. Johns groups about 1000 B.C. Ex-
cavations at the Zabski Site indicate that the St. Johns ceramic complex in-
cluding Tchefuncte froms was fully formed by 960 B. C. (Atkins and MacMa-
han 1967). The result of this movement about and mixing was the formation
of a new and rather distinct ceramic complex the Wheeler Series. With these
added elements the Wheeler Series spread up the Pearl River, over to the
Tombigbee drainage, and up to the Tennessee River Valley. It is estimated
that the Wheeler Series reached the Tennessee Valley by at least 800 B. C.
Other groups undoubtedly spread farther west and northwest, for Wheeler
ceramics have been found at Poverty point (Webb, Ford and Gagliano, N. D.).
For an unknown reason, decorated fiber-tempered pottery did not spread into
the Mobile Bay region, Alabama River area, or the lower Tombigbee as only
plain fiber-tempered pottery has been found in these areas. This author inter-
prets this plain fiber-tempered pottery as stimulus diffusion of the idea of pot-
tery making among local Archaic groups. It is suspected that plain fiber-tem-
pered pottery reached the Gulf Coast west of peninsular Florida by as early as
2000 B. C. However it is hard to place this plain ware in any one of the estab-
lished fiber-tempered series, for it may be a result of the spread of Orange
Plain, Stallings Plain, or both.
What happened to the Wheeler ceramics and the people who made them?
This author believes they were assimilated into other pottery making groups
between 600 and 400 B.C. St. Johns ceramics were diffusing westward along
the Gulf Coast, resulting in interaction with groups making Bayou La Batre and
Poverty Point ceramics. / This mixture formed the Tchefuncte (Ford and Quimby
1945) and Tchula (Ford, Phillips and Haagj 1955) complexes. However, one other
ceramic assemblage can be seen as contributing to the Tchefuncte and Tchula
complexes--'that is the Wheeler. All of the Wheeler types have their counter-
parts in the partly contemporary and later Tchula and Tchefuncte types. Wheeler
Dentate Stamped is seen as the progenitor of Mandeville Stamped, Wheeler Punc-
tate is submerged in the types Tammany Pinched and Alexander Pinched and the
progenitor of Jaketown Simple Stamped is easily seen in Wheeler Simple Stamped.
All of these types are found together on several sites in,eastern Mississippi,
along with the Alexander Series. These developments are especially evident
when one notes the fibrous inclusions in many of the Tchefuncte and Tchula
specimens. It is the opinion of this author that these ceramic changes occurred
in eastern Mississippi. The Wheeler ceramics in the Tennessee Valley went
unaltered until assimilated by people making Alexander ceramics who moved
in from the south around 500 B. C.
These developments occurred during what Bullen (1970) has defined as
the "Transitional Period": "That period of time which occurred between the
close of the Archaic and the beginning of the Woodland Period. The Transi-
tional Period was a dynamic one, having territorial connections with Georgia,
Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana; a period during which there was
a great deal of moving about by people with an expanding interaction sphere
and the settlement of new regions (Bullen 1970). Only by understanding the
Transitional Period can the individual archaeologist in the southeast under-
stand the ceramic developments in his own region.
This author would like to propose that the term "Transitional Period"
be extended to eastern Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley to describe that
period in which the Wheeler Series were in use and the time period the people
of these areas were changing from an Archaic to a Woodland life-way.
Atkins, Steve, and Jeannie MacMahan
1967 The Zabski Site, Merritt Island, Florida. Florida Anthropologist,
Vol. 20, Nos. 3-4. Tallahassee.
Bullen, Ripley P.
1970 The Transitional Period of Southern Southeastern United States as
Viewed From Florida, or the Roots of the Gulf Tradition. In South-
eastern Archaeological Conference No. 13. Edited by Bettye J.
1972 The Orange Period of Peninsular Florida, in "Fiber-Tempered
Pottery in Southeastern United States and Northern Colombia, "
Edited by Ripley P. Bullen and James B. Stoltman. Florida
Anthropologist, Vol. 25, No. 2, Part 2. Gainesville.
Bullen, Ripley P., and H. B. Greene
1970 Stratigraphic Tests at Stalling's Island, Georgia. Florida An-
thropologist, Vol. 23, No. 1. Gainesville.
Chase, David W.
'1972 Evidence of Bayou La Batre-Archaic Contact. Journal of Alabama
Archaeology, Vol. XVIII, No. 2. University.
Dye, David H.
1972 The Distribution of Fiber-Tempered Ceramics in the Tennessee
River Valley. A paper presented at the Southeastern Archaeological
Ferguson, Vera M.
1951 Chronology at South Indian Field. Yale University Publications in
Anthropology, No. 45. New Haven.
Ford, James A.
1966 Early Formative Cultures in Georgia and Florida. American
Antiquity, Vol. 31, No. 6. Salt Lake City.
1969 A Comparison of Formative Cultures in the Americas, Diffusion or
the Psychic Unity of Man. Smithsonian Contributions, to Anthropol-
ogy, Vol. 2. Washington.
Ford, James A., Philip Phillips, and William Haag
1955 The Jaketown Site in West-Central Mississippi. Anthropological
Papers of the American Museum of Natural History. Vol. 45,
Part 1. New York.
Ford, James A. and George Quimby, Jr.
1945 The Tchefuncte Culture, an Early Occupation of the Lower Missis-
sippi Valley. Memoirs of the Society for American Archaeology,
No. 2. Menasha.
Griffin, James B.
1939 Report on the Ceramics of Wheeler Basin. In: An Archaeological
Survey of Wheeler Basin on the Tennessee River in Northern Al-
abama, by W. S. Webb. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin
Griffin, John W.
1972 Fiber-Tempered Pottery in the Tennessee Valley. In "Fiber-
Tempered in the Southeastern United States and Northern Colom-
bia, ". Edited by Ripley P. Bullen and James B. Stoltman.
Florida Anthropologist, Vol. 25, No. 2, Part 2. Gainesville.
Haag, William G.
1942 A Description of the Pickwick Pottery. In "An Archaeological Sur-
vey of the Pickwick Basin in Adjacent Portions of the States of Al-
abama, Mississippi and Tennessee, by William S. Webb and David
L. DeJarnette. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 129.
Heimlich, Marion D.
1952 Guntersville Basin Pottery. Geological Survey of Alabama,
Museum Paper No. 32. University.
Jenkins, Ned J.
1972 A Fiber-Tempered Vessel From the Central Tombigbee Basin.
Journal of Alabama Archaeology, Vol. XVIII, No. 2. University.
The Refuge Phase In the Savannah River Region. In Southeastern
Archaeological Conference No. 13. Edited by Bettye J. Broyles.
Sears, William, and James B. Griffin
1950 Fiber-Tempered Pottery of the Southeast. In James B. Griffin
(Editor), Prehistoric Pottery of the Eastern United States.
The Late Archaic in the Savannah River Region. In "Fiber-Tem-
pered Pottery in Southeastern United States and Northern Colom-
bia, Edited by Ripley P. Bullen and James B. Stoltman. The
Florida Anthropologist, Vol. 25, No. 2, Part 2. Gainesville.
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of Alabama Archaeology, Vol. XVII, No. 2. University.
Waring, Antonio J. Jr.
1968 The Waring Papers. Edited by Stephen Williams. Papers of the Pea-
body Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 58. Harvard
Webb, William S.
1939 An Archaeological Survey of Wheeler Basin on the Tennessee River
in Northern Alabama. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 122.
Webb, William S., and David L. DeJarnette
1942 An Archaeological Survey of the Pickwick Basin in the Adjacent
Portions of the States of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 129. Washington.
Webb, Clarence H. James A. Ford, and Sherwood Gagliano
N. D. Poverty Point and the American Formative.
Wimberly, Steve B.
1960 Indian Pottery From Clarke County and Mobile County, Southern
Alabama. Geological Survey of Alabama, Museum Paper No. 36.
COUSHATTA BASKETRY IN THE RAND COLLECTION
Donald G. Hunter
A large number of Coushatta Indian baskets collected by the late Mrs.
Paul King Rand, Sr. (1890-1973) has made possible this study. The paper
has no theoretical framework other than the Boasian point-of-view that these
data are important and should be preserved before they are gone. Purely de-
scriptive data of this type have often been incorporated into larger compara-
tive or theoretically oriented papers. It is the author' s hope that someday
this paper may also serve as an integral part of some later work.
There are only several Coushatta women near Elton, Louisiana, who
can manufacture these baskets. They are Maggie Langley, Elsey John, Mada
John, and Lillian Dirt. Their number is increased by two Coushatta, Ivey
Thompson and Phoebie Sylestine, and two Alabamas, Maggie Poncho and her
daughter Dorothy, at the reservation near Livingston, Texas. These women
will be the last who remember the traditional styles and forms of this tech-
nology and will provide the last opportunity to assimilate the data.
This technology has been slowly dying, because of the increasing scarcity
of river cane within the past four decades. The introduction of pine needle bas-
ketry during that time period also contributed to its decline (Fig. 1). The raw
materials in the later were easier to obtain and involved less preparation.
There is no evidence to indicate at what time or by whom this craft was in-
troduced, other than by the author' s interviews with Mrs. Rand shortly be-
fore her death. Mrs. Rand stated that she had taught some of the Coushatta
women how to make the pine needle baskets, because the cane was dying out.
Although the Coushatta could not name the person or the date of the introduc-
tion, they hinted that a white woman from near Alexandria, Louisiana (Mrs.
Rand's home) had taught some of the women how to make the pine needle bas-
At any rate, this latter technology has evolved within the Coushatta com-
munity and to date represents a truly unique and truly Indian art form, also
shared by the Alabama and Coushatta near Livingston, Texas. Zoomorphic
forms, as well as a wide range of other containers, are represented within
At present there is a revivalistic trend among the Louisiana Coushatta
to bring back the cane basket manufacturing. Courses are being taught by Mrs.
Susan Denson (Fig. 2, d, standing), a Choctaw from near Philadelphis, Mis-
sissippi, in effort to broaden the Coushatta's economic base. This has in-
Florida Anthropologist, vol. 28, no. 1, March 1975
creased the number of women who can produce this particular craft to about
It is felt by many, including some of the Coushatta, that this revival-
istic trend soon will die. This is primarily due to the public's unwillingness
to pay the nominal prices asked for these baskets. Prices range from seven
dollars for some of the smaller baskets to about thirty dollars for the larger
double-woven forms. Nine to eighteen hours are required to make a single
container, depending on size and style. When considering the time involved
in preparation and estimating the cost of materials, the profit for the indivi-
dual averages $0. 96 per hour.
This paper is aimed at the anthropological community, but also, at the
recording of traditional styles for revivalism by the Coushatta and Alabama
peoples. The author hopes that the Coushatta women will benefit Mrs. Susan
Denson's instructions and that they may utilize this paper and the Rand Col-
lection to revitalize traditional Coushatta styles.
The morphologies of these baskets are illustrated and briefly described
in this text. This has been supplimented with ethnographic accounts from
members of the Louisiana Coushatta on manufacturing and uses. Limited
linguistic work is also presented on the nomenclature of this technology. The
author is using a modified version of the International Phonetic Alphabet. For
an explanation of this system the reader should consult Alyeshmerni and Tau-
Often the tribe has been called Koasati which reflects the true sound of
the name. However, the tribal council prefers the spelling "Coushatta" be-
cause many of the early documents pertaining to these people often bare this
spelling. The author will use the latter as it is favored by the council.
Mrs. Rand's connection with the Coushatta began around 1930. She took
particular interest in taking clothing to the children and assisting the Indians
in any way that she could. Her husband's medical knowledge was of help to
these people who could not afford a doctor. Mrs. Rand's interest in handi-
crafts led her to acquire a large number of baskets by purchase or as gifts
from the very hospitable Coushatta. At her death there remained some twenty
cane baskets in her possession. These are on loan to the Williamson Museum,
Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana. There they are avail-
able to the general public, students of anthropology, and of ready access to the
Coushatta for copying purposes.
To the Rand family, especially Mr. Ed Rand, go many thanks for the col-
lection. Prime consideration should go to the acknowledgement of the Coushatta
who were instrumental in the preparation of this paper. They are to be com-
mended for donating so much of their time to the benefit of the anthropolog-
ical community as well as passing down their knowledge to their own people.
Mrs. Nora Abbey gave many of her Sunday afternoons naming the bas-
ket types and describing their uses. Her daughters Mrs. Margie Battise and
Mrs. Joyce Davis also actively participated in many of the discussions. Mr.
Bel Abbey, Nora Abbey's husband, translated many of the Coushatta words
and demonstrated the preparation of the cane. Nora Abbey and her sister Mrs.
Ruth Poncho carefully described the manufacturing processes.
Special thanks are also extended to Katherine Hunter, the author's wife,
who proofed the manuscript several times. Mr. Hiram F. Gregory critiqued
the paper for style and form. His wife Jeanette also helped in the editing.
Initial stages of manufacturing begin with the selection of the cane (e-
@a-ne). Native river cane is preferred over Japanese cane or Bamboo. The
joints in the former are farther apart enabling it to be easily split. Cane ap-
proximately the diameter of the index finger is usually selected.
This material is prepared the same day as it is cut to prevent it from
drying. The dry stalks do not peel easily and the sharp edges produce painful
cuts. The stems are first stripped of leaves and branches. They are then
split into thirds or quarters with a large butcher knife. Formerly, a sharp
board or pole driven into the ground was used to quarter or trisect the stalks.
The pieces are divided into more narrow strips. A sharp knife is em-
ployed to start the cuts. Then the cane is pulled apart with the hands until the
segment reaches the joint. The knife is inserted into the split and twisted lat-
erally continuing it into the next section of the cane. This process is repeated
until the desired length is obtained.
These narrow pieces are then ready to be peeled. A knife is used to make
a cut across the smooth outer cortex perpendicular to the edges of these seg-
ments. The entire strand is placed under the arm and bend downward with the
hand of that same arm to start the peel. The other hand is used to separate the
strips upward off of the long cane strands. When a joint is encountered, the
knife is placed between the peel and the strand and used to pry the cut into the
next section. Thi s is continued until the entire piece is completed. The pro-
cess may be repeated on the strand to produce the "second peel. This split
possesses two narrow lateral bands of smooth cortex left after the removal of
the "first peel. "
A portion of the prepared strips are then dyed. None of the present in-
formants could relate what the native dyes had been. It is known that the Al-
abama and Coushatta from Livingston, Texas, had produced a red pigment by
boiling the bark of the water oak (Quercus nigra L. ) (Dickerson 1965:59).
Black was probably obtained by boiling the roots of the black walnut (Juglans
nigra L.). To date these have been totally replaced with commercial dyes.
It is apparent on baskets (a-sa-la) from the Rand Collection that the rough
interiors of the dyed cane are always placed outward on the baskets. This is
because the rough interiors are porous and absorb more of the dye, giving
that side a deeper color.
After the cane is so prepared it is usually kept moist so that it will not
crack or split. Present informants say that it is best to make baskets on rainy
days so that the cane will not dry out.
Weaving (taQ-ka) begins at the bottom of the basket (Fig. 2, a). The
cane is placed in the desired pattern and the strands are tightened with a small
knife. Care is taken to keep the cane moist and pliable. The strips are turned
upward and horizontal strands are woven in to form the sides (Fig. 2, b). When
the sides reach the desired height the excess vertical strips are cut leaving one
out of every certain number long. These longer pieces are twisted and inter-
woven to form the rim. The small knife is again used to pry apart the weave
so that these strips may be secured to the basket itself (Fig. 2, c).
Figure 3, a-b, illustrate two examples of grain baskets. The Coushatta
words for these are nas-hop-ti i-sto-wi-ka. The words refer to a place to put
(nag) anything ripe (hop-ti) that you gather (i-sto-wi-ka). They were primar-
ily used for storage of grain until it was ready for winnowing. Now they are
mainly used for such things as sewing baskets.
The sides of these are woven in the pattern shown in Figure 4, b. Fig-
ure 4, a, illustrates the weave on the bottom of each. Both have horizontal
strands of dyed red cane. Other than that, they are void of decoration.
A trash basket (ko-pi-ka aQ-ka) is shown in Figure 3, c. Ko-pi-ka is
the Coushatta word for trash; aQ-ka means "anything to put it in. In other
words the phrase translates as "anything to put trash in. The basic pattern
of the weave on the sides of this container is illustrated in Figure 4, g. Its
base is woven in the arrangement of Figure 4, c.
Decoration on the sides of the basket is made by changing the basic
weave to a step-like design (Fig. 3, c). These strips are set off by being
dyed red. Three additional red cane strands are also woven in around the rim.
A large dirty-clothes basket is pictured in Figure 3, d. The Coushatta
term for this container is ho-lik-fa lu-ca aG-ka. Ho-lik-fa translates as
clothes. Lu-ca is the word for black. However, in this sense, it translates
as "dirty. "
The basic weave is indicated by Figure 4, h. Its bottom is constructed
in the pattern illustrated by 4, j.
The decoration can best be illustrated by Figure 2, d. The design is
set off by contrasting the smooth strands in the upper portions with the rough
strips in the design itself. No dyes have been employed.
Three examples of fanning or winnowing baskets are pictured in Figure
5, a-c. The Coushatta call this type a-llIm-pa. These are wide and very
shallow containers used for removing the husk off grains such as rice.
Usually these baskets are undecorated. Several similar to these in
other collections lack any decoration at all. At most, the amount of decora-
tion in the example of Figure 5, c, seems common. The fanner in Figure 4,
a-b1, appears to be an exception. Two bands of crosses appear on the bottom
of this container. They are contrasted with the rest of the basket by being
woven primarily with the rough interiors of the cane facing outward. The basic
weave pattern of these is shown in Figure 3, h, though there may be some
Figure 6, a, pictures a "spoon basket" (fo-lok aQ-ka). It is a hanging
container used for storage of items such as cooking utensils, although any-
thing may be placed in it. The back is rigid, being a continuation of the bas-
ket and of single-piece construction. Variation on this style appearing in other
collections shows a series of smaller baskets, one above the other, attached
to the rigid back.
The weave pattern is depicted in Figure 4, b. The loop suspension
handle is constructed from a single piece of cane twisted around itself. Its
decoration on both the back and the basket itself is formed by strips of red
cane woven above strands that are dyed black.
A small lunch basket (i-str-pi-nA-ki) is illustrated in Figure 6, b. Ex-
cluding the handles and hasp, it is of two-piece construction. The top, woven
in a cross weave (Fig. 4, f) is hinged to the lower portion by two separate
strips of cane, each wound repeatedly through small holes left in the basket.
The hasp, also made of cane strips, secured the top during use. A handle
(now missing) was attached to both sides.
The decoration on this basket appears on the top as a "tick-tack-toe"
square formed by dyed red cane strips. Two strands of colored cane com-
pose the decoration in the lower portion.
An i-sta-il-m^k, used for picking crops in the garden, appears in Fig-
ure 6, c. It is a simple utilitarian basket lacking any decoration except for
contrasting four bands of rough cane interiors against the other smooth hori-
zontal strips. The basic arrangement of the weave is shown in Figure 4, b;
its base is woven in the pattern of Figure 4, a.
Another basket (Fig. 6, d) was of the type used as a tote-bag (in-sa-
po-ka). This was used for carrying items as would a suit case or for carry-
ing diapers. Only one handle is present on this example. Another one occu-
pied the opposite side of the bag.
The weave is in the gathered arrangement (Fig. 4, d). The decoration
is executed by the use of two sets of dyed cane strips arranged in two parallel
A small egg basket is presented in Figure 7, a. It is woven in the weave
depicted in Figure 4, d. It is purely utilitarian and void of any sort of decora-
tion. The Coushatta words for this container are ko-los (chicken) cob-ski
(eggs) swi-ka (to gather).
Similar to the egg basket is another utilitarian basket (Fig. 6, b). It has
no one basic function except to "put anything in it" (na-si-son-tik aG-ka). It
is unusual because of its differing weave pattern (Fig. 4, e).
The cross-woven basket (Fig. 7, c and Fig. 4, f) is similar to the
double woven Choctaw baskets. However, the basket is not doubled. Its
prime function was to store thread (bak-sa, "thread"; staQ-ka, "put it in").
The container lacks any sort of decoration.
Perhaps one of the finest and smallest examples of this type of basket
occurs in the Rand Collection. It is commonly called an "elbow basket"; the
Coushatta name itself (in-Zo-ko-sak-ba) means "an elbow". Normally, this
type is from three to five times the size of this example. They were hanging
baskets most commonly used for the storage of dried seeds.
The weave of this basket can best be illustrated in Figure 7, d. The
cane strips woven parallel to each of the open ends are dyed green. The
colored strips rising from the point of the "elbow" are orange.
The two final baskets in the Rand Collection belong to a single type.
Both are bread baskets (ta-ba-ka aG-ka). They are oval in shape, having
rectangular bases. The first is decorated by modification of the basic weave
pattern, contrasting the rough vertical bands with the smooth horizontal
strands. This decorative motif is best illustrated in Figure 7, e. The second
basket lacks any decoration (Fig. 7, f). Its weave is the gathered arrangement
depicted in Figure 3, d.
This, then concludes the brief descriptions of the Coushatta baskets
within the Rand Collection. The collection represents the traditional styles
produced by these people and is a model for the replication and the revitaliza-
tion of this technology.
Alyeshmerni, Mansmoor, and Paul Taubr
1970 Working with Aspects of Language. Harcourt, Brace, and
World, Inc., New York.
1973 Red Shoes' People; Coushatta Victory. Indian Affairs, Newsletter
-of the Association on American Indian Affairs, Inc., No. 85,
pp. 3-6. New York.
1904 Narratives of the Career of Hernando de Soto, Vol. II. New York.
1952 The White Path, Ethnology of the Alabama and Koasati Indians of
Texas. Masters Thesis. University of Texas.
Hunter, Donald G.
1973 The Settlement Pattern and Toponymy of the Loasati Indians of
Bayou Blue. Florida Anthropologist, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 79-88.
1954 The Koasati: Culture Change. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.
Swanton, John R.
1922 Early history of the Creek Indians and their neighbors. Bureau
of American Ethnology, Bulletin 73. Washington.
November 22, 1973
Fig. 1. Mrs. Minnie Williams with
pine needle basketry. Auto dates
picture to early 1940's.
Fig. 2. Stages of manufacture. ap, .
start of base; b, adding sides; c,
cane strips woven into body of basket to secure the weave; d, Mrs. Susan
Denson instructs Mrs. Ruth Poncho, a Coushatta from t
I I I
Fig. 3. a-b, grain baskets; c, trash g h
basket; d, dirty clothes basket.
Fig. 4. Eight common weaves in
Coushatta basketry. ,G
Fig. 5. Fenning Baskets. Commonly
called "Fanners," they are used
for winnowing grain.
Fig. 6. Miscellaneous Baskets.
a, spoon basket; b, lunch basket,
handle missing; c, picking basket,
ad, tote-bag, one handle missing.
S 0 10
/ .- ..-- . .
Fig. 7. Other Basket Types. a, elbow basket; b, thread basket;
c, small egg basket; d, small basket having no specific use;
e-f, bread baskets.
CARVED FOSSIL BONE FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
D. L. von Burger
During 1971-72 investigations were conducted at the "Stone Island Site"
(Vo-57) by the Florida Archaeological Research Corps., and the DeLand Mue-
seum, DeLand, Florida. After initial survey of Mound No. 2, which extended
30 feet into the waters of Lake Monroe, three tests, each 10 by 30 feet, were
conducted in 18 to 24 inches of water and approximately 12 to 14 inches of silt
deposit (Figs. 1+2).
The tests were initiated by floating a line along survey poles making
three paths, each 10 feet wide by 30 feet long. Screens were floated on empty
butane bottles, and silt dipped up in buckets and washed through the screens.
Specimens from these tests are listed in Table 1.
Table 1 - Specimens from Stone Island tests
Test 1 Test 2 Test 3
Newnan points 1 2
Flint chips 3 7 4
Orange Plain sherds 1 1 2
St. Johns Plain sherds 9 12
Rolled copper ornament 1
Carved fossilÂ«bone 1 1
U.S. 4570 cartridge casings 2 1
Sections of human burials 2 4 1
The two carved fossilebone artifacts, found in Tests 1 and 3 are illuse
trated in Figure 3. The first is a small anthropomerphic head, 29 mm. high,
carved from dense. bone (fossil manatee rib?}. The face resembles the wooden
owl effigy from DeLand, Florida, but has a very distinct human left ear. There
is no trace of a right ear or of a mouth. The eyes are relatively deep, circular,
undercut pits, as if to suggest some type of inlay material. The specimen ap-~
pears broken at the neck raising the question of a possible torso.
The second is probably an atlatl weight or ''bannertstone" shaped from
fossilebone (manatee rib?}. The maximum length is 118 mm., the maximum
width is 34 mm., and the nearly circular perforation is 12-14 mm. in diameter.
There are chisel rather than drill marks within the perforation. The bannere
Florida Anthropologist, vol. 28, no. 1, March 1975
5 9. 1 %:
-- Test area
S- -r -I
Fig.#1 North-Soutk profile,
Mound No.2, VO-57.
Brewn Saad .. .... 4+
Snail Shell ...... 5. s
Silt deposit .... \
Meuad base .. .... /
.-------- P --O Feet *
F.'^ I ,6e re/y o*- 7/2, T7ed4s M l.
.*' *4se -LinL
CARVED FOSSIL BONE
stone was of the pick-shaped type, but followed the curvature of the bone. One
end has a 12 mm. deep, essentially conical hole (socket for seating some other
component? ) .
As the artifacts illustrated in this paper were associated with Newnan
points believed to date to ca. 3300 B. C. and as the Orange and St. Johns
Plain sherds were recovered closer to the shore-line, it might be suggested
that the carved head is probably the oldest true art form so far found in Florida.
The author wishes to pass acknowledgment for the discovery of these
artifacts to Richard Beal, who worked with the Research Corps. while on leave
from the U. S. Army. It was while on leave that he recovered the artifacts
described above. Shortly after returning to duty he was killed in action in
Viet Nam. It was through his collaboration that investigations were begun at
"Stone Island". Gratitude is also expressed to Ripley P. Bullen and Dr. Thomas
Hemmings of the Florida State Museum for photographs.
Lake Mary, Florida
February 15, 1973
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