The Florida anthropologist

Material Information

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


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


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

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
01569447 ( OCLC )
56028409 ( LCCN )
0015-3893 ( ISSN )


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Full Text



JUNE 2003

/Sg. 16

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST is published by the Florida Anthropological Society, Inc., P.O. Box 6356, Tallahassee, Florida 32314.
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NOTE: In addition to the above Editorial Review Board members, the review comments of others knowledgeable in a manuscript's
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Volume 56 Number 2
June 2003


Editor's Page. 67


Late Archaic in the Apalachicola/Lower Chattahoochee Valley, Northwest Florida,
Southwest Georgia, and Southeast Alabama. Nancy Marie White 69

The Search for Spiculate Clays near Aboriginal Sites in the
Lower St. Johns River Region, Florida. Vicki L. Rolland and Paulette Bond 91

Analysis of a Spiculate Clay from Lake Monroe, Volusia County, Florida.
Ann S. Cordell and Steven H. Koski 113

Skeletal and Historical Analysis: Southwest Drive Burial Site (8S02617),
Sarasota, Florida. Maranda M. Almy 125

A Taphonomic Profile to Aid in the Recognition of Human Remains from Historic
and/or Cemetery Contexts. John J. Schultz, Matthew A. Williamson, Stephen P. Nawrocki,
Anthony B. Falsetti, and Michael W. Warren 141

Demijohns of Marco Island, Collier County, Florida. Betsy Perdichizzi 149



Wickman: The Tree That Bends: Discourse, Power, and the Survival of the Mask6ki People.
Gregory M. Heide 155

About the Authors 156

Cover: Theodore De Bry engraving (after John White) of Virginia natives cooking meat in a large earthenware vessel.

Copyright Notice: Authors retain all copyrights to materials published in this journal, other materials are copyrighted
by the Florida Anthropological Society.

Published by the
ISSN 0015-3893


This issue contains six articles and one book review, along
with profiles of the 2003 FAS Award winners. The articles
cover the Late Archaic Period, spiculate clay sources, physical
anthropology, and historic demijohn bottles. Most readers
should find something they can relate to and enjoy.
In the first article, Nancy White synthesizes data on the
Late Archaic in the Apalachicola River basin. Her article
presents data on fiber-tempered sherds recovered from a
number of sites in the region, contacts with neighboring
cultures, radiocarbon dates from the area, and thoughts on
settlement and subsistence patterns. Nancy considers the
possibility of early cultural complexity in the Apalachicola
basin, but concludes that a more egalitarian form of social
organization was present. This article is an important regional
synthesis, and will likely be used by many researchers working
in and around the area.
Next, Vicki Rolland and Paulette Bond present their
research on attempts to locate spiculate clay sources that could
have been used prehistorically to manufacture St. Johns series
pottery. They fail to locate any sources near sites in Duval
County, though they report on spiculate clay recovered from a
cultural context. Rolland and Bond suggest that the native
potters may have processed freshwater sponges and
intentionally added spicules to clays. They present cross-
cultural data to support this hypothesis.
Interestingly, in the following article, Ann Cordell and
Steve Koski report on a clay source in Lake Monroe that does
have a high sponge spicule content. They argue that native
potters may have modified such clays in order to produce St.
Johns or other spicufe-tempered wares.

In the fourth article, Maranda Almy reports on her study of
a human burial discovered in coastal Sarasota County. Her
physical anthropology analysis indicates the individual was not
Native American, but rather of the more recent past. She
reviews pertinent historical documents to demonstrate the
possible identity, from fishing rancho worker to pioneer settler.
John Schultz and his colleagues, in the fifth article, present
a guide to taphonomic processes in historic burials. Their
overview of patterns, like coffin wear and staining, will be
quite useful to investigators dealing with remains that might
have originatedfrom more recentburials. As development and
construction proceed in Florida, there is little doubt that
human burials will continue to be discovered, and this article
may aid in proper identification of temporal and cultural
The final brief article was submitted by SWFAS member
Betsy Perdichizzi after reading George Luer and Bob Edic's
article on glass demijohns in recent FAS publication Archae-
ology of Upper Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Betsy reports on
an interesting find of these large, glass containers, which were
often used to hold rum.
Also read Greg Heide's review ofPatricia Wickman's book
on Seminole and Creek peoples, The Tree That Bends, and
details from this year's FAS Awards presentations in
Look for the next issue of The Florida Anthropologist,
which will include the long-awaited proceedings of the Second
Plantation Symposium.


JUNE 2003



VOL. 56(2)



Department ofAnthropology, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave. SOC107, Tampa, FL 33620
E-mail: nwhite@chumal.cas.usfedu

Research Background

This article summarizes tabulated information from 76
Late Archaic sites (mostly defined by the presence of fiber-
tempered pottery) along the 175 river miles (280 km) of the
Apalachicola-lower Chattahoochee River Valley system to
examine commonalities within the region, traditional settle-
ment models, and external connections. Ceramic attribute data
also are presented for 198 fiber-tempered sherds from 23 sites,
to show the lack of distinctiveness of this pottery, except for
occasional simple-stamping. The usefulness of the confusing
and poorly defined "Norwood" archaeological phase terminol-
ogy sometimes used in this region is questioned.
The Apalachicola River, the largest river in Florida
(greatest flow; Livingston 1984, Donoghue 1993), is formedby
the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers at a point
on the Florida-Georgia border (today dammed up to make
Lake Seminole) that is the farthest southwestern corner of
Georgia. The Flint River originates near Atlanta; the great
Chattahoochee begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains of north
Georgia and flows southwest and south, making up the
common border of Alabama and Georgia and then Florida and
Georgia in its lowest reaches. From the confluence, the
Apalachicola flows 107.4 navigation miles southward toward
the Gulf of Mexico, crossing the entirety of the northwest
Florida panhandle (Figure 1). This valley system was a major
network of prehistoric communication and transportation,
which was recognized early by archaeologists such as C.B.
Moore (Willey 1949). Long before the glories of Middle
Woodland moundbuilding, prehistoric people here enjoyedthe
rich bounty of the natural environment and participated in
extensive cultural interaction networks across the Southeast.
During the ceramic Late Archaic, spanning the time period
from nearly 3000-1000 B.C., there is evidence, both coastal
and inland, of connections with the Mississippi Valley and the
Atlantic coastal area, in terms of ceramics and Poverty Point-
type artifacts.
Late Archaic sites are now known from the barrier islands
all the way up the valley. They have been recorded by projects
in many different northwest Florida environments of the
Apalachicola (Henefield and White 1986; Miller et al. 1980;
White 1994a, b; 1996; 1999; White and Estabrook 1994) and
from (more limited) riverbank/reservoir shoreline surveys on
the lower Chattahoochee up an additional 67 river miles into
Georgia and Alabama (Belovich et al. 1982; Huscher 1959;
White 1981). Figure 1 shows locations of these sites. Table 1

presents their data from south to north, as located all along one
great river system (despite modern state boundaries). Locations
are given in terms of total river (navigation) miles up from the
mouth of the Apalachicola, adding 107 Apalachicola miles to
the official navigation mile reading on the Chattahoochee, and
listing sites on the bayshore at 0 and barrier island sites at
negative miles since they are beyond the river mouth. For sites
away from the main river channel, the mile indicator was
found by reading due east or west to the river. To facilitate
further research, distance and direction to nearest water and
USGS quad map names are given for each site, and a note of
the artifacts indicating Late Archaic cultural affiliation.
Elevations are noted in feet to make comparison easier, since
available quad maps for most of the research area are very old,
with contour intervals of 5 or 10 feet. The table includes
unpublished data from both the Florida Master Site File
(FMSF) and the USF archaeology lab.
In this portion of the river system, from the Gulf up to Fort
Gaines, Georgia, the documented 76 Late Archaic sites include
several on the Chipola River, the largest tributary of the
Apalachicola, and others on the Flint River and its tributaries
up to Bainbridge, Georgia. Evidence varies for each site: a few
have had extensive test excavation while others are known
from a single fiber-tempered sherd picked up during surface
collection. The number of sites in different valley segments
obviously also corresponds with the amount of work done. The
least amount of field survey has taken place above the common
Florida, Georgia, and Alabama border, where only 7 sites are
listed, those in Early County, Georgia, and Houston and Henry
counties, Alabama. Survey here usually included only exami-
nation of the eroding riverbank face (Belovich et al. 1982).
The lower Apalachicola Valley is so heavily alluviated that
deeply buried sites are difficult to find, other than obvious
white shell middens in the lowest river swamp, coastal, and
estuarine environments. Despite these biases, some interesting
patterns in the data may help interpret this crucial time in the
human past, when the earliest ceramics appear and the first
experiments with horticulture, mound building, and possibly
complex society are supposed to be taking place elsewhere in
the Southeast.

Settlement/Subsistence Models

The traditional view that Late Archaic settlement empha-
sized coastal wetlands, with less interior occupation (Milanich
and Fairbanks 1980:61), is no longer accurate; Milanich


JUNE 2003

VOL. 56(2)



«Fort Gaines
seeececstenteneneconnnnecenene ye Er
River \
Ho , Flint
LGA Fier
Se Dr
F [ &\ ~ © Lake
Ja eS Ss eminole
Chipola River. AW.
Sey. Gd
Ca bony

— a

\ eS 4 Island
St. Vincent XL. .~ St. George

Island Island

Figure 1. Map of the Apalachicola/Lower Chattahoochee Valley showing Late Archaic sites.


(1994:86) has noted that we find Late Archaic sites "in every
wetland locale where extensive surveys or excavations are
carried out." I expand this to state that they do not necessarily
occur only in wetlands, but usually near a water source. Since
more archaeology has been done along the coast because of
greater modern development, it is no surprise that coastal sites
have been better known. Furthermore, many interior sites have
been hard to locate because they are so deeply buried, usually
under later prehistoric components, along the banks of rivers,
smaller streams, and former stream channels. Many lie on
riverbanks under thick blankets of recent alluvium, since
historic deforestation for agriculture has made for heavy soil
runoff during annual flooding (White 1995, 1996). Worse,
continual fluvial movement has meant constant reworking of
riverine lowlands, so that earlier deposits, such as Late
Archaic components, often may have been redeposited and
remixed with later materials. All these factors have made the
inland Late Archaic harder to see, especially in the
Apalachicola-lower Chattahoochee basin, where the river has
been continually moving eastward through time and poten-
tially obliterating or burying an unknown amount of the
ancient cultural record.
We are a long way from understanding subsistence and site
function for most sites, but a simple classification is obvious:
all those in coastal, estuarine, or very lowest river swamp
locations are shell midden mounds. This includes the first 17
sites listed in Table 1, up to navigation mile 10. These are the
sites at the lowest elevations and nearest the bays. Many of
them are on or near Lake Wimico, on the lower west side,
which is a widened section of old river channel whose banks
also may be old bayshore. While Depot Creek and Clark Creek
shell mounds seem to be at higher elevations (10 and 8 feet,
respectively), this is because they are relatively high artificial
mounds themselves. The original ground they were
built/accumulated upon is estimated to have been about 2-5
feet above sea level,'as with the other shell middens.
The first sites on Table 1 that are not shell middens,
beginning with Firebreak Circle (8GU40), are on higher sandy
ground, usually near small creeks. They may have been located
above (north of) the oldest beach ridge and dune area
(Donoghue and White 1994) recognized in the lower valley.
While we do not know how long ago or for what period of
prehistoric time the bayshores extended this far inland, it is
clear that the current lower delta has been continually
prograding, piling up alluvial deposits at its mouth and thus
building the delta farther and farther out into the Gulf through
time. Original locations of the shell middens relative to the
bayshore may have changed radically since the Late Archaic.
The 5 sites on the south shore of the section of the bay
known as St. Vincent Sound (the first 5 on the table, with
negative numbers, as they are below the river mouth) are on
the north shore of St. Vincent Island, the largest barrier island
and the one closest to the mainland. The Apalachicola barrier
islands form a string like a necklace around the lower delta.
They are known to have formed only some 3000-4000 years
ago, and all of them are rich in later prehistoric archaeological
sites on their bay sides. St. Vincent Island, much wider and

close enough to the mainland at its western end to make for a
short boat ride, may have the extensive Late Archaic evidence
because it offered resources such as fresh water, or perhaps
because it was the easiest and/or earliest available for occupa-
tion. Though not shown on Table 1 because the location is
technically in the next valley eastward (New River), probable
Late Archaic deposits also exist deeply buried on Dog Island,
at the eastern end of the string (Figure 1). Dog Island residents
reported fiber-tempered sherds recovered from underlying peat
deposits exposed by major storms (and quickly buried again by
drifting sands; White et al. 1995).
Information from test excavations at several shell middens
indicate Late Archaic people were making a fine living
utilizing many aquatic animal species, especially fish and
turtles, and a lesser number of terrestrial species (White
1994a, 1994b, 2003; White and Estabrook 1994). This is
expected for dwellers of the coast and estuary, but interest-
ingly, the data on freshwater compared with saltwater fauna
also give us insights into the fluvial history of the lower river
channel and mouth. The fresh water of the river is hypothe-
sized to have been farther to the west before 4000 years ago,
when it began moving eastward in conjunction with continu-
ing sea level rise after the end of the Pleistocene (Donoghue
and White 1994). Fish and shellfish collected by Late Archaic
populations at Sam's Cutoff and Van Horn Creek shell
middens, on the east side of the delta, included more oysters
and other saltwater shellfish and fish species than did the Late
Archaic occupations on the west side of the delta. (This
interpretation does assume that the natives were eating mostly
the species closest and thus easiest to procure). At Depot Creek
and Clark Creek shell middens, on the west side, Late Archaic
levels had the same predominance of Rangia clams and
freshwater fish as did later Woodland and Fort Walton
deposits, whereas at Van Horn Creek, the Late Archaic
predominance of species from saltier environments gives way
to more Rangia and freshwater animals during later Woodland
and Fort Walton times. Sam's Cutoff is the only shell mound
so far known to have no later prehistoric cultural deposits after
the Late Archaic, perhaps because this eastward shift in the
river brought so much water that it became too low, less
attractive, and less visible to later populations. Today it is
nearly inundated. It is the easternmost of the shell middens
known and is nearly 100% of oyster (White 2003).
The typical acidic soils of the Gulf Coastal Plain have
allowed little preservation of subsistence data from inland
sites, nor has any of them been tested as extensively as the
coastal shell middens. However, they are distributed on or very
close to the main river or lesser waterways. This distribution
of course also is partly a result of survey bias in favor of
riverbanks, but we have also found a number of sites on old
meanders and other locations far from present streams that
may once have been closer until these streams also shifted
(usually eastward; probably related to the main river shift).
The Beanfield North site, 8GU91, is a good example, in
northern Gulf County, some 2 km west of the Brothers River,
a good-sized tributary (and probably former channel) of the
Apalachicola. This site is one of the very few located in a



Table 1. Late Archaic Sites in the Apalachicola-Lower Chattahoochee-Lower Flint River Valley System, Northwest
Florida, Southwest Georgia, Southeast Alabama.

Site Name Site No. R* Nearest Water El USGS Quad" Fiber-t Clay Micro- Other Reference
Mi (Dist[m], Direction) (Ft) Sherds Ball tool
St. Vincent 1 8FR 360 -4 0 N St. Vincent Sound 5 Indian Pass 4 plain, 2 2 Miller et al.
simple-st 1980
St. Vincent 2 8FR361 -4 0 N St. Vincent Sound 5 Indian Pass 5 plain, 3 Miller et al.
_simple-st 1980
St. Vincent 4 FR363 -4 0 N St. Vincent Sound 5 Indian Pass plain? steatite Miller et al.
(Pickalene Midden) sherds, 1980; USF
jasper lab
St. Vincent 6 8FR365 -4 0 N St. Vincent Sound 5 Indian Pass 1 plain Miller et al.
Paradise Point 8FR71 -4 0 N St. Vincent Sound 5 est Pass 2 plain? Braley 1983
Nine Mile Point 8FrR9 0 0 S St. Vincent Sound 5 est Pass 2 plain Willey 1949
Two Mile 8FR854 0 0 S Apalachicola Bay 5 est Pass 1 plain White 1996
Porter's Bar 8FR1 0 0 S Apalachicola Bay 5 Greenpoint none? some 3 types Jones 1993
Sam's Cutoff Shell 8FR754 7 240 S Sam's Cutoff 2 Beverly 2 plain 15 White &
Mound Estabrook
Sand Beach Hammock 8FR864 7 0 S East Bay 5 Beverly 1 plain 1 frag 1 Memory et al.
Depot Creek Shell 8GU56 7 200 N Depot Creek 10 Lake Wimico 23 simple- White 1994a
Mound st
Van Hor Creek Shell 8FR744 8 780 N East River 5 Beverly 69 plain 5 19+ White 1994a,
Mound cores 1994b
Clark Creek Shell 8GU60 8 300 W Double Bayou 8 Jackson River 53 plain, 1 1 + 9 White 1994a
Mound simple-st frags
Six Palms Shell Mound 8GU54 8 0 S Lake Wimico 5 Lake Wimico 1 plain 4 or USF lab
Thank-you-ma'am 8FR755 9 0 S East River 5 Beverly 8 plain, 7 poss micro- 1 stea- Parker 1994,
Creek Shell Mound simple-st frags ore tite, 1 USF lab
_sherd _
Gardner's Landing 8FR806 10 0W East River 5 Beverly 1 plain 1 USF lab
Shell Mound
Yellow Houseboat 8GU55 10 0 SW Lake Wimico 2 Lake Wimico none 100+ USF lab
Shell Mound
Firebreak Circle 8GU40 10 300 E Saul Creek 8 Jackson River 1 plain USF lab
Beanfield North 8GU91 14 2000 E Brothers River 5 Jackson River 3 plain USF lab
Marge Martin 8GU46 16 1275 E Howard Creek 6 Forbes Island 1 plain 2 Henefield &
steatite White 1986
_____~________ _________ ______~ _______ sherds _____
MK Ranch Borrow Pit 8GU34 17 1620 NE small creek 5 Forbes Island 2 plain Henefield&
White 1986
Howard Creek Mound 8GU41 17 225 E Howard Creek 13 Forbes Island several Henefield&
lain? White 1986
Roy Whitfield 8GU52 17 60 E Howard Creek 6 Forbes Island some Henefield&
_lain? White 1986


2003 VOL. 56(2)

Table 1, continued. Late Archaic Sites in the Apalachicola-Lower Chattahoochee-Lower Flint River Valley System,
Northwest Florida, Southwest Georgia, Southeast Alabama.
Site Name Site No. R* Nearest Water El USGS Quad" Fiber-t Clay Micro- Other Reference
Mi Dist[m], Direction) (Ft) Sherds Ball tool
USFS #85-15 APA 8FR784 18 0 N Fort Gadsden Creek 5 Fort Gadsden 174 plain Kimbrough
USFS #82-24 APA 8FR372 23 0 W Owl Creek 7 Forbes Island lain? FMSF
USFS #83-9 Wakulla 8LI132 26 0 N small tributary 10 Kennedy Creek lain? FMSF
Black Bear Site 8GU62 44 60 SW small tributary 25 Dead Lake 1 plain White &
Neal Ramp 8CA195 58 0W Chipola R. 10 Frink 1 plain White 1999
Duncan McMillan 8CA193 58 0 E lamonia Lake 27 Estiffanulga 13 plain White 1999
Memery Island 8LI69 61 330 E Sand Branch 70 Woods plain? Kimbrough
Brantley Mill 8LI197 66 30 W Outside Lake 50 Estiffanulga 1 plain Henefield &
SWhite 1986
Strickland's Borrow 8LI67 67 0 small pond 29 Bristol plain? FMSF
Twin Ponds 8LI182 75 0 Twin Ponds 105 Bristol 1 plain Henefield &
White 1986
Summers Site 8LI211 76 180 SE small pond 140 Bristol 1 simple-st Henefield &
White 1986
Garden of Eden 8L156 83 60 SE Kelley Branch 150 Bristol plain? FMSF
Bateman Howell 8CA121 87 120 W Chipola River 40 larksville many plain White &
T_ rauner 1987
Redd's Landing 8CA12 89 30 E Apalachicola River 50 Rock Bluff 2 Stallings USF lab
Graves Creek 8CA34 89 30 N Graves Creek 50 ltha East plain USF lab
Four Branches 8LI15 90 60 S Ferrell Branch 80 Rock Bluff plain Jones 1974
Hill 226 8LI44 92 300 NE Apalachicola R 210 Rock Bluff lain? FMSF
Hill 191 8LI51 96 240 E small creek 180 Rock Bluff lain? FMSF
[no name] 8GD19 99 120 W Flat Creek 180 Sycamore, lain? FMSF
Sassafras 8GD12 100 300 E Crooked Creek 200 Sneads 17 plain steatite Scarry 1975
___________ ____frags (3)
Sycamore 8GD13 100 570 W Apalachicola R 200 Sneads 146 plain, 1 1 Milanich
5 Stallings steatite 1974
Punctate sherd
Chattahoochee River 1 8JA8 108 0E Chattahoochee R 30 hattahoochee 185 plain, oss 1 7 Bullen 1958
(J-5) 1 incised? steatite
Bridge Creek 1 8JA100 109 60 NW Bridge Creek 90 Oakdale plain? FMSF
Tan Vat (J-18) 8JA20 110 0 E pond, old meander 50 Sneads 8 plain Bullen 1958
J-X Field 8JA62 110 0 E old meander 50 Sneads plain Bullen 1958
Three Rivers State 8JA39 111 100 E old meander 70 Sneads 2 plain 1 White 1981
Park (J-37) steatite
Whaley's Mill 9SE10 112 S Flint R 55 Reynoldsville, plain? White 1981
West Ridge 8JA16 113 60 SE Bonnet Pond 80 Fairchild 1 plain White 1981
Bird Field 9SE13 114 0 W Chattahoochee R 80 Fairchild lain White 1981
KMCC's First Point 8JA408 114 840 NW Merritts 130 Maranna lain? FMSF



Table 1, continued. Late Archaic Sites in the Apalachicola-Lower Chattahoochee-Lower Flint River Valley System,
Northwest Florida, Southwest Georgia, Southeast Alabama.

Site Name Site No. R* Nearest Water El USGS Quad** Fiber-t Clay Micro- Other Reference
Mi (Dist [m], Direction) (Ft) Sherds Ball tool
[no name] 8JA92 117 600 W Muddy Branch 100 Marianna lain? FMSF
Fort Scott 9DR8 117 S Flint R 80 Reynoldsville, 1 plain White 1981
W of White Springs 9DR6 118 ? S Flint R. 70 plain White
Waddell's Mill Pond 8JA65 122 30 S Waddell's Mill Pond 100 Cottondale some plain 4 Yates 2000,
East steatite FMSF
Hays Branch 3 8JA135 122 60 NW Chipola River 100 Cottondale plain? FMSF
Hays Spring Run 8JA1482 122 180 N Hays Spring Run 100 Sills plain? FMSF
15 Mile 9DR129 122 S Flint R 80 Faceville, GA 4 plain White 1981
Butler's Ferry South 9SE87 125 300 W Chattahoochee R. 90 Fairchild 1 plain White 1981

Munnerlyn's Landing 9DR2 125 W Flint R. 80 Faceville, GA plain White 1981
Lambert's Island 9DR13 127 W Flint R 80 Faceville, GA plain? White 1981
Yates Spring 9DR20 127 0 W Spring Creek 80 Brinson, GA plain? White
[no name] 8JA183 128 0 Daniel Springs 100 Sills lain? FMSF
Curtis Lee 2 8JA411 128 540 E Chattahoochee R 90 Steam Mill plain USF lab
Chason's Blue Springs 9DR3 131 0 W Flint R 80 owlstown, GA )lain White 1981
Neal Site 8JA44 131 30 E Chattahoochee R. 100 Bascom plain Bullen 1958
M. E. King 1H065 138 0 E Chattahoochee R. 100 Saffold, AL 1 plain Belovich et
al. 1982
[no name] 9ER141 141 0 W Chattahoochee R. 90 Saffold, AL plain Belovich et
al. 1982
Tonge Factory 9DR16 142 0W Flint R 90 Bainbridge many Ig White
_lain 1981:53
[no name] 9ER140 142 0 W Chattahoochee R. 100 Saffold, AL 3 plain (2 Belovich et
rims) al. 1982
Bull Pen 1H022 154 ON Mounde Branch, 0 110 Columbia, AL Stallings 2 Belovich et
E Chattahoochee R. Punctate steatite al. 1982
Seaborn Mound 1H027 155 0 E Chattahoochee R. 110 Columbia, AL lain? Belovich et
al. 1982
Abbie Creek Park 1HE8 166 0 N Abbie Creek, 120 Columbia NE, 1 plain Belovich et
Chattahoochee R. AL al. 1982
[no name] 1HE17 174 0 E Chattahoochee R. 130 Fort Gaines, 3 plain Belovichet
_GA al. 1982

River (or navigation) mile given as a general measure of S->N and coastal->inland location; mile 0 is at bridge over river mouth; negative
numbers are on barrier island. For sites away from riverbank, mile is taken due E or W to river.
All quad maps are Florida unless indicated
Probable single component sites
? uncertain data


2003 VOL. 56(2)


plowed field, since there is little agriculture in the lower
portion of the valley. Here on the southwest side the swamps
were drained and canalized (accounting for the straight and
right-angled waterways on the lower left portion of the map)
for large agribusiness concerns. Much of this area has now
been acquired by the State of Florida, whose survey archaeolo-
gists located the site, but found only later materials (Memory
et al.1998). A later visit by USF archaeologists after more
plowing and road grading turned up 3 fiber-tempered sherds
from this site. Its great distance from the main river suggests
radical landscape change over several millennia.
One Late Archaic site located some 108 river miles inland
near the forks of the Chattahoochee-Flint-Apalachicola has
produced subsistence data, possibly because of better preserva-
tion due to the presence of lenses of freshwater mussel shells
that alleviated soil acidity. Before Lake Seminole was built,
Ripley Bullen conducted large-scale excavations at
Chattahoochee River 1, better known as J-5, though the state's
renumbering system has now assigned it 8JA8. He opened
some 300 square feet of his Zone 9, the pre-Deptford deposits,
and recovered fiber-tempered pottery associated with terrestrial
species such as nuts, deer, opossum, and lynx (bobcat?), but
also aquatic animals including 7 mussel species, shellfish,
turtles, beaver, and muskrat (Bullen 1958; the site is now
underwater in the reservoir; the great depth of the deposits,
well over 2 meters, under later components of the site, demon-
strate the reasons for the difficulty of finding inland Late
Though there is not yet sufficient information to offer
major support for it, my hypothesis is that Late Archaic
populations, from the coast all the way far inland, enjoyed a
life based to a large extent on resources from the bountiful
aquatic environments of this region. Such resources, plants
and animals alike, were probably much easier to obtain than
terrestrial species. People of all ages can harvest most of them,
and often travel and sit in the boat to get them, as opposed to
moving fast and long distances by foot with dangerous
weapons for deer hunting, or carrying home heavy groceries
afterwards. We underestimate the importance of obtaining
aquatic resources also because artifacts such as nets, lines,
woven bags, and canoes are not preserved (Kehoe 1990).
Walker (2000) has noted how archaeological reconstructions
continue to emphasize making a living by hunting terrestrial
animals, even at coastal sites where the faunal assemblages
obviously point to aquatic subsistence. I think even in environ-
ments far from coasts aquatic resources probably made up far
more of the subsistence base than we ever imagine. Rising sea
levels probably backed up the river and tributary streams,
providing more surface water and expanding such environ-
As for seasonality, though there is no evidence for it as yet,
even from extensively tested shell middens, it was probably a
structuring principle of the Late Archaic adaptation, as it still
is today (but to a far lesser extent) in this valley. Beyond the
basic seasonal availability of many animal and plant species,
there are various aspects of weather. Unlike in peninsular
Florida, the rainy season in the panhandle and in south

Georgia and Alabama is winter. By late winter not only rain
but snowmelt farther north have swelled the lower
Chattahoochee-Apalachicola enough so that it regularly rises
up over its banks, as do smaller tributaries. People could still
live there if they had stilt houses rising above the water,
leaving the canoe tied up underneath and fishing out the front
door. But obtaining plants, firewood, deer, and other resources
may have required movement upland, if not just to stay dry.
On the coast additional seasonal phenomena would have
contributed to the need to stay mobile with the seasons.
Besides the rising winter waters, more spread out in the lower
delta so perhaps less threatening to the household, there is
hurricane season every summer and fall, when living on the
shore, any shore, is not a good idea. Today we arrogantly
establish permanent homes on the shores of bays and barrier
islands (then use everyone's tax dollars to rebuild them when
they get blown away!), so we may be less able to recognize the
need for seasonal movement. A good-sized hurricane may
remove a chunk of ground from one shoreline and deposit it
somewhere else. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis-
tration data (NOAA 2003) indicate nearly 1.5 hurricanes or
tropical storms per year affecting the Apalachicola Valley area
(13 in the last 9 years, most of which I have witnessed).
Winter flooding or storm action at any other time of year may
shift stream flow to inundate one lowland and dry out another.
The constant fluvial and shoreline shifting in the enormously
dynamic environment of the coastal and estuarine wetlands
probably meant that human populations would remain sea-
sonal throughout prehistory (and much of historic time, until
the late twentieth century). The summer rains (lesser than in
winter but still considerable) that bring clouds of insects or the
varying availability of some species by season may have
contributed to seasonal mobility. While inland peoples
developed settled agricultural village in the last millennium
before contact, coastal fishers may have continued moving
around in smaller groups, taking advantage of a way of life
that was probably far less work than farming. Historic ac-
counts suggest this continued well into the eighteenth century,
when European shipwreck victims on the eastern Apalachicola
barrier islands encountered a small Indian family temporarily
camped to fish (Fabel 1990). Though the richness of the
ecosystem may have favored year-round settlement, such as is
seen in south Florida or northern Louisiana during the Late
Archaic (e.g., Russo 1994a, 1994b; Saunders 1997), it seems
unlikely especially in the region of constantly changing
landforms that is the Apalachicola delta. (Even the cases in
Louisiana and south Florida may not indicate permanent
habitation but only seasonal occupation during all seasons over
long time stretches).

Late Archaic Society, Networks, and Material Culture

Reconstruction of Late Archaic social systems is far more
difficult than understanding subsistence, but the hypothesized
necessary seasonal mobility may have worked against the
development of larger, more sedentary, more complex social
groups (though complexity is not necessarily associated with




Figure 2. Poverty Point-type red jasper bead from St. Vincent Island.

sedentism). As documented in peninsular Florida and else-
where in the Southeast, such as at Poverty Point and Watson
Brake in northeast Louisiana (Gibson 2000; Russo 1994a, b;
Saunders 1997), Late and even Middle Archaic people were
building mounds and living year round in some probably
particularly rich environments. Whether mound building
requires social complexity and/or sedentism is a separate issue;
it could just as easily have been a utilitarian response to
wetland living (White n.d.). So far there is no trace of deliber-
ate Archaic mound building in the Apalachicola-lower
Chattahoochee Valley.
Likewise, there is very little information relating to social
aspects of Late Archaic life here as well. Three single human
burials are known in coastal shell middens. At Sam's Cutoff
(8FR54) and Yellow Houseboat (8GU55) shell middens they
were flexed, without grave goods, and stuck not very deeply
into the top of the shell (White 1994a:88-114; White 1994b,
2003). Jones (1993) recovered a burial at Porter's Bar (8FR1),
a coastal midden, associated with clay balls and microtools,
that appears similar.
Beyond the individual burial or site, we can discuss
socioeconomic interaction at the regional level based on
specific artifacts besides fiber-tempered pottery that are
diagnostic of the Late Archaic. The material culture of at least
9 shell middens in the lower portion of the valley is consistent
with the range encompassed by the general Poverty Point

Complex first defined in Louisiana and recognized all along
the northern Gulf Coast, where it continues to be investigated
(Broyles and Webb 1970; Byrd 1991; Gibson 2000; Webb
1968,1977; Webb and Gibson 1981). In Florida this material
was long ago named the Elliott's Point Complex by William
Lazarus, the separate name based apparently on its existence
inside the modern Florida state line (Lazarus 1958, Thomas
and Campbell 1991). Jones (1993) identified some 90 sites
with Elliott's Point components across the Florida panhandle.
The clay balls or other baked clay Poverty Point-type "objects"
and chert microtools clearly relate the Apalachicola sites with
otherElliott's Point/Poverty Point adaptations westward across
the Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi Valley. But there is no
typical Poverty Point lapidary work or other fancy items, with
one exception: a reddish jasper disc bead (Figure 2) found by
a collector at one of the sites on the bayshore of St. Vincent
Island. This collector is familiar with Poverty Point artifacts,
and also obtained from another St. Vincent Island site an
irregularly-shaped, possible jasper pendant that also maybe of
Poverty Point affiliation (the latter artifact is not included in
Table 1 because it does not look as certain as the bead). Both
these items were found on the surface of multicomponent shell
Some clay objects from the lower Apalachicola sites
resemble classic Poverty Point clay balls (or PPOs, Poverty
Point Objects; Gibson 2000); they are known so far from only

2003 VOL. 56(2)



Figure 3. Poverty Point-type clay object, grooved,
melon-shaped variety, from Clark Creek shell mound,
8Gu60 (drawing by M. Fitts).

6 sites (Table 1). Figure 3 shows the nicest-looking one, a
grooved melon-shaped ball from Clark Creek shell mound
(photograph published in White 1994a: 135). Many more sites
have large to small irregular chunks of fired clay that possibly
served the same purpose, which has been suggested as dry-
roasting various foods (Hunter 1975; Small 1966), steaming,
or boiling (McGee 1995; Wheeler and McGee 1994). I think
clay objects in Poverty Point-related sites throughout the
Southeast probably also served as toys. Many have what appear
to be small fingerprints, and wet clay is a fun and safe medium
with which to keep children occupied and helping with
S domestic chores, away from fire and sharp knives. If some kids
could only slop around the wet clay into irregular chunks, it
was still fun and then it was time to use them for dinner; they
work just as well as sculpted balls for retaining heat. (McGee
[1995] determined, however, that different shapes had differ-
ent thermal properties and may have had functional differ-
Chert microtools, also mostly from coastal sites, include
various tiny scrapers, needles, and classic Jaketown perforators
(White 1994a, 2003; White and Estabrook 1994) similar to
those in the Mississippi Valley. Some of these are incredibly
tiny, less than a centimeter long, and at least two of clear
quartz are known (White and Estabrook 1994: 65). I have
already noted my best hypothesis for function of these artifacts
as woodworking tools, based on the availability of wood in the
forest and utility of wooden artifacts in watery environments.
There also is no reason why these, too, could not be toys, or
smaller versions of parents' tools. Not only are they small and
possibly better suited for tiny hands, but also they are not the
sharp blades and knives that would be more dangerous for
kids. They have scraping, engraving, and chiseling edges, for
the most part. Much of children's play consists of imitating
adult jobs. Perhaps Late Archaic people were bringing

children along in daily resource procurement trips. Aquatic
environments would be arguably safer and easier for kids to
help in, whether in grabbing oysters, holding nets, or sitting
safely in the boat, as opposed to deer-hunting trips, which
would require quiet, stillness, sharp weapons, and stealth, all
difficult to have with the kids along. (Of course there are large
political as well as social implications in hypothesizing the
Late Archaic as an early child-friendly society in Florida, but
it is worth thinking about).
Lithic remains for Apalachicola-lower Chattahoochee Late
Archaic sites other than microtools and associated microcores
and debitage are poorly known. Bullen's J-5 excavations
recovered several stemmed points and scrapers and a chipped
stone adze. From the Duncan McMillan site (8CA193) in the
middle Apalachicola valley, a corner-notched/stemmed point
that remotely resembles a Hamilton or Leon (Bullen 1975:12;
Cambron and Hulse 1969:51) was recovered with fiber-
tempered sherds (White 1999:36, 65).
Steatite or soapstone vessel sherds are known from a few
sites from the coast all the way inland. These are typically of
large heavy vessels, perhaps 20-30 lbs. (Yates 2000:88),
sometimes with a notched or ticked lip and external striations
from manufacture. The soft, greenish-gray, sometimes glittery
steatite had to have come from the northwest central Georgia
or western North Carolina mountains, and would have been
easily transportable downriver. The specimens from J-5 (JA8)
were traced to Virginia, some 1000 km distant (Holland et
al.1981:204). Yates's (2000:117) study of steatite in Florida
suggests the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee system was a major
pipeline for distribution of stone vessels from the interior to
the coast and westward perhaps as far as Louisiana. Though
the vessels were big and heavy, we now realize that they could
still be part of the equipment of mobile fisher-hunter-gather-
ers, especially if they were going places by water. We do not
know, however, if they are exactly contemporaneous with the
earliest fiber-tempered pottery or later. The same is true of a
sandstone piece recovered from the surface of Thank-you-
ma'am Creek shell mound (8FR755) which appears to be a
sherd of an open bowl that also may be Late Archaic.
Other hints at Late Archaic material culture are few. At
least one engraved bone pin has come from a shell midden
(Van Horn Creek), possibly from a preceramic level (White
1994a:46). A clay figurine fragment (or adorno) from Clark
Creek shell mound, 8GU60, is reminiscent of Poverty Point
figurines. It is a pointed human head with slit eyes (White
1994a: 135). It was a surface find, however, and the site has a
large Early Woodland component as well, though other Late
Archaic materials are on the surface.
In sum, the Poverty Point-type clay balls, microtools, and
occasional additional items suggest connections with similar
adaptations along the Gulf Coast and up the Mississippi
Valley, mostly exchange of ideas. The similarities may relate
to similar site functions and subsistence activities in these
coastal wetlands. While there mightbe some specific economic
or ideological connection as well, it is far more difficult to see.
There also are less specific connections with northeastern
Florida and Atlantic coastal sites where such items as clay



balls have been recovered (e.g., Jahn and Bullen 1978;

balls have been recovered (e.g., Jahn and Bullen 1978;
Wheeler and McGee 1994).

Fiber-tempered Ceramics

By default, fiber-tempered ceramics, usually plain but
sometimes simple-stamped, are the usual indicator of Late
Archaic temporal assignment in the Apalachicola-lower
Chattahoochee Valley, though other, possibly less certain
diagnostics can be the clay balls and microtools, which may
have originated earlier than pottery. Thus, the list in Table 1
may be biased toward sites later in the sequence, because so
little is known about preceramic Late Archaic. Considering
two of the very few sites with dates, fiber-tempered ceramics
were extremely rare at Sam's Cutoff, arguably an earlier
occupation, and more numerous in apparently later Late
Archaic deposits at Van Horn Creek (see discussion of dates
below). The limited data so far seem to indicate that
preceramic Late Archaic looks exactly like what came later,
except without the ceramics. Lithic and faunal remains do not
show any change when ceramics are introduced, based on the
small amount excavated below ceramic levels at coastal shell
middens (White 1994a, 1994b, 2003). Life probably changed
little at first with the introduction of ceramics except that there
was something else to carry and break.
The role of fiber-tempered ceramics in Late Archaic and
Poverty Point-related adaptations is still the subject of debate.
A study on the Georgia-Carolina Atlantic coast documents
their distribution in relation to the presence of soapstone. Slabs
of soapstone used in cooking are hypothesized to have been
displaced by the adoption of fired clay cooking pots; soapstone
bowls appear later (Sassaman 1993). In the Apalachicola-
Chattahoochee valley there are some steatite vessel sherds (but
no cooking slabs), and so far they seem to be contemporaneous
with the earliest ceramics. Fiber-tempered pottery emerged
nearly 4000 years ago, developed slowly, and persisted well
over a millennium.
The ultimate origin of fired earthenwares in the southeast-
ern U.S. is far from being determined. There has been much
confusion in the naming of these earliest ceramics in north-
west Florida. The usually plain, thick, fiber-tempered pottery
originally called St. Simons Plain or Orange ware (Bullen
1958, Willey 1949) was relabeled as "Norwood" by Phelps in
1965 for reasons that are unclear, but apparently unrelated to
the amount of sand or other temper included with the fiber.
There were two Norwood types, plain and simple-stamped,
with some other provisional ones that were apparently later
abandoned. Then the types were redefined by Bullen
(1972:19) as containing both sand and fiber temper and
occurring stratigraphically on the top of or above Orange
period deposits. Norwood became a phase, implying but never
manifesting other characteristic archaeological attributes.
Orange was forgotten and all northwest Floridafiber-tempered
sherds came to be called Norwood. The Apalachicola and
lower Chattahoochee Valley as far north as Alabama was
considered to have only Norwood Plain, according to Phelps's
(1965:65-66) map, while in Alabama Huscher (1959) noted

Stallings Island Punctate as well as Plain on the lower
Norwood is the most poorly defined of several taxa offiber-
tempered ceramics, yet the term has been used mostly without
question for decades. Shannon (1987: 106, 156; 1986;
1979:30-43) suggested that all the fiber-tempered ceramic
types in the Southeast are products of local inspection instead
of the understanding of a whole tradition. He added that the
concept of Norwood is especially in need of examination, since
the pottery is indistinguishable from otherfiber-tempered types
in the South. Shannon noted that simple-stamped fiber-
tempered sherds and semi-fiber-tempered sherds (sand as well
as plant fiber), even if they are demonstrated to be more
characteristic of what Norwood is supposed to be, have been
found elsewhere in Florida and Georgia too, along Atlantic
coastal drainages. His attribute analysis of sherds from all the
major fiber-tempered ceramic series shows they all either
overlap considerably or are indistinguishable from each other
(Shannon 1986). His map (1987:9) of distributions of the
different fiber-tempered types across the Southeast clearly
shows more about which archaeologist was
working/publishing where and when than about prehistoric
cultural groups.
Sassaman's (1993:17, and book cover) map of major fiber-
tempered pottery traditions has a gap for most of Florida, and
for the entire Gulf Coast. His later summary (Sassaman
2002:400, 405-06) maps all the Florida Gulf Coast and does
suggest that Norwood is a "catchall type" for the Florida
panhandle area. Many still see the earliest ceramics in north-
west Florida as "moving in" after having been developed as
major traditions elsewhere. But the major traditions are often
just those that have been described first and studied more. We
cannotyetbe certain thatfiber-tempered ceramics in northwest
Florida are necessarily later than they are elsewhere, and the
region should not automatically be considered just a backwater
area receiving cultural influences later than, say, the Missis-
sippi or Savannah River valleys until there are sufficient data
to demonstrate such relationships.
To examine the utility of the concept of the Norwood
ceramic phase, attributes of fiber-tempered ceramic sherds
were examined in microscopic detail in the University of South
Florida archaeology lab. For all 23 Late Archaic sites investi-
gated by the USF program (most of those in the Apalachicola
valley on Table 1), all 198 sherds available in the lab through
1999 were classifiedby temper, surface treatment, metrics, and
descriptive data (Appendix). The results show little distinctive-
ness but, it is hoped, some useful information for future
comparative work.
Smoothness or roughness of sherd surface varies enor-
mously (though much of this is dependent upon amount of
erosion of these ancient artifacts), as does amount of fiber
included in the paste. This fiber is identified as Spanish moss
(Tillandsia usneoides); sometimes (in at least 8 sherds) enough
of it remains intact, unburned and undecayed in the sherd to
allow for AMS radiocarbon dating (White and Estabrook
The sherds were inspected for inclusion of sand grains in


2003 VOL. 56(2)


the paste; grains were counted and averaged per cm as
measured under the microscope. All but 7 sherds (or 96.5%)
have at least 2 or 3 sand grains per cm2, and a few of these
have over 20. This is not really distinctive, as most fiber-
tempered types have some sand (Shannon 1986, 1987), and
were often originally defined that way. For example, Wheeler
Plain in Alabama was defined as occasionally containing
considerable amounts of sand in the paste (Heimlich 1952:8),
and Milanich (1994:97) notes that some Orange fiber-tem-
pered pottery also has sand. A few sherds in the lower and
middle valley have reddish grog in the paste as well. Many
sherds contain flecks of mica, which is naturally characteristic
of clays in this valley (as I have seen during many excavations;
for that matter, the sand temper may be naturally occurring in
the clay too.) Sherd color varies from orange to tan to black,
probably dependent upon the vagaries of microconditions
within the pit kiln, oxidizing or reducing conditions during
firing possibly depending upon how much burning brush was
on top. Unless indicated, sherds are a dull tan color, within the
light brown range (Munsell Color 10YR 7/3; some two dozen
have black surfaces that may indicate soot deposits, which
could also be dated). Sherd thickness (averaged from 2 or more
measurements) generally ranges from about 0.5 to 1.5 cm, but
can go as great as over 3 cm, as at the Curtis Lee 2 site
(8JA411) on the lower Chattahoochee, the farthest upriver
(128 miles from the Gulf) from which we had a sample. This
sherd also had some probable grit in the temper (or perhaps
they were just very large sand grains?), as does another from
Black Bear (8GU62) site in the upper part of the lower valley.
Though no complete vessels from the region have been
documented, the sherd measurements show the fiber-tempered
pots were very thick-walled and hand-built, with straight
vertical sides and flat bottoms. One ofBullen's (1958) sherds
from J-5 (JA8) from a flat-bottomed vessel had a "heel" or flat,
projecting flange adjoining the base. A half-vessel recovered
from the Sopchoppy River Valley to the east of the
Apalachicola indicates that a complete pot would have been
large and weighed over 10 pounds (Kimbrough 1999).
Simple-stamping, covering the surface with parallel
straight lines impressed with what appears to have been a
straight rod, may relate to vessel function, perhaps increasing
surface area for heating or cooling. This surface treatment has
an unusual distribution, mostly on the coast/estuary/lower river
swamp at selected sites. Of the 198 sherds examined, only 30
(15%) are simple-stamped, and these are from only four sites.
In fact, 23 are from one coastal shell midden (Depot Creek,
8GU56), and are the only fiber-tempered sherds yet recovered
there (in other words, there are no plain-surfaced sherds from
this site). A single simple-stamped sherd is from another
nearby coastal shell midden (Clark Creek, 8GU60), which also
produced 48 plain fiber-tempered sherds. On this one sherd the
simple parallel lines cross in areas of overstamping. Another
5 simple-stamped sherds came from Thank-you-ma'am Creek
shell mound (FR755), which also produced 10 plain fiber-
tempered sherds. The only other simple-stamped sherd is from
the surface of the Summers site (8LI211), 76 miles upriver.
Other simple-stamped fiber-tempered sherds (not examined in

the present work) were recovered from barrier island sites out
in the Gulf (Miller et al. 1980). Simple stamping is thus
apparently mostly a coastal phenomenon, and is seen farther
east and west along the Gulf as well (e.g., Kimbrough 1999).
This distribution is not the same as originally hypothesized by
Phelps (1965:Figure 1) in defining the Norwood phase; his
map shows simple-stamped occurring far inland north of
Tallahassee, to southwest Georgia, and down the Gulf Coast
to nearly the Tampa Bay area, but not along the Apalachicola
or Lake Wimico area at all.
While it has been thought that fiber-tempered pottery with
simple-stamped surfaces may be later than that with plain
surfaces, since it would be transitional to the sand-tempered
simple-stamped wares of Early Woodland (Deptford) times,
this is not supported by the data. Dates on Table 2 show that
simple-stamped is at least contemporaneous with, if not earlier
than plain-surfaced fiber-tempered wares. Similarly, there are
no data indicating that sherds with sand in the paste are
stratigraphically later, attractive as it may be to see adding
sand as a logical transition to Early Woodland types, as
hypothesized by Phelps (1965:66).
Very few sherds of fiber-tempered pottery known from the
entire Apalachicola valley have incised and/or punctated
surface treatment. Milanich (1974) noted in his ceramic tables
that 5 of the 151 fiber-tempered sherds recovered from the
mostly Late Woodland Sycamore site (8GD13), in the upper
Apalachicola (now under Interstate 10), were incised and/or
punctated (two are illustrated), and he called them Stallings
Island-like. I saw one similar sherd in a private collection (site
unknown, but from the Apalachicola Valley), and two others
were donated to the USF lab in a collection from Redd's
Landing, 8CA12, in the middle valley (I brought them to a
SEAC meeting and consulted several Carolina archaeologists,
who agreed they were Stallings Island). Finally, of the total 82
fiber-tempered sherds (weighing 533 g) excavated from Van
Horn Creek shell mound, a single one (from TU6, L1) has
some probable idiosyncratic incision/punctation or stamping,
but it does not look like Stallings Island, as described in the
sites mentioned above, and is probably a production flaw.
An easy interpretation is that these 8 Stallings Island
sherds, among the estimated 800 known fiber-tempered sherds
in the whole Apalachicola Valley, were brought in, not made
there. This suggestion is supported by the few findings of what
appear to be Stallings Island Punctate farther upstream (154
river miles), on the lower Chattahoochee in southeast Ala-
bama, where Huscher (1959:15-16) excavated plain and
incised fiber-tempered sherds from the Bull Pen site (1HO22).
That these few Stallings Island sherds occur in the middle and
upper Apalachicola Valley is interesting especially because the
coastal sites have produced far more Late Archaic evidence,
since they have been the most extensively tested. Clearly
punctation and incision are not standard attributes in this
valley. Atlantic coastal types may have actually "moved into"
the valley from the north, where interaction with the peoples
making Stallings Island pottery would have been easier and
closer. The distribution and flow pattern of water across the
landscape was probably the major structuring principle for




Late Archaic life, from subsistence to long distance socioeco-
nomic interaction.
Meanwhile, given the lack of distinctive ceramic character-
istics, not to mention any other evidence for a specific and
distinguishable archaeological adaptation worthy of a phase
name, I believe it is time to throw out the meaningless name
of Norwood for sites and pottery in northwest Florida and in
the Georgia-Alabama border region. The only distinctive
attribute of fiber-tempered ceramics here is simple-stamping,
and it occurs nearly always on the coast and only on a minority
of sherds. It is better to use generic type names such as fiber-
tempered plain or fiber-tempered simple-stamped, awkward as
they may be (or even to go back to the original name Orange,
as per scientific protocol), until there is justification for a
specific and distinctive adaptation or even a ceramic series that
merits its own phase name (there are too many phases all over
the place anyway, established based on one site or one ceramic
type and not at all connected with what the term phase was
originally supposed to signify, which is something really new
or different going on from what came before and/or after, or
from what is adjacent in space).

Dating the Late Archaic

Radiocarbon dates from Apalachicola Valley Late Archaic
sites are presented in Table 2. Van Horn Creek and Sam's
Cutoff shell mounds, along with a couple others from the
lower valley, are the first tied with the Elliott's Point/Poverty
Point-type complex to be securely dated. Phelps (1966)
described the Late Archaic component of the Tucker site, a
coastal Middle Woodland burial mound complex in the next
river drainage some 80 km to the east, but still on the edge of
the Apalachicola delta. He recovered clay balls and
fiber-tempered (plain?) sherds washing out of the site, and
ground up the sherds to get a date on the fiber of 2962+120
years (now calibrated at 2 sigma to between 1287-1055 B.C.),
which he regarded as rather late. Bullen's date from J-5 is also
late (recalibrated to between 2027-806 B.C.) but his Late
Archaic Zone 9 also had a handful of chalky-paste St. John's
sherds that he thought derived from peninsular Florida near
the time of the latest fiber-tempered wares. This could also be
later materials mixed in with earlier sherds through reworking
of alluvial deposits, though he noted that all of Zone 9 was
about a meter below the Deptford stratum.
The range of dates (after calibration) for the whole valley,
from slightly later than 1000 B.C. to perhaps 2500 B.C. or
nearly 3000 B.C., indicates a long tradition of manufacturing
fiber-tempered pottery. Dates for preceramic Late Archaic
occupations are not yet known, though the early one from
Clark Creek may be preceramic as it is from charcoal recov-
ered 20 cm below the ceramics. One avenue of future research
is to get more dates on the intact fiber in the sherds themselves
(but those AMS dates are so expensive!).


Late Archaic in the lower Apalachicola Valley shows clear
socioeconomic connections with contemporaneous adaptations
three to four millennia ago across the northern Gulf Coast.
This could have been in the form of long distance exchange,
but other systems are more likely, and ideas move faster and
more easily than artifacts. Similarities in lithic industries and
clay ball cooking were probably those of general domestic,
utilitarian tasks done in a similar way by people linked in,
domino fashion from region to region, and by similar site
functions in the coastal and estuarine area. In other words, a
functional explanation seems best at present, rather than a
sharing of larger-scale social, economic, or even ideological
systems. The single Poverty Point-type jasper bead is not
enough to postulate more than a distant connection of peoples
from here westward along the Gulf and up the Mississippi
Late Archaic populations inland upriver on the
Apalachicola and lower Chattahoochee, exploiting perhaps
more terrestrial environments, did not use some distinctive
coastal artifacts such as clay balls/objects and microtools, but
they shared the same basic plain fiber-tempered pottery
(though apparently not the simple-stamped version), steatite
(soapstone) bowls, and possibly other items, and probably
utilized aquatic resources more than we think. The inland
water sources are different, faster flowing streams. Compari-
son of specific aquatic species available/utilized in the coast-
estuary-river mouth zone as opposed to the inland streams will
be an avenue for further research. Coastal shell middens are
usually more of oyster; shell middens nearer the freshwater
estuarine/river swamp are usually of Rangia clam; and inland
riverine Late Archaic sites usually do not have biotic remains
preserved, though J-5 (8JA8) had river shellfish and other
aquatic species.
The soapstone vessels and the few Stallings Island-type
fiber-tempered sherds ended up in the valley from more
northerly sources, from people coming down the river. The
best socioeconomic connections during all of prehistory follow
waterways, the fastest, most efficient way to go places.
Similarly, I think the best way to make a living was by
utilizing watery environments, where fishing, shellfishing,
even obtaining terrestrial species, was easier. This purely
functional explanation can be expanded if we begin to think
about the potential sacredness of life-giving water and relate
it to belief systems known from later ethnographic evidence.
As for social complexity, I have elaborated elsewhere
(White n.d.) on the reasons for thinking that Late Archaic
foragers maintained an egalitarian system, even, or especially,
in such a rich environment. Those reasons range from the lack
of any contrary evidence to a belief that social leveling
mechanisms (the group keeping one person from becoming
more important than the rest) would have been far more
prevalent and adaptive in prehistory than we think. During the
Late Archaic in this valley system there is also so far no
evidence for year-round occupation of single sites or mound
building. Perhaps the dynamism of the coastal and estuarine


2003 VOL. 56(2)

Table 2. Radiocarbon Dates for Fiber-tempered Ceramics in the Apalachicola Valley, Northwest Florida.

Site No. Location Raw Date* Cal Material Dated Associated Other Materials Reference Provenience, Comments
Date" Ceramics Associated
Chatta- 8Ja8 river bank reported only 2027 charcoal f-t plain, St. John"s river mollusc & other Bullen 1958 Zone 9 midden, 25 cm thick, 2.3 m
hoochee (J-5) mile 106 as1200 BC + 806 B.C. (mixed deposits?) faunal remains, nuts deep, 1 m below Deptford, 1.3 m
River #1 250 above preceramic
Tucker* 8Fr4 coast 2962 + 120 1287- fiber in ground f-temp clay balls? Phelps 1966 Middle Woodland burial mound
1055 B.C. sherds complex also
Depot Cr 8Gu56 estuary 2970 +80 Beta- 1410- 1g pine charcoal 21 f-t simple-st Rangia clam, freshwater White 1994a TUC L7= -88 to 106cm, 15 cm
shell mound 26899 935 B.C. sherds (871g) fauna below Deptford level
Clark Cr 8Gu60 estuary 3970 + 160 2900- .3g pine, hickory 4 f-t plain, 4 simple- Rangia clam, fresh- and White 1994a TUB L11= -165 to 173cm; 20 cm
shell mound Beta-31785 1980 B.C. shell charcoal st, and 1 sand-t saltwater fauna below the ceramics (preceramic
plain above it Late Archaic?)
Van Horn Cr 8Fr744 estuary 3170 +60 Beta- 1597- charcoal f-t plain oyster, mostly saltwater White 2003 TU3 L10= -144cm; 70 cm below
shell mound 73523 1314 B.C. fauna mixed Woodland+f-t sherds
Van Horn Cr 8Fr744 estuary 3150 +50 1520 pine charcoal f-t plain above it same fauna; engraved White 2003 TU3 L11= ca. -150 cm, below water
shell mound Beta-119067 1313 B.C. (see prev. row) bone pin table
Sam's Cutof 8Fr754 estuary 3720 +60 Beta- 2292- Spanish moss in f-t plain only from 2 microtools, salt- and White & TU 1 L3 = -42 cm; only 2 sherds
shell mound 68513 1942 B.C. sherd site freshwater fauna, oyster Estabrook 1994 from whole site

13C/12C fractionation estimated
calibrated with CALIB 4 (M. Stuiver and P.J. Reimer 2000, available online); ranges for 2 sigma, 95% probability
* actually outside (40 mi /65 km east of) the Apalachicola drainage system, on the coast, but within the general delta formation


environments, and even the constant eastward migration of the
river channel, from inland to coast, kept people happily
moving around the landscape for many thousands of years
until they decided to begin or enlarge some gardens and then
to include more of that really productive crop known as maize.


An earlier version of many of the data in this paper was presented
at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference
in 1999 in Pensacola; I thank archaeologists Phil Carr of the Univer-
sity of South Alabama and Jon Gibson of the University of Louisiana
who invited me to participate in their SEAC symposium and their
later workshop at Poverty Point. The USF summer field school
students and my earlier crews who did survey on the Apalachicola-
Chattahoochee River system put up with flood, storm, busted or
temperamental equipment, and lots of misery to record data on Late
Archaic and other sites. Much of this work was supported by grants
from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Re-
sources, to whom I remain continually grateful. USF student Kelly
Driscoll efficiently compiled metric data on the fiber-tempered
sherds. Finally, I owe enormous thanks for the field support and
sharing of collections and site information over the years by the
wonderful people of Decatur, Seminole, and Early counties, Georgia;
Houston and Henry counties, Alabama; and Jackson, Gadsden,
Calhoun, Liberty, Gulf, and Franklin counties, Florida.

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2003 VOL. 56(2)

Appendix: Attributes of Apalachicola Valley Fiber-Tempered Potsherds in the USF Archaeology Lab.

Site Name SiteCat # and Provenience of Riv Wt (g) Thickness Mim Max Sand Sim- Comments* *
Sherd Mi* (cm) W(cm) L(cm) grains ple-
/_cm st?
Two Mile Fr854-2, surface of dredged materi- 0 4.0 .84 1.95 2.12 0 reddish gray on both sides
Depot Creek Gu56-95-1 TUC L7 7 32.5 1.40 3.87 4.93 3 X intact fiber, gray on exterior
shell mound
Gu56-95-2 TUC L7 31.7 1.51 4.06 4.86 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-3 TUC L7 79.6 1.65 4.01 9.99 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-4 TUC L7 29.2 1.20 1.77 6.19 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-5 TUC L7 39.2 1.38 3.40 5.56 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-6 TUC L7 14.9 1.39 1.02 4.12 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-7 TUC L7. 15.1 1.73 1.04 4.33 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-8 TUC L7. 13.8 1.12 1.23 4.85 2 X gray on exterior, interior very broken
Gu56-95-9 TUC L7. 8.6 0.97 0.52 6.05 2 X
Gu56-95-10 TUC L7. 6.9 0.78 1.14 4.20 3 X
Gu56-95-11 TUC L7. 5.4 1.15 0.74 3.44 2 X
Gu56-95-12 TUC L7. 228.1 1.71 8.71 12.00 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-13 TUC L7. 9.5 1.47 1.23 3.51 1 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-14 TUC L7. 2.0 1.23 0.99 1.65 2 X gray on exterior
Gu56-95-15 TUC L7. 5.5 1.17 0.81 2.93 2 X exterior worn off
Gu56-95-16 TUC L7. 5.4 1.03 0.85 3.18 2 X
Gu56-95-17 TUC L7. 15.4 1.58 2.20 14.03 4 X gray on exterior (two sherds glued)
Gu56-95-18 TUC L7. 2.9 1.04 0.98 2.21 2 X
Gu56-95-19 TUC L7. 1.8 0.48 0.79 2.72 2 X exterior very eroded, interior smooth
Gu56-95-20 TUC L7. 2.1 0.73 0.61 2.40 3 X exterior smooth
Gu56-95-21 TUC L7. 1.4 0.55 0.76 1.82 3 X exterior eroded, interior smooth
Gu56-95-23 TUC L7. 0.6 0.52 0.65 1.50 1 X exterior eroded, interior smooth
Gu56-95-24 TUC L7. 0.5 0.41 0.45 1.61 2 X exterior eroded, interior smooth
Sam's Cutoff Fr54-31-1 TU1 L3 7 39.8 1.41 2.17 7.16 5 rim, very smooth on one side, sand
shell mound grains small
Fr754-109-2 TU?? L1 11.1 1.21 1.21 4.78 3 pinkish-orange color, many fiber holes,
very rough
Sand Beach Fr864 shovel test 2, -45cm 7 29.7 1.27 4.94 7.48 40 very sandy; tan-orange surfaces, black
Hammock core
Six Palms shell Gu54-1 surface 8 2.7 0.57 0.35 2.42 4 very eroded
Van Horn Creek Fr744-32-1 TU1 L6 8 28.1 1.86 1.97 6.14 6 sand grains small
shell mound
Fr744-45-2 TU2 L4 2.9 1.03 1.06 2.09 1 little sand, fairly large grains
Fr744-46-3 TU2 L4 8.5 0.91 0.84 5.27 1 little sand, fairly large grains
Fr744-62-4 TU3 L5 52.0 1.16 5.03 7.17 1 smooth on 1 side with few fiber holes
Fr744-67-5 TU3 L10 7.2 1.10 1.20 3.79 10 very fine sand grains
Fr744-69-6 TU4 L1 3.2 0.84 0.89 2.20 10 very fine sand grains.
Fr744-72-7 TU4 L2 1.1 0.00 0.78 0.52 6 very fine sand grains.
Fr744-74-8 TU4 L3 0.6 0.65 0.59 1.27 4 very fine sand grains.
Fr744-109-9 TU5 CW L1 15.1 1.42 1.48 4.05 3 exterior possibly reddish, eroded?
Fr744-109-10 TU5 CW L1 11.1 1.11 0.80 4.08 3 intact fiber, thinner sherd
Fr744-178-11 TU5 CW L2 40.3 1.34 3.40 6.61 3 intact fiber, red exterior (?) originally,
very rough
Fr744-178-12 TU5 CW L2 2.2 0.77 0.81 2.07 3 exterior is orange, rough,
Fr744-178-13 TU5 CW L2 0.4 0.43 0.26 1.69 2 small, rough
Fr744-178-14 TU5 CW L2 0.3 0.49 0.46 1.12 2 small, rough
Fr744-152-15 TUS CW L3 1.9 0.82 0.54 2.49 2 lighter color than other sherds, light
gray-orange exterior, rough
Fr744-216-16 TU5 SW L10 2.4 0.98 0.90 1.92 3 orange exterior, not as rough, ridge on



Site Name Site/Cat # and Provenience of Riv Wt (g) Thickness Min Max Sand Sim- Comments* *
Sherd Mi* (cm) W (cm) L (cm) grains ple-
/cm st?
Fr744-226-17 TU5 SW L11 1.0 0.69 0.70 1.58 2 darker color
Fr744-243-18 TU5 SW L10 14.5 1.09 1.47 4.51 2 exterior orangish (?)
Fr744-124-19 TU5 SW L2 0.8 0.49 0.30 1.92 3 smooth on one side
Fr744-137-20 TU5 SW L2 0.6 0.35 0.43 0.56 3 smooth on one side
Fr744-175-21 TU5 SW L3 1.2 0.73 0.33 2.30 1 lighter tan color
Fr744-108-22 TU5 NW L2 4.1 1.28 0.77 2.37 2 chunky shape, rough on one side, flat,
smooth,orange on the other
Fr744-126-23 TU5 NW L2 2.2 1.23 0.58 1.98 2 orange on one side, slightly orange on
the other
Fr744-126-24 TU5 NW L2 0.8 0.56 0.65 1.39 2 orangish on 1 side
Fr744-182-25 TU5 NW L3 1.2 0.64 0.39 2.25 2 orangish color on both sides
Fr744-133-26 TU5 NE L2 1.1 0.58 0.83 1.72 2 smooth on 1 side,
Fr744-134-27 TU5 NE L3 140.0 3.03 3.32 12.33 2 very large piece with intact fiber, orange
color to varying degree, smoother on one
Fr744-195-28 TU5 NE L3 2.8 1.25 0.61 1.81 2 very smooth & orange on exterior
Fr744-195-29 TU5 NE L3 3.4 0.92 0.63 2.15 2 uniform shape
Fr744-195-30 TU5 NE L3 1.0 0.67 0.94 1.62 2 orange & smooth on one side, folded
over, looks like a small rim
Fr744-195-30 TU5 NE L3 1.2 0.54 0.70 1.89 2 very rough, slightly orange
Fr744-195-32 TU5 NE L3 2.5 0.95 0.79 2.25 2 orange on 1 side, rounded edges, flat on
Fr744-202-33 TU5 NE L4 11.8 0.96 1.05 3.91 3 rim, feels heavier than other sherds, very
_smooth on both sides, uniform thickness
Fr744-199-34 TU5 CE L3 12.9 0.92 1.41 5.26 2 blocks of orange on 1 side, rough
Fr744-199-35 TU5 CE L3 4.6 0.95 0.74 2.41 2 exterior eroded away, the little that is left
is orange, interior smooth, dips down,
feels finger-shaped
Fr744-239-36 TU5 CE L4 0.8 0.60 0.52 1.60 2 light orange on top, otherwise very dark
Fr744-135-37 TU5 CC L2 10.3 1.17 0.81 4.23 3 smooth on both sides
Fr744-135-38 TU5 CC L2 2.1 0.93 0.86 1.84 2 smoother on one side than the other
Fr744-135-39 TU5 CC L2 0.8 0.48 0.70 1.56 2 small, thin, smooth, orange
Fr744-135-40 TU5 CC L2 1.3 0.79 0.59 1.54 2 smooth on both sides
Fr744-135-41 TU5 CC L2 2.7 0.74 1.24 2.23 2 smooth on bottom, orange on top
Fr744-135-42 TU5 CC L2 2.0 0.76 1.06 1.88 2 orange & rough on both sides
Fr744-176-43 TU5 CC L3 8.0 1.26 1.45 3.30 2 gray, orange, & flat on one side, smooth
on both sides
Fr744-176-44 TU5 CC L4 5.7 1.15 1.03 3.03 2 gray, orange, & flat on both sides
Fr744-196-45 TU5 CC L4 1.5 0.79 0.30 1.86 2 gray, smooth on one side; rough, black
on the other, grog in temper
Fr744-196-46 TU5 CC L4 1.0 0.60 0.54 1.49 2 very rough
Fr744-196-47 TU5 CC LA 0.6 0.79 0.51 1.15 1 very rough, small
Fr744-116A-48 TU5 NC L1 3.4 0.93 0.62 2.70 2 orange & rough on one side, black &
_smooth on the other
Fr744-116A-49 TU5 NC L1 4.3 0.81 0.85 2.82 2 orange & rough on one side, black &
smooth on the other
Fr744-116A-50 TU5 NC L1 3.1 0.49 1.02 2.58 3 intact fiber, rounded rim, smooth on both
Fr744-116A-51 TU5 NC LI 1.1 0.52 0.58 1.86 2 very rough on both sides
Fr744-181-52 TU5 NC L2 10.7 0.93 1.09 4.45 2 orange color on interior, tan on exterior,
smooth on both sides
Fr744-181-53 TU5 NC L2 2.8 0.82 0.78 2.45 2 orange on one side, eroded & tan on the
other, grog? in temper, smooth
Fr744-193-54 TU5 NC L2 2.2 0.81 0.91 1.99 2 smooth on interior, rough on exterior
Fr744-193-55 TU5 NC L2 0.7 0.40 0.81 1.37 3 smooth on one side, eroded & rough on
the other, dark color
Fr744-191-56 TU5 NC L4 0.3 0.40 0.71 0.94 2 very small, eroded, rough
Fr744-165-57 TU5 west wall 1.2 0.97 0.61 1.77 2 eroded, rough
cleanup, to -60 cm


2003 VOL. 56(2)

Site Name Site/Cat # and Provenience of Riv Wt(g) Thickness Min Max Sand Sim- Comments*
Sherd Mi* (cm) W (cm) L (cm) grains ple-
/_cm' st?
Fr744-167-58 FC CW L4 8.2 0.96 1.26 3.88 3 orangish color on exterior, smooth &
black on the interior.
Fr744-129-59 TU6 L1 2.2 0.81 0.52 2.36 2 grog in temper, dark color
Fr744-139-60 TU6 L1 10.5 0.87 1.33 4.25 2 ? small round & large linear shapes, either
punctations & incisions or poss stamp-
ing, orange on both sides
Fr744-139-61 TU6 L1 4.2 0.77 1.26 3.03 2 very smooth on one side, tan to red,
__ some fiber intact
Fr744-157-62 TU6 L2 2.9 0.49 0.94 3.36 2 very eroded on one side, smoother on
other, intact fiber
Fr744-132-63 TU6 L3 5.0 1.03 1.25 2.80 3 smooth & gray on one side, orange &
eroded on the other
Fr744-162-64 TU6 L5 3.1 0.68 0.72 2.94 4 very smooth & orange on both sides,
some gray too
Fr744-212-65 TU6 L8 6.6 0.94 0.99 4.25 2 bright orange on 1 side, blackish-grey,
smooth on the other side
Fr744-212-66 TU6 L1 2.3 0.72 0.84 2.29 2 bright orange on 1 side, gray on other,
smooth on both sides.
Fr744-212-67 TU6 L1 1.1 0.73 0.93 1.58 2 bright orange & smooth on one side,
eroded & black on the other
Fr744-212-68 TU6 L1 0.4 0.44 0.65 1.50 2 eroded on both sides, uniform black-gray
color, smooth on 1 side
Fr744-221-69 TU6 L1 4.4 0.95 1.03 2.94 3 smooth on both sides, lighter gray on one
side, darker black-gray on the other
Clark Creek shell Gu60-18-1 TUA L 8 2.0 0.83 0.71 2.21 4 smooth, orange on one side; rough,
mound slightly orange, eroded on the other
Gu60-47-2 TUB L3 2.6 1.18 0.80 1.75 3 very smooth & orangish-gray on one
side, smooth & black on the other
Gu60-66-3 Wall bag 50-128cm 7.2 0.75 1.36 3.22 2 smooth, bright orange on both sides.
Gu60-66-4 Wall bag 50-128cm 2.8 0.75 0.67 2.30 2 dark brown all over, smooth on both
Gu60-67-5 TUB L10 8.3 1.09 1.75 3.85 3 smoother on one side than the other,
bright orange on that side, darker orange
on the other side
Gu60-67-6 TUB L10 4.0 1.08 1.19 2.78 2 orange & flat on one side, rounded on
the other side
Gu60-67-7 TUB L10 0.7 0.68 0.45 1.72 2 flat tan exterior, rest eroded away
Gu6(0-67-8 TUB L10 0.7 0.61 0.23 1.60 2 orangish-gray exterior (?), other side
eroded away
Gu60-69-9 TUB L11 in situ 1.4 0.99 0.51 1.55 2 smooth on both sides, gray on one side,
orange on the other
Gu60-87-10 TUC L1 5.1 1.12 1.03 2.83 3 intact fiber, smooth on both sides, orange
& black, v. small sand grains
Gu60-88-11 TUC L2. 24.1 1.19 1.34 5.15 2 smooth & orange, gray on both sides
Gu60-88-12 TUC L2. 4.1 0.92 0.81 2.83 2 rough, dark orange exterior, smooth,
orange-gray interior
Gu60-88-13 TUC L2. 2.8 1.06 0.83 2.18 2 rough, dark orange exterior; smooth,
orange-gray interior
Gu60-89-14 TUC L2. 5.2 0.80 0.77 3.55 2 gray, smooth on interior, gray, rough on
Gu60-89-15 TUC L2. 4.8 0.98 0.83 2.71 4 black, smooth on one side; light orange,
mottled black on the other
Gu60-89-16 TUC L2. 3.7 1.15 0.65 2.20 2 light orange on one side, light gray on
the other
Gu60-89-17 TUC L2. 2.6 0.75 0.60 2.31 2 orange & rough on both sides
Gu60-89-18 TUC L2. 1.8 0.40 1.08 2.40 2 flat, orange-tan surface, interior very
Gu60-89-19 TUC L2. 1.3 0.84 0.71 1.72 1 intact fiber, orange & black on the exte-
ror, tan interior
Gu60-89-20 TUC L2. 1.6 0.99 0.69 2.05 1 iber still present; orange, rough exterior,
gray, rough interior
Gu60-89-21 TUC L2. 1.0 0.72 0.53 1.67 2 tan exterior, gray interior.



Site Name ite/Cat # and Provenience of iv Wt (g) Thickness Min Max Sand Sim- Comments *
Sherd Mi (cm) W (cm) ) L (cm) grains ple-
/cmz st?
Gu60-89-22 TUC L2. 1.2 0.82 0.59 1.88 1 bright orange exterior, tan, rough inte-
Gu60-89-23 TUC L2. 0.6 0.61 0.49 1.27 1 tan-orange exterior, eroded interior
Gu60-89-24 TUC L2. 0.4 0.45 0.45 1.32 1 tan- bright orange exterior, eroded inte-
Gu60-92-26 TUC L2. 21.1 1.22 2.00 5.01 1 X simple stamp is much finer lines than at
Depot Creek, at least 1 cross-stamped,
tan interior, tan-orange exterior
Gu60-92-27 TUC L3 5.7 1.14 1.24 3.05 1 intact fiber, orange exterior, tan interior
Gu60-92-28 TUC L3 2.4 0.73 0.81 2.42 1 bright orange exterior, tannish-gray in-
terior, rough on both sides.
Gu60-92-29 TUC L3 1.9 0.66 0.53 2.26 1 orange exterior; gray, smooth interior
Gu60-93-30 TUC L3 13.8 0.86 1.31 5.48 3 smooth on both sides, orangish-gray on
one side, gray on the other
Gu60-93-31 TUC L3 17.6 1.24 1.19 4.61 2 orange-gray mottled exterior, tan, rough
Gu60-93-32 TUC L3 7.5 1.04 1.19 3.50 3 orange-gray mottled exterior, tan, rough
interior, cross-stamped in acute angles
Gu60-93-33 TUC L3 4.9 1.03 0.53 3.01 2 orange, very rough exterior, very eroded
Gu60-93-34 TUC L3 2.8 0.90 0.99 2.34 2 smooth on both sides, orange exterior,
tan interior
Gu60-93-35 TUC L3 7.0 1.40 0.73 3.23 2 smooth, orangish-grey on both sides
Gu60-93-36 TUC L3 2.4 0.95 1.18 2.06 2 rough,orange exterior, smooth, gray inte-
Gu60-93-37 TUC L3 2.8 1.14 0.48 2.24 1 orange, rough exterior, partially eroded;
smooth, tan interior
Gu60-93-39 TUC L3 3.2 0.96 0.69 2.07 2 very smooth & orangish-gray on both
Gu60-93-40 TUC L3 2.4 1.11 0.72 2.42 2 orange, rough exterior; tan, smooth inte-
Gu60-93-41 TUC L3 1.5 0.44 0.47 2.10 2 orange, roughexterior, eroded interior
Gu60-93-42 TUC L3 0.8 0.55 0.54 1.52 3 orange exterior, eroded interior
Gu60-93-43 TUC L3 0.8 0.59 0.75 1.32 2 tan with orange mottling on exterior,
eroded interior
Gu60-95-44 TUC L4 3.0 1.13 0.83 2.21 2 orange & rough on both sides
Gu60-96-45 TUC L4 13.8 1.48 1.79 4.60 1 very rough orange exterior, tan interior
Gu60-101-46 TUC L6 3.2 1.28 0.78 2.80 3 tan, rough exterior; very rough, eroded
Gu60-101-47 TUC L6 1.5 0.81 0.66 2.20 2 orange, rough exterior, very eroded,
rough interior
Gu60-86-48 TUC surface 5.0 1.35 0.83 2.63 4 tan & eroded on one side, smooth &
black on the other
Gu60-85-49 surface near TUC 9.4 1.14 1.41 4.32 1 & rough on one side, eroded on the
other, looks like rim
Gu60-85-50 surface near TUC 2.1 0.85 0.71 2.26 1 smooth, partially eroded on 1 side,
black & eroded on other
Gu60-83-51 surface 7.3 0.83 0.53 3.80 3 bright orange, rough exterior, tan, rough
Thank-you- Fr755-8 surface 9 41.2 2.18 3.34 5.34 3 red & white clay marbled; mica in paste
ma'am Creek
shell mound
Fr755-50 surface 2.0 .67 1.66 2.11 2 mica in paste
Fr755-80 TU 3 L 1 3.3 .72 2.0 2.77 2 red grog in paste; intact fiber, 1 surface
Fr755-80 TU 3 L 1 1.4 .77 .91 1.42 0
Fr755-90 TU 3 L1 1.0 .59 1.1 2.1 12 both surfaces eroded, mica in paste
Fr755-90 TU 3 L1 1.0 .82 .96 1.29 15 1 surface eroded, mica in paste
Fr755-90 TU 3 L1 .3 .7 .71 1.1 4 1 surface eroded, mica in paste
Fr755-68 TU 3 L2 3.9 .93 2.5 3.57 1 1 surface eroded
Fr755-68 TU 3 L2 8.3 .96 1.84 4.58 30 X black interior


2003 VOL. 56(2)

Site Name Site/Cat # and Provenience of Rv Wt (g) Thickness Min Max Sand Sim- Comments **
Sherd Mi* (cm) W(cm) L(cm) grains pe-
/ __cm st?
Fr755-68 TU 3 L2 16.7 1.12 3.26 5.21 8 X black interior, mica in paste
Fr755-68 TU 3 L2 1.3 .75 1.16 1.97 15 both surfaces eroded; mica in paste
Fr755-69 TU3 L3 E /2 5.5 1.64 1.27 2.83 15 X most ofsherd=black; mica in paste
Fr755-82 TU 3 L3 9.3 .99 2.48 4.39 20 black interior
Fr755-70 TU 3 L4 5.0 .97 1.82 3.4 8 X looks like interior & exterior stamping
Fr755-70 TU3 L4 3.1 .84 1.85 2.34 15 X micain paste
Gardner's Land- Fr806-2 surface 10 19.3 1.15 1.51 5.42 0 has mica, one irregularly shaped poss
ng shell midden punctuation
Firebreak Circle Gu40 surface 10 13.5 1.05 2.26 3.89 1 fewer fiber canals than usual
Beanfield North Gu91-99 surface 14 28.4 1.33 3.34 6.12 2
Gu91-99-1 surface 20.1 1.38 2.68 5.25 1
Gu91-99-1 surface 1.3 .85 1.0 1.85 0
Marge Martin Gu46-2 surface 16 9.2 1.22 0.80 3.97 2 smoother on exterior than interior,
reddish-orange exterior
MKRanch Bor- Gu34-2-1 surface 120 mE to levee 17 12.8 0.75 1.03 5.1 0 intact fiber (?).
row Pit
Gu34-2-2 2.0 0.69 0.63 2.37 3 small sand grains, smooth on 1 side.
Black Bear Gu62 surface 44 27.3 0.90 1.03 7.60 2 dark tan exterior, light tan interior, grit
& grog in temper, grit:.4mm-1.5mm.
Neal Ramp SW Cal95-98-1, shovel test, -98cm 58 12.2 .79 3.82 5.59 11 black on interior, tan on exterior
Duncan Cal93-98-3, shovel test 1, 58 .6 .52 .85 1.44 20+ mica, some grit in paste
McMillan -40 to -60 cm
Ca193-98-4, shovel test 1, 14.5 1.04 3.47 4.66 20+ extremely fine sand
-80 to -90 cm
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, 12.0 1.05 3.2 4.66 1 interior eroded; lots of mica, some grog,
-54 to-108 cm intactfiber
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, 5.8 .99 3.45 3.52 2 interior eroded; lots of mica, some grog,
-54 to-108 cm intactfiber
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, 4.6 .81 2.0 3.59 1 rim (2 sherds); interior eroded; lots of
-54 to -108 cm mica, some grog, intact fiber
Cal93-98-8, shovel test 2, 7.0 1.23 2.2 3.29 10 black, smooth on one side; gray, rough
-54 to -108 cm on the other, mica, grog in paste
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, 5.7 1.35 1.5 3.62 15 black, smooth on one side; gray, rough
-54 to -108 cm on the other; mica, grog in paste
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, 4.5 1.0 1.83 2.68 8 black, smooth on one side; gray, rough
-54 to,-108 cm on the other, mica, grog in paste
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, 4.3 1.17 1.97 2.48 5 black, smooth on one side; gray, rough
-54 to -108 cm on the other; mica, grog in paste
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, .7 .67 .85 1.6 2 1 surface eroded; mica in paste
-54 to -108 cm
Cal93-98-8, shovel test 2, .7 .93 .67 1.65 2 mica, grog in paste
-54 to -108 cm
Ca193-98-8, shovel test 2, .1 .22 .66 .92 2 mica, grog in paste
-54 to -108 cm
Cal93-98-8, shovel test 2, .1 .28 .52 .89 2 mica, grog in paste
-54 to -108 cm
Cal93-99-2, shovel test 1, 0 -100 1.5 .69 1.25 1.64 1
Ca193-99-2, shovel test 1, 0 -100 1.4 .92 1.22 1.47 1
Ca193-99-2, shovel test 1, 0 -100 .3 .41 .72 1.08 3 mica in paste
Cal93-99-2, shovel test 1, 0 -100 .3 .38 .42 1.49 2 grog in paste
Cal93-99-2, shovel test 1, 0 -100 .1 .32 .43 1.01 1 grog in paste
Cal93-99-2, shovel test 1, 0 -100 .2 .32 .55 1.05 2 grog in paste
Cal93-99-4, shovel test 1, east wall 2.1 1.05 1.12 2.17 4 mica, grog in paste
stratum 2
Brantley Mill Li 197 surface 66 6.6 1.01 0.68 2.99 5 Eme grains of sand, light tan-orange.




2003 VOL. 56(2)

Site Name ite/Cat # and Provenience of Riv Wt (g) Thickness Min Max Sand Sim- Comments*
Sherd Mi* (cm) W(cm) L (cm) grains ple-
/cmz st?
Twin Ponds Li182 surface 75 11.9 0.90 0.75 5.07 5 orange, smooth on top; rougher,black on
bottom, very fine sand grains, very sandy
Summers Li 211 surface 76 15.7 0.88 0.87 4.88 7 X very sandy, bright orange all over
BatemanHowell Cal21 surface 87 6.5 1.31 1.93 3.03 0 mica in paste
Graves Creek Ca34-1 surface 89 7.1 1.48 1.40 2.83 2 one surface has sand grains, the other
Redd's Landing Cal2, surface, donated by collector 90 38.9 1.36 1.83 6.27 4 Stallings Island Punctate rim; thick, lots
J. W. Yon of fiber, large punctations
Curtis Lee 2 Ja 411, shovel test G-l, -90 to -105 128 70.2 3.33 1.03 7.59 0 light brown color, extremely thick,
cm heavy, rough, shiny exterior, grit in
paste; this site is on lower Chattahoochee
(same river)



11805 Twelve Oaks Lane, Neptune Beach, Florida 32266

2 Florida Geological Survey, 903 W. Tennessee, Tallahassee, Florida 32304-7714

The identification of St. Johns cultural occupations is based
largely on the presence of ceramic vessels with pastes contain-
ing abundant quantities of sponge spicules. Spicules represent
the bio-silicate remains of freshwater sponges: Class
Demospongiae, Family Spongillidae. While many thousands
of spiculate St. Johns sherds have been recovered, no raw
spiculate-clay sources have been located that contain the
quantity of spicules observed within St. Johns paste. The focus
of our study has been to explore this contradiction and to
consider a possible alternative hypothesis-that the presence
of spicules in St. Johns vessels reflects a cultural tradition
involving the purposeful addition of spicules as a tempering
agent. In other words, the assumption that the clay sources
targeted by St. Johns potters naturally contained abundant
sponge spicules may be incorrect. In the following discussion
we describe Florida clay deposits; offer ethnographic and
archaeological evidence from the Amazon basin and Africa
that reveal a long history of the use of sponges as temper;
report the analysis of 136 well samples and 45 shallow clay
samples; and, discuss the possibility of spiculate mucky soils
as a source of St. Johns paste.

Clay Formations in Florida

Clays are formed by mechanical or chemical weathering of
volcanic or silicate rock (Bell 1924:64-68; Rapp and Hill
1998: 19-23, 125-126; Rice 1987: 36-40; Shepard 1995
[1956]: 6-8). Clay particles are defined by their plasticity and
by a particle size smaller than .002 / (Rice 1987:39). When
weathered minerals accumulate adjacent to the parent rock,
they are referred to as primary or residual clays (Bell 1924: 65-
68; Rice 1987:31-40; Shepard 1995:7,10-12). Weathered clay
minerals (most often aluminum silicates) transported from the
primary source and deposited elsewhere in stratified beds, as
in the case of Florida clays, are classified as secondary,
transported, or sedimentary clays.
Shallow clay deposits of northeastern Florida occur mainly
in the sedimentary Hawthorn Group (Miocene deposits,
approximately 24 to 12 mya) or in unconsolidated Quaternary
sediments that lie above it. Both of these units were deposited
in a marine environment (Bell 1924; Compton 1997:198-200;
McClennan and Eades 1997:148-150; Scott 1983, 1988,
1997). It is thought that clays and sands of the Hawthorn

Group were transported from the southern Appalachians and
the Piedmont, possibly the result of renewed uplift in the
southern Appalachian mountain range.
The Hawthorn Group is further divided into several
formations, one of which is the Coosahatchee Formation. Its
uppermost unit is identified as the Charlton Member
(Compton 1997:199; Fairchild 1972; McClennan and Eades
1997: 148-152; Scott 1988). These transported deposits are
characterized by mixtures of silts, sand, and heavy minerals
with isolated pockets or lenses of predominately sandy clays
(Scott 1983:14-33). In western Duval County the clays of the
Charlton Member can be found at sea level, gradually drop-
ping to depths of twenty-five feet below sea level along the
Atlantic coastline. It is between these depths that aboriginal
potters looking along the banks of the rivers and creeks may
have found reworked clay deposits.
We suspect that clay layers within the unconsolidated
Quaternary sediments also were a likely source material for St.
Johns potters because they, too, are less deeply buried. Sands
also predominate in the Quaternary sediments and the clay
layers are thin and isolated (Fairchild 1972). These clays may
have been derived from the underlying Hawthorn Group by
processes of marine reworking or possibly fluvial reworking in
the vicinity of the St. Johns River. Samples of clay deposits we
collected from exposed banks of the St. Johns and Santa Fe
rivers, as well as those found in drier environments, contained
quartz, silt, mica, and carbonate grains, consistent with this
Florida's reworked clays may be further described as
marine (pelagic, fine textured deepwater deposits; or littoral,
mixtures of fine to coarse particle sizes deposited between high
and low tidal water marks); estuarine or floodplain (sorted fine
to coarse textures, highly organic and silty); or lacustrine or
swamp clays (variable particle sizes and silt content within
deposit depending upon location and strength of water
movement effecting particle sorting, also high in organic
content)(Bell 1924:68; Rice 1987:36-37).

The Presence of Spicules in Ceramic Paste

In an effort to explain the soft and chalky feel of some
Florida aboriginal pottery, Crusoe (1971:31-43), working with
geologists, ground and processed a variety of sherd types. By


JUNE 2003

VOL. 56(2)









Figure 1. Florida Geological Survey slide from Wakulla Springs Water Sample showing sponge spicules, ladder and oval
diatoms, and soil matrix (photo by F. Rupert).

mixing "powdered" sherds with de-ionized water, he was able
to float and collect a large number of species of diatoms from
St. Johns pottery, but did not report spicules.' Given his
findings, he concluded that the chalky feel in St. Johns pottery
was a result of the abundant presence of diatoms in the soils of
northeastern Florida.
Crusoe's findings have not been replicated. There may be
several reasons for this. At one time geologists seem to have
included spicules in their classification of diatomaceous earth
(a classification for microscopic bio-silicate material, elabo-
rated below) and may not have distinguished between the two
for Crusoe. Or, his diatomss" could have been the circular
cross-sections of the spiculate body and not varying species of
diatoms at all (Ann Cordell, personal communication
2001)(Figure 1). Conceivably, it seems probable that Crusoe's
"powdering" process would have destroyed any fragile, opelite-
like spicules that were present in his sample.
Borremans and Shaak (1986) provided the currently
accepted explanation for the chalky texture of St. Johns
pottery. They demonstrated that the distinctive chalky feel is
the result of the large quantities of microscopic freshwater
sponge spicules present in the clay (Borremans and Shaak
1986:128). Without a comparative collection, identification of
the similarly structured freshwater species is difficult; how-
ever, based partially on Johnson's work (1945) and modern
biological data, they listed four possible sponge species which
may appear in ceramic pastes: Spongilla lacustrus, Spongilla
fragillis, Spongilla wagneri, andEphydatiafluviatilis.2 Their
article followed the prevailing archaeological scenario that
producers of chalky pottery vessels consistently selected only
spiculate-bearing clays and avoided other available non-

spiculate clay resources.

Observation ofSpicules in Non-St. Johns Pastes

Throughout the Southeast, the presence of abundant
sponge spicules in clay fabrics is invariably associated with St.
Johns pottery (Goggin 1998; Milanich 1994; Sears 1977;
Weinstein and Rivet 1978). Spicules are sometimes noted in
the clay fabrics of other ceramic types, but always in quantities
significantly less than those found in St. Johns vessels (Cordell
1992; Russo 1992:116). North of our study area, at Kings Bay
along the Georgia coast, analysis of the pottery excavated from
three sites revealed occasional frequencies of spicules in some
of the Orange Period fiber-tempered pottery. At those sites,
spicules also were reported as minor constituents in later
period sand- and grit-tempered wares (Smith, Council, and
Saunders 1985:33, 104-106).
In northeastern Florida (Table 1, Figure 2), no Orange
ware spiculate pastes were encountered during the survey and
subsequent excavations within the broad area of the Timucuan
Historic and Ecological Preserve (Rolland, unpublished data:
Timucuan Survey assemblage (1991) and Pelotes and
Buckhorn Island sites (1998); Saunders, Rollins Shell Ring
(1998), personal communication 1999). In St. Johns County
immediately south of the study area, no spicules have been
observed in the Orange period pottery recovered from the
Guana River Shell Ring (Russo et al. 2002). Recently,
spiculate Orange ware pastes were reported within the assem-
blage recovered from the Ribault Clubhouse monitoring
project (Johnson 2000:72). Re-examination of that assem-
blage's fiber-tempered sherds larger than 2 cm (by this


2003 VOL. 56(2)

r~ (CD 'i

Table 1. Pottery Chronology of the Lower St. Johns River Region. Outlined boxes indicate pottery types constructed with spiculate temper.

I Archaic Period Woodland Period Mississippian Period Contact Period

Orange Period1
ca. 2260 500 B.C.

500 B.C. A.D. 600

Swift Creek2
A.D. 200 800

ca. A.D. 100 8003
A.D. 400-10004
spiculate grog only

St. Johns II
A.D. 900 12504

Papys Bayou *
associated St. Johns II
mound context

Little Manatee*
associated with St. Johns II
mound contexts

St. Marys Cordmarked6
A.D. 1250- ca. 1500s

San Pedro7
late 16th to 17th century

San Marcos/Altamaha
early 17th century

Weeden Island**
associated late St. Johns I,
St. Johns II

Ocmulgee III Cordmarkeds***
associated St. Johns II

St. Marys Cordmarked6
A.D. 1250 ca. 1500s

*-origin of manufacture unsure,** non-local construction, *** non-local and local construction.
Unless otherwise indicated time periods are found in Milanich 1994. Only those dates referenced from Ashley are calibrated. 1Russo 1992:230;
2Ashley 1998; 3 Russo 1992:109; 4 Ashley 2002, Ashley and Rolland 1997:60; 5Ashley 2002, 2000; Ashley and Rolland 2002; 6 Ashley and
Rolland 2002; 7Ashley and Rolland 1997.


Figure 2. Map from 1875 showing the St. Johns River system, marshes and wetlands. Study area is outlined at top.


2003 VoL. 56(2)


author), with the paste constituents viewed in fresh breaks,
revealed no spicule inclusions; however, loose spicules were
observed on several surfaces.
Spiculate-bearing Orange pottery is more frequently found
in sites south of our study area nearer the source of the St.
JohnsRiver (Cordell n.d.; Espenshade 1983; Goggin 1998:97).
In this same region, Russo and Heide (2000:23, 48; 2002)
recovered evidence of very early pottery construction utilizing
spiculate paste. At the Joseph Reed Shell Ring (8MT13),
sherds were collected that bore Orange period shapes but were
constructed of pastes containing abundant spicules, little sand,
and no fiber vermiculations. A smaller percentage of the
Joseph Reed assemblage consisted of sand-tempered sherds.
The Joseph Reed occupation dates to B.P. 3500-2900.
Returning to extreme northeastern Florida, Ashley (2000,
2002:164.) has compiled a series of calibrated radiocarbon
dates from sample materials associated with St. Johns pottery.
These data reveal that the St. Johns cultural occupation of the
lower river basin did not occur until A.D. 900. At that point
in time, St. Johns pottery replaced not an antecedent St. Johns
I occupation, but non-spiculate mineral- and grog-tempered
Woodland period pottery types of Deptford and Swift Creek.
At A.D. 1250, St. Johns pottery was itself replaced by sand-
tempered St. Marys Cordmarked pottery (Ashley 2000, 2002;
Ashley and Rolland, 2002).
Spicules may be seen in rare and occasional frequencies in
other pottery types. Cordell (1993: 49-55) has noted though it
is rarely seen, that the fine sand paste of the St. Marys
Cordmarked may contain small numbers of spiculate inclu-
sions. Further to the west at the Darby and Hornsby Springs
sites (8AL114), Deptford Linear Check Stamped sherds were
found constructed of both spiculate and non-spiculate sandy
pastes (Palmer-Stanton n.d.). Although these exceptions exist,
clay fabrics that contain abundant amounts of spicule inclu-
sions and minor frequencies of mineral inclusions are over-
whelmingly associated with St. Johns cultural deposits.

St. Johns as Exchange Ware

The conventional wisdom has been that within the St.
Johns region, clays with abundant spicules, while available,
were avoided by other cultural groups, but during the St. Johns
cultural period, these spiculate deposits were more exclusively
exploited. It was further assumed that all occurrences of
spiculate paste vessels outside the St. Johns region were
exchange wares. Crusoe (1971:40) examined nineteen clay
sources in peninsular Florida, none of which contained
spicules or diatoms. These results prompted him to suggest
that spiculate wares in central Florida and southeastern
Georgia may represent imported or trade items from the lower
St. Johns region. In his study of the South Prong I site
(8HI418), Mitchem (1986:93-94) drew this same conclusion,
noting that thus far no Gulf coast or Okeechobee clays,
including the two he tested, had been found that contained
spicules. He pointed out that little testing for clay sources had
been done and speculated that instead of transporting whole,
fragile vessels, perhaps spiculate clays might have been

brought in from the St. Johns basin. Likewise, when Cordell's
(1984:57-79, 159-166) collection of 26 clays from north
central Florida bore equally negative results, she suggested
non-local production for spiculate vessels recovered from the
McKeithen site. In fact, no spiculate-laden clay deposits have
been located in eastern Florida that would account for the
hundreds of thousands of spiculate vessels recovered along the
St. Johns River drainage and other sites across the state.

Ethnographic and Archaeological Evidence

In the Southeast, the explanation for the presence or
absence of spiculate clays used for pottery construction has
been that the spicules are considered a natural inclusion
(Borremans and Shaak 1987; Rice 1987:409). However, afew
ethnographers working among the Indian tribes of the Amazon
basin and the highlands of Peru briefly commented on the use
of sponges as tempering material.
In the 1930s, Nordenski6ld (1930:17-40) wrote a series of
ethnographic publications in which he reported that spicules
were added to certain Amazonian clays to add strength to the
vessel walls. Goggin (1998) reported that Howard (1943:22)
had observed spicule tempering in pottery being produced in
areas along the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Linn6 (1965)
also cited cases in which groups of potters living along several
tributaries of the Amazon River incorporated burnt sponge
spicules while they prepared raw clay. Some of the women
potters of that region knew that sponges had been used in this
manner but had given it up because working river spicules into
the clay hurt their hands.3 They shifted to processing a bio-
silica present in the bark of certain trees (Linn6 1965:28-31).
Linn6 reported 1:3 proportions of bio-silicate temper to clay.
In Roosevelt's (1980:195-196, 207-211, 225-228) study of
Parmana in the Orinoco River basin, the sudden appearance of
"crushed" spicule temper and new ceramic forms prompted
her to differentiate the Corozal Phase (800 B.C.- A.D. 400)
from previous and later occupations. Corozal people had
settled along the main course of the Orinoco River establishing
their villages in areas subject to seasonal flooding. Roosevelt
(1980:196) interpreted the abrupt shift to spicule temper as the
result of areal resettlement of an intrusive, non-local popula-
During his research in the Upper Xingu River basin in
Brazil, University of Florida anthropologist, Michael
Heckenberger (personal communication, 2001; Heckenberger
et al. 1999) observed and photographed Amazonian potters
adding sponge spicules to their pottery clay. After sifting
burnt sponge remains from the ash, spicules were added to
pure clay at a ratio of 1:1. At another location in the central
Amazon basin near the city ofManaus, Heckenberger recalled
that during the dry season sponges were so thick that people
could neither drink nor bathe in the river due to the severe
itching (similar to fiberglass reaction) caused by even casual
contact. He speculated that, given the density of the sponge
population, the underlying river clays might indeed contain
spicules; however, no testing has yet been done.4 However,




Figure 3. Locations of samples examined in this study. Open dots designate FGS well cores; solid dots designate clay samples,
and star symbol shows the locations of the spiculate clay recovered from a midden associated with the Grant Mound (8DU14).

there is no question that some potters in that region incorpo
rate abundant quantities of processed spicules into their clay in
order to reproduce traditional vessel pastes.
Archaeological research in Africa (Adamson et al. 1987;
Brissaud and Houdayer 1986; McIntosh and MacDonald 1989)
also has provided evidence of isolated pockets of spiculate
pottery production along the White Nile in Sudan and the
Niger River in Mali. As a result of a study of Sudanese pottery
and local environment, Adamson et al. (1987:125) stated that
between 3500-1500 B.P., the use of spiculate temper had been
deliberate within certain tribal groups. They offered three
conditions that support their statement: 1) higher frequencies
of spicules were found in pottery than in tested sediments; 2)
spicules observed in the pottery lacked weathered or broken
megascleres spiculee rod-shaped structures) and contained an
abundance of sponge gemmules (reproductive units), therefore,
whole sponge bodies were utilized, as opposed to weathered or

reworked matrices; and 3) spiculate pastes were observed in
vessels with specific functions, shapes, and surface modifica-
tions. They also reported that some White Nile spiculate
pottery shared stylistic and formal characteristics with nearby
non-spiculate pottery traditions. They concluded, "sponge
pottery of the White Nile is a part of a broad tradition although
the technology is rigidly swamp-based (Adamson et
al. 1986:126)."
Wishing to expand upon Brissaud and Houdayer's original
study, McIntosh and MacDonald (1989) introduced standard-
ized quantification of spicule frequency by conducting spicule
point-counts for three pottery types. They found a greater
range and frequency of spicule inclusions (1-15%) than
Brissaud and Houdayer had proposed and were able to report
specific frequency patterns between the pottery types. Spicule
frequencies within local clay sources were compared with
those of the study assemblage. McIntosh and MacDonald


2003 VOL. 56(2)


(1989: 491) were troubled by consistently low spicule counts
found in one of the types. This condition, they (McIntosh and
MacDonald 1989:493) concluded, may actually reflect "shifts
in clay sources or ceramic technology through time or across
space." Unlike the Sudan study, McIntosh and MacDonald
felt unable to state with the same certainty that spicule
inclusions always reflected culturally designed construction
methods in pottery pastes containing less than 25% spicules.
In recent communications, MacDonald (personal communica-
tion, 2002) offered no new conclusions realized from that
project, but is currently preparing an expanded report of the

Sample Materials and Results

We are proposing that the great quantities of sponge
spicules observed in certain aboriginal pottery fabrics are the
result of potters' purposeful manipulation of raw clay and
temper. In order to test the idea that sponge spicules were
incorporated as a true temper, we conducted a survey to locate
and characterize clay sources that lay near St. Johns sites in
extreme northeastern Florida. Although we initially concen-
trated on samples extracted from the lower St. Johns River
area, specimens from both the Florida Geological Survey
(FGS) well sample repository and M-series (clay) collections
pertinent to the greater St. Johns culture area were eventually
included. Two peat samples, including one recovered from the
Windover site, also were inspected.
We examined the contents of 33 well sample sites curated
by FGS to pinpoint clay resources and map their distances
from St. Johns II archaeological sites (Appendix A, Figure 3).
We recorded information for 134 individual samples contained
within those sites that reflected intermittent collection of soils
from the surface down to, in some cases, depths well below
200' (61 m). Depths recorded on well sample curation bags
revealed no standardized measurement of collection. We held
our sample depths from surface to 100' (30.5 m). Private
drilling firms collected the majority of the well core samples
before the 1970s.
The clay samples examined during the course of this study
were supplied by a variety of sources. Initially, we surveyed
FGS M-series clays (collected only by geologists) that were
recovered in the lower St. Johns region (n=5) (Table 2). Later
the search was broadened to include all M-series samples
described as containing spicules or diatomaceous earth (n=4,
however, just 1 contained clay). Friends and associates
generously assisted in the collection of new clay samples
(n=39). Ann Cordell, Florida Museum of Natural History
(FLMNH), Gainesville, provided us with access to her analyses
of thirty clay samples retained in the FLMNH ceramics lab.
Only one of those samples, from the Oklawaha River, con-
tained occasional spicules. Recently a spiculate, mucky clay
from the Lake Monroe area was recovered by Steve Koski and
tested by Cordell (Cordell and Koski 2002, and this issue).5
Our study was aided by a spiculate soils study of the upper
St. Johns region performed by University of Florida soil
scientists, Schwandes and Collins (1994). They recorded

frequency, characteristics, and depths of spicules in seven soil
types. In their study, spiculate sediments were consistently
observed above clay horizons in dark, organic, unconsolidated
soils that had formed beneath relict ponds and creek beds
(Schwandes and Collins 1994:246-249).

Analysis and Results of Well Core Samples

Ultimately, we examined 136 samples from 35 well sites
(134 samples from 33 well sites and 2 peat samples). FGS
refers to these samples as 'well cuttings,' but we have em-
ployed the term 'well samples.' Schwandes and Collins
(1994) had recorded spiculate soils at depths only above one
meter, so if FGS samples were missing the upper 1-3 m, most
of those samples were eliminated. This meant that some
deeper clay or spiculate soil deposits might have been missed
by our study (see Watts 1971:677, 679; 1969:635). These
deposits, however, would have been at depths inaccessible to
aboriginal potters and our initial aim was to broadly link areas
bearing raw clay resources to archaeological sites.6
FGS samples were thoroughly dried and the constituents
were easily separated. Under 30X magnification we were able
to characterize matrix constituents by dominant and minority
minerals. We recorded the size, angularity, uniformity of
shape and color, as well as the degree of calcium carbonate
consolidation or lithification of quartz or shell matrix. The
vast majority of the study samples were composed of loose,
fine to coarse quartz grains that showed some rounding from
wind or water transport. Often present, but found in relatively
low frequency, were poorly consolidated ferruginous lumps,
phosphate pellets, and muscovite (mica). Heavy minerals
usually made up 1% or less of any sample. Heavy minerals
and muscovite probably originated in the Appalachians and
were transported along with the clay particles down onto the
Florida shelf. Accumulations of highly fractured and eroded,
loose marine mollusk shells and poorly consolidated shell bed
fragments were occasionally encountered.
Originally, we looked at well core samples drilled near
archaeological sites east of Jacksonville (n=21 wells). After
the first set of samples was negative for pure clays or spiculate
soils, the search was broadened to include well samples that
lay further from lower St. Johns prehistoric sites or in less well
drained areas. We observed clay in only three samples, but in
only minor amounts in an otherwise silty-cemented quartz
matrix (#17545 Nassau County, 14-21 feet below surface;
#11777 Sawgrass, S3, T4S, R29E, 10-45 feet below surface;
W743 Switzerland, FL, US Air Station 0-35 feet below
Three of the well samples contained spicules. These were
found not in clay matrices but in silty organic soils or clean,
loose sand (#4695 Floating Power Plant, Duval County, 20-
40 feet below surface; #10637 St. Augustine Mobile Home
Factory, St. Johns County, surface to 40 feet below surface; M-
2762 southeast shore of Lake George, Volusia County, no
depth recorded).
Two samples of Florida peat were examined because of
their formation in freshwater environments (Windover,



Table 2. Florida Geological Survey M-Series and newly reported clay samples examined in this study.
Sample County ILocation/environment Comment
M-2940 Not Clay lava-like sintered like coke
M-192 Clay Not Clay Green Cove Springs, South 3 miles highly Carhonaceans Peat
M-77 Duval Dames Point, North Shore St. Johns River. Jacksonville dredged from 12 feet Below Surface large, grit-size quartz
M-577 Duval Jacksonville. 2 miles South. Platt Brothers Platt Brothers
M-4167 Duval Solite Pit, Coosahatchee, Charlton, Hawthorn bed 2-black organic clay with sponge spicules actually
rod-like particles, gypsum
M-528 Nassau Callahan, Callahan Brick Company
M-4112 Nassau Stokes Bridge Bed #2 green, gray minor sand, gypsum
Coosahatchee/Charlton (Hawthorne)
M-2762 Putnam Not Clay Lake George, southeast lake area reported as Diatomaceous earth: in fact quartz sand, with
abundant spicules, no organic material
M-2942 Seminole Lemon Bluff, Bank of St. Johns, Lake Harey rod-like inclusions, not spicules
/ Volusia
Newly Reported Samples
surface, Alachua Sante Fe River. Hwy 441 overpass dark brown, dense clay with sand, eroding bank edge
modem pit Clay Green Cove Springs, Stockton-Gamble Brick Yards, 2 samples Florida Gumbo Clay: one from factory
Brickyard Road, borrow pit and processing area extraction pit: one from inside drying building
shovel test Clay Solite Clay Mines Florida Gumbo Clay extraction pit
Collier 8CR739, Golden Gate reddish-brown, collected by Christine Newman, James
Dunbar. Brett Weisman, CARL
Collier 8CR549, Mosquito Swamp beneath shell midden, dark gray, crushed shell, collected
by Christine Newman. Steven Koski. CARL
shovel test Collier palmetto rise near Rookery Bay; Frog Chorus Site medium yellow brown, common very fine, fine sand:
GPS N20oO3.048/W81o40.337 Christine Newman, 70-93cmbs
ST-1 Duval Jacksonville, East of Grant Mound (8DU14) possible extraction pit, two samples depths: 55 63 cmbs
on W. Wells property thinning shell midden, and 70 B 80 cmbs below shell
ST-3 Duval Jacksonville, East of Shields (8DU12), shovel test river bank, private property
2nd property west of YMCA
ST-4 Duval Jacksonville. East of Rivers Edge housing community brown, highly organic
Surface Duval Mavport, Little Jetties gray. sandy
Surface Duval Mavport, Little Jetties reddish brown, little sand
road cut Duval Pottsburg Creek red/gray sandy collected by W. Wells and Bobby Register
road cut Duval East of Doctors Lake yellow/gray sandy collected by Walter Wells
shovel test Duval Newcastle Creek, up creek-head collected: Saunders and Rollands
surface Duval Newcastle Creek entering St. John River bank erosion collected: Saunders and Rollands
shovel test Duval Jacksonville. Queens Harbour Power line cove, west of DU5455 dark brown, organic, mucky soil from the marsh

County Location/environment Comment
Duval Fort George Island, immediately west Kingsley light gray, sandy,
Plantation/ranger house at 1.65 cmbs collected Tammy Cooper and John Whitehurst
Duval Spiculate: Jacksonville, Grant'Mound (8DU14), Feature 1 dark reddish brown, sandy spiculate, collected by Robert
Thunen, UNF
Duval Jacksonville. Shields midden (8DU12), 30-50 cmbs dark reddish brown sandy
Duval Pauline Island, northwest of Grant Mound, bank erosion gray sandy
Duval Oxeve Site, south of Black Hammock Island below marsh muck, dark gray
Duval beach replenishment project, deep recovery from Mayport area, gray, common fine to medium sand
mouth of the St. Johns River.
Flagler Palm Coast, feeder creek west bank Tomoka River dark brown

Leon Castro family property, Castro mission site from gulch NW of 3 colors clay: sandy red (surface), less sandy yellow (-4
site, 8 m deep, possible clay borrow wedge at sink hole bank, mbs), finest texture kaolin white (base)
seeking white, kaolin clay?
Leon O=Connell mission site (Patale II 8LE157) deep orange-red

Leon natural pond immediately north of O=Connell site white, fine texture
Marion west of Ocala, state road 40 near hwy 41 yellow tan, thin lens
Area J. ESI road survey
Nassau South end of Amelia Island, bridge erosion gray sandy collected by Brian Floyd
Nassau Southeastern Amelia Island gray. sandy, tidal erosion, 40 cm deposit remains, Rollanc
Nassau Big Talbot Island State Park, SE near Black Rock Beach in gray, fine texture, beneath sand in waterway
Nassau Sound under water
Nassau Big Talbot. south end near Simpson Creek gray, coarse texture
SNassau White Oak Plantation, western area near picnic facility, golden tan, 40cmbs continuous deposit?
Brickyard Landing, 25 m to south bank St. Marys River.
St. Johns Guana River State Park, north of St. Augustine, East bank of grayish brown
Tolamato River at foot trail at Shell Bluff
St. Johns St. Augustine Lighthouse. TU1. Feature 1. Level 3 dark brown
St. Lucie Ten Mile Creek site, 8SL1181 low black earth slough, surface to black, dense with common very fine and fine quartz: Steve
70cmbs; fattest sample 30-50 cmbs Koski. New South Associates
in Volusia 1st St/S. Riverside Dr. 6= bs, New Smyrna Beach city dark gray, rich, common very fine sand, rare crushed shell
improvements project collected Dot Moore
in Volusia 2nd st/S. Riverside Dr. 6-7=bs dark gray, rich, common very fine find, collected Dot Moo
Volusia spring run, Green Springs, 340 m N. Lake Monroe, brown, silty with abundant fine-medium sand, collected Bi
Camden Cumberland Island, West-central bank erosion gray, abundant very coarse sand; collected by David Brew


M-192), but neither contained spicules. We shifted our focus
to locating and documenting new clay resources and sponge

Analysis of Clay Samples and Results

Six FGS and 39 new clay samples have been screened for
spicules.7 Our newly discovered sources were located visually
on the surfaces of exposed banks or construction profiles, by
shovel testing near the banks of waterways, and during
excavation. If top and bottom depths were detected; these data
were recorded. In the lab we found that even minimal water
content in the clays (reflection of the microscope light) made
the observation of spicules difficult. New samples were spread
to increase observable surface area and left to dry.
In addition to microscopic examination, two other diagnos-
tic procedures were employed. First, smear slides were
prepared using three M-series clays. This process, probably
similar to the one followed by Crusoe (1971), employs a de-
ionizing solution to separate spicules and diatomaceous
particles from soil matrices. None of the smear slides were
positive for spicules. Second, using graduated fine gauge
screens (geologic screens #100, #170, #230, and #325) two
FGS clays (M-4167, M-2942) and four newly collected clays
(ST-1, ST-3, Big Talbot-Nassau Sound, and Cumberland
Island) were wet sieved. Hardened FGS clays required
presoaking to expedite sieving. No spicules were observed in
the clay- or silt-sized screens (see Cordell and Koski 2002).
All of the raw clay samples we examined contained
common to abundant, fine to coarse quartz inclusions. None
contained spicules. One sample (M-4167) was characterized
in the FGS directory as containing abundant sponge spicules.
However, under magnification, Bond recognized the structures
to be shattered gypsum rods.8 Unlike sponge spicules, some
unshattered gypsum rods were barely discernable without high
magnification. Other rod-like structures, such as carbonate
aragonite, also superficially resemble spicules.9 Another FGS
clay sample (M-2762) was labeled as 'diatomaceous earth.' In
actuality, the sample consisted entirely of rounded quartz sand
and impressive numbers of sponge spicules. As mentioned
above, this probably was not mislabeled but reflected the
accepted terminology for biosilicate remains of an earlier time

Spiculate Clay from Grant Mound

One clay sample containing abundant spicules has been
recovered from a cultural feature associated with the St. Johns
II ceremonial complex at Grant Mound (8DU14). A sample
of that clay was donated by Robert Thunen from the University
of North Florida, Jacksonville. This clay, along with another
deeply buried non-spiculate raw clay (ST-1, 65-70 cmbs), was
tested by X-ray diffraction.l0 The non-spiculate sample was
collected from the edge of a possible clay-extraction area less
than 200 m from the mound and feature containing the
spiculate clay. Although not 100% conclusive, Eric Lochner
(FSU MARTECH labs) and Paulette Bond observed that the

kaolinite signatures of the two samples were highly congruent.
The presence of the spiculate clay recovered within a cultural
context in close proximity to an in situ non-spiculate clay
source with corresponding mineral signatures is significant.
The X-ray diffraction results and the recovery contexts of the
two clays helps to give credence to our idea that, at least in this
one case, spicules were an intentional inclusion.

Mucky or Reworked Soils

Spicules have been reported in mucky or reworked soils
(Cordell and Koski 2002; Espenshade 1983)." In 1983,
Espenshade asserted that some mucky, spiculate soils could
have been used in aboriginal pottery production. He offered
two of the six mucky soils he collected as likely candidates for
sources of chalky spiculate pottery. Espenshade created and
fired test bars of these samples. However, he did no additional
testing, so the strength, thermal shock resistance, porosity, and
other characteristics of his fired samples were unreported.
These bars are still curated at the Florida Museum of Natural
History. Upon re-examination of Espenshade's material,
Cordell found that while one bar did contain common spicule
inclusions it was extremely friable. She did not believe it
could have been used to produce a viable pot (Cordell and
Koski 2002). The other test bar did not contain spicules.
After comprehensive physical and compositional testing,
Cordell and Koski (2002, and this issue) recently presented
data from a spiculate mucky clay recovered near the Lake
Monroe Outlet Midden (8VO53). In addition to the Lake
Monroe clay, Cordell reexamined the spiculate Oklawaha
River clay and a mucky clay from Brevard County. She
reports mixed results in comparisons between the Lake
Monroe sample and St. Johns pottery. Aplastic composition
(other than spicule density) and color were similar. However,
the abundance of spicules, the frequency of sand (naturally
occurring in the Lake Monroe sample), relative hardness, and
chalky texture observed in the test briquettes did not match
those characteristics found in St. Johns sherds. Cordell
suggests that continued rigorous testing of clays and mucky
soils, as well as research into post-depositional changes in St.
Johns sherds, are required before we understand the range of
raw clay materials that were acceptable and workable to St.
Johns potters.
Despite the failure of these few samples, we are not
convinced that mucky soils were not the source of St. Johns
spiculate pottery. However, three interacting criteria must be
met: volume of clay-sized particles, frequency and size of a
variety of non-clay constituents, and frequency of spicules.
First, mucky soils must contain sufficient volume of clay-sized
particles to mold and successfully fire a pot in the low temper-
atures achieved during aboriginal, open-pit firings. Given the
heterogeneous composition of mucky soils it also must be
determined if a large enough volume of rich, workable, clay-
particle sized material is present. Second, mucky soils contain
two naturally occurring constituents-organic matter and
larger, angular, non-lattice particle inclusions such as quartz.
If these two mediums are present in high enough frequencies

2003 VoL. 56(2)


they could impede vitrification and weaken pottery walls
(Cordell 1992:126-127; Rice 1987:86-105; Shepard 1995:27-
31).'2 Third, the frequency of spicules found in mucky soils
must be consistent with that found in the spiculate pottery.
Cordell's analysis ofthin-section slides prepared from three St.
Johns sherds recovered from the Shields Mound site (8DU12)
addresses these criteria. Cordell reported that the frequency of
the spicules for those samples was 20% and silt-sized quartz
constituents comprised less than 5% (Rolland 2000, Appendix
B; these and other St. Johns thin section reports are on file at
the FMNH ceramic lab).
A further indication of source may be observed in the
condition of spicules. If a mucky-soil sample has a high
frequency of broken spicules and the sherds have few broken
spicules, then that muck sample is unlikely to have been the
source of the sherds. High numbers of broken spicules infer
transportation and not primary deposition (Adamson et al.
1987:125; Schwandes and Collins 1994; Watts 1969:634).
Therefore, examining the proportion of broken to whole
spicules may offer insight into the environment from which
the spicules observed in the sherd were taken.

Discussion and Conclusion

With this study we have proposed an alternate view to the
production of St. Johns pottery. Our research has focused on
only the first two steps of ceramic manufacturing: evaluation
of the natural constituents of clay resources and possible
human manipulation of those resources during the initial steps
of the production sequence. Recognizing recurring patterns in
these early stages is basic to ceramic ecology studies (Aronson
et al. 1994; Chilton 1998, 1999; Cordell 1992: 111,126,131;
Costin 1991; Deal 1998; Goodby 1998; Graves 1994; Hally
1983, 1984,1986; Rice 1987:314-317, 1996: 148-153;
Saunders 2000; Stark et al. 2000), and defining such patterns
essential in the creation of period typologies, cultural bound-
aries, understanding community and regional variation or
standardization, and, in northeastern Florida, exploring the
validity of long-held assumptions concerning group identity
and lifeways of the St. Johns people.
We propose that St. Johns potters were not merely adept at
accessing a particular sort of clay resource, but actively
modified local resources to conform to and reproduce their
ceramic tradition. St. Johns ceramics displayed and reinforced
social or political identity through paste design and surface
modification that were easily distinguishable from the cultures
that preceded them, those contemporaneous with them, and the
St. Marys II culture that would follow.
In Duval County, we found no spiculate clays in the
vicinity of St. Johns II occupations, but discovered under
magnification that local clays and mucky soils contained
common to abundant quartz particles in an array of sizes. As
noted above, St. Johns wares have a high percentage of sponge
spicules (a range with the higher frequencies near 20%) and
only minor frequencies of silt-sized quartz and other minerals
such as mica (Cordell 1992, 1993; Cordell and Koski 2002).
We suspect that modern potters, having seen richer and

immediately workable in situ clays from other areas, would not
consider most of Florida's east-coast clays viable pottery
producing material. In fact, a 1924 publication by the Florida
Geological Survey rated Florida clays only for their capacity as
construction material (Bell 1924). Given the fact that our
study (as well as those of Crusoe, Mitchem, Cordell, and
Cordell and Koski) found no clay sources that could be
considered matches for St. Johns pastes in an unaltered state,
we believe that St. Johns potters had developed culturally
specific procedures for clay preparation. With the notable
exception of mixing spicules in the ground clay, most steps
were probably similar to those described by others who have
observed the production of earthenware vessels (Arnold 1985;
Gosselain 1994; Heckenberger, personal communication 2001;
Orton et al. 1994; Rice 1987; Shepard 1995:49-93). Our
model of this processing procedure is outlined below.
1) In anticipation of periods of ceramic manufacturing or
expedient replacement ofbroken pots, freshwater sponges were
collected in quantity from the river grasses or from the same
creeks or springs where St. Johns folks obtained their water
(see Appendix B). The sponges were dried or burned and
stored until needed.
2) Sandy, organic secondary clays were extracted along
river and creek banks. This material was levigated, and while
heavier minerals and larger inclusions or impurities like sand
sank, some organic material would float to the surface and be
scooped off leaving purer colloidal clay particles suspended in
solution (Arnold 1994:117; Shepard 1995:13-14, 182). That
solution could be poured off, or sieved and left standing
allowing the clay particles to settle. Dried, modified clay
material was perhaps mixed with another processed clay, and
pounded or ground to a fine, uniform powder.
3) During rehydration, an experienced St. Johns potter
could 'feel' when maximum plasticity was achieved for that
batch of clay. In response to the stickiness or softness of clay,
or anticipating special task-paste requirements (i.e., storage,
hot or cold processing or cooking, presentation, or transport),
quantities of spicules were added either before or during
rehydration. Bio-silicate spicule remains function as any other
mineral tempering agent to enhance clay workability and
lessened shrinkage, cracking, and warping during vessel
drying and firing phases. Spicule temper offers both techno-
logical (thermal-stress absorption [McIntosh and MacDonald
(1989:493]) and impact or structural advantages ("elongated
particles in parallel alignment in soft clays exhibit a reinforc-
ing effect against cross fracture [Shepard 1995:27])."
By selecting sponges as temper for hundreds of years,
generations of St. Johns potters reproduced culturally distinc-
tive vessels that met not only functional performance stan-
dards, but were at the same time both visual and tactile
markers of St. Johns identity and heritage.


An earlier version of this research was presented at the 57t
Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference,
Macon, GA, November, 2000.




'Diatomaceous earth is a term used by geologists to classify soils that
contain the bio-silicate remains of aquatic algae (Bell 1924:16) In the
course of our examination of FGS clays and documentation it
appeared that in the past, some geologists may have expanded the use
of the term 'diatomaceous' to include spiculate soils. Today, Florida
Geological Survey scientists continue to observe diatoms and spicules
together in spring habitats.

2 Florida State University Marine Biologist Richard Mariscal
identified the possible species present in a Joseph Reed site sherd
and a St. Johns sherd from Shields Mound: Spongilla fagilis,
Spongilla lacustrus; Hetermeyenia meyeninae, Meyeia miller or
Meyeia flucatis. These species were suggested based on spicule
shape, smoothness, and presence or absence of gemmules (round
reproductive cells)(see Adamson et al.)

3 Richard Mariscal informed us that sponges contain a chemical of
low toxicity. He was surprised by the great numbers of spicules
observed in the paste, and suggested that this toxin may have numbed
the potters' hands. The burning process may have abated the natural
toxicity. Mariscal also noted the high frequency of whole over
broken spicules in the sherds. 1987:120-123; McIntosh and MacDon-
ald 1989:490).

4 Readers will recognize that our ethnographic information was
centered on the Indians of the Amazon River basin and recall that,
based on language correspondences, Granberry (Fairbanks 1958;
Granbeny 1993) has presented us with a possible relationship
between the Timucua and peoples of South America. At the moment
this remains a highly speculative topic.

5 The research design for excavations at the Lake Monroe Outlet
Midden site (8V053), included the systematic collection of soil
samples (Horvath 2002). This site lies near the area where Koski
recovered the spiculate mucky soil. The samples were examined by
Sylvia Scudder at the FLMNH and she later gave me access to them.
I examined 35 samples including organic, silty soils and clean
inorganic sands. The samples represent a variety of contexts:
floodplain, middens, and contexts that revealed no anthropogenic
signatures. None of the soil samples contained spicules.

6 Watts (1971:677-679) did find deeply buried (1,020 cmbs) spiculate
clay deposits, but again these were unlikely to have been accessed by
aboriginal potters.

7 The section reports only the results from our samples. Of the 30
clays curated at the FLMNH, Ann Cordell informed us that only one
contained occasional spicules.

8 Crystals of gypsum form in Hawthorn clay deposits when samples
are exposed to air. In the Florida State University archaeology lab,
gypsum crystals were easily grown during the process of presoaking
clay samples before sieving. In this process, minute amounts of the
mineral pyrite undergo oxidation and the sulfur that is released
further oxidizes, combines with calcium ions and water to produce
non-curving gypsum crystalline rods.

9 Cordell (1992:121) describes acicular, carbonate aragonite inclu-
sions and speculates that aragonite might be the material reported as
"fossil spicules of sponges" in Knoderer's report of a spiculate clay
source found along an eroding creek bank beneath the Duda Ranch
Shell Mound (Knoderer 1972:101-106). Knoderer noted that marine
shell also was present, which inferred to Cordell a highly reworked

"1 Eric Lochner of the Florida State University Martech Program,
conducted the X-ray diffraction; Bond did the interpretation. An
interpretation of the X-ray diffraction testing of a sample of 10 sherds
and an additional 14 is now underway.

Mucky soils are wind-transported and alluvial reworked accumula-
tions of decomposing organic material and previously suspended or
airborne clay, silt, and other larger mineral particles (Cordell
1992;116-127; Holliday 1992:103-108; Rapp and Hill 1998: 34-36,
59-67; Rice 1987:72-78; Stein 1992:194-200). Due to recurring
episodes of deposition and erosion (often catastrophic along Florida's
eastern coast) by which mucky soil strata are formed, the percentage
of clay-sized particles could be highly variable, as would the relative
frequencies of its other constituents.

2 Initially, it is the flat, overlapping platelet (lattice) structure of clay
minerals that allows potters to build up vessel walls that will hold a
shape during construction, drying, and firing. During the actual firing
process, as the water molecules that gave the material plasticity are
removed, the platelets collapse upon each other in microscopic
overlapping layers. In contrast, silt particles are irregular, rounded,
and worn minerals, such as quartz, which do not overlap and
therefore lack the strength (microscopic structure) to withstand the
rigors of firing, impact or thermal shock required during daily use.
The temperatures needed to melt quartz silt are higher that those that
will affect change and hardening in clay minerals (Rice 187: 90-93,
95) and would probably not be reached in open-pit firing.


This study has profited greatly from the integration of diverse
fields of scientific research. We would like to acknowledge the
contributions of the archaeologists, geologists, and those in other
disciplines who offered their time and expertise. Our thanks go to
Deborah Mekeel, Media Research, Florida Geological Survey; Frank
Rupert, Geologist, Florida Geological Survey; Ann Cordell, Ceramic
Lab, FLMNH, University of Florida; Lawrence Schwandes, Soil and
Water Science, University of Florida; Richard Mariscal, Marine
Biology, Florida State University; Quinton White, Aquatic Habitat
Studies, Jacksonville University; Leanne Clemmons, MarineBiology,
Jacksonville University; Michael Heckenberger, University of
Florida; Robert Thunen, University of North Florida; and Sylvia
Scudder, FLMNH. Thanks also to Greg Heide, National Park
Service, Tallahassee, who located some of the early ethnographic
reports cited in this paper and generously guided us in graphics
production. Thanks to Michael Russo (NPS) and James Burch, Big
Cypress National Preserve who provided us with a large sample of
modern sponges; something that we were not able to accomplish
within the study area.
We also wish to thank Rebecca Saunders, Rochelle Marrinan,
Ann Cordell, Michael Russo, Keith Ashley, James Pepe, and Ryan
Wheeler for making suggestions throughout the study and comment-
ing on this and earlier versions of our paper.

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Dames Point

Mayport Basin

Spanish Camp Swamp

Quinland & Eastport

Mayport Naval Air Base

Broward Confluence

Fort Caroline

FGS # spicules Provenience
or clay

heavy CaCo2 Comments

no mica

depth description
0-20' quartz, Pleistocene sands
20-40' same, starlite,illminite,ruteal
40-60' finer sand, but same, no micas
60-80' same
80-100' same
0-10' smooth Pleistocene sands
10-24' same
24-35' humate, lithified, less, sand
35-60' FeO2, cemented sands
0-20' quartzite, marine sands
20-40' quartz sands, crushed shell, limestone
40-50' sandstone, 2-3 cm chunks
1-10' white quartz sand
10-20' corroded shell and sand
20-25' fine quartz
25-30' crushed marine shell, poorly lithified sand
30-42' missing
42-50 crushed marine shell, fewer lithified sands
0-25' yellow quartzite sands
25-49' same
0-20' quartz sand,
20-40' shell bed, marine shell
40-50' shelly sands,
0-25' quartz sands
25-49' quartz sands
0-10' quartz sands
10-20' shelly sands
20-25' fine grained quartz
25-30' crushed coquina shell, lithified sands
30-42' same
42-50' crushed shell bed


Fort Caroline, Nat'l Park Service
probably mis-mapped north of river

confluence Broward River















FGS # spicules Provenience



Prudential Insurance Co

300 Mayport Naval Air Base

695 Floating Power Plant

731 Fort Caroline

513 Naval Air Base

649 St. Johns Ship Bldg Co

661 Naval Air Base

heavy minerals CaCo2 Comments


depth description
0-10' quartz sands, mica
10-20' quartz sand, poorly cemented quartz,
20-30' brown quartz sand, rare shell
30-40' same, minor mica,
40-50' same, minor mica,
3-20' quartz,small lumps Fe staining sands
20-45' organic material, lumps sand,
rare spicules
45-75' quartz
0-14' quartz, crushed shell
14-24' sand, pulverized shell
24-34' crushed,smoothed shell,coarse sand
34-40' missing
40-42' less shell, slightly lithified quartz, water sm
52-50' clear semi-angular quartz, rare shell
0-20' brown quartz sand,iron oxyhydroxides
20-40' fine, semi-angular quartz grains
40-60' shell fragments
25-35' quartz sands, white, carbonate cement
35-45' same
45-55' same
0-20' medium quartz
20-40' quartz
40-60' clumped,worn shell, pale gray sands
0-20' well cemented v. fine sands, large chunks
20-40' ground shell, cemented larger quartz grains
45-65' very fine quartz sand, carbonate coating

X rare plant remains
rare plant, smoothed crush shell
rare plant
rare plant remains

rare plant remains
rare plant remains

X T2S, R27E, S45- 1942

hard clumps=silt, not clay
1.5 mile south of Jacksonville, T2S, R26E

27 Timuquana Country Club 0-27' quartz sand, iron cemented grains
27-70' quartz sand, iron cemented grains
514 US Navy Air Base 0-20' find quartz grains
20-60' well cemented quartz sands
2888 0-25' fine quartz

T3S, R26E,S22

rare plant and charcoal frags



Queens Utilities Inc

Sheffield Village Inc

HRS-Serious Offenders

all washed
nothing above 235'
Talbot Island

8736 Garden Street

FGS # spicules Provenience


heavy minerals CaCo2 Comments


depth description
25-50' weak cemented gray quartz, silty chunks
50-75' gray silt, sand chunks
0-5' very fine, medium gray organic matter
5-10' fine grained quartz, FeO2 coated sands
10-15' same
15-20' same
20-25' less FeO2 medium gray
25-30' same
30-35' same
35-40' same
40-45' very fine sand, pale brown
45-50' v. fine yellow quartz sands
0-45' fine quartz
45-70' poorly sorted quartz sand, rare shell
0-21' brown sands, v. weak carbonate
21-42' gray, med sand, lightly cemented, rare shel
42-63' same, less cemented, less coating
63-84' shell bed, marine shell
0-10' clear quartz
10-20' quartz, FeO2 coating
20-30' same. Poor induration (cohesion)
30-40' same, loose, not cemented
40-50' limestoney, highly cemented quarts
50-60' same

0-5 shell and quartz sand
5-14' same
14-34' same
34-44' shell, wave worn, pounding surf zone
44-54' same, cemented mass quartz, shell
0-3' clear quartz

X sand doesn't dominate
silt and sand

X 8596 Arlington Expressway, S35 T 01N R24E

S41, T 1N, R26E


X hard crust, mica
same same

modem barrier formation, high energy waves, incl. coquina









FGS # spicules Provenience


8881 no shallow samples
3692 no shallow samples
10621 no shallow samples
10636 no shallow samples
3567 Setzers Stores, Inc

10637 spicules St. Augustine Mobile Home Factory
391 Ft Clinch St. Park, well #3


303 city of Jax, Well #113

1030 WBG, Rt. 7

17545 Well N-0238, Nassau Co


heavy minerals CaCo2 Comments

same with FeO2 coating
same, no carbonate bubbles

0-20' yellow quartz sand, FeO2 coating
20-40' same
40-60' sand, limestone
0-40' gray silty, separate sand sp2 in silt only
40-60' quartz, phosphate nodules, silt chunks
0-15' shelly sand, water worn coquina
15-25' same, less shell
25-35' grayish quartz, little shell
35-45' same
45-55' same, but with coating
55-65' back to marine shell
0-20' quartz with brown coating
20-40' dark brown, micaceous
40-60' greenish gray, clay silty covering, clam fragments
5-35' white sugar sand
35-40' quartz, crushed shell, FeO2
40-50' same plus carbonate coating
0-5.8' buff quartz sand, fragments organic
5.8-10.5' humic covered quartz
10.5-21.8 white sugar sand
21.8-53.1 carbonate covered quartz
53.1-59.9 rounded coarse quartz, smoothed shell
0-4' fine-med quartz grains w/ organic

negative HCL reaction


across from municipal airport

rare Fe302, CaCo2
fewer spicules at 40-60'
S7, T3N, R29E

strong HCL reaction

S12,T28, R26E



phosphate pellets
S1, T 04N, R23E 25MSL?


spicules Provenience


11777 silty Sawgrass

W743 silty Switzerland, FL
clay US Air Station

Windover sample,

depth description
4-6' quartz w/ FeO2 coating, cemented
9-11' pale orange quartzite, less FeO2
14- fine silty clay, discrete sand quartz
19- dark gray organic, rare quartz, well cemented
24- same, more chunky than 14-16'
1-10' missing

10- clay cemented shell ,sand, phosphate nodule
45- gray, calcarious silty clay, cemented no sand
0-10' loosely cemented sand-marine shell aggregate w/
10- buff quarts w/ common silty gray clay cemented
20- less loose quartz, gray silty clay, shell can't be
30' broken
30- gray silty clay cemented around fine grain sand
35- abundant quartz, common cemented lumps
40- abundant quartz, common cemented lumps
45- large quartz grains
Florida Peat, carbonate quartz, carbonized material
Florida Peat, carbonate quartz, carbonized material




CaCo2 Comments

not clay, smooth texture and discreet grains,

mica, coarser texture

S3 T4S R 29E

common shell, HCL fizz

minor marine shell frags, mica

outlying field, mostly loose sand, HCL fizz

X breaks easily with fingers

X minor mica, sand fine grain silty cementing around
X less shell

?iron oxide cement, pale orange quartz

?iron oxide cement, pale orange quartz


Appendix B: A note on freshwater sponges

Sponge spicules contain greater than 90% silica and, as
such, are the rebar or structural supports of sponge bodies
(Hyman 1940; Pennak 1978; Penney and Racek 1968).
Studies of freshwater sponges indicate that sponge growth was
seasonal (Johnson 1945, in Florida; Poirrier 1965, in Louisi-
ana). At the time those studies were conducted, sponge
colonies were most easily found between March and October.
One species could grow, flourish, collapse, and be replaced by
another species within an eight month cycle.
Sponges require clear flowing water and a secure base for
attachment. Johnson (1945) and Poirrier (1965) reported
finding them growing on submerged branches, exposed tree
roots, and the underside of rocks. In his study of the creeks
draining into Lake Ponchartrain, Poirrier (1965) observed
colonies growing on bridge supports. Sponges feed on
microscopic materials that flow past them, and can survive
only in those creeks or ponds having seasonally stable levels
of clear, running water with sandy, rocky, or leafy bottoms.
Johnson (1945) noted that when fine mud or silt-sized particu-
late were introduced, sponges could no longer filter-feed and
that colony was quickly destroyed.
As part of this study, we attempted to locate sponge
colonies in northern and north-central Florida. Our search
began by eliminating murky, silty, or slow-moving water
habitat that did not fit the physical requirements necessary to
maintain sponge colonies (Coker 1954; Jewell 1966; Johnson
1945:19-34). After searching for three months and achieving
only negative results, we returned to the same creek and river
locations in Alachua County where Johnson reported sponges
growing in profusion. Back in the 1940s, she observed them
growing thickly even in the runoff contained in roadside
ditches. We found that none of the locations she had identified
now supported sponge colonies; indeed one of the creeks was
nearly dry, with exposed, two-foot deep creek banks.
While we were unable to locate any modern colonies,
Frank Rupert (FGS) offered slides and documentation of
extant colonies living in Wakulla Springs. Marine Biologist
Richard Mariscal has observed sponges growing in sulfur
springs in the Canaveral area, and Schwandes, after great
difficulty, was finally guided to a location where sponges were
growing on submerged but bare tree roots in Brevard County.
Quentin White, Jacksonville University, recalled that until 50
years ago freshwater sponges flourished in the grasses along
the banks of the St. Johns near the Jacksonville University
campus and further downriver. Today pollution has pushed
habitat for both the grasses and possible sponge colonies 50
miles upstream.
Two modern sponge samples were collected for us. From
central Florida, Bond received a sponge sample recovered from
a Dunn's Creek shell midden where, she was told, they still
grow in relatively good numbers. James Burch, National Park
Service, collected a large sample of sponges from the Big
Cypress National Preserve is southwestern Florida.
The prehistoric ecology of eastern Florida may have been

essential to the maintenance of the St. Johns pottery tradition.
Early maps of the lower St. Johns region (e.g., Wyman 1875,
Figure 2) revealed that the St. Johns system was an extensive
network of wetlands, marshes, creeks, and larger tributaries.
Today, both cultural processes and natural responses to
population growth have heavily impacted the form and flow of
the river's drainage system and the volume and quality of
Florida's aquifers resulting in the elimination of freshwater
sponge habitat. Large commercial shipping and private
recreational water traffic churn up sediments and increase
chemical pollution levels in the St. Johns River system beyond
its capability of replenishing or maintaining a clean water
environment. Demand for industrial, agricultural, and
residential construction has accelerated land clearing and
wetland landfill. These activities also exacerbate the lowering
of groundwater and aquifer levels and quality. Land clearing
promotes topsoil erosion and siltation of lowland and wetland
areas. Schwandes and Collins (1994:243) and Poirrier (1976)
reported that studies recording the loss of sponge species and
population levels have been used to identify areas of pollution
and declining water quality. Viable habitat that once sup-
ported freshwater sponges has all but disappeared.



Florida Anthropological Society Chapters



1) Archaeological Society of Southern Florida
2495 NW 35th Ave., Miami, FL 33142

2) Broward County Archaeological Society 5
181 S. Federal Highway, Dania Beach, FL 33004

3) Central Florida Anthropological Society
'.O. Box 947544, Maitland, FL 32794-7544 4

t) Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society 13 6
P.O. Box 82255, St. Petersburg, FL 33682

5) Indian River Anthropological Society
3705 S. Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, FL 32952

5) Kissimmee Valley Archaeological and Historical Conservancy 1 2
195 Huntley Oaks Blvd., Lake Placid, FL 33852 12

7) Northeast Florida Anthropological Society
4144 Torino Place, Jacksonville, FL 32244

8) Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee
c/o The Tallahassee Trust for Historic Preservation
423 E. Virginia Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301
r,, to-p

9) Pensacola Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 13251, Pensacola, FL 32591

10) St. Augustine Archaeological Association
P.O. Box 1301, St. Augustine, FL 32085

11) Southeast Florida Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 2875, Stuart, FL 34995

12) Southwest Florida Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 9965, Naples, FL 34101

13) Time Sifters Archaeology Society
P.O. Box 25883, Sarasota, FL 34277-2883

14) Volusia Anthropological Society
P.O. Box 1881, Ormond Beach, FL 32175

15) Warm Mineral Springs Archaeological Society
P.O. Box 7797, North Port, FL 34287

16) Emerald Coast Archaeological Society
333 Persimmon Street, Freeport, FL 32435






SFlorida Museum of Natural History, University ofFlorida, Dickinson Hall, Box 117800, Gainesville, FL 32611

2 New South Associates, 517Menendez Street, Venice, FL 34285


Sponge spicules found in Florida's chalky St. Johns series
pottery and other types such as Papys Bayou series, Belle
Glade Plain and some fiber-tempered pottery (Cordell n.d.a)
are needle-shaped rods composed of silica (Figure 1). These
biosilicate needles form the skeletal support for some freshwa-
ter sponges of the class Demospongiae, family Spongillidae
(Borremans and Shaak 1986). Freshwater sponges live in a
variety of aquatic habitats, ranging from streams and rivers to
roadside ditches with standing water (Johnson 1946:19-33).
Borremans and Shaak suggest that sponge spicules from dead,
decomposing sponges become incorporated into accumulating
sediments, which were then used as potting clays (1986:127).
For the last 25 years or so, it has been assumed that sponge
spicules were naturally abundant in some Florida clays
deposited in lacustrine or riverine settings (e.g., Borremans
and Shaak 1986). The validity of this assumption is currently
being questioned by some Florida researchers, who are
investigating whether sponges were collected and processed
for spicule temper, as is still practiced in Amazonia (Rolland
and Bond 2000; also see Heckenberger et al.1999:376).
Sponge spicules also occur in pottery wares from Mali and the
Sudan in Africa and researchers there also have engaged in the
added-temper versus naturally-present debate (Adamson,
Clark, and Williams 1987; Brissaud and Houdayer 1986;
McIntosh and MacDonald 1989).
Renewed interest in the source of sponge spicules in chalky
pottery is based on the apparent paucity of clays with naturally
abundant sponge spicules (Rolland and Bond 2000:6). Prior
to the recovery of the Lake Monroe sample clay, only a few
spiculate clays have been documented. To date, the only
systematic searches for spiculate clays have been conducted by
Rolland in Duval County (Rolland and Bond 2000) and
Espenshade in Brevard County (Espenshade 1983). Rolland
and Bond report the recovery of a spiculate clay from a
cultural feature at the Grant Mound (8DU14) (Rolland and
Bond 2000:11-12). Espenshade reported sponge spicules in
two mucky soils from Brevard County (Espenshade
1983:92,94,96). Espenshade also reported seeing spiculate
mucky clays from the Oklawaha River, lower St. Johns near
Jacksonville, and from Lake George in east-central Florida
(Espenshade 1983:79). Espenshade's OklawahaRiver sample

may be one from Putnam County that is curated in the Florida
Museum of Natural History Ceramic Technology Laboratory
(FLMNH-CTL). Other limited investigations of clays in
southwest Florida (Cordell 1992:113-127), Tampa Bay area
(Mitchem 1986), and Suwannee and Columbia counties
(Cordell 1984:57-77) recovered no abundantly spiculate clay
samples, although occasional sponge spicules were noted in a
few samples from southwest Florida. Thus the paucity of
spiculate clays might be attributable to lack of concerted wide-
ranging effort to locate them, rather than actual scarcity.

The Lake Monroe Clay Sample

The Lake Monroe spiculate clay sample was collected by
Steven Koski (Figure 2) in the vicinity of the Lake Monroe
Outlet Midden (8VO53), Volusia County (Archaeological
Consultants, Inc. 2000). Sampling occurred during a cultural
resources assessment survey of the Interstate-4 PD&E study,
conducted by Archaeological Consultants, Inc. for the Florida
Department of Transportation. The clay deposit was encoun-
tered while augering along the shore near the 1-4 bridge to
evaluate the presence of a submerged component of the
midden in the 1-4 ROW (Figure 3). A 4-inch bucket auger was
used to collect the clay along the shore, and in the shallow
water just off shore. The deposit, more than a meter in
thickness, is black, mucky and underlies several centimeters of
sand. More information pertaining to context of collection,
form, thickness and extent of the deposit, and characteristics
in situ is recorded Table 1.

Sample Clay Analysis

This sample clay was processed and analyzed to determine
plasticity, shrinkage, particle size and proportion (grain size
analysis), composition, firing behavior, and to ascertain what
kinds of problems the prehistoric potter might have encoun-
tered in using it. All analyses were carried out by Ann Cordell
in the FLMNH-CTL.

Plasticity and Handling Characteristics

The sample was still damp and plastic upon arrival at
FLMNH. On an intuitive level, the sample clay seemed very


JUNE 2003


VOL. 56(2)


Figure 1. Electron microscope view of sponge spicules in chalky pottery (photo by Tim Young).

fine and "fat" or "rich" with good working properties. It did
not form cracks easily when manipulated and was fairly easy
to work. Although the sample clay had been sealed in a plastic
bag for some weeks, it did not emit a strong odor indicative of
bacterial activity. The clay contains occasional bits of fresh-
water shell, but the clay itself is not calcareous (negative
reaction to dilute HC1). The sample was divided into two parts
for making test bars and for grain size analysis.
Two test bars were formed directly from the plastic,
unaltered clay with minimal processing (brief kneading and
wedging). The portion reserved for grain size analysis was
allowed to dry thoroughly. In contrast to its working proper-
ties when damp, the dry sample became very hard and difficult
to manipulate. A great deal of effort would have to be ex-
pended to crush and render it fine enough for use in pottery
making. Thus this clay might have been easier to work in its
natural, semi-wet state. It is interesting to note that Cordell's
hands became slightly swollen and tingly while manipulating
the clay. Freshwater sponges with silica endoskeletons are
said to contain a toxin that would be an irritant to the potter
processing sponges for spicule temper (Rolland and Bond
2000:8). It is unknown, however, if this toxin survives among
sponge spicules deposited with clayey sediments. Alterna-
tively, their small size, acicular shape, and composition,
similar to fiberglass, may have caused this physical reaction.
The test bars were made by pressing a short rope of clay
into a 6 x 1 x 3/8 inch plastic template. Each test bar was
numbered, weighed, and carefully marked with 10-cm dis-
tances for measuring Water of Plasticity and Linear Drying

Shrinkage (Table 2). Water of Plasticity (%WP) refers to the
amount of water required for clay to become easily workable
(Rice 1987:62). Linear Drying Shrinkage (%LDS) is a
measure of the loss of mechanically combined water during air
drying (Rice 1987:71). Test bars were then air dried under
controlled conditions to reduce risk of warping and cracking.
The wet bars were placed on a mesh rack and covered with a
paper towel for the first three days of drying so that direct
exposure to air while the bars were still very wet was limited.
In addition, bars were turned over daily to allow even exposure
on both sides. After several days of air drying the test bars
were reweighed and marked distances remeasured (Table 2).
There was no noticeable cracking during drying, but the test
bars became quite warped.
Water of Plasticity in this investigation was measured by
comparing wet test bar weight to its dry weight. The formula
used to calculate %WP is presented in Table 2. The average
of the two %WP measurements is 50.9% (see Table 2). This
is relatively high compared to values for some sandy Florida
clays ranging from 13% to 36% (e.g., Cordell 1984: 68-69);
but lower than Espenshade's measurements of mucky clays
ranging from 59% to 120% (Espenshade 1983:81).
Linear Drying Shrinkage is measured by comparing the
marked distances on the test bars before and after drying. The
formula used to calculate O%LDS is presented in Table 2. The
average of the two %LDS measurements is 10.65% (see Table
2). This is relatively high compared to values for some sandier
Florida clays ranging from 0.1% to 10% (e.g., Cordell 1984:
68, 70), but lower than those of some mucky clays ranging


2003 VOL. 56(2)


Figure 2. Steve Koski angering in the vicinity of the Lake Monroe Outlet Midden (photo by Jay Hardman).

from 20% to 37% (Espenshade 1983:81).

Grain Size Analysis

A 100 g dry, unprocessed sample was soaked with water
for thorough hydration before processing. The sample was
wet-sieved through a graduated series of 10 U.S.A Standard
Testing Sieves. The captured sediments were dried, weighed
and bagged. The fine fraction, which passed through all
sieves, was captured in a basin. After this fine fraction settled
out, most of excess water was siphoned off. The fine fraction
was then transferred to a glass beaker and allowed to dry. The
fine fraction was weighed after drying thoroughly. A small
fraction (0.15 g) was lost in the processing (total weight of
captured sediments is 99.85 g). The results of sieving are
recorded in Figure 4 and Table 3. Sieve number, size of mesh
opening (mm) and corresponding Wentworth Scale size names
are included in this table. The data show that this sample clay
consists of 89% fine fraction, or particle sizes falling in to the
clay-silt (predominantly clay) range. This is reflected in the
relatively high %WP measurements and warping upon drying.
Silt through granule Wentworth particles sizes (see Rice
1987:38 for definition of the Wentworth scale) are represented
in the sediment fraction, with fine sand being the predominant
particle size. Particle size and abundance of aplastics was also
measured through point counts of a thin section made from a
fired clay briquette. These results are discussed during
comparison with St. Johns paste characteristics.

Aplastic Composition

To record composition, the captured sediments were
examined under abinocular microscope with 10-70X magnifi-
cation and fiber optic illumination (Table 3). The predomi-
nant aplastics include organic detritus, quartz, and sponge
spicules. Less frequent aplastics include bits of shell and
angular clay lumps. The presence of angular clay lumps in
sieve numbers 10-60 (granule through medium sand sizes)
indicates the clay did not get thoroughly hydrated during the
soak period prior to sieving. One mineralized fossil bone
fragment, possibly from a turtle, was recovered in the largest
sieve. The identification of the glassy, acicular rods as sponge
spicules was confirmed through petrographic examination of
a grain slide. Sponge spicules were the predominant aplastic
in sieve numbers 170, 230 (both very fine sizes), and 325 (silt
sizes). The aplastics captured by sieve #325 (silt) had a
cottony texture, somewhat similar to rolled fiberglass insula-
tion. The abundance of sponge spicules in the very fine size
range is somewhat misleading. Although sponge spicules can
range up to fine in length [but mainly silt to very fine], they
are silt-sized in cross section diameter. Quartz sand makes up
at least half of the aplastics of medium through silt particles
sizes (sieve numbers 60, 120, 170, and 325), with fine (#120)
being the predominant size among the quartz sand constitu-
The 89% fine fraction of the Lake Monroe sample is
comparable to fine fractions of one of Espenshade's Brevard
County mucky clay samples, Tomoka Muck (Espenshade




Table 1. Description of Lake Monroe clay sample deposit.

1983:84). However, reexamination of the Tomoka samples by
the authors revealed the presence of only a few sponge
spicules. Although the Brevard County Terra Ceia Muck
sample has abundant sponge spicules, it contains over 25%
fine and very fine sand and the fine fraction makes up only
about 20% of the total (Espenshade 1983:84). Much of this
fine fraction is, however, thought to be composed largely of
silty quartz and organic detritus on the basis of the disintegra-
tion of the sample upon firing (Espenshade 1983:90). Grain
size analyses have not been conducted on the Oklawaha River
sample. However, microscopic inspection of a fired briquette
indicates it is characterized by a somewhat lower quantity of
sponge spicules and higher quantity of medium and fine quartz
sand than the Lake Monroe sample.

Firing Behavior

After measurements of %WP and /%LDS were recorded,
the test bars were cut into small briquettes (approximately 3cm
by 2cm in size) for firing. Briquettes were fired in an electric
furnace to a series of increasing temperatures to record change
in color, coring, and Mohs Scratch Hardness. Five firing
temperatures were selected, ranging from 4000 C to 8000 C and
each temperature level was maintained for 30 minutes. The

kiln temperature was initially set at 275 C and held for 10
minutes with the kiln door slightly open to allow for escape of
water vapor. The kiln door was then shut completely and
remained closed for the six firing temperatures. Munsell
colors for briquettes at each temperature level are recorded in
Table 4. Very little surface color change occurred in the
sample prior to the 6000 C firing. Heavy dark coring was
retained through the 6000 C firing, indicating incomplete
oxidation of organic constituents at this temperature. Oxida-
tion of organic was still incomplete after the 8000 C firing, as
moderate coring was still observed. Mohs Hardness increased
with temperature, with values ranging from 2.5 to 6 (Table 4).

Potential Potting Problems

In contrast to its working properties when damp, the dry
clay became hard and very difficult to manipulate. Much
effort would need to be expended to crush and render it fine
enough for use in pottery making. Therefore, this clay might
have been easier to work in its natural, semi-wet state. There
was no noticeable cracking of the test bars during drying, but
they did become quite warped. Such warping might present
problems in maintaining the desired shapes of pots during


SAMPLE #: Lake Monroe clay DATE: November 3, 1998 COLLE
Steve Koski

COLLECTION LOCATION: St. Johns River/Lake Monroe, Volusia County, Florida.

THICKNESS OF DEPOSIT: Indeterminate; recovered from 20cm to 1.5 m.

FORM AND EXTENT OF DEPOSIT: Extensive natural deposit measuring at least 100m N/S by 50m E/W.

HOW EXPOSED: Recovered from 4-inch bucket auger; several bucket auger sample dug in attempt to look for
submerged component of midden. Near shore, flood plain, and under 1-4 bridge sampled. Most near lake and
river location auger tests produced black clay. Location of auger tests plotted on site map.

CHARACTERISTICS IN SITU: Thick, deep, extensive deposit of black, greasy clay.

MATERIAL OVERLYING: Variable depth of sand.


SURROUNDING NATURAL FEATURES: Lake Monroe, St. Johns River and flood plain, cypress swamp.

CULTURAL FEATURES: In the general vicinity of the Lake Monroe Outlet Midden (8VO53).

OTHER REMARKS: Clay collected during Phase 1 Cultural Resource Assessment Survey of I-4 PD&E while
bounding Lake Monroe Outlet Midden for ACI on 1998. Collected from existing and proposed 1-4 ROW.


2003 VOL. 56(2)

Figure 3. Map of clay sample location.


wena %Y

Approximate location
in Volusia County




Table 2. Water of Plasticity and Linear Drying Shrinkage data.

%WP = wet test bar weight dry test bar weight x 100
WATER OF PLASTICITY dry test bar weight

BAR (2/15/01) (7/11/01) PLASTICITY

I 93.8g 61.9g 51.5%

II 95.8g 63.9g 49.9%

MEAN WP 50.9%
%LDS = length wet length dry x 100

BAR (2/15/01) (7/11/01)

I 10.00cm 8.94cm 10.60%

II 10.00cm 8.93cm 10.70%

MEAN LDS 10.65%





70 -



40 -



lu -

#10- #18-very #35- #60- #120-fine #170-very #230-very #325-silt
granule coarse coarse medium fine fine
Figure 4. Bar chart showing particle size distribution.


drying and firing. The addition of temper would be necessary
to counteract any difficulties related to warping and shrinkage.
Despite this problem, Steve Koski was able to fashion a small
pot (Figure 5) during a workshop sponsored by the Warm
Mineral Springs Archaeological Society. It is oblong-shaped
due to warping. No further warping occurred when the pot

was fired, although portions of its surface spalled off during
firing. The pot was fired in an electric kiln at a temperature
of 5000 C. The total firing time was 90 minutes, although this
temperature was maintained for only the final 15 minutes of
firing'. It is likely that a traditional, open fire would have
caused fewer such thermal shock defects.

2003 VoL. 56(2)


Table 3. Particle size and composition data.

SIZ (%wt)

#5 (4.0mm) .08g (0.1%) fossil bone, possibly turtle
#10 (2.0 mm) .05g (<0.1%) equal parts plant debris, shell, quartz (subrounded and
subangular), and angular clay lumps

VERY COARSE #18 (1.0mm) .18g (0.2%) equal parts plant debris, quartz (mostly subrounded), and
angular clay lumps; lesser shell

equal parts plant debris and angular clay lumps; lesser quartz
COARSE #35 (0.5mm) .36g (0.4%) (subrounded to subangular); occasional shell; rare ferric

equal parts quartz (subrounded to subangular) and plant
MEDIUM #60 (0.25mm) 1.15g (1.2%) debris; slightly lesser angular clay lumps; occasional shell;
rare ferric concretions

FINE #120 5.09g (5.1%) mostly quartz (subangular to subrounded); slightly lesser
(0.125mm) plant debris; lesser sponge spicules

#170 (0.09mm) 1.3 lg (1.3%) equal parts quartz (mostly subangular) and sponge spicules;
lesser plant debris
#230 1.12g (1.1%) mostly sponge spicules; slightly lesser quartz (mostly
(0.063mm) subangular); lesser plant debris

SILT # 1.51g (1.5%) equal parts sponge spicules and quartz; lesser plant debris;
(0.045mm) cottony texture

fine fraction 89.00g
SILT-CLAY mm) (89.1%) mostly clay with some sponge spicules and silty quartz
(<0.045mm) (89.1%)

Comparison to St. Johns Pottery Characteristics

The physical properties of the Lake Monroe clay were
compared to published descriptions of St. Johns pottery.
Comparisons are made in terms of composition, particle size
(Wentworth sizes) and abundance, surface color, core
color/degree of coring, hardness, and tactual quality (Table 5).
Comparisons of constituent abundance are based on point
counts that were made on a thin section of the fired clay and
on several thin sections of sherds with St. Johns paste (Table
The point counting procedure was conducted using a
petrographic microscope with a mechanical stage and gener-
ally followed recommendations by Stoltman (1989, 1991, and
2000). A counting interval of 1 mm by 1 mm was used with
10X (100) to 25X (250) magnification. Each point or stop of
the stage was assigned to one of the following categories: clay
matrix, void, silt particles, sponge spicules, and very fine
through very coarse aplastics of varying compositions (mostly

Thin sections of 13 sherds were point-counted for compari-
son. This sample includes two St. Johns Plain sherds from
Duval County (8DU12), on loan courtesy of Vicki Rolland;
two St. Johns Plain and one St. Johns Check Stamped from the
Gauthier site, 8BR193 (FLMNH-CTL collection), and eight
sherds of chalky-fiber-tempered pottery from several peninsu-
lar Florida sites (Cordell n.d.a; FLMNH-CTL collection). For
these fiber-tempered sherds, counts of fiber-voids were
excluded from sums of total counts, total aplastics, and
calculations of percentages of clay matrix, total aplastics, and
sponge spicules.
The Lake Monroe clay is characterized by frequent to
common sponge spicules, frequent quartz sand, and occasional
shell. In terms of point counts, these attributes correspond to
25% sponge spicules and 12% quartz sand. No shell particles
were observed in thin section. The Lake Monroe clay also
exhibits 6% silt and 58% clayey matrix (Table 5).
St. Johns paste generally ranges from "very fine" to



Table 4. Fired color data.

TE ERATURE or MUNSELL Munsell color MUNSELL Munsell color HARDNESS
Briquette Condition COLOR description COLOR description

wet clay 2.5Y 2/0 black 2.5Y 2/0 black NA
2.5Y 2/0 to 2.5Y 2/0 to
dry, unfired briquette 5Y 2.5/1 black 5Y 2.5/1 black 2.5
4000C briquette 2.5Y 2/0 heavy dark 10YR 3/1 very dark gray 2.5
500C briquette 2.5Y 2/0 heavy dark 10YR 4/1 dark gray 3.5
6000C briquette 2.5Y 2/0 heavy dark 2.5YR 7/4 pale yellow 5
700C briquette 2.5Y 2/0 moderate 10YR 7/3.5 very pale brown 6
dark coring
800C briquette 2.5Y 2/0 moderate 10YR 7/4 very pale brown 6
dark coring

Figure 5. Lake Monroe pot made by Steve Koski; check stamped paddle by Claude Van Order (photo by Steve Koski).

"sandy" (Cordell 1989:63-65; Cordell n.d.b). "Very fine"
texture is characterized by abundant sponge spicules and
occasional to frequent quartz sand primarily very fine to fine
in size. The point count translation is 37% sponge spicules
(range 23%-46%), 8% quartz sand (range 4%-13%) and 53%

matrix (range 48%-62%). "Fine" texture is characterized by
abundant sponge spicules and frequent to common quartz
primarily very fine to fine in size. In terms of point counts,
"fine" texture consists of 30% sponge spicules (range 28%-
31%), 17% quartz sand (range 16%-18%) and 48% matrix


2003 VOL. 56(2)


Table 5. Summary comparison of St. Johns pottery and Lake Monroe clay data.

predominant constituents sponge spicules sponge spicules and quartz
sponge spicule size most silt to very fine most silt to very fine
sponge spicule frequency abundant frequent to common
most very fine to fine; some fine to
quartz particle size m every fine to medium; most fine
quartz frequency occasional to common frequent
surface color lighter colors, better oxidized than
surface color very pale brown
often dark gray to black or poorly
core color (from fresh breaks) y to a or black heavy to moderate coring
oxidized-heavy to moderate coring
Mohs Hardness 2 to 3 2.5 to 6
tactual quality chalky not chalky

Table 6. Comparison of point count data for Lake Monroe clay and St. Johns sherds.

(range 45%-50%). "Sandy" St. Johns has common sponge
spicules and common to abundant quartz sand, primarily fine
to medium in size. The point count translation is 23% sponge
spicules (range 17%-27%), 29% quartz sand (range 20%-
41%), and 47% matrix (36%-55%). Other constituents
occasionally occur in chalky pottery, such as occasional ferric
concretions (e.g., Tomokapaste [Griffin and Smith 1949:349],
shell (Goggin 1952:101), and rare mica2.
The point count data show that the clay sample is closer to
"very fine" St. Johns paste in terms of percentage of matrix but
intermediate between "very fine" and "fine" St. Johns paste in
terms of quartz sand size and frequency. But its sponge
spicule frequency more similar to that of "sandy" St. Johns
paste. Photomicrographs of the Lake Monroe clay thin section
and a thin section of sherd with very fine St. Johns paste are
given in Figure 6. The lower density of sponge spicules in the
Lake Monroe clay thin section is visually evident in this

The 600 C Lake Monroe fired clay briquette was chosen
for comparison of surface and core color. This briquette has
very pale brown surface colors and black core color, with
heavy dark coring (most of the cross-section is black). This
pattern of oxidized surfaces and a dark poorly oxidized core is
like much of St. Johns pottery, even though it represents a
firing temperature that was probably higher than temperatures
attained by St. Johns potters (see discussion below). Surface
colors of St. Johns pottery varies widely but tend to show
lighter or better oxidized colors than the cores (Espenshade
1983:131-132; Ferguson 1951:23; Griffin and Smith
1949:346). Core colors (from fresh breaks) are often dark gray
to black or poorly oxidized (Cordell 1985:221; Espenshade
1983:113; Ferguson 1951:23; Griffin and Smith 1949:346;
also see descriptions of the former Biscayne series: Goggin and
Sommer 1949:44; Willey 1949a:444, 1949b:98). TheMunsell
Colors of the 7000 C Lake Monroe fired briquette are compara-
ble to some of the colors recorded by Espenshade on retired

% medium
number % % total % sponge % quartz % very % fine % m
SAMPLE % silt to coarse
of cases matrix aplastics spicules sand fine quartz quartz
Monroe n=l 58% 42% 25% 6% 12% 4% 6% 2%
53% 47% 37% 3% 2%
very fine n=6 (48%- (38%- (23%- (<1%- (<1%-
St. Johns 2%) 5% 4% (4%-13%) (3%-12%) (0-2%)
62%) 52%) 46%) 6%) 3%)
48% 52% 30% 17% 12% 4%
St. n n=2 (45%- (50%- (28%- 6% (16%- (11%- (3%- (0-1%)
50%) 55%) 31%) 18%) 13%) 6%)
47% 53% 23% 1% 29% 11%
St.ohns n=5 (36%- (45%- (18%- (<1%- (20%- (3%-14%) (4%- (4%-14%)
St Jos _55%) 64%) 27%) 4%) 41%) 23%)




Figure 6. Photoicrographs of thin sections: a) Lake Monroe Clay; b) "very fine" St Johns paste (photos by Ann Cordell).
Figure 6. Photomicrographs of thin sections: a) Lake Monroe Clay; b) "very fine" St. Johns paste (photos by Ann Cordell).

(700 C) St. Johns Plain sherds from Brevard County
(Espenshade 1983:131-132).
Mohs Hardness of the Lake Monroe briquettes ranged from
about 2.5 for the unfired and 400C fired briquettes to about 6
for the 700 C and 800 C fired briquettes. The 5000 C and
6000 C fired briquettes have hardness values of about 4 and 5,
respectively. St. Johns Plain sherds generally have Mohs
Hardness values of 2 to 3 (Espenshade 1983:126; Ferguson
1951:23; Griffin and Smith 1949:346). Some of the pottery is
soft enough to be scratched with a fingernail (Goggin
1952:101), the Mohs equivalent ofjust over 1 (gypsum). Even
though the hardness value of the 4000C briquette is compara-
ble to hardness values of St. Johns pottery, the Lake Monroe
clay seems considerably stronger than most typical St. Johns
sherds. Although strength or resistance to mechanical stresses
was not measured, two pairs of pliers were required to break
apart the even the lowest fired briquettes for core color
measurements. It is unknown, however, to what degree

hardness and strength of St. Johns pottery can be attributed to
centuries in the depositional environment.
The chalky tactual quality of St. Johns pottery is attributed
to the abundance of sponge spicules that are predominantly silt
in size, and low firing (Borremans and Shaak 1983:128)
which diminishes resistance to weathering. That St. Johns
pottery was low-fired is corroborated by the generally dark
core colors, tactual softness or chalkiness, and by some degree
of retention of plasticity. It is evident in many cases that the
original firing was insufficient in terms of temperatures and/or
duration to permanently eliminate plasticity. That is, some St.
Johns pottery may become plastic and malleable again when
saturated (e.g., Ferguson 1951:23) (this explains why care is
usually needed when washing excavated St. Johns sherds).
Low firing would surely render St. Johns pottery vulnerable to
post-depositional alteration. Some degree oftactual chalkiness
is also a characteristic of contemporary sponge spicule-
tempered pottery made potters along the Upper Xingu River in


2003 VOL. 56(2)


southeastern Amazonia (Michael Heckenberger, personal
communication 2002). It is further noted that sherds of this
contemporary pottery weather easily after breakage but that
chalkiness is more noticeable in the prehistoric sherds. Thus
it is suspected that some degree of tactual chalkiness may have
always been a characteristic of most St. Johns pottery, al-
though this quality may have been intensified by centuries in
the depositional environment.
Unlike typical St. Johns sherds, the Lake Monroe fired
briquettes do not exhibit tactual chalkiness. This applies even
to the unfired and lowest fired (4000 C) briquettes, although a
piece of the 4000 C briquette did disintegrate in water. One of
Espenshade's mucky samples (Terra Ceia Muck) was chalky,
but it disintegrated easily under pressure after firing, such that
it would not have been a viable potting clay (Espenshade
1983:90; samples also curated at FLMNH-CTL). The lack of
tactual chalkiness in the Lake Monroe sample is most likely
related to insufficient silt-sized constituents and perhaps to
lack of exposure to weathering processes. Given the lack of
any initial tactual chalkiness in the fired briquettes, it is
doubtful that exposure to the depositional environment would
lead to the development of tactual chalkiness in the Lake
Monroe fired briquettes to a degree comparable to the St.
Johns sherds.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Some characteristics of this clay sample, such as aplastic
composition and fired color, are consistent with these same
characteristics in some chalky pottery. Other characteristics,
such as sponge spicule abundance, relative hardness, and
tactual quality, are not consistent with those of chalky pottery.
Therefore, this particular clay, as is, does not appear to
represent a suitable source for most St. Johns-like pottery. The
Oklawaha clay sample can be rejected on similar grounds.
The Brevard County muck samples can also be rejected on the
basis of extremely low sponge spicule frequency in one case
and too many aplastics in the other. However, the Lake
Monroe clay could have been used, with the addition of quartz
sand, to replicate "sandy" St. Johns pottery. Alternatively, the
addition of sponge spicules could replicate "very fine" or
"fine" St. Johns pastes. A similar organic-rich clay with a
higher sponge spicule and perhaps silt content might, how-
ever, provide a convincing match for St. Johns pottery in terms
of all the characteristics considered: composition, texture, fired
color, relative hardness, and tactual chalkiness. Comparison
to other spiculate pottery types is beyond the scope of this
Although this clay sample is not a close match to typical
St. Johns pottery, this conclusion is not considered as evidence
for rejecting the "naturally-present" hypothesis to explain the
presence of sponge spicules in chalky pottery. This analysis
does attest to the need for further investigation into the
location of and variability in spiculate clay resources. This
particular clay may represent only one point in a range of
variability of physical properties of this particular deposit.
There may exist vertical and/or horizontal variation in

abundance of sponge spicules, silt and quartz sand aplastics.
Prospective searchers for spiculate clays are advised to attempt
to sample and test for this potential variability. Once the
variability in spiculate clay sources is better understood, the
debate over sponge spicules as "added-temper" versus
"naturally-present" can be better addressed.


The kiln temperature was first raised to 2750 C over a period of 15
minutes and this temperature was maintained for 15 minutes. The
temperature was then raised to 5000 C over a period of 45 minutes
and this temperature was maintained for 15 minutes, after which the
kiln was turned off. The kiln door was left open slightly for the first
30 minutes of the firing. The pot was removed from the kiln after a
cooling period of one hour.

2 Rare mica was observed in a few St. Johns Plain sherds from the
Gauthier site, 8BR293 (data on file with the senior author).


The Lake Monroe clay sample was collected during a PD&E
study of the I-4 corridor for the Florida DOT by Archaeological
Consultants, Inc. Permission and encouragement to conduct this
analysis was given courtesy of Marion Almy and Joan Deming, ACI,
for which we are very grateful. The paper has benefited from the
constructive criticisms of Jerald Milanich, Sylvia Scudder, Vicki
Rolland, Mike Russo, Ken Sassaman, and FA editor Ryan Wheeler.

References Cited

Adams, D.A., J.D. Clark, and M.A.J. Williams
1987 Pottery tempered with sponge from the White Nile, Sudan.
The African Archaeological Review 5:115-127.

Archaeological Consultants, Inc. (and Janus Research, Inc.)
2000 Phase III Mitigative Excavations at Lake Monroe Outlet
Midden (8VO53), Volusia County, Florida. Archaeological
Consultants, Inc., Sarasota, Florida

Borremans, Nina T., and Graig D. Shaak
1986 A preliminary report on investigation of sponge spicules in
Florida "chalky" paste pottery. Ceramic Notes No. 3, pp.

Brissaud, Ivan and Alain Houdayer
1986 Sponge spicules as a characteristic of ancient African
pottery from Mali. Journal ofField Archaeology 13:357-

Cordell, Ann S.
1984 Ceramic technology at a Weeden Island period archaeologi-
cal site in north Florida. Ceramic Notes No. 2. Occasional
Publications of the Ceramic Technological Laboratory,
Florida State Museum, Gainesville.

1985 Pottery variability and site chronology in the upper St.
Johns River basin. In Archaeological site types, distribu-
tion, and preservation within the upper St. Johns River
basin, Florida, by Brenda Sigler-Eisenberg. Florida State
Museum Miscellaneous Project and Report Series No. 27,
pp. 114-134.




1989 Ceramic Analysis in Phase III archaeological excavations
at Edgewater Landing, Volusia County, Florida, by Mi-
chael Russo, Ann Cordell, Lee Newsom and RobertAustin.
Piper Archaeological Research, Inc., St. Petersburg.

1992 Technological Investigation of Pottery Variability in
Southwest Florida. In Culture and Environment in the
Domain of the Calusa, edited by William H. Marquart,
pp.105-189. Monograph No. 1, Institute of Archaeology
and Paleoenvironmental Studies, University of Florida,

n.d.a Paste variability and possible manufacturing origins of late
archaic fiber-tempered pottery from selected sites in
peninsular Florida. InEarly pottery: technology, style, and
interaction in the lower southeast, edited by Rebecca
Saunders and Christopher Hayes. University of Alabama
Press, Tuscaloosa [in press].

n.d.b Technological Investigation of Pottery Variability at the
Pineland Site Complex. In The Archaeology ofPineland:
A Coastal Southwest Florida Village Complex, edited by
Karen J. Walker and William H. Marquardt. Monograph
No. 4, Institute of Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental
Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Espenshade, Christopher T.
1983 Ceramic ecology and aboriginal household pottery produc-
tion at the Gauthier site, Florida. Unpublished Master's
thesis, Department ofAnthropology, University ofFlorida,

Ferguson, Vera Masius
1951 Chronology atSouth Indian Field, Florida. Publications in
Anthropology No. 45. Yale University Press, New Haven.

Goggin, John M.
1952 Space and Time Perspective in Northern St. Johns Archae-
ology. Publications in Anthropology No. 40. Yale Univer-
sity Press, New Haven.

Goggin, John M., and Frank H. Sommer III
1949 Excavations on Upper Matecumbe Key, Florida. Publica-
tions in Anthropology No. 41. Yale University Press, New

Griffin, John W., and Hale G. Smith
1949 Nocoroco, a Timucuan village of 1605 now in Tomoko
State Park. Florida Historical Quarterly 27:340-361.

Heckenberger, Michael J., Pames B. Peterson, and Eduardo Goes
1999 Village size and permanence in Amazonia: two archaeolog-
ical examples from Brazil. Latin American Antiquity

Johnson, Margaret Crile
1945 The freshwater sponges of Alachua County, with a survey
of known Florida forms. Unpublished Master's thesis,
Department of Biology, University ofFlorida, Gainesville.

McIntosh, Susan Keech, and Kevin C. MacDonald
1989 Sponge spicules in pottery: new data from Mali. Journal of

Field Archaeology 16:489-494.

Mitchem, Jeffery M.
1986 The South Prong site (8-HI-418), Hillsborough County,
Florida. Ceramic Notes No. 3, pp.. 81-109. Occasional
Publications of the Ceramic Technological Laboratory,
Florida State Museum, Gainesville.

Rolland, Vicki and Paulette Bond
2000 The search for spiculate clays in the Lower St. Johns River
region, Florida. Paper presented at the 571 annual meeting
of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Macon.

2003 The search for spiculate clays in the Lower St. Johns River
region, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 56(2):91-111.

Rice, Prudence M.
1987 Pottery analysis: a sourcebook. University of Chicago
Press, Chicago.

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

1949b Excavations in SoutheastFlorida. Publications in Anthro-
pology No. 42. Yale University Press, New Haven.


2003 VOL. 56(2)



3813 SW 34'h Street, Gainesville, Apt. C16, FL 32608

This paper focuses on the biological profile of human
skeletal material recovered from a burial in Sarasota, Florida,
and includes an analysis of historic settlement patterns of the
area to determine if the individual may have been associated
with a Spanish/Cuban fishing rancho or another nineteenth
century settlement. The human skeletal material was uncov-
ered in August of 1983 when a backhoe excavated a large pit
for the installation of a swimming pool and spa at 3032
Southwest Drive in Sarasota. City police were called and
LieutenantBell was assigned to investigate the discovery (Case
Number 336021).
Once the police determined that the human remains were
unrelated to a recent crime scene (within the past 75 years),
the boxed and tagged bones and nails were placed in the care
of Marion Almy of Archaeological Consultants, Inc. Later in
1983, the nails were sent to Tallahassee for examination. The
current research and analysis were performed after the author,
who was conducting research on Spanish/Cuban fishing
ranchos in southwest Florida, learned that "the rancho of
Phillippi Bermudez was in the vicinity of present-day Chero-
kee Park subdivision" (Matthews 1983:175-176), not far from
Southwest Drive (Janet Snyder Matthews, personal communi-
cation 2001).
A biological profile of the individual was created, along
with a historical profile of the area from the early 1800s
through 1900. The individual was found to be a male 21 to 50
years old, between 5 ft 6 in and 6 ft 1 in, and of mixed ethnic
origin. The individual could have been a Hispanic rancho
worker or a mixed ethnicity worker for one of the early Anglo-
American settlers. The author believes that the evidence lends
more support to the rancho worker hypothesis, but there is not
enough definitive evidence to rule out the settler worker

The Burial Site

The burial was revealed when the bucket of a backhoe was
dragged across the burial, uncovering the skull and leg bones
about two to three feet below the ground surface. The bones
then were dug out with shovels, and the whole skeleton
appeared to be present in an apparently extended position,
skull to the west and legs to the east. After the bones had been
removed, George Luer, a resident of the neighborhood and an
archaeologist, visited the site, examined the pit, and prepared
a rough sketch of the area and soil profiles noting the burial's
stratigraphic provenience. Luer's (1983) notes state that the

"leg bones, collar bones, skull were given to police; mandible
taken by backhoe operator, two truck drivers took vertebrae;
skeleton spread out over 6' [foot] area; apparently extended;
no shell or other associated debris; teeth good condition."
While sketching a profile in the side of the pool pit, Luer
found four nails in situ near a bone in gray sand 50 cm below
the surface, later identified as coffin nails by B. Calvin Jones,
an archaeologist with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research in Tallahassee.
The coffin burial was placed in sandy soil at least 60 m
(200 ft) from a small freshwater spring and runoff creek
situated to the south and southeast of the burial (Hyde et al.
1991; Figure 1). Today, the spring appears as a small,
dredged, oblong pond, but its original nature is captured in the
name of the adjacent street, Spring Creek Drive. In the 1960s
and the 1970s, shallow depressions with two or more large
whelk shells protruding from the ground surface were once
visible where the burial was discovered, perhaps indicating
that several graves may have been located near 3032 South-
west Drive (George Luer, personal communication 2001).
Because the Southwest Drive Burial Site was discovered before
Florida Statute 872.05 became law, no investigation was
required after police determined that the site was not a crime
scene, so many significant details may have been lost or never
The late B. Calvin Jones, who examined two of the
recovered nails, determined that they were rectangular in
cross-section and approximately 2.5 and 3.25 inches in length,
typical of nineteenth-century coffin nails. Both were either
machine-cut or stamped-out coffin nails dating from 1700 to
1900. Jones (1983) wrote that "I lean toward an 1850 to 1900
date for the burial ... because of the characteristics of the
nails" (Figure 2). Archaeologist Henry Baker reevaluated the
nails in August of 2002 and stated that he agreed with Jones'
opinion. He added that cut nails came into common usage in
Florida in the 1820s and 1830s, and that due to the overall
condition of the burial, the nails had probably been in the
ground for at least 75 to 100 years prior to 1983. Therefore, it
would be "reasonable to assume that the site dated from the
second quarter to the end of the nineteenth century" (Henry
Baker, personal communication 2002). The nails also were
compared to nails removed from a military cemetery in Fort
Myers, Florida that dated to ca. 1840-1865, and they had
similar characteristics, but this is not conclusive evidence for
the actual date of the burial (Henry Baker, personal communi-
cation 2002). Today the nails are curated at the Florida Bureau

JUNE 2003


VOL. 56(2)



jtig tit

.d a i.
L- .- -.


I, .

. -' .' ,,-.

i .'
i c .

0 0.5 mile
r V--t&P vS~ a -* -* :. T ^ -

Figure 1. Approximate location of the burial site ("X") and previously recorded archaeological sites. Township 36 South,
Range 18 East, Section 31 (from U.S.G.S. 1973).


2003 VoL. 56(2)

"% .


'-" : o I


2.5 in.

Wood thickness

of coffin top or


3.25 in.

Figure 2. Sketch of two coffin nails prior to cleaning (by B. Calvin Jones, November 1983). Courtesy Florida Bureau of
Archaeological Research (Accession No. 93-338).

of Archaeological Research in Tallahassee (Accession No.

Skeletal Analysis


The methodology used to examine the burial included
visual observation, the use of spreading calipers, sliding
calipers, and a metric board for measurements. Bass (1995)
and supplemental articles were used to establish the standards
for visual analysis. Also, the Forensic Discriminatory Pro-
gram 2.0 (FORDISC) was used.

The Remains

When the remains were originally received they were dry
and devoid of odor; bone preservation and staining are
observed to be consistent with burial in Florida soils for many
years. However, postmortem damage, probably caused by the
backhoe and subsequent transportation and handling, is

evident. The skeletal inventory and observed damage are
listed in Table 1.

Observation, Examination, and Measurement

Examination revealed that the skeletal materials are the
remains of one individual. Coloration of the bones is similar,
the humeral heads are antimeres, and the cranial bones
conjoin. Also, the cranium is found to be the same sex as the
post-cranial bones (the sex for most of the bones was deter-
mined individually), adding support to the conclusion that the
bones are of one individual.
Further, the remains are those of a mature individual. The
epiphyseal centers are fused on the femur and the humerus, but
there are no signs of osteoarthritis, such as lipping and
arthritic growth. Tooth root development appears to be
complete for the second molar and the individual had third
molars as evidenced by the presence of a partial alveolus
(Figure 3). The individual was likely between 21 and 50 years
old, and physical measurements of the complete humerus
indicate that this individual was 67 to 73 inches (5 ft 6 in to 6




Table 1. Skeletal inventory and damage report.

Bone Unsided Right Left Condition
Sinuses and ethmoidal notch gone,
Cranium-Frontal _nasion reattached

Right parietal broken near the
Parietal X X squamosal suture- pieces reattached
Temporal X Both incomplete
Malleus X
Incomplete- piece from right side
Occipital reattached
Broken between central incisors- all
Maxilla teeth present except 3rd molars
Mandible __
Scapulae IX Very fragmented- Spine only
Antiomers, Right head only, Left
complete humerus broken in half,
Humeri X X reattached
Ulnae I
Radii X Proximal half only
Trapezoids I
Os Coxae
Femora X Distal end missing
Tibiae X Head damaged and distal end missing
Fibulae X Distal and proximal end missing
Tali _X Head damaged

1st Cuneiforms
2nd Cuneiforms
3rd Cuneiforms
Ribs- 1 1 AAll fragmentary
3-9 1 2
10 1
11 -12
Verts Cervical 6 1,2, and 4-7, All damaged
Thoracic 2 2-9
Metacarpals __4th


2003 VOL. 56(2)


ft 1 in) in stature.
Several individualizing traits or anomalies are present: no
previously broken bones are apparent either visually or
radiographically, nor are there any medical interventions
present. The long bones are healthy with good bone density
and no cysts or lesions. The teeth are relatively straight, with
no apparent dental work, and no visible enamel hyperplasia,
and are not shovel shaped. However, the teeth are worn-down
and some dentine is observed on the incisors and the canines.
Minimal to moderate wear is observed on the premolars and
molars, the least wear being on the second molar. There is
more wear on the inside of the tooth as seen in the molars
where the wear is more severe on the lingual cusps than on the
bucual cusps (Figure 4). The lesser wear, in general, on the
molars is probably due to their young age (eruption at 12 years
of age) as compared to the incisors (eruption at 6-7 years of
age). This tooth wear is probably indicative of the amount of
grit in the individual's diet and not evidence of usage wear
from daily activities, such as holding things with the teeth or
using them to tear or cut. The wear pattern on this individ-
ual's teeth is not consistent with wear patterns seen in atypical
Amerindian case (Bass 1995). Radiographs show no anoma-
lies in the tooth roots, which appear healthy and complete,
again with no signs of enamel hyperplasia. Small cavities are
noted in the left first molar and in both second molars.

Cause of Death

There is no apparent perimortem trauma. All fractures in
the long bones and cranium are consistent with postmortem
damage. No cut marks are present on the long bones, ribs, or
vertebrae, which would be consistent with a stabbing. No
gunshot entries or exits, and no unexplained nicks are found
on the bone. There also are no depressions in the cranium,
which would be consistent with blunt force trauma. The face
(complete orbits and nasal aperture, maxilla, and zygomatics)
and other postcranial bones (pelvis, hands, feet, and vertebrae)
are missing; therefore, if the individual met his death through
trauma or illness, evidence of it may be in the missing skeletal


The skull exhibits supraorbital cresting and blunt upper
orbits. There is nuchal cresting as evidenced by the prominent
occipital protuberance. The mastoid processes are large (22
mm), and the zygomatic arches extend past the auditory
meatus. All of these are typical male traits (Figures 5 and 6).
Metric analysis comparing this cranium to a contemporary
forensic population identifies the cranium as female; however,
in this case the forensic database (FORDISC) may not repre-
sent an appropriate reference population for comparison
because FORDISC utilizes modern populations, while this
cranium is from an historic population, and diet and general
health have changed over time affecting a population's general
height, weight, and body size (usually increasing the size of
both sexes, causing historic males to appear female upon

analysis). Also, the skull was reconstructed from fragmentary
bones, some of which were warped, and postmortem shrinkage
may have occurred. Therefore, some of the resulting measure-
ments may be skewed and not entirely reflective of the living
measurements. Due to missing and broken bones that obliter-
ated osteometric points, fewer measurements than desired were
available for the determination of sex and race. Therefore, in
this case, the visually observed male characteristics outweigh
the limited metric data.
In the post-cranium, the diameter of the femoral head is 54
mm, which places it well within the range of males, and the
diameter of the humeral head, 48 mm, is male. Examination
of the distal end of the humerus is consistent with a male; the
troclea is relatively unconstricted and is asymmetrical, the
olecranon fossa is triangular, and the medial epicondyle
appears flat (Figure 7). FORDISC also provides a determina-
tion of male using the post-cranial measurements (Owsley and
Jantz 1996).


Anthropological views on race and ethnic affiliation have
changed considerably over the last fifty years (see Mead et al.
1968; Wolpoffand Caspari 1997). The American Association
of Physical Anthropology states that "there are obvious
physical differences between populations living in different
geographic areas of the world. Some of these differences are
strongly inherited and others, such as body size and shape, are
strongly influenced by nutrition, way of life, and other aspects
of the environment" (www. The American
Anthropological Association goes on to say that "racial groups
are a product of historical and contemporary social, economic,
educational, and political circumstances" (www.
Also, breeding between "races" has diminished differences
between them, making them harder to differentiate. Legal
concerns (see Chapter 872.05, Florida Statutes) have often
required application of forensic techniques to archaeological
remains. In this study I examined the remains for traditionally
accepted skeletal markers of racial affiliation, and used the
FORDISC 2.0 computer program, discussed below.
Visually, the bossing on the cranium in suggestive of
recent African ancestry, but the cranial length is short and the
nasal opening is narrow, both European traits (Figures 6 and
8). The dental arcade of the maxilla also is indicative of
European descent, and it is not elliptical as would be expected
in an Amerindian individual (Figure 4). Dental caries, to any
degree, argue against pre-colonization Amerindian ancestry;
also the lack of shoveling provides further evidence that this
was not an individual of Amerindian descent. There is no
apparent prognathism between nasospinale (the base of the
nasal aperture) and prosthion (the most forward projecting
point just above the maxillary teeth); prognathism would be
found in an individual of African descent (Figure 3). The
relatively small size of the molars is in contrast with the larger
molars that would be expected in an individual of African
ancestry (Bass 1995). The mid-face (orbitals, nasal opening,
and zygomatics) is the most racially diagnostic area on the


Figure 3. Right lateral view of maxilla.


4, ( I

/ ry,,,{ ~
r'9 -


Figure 4. Occlusal surface of maxilla.


2003 VOL. 56(2)


.'-'' ^



Figure 5. Posterior view of cranium.

Figure 6. Right lateral view of cranium.




Figure 7. Posterior view of complete left humerus.

Figure 8. Anterior view of maxilla.

2003 VOL. 56(2)


cranium; unfortunately this portion is missing in this case so

cranium; unfortunately this portion is missing in this case so
the author was limited in the visual analysis.


FORDISC is a database of measurements from modem
forensic cases (within this century, except for a majority of the
Native Indian cases) that have been positively identified and
submitted by medical examiners from around the United
States. The measurements have been compiled for comparison
and determination of discriminate functions that can estimate
certain biological characteristics, such as sex, race, and height.
Unknown skeletal material can then be compared to the
database for evaluation of these biological characteristics. The
benefit of FORDISC 2.0 is that the variables are weighted
before each calculation, meaning that even if some variables
are not available an accurate evaluation can still be made. The
weight of the variable is determined by what other variables
are available and their usefulness in evaluating a particular
race. Previous discriminatory functions had set weights for
variables and all the variables had to be input to get an
accurate result. It should be noted that FORDISC is designed
for modem forensic cases and not historic or archaeological
cases, but I chose to use it since it allows for fewer measure-
ments to be used than other discriminant functions that are
based on historic populations. Combining the visual observa-
tions and the FORDISC results help to create a picture of what
this individual may have looked like but it is not a definitive
FORDISC evaluates the probability that the specimen is a
member of a particular group, or race (Table 2). The total of
the probabilities for each evaluation equals 1. The posterior
probability can vary a great deal depending on which groups
are selected; therefore the probability that the specimen is
White can vary depending on whether the program is asked to
distinguish between White and Black or White and Hispanic.
Despite this variation, the database for most of the groups is
large enough that FORDISC can often determine the race
When cranial measurements are used to distinguish
between White, Black, Hispanic, and American Indian males,
FORDISC determines that the individual from the Southwest
Drive Burial Site was a Black male with .752 probability and
it determines that there is .000 probability that the individual
was Amerindian. When asked to distinguish between White
and Black, the individual is determined to be Black with .855
probability, White and Hispanic-White with .966 probability,
and Black and Hispanic-Black with .992 probability.
Postcranially the individual is White with .814 probability
(Table 3). The results show the individual was not Hispanic,
was very probably White; but the results are ambiguous, since
they also show it was very probable that he was Black.
These ambiguous results, however, may be attributed to
several factors. First, only about one half of the cranial
variables are available for analysis and almost none of the
diagnostic facial measurements is available; therefore the
FORDISC results are based on less than a desirable amount of

data. Second, postmortem changes may have affected results
of the analysis, and because of damage to the postcranium,
again fewer measurements than desired are able to be taken.
Also, FORDISC utilizes only a small reference population for
Hispanic identification (39-comprised of Mexican American
individuals from the Southwestern United States) as compared
to the FORDISC population statistics for Whites (466) and
Blacks (275). As a result, the program yields a smaller
percent accuracy for determining "Hispanic" racial character-
istics. Also, according to some anthropologists, "Hispanic"
is not a valid racial entity because the category is linguistically
and ethnically derived, and not related to biology (Michael
Warren, personal communication 2001).
In summary, visual and metric analysis of the skeletal
materials did not yield a clear definition of race, other than to
rule out Amerindian ancestry. Nonetheless, according to
Michael Warren of the University of Florida Pound Labora-
tory, mixed results often are found in persons of "Hispanic" or
Caribbean populations. FORDISC also states that Caribbean
individuals most often classify as Black. Further, Caribbean
island populations, like that of Cuba, were by the eighteenth
century comprised of a mixed ethnic population, frequently
combining European, Amerindian, and West African ancestry
resulting from centuries of interbreeding between Spaniards,
other Europeans, West African slaves, and remnant native
populations. Thus the analysis of the individual buried near
Southwest Drive suggests that he might have been of mixed
European and African ancestry. Perhaps he was considered
Hispanic, Cuban, or "mulatto," by his peers.

Historical Research

The western or coastal portion of Section 31, in TIownship
36 South, Range 18 East, where the burial was found, has a
long history of human occupation, including two aboriginal
shell middens-the Old Oak Site (8S051; Luer 1977) and the
Cunliff Lane Midden (8S050), a historic Cuban/Spanish
fishing rancho, several late nineteenth-early twentieth century
American homesteads (Matthews 1983), and development of
a 1920s subdivision.

Native American Occupation

Although there is some evidence Section 31 once was
occupied by Native Americans, circa A.D. 700, there was no
evidence of the Old Oak Site in the immediate vicinity of the
burial, which is situated 20-30 m east, northeast, and north of
the midden periphery (Luer 1977, 1983; Monroe, Wells, and
Almy 1982: Figure 1).

Spanish/Cuban Occupation

Historic research has identified the general area of the
burial site as the location of "the rancho ofPhillippi Bermudez
[which was situated] in the vicinity of present-day Cherokee
Park subdivision," not far from Southwest Drive (Matthews




Table 2. Measurements recorded for FORDISC analysis.

Cranial Measurements cm
Maximum Length (g-op) 186
Maximum Breadth (eu-eu) 145
Bizygomatic B. (zy-zy)
Basion-Bregma (ba-b)
Cranial Base L. (ba-n)
Basion-Prostion L. (ba-pr)
Max. Alveolar B. (ecm-ecm) 52
Max. Alveolar L. (pr-alv)
Biauricular B. (AUB) 104
Upper Facial Height (n-pr)
Minimum B. (ft-ft) 101
Upper Facial B. (fmt-fmt) 105
Nasial H. (n-ns)
Nasial B. (al-al) 22
Orbital B. (d-ec)
Orbital H. (OBH)
Biorbital B. (ec-ec)
Interorbital B. (d-d)
Frontal Chord (n-b) 115
Parietal Chord (b-1) 118
Occipital Chord(I-o) 97
Foramen Magnum L. (ba-o)
Foramen Magnum B. (FOB)
Mastoid L. (MDH) _22

Postcranial Measurement cm
Clavicle NT
Scapula NT
Humerus Max. L. 340
Epicondylar B.
Max. Vertical Diameter of Head 48
Max. Diam. at Mid-shaft 23
Min. Diam. at Mid-shaft 19
Radius NT
Ulna NT
Sacrum NT
Innominate _NT
Femur Max. L.
BiCondylar L.
Epicondylar B.
Max. Diam. of Head j54
A-P SubTrochlear Diam. 29
Transverse SubTrochlear Diam. 31
A-P Diam. as Mid-shaft 28
Trans. Diam. Mid-shaft 28
Circumference at Mid-shaft 100
Tibia Condylo-Malleolar L.
Max. Proximal Epiphysial B.
Max. Distal Epiphysial B.
Max. Diam. at Nutrient Foramen 33
__Trans. Diam. at Nutrient Foramen 22
Circum. at Nutrient Foramen 100
Fibula Max. L.
Max. Diam. at Mid-shaft 12
Caicaneus NT

Blank- measurement unable to be taken
NT- None Taken for that bone

Definition of the measurements can be found in Owsley and Jantz (1996).

1983:175-176; Janet Snyder Matthews, personal communica
tion 2001). Bermudez was one of several experienced Spanish
fishermen who operated a fishing rancho on Sarasota Bay.
They were part of a large-scale fishing industry that thrived on
Florida's west coast from Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor
southward during the early to mid-nineteenth-century (Mat-
thews 1983:37; 175-176).
The Sarasota ranchos, like their counterparts in Charlotte
Harbor and Tampa Bay, were comprised of a number of small
huts, seasonal gardens, citrus trees, docks, drying racks for
curing fish and drying nets, and an occasional stone or tabby
building. The fishermen made frequent trips from Cuba
stopping in Key West and then traveling to their ranchos.
Their cargo often included food and supplies that they could

not produce themselves, including nails (United States
National Archives n.d.b). In Tampa Bay an army officer wrote
that Captain William Bunce's rancho had all of the amenities
that one might find in a small town, and his house was
partitioned into rooms and a store that had shelves and
counters made with "planed and grooved boards and plank
floors and pannell'd doors." There also was a blacksmith's
shop, a turning lathe, and a carpenter's shop (Matthews
1983:76). Some of the fishermen would have had relatively
easy access to the materials needed to construct coffins.
The Cuban fishermen often sent their children to Cuba to
be baptized and educated (Almy 2001), providing proof that
the fishermen had a Christian background. Christians orient
their burials east/west, just as the burial was arranged in this


2003 VOL. 56(2)


Table 3. FORDISC 2.0 posterior probability results.

Groups Classified Posterior
Tested Into Probability

Cranial Analysis
M 0.018
F *** 0.982

WM 0.233
BM ** 0.752
HM 0.015

IWM 1 0.1451
BM "1 0.855

WM "1 I 0.966
HM 0.034

BM I* I 0.9921
HM 0.008

Post Cranial Analysis
IM I" I 0.9871
F 0.013

WM 1I o 0.814
BM 0.186


WM-White Male
BM-Black Male
AM-Amerlndian Male
HM-Hispanic Male

case (Sloane 1991:25-26).

Phillippi Bermudez

According to available historic accounts, Phillippi
Bermudez probably arrived in the Tampa Bay/Sarasota area
around 1820, and by 1838 he was listed as being at Captain
William Bunce's rancho situated near the mouth of Tampa
Bay (United States National Archives n.d.a). He may have
gone to the Bunce rancho due the increased threat of attack
from Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War.
Unfortunately, his two wives and five children were considered
to be Seminoles by the U.S. government, and were forced to
emigrate west (United States National Archives n.d.a). After

his petition for their return failed, Phillippi stayed in the area
of Tampa Bay, and in 1841 he offered advice on land pur-
chases to the Gates family, early homesteaders on the Manatee
River (Matthews 1983:129).
By 1847, he had returned to his Sarasota rancho, where
Federal surveyor, A.H. Jones identified Phillippi's house and
clearing on his plat of Township 36 South, Range 18 East
(Florida Department of Environmental Protection 1847a).
According to Jones' field notes (Vol. 161:141), he traversed
Section 31, bearing North 11 degrees, and East 16 chains to
"Phillippi's clearing" (Figure 9).
During 1849 Phillippi abandoned his rancho due to the
threat of Indian attacks, as did many others in the Sarasota
area (Matthews 1983:194-195). After the threat of Indian
attacks was lifted, Phillippi probably returned to work at his
rancho, as his house and clearing were recorded in 1856 as
"Phillips" on Ives and Humphreys (1856) military map.
Shortly thereafter, Phillippi may have abandoned his home
permanently or just worked for the military in the off-season.
In either case, he was working as a guide and interpreter for
the military in the spring and winter. An 1857 military record
records that a "Polly Bermudez, guide" was working out of
Fort Meyers, and she was the third wife of Phillippi Bermudez
(Matthews 1983:244). But once again Phillipi lost his wife to
forced Seminole emigration, she agreed to go west for a
reward in 1858 (Matthews 1983:247).
The 1883 U.S. Coast and Geodetic survey chart shows
clearings in the area of Phillippi's rancho, which were
probably newly cleared land by the incoming American
settlers, ca. 1874-1883 (Hilgard 1883).

Rancho Workers

According to historic documents, rancho owners or their
agents hired a variety of workers, including Indians (some-
times referred to as "Spanish Indians"), Italians, Cubans,
Spaniards, and Blacks. The workers were often considered as
the lowest class of Spaniards, probably referring not only to
their sordid careers, but also to their mixed ancestry-not being
pure Spaniards or Europeans (Hammond 1973:365).
Some of the Blacks may have been runaway slaves who
arrived in the Manatee/Sarasota area as early as 1812 (Brown
2000). A large plantation cultivated by 200 Black refugees
was located at the juncture of the Braden and Manatee Rivers,
between Tampa Bay and Sarasota. They enjoyed easy access
to the Caribbean through a Cuban fishing rancho located near
the mouth of the Manatee River (Williams 1837). In 1821,
this refugee settlement, known as Negro Point or Angola, was
destroyed along with the nearby fishing rancho (Brown 2000).
Many of the Blacks who were not captured probably fled south
to Charlotte Harbor. These refugees were armed with Spanish
guns and often made trips to Havana to sell fish, while others
escaped to the Bahamas by riding along with the fishermen
during their trips (Covington 1959); therefore runaway slaves
often had contact with or worked for the fishermen. There
also is evidence of black slaves being owned by rancho owners.
At Sarasota Bay "one of the slaves who worked at [Antonio]




Lot 1

E.R. Foster

Lot 2
Elizabeth Alfred

Ureta Dicey, Eveline,
Benjamin Richards and Jason Alfred Jr.
(1882) Sept. 1884
Jason Alfred
Jan. 1883
All of Lot 2: *** -
Ann Anderson
May 1889
G.W. Hayden
Sept. 1894
Harry Higel Ureta Dicey Alfred
Aug. 1897 kSept 1884
Eliza Grantham
F b. 1886

NW '

Jesse Bennett


( Charles Abbe

NE '/

Richard Cunliff


NW '/4

Susan Staples
G.W. Hayden
Sept. 1894
Harry Higel
Aug. 1897


John Jones

- a

Charles Abbe

SW 4

Herbert and
Sophia Brown

SE %/

Joseph Anderson

-. I

Figure 9. Sketch map based on A.H. Jones plat with an overlay of quarter sections to show original ownership in bold and
subsequent sales of NW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 and Lot 2 of Township 36 South, Range 18 East, Section 31 (Florida Department
of EnvironmentalProtection n.d.; Matthews 1983; Manatee County Deed Books n.d.; Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit
Court n.d.a, n.d.b). The "X" is the approximate location of the burial and the shaded portion is Phillippi's house and
clearing according to the A.H. Jones plat.

r _


2003 VOL. 56(2)



Pacheco's rancho trading post was a black by the name of
Luis. Luis had been born to full-blooded African slaves at
Francis Philip Fatio's plantation on the St. Johns River."
Valued at $1000 he was bought by Antonio Pacheco and taken
to his rancho in Sarasota Bay (Matthews 1983:80-81). This
provides evidence that black workers, free and slave, were not
as uncommon at West Coast fisheries as previously thought.

American Settlement

According to Manatee County Deed Books (D, G, J, K, and
S), Section 31 was patented by the United States government
to the State of Florida in 1852. In 1874 Jesse Bennett made
the first purchase of lands in Section 31, and by 1882 all the
land in the section (640 acres) had been purchased. According
to Matthews (1983: 315-320), Charles Elliott Abbe, a success-
ful Singer Sewing Machine Company salesman and native of
Illinois, began amassing property in Section 31 in 1876,
quickly buying out Bennett and Richard Cunliff, an "old
white-whiskered man" in his sixties from Rhode Island. Other
settlers included Joseph C. Anderson, a native of Georgia, and
Susan Elizabeth Staples and her first husband Edwin P.
Staples, a Union cavalry officer. Edwin Staples died in 1879
and was buried in Alfred Bidwell's back yard, less than two
miles north of the burial site in question. Also, Ephrian
Foster, a teacher born in Maine, and Charles Jones, perhaps
from Tampa, bought land in Section 31. Matthews (1983: 319-
321) notes "there were many... families-Florida or Georgia
born" in the area.
The original land sale in Section 31, the subsequent
division, and sales of Lot 2 and the NW1/4 of the SE1/4 are
illustrated in Figure 9. Staples completed her transactions
from up north where she had been living, selling the area in
question to G.W. Hayden. It is not clear when she moved
away, or if anyone was living on her land for the period
between 1877 and 1894. There is no record of Hayden selling
sections of these lots before 1900, but there are various records
throughout the deed books of him subdividing and selling the
surrounding lots as tracts in his subdivision; the area was
becoming more and more populated and residential by the late
While there were homesteaders who held several slaves
prior to the Civil War, their land was situated four to five
miles north of the Southwest Drive Burial Site (Matthews
1983). There are no records of any kind of workers living with
these families in the census from 1860-1895, nor is there any
record of a death in these families in the tombstone records.
Although other homesteaders, such as the Crocker, Hansen,
Whitaker, and Webb families, were burying family members
in plots on their land, the cemeteries were usually in the corer
of the lot and they often placed a head stone, not just shells, on
the graves (visual observation at cemeteries and tombstone
Eventually, the burial site and nearby lands were subdi-
vided into Cherokee Park and other "Boom Time" subdivisions
of the 1920s (Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court n.d.).
Today the area is a tree-canopied residential neighborhood.


Analysis of skeletal remains from the Southwest Drive
Burial Site indicate that one adult male is represented. Ethnic
affiliation, based on skeletal markers and discriminant
function analysis using the FORDISC 2.0 program, was
difficult to determine, though the individual was probably not
American Indian, but may have been of mixed ethnicity. The
Southwest Drive area has a long history of human occupation,
including American Indian sites, as well as nineteenth century
use by a fishing rancho, pioneer homesteads, and an early
twentieth century subdivision. Nails found along with the
remains suggest a coffin burial of the nineteenth century. It is
possible that the remains are those of a fishing rancho worker
or someone associated with a late nineteenth century home-
The mixed ethnicity of the skeleton, the mixed ethnicity of
rancho workers, the burial's proximity to the corner of
Phillippi Bermudez's rancho, the availability of nails and
coffin materials, the possibility of multiple burials, and the
extended time of occupation by the rancho provides support for
the rancho hypothesis. It is unclear who was living on Susan
Staples land between 1877 and 1894, so other settlers, squat-
ters, or renters could have been buried on the property at that
time. The settlers would have had easier access to materials to
build a coffin, but they often used headstones, and the burial
is not in an obvious corer of a lot where burials are frequently
The author feels that there is more support for the rancho
worker hypothesis, but no clear answer can be found at this
time. Additional research in the area of the burial may reveal
other burials for analysis, providing further information which
could clarify who was buried there. Also, if burials from other
known rancho sites were found, a comparison of the biological
profiles could lend support to the rancho worker hypothesis, or
it could show a variation in the ethnicity of the workers from
one rancho to another, or through time.
While the research presented in this paper has offered
some details about the skeletal material buried more than a
century ago, additional tests can be employed to elicit further
information from the bone. For example, isotope analysis
could be used to reveal more about the man's diet and thus the
environment in which he worked.


This project would not have been possible without the guidance
and assistance of Dr. Michael Warren. I also would like to thank Dr.
Jerry Milanich for peaking my interest in this topic and Marion Almy
for providing me with the skeleton to further my research on ranchos.
Many thanks to Dr. Jan Matthews, Dr. Joe Knetch, George Luer, and
Cindy Russell for directing me to sources and clarifying information.
Thank you to Barbara Figalow and Tesa Norman for your help with
the lay out, format, and figures.

References Cited

Almy, Maranda M.
2001 The Cuban Fishing Ranchos of Southwest Florida: Who




Were the "Spanish Indians?"Paper presented at the Annual
Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society, St.

Bass, William M.
1995 Human Osteology: A Laboratory andFieldManual. 4' ed.
Missouri Archaeological Society, Columbia.

Brown, Canter
2000 Tales of Angola: Free Blacks, Red Stick Creeks, and
International Intrigue in Spanish Southwest Florida, 1812-
1821. Paper presented February 12 at the First Biennial
Allen Morris Conference, Florida State University, Talla-

Covington, James W.
1959 Trade Relations Between Southwestern Florida and Cuba-
1660-1840. The Florida Historical Quarterly 38:114-128.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection
1847a Plat map of Township 36 South, Range 18 East. On file,
FloridaDepartment ofEnvironmental Protection, Tallahas-

1847b Field Notes, Vol. 161, Township 36 South, Range 18 East.
On file, Florida Department of Environmental Protection,

n.d. Tract Book, Township 36 South, Range 18 East. On file,
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Tallahas-

Hammond, E.A.
1973 The Spanish Fisheries of Charlotte Harbor. The Florida
Historical Quarterly 51:355-380.

Hilgard, J.E.
1883 Survey of Sarasota Bay, Florida U.S. Coast and Geodetic
Survey, Washington D.C., Map #1517A.

Hyde, Adam G., G. Wade Hunt, and Carol A. Wettstein
1991 Soil Survey of Sarasota County, Florida. United States
Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service,
Washington, D.C.

Ives, J.C. and A.A. Humphreys, Topographic Engineers
1856 Military Map of the Peninsula of Florida South of Tampa.
By Order of the Hon. Jefferson Davis. War Department,
Washington, D.C..

Jones, B. Calvin
1983 Letter to Marion Almy and sketch of two nails. On file,
Archaeological Consultants, Inc. Sarasota

Luer, George M.
1977 Excavations at the Old Oak Site, Sarasota, Florida: A Late
Weeden Island-Safety Harbor Period Site. The Florida
Anthropologist 30:37-55.

1983 Field Notes and Sketch Map Re: 3032 Southwest Drive
Burial Site. On file, Archaeological Consultants Sarasota.

Manasota Genealogical Society
1982 Tombstone Inscriptions in Cemeteries of Manatee County

(and Sarasota County) 1850-1980. Manasota Genealogical
Society, Bradenton.

Manatee County Deed Books
n.d. D, G, J, K, and S. On file, Manatee County Archives,

Manatee County Census Records (excerpts)
n.d. Records for 1860, 1870, 1880, 1885, 1895. On file,
Manatee County Archives, Bradenton.

Matthews, Janet Snyder
1983 Edge of Wilderness: A Settlement History ofManatee River
and Sarasota Bay 1528-1885. Caprine Press, Tulsa.

Mead, Margaret, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ethel Tobach, and Robert
E. Light (editors)
1968 Science and the Concept of Race. Columbia University
Press, New York.

Monroe, Elizabeth, Sharon Wells, and Marion Almy
1982 Historical, Architectural and Archaeological Survey of
Sarasota, Florida. Miscellaneous ProjectReportSeries, No.
51. Florida Bureau of Historical Sites and Properties,
Division of Archives, History and Records Management.

Owsley, S., and R. Jantz
1996 FORDISC Version 2.0. University of Tennessee, Knox-

Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court
n.d.a "Cherokee Park" subdivision plats. PlatBook 2:42 (1928),
156 (1926). Sarasota County, Florida.

n.d.b "Shoreland Woods" subdivision plats. Plat Book 4:22
(1941). Sarasota County, Florida.

Sloane, David C.
1991 TheLast GreatNecessity: Cemeteries inAmerican History.
Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

United States Geological Survey
1987 Sarasota, Florida. 7.5 minute quadrangle map. Photo
Revised (PR) 1987. United States Geological Survey,
Reston, Virginia.

United States National Archives
n.d.a Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs. [Illegi-
ble]... to General Jesup June 4, 1837. National Archives
Record Group 94. United States National Archives,
Washington, D.C.

n.d.b Records of the Bureau of Customs 1836-1840. National
Archives Record Group 36. United States National Ar-
chives, Washington, D.C.

Williams, John Lee
1837 The Territory ofFlorida: Or Sketches of the Topography,
Civil and Natural History of the Country, Its Climate, and
the Indian Tribes from the First Discovery to the Present
Time. Facsimile Edition 1962, University Presses of
Florida, Gainesville.

2003 VOL. 56(2)



Whitehead, William A.
1831 Memorandums ofPeregrinations by Land and Water, Vol.2
(1830-1832). Monroe County Library, Key West.

Wolpoff, Milford, and Rachel Caspari
1997 Race and Human Evolution. Simon and Schuster, New



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'Department of Sociology andAnthropology, PH 403, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, 32816

2Department ofHealth and Kinesiology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, 30460

3Departments ofBiology and Anthropology, University of ndianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, 46227

4Department ofAnthropology, P.O. Box 117305, University ofFlorida, Gainesville, FL, 32611


One of the first tasks of a forensic anthropologist is to
determine if recovered human remains come from a recent (i.e.
potentially forensic), historic, or prehistoric context. Most of
the time this is not difficult because properly excavated
remains provide contextual clues that can be used to discrimi-
nate between historic burials and cases of forensic interest.
Coffin artifacts such as wood, nails, handles, hinges, viewing
windows, fabric and ornamental trim are among the most
easily recognizable contextual clues that indicate a burial of
cemetery origin. Period jewelry, buttons, textiles, clasps and
pins that are either adhered to the remains or are in association
also may provide clues as to the temporal origin of the re-
mains. Bodies interred in cemeteries after the late 1800s may
also be identified through evidence of embalming, such as
embalming artifacts, the presence of mummified tissue and
hair, and embalming chemicals in preserved tissues.
Unfortunately, there are numerous times when remains are
received without contextual evidence due to a number of
circumstances suchas construction, grave robberies, gravesite
erosion, and improper excavation techniques. In these
instances, a conclusion must be drawn from the skeletal
remains alone. Forensic anthropologists usually have some
experience with prehistoric Native American remains and are
familiar with the combination of biological traits that can help
to distinguish these individuals from archaeological remains of
historic contexts. However, contact with the remains of
individuals from historic period populations is becoming more
common and their temporal and biological proximity to
present-day populations can make them difficult to identify on
the basis of morphology alone. If contextual clues are not
present and ancestral traits are not unique, taphonomic
evidence may be used to indicate that the remains are historic
and not of forensic significance.
Previous studies that described taphonomic changes of
cemetery or historic remains have primarily focused on
evidence of embalming or differential preservation of the
remains (Berryman et al. 1991; Nawrocki 1995; Sledzik and
Micozzi 1997). Individually, other characteristics such as

coloration and coffin wear have been mentioned in a few
reports, however, a clear pattern of features indicative of
remains from historic burials has yet to be presented. There-
fore, the purpose of this paper is to provide a taphonomic
profile that can aid in the differentiation of historic and/or
cemetery remains from the remains of individuals from
present-day populations.

The Taphonomic Profile

The field of taphonomy was originally introduced by
Efremov (1940) within the field of paleontology. Taphonomy
derives from the Greek words taphos (burial) and nomos (laws)
to mean the "laws of burial." Since the introduction of
taphonomy, scientists in many other fields including forensic
anthropology have also recognized the importance of employ-
ing taphonomic analysis to understand postdepositional
processes. Although scientists employ a number of basic
conceptual tools in their fields of inquiry, the use of analogy is
the most salient tool of the taphonomist (Nawrocki et al. 1997).
Taphonomy is essentially analogy construction. Modifications
of the bones in question are compared to a catalog of modifica-
tions whose causal agents are already known. For example,
although disarticulation patterns of the skeleton may provide
clues as to specific taphonomic processes, it is only after we
have an appropriate set of analogies for comparison that we
can draw conclusions.
Clearly, our success rate in diagnosing taphonomic
modifications depends on the strength and appropriateness of
our analogies. This concept of generating a profile based on
modifications from known taphonomic histories has been
previously discussed in the forensic literature (e.g. Berryman
et al. 1991; Haglund et al. 1988; Nawrocki et al. 1997). A
taphonomic profile provides: (a) a detailed description of the
alterations to the remains at the point of and subsequent to
death and (b) a series of testable hypotheses concerning the
source, sequencing, and timing of those alterations. In other
words, a taphonomic profile is a set of characteristics derived
from analogy construction. As more taphonomic modifications
are cataloged, the probability of correctly identifying a specific



JUNE 2003

VOL. 56(2)


taphonomic process increases.
For example, a body interred in a wooden coffin in the
ground experiences a significantly different postmortem
history than a skeleton that is shallowly buried in direct contact
with the soil. The coffin helps to maintain a temporary air
cavity that can quickly fill with percolating ground water, root
masses, and rodent dens. The greater depths and extended
postmortem intervals of historic burials produce unique
patterns of staining and degradation that can be detected by an
experienced taphonomist. In other words, we would expect
that a taphonomic profile for a coffin burial of historic origin
would be different from the profiles of either shallow burials or
surface depositions of recent origin.


Our review of the taphonomic profile of historic remains
stems from observations we have made during the excavation
and analysis of over two hundred skeletons from numerous
localities and contexts. Although the skeletal remains we have
analyzed represent the southeastern (particularly Florida),
northeastern, and midwestern United States, the traits we have
chosen for the profile are commonly found regardless of
geographic region.

Taphonomic Modifications

Uniform Staining

Uniform staining of skeletal remains can be a useful
taphonomic characteristic to infer postdepositional environ-
ment. Skeletal material that is deposited on the ground surface
is most likely stained by decayed organic matter in the
epipedon. The epipedon is the upper portion of a soil profile
starting with the ground surface. Conversely, staining of
buried remains that are within the subsoil, deeper soil horizons
below the epipedon, may be due to a combination of minerals
in the soil (i.e. iron) and organic compounds in the soil
solution, possibly tannins polyphenolss).
The epipedon is usually dark in color due a large percent-
age of decayed organic material from decomposed vegetation.
Soil horizons within the subsoil are generally lighter in color
due to less organic material and the presence of more minerals.
In Florida, the coloration of subsurface soil horizons is greatly
influenced by iron oxides, such as Gibbsite and Goethite
(Michael Tischler, personal communication, 2002). Colors
ranging from brown to red are typical in soils where iron
oxides are a major coloring agent. The chroma, or strength of
the color, is dependant upon several factors, though the
amount of iron and moisture content of the soil are the most
influential. Other factors that affect staining include tannins,
which are known to contribute to the dark coloration of tea and
red wine (Haslam 1989). The highest concentrations of
tannins are in the vacuoles or surface wax of the plant (Howes
1953), however, Haslam (1989) asserts that they may be found
in almost any part of a plant (bark, wood, leaves, fruit, seeds
and root). Tannin concentrations in the epipedon increase

with decomposition of plant remains that contain tannins. For
example, Parfitt and Newman (2000) have shown that tannin
concentrations in plantation forest litter increased with
decomposition of pine needles.
Buried historic remains interred in wooden coffins gener-
ally display a uniform medium to rich chocolate brown
coloration that may be due to tannins in the soil solution and
iron oxides in the soil. A contributing factor also may be
tannins leached from the surrounding coffin wood. The
staining is uniform; it is exhibited on the entire skeleton as
opposed to remains from forensic surface recoveries that may
display a more discordant pattern of light and dark coloration
as a result of sun bleaching and soil staining from the
epipedon. It is extremely rare to observe modern forensic
remains exhibiting this dark uniform coloration. Prehistoric
remains generally are stained a tan or light brown instead of
dark brown, presumably due to the lack of coffin wood tannins.
Interestingly, embalming a skeleton does not appear to
affect the coloration of bone staining of skeletons that were
buried in wooden coffins. For example, we have observed that
three individuals interred in wooden coffins from one cemetery
located in the north central part of Florida were stained the
same brown hue regardless of whether they were embalmed.
In this instance, we were searching for three unmarked burials
so family members could place headstones at the graves. We
were told that one adult was embalmed and an adult and baby
were unembalmed. We exposed all three skeletons to docu-
ment their presence and confirmed that one was embalmed by
the presence of embalming artifacts.
Crypt burials, however, appear to have a different color-
ation. Skeletal remains removed from above-ground crypts
commonly display a uniform orange-brown coloration that we
believe may be due to a combination of factors such as em-
balming chemicals, lack of groundwater, and absence of direct
contact with the soil. Finally, we have noted a dark or even
black staining on the bones of two juveniles that were interred
in iron coffins from a cemetery in Indianapolis. Owsley and
Compton (1997) also have reported this dark coloration on
remains from iron coffins. Perhaps the dark staining of these
bones is due to prolonged exposure to water from either
trapped decomposition fluids and/or groundwater in an iron
casket. We have examined skeletal remains from different
time periods that were submerged in an aqueous environment
for an extended period. For example, submerged modern
forensic remains and prehistoric remains that have been in
association with an aqueous environment off the coast of
Florida have both been very darkly stained. However, as the
remains are recovered and begin to dry, the dark coloration
frequently begins to fade from dark charcoal to gray or even
back to medium brown, so one must be careful to specify when
in the post-recovery period the color observations are made.
It also is important to note that, although sunbleaching is
often observed on recent forensic remains from outdoor
settings, sunbleaching also may be observed on historic
remains and is usually associated with gravesite erosion. As
bones erode from a hillside they will be bleached and/or eroded
from one end and darkly stained on the other. The important

2003 VOL. 56(2)



Figure 1. Extensive cortical flaking along the shafts of two femora.

point is that although historic remains may display
sunbleaching on surfaces that were exposed, they also will still
be stained a uniform medium to dark brown coloration on
surfaces that were not exposed. Extreme patterns of erosion
due to sun exposure are recognized by sunbleaching and
patterns of superficial and deep cracking and splitting of the
exposed bone surface (Behrensmeyer 1978).

Localized Staining

There are two types of localized staining that are commonly
displayed on historic remains. Close association of bone with
copper or bronze coffin artifacts, as well as jewelry, may
produce green staining as a result of metal oxidation. The
localized staining can be quite salient and extensive depending
on the extent of the bronze or copper decorative coffin hard-
ware. At the same time, we have seen numerous cases of
prehistoric remains with copper staining. However, the pattern
of copper staining is unique on historic remains. For example,
stains that are small in size and elongated are frequently
observed on the cranial vault and may originate from shroud
Close association of bone with oxidizing coffin nails or
other artifacts composed of iron can result in a localized
orange stain and at times, there also may be some adhered rust
in association with the orange staining. The iron staining from
coffin nails is frequently observed on the peripheries of the
skeleton such as the skull, humeri, footbones, etc. In addition,
Ubelaker (1996) has reported finding a localized metallic black
stain of the oral cavity of an exhumed cemetery skeleton. It
was suggested that since the metallic stain is comprised of

mercury, it might have originated from an interaction of
amalgam dental restorations containing mercury with products
of body decomposition such as sulfur dioxide.

Cortical Flaking or Delamination

It is common to find cortical flaking and delamination of
long bones from historic remains (Figure 1). Buried bones are
exposed to periodic wet and dry conditions that results in
flaking of the outer cortical bone (Berryman et al. 1991;
Nawrocki 1995). Berryman et al. (1991) explain that the
shafts of the long bones flake easily due to the layered orienta-
tion of circumferential lamellar bone and the fact that more
superficial layers dry faster than deeper layers. Delamination
tends to occur more frequently in historic remains compared to
forensic remains due to the amount of time needed for suffi-
cient wet/dry variations. In addition, it is common to observe
flaking of subchondral bone along joint surfaces of historic
remains, exposing the cancellous bone. Conversely, exposure
of cancellous bone (Figure 2) along the joint surfaces of
forensic remains is generally due to extensive erosion, carni-
vore damage such as punctures and chewing, and shallow
parallel grooving due to rodent gnawing.

Coffin Wear

According to Berryman et al. (1991), dorsal contact or
pressure points of the body decompose first in coffin/casket
remains to expose more superficial bony projections such as
the spine of the scapula, the posterior aspect of the occipital
bone, and the spinous processes of the vertebrae. The bony



Figure 2. Flaking of the subchondral bone along the joint surface exposing the underlying cancellous bone of the humeral

projections may exhibit excessive erosion relative to other parts
of the skeleton producing a pattern referred to as "coffin wear."
Coffin wear is most likely the combination of moisture and
constant pressure placed on the bones by the interior hard
coffin surfaces. Areas of coffin wear are generally uniformly
flat and may be mistaken for perimortem trauma such as a

hatchet wound.
Although coffin wear is more common on the posterior
areas of the skeleton (the surface of the skeleton resting on the
bottom of the coffin), it also is possible to observe this erosion
on other surfaces. Figure 3 illustrates metacarpals from a
burial recovered from southeastern Georgia. Note the uniform


2003 VOL. 56(2)


Figure 3. Coffin wear on the dorsal aspect of the metacarpals due to contact with the coffin wood.

erosion on the ends of the metacarpals. The hands were found
overlapping each other at the approximate location of the
waistline with the metacarpals and phalanges still in articula-
tion. The erosion was produced by contact with coffin wood,
probably from the coffin lid, that was removed from the dorsal
surface of the metacarpals.

Damage Due to Plant Roots

Plant activity can have profound effects on skeletal preser-
vation and it is common to find bushes and trees adjacent to
family plots. In time, many of these plants can grow to a
respectable size and their roots can push over headstones,

crack vaults, and invade coffins. Roots that perforate the
coffin may result in dispersal and mechanical damage to bones.
Extensive mechanical damage to bones begins as perforation
and leads to splitting and fragmentation. It also is common to
find a root mat adhered to the skull of recently unearthed
historic remains. The roots may produce differential erosion
of the cortical surface, and in some instances extensive erosion.
Typically there is more mechanical damage from roots in
historical burials than forensic cases.
In addition, roots can produce etching or a dendritic pattern
of shallow grooving on the surface of bones (Figure 4). The
roots of many plants secrete humic acid (Lyman 1996), and
the grooves are "the result of dissolution by acids associated



Figure 4. Root etching along the medial surface of the mandibular ramus and corpus. This specimen shows both prominent
grooving as well as adhering roots.

with the growth and decay of roots or fungus in direct contact
with bone surfaces" (Behrensmeyer 1978). Each groove was
presumably formed by the exudates or the microorganisms
associated with rootlet metabolism (Morlan 1980). Staining of
etched groves on historic skeletal remains is generally lighter
or darker than the etched surface. Root etching can be fairly
common and extensive on historic remains. Conversely, root
etching is less common in forensic remains and less extensive
when present.

Warping or Deformation

The effect of pressure also is a major factor for any burial
in the ground. The cemetery skeleton is susceptible to defor-
mation, warping, and breakage due to the combination of
pressure of the surrounding soil and collapsed lid or sides of
the coffin. Combined with the moist environment, the
integrity of the bone is weakened. The degree and type of
deformation are determined by both intrinsic and extrinsic
factors (Lyman 1996). Intrinsic factors include the morphol-
ogy, modulus of elasticity, and the orientation of the bone in
the body. For example, the skull is susceptible to warping
when considered as a unit due to it being a large hollow sphere
(Henderson 1987). Extrinsic factors include the pressure of the
collapsed coffin lid and soil on the skeleton. Warping or
deformation that is not the result of perimortem trauma is
commonly observed on historic crania. Warping can be

recognized on reconstructed crania when there are gaps
between conjoined fragments. Conversely, warping that is
observed on forensic remains is usually the result of
perimortem trauma.


Forensic anthropologists are occasionally involved in cases
in which they are asked to analyze remains without contextual
evidence. Determining if the remains have come from an
historic or recent context can be difficult without such contex-
tual evidence. The purpose of this paper is to present an
overall pattern of taphonomic indicators that can be used to
distinguish recentfrom historic remains. Taphonomic analysis
depends on the construction of analogies and relies on the
quality and extent of the data on known historic and forensic
burials. A taphonomic profile for a coffin burial of historic
origin differs from the profiles of either shallow burials or
surface depositions of recent origin. Factors such as coffin
wood, coffin airspace, greater depths, and extended postmor-
tem intervals of historic burials produce unique patterns of
staining and degradation.
We recognize that any one of these indicators, by itself,
may be found in historic remains or remains from a recent
death (i.e., "forensic"). Therefore, we stress that the pattern
and co-occurrence of these indicators, known as the "profile,"
is what tips the scales with respect to one interpretation or the


2003 VOL. 56(2)


other. From our experience, this approach has shown to be
useful in correctly identifying remains from problematic or
unknown contexts.


We are grateful to Michael Tischler, Department of Soil and
Water Science, University of Florida, for his expertise with Florida

References Cited

Behrensmeyer, Anna K.
1978 Taphonomic and Ecologic Information from Bone Weather-
ing. Paleobiology4:150-162.

Berryman, Hugh E., William M. Bass, Steve A. Symes, and O'Brian
C. Smith
1991 Recognition of Cemetery Remains in the Forensic Setting.
Journal ofForensic Sciences 36:230-237.

Efremov, J. A.
1940 Taphonomy: ANewBranch ofPaleontology. Pan-American
Geologist 74:81-93.

Haglund, William D., Donald T. Reay, and Daris R. Swindler
1988 Tooth Mark Artifacts and Survival of Bones in Animal
Scavenged Human Skeletons. Journal ofForensic Sciences

Haslam, Edwin
1989 Plant Polyphenols: Vegetable Tannins Revisited. Cam-
bridge University Press, Cambridge.

Henderson, Janet
1987 Factors Determining the State of Preservation of Human
Remains. In Death, Decay, and Reconstruction, edited by
A, Boddington, A. N, Garland, and R. C. Janaway, pp. 43-
54. Manchester University Press, Manchester.

Howes, F. N.
1953 Vegetable Tanning Materials. Butterworths Scientific
Publications, London.

Lyman, Richard Lee
1996 Vertebrate Taphonomy. Cambridge, Cambridge University

Morlan, Richard E.
1980 Taphonomy and Archaeology in the Upper Pleistocene of
the Northern Yukon Territory: A Glimpse of the Peopling
of the New World. Archeological Survey of Canada Paper
No. 94, Mercury Series. National Museum ofMan, Ottawa.

Nawrocki, Steven P.
1995 Taphonomic processes in historic cemeteries. In Bodies of
Evidence, edited by Anne L. Grauer, pp. 49-66. John Wiley
& Sons, Inc., New York.

Nawrocki, Steven P., John E. Pless, Dean A. Hawley, and Scott A.
1997 Fluvial Transport of Human Crania. In Forensic
Taphonomy: The Postmortem Fate of Human Remains,

edited by William D. Haglund and Marcella H. Sorg, pp.
529-552. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Parfitt, Roger L., and Roger H. Newman
2000 13C NMR Study of Pine Needle Decomposition. Plant and
Soil 219:273-278.

Sledzik, Paul S., and Marc S. Micozzi
1997 Autopsied, Embalmed, and Preserved Human Remains:
Distinguishing Features in Forensic and Historic Contexts.
In Forensic Taphonomy: The Postmortem Fate ofHuman
Remains, edited by William D. Haglund and Marcella H.
Sorg, pp. 483-495. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Owsley, Doug W., and Bertita E. Compton
1997 Preservation in Late 19" Century Iron Coffin Burials. In
Forensic Taphonomy: The Postmortem Fate of Human
Remains, edited by William D. Haglund and Marcella H.
Sorg, pp. 511-526. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Ubelaker, Douglas H.
1996 The Remains of Dr. Carl Austin Weiss: Anthropological
Analysis. Journal ofForensic Science 41:60-79.


A new video on lorida's native peoples

I.-- 'Shadows anrd ms c:t ns:
f .. Florida's Lost People"
Produced by the Florida
-, Anthropological
Funded by the
Florida Department
of State

Produced and Directed by Chaos Productions
Executive Producer: Brent Weisman
Written by Marshall Riggan
Artwork by Theodore Morris

1998 Florida Anthropological Society and the Florida Department of State

To obtain copies send $23.62 [$18.81 plus $1.31 (sales tax) and $3.50 (S&H)] to:
Terry Simpson, 9907 High Meadow Ave., Thonotosassa, FL 33592



Southwest Florida Archaeological Society
1200 Butterfly Court, Marco Island, FL 34145

I read with interest archaeologists George M. Luer and
Robert F. Edic's (2002) article about demijohn bottles found
near Charlotte Harbor. Their article suggests that the distinc-
tive greenish or brownish colored hand blown glass jugs with
rounded bottoms indicate the presence of an active liquor trade
in the 1800s and early 1900s.
According to Luer and Edic, the ranchos in the Charlotte
Harbor area, north of Marco Island, did a lucrative business in
1831 alone ($18,000), trading salted fish to Cuba and supply-
ing rum to the Indians and Spanish fishermen. They write:
"the profits to be made from the sale of fish in Havana were
dependent on the trade of goods, including liquor, to the Indian
and Spanish fishermen in return for their catching, drying,
salting, and exporting fish. Clearly, liquor was a critical link
in a network of goods and labor" (Luer and Edic 2002:201).

We know that there were ranchos as far south as Marco
Island because John Lee Williams visited Caxambas Pass in
1824 and among other things wrote that he saw "several well
cultivated plantations, long hid from the civilized world"
(Williams 1837:v,26,33). We do not know if they were
comparable to the fishing ranchos that Luer and Edic mention
for Charlotte Harbor.
Kappy Kirk, a native islander and long-time resident of
Goodland, related that 16 demijohn bottles were found at
Marco River Marina in Old Marco in the 1960s when Deltona
crews were dredging (Figure 1). All were broken except the
one that she has in her possession. It was given to her hus-
band, Bud Kirk, by one of the men who found the bottles. It is
a green glass demijohn with a rounded bottom that may date
from prohibition days. Yet, the bottle resembles in size,


i e-cA cj | n 6


Figure 1. Map shows location of Marco River Marina.


JUNE 2003

VOL. 56(2)



Figure 2. Photograph of Katherine "Kappy" Kirk, holding the demijohn in her
lap, gives an idea of the relative size and beauty of the bottle.

dimensions, and shape the earlier demijohns found near
Charlotte Harbor.
Patrick Byron found the demijohn during the dredging of
Marco River Marina. Kappy's husband, Bud Kirk, now
deceased, bought Byron's little wooden house and was given
the demijohn.
Byron said, "This demijohn has historical value, it should-
n't leave the island; I can't think of anyone better to leave it
with than you."
The bottle is 45.7 cm (18 in) in height, smooth, and is dark
green in color with several obvious hand-blown air-bubble
pockets (Figure 2). It has a rounded compressed body that
gives it an elliptical look when viewed from above. It mea-
sures 38.1 cm (15 in) at the widest and 27.9 cm (11 in)
compressed width.
It appears to be hand-blown in a three-piece, hinged mold,

as Luer and Edic describe, with one seam
running around the body at its widest por-
tion, with a seam running up each side to
the bottom of the neck. The neck of the
demijohn is approximately 14 cm (5 1/2 in)
in length. At the top, the diameter of the
orifice is 3.5 cm (1 3/8 in) on the inside
and 4.6 cm (1 13/16 in) on the outside.
The neck has an applied ring of glass just
below the lip 1.9 cm (3/4 in). It weighs
nine pounds.
Marco River Marina was built in 1967.
Henry Lowe, first general manager and
major stockholder of Marco River Marina
said that the Marina was the first commer-
cial building to be built by the area's devel-
opers, the Mackle Brothers. He said he
scarcely remembers the bottles being dis-
covered, "It was 'no big deal,' because rum
running all up and down the coast was well

References Cited

Luer, George M., and Robert F. Edic
2002 Glass Demijohns and Liquor
Trade in the Charlotte Harbor
Area. In Archaeology of Upper
Charlotte Harbor, Florida, edited
by George M. Luer, pp. 195-209.
Florida Anthropological Society
Publication Number 15, Tallahas-

Williams, John Lee
1837 [1962] The Territory ofFlorida:
or Sketches of the Topography,
Civil and Natural History, of the
Country, the Climate, and the
Indians Tribes, from the First
Discovery to the Present Time.
Published originally by A. T.
Goodrich, New York. Reprinted
by Floridiana Facsimile and Re-
print Series, University of Florida
Press, Gainesville.


2003 VOL. 56(2)


EDITOR'S NOTE: This year, there were no nominations for the William C. Lazarus Award.


Scott Mitchell was presented the Bullen Award for his
assistance to the Kissimmee Valley Archaeological and
Historical Conservancy (KVAHC). Scott was nominated by
the chapter and given a plaque for "furthering cooperation
among professional and avocational archaeologists and for
outstanding contributions to the Kissimmee Valley chapter."
Scott began working with KVAHC in 1994. At that time,
he was employed by Janus Research, and KVAHC was
investigating the Blueberry Site, a multi-component site in
Highlands County, Florida. He worked at the site with
archaeologist Bob Austin, deciding then to continue his formal
education. Scott already was a 1991 graduate of the University
of Florida with a B.A. in Anthropology. He went on to receive
an M.A. in Public Archaeology from the University of South
Florida in 1996.

,^ ^ .' M ^-':- 4'- '-' ., i..

1 'i *'* "*;* 1

Figure 1. Bullen Award winner Scott Mitchell with FAS Pr
Sheila Stewart and Ann Reynolds of KVAHC.

Scott's thesis researchfocused on the importance of aquatic
food resources to the aboriginal inhabitants of the Kissimmee
Valley during the late prehistoric period. It is one of very few
archaeological studies of the area.
When Highlands County Commissioners began archaeo-
logical surveys of the county, Scott was on the first survey
team. While in the area, he volunteered to help KVAHC
members improve their field skills, and he helped with an
Elderhostal program. He identified faunal material, patiently
answered questions, and gave programs. Scott provided
encouragement when KVAHC began to mentor students of
Walker Junior Academy, visiting their school to speak and to
help with their school museum exhibit. He continued to help
even after he moved to Gainesville. He has assumed time-
consuming tasks, such as researching our artifacts and having
them photographed professionally.
Scott works as Collections Manager in the Florida Museum
of Natural History in Gainesville. He gathered
materials that KVAHC uses in class rooms to edu-
cate students in Highlands and Glades counties.
When South Florida Community College (SFCC), in
Avon Park, built the Museum of Florida Art and
Culture, Scott helped planrthe archaeological exhib-
its. Scott presently volunteers his time to be part of
a symposium by KVAHC and SFCC to inform
students, faculty, and the public about the Indians
who lived in the Kissimmee Valley.
KVAHC is grateful to Scott for his help in
putting together a productive chapter, for his gener-
osity in volunteering time and materials, and for his
encouragement to continue investigations and to put
them in writing. We can not emphasize enough how
important encouragement is to the success of a
project or a chapter.



The St. Augustine Archaeological Association
(SAAA) was honored as the fifth recipient of the
S FAS Chapter Award. At the Annual Banquet in
Tallahassee, SAAA was presented with a plaque for
"public outreach and outstanding field and lab work
resident in the City of St. Augustine."
In summer 2002, SAAA helped in continuing
laboratory and field work under the direction of Carl
Halbirt, City Archaeologist. Excavations were at the


VOL. 56(2)


JUNE 2003


Figure 2. President Sheila Stewart presents the FAS Chapter
Award to Brent Handley for the St. Augustine Archaeological

Ximenez-Fatio House and on the site of a large British Period
military barracks. A highlight of the project at the Ximenez-
Fatio House was the recovery of an elaborate bronze cross
dating to the mid-1600s. The barracks yielded regimental
buttons from the 1700s.
In 2000 and 2001, SAAA worked with Carl Halbirt at a
number of sites, including the Trinity Episcopal Church on
King Street, 252 St. George Street, 21 Aviles Street, and the
Monson Resort Motor Lodge on Avenida Menendez on the
bayfront. In another excavation at 2 St. George Street at the
city's north gate, SAAA members donated over 2000 hours of
assistance. Excavations are often complex, revealing numer-
ous features and artifacts dating to various periods. SAAA's
volunteer work continues a decade of helping the city archae-
ologist. In 1999, SAAA members donated 4100 volunteer
hours, of which 3600 were in the field and 500 in the labora-
In May 2001, SAAA hosted the 53rd Annual Meeting of
FAS, which was very successful and enjoyed by all. SAAA
also is busy with walking tours of local sites, monthly meetings
and speakers, and Florida Archaeology Month in March.
Educational initiatives include artifact display tables at the
Colonial Arts and Crafts Festival held in the Spanish Quarter
in October. Each year, SAAA donates several books to the
public library as well as a subscription to The FloridaAnthro-
pologist. SAAA is an outstanding chapter.


Dave Burns was acknowledged for his dedication and
service by FAS President Sheila Stewart. As FAS Newsletter
Editor for the last five years, Dave has organized, written, and

edited articles and announcements that keep us all informed
about the business of the society. He attends all meetings of
the FAS Board to stay informed of news and initiatives across
the state. Ryan Wheeler, a former newsletter editor, points
out that when Dave became Newsletter Editor, he also became
an author, desktop publisher, and distributor.
Dave is passionate about Florida archaeology, and is
willing to spend the night to monitor workmen digging near
a midden and enjoy the experience! He maintains an upbeat,
positive manner in all tasks. Dave always is willing to lend
a helping hand or to give a pat on the back to those whose
work may be invisible to the rest of us but which comes across
his desk. During this year of changes in state government,
Dave has worked with the Florida Archaeological Council to
strengthen the flow of information between our organizations.
FAS members like Dave Burns engender a shared pride in
our work-education and the preservation ofFlorida's archaeo-
logical and historical resources.
est for next year's Archaeology Month 2003 and shepherded
it through appropriate State offices. When the committee
realized that many of us lack grant writing skills, Steve
volunteered to help at the Grant Writing Seminar at the 2002
FAS Annual Meeting.


Individual FAS chapters honor members for outstanding
service in furthering archaeology and preservation. President
Sheila Stewart presented the certificates.

Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee (PAST)


PAST has had events for Florida Archaeology Month in
previous years, but never did we have as full a slate of activi-
ties as we had in March 2003. Triel Lindstrom was instru-
mental in organizing and planning meetings, lining up
speakers, and keeping in close contact with the media. Due to
her efforts, PAST greatly increased our visibility in the Florida
panhandle region, resulting in approximately 50 individuals
asking to be placed on our mailing list. PAST would like to
offer a collective "Thank-you!" to Triel for all of her hard

Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society (CGCAS)


Several years ago, Dr. Roger Block joined CGCAS at the
chapter's annual picnic and quickly became a vital member.
He has helped sustain the Indian Village at the Science Center
of Pinellas County, bringing the Village to life twice year, in
March and November. The CGCAS newsletter benefits from
his monthly column, "Native Culture Corer," in which he
recounts many of his adventures, trips, and experiences. He
also encourages and helps other members to submit articles to

2003 VOL. 56(2)


ee eee

this column. When CGCAS hosted the 2002 FAS Annual
Meeting, Dr. Block kept track of all registration information
and served as chapter treasurer. He continues in the position
of chapter treasurer for the coming year. In addition, Dr.
Block serves on the Board at the Science Center and as
treasurer for the Trail of the Lost Tribes. He is a valuable
member of CGCAS, and it is a pleasure to acknowledge him.


CGCAS is proud to recognize Eloise Hardman, who
became an integral member of the chapter when she organized
and planned the 2002 FAS Annual Meeting, hosted by
CGCAS in St. Petersburg. For more than a year before this
meeting, she was deeply involved in all aspects of its planning.
Her attention made it an enjoyable success. CGCAS has
thanked her, but would like to acknowledge her formally
through FAS.

Originally, Eloise became involved in CGCAS through her
husband, archaeologist Jay Hardman, and she has assumed an
increasingly active role in chapter activities, including serving
recently as secretary. Her advice and input to the chapter’s
Board is greatly valued, and we look forward to many more
years of her support. It is a privilege for CGCAS to recognize
Eloise Hardman.

Dorothy’s generosity is shown as she has quietly made
donations enabling carbon-14 dates to be obtained for the
Narvaez/Anderson and Kuttler sites. She also recently stepped
in to help CGCAS with finances so that planning could
proceed smoothly for the 54th FAS Annual Meeting. Her help
is greatly appreciated, and it is with pleasure that we acknowl-
edge Dorothy Ward.

Central Florida Anthropological Society (CFAS)

CFAS would like to recognize Janet Walker for her interest
and support of our chapter over a number of years. We
appreciate her encouragement, which has enabled us to
continue to meet at Leu Gardens. We also appreciate her
generous support of the “Walk Back In Time” program.


CFAS recognizes Mike MacKay for his staunch efforts in
revitalizing the chapter during a time of low attendance. His
enthusiasm was contagious, and attendance has grown during
his presidency. His recent health problems have made us more
appreciative of his efforts in our behalf.

Kissimmee Valley Archaeological
and Historical Conservancy (KVAHC)


KVAHC recognizes Rod Phelps, a long-time collector,
from Ohio, who joined our chapter. He is a great asset,
sharing his knowledge and expertise in schools, the commu-
nity, and with our members. Rod attends meetings and works
hard at digs. He arrives early to help set up and leaves late to
help clean up. Rod also has helped analyze rim sherds, and
his demonstrations of primitive technology are well received.

During Florida Archaeology Month, Rod contributed to our
Florida Humanities Council program, “Recorded in Sand.” He
provided labor to put together exhibits in the new Florida
Museum of Art and Culture at the South Florida Community
College in Avon Park, Florida. Rod provided Florida artifacts
and replicas, making KVAHC’s contribution a quality exhibit.

Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (SWFAS)

SWFAS would like to recognize Charlie Strader and Sue
and Jim Long. All three take pride in a job well done and
have given years of loyal service without thought of reward.
Often, they have volunteered for jobs others did not want, and
they have worked behind the scenes to bring them to successful

Charlie, as well as Sue and Jim, have supported SWFAS
with their time, money, and talent. We have come to depend
on their resourcefulness and friendly reliability. Their
management skills during a recent chapter fund-raiser
contributed greatly to the fiscal and social success of the event.
We also have appreciated their help in moving our chapter’s
meeting place from the Bonita Springs Community Center to
the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University.

... yes, but what was the

The exact, full wording of that reference is as close
as your phone:

Back issues of -The Florida Ant vmpologist -- going
back close to a half century are available at the

Graves Museum of Archaeology
and Natural History

481 South Federal Highway
Dania, FL 33004

Phone (954) 925-7770
FAX (954) 925-7064
Sole agents for back issues of The Florida Anthropologist


The Tree That Bends: Discourse, Power, and the Survival of
the Mask6ki People. Patricia Riles Wickman. University of
Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa. 1999. xviii+296 pages, maps,
plates, tables, appendices, notes, bibliography, index, $29.95

NationalPark Service, SoutheastArcheological Center, 2035
East Paul Dirac Drive, Johnson Building, Suite 120,
Tallahassee, FL 32310

The Tree That Bends is an ethnohistorical study of the
Mask6ki peoples (specifically the Creeks, Miccosukees, and
Seminoles of the Mask6ki language family), their genesis, and
their interactions with the Europeans who explored and later
occupied Florida. Contrary to most historical and archeologi-
cal accounts, the book presents evidence suggesting the
Mask6ki peoples of Florida were not obliterated and did not
abandon the Florida peninsula in the eighteenth century.
Instead, Wickman argues the Mask6ki have lived and thrived
in Florida from the prehistoric past to the present day.
Wickman's relies upon a variety of sources for her argument
including historical documents from ca. 1510 to 1763 (particu-
larly those of the Spaniards); archeological evidence; and
verbal discussions with present-day Mask6ki peoples. She
examines the history of the Mask6ki people and then over-
views three historic periods in Florida: 1) the "symbolic
frontier" of European explorers between 1510 to 1568; 2) the
Spanish administrative centers of Santa Elena, Saint
Augustine, and Pensacola; and 3) the Spanish missions which
spread up the Atlantic coast, and west and southward across
the Florida peninsula.
The book is divided into two parts, each with multiple
chapters. Chapter 1 presents the framework for Wickman's
argument. This is an essential chapter to read as it lays the
groundwork for her entire thesis. Information about
Wickman's source material, both linear and non-linear, is
explored, and terms commonly used in the book, like dis-
course, power, and negotiation, are specifically defined. Part
I (Chapters 2-5) examines four different aspects of the
Mask6ki people history. Chapter 2 examines the cultural
genesis of the Mask6ki, with an emphasis on the history and
archeology of Mississippian period in the Southeast. This
includes a discussion of the Mississippian peoples origins and
belief system, and how the Mask6ki were a part of this system.
Chapter 3 explores the Mask6ki cosmogony and how the
Mask6ki oral tradition allowed for cultural continuity, despite
demographic declines and drastic changes brought on by
contact and missionization. Chapter 4 examines the Mask6ki
geography, society, and continuity, and discusses how people

and place names allowed for cultural continuity. Chapter 5
investigates power and gender in Mask6ki society. This
chapter explores the role women played in lineal descent and
roles of authority in society. The role of warfare in Mask6ki
society is also discussed.
Part II reviews the historical and archeological record of
Spanish exploration, colonization, and missionization in
Florida and explores how these different periods affected the
Mask6ki peoples. The section is divided into chapters that
examine different aspects of Spanish colonization. Chapter 6
reviews the history and effects of the early Spanish entradas
into Florida. Wickman explores how earlier Spanish experi-
ences in other parts of the New World affected their dealings
with Mask6ki peoples in Florida. Chapter 7 looks at the early
European settlements in Florida and how they affected the
Mask6ki people. Chapter 8 deals with religious conversion of
Native peoples. Chapter 9 explores the effects of
missionization on the Mask6ki and how the influence of other
European groups (the English and French) changed Mask6ki
interactions with the Spanish. Wickman also covers the
Spanish loss of Florida to England in the 18th century and its
consequence on the modem historical perspective of Florida.
Chapter 10 provides a summary of Wickman's main concepts
and tenets.
I found the book to be a thorough study of the Mask6ki
people with a new emphasis on living descendents and oral
traditions that are typically lost in historical and archeological
studies. Wickman provides good arguments, citations, and
data to bolster her thesis that the Mask6ki people have been in
Florida since before European occupation and have not left or
abandoned the area since that time. Despite some often-
confusing jargon and spelling of certain tribal names the book
is an important study that should be read by historians,
anthropologists, or anyone studying Native American peoples
in Florida or the greater Southeast. The book attempts to add
the Native American perspective to the historical and archeo-
logical accounts of early colonization and missionization of
Florida and its Native peoples.


VOL. 56(2)


JUNE 2003


About the Authors:

Maranda Almy earned her B.A in Anthropology with High Honors from the University of Florida. Her focus is
physical/biological anthropology, but she enjoys historical research and cultural anthropology. Maranda is continuing her
interest in anthropology through graduate studies in bone chemistry and forensic anthropology at the University of Florida.

Ann S. Cordell is a staff archaeologist at UF's Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, FL. She manages FLMNH's
CeramicTechnology Laboratory and conducts pottery analyses for FLMNH curators. She has studied prehistoric and historic
aboriginal pottery from Florida, the southeastern US and Caribbean.

Anthony Falsetti is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida. He is director of the C.A. Pound
Human Identification Laboratory and co-director of the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. He specializes in
human identification in mass disasters, skeletal biology, and quantitative methods.

Gregory Heide received his Master's degree from Florida State University in 1999, where he specialized in Spanish Mission
period archeology. His professional interests also include shell rings of the Late Archaic period in Florida and South Carolina.

Steve Koski is an archaeologist from Sarasota County, Florida. Currently, he is a Project Archaeologist for New South
Associates, based in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He has worked in the Florida CRM industry for more than 13 years, first with
Archaeological Consultants of Sarasota, from 1990 to 2000 and currently with NSA. His research interests include coastal
settlement patterns, socio-political development, sea level change, and prehistoric underwater archaeology.

Stephen Nawrocki is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Indianapolis and Director of Osteology at
the Archaeology and Forensics Laboratory. His research areas are forensic anthropology, taphonomy, and forensic

Betsy Perdichizzi is President of the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society. She also is the coauthor of A Girl Called
Tommie: Queen ofMarco Island, published in 1999.

John Schultz is completing his Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2003 and will be an Assistant Professor of Anthropology
at the University of Central Florida beginning in Fall 2003. His research areas include taphonomy, forensic anthropology,
and geophysical methods.

Michael Warren is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida. His areas include forensic
identification and trauma analysis, growth and development, and human rights.

Nancy Marie White is a professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. For many years she has been
investigating the prehistory and early history of the ApalachicolaRiver Valley region. Other research interests include gender
in archaeology, archaeological theory, and public archaeology/cultural resources management.

Matthew Williamson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Georgia Southern University.
He serves as Director of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory. His research interests include skeletal biology,
bioarchaeology and paleopathology.

2003 VOL. 56(2)


Full Text