The Florida anthropologist

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The Florida anthropologist
Abbreviated Title:
Fla. anthropol.
Florida Anthropological Society
Conference on Historic Site Archaeology
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
Florida Anthropological Society.
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Copyright Date:
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Two no. a year[ FORMER 1948-]
No. 14, February, 1999
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v. : ill. ; 24 cm.


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


Contains papers of the Annual Conference on Historic Site Archeology.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
v. 1- May 1948-
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Florida Anthropological Society Publications:No. 14.

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Full Text
Maritime Archaeology
of Lemon Bay, Florida
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Maritime Archaeology
of Lemon Bay, Florida
Edited by
George M. Luer
Florida Anthropological Society
Publications No. 14
Copyright 1999 by the
ISSN 0015-3893
Tampa, Florida

Maritime Archaeology
of Lemon Bay, Florida
Table of Contents
Foreward v
An Introduction to the Archaeology of the Lemon Bay Area. George M. Luer 1
Analogy and Aboriginal Canoe Use in Southwest Florida. Charles Blanchard 23
Cedar Point: A Late Archaic through Safety Harbor Occupation on Lemon Bay,
Charlotte County, Florida. George M. Luer 43
The Coral Creek Site, Charlotte County, Southwest Florida. Robert F. Edic 57
Aboriginal Occupation of Gasparilla Island. Robert F. Edic 63
Volumetric Analysis of Selected Shell Midden Sites around Charlotte Harbor, Florida. Paul L. Jones 75
Topographic Mapping of the Acline and Whidden Branch Mounds, Charlotte
County, Florida. Corbett McP. Torrence 85
Contributors 98
Cover: Swimming Sea Mammals is a contemporary composite of images that originally were created by Florida Indians. It
shows three bottle-nosed dolphins and a now-extinct monk seal (which formerly ranged along both Atlantic and Gulf coasts
of Florida). The images (clockwise from upper right) are: a swimming seal from a postcontact sheet-silver ornament from
Highlands County (ca. A.D. 1600-1750); a dolphin from a Glades II-III-period piece of carved turtle shell from Key Marco,
Collier County (ca. A.D. 800-1500); an abstract dolphin from an incised-and-punctated Weeden Island ceramic vessel from
Charlotte County (ca. A.D. 800-900); and a dolphin from a carved wooden ceremonial tablet from Key Marco (ca. A.D. 800-
1500). Illustration by George Luer.
Florida Anthropological Society
Publications No. 14

Work on this monograph began in 1992 when the late
Helen Vanderbilt, of Manasota Key and Englewood, wanted
to know more about the cultural legacy of the Lemon Bay
area. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Helen worked with
fellow citizens to protect Lemon Bays water quality, marine
life, and history. She was motivated by her own concern and
that of her late husband, William H. Vanderbilt, who
founded, with his brother Alfred, the Cape Haze Marine
Laboratory in 1954 (which later moved and became Mote
Marine Laboratory in Sarasota).
Funding for this monograph began with a small grant
from the Wendling Foundation to the Florida Anthropologi
cal Society. As work progressed, some funds from the
Lemon Bay Conservancy and a grant administered by the
Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center helped some
research presented here.
Volunteer efforts by the monographs authors have been
essential in its production. Its completion also has been
made possible by a number of reviewers and by Robert
Austin who laid out the text and figures.
I would like to thank all these individuals and organiza
tions who helped make this publication a reality.
George m. Luer
October 1998

An Introduction to the Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay, Florida
George m. Luer
3222 Old Oak Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34239
E-mail: gluerfdigrove. ufl. edu
This paper is an introduction to maritime archaeology
in the Lemon Bay area, presenting evidence of in
creasing complexity in social organization from ca.
A.D. 200-1250. The paper describes Lemon Bays natural
setting and previous archaeological work, and discusses
examples of significant sites.
Lemon Bay (Figure 1) is situated between two larger
regions of cultural development on Floridas lower Gulf
coast: the Tampa Bay area to the north and the Pine Island
Sound-Estero Bay area to the south. This intermediate
geographic location meant that Lemon Bay Indians received
influences from both north and south.
The Lemon Bay area supported a long cultural occupation,
lasting approximately 4000 years. Like many locations in
southern and central Florida, the Indians who lived around
Lemon Bay probably maintained their own local identity.
This was in spite of the possibility that, late in their cultural
development, they paid tribute to chiefdoms such as the
Estero Bay Calusa or the Tampa Bay Ucita or Mocoso.
Maritime Environment and
Sociocultural Development
Around the world, coastal or maritime settings have
provided favorable conditions for complex sociocultural
development. In the United States, archaeologists have
shown that complex Aleut and American Indian societies
developed in highly productive, food-rich coastal environ
ments in the Aleutian Islands and along the coasts of British
Columbia, southern California, and southwestern Florida
(e.g., Ames 1981; Arnold 1992; Clark 1975; Goggin and
Sturtevant 1964; Widmer 1978, 1988).
In the Lemon Bay-Sarasota area, there was a long succes
sion of cultures with economic infrastructures based heavily
on the littoral environment (Table 1). In the late and
terminal Archaic periods (ca. 2000-500 B.C.), Lemon Bay
Indians used many estuarine resources (see Luer, this
volume). Continued use of maritime resources supported the
areas Manasota culture (ca. 500 B.C. A.D. 800) and
succeeding late Weeden Island (ca. A.D. 700-900) and Safety
Harbor cultures (ca. A.D. 900-1725) (Luer and Almy 1982;
Milanich 1994; Mitchem 1989).
Widmer (1988:29-31, 93-94, 222-223, 263-269) has
argued that the appearance of chiefdoms in the region, ca.
A.D. 700, was linked to population growth and a need to
manage and control the fixed territories and limited re
sources of inshore tropical fishing. In addition to estuaries
and tidal creeks, another zone that was exploited by Lemon
Bay Indians as part of inshore fishing was the nearshore Gulf
of Mexico (as opposed to offshore areas [Widmer 1986,
1988:29]). The nearshore Gulf is often overlooked by many
archaeologists, but it offered valuable resources for Indians
whose fishing technology included dugout canoes and hooks
and lines as well as shallow-water capture using nets, spears,
and probably weirs. Evidence of aboriginal fishing in
nearshore Gulf waters has been found in sites just north of
Lemon Bay. For example, at the Roberts Bay site (8S056)
in Sarasota, Indians in the late Manasota Period (ca. A.D.
500-700) were catching large grouper as well as bonita, the
latter a pelagic fish typical of the Gulf (Luer 1977:130).
Bonita can sometimes be caught near the beach off Manasota
Key (Bob Simon, personal communication, 1976). At the
Venice Beach site (8S026), Indians in the Manasota Period
(ca. 300 B.C. A.D. 500) were catching grouper, apparently
from the rocky bottom just off Venice Beach in the Gulf
(Fraser 1980). At the Shell Ridge Midden (8S02) at Historic
Spanish Point between Venice and Sarasota, Indians caught
sharks of 14 species during the early Safety Harbor Period,
ca. A.D. 1100 (Kozuch 1998). Some of these sharks, such as
the scalloped hammerhead, are typical of the nearshore Gulf.
Luer (1986:147-148, 152-154, 156; Luer et al. 1986) also
has argued for increasing social complexity through the
controlled production and access to valued shell tools. Based
largely on evidence from the Cape Haze area to the southeast
of Lemon Bay, it appears that the production and use of
certain shell tools, such as ones fashioned from robust whelk
shells, had become regulated in Indian society by at least ca.
A.D. 900. These valued shells were selected for desired
attributes, fashioned into blanks, hoarded, and cached.
There are indications that the eventual redistribution and use
of these shells also might have been controlled, the latter
including the manufacture of key wooden economic and
social items, such as dugout canoes.
In west-peninsular Florida, the appearance of simple chief
doms also can be correlated with the growth of a religious-
political complex, which is seen in the archaeological record
as increasingly complex mortuary practices and burial goods.
This is the development of peninsular Weeden Island culture
along the Florida Gulf coast (ca. A.D. 500-900) and, later,
the adoption of some Mississippian influences in west-
peninsular Florida. These religious developments probably
helped sanctify the authority of chiefs, a characteristic of
NO. 14
Florida Anthropological society publications
February 1999

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
Figure 1. Location of Lemon Bay in Florida.
chiefdoms (Peebles and Kus 1977:422).
Lemon Bay Indians were an integral part of these cultural
developments. Appearing at the Englewood Mound are
specialized mortuary ceramics of late Weeden Island and
Safety Harbor period types, including Englewood pottery.
These ceramics are very similar to some in other mounds in
west-peninsular Florida, and indicate close interaction
throughout this wide region.
Assuming that individual burial mode is a reflection of an
individuals social status at the time of death or interment
(Tainter 1978), diversification in burial modes should reflect
growing status differentiation and increasing social complex
ity. Table 2 shows a general trend in the Sarasota region,
including two Lemon Bay sites, Manasota Key Cemetery and
Englewood Mound. At these sites, there is a shift from
individual primary burials in cemeteries to mass secondary
burials, and other modes of interment, in constructed
mounds. The mass burials typically consist of disarticulated
remains. Archaeologists believe that such remains accumu
lated in charnel houses (e.g., Milanich 1994:401-407).
While a change from cemeteries to charnel houses and
mounds appears to have been widespread, it may be that even
after the appearance ofburial mounds, some individuals were
interred in non-mound settings, such as middens. It is also
important to note that primary burials continued even after
secondary burials became predominate.
The uniformity of treatment among burials at the Mana
sota Key Cemetery suggests an egalitarian social organiza
tion. In contrast, burial differentiation and ceremonialism at
the Englewood Mound (see below), and at other nearby
Table 1. Maritime culture sequence at Lemon Bay (dates are
A.D. 1700 -
Bayview Phase
Tatham Phase
A.D. 1500 -
Safety Harbor
Pinellas Phase
A.D. 1200 -
A.D. 1000 -
Englewood Phase
a n nnr\
Late Weeden Island
A.U. /UU
? Manasota (late)
A.D. 200-
Manasota (mid)
cm r r*
Manasota (early)
DUU dVy*
Terminal Archaic
1 non is r*
or Florida Transitional
1UUU r>.C. M
OAAfV O r*
: Late Archaic
ZUUU r>.^. -
£ Middle Archaic (late)

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay: Introduction
Table 2. Examples of changes in burial mode, manner of burial, and place of burial through time, ca. A.D. 200-1250.
Period or
Individual Burial
General Manner
of Burial
Place of
Number of
Manasota Key
A.D. 200
primary flexed
Palmer Md.
A.D. 400-800
primary flexed, sec
ondary bundle, sin
gle skull
individual and
small group
Md. (8S01)
A.D. 900-1250
mass secondary, sec
ondary bundle, sin
gle skull, primary
mass, followed by
submound pit
plus mound
Aqu Esta Md.
A.D. 900-1250
extended, secondary
bundle, mass sec
ondary, primary flex
possible individual,
followed by varied,
including mass
possible sub
mound zone
plus mound
SOURCES: Bullen and Bullen (1976:35-47), Dickel (1991:12, 150), Luer (1996a:6, 20-22), Luer and Almy (1982:46-47, and Willey
(1949:127, 130).
mounds (Table 2), are suggestive of more complex societies.
The construction of sizeable burial mounds is indicative of
some control of labor, presumably by local political and
religious specialists. It also suggests some central control
over food since redistribution and consumption of food would
have supported laborers in mound construction, as well as
actors in funerary ritual. Such controls over labor and food
in mound-building also suggest an increase in social com
plexity over previous cemetery burial practices.
Thus, archaeological evidence from the Lemon Bay area
appears to reflect a process of growing social complexity
through time, supported by a maritime economy. Data from
ca. A.D. 200-1250 suggest a shift from egalitarian to more
complex groups, with simple chiefdoms appearing sometime
after ca. A.D. 700.
Environment and Economy
Lemon Bay has existed for approximately 4000 years,
forming after the last glacial period when the Gulf of Mexico
rose to levels near present-day sea level. The bay is long,
narrow, and shallow, with many tidal creeks (Figure 2). Its
rimming barrier islands, Manasota Key and Knight Island,
are separated by Stump Pass. (Environmental and geological
data about Stump Pass are presented by Davis and Gibeaut
[1990:47-48] and Reynolds [1976]).
The Lemon Bay area has a dynamic coastal environment.
In a trend during the last 100 years, the area around Stump
Pass has accreted seaward while the inlet has migrated
southward. Two other inlets, Bocilla Pass and Little Gas-
parilla Pass, have closed. Meanwhile, central and northern
portions of Manasota Key have eroded landward, exposing
slabs of beachrock along the Gulf, such as The Rocks to
the north of Blind Pass.1 Along the shores of Lemon Bay,
winds and waves built a series of points.2 Many of these
were important to Indians who used them as habitation sites
and probably as advantageous places to land and launch
dugout canoes. For example, at Lemon Bay, a spit occurred
at the Paulsen Point midden (8S023) before spoil from the
Intracoastal Waterway was dumped around it. Many other
nearby sites are associated with spits, such as along shores of
the Manatee River, Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay, Lemon
Bay, and Turtle Bay.
The Indians must have dealt with short-term events such
as freezes, storm surges, hurricanes, and possibly red tides.
Their adaptive responses probably included regular storage
of food, group mobility, maintenance of exchange systems
with neighboring groups, and the building of shell mounds
to create high ground.
Possible social effects from some other environmental
changes are unclear. Sea-level change would have been a
factor over the long term, especially since Lemon Bay did not
even exist in the Middle and Early Holocene, 4500-12,000
years ago, when sea level was much lower than at present.
However, recent sea-level changes during the last 1500 years
(whether steady rise or fluctuations), probably had few direct
effects on Lemon Bay Indians because changes apparently
were slow compared to a human lifetime and slight in
magnitude (e.g., Fairbridge 1984; Robbin 1984). Such slight,
gradual changes should have had little if any effect on social
institutions such as kinship and religion.
Lemon Bay Indians worked hard to make a living from the
land. They made dugout canoes and baskets, which were
essential for mobility and transport on the bay, its tidal
creeks, and in the nearshore Gulf. The Indians dug clay,
shaping and firing it into ceramic vessels which they used for
cooking. They frequently gathered firewood, and they wove

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
and mended nets, maintained hooks and lines, and probably
tended weirs.
Lemon Bay Indians caught many kinds of edible fish such
as mullet, redfish, jack, seatrout, pinfish, catfish, grouper,
sharks, rays, and small fish including killifishes and her
rings. They also waded and treaded for many kinds of
shellfish, including clams, cockles, oysters, mussels, scallops,
whelks, and conchs. The Indians also caught sea turtles,
shrimp, and many kinds of crabs, and gathered edible sea
urchins. Barrier islands offered sea grapes, cabbage palms,
prickly pears, and other edible and useful plants. The
mainlands extensive pinewoods supported many plant foods
such as saw palmetto berries, gopher plums, huckleberries,
hogplums, and oak acorns. The pinelands also offered many
edible animals, including deer, raccoon, opossum, rodents,
snakes, and tortoises. Wetlands offered snails, crayfish,
mudpuppies, fish, alligators, turtles, and many birds.
Using these resources, Lemon Bay Indians created a
maritime economy with a heavy reliance on fishing. They
did not practice maize agriculture, though they probably
tended home gardens of gourds, tobacco, and a number of
other plants. They also appear to have grown various kinds
of trees, such as gumbo limbo and mastic, for their fruits and
other usable products, such as wood, bark, and sap.
Previous Research
Traditionally, the Lemon Bay area has been considered
part of the Manatee or Central Peninsular Gulf Coast
archaeological region stretching from a line through Char
lotte Harbor and Boca Grande Pass northward to the Tampa
Bay area (Goggin 1947; Goggin and Sturtevant 1964:182,
Figure 1; Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:Figure 1; Willey
1949:2-7, Map 1). In recent years, some researchers have
moved the regions southern boundary slightly northward to
an indistinct line through Lemon Bay. Here, I consider all
sites around Lemon Bay to be in the Central Peninsular Gulf
Coast region.
The following is a brief review of archaeological finds and
research around Lemon Bay, which has been sporadic since
the 1930s. Previous work in adjoining areas, such as near
Cape Haze, is not discussed here. It also should be noted
that many of the Lemon Bay areas sand mounds and shell
middens have been destroyed by land development before
they could be investigated, and a number of remaining sites
are still uninvestigated.
During the Florida Land Boom in 1926, road construction
destroyed a burial area at Englewood Beach, then called
Chadwick Beach, on southern Manasota Key (see below).
During the Great Depression, the Englewood Mound was
excavated in 1934 as part of a federal and state relief project
by the Smithsonian Institution and State of Florida (Stirling
In the late 1940s, Gordon Willey analyzed data from the
Englewood Mound, defining an archeological culture (the
Englewood Culture) and a group of ceramic types (the Engle
wood Series) based on finds at the site (Willey 1949:126-135,
470-475). In 1949, Ripley Bullen visited several sites in the
area, excavating a test unit in the Ainger Shell Heap
(8CH6/CH11) on the mainland shore of Lemon Bay at the

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay; Introduction
Sarasota-Charlotte County line (Bullen 1949,1953;FLMNH
cat. nos. 96098-96103).
In 1953, William Plowden (1953a, b, c, d) recorded a
number of sites around Lemon Bay, and collections from
some of these were briefly analyzed by John Goggin (1954).
In 1954, Ripley and Adelaide Bullen tested the Vanderbilt
site just south of Lemon Bay. The Bullens returned in 1962
to observe destruction of the Lemon Bay School Mound
(8CH7) and returned again in 1965 to observe destruction at
the Cedar Point Shell Heap (8CH8/CH61) during dredging
of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Around 1960, Sarasota residents John Fales and Dorothy
Davis conducted a windshield survey of a number of sites
in the Sarasota County portion of the Lemon Bay area (Fales
and Davis 1961). Also in the 1960s, Vincent Gory, a Venice
resident, found sherds, human bones, and stemmed bifaces
of chipped chert and fossil coral, the latter apparently dating
to the Mid-Archaic Period (ca. 5000-2000 B.C.). He found
them near northern Lemon Bay at the Gory site (8S024),
which was damaged by Intracoastal Waterway dredging.
Gory also found similar stemmed bifaces at an unrecorded
site, apparently uncovered by dredging in Englewood Isles
subdivision near Forked Creek.
In 1965-1966, crews supervised by Sarasota County
personnel dug in the Paulsen Point midden (8S023),
recovering materials that were analyzed by Ripley Bullen
(1971) (see below). In the mid-1970s, Vivian Harvey in
Charlotte County and Marion Almy in Sarasota County
obtained Florida Master Site File (FMSF) numbers for many
Lemon Bay sites (Almy 1976; Harvey 1976). In 1983, Bolen
points and other lithics dating to the Early Archaic Period
(ca. 8000-5000 B.C.) were found along a canal dredged in
the Rotonda subdivision near southern Lemon Bay (Hazel-
tine 1983).
In 1985, 1987, and 1989, limited archaeological mapping
and testing were conducted at the Mystery River Point site
(8S011), a shell midden on the northeastern shore of Lemon
Bay (Burger et al. 1986; Burger et al. 1992). In 1986, 1
obtained a small grant from the Archaeological and Histori
cal Conservancy of Miami to make a contour map of a sand
mound near Lemon Bay in Charlotte County (see below).
In the late 1980s, Jeffrey Mitchem included data from
several Lemon Bay sites in his descriptions of known Safety
Harbor Period sites (Mitchem 1989:213-218,222-224,239).
In December 1988, construction workers discovered the
Manasota Key Cemetery (see below).
In 1989, Joan Deming conducted an archaeological survey
of the Sarasota County portion of the Lemon Bay area as part
of a federally funded Coastal Zone grant project (Williams et
al. 1990). A tract at the northern end of Lemon Bay also was
surveyed at this time (Burger 1990). Soon after, David
Dickel (1991) completed an osteological study of human
skeletal remains from the Manasota Key Cemetery. In the
early 1990s, I assessed sites on Cedar Point (see Luer, this
volume) and visited a number of sites on Manasota Key and
elsewhere around Lemon Bay in preparation for this article.
Lemon Bay Sites
Sites around Lemon Bay can be placed in three groups: 1)
in Englewood on the mainland shore of northern and central
Lemon Bay, 2) on Manasota Key in Sarasota and Charlotte
counties, and 3) around southern Lemon Bay in Charlotte
County. The following sections describe and analyze several
of the areas significant sites.
Some Sites in Englewood
Englewood Mound (8S01). The Englewood Mound was
a dome-shaped sand mound near the Sarasota-Charlotte
County line (Figure 2), approximately 140 m (450 ft) from
the shore of Lemon Bay.3 The mound was a sizeable,
important burial mound with evidence of complex burial
In the early 1930s, the Englewood Mound measured 33 m
(110 ft) in diameter and 4 m (13 ft) in height, though erosion
and prior digging had decreased its height slightly. Two
large borrow pits lay along its northern and eastern edges.
The mound was destroyed by federal and state relief excava-
tions in 1934 (Stirling 1935:283-285; Willey 1949:126-135).
Today, archaeologists identify the Englewood Mound as
dating to the Englewood Phase, ca. A.D. 900-1100 (Luer
and Almy 1987:Figure 5; Mitchem 1989:216, 557-561;
Milanich 1994:389; Willey 1949:470-475). It is the earliest
phase of the Safety Harbor culture, a Mississippian-influ-
enced culture in west-central Florida, ca. A.D. 900-1725. As
discussed above, the Englewood Mounds varied types of
interments may indicate a simple chiefdom level of socio
political development.
Based on the 1934 excavations and subsequent analysis, a
scenario of mound construction can be described for the
Englewood Mound. Before construction began, the Indians
accumulated and stored human bones (especially long bones
and skulls), probably over many years in a charnel house. It
can be speculated that the Indians venerated such bones as
representing souls of the deceased, who may have been
mourned and consulted at the charnel house by surviving
relatives.4 At some point, the Indians began a burial se
quence, possibly in response to an event such as the death of
an important individual. They dug a large, shallow, north-
south pit (approximately 16 m [53 ft] north-south, 4.5-7.5 m
[15-25 ft] east-west, and .3-.75 m [1-2.5 ft] in depth). In the
pit, they placed a tightly packed mass interment of human
bones representing 124 burials, comprised of 34 bundle
burials (long bones and a skull), 87 single skulls, and 3
possible primary, flexed burials. They also placed some
sherds from broken pottery vessels in the pit (Willey
The Indians covered this mass interment with "a stratum
of red ocher several inches thick" and filled the pit with red
ocher mixed with sand ... to form a slight mound over the pit
and burial. Over this, they then built a sand mound
(approximately 1.2 m [5 ft] in height and 16.5 m [55 ft] in
diameter). In the mound, they placed many additional

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
burials accompanied by shells and broken pottery, all
probably having accumulated in the charnel house as
offerings to the deceased.
Apparently soon after the initial mound was built, the
Indians enlarged it considerably, adding more sand and
placing additional burials, shells (conchs and clams), and
pottery sherds in it. The Indians placed a total of at least 139
burials in the primary and secondary mounds (including 35
bundle, 78 skull, 16 flexed). Thousands of the sherds were
plain, with relatively few decorated fragments.
The pottery included pieces of chalky ware plain (Engle
wood Plain), sand-tempered plain, Belle Glade Plain, check-
stamped chalky ware (Biscayne or St. Johns Check Stamp
ed), Papys Bayou Punctated, Sarasota Incised, Englewood
Incised, and Safety Harbor Incised vessels (Florida Museum
of Natural History [FLMNH] cat. nos. 82145 and 99659;
United States National Museum nos. 383165-383189). The
Indians also placed several intact, or nearly intact, pottery
vessels near the mounds southern edge (Willey 1949:127-
135, 471-475, Plates 46-48).
The Englewood Mound apparently served as a community
burial place for Indians of the Lemon Bay area. They were
in communication with neighboring Indians, as indicated by
ceramics from the mound that are similar to ceramics from
other mounds in west-peninsular Florida. For example, a
fluted gourd-effigy vessel from the Englewood Mound
resembles others from Sarasota and DeSoto counties (Figure
Figure 3. Fluted, gourd-effigy vessels from west-central
Florida. Vessel on right is from the Englewood Mound
(from Luer 1996b:Figure 3).
Figure 4 shows an Englewood Incised beaker curated by
the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources
(SCDHR) in Sarasota.5 It is buff-colored and has fine sand
temper. Its large punctations were made with a hollow-
ended implement, such as a reed or bone, and its incised
lines are wide, shallow, and crude. The hole in the bottom
is broken along a coil line (Figure 4c). This Englewood
Incised beaker may be one of two pottery vessels shown in
situ in a 1934 field photo of excavations in the Englewood
Mound (Stirling 1935:Plate 3, photo 2). The photo shows
two vessels on their sides, each with a large basal hole. The
second vessel is pictured by Willey (1949:Plate 46b) and is
in the United States National Museum in Washington, D.C.
(no. 383166) (Willey 1949:598).
Paulsen Point Midden (8S023). A remnant of the Paulsen
Point Midden exists today in Indian Mound Park, a county-
owned park on the waterfront in Englewood (Figure 2).
Willey (1949:126) mentions the midden as a probable village
site associated with the Englewood Mound, which was
approximately 1 km (.6 mi) to the southeast.
Originally, the Paulsen Point midden was a long, relatively
narrow shell midden that paralleled the shore of Lemon Bay.
Its ridge-like form resembled a number of shell middens
along the shores of Manatee and Sarasota counties, reflecting
intensive use of the shoreline by the Indians (see Vanderbilt
site, below). As late as 1948 (Figure 5, top), most of the
midden was intact, and only a fishermans house, dock, and
net spread (a wooden rack for drying cotton fishnets) were
near the southern end of the site (United States Coast and
Geodetic Survey [U.S.C.G.S.] 1944). In the early 1950s,
however, the midden was damaged when a finger canal was
dredged across the eastern portion of the midden (United
States Department of Agriculture [U.S.D.A.] 1952b).
In 1953, William Plowden first recorded the Paulsen Point
midden as the Englewood Shell Midden (8S013), and he
might have made a small surface collection of sherds
(FLMNH cat. no. A2624). He noted that some of the midden
near its eastern end was partly hauled away (Plowden
1953a), probably by land developers. Around 1960, another
finger canal (called a drainage ditch in Figure 5, bottom)
was dug across the central stretch of the site.
Artificial fragmentation of the midden has led to the
appearance of several FMSF numbers and site names. In
1965, the western portion of the original Englewood Shell
Midden was re-recorded as the Paulsen Point midden
(8S023) (Chamberlen 1965). In 1976, the FMSF number
8S013 was shifted southward to a nearby midden, the
Davids site. In 1989, the central portion of the site was
recorded as the Paulsen Point Cemetery (8SO1360) on the
basis of human burials uncovered in the 1950s and early
1960s (Williams et al. 1990:19-20).
In 1965-1966, Sarasota County personnel conducted
excavations in the Paulsen Point midden. Ripley Bullen
analyzed recovered materials, including almost 27,000
pottery sherds. Most of the sherds were fragments of sand-
tempered plain vessels, used for cooking.6 He reported a
number of chipped-stone knives, bone tools, and shell tools,
including many perforated shells used as fishnet sinkers.
Based on these artifacts and their stratigraphic origins,
Bullen identified a small area in Test 4 (Level 5) that dated
to the terminal Archaic Period (ca. 1000-500 B.C.). In
contrast, most of the tests penetrated deposits dating to the
Manasota (ca. 500 B.C. A.D. 700) and late Weeden Island
periods (ca. A.D. 700-900). Bullen identified only a few
sherds as dating to the early-to-m id Safety Harbor Period (ca.
A.D. 900-1350) (Bullen 197L8-13).7
Zooarchaeological analyses were not conducted, but the
middens abundant fish and shellfish remains indicate an
intensive maritime economy. Some of the middens sherds

r /i V
Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay: Introduction
Figure 4. Englewood Incised pottery beaker: a) rollout of encircling band showing slightly more than 360 degrees and
incised pattern of four and a half diamonds; b) aperture from above (approximate only); c) hole broken in base; d) side
view. Curated by Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources (number 3668; also identified as Grantham
collection:GRAN 3).

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 5. Paulsen Point midden: top) 1948 aerial photograph showing point (U.S.D.A. 1948); bottom) 1965 contour map
of midden (from Bullen 1971).

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay: Introduction
Figure 6. Impacts to Paulsen Point: top) after spoil was placed around the site (based on Rader and Associates 1967);
bottom) after construction of houses and Indian Mound Park (based on GPS Aerial Services, Inc. 1995).

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
suggest contact with Indians of neighboring regions. For
example, Belle Glade Plain pottery may be a trade ware from
the Lake Okeechobee and Caloosahatchee regions to the east
and south, and the sites Pinellas Plain and St. Johns Check
Stamped pottery might have originated in the Tampa Bay
In 1965, the Paulsen Point midden was altered dramati
cally (Figure 6, top). Spoil dredged from the Intracoastal
Waterway was placed around it. Until that time, the western
portion of the midden was surrounded by mangroves and by
water during high tides.
Since 1965, the site has been degraded further. Excava
tions in 1966 (Test Pits 11-17, Figure 5, bottom) left a small
valley in the midden. Around 1970, a large part of the
midden was removed by land-clearing and construction of
roads and houses to the east of Indian Mound Park (Figure
6, bottom). This impacted the area where several archaeo
logical test pits were dug in 1965 (Test Pits 1,2,4, 7, and 8,
Figure 5, bottom). The area is presently occupied by houses
and yards at 271 and 291 Winson Avenue just east of Indian
Mound Park. These lots were platted as parts of Paulsen
Place subdivision (Sarasota County 1971).
Today, Indian Mound Park offers a public boat ramp plus
parking and picnic areas. The park also has an interpretive
footpath highlighting the midden and its native plants
(Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department 1986).8
Recent archaeobotanical research has identified remains of
many of these same kinds of plants in nearby shell middens,
such as the Shell Ridge Midden at Historic Spanish Point in
Sarasota County (Newsom 1998) and Big Mound Key in
Charlotte County (Scarry and Newsom 1992). These studies
show that many of the plants growing on the midden were of
economic importance to the Indians. These include mastic
and gumbo limbo, both of which are tropical trees that might
have been spread northward along the coast by Indians.
Some Sites on Manasota Key
Blind Pass Area
The Blind Pass area of mid-Manasota Key (Figure 2) had
a number of shell middens (Williams et al. 1990:31-40).
Most bordered the bay near dense hammocks of cabbage
palms, saw palmettos, and wind-sheared live oaks.
Blind Pass is often subject to beach erosion and washover
during storms.9 In 1943, erosion almost breached the key,
hindering transportation between its northern and southern
portions until 1955 when a road (still subject to frequent
erosion and washover) was built along the beach (Roberts
1978). In 1965, Blind Pass was altered drastically when a
large section of bayside mangroves (Alexander Island and
adjacent areas) was covered with spoil from the Intracoastal
Large residential lots have helped preserve the Blind Pass
area's natural beauty (Figure 7). In addition, Sarasota
Countys Blind Pass Park has helped preserve a ca. A.D.
1906 historic frame structure, The Hermitage. The Hermit
age overlooked the Gulf 10 and, in the yard among its
outbuildings, was a small shell midden, the Hermitage site
(8S01372) (Schwarz and Shepard 1993; Williams et al.
1991:33-35, 138).
Before bridges and roads began to provide access to the
Blind Pass area in the 1920s and 1930s, the Hermitage was
reached by boat, especially via docks on the bayside. The
docks and original shore are now covered by filled land and
have been impacted by mosquito-control ditches and road
The Indians also used the bayside as a landing at Blind
Pass, as indicated by the ridge-shaped Blind Pass Mid-
den/Bouffard Site (8S0399/S01371), southeast of the
Hermitage. This shell midden is in excellent condition and
may be the last, essentially intact midden on Manasota Key
(or any nearby barrier island). Because of this, and because
of its native vegetation (including gumbo limbo and stopper
trees), the Blind Pass Midden should be protected and
For Indians who used dugout canoes, the narrow beach at
Blind Pass might have been a portage between Lemon Bay
and the Gulf. Midden shells show that edible molluscs from
the bay and Gulf were gathered. For example, at the Hermit
age site (severely impacted by earthmoving in the summer of
1992), bay scallops, brown tulips, oysters, kings crowns, and
quahog clams probably were gathered from the bay whereas
most of the sites giant cockles, ponderous arks, surf clams,
and fighting conchs probably came from the Gulf. In
contrast were shells at the Ford site (8S01374), approxi
mately 1 km (.6 mi) to the north on the bayshore of Mana
sota Key. There, shells in several small, thin midden lenses
(destroyed by house construction in 1989) appeared to be
from shellfish gathered primarily in the bay.
Some Blind Pass middens may represent camps for taking
advantage of certain food resources. Vertebrae and other
remains from several of the middens show that sharks and
rays were caught. Both sharks and rays can form large
schools in the nearshore Gulf, often near or along the beach
and adjacent sand bars (e.g., Clark 1963, 1969:245-250),"
and their relatively large size would have made them
attractive catches (Widmer 1988:248). Loggerhead sea
turtles would have been easy to catch as they laid eggs on the
beach in summer. Other seasonal resources on Manasota
Key were sea grapes, prickly pear cactus fruits, and cabbage
palm and saw palmetto berries.
Perhaps some Blind Pass middens were camps for special
ized fishing in the nearshore Gulf. For example, grouper
could have been caught on rocky bottoms with hooks and
lines from dugout canoes. Such fish, as well as sharks and
sea turtles, might have been transported to base camps on the
mainland shore. Grouper bones have been reported from the
nearby Mystery River Point site to the northeast across
Lemon Bay (Traci Ardren, personal communication, 1992)
as well as from other shell middens dating to the Manasota
Period, at Venice and Sarasota, where grouper bones were
attributed to Gulf fishing (Fraser 1980:77, Table 2; Luer

1,1! ER
Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay: Introduction
Figure 7. Blind Pass area of Manasota Key, February 1993: top) looking south along the beach bordered by sea oats, sea
grapes, and cabbage palms; bottom) looking north at high tide along the mangrove shore of Lemon Bay, with Blind Pass
and Alexander Island in the distance.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Chadwick Beach Cemetery (8CH25)
The site was on southern Manasota Key, at what is now
called Englewood Beach (Figure 2). Today, the area has
been developed intensively as a public beach, condominiums,
and businesses, including restaurants and stores catering to
winter visitors.
In the late 1800s, Stump Pass was a short distance south of
Englewood Beach (Figure 8), shifting 1.6 km (1 mi) south
ward in the early 1900s (Reynolds 1976).12 At that time,
most of the Lemon Bay area was wilderness and so the area
near Stump Pass, which could be reached by boat, was a
focus of human activity. It was the location of the Dishong
Fish Camp, where workers caught and salted fish for export.
As the Lemon Bay area became more accessible in the
early 1900s, the Chadwick brothers bought and expanded the
fish camp, making it a receiving and storage station (ice
house) for fish caught in Lemon Bay. Thirty fishermen
supplied fish, and millions of pounds were iced and shipped
to Punta Gorda and then transported northward by rail
(Cortes 1976:29-31; Williams and Cleveland 1993:155-157,
During the Florida Land Boom in the 1920s, the Chadwick
brothers decided to sell land on Manasota Key, which was
still undeveloped and sparsely inhabited. They built a
pavilion, cottages, and a wooden toll bridge connecting the
mainland to the key (Ainger 1992:10-12). Near the fish
house, they subdivided an area just north of a cove and boat
landing (Figure 8). In April 1926, a burial site was discov
ered when work began on a new street in the planned
subdivision, named Chadwick Beach.
According to a newspaper account (Anonymous 1926a),
the site was about 500 feet from the Gulf and was covered
with cabbage palms and scrub palmettos. It was found by a
worker using a horse-drawn scraper to clear and level land
while creating Jane Street. After the worker unearthed a
number of skulls and other bones, land-clearing ceased
As news of the discovery spread, curious people traveled
from the mainland by boat to see the site (the bridge from the
mainland to Chadwick Beach was not built until 1927). One
visitor removed two skulls and took them to the Smithsonian
Institution in Washington, D.C. where he was told that they
were from American Indians, one with evidence of syphilis
(Anonymous 1926a, 1926b; Cortes 1976:31, 123; Williams
and Cleveland 1993:157-159, 398).
Burials were found in beach sand in an area some fifty
feet long and eight to ten feet wide. The newspaper
reported that nearly 100 skulls were uncovered. Many
teeth were much worn. Burials included adults and a
large number of children (similar to the Manasota Key
Cemetery, see below). No artifacts were reported (Anony
mous 1926a, 1926b).'4
Today, available data do not allow a determination of the
Chadwick Beach Cemeterys age and cultural affiliation.
However, its numerous burials in a small area, and its lack
of artifacts, resemble the Manasota Key Cemetery.
Manasota Key Cemetery (8S01292)
This site was discovered when construction workers found
human bones in December, 1988, at 7290 Manasota Key
Road in Sarasota County (Figure 2). Today, a large house
occupies the site (Figure 9). Before the house was built, the
site was a sandy beach ridge covered with cabbage palms and
wind-sheared live oaks. Along the beach immediately west
of the site are The Rocks, a large outcrop of beachrock
where some people like to fish.
Numerous volunteers excavated and mapped burials at the
site from mid-December 1988 through March 1989. Excava
tions were limited to an area landward (east) of the Coastal
Setback Line, and north of the southern property boundary.
Some additional burials may still be to the west and south of
the excavated area.
The salvage work uncovered many intact interments, all
apparently lacking associated grave goods (Dobens 1988).
A few possible exceptions were an occasional adult fighting
conch shell at the mouth of some crania. Four radiocarbon
dates produced a mean age of 1730 radiocarbon years B.P.,
or about A.D. 200 (Bennett 1989; Dickel 1991:2).15 This
and other evidence (e.g., primary flexed burials in a ceme
tery) are consistent with the site dating to the Manasota
Period (Luer and Almy 1982).
An osteological analysis of human bones from the Mana
sota Key Cemetery gives an unprecedented glimpse of age
and health among Lemon Bay area Indians, 1800 years ago.
Biological anthropologist David Dickel (1991) identified the
remains of 120 individuals from the site. Approximately 34
percent (41 individuals) were subadults, less than 18 years of
age. Many were less than 3 years of age, showing a high rate
of infant mortality. This suggests a high rate of fertility,
stabilized by high childhood mortality (Dickel 1991:9, 20,
The remaining 79 individuals were adults, including 24
males, 17 females, and 38 of undetermined sex (Figure 10).
Estimates of adult height revealed a marked difference
between sexes, with males having an average height of 166.5
cm (5 ft, 5.5 in) and females having an average height of
157.2 cm (5 ft, 1.9 in) (Dickel 1991:9, 31, 65).
Adult life expectancy was low, with a mean adult age
(probably slightly underestimated) of approximately 29 years.
The population appears to have been well-nourished and
relatively free of disease. There was no evidence of cranial
or other artificial deformation. Teeth were used almost
exclusively for chewing, and dental caries were very rare. A
number of adults (9 of 68 individuals) had suffered a frac
tured forearm during life, possibly resulting from falls or
blows. Many adults appear to have suffered from accumu
lated wear and tear, such as broken and infected bones,
antemortem tooth loss, and degenerative joint disease (Dickel
1991:31,43-50, 150-151).
Most burials had been interred in the flesh (primary
burials) in fetal (flexed) positions, commonly on their left
side (Dickel 1991:150) and facing to the north or west. The
mode of burial did not differ based on sex. This undiffer-

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay; Introduction
Figure 8. Englewood Beach, Stump Pass, and Chadwick Beach: Top) maps showing the southward shift of Stump Pass
between 1895 and 1975. Heavy arrow points to area ofl926 Chadwick Beach subdivision (darkened). Based on Reynolds
(1976) and U.S.C.G.S. (1883); Bottom) map showing present-day Englewood Beach with stippled area of Jane Street
showing general location of Chadwick Beach Cemetery (see text and footnote). Based on Charlotte County (1926,1961,

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 9. Manasota Key Cemetery (8S01292), February 1993: top) view of natural vegetation near the southern edge
of the site; bottom) house built on top of site.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay: Introduction
Manasota Key Cemetery
Sex (n=38)
Adult Male
Figure 10. Pie chart showing age and sex of burials at the Manasota Key Cemetery. Adults are 18 years
of age or older. Data are from Dickel (1991).
entiated mode of simple burial suggests an egalitarian or
band-level social organization.
Some Sites in Charlotte County
Sand Mound (8CH55)
This mound is near the southern end of Lemon
Bay, about 50 m (165 ft) north of Panama Boulevard
(Figure 2). It is approximately 140-150 m (450-500
ft) east of a shell midden (8CH54) along the bay,
which has been impacted by the Intracoastal Water
way and other dredging and filling. Farther west,
across the bay, was a now-closed inlet, Bocilla Pass,
that separated Knight Island (to the north) from Don
Pedro Island (to the south) in the late 1800s (Davis
and Gibeaut 1990:20,49; U.S.C.G.S. 1883).
The mound is one of the last of seven recorded
sand mounds that existed close to Lemon Bay (Table
3). It supports a dense patch of scrubby pine flat-
woods that is clearly shown on an 1892 plat of the
area (Grove City Land Company 1892). The mound
was recorded in 1953 by William Plowden (1953c).
The southern third of the mound was exposed by
land-clearing in March, 1986. On a later visit with
the author, John Beriault (1987) found a portion of
a stone plummet pendant on the mounds cleared
surface. The plummet was fashioned from very fine
grained sandstone and shows fine workmanship,
having been ground smooth and polished. It has a
single, shallow groove for suspension and a narrow
neck, with shoulders, that widens to a central portion
with a flat side.
A low-lying area immediately south and west of
the mound also was cleared to make a parking lot for the
Palm Island Ferry. More than 350 sand-tempered plain
sherds were recovered from the sandy surface of this cleared
area. Many were of moderate thickness (7-10 mm) and
many were thick (12-17 mm). The latter included rim sherds
with slightly inward-curving rims and tapered, rounded lips
resembling some from the Roberts Bay site (8S056) in
Table 3. Some Lemon Bay sand mounds. Most of these seven sand
burial mounds recorded near southern Lemon Bay are destroyed
today. List runs from north to south.
Approximate Dimensions
(in ft) and Condition
8S014, Lamp
100 x 100 x 7, impacted
Plowden 1953d
8S01, Englewood
110 x 110 x 13, destroyed
Willey 1949
8CH7, Lemon Bay
School Mound
200 x 75 x 10, destroyed
Bullen and
Bullen 1963
8CH22, Mound in
Grove City
200 x 50 x 6, destroyed
Plowden 1953d
8CH26, Mound
near Cedar Point
unknown, destroyed
8CH55, Sand
110x110x3, trenched
this article
8CH46, Mound
east of The
75 x 75 x 5
Plowden 1953 d

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 11. Plane-table contour map of 8CH55 sand mound, February 1987. The elevation of 100 cm is assumed; contour
intervals are 20 cm, with some intermediate contours shown. Points A and B determine an azimuth line. Point A
is 38 m and Point B is 54 m north of traverse point 183943 (a numbered telephone pole) on Panama Boulevard. Low-
lying areas to the mounds west, north, and east are borrow pits.
Sarasota (Luer and Almy 1980:Figure 3). The sherds may
date to ca. 300 B.C. A.D. 500, and may be associated with
the sand mound and the nearby shell midden, 8CH54, on the
shore of Lemon Bay.
Figure 11 shows that the sand mound was approximately
33 m (110 ft) in diameter and 1 m (3 ft) in height, though it
is slightly higher when viewed from low-lying land to the
south. This plane-table map was drawn in February 1987 by
the late Joe Long (a surveyor retired from the U.S. Geologi
cal Survey), with Art Lee as rod man, both members of the
Southwest Florida Archaeological Society. The mapping
disclosed somewhat rectilinear contours (rather than circu
lar).16 Borrow pits are visible near the mounds edge, to the
west, north, and east.
It appears that looters dug into the northeastern and central
portions of the mound, perhaps in the 1950s or 1960s. What
appears to be an old trench, now mostly filled, is visible as a
swale on the contour map (Figure 11). The trench runs
northeast-southwest, turning southward in the center of the
mound where old, eroded spoil piles still exist. The maps
highest elevations (224 cm, 251 cm) are the tops of these
piles near the center of the mound. Here, artifacts were
recovered from the surface: several sand-tempered plain
sherds; two eroded, left quahog valves; an eroded, large, left-
handed whelk shell; and several other eroded shell frag

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay: Introduction
Figure 12. 1951 aerial photograph of the Vanderbilt site and Little Gasparilla Pass (now closed). Arrow points to the
location of the Bullens Tests I and III. Compare with Figure 14. (Enlargement of U.S.D.A. 1951).
Based on the contour map and artifacts recovered, 8CH55
appears to be a burial mound. Though its age and cultural
affiliation are uncertain, it should be considered a significant
site in need of preservation. As a burial monument, it is
worthy of our profound respect and is protected by Chapter
872.05 Florida Statute, which makes it a felony to disturb the
mound and its vegetation.
Vanderbilt site (8CH12)
The site consisted of four long, narrow shell middens
bordering the shore of Placida Harbor immediately south of
Lemon Bay. A tidal inlet, Little Gasparilla Pass, was west of
the site (Figure 12) until it closed in the mid-1950s (Davis
and Gibeaut 1990:20, 49).
Figure 13 shows the four middens before and after they
were impacted by dredging and filling to create the Cape
Haze subdivision in 1954. The southeast comer of the
subdivision became the location of the Cape Haze Marine
Laboratory (CHML) from January 1955 through January
1960 (Clark 1969; Clark and von Schmidt 1965:1). The
marine lab was near the shore of the easternmost midden,

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
very close to where the Bullens had excavated in February
1954. Further impact to remnants of the easternmost midden
occurred around 1960 when a finger canal was dredged
through it and additional fill was placed along the shore,
covering the dock and shark pen where CHML had been
located (see aerial photographs in Clark 1969 and Peeples
The Bullens (1956:1, 7-12) dug three test pits (Figure 13)
in the easternmost midden, which was on a sandy berm
forming a small spit.17 The tests uncovered plain sherds and
shell tools (FLMNH cat. nos. 96105-96120), suggesting that
the site dated to Weeden Island and Safety Harbor-influenced
times, ca. A.D. 800-1500. Most of the shell tools were for
pounding or hammering tasks, probably including the
shucking of shellfish. The Bullens observed shells from 23
mollusc species in the midden, but zooarchaeological
remains (shells, fish bones, etc.) were not retained for
At the Vanderbilt site, the Bullens found many unper
forated fighting conch shell hammers, a situation resembling
the Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096) in Sarasota, which dates
to ca. A.D. 150 (Luer 1992b:247, 249). Based on these
hammers, it is possible that much of the Vanderbilt site also
may date to ca. A.D. 150, earlier than the Bullens estimate.
The long, narrow shapes of the Vanderbilt middens
suggest that they were formed by the Indians activities along
Figure 13. Vanderbilt site before and after dredging and filling. Midden contours are in feet above mean low tide, with

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay: Introduction
the waters edge. There, they landed canoes, shucked
shellfish, cleaned fish, and also might have had dwellings.
Cross-sectional studies ofmidden accumulation at the nearby
Turtle Bay 3 site (8CH39) and at the Palmetto Lane Midden
in Sarasota suggest such an interpretation (Bullen and Bullen
1956:29, Figure 4; Luer 1992b:246).
Lemon Bay Indians used maritime resources and devel
oped increasingly complex social organization. Changes in
burial customs from ca. A.D. 200-1250 suggest a shift from
egalitarian to more complex groups, probably with a simple
chiefdom form of social organization appearing sometime
after ca. A.D. 700. Sites around Lemon Bay range from the
late or terminal Archaic Period (ca. 2000-500 B.C.) through
the Safety Harbor Period (ca. A.D. 900-1725). They include:
1) small, shallow shell middens apparently representing
camps; 2) moderate- to large-sized village shell middens
paralleling the shore; 3) cemeteries; 4) roughly circular or
slightly rectilinear sand burial mounds with low dome-like
shapes; and 5) large, ridge-shaped, sand mounds, probably
for burial. Around 1950, seven sand mounds were recorded
near the shore of Lemon Bay, but today only two or three
remain. Other sites have suffered similarly. All need
preservation and greater appreciation.
middens ranging from 2 to 4 ft in maximum elevation. Based on Cape Haze Corporation (1955) and Green (1954).

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
1 Beachrock forms through a natural process of lithification as a beachs sand
and seashells become cemented together with calcium carbonate. It can form
relatively rapidly, and is often only several hundred to several thousand years
old (e.g., Ginsburg 1953). Beachrock is common along barrier islands in the
Lemon Bay and Sarasota areas. It occurs along Longboat, Siesta, Casey, and
Manasota keys, and along Gasparilla Island. A well-known outcrop is Point-of-
Rocks at mid-Siesta Key.
Similar points, termed cuspate spits, grow as winds and waves transport
sediment along the shores ofnarrow, shallowbays(e.g., Price 1964; Zenkovitch
J In 1989, an informant reported that the Englewood Mound was near First
Avenue and McCall Road (Williams et al. 1990:19). This report is consistent
with Willeys (1949:126) mention of the mound being .4 mi (.64 km) north of
the county line. The location is a short distance southwest of historic Lemon
Bay Cemetery (8S01358), a local landmark on a well-drained sand ridge.
Though now-occupied by houses and shady yards, an area just southeast ofFirst
Avenue and McCall Road appears to match field photos taken in the 1930s
(Willey 1949:Plate 5). One view shows the mound before excavation, with
sand pines in the background. This apparently looks eastward along a sandy
ridge ofwell-drained ground, which is visible today running under Englewoods
Indiana Avenue (State Road 775) where it joins elevated land supporting sand
pine and rosemary scrub (see Luer and Morris [ 1991:14] for a map showing the
extent of the scrub).
4 Such bone bundles might have had similarities to soul or spirit bundles
described in accounts of upper Midwest and Plains Indians (see Hall 1997:24-
Besides the Englewood Incised beaker, another vessel curated by SCDHR
(Grantham col lection: GRAN 6) may be from the Englewood Mound. It is a
plain, chalky ware vessel (11 cm in height and 24 cm in diameter) matching
Willeys (1949:474) description of Englewood Plain. Its form is almost
identical to an Englewood Incised vessel from north of Tampa Bay (Willey
1949:Figure 61). It should be noted, however, that both this and SCDHRs
Englewood Incised beaker might have come from the Whitaker Mound
^8S081) in Sarasota (Luer 1992a:228).
6 Bullen (1971) applied the term Englewood Plain to most of the sherds from
the midden, but today they would be classified as sand-tempered plain.
7 Bullens data have been useful in a syntheses of ceramics (Luer and Almy
1980), in a definition of the Manasota culture (Luer and Almy 1982), and in an
analysis of the geographic distribution of Belle Glade Plain pottery (Luer
1989:Table 2).
It should be noted (so that future archaeologists do not mistake them for
ancient postholes) that many sizeable, sign-bearing posts have been set deeply
into the midden along this footpath.
9 The 1940s-1950s washover at Blind Pass (U.S.D.A. 1952a) was similar to
the 1920s washover at the Narrows at mid-Gasparilla Island, near Boca Grande
(see Edic, this volume).
10 Continuing erosion and shore recession forced Sarasota County work crews
to move The Hermitage landward in the summer of 1992. This was in the nick
of time because, during the Storm of the Century in March 1993, waves
washed over the beach where the building originally stood, cutting into the
beach ridge and toppling cabbage palms into the Gulf.
Schools of rays are common along the areas beaches in the summer. Other
fish can make massive schools during certain seasons, such as mullet in the late
Fall (e g., Edic 1996:108-122).
In tracing dramatic geomorphic changes at Stump Pass from 1884 through
1975, Reynolds (1976) emphasizes the role of hurricanes, a number of which
made landfall in the area.
A long list of destroyed aboriginal burial sites in Charlotte, Sarasota, and
Manatee counties could be made, beginning in the late 1800s and continuing to
the present. For instance, the Chadwick Beach Cemetery was destroyed in April
1926, just a month after the Brookside Mound was destroyed in Sarasota, and
six years before the Laurel Mound (near Venice) and eight years before the
Englewood Mound were destroyed.
14 Based on an informant, Plowden (1953b) recorded the Chadwick Beach
Cemetery as near Woods Cottages in an area that is today east of Englewood
Beach and north of a small cove called Kettle Harbor. The original plat of
Chadwick Beach subdivision (Charlotte County 1926) and a 1952 aerial
photograph (U.S.D.A. 1952c) show that Jane Street corresponds to a section of
todays State Road 776 running from the western end of the Lemon Bay bridge
to Manasota Key Road (Ralph Street). Since the burials were reported as
approximately 500 feet from the 1926 Gulf shoreline, the site probably was
near the entrance to todays replatted Englewood Beach Villas (Charlotte
County 1976).
15 It should be noted that the Manasota Key Cemetery is approximately the
same age as the Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096) in Sarasota (Luer 1992b). The
people who were buried at the Manasota Key Cemetery probably had an
economy and material culture similar to those at the Palmetto Lane midden.
16 Rectilinear contours also were recorded for the Tatham Mound (8CI203), a
sand burial mound north of Tampa Bay (Mitchem 1989).
The Bullens (1956:7,12) refer to this berm as a dune. Inspection of aerial
photographs (e.g., U.S.D.A. 1951b) show that the berm was created by erosion
and deposition associated with Little Gasparilla Pass. The berm is at the
northern end of an arc-shaped stretch of eroded shoreline extending to Placida.
Kay Eddy and Helen Vanderbilt pointed out some sites on Manasota Key.
Anita and Max Jones shared information about the Aqui Esta Mound. Robert
Carr and other Board members of the Archaeological and Historical Conser
vancy, of Miami, supported work at the 8CH55 sand mound. Art Lee, Joe
Long, John Beriault, Bill Steele, and Bob Edic helped in the field at 8CH55,
which landowners Ormand Dixon and Steve Bush kindly allowed us to map.
Outdoorsman Edwin Woolverton shared his interest in the Lemon Bay area.
Realtor Jon Thaxton of Sarasota helped obtain plat maps of Chadwick Beach
and the vicinity of Indian Mound Park. Scott Mitchell produced the pie chart
of burials at the Manasota Key Cemetery. Jerald Milanich at the Florida
Museum of Natural History provided access to Ripley Bullens file on the
Vanderbilt site. He also provided helpful review comments, as did Louis Tesar
and Ryan Wheeler.
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Analogy and Aboriginal Canoe Use in Southwest Florida
Charles Blanchard
399 Main Streep Coventry Connecticut^ 06238
In this paper, I present an examination of canoe naviga
tion in one area of southwest Florida. This produces
important insights for archaeologists who want a better
understanding of settlement, catchment areas, and how
Florida Indians used dugout canoes. I offer insights on the
careful planning required in using canoes for subsistence and
travel, the size of catchment areas when canoes are used, and
how coastal Indian sites were often situated advantageously
for canoes.
Theory: Experiment and Analogy
I am an analogist, not a recreator. While there has been
considerable debate on the role of analogy in archaeological
interpretation and hypothesis testing (e.g., Ascher 1961;
Binford 1985; Gould 1978, 1980; Gould and Watson 1982),
I assume that the knowledge I gain from my experiences and
experiments can, within limits, be projected by general and
specific analogy to past aboriginal situations.
I have worked with all kinds of hand-paddle craft, includ
ing traditional dugout, bark-bound, and hide-bound water
craft as well as modem canvas, aluminum, fiberglass, and
plastic canoes and kayaks. My experience has been in the
United States and Canada as well as abroad. Thus, I know
that open canoes (as opposed to enclosed craft such as
kayaks, Poke-boats, and Fol-boats) operate and are affected
in ways that are most closely analogous to the ways aborigi
nal dugout watercraft were operated and affected.
There is evidence that many present-day conditions along
the coast of southwest Florida are analogous to those of the
areas recent past (here defined as approximately 350 to 1500
years ago). For example, archaeobotanical and zooarchaeo-
logical remains from local archaeological sites (e.g., Kozuch
1991; Newsom 1991) show that the same kinds of plants and
animals existed in the recent past as today, and this suggests
a similar climate. The climates weather and winds affect the
surface conditions of coastal waters, as do the tides. Tidal
range is slight along this coast, with normal maximum
spring tides of approximately 60 to 90 cm. Such small tides
appear to be like those of the recent past, judging by the
shape and character of the Gulf of Mexico basin. Thus, many
of the areas environmental conditions that directly influence
my use of a canoe appear to be similar to those of the recent
Finally, I also use archaeological evidence in my canoe
field work. For example, I often encounter Indian shell
middens along the shores of bays and creeks in southwest
Florida. These sites contain abundant evidence of fishing and
shellfish gathering, showing that Indians used the areas
shores and waters intensively.
Methodology: A Note About Paddle Craft
The boats employed for this research were open fiberglass,
polymer, or aluminum canoes, 5 to 5.6 m (16.5 to 18.5 ft)
long (Figure 1). They were usually keelless; that is, they
lacked the raised ridge running from bow to stem along the
middle of the outer hull which distinguishes keeled canoes.
No kayaks or covered (enclosed) boats were used. Covered
and keeled paddle craft require markedly different naviga
tional strategies than do open, smooth-hulled canoes,
especially under circumstances of difficult or deteriorating
water-travel conditions.
When keelless canoes and dugout craft are underway, the
effect of a keel is created by the continuous strategic adjust
ment of the stem paddlers weight fore and aft, and from side
to side relative to the bow paddler and/or the position of the
load being carried. Smooth-bottomed dugout craft, particu
larly if they are waterlogged from steady use, weigh more
than modem fiberglass or aluminum canoes and may draft a
little deeper. But, in motion, the stem-weight-adjustment
principle creates the keel in the same way. The precolumbian
Florida vessels I have examined, and others I have seen in
photographs, are all open, wooden, dugout canoes without
keels (Newsom and Purdy 1990). Thus, I have chosen to use
open and, when possible, keelless modem paddle craft to
conduct my experiments, knowing that they are reasonably
similar to ancient paddle craft.
I routinely carry a two- to five-day supply of drinking
water in three one-gallon jugs, instant coffee, granola, an all
purpose cast-iron pot, towels, an impermeable groundcloth,
a blanket, a thick-bladed knife, hand lines and hooks, and a
35-mm camera. I usually travel alone, though I have been
joined by colleagues. I maintain field notes (e.g., Blanchard
1986), and often give public talks. A number of accounts
presenting my canoe perspectives have appeared in Florida
books, newspapers, and newsletters (Blanchard 1989a,
1989b, 1993a, 1993b, 1995:75-78; Lollar 1992).
On the coast of New England where I spent summers of
NO. 14
Florida Anthropological Society Publication

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 1. The boats employed for this research were open fiberglass,
polymer, or aluminum canoes.
the tide was running strongly and I lost control of
the bow, I would be swept out into the bay no
matter how hard I swore or pulled on my paddle.
It was wiser to beach the canoe and walk it around
or wait for conditions to ease. Often I waited, and
passed the time by throwing rocks at the scrub oak
in the cleft of the boulder offshore.
In 1974, on a nostalgic visit to that summer
estuary of my youth, I noticed that the scrub oak
was gone from the boulder and that the fissure lay
widened and empty. I mentioned this to an old
friend, and he took me to the town library where
an assemblage of 32 projectile points representing
3000 years was displayed in a dim alcove. High
school students some years back had scaled the
boulder with pitons, yanked up the scrub oak, and
found points among its roots. They then mined the
fissure until they cleaned it out. But some sense of
wonder and mystery prevailed because they turned
part of the cache over to the town historian who
put it in a safe comer of the library, provenienced
but uninterpreted.
I surmise that many times in the last 3000
years, coastal travelers in smooth-hulled dugouts
or canoes had waited on the wind on the cobble
shore and passed the time by using the fissure, or
perhaps a perched bird, as a target. Perhaps they
threw beach pebbles, too, (I would like to have
seen the entire assemblage) and launched occa
sional atlatl darts and, later, arrows. At least 32
times in all those centuries they struck the mark.
The implication of this anecdote has profoundly
influenced my canoe work. If one travels in the
right sort of boat, at the right speed, under the
micro-conditions dictated by the choices of such
travel, a vast and wholly explicable chapter of
aboriginal life opens up. This is the spirit which
has driven my research in Florida.
Canoe Field Work
my boyhood and learned the skills of open-water canoe
travel, there was a tidewom, breeze-blown capelet, scarcely
a wen on the otherwise smooth face of the bayshore, that was
known as Pull-and-be-Damned Point. Twenty meters
offshore of this spot sat a gargantuan, steep-sided boulder,
fissured on its shoreward crest. The fissure was protected
enough and had enough soil to support sea oats, wild roses,
and a dwarfed scrub oak of great age.
Sail and motorcraft steered wide of Pull-and-be-Damn
ed, and a rare kayak, Poke-boat, or Fol-boat zipped around
it or through the pass between boulder and shore. But I, in
my smooth-bottomed, canvas canoe, was usually forced to
pull up on the cobbled shore of the point or in the lee of the
boulder to see what the wind and tide were doing. It was
always gusty there, even on generally still days, and careless
navigation could slap the bow of the canoe right around. If
The canoe work I describe below is a composite of approxi
mately forty trips of one-half-day to two-week duration,
conducted over 15 years, during November, February, and
March 1981-1996. The study area (Figure 2) is Lemon Bay
and adjacent waters to the north and south. The time of year
Table 1. A guide for estimating wind speeds based on water
conditions in the field.
Water Conditions
Wind Speed
0 to 5 knots
5 to 12 knots
white caps
12 to 15 knots
white caps with foam
15+ knots

Canoe Analogy
Figure 2. The study area extends from the southern end
of Sarasota Bay to Venice, then through Lemon Bay to
the northwestern edge of Charlotte Harbor.
is mid-February for which I have the most data. Travel is at
all hours. Wind directions are based on my notes and a 10-
year local record (Mote Marine Laboratory 1992).
Day 1: Underway Sarasota to Venice
Canoe launch is at daybreak from the Old Oak site
(8S051), a Native American shell midden on the mainland
shore near the south end of Sarasota Bay (Figure 3). This
place has a fair view of the sky and I disturb a heron stalking
fish along the shore. (Rawk! says the heron. Rawk!
Rawk! Surely there is an onomatopoeic connection way
back there somewhere in the Greco-Roman roots of the word,
raucous.) Breakfast is a generous portion of coffee-laced
granola and hot water. I thrive on this portable, storable,
invigorating wayfood.
Light is just coloring the sky. What breeze there is comes
from the southeast, as it usually does between major weather
Figure 3. Day 1: Southern Sarasota Bay to Venice Beach.
systems in February. That there is a breeze at all at first light
means that it will increase to 10-15 knots (1 knot = 1.6
nautical km per hour; see Table 1) after sunrise and blow at

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 4. A view over the bow of my canoe.
that speed through the morning hours at least. This will
influence my route of travel southward. I have no time
constraints, but would like to be in my next camp on Venice
Beach by late afternoon.
I set myself in an upright kneeling position on the floor of
the canoe, in the stem (Figure 4). There are two paddles
aboard, one 2 m in length, the other, a meter and l/3rd, and
there is a 3-m-long poling shaft. The choice today is the 2 m
paddle which is best suited to mid-low and incoming tides.
I paddle beneath the north Siesta Key bridge and through
a small group of mangrove islands before crossing Roberts
Bay. I encounter more mangrove islands at the mouth of
Phillippi Creek, and pass more shell middens at the Roberts
Bay (8S056), Martin (8S057), and Prodie (8S0617) sites.
There is a large oyster reef just south of Phillippi Creek
mouth on the east shore of the bay. If shellfish were edible
here, 1 would cull two substantial feeds of large oysters as the
first task of the morning, stowing them evenly in the forward
third of the canoe as ballast and trim. (I use the water jugs
for the same purpose this morning.) In cleaner waters, that
is always a priority task. To have a well-trimmed craft and
two good meals aboard, plus dried wayfood as back-up,
means that the days living is already made, and travel and
work possibilities are expanded.
I paddle south along the oyster reef noting the size and
plentifulness of the pollution-tainted oysters, unharvested for
decades. Stickney Point, a narrows with a draw-bridge,
comes into view as I round the south end of the reef and get
a sense of the force of the southeast breeze for the first time.
It is increasing to 7 or 8 knots with the sunrise, and I test the
trim of the canoe against the surface conditions over the
course of this open stretch.
Destination strategy is a constant process of analysis and
readjustment in an open canoe. It is always a matter of how
much work one is willing to do or is capable of performing.
By the time I reach Stickney Point and can see beyond the
bridge into Little Sarasota Bay, the wind is around 10 knots
and still strengthening. I choose to run up close along the
east (lee) shore all morning instead of going head-to-head
with the wind down the middle of the bay. I pass more
Indian archaeological sites, including the Indianola midden
(8S069), the Ralston Mound (8S083/446), and Vamo sites
(8S028, 8S01351) on the east edge of the bay and the
Midnight Pass-Lucke midden (8S07/1376) on the west
shore, but since the real focus of this excursion is Lemon
Bay, 1 move on. This course takes me by the mouth of North
Creek and to Historic Spanish Point, a preserve that protects
the Palmer archaeological site (8S02). I do pause here to
observe the Indian shell middens (dating from ca. 2000 B.C.
to A.D. 1700) from the viewpoint of Midnight Pass, now no
longer open to the Gulf, but once an access to Gulf waters
and one reason for the long aboriginal inhabitance of the
Palmer site.
South of the Palmer site, I continue to hug the eastern, lee
shore, passing the Osprey Point midden (8S059). By late
morning, I am well on my run to the Blackburn Point swing
Sometimes a prevailing wind will fall off for an hour or so
at midday, seducing an inexperienced voyager to commit to
a direct, open-water route. More often than not, the afternoon

Canoe Analogy
Figure 5. Out of the wind and at the end of the days run.
wind returns with a vengeance and the neophyte is pinned
down, wet and miserable, like a bug on some hostile,
windward shore.
The southeast wind is steady at 12 to 14 knots today and
Im not tempted. The moon at sunset last night was a sliver
barely past new. The tide, which on most other moons would
be low on this morning, is not very low at all and will be
coming in all day. There will be a very high tide around 9:00
p.m. followed by a prolonged, very low tide tomorrow. This
information comes from no tide chart or weather page, but
from several years of observation of the wind and moon just
after it is new in southwest Florida in February. Over a
lifetime such information would be indelibly etched and
teachable. Over a thousand years it would be virtually
intuitive and could be conveyed to others by the slightest
shrug of the head toward last nights sunset moon followed
by a brief nod of understanding (or by a simple, richly
metaphorical symbol or motif).
After a short break at Blackburn Point, I tuck in against
the leeward east shore of Dryman Bay to avoid the wind. As
I make my way southward, I see a dark line of disturbed
water crossing the bay. This is the wind tunneling down
South Creek at its overland pace. I realize that I will have to
swim the canoe across the creek mouth or be blown to the
windward shore.
Once across and back in the canoe, Blackburn Bay opens
out and its east shore curves gently around in a 5-km arc that
ends where the south Casey Key bridge crosses to the public
beach. Blackburn Bay midden (8S01357) is about two-thirds
of the way down that arc, and a friend of mine used to live
there. I stop to inspect the midden, but the people who live
there now look faintly hostile to me. As no doubt they did in
ancient times, shore people move around and congenial
anchorages change.
Over the last third of the way through Blackburn Bay, the
only paddleable route is the narrow, wind-free alley close by
the mangroves and seawalls on the east shore. This path
works well for Lyons Bay also, until I reach the end of the
point that separates Lyons from Dona Bay and the mouth of
Shackett Creek. This is complicated water with difficult
currents produced by the tidal in-flow and out-flow of Venice
Inlet. Prehistorically, this was the southernmost point in the
long system of estuarine baylets and narrows running
uninterruptedly from Sarasota to Venice.
The tide is coming in at the inlet, and where it meets the
windblown water coming out of the bays, a dangerous riptide
has formed. Wading, I walk the canoe hallway up the north
shore of Dona Bay, then launch and paddle in a southwest
erly parabola that cuts in back of the rip, across the south
easterly wind, and brings me into the safety of the little bay

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
behind Venice Beach.
Day 1 (continued): At Venice
Out of the wind at last and at the end of the days run, the
bow of the canoe comes ashore (Figure 5) just north of the
midden at the Venice Beach site (8S026). The middens
ancient oyster shell is mute testimony to the food productivity
of Shakett Creek and Dona Bay long ago. The large size of
the Venice Beach site suggests that this was not only a local
settlement, but also a destination for canoe traffic from north
and south in aboriginal times. The site was the north end of
a gulf side passage between the Sarasota and the Lemon Bay-
Charlotte Harbor estuary systems.
How did people make their way by canoe from here to the
northernmost reaches of Lemon Bay? The journey was not a
simple matter because a headland blocked their way, requir
ing a transit via the Gulf. Moreover, inlets allowing passage
between the bay and Gulf often were lacking on either side
of the headland. Before the artificial Venice Jetties kept a
passage open, the Venice Beach site easily could have been
a haulover. Indeed, in 1828 an American explorer ob
served that across this narrow isthmus there is a haulover,
of about a hundred yards (Williams 1962:25). Similarly, a
chart dated 1774 by Romans (Williams 1986:150,1989:Fig-
ure 3) and another by Jefferys (1775) label a Hawl Over at
the north end of Lemon Bay.
Gulf travel, especially in a laden canoe, is hazardous at any
time. But there are conditions that make the Gulf look quite
deceptively benign, such as a strong, southeasterly wind
blowing offshore as is happening now.
I secure the canoe around 4:30 p.m. and pack my sleeping
gear across the ridge to the gulfside. There is a heavy swell,
but the wind is flattening out the breakers. By early next
morning, if the wind stays fairly well up and the tide runs out
strongly there should be a 30 to 50-meter-wide canoe-
navigable corridor just offshore of the beach. I will decide
whether or not to haul the canoe over to gulfside when I
know a little more.
For now, however, its time to make camp. Firewood has
long since been stripped from Venice Beach (indeed, from
most highly impacted campsites on the Gulf) so I have
learned to pick up firewood as I travel. I return to the canoe
to cover it for the night, bundle up the firewood and pack it
over to the beach.
I have a dead mangrove snapper that floated within reach
earlier in the day. I cut it up for bait and set my weighted
hand lines to work off the beach. In the past, I have experi
mented with shell throat-gorges and ark shell weights, and
have landed small rays. This evening, Im using steel hooks
and lead. The strongly running tide should bring fish close
to the beach. There is comfort in the security of granola if
necessary, but I delight in the prospect of baked fish when
With groundcloth and blanket, I make a nest under a sea
grape bush at the top of the beach and get a small, almost
smokeless fire going. By the time this is done, both hand
Figure 6. Day 2: Venice Beach to north Manasota Key
lines are out straight and I pull in two good-sized sail cats
(not my favorite fish, but substantial and usually there for

Canoe Analogy
you). Quickly skinned and filleted, wrapped in seaweed, and
bound in sea grape leaf, they can be tucked into the edges of
the fire. They are ready to eat and actually quite tasty by
The sliver of moon is a smidgen larger and a tad higher in
the sky at dark tonight. I build up the fire and throw on a
green sprig of mangrove to make some smoke. Smoke seems
to confuse the no-see-ums that can lower the quality of camp
life at this hour. I crawl under the blanket, fold one towel
under my head and wrap the other loosely over my face to
keep the mosquitoes off. This really works. You can hear
them and they can smell you, but once you both get used to
the standoff, unbitten sleep, especially after a long day, is not
hard to achieve.
As I drift off, I hear the wave noise growing less and less
on the shore. If this had been a haulover point in ancient
times, the beach might now be dotted with people and
canoes, waiting to take advantage of a smooth, gulfside run
to reach the haulover at the north end of Lemon Bay. After
perhaps thousands of years of that navigational strategy, and
many thousands of such passages, only one person is listen
ing to the wind in the sea grape and calculating the odds here
Day 2: Venice to Upper Lemon Bay, via the Gulf
Conscious thought leaves me around 9:00 p.m. and returns
around 2:00 a.m. Sure enough, the Gulf is glass-flat, scarcely
breathing. Orions Belt, which had risen vertically in the
southeast sky at dark, is now in the west, its reflection barely
distorted on the surface. The tide is neap, the wind elsewhere
for now. This is a gulfside launch chance not to be ignored,
particularly when one considers just how nasty the nearshore
can be from Venice Inlet south to Manasota peninsula, with
its steep-sloped beaches, subsurface currents, and no naviga
ble water accessible inland for miles (Figure 6).
If conditions were less ideal I would transport canoe and
gear in two trips from bayside to Gulf, but opt instead to save
time by dragging the canoe across the beach ridge, gear and
all. A haulover literally. It is about 200 meters across the
beach ridge from bay to Gulf; twenty minutes hard labor.
Then a few more minutes to pack and trim, and finally Im
away by 2:30 a.m.
Goods, gear, and canoe are most at risk as one launches
into the Gulf. Tonight, with a calm sea, it is a fairly simple
task. However, with rough, in-coming surf, the trick is to get
out beyond the breakers. Once launched and underway,
defining the correct leeshore corridor can be very tricky. If
there are offshore winds, the winds often increase the farther
offshore one gets, so it is entirely possible to be lured by
visual information into a seemingly safe travel corridor from
which the shore cannot be regained. With a keelless canoe
this means that you rapidly lose ground to windward drift
until you are actually moving in the direction of the wind.
The shoreline then slowly fades from view. Since this is the
southeast Gulf, your next landfall could be Texas or Mexico,
if you survive the crossing.
Tonight, with the water flat, I can feel with my paddle for
the best depth to take a full forward stroke without touching
bottom. At the same time, I can be far enough from shore to
avoid any subtle roller effect which can scarcely be seen on
the surface but which can overthrow a laden canoe on even
calm-seeming Gulf water. The ideal distance from canoe to
shore turns out to be 6 to 7 meters.
This is a tremendous opportunity to make distance. It is at
least 6 km to the north end of Lemon Bay at Alligator Creek,
which is the first place the canoe can be hauled back to
bayside. The unacceptable prospect of being trapped some
where between lends extra strength to my paddle stroke. I
lean over slightly to port to achieve the least stem drag and
push flat-out for two hours, until Orion and Sirius have set
in the West, or until the sour guano smell of the bird rooker
ies at the mouth of Alligator Creek replaces the dry scrub
and tarmac smells of Venice Airport, and when my watch
says 4:30 a.m.
Along the southwest Florida coast, there is a meteorologi
cal phenomenon known as early morning offshores. It is
caused by temperature differences between the cool land and
the warmer Gulf surface. (It is the opposite of the afternoon
onshore winds, caused by the warmer land and the cooler
Gulf.) Today, the offshore breeze begins as a slight ruffling
of the surface about a half kilometer out. Reflected stars
become streaks, rather than points, as the ruffling moves
shoreward and, by just past 5:00 a.m., the safe travel corridor
collapses as yesterdays southeast winds begin to reestablish
I bring the canoe ashore and climb the beach ridge to find
that I have landed near new house construction on the upper
Manasota peninsula. I am opposite the mouth of Alligator
Creek, and the north end of Lemon Bay is just across the
beach ridge (Figure 6).
Mosquitoes have not yet wakened as I haul gear and canoe
separately to bayside, then repack and retrim. I launch just as
the planet Venus rises above the high pines that grow on the
other side of the bay on a stretch of undeveloped, unspoiled
mainland. The east wind is becoming very sharp. Had I risen
a half hour later, Id still be out on the Gulf and working
very hard.
I love the upper narrows of Lemon Bay. The beach ridge
(even embellished with Intracoastal Waterway spoil) is too
frail to build on and has 4 to 5 meters of elevation, a good
place to take stock of weather and water conditions on both
bay and Gulf. Across the bay, the pinewoods extend south
ward toward the bays north bridge, creating an illusion of
pristine land against the reality of suburban sprawl to the
East. In daylight I always see bald eagles here; in the
predawn, owls.
The wind is rising strongly straight out of the east as the
sky lightens and I note that it has been a full day since
launch at southern Sarasota Bay. As the sun rises, I make
landfall at the north bridge to Manasota Key where there are
campfire sites and fresh water, and where clumps of young
cabbage palms offer shelter and shade (Figure 7).
The gulfshore here is very near and rich in coquina clam

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 7. I make landfall where clumps of young cabbage palms offer shelter and shade.
beds. After I secure the canoe and get a small fire going, I
cross to the beach, roll up my trousers and begin exploring
the middle-upper wave zone with bare feet. In less than 30 m
I encounter three dense beds of these exquisitely colorful and
decorated tiny clams. In ten minutes I have two liters of them
in a nylon net bag.
Back at camp I unpack the cast-iron pan and pour in a
little fresh water and all the clams with shells. I add several
substantial mangrove sticks to the fire, settle the pan just
above the flames, cover it, and crawl into my nest in the
palms to sleep. It is 7:45 a.m., an hour into the second day.
The sun is rapidly warming the air and I am asleep in
seconds. Sleep opportunities, like travel opportunities, are
where you find them in canoe work. Often, they are ex
Day 2 (Continued) : Southward through Northern Lemon Bay
When I wake around 10:00 a.m. the fire has burned its full
cycle from kindling to full blaze, to coals and finally to
ashes. The tiny clams have cooked out of their shells, and the
shells have settled to the bottom producing a three-layered
stew. The top two levels, broth and clams, are ready to be
skimmed off and eaten.
This process can be accelerated by mashing the shells as
the stew simmers, letting the shards settle to the bottom. The
brew has a strong flavor all out of proportion to the size of
the individual clams. The broth gives the impression that it
is passing directly from your throat and stomach to your
blood stream.
With oysters and clams plentiful but polluted in the bay,
the gulfside coquinas are among the last edible bivalves to
reflect the abundance of food that used to characterize the
Lemon Bay area. They do not store or travel well and are
best eaten absolutely fresh. But they are nourishment, enough
to sustain me today.
By late morning, fed, rested, and repacked, I am ready to
resume southward movement. The wind has settled into a
straight southerly blow of 15 to 18 knots.
Southerly winds play havoc with canoe travel in upper
Lemon Bay. A map makes it easy to see why (Figure 8). For
the 14 or 15 km (9 miles) from South Venice to Englewood,
the bay is shaped like a long, gradually opening funnel.
South winds become compressed by encroaching shoreline
and blow hard up the bay, eliminating any hope of calmer
lee-shore passage. Chop becomes variable in height and
capricious in angle. You can run with it, but it can not be
paddled against.
Fortunately, you can get out and wade. 1 enjoy this alterna
tive travel mode because 1 learn so much about a shoreline
this way. It is easy to fashion a bowline halter that lets the
canoe range out behind like a slightly balky pack animal.
The shoreline water is never deeper than one meter except
where occasional creeks enter, and these are easy to swim or
float across. Now and again, a patch of mud will slow your
steps, but sand and limestone are never far below, and
progress can be very steady at up to 1.5 knots.
I often wondered what the Indians wore to protect their

Canoe Analogy
Figure 8. Day 2 (continued): north Manasota Key bridge
to Stump Pass.
feet. I now assume that some bindable leather moccasin or
shoe would have done the job. But with more experience, my
question has changed, since all the serious hurt I have
experienced from wading has happened above my ankles and
below my knees, and has come from deeply submerged,
sharp oyster shells and from stingrays. When a foot slides
into mud-covered oyster shells, the shod part survives while
the calf above can be razored wide open. And when a
disturbed stingray snaps its tail upward, the barb takes you in
the shin, not the foot. As a result I always wade shorelines
well-shod and in long trousers, and my original question now
asks if leather leggings were a regular part of aboriginal
shore-worker costume?
The wind is cycloning laterally at the north bridge as I set
out. I am forced to lose a couple hundred meters of water just
paddling across to the east side. But once across, I rig my
bowline shoulder harness and settle into the slightly shuffle
footed swaying stride of a long-distance water-wader. The
wind immediately ceases to hinder progress.
My feet quickly tune themselves to changing textures,
sometimes confirming what my eyes perceive the bottom to
be, and other times taking on their own kind of sightedness
to compensate for veneers of sand or grass over deeper mud.
Soon after I start, both eyes and feet confirm the crunchy
presence of midden material from the Cove site (8S09), now
nearly invisible on shore, but still present several meters out.
The deposit is mostly oyster with some whelk shell frag
Mangrove shoreline at this close range is relatively
featureless with little to mark progress except for the creeks
flowing into the bay (or out of it, depending on the tides).
Monotony lends drama to any variation and there is a
tendency to exaggerate the size of inlets and baylets at first
and to become confused as to just where you are.
But there is no mistaking the mouth of Forked Creek when
I reach it (Figure 8). Its entrance is deep behind a shallow
submerged delta, and the water that flows out is distinctly
warmer than bay water. Manatees favor this creek in winter
and I have seen small young ones here. Once, a large
manatee breached under my canoe, lifting me off the water
and then dropping me, shaken but upright. However, I see no
manatees today as I swim the creek with the canoe and feel
the sharp temperature differences through my trousers.
Just beyond Forked Creek, a small bird rookery island juts
out, then a shallow baylet angles inward and ends nearly a
kilometer farther south at a point with an extensive oyster
shoal. This place is known as the France Property and is
the location of the Mystery River midden (8S011). Across
the bay is the Manasota Key Cemetery (8S01292), an 1800-
year-old Indian burial site that was excavated in 1989.
At the south end of the next shallow baylet is a point
known as The Rocks. Today it provides me with my first
measurable lee-shore protection from the wind. It is a natural
spot to haul out and take bearings. Past this point and all the
way to Englewood, the shoreline has been overtaken by
modern modifying influences. It is possible at any tide to

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
make ones way from pier to pier and dock to dock. At night
this area is so brightly lit that its glow is a navigational
feature well to the west, even for boats on the Gulf.
Day 2 (Continued): Through Central Lemon Bay to Stump
Once around The Rocks, I resume paddling south using
the docks as windbreaks. I stop briefly at Buchans Landing
to look at its historic, old frame buildings, but am more
interested in reaching the tip of the point at Indian Mound
Park (Figure 8).
Here, my line of sight back to the north along the east
shore is very interesting on a blustery day such as this. The
wind puts enough spray into the air to give shoreline dis
tances different shades of green. Nearer shores are bright
green, farther shores are more and more gray-green. Looking
over the days route so far, the three small promontories to
the north all have a different color. The Rocks is bright
green, Mystery River is distinctly grayer green, and the bird
rookery at Forked Creek is almost battleship-colored. On a
clear, windless day these points would fade into each other
and be featureless and indistinguishable.
Just around the point at Indian Mound Park (8S023) is a
tough windy stretch and I walk the canoe again (and get wet
again). I am wading when a power boat bearing the mark
ings of authority approaches. Its the Law...the Marine
Patrol. When the officer learns the nature of the trek and has
satisfied himself that the canoe gear is up to regulations, he
wishes me good luck, and we both resume our courses.
These waters have always had their patrols, their watch
dogs. A thousand years ago, that officer might have been a
local fisherman from a nearby settlement keeping tabs on a
stranger passing through. In such encounters, it has been
up to the stranger to hold the right words or carry the
proper tokens of safe passage.
The shoreline becomes dock-lined once again. Inshore here
is high and well drained, and I know from my reading that
there was significant prehistoric activity here. This was
where the Englewood Mound (8S01) and Ainger midden
(8CH6/11) were located, but I came to Lemon Bay too late to
see them. Since my first trip in 1981, this area always has
seemed overbuilt and congested, a place to be gotten past.
It is late afternoon now, 5:00 p.m. or so. The wind is still
very strong and now coming from the east-southeast. As I try
to paddle under the Englewood bridge and into Red Fish
Cove, the wind forces me ashore on a sandy-beached point.
This is a nice spot and I have landed and rested here before.
In earlier years I thought this peninsula was man-made,
but then I noticed shell artifacts and ceramic sherds at the
waterline. In early 1993,1 brought the place to the attention
of archaeologist George Luer who confirmed it as an unre
corded aboriginal site. He recorded it with the Florida Site
File as the Blanchard site (8CH462), adding further testi
mony to the value of moving deliberately under near-real
prehistoric conditions and looking closely at repeated
landfalls that the wind creates.
I had hoped to camp about one and a half kilometers south
of here at Cedar Point, which marks the confluence of
Gottfried, Ainger, and Oyster Creeks, three canoe routes to
the interior. Cedar Point is a multifaceted aboriginal site
(8CH8, 8CH61) and its western tip is so appropriate for
Figure 9. I find myself to be the sole witness to a spectacular meeting of bay and Gulf.

Canoe Analogy
canoe landing and so littered with midden shells that I was
aware of its archaeological potential from my very first trip
to southwest Florida. It is clearly visible over a kilometer
away, right down to the few native cedars still living on its
interior high ground. But with the wind now coming from
the east, as it did at this time yesterday, and with whitecaps
on the Ainger Creek shallows, it is impossible to paddle
I could get back in the water and walk the canoe again, but
the sun will be down in another couple of hours and I will
have no chance to dry. Hypothermia is a real danger. I think
it is particularly dangerous in Florida where high midday
temperatures lead to incautious behavior and daytime and
nighttime temperatures can sometimes swing 30 degrees in
the 3 hours between 4:00 p.m. and dark.
I decide to go with the wind for the first time today. What
a pleasure to have it at my back as I whisk across Lemon Bay
to the west shore and pick up the lee of the first island south
of the bridge. Between this and the backside of south Mana-
sota Key is a north entrance to Stump Pass, known as Skiers
Alley (Figure 8).
The tide is just on its way out where I am now. Outgoing
tide can suck the bay water to Stump Pass at astonishing
speeds. Wind in this passage is not a factor even on the worst
of days, so it is a predictable one hour to one-and-a-half hour
paddle to Stump Pass from the bridge. Today I catch the
outflow perfectly, and am soon making a surface speed of 2
knots and almost 5 knots over the bottom.
I left the Blanchard site at 5:15 p.m. Sunset is at 6:37 p.m.
and, assisted by wind and current, I enter Stump Pass five
minutes before the sun touches the horizon. Pontoon tour
boats have discovered Stump Pass in recent years, and its
north and south shores can be crawling with winter visitors
in magenta and chartreuse pantsuits. This day, the out
flowing tide and strong easterly winds have made the sunset
run a little too risky for the tours, and I find myself to be the
sole witness (Figure 9) to a spectacular meeting of bay and
The outflowing tide, whipped by the wind, is shouldering
into an incoming swell from the Gulf. Over hundreds of
meters, the water is being tossed into eerie pyramid-like
peaks which climb abruptly until they are decapitated and
blasted into spray by the wind. The nearly horizontal rays of
the sun have turned the spume to copper and the wave
troughs to royal blue. Sea birds are working the edges of the
roil, taking a last meal to bed with them. The live Earth here
is, for a brief moment or two, more beautiful than the mere
human soul can bear.
Day 2 (Continued): Resting and Readying at Stump Pass
Once the sun sets, the onslaught of no-see-ums puts an
abrupt end to any reverie. I slap together a quick fire on the
western downslope of the beach and add mangrove leaf for
smoke. I will wait here only for as long as it takes for the
surface of the Pass to settle down. My hope is that the east
wind will continue to blow all night. This should produce
similar conditions to last night's, making gulfside travel
possible again.
The 1 l-to-12-km passage along the gulfshore of Knight,

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Don Pedro, and Little Gasparilla Islands to reach Gasparilla
Pass (Figure 10) is a very different proposition from the run
from north to south Venice. For one thing, a haulover to the
Bay or to the Intracoastal Waterway is possible for the entire
trip; theres no chance of being trapped for days by an
unlucky change of wind. For another thing, the nearshore
beach slope is much less dramatic most of the way and there
are long stretches (less and less each year, alas) that are still
undeveloped. These are places where I can come ashore and
climb the gentle slope amidst ghost crabs and snoozing gulls
to reach the beach grass and sea grape margin, and where I
can sleep dry and warm with virtually no chance of acci
dently lying down amongst fire ants in the dark.
The moon will be down by 9:30 p.m. and it looks as
though the sky will be very clear to the West and South ... a
result of the atmosphere-scouring easterly blow. My paddle
for the next few kilometers, in the absence of a moon, is very
dark. With Englewoods waterfront slipping away, with
Punta Gorda well to the east, and with Cape Haze and its
mangrove islands almost primordially dark, the gulfside here
has very little earth light competing with the stars. I know
that elsewhere the gulfshore is not so dark until you get south
into the Ten Thousand Islands.
I havent eaten since the clam stew of midmoming and
there has been no chance to fish, so I turn to my wayfood to
sustain night travel down the outside. I heat water to
boiling, and stir in instant coffee and granola. I eat this
slowly, watching the last tinges of daylight fade in the west,
feeling the granola and caffeine reinfuse brain and muscle
with optimistic will. There is little more body pain associated
with experienced canoe work than there is with experienced
foot work. A strenuous day of hiking is like a days worth of
canoeing in terms of wear and tear on your body. When you
consider that you can carry considerable more weight and
bulk with you in a canoe than on your shoulders (McPhee
1976:551), you begin to get a grip on how important a tool
the aboriginal canoe was.
Day 2 into Day 3: Another Nighttime Run in the Gulf
I set out around 10:00 p.m. The surface of Stump Pass, so
violent at sunset, has smoothed out enough to permit safe
crossing. There is still some outflowing current, and the
wind is still around 12 knots and steady, not blustery.
Once I am across and in the lee of Knight Island (Figure
10) the wisdom of this travel option becomes clear. As long
as I stay 10 to 15 meters offshore and keep an eye on my
westerly drift, I can settle down to a comfortable working
stroke, much less energy-consumptive than the driving stroke
I judged necessary for last nights passage.
The dark shoreline slips past me on the left, featureless,
while before me, above me, and to my right, the whole of the
Northern Hemispheres night sky absorbs me into its reality.
The Milky Way becomes a sky-splitting canyon of light.
Shooting stars happen continuously, usually on the edge of
vision, but often right in the skys quadrant my eyes are
exploring. I have constantly to remind myself to shut my
Starlight is plainly visible from the high vault right down
to the sea. Toward midnight as the wind falls slowly off to a
faint breath on my shoreward cheek, the Gulf flattens once
again. Real and reflected starlight surrounds me above and
Time loses linearity in this environment. Forward progress
over the surface is virtually undetectable to the senses and
becomes more an article of faith. The sky appears to be
falling slowly to the right but nothing seems to come any
nearer or to go any farther away.
The run from Stump Pass to Gasparilla Pass is 11 -plus sea
kilometers. There are dwelling lights tucked behind the
palms at the south end of Little Gasparilla Island which cant
be seen until you reach the shallows off Gasparilla Pass
(Figure 10). As I approach these shallows I feel the presence
of a long, gentle swell beneath me. Its 4:00 a.m., and the
morning offshores should be starting, but this swell should
not be occurring unless something dramatic is happening in
the far northwestern Gulf. Certainly there was nothing in the
sky at sunset to suggest an approaching front. Now, however,
there is no wind at all, which is suspicious, and I bring the
canoe about to scan the horizon that has been at my back all
Sure enough, the stars, instead of reaching right down to
the horizon in the skys northwest quadrant, stop abruptly 45
degrees above the water. This communication from sea and
sky, this significant piece of strategic information, introduced
itself through the bottom of my canoe. It slid my knees in the
opposite direction of wave incidence, turning my hips to
starboard, and told me to turn around and take a look. Such
kinetic, nonverbal communication, probably shared to some
degree by all watercraft and their operators, has a personal
aspect to it and can be very endearing: Shes a good old
boat, and shell stay afloat... (Lightfoot 1972).
A winter cold front is moving down from the northwestern
Gulf, an old story in Florida in February. Moving how? is
the question. Sometimes a front will stall and soak Tampa
and St. Petersburg with rain, leaving Lemon Bay and
Charlotte Harbor with a muddle of overcast skies, showers,
and variable winds. Most often, fronts shoulder damply,
grumpily through in a 6-to-12-hour period trailing scattered
clouds and steadily rising northwesterly winds. And now and
then they make a blunt charge across the Gulf driving an
angry brow of storm before them. These latter are capable of
turning winds a full 180 degrees in minutes and sweeping
the sky clear in an hour and a half.
At the south end of Little Gasparilla Island is the first
chance to paddle in off the Gulf. Overall the water is still
very flat and gentle. The advancing swells suggest a lot of
energy in the approaching front. Fair warning in any case. If
the weather is going to blow strongly out of the northwest for
a while, I would like to take the greatest possible advantage
of it. The water is clean and the shellfish are still edible in
Gasparilla Sound. 1 would like to establish a camp and live
off the water until conditions become conducive to travel up

Canoe Analogy
the inside passage to Lemon Bay once again.
Even as I had idled, considering the possibilities, the star
occlusion line climbed a few more degrees above the north
west horizon. Weather is coming and it is time to move. I
enter Little Gasparilla Pass and come safely out of the Gulf
just before sunrise.
Day 3: Entering Gasparilla Sound
My first choice for a camp, given a northwesterly blow
across Gasparilla Sound, is Sandfly Key (Figure 10). There
are several reasons for this. First, a crisp cold front will
render most of the keys mosquitoes and gnats cold and
inactive. Also, there is a shell midden (8CH18) on Sandflys
west shore with enough elevation, combined with ground-
cloth and upturned canoe, for making a shelter for dry sleep
and a camp-warming fire.
The sun is just up and the tide is low when I reach very
shallow water just west of Sandfly. I have to haul the canoe
a long way to shore through clouds of morning mosquitoes
which have not heard the weather forecast. The effort
involved in hauling the canoe ashore reminds me that I am
very tired, too tired to care about a few welts.
The brow of the front is not far behind me now though the
sky is brightly sunlit to the east and winds are still light and
variable. I take time to lay a good camp, arranging the tarp
into a low, narrow-floored lean-to with the canoe shoring up
the windward side as a mobile wind-break if it blows more
northerly than northwesterly. There is plenty of shore wrack
for kindling, plus dead mangrove stumps and logs for sweet
smelling, long-burning fire. Because the camp is geared to
specific wind direction, I dont light the fire for fear of
smoking myself out before the new weather system takes
The bugs are still pretty bad as 1 crawl under my blanket
and arrange a towel over my face. I can hear them and feel
a last lucky bite swelling the comer of my lower lip. A gust
of wind rustles the tarp. It is 9:00 a.m. as I fall asleep.
Sometime later, 90% asleep, I remember hearing rain
pouring off the front of the tarp, but none coming in. I push
a half-empty water jug under the spill and fall back smiling
and comfortable. The sleep following hard work on the
aboriginal water trails is the best and most restorative I
know. I do not wake till 3:00 p.m.
Day 3 (Continued): Attending Camp
Bright afternoon sunlight is slanting into the low man
grove to the east of camp. Strong wind is pushing the tree
tops at almost right angles to the sunlight. The air is fresh
and chilly. The water jug is full. There are no bugs. For now,
my life on this little island is good.
Out of the blanket and lean-to and standing upright in the
on-shore wind it is not just chilly, but cold, even in the sun.
First task is to start a fire. The draft is ideal, reflecting heat
into the lean-to and taking smoke away with the wind. Next
priority is food, which is never a problem on clean water
where oysters are safe to eat.
In the past few years, red tide has become almost chronic
in southwest Florida. When the red algae are blooming,
shellfish beds are closed to public gathering. The well-
known, over-fished beds get a rest and the lesser-known ones
can become prodigious. A brief wade from camp gives up
three dozen large oysters in half an hour. I arrange them
around the fire, cupped-valve facing up, to roast slowly in
their own soup.
The tide is making its way out, with an assist from the
wind. The sky is clear with no trace of frontal cloud. The
moon is almost overhead and approaching the first quarter.
The Sound is very choppy in a steady 20-knot wind from the
northwest. The shoals around Sandfly are frothy and the
water is much warmer than the air.
I launch the canoe with bow line tied to my belt and walk
it up and around the north end of the island to the lee side,
collecting choice bits of firewood from the shore and a couple
of large kings crown conchs. The kings crown appears to
be the dominant gastropod in oyster water like this and it

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 12. With a half hour of gathering, we have enough.
makes a gristly, durable bait. I want to rig my two fishing
lines for overnight work; I tie them to a shock-absorbent
mangrove branch and then place, rather than throw, the
weighted hooks 20 to 30 meters off-shore in holes, 1.5-2 m
deep. I may be looking at catfish again, but the surface water
is going to get cold tonight and perhaps something more
interesting will ride out the temperature change in one of the
Sandfly is in the middle of Gasparilla Sound. From here,
you can look 3 km to the northeast and see state-owned Big
Mound Key (8CH10). From this vantage, you can appreciate
the sites dominance over Gasparilla Sound. Its massive shell
constructions, rising to 7 m (21-23 ft) in elevation and
supporting 10-m-high trees, make a distinctive marker on the
mangrove horizon. I pause out of the wind for a few mo
ments watching the low sun bronze the mounds high trees
and think of the water folk who built the site, and who
managed this estuarine realm.
The sun is down when I return to camp. It is the
hour of the gnat and mosquito, but there are none.
The oysters are done; those nearest the fire are
well-cooked and chewy, those farthest away just
barely open, each a small stew. My body craves
starch but theres only granola not as bad with
oyster and fresh rainwater as you may think. I
build up the fire, crawl into my shelter and work
on my field notes, bringing everything up to the
moment in a couple of hours.
This is my first night off the Gulf but the Gulf
has not left my sensibilities. I can hear it about a
kilometer and a half to the west, roaring and
chewing at the outer shore of Gasparilla Island, a
very different animal from the one I rode into the
stars last night.
Just before sleep I clear the camp of fresh oyster
shell, a coast-dwellers ritual. I do this habitually
because the fresh shells will attract flies, ants, and
rodents, plus the shells will turn pungent in a few
I take one more look around. The moon is near
setting and the tide is quite low. If the wind keeps
blowing, the tide will not rise much for another
day. That will make tomorrow morning a good
morning for shellfishing and walking my canoe.
Day 4: Clamming
The fourth day dawns windy and cold. The tide
is well out. In places it looks as though you could
walk almost to the Intracoastal Waterway. It is so
cold that I must stay near the fire or do hard work
to make myself warm. I visit my fishing lines at
sunrise, but return to camp empty-handed and
deeply-chilled. Coffee and granola help but dont
bring the feeling back to my toes or fingers.
Due west, on Gasparilla Island, is a very pro
ductive clam bed. There is new housing construc
tion nearby and in the next year or so these clams could go
the way of Lemon Bay shellfish and become too dangerous
to eat. Today, with this wind-assisted low tide, I want to
gather enough of them, and enough oysters from east of
Sandfly, to stabilize my fresh food needs for the rest of the
Dragging my canoe out to navigable water and making my
way across Gasparilla Sound (Figure 11) in the teeth of a
strong (18 to 20 knot) northwest wind becomes warming
work. Once I reach open water I have ta paddle straight up
into the wind so that I can make an arc that takes me down
onto the clam flats and does not get me blown far away,
down the Sound and across wide-open Charlotte Harbor to
the north shore of Pine Island!
I cross the Sound to Gasparilla Island, and barely make the
lee of Grouper Hole1, very warm and winded. I find myself
thinking how useful another paddler would be on a day like
today when I catch sight of Bob Edic easing out of the

Canoe Analogy
mangroves on his own way to gather clams. Bob is an
anthropologist and a kindred spirit who has chosen to live in
the area. My arrival is no surprise to him. Winds, moon
phases, and tides are the same newsprint to us both.
First, we settle into the task of clamming. The tide is just
turning from low, and the midmoming semi-tropical sun is
wrestling the cold to a draw. We walk slowly upwind along
the tide line, treading the sandy bottom with our bare feet,
and scanning for water spouts and for the distinctive
keyhole-shaped holes in the sand that give away the locations
of submerged clams (Mercenaria campechiensis).
The canoe swings out behind us on my belt line like a
well-trained pack animal and we toss our catch aboard as we
go. I gather Blood clams (Noetiaponderosa) as well. I find
them good roasted. With one pass, a half hour of gathering,
we have enough for Bob, for three or four days basic food
for me, and for considerable gifting and good will at land
falls awaiting me on the way back to Lemon Bay (Figure 12).
Day 4 (Continued): Oystering
We spread the clams evenly in the canoe for ballast, then
set our sights on Devilfish Key straight downwind from the
clam bed (Figure 11). Devilfish is a little island south of
Sandfly, with tidal lagoons in its interior and an oyster bar
off its northeast side.
We paddle out due east, letting the bow pendulum with the
wind until Devilfish is in the center of its swing. Then we
ride the wind to the southeast toward Devilfish, surfing on
the considerable chop. We come ashore on the sand bar at
the mouth of the islands westernmost lagoon. It is midday.
I carry no ice. The clams are still nice and cool in the
shade at the bottom of the canoe. To keep them that way, we
break off some leafy mangrove branches and lay them over
the clams to shade them. According to Bob Edics oral
history research, this is known to local old-time fisherfolk as
using green ice. For lunch, we have sandwiches contrib
uted by Bob, raw clams, and water. The bread tastes exotic
and wonderful after several days of hard work and trail
Even with the wind, the tide is rising and covering the
oyster bars. We are running short of oystering time because
we prefer to gather them in shallow water. A quick inspec
tion of the Devilfish bar shows it to be healthy but picked
over. The oysters are very small. We decide to paddle across
wind to the bar at the north tip of Cayo Pelau (Figure 11).
The public hits this oyster bar pretty hard, but recently it has
been closed because of red tide. In the last few days, how
ever, the shellfishing ban has been lifted, and this bar is our
nearest best chance. It is a straight pull of just over half an
hour. We ship a little water from the port side chop until we
are well within the lee of Sandfly, and again as we come up
on the bar.
There turns out to be plenty of good oysters in about 60 cm
of water but the rough surface is hampering visibility. To
remedy this we tie the canoe lines to our belts, and use the
canoe as a windbreak that flattens the chop and casts a
shadow nullifying surface glare. In this way we work our way
across the oysters against the flow of incoming tide so that
the current takes the muddy roil kicked up by our feet away
from the gathering area and behind us.
I work with gloves; Bob works bare-handed. We both use
Figure 13. Iam back in camp at sunset warm, pleasantly tired, and full of roasted oysters and clams.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 14. Day 5: Sandfly Key to Cedar Point.
robust Busycon shells, gripped at the basal end, as hammers
to remove the small oysters, barnacles, and other commen
sals from the large oyster clumps. In less than an hour we
have all we need, stowed in the middle of the canoe above
the green-iced clams.
It is mid-afternoon, and the days real work now lies before
us. We have a good two hours of no-shirk, no-drift paddling
to get Bob back to Gasparilla Island. Then I have almost an
hours work, half of it across wind, to get back to camp to
revive the fire and cook some shellfish.
I am back in camp at sunset warm, pleasantly tired, and
full of roasted oysters and clams, plus a little edible saltwort
(Figure 13). I update my notes, marking the advantage
gained when two or more experienced canoe hunter-gather
ers join forces to make their living from the estuary on a
windy day.
The moon at dark has just barely passed its first quarter.
During the night I have to crawl out of the lean-to twice to
chase a raccoon out of the clams and oysters aboard the
canoe. The second time, I notice that the wind has died off to
a light westerly breeze. The air is cool, not cold. The front
has blown itself out.
Day 5: Break Camp and North to Catfish Point
With the dawn the mosquitoes return. I decide to break
camp and start my run back to Lemon Bay with a pull
northwest (Figure 14). I cross tidal outflow and paddle up to
Catfish Point with the sunrise.
The Catfish Point aboriginal site (8CH9) has evolved into
a spiritual center for my research in Florida which 1 revisit
whenever possible. I landed here on my first excursion in the
early 1980s for the simple reason that it was a logical and
convenient place for a canoeist to put ashore. A treasure-
hunters deep hand-dug hole here gave me my first glimpse
of sand-tempered-plain pottery sherds in situ. An excerpt
from my field notes foreshadows what has become a pro
found personal intertwining of my life with the lives of the
people who made and used those ceramics:
I saw them asleep in the sheltered pockets of this mound ...I
saw their cooking pots upturned in the cooking areas waiting
for morning and fresh conch for the days stew ... I saw them
leaving here one season, unaware that they were never going to
return and I knew that no one had touched or seen or loved the
things I have touched and seen here since they went away
[Blanchard 1985].
That same hole gave me, as well, my first sense of the
incremental nature of shell midden accumulation, my first
hint of the provocative variety of construction materials used
in different areas of the mounds.
Coming up on the Catfish Point site with the rising sun
reminds me of this latter point particularly. The central 50
meters of the landing area, from the water to the 3-m crest,
glow with a distinctly different light than the rest of the
mound. The effect is produced by the predominance of
fighting conch shells (Strombus alatus), up to nearly a meter
deep just here. At two other nearby sites, an area on the north
side of the Coral Creek Island site (8CH15) and an area at
the Bert Cole site (8CH52) near the Boca Grande Causeway,

Canoe Analogy
there are similar dense deposits of fighting conch shells. Is
some constructive purpose or cultural formality implied here,
any more than simple opportunistic accident? Will the
question survive the onrushing twenty-first century? Unfortu
nately, these surface features may be destroyed by construc
tion within a generation or less.
I put in briefly at Catfish Point to pay my respects and to
gather a bag of sweet, sticky mastic plums from the bearing
tree at the top of the mound. A dry rattling message from a
diamondback in the underbrush warns me to keep my
distance. I tread softly and leave soon.
Day 5 (Continued): Northward to Lemon Bay
By 8:30 a.m. I am underway once more. The wind is
swinging into the southwest promising a smooth paddle back
to Lemon Bay. I ride the outgoing tide through the draw
bridge and turn into Placida Harbor (Figure 14). At the north
end of the harbor, where the Narrows begin, is a complex
of mangroves. It marks the location of the closed Little
Gasparilla Pass to the west, and the Vanderbilt site
(8CH12/50)totheeast, now covered with dredged fill. When
Little Gasparilla Pass was open, currents probably were quite
lively here, but now the water is still and silted (except in the
Intracoastal Waterway) and clams grow in profusion. Runoff
from development and heavy Intracoastal Waterway traffic
have rendered them inedible.
A sport fisherman kindly reminds me of this when he sees
the clams in the bottom of my canoe. When I assure him that
they came from clean water in Gasparilla Sound, he offers to
pay me for a dozen clams and oysters.
At the north end of the Narrows and at the southern
terminus of Lemon Bay, I pass the remnants of a shell
midden (8CH54) on the east shore, badly eroded by Intra
coastal Waterway dredging and boat traffic. There is also an
aboriginal burial mound (8CH55) near here, hidden in a
remnant patch of scrub vegetation.
Soon, Lemon Bay and its blue and gray-green distances
begin to open before me once more. Around midday I turn
into Lemon Creek to visit a little waterside restaurant. The
chef here makes delicious gator-tail sandwiches and I pay im
in clams and oysters for two of them. Both he and the sport
fisherman who offered money demonstrate the barter
potential, in modem and ancient times, of storable, transport
able food.
Then it is up the east shore of Lemon Bay on a rising
southwesterly breeze, past the Buck Creek tidal outflow.
Buck Creek used to have a beautiful spring at its head before
it was destroyed by the earthmoving of Rotunda land devel
I stop briefly at Stump Pass Marina where I have main
tained a clam and oyster trade relationship with the harbor
master for a number of years. He can recall when (before the
Intracoastal Waterway was dredged in the 1960s) the south
end of Lemon Bay at low tide was dotted with the bent backs
of folks gathering clams, oysters, and scallops to eat. It is low
tide right now and neither of us can spot a single bent back.
On my final travel leg, Cedar Point dominates the prospect
to the north. It appears to jut halfway across Lemon Bay.
With the wind coming in briskly off my left shoulder it is
almost impossible to avoid landing on it. The Cedar Point
Shell Heap (8CH8) and Dunwody site (8CH61) once perched
Figure 15. I will camp here and enjoy an evening in a beautiful place.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
on its westernmost extremity before they were mined for
road fill in the 1930s, and bulldozed thirty years later during
Intracoastal Waterway construction. These sites must have
provided a shell-white, beacon-like sight reference for most
of Lemon Bay when they were intact. On all my trips
through Lemon Bay I have stopped here to rest, and some
times to camp overnight. The point has good places to land,
its variously oriented shores providing a leeward landing to
put in to, or to launch from, wherever the wind blows.
I pull around to the north side to make a lee-shore land
ing. I will camp here and enjoy an evening in a beautiful
place which, by its very geography, is a finger on the pulse
of both modem and ancient Lemon Bay (Figure 15).
Based on my canoe work, I can offer a number of observa
tions. First, canoe travel is not casual. One must constantly
gauge four lines of information to make travel decisions: 1)
the limitations and potentialities of the canoe itself, 2) more
immediate concerns in the environment (e.g., tides, weather),
3) the purpose of the intended trek, and 4) the amount of
work and time that canoers are willing to spend. Each of
these four important lines of information can be elaborated
Regarding the limitations and potentialities of the canoe
itself, it is important to know that:
a) The canoe is particularly sensitive to disturbance from
port or starboard; it requires constant attention, balance, and
control on the part of its occupant(s). When in motion, it is
usually at an optimal speed dictated by conditions and tasks.
The stem paddler controls the canoe, and the bowman and
other occupants either paddle or engage in on-board work.
b) Strategies for reaching destinations vary depending on
wind speed. One paddler can deal effectively with winds
under 9 knots. Two or more paddlers can defy 9-12 knot
winds by brute strength. Over 12 knots, travel is challenging
even for two or more paddlers.
c) The most efficient speed of a canoe is determined by the
length and shape of the hull. Ideal hull speed for my canoe
is 2.5 to 3 knots over the surface. Current can move a canoe
over the bottom as fast as that current can run, but the best
surface speed is still between 2.5 and 3 knots.
Regarding the second line of information, a number of
points can be made regarding immediate or impending
concerns in the environment:
a) Part of an experienced canoeists knowledge is the right
time to embark. This is based on judging the time required
to reach a desired destination and the anticipated environ
mental conditions (e.g., tides, winds, weather, surface
b) Canoe travel and food-gathering excursions have
relatively little to do with day and night; their timing has
much more to do with information provided by estuarine
dwelling experience.
c) In general, contrary winds and their accompanying
waves and chop are limiting factors for canoe travel. How
ever, local geography can have marked effects on winds and
tides, with important repercussions. For example, some
areas protected by islands often can be relatively windless
areas which favor canoes. Also, tidal currents around inlets
can be favorable or treacherous for canoes.
d) Air currents, humidity and temperature variations,
water agitation, cloud formation, sky color, moon phase,
movement of birds and other animals, can all be constant
contributors of fore-knowledge to estuary dwellers making
canoe travel decisions.
e) When the wind blows perpendicular to a barrier island,
it forms a relatively wind-free corridor on the lee side of the
island that can be used for canoe navigation. Thus, barrier
islands can be used as shields from the wind.
f) Inlets between barrier islands, and narrow places on the
islands, would have been favored as cross-over points
between the Gulf and bays. Narrow places would have been
portages or haulovers2.
Concerning the purpose of an intended canoe trek, a
number of points can be made:
a) Aboriginal canoe excursions were not speculative
rummages. They were destination- and project-oriented
activities subject to prohibitive difficulties if they were ill-
planned or executed.
b) Canoe destinations were the sources or places where
needed items could be obtained. The Indians had well-known
food-procurement stations, such as clam beds, oyster bars,
fishing holes, and fish weirs. Such destination points would
have been targeted based on knowledge of favorable environ
mental conditions, such as the right season, tides, winds, and
c) Live clams and oysters can be kept out of water, cool,
and in the shade for several days and still be edible. Thus,
using a canoe, they can be transported, sometimes for long
distances, and consumed far from where they were gathered3.
d) The Indian canoe was a travel tool as well as a pack
animal and a work bench. It was used to transport heavy
or bulky loads (e.g., shellfish, firewood) and to carry tools,
fire, receptacles (e.g., bags, baskets, ceramic vessels), and
other needed items.
e) Within Lemon Bay, cross-bay travel times are short. A
number of food resource areas are easily reached from any of
the major water-edge sites along Lemon Bays 14.5-km
mainland shore.
f) For long-distance canoe travelers, Lemon Bay provides
a north-south corridor that is a safe alternative to travel in
the Gulf.
Regarding the amount of work and time that canoe
trekkers are willing to spend:
a) Under normal weather conditions, a canoeist can cover
a sizeable area with relative ease and speed. Such a normal
days travel out and back (typically as much as 16 km [10
mi] in half a day out, then 16 km in half a day back) creates
a radius of approximately 16 km from a central point of
departure and return. This represents a potential catchment
area of approximately 804 km2 (3.14 x 16 x 16), or about 314
mi2, that can be exploited by canoe. Of course, the configura-

Canoe Analogy
tion of the coastline will affect the size of particular catch
ment areas, but the point that I am making is that, with a
canoe, these areas can be very large and encompass many
resource zones.
b) Canoe destinations are measured in time, not distance.
Given a canoe speed of 4 km per hour, a site located 8 km
away would be considered 2 hours away. Thus, with allow
ances for wind and chop, destinations can be described in
terms of minutes or hours of"travel work.
c) Another factor in the canoe travel equation is gathering
time or work. It is easiest to arrive at destinations in a timely
manner that minimizes gathering effort, such as arriving at
low tide for shellfishing4.
e) Many aboriginal water-edge sites are located where
there are good launching and landing points, broad vistas,
fresh water, and protection from extremes of weather. These
locations favor the use of canoes.
f) The close proximity of food was not the primary factor
dictating the choice of site location. This is because food can
be easily obtained and transported back to a site by canoe;
food resources located several kilometers away from a site
could be exploited easily.
e) Given the mobility provided by canoes, the contents
(e.g., shells) of a shell midden do not necessarily reflect the
fauna and flora of the sites immediately surrounding natural
In addition to the factors above, I can list several other
noteworthy observations:
1) Items transported in a canoe, such as shellfish or other
food, as well as other portable items, can be valuable for
barter along a route of travel.
2) Live oysters and clams can serve as ballast to help
balance and trim a canoe; they can be kept alive for a number
of days, and can serve as food.
3) Shoreside lights can serve as navigational aids; camp
fires might have served such a use in aboriginal times.
4) Elevated dry places with a breeze, so that bothersome
insects are minimized, are valuable camping spots.
5) Using a canoe to move deliberately under near-real
prehistoric conditions and looking closely at repeated
landfalls that the wind creates, can help to locate and
understand the whereabouts of Indian coastal sites.
6) Increasing recognition of where Indian villages and
camps were located adds more landmarks to an emerging
geography of the past.
7) I believe that the moon provides important strategic
information to canoe folk, especially in estuarine waters.
8) My canoe work influenced Luers perspective on the
canoe and its importance to the study of south Florida
Indians. As he wrote:
This elemental relationship between Indian and canoe is
critical to understand the aboriginal world view. Such an
understanding approaches the individual human being and
possibly the collective ideology. That is, this approach may
transcend various scientific approaches and divulge cognition,
including symbolism and metaphor [Luer 1989:124]5.
9)Given the task and destination focus implicit in the
south Florida aboriginal canoe world, the building of canoe
canals as public works (e.g., Luer 1989; Luer and Wheeler
1997) becomes more readily understandable.
Since the early 1980s, I have actively experimented with
canoe travel in the estuaries of southwest Florida. Using
analogy, I have gained insights into how Florida Indian
canoeists might have dealt with these same coastal waters. In
this article, I present a detailed composite account of a
present-day canoe trek, and I then offer a series of observa
tions and generalizations that can help interpret how canoes
were used. In order to use canoes successfully, the Indians
constantly had to make informed decisions that gauged their
intentions against a series of factors involving the limitations
and potentialities of the canoe itself, existing and anticipated
conditions in the environment (e.g., tides, weather), and the
amount of work and time that they were willing to spend.
1 This area is known locally as The Kitchen or the Kitchen Flats and has
a prolific clam bed that was exploited commercially in the early 1960s (Edic
1996:149; Woodbum 1962). The submerged land here is owned today by the
Charlotte Harbor Clam Company, which continues to harvest clams.
2 This interpretation is consistent with historic and archaeological evidence. The
narrow north end of Lemon Bay was noted as a haulover on old charts by
Bernard Romans in 1774 (Williams 1986:150,1989:Figure 3) and by Jefferys
(1775). An 1837 book described haulovers at the narrow beach ridge at Venice
Beach and at the south end of Siesta Key (Williams 1962:25, 32). Aboriginal
middens can be found at these and other such narrow places. Examples in the
Lemon Bay and Sarasota areas include the Midnight Pass-Lucke site on
southern Siesta Key, the Venice Beach site, and the Boufiard-Hermitage midden
(8S01371/1372) at Blind Pass on mid-Manasota Key. Sucty middens easily
could have formed at haulovers between the bay and Gulf.
3 Archaeological evidence of Indians having transported clams can be found in
middens containing shells of the surf clam (Spisula similis solidissima).
Examples include the Old Oak site (8S051), Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096),
and Boylston Mound (8S035), all on Sarasota Bay (Luer 1977:50,1992:278).
In these cases, surf clam shells represent clams gathered on Gulf beaches and
transported in large quantities at least 3 to 6 km (approximately 2 to 4 mi) to
these mainland shell middens, perhaps in baskets and almost certainly in canoes.
At the Old Oak site, a dense lens of surf clam valves (Layer IV) also contained
fighting conch shells and turkey wing valves, both representing shellfish also
gathered on Gulf beaches. Many of the surf clam and turkey wing valves were
still matching or paired, showing that the ligament had not been severed when
the bivalves were shucked, a common occurrence in many shell middens.
4 This notion is an application of the principle of least effort in interpreting
aboriginal estuarine resource gathering. However, while this principle can be
detected in how activities were conducted, it did not determine which activities
were performed. That is, cultural preference and tradition tend to determine
which activities people engage in, whereas a tendency to minimize effort only
influences how such activities are conducted.
5 For example, the forms of wooden trays found at Key Marco resemble the
shapes of dugout canoes, and this may suggest a conceptual connection since
both had similar functions as receptacles for holding or moving things.
Archaeologist George Luer furnished information about many aboriginal
sites, and he provided endnotes and maps. Biologist Jay Sprinkel of Mote
Marine Laboratory kindly furnished wind data. I also want to thank anthropolo
gist Robert Edic who fed me when the going was rough.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
References Cited
Ascher, Robert
1961 Analogy in Archaeological Interpretation. Southwestern Journal of
Anthropology 17:317-325.
B inford, Lewis R.
1985 Brand X versus the Recommended Product. American Antiquity
Blanchard, Charles
1985 Field notes in possession of the author. Coventry, Connecticut.
1986 Second Voyage to Bull Bay, Florida. Unpublished illustrated journal,
on file with author. Coventry, Connecticut.
1989a The Calusa and Their Watercraft. Calusa News 3:12.
1989b Calusa Watercraft Perspectives. Calusa News 4:12.
1993a Prehistoric Water Travel on Floridas Southwest Coast. Part 1. Boca
Beacon 14(9):23-24. February 26.
1993b Prehistoric Water Travel on Floridas Southwest Coast. Part 2. Boca
Beacon 14(10):22-23. March 5.
1995 New Words, Old Songs: Understanding the Lives of Ancient
Peoples in Southwest Florida through Archaeology. Institute of
Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies, University of Florida,
Edic, Robert F.
1996 Fisherfolk of Charlotte Harbor, Florida. University of Florida,
Institute of Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies, Gainesville.
Gould, Richard A.
1978 Beyond Analogy in Ethnoarchaeology. In Explorations in Ethno-
archaeology, edited by Richard A. Gould, pp. 249-293. University of
New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.
1980 Living Archaeology. Cambridge University Press, New York.
Gould, Richard A., and Patty Jo Watson
1985 A Dialogue on the Meaning and Use of Analogy in Ethno-
archaeological Reasoning. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Jefferys, Thomas
1775 The Coast of West Florida and Louisiana, and the Peninsula and
Gulfof Florida or Channel of Bahama with the Bahama Islands, By
Thos. Jefferys, Geographer to his Majesty. February 20. Printed for
Robert Saver, London.
Kozuch, Laura
1991 Report on Faunal Remains, 8S02 (Palmer Site). Manuscript on file,
Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
Lightfoot, Gordon
1972 Christian Island. Published by Warner Brothers Communications
Company, Burbank and New York.
Lollar, Kevin
1992 Retracing their Strokes, Researcher Doggedly Explores Indian Water
Routes. Fort Myers News-Press, November 29, pp. 1B, 2B.
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-
1989 Calusa Canals in Southern Florida: Routes of Tribute and Exchange
The Florida Anthropologist 42:89-130.
1992 The Boylston Mound: A Safety Harbor Period Shell Midden; With
Notes on the Paleoenvironment of Southern Sarasota Bay. The
Florida Anthropologist 45:266-279.
Luer, George M., and Ryan J. Wheeler
1997 How the Pine Island Canal Worked: Topography, Hydraulics, and
Engineering. The Florida Anthropologist 50:115-131.
Newsom, Lee A.
1991 Palmer Site (8S02) Research with Prehistoric Plant Remains.
Manuscript on file, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
Newsom, Lee A., and Barbara A. Purdy
1990 Florida Canoes: A Maritime Heritage From the Past. The Florida
Anthropologist 43:164-180.
McPhee, John
1976 The John McPhee Reader. Vintage Books, Toronto.
Mote Marine Laboratory
1992 Unpublished data for wind directions recorded for 1982-1991,9:00
a m. to 4:00 p.m., at City Island, Lido Key, Sarasota, Florida. On file,
Mote Marine Laboratory. Sarasota.
Williams, John L.
1962 The Territory of Florida: or Sketches of the Topography. Civil and
Natural History, of the Country, the Climate, and the Indian Tribes,
from the First Discovery to the Present Time. Facsimile reproduction
of the 1837 edition, University of Florida Press, Gainesville.
Williams, Lindsey W.
1986 Boldly Onward. Precision Publishing Co., Charlotte Harbor, Florida.
1989 A Charlotte Harbor Perspective on de Sotos Landing Site. The
Florida Anthropologist 42:280-294.
Woodbum, Kenneth D.
1962 Clams and Oysters in Charlotte County and Vicinity. Florida Board
of Conservation Marine Laboratory, St. Petersburg.

Cedar Point: A Late Archaic through Safety Harbor-Period
Occupation on Lemon Bay, Charlotte County, Florida
George M. Luer
3222 Old Oak Drive, Sarasota, Florida 34239
E-mail: gluer(]grove. ufl. edu
This article presents current knowledge about the
archaeology of Cedar Point in Charlotte County,
Florida. The Points two aboriginal sites are de
scribed, and materials from them are analyzed.
One site, Cedar Point Shell Heap (8CH8/8CH61), was a
large shell midden that is now almost completely destroyed.
The site has yielded artifacts dating to several periods,
including the late and terminal Archaic (ca. 2000-500 B.C.)
and the late Manasota through Safety Harbor (ca. A.D. 500-
1725) periods. Evidence for the most recent occupation
includes Spanish Mission-period ceramic sherds (ca. A.D.
1600-1725). Cedar Point Shell Heap also may have had a
submerged, preceramic midden component (ca. 35007-2000
The second site, Cedar Point Ridge (8CH62/8CH64), is a
sizeable ridge of sand and shell midden deposits. It has
produced sand-and-fiber-tem pered pottery and shell tools
dating to the late or terminal Archaic periods (ca. 2000-500
The Cedar Point tract juts into Lemon Bay between the
mouths of Ainger and Oyster creeks in western Charlotte
County (Figure 1). It covers approximately 36 hectares (88
acres) between the towns of Englewood and Grove City.
In the early 1990s, the tract was purchased from the
Dunwody family by Charlotte County with assistance from
The Trust for Public Land. The Lemon Bay Conservancy
was an advocate for its purchase and funded studies of the
tracts natural resources (Beever 1992) and archaeology
(Luer 1994).
In this rapidly urbanizing area, Cedar Point is unusual for
its natural habitats of pine flatwoods, marsh, and mangroves,
and for its wildlife, including bald eagles. Today, the
preservation of Cedar Point is an endeavor of citizens and
local government. The tract is managed for Charlotte County
by the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center and is the
location of a new educational and environmental facility
called Cedar Point Park.
Archaeological Sites on Cedar Point
During the last several decades, four different identifica
tion numbers have been recorded in the Florida Master Site
File (FMSF) for the two aboriginal sites on the Cedar Point
tract. Two of these numbers, 8CH8 and 8CH61, apply to
Cedar Point Shell Heap at the tip of Cedar Point. The other
two, 8CH62 and 8CH64, apply to portions of Cedar Point
Ridge that extend through the northern portion of the tract.
A third aboriginal site once existed on Cedar Point.
Recorded as 8CH26, it was a sand mound situated in pine
woods and was destroyed by 1953 (Plowden 1953a). It
might have been located in what is today an outparcel in the
southeastern portion of the Cedar Point tract.
Another aboriginal site, also now destroyed, was just south
of Cedar Point in what is today Grove City. It was a large
sand mound (8CH22) near the mouth of Oyster Creek and
was reported to be 60 m (200 ft) in length, 15 m (50 ft) in
width, and 1.8 m (6 ft) in height (Plowden 1953b). This
large, ridge-like mound seems to have resembled another
nearby sand mound, described next.
Yet a fifth aboriginal site, again now destroyed, was a
short distance inland of Cedar Point. Known today as the
Lemon Bay School Mound, it was a large sand mound
(8CH7) in the pinewoods east of Placida Road (State Road
775). The mound was destroyed in 1962 by construction of
Lemon Bay High School (Figure 2). The demolition was
witnessed by Ripley and Adelaide Bullen (1963) who
recorded the mounds height as 3 m (10 ft) and its length as
60 m (200 ft), which was almost three times its width of 23
m (75 ft). The Bullens also noted that the mounds long axis
was oriented northwest-southeast. This can be seen in a 1952
aerial photograph (United States Department of Agriculture
[U.S.D.A.] 1952), which also shows associated borrow pits
running along each long side (Figure 3).
At the mound, the Bullens found fragments of badly
decayed human bone from at least two individuals (Florida
Museum of Natural History [FLMNH] cat. no. 97483). The
bone was not in situ, and apparently came from the base of
the mound. The Bullens (1963:56) hypothesized that people
buried in the Lemon Bay School Mound must have been of
great importance considering the large amount of work
expended [to build the mound] for only a very few inter
Today, archaeologists might interpret the Bullens state
ment as suggesting that the Lemon Bay School Mound could
represent a chiefdom form of social organization. Some
other large burial mounds in southwestern Florida appear to
date to the Mississippian-influenced period when chiefdoms
NO. 14
Florida Anthropological society Publications

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
Figure 1. Cedar Point is between Ainger and Oyster
creeks on Lemon Bay, Charlotte County.
are believed to have existed in the region. In the case of the
Lemon Bay School Mound, however, its age remains
Site Descriptions
Cedar Point Shell Heap
Until it was almost entirely destroyed in the twentieth
century, Cedar Point Shell Heap was one of the largest shell
middens along Lemon Bay. It formed an island, separated by
a shallow tidal area from the mainland to the east (Figure 4).
Because of its location, the midden provided Indians with a
wide view of Lemon Bay to the north, west, and south. It
would have been an exposed and breezy spot, generally freer
of mosquitos than many other places along Lemon Bay. It
also would have been an advantageous location for Indians
to land and launch dugout canoes.
In the 1930s, much of Cedar Point Shell Heap was hauled
away for roadfill. A map based on information dating to
1939 and 1944 (United States Coast and Geodetic Survey
[U.S.C.G.S.] 1944) shows a dirt road leading to a large
borrow pit in the midden (Figure 5, top). In the 1960s, the
remaining midden was bulldozed by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers who then covered it with fill dredged from the
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in Lemon Bay.
Exotic Australian pines invaded the spoil dumped over
remnants of Cedar Point Shell Heap. The only remaining
natural vegetation consists of scattered mangroves on the
shore at the western tip of Cedar Point. These mangroves
grow on an outer fringe of midden extending from under
spoil to the east. Due to the destruction of the site, the tip of
Cedar Point no longer has southern red cedar trees (Juniper-
us silicicola), though a few cedars still grow on nearby Cedar
Point Ridge.1
Cedar Point Ridge
Cedar Point Ridge is in a good state of preservation and
supports dense, coastal hammock vegetation. It consists of
shell midden deposits and sand that run for over 200 m (650
ft) in a northeast-southwest direction (Figure 5). It varies
from 3 to 20 m (10 to 65 ft) in width, reaching slightly more
than 1 m (3 ft) in height.
The Ridges southwestern extension has disturbances,
possibly from 1965 work by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Visible on the surface are midden shells, old uprooted tree
trunks, and spoil piles dumped by a bulldozer. At the
opposite, eastern end of the Ridge is a small, mostly intact
mound of shells and sand. The mound reaches about 1.6 m
(5 ft) above mean high tide and is roughly 15-20 m (55 ft) in
diameter, with an old firebreak cutting across its eastern
The Ridges native vegetation includes live oak, scrub oak,
cabbage palm, and red cedar trees with an undergrowth of
saw palmetto, wax myrtle, hogplum, sumac, coral bean,
buckthorn, Florida privet, hrcules club, myrsine, and
coontie. The Ridge is bordered by tidal mangrove swamp to
the north, and by a complex patchwork of low-lying, brack
ish marsh2 and higher islands of oak and saw palmetto to
the south (Figure 5).

Cedar Point
Figure 2. Lemon Bay School Mound (8CH7): Top) View to the north after partial clearing in 1962,
with scrub oaks on mound and borrow pit at left (from Bullen and Bullen 1963). Bottom) Lemon
Bay High School near the location of former mound, February 1993.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
Previous Archaeological Work
Prior to the study for the Lemon Bay Conservancy (Luer
1994), nothing had been written focusing on the archaeology
of Cedar Point. At that time, a search of archival and other
sources disclosed some scattered archaeological research
concerning Cedar Point, which is reviewed here.
Cedar Point Shell Heap
In 1949, Florida Park Service archaeologist Ripley Bullen
visited a shell midden at the tip of Cedar Point. He noted
that considerable shell [had been] removed for road work
and that its size was approximately 300 by 150 feet, and 7
to 8 feet in height. Bullen (1953) recorded the site as
8CH8" and named it the Cedar Point Shell Heap.
Bullen made a small collection (FLMNH cat. no. 96104).
Recently, it was classified by archaeologist Jeffrey Mitchem
(1989:239) as 3 sand-tempered plain, 1 Pinellas Plain, and
4 olive jar sherds. Mitchem also notes another collection
from the site, consisting of sand-tempered-plain and Pinellas
Plain sherds, along with a heavily patinated bottle glass
fragment and an opaque turquoise blue (Ichetucknee Blue)
glass bead. He suggests that these materials represent a
possible post-contact Safety Harbor component, which would
date to after 1600" (Mitchem 1989:239).
In April 1965, Ripley and Adelaide Bullen revisited the
Cedar Point Shell Heap. At that time, they both were with
the Florida State Museum in Gainesville. They were re
sponding to destruction by the Army Corps of Engineers who
were dredging the Intracoastal Waterway through Lemon
Bay. When the Bullens arrived, the ... midden had been
bulldozed to form a retaining wall against which [material]
pumped up from Lemon Bay was to collect (Bullen
1972:14). The Bullens gathered pottery sherds and shell tools
from the bulldozed shell ridge
(FLMNH cat. no. 99680). Mitchem
(1989:Table 36) notes that this collection
includes sand-tempered plain, Pinellas
Plain (2 with notched lips), Norwood
Plain, St. Johns Plain, and St. Johns
Incised sherds. Ripley Bullen also re
ported that ... collectors, who had been
there earlier during the bulldozer opera
tions, showed me Orange Plain, Orange
Incised, and St. Johns Incised sherds as
well as some from later periods (Bullen
Ripley Bullen was impressed by the
age and depth of the Cedar Point Shell
Heap. To him, the sites lower deposits
appeared to be evidence of sea-level rise
along the Gulf coast of Florida since
4000 years ago.3 He wrote:
... a little south of Englewood there is a
very large shell midden entirely sur
rounded by water. A very small amount
of Transitional and Orange (fiber-tem
pered) period pottery was found there
by collectors, but when we visited it -
after some bulldozing had occurred -
there was no sign at all of ceramics.
The bottom of this midden was at a
substantial but unknown distance below
the present surface of the Gulf [Bullen
During their visit, the Bullens also
excavated human burials before they
were covered with dredged spoil. They removed human
bones from the northwestemmost of several shell lenses
among mangroves at [the] edge of [the] shore. The Bullens
recorded this portion of the site as 8CH61"and named it the
Dunwody Site after the landowners (Chamberlen 1965;
FLMNH cat. nos. 99660-99679).
The Bullens removed the bones of 18 individuals, of which
11 were identified as adult and four as child (FLMNH
cat. nos. 99660-99677). The burial area also yielded sherds,
primarily sand-tempered plain (FLMNH cat. no. 99678),
which were classified by Mitchem (1989:Table35). The age
Figure 3. Plan-view diagram of Lemon Bay School Mound and its associated
borrow pits. Based on aerial photograph (U.S.D.A. 1952) and sketch by Bullen
and Bullen (1963:Figure 2).

Cedar Point
Figure 4. Cedar Point area in 1952. White arrows point to the Cedar Point Shell Heap and the Lemon Bay School
Mound. Enlargement of aerial photograph by U.S.D.A. (1952).

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
F ASP No. 14
Figure 5. Cedar Point, 1952 (top) and 1993 (bottom). Based on a map by the U.S.C.G.S. (1944), aerial photographs by
the U.S.D.A. (1952) and Florida Department of Revenue (1992), and 1993 field work.

Cedar Point
of these sherds and burials is undetermined.
Also reportedly collected by the Bullens from the burial
area were several shell artifacts (FLMNH cat. no. 99679).
These include a gastropod shouldered adz (fashioned from
the outer body whorl of a left-handed whelk shell) and two
whelk columella hammers with rounded, worn, basal ends.
These two tool types are known from middle and late
Archaic sites in southwestern Florida, though columella
hammers also occur in later contexts (see below).
In sum, the Bullens work at Cedar Point revealed cultural
materials from the late and terminal Archaic periods (ca.
2000-500 B.C.) and from the Safety Harbor Period (ca. A.D.
900-1725). Bullen (1972:14; 1975:74) also believed that
lower portions of Cedar Point Shell Heap were preceramic
(pre-2000 B.C.).
Cedar Point Ridge
Cedar Point Ridge appears to have been overlooked by
archaeologists until the mid-1970s. At that time, midden
shells were observed at its western and eastern ends by
Englewood resident Mary Ellen Shelton who recognized
them as aboriginal in origin. She reported them to Vivian
Harvey, an undergraduate anthropology student at the
University of Florida. Harvey reported shells eroding from
the western end of the Ridge as an unnamed site, 8CH62.
She also reported shells exposed in a firebreak at the eastern
end of the Ridge as another unnamed site, 8CH64. No
ceramics or other culturally diagnostic artifacts are men
tioned on the site file forms (Harvey 1976a, 1976b).
Recent Archaeological Work
Since background research and field checks in 1993
showed that Cedar Point Shell Heap was essentially de
stroyed, I decided to make and analyze a surface collection
from the eroded tip of Cedar Point to try to refine our
understanding of the sites range of cultural occupations and
activities. In addition, field checks that revealed the surpris
ing extent of Cedar Point Ridge suggested that portions of
the Ridge might contain midden deposits, and so surface
inspections and a few judgmental shovel tests were con
ducted to try to answer this question.
Cedar Point Shell Heap
The western edge of Cedar Point Shell Heap still exists in
the tidal zone at the tip of Cedar Point (Figure 5, bottom). It
is eroded, but some portions appear to have escaped the 1965
bulldozing and filling of the site. The edge is frequently
washed by tides, and its southern portion has hundreds of
large left quahog valves, a result of an aboriginal extractive
practice that favored breaking the right valve (Luer 1986).
Above high-tide level, field observations in 1993 revealed
that midden material had been bulldozed into long, narrow,
low berms running parallel to the western and southern
shores of the tip of Cedar Point. Several dislodged chunks of
concreted shell midden are on the surface of the southern
berm. The berms are remnants of the 1965 retaining wall
observed by the Bullens. Behind these berms is the 2-hectare
(5-acre), flat pad of dredged spoil deposited by the Army
Corps of Engineers. A portion of the western berm was
eroded in August, 1992, during passage of Hurricane
Andrew. Wave action exposed numerous bay scallop valves,
washing some into the tidal zone.
Composition. A wide variety of food shell was observed
in remnants of Cedar Point Shell Heap. Left-handed whelk,
fighting conch, quahog, bay scallop, oyster, surf clam, and
ponderous ark shells were common. Fewer pear whelk,
horse conch, kings crown, brown tulip, murex, and rose
cockle shells were seen. These shells are indicative of a wide
catchment area. The Indians gathered many shellfish (such
as bay scallops, fighting conchs, and surf clams) from high
salinity habitats, which may reflect the proximity of an inlet
connecting Lemon Bay with the Gulf of Mexico. Vertebrate
remains also were observed, including bone fragments of
deer, sea turtle, and bony fish.
Artifacts were surface-collected primarily from the tip of
Cedar Point (Tables 1 and 2). A few came from the southern
edge of the site, in or near the tidal zone.
Ceramics. Table 1 lists two sand-and-fiber-tempered
sherds and a thick Orange or St. Johns ware sherd probably
dating to the late Archaic (ca. 2000-1000 B.C.) or terminal
Archaic (ca. 1000-500 B.C.) periods. However, most sherds
in Table 1 are sand-tempered plain. Many are water-worn,
as is consistent with their recovery from an exposed shore.
Most of the sand-tempered-plain sherds have a thin body
wall (around 6 mm or less), suggesting ages in the late
Weeden Island (ca. A.D. 700-900) through Safety Harbor
(ca. 900-1725) periods. A few of these sherds with outward-
curving rims and flat lips (tempered with small amounts of
fine sand) suggest ages of ca. A.D. 1200-1700. They
resemble sherds from several sites in Charlotte and Lee
counties, such as a site on Tippecanoe Bay (8CH87) that
produced radiocarbon dates of ca. A.D. 1400 (Luer
1989a: 100). The Pinellas Plain sherds also support occupa
tion in the late Weeden Island and Safety Harbor periods.
The recovery of one sherd that apparently had a notched lip,
plus the two notched specimens reported by Mitchem
(above), support a mid-to-late Safety Harbor date (ca. A.D.
Another indication of a late, ca. A.D. 1600-1725 occupa
tion is an Ocmulgee Fields Incised rim sherd (Table 1). As
is typical of the type, the sherd from Cedar Point (Figure 6a)
appears to be from a shallow bowl with an insloping rim, and
displays an incised, curvilinear scroll-like motif. The motif
is very similar to ones on Ocmulgee Fields Incised sherds
from Apalachee missions, such as those pictured by Smith
(1948:Plate32f, 195 l:PlateXII4,5; Willey 1949:Figure68f)
from missions San Luis and San Francisco, as well as on a
sherd pictured by Jones (1973:Plate 6b) from a semi-subter
ranean aboriginal structure at mission San Joseph de Ocuya.
Another similar Ocmulgee Fields Incised sherd (Figure 7e)
was found at a site on the Cape Haze peninsula in western

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Table 1. Ceramic surface collection from Cedar Point Shell
Heap (8CH8/8CH61). Sherd counts list the total number of
sherds followed by the number of rim sherds.
Possible Late or Terminal Archaic Period:
2/0 sand- and fiber-tempered
1/0 thick chalky possible fiber-tempered, St. Johns or Orange
Undetermined, probably late Weeden Island/Safety Harbor Period:
63/3 sand-tempered plain (1 straight rim with flat lip, 1 outward-
curving thin rim with flat lip, 1 slightly outward-curving rim with
possible tooled indentations on top of lip)
2/0 smooth plain
2/0 grog- or grit-tempered plain, thin
1/0 limestone-and-grit-tempered plain, thin
1/0 chalky ware, weathered
Late prehistoric, probably Safety Harbor Period:
5/3 sand-tempered plain, small amount of very fine sand
(outward-curving thin rims with flat lips)
Late Prehistoric and/or Historic Period:
8/2 Pinellas Plain, laminated and/or contorted paste, some with
sandy paste, some with reddish (sherd?) inclusions (1 straight
rim sherd with flat lip which is possibly notched, 1 outward-
curving thin rim with everted lip)
Aboriginal, Spanish mission-influenced Safety Harbor Period:
1/1 Ocmulgee Fields Incised, mottled gray and buff color, smooth
with very fine quartz sand, mica, and crushed limestone or shell,
lip rounded and everted slightly, probably from a bowl with an
inslanting rim, rim has a portion of an incised scroll or guilloche
1/0 roughened or linear marked, reddish brown outer surface
and black inner surface, smooth with very fine quartz sand, mica,
and crushed limestone or shell
Charlotte County in the 1950s (Bullen and Bullen 1956:50-
51, Plate IIA). The Ocmulgee Fields Incised sherd from
Cedar Point has gray and black surfaces, a black core, and is
of non-local paste suggestive of a northern Florida origin.
The paste contains grains of quartz sand, fine flecks of mica,
and fine bits of crushed limestone or shell temper.4
The same paste occurs in a roughened or linear-marked,
body sherd in this surface collection (Figure 6b). The
decoration on the exterior surface of this sherd is similar to
that on Fig Springs Roughened, var. Ichetucknee, a ceramic
type reported from the seventeenth-century Potano (Timu-
cua) mission San Martin (the Fig Springs site [8C01]), near
Ichetucknee Springs in north-central Florida (Weisman
1992:Figure 60B-E; Worth 1992:194-195). Ceramic seda
tion of mission sherds from Suwannee County in northern
Florida indicates that roughened sherds occur most com
monly in the first half of the Spanish Mission Period (John
son and Nelson 1990:51-52). The sherd from Cedar Point
has a reddish-brown exterior surface, a black interior surface,
and a dark core. It is of insufficient size and shape for
determining vessel form.
Both of these Spanish Mission-period sherds were on the
surface near the southwestern tip of Cedar Point. Two
explanations may account for their presence at this site. They
may represent vessels that were traded or carried southward
from northern Florida in the 1600s and which were used by
Table 2. Shell artifacts from the Cedar Point Shell Heap
1possible left-handed whelk shell cutting-edged tool blank,
damaged outer body whorl
Whole Shell Cutting-edged tools, originally hafted:
1 left-handed whelk shell cutting-edged tool, 2 holes in spire,
apparent Type X or broken Type AX
1 left-handed whelk shell Type A cutting-edged tool, small,
crude hailing hole and notch
1 left-handed whelk shell cutting-edged tool fragment, beveled
end of modified columella and adjacent body whorl
Hammering tools, originally hafted:
1 left-handed whelk shell Type A hammer, hailing hole and
4 left-handed whelk shell Type D hammers, hailing notches
3 left-handed whelk shell Type C hammers, hailing notches
1 left-handed whelk shell Type C hammer fragment, hailing
2 horse conch shell hammers, outer body whorl removed,
remaining body whorls halved, indistinct hailing notches, altered
basal end of columella worn
1 fighting conch shell hammer, 2 holes for haft, whorl reduced,
altered basal end of columella worn
Hammering tools:
6 left-handed whelk shell hammers, reduced, without hailing
notches, altered basal end of columella worn (3 small, 2
moderate-sized, 1 large)
1 left-handed whelk shell columella hammer
1 left-handed whelk shell columella hammer fragment, basal
portion of columella
1 fighting conch shell hammer without hailing holes
Pounding tools:
7 left-handed whelk shell pounders, reduced shell, wear on
shoulder (2 with iull-length columella, 2 with near full-length
columella with rounded basal ends perhaps from hammering, 3
with columella broken)
Tapping, chopping, rubbing tools:
2 quahog left valve anvil/choppers, intact
1 quahog left valve chopper, intact
1 quahog left valve anvil, intact
1 quahog left valve anvil, fragment
Fishing artifacts:
42 perforated ponderous ark valve fishnet sinkers (35 left valves,
7 right valves)
1 left-handed whelk shell dipper/vessel, large shell with inner
whorls removed, spire intact, and with hole broken in bottom
1 left-handed whelk shell dipper/vessel fragment, a spire
possibly broken from a dipper/vessel with inner whorls removed
3 specimens consisting of a large piece of left-handed whelk
outer body whorl with a single accessory hailing hole (for
lashing, not for insertion of handle) in the spire immediately
above the shoulder; 1 with two shallow hailing notches (possible
ax-like tool?). 1 with cutting edge snapped off'and accessory
hafting hole broken open, 1 with cutting edge intact on basal end
(possibly removed from original whole shell cutting-edged tool)
indigenous, southwest Florida Indians (Luer 1994b: 183-184),
or they may represent vessels brought southward in the early
1700s by Indian refugees fleeing the destruction of north-

Cedar Point
Figure 6. Mission-period pottery sherds from Cedar Point: a) Ocmulgee Fields Incised; b) roughened sherd.
Figure 7. Ocmulgee Fields Incised sherds: a-c) from Apalachee missions San Luis and San Francisco (Smith 1948:Plate
32f, 1951:Plate XH3-5); d) from aboriginal structure at Mission San Joseph de Ocuya (Jones 1973:Plate 6b); e) from
8CH10 in western Charlotte County (Bullen and Bullen 1956:Plate IIA); f) artists conception of an Ocmulgee Fields
Incised vessel. Scale applies to all figures except the complete vessel.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
northern Floridas Spanish missions by the English and their
Indian allies (Bullen and Bullen 1956:3, 47-48, 51, 53).
Stone Artifacts. Two imported, chipped stone artifacts
were found, but neither was temporally diagnostic. One
appeared to be a stem broken from a bifacial knife of
brownish-yellowish material, probably chert. A single
unretouched, secondary flake of light-colored material,
possibly fossil coral, had a bulb of percussion on its ventral
surface and blade-like flake scars on the opposite, dorsal
surface. Also recovered were 22 pieces of sedimentary rock,
such as marl, limestone, and fine- and coarse-grained
sandstone. These include two possible hammer stones and
two possible grinding stones.
Shell Tools. No definitive Archaic-period shell tools were
found, though some types in Table 2 first appeared in the
Archaic Period. For example, seven left-handed whelk shell
pounders were found. This tool type spans at least 3000
years based on specimens from the late Archaic-period (ca.
2000-1000 B.C.) Palmer site, the mid-Manasota-period (ca.
A.D. 150) Palmetto Lane Midden, and the mid-Safety
Harbor-period (ca. A.D. 1250) Boylston Mound, all in the
Sarasota area (Bullen 1972:Figure 7g; Bullen and Bullen
1976:Plate Ills; Luer 1992a:249, 1992b:271).
Another shell-tool type in Table 2 with a long time range
is the whelk shell columella hammer. Specimens have been
found at sites ranging in time from the Middle Archaic
Period at Turtlecrawl Point (Goodyear et al. 1993) and at
Useppa and Horrs islands (Russo 1991:368-369; Russo et al.
1991:368-369, Figure J.7; Torrence 1996:54-61) to the mid-
Manasota Period at the Palmetto Lane Midden (Luer
Several other shell tools hint of early occupation. Left-
handed whelk shell Type X and Type AX cutting-edged tools
are forms known from ca. A.D. 150 and earlier deposits in
the region (Bullen et al. 1978:12, Figure 11a, c; Luer
1989b:252, 1992a:247-251; Luer et al. 1986:121). A pre-
A.D. 800 age is suggested by two fighting conch shell
hammers, one perforated and one unperforated. Such
hammers are common at Manasota-period (ca. 300 B.C.-
A.D. 700) shell middens in Sarasota and Manatee counties
(e.g., Luer 1992a:249). A number of other shell tools in
Table 2 are typical of late Weeden Island through Safety
Harbor-period middens in the area from Tampa Bay to
Charlotte Harbor. For example, Type C and D left-handed
whelk shell hammers were abundant during these periods, as
were quahog valve tools (Luer 1986, 1992a:250,1992b:271;
Luer et al. 1986:121).
Some unusual occurrences were noted among the shell
tools. For example, all the intact Type C and D left-handed
whelk shell hammers lack the typical accessory hafting hole
in the spire. In addition, the perforated ark valves show an
unusual distribution that may be a random occurrence: 35
left versus 7 right valves.
This assemblage of shell tools reflects a diverse range of
activities. The perforated ponderous ark valves, which were
used as sinkers on fishnets, suggest that nets were made,
repaired, and dried on Cedar Point Shell Heap. Hammers,
pounders, and choppers reflect extractive activities associated
with subsistence, such as shucking clams and oysters and
breaking deer long bones. The cutting-edged tools indicate
that wood was being hewn. This wide range of activities,
coupled with the large size of the site, suggest that it was a
base camp.
Cedar Point Ridge
Cedar Point Ridge extends westward into tidal areas, well
beyond the tracts upland pinewoods. The designation
8CH62" originally applied to the Ridges western tip, but
was expanded during 1993 field work to encompass all the
Ridge except for its eastern end, which terminates in a small
mound originally designated 8CH64. Both FMSF numbers
seem desirable to keep a distinction between the two areas.
Condition. Most of Cedar Point Ridge is in excellent
condition. There are some vandal pits and some erosion
from high tides at its western tip. Moving eastward, there
are a few additional vandal pits and several gopher tortoise
burrows, as well as slight erosion from high tides along the
Ridges northern shore. A firebreak cuts across the mound
at the eastern end of the Ridge. A small vandal pit was
observed in the top of the mound.
Composition. Cedar Point Ridge is composed of shell
midden and sand. Conspicuous are left-handed whelk, bay
scallop, oyster, fighting conch, and quahog shells. Kings
crown, ponderous ark, and horse conch shells also were seen.
These mollusc shells indicate that the Indians exploited a
variety of estuarine habitats. For example, bay scallops
probably came from Lemon Bays grass beds, and boring
sponge-riddled oysters probably came from muddy bottoms
of tidal creeks.
Surface Collection. A few items (Table 3) were found
where high tides have eroded the Ridges northern edge (X
in Figure 5). One rim sherd of sand-and-fiber-tempered
pottery was recovered, probably dating to the terminal
Archaic Period (ca. 1000-500 B.C.). One intact and two
fragmentary gastropod shouldered adzes were found. This
tool type is known from Middle Archaic contexts (ca. 4000-
2000 B.C.) at Useppa and Horrs islands (Marquardt 1992:
Table 3. Surface collection from Cedar Point Ridge (8CH62).
The sherd count lists the total number of sherds followed by the
number of rim sherds.
Possible Late or Terminal Archaic Period:
1/1 sand-and-fiber-tempered sherd
Outer Body Whorl Cutting-edged tools, originally hafted:
3 left-handed whelk shell body whorl shouldered adzes (1 intact
with eroded cutting edge on basal end, 2 basal fragments with
intact cutting edge on basal end)
Pounding tools:
1 possible left-handed whelk shell pounder, reduced shell,
columella broken
1 apparent human hand bone, adult

Cedar Point
207-208, Figure 21a; Torrence 1996:69-74). Similar tools
have been found in Late Archaic contexts, such as at the
Palmer site (e.g., Bullen and Bullen 1976:Plate IVa). The
single apparent human hand bone is of undetermined age,
but suggests that burials may exist in the Ridge.
Shovel Tests. Most of the surface of Cedar Point Ridge is
sandy and devoid of midden shell and other cultural debris.
In order to see if cultural materials were in the Ridge, three
shovel tests (ST) were dug: ST#1 near the Ridges western
end, ST#2 to the southwest, and ST#3 near the Ridges
eastern end (Figure 5, bottom). Luer (1994) provides
descriptions of the tests. Dense midden deposits of at least
60 cm depth were found in ST#1 and ST#3, while sterile
sand was in ST#2. No pottery was found, but several shell
tools were in ST#3.
Shell tools in ST#3 include an adze/celt that was fashioned
from a robust whelk shells outer body whorl. It is similar to
a gastropod adze/celt (Marquardt 1992:208-211, Figure
21:B,C) except that its cutting edge is on the basal (or
anterior) end rather than on the apical (or posterior) end.
Also found was a fragment (the non-edged hall) of a proba
ble whelk shell body whorl adze/celt. The second specimen
also appeared to have had a cutting edge on the missing
basal end. Another tool was a left-handed whelk shell
pounder with a snapped-off columella, typical use-related
breakage for this kind of artifact.
The shovel tests show that Cedar Point Ridge was inhab
ited by Indians and indicate that portions of it formed as a
result of human activity. The Ridges whelk shell pounders
probably were used in shucking shellfish for food, and the
adzes and adze/celts might have been used to hew wood or
scrape hides. These shell tools, plus the sand-and-fiber-
tempered sherd from the surface, suggest that the Ridge dates
to the late and terminal Archaic periods (ca. 2000-500 B.C.).
Thus, Cedar Point Ridge may be coeval with early occupa
tion at adjacent Cedar Point Shell Heap.
In southwestern Florida, there are few shell middens
dating to the late and terminal Archaic periods that are still
intact. Thus, Cedar Point Ridge is a valuable resource that
deserves protection and preservation. In the future, the Ridge
should be mapped and investigated by archaeologists who
can retrieve samples for radiocarbon, zooarchaeological,
seasonality, and other analyses. The Ridges intact deposits
can help provide needed data for the investigation of season
ality and sedentism in the Archaic Period (e.g., Russo 1991).
Such work can reveal more about the dynamic Archaic
Period in southwestern Florida.
In addition, Cedar Points Safety Harbor-period artifacts
call attention to the need for more study of this much later
period in west-peninsular Florida. The occurrence of a few
Pinellas Plain sherds at Cedar Point Shell Heap is notewor
thy. Pinellas Plain vessels, especially with a notched lip,
were used predominantly in the Tampa Bay area during the
Safety Harbor Period (especially the Pinellas and Bayview
phases, ca. A.D. 1200-1725). The Pinellas Plain sherds from
Cedar Point, as well as some from a number of other coastal
sites in Lee, Charlotte, and Sarasota counties, resemble ones
from the Tampa Bay area. They seem to reflect contacts
among Indians along the Gulf coast, from Tampa Bay
southward into the Caloosahatchee region. It is tempting to
speculate that dugout canoes played a role in such contact
during the Pinellas and Bayview phases, helping to move
people, their possessions (including ceramic vessels), and
goods along the coast.5
Also noteworthy are Cedar Points aboriginal mission-
period sherds. Such sherds do not indicate the presence of a
mission, but do reflect the presence of Indians who had
contacts, direct or indirect, with Spanish missions and
ranches in north-central and northern Florida. Such contacts
could have taken place throughout the 1600s, and numerous
Spanish Mission-period sherds at a number of Tampa Bay
area sites (such as the Safety Harbor and Narvaez sites) show
that many such ceramics and other artifacts found their way
southward. Indeed, Mitchem (1989:565-567) lists Jefferson
ware and Ichetucknee glass beads as artifacts typical of the
Safety Harbor-periodsBayviewPhase(ca. A.D. 1567-1725).
South of Tampa Bay, even less is known about mission-
period ceramics along the southwest Florida coast. Table 4
includes a number of sites from Cedar Point to Collier
County where mission-period sherds have been found. This
wide distribution suggests that there were sustained and
wide-ranging contacts among Indians along the peninsular
Gulf coast during Spanish mission times.
Spanish documents mention numerous activities along the
peninsular Gulf coast during the 1600s. In the first decade
of the century, Tocobaga and Pojoy Indians from the Tampa
Bay area traveled northward to raid Potano missions near
the Gulf coast, followed by Spanish reprisals in 1610 and
1611. This was quickly followed in 1612 by another Spanish
expedition that traveled southward from the Suwannee River
along the coast to Calos (Bushnell 1978:416; Hann 1991:9-
12). From the 1630s through the end of the 1600s, there was
trade between Cuba and the missions and ranches of Potano
and Apalachee provinces via the Gulf coast. By at least the
1670s, Tocobaga Indians, using canoes, were involved in this
trade at the mouth of the Suwannee River (Bushnell
1978:417, 424). These appear to be the same Indians who
settled on the coast of Apalachee and were a canoe-oriented
people handling trade along the coast of Apalachee toward
the south and east, including the Suwannee River (Hann
1988:41-42, 152-153, 1991:347-349). In 1679, a party of
Potano Indians and Spaniards traveled southward along the
Gulf coast in an attempt to rescue some captive Spaniards in
southern Florida (Hann 1991:23-26). These Potano Indians
came from the same area that produced roughened ceram
ics resembling the sherd found at Cedar Point (see above).
It should be noted that some mission-period ceramics and
related artifacts at Gulf coast sites may post-date the destruc
tion of northern Floridas Spanish missions in the first
decade of the 1700s. While there are no known historic
documents mentioning a southward exodus of mission In-

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Table 4. Some lower Gulf coast sites with Spanish Mission-period ceramics.
Safety Harbor, 8PI11
Jefferson ware
olive jar
Griffin and Bullen 1950
Narvaez, 8PI54
Jefferson ware
olive ware
Bushnell 1966
Mullet Key, 8PI?
Jefferson ware
Robert Atwood, personal communication,
Boots Point, 8MA83D
Jefferson ware
olive jar
Mitchem 1989:185
Snead Island I, 8MA18
Miller Plain
Mission Red Filmed
olive jar
Bullen 1951:45;
Mitchem 1989:171, Table 22
Cedar Point, 8CH8
Ocmulgee Fields Incised Roughened
this paper
Big Mound Key, 8CH10
Jefferson ware
Ocmulgee Fields Incised
Bullen and Bullen 1956:50-51
John Quiet Mound, 8CH145
Jefferson ware
Bullen and Bullen 1956:32, 47-48
Cayo Pelau, 8CH?
Jefferson ware
Bob Pelham, personal communication,
Cape Coral, 8LL88
Jefferson ware
Sears 1967:96
Mound Key, 8LL2
Jefferson ware
Sears 1967:100
Wiggins homesite near Horse Creek
Campsite, 8CR223
Jefferson ware
John Beriault, personal communication,
a The Jefferson ware includes at least three variants: large, diamond-shaped check stamps from Mullet Key; an angular, possible cross-shaped,
stamped design from 8CH10; and a stamped design of nested parallelograms from the Wiggins Home site.
dians, some artifacts could have been brought to coastal sites
by Indians fleeing the missions. If refugees did arrive in
southwestern Florida, they probably joined indigenous
southern Florida Indians who still lived in the area. Evi
dence suggesting that indigenous Indians still occupied the
area consists of numerous artifacts in some burial mounds,
especially glass trade beads and metal artifacts dating to the
1600s and early 1700s.6
The ultimate fate of these Indians is unclear. In 1709,
Tocobaga was raided by Georgia Indians (Crane 1929:81)
and other raids followed (Covington 1967). Recent archival
research indicates that some remnant groups of southern
Florida Indians remained in the 1740s (Hann 1995). Those
with the closest ties to the Spanish were evacuated to Cuba
in 1763 when Spain surrendered Florida to the English
(Sturtevant 1978).
Cedar Point is now in public ownership with the goal of
preserving its natural and cultural resources. An archaeolog
ical assessment was conducted to assist in the preservation of
sites on the tract. One site, Cedar Point Shell Heap, was
found to be almost entirely destroyed. Surface collections
disclose that it was occupied in the late and terminal Archaic
periods (ca. 2000-500 B.C.) as well as in the late Manasota
through Safety Harbor periods (ca. A.D. 500-1725). Two
sherds from the site indicate trade or other contact with
seventeenth-century Spanish Mission-period Indians of
northern Florida. A second site on the tract, Cedar Point
Ridge, is a sizeable ridge of sand and midden refuse that was
inhabited during the late and/or terminal Archaic periods.
The site should be protected and deserves further research in
the future.
1 Cedar Point is at the southern limit of the natural range of the southern red
cedar on the Florida Gulf coast.
This habitat, called high marsh or high swamp (Montague and Weigert
1991:490; Odum and Mclvor 1991:Figure 15.6), is an intermittently flooded
zone of low-growing, salt-tolerant vegetation that once occurred commonly at
the landward margin of mangrove swamps in this area of Florida. The zone can
be flooded by unusually high tides and by rainfall runoff and groundwater
seepage from adjacent upland, in this case pine flatwoods. Today, high marsh
is rare due to land development, especially ditching and filling.
3 Considering the Archaic-period age of some of its midden deposits, the insular
condition of the Cedar Point Shell Heap could be a consequence of sea-level rise

Cedar Point
relative to the land since the time when the midden first began to form.
Presently submerged beach ridge deposits dating toca. 4500-3500 radiocarbon
years B.P. at Sanibel Island and Siesta Key support such a relative rise in sea
level along this stretch of coast since the Late Archaic Period (Luer 1992b:Tab-
le 2[SK#1, SK#3], 1994c, 1995; Missimer 1973).
4 When ceramic technologist Ann Cordell at FLMNH applied an acid solution
to some of the limestone or shell, it reacted, thus testing positive for calcium
carbonate. Willey (1949:494) reports that the paste of Ocmulgee Fields Incised
is sometimes tempered with crushed shell. Some archaeologists (Jerald
Milanich, personal communication, 1998) are inclined to call this pottery
Aucilla Incised instead of Ocmulgee Fields Incised, in order to emphasize its
presumed Florida origin rather than being from Georgia. However, the sherd
reported here resembles the type description of Ocmulgee Fields Incised more
closely than it does that of Aucilla Incised (which has rectilinear incising), and
so I have assigned it to the former type.
5 In addition to Pinellas Plain vessels transported southward, items that could
have been transported by canoe in a northward direction during the Safety
Harbor Period include thick, workable pieces of queen conch shell (Luer
1992b:271-274). Such shell probably originated in extreme southern Florida,
such as Florida Bay and the Florida Keys, and was transported northward along
the coast.
For example, in the vicinity of Cedar Point and the Cape Haze area sites
where mission-period ceramics have been found, there was 8CH1 which
contained glass beads and metal artifacts typical of indigenous southern Florida
Indians of the 1600s and early 1700s (Allerton et al. 1984). Such burial items,
as well as ones from 8LL8 and 8CR41, indicate that indigenous Indians still
inhabited the coast of southwestern Florida at ca. A.D. 1600-1750, and thatthey
were in contact with other indigenous groups in the interior of southern and
south-central Florida.
Sydney Crampton of the Lemon Bay Conservancy and Alton Cheatham and
Joy Duperault of the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center(CHEC) provided
support during the 1993-1994 archaeological work at Cedar Point, and CHEC
has kindly curated the recovered artifacts. Archaeologists Jerald Milanich and
Ann Cordell helped identity Spanish Mission-period sherds. Jerald Milanich
and Anthropology Registrar Elise LeCompte helped with collections at the
Florida Museum of Natural History. Bob Pelham of Sarasota, Bob Atwood of
Bradenton, and John Beriault of Naples showed me mission-period sherds.
Scott Mitchell helped prepare Figures 6 and 7.
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1992b The Boylston Mound: A Safety Harbor Period Shell Midden; With
Notes on the Paleoenvironment of Southern Sarasota Bay. The
Florida Anthropologist 45:266-279.
1994a An Archaeological Assessment of the Cedar Point Tract, Charlotte
County, Florida. Archaeological and Historical Conservancy
Technical Report #88, Miami.
1994b A Third Ceremonial Tablet from the Goodnow Mound, Highlands
County, Florida; With Notes on Some Peninsular Tribes and Other
Tablets. The Florida Anthropologist 45:266-279.
1994c Siesta Key, Sarasota County, Florida: A Developmental History
Based on Beach Ridges and Archaeological Sites, with Comments on
Potential Storm and Sea Level Rise Hazards. Manuscript on file,
Department of Geography, University ofFlorida, Gainesville.
1995 Beach Profiles, Beach Ridges, and Sea Level: A Case Study of Siesta

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Key, Southwestern Florida. Manuscript on file, Department of
Geography, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Luer, George M., David Allerton, Danny Hazeltine, Ron Hatfield, and Darden
1986 Whelk Shell Tool Blanks from Big Mound Key (8ChlO), Charlotte
County, Florida: with Notes on Certain Whelk Shell Tools. In Shells
and Archaeology in Southern Florida, edited by George M. Luer, pp.
92-124. Florida Anthropological Society Publications No. 12,
Marquardt, William H.
1992 Shell Artifacts from the Caloosahatchee Area. In Culture and
Environment in the Domain of the Calusa, edited by William H.
Marquardt, pp. 191 -227. University of Florida Institute of Archaeol
ogy and Paleoenvironmental Studies, Monograph No. 1, Gainesville.
Missimer, Thomas M.
1973 Growth Rates of Beach Ridges on Sanibel Island, Florida. Transac
tions Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies 23:383-388.
Mitchem, Jeffrey M.
1989 Redefining Safety Harbor: Late Prehistoric/Protohistoric Archaeol
ogy in West Peninsular Florida. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of
Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Montague, Clay L., and Richard G. Wiegert
1991 Salt Marshes. In Ecosystems of Florida, edited by Ronald L. Myers
and John J. Ewel, pp. 481-516. University of Central Florida Press,
Odum, William E., and Carole C. Mclvor
1991 Mangroves. In Ecosystems of Florida, edited by Ronald L. Myers
and John J. Ewel, pp. 517-548. University of Central Florida Press,
Plowden, William
1953a University of Florida Archaeological Site Survey card for 8CH26. On
file at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
1953b University ofFlorida Archaeological Site Survey card for 8CH22. On
file at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
Russo, Michael
1991 Archaic Sedentism on the Florida Coast: A Case Study from Horr's
Island. Ph D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University
ofFlorida, Gainesville.
Russo, Michael, Ann S. Cordell, Lee Newsom, and Sylvia Scudder
1991 Final Report on Horrs Island: the Archaeology of Archaic and
Glades Settlement and Subsistence Patterns (2 Vols.). Report
prepared for Key Marco Development. On file, Florida Museum of
Natural History, Gainesville.
Sears, William H.
1967 Archaeological Survey in the Cape Coral Area at the Mouth of the
Caloosahatchee River. The Florida Anthropologist 20:93-102.
Smith, Hale G.
1948 Two Historical Archaeological Periods in Florida. American
Antiquity 13:313-319.
1951 Leon-Jefferson Ceramic Types. In Here They Once Stood, The
Tragic End of the Apalachee Missions by Mark. F. Boyd, Hale G.
Smith, and John W. Griffin, pp. 163-174. University ofFlorida Press,
Sturtevant, William C.
1978 The Last of the South Florida Aborigines. In Tacachale, Essays on
the Indians of Florida and Southeastern Georgia during the
Historic Period, edited by Jerald Milanich and Samuel Proctor, pp.
141-162. The University Presses ofFlorida, Gainesville.
Torrence, Corbett McP.
1996 From Objects to the Cultural System: A Middle Archaic Columella
Extraction Site on Useppa Island, Florida. M. A. Thesis, Department
of Anthropology, University ofFlorida, Gainesville.
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey
1944 Englewood and Vicinity. Topographic Map No. T5856. Scale
1:10,000. Based on aerials, December 1939, and surveys, January
1944. Copy on file, Sarasota County Department of Historical
Resources, Sarasota.
United States Department of Agriculture
1952 DMV-6H-26, dated 9 FEB 52. Black and white aerial photograph
showing Cedar Point and surrounding area, Charlotte County, Florida.
On file, Map and Imagery Library, University ofFlorida, Gainesville.
Weisman, Brent R.
1992 Excavations on the Franciscan Frontier, Archaeology at the Fig
Springs Mission. University Press ofFlorida, Gainesville.
Willey, Gordon R.
1949 Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast. Smithsonian Miscellaneous
Collections 113, Washington, D.C.
Worth, John E.
1992 Revised Aboriginal Ceramic Typology for the Timucua Mission
Province. In Excavations on the Franciscan Frontier, Archaeology
at the Fig Springs Mission by Brent R. Weisman, pp. 188-205.
University Press ofFlorida, Gainesville.

The Coral Creek Site, Charlotte County, Southwest Florida
Robert F. Edic
P.O. Box 571, Boca Grande, Florida 33921
E-mail: bedictyewol. com
On March 7, 1989, a bird watcher interested in the
heron roost near the mouth of Coral Creek in Char
lotte County discovered extensive damage to the
Coral Creek archaeological site (8CH15). Some of the sites
prehistoric shell mound had been disturbed by earth-moving
equipment. Artifacts and a few human bones littered the
damaged area.
Concerned about the damage to this irreplaceable archaeo
logical resource, the bird watcher immediately reported it to
the State Archaeologists office in Tallahassee, and he also
contacted me the same day. With the permission of the land
owners, I visited the site that afternoon and confirmed the
damage. After consulting with State Archaeologist James J.
Miller and William H. Marquardt of the Florida Museum of
Natural History, I agreed to return to the site, record my
observations of the damage, and collect artifacts and bones
left by the looters.
Coral Creek flows across the Cape Haze Peninsula and
enters Gasparilla Sound near the little fishing village of
Placida (Figure 1). The mouth of the creek is tidal and has
many oyster bars.
Cape Haze Peninsula is a large, low-lying, flat expanse of
land with extensive mangrove wetlands and sand flats.
Portions of it often are flooded by strong high tides. Turtle
Bay and Gasparilla Sound border the peninsula on the south;
Placida Harbor and Lemon Bay are along its western shore.
In these estuaries, nutrient-rich brackish waters mix with
higher salinity waters. Marine life flourishes under these
conditions and in the past helped support Indian cultures.
Along the southern fringe of the Cape Haze Peninsula, more
than 34 Indian shell middens and mounds have been re
corded in the Florida Site File (Bullen and Bullen 1956; Edic
1986; Luer and Archibald 1988).
The Site
The Coral Creek site is a large shell mound forming an
island near the mouth of Coral Creek (Figure 2). It is now
connected to the mainland to the north by an abandoned
railroad bed cutting through the eastern portion of the site.
This is the former Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad,
originally built in 1907 (Williams and Cleveland 1993:330,
399-400). Approximately two-thirds of the site is located on
the northwest side of the old railroad and is owned by John
and Eunice Albritton of Placida.
The total site comprises about 1.6 hectares (four acres).
Though much of the surface has been altered, many of its
mounds, ridges, and other features can still be seen. Its linear
ridges drop sharply on the creek side and taper off gently on
the landward side. Remnants of mounds, a water court with
a rear entrance, and canals and lower middens connected by
causeways can be observed. The site is approximately 275 m
(900 ft) long by 140 m (460 ft) wide with elevations of 3 m
in the highest areas.
Many large gumbo limbo and live oak trees as well as tall
cabbage palms grow on the shell mound. Slash pines grow
on the mainland to the north, providing a nesting area and
roost for herons and other wading birds.
In 1907, the construction of a railroad cut through the
southeast part of the Coral Creek site, altering it consider
ably. Around 1960, rnosquito-control ditches also damaged
some of the mound.
Evidence of vandalism pocks the site. A number of large,
deep holes, some old and others fresh, have been dug under
gumbo limbo trees. These reflect continuing interest by
treasure hunters through the years. Rumors of a Spanish
mission and buried pirate treasure are responsible for much
of the destruction. Some early treasure-hunting efforts
involving Coral Creek are mentioned by Williams and
Cleveland (1993:349). There is no factual basis for the pirate
treasure stories.
Although several archaeologists have visited the site over
the years and recorded their observations (e.g., Wainwright
1918:43), no archaeological excavations have been carried
out at the Coral Creek site. In late 1981 or early 1982, two
local residents removed some human bones from a hole in
the mound and gave them to archaeologist Travis Gray at the
Little Salt Spring archaeological research facility in nearby
North Port, Florida. Also at that time, a perforated quahog
shell artifact was found along the creek at the site and was
shown to archaeologist George Luer, who measured it and
included it in a study of quahog shell tools (Luer 1986:140,
Table 1, artifact #34). Soon after, in April 1982, Luer visited
the site and began a series of surface collections (Table 1).
He later listed the site as one of many damaged shell mounds
along the coast of southwestern Florida (Luer 1986: Appendix
[site #27], 1989:251).
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FASP No, 14
Figure 1. Map of the Placida area of Charlotte County showing the location of the Coral Creek site (8CH15).

Coral Creek
Note old railroad bed at right and old trestle pilings in foreground.
Figure 2. Coral Creek and the Coral Creek site.
View is to the northeast, March 1993.
Table 1. Combined surface collections made at the Coral Creek
site in 1982,1989, and 1993 by George Luer. These materials
are presently curated by Robert Edic.
114 sand-tempered-plain sherds (102 body, 12 rim)
3 Belle Glade Plain body sherds (decayed)
2 smooth plain body sherds
1 Pinellas Plain body sherd with contorted paste
Shell Tools
1 left-handed whelk shell Type A cutting-edged tool
2 left-handed whelk shell Type D hammers
2 unbroken quahog left valve anvil/hammers
fragments from 8 quahog left valve anvil/hammers
fragments from 1 quahog right valve anvil/hammer
1 perforated ponderous ark valve fish net sinker
In early 1989, more damage occurred to part of the Coral
Creek site (Anonymous 1989; Futch 1989; Roland 1989).
Treasure hunters used a large front-end loader to blaze a
wide path from the railroad bed, gaining access to the site
without the owners knowledge. They dug several deep
trenches through the highest areas of the shell mound.
Trenches were dug between gumbo limbo trees, cross-
sectioning the mound in several directions. Soon after, they
filled the trenches and smoothed the surface over. The
treasure hunters also bulldozed through heavy undergrowth
to other areas of the mound, damaging parts of the mounds
subtropical hardwood hammock.
1989 Observations
In March, I made a surface collection from damaged areas.
Many shell tools were scattered in the spoil piles along with
pottery fragments, food remains (shells, fish and other
animal bones), and several fragments of human bones. In
April, I walked over the site with a number of people,
including George Luer who sketched a contour map of the
mound showing the freshly damaged areas (Figure 3).
Strata observed in some deep holes suggested evidence of
mound-building, with material having been collected to build
the mound higher and larger through time and to shape its
form. The mound is composed of oyster, clam, and small
whelk shells, fish and other animal bones, sandy dirt, ash,
and charcoal. Its northwest portion is capped with fighting
conch (Strombus alatus) shells.
With the owners permission, some artifacts were donated
to the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) as a
record of the site. The remaining artifacts were turned over
to the property owners to be used in a fiiture educational
Thick, sand-tempered-plain pottery sherds were common
on the mound. Many of these have rounded lips, indicating

occupation between ca. 500 B.C. and A.D. 800 (Luer and
Almy 1980). Other pottery artifacts include one Glades
Tooled rim sherd with a pie crust lip, one possible St.
Johns Check Stamped sherd, and one possible Belle Glade
Plain sherd. Shell tools included large left-handed whelk
shell cutting-edged tools and hammers, a whelk shell tool
blank, a quahog right valve anvil/hammer, a large sun ray
venus clamshell knife, a fighting conch shell hammer, and
a horse conch columella plane. The last (FLMNH cat. no.
89-7-393) is pictured in a study of shell tools by Marquardt
(1992:207, Figure 20A).
Human Skeletal Remains
From the bulldozed spoil, I recovered human bones from
at least two individuals. These were turned over to State
Archaeologist James J. Miller. The skeletal remains were
estimated to be more than 75 years old, although an exact
age could not be determined. They consisted of 1 distal end
of a right femur of an adult, 1 right and 1 fragmentary left
patella, 1 right and 1 left ulna, 1 left radius, and 4 tibia
fragments from at least 2 individuals (at least one of which
was an adult).
Summary and Recommendations
Based on the types of artifacts collected, the principal
occupation period of the Coral Creek site appears to have
been during the Caloosahatchee I Period, ca. 500 B.C. to
A.D. 700. There are a few indications of later occupation, but
this does not seem to have been intensive.
It is my recommendation that the site be posted and
preserved. Future archaeological studies should be carried
out as funds become available. Archaeological testing of a
small undisturbed area would supplement surface finds and
observations. Detailed mapping would provide a better
understanding of the sites architectural features.
The Coral Creek site and similar mounds in southwest
Florida represent the remains of a sophisticated estuarine-
based culture that flourished for over 1000 years and had
vanished by the eighteenth century. Charlotte Harbor
contains a cultural inventory of one of the longest maritime
sedentary occupations found anywhere. If we are to redis
cover that culture, we must preserve and protect remaining
sites and conduct archaeological research before they, too,
become part of the past. The Coral Creek site contains
important parts of the record.
I would like to thank John and Eunice Albritton for permission to visit the
site. Bird watcher Jay Whopperer first told Paula Johnson and me of the
damage. Archaeologist William Marquardt encouraged me to visit the site.
Education specialist Charles Blanchard helped in the field. Charlotte County
Historical Preservation Board Chairman Lindsey Williams gave assistance.
Charlotte County Sheriff Richard H. Worch helped in the legal steps of dealing
with human bones. Archaeologist Claudine Payne helped me write an earlier
version of this paper. Archaeologist George Luer helped in the field, entrusted
his surface collections to me, and prepared the illustrations for this article.
References Cited
1989 Sheriffs department investigating disturbance of local Indian mound.
Boca Beacon, March 24. Boca Grande.
Bullen, Ripley P., and Adelaide K. Bullen
1956 Excavations on the Cape Haze Peninsula, Florida. Contributions of
the Florida State Museum, Social Sciences, Number 1, Gainesville.
Edic, Robert F.
1986 Investigations of Charlotte Harbors Archaeological Resources, The
Cape Haze Peninsula (Punta Gorda S.W. Quadrangle). Manuscript
on file, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
Futch, David
1989 Gold diggers destroy mound; salvor hunts for Gaspars booty.
Gasparilla Gazette 1(6):1. March 22. Boca Grande.
Luer, George M.
1986 Some Interesting Archaeological Occurrences ofQuahog Shells on the
Gulf Coast of Central and Southern Florida. In Shells and Archaeol
ogy in Southern Florida, edited by George M. Luer, pp. 125-159.
Florida Anthropological Society Publication Number 12, Tallahassee.
1989 Notes on the Howard Shell Mound and Calusa Island, Lee County,
Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 42:249-254.
Luer, George M., and Marion M. Almy
1980 The Development of Some Aboriginal Pottery of the Central Peninsu
lar Gulf Coast of Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 33:207-225.
Luer, George M., and Lauren C. Archibald
1988 An Assessment of Known Archaeological Sites in Charlotte Harbor
State Reserve. Archaeological and Historical Conservancy Technical
Report 6, Miami. On file, Florida Department of Natural Resources,
Marquardt, William H.
1992 Shell Artifacts from the Caloosahatchee Area. In Culture and
Environment on the Domain of the Calusa, edited by William H.
Marquardt, pp. 191-228. University of Florida, Institute of Archaeol
ogy and Paleoenvironmental Studies, Monograph Number 1, Gaines
Roland, James
1989 Experts say sites rich in history being destroyed. Sarasota Herald-
Tribune, Charlotte County edition: 1 A, March 16.
Wainwright, R. D.
1918 Further Archaeological Exploration in Southern Florida, Winter of
1917. Paper II. The Archaeological Bulletin 9:43-47.
Williams, Lindsey, and U. S. Cleveland
1993 Our Fascinating Past; Charlotte Harbor: The Early Years. Charlotte
Harbor Area Historical Society, Punta Gorda.

Aboriginal Occupation of Gasparilla Island
Robert F. Edic
P. O. Box 571, Boca Grande, Florida 33921
E-mail: bedicfdjewol. com
In 1980,1 moved to Gasparilla Island, a barrier island in
Lee and Charlotte counties on the coast of southwest
Florida. By 1982,1 had found an unrecorded aboriginal
shell midden on land being cleared for house construction.
By 1989,1 had discovered six additional aboriginal sites on
Gasparilla Island, and two more on adjacent small islands,
Hoagen and Sisters keys. Some of these sites date to ca. A.D.
800-1500 and reveal that indigenous Florida Indians used
Gasparilla Island more intensively than previously known.
At the end of the last Ice Age, about 20,000 years ago, sea
level was lower (approximately 60 m or 200 ft) and Floridas
Gulf coast was about 30 m (100 mi) west of its present
location. By 6000 years ago, rising sea levels had started to
inundate the area that is now Charlotte Harbor.
Gasparilla Island (Figure 1) is part of a chain of barrier
islands at the mouth of Charlotte Harbor. The island is of
recent origin; radiocarbon dating of shells from beach-ridge
deposits (Staporetal. 1987:158-161, Tables 1-3) suggest the
island is no more than approximately 3000 years old. An
isolated artifact, a chipped-stone projectile point or knife
(Bolen Plain) made from fossil (silicified) coral, found on the
beach by state park ranger Anne Marie Sampley, probably
dates to ca. 7000 B.C., well before the island formed.
There is a general trend for erosion and shoreline recession
along the western edge of Gasparilla Island, fronting the
Gulf of Mexico. Archaeological sites are lacking there, and
it is presumed that erosion has removed evidence of early
sites that might have existed there. In contrast, the eastern
shore of the island along Gasparilla Sound and Charlotte
Harbor is more stable, and a number of sites occur there.
No large village sites have been found on Gasparilla
Island. Claims by historian Lindsey Williams (1986:174,
1989:288, Figure 5) that there were Indian mounds at each
end of the island in the 1860s are unsupported by my
research, which has revealed no shell midden or other
aboriginal material in these locations. However, major
villages were located on the nearby mainland. Remnants of
these can be seen at Coral Creek (8CH15), Catfish Point
(8CH9), Big Mound Key (8CH10), Cash Mound (8CH38),
and John Quiet Mound (8CH45), all located on the fringe of
the Cape Haze peninsula.
For the Indians, Gasparilla Island offered a variety of
natural habitats and resources. The natural habitats (Figure
1) can be divided into roughly three zones: the east side of
the island with its mangrove bayshore, the west side with its
beaches, and the interior with its hammocks and savannahs,
the latter with fresh water. Some of these habitats probably
resembled those of present-day Cayo Costa that are described
by Herwitz (1977).
Modem land alterations have been extensive on Gasparilla
Island. In the first two decades of the 1900s, a railroad was
built down the length of the island, and a deep-water port
was constructed at the islands south end. The town of Boca
Grande also was platted at that time. Between 1909 and
1926, a yacht basin and a tidal area known as the Hole in
the Wall were dredged three times. In the 1930s, a golf
course was built on tidal mangrove wetlands at mid-island
(Gibson 1982:205-210) and, in 1970-1972, Boca Grande
Isles was dredged and filled (Clark 1978:4). Then, in the
1970s and 1980s, remaining lands were platted for develop
Cultural Background
Indians known as the Calusa developed a complex social
system in the Charlotte Harbor area. Around A.D. 500 their
ancestors began to construct large shell mounds in the
estuaries to the east of Gasparilla Island, but not on Gasparil
la Island.
Spanish documents dating to the 1500s reveal that the
Calusa had developed permanent villages by that time. These
were based on the natural abundance of the marine environ
ment, not on agriculture. The rich coastal environment of
southwest Florida filled the role usually played by agriculture
in other complex societies (Goggin and Sturtevant 1964;
Hann 1991; Marquardt 1988, 1992; Widmer 1988). The
Calusa dominated much of southwest Florida, from Charlotte
Harbor to the Florida Keys, at the time of early European
contact in the 1500s. However, the sophisticated
estuarine-based cultural system that flourished at Spanish
contact vanished over the next two hundred years (Hann
1991; Marquardt 1988:176-185).
From the archaeological data recovered so far, we can now
say with some certainty that the Calusa did not pass into
oblivion as a result of disease or by depletion of their fishing
resources. Franciscan records show the Calusa were still in
their homelands and still exerting pressure on other local
groups as late as 1698 (Hann 1991). This was long after
many other native Florida Indians had succumbed todis-
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FASPNo. 14
H Filled
Boca Grande Pass
Figure 1. Undeveloped Gasparilla Island in 1860 versus developed island in 1978 (based on Clark 1978). Note locations
of aboriginal archaeological sites.

Gasparilla Island
eases, slavery, and Spanish militarism and missionization.
After the mid-1700s, however, the Calusa ceased to exist as
a group.
In the late 1600s, Indian refugees from colonial expansion
in northern Florida and Georgia began to arrive in southern
Florida (Swanton 1946:102). Archaeological evidence sug
gests that northern Florida mission Indians who fled raids of
the English Colonel James Moore might have settled in the
Charlotte Harbor area after 1704 (Bullen and Bullen 1956:2-
3, 47-48, 51, 53) or that indigenous Indians along the
southwest Florida coast might have obtained mission items
through trade in the 1600s (Luer 1994:183-184).
In the mid-1700s, Indians in Charlotte Harbor who fished
for the Spanish became known as Spanish Indians.
Although by now the Calusa, for the most part, had disap
peared as a culture, it is possible that remnants of the Calusa
were still living in isolated areas of Charlotte Harbor (Edic
1996b:37-38; Gibson 1982:15-16, 79).
When the English took over Florida from the Spanish in
1763, renegades of the Creek Nation were called cima-
rones (later Seminles or wild ones). These and other
Indians were pushing down the Florida peninsula, escaping
the English to the north. The English concluded there were
no indigenous Florida Indians left. This allowed all Indians
in Florida to be labeled as Seminles, even if they were
Spanish Indians or perhaps Calusa remnants.
Local legend claims that a pirate named Jose Gaspar
ruled the southwest coast of Florida in the late 1700s and
early 1800s. The myth asserts that he maintained hideouts on
Gasparilla Island and nearby islands. No archaeological
evidence or historical documentation has been found to prove
that Gaspar existed. Instead, historians suggest that the name
of Gasparilla Island was derived from Friar Gaspar, which
was a name applied on a chart to the inlet at the north end of
the island (Gibson 1982:13, 70). The inlet is called Boca
Gasparilla by Bernard Romans on his 1774 chart (Williams
1986:150, 1989:Figure 3).
In 1835, Seminles ambushed and killed 105 of 108 troops
under the command of Major Francis Dade north of Tampa.
After the massacre, some Seminles were forced south by
federal reprisals. A band of 25 Seminole braves, led by Chief
Wyhokee, fled through Charlotte Harbor, attacking and
burning a settlement on Useppa Island. As a result of these
conflicts, some Spanish Indians were deported to Oklahoma;
others might have been forced to Cuba, perhaps returning to
the area later (Gibson 1982:26, 28).
Previous Research
Before my research in the 1980s and 1990s, very little
attention had been paid to the aboriginal archaeology of
Gasparilla Island. The antiquarian Clarence B. Moore (1905)
visited the area, apparently digging at Cayo Pelau. Willey
(1949), probably in error, attributed Moores digging to
Gasparilla Island. In 1953, a party of students under the
direction of archaeologist John M. Goggin, visited the island
and recorded two sites (see below). This was the extent of
research when I arrived in 1980. Since that time, cultural
resource surveys (Austin 1987; Edic 1996a) have located
three previously unrecorded sites (see below). I should note
here that archaeological research has been done on other
southwest Florida barrier islands to the north and south of
Gasparilla Island. A partial list includes Fradkin (1976),
Wilson (1982), and Walker et al. (1994) on Sanibel Island,
Collins (1929) on Captiva Island, Dickel (1991) on Manasota
Key, and Luer and Almy (1979) on Longboat Key. For
general descriptions of the types of shell tools I mention
below, see Luer (1986), Luer et al. (1986), and Marquardt
(1992:191-227). For general descriptions of the pottery types
I mention, see Luer and Almy (1980).
Description of Sites
Thirteen aboriginal sites have been recorded on Gasparilla
Island or immediately adjacent keys. They are listed in Table
1 and shown in Figure 1.
Boca Grande #1 (8LL1946)
Boca Grande # 1 (BG# 1) is comprised of a number of shell
middens in the mangroves near Boca Grande Bayou on mid-
Gasparilla Island, just south of The Narrows (Figures 1 and
2). Locally, the site is known as the Badcock site, after a
local landowner.
Site Description. The main portion of the site is just east
of the Badcock residence, which is located at 2280 East
Railroad Avenue. Much of it was preserved with the coopera
tion of the owners. The midden contains food shells from
both the Gulf and the bay. Shell tools and pottery sherds
were observed on the surface. The site also has many small
satellite shell middens located in the mangroves south of the
main midden concentration (between 21st and 23rd streets).
Several middens are located on property newly acquired by
the Gasparilla Island Conservation and Improvement
Association (GICIA).
Surface Collections. Several collections have been made
from the surface of BG#1. Materials I collected in the early
1980s are at the Florida Museum of Natural History
(FLMNH) in Gainesville. These consist of 1 Belle Glade
Plain body sherd, 1 Busycon sinistrum shell tool blank, and
1 Busycon perversum shell tool blank with a notch in its
modified outer lip (FLMNH cat. no. 88-24-1). A thin
Pinellas Plain rim with ticking on the lip was also observed.
Other materials collected subsequently by myself and
others include: 1 thin, sand-tempered-plain rim sherd with
a flat lip, 1 Belle Glade Plain body sherd, 1 quahog left valve
anvil, 3 left-handed whelk shell Type D hammers, 1 horse
conch shell hammer (hand held), and 1 broken horse conch
shell pounder. The last tool was typical of such artifacts: its
ultimate body whorl had been removed so that it could be
grasped by the columella, its nodules were worn from
hammering, and its columella was snapped off from use.
Site Interpretation. The two Belle Glade Plain sherds and
the thin, flat-lipped, sand-tempered-plain sherd suggest that

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
Table 1. List of aboriginal archaeological sites on Gasparilla
Edics Survey
Florida Site
File Number
Local Name or
Badcock site
Tract A (east of 48th
Tract A (east of 48th
Harbor Dr. and 4th St.
Jones site (Grouper
Hole Ct.)
Smaller Shell Pile site
(on Gasparilla Inn Golf
Larger Shell Pile site
(on Gasparilla Inn Golf
Pond site
Sisters Key
Small midden on NE
and SE sides of Hoagen
Jack Point
NE tip of Boca Grande
SE shore of Boca
Grande Isles
BG# 1 dates to after ca. A.D. 800 (Luer and Almy 1980). The
sites Pinellas Plain lip-ticked sherd and its shell tools
resemble artifacts dated to ca. A.D. 1250 in the Sarasota area
(Luer 1992a:250,1992b:268-271). These artifacts suggest an
age of ca. A.D. 1000-1500 for BG#1.
The sites shell tools are primarily hammering tools. They
might have been used in food extraction, such as removing
meat from shellfish. These middens are located just south of
The Narrows, a section of the island that has washed over
several times in this century (Figure 2), such as during the
1925 hurricane (Gibson 1982:175). This area could have
provided easy access to the Gulf, as shown by food shells in
the midden.
Assessment of Significance. The main portion of BG#1 is
a small to moderate size shell midden, though it is one of the
largest sites on Gasparilla Island. It holds evidence of the
Indians range of activities on the island. The smaller
satellite middens to the south are also significant. They are
endangered from the acidity and roots of the mangrove forest
growing on them. Several small middens are preserved in a
land easement donated to the GICIA. These middens should
be mapped, tested, and preserved.
Boca Grande #2 (8LL749)
Site Description. Boca Grande #2 (BG#2) is a shell
midden just north of The Narrows (Figure 2). The site is a
substantial midden deposit, and the presence of pottery
indicates use as a camp. Midden shells at BG#2 represent a
wide environmental range of shellfish gathering from both
the bay and the Gulf. The site was recorded during a cultural
resource survey (Austin 1987) based on information that I
Surface Collections. I found a single sand-tempered-plain
body sherd (FLMNH cat. no. 88-25-1) when I first was
shown this site in 1983. Subsequently, in 1993 and 1995,1
collected the following materials: 1 Belle Glade Plain rim
sherd, 8 sand-tempered-plain sherds (6 body, 2 rims both
thin-walled), 2 left-handed whelk shell dippers, 1 left-handed
whelk shell Type C hammer, 1 left-handed whelk shell Type
A hammer, and 1 left-handed whelk shell Type A cutting-
edged tool.
Site Interpretation. This site is the largest on Gasparilla
Island. Its location near The Narrows provided the Indians
with easy access from the bay to the Gulf as seen by food
shells from both the Gulf and the bay found at the site. Its
use was more than a one-time event, as evident by the strata
and the volume of shell refuse at the site. While not a major
village, it probably was occupied for an extended period of
time. The artifacts suggest an age after ca. A.D. 800.
Assessment of Significance. BG#2 was severely impacted
by mosquito control ditching in the 1960s. However, the site
has been recorded with the Florida Site File and is important
to the study of local prehistoric settlement patterns and
resource use. The midden has been preserved in a land
easement donated by the Charlotte Harbor Clam Company
(CHCC) to the GICIA. In the future, mapping and testing of
this site could reveal much knowledge about the Indians who
lived on Gasparilla Island.
Tract A"Sites (8LL1918, 8LL1919)
The two Tract A sites are small shell midden deposits
that I found in 1995 during an archaeological survey for the
CHCC (Edic 1996a). Both sites are located on the northeast
side of Gasparilla Island in Lee county to the east of 48th
Street (Figure 1). Tract A is a low-lying mangrove area
that is frequently inundated by strong high tides. To the east,
in Gasparilla Sound, are shallow waters and sea grass
meadows. The two middens are located on property in the
northern portion of Tract A that was not acquired as a land
easement by the GICIA.
Site Description. CHCC#1 (8LL1918) was found eroding
along a mosquito control ditch, in front of the easternmost
spoil pile, 13 m (40 ft) north of the CHCCs proposed dock.
The midden extends for another 8 m (25 ft) to the north and
consists of many large left-handed whelk and horse conch
shells and some quahog clam shells, which had been opened
and discarded by the Indians on the site. As is typical of
prehistoric sites in the area (Luer 1986), the unbroken
quahog shells consist of only the left valves.
CHCC#2 (8LL1919) is similar to CHCC# 1. It begins 43 m
(135 ft) north of the proposed dock and extends for another
33 m (100 ft) to the north. Some cultural materials are

Gasparilla Island
"V Vv f* r .
' << l< (
v< *
1 ^ i
k ^ */. *
Figure 2. The Narrows and surrounding mid-Gasparilla Island, ca. 1925 and 1978. Beach recession and hurricanes in
the 1920s required the railroad to be shifted eastward. Loomis Cut was dredged to provide fill for the railroad and to
make a protected passage for boats (Gibson 1982:175-176, 208-209). The Hole in the Wall was changed in 1970-1972
when Boca Grande Isles was filled. The ca. 1925 map is based on an old aerial photograph (courtesy of the Gasparilla
Inn); both maps are modified from Clark (1978).

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
located on both sides of a mosquito-control ditch. This site
may be a continuation of CHCC#1. Before they were dis
turbed by mosquito-control ditching in the 1960s, both
middens were on the surface, not deeply buried. Today, they
are buried and scattered in the area of the spoil piles.
Surface Collections. In December 1995,1 made surface
collections from CHCC#1 and #2 at the spoil piles on the
bayside. Artifacts were recovered from CHCC#2 only and
consisted of: 1 Type C left-handed whelk shell hammer, 1
hand-held horse conch shell hammer, and 1 perforated cut-
rib ark shell fish net sinker.
Site Interpretation. Based on the shell tool types recov
ered, CHCC#2 has a possible date of A.D. 800-1500 when
compared to other dated sites in the area. The lack of pottery
and other artifacts suggest that CHCC#2 was a short-term
stop-over or campsite used while extracting meat from
shellfish, perhaps for transport elsewhere. This is suggested
by the middens relative rarity of quahog shells.
The sites shellfish were gathered from adjacent tidal flats
and nearby shallow bay bottom in Gasparilla Sound. There
were few, if any, gathered from the Gulf. CHCC#1 appears
to be of a similar age based on the shell-opening techniques,
but no artifacts were observed.
CHCC#1 and #2 may be associated with BG#2 which is
325 m (1000 ft) to the south, also in Tract A. BG#2 has
midden shells with similar extraction breakage, and it has
some similar shell tools. However, BG#2s more substantial
midden deposits and the presence of pottery indicate a more
intensively used camp than CHCC#1 and #2. In addition,
midden shells at BG#2 indicate a wider environmental range
of shellfish gathering. Unlike CHCC#1 and #2, shellfish
from both the bay and Gulf are represented in the BG#2
Assessment of Significance. Neither ofthe CHCC middens
is significant according to criteria of the National Register of
Historic Places and the Florida Comprehensive Plan.
CHCC#1 and #2 have been severely impacted by mosquito-
control ditching, destroying their integrity. However, I have
recorded the sites with the Florida Site File, and they are
important in the study of local prehistoric settlement patterns
and resource use. For example, archaeologist George Luer
believes that the apparent scarcity of quahog shell, while
their predators shells are common, deserves further investi
Boca Grande #.3 (8LL1945)
Site Description. This possible site is located in the town
of Boca Grande, just west of 480 4th Street (Figure 1). It
consists of artifacts from a hole dug for a culvert between the
street and an empty lot. The artifacts could have come from
a highly disturbed site that was in the immediate vicinity, or
perhaps they were deposited with fill brought in from another
location. It should be noted that, in Charlotte and Lee
counties, shell midden material was used as fill in road
building during the first half of the 1900s.
Surface Collections. In 1984, two shell tools were recov
ered from spoil dug from a hole. They are a left-handed
whelk shell Type A tool with a broken tip (so that it cannot
be determined if it was a hammer or a cutting-edged tool)
and a left-handed whelk shell Type B hammer that has been
modified (FLMNH cat. no. 88-26-1).
Site Interpretation. Before the 1909 dredging of Boca
Grande Bayou, this was a mangrove area located on a tidal
creek that connected to the Hole in the Wall (Figures 1
and 2). A midden might have been located here.
Assessment of Significance. BG#3 could represent a
midden that was buried or disturbed by the dredging of Boca
Grande Bayou, or the artifacts could be derived from fill
from another location.
Boca Grande #4 (8LL1944)
Site Description. Boca Grande #4 (BG#4), also known as
the Jones site, is located at 5030 Grouper Hole Court, very
near the boundary between Lee and Charlotte counties
(Figure 1). The site was exposed when land was cleared for
a house lot in 1982. It was dissected by a ditch dug to run
power lines to a dock in 1985. Much of the site was pre
served with the cooperation of the owners.
Surface Collections. Material that I surface collected in
1985 is curated in Gainesville and includes 1 horse conch
shell hammer and 1 Belle Glade Plain body sherd (FLMNH
cat. no. 88-27-1). Subsequently, I collected 3 horse conch
shell hammers that have hafting notches (rather than being
the hand-held form which lacks notches). Another similar
horse conch shell hammer was collected from the site in
1985 by Paula Johnson, then a resident of Boca Grande.
Other artifacts in the possession of the owners include 1
sand-tempered-plain sherd and 1 left-handed whelk shell
Site Interpretation. The site appears to be older than other
sites to the south on the island. It is deeply stratified and,
based on the amount of pottery sherds and food remains
observed, appears to be an occupational site.
Assessment of,Significance. This site appears to be located
on a portion of Gasparilla Island that has been dated to
approximately 1000-1500 years of age (Stapor et al.
1987:Figure 6). In 1982, when the land was first cleared,
only a shell scatter was observed. The trench dug through the
site in 1985 showed that the site was much deeper and more
extensive than previously thought. Further testing is recom
Gasparilla Inn Golf Course Sites (8LL1759-1761)
In 1989, I discovered three locations with aboriginal
materials all on the Gasparilla Inn Golf Course near mid-
Gasparilla Island (Figure 1): Boca Grande #5 (8LL1759), #6
(8LL1760), and #7 (8LL1761). Before it was filled to make
the golf course, this area was mangrove swamp close to the
shores of a tidal creek that connected with the Hole in the
Wall (Figures 1 and 2).
Site Descriptions. BG#5 and #6 are located in the man-

Gasparilla Island
Figure 3. View southward along Boca Grande Bayou, 1993. The Gasparilla Inn Golf Course is on the left, and BG#5 and
#6 are in the distant mangroves on the left side of the bayou.
groves between the golf course and Boca Grande Bayou
(Figure 3). BG#5 is a small pile of shells, similar to BG#6.
BG#5 is 15 m (50 ft) to the south of BG#6.1 inspected BG#5
closely, but found no aboriginal artifacts. I did not disturb it,
deciding to investigate BG#6.
In addition to the two piles of shells, I discovered artifacts
at a third location, BG#7, on the edge of Fairway #8 pond.
BG#7 is 45 m (150 ft) to the east of BG#5 and #6. The
nature of BG#7 is uncertain due to land disturbance. The
area around BG#7 was originally mangrove swamp before it
was filled and a pond was dug. The site may represent a
buried or disturbed midden, or perhaps fill brought from
another location.
Surface Collections. At BG#6,1 collected a dozen distinc
tive whelk shells and a piece of glass (described below). The
piles remaining shells were replaced in approximately the
same positions as found, then marked and covered with sand
for protection.
At BG#7,1 found two whelk shell tools on the edge of the
pond. One is a left-handed whelk shell Type C hammer, the
other is a left-handed whelk shell columella hammer
(FLMNH cat. no. 88-30-1).
Archaeological Investigation. BG#6 is a pile of large
whelk shells protruding through the surface in the man
groves, just to the east of the end of 4th Street and on the east
side of Boca Grande Bayou. In 1989, landscape work left the
pile in plain view, and I felt that this could endanger it. With
permission from the manager of the Gasparilla Inn, and
under the auspices of the FLMNH, I undertook an archaeo
logical investigation in May 1989.
I cleared the surface of branches and leaves, and swept the
area clean, exposing the shells. I set up a 2 m x 2 m square
over the shell pile, with a zero datum at the northeast comer.
I removed the uppermost shells and, inside one, I found a
piece of brown glass. Then I excavated the lowermost shells.
After I removed them, I found two broken, brown glass, beer
bottle bottoms bearing dates of 1953, which were lying on
top of sterile beach sand. The presence of glass on this sterile
surface, with the aboriginal shells piled on top, brought a
new set of questions to the investigation of the site.
Site Interpretation. At BG#6,1 inspected each shell in the
pile and observed that they were broken in characteristic
ways. I interpret these to be extraction holes for removal of
the animal from the shell for food, and I believe that these
were done by aboriginal inhabitants of Gasparilla Island. My
belief is based on having observed shells in similar condition
at known Indian shell mound sites in the nearby area (Edic
All together, I removed and examined 243 large whelk
shells. No debris was found to indicate that the shells were
opened on-site. A random sample of 100 shells was exam
ined for opening technique, and I found that they were

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
similar to large whelk shells at aboriginal sites in the area
(e.g., Buck Key, Josslyn Island, and Useppa Island). The
body whorl of 57 shells had been perforated to extract the
animal, 38 shells had no extraction holes, and five had their
apexes broken. The breakage patterns differ from those
produced by local people in the 1950s who, according to
informants, perforated conchs at the third spiral out from the
apex by making an oblong hole so that the columella muscle
could be cut to free the animal inside.
I also noted that of the sample of 100 shells, only eight
shells were assignable to the taxon Busycon sinistrum
(formerly B. contrarium), which is the most common of three
forms of large whelk found in the Charlotte Harbor area
(Luer et al. 1986:95). In contrast, 92 of the 100 shells are
assignable to the taxon B. perversum, as defined by Abbott
(1974:222-223) and Perry and Schwengel (1955), which is
rare in the area (Figure 4). Luer et al. (1986:119, Figure 3,
upper right) observed only three or four such shells among
thousands of whelk shells on nearby Big Mound Key. On
Gasparilla Island, I found one culturally modified B. perver
sum specimen at BG#1 (see above).
Oral testimony of long-time residents may shed some light
on the BG#6 and #7 shell piles. Tom Parkinson, who worked
at the fish house located on the East Dock at the end of 4th
Street in the 1930s, did not remember the shell piles being
there in the 1930s (Tom Parkinson, personal communication,
1989). Arnold (Tee Wee) Joiner indicated that softball
used to be played on the adjacent field, just to the east of the
Figure 4. Shells from BG#6: top row) examples of broken shells;
bottom row) rare Busycon perversum shells with characteristic
flat spires, prominent nodules, and contorted columellae.
site, and, in the 1950s, the field was occasionally cleared of
large shells which were then dumped in the mangroves
(Arnold Joiner, personal communication, 1989). Cornelius
(Tiger) Minor recalled people camping near the spot in the
late 1930s and early 1940s (Cornelius Minor, personal
communication, 1989).
Assessment of Significance. It is my opinion that the
shells comprising BG#6 are from a nearby aboriginal site
and were redeposited at their present location. Nonetheless,
I have filed Florida Site File forms for the two shell piles, as
well as for BG#7. A preliminary report (Edic 1990) of my
findings is on file at the FLMNH. The sites numerous, rare
B. perversum shells are unique to my knowledge.
Boca Grande #9 (8LL1943)
Site Description. Boca Grande #9 is on the south point of
Sisters Key, now a peninsula connected to Boca Grande Isles.
In the 1960s, spoil from the dredging of the Intracoastal
Waterway was placed over what was then called Three
Sisters Keys. Originally, the keys consisted of three small
islands, as shown on maps dating prior to the 1960s. In the
1980s, the southwest side of the key was connected to Boca
Grande Isles, making it a peninsula. BG#9 consists of shells
and artifacts on the southeast beach side of the key. In 1988,
I collected a sand-tempered-plain rim sherd from the surface
(FLMNH cat. no. 88-34-1). The sherd was collected from a
shell lens eroding from under the fill on the beach.
Boca Grande #10 (8LL1942)
Site Description. Boca Grande #10, also called the
Hoagen Key site, consists of a small midden on the keys
northeast side as well as midden shells exposed in tree
falls on the keys southeast side. These cultural deposits
are now separated by spoil that was dredged from the
Intracoastal Waterway and dumped on the key in the
Surface Collection. In March 1991, 1 made a
surface collection from the northeast side of the key
consisting of 1 sand-tempered-plain body sherd and 1
Pinellas Plain rim sherd.
Site Interpretation. The site is buried under spoil.
From the limited amount of cultural material observed,
interpretation is not possible at this time.
Assessment of Significance. Little is known about
this site, and it needs further investigation and testing.
The site has been preserved in a land easement donated
by the CHCC to the GIC1A. In the future, mapping
and testing could reveal much new knowledge.
Jack Point (8LL84)
Site Description. The Jack Point site was catalogued
as a Seminole site in August 1953 by archaeologist

William Plowden (1953a). Reported to be on the second
beach ridge, about 45 m (150 ft) from the end of Jack Point,
it was approximately 90 m (300 ft) in length by 23 m (75 ft)
in width. It is now buried under fill near the northeast point
of Boca Grande Isles. The site might have been related to a
Spanish fishing rancho on nearby Cayo Pelau (Gibson
1982:187; Williams 1962:297) to the east across Gasparilla
Surface Collection. In 1953, Plowden found some early
American pottery (ca. 1820s), some Seminole pottery, and
faceted blue glass beads. Goggin (1954:3) mentions early
19th century European chinaware and pottery, faceted blue
glass beads, and probable Seminole pottery a smooth
surfaced ware.
Site Interpretation. The site might have been a camp for
Seminole Indians who traded with, or worked for, Spanish
fishermen in the early 1800s. It also might have been a later
camp for Seminles during the Second Seminole War (1835-
Assessment of Significance. The site is now covered with
fill and was not relocated during my survey. It is the only site
of this kind reported for Gasparilla Island, and only the
second Seminole archaeological site reported in the area,
another being on Indian Field near the north end of Pine
Island (Luer 1989). This site could be impacted by deep
digging, and digging here should be monitored.
Unnamed Site (8LL85)
Site Description. 8LL85 was recorded as a sherd scatter
on the beach just north of the Gasparilla Inn Golf Course
(Plowden 1953b). It probably was located on what is now the
east shore of Boca Grande Isles and has been covered with
Surface Collection. During Plowdens 1953 survey, he
recovered 15 sand-tempered-plain (Glades Plain) sherds
(12 body, 3 rim), 1 Pinellas Plain body sherd, one 1 sherd-
tempered-plain sherd, 3 left-handed whelk shell Type C
hammers, a flint point, and 2 crock fragments.
Site Interpretation. 8LL85 was classified by Goggin
(1954:3, 5) as a historic/protohistoric aboriginal site.
Based on the presence of left-handed whelk shell Type C
hammers, it may be older than Goggin estimated, possibly as
old as ca. A.D. 800.
Assessment of Significance. The site is now behind
seawalls and covered with fill. It was not relocated during my
survey and its significance is undetermined.
Loomis Key
Loomis Key has a sand ridge running down its west side.
It has vegetation typical of many middens and mounds in the
area. However, no cultural material has been observed there.
This key was formerly a peninsula connected to Gasparilla
Island and became separated when a channel, called Loomis
Cut, was dredged in the 1920s (Figure 2). The sand ridge
needs to be tested to determine whether or not it is an
archaeological site.
I suggest that the Indians who utilized Gasparilla Island
used dugout canoes in many of their daily activities. They
needed canoes to reach the island and to leave it. Around the
edges of the island, they would have used canoes in gather
ing shellfish and in fishing. Such activities were affected by
the wind and weather. For example, a westerly wind made
the islands bayside a lee shore. As such, it provided a long,
calm corridor for canoeing, fishing, and shellfish gathering.
Conversely, an easterly wind made the Gulfside a lee shore,
favoring its use.
A narrow stretch at mid-Gasparilla Island, now known as
The Narrows, could have provided safe access to the Gulf,
either by foot or as a canoe haulover. In addition, Gasparilla
Islands southern end offered the shortest crossing of
Charlotte Harbor (only 1.3 km [.75 mi] to the north shore of
Cayo Costa), thereby facilitating north-south canoe travel.
The shell tools and pottery sherds found at the Gasparilla
Island sites are the same as ones found on nearby sites
around the fringe of the Cape Haze peninsula. The Indians
might have obtained some of their pottery vessels at these
nearby sites and then brought them to the island. The similar
kinds of shell tools found on Gasparilla Island and nearby
sites indicate that the people who lived on these sites were
part of the wider community.
While encamped on Gasparilla Island, the Indians used
surrounding waters for fishing and shellfishing. The middens
hint at this. For example, bay scallop shells at BG#1 show
that tidal flats in Gasparilla Sound were exploited. In
addition, surf clam shells at BG#1 show that the beach was
utilized also. Further analysis of midden contents may help
show that the Indians exploited inlets at each end of Gas
parilla Island, as well as nearshore Gulf waters. For example,
Indians might have fished for sharks, rays, grouper, and sea
turtles in the Gulf. They probably caught catfish, trout,
redfish, flounder, and many other fish in passes and the bay.
It also has been suggested that the islands beaches and inlets
were sources of robust whelk shells that were transported to
more landward sites where they were fashioned into shell
tools (Luer et al. 1986:95-98, 121).
Furthermore, Indians on Gasparilla Island probably took
advantage of natural events, such as freezes or winter storms,
to obtain fish and shellfish. For example, large numbers of
pen shells often are washed up on Gasparilla Island beaches
after strong winter storms, and both their meat and their sea
silk or byssus tufts were usable (Edic 1996b: 152-154).
The Indians also used the barrier islands plant resources.
Shell cutting-edged tools from the BG#2 and #4 sites show
that the Indians were hewing wood, probably from the
islands mangrove forests. Wood was valuable as firewood

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
and for making tools. Excavation and archaeobotanical
analysis could reveal that the Indians were utilizing the
islands sea grapes, cabbage palm berries, saw palmetto
dates, cocoplums, prickly pear cactus fruits, and other plant
The opened food shells and the shell tools that I have
observed from BG#1 and #2 show that these sites were used
for extractive purposes, such as for shucking shellfish and for
cutting wood. The small amounts of clam shell present at
both sites may indicate that clams were taken off-site.
During the last 20 years, I have located a number of
archaeological sites on Gasparilla Island. These are small
sites, but they deserve further investigation, and should be
protected and preserved. I believe that further research of
these sites is important because it will help reveal how
Charlotte Harbors original Indian inhabitants utilized Gas
parilla Island. These Indians made their living by combining
fishing, hunting, gathering, and bartering. Their use of
Gasparilla Island was undoubtedly complex, but we have a
poor understanding of how they used it and other barrier
islands in the region.
Future archaeological research can show how the Indians
used the islands location on the Gulf and its resources, such
as fish, shellfish, sea turtles, and other animals as well as
plants. These were somewhat limited given the size of the
island, and so the islands Indian population would have
been small. I suggest that a small number of Indians lived on
the island more or less year-round. I also suggest that there
was some seasonal use of the island by Indians who lived
nearby during most of the year, such as to the north and east
along the fringe of the Cape Haze peninsula.
Archaeological sites left by Indians on Gasparilla Island
relate directly to how Indians used the island and its re
sources. They need to be more fully identified, mapped, and
tested. A first step toward this goal would be a project to help
identify and delimit sites by shovel testing Hoagen Key and
Loomis Key, and by carefully mapping the BG#1 and #2
middens. A second step would be to undertake formal testing
of the BG#1 and #2 sites. Such testing would include profile
mapping, dating of strata, analyses of zooarchaeological,
ceramic, and archaeobotanical remains, and publication of
scientific results. A third step would be to interpret new
findings in an educational exhibit for the public.
Todays Gasparilla Island community could benefit by
developing the scientific and educational potential of the
island. A museum planned for the Boca Grande light house,
showcasing the islands natural and cultural history, could be
a repository for the artifacts and information recovered from
archaeological sites on the island. It could become a place of
community pride and focus, and enhance our appreciation
and understanding of the entire Charlotte Harbor area.
George Luer helped in organizing and writing this paper, and he provided
illustrations. Charles Blanchard gave insights on canoe travel. Local residents
Mike Farris, Scott Johnson, and Wayne Joiner helped locate sites on Gasparilla
Island. The Gasparilla Inn and the CHCC kindly let me excavate on their
property. The GICIA and several land owners gave permission to visit their
properties. The Gasparilla Inn and the Boca Grande Historical Society allowed
me to use a 1920s aerial photograph of The Narrows. Elise LeCompte,
Anthropology Registrar at the Florida Museum of Natural History, kindly
helped with collections curated there.
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Luer, George M.
1986Some Interesting Archaeological Occurrences of Quahog Shellsonthe
Gulf Coast of Central and Southern Florida. In Shells and Archaeol
ogy in Southern Florida, edited by George M. Luer, pp. 125-159.
Florida Anthropological Society Publication Number 12, Tallahassee.
1989 A Seminole Burial on Indian Field (8LL39), Lee County, Southwest
ern Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 42:237-240.
1992a The Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096): Some Stratigraphic, Radiocar
bon, and Shell Tool Analyses for a Manasota Period Site in Sarasota,
Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 45:246-252.
1992b The Boylston Mound: A Safety Harbor Period Shell Midden; With
Notes on the Paleoenvironment of Southern Sarasota Bay. The
Florida Anthropologist 45:266-279.
1994 A Third Ceremonial Tablet from the Goodnow Mound, Highlands
County, Florida; With Notes on Some Peninsular Tribes and Other
Tablets. The Florida Anthropologist 47:180-187.
Luer, George M., David Allerton, Dan Hazeltine, Ronald Hatfield, and Darden
1986 Whelk Shell Tool Blanks from Big Mound Key (8Chl0), Charlotte
County, Florida: With Notes on Certain Whelk Shell Tools. In Shells
and Archaeology in Southern Florida, edited by George M. Luer, pp.
92-124. Florida Anthropological Society Publication Number 12,
Luer, George M., and Marion M. Almy
1979 Three Aboriginal Shell Middens on Longboat Key, Florida: Manasota
Period Sites of Barrier Island Exploitation. The Florida Anthropolo
gist 32:34-45.
1980 The Development of Some Aboriginal Pottery of the Central Peninsu
lar Gulf Coast of Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 33:207-225.
Marquardt, William H.
1988 Politics and Production among the Calusa of South Florida. In
Hunters and Gatherers, Volume 1: History, Evolution, and Social
Change, edited by Tim Ingold, David Riches, and James Woodbum,
pp. 161-188. Department of Anthropology, University College. Berg
Publishers, London.
1992 Culture and Environment in the Domain of the Calusa. University
of Florida, Institute of Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental Studies,
Monograph Number 1, Gainesville.
Moore, Clarence B.
1905 Miscellaneous Investigations in Florida. Journal of the Academy of
Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 13:298-325.
Perry, Louise M., and Jeanne S. Schwengel
1955 Marine Shells of the Western Coast of Florida. Paleontological
Research Institution, Ithaca, New York.
Plowden, William
1953a University of Florida Archaeological Site Survey card for 8LL84. On
file, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
1953b University of Florida Archaeological Site Survey card for 8LL85. On
file, Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
Stapor, Frank W., Jr., Thomas D. Mathews, and Fonda E. Lindfors-Keams
1987 Episodic Barrier Island Growth in Southwest Florida: A Response to
Fluctuating Holocene Sea Level? In Symposium on South Florida
Geology, edited by Florentin J-M R. Maurrasse, pp 149-202. Memoir
3, Miami Geological Society, Coral Gables.
S wanton, John R.
1946 The Indians ofthe Southeastern United States. Bureau of American
Ethnology, Bulletin 137, Washington, D.C.
Walker, Karen J., Frank W. Stapor, and William H. Marquardt
1994 Episodic Sea Levels and Human Occupation of Southwest Floridas
Wightman Site. The Florida Anthropologist 47:161-179.
Widmer, Randolph J.
1988 The Evolution of the Calusa: A Non-Agricultural Chiefdom on the
Southwest Florida Coast. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.
Willey, Gordon R.
1949 Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast. Smithsonian Miscellaneous
Collection, Vol. 113, Washington, D C.
Williams, John L.
1962 The Territory of Florida: or Sketches of the Topography, Civil and
Natural History, of the Country, the Climate, and the Indian Tribes,
from the First Discovery to the Present Time. Facsimile reproduction
of the 1837 edition, University of Florida Press, Gainesville.
Williams, Lindsey W.
1986 Boldly Onward. Precision Publishing Co., Charlotte Harbor, Florida.
1989A Charlotte Harbor Perspective on de Sotos Landing Site. The
Florida Anthropologist 42:280-294.
Wilson, Charles J.
1982 The Indian Presence: Archeology of Sanibel, Captiva, and
Adjacent Islands in Pine Island Sound. Sanibel-Captiva Conservation
Foundation, Sanibel, Florida.

Volumetric Analyses of Selected Shell Midden and Shell Mound
Sites at Charlotte Harbor, Florida
Paul L. Jones
Panamerican Consultants, Inc., 1207 North Himes Avenue, Suite 5, Tampa, Florida 33602
E-mail: panamfl(a),gte. net
In 1995 and 1996, the Charlotte Harbor Mounds Survey
(CHMS) project was conducted by the Charlotte Harbor
Environmental Center (CHEC) with the goal of expand
ing our understanding of the precolumbian cultural heritage
of the Charlotte Harbor area of Florida (Figure 1). As part
of the CHMS project, I digitized contour maps of selected
shell middens near Charlotte Harbor into a computerized
format utilizing SURFER 6.01 software. Volumetric
calculations were completed for each site documenting the
comparative sizes of each midden within an order of magni
Midden and mound volumes have been a topic of interest
to archaeologists for many years. Volumetric analysis shows
to what extent an object is significantly larger or smaller in
volume than another. As an example, volumetric analysis
shows that Monks Mound at the Cahokia site in Illinois is 10
times greater in volume than Sauls Mound at the Pinson site
in Tennessee (Shenkel 1986). The volumes of the Temple of
the Sun at Teotihuacan in Mexico, Monks Mound at Ca
hokia, or the shell middens of Charlotte Harbor may be
ranked in order of magnitude.
The ability to calculate and compare the volumes of
monumental earthworks or shellworks may allow us to
extrapolate the amount of labor involved in construction.
For example, mound volume estimates have been used to
estimate number of man-hours required to build earthen
mounds (Walthall 1980). Archaeologists often assume that
greater levels of social complexity can be correlated with
larger shell or earthen constructions.
History of Volume Calculation
Sorant and Shenkel (1984) point out that the interest in
volumetric calculations is not a recent phenomenon. Early
in the twentieth century in California, Nelson (1909) and
Gifford (1916) performed quantitative analyses of midden
volumes. Their work was followed by other California
researchers some years later (Cook and Treganza 1947;
Heizer and Cook 1956; Treganza and Cook 1948).
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was renewed
interest in utilizing volumetric calculations. Work was
pursued in Florida at the Tampa Bay temple mounds (Luer
and Almy 1981) and in Georgia at Cemochechobee (Schnell
et al. 1981). Elsewhere in the Southeast, Walthall (1980)
used mound volume estimates to calculate man-hours of
labor required to construct Copena mounds. Goad (1979,
1980) used mound volume and artifact density to group these
Copena sites into hierarchies of regional centers, local
centers, and local sites.
Walthalls and Goads studies met with resistance from
both mathematical and analytical methodological points of
view. Jeter (1984) criticized the mathematical viability of
Walthalls study, claiming that Walthall had overestimated
the volumes of mounds, utilized incorrect volume conver
sions, and included inconsistencies in energy expenditure
comparisons, but Jeter still supported the continuation of this
type of study.
In the mid-1980s three major articles on mound volume
analysis were published (Jeter 1984; Shenkel 1986; Sorant
and Shenkel 1984). These were the first widely distributed
articles that provided formulae to make volume determina
tions. Sorant and Shenkel (1984) made strong arguments for
the use of the computer in volumetric calculations for both
reducing time required and the possibility of human error in
calculations. While computers provide no guarantee of
accuracy, they minimize the possibility of error from long
hours of tedious calculations. In another approach, Payne
(1994) avoided use of the computer and the calculation of
volumes by using a volume index (multiplying mound
basal length by basal width by height and dividing by 1000)
in a comparative analysis of Mississippian mounds.
The most important aspect in volumetric calculations is the
accuracy of the data to be placed in the database. For
computer calculations, data generally are derived either from
digitizing a surface topographic map or from a series of data
points collected in the field. The latter method is preferable
provided the data sample is large enough and complete
enough to allow accurate analysis.
Maps of the Acline (8CH69) and Whidden Branch
(8CH356) sites were created from a series of data points
generated by a survey utilizing a surveyors instrument and
were entered directly into the database in this format (see
Torrence, this volume). Maps of seven additional shell
midden and shell mound sites also were selected for volumet
ric calculations based on an assessment survey of state-
NO. 14
Florida Anthropological Society Publications

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No, 14
Figure 1. Locations of volumetricaily analyzed shell middens and mounds near Charlotte Harbor in Charlotte County,
owned sites around Charlotte Harbor (Luer and Archibald
1988) and on archaeological salvage work at a state-owned
site, 8CH10, near Charlotte Harbor (Luer et al. 1986:Figure
6, top). Topographic maps of these seven sites consisted of
hand-drawn sketch maps, and were not measured maps made
with a surveyors instrument. The maps were, however,
considered accurate enough for the purposes of this analysis
(to document and compare midden sizes within an order of
magnitude and to encourage further volumetric analyses).
Each of the topographic maps from the two surveys was
overlain with a grid, and a series of data points was calcu
lated. Coordinates from the X, Yt and Z axes were entered
into the SURFER 6.01 database worksheet. These databases
were utilized to produce computer generated contour maps of
the sites and to provide volumetric analysis of each midden.
SURFER converts the database into a grid file based on
several gridding programs available to the user. The
gridding process produces a series of regularly spaced points
from the irregular series of points in the database, essentially
filling in the areas where no data points exist by extrapo
lating or interpolating two values at those locations (Golden
Software 1995:5-1).
SURFER provides several gridding options (Figure 2).
Descriptions of these methods are in part from the SURFER
6.01 Users Manual (Golden Software 1995). The most often
used method of gridding is Kriging with a linear variogram,
especially for medium-sized data sets. It is a geostatistical
gridding method that is especially useful for producing
visually appealing contour and surface plots by expressing
trends that are suggested by the data. However, when work-

Volumetric Analyses of Shell Midpen and Shell Mound Sites
Polynomial Regression
Figure 2. Gridding options available with SURFER. This example shows views of 8CH17 looking toward the Northeast,
at a 30-degree angle, 2x vertical scale exaggeration, with horizontal and vertical scales in meters.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
ing with volumetric calculations, Kriging often will extrapo
late below the Z=0 level and provide erroneous volume
The Minimum Curvature option provides a grid much as
the name implies. Often used in the earth sciences, this
generates as smooth a surface as possible with a minimum
amount of bending. This program is not an exact inter
polator and the data are not always utilized exactly as
The Nearest Neighbor method assigns the value of the
nearest data point to each grid node or point on the regularly
spaced grid. This method is useful when the data are already
on a regular grid but need to be transferred to a SURFER
file. When working with data sets not on a grid format,
other methods are recommended.
Polynomial Regression is useful in defining trends from
data, but does not act as an interpolator. Smoothing effects
are not as complete as other methods since unknown Z values
are not predicted.
Radial Basis Function acts similarly to Kriging since the
functions that can be specified are analogous to the Kriging
variograms. This is also a true interpolation program, and
honors the data as accurately as possible.
Shepards Method utilizes an inverse distance weighted
least-squares method. This method also can be used as an
exact or smoothing interpolator, utilizing a scattered data
interpolation algorithm.
Triangulation with Linear Interpolation is an algorithm
that creates a series of triangles by drawing lines between
data points. The data points are connected so that no
triangle edges are intersected by other triangles. This
method acts as a true interpolator and uses all the original
data points. The method is particularly useful when working
from topographic maps because of the effectiveness in
preserving break lines. This also does not produce Z values
less than zero if none is specified in the original database.
Both Kriging and radial basis function provide values of Z
less than zero in their interpolation programs. These
negative values are included when volume calculations are
performed, providing inaccurate volume figures. Only
triangulation with linear interpolation and nearest neighbor
provide maps without interpolation of values less than zero,
but the nearest neighbor plot is irregular and fails to compute
the slope volume associated with a midden or mound.
For small discrete sites, such as middens and mounds on
a relatively flat plane, triangulation with linear interpolation
provides the most accurate surface plots. Volume calcula
tions are completed based on the grid files prepared by the
selected method, and the accuracy of those calculations
should be visually inspected by use of a surface plot prior to
Within the grid file, volume calculations are made for each
grid cell. If these cells are tilted, the SURFER program
approximates the volume of the prism at the top or bottom of
each cell. Volume calculations are reported as positive
volume (cut) and as negative volume (fill). In the case of the
sites mapped using triangulation with linear interpolation, no
negative values (fill) will be reported.
To be valid, the three values should be reasonably close
and deviation should not be excessive. For this report, all
values were determined to be accurate if deviation was less
than one percent.
Maps of each of these methods using the same data set
from 8CH17 (unnamed site near Charlotte Harbor, Florida)
were prepared to illustrate graphically the different methods
available using the SURFER program (Figure 2). Three of
the methods (Kriging, radial basis function, and triangula
tion with linear interpolation) provided an
accurate rendition of the site in a surface plot
map. A comparison of the three methodologies
was done for each of the nine sites. It should
be emphasized that any volumetric calculation
from a set of data points represents an approxi
mation, since all surface irregularities cannot
be compensated for and interpolation between
data points is required.
The SURFER 6.01 mapping program pro
vided contour maps for each site (Figures 3
and 4) and these were compared visually to the
originals from which the data were derived
10 790.1 using the triangulation with linear interpola
tion method. The volumetric calculations from
each map provided three sets of calculations
based on the trapezoidal rule, Simpsons Rule,
and Simpsons 3/8 Rule (three sets of formulae
for calculating volumes). The net volume is
reported as the average of the three volumes
(Table 1). Volume results computed using
triangulation with linear interpolation are
Table 1. Volumes of Charlotte Harbor sites in cubic meters calculated using
triangulation with linear interpolation.
Trapezoidal Simpsons Simpsons 3/8
Net Volume*
* Calculated by averaging all three methods.

Volumetric Analyses of Shell Midden and Shell Mound Sites
8CH9 Catfish Point
8CH20 Unnamed Site
8CH356 Whidden Branch
._§ 1 ? ? § §__? ^ ?
meters 8
8CH40 Unnamed Site
20 00
18 00
meters 1?0 ? *
10 00
l V
<0 00 2 00 4 00 8 00 8 00 10 00 12 00 14'ao 1600 18*00 20
8CH361 Fines Key
8CH69 Acline Mound
Figure 3. Computer-generated plan view maps of Charlotte Harbor sites based on a sketch maps in Luer and Archibald
(1988) and measured maps in Torrence (this volume).

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
8CH9 Catfish Point 8CH17 Unnamed Site
8CH20 Unnamed Site
8CH356 Whidden Branch
8CH40 Unnamed Site
8CH348 Bird Dog Key
8CH361 Fines Key
8CH69 Acline Mound
Figure 4. Computer-generated maps of Charlotte Harbor sites using the Kriging method. Views are looking toward the
Northeast, at a 30-degree angle, 2x vertical scale exaggeration, with horizontal and vertical scales in meters. Note that
the sites are drawn at different scales.

Volumetric Analyses of Shell Midden and Shell Mound Sites
Table 2. Volumes of selected middens and mounds (partially
after Shenkel 1986).
Height (m)
Area (m2)
Volume (m3)
Charlotte Harbor sites, Florida8
Pharr Mounds, Mississippi6
Mound A
Mound B
Mound C
Greenhouse site,
Mound A
Mound E
Mound G
Toltec site, Arkansasd
Mound A
Mound B
Mound C
a This study.
b Bohannon 1972:2, 93-96)
c Ford (1951 figure 1).
d Rolingson (1982).
given in cubic units based on the units of input; in the grid
used in this analysis, it is expressed as:
Net Volume = (meters x meters x meters)
The difference in the volume calculations by the three
different methods allowed the accuracy of the calculations to
be assessed. The volume for these sites using triangulation
with linear interpolation compares closely to other volume
measurements calculated by Shenkel (1986) for mounds of
similar dimensions from Pinson Mounds, Tennessee, and
Pharr Mounds, Mississippi (Table 2), suggesting that the
Table 3. Estimated ages of Charlotte Harbor sites.
Site Name
Approximate Age*
Catfish Point
A.D. 700-1750
Big Mound Key
A.D. 500-1750
A.D. 700-1500
A.D. 700-1750
A.D. 700-1500
Acline Mound
A.D. 700-1500
Bird Dog Key
A.D. 700-1500
Whidden Branch
A.D. 700-1500
Fines Key
A.D. 700-1750
a Age estimates are based on surface collections (e.g., Luer and
Archibald 1988; George Luer, personal communication, 1998) and
radiocarbon dates for portions of 8CH10 (Luer 1992, n.d.; Luer et
al. 1986).
results from using SURFER are valid.
While earthen mounds, shell middens, and shell mounds
had different functions, they still can be compared within an
order of magnitude to suggest the amount of labor involved
in their construction or accumulation. While the materials
and functions of Hopewellian (Pharr), Late Woodland
(Greenhouse), and Mississippian (Toltec) mounds might
have differed greatly from their counterparts in southern
Florida, their volumes (Table 2) nonetheless provide exam
ples for comparison with Charlotte Harbor shell middens
and shell mounds.
Table 3 suggests that all nine Charlotte Harbor sites in this
study are more or less contemporaneous, and that most of
their deposits have ages between ca. A.D. 500-1750. This
suggests that the sites resulted from a single cultural trajec
tory and can be compared with each other as parts of a
group. It is believed that the volume of 8CH10 is the upper
extreme for the sites in the area under study here (George
Luer, personal communication, 1998), which is the Char
lotte County portion of the Charlotte Harbor area.
However, it should be noted that the functions of some of
these sites changed or were modified over time. For exam
ple, Luer (1992) has shown that at 8CH10 there was a low-
lying midden (ca. A.D. 500-600) where the Indians subse
quently built two shell mounds (ca. A.D. 900-1000), at least
one of which was used as a habitation platform on which
midden material accumulated as a result of use.
Based on the volumes in Table 1 and the shapes shown in
Figures 3 and 4, some interpretive categories can be sug
gested for site functions among the Charlotte Harbor sites.
These functional categories include constructed mounds and
midden complexes (8CH10, 8CH69), large village midden

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
accumulations (8CH9), small village or extended family
midden accumulations (8CH17, 8CH356, 8CH361), and
small fishing camps or extractive sites (8CH20, 8CH40,
All of these Charlotte Harbor sites exist within a continuum
of size. The volume of a site, in and of itself in not an
indicator of site function. Surface configuration (shape or
form), along with content, must be included in any determina
tion of site function. Surface area also can be a valuable
indicator that can be used in conjunction with volume, shape,
and content as an indicator of site function.
For example, 8CH9 and 8CH69 have similar volumes but
very different surface areas. 8CH69 has steep sides with a
corresponding reduction in surface area when compared with
8CH9's gently sloping sides and long, narrow shape with a
corresponding increase in surface area. In this case, the
different shapes and surface areas suggest that 8CH9 and
8CH69 had different functions. 8CH9 is a shell ridge running
parallel to the shore, a form known to characterize large
village accumulations in the region.1 A comparatively large
surface area for such sites makes sense since people need
ample surface area for beaching canoes, socializing and
working, building habitation structures, and other activities
of daily life. In contrast, 8CH69 appears to be a constructed
shell mound (Luer and Almy 1981:129-130, 146) because of
its steep sides, elevated platform, and U-shaped form. Such
a configuration would have limited and constrained the
surfaces that people could use, and suggests more specialized
or limited functions than at a less-elevated, ridge-shaped shell
This study indicates that computer mapping programs have
reached a level that makes them readily accessible and
useable for many archaeologists. The ability to make empiri
cal intersite comparisons may assist us in determining the
level of social or political complexity required to complete
monumental earthworks or shellworks.
The use of computer mapping programs provides a useful
tool for comparison within an order of magnitude for archaeo
logical site volumes. While the ideal situation of a large
number of field surveyed data points are required for highly
accurate results, digitized data from contour maps provides a
useful tool for comparing sites. The ability to digitize data
from contour maps from other surveys provides an opportu
nity for intersite volume comparisons of structures such as
middens, mounds, and earthworks.
It is only recently that commercially available software
programs that can perform volumetric calculations have
become readily available and easy to use. With the onset of
low-cost accessibility to tools for performing what were once
labor and time intensive calculations, the use of this informa
tion to improve our understanding of mound and midden
construction should become more widespread.
In this study, sketch maps and instrument data for the
configurations of nine state-owned sites at Charlotte Harbor
provided the raw data for comparing them to other Amer
ican Indian earthworks, based on volume of material. Use
of these data provided an example of the value of computer
mapping programs. Results indicate that the volumes of
many shell middens exceed those of mounds located at
precolumbian ceremonial centers and that are considered to
be monumental earthworks. Considering information
provided by volumetric analysis, shell middens and shell
mounds might have required more social, political, or
religious control to complete their accumulation or construc
tion than previously thought due to the significant volume of
material involved. Other results show that site volume,
surface configuration (shape or form), surface area, and
content are important clues that must be used together when
determining site function.
1 A few examples of other long, narrow, ridge-shaped, shell midden village
sites in the region include the Paulsen Point midden (8S023) on Lemon Bay,
the Shell Ridge midden (8S02) at the Palmer site on Little Sarasota Bay, the
Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096) on Sarasota Bay, and the former Vanderbilt
site (8CH12) on Placida Harbor near the Catfish Point site (8CH9).
I would like to thank Jerald Milanich and George Luer who provided helpful
comments. Corbett Torrence shared topographic data for the Acline Mound
and Whidden Branch midden. Some years ago, Michael Moseley encouraged
me in my earlier, pre-SURFER efforts to calculate the volumes of mounds.
References Cited
Bohannon, Charles F.
1972 Excavations at the Pharr Mounds, Prentiss and Itawamda
Counties, Mississippi and Excavations at the Bear Creek Site,
Tishomingo County Mississippi. United States Department of the
Interior, National Park Service, Office of Archaeology and Historic
Preservation, Division of Archaeology and Anthropology, Washing
Cook, Sherboume F., and A. E. Treganza
1947 The Quantitative Investigation of Aboriginal Sites: Comparative
Physical and Chemical Analysis of Two California Indian Mounds.
American Antiquity 13:135-141.
Ford, James A.
1951 Greenhouse: A Troyville-Coles Creek Period Site in Avoyelles
Parish, Louisiana. Anthropological Papers of the American
Museum of National History 44(1), New York.
Gifford, E. W.
1916 Composition of California Shell Mounds. University of California
Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, volume 12,
number 1, Berkeley.
Goad, Sharon I.
1979 Middle Woodland Exchange in the Prehistoric Southeastern United
States. In Hopewell Archaeology: The Chillicothe Conference,
edited by David S. Brose and Nomi Greber, pp. 239-246. Kent
State University, Kent, Ohio.
1980 Copena Burial Practices and Social Organization. Journal of
Alabama Archaeology 26:67-86.
Golden Software, Inc.
1995 User's Manual for SURFER 6.01. Golden, Colorado.
Heizer, Robert F., and Sherboume F. Cook
1956 Some Aspects of the Quantitative Approach to Archaeology.
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 12:229-0248.
Jeter, Marvin D.
1984 Mound Volumes, Energy Ratios, Exotic Materials, and Contingency

Volumetric Analyses of Shell Midden and Shell Mound Sites
Tables: Comments on Some Recent Analyses of Copena Burial
Practices. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 9:91 -102.
Luer, George M.
1992 A Preliminary Report on Big Mound Key in Charlotte Harbor State
Reserve. Honors thesis, Division of Social Sciences, New College of
the University of South Florida, Sarasota.
n.d. Big Mound Key (8CH10). Ph.D. dissertation in preparation.
Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Luer, George M., David Allerton, Dan Hazeltine, Ron Hatfield, and Darden
1986 Whelk Shell Tool Blanks from Big Mound Key (8Chl 0), Charlotte
County, Florida: With Notes on Certain Whelk Shell Tools. In Shells
and Archaeology in Southern Florida edited by George M. Luer, pp.
91-124. Florida Anthropological Society Publication No. 12,
Luer, George M., and Marion M. Almy
1981 Temple Mounds of the Tampa Bay Area. The Florida Anthropolo
gist 34:127-155.
Luer, George M., and Lauren C. Archibald
1988 An Assessment of Known Archaeological Sites in Charlotte Harbor
State Reserve. Report prepared for the Florida Department ofNatural
Resources, Tallahassee, Florida.
Nelson, Neis C.
1909 Shell Mounds of the San Francisco Bay Region. University of
California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol.
7(4), Berkeley.
Payne, Claudine
1994 Mississippian Capitals: An Archaeological Investigation of
Precolumbian Political Structure. Ph D. dissertation, Department of
Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Rolingson, Martha Ann
1982 Emerging Patterns of Plum Bayou Culture, Preliminary Investiga
tions of the Toltec Mounds Research Project. Toltec Papers II.
Arkansas Archaeological Survey Research Series 18.
Schnell, Frank T., Vernon J. Knight, Jr., and Gail S. Schnell
1981 Cemochechobee: Archaeology of a Mississippian Ceremonial
Center on the Chattahoochee River. University of Florida Presses,
Shenkel, J. Richard
1986 An Additional Comment on Volume Calculations and a Comparison
of Formulae Using Several Southeastern Mounds. Midcontinental
Journal of Archaeology 11:200-220.
Sorant, Peter E., and J. Richard Shenkel
1984 The Calculation ofVolumes of Middens, Mounds, and Strata Having
Irregular Shapes. American Antiquity 49:599-603.
Treganza, A. E., and S. F. Cook
1948 The Quantitative Investigation of Aboriginal Sites: Complete
Excavation with Physical and Archaeological Analysis of a Single
Mound. American Antiquity 13:287-297.
Walthall, John A.
1980 Prehistoric Indians ofthe Southeast: Archaeology of Alabama and
the Middle South. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Topographic Mapping of the Acline and Whidden Branch Mounds,
Charlotte County, Florida
Corbett McP. Torrence
2331 8lh Avenue, St. James City, Florida 33956
E-mail: pinelandCisprintmail. com
This article presents results of topographic mapping of
two state-owned shell mounds, the Acline (8CH69)
and Whidden Branch (8CH356) mounds, in the
Charlotte Harbor State Buffer Preserve (CHSBP), located
approximately 5-8 km (3-5 mi) south of Punta Gorda in
Charlotte County, Florida. The mounds are in an area that
traditionally has been viewed as transitional between two
archaeological regions, the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast
(on the north) and the Caloosahatchee (on the south).
This mapping project represents a portion of research
conducted for the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center in
Charlotte County, Florida.1 Field work was conducted in
March, 1996, with a Chapter 1A-32 permit from the Florida
Bureau of Archaeological Research to perform limited
archaeological work on state land.
Cultural Background
CHSBP contains numerous significant archaeological sites.
Native Florida Indians, Spanish fisherfolk, and twentieth-
century Europeans have all made use of the area, and all
altered the landscape in their own cultural ways. The Acline
and Whidden Branch mounds are clear, visible examples of
Indian land use.
CHSBP encompasses numerous micro-environments that
can be grouped into five vegetation zones: estuarine waters,
mangrove swamps, salt marshes, freshwater marshes, and
hardwood hammocks (Scarry and Newsom 1992). The
diversity of plant species in each vegetation zone is remark
able, and efforts are being made by CHSBP personnel to
preserve the natural composition of each zone by eliminating
exotic species. In addition, many animals, including shell
fish, fish, lizards, snakes, alligators, gopher tortoises, birds,
rabbits, raccoons, deer, and panther make use of the environ
mental zones.
Coastal Indians developed a thriving culture based on the
many resources the estuaries provided. These people were
accomplished fishers and many different species of fish were
eaten. Some fish were netted, while others were taken by
hook and line or bow and arrow. Shellfish also were gath
ered and eaten.2 Certain shells were saved and used to make
a wide variety of tools and ornaments, including net gauges
and weights, sinkers, hammers, adzes, dippers, pendants,
and beads (Marquardt 1992).
Although these people depended on the estuaries, they did
not overlook the many other resources available to them.
Plants and terrestrial animals continued to be important
resources in daily life. For example, nets were woven from
palm fibers, and the leg bones of deer were used to manufac
ture such tools as fishing gear and arrow points.
At the time of Spanish contact in the early sixteenth
century, much of southwest Florida apparently was domi
nated by the Calusa, a highly stratified, sedentary, politically
complex, maritime chiefdom ruled by a paramount chief
named Carlos. Firsthand accounts of Calusa culture are
documented in the writings of Rogel (Hann 1991; Zubillaga
1946), Menndez (Solis de Mers 1964), Laudonnire
(1975), and Escalante Fontaneda (True 1944). The Calusa
were one of the most important groups in southern Florida in
terms of population size, political importance, and influence
on neighboring tribes.
Archival sources provide ample evidence in support of a
complex social organization among the Calusa. This social
complexity included social stratification into nobility,
commoners, and slaves; symbols of rank; royal sibling
marriage; complex ceremonialism; tribute sent to Calos by
chiefs of towns under Calusa control; accumulation and
redistribution of wealth; sophisticated political alliances;
militarism; and extensive earthworks, including temple
mounds, burial mounds, domiciliary mounds, plazas, and
canals (Goggin and Sturtevant 1964; Marquardt 1986,1987;
Widmer 1988).
Viewing mounds and some other constructions as monu
mental architecture suggests that they communicate elements
of the social, political, and/or ideological system. Document
ing the shape, size, volume, and content of mounds enables
a quantitative means of interpreting the cultural landscape.
In other words, mounds reflect social, political, and ideologi
cal structures operating within the cultural system (Milanich
1994:318; Payne 1994).
Previous Investigations
In the 1970s, James Miller (1975) conducted an archaeo
logical survey of the area immediately north of the Acline
Mound for Punta Gorda Isles, Inc., and he recorded the
mound (which was clearly visible) with the Florida Master
Site File. In 1979, George Luer began a series of visits to the
Acline Mound while researching the nearby Aqui Esta
Mound (8CH68). He observed the U-shaped contours of the
NO. 14
Florida Anthropological Society Publication

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASPNo. 14
Acline Mound and noted that it resembled other mounds in
the Caloosahatchee region while contrasting with mounds in
the Tampa Bay region (Luer 1980;LuerandAlmy 1981:129-
130, 146).
In 1988, Luer revisited the Acline Mound and sketched a
detailed map locating and describing numerous vandal pits.
He also visited the Whidden Branch Mound and sketched a
contour map (Luer and Archibald 1988). Soon after, looters
enlarged a hole in the summit of the northeast portion of the
Acline Mound, and CHSBP Ranger Craig Blocker installed
a PVC pipe in the vandal pit before filling it and posting the
site. This pipe was tied into the survey grid used during this
mapping project (see below).
In 1995, Robert Patton (1996) conducted an archaeological
survey of an approximately 11.7 km2 (4.5 mi2) area of
CHSBP surrounding the Acline and Whidden Branch
mounds. This area was called the Alligator Creek tract.
In addition, Patton conducted limited profiling in both
Methods of Data Collection
The objective of the project was to collect data needed to
create detailed topographic maps of the Acline and Whidden
Branch mounds. In this section, the methods of data collec
tion are presented.
During the topographic survey, a Topcon laser transit was
used to determine the location and elevation of specific
points. This instrument provides accurate readings within
one millimeter (1/25 inch). In order to function, the Topcon
requires a clear line of sight to a prism, which reflects the
instruments impulse laser back to the machine to calculate
a variety of readings. Therefore, lines of sight must be
established for topographic mapping. Over 100 person hours
were spent clearing sight lines through the dense vegetation
at the Acline and Whidden Branch mounds. Chainsaws,
hand-saws, machetes, and loppers were used for clearing
brush. In addition, many trees were tied back to limit the
Table 1. Locations and elevations (in meters) of survey stations
on the Acline Mound.
impact of clearing.
Radial clearing patterns were selected instead of the
cartesian grid technique for a variety of reasons. First, the
number of elevations required to define a feature varies
proportionately with its degree of topographic undulation.
By using radials, the number of survey points gathered from
a station could be easily increased or decreased by changing
the number of radials to be cleared from the central survey
station. Second, radials can be judgmentally situated to
optimize coverage of significant points and features, whereas
the grid system is more restrictive. Third, radials can be
cleared along paths of least resistance. Thus, sight lines can
be situated where vegetation is less dense, and where rare
and endangered species can be easily avoided without
interfering with the mapping process.
In the center of each radial, a survey station was estab
lished by pounding an 8-inch galvanized spike into the
ground. A central point was marked on the top of each
spike, and each station was referenced numerically. A
conventional transit or pocket Brunton transit was used to
establish magnetic north, which was used as a grid north.
Vertical control was established by estimating the mean high
tide level, which was used as an elevation zero point.
All survey data were loaded into LOTUS spreadsheets with
a Hewlett Packard 100LX palm-top computer and stored on
disk. The data were then downloaded onto a Packard Bell
Force 386X computer and transcribed into X, Y, and Z
Cartesian grid values using a program designed by the author
in LOTUS. The XYZ data files from each site were then
combined and imported into the SURFER mapping program.
Two-meter grid files for each site were then extrapolated by
the SURFER grid program using the Kriging method with a
quadrant search pattern for the ten closest survey points
within a 50-m radius. Additional grid points (especially zero
elevations) were added outside the survey limits to prevent
inaccurate grid assignments by the Kriging method. Once
accurate grids were established, the SURFER program
generated two- and three-dimensional maps which were
plotted on a Panasonic KX-P1124 printer.
Topographic mapping provides an important frame of
reference for archaeological data collection, since proveni
ence is a necessity in most kinds of archaeological analysis.
In addition, it allows for quantitative, comparative analysis
of mound form, size, and volume (see Jones, this volume).
During this investigation, ten survey stations were used to
collect data from 520 survey points on two different mounds.
Each mound will be discussed separately.
Acline Mound (8CH69)
The Acline Mound is in a tidal mangrove swamp near
Alligator Creek. It is surrounded by mosquito control ditches
and supports a dense, rare community of shell mound
vegetation, including gumbo limbo (Bursera simaruba) and

Topographic Mapping
toppers {Eugenia spp.) trees.
Nine survey stations were placed on the Acline Mound
(Table 1), and elevation readings were obtained from 428
survey points. A survey station is a known geographic point
where the Topcon transit is set up. From each survey station,
a number of survey shots are taken to record elevations at
different points. Each survey point has three readings: 1)
elevation, 2) angle, and 3) distance.
Of the 428 survey points, 399 were used to create the grid
file. In addition, 35 grid points (zero elevations beyond the
limits of the mound) were added to the SURFER file to
enhance the accuracy of the Kriging method. Results of the
survey are presented in Figures 1-3. Figure 2 shows the
location of each survey point used to establish the grid.
Topographically, the Acline Mound can be viewed as two
mounds divided by a trough or furrow-like ramp. The eastern
mound is broader and slightly higher than the western
mound. A level platform area is located on the southeastern
side of the site, while the northern face is very steep.
During topographic mapping, 30 illegal looters pits were
identified. Most are too small to appear on the two-dimen
sional maps in Figures 1 and 2. However, some are visible
on the three-dimensional views in Figure 3. Most notable
are two depressions in the summit of each mound, and a fifth
large depression along the southeastern flank of the eastern
mound. Each looters pit is described in detail in Luer and
Archibald (1988). In one of these (now filled), CHSBP
personnel placed a PVC pipe with a reference marker on it.
On the survey grid, it is located at N79.524 E95.689 at an
elevation of 5.36 m.
In 1995, an old looters pit located at grid coordinates N50
E100 was cleaned and profiled by Patton as a 1 -x-1,5-m unit
(called Acline Test Unit 1), then filled. Shells from the
test included oyster (Crassostrea virginica), kings crown
{Melongena corona), and ribbed mussel {Geukensia demis-
Whidden Branch Mound (8CH356)
Like the Acline Mound, the Whidden Branch Mound is in
a tidal mangrove swamp near mosquito control ditches. It is
close to Whidden Branch, a small tidal creek leading to
Charlotte Harbor. Also like the Acline Mound, the Whid
den Branch Mound is covered with a dense growth of shell
mound vegetation.
Only one survey station (#1), located at N50 E50, was
required to map this small mound. In order to facilitate the
relocation of the grid during future investigations, three
datum points were placed around the edge of the mound and
referenced numerically (Table 2). From Station 1, 91
elevation readings were taken, of which 88 were used to
create the grid file. In addition, 15 grid points (zero eleva
tions beyond the edge of the mound) were added to the
SURFER file to enhance the accuracy of the Kriging method.
Results of the survey are presented in Figures 4 and 5.
Topographically, the Whidden Branch Mound is quite
similar to the Acline Mound, but at a much smaller scale.
Table 2. Locations and elevations (in meters) of reference
markers on the Whidden Branch Mound.
Station 1

Datum 1
Datum 2
Datum 3
The peak of the mound is situated toward its northern edge
and a small trough extends from its southern base to the peak
of the mound.
Three looters pits are on the western side of the upper
portion of the mound. In 1995, one of the looters pits
located at N50 E50 was cleaned and profiled by Patton as a
l-x-.5-m unit (called Whidden Branch Unit 1), then
partially filled. Shells from this unit included oyster, kings
crown, and ribbed mussel.
Results of topographic mapping at the state-owned Acline
and Whidden Branch mounds are significant. At the site
level, a better understanding of these sites has been gained
through detailed topographic mapping. At a broader scale,
interesting patterns are emerging in regard to the formation
and appearance of mounds in the Caloosahatchee region.
The forms of the Acline and Whidden Branch mounds are
remarkably similar despite their obvious differences in size.
The bilateral symmetry represented by two mound peaks
separated by a trough is a recurring phenomenon that also
can be seen today at other sites. It also appears to have been
observed in the 1560s at Mound Key by Rogel, who wrote of
a trough or valley leading between two elevated peaks or
hills, which was used for ceremonies and processions (Hann
1991:285, 288).
The double-peak/trough phenomenon can be established at
two different scales. Both single mounds and mound
complexes in the Caloosahatchee region contain elements of
this pattern. For example, Caloosahatchee mound complex
sites (defined as centers comprised of a large shell and/or
earthen platform containing two or more topographic
features, of which one is a mound) are frequently comprised
of two frontal mound complexes divided by a central canal or
trough (Torrence 1998, n.d.). Extant examples include Big
Mound Key, Pineland, Josslyn Island, Galt Island, and
Mound Key. Similarly, the complexes on either side of the
canal also tend to reflect the same type of bilateral symmetry.
Examples are Mound 2 on Mound Key, the Randell Mound
complex at Pineland, and Features 9 and 10 at Galt Island.
Some mounds within Caloosahatchee mound complex
sites, and some single mounds in the region, also reflect this
dual nature. For example, descriptions by Cushing (1897)
and Douglass (1881-1885) demonstrate that this pattern was

Figure 1. Topographic map of the Acline Mound.
Figure 2. Locations of survey points recorded during topographic mapping of
the Acline Mound.
FASPNo. 14

Topographic Mapping
Figure 3. SURFER images of the Acline Mound, vertical exaggeration = 2x: top) pair of views looking northward;
bottom) pair of views looking westward.

Maritime Archaeology of Lemon Bay
FASP No. 14
Figure 4. Topographic map of the Whidden Branch Mound (8CH356) showing survey
points recorded during topographic mapping.
evident at the Adams Mound at Pineland, while this survey
demonstrates its occurrence at single mound sites (namely
the Acline and Whidden Branch mounds).
The spacial relationship between various types of mounds
and mound sites reflects a physical expression of the cultural
landscape. The cognitive meaning of the landscape inevita
bly communicates elements of political geography and
hierarchy, the role of power and authority in maintaining the
chiefdom, and the ideology that justifies the social system.
Consequently, we need to formulate standardized terms to
describe mounds and mound sites so that researchers can
contextualize sites and engage in comparative analyses.
A Topcon laser transit was used to create detailed topo
graphic maps of two shell mounds near Charlotte Harbor,
southwest Florida. The mounds have similar shapes, each
being divided into east and west halves by a north-south
trough, and each being highest toward its northern edge.
Similar shapes or bilateral symmetry are noted for other
mounds and mound complexes in the Caloosahatchee region
of southwest Florida.
1 This mapping project represents one of several research tasks conducted
through a State Survey and Planning Grant written and administered, with local
matching funds, by the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center (CHEC) in
Charlotte County, Florida. The project was financed in part with historic
preservation grant assistance provided by the Bureau of Historic Preservation,
Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the
Historic Preservation Advisory Council. However, the contents and opinions
of this article do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Florida
Department of State, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial
products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Florida Department
of State.
2 Evidence for aquaculture in the form of shell weirs is being investigated by
Arden Arrington and the author.
A debt of gratitude is owed the individuals who contributed money,
materials, and labor to the topographic mapping project. Joy Duperault of
CHEC facilitated the project in every possible way. Robert McQueen
contributed funds for lodging, and Kathleen Deagan, Michael Moseley, and
William Marquardt provided needed equipment. George Luer helped organize
the research effort. Dan Clark of CHS BP was on-site coordinator.
Without the aid of 15 volunteers, the difficulties encountered in the field
would have been insurmountable. Many are members of CHEC, or employees
ofCHSBP, who donated over 120 hours of labor, primarily in clearing brush.
Volunteers included Betsy Carlson, Dan Clark, Gail Glasspool, Walter Glass-

Topographic Mapping
Figure 5. SURFER images looking westward toward the Whidden Branch Mound, vertical
exaggeration = 2x.
pool, Earl Goodwyne, Bob Isaksen, George Luer, Joseph Monroe, Robert
Patton, Edward Schnabel, Kevin Sherman, Allen Theisen, Iris Turoczy, Jenna
Wallace, and Floyd Whydden. Finally, thanks go to George Luer, who helped
edit and ready this article for publication.
References Cited
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1897 Exploration of Ancient Key Dweller Remains on the Gulf Coast of
Florida. American Philosophical Society, Proceedings 35:329-448.
Douglass, Andrew E.
1881-1885 Florida diary and letters. Typed copy on file P. K Yonge Library
of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville.
Goggin, John M., and William C. Sturtevant
1964 The Calusa: A Stratified, Nonagricultural Society (With Notes on
Sibling Marriage). In Explorations in Cultural Anthropology:
Essays in Honor of George Peter Murdock, edited by Ward H. Good-
enough, pp. 179-219. McGraw-Hill, New York.
Hann, John H.
1991 Missions to the Calusa. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Laudonnire, Ren de
1975 Three Voyages. Translated and edited by Charles E. Bennett.
University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Luer, George M.
1980 The Aqu Esta Site at Charlotte Harbor: A Safety Harbor-Influenced
Prehistoric Site. Paper presented at the 32nd annual meeting of the
Florida Anthropological Society, Winter Park.
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Mound. In The Charlotte Harbor Mounds Survey. Report prepared
for the Florida Division of Historical Resources by the Charlotte
Harbor Environmental Center, Port Charlotte.
Luer, George M., and Marion M. Almy
1981 Temple Mounds ofthe Tampa Bay Area. The Florida Anthropologist
Luer, George M., and Lauren C. Archibald
1988 An Assessment of Known Archaeological Sites in Charlotte Harbor
State Reserve. Report prepared for the Florida Department ofNatural
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Marquardt, William H.
1986 The Development of Cultural Complexity in Southwest Florida:
Elements of a Critique. Southeastern Archaeology 5:63-70.
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Christine W. Gailey, pp. 98-116. American Anthropological Associa
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1996 An Archaeological Survey of the Alligator Creek Survey Area,
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1994 Mississippian Capitals: An Archaeological Investigation of
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Appendix I. Survey points for the Acline Mound providing
north (x) and east (y) locations on the site grid, plus elevations
(z) above estimated mean high tide.
X-axis Y-axis Z-axis
X-axis Y-axis Z-axis