Citation
The Florida anthropologist

Material Information

Title:
The Florida anthropologist
Abbreviated Title:
Fla. anthropol.
Creator:
Florida Anthropological Society
Place of Publication:
Gainesville
Publisher:
Florida Anthropological Society.
Frequency:
Quarterly[<Mar. 1975- >]
Two no. a year[ FORMER 1948-]
quarterly
regular
Language:
English
Edition:
Volume 72 Number 4, December 2019
Physical Description:
v. : ill. ; 24 cm.

Subjects

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

Notes

Summary:
Contains papers of the Annual Conference on Historic Site Archeology.
Dates or Sequential Designation:
v. 1- May 1948-
General Note:
Cumulative index: Vols. 1-24, no. 2, 1948-June 1971. 1 v.

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Florida Anthropologist Society, Inc. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
609502567 ( OCLC )
56028409 ( LCCN )
0015-3893 ( ISSN )

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THE FLORIDA
ANTHROPOLOGIST

Volume 72, Number 4
December 2019



TABLE OF CONTENTS

FROM THE EDITORS
ARTICLES

A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES .....000000. cc cccccccccccceseeeeees 179-183
Dorotuy BLOCK AND BIANCA MALTESE BOOK

MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE .......0........... 185-207

GREGORY J. MOUNT AND CHRISTIAN DAVENPORT

AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA .uu. ee eeeees 209
GEORGE R. FERGUSON AND WILFRED T, NEILL

COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT
FROM VOLUSETA COUNTY, FEsORUA bi sicc es cc el 211-213
GEORGE M. LUER

EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:
BIG- MOUND CIVY RE VUSDUTUEDD ccs iccccscckccaec evtin econ celica cee ee 215-243
NATHAN R. LAWRES AND MaTTHEW H. COLVIN

ANBOUT THE AUTHORS oon ooccecccccccescccdeecc tech tect cee 245

Cover:
A portion of a Second Seminole War map titled
“Mackay & Blake’s Florida Seat of War, 1839,” State Library of Florida, Florida Map Collection
From Florida Memory Project, Image #fmc0243.

Published by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
ISSN 0015-3893





FROM THE EDITORS

This is the second issue in Volume 72 to focus on Palm Beach County. The area is seeing more research of its
rich cultural heritage. This builds on work by many dedicated individuals and scholars attracted to the northern

Everglades.

We begin with a Vodou ceramic jug, part of the Haitian diaspora. It reminds us that anthropologist Zora Neale
Hurston (1891-1960) recorded songs for the WPA Florida Folklife Project in Belle Glade in 1935, before she went
to Haiti, where she wrote of the disastrous 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching
God (1937). Our understanding of Haiti and Vodou benefits from the scholarship of Hurston and Melville
Herskovits (1895-1963), both students of renowned anthropologist Franz Boas. The reader can pursue these
topics further in Herskovit’s Life in a Haitian Valley (1937) and Hurston’s Tell My Horse (1938).

This issue continues with new research of Native American shell artifacts as well as important new interpretations
of large-scale mound-building at one of the Lake Okeechobee area’s gigantic earthworks. We also include a
reprint of a brief article from an FAS Newsletter of the late 1970s, and a supplement to it.

As we complete volume 72, we want to acknowledge reviewers. Most helpful was Bob Austin, a former editor
of the journal (December 1995 through September 1999). Ryan Wheeler, another former editor (December 1999
through December 2006), also helped in this process. Thank you Bob and Ryan!

George M. Luer, Ph.D., Editor
Dorothy A. Block, M.A., Assistant Editor
Laura Dean, Technical Editor



The Florida Anthropologist Fund is designed to
support production of The Florida Anthropologist,
the scholarly journal, published by the Florida
Anthropological Society since 1948.

DONATIONS ARE ACCEPTED FROM INDIVIDUALS,
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ORGANIZATION UNDER SECTION 501(C)(3) OF THE INTERNAL
REVENUE CODE. CONTRIBUTIONS ARE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE
AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 170 OF THE CODE.

VOLUME 72 (4) THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST DECEMBER 2019





A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES
Dorortuy BLock! AND BIANCA MALTESE BOOK *

! 306 NE Ist Avenue #202 Boynton Beach, FL 33435, uberfrau33460@gmail.com
? 1112 South Magnolia Drive, Apt. 1103, Tallahassee, FL 32301, bbmaltese@gmail.com



Introduction

This article reports a Haitian Vodou ceremonial ceramic jug or “boutey” from the northern Everglades. In May
2016, it was retrieved from muck, where it had been buried on the northeast corner of the intersection of Hatton
Highway and Gator Boulevard, in farmland (sugar cane fields) approximately 6.5 km (4 m1) east of the City of Belle
Glade in Palm Beach County, Florida. Exposed during backhoe excavation of a canal, the jug was spotted and collected
by Belle Glade equipment operator Jerry Holden, who retains it in his private collection.

In July 2017, Holden kindly loaned it to the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades and Glades Historical
Society, in Belle Glade, for study and photogrammetry. The jug was photographed for 3-dimensional modeling by
Kevin Gidusko (2017) of the East Central regional office of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). The
3-dimensional image (Figure 1) 1s publically accessible and can be downloaded (Sketchfab 2019).



Figure 1. Images of Jug from Gidusko (2017).



VOLUME 72 (4) THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 179



180 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Vessel Description

The jug is wheel-thrown brown ceramic, crudely
smoothed. It is 26.5 cm (10.4 in) in height and its body is
51 cm (20 in) in circumference. The neck is constricted,
and is 17 cm (6.7 in) in circumference, 4.5 cm (1.8 in)
diameter at the mouth, and 3 cm (1.2 in) high. Above
the neck, an outward flaring lip measures 1 cm (0.4 in)
thick. A maker’s mark is below the constricted neck,
where the vessel flares outward at the shoulder of the
cylindrical body. The mark is incised, consisting of two
parallel slanted lines crossed by a third line running at
a 45-degree angle to the others. Below the mark and
shoulder, a shallow, narrow, linear indention encircles
the top of the body.

The jug is embellished with writing in black ink,
possibly done with a wide, felt-tip marker (Figure 2).
The writing includes two large “Xs,” with all their distal
ends terminating in a small circle. Three times (between
and to each side of the Xs) are inscriptions in French. The
inscriptions start on the neck and run downward over the
shoulder and down the cylindrical body, running parallel
with the jug’s long axis. Some of the words are difficult
to decipher or illegible, and a few words or word order
vary. Nonetheless, all three inscriptions are similar:

Convocation 21 Nations Morts Sans
(illegible). ..persecution.

Marie Michelle Pierrette Par Maitre
Carrefour

While perhaps subject to improvement, we translate
and interpret it as follows: “Summon the 21 Immortal
Nations [all the Vodou spirits] [to place upon or remove
a] persecution [spell]. Marie Michelle Pierrette through
Master of the Crossroad [asking permission from Papa
Legba].”

Written on one of the large Xs, from top left to
bottom right diagonally, it says again “Marie Michelle
Pierette.” Moving more around the jug, there is a wide
stretch with writing perpendicular to the jug’s long axis.
It reads:

Marie Michelle
Pierrette
Marie Michelle
Pierrette
Marie Michelle
Pierrette

The inside of the vessel smelled of cologne, a typical
offering to the spirits of Vodou. It contained several tiny
white hairs, possibly human, and fine dirt (dry muck).
The jug presumably had a cap or seal, but it was missing
when the jug was brought to the museum for inspection.



Figure 2. Photoshop enhanced view of inscriptions.

Discussion

Upon its arrival at the museum, this jug was
met with excitement by a group of archaeologists,
anthropologists, and students who were called on to
place it in time and to identify its cultural affiliation.
At first glance, 1t was thought possibly to be a Spanish
olive jar or evidence of a possible 18" or 19" century
European presence in the northern Everglades. Soon,
however, it was obvious that the cultural affiliation was
Haitian Vodou, and the temporal position of the artifact
is likely sometime between 1957 and the present. Belle
Glade, an agricultural community, has historically
attracted farm workers whose folkways have been of
interest to anthropologists, such as Zora Neale Hurston
(e.g., Florida Memory Project 2019).

While Haitian people have been known to immigrate
to North America since the 18â„¢ century, mass immigration
of Haitians to the United States began during the late
1950s when civil unrest under the Duvalier dictatorship
caused an exodus that increased in intensity in the 1970s
and 1980s and that persists today (Schiller et al. 2019).
In 2009, U.S. Census data reported 830,000 individuals



BLOCK AND Book

of Haitian ancestry residing in the United States. Of
these, 100,000 live in Florida (USCB 2010).

The majority of Haitian immigrants self-identify as
Christians, most being Catholic. Still, the traditional
practice of Vodou persists in Haitian communities.
Unfortunately, media portrayals of Vodou have distorted
and sensationalized the religion and hushed the practice
of ritual and ceremony in Haitian communities (Schiller
et al. 2019).

By definition, Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion
blending aspects of Christianity (Catholicism) with West
African Vodun (spirit) religions. The practice of Vodun
has evolved through the African diaspora and is called
Vodou by Haitian practitioners, called vodouists. It first
developed in Benin during the 18" Century when French
colonialism forced conversion to Christianity on tribal
groups and suppressed traditional religious expression
(Gordon 2000:10).

Vodou Pantheon and Practice

Haitian Vodou recognizes a supreme creator god,
Bondye (from French Bon Dieu [good God]) who is
inaccessible to humanity. In order to communicate
with Bondye, practitioners of Vodou must call upon
“loa” (spirits, not deities themselves) to intercede with
Bondye on their behalf. Haitian Vodou divides loa into
21 Nations, each syncretized with a Roman Catholic
counterpart. Unlike deities, “loa” are not worshipped,
but served. They are summoned through ritual with
offerings, such as alcohol, cologne, or food.

In order for a vodousit to communicate with loa, she
or he must first acquire permission to do so from “Papa
Legba,” the keeper of the boundary or “gate” between
the human and supernatural realms. Legba, one of the
most important loa, is associated with crossroads and his
‘“veve” (religious symbol) 1s a cross or X.

A veve is used as a beacon to attract the attention
of a specific spirit during a particular ritual. Legba 1s
considered a trickster, most often depicted as an old man
with a cane. In West African Vodoun, Legba appears as
a virile young trickster with horns and a large phallus.
Legba is syncretized with Catholic Saints Peter, Lazarus,
or Anthony (Herskovitz 1937a:635-643; Hurston
1938:128-131; Morris 2006:196).

As Papa Legba is associated with intersections, rituals
made to call upon him are often conducted at crossroads
(Herskovits 1937; Lawless 1988:12). Thus, the find-spot
of the jug reported here, adjacent to a rural intersection,
is typical of Vodou practice related to communicating
with Legba. This interpretation is supported by the

Vopou CERAMIC JUG 181

presence of his veve (X) on the jug’s body (twice) and
the inscription words: “Maitre Carrefour” (Master of
the Crossroad) which also invokes Legba (Meltraux
1959:266-267; Lawless 1988:12), who speaks all
human languages and can grant or deny permission to
communicate with the spirits. In this particular case, the
crossroad was the intersection of four agricultural fields
defined by three paved roads and an unpaved path along
a canal.

Interpretation

Based on the jug’s location and inscriptions, we
interpret it as a Haitian “boutey” or “vodou bottle.” It is
an example of religious paraphernalia (material culture)
associated with Vodou. Vodouists use boutey in rituals
meant to contain the soul of a spirit to use for healing,
protective, or harmful purposes (McAlister 1995).

We hypothesize that the vodouist who buried the jug
was appealing to Legba for permission to communicate
with the spirit world. The inscription incites the “21
nations,” calling upon all the spirits in the Vodou
pantheon. The subject of the appeal was the woman
whose name appears on the jug, Marie Michelle Pierette.
It is possible the appeal to Legba was made by Marie
Michelle Pierétte herself, to invoke protection from
“persecution,” perhaps ill health or ill fortune.

The form of the jug also may be significant. Some
think its shape is meant to be anthropomorphic. As such,
perhaps it symbolizes the person for whom the ritual is
intended, the spirit of the person meant to reside in the
bottle, or the owner of the bottle itself, possibly Marie
Michelle Pierrétte.

It is possible that the vessel was originally capped
and wrapped in cloth or strings symbolizing clothing.
Haitian Vodou boutey typically contain perfume,
powders, skull shavings or small bones (non-human),
which is consistent with our finding of small hairs and
cologne inside the jug. A boutey’s purpose is to contain
the soul of a spirit to use for healing, good luck, or other
purposes (McAlister 1995).

Ethnographic Evidence

Motivated by curiosity, the senior author visited St.
Jacques Botanica in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach County.
There Block quickly discovered numerous nearly
identical jugs with similar maker’s marks (Figure 3).
Browsing the shop, Block observed plentiful offerings to
loa personified as Catholic saints. Many offerings were
alcoholic beverages (single servings of rum and even a
bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne! ).



182 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Desiring to verify the accuracy of our interpretation
of the jug’s inscriptions, Block consulted Vivi Jeanne
Pierre, owner of the botanica and a local Vodou priestess
of some renown (Louima 2004). Vivi kindly took time
to examine sketches of the jug and its inscriptions.
She concurred that the X veve related to Legba and
commented that she thought the spell associated with the
jug was a positive one, for health and protection. She
further concurred that the cologne aroma inside the jug
was an offering to the spirits. She added that such jugs
were made in Cap Haitien, a city on the north coast of
Haiti.

Other Finds

Another south Florida example of a Vodou or
Santeria object is a West Indian petaloid basaltic celt
from Key Biscayne, found around 1981, that may be “of
recent origin and related to Santaria religious activities
common through the South Florida area” (Carr 1987:22-
23, Figure 13C). Archaeologist Robert S. Carr (personal
communication, 2019) reports that “Vodou ritual objects
and offerings are often encountered in outdoor south
Florida.” He first encountered Vodou ritual artifacts
during his 1979-1981 archaeological survey of Miami-
Dade County.

In 1985, during construction of Jose Marti Park,
in downtown Miami, a construction worker uncovered
a polished stone figurine of a Vodou spirit that Carr
turned over to the City Parks Department, but it has
not been seen since. Carr thought it had been placed
in a vacant lot as an offering. In the mid-1990s, Carr
visited a botanica on Southwest 8" Street (“Calle Ocho”)
in Miami and observed numerous black basaltic and
greenstone pebbles for sale, as well as authentic West
Indian petaloid celts and modern copies. All were in the
same bowl and offered at the same price with no concern
of distinguishing modern objects from artifacts.

Conclusion

South Florida has become home for many immigrants
who continue traditional aspects of their cultures. The
Vodou jug from Belle Glade is one of many examples.
Of interest to historians and ethnographers, we encourage
anthropologists to record more cases in the literature.



BLOCK AND Book

Vopou CERAMIC JUG 183



References Cited

Carr, Robert S.

1987 An Archaeological Survey and Investigations
at Bill Baggs State Park Key Biscayne. Metro-Dade
Historic Preservation Division, Miami, Florida.

Florida Memory Project

2019 Works Progress Administration (WPA), Field
Recordings in Eatonville and Belle Glade (1935
Recording Expedition). Recording, https://www.

floridamemory.com/items/show/237999, accessed
November 30, 2019.

Gidusko, Kevin

2017 Sketchfab. Belle Glade Jug photographed

in cooperation with the Florida Public Archaeology
Network (FPAN). Electronic Image: https://sketchfab.
com/3d-models/belle-glade-jug-eafle102dc9c413c959d
Olbcfc5i2c96 (passcode: voodoojug), accessed

October 21, 2020,

Gordon, Leah
2000 The Book of Vodou. Barron’s Educational
Series, New York.

Herskovits, Melville J.
1937a_ Life ina Haitian Valley. Knopf, New York.

1937b African Gods and Catholic Saints in New
World Negro Belief. American Anthropologist
39(4):635-643.

Hurston, Zora Neale
1938 Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and
Jamaica. J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia.

Lawless, Robert

1988 The Cognition of Intersections: An Analysis
of Kalinga, American and Haitian Folk Models.

The Florida Anthropologist 13(1-2):5-19.

Louima, Gariot
2004 Vodou Priestess Called to Heal. The Palm
Beach Post, p. 16, Sunday, November 14.

McAlister, Elizabeth

1995 A Sorcerer’s Bottle: The Art of Magic in Haiti.
In Sacred Arts if Haitian Vodou, edited by Donald J.
Cosentino, pp. 305-324, UCLA Fowler Museum of
Cultural History, Los Angeles.

Metraux, Alfred
1959 Voodoo in Haiti. Oxford University Press,
New York.

Morris, Brian

2006 ~=Religion and Anthropology: A Critical
Introduction. Cambridge University Press,
New York.

Schiller, Nina Glick, Carolle Charles,

and John Beierle

2019 Haitian Americans. Human Relations
Area File (HRAF) electronic document,
https://ehrafworldcultures. yale.edu/ehrafe/az
Cultures.do?thisChar=H#thisChar=H, accessed
November 22, 2019.

United States Census Bureau (USCB)

2010 The Population with Haitian Ancestry in the
United States. Electronic document, https://
www2.census.gov/library/publications/2010/
acs/acsbr09-18.pdf, accessed November 22, 2019.









MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE

GreGoryY J. Mount! AND CHRISTIAN DAVENPORT

’ Department of Geosciences, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15701, gregory.mount@iup.edu
? Palm Beach County Historic Preservation Office, 2300 North Jog Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33411,

cdavenpo(@pbcgov.org

Introduction

During the Boyer Survey of the southeast rim of
Lake Okeechobee (Figure |), marine shell artifacts were
encountered at four sites. They are, from west to east:
the County Line (8PB13729), Ritta Island (8PB92),
Kreamer Island (8PB43), and Pelican Bay 3 (8PB13601)
sites (Figure 2). We focus on Kreamer Island, where
we collected the majority of marine gastropod and
bivalve shells. Analysis of these materials allows a
greater understanding of the Belle Glade people, an
archaeological culture that is understudied, although it
occupied a pivotal area in the Florida peninsula. The
marine shell artifacts highlight patterns of interaction
with other regions in peninsular Florida.

Jupiter

West Palm |
Beach

Boca Raton



Figure 1. Boyer Survey Location in Palm Beach County,
Marked by Star (approximate, for reference only).

Background

The Boyer Survey was an _ archaeological
investigation of the southeast portion of Lake
Okeechobee undertaken in 2006 through 2011 during
a period of extreme drought when large areas of lake
bottom were exposed. The survey was initiated and
substantially funded by George “Boots” Boyer of
Belle Glade, a concerned layperson who reported the
sites to Christian Davenport, the Palm Beach County
Archaeologist. The survey recorded 33 pre- and
post-Columbian archaeological sites, a few yielding
thousands of marine shell, ceramic, and lithic artifacts
(Davenport et al. 2011; Mount 2009). This article
Summarizes the shell artifact assemblage, most of
which came from the Kreamer Island site. The artifacts
are curated at the Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research, in Tallahassee, and a few are on loan to the
Clewiston Museum.

The use of marine shell as a raw material for tool
manufacture by south Florida native people has been
documented since the late 1800s. Early accounts
include those of antiquarian Clarence B. Moore, who
illustrated and described his finds along the west coast of
Florida (Moore 1900, 1905, 1907, 1921). In the 1940s,
archaeologist John M. Goggin produced a synthesis
of south Florida archaeology that contained the first
typology of artifacts from the area (Goggin 1949).
Archaeologist Gordon Willey (1949) discussed artifacts
from Belle Glade Mound and Midden (8PB40, 8PB41),
a site along the Democrat River.

The Belle Glade Mound and Midden were just inland
of Torry Island, which is approximately 3.2 km (2 m1) to
the northwest of the site. Torry Island is immediately
south of Kreamer Island. Before 20"-century dredging,
the two islands were joined and formed a peninsula
jutting into Lake Okeechobee. The Kreamer Island site
produced ceramics supporting an age range of ca. 500
B.C. to A.D. 1500 (Block 2011), showing that much of
the site’s use was coeval with the Belle Glade Mound
and Midden, which also had post-contact period use
(Davenport et al. 2011).



VOLUME 72 (4)

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 185



186 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)

| County Line Site

| Ritta Island

5,000 10,000

Figure 2. Lake Okeechobee’s Southeast Shore.

The aboriginal sites visited during the Boyer Survey
were on the lake margin exposed by drought. The sites
consisted of scattered cultural materials (rocks, shells,
ceramics, lithics, faunal bones, human bones) lying in
and on sand and muck, some of which were deflated
or reworked by water action. Normally, these sites are

Pelican Bay Three

| Kreamer Island



The four sites yielding shell artifacts are labeled.

covered by shallow water. Analysis of aerial photographs
during the survey revealed that these sites were at the
mouths of now extinct braided rivers that formerly
flowed into and out of Lake Okeechobee. The sites were
accessed by airboat, off road vehicles, and surveyed on
foot, with some shovel testing.



MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 187

caaeneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeeeeee eee

Methods

Shell artifacts from the Boyer Survey were identified
to the lowest taxonomic category possible using Abbott
(1954, 1974) as well as a comparative collection of
shells at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Further
information about the kinds of shells was provided by
archaeologists Robert S. Carr, Theresa Schober, Ryan
Wheeler, and George Luer. Most shell artifacts were
classified using typologies currently used in Florida. For
tools that did not fit the typologies, new categories were
created. Observations about the marine shell artifacts,
such as use-wear, breakage patterns, and re-use, followed
previous research that borrowed from lithic analysis,
such as Masson (1988).

Species Identification

Native people at coastal sites had access to the
marine environment that contained shells suitable for
modification. Native inhabitants of sites in the Everglades
and Lake Okeechobee area did not have direct access to
the marine environment and those resources. Therefore,
marine shells recovered from sites around the lake
clearly represent a process of obtainment, selection, and
preference for specific kinds of shells.

In this article, we retain the taxonomic names of
mollusks traditionally used during the last several
decades in Florida archaeology. We do this to avoid
confusion with new and changing names recently
introduced by taxonomists. Most conspicuous were the
following kinds:

Whelk Shells (Busycon spp.). Whelk artifacts were
commonly encountered on sites in Lake Okeechobee.
Most were identified as lightning whelk (Busycon
contrarium). These shells most likely came from the
Gulf coast of Florida and were transported to the Lake
Okeechobee region, some perhaps via the Caloosahatchee
River. They were shaped into tools such as cutting-edged
tools, hammers, drinking cups, and pendants.

We identified a few artifacts made from Kiener’s
whelk (Busycon carica eliceans), based on their right-
turning spiral and strong twist or bulge in the columella
(the central column in a univalve shell). They consisted
of six body whorl gouges or scrapers. Kiener’s whelk is
an Atlantic coast species that occurs from North Carolina
to central east Florida (Abbott 1974:222). These gouges
might have been exchanged southward from the Indian
River region or St. Johns River region, where such tools
are known (see ““Gouges/Scrapers,” below).

Queen Conch (Strombus gigas). Queen conch shells

were likely obtained on the southeast coast of Florida, or

the Florida Keys, and they or their parts were carried to
the Lake Okeechobee region by way of the Everglades
or the Loxahatchee and Hungryland Sloughs. Celts and
celt fragments from this species were found randomly
scattered around the east side of the former Democrat
River mouth. The majority of these had some form of
use-related or taphonomic damage.

Horse Conch (Pleuroploca gigantea). Shells of this
gastropod are commonly encountered in Florida’s Gulf
coast archaeological sites, and specimens are reported
from the Miami Circle (Wheeler 2004). Its shells were
raw materials for the manufacture of columella cutting-
edged tools, hammers, pendants, and drinking cups.

Quahog Clam (Mercenariasp.). The southern quahog
(M. campechiensis) and northern quahog (M. mercenaria)
are similar in appearance and their geographical
ranges overlap in Florida. Thus, we identified quahog
archaeological specimens to the genus level. The high
frequency of Mercenaria shells and fragments, yet the
few formal tools identified, is of interest and deserves
attention in a future paper. Elsewhere in south Florida,
quahog shells were used as anvil/choppers, notched or
perforated shells, and anvils (Goggin 1949; Griffin 1988;
Luer 1986; Marquardt 1992:211; Reiger 1981). Quahog
shells were transported to Lake Okeechobee by native
people, but it is difficult to discern if they arrived as
whole valves or broken pieces.

Helmet Shells (Cassis sp.). Most of the helmet shell
artifacts appear to have been shaped from the queen or
emperor helmet (C. madagascariensis). The species
occurs widely along the Atlantic coast from North
Carolina to the Greater Antilles as well as the Gulf of
Mexico. It is known from both the Atlantic and Gulf
coasts of Florida, including the Florida panhandle, and is
not restricted to the Florida Keys.

Helmet shell artifacts occur infrequently in the shell
assemblage. Until this survey, only a small number of
helmet shell artifacts had been found in the Okeechobee
region, with examples from Canal Point 1 (8PB44),
Canal Point 4 (8PB47) (Goggin 1949:361, 363), and
Belle Glade (Willey 1949:Plate 12H). Finds from the
Kreamer Island site add to known examples. Most
helmet shell specimens are pendants. The method of
manufacture for a Cassis pendant appears to have been
removal of the lip from the body of the shell, followed
by smoothing the sides by pecking and/or grinding.

At Upper Matecumbe Key (8MO17/8MO1901),
Goggin reported three roughly finished Cassis sp.
lip artifacts measuring 8.5 cm, 10.5 cm, and 11.9 cm
long. Their widths varied from 1.6 to 1.8 cm (Goggin
1949:602). Other reports of helmet shell artifacts in



188 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



south Florida include a lip “hammer” from Miami Circle
(Wheeler 2004:169), another lip “hammer” from Cash
Mound (8CH38) near Charlotte Harbor (Marquardt
1992:219, Figure 14), and a body whorl gorget from
Shaw’s Point (83MA7) near Tampa Bay (Luer 2013:104).

Other Kinds of Shells

A few other kinds of marine shells were scarce. They
included pieces of three kinds of bivalves: sunray venus
(Macrocallista nimbosa), wavy bittersweet (Glycymeris
undata), and eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).
None appeared to be a tool. They may represent curios,
talismans, or utilitarian items. Several additional
gastropods were identified. They included milk conch
(Strombus costatus), Florida fighting conch (Strombus
alatus), olive shell (Olivella sp.), and reticulated cowrie
helmet (Cypraecassis testiculus).

Survey Results

Four sites containing shell artifacts were documented
during the survey: County Line, Ritta Island, Kreamer
Island, and Pelican Bay 3 (Figure 2). A variety of shell
artifacts was found, with an unusually small sample
from Ritta Island (considering the site’s large size) and
the largest sample from the Kreamer Island site (Mount
2009). The latter included a number of “prestige” or
non-utilitarian forms.

County Line Site (8PB13729)

The County Line site was a small site with few
artifacts. A total of three marine shell artifacts and one
Belle Glade Plain sherd was found. A horse conch and a
lightning whelk shell were identified. The only bivalve
shell was a quahog valve split in half.

Ritta Island Site (SPB92)

This large, deflated site is on the northern tip of Ritta
Island and adjacent to an apparent opening of the extinct
Ritta River (Mount 2009). The site was first recorded
in the Florida Master Site File by archaeologist Robert
S. Carr (1975), based on Will (1984:106), and its form
was updated by Wheeler (2001a) during a period of low
water. We found artifacts scattered on both sides of the
former river opening, covering extensive areas on each
side. They were abundant, and a relatively small number
was collected.

The artifact scatter (mostly shells, rocks, and sherds)
is so dense in places that one cannot walk without
stepping on thousands of sherds (Figure 3). Sherds were
mostly sand-tempered plain, suggesting occupation
during the Belle Glade I and II periods (500 B.C. to



Figure 3. Ritta Island Sherds on Surface of Exposed Lake
Bottom. Ceramics are so dense in places that one cannot
walk without stepping on hundreds of sherds.

A.D. 700). Other artifacts included shark teeth and
bone points (Davenport et al. 2011:508, 515, Figures
232 and 236). The Ritta Island site also yielded human
bones (Davenport et al. 2011:518-519, Figure 239) and
abundant chert cobbles (Davenport et al. 2011:492),
some analyzed by Austin (2011).

Eleven shovel tests were excavated across the Ritta
Island site. One formal test unit yielded abundant lithic
flaking debris and microliths (Austin 2011). Despite
the large number of artifacts, only three shell artifacts
were found during the 2007 and 2008 field seasons. One
was a double-grooved columella pendant, and another
was a worked (ground smooth) bi-pointed columella
(Davenport et al. 2011:Figure 235). The rarity of shell
artifacts at the Ritta Island site is in stark contrast to
numerous shell artifacts found at the Kreamer Island site.

Kreamer Island Site (8SPB43)

Drought exposed this large site along the north shore
of Kreamer Island. It was first discovered in the 1920s
and identified as a burial site by “Cracker Historian”
Lawrence E. Will (2002). The Kreamer Island site was
first recorded by Goggin (1951), followed by updates by
Carr (1975), Wheeler (2001b), and Carr et al. (2004). In



MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 189



the central portion of the site is a relic inlet or outlet of
the extinct Democrat River. Shovel testing at the site
did not yield any artifacts. Cultural materials from the
surface were bone tools, sherds, lithics, marine shells,
and human bones. Lithics included bifaces (n=7), finely
made green basalt pendants (n=2), fragments of possible
duck-head pendants (n=3), a finely made limestone
pendant, a slab of coquina rock, and other lithics (Austin
2011; Davenport et al. 2011:472-483).

Sherds were sand-tempered plain (n=87), Belle
Glade Plain (n=61), and St. Johns Plain (n=14), which
combined comprised 92% of the sherd assemblage. The
few decorated sherds included St. Johns Check Stamped
(n=4), Fort Drum Incised (n=1), Deptford Simple
Stamped (n=1), Cane Patch Incised (drag and jab) (n=1),
and Sarasota Incised (n=1) (Block 2011; Davenport et
al. 2011:433). Also recovered were two ceramic pipe
stem fragments and one decorated pipe bowl fragment
(Davenport 2011:441, Figures 173 through 175).

A large number of marine shell artifacts (n=469) was
collected at the Kreamer Island site during the 2007-2009
field seasons. Of these, 190 were classified, representing
10 species (Tables 1 and 2). Among the gastropod

artifacts, the most common were of conch (Strombus
spp.), followed by those of whelk (Busycon spp.). Shell
artifacts include cutting-edged tools, hammers, adze/
celts, gouges or scrapers, and pendants.

Pelican Bay 3 Site (SPB13601)

This site consists of a surface scatter in loose circular
patterns, perhaps a deflated midden. It is at the terminus
of an extinct river that once flowed through Kreamer
Island. The site is 180 m (590 ft) southeast of the
Kreamer Island site. Besides marine shells, we collected
11 sherds (sand-tempered plain and St. Johns Plain) and
one lithic. A total of 16 shell artifacts was collected
from the Pelican Bay 3 site during the 2007-2009 field
seasons. Of these, seven were classified to tool types
and represented three marine mollusk species. The most
common was lightning whelk, followed by queen conch.
A double-grooved whelk columella pendant and a single
horse conch columella were noted (Davenport et al.
2011:Figures 63 and 64). The only bivalve shells were
four quahog, one sunray venus, and one oyster valve
fragments. There was no subsurface testing at the site
(Davenport et al. 2011:279-281).

Table 1. Taxa and Specimens in Shell Artifact Ae from Kreamer Island Site.

Scientific Name



Common Name

Manian at

| Specimens (%)





























Gastropoda Gastropods a
Strombus costatus Milk conch
Strombus gigas Queen or pink conch
Strombus sp. Conch 15 (7.89%)

_ Cassis sp. Helmet 7 (3.68%)
Busycon contrarium Lightning whelk 35 (18.42%)
Busycon carica eliceans Kiener’s whelk 6 (3.16%)
Busycon sp. Whelk 2 (1. ae

3

Pleuroploca gigantea



Olivella sp.

(58%



Indeterminate Gastropoda



Total Gastropoda



Bivalva



Bivalves

Olive l (0. oo
ie 32%)









Glycymeris undata







Macrocallista nimbosa

Wavy bittersweet

Sunray venus

(0.53%)
(2.63%)

Mercenaria sp. Quahog = 68%)

Total Bivalva



Total Number of Specimens



190 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)






Table 2. Marine Shell Tool Types from Kreamer Island Site.






























Busycon contrarium
Busycon contrarium
Pleuroploca gigantea
Indeterminate
Busycon contrarium
Busycon contrarium

Busycon contrarium

Indeterminate
Busycon contrarium
Busycon contrarium
Pleuroploca gigantea
Indeterminate
Strombus costatus
Strombus gigas
Strombus sp.
Mercenaria sp
Strombus gigas
Strombus gigas
Cassis sp
Busycon contrarium
Busycon carica eliceans
Busycon sp.
Strombus costatus
Strombus gigas
Cassis sp.
Indeterminate
Cassis sp,

Shell Artifacts



This section describes the shell artifacts. Appendices
in Mount (2009) and Davenport et al. (2011) list all shell
artifacts identified from the Kreamer Island site and
provide their measurements.

Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools and Hammers
Gastropod cutting-edged tools and hammers were
well represented and usually crafted from lightning
Whelk shells. Figures 4 and 5 show relatively complete
examples; many fragmentary specimens were not
collected. None was assigned to a specific current type
(e.g., Type A, Type B, etc.). However, Figures 4 and
5 show that perforations in the body whorl varied in
their placements. Specimens with two perforations (one

above the shoulder and one close below) may be Type
AX, dating to the Late Archaic, Florida Transitional, and
Early Woodland periods (Bullen et al. 1978:12, Figure
11; Luer 1992:247, 249: Wheeler and McGee 1994:365,
Figure 20). Specimens with a single large perforation
below the shoulder may be Type H, dating to the Middle
Woodland period (Luer 2012:119, Figure 8). Other
types may be present as well. The quantity and diversity
of these tools suggest the site’s inhabitants were skilled
craftspeople, engaged in woodworking.

Gouges/Scrapers
Shell gouges or scrapers crafted from the outer
body whorl and adjacent columella of gastropods were



MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 191



found. The specimens shown in Figure 6 were all made
from right-spiraled Kiener’s whelk shells, with nearest
sources on the Atlantic coast of central and northeast
Florida. These specimens resemble some from sites of
the Late Archaic and Woodland periods in the Indian
River and St. Johns River regions (Bullen and Bullen
1961:11, Figure 7c, d; Goggin 1952:116, 148, Plates 6A
through 6D; Jahn and Bullen 1978:Figure 46r; Rouse
1951:126-127, 231, Plate 6A) and support contacts to
the north with peoples of those areas.

Adze/Celt

The most common kind of tool was the gastropod
adze/celt which was typically made from the body
whorl of a whelk shell or the lip of a queen conch shell
(Figure 7). Many specimens were extensively worked
by grinding. Many had trapezoidal or triangular shapes.

Columella Cutting-Edged Tools

Figure 8 shows two complete specimens and four
fragments of working tips. All these specimens, except
the one on the far right, came from right-spiraled shells.
The specimen on the far left appears to be a horse conch
columella; the other right-spiraled specimens may be
horse conch columellae. The specimen on the far right
appears to be from a lightning whelk columella. On all
these specimens, the apical tip was ground to a cutting
edge. Horse conch and lightning whelk columella
cutting-edged tools are also found on the Florida Gulf
coast, such as in Charlotte and Manatee counties (e.g.,
Luer 2014:Figure 3), from where Lake Okeechobee
specimens could have been obtained.

Columella Perforator

The columella portion of a gastropod shell was
intentionally shaped into a pointed tool, apparently a
perforator (Figure 9, top).

Pendants

Pendants, usually grooved for suspension on one or
both ends, were shaped from shell columellae or shell
lips. They were made of lightning whelk, horse conch,
queen conch, and helmet shells. Figure 9 (bottom)
shows a double-grooved specimen, and Figure 10 shows
single-grooved specimens fashioned from columellae.
Some are cylindrical, others tear-drop shaped; most are
extensively ground smooth.

Nine pendants fashioned from helmet shell lips are
shown in Figure 11. Some are grooved on both ends.
Most were found to the west of the former Democrat
River opening, while other types of pendants were found
over the entire Kreamer Island site.

Possible Mimicry Pendants

Several shell pendants might have been shaped to
mimic the knobby form of helmet shell lips. In Figure
12, the three specimens on the left may be pieces of queen
conch lip shaped to resemble helmet shell lips. In Figure
12, the specimen on the far right is the lip of an apparent
reticulated cowrie helmet (Cypraecassis testiculus),
These artifacts suggest the knobby appearance is what
was important to native people, and when suitable pieces
were not available, they might have been mimicked. This
is the first report of possible non-Cassis shell shaped to
look like Cassis lips.

Other Shell Pendants

One flattened, rectangular pendant (Figure 13a) was
found at the Kreamer Island site. Relic hunters report
that pendants of this form have been found commonly
to the east and south of Lake Okeechobee. Frank and
Nancy Hoff (2007:133, 137, Figures 12.12 and 12.43)
report a number of rectangular pendants from a plowed
field in Martin County, east of Lake Okeechobee. A
double-grooved ovoid pendant (Figure 13b) came from
the north end of Kreamer Island. Its shape resembles
some pictured by Hoff and Hoff (2007:Figure 12.43)
from Martin County and Luer (2013:Figure 15) from
Sarasota County.

Two unusual pendants also came from Kreamer
Island. One is long and thin (12.4 x 1.6 cm) and ground
very smooth. One end is blunt while the other flares
outward and terminates in a conical tip (Figure 14).
It resembles a distal fragment of a shell pendant from
Belle Glade that Willey (1949:137, Plate 12E) called the
“flanged-end variety.” A similar tip is on pendants from
widely scattered sites in peninsular Florida, such as Tick
Island (Jahn and Bullen 1978:Figure 50) and in the Ten
Thousand Islands (Moore 1900:Figure 8D).

In addition, very similar tips were on three shell
pendants in an artifact cache with a human burial in the
Jones Mound (8HI4) northeast of Tampa and dating to
the Weeden Island and precontact Safety Harbor periods
(ca. A.D. 700 to 1500) (Bullen 1952:53-54, Figure
18). Interestingly, this rich cache included a duck head
pendant of exotic stone (Bullen 1952:53, Figure 16b)
similar to a fragmentary one found at the Kreamer Island
site during the Boyer Survey (Davenport et al. 2011:475-
476, Figures 208, 209, 210). Additional similar exotic
stone duck head pendants are reported from the Turkey
Creek site (8BR50) near Melbourne (Rouse 1951:165-
166, 295, Plate 4V, W) and from the charnel pond at Fort
Center (8GL13) (Sears 1982:95-94, 105, 109, Figure
6.1P). Specimens from the latter two sites are thought to
date to Middle Woodland/Hopewellian times.



192 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



The second unusual pendant from Kreamer Island is
smaller (6.5 x 1.7 cm) and also ground smooth, although
a remnant groove of its natural siphonal canal is still
present, indicating it was made from a right-spiraled
shell. One end is blunt while the other narrows to a
very constricted end (Figure 15). This long, narrow end
presumably served for attaching a cord for suspension
(like a groove). A shell pendant with a similar narrow
neck is in a collection from Manatee County on the Gulf
coast (Hoff and Hoff 2007:Figure 12.37).

Body Whorl Gorget

One circular gorget (Figure 16) was recovered to the
east of the former Democrat River opening. The gorget
was made from a portion of the body whorl of a gastropod
shell. Its diameter is 6.6 cm and its thickness is 1 cm. It
is plain except for several small notches along its outer

edge. Asingle, small central hole measures 6 mm across.
Disc-shaped shell gorgets with a single central hole and
notched edges are pictured from Tick Island (Jahn and
Bullen 1978:Figure 40, 41, 46) and similar disc-shaped
shell gorgets are pictured from coastal Manatee County
(Luer 2014:Figure 3).

Net Mesh Gauge

One reduced, rectangular, polished piece of shell
might have been a net mesh gauge. Some fragments of
quahog shell also could have served this purpose.

Bivalve Shells

Of the bivalve shells found, quahog fragments were
the most common. It was only possible to identify one
formal tool, an anvil made from a quahog valve.



Figure 4. Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools and Hammers.



MOUNT AND DAVENPORT LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 193



Figure 6. Shell Gouges. These six specimens were fashioned from right-spiraled whelk shells
that appeared to represent Kiener’s whelk (Busycon carica eliceans).



72 (4)

2019 VoL

Shell Adze/Celts.

7

Figure

a
ma
o
3
—_
S
=
S
eZ
ra
Ee
Z
<
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E
2
°
oa
=e
=
z
-

Figure 8. Columella Cutting-Edged Tools.





MOUNT AND DAVENPORT LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS

Figure 10. Pendants. a, b, d: single groove; c: double groove; e, f; teardrop. Scale in upper right applies to e only





196 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Figure 11. Helmet Shell Pendants.



Figure 12. Possible Mimic Pendants.



MLOUNT AND DAVENPORT LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 197



Figure 13. Pendants. a: rectangular; b: ovoid.



Figure 14. Pendant with Conical Tip and Encircling Flange.



198 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Figure 15. Columella Pendant with Constricted End. The narrow waist presumably served
for attaching a cord for suspension.



Figure 16. Circular Gorget. Pen and ink drawing by Sussan Gash.



MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 199



Discussion of Some Shell Artifacts

Columella Pendants

These artifacts make up an interesting portion of the
shell artifact collection from Kreamer Island (Table 3).
Ample previous research shows that artifacts of this type
are often associated with or derived from human burials,
that they often involved considerable labor to fabricate,
and that they often are made of exotic, valued, or rare
materials. This is shown by research by Bullen, Partridge,
and Harris (1970:117-118), Gilliland (1975:173-175),
Goggin (1949:549-553), Luer (2013:115, Figure 15,
ay iy, Fisure 3), Moore (1900, 1905, 1907, 1921),
Reiger (1990, 1999), Steinen (1982:105-106), Wheeler
(2002:34), and Willey (1949:50-51).

Nonetheless, the function of this kind of artifact is
sometimes debated, some asserting that some of them
are utilitarian, others viewing most as prestige items.
Marquardt (1992:205-207, Figure 19) refers to them
as columella sinkers, and Walker (1992, 2000:30-31)
suggests some functioned as parts of composite fish
hooks or as sinkers to weigh down fishing line or nets.



This argument is based on analogy to somewhat similar
objects known ethnographically from the South Pacific as
well as somewhat similar artifacts from South America.
If the same argument is made, then such “sinkers”
would have been used in Lake Okeechobee, a relatively
shallow lake with predominantly small kinds of fish.
However, the size of the artifacts would be better suited
for larger fish (e.g., sharks, large grouper) not found in
Lake Okeechobee (see Table 3 for measurements). To
justify the existence of shell pendants in the Kreamer
assemblage for use in local fishing, one would expect to
see variation of sizes comparable to the sizes of aquatic
resources available.

If one were to consider such artifacts as used for
fishing (prone to frequent loss), one would expect that
they would have been relatively common and could
have been made in a short period of time. Conversely,
if one assumed that these artifacts were prestige items,
they would not occur regularly and the amount of work
necessary to make them would be more. First, the
availability of raw materials must be assessed. The
nearest sources of marine shells recovered from Lake



Table 3. Marine Shell Pendants. Key: Lt = Length, W = Width, Wt = Weight, FS# = Field Specimen Number.

L | Tool Type

Columella Pendant
Columella Pendant, single-groove

Wem) | Wt(g)












Taxon =—i—“‘(ws‘s CLA (cm)



Indeterminate
Busycon contrarium













































| Columella Pendant, single-groove B. contrarium 11.42
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium O28 1.61
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium S29 1.63
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium 6.70
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium ee
Columella Pendant, double-groove Indeterminate 5.49
Columella Pendant, double-groove Pleuroploca gigantea 6.19
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove Strombus gigas 6.80
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove S. gigas 1a



11.24

Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove 10.51
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove Cassis sp.
Pendant, Non-Columella, Preform Cassis sp.

Mean
Minimum





Pendants





200 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)

Lena eee eer r eee eee rere creer erence

Okeechobee sites would be the Atlantic or Gulf coasts
of Florida. The marine shells found at Lake Okeechobee
sites must have been transported or exchanged into the
area over considerable distance. This distance would
have limited the access to shells, and when combined
with time spent fashioning the objects, their perceived
value would be increased (Trubitt 2003:244).

Second, the time needed to fabricate a pendant
should be considered. Although the process has not been
replicated, making a pendant is a specialized activity
requiring a significant investment of time for each artifact.
If the artifact functioned as a shank or sinker (prone
to loss), one would question the overall investment of
time required for its manufacture. Certainly, a roughly
made sinker would function well enough to hold down a
fishing line or net. This is not the case with the group of
pendants from Kreamer Island. Of particular interest are
the large, finely made specimens. For these, time would
have been spent shaping and polishing the columellae.

Reiger (1999) provides further support for prestige
attributed to shell pendants. He describes 20 pendants
from Jones Mound, near Tampa, and quotes Bullen:
“Tall the] pendants were located at necks or chests and
so, presumably, were suspended from the neck in life”
(Bullen 1952:49). Only 20 of the approximately 150
adult burials in the Jones Mound contained pendants
(Reiger 1999:227). Ripley Bullen (1952) wrote that
perhaps pendants were clan or rank symbols rather than
mere items of personal adornment.

The Kreamer Island site contains human skeletal
remains. However, due to the nature of the deposits and
the surficial finds, the pendants could not be attributed
to the same context as the human bones. The pendants
found at Kreamer Island were not common items; rather
they were rare. Possible uses could be adornment or
mortuary or ceremonial functions.

Accepting arguments that pendants are status items,
perhaps they reflect four levels of status for people at the
Kreamer Island site. We speculate that Cassis pendants
were the most valued pendant form, given the rarity of
helmet shells, their low number as artifacts, the distance
they were transported to the site, and that other kinds
of shells might have been carved to mimic the shape of
Cassis lips. If so, Cassis pendants might have belonged
to the highest ranking individuals. Those with imitations
of Cassis pendants might have held second highest rank,
those with “standard” columella pendants might have

been third, and those people with no pendants might
have comprised the common or fourth rank of the site.
However, different forms of pendants could be related
to differences in gender, age, or kinship groups, rather
than rank.

Adze/Celts

The adze/celt and adze/celt blanks made from the lip
of Strombus gigas are considered ubiquitous tool types
in south Florida (Wheeler 2004:170). Their prevalence
has led to a large body of work on the morphology,
analysis, and interpretation of the use of these artifacts.
Their caching in both blank and adze/celt form has been
noted by Carr and Reiger (1980) as well as by Pepe and
Elgart (2006; personal communication 2008), and this
activity has been compared to caching of lithic materials
elsewhere in the state (Wheeler 2004:170). The use of
different kinds of shells for celts shows an adaptation to
raw material available in pre-Columbian Florida. The
specific usage of Strombus gigas is a regional adaptation
to a readily available shell resource on the Atlantic coast
of Florida (Masson 1988:313).

Masson analyzed celts and adzes from the Cheetum
(8DA1058) and Flagami (8DA1053) sites near the
Atlantic coast of Miami-Dade County. She used
techniques borrowed from lithic analysis to analyze
and to compare use-wear and breakage patterns in the
shell celt assemblages. Masson also defined shell celt
morphology and she used examples from experiments to
illustrate the manufacture processes of these tools.

Comparisons of the adze/celts from Kreamer Island
show, like those from the Miami Circle (Wheeler
2004:170), that all these artifacts exhibit similar methods
of manufacture, breakage patterns, and use (Table 4).
The breakage patterns in the Kreamer Island assemblage
are consistent with those of Masson (1988) and Wheeler
(2004) and support breakage due to structural weaknesses
in the shell material. Wheeler (2004:170) agrees with
Masson (1988:324) that there are inherent flaws, such
as asymmetry, in the structure of Strombus gigas lips
that lend themselves to particular patterns of breakage.
The left side of the Strombus gigas lip is thicker than
the right, resulting in the breaking of the right side of
the celt. Masson (1988:324) states that the dorsal and
ventral surfaces of the adze/celt were ground to reduce
this asymmetry and to increase durability. In terms of
general usage, the patterns of breakage shown by the
assemblage are consistent with rough woodworking.
The initial shaping of logs, removal of large portions
of material, cutting or chopping are all possible uses of
adze/celts.

Wheeler notes a difference in the species utilized
at Miami Circle compared to the Cheetum-Flagami
collection. He shows a high frequency of Strombus
costatus lip celts in the Miami Circle assemblage, even
though itis arelatively uncommon species in south Florida
(Wheeler 2004:171). The Kreamer Island assemblage



MLOUNT AND DAVENPORT



LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS

Table 4. Adze/Celts. Break/Wear attributes are defined by Masson (1988) as follows: R = Right, L= Left, D = Distal,
P = Proximal, DB = Diagonal Break, LB = Longitudinal Break, LS = Longitudinal Split. Key: Lt = Length, W = Width,

Ht = Height, Wt = Weight, FS# = Field Specimen Number.

Taxon








































201



































Strombus costatus ZA 7 a
Strombus gigas 2.12
S. gigas 10.13 5.45 2.25
S. gigas 2.26
2.27
S. gigas a
S. gigas 3.90
S. gigas
S. gigas 8.30 4.00
S. gigas | 7.64 3.80 84 35.1 9.19
|S. gigas 8.58 4.15 1.09 43.9
5 eas T9711 47612401 149.6
S. gigas 10.58 | 3.64
‘S. gigas 5.00 | 5.26
S. gigas 9.11 4.72
S. gigas 9.39 4.00
S. gigas 7.56 3.64
S. gigas 6.22 3.57 66
S. gigas 13.25 3.80 1.48 100.0 ime:
S. gigas 8.50 202
S. gigas 5.78 3.05 83 25.1
S. gigas 6.40 2.89
S. gigas 5.33 Snap
i 15.1 Indeterminate
Strombus sp. Pe tae 1.24 90.8 Nicking/Haft
Strombus sp. 8.00
3.28 Jo Mee R-D-DB
AGT | ORS S08 Snap
ie es 7 i rl a. WS ON ee ee. |e eR es ae
112 | 52.16
Oi3) | 1s
24 | 149.6
more closely resembles the Cheetum-Flagami collection sites. Multiple patterns of exchange or movement of

in this regard as it has only one identified adze/celt of S.
costatus. However, four specimens in the assemblage
were identified only to the Strombus genus.

Curiously, a single S. costatus lip, an apparent
exchange item, was found in the Aqui Esta Mound
near Charlotte Harbor (Luer 2002:167; Luer and
Hughes 2005:139). Masson (1988:314-315) mentions
a regional variation first noted by Willey (1949) in the
species utilized to make adze/celts. He noted the use
of Strombus gigas in Dade and Broward County sites,
versus S. gigas and Busycon contrarium in Belle Glade

native people in south Florida could explain the varied
types and frequencies of marine shells.

Marine Shells

Wheeler (2004:173) states that mollusk species
targeted for shell tool production are partly a function
of their biogeographic ranges. While this was true for
native people with direct access to these resources, inland
people were constrained by the groups with whom they
traded or by the places they visited. Marine shells must



202 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



have been obtained by exchange or otherwise imported
to the Lake Okeechobee region. Therefore, the means
of procurement as well as intergroup relations and the
role each played in the complexity of a culture can be
discussed.

The occurrence at Lake Okeechobee of marine shell
artifacts of some of the same types known to occur on the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, and in the St. Johns
River region, supports the presence of people on the
southeast rim of Lake Okeechobee, who interacted with
people in those other areas. The biogeographic ranges of
the mollusks utilized permit speculation about cultural
interactions and exchange. For example, assemblages
of shell artifacts from sites on the Gulf coast of Florida
are often dominated by Busycon tools, whereas Atlantic
coast artifact assemblages are mainly comprised of
Strombus or other shells. The shell artifact assemblage
from southeast Lake Okeechobee shows exchange or
contact with both coasts.

An extensive network of small waterways,
hammocks, swamps, and sloughs allowed inland peoples
to travel to the coast, and coastal people to travel inland.
The distribution of large archaeological sites along such
waterways is illustrated by the Belle Glade Mound
and Midden and other sites along the Democrat River
(now a relic channel once connected to southeast Lake
Okeechobee) (Figure 17). The same waterways, such as
Hungryland Slough, also had small sites (e.g., Wheeler
1992).

Many shell tools lent themselves to being reworked
after they were damaged, such as some Busycon tools
and adze/celts made from the Strombus lip. Interestingly,
the rest of the Strombus shell appeared to be absent in
the assemblage from Kreamer Island. This suggests that
adze/celts were finished, nearly finished, or blanks when
obtained from the coast.

Shells and Social Complexity

“Complexity” in its broadest sense denotes the
presence of multiple interrelated or interconnected parts.
The definition of complexity as itrelates to a cultural group
is not so straightforward. Many scholars have specified
certain characteristics in defining a society as being
complex. These typically include elaborate technologies,
sedentary communities, intensive subsistence practices,
large dense populations, and organizational changes in
social, economic and ritual structures (Brown and Price
1985). These characteristics may be manifested in the
archaeological record by the presence of certain kinds of
artifact assemblages, features, and structures.



i Pelican Bay 3 a,
ee Pelican Bay 4 | Nea

) umm, Pelican Bay 2 | hy ty, “ny |

i Wy yy) e
\ : Pelican Bay | |

Kreamer Island aii

Kreamer Island Mound he





| Belle Glade M yy,

yuyu tsb.
bimcenikne: |

iy ity, Z # 4 Z
Abi, Why Z
ee ee F
ig Yi % , , Z

Z Mi, My, j i, yh ofp

ly, : Lynn

eh A FE guy
gy by Pr a f j Whig
ay |
if : ti

Figure 17. Democrat River Formerly Connected to
Southeast Lake Okeechobee. This relic channel has
large archaeological sites along it, such as the Belle Glade
Mound/Midden (from Smith 2015:Figure 2).

Several scholars assert that cultural complexity is
defined by social organization intended to overcome
problems in the logistics of access to resources (Cohen
1985:104). Cohen suggests 12 features of socially
complex cultures, all of which in some manner are
related to access to resources and the methods utilized
to control them. Among the features that deal expressly
with exchange networks include the emergence of chiefs,
reciprocal social relations and ceremonial obligations,
interregional alliances, expansion of exchange networks,
emergence of prestige as an economic commodity, and
demand for prestigious goods that symbolize social
hierarchies.

In addition to defining complexity, varied schools
of thought have identified how cultures became
increasingly complex. There continues to be an ongoing
debate in anthropology between those who profess an
evolutionary-ecological approach to cultural change
and those who support a historical-materialist approach.
Other scholars prefer to combine the two approaches,
emphasizing certain aspects of each. Marquardt (1985)
suggests an amalgam of the two schools of thought in his
synopsis concerning fisher-gatherer-hunters. He calls
this amalgam synthetic processualism which combines
the body of knowledge gathered by natural scientists and
the dialectical method of analysis and exposition used



MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 203

caannneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eee ETE

by Marx in his critique of capitalist social formations
(Marquardt 1985:70).

Other scholars have attempted to explain exchange,
and the role it played, by applying World Systems
Theory to individual sites, particularly in South and
Central America (Carmack and Gonzalez 2006; Frank
and Gills 1993; Schortman and Urban 1994; Wallerstein
1974a). World Systems Theory postulates that the
interaction of polities occurred in a core and periphery
system. The core is the developed controlling group or
center, whereas the periphery consists of underdeveloped
groups, providing support under the control of the center
(Wallerstein 1974a). Wallerstein (1974a, 1974b) and
Frank and Gills (1993) suggest that peripheral groups
and sites were relied on and dominated both politically
and economically by the core (Carmack and Gonzalez
2006:21). Other authors have suggested that peripheries
play a much less significant role and refer to periphery
sites as unspecialized zones and contact peripheries
(Carmack and Gonzalez 2006:219).

Perhaps the Ritta and Kreamer Island sites could
be placed in the periphery category, but there are no
data supporting that view for the entirety of the Belle
Glade period. The core and periphery relationship
between sites and groups was a dynamic process, subject
to change over time. This idea is suggested at large
earthworks such as Fort Center (Carr 1985; Sears 1982)
and Ortona (Carr et al. 1995). The presence at those sites
of imported materials and, after contact, European metal
artifacts, such as gold and silver items of adornment (e.g.,
Branstetter 1995; Luer 1994, 2000), seems to contradict
classification of these sites as peripheral. The Belle
Glade area’s huge, raised, radiating earthworks, and other
large mounds (Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson 1991) suggest
that sites near Lake Okeechobee were positions of
power, perhaps acting as a core area for a period of time.
Future research focusing on these earthworks, especially
establishing a temporal framework, will benefit the study
of exchange relations and cultural complexity over time.

The Lake Okeechobee region contains few resources
that are unavailable in other areas of the state. However,
some were especially abundant. One resource could
have been the pond-apple. While the pond-apple can be
found in other areas of the greater Everglades, the large
quantity perhaps available from a 3.2 km (2 mi) wide belt
around the southern end of Lake Okeechobee, may have
been an exchange source. The region also had abundant
frogs, mudpuppies, and deer (hides, antlers, and bone).
Other local resources that might have been desired by
coastal populations included feathers and perhaps “bread
of roots” mentioned by Fontaneda (True 1944).

By location, all the artifacts recovered during the
Boyer Survey (lithics, shell artifacts, and even some
pottery) are technically “exotic” materials. There are
no known chert deposits in the survey area, nor local
access to marine shell. These materials reached the
sites through exchange or by the movement of native
people in and between regions. By Middle Archaic
times, evidence from the Tick Island/Harris Creek site
supports the movement of people between the coast and
interior in the St. Johns River region (Quinn, Tucker, and
Krigbaum 2008). For the Belle Glade region, Austin
(1997:595-600, 2015) cites models of down-the-line
trade and has made an extensive argument for inter-
regional exchange in stone, shell, and shark teeth as a
factor in the development of the Belle Glade culture.

The cutting-edged tools from the Kreamer Island
site imply woodworking. This begs the question: could
locally made wooden objects (bowls, pestles, and
canoes) have been exchanged to procure more shell
tools or the raw material? Until the Boyer Survey, the
Kreamer Island site was thought to be a small hamlet
site. However, given the amount and diversity of non-
local materials, this seems an incorrect inference. The
artifact assemblage is suggestive a larger regional village
with some defined hierarchy.

Conclusion

Due to the deflated nature of the Boyer Survey sites
and their muck soil, the artifacts we recovered from the
surface cannot be attributed to narrow contexts. It was
interesting to find prestige and utilitarian artifacts. We
do not suggest that the assemblages represent a single
occupation, rather they probably represent two or more
cultural periods.

The large shell artifact assemblage from Kreamer
Island was comprised primarily of utilitarian tools,
although numbers of shell pendants (prestige items)
also were found. The assemblage from Kreamer Island
may reflect multiple occupations, perhaps as early as the
Archaic and/or Early Woodland periods (based on whelk
body whorl gouges, possible Type AX gastropod shell
cutting-edged tools, and a Deptford Simple Stamped
sherd) and extending into the Belle Glade HI (ca. A.D.
700 to 1300) and precontact Belle Glade IV (ca. A.D.
1300 to 1500) periods (based on Belle Glade Plain, St.
Johns Check Stamped, and Sarasota Incised sherds). The
site could have had contemporaneous mortuary practices
and site utilization similar to, but smaller in scale than,
the Belle Glade Mound and Midden. Remote sensing
and aerial image analysis have shown that the Democrat



204 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vou. 72 (4)



River that coursed through the Belle Glade Mound and
Midden terminated at the Kreamer Island site. Our
research appears to link them through the shared types
of non-local artifacts found at both sites.

Acknowledgments

We thank archaeologists George Luer and Dorothy
Block for editing this paper, and reviewers for their
help. We also would like to express our thanks to
archaeologists Arlene Fradkin and Clifford Brown,
both at FAU, for their assistance with parts of this study
related to Mount’s 2009 M.A. thesis.

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16:387-415.

2004 World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction.
Duke University Press, Durham.

Wheeler, Ryan J.
1992 Notices of Conoidal Stones from Southern
Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 45(4):347-351.

2001a_ Florida Master Site File Update for 8PB92,
Ritta Island Site. On file, Florida Master Site File,
Tallahassee.

2001b Florida Master Site File Update for 8PB43,
Kreamer Island Site. On file, Florida Master Site File,
Tallahassee.

2004 = Shell Artifacts from the Miami Circle at
Brickell Point (8DA12). The Florida Anthropologist
SIZ 139-1 Bs.

Wheeler, Ryan J., and Ray M. McGee

1994 Technology of Mount Taylor Period
Occupation, Groves’ Orange Midden (8VO2601),
Volusia County, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist
47(4):350-379.

Will, Lawrence E. ,
1984 Swamp to Sugar Bowl: Pioneer Days in Belle
Glade. Reprint of 1968 edition of Great Outdoors
Publishing Company. The Glades Historical Society,
Belle Glade, Florida.

2002 A Cracker History of Okeechobee. Sir Speedy
Printing, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Willey, Gordon R.

1949 Excavations in Southeast Florida. Yale
University Publications in Anthropology 42,
New Haven.





E





The following brief article is reprinted from the FAS News/etter (no. 85, February 1978), edited by the FAS President,
the late J. Raymond Williams, Ph.D., who was an archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at the University of
South Florida, in Tampa (see an obituary by Dana Ste. Claire in The Florida Anthropologist, vol. 49, no. 4, 1996).
For more information about George Ferguson and Wilfred Neill, see “About The Authors” (this issue) and an obituary
about Neill in The Florida Anthropologist, vol. 56, no. 4 (2003).

AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA

George R. Ferguson and Wilfred T: Neill

To describe an apparently unique artifact might at
first seem an exercise in futility. However, the quality
of uniqueness is apt to prove illusory; and when a
few similar specimens have been reported, a study of
their distribution and mode of occurrence might prove
rewarding. Note, for example, what Williams and
Goggin (1956) were able to infer from a few scattered
occurrences of the “long-Nosed God” masks.

So feeling, we report and illustrate (Figure 1) an
unusual specimen from the Late Preceramic level of
Good’s Shellpit, Volusia County, Florida. It is made
from the lip of a helmet shell, probably the common
helmet (Cassis tuberosa), to judge from its large size.

The object resembles an arrow-wrench, but arrows
were not in use during Late Preceramic times. Perhaps
the artifact was a pendent.

It has been suggested (R. P. Bullen, personal
communication) that this object was an atlatl hook.
Being flat on one side, it could well have been bound to
an atlatl, if not as a hook then as a weight. But any atlatl
to which it might have been bound was most likely a
ceremonial one; for the large size of the object militates
against the idea that it was part of an ordinary, utilitarian
weapon.

It may be significant that Good’s Shellpit has also
yielded one of the few examples of Late Pre-ceramic
ceremonialism: a cache of 48 large Newnan points, all
of imported bluish flint, and each with two or three small
breaks involving tips, barbs, or stems. This large site,
before its virtual obliteration for road fill, may have
contained more unusual, finely crafted objects than 1s
normally to be expected from a Late Pre-ceramic midden.
It is clear that some middens of this period contain
a surprising quantity of uncommon and sometimes
unidentified artifacts; witness the material recovered
from the Bluffton site, Volusia County, Florida (Neill
1954).

References Cited

Neill, Wilfred T.
1954 Artifacts from the Bluffton Midden, Volusia
County, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 7(1):11-17.

Williams, Stephen, and John M. Goggin
1956 The Long Nosed God Mask in the Eastern United
States. The Missouri Archaeologist 18(3).



Figure 1. Helmet Shell Lip Artifact from the Late Preceramic Level of Good’s Shell Pit, Volusia County, Florida
[no scale provided, image scanned from FAS Newsletter #85, February 1978].



VOLUME 72 (4)

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 209









COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM

VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA”

GEORGE M. LUER

The Florida Anthropologist Editor, geoluer@gmail.com

As Ferguson and Neill anticipated, additional
specimens of this artifact type have become known. More
specimens extend its geographic distribution, but we still
know little about its age and function. Hopefully, these
comments and the reprint will elicit further information.

These artifacts were fashioned from the lip of
sizeable helmet shells of the queen or emperor helmet
(Cassis madagascariensis) (Abbott 1974). This mollusk
occurs along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to
the Greater Antilles and in the Gulf of Mexico. It is
known from both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida,
including the Florida panhandle.

Additional specimens that may be the same kind of
artifact have been reported from Palm Beach County.
Archaeologist John Goggin described a well-worked
Cassis lip from the Canal Point | site (8PB44) as having
‘a curved end... projecting beyond the knobbed portion
and a perforation has been made sideways through the
object [at] about the center of the knobbed portion”
(Goggin 1949:602). Goggin (1949:363) also noted a
perforated Cassis lip from the Canal Point 4 site (8PB47).

These specimens also are listed by Willey (1949:77-78),
who called one of them a “gorget or pendant” with an
“overall length of 16 cm.”

The Canal Point | and 4 sites are on the southeast
shore of Lake Okeechobee, to the northeast of the area
covered by the Boyer Survey (see Mount and Davenport,
this issue). In the 1940s, Goggin and Willey saw these
Canal Point Cassis lips in the United States National
Museum (now the Smithsonian National Museum of
Natural History). Some discrepancies exist in Goggin’s
and Willey’s descriptions of them and associated artifacts,
which only further museum research may clarify.

Another worked Cassis lip, very similar to Ferguson
and Neill’s, is attributed to the Tick Island/Harris Creek
site (8VO24) and was pictured by Jahn and Bullen
(1978:Figure 47e). Their photograph is reproduced
here in Figure 1. They called it a “drilled pendant” and
pictured it with three similar pieces of worked shell and
bone, all with one upturned end and having a perforation
near the other end (Figure 1). The two bones appear
to be modified bacula (penis bones), and the shell is



Figure 1. Worked Cassis Lip and Similar Artifacts of Bone and Shell Pictured by Jahn and Bullen
(1978:Figure 47b, c, d, e [no clear scale]).



VOLUME 72 (4)

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 211



212 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



of undetermined kind (but apparently not a Cassis
lip). Artifacts from Tick Island range from the Middle
Archaic period through the Woodland period.

Ferguson and Neill state that their perforated
Cassis lip came from a pre-ceramic context, or prior
to the Orange period, which began ca. 4700 cal B.P.
Interestingly, Neill and James Gut previously reported
another find from a deep, pre-ceramic midden deposit in
Good’s Shell Pit. There, they found a rare bone artifact
made from the shaft of a probable deer femur. It was
shaped to resemble a lanceolate projectile point with a
length of 107 mm (Gut and Neill 1953).

Good’s Shell Pit was ina large shell midden bordering
the St. Johns River between 8VO44 and 8VO48 (Gut
and Neill 1953). According to Goggin (1952:Figure 9),
those two sites are between Hontoon Island and Lake
Monroe, south of Deland and northwest of Sanford.
That is consistent with the location of Good’s Shell Pit
in a map of Mount Taylor period sites (Wheeler et al.
2000:Figure 11). The period includes the Mount Taylor
(ca. 7400 to 5600 cal B.P.) and Thornhill Lake (ca. 5600
to 4700 cal B.P.) phases (e.g., Endonino 2017; Randall
2013; Randall et al. 2014). Both pre-ceramic and ceramic
components were present in Good’s Shell Pit:

At this site, pottery (including St. Johns Check
Stamped ware) 1s confined to the upper 3 or 4 feet
of one small area farthest from the river. Most
of the midden is an impressively large expanse



Luke
_ George








Astor®



Lake Dexter

Tick Island - »
Harris Creek site * \






» Lake Woodruff













N

f Good’s Shell Pit §

iSkm

Bluffton Midden

@ Deland

f{___ Hontoon
Island

.. Lake
Monroe

Figure 2. Approximate Location of Good’s Shell Pit.

of shell, completely without sherds. The site...
appears to be a preceramic one which was
reoccupied during St. Johns II times. [Neill, Gut,
and Brodkorb 1956:383]

Neill et al. (1956) identify Good’s Shell Pit as
having site number “VO 135” but it is instead recorded
as 8VO140 in the Florida Master Site File, where it has
lacked a formal form and specific location. The 8VO140
file notes simply that the site was referenced in a 1956
article in American Antiquity (that is, in Neill et al. 1956).
In that article, Good’s Shell Pit provided the majority of
faunal remains, and its midden shells were identified as
primarily representing two kinds of freshwater snail and
one kind of freshwater clam.

Finally, Ferguson and Neill’s Cassis lip, and the
others noted above, are marine shell artifacts found
at inland, freshwater/terrestrial sites. As such, they
represent items obtained through exchange or by travel
to the coast. Quinn et al. (2008) use stable isotope and
faunal evidence to demonstrate mobility of Middle
Archaic people at the Tick Island/Harris Creek site, and
Mount and Davenport (this issue) use non-local shells to
show mobility and/or exchange by later people at Lake
Okeechobee. The Cassis lip artifacts described here add
to the picture of obtaining and using non-local shells
in the middle St. Johns and Okeechobee regions, while
their identity and function remain unclear.



Atlantic
Ocean






Daytona \\\
Beach @ \\





New Aq
Smyrna //\
Beach ‘'










LUER VOLUSIA COUNTY UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT 213
SEDAN PR SA ID A RE Pa A ODE Na A EDD NSN AS LCL SS Soe RRL AR EN PRS IR Ua DS SL A IRAN ALAR RAIN ASSERTS ROO PI DSR SINT ABE FOAM IIL NERA ST DRT SEIN Ty AE OL aS IM RNa SE AN ST TITER ETOCS BRD RELL 9 PSR TREE CELE TLD TR RTA

References Cited

Abbott, R. Tucker

1974 American Seashells: The Marine Mollusca of
the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of North America. 2"
edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.

Endonino, Jon C.

2017 The Thornhill Lake Phase — Classifying
Goggin’s Unclassified Complex. The Florida
Anthropologist 70(3):108-120.

Goggin, John M.

1949 Archeology of the Glades Area, Southern
Florida. Typescript on file, P. K. Yonge Library of
Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville
(contains later additions).

1952 Space and Time Perspective in Northern St.
Johns Archaeology, Florida. Yale Publications in
Anthropology 47, New Haven.

Gut, H. James, and Wilfred T. Neill

1953 Bone Artifacts, Resembling Projectile Points,
From Preceramic Sites in Volusia County, Florida.
The Florida Anthropologist 6(3):93-94.

Jahn, Otto L., and Ripley P. Bullen

1978 The Tick Island Artifacts. In The Tick Island
Site, St. Johns River, Florida, edited by Adelaide K.
Bullen and Jerald T. Milanich, pp. 22-23, and Figures
1-60. Florida Anthropological Society Publication 10,
Gainesville.

Neill, Wilfred T., H. James Gut,

and Pierce Brodkorb

1956 Animal Remains from Four Preceramic
Sites in Florida. American Antiquity
21(4):383-395.

Quinn, Rhonda L., Bryan D. Tucker,

and John Krigbaum

2008 Diet and Mobility in Middle Archaic Florida:
Stable Isotopic and Faunal Evidence from the Harris
Creek Archaeological Site (8VO24), Tick Island.
Journal of Archaeological Science 35:2346-2356.

Randall, Asa R.

2013. The Chronology and History of Mount
Taylor Period (ca. 7400-4600 Cal B.P.) Shell Sites
on the Middle St. Johns River, Florida. Southeastern
Archaeology 32(2):193-217.

Randall, Asa R., Kenneth E. Sassaman,

Zackary I. Gilmore, Meggan E. Blessing,

and Jason M. O’Donoughue

2014 Archaic Histories Beyond the Shell “Heap” on
the St. Johns River. In New Histories of Precolumbian
Florida, edited by Neill J. Wallis and Asa R. Randall,
pp. 18-37. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Wheeler, Ryan J., Christine L. Newman,

and Ray M. McGee

2000 A New Look at the Mount Taylor and Bluffton
Sites, Volusia County, with an Outline of the Mount
Taylor Culture. The Florida Anthropologist

SS 2-S) Poze koe,

Willey, Gordon R.

1949 Excavations in Southeast Florida. Yale
University Publications in Anthropology 42,
New Haven.









EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:

BIG MOUND CITY REVISITED

NATHAN R. LAwRES ! AND MartHew H. Couvin ?

’ Department of Anthropology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118, nlawres@westga.edu
* Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, mhcolvin@uga.edu

Introduction

In this article, we focus on the question of how
monumental architecture of the Belle Glade culture was
built. To do so, we focus on the Big Mound City site
(SPB48) in Palm Beach County. In contrast to Fort Center
(SGL13), Belle Glade (8PB40/8PB41), and other sites in
the region, Big Mound City provides detailed evidence
for large-scale, rapid construction events of architectural
features of monumental proportions. To demonstrate
this, we focus on a single architectural feature of the site:
the midden-mound (Mound 4). Drawing on results of
recent excavations, we present stratigraphic, pedogenic,
and chronometric lines of evidence to support an
argument for rapid construction.

Background

The Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades (KOE)
watershed has long been considered an understudied
region in Florida archaeology (Griffin 2002:140; Johnson
1991:1-3; Lawres and Colvin 2017; Milanich 1994:281;
Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:181). Archaeologist John
Griffin (2002:140) wrote that it is “the least known of the
South Florida areas.” Yet, the region offers a distinctive
landscape in North America (Schwadron 2010:114;
Widmer 2002:374) that warrants more attention than it has
received in the past. Its environment is a vast freshwater
landscape stretching north-south approximately 400
km (250 mi) across peninsular Florida (McPherson
and Halley 1996), with water flowing from north to
south most of the year. Throughout this watershed,
the dominant ecosystems have long hydroperiods, and
upland ecosystems are restricted to small topographic
rises called tree island hammocks.

The people who inhabited this watershed, known
to archaeologists as the Belle Glade archaeological
culture, practiced a way of life that provides a stark
contrast to contemporaneous groups throughout the
interior Southeast (Schwadron 2010; Widmer 2002), and
this way of life was entangled with the environmental
characteristics of the watershed. Instead of an
agricultural focus supplemented by hunting, fishing, and
gathering, they focused heavily on fishing supplemented

with gathering and hunting (Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson
1990, 1991; Milanich 1994:279-298; Thompson et al.
2013; Thompson and Pluckhahn 2014; Widmer 1988,
2002). With the exception of the Lake Wales Ridge,
they placed many settlements on tree island hammocks
dotting the landscape because these provided the only
naturally occurring dry ground.

Belle Glade people almost exclusively manufactured
plain pottery rather than decorated wares (Porter 1951;
Sears 1982). While they did inter deceased individuals in
mortuary mounds, they also practiced subaqueous burial
(Davenport et al. 2011:484, 518-519; Hale 1989:161), a
practice shared by the Early and Middle Archaic peoples
of peninsular Florida (e.g., Windover Pond, Republic
Groves, Bay West, and Little Salt Spring). Further,
though they did not practice agriculture (Johnson 1991;
Hale 1989; Thompson et al. 2013), they reached a level
of cultural complexity often overlooked.

Goggin and Sturtevant (1964:196) emphasized the
tremendous size of earthworks, such as Big Mound City,
and wrote: “These large construction efforts suggest
the necessity for organized leadership for planning and
execution, as well as many workers to carry out the tasks
and to be fed while they did so.” Muilanich and Fairbanks
(1980:181) noted: “When examining the archaeology of
South Florida, one cannot help but feel that the most
complex prehistoric cultures were centered, not on the
coasts but inland in the Lake Okeechobee Basin.”

While the KOE region is less understood than most
other areas of Florida, this is beginning to change.
Previously, most of our knowledge about Belle Glade
archaeology stemmed from Stirling’s work at the
culture’s type site (Stirling 1935; Willey 1949) and Sears
and colleagues’ work at Fort Center (Sears 1982), with
several articles, theses, and dissertations providing the
basis for a more regional perspective (Austin 1996, 1997;
Carr 1985; Carr et al. 1995; Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson
1990, 1991, 1994, 1996; Mitchell 1996). However,
over the past decade there has been a renewed concern
with Belle Glade archaeology, resulting in an increase
in research. Thompson, Pluckhahn, and colleagues
(Pluckhahn and Thompson 2012; Thompson et al. 2013;
Thompson and Pluckhahn 2012, 2014; Thompson 2015),



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216 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



along with Austin (2015) and Colvin (2015, 2016), have
reinvestigated Fort Center. Locascio and Colvin (2017,
2018) have initiated long-term research on Late Archaic
to Early Woodland sites southeast of Lake Okeechobee,
such as Wedgworth site, while Davenport and colleagues
have concentrated on sites east of Lake Okeechobee and
organized conference symposia on the region (Davenport
2016; Green and Smith 2018).

In 2015, the authors initiated the Kissimmee-
Okeechobee Regional Earthwork Survey (KORES)
project to gather data related to Belle Glade
monumentality. This project is aimed specifically at
taking a regional perspective on the practices surrounding
monumental construction in the KOE watershed and
includes several overarching research questions: “How
do the monumental architectural constructions of the
region relate to each other temporally? Do they conform
to the temporal patterns exhibited at Fort Center? Are
there any temporal disjunctures in the construction of
multifaceted monumental architectural features... or
were they constructed as a singular event?” (Lawres
and Colvin 2017:63). This article focuses on the latter
question by addressing how Belle Glade monumental
architecture was built.

Despite many studies of Belle Glade monumental
architecture (e.g., Carr 1985, 2016; Carr and Steele
1992, 1994; Carr et al. 1995; Carr et al. 1996; Colvin
2014, 2015, 2016; Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson 1990,
1991, 1994, 1996; Lawres 2015, 2016a, 2016b, 2017;
Lawres and Colvin 2016, 2017; Sears 1982; Thompson
2015; Thompson and Pluckhahn 2012, 2014), there has
been minimal discussion of construction sequences or
processes (Lawres et al. 2018). This is something to
address as the question ties to broader anthropological
concerns of complexity among fisher-gatherer-hunter
and hunter-gatherer societies (sensu Marquardt 1985).

Belle Glade Monumental Construction

Much of our knowledge of Belle Glade architectural
construction stems from Stirling’s work at the Belle
Glade site (Willey 1949) and Sears’s (1982) work at Fort
Center. However, this knowledge is limited. Stirling’s
investigations at Belle Glade included excavations in the
midden-mound and burial mound. The only publications
from the research were a preliminary report by Stirling
(1935) and a summary by Willey (1949).

The investigation of the Belle Glade midden-mound
gave the impression of gradual accumulation rather
than intentional construction. Willey (1949:19) noted

that while stratification in the mound was visible, it did
not correlate to “any structural features or changes in
cultural material.” He stated that Stirling only discussed
two lines of evidence for intentional construction:

A great number of house posts were uncovered

during the excavation. The position of these

in the ground gave little information about the

house plans beyond showing a rectilinear type of

construction.... On the south part of the mound

(habitation mound) there is a slight elevation

about 2 feet higher than the general level of the

mound that may represent a platform upon which

a structure was built. [Stirling 1935, in Willey

1949:19]

Stirling did not conduct excavations in this elevated
portion of the mound. Further, he did not discuss
stratification in the mound, except to note that none
was visible. The only stratification that Willey (1949)
discussed was the vertical positions of ceramics as a
means to delineate the culture-historical sequence.

In contrast, investigation of the burial mound
provided a view of multiple construction events and
occupation levels throughout its history. Willey
(1949:20-22) described an initial ground surface that
was occupied, and upon this surface a burial mound
was built of muck soils. On top of this mound, a series
of limestone slabs created a pavement of sorts. A sand
mound built on top of this appears to have been washed
by a flood. The remnants of this mound then became
an occupational area for an unknown time before a third
mound was built over what was likely the center of the
second mound. While this work provides a good, broad
picture of the construction sequence and history of use
for the burial mound, the lack of radiocarbon dating at
the time of Stirling’s excavations limits our temporal
understanding of the sequence.

Sears’s (1982) work at Fort Center in the 1960s
and 1970s provides a broader picture of Belle Glade
monumental construction practices because of the
long-term, intensive excavations he conducted. His
investigation included excavation of 18 architectural
features, which he called “artificial structures” (mostly
mounds and linear earthworks or “causeways’).
However, Sears does not delve into details of construction
except for brief hints. For example, in a discussion of
Mound | and its associated linear earthworks, he states:

Essentially, the picture is one of a low sand

mound built by throwing soil to the inside of a

circular ditch. It was built to approximately its

present height to support a single structure...

[that] probably had a floor level close to the height



LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb CIty 217



of the present mound surface. Some debris, in

aiding humus development, probably added a

few inches to mound height. [Sears 1982:132]

His descriptions of other architectural features provide a
much different view that involves alternating sequences
of occupation and small-scale construction. This form
of construction resulted in anthropogenic midden strata
separated by thin lenses of sand devoid of cultural
materials.

The most detailed account of construction activities
that Sears provides is related to the Mound-Pond
Complex, where he discusses the entire complex based
on stratigraphic ties between sediment sources and
architectural features. However, there is no discussion
of temporality, simply a description of the movement
of sediments from one area to another to build an
architectural feature. He discusses different occupation
levels and activities that led to discolorations or stains
in these levels, but he did not focus on the construction
sequence of architectural features. Thus, we are not able
to discern construction events or to determine if they
were rapid or long-term and repetitive.



“ REPUBLIC GROVE



. BAY WEST
O 20 40 80

« WINDOVER

With the exception of his brief description of the
construction of Mound 1, Sears (1982) gives an overall
impression of long-term construction activities at Fort
Center. Thompson and Pluckhahn (2012, 2014) build
upon that view. They specifically state that at Fort Center
“many earthworks demonstrate an extended history
of construction and use” (Thompson and Pluckhahn
2012:62).

Big Mound City

Environment

Big Mound City is in the J. W. Corbett Wildlife
Management Area, managed by the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in Palm
Beach County (Figure 1). It is in the southern end of the
Eastern Flatlands (Davis 1943) or Eastern Valley (White
1970) physiographic region of Florida and along the
edge of the Loxahatchee Scarp (Hale 1989; Rochelo et al.
2015; Wheeler et al. 2019). Willey (1949:73) describes
it as “a lonely and uninhabited area where the edge of
the Everglades meets the higher land of the pinewoods.”’
The Eastern Flatlands/Eastern Valley has very low

cy. a







120 160
ss ees Kilometers



Figure 1. Florida Sites Mentioned in the Text.



218 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



topographic relief, with an average elevation above mean
sea level of 7.6 to 9.1 m (25 to 30 ft) (Lichtler 1960;
White 1970). White (1970:110) describes it as having
a degree of flatness “second only to the Everglades.”
Further, he characterizes it as being a transitional zone
between a northern area of more topographic relief and
the “‘reliefless plains of the southern end of the peninsula”
(White 1970:110).

Big Mound City is characteristic of what Johnson
(1991, 1996) labels Type B circular-linear earthworks.
It contains a large oblong midden-mound partially
enclosed by a large semi-circular embankment, from
which multiple linear embankments project outward
(Figure 2). In total, there are 39 known architectural
features at Big Mound City (Rochelo et al. 2015). They
consist of 28 mounds, the semi-circular embankment,
and 10 linear embankments. Of the linear embankments,
seven are attached to the semi-circle, while three are
detached. With an architectural footprint of 81,884
m’, Big Mound City is the largest of the Belle Glade
monumental earthworks (Lawres and Colvin 2017:64).

The entirety of Big Mound City is comprised
of earthen architecture. Every elevated landform is
architecture in the confines of several flowing-water
ecosystems. They include cypress sloughs, the Allapattah
Slough or Allapattah Flats (Davis 1943; White 1970),
and cypress swamps. For approximately nine months of
the year, these ecosystems are inundated by water that is
in many places over | m (3 ft) deep (McVoy et al. 2011).
In some places, the water depth reaches nearly 2 m (6 ft).

Early Work

Matthew Stirling, as part of the Federal Emergency
Relief program, conducted the first excavations at Big
Mound City in 1933 and 1934 (Stirling 1935). This
project involved excavations in 11 mounds and the
survey and detailed topographic mapping of the site, but
otherwise produced limited information. Stirling (1935)
published only a brief description of the project in his
report to the Smithsonian Institution.

It was not until Willey (1949) published Excavations
in Southeast Florida that any substantive information
about the site was put in print. Even this is limited
because very few collections remained from the
excavations. The only part of the collections available to
Willey for analysis was a handful of sherds from Mound
9. Willey stated:

The descriptions of field operations are based upon

Mr. Garner’s notes. Other than these field records,

the only sources of information on Big Mound

City are a description in a manuscript prepared

150

Meters



Figure 2. Plan of Big Mound City. Top: Stirling’s 1933-
1934 map rotated to correct for magnetic north with box
around Mound 4. Bottom: LiDAR image of Mound 4
showing maximum length and width.



LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE Rapip CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb City 219



Table 1. Basic Information about Stirling's Excavations at Big Mound City.



Height 1

Diameter —







n/a n/a





6a n/a 2 iin Embankment | (South)
a 6x12 m 0.7m West of Midden-Mound
§ 6m 1 34 Interior of Semi-Circle
10 6m 0.7m Between Mounds 5 & 9





by Mr. M. W. Stirling and some comments and

photographs published by Mr. John K. Small.

[Willey 1949:73]

Even so, Willey provides an important glimpse
into Big Mound City in his five-page description of
the excavation results and interpretation. He provides
brief descriptions of the architecture that include the
dimensions of many features, the dimensions and depths
of the excavation units, basic soil coloration, and a
general description of the results of each excavation unit.
Table 1 provides these results.

A salient aspect of the results of these excavations is
that most of the core Type B architecture (Semi-Circle
and radiating linear embankments) is devoid of cultural
material. With the exception of the midden-mound
(Mound 4), there is no evidence of intensive occupation
on the core architectural features. Willey notes this:

Only Mound 4 was aplace of intensive occupation.

While potsherds were scattered throughout

- the body of several of the other mounds, the
excavations showed that the mounds were
intentionally built of sand and were not refuse
accumulations. The potsherds found in the sand
mounds can be accounted for in one of two ways.

Either the sherds were incidentally included in

the fill used in construction, or they were dropped

by Indians who occupied the mound tops for brief
periods after their construction. The occupation
area called Mound 4 1s proof that village detritus
was available close at hand and could have been
mixed with sand in the building of the mounds....
There is no information, unfortunately, as to

Location ©

2.4m Interior of Semi-Circle Small amount of pottery

l 10.6 m

> | Sim | 15a
3 18.2m

4) 91x10m | wa

5 30m 7.6m End of Embankment 1

Between Embnkmt. 1 Pair






#Trenches ,

Pottery, human bone

3.6m End of Embankment 3 Small amount of charcoal

7 ee Rees
mm ere




3 human skeletons, no skulls

whether there were post molds or other evidences

of permanent or semi-permanent structures on

the mounds. [Willey 1949:76] |

After Stirling, no further archaeological excavations
were conducted at Big Mound City for 81 years. There
were surface surveys and a mapping project during
that time (Rochelo et al. 2015; Wheeler and Newman
1997). However, it was not until 2015 that subsurface
archaeology resumed (see Lawres and Colvin 2017).

6m | 0.7m End of Embankment 2 cee eee Small amount of pottery
1] North of Type B Complex

KORES at Big Mound City

Our investigations represent the first component
of the long-term KORES project mentioned above.
The goal of our initial work at Big Mound City was to
collect carbonized wood samples for accelerator mass
spectrometry (AMS) dating from architectural features
using minimally invasive methods, including sediment
cores and shovel tests. We extracted cores using a JMC
PN425 Environmentalist’s Sub-Soil Probe PLUS. This
mechanism was a manually operated slide-hammer
percussion core with a 1.2-inch diameter core tube and a
core extraction tool. Extracted sediments were collected
in a 3-foot polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)
copolyester core liner. Core extensions allowed for
extraction of additional sediments from lower depths.

We extracted six cores to obtain sediments spanning
the top of the architecture to its base. The cores originated
from three different contexts: the midden-mound (Mound
4), Mound 8, and the open space inside the Semi-Circle.
Two cores came from the midden-mound, one from the
summit and one from the foot slope. Three cores were



220 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vou. 72 (4)



taken from Mound 8 and include the summit, shoulder
slope, and toe slope of the architecture. A single core
originated from the interior of the Semi-Circle (Lawres
and Colvin 2017).

In addition, we excavated four shovel tests adjacent
to the core extraction locations. These shovel tests had
two primary goals: (1) to provide a means to verify
the stratification in the sediment cores and to aid in
laboratory analysis; and (2) to provide the means to
collect carbonized wood samples from contexts with
stronger vertical control than could be provided by a
percussion core (Lawres and Colvin 2017). All shovel
tests were 50 x 50 cm squares that were excavated in 10
cm arbitrary levels in natural strata, and all the sediments
were sieved through 1/8 in (3.18 mm) hardware cloth.

Six AMS dates resulted from these initial
investigations, providing the first chronometric dates for
Big Mound City. All the dates were based on carbonized
wood samples recovered from the shovel test and
sediment core extracted from the summit of the midden-
mound (Mound 4). Figure 3 shows the sample origins,
and Table 2 and Figure 4 provide the results of the AMS
analyses.

The resulting dates suggested an occupational range
of cal 355 B.C. to A.D. 675 (originally published as cal

wW
©

&
oO

UGAMS# 24517
cal. AD 86-235
UGAMS# 24518
cal. AD 614-674

oO
©

perry
Pe
on
=
i
a)
i
oo
Sp
oy

a2
°

_UGAMS# 24519
cal. AD 70-215

_ UGAMS# 24520
cal. AD 82-227

UNEXCAVATED



356 B.C. toA.D. 674). Further, they demonstrated a tight
chronological grouping for three discrete stratigraphic
layers from 45 to 95 cmbs (centimeters below surface)
in the shovel test: Stratum I (25 to 50 cmbs), Stratum
II (50 to 75 cmbs), and Stratum IV (75 to 95 cmbs).
However, a date of cal A.D. 614 to 674 from Stratum
II was much younger than the cal A.D. 86 to 235 date
from Stratum II and the two dates, cal A.D. 70 to 215
and cal A.D. 82 to 227, from Stratum IV, raising the
possibility of bioturbation or the use of midden materials
for construction fill (Lawres and Colvin 2017:65-
66). The dates from the sediment core were obtained
from materials toward the base of the mound in order
to provide the earliest time (terminus post quem) for
occupation and construction. However, they also
produced inverted results, with the sample from the
deeper context producing a younger date.

While the dates provided new insight into Belle
Glade monumentality and allowed us to begin evaluating
Johnson’s (1991, 1996) chronology, they also raised
additional questions. The two most pressing questions
concerned the inverted dates in the vertical sequence
and the temporal relationship of the midden-mound to
other architectural features at the site: (1) were they a
result of bioturbation or did they reflect Belle Glade

_-Slump
p-Stratum VIII

Stratum NII

UGAMS# 26599 )
cal. 356-284 BC, 256-249 BC
235-148 BC, 141-112 BC

UGAMS# 26600 *
cal. AD 250-381

Figure 3. Carbonized Wood Sample Locations from 2015 KORES Project. Left: Shovel test. Right: Sediment core.



LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG MounpbD CIty 221



Table 2. AMS D







UGAMS# | ST3 Lvl 6,
OAS ee 45-50 cmbs
UGAMS# | ya ST3 Lvl 7,
Oey ca 50-60 embs
UGAMS#| | ST3LvI 10,
24519 sania. hl 75-85 cmbs


















UGAMS# Core 1, Section 3, AD 255-301,
26600 | “MATA! | 959 cmbs ee AD 316-344

tes from 2015 KORES Project at Big Mound City. Adapted from Lawres and Colvin (2017:Table 2).

1850 + 25 AD 129-214 AD 86-235
1380 + 25 AD 641-665 AD 614-674
AD 75-139,



AD 90-100, AD 123-
180, AD 186-214 ee





UGAMS# Heh aes S13 Lai fi,
Das 85-95 cmbs
UGAMS# Core 1, Section 3,
36599 charcoal 345 cmbs XIV “71602 75












350-310 BC, 356-284 BC, 256-249
oa BC, 235-148 BC,
4 141-112, BC



AD 250-381

* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (o'*) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **All dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).



Calibrated date (calBC/calAD)
Figure 4. Calibrated AMS Dates from 2015 KORES Project (problematic dates removed).

monumental practices? and (2) how do these dates relate
to architectural features outside the midden-mound? To
address this, the senior author expanded the KORES
project at Big Mound City in 2017. He focused on the
core Type B architectural elements: the midden-mound,
Semi-Circle, and radiating linear embankments. This
involved a more in-depth evaluation of the midden-
mound and an assessment of the radiating linear
embankments. This article focuses on the midden-
mound construction sequence.

Methods

To evaluate the midden-mound in 2017, a series of six
1 x 1 m test units were excavated along the summit and
shoulder slopes of the mound. These units were placed
along a transect running W/SW at 251°, approximately
10° S of perpendicular to the long axis of the mound.
The 2017 transect was chosen based on the location of
the 2015 investigations. It was placed near the 2015
transect, running down the opposite, western slope of the
mound (Figure 5).



228 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



150

Meters

eee Vieters
om oo 20 30 40



Figure 5. Mound 4 and Plan of Excavations.

The first five units are best described as a trench,
while the sixth was located 3 m farther down slope. The
reason for the offset of the sixth unit was the presence
of a very large live oak (Quercus virginianus) tree. The
offset also provided an additional stratigraphic view of
the mound. This view provided a broader horizontal
picture of stratification, showing the continuation of
contiguous strata.

All test units utilized a single datum placed at the
summit of the mound near the southeast corner of Test
Unit 1. The datum was 15 cm above the ground surface.
We excavated units in a stepped fashion, with the intent
to excavate the first two units to 100 cmbd (centimeters
below datum), the second two units to 200 cmbd, and the
fifth unit to 300 cmbd. We excavated in 10-cm arbitrary
levels in natural strata, with all sediments sieved through
1/8-inch (3.18 mm) hardware mesh. The University
of Florida’s Department of Anthropology African
Archaeology Laboratory is housing the recovered
materials until completion of the project. Additional
analyses of ceramics were conducted at Florida Atlantic
University’s Department of Anthropology. | Upon
completion of the project, all materials will be transferred
to the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research for
curation.

The goal of these excavations was to reach the base
of the mound to expose the full stratigraphic sequence
to assess mound construction. However, we terminated
Test Unit 1 early due to an extremely dense root ball of a
sabal palm (Sabal palmetto) adjacent to the unit. Further,
due to almost daily heavy rains, and encountering
numerous sedimentary stains that we treated as features,
the depth goals were not met. We excavated Test Units
3, 4, and 5 to a depth of 180 cmbd. To overcome this
and reach the base of the mound (which we estimated to
be at 280 cmbd based on the observed vertical difference
between the summit of the mound and the off-mound
ground surface), 50 x 50 cm shovel test windows were
excavated in Test Units 3 and 5. The Test Unit 5 shovel
test accomplished this task, which exposed a stratum
of underlying peat at 280 cmbd. Because dating the
construction was a primary concern of this project,
we made an effort to collect in situ carbon samples
throughout the excavations. We submitted the samples
to the University of Georgia’s Center for Applied Isotope
Studies for AMS dating.

Results

Our excavations in Big Mound City’s midden-
mound (Mound 4) confirmed some previous work while
revealing a new picture of the mound’s structure. As



LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb CIty

223



noted by earlier investigators, the midden is vertically
restricted to the uppermost portion of the mound (Willey
1949). In fact, in his report of Stirling’s investigations,
Willey (1949:75) states a lack of artifacts below 61 cmbs
(24 inches below surface). Our excavations confirmed
this, with roughly 98% of all artifacts and ecofacts
originating from 0 to 60 cmbs. The remaining materials
were scattered throughout the sediments below but not
in any concentration. Thus, the midden of this “midden-
mound” is in the top portion of the mound.

Soil Profile

The stratigraphic sequence of Mound 4 presents a
complicated picture unlike anything reported previously
for Belle Glade monumental architecture. Figures 6
and 7 present the full stratigraphic sequence. In these
figures, each test unit is contiguously placed in horizontal
fashion as measured from the site datum. Thus, along
the transect, Test Unit 1 is 0 to 100 cm, Test Unit 2 is
100 to 200 cm, Test Unit 3 is 200 to 300 cm, Test Unit 4
is 300 to 400 cm, and Test Unit 5 1s 400 to 500 cm. The

one exception is Test Unit 7, which is at 800 to 900 cm
from the site datum. Test Unit 6 (500 to 600 cm) was
planned, but was not excavated.

The contiguous, anthropogenic midden soils (Strata
I, II, and III) are restricted to the upper portion of the
mound, where the vast majority of cultural materials
were recovered. Stratum I is characterized by poorly
sorted fine sand with a Munsell classification of 10YR3/1
(very dark gray) mottled with lOYR6/1 (gray). Stratum
II consists of poorly sorted fine sand of 1OYR3/2 (very
dark grayish brown). Stratum III is well sorted fine sand
of 10YRS5/1 (gray). The south sides of Test Units 1 and 2
contain a large root ball of a sabal palm (Sabal palmetto)
tree with fine sand of 10YR3/1 (very dark gray) that
interrupts Strata I] and Hin these units. Further, Stratum
III is not continuous through all test units, exhibiting a
break in Test Unit 3.

Beneath these strata, the picture becomes much more
complicated. The underlying strata are relatively devoid
of cultural materials. Directly underlying Stratum III is
Stratum IV. This stratum of well sorted very fine sand

Table 3. Sedimentary Lenses Encountered During Excavations and Their Associated Stratum and Munsell Designation.

Lens Stratum




Munch



|B V 10YR3/1 (very dark gray)
EZ V LOYR7/1 (light gray)













a oe

Ly VI

L3 IV LOYRS/ 1 (gray)
L4 V 1OYR7/1 (ight gray)
ES yy. 1OYR7/1 (light gray)



L6 V 1OYR7/1 (light gray)
a) V LOYR6/1 (gray)
L8 VI

10YR3/1 (very dark gray) mottled with 1OYR6/1 (gray)
10YR3/1 (very dark dray)





1OYR6/1 (gray) mottled with 10YR3/1 (very dark Sa 0 oN





[i i

oy VI 1OYR6/1 (gray)

L18 VI 1OYRS5/2 (grayish brown)
Lig IV LOYRS5/2 (grayish brown)
L260 VI 1OYR6/1 (gray)







————________—_|

L10 VI LOYR2/1 (black)

Lt VI LOYR2/1 (black)
eZ VI

Li3 VI LOYR7/1 (light gray)
L14 VI 1OYRS/I (gray)

£15 VI 1OYR6/1 (gray)

L16 VI 1OYRS/1 (gray)







iA VI 1OYR6/1 (gray) |



224 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



200 om

Hem
100 cm

Oem

{00 em



LEGEND
1: = 10YR3/1 (very dark gray) mottled
with LOYRG6/1 (gray)
TI: 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown)
Il: 10YR5/1 (gray)
1V: 10YR7/1 (ight gray)
10YR4/3 (Brown)
: 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown)
sediment lenses
UGAMS 37159: cal. AD 650-690, AD 750-760
UGAMS 37160: cal. AD 335-420
UGAMS 37158: cal. AD 420-540
UGAMS 37157: cal. AD 650-690, AD 750-760
UGAMS 37161: cal. AD 340-420





200 cm







Pop r <<



300 em



300 em
40) cm
300 cm

0 cm

100 cm |

VI Ls A 18 | L9
L10 Eee TT
2010 cm
Vi Li6 =~ 119
ee a ——I—T.17
1.18

BIG MOUND CITY, MOUND 4
Test Units 1-5, South Wall Profile

300 cnn

Figure 6. South Wall Profile in Test Units 1 through 5. Note in situ carbonized wood samples (A through E).

of 10YR7/1 (light gray) is continuous through Test
Units 2 through 5 and Test Unit 7, but it arcs upward to
obscure Stratum II throughout most of Test Unit 3. This
suggests that when Stratum III was placed on Stratum
IV, it filled depressions adjacent to the upward arc of
Stratum IV visible in the profile. Further, in Test Unit
4 and the southernmost portion of Test Unit 5 is a large,
oblong pocket (L3 in Figure 6) of well sorted fine sand
that matches Stratum III (1OYRS5/1, gray).

Underlying Stratum IV is Stratum V, which consists
of well sorted very fine sand of 1OYR4/3 (brown) on top
of Stratum VI. Stratum V, however, is not continuous
throughout the trench. It is restricted to Test Units 2
through 4. Further, at the base of Stratum V are four
oblong lenses of sediment. Three of these match the
Munsell classification of Stratum IV (1OYR7/1, light
gray), and the fourth has a classification of 10YR6/1
(gray). All these lenses consist of well sorted very fine
sand.

Stratum VI, comprised of well sorted very fine sand
of 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown), underlies Stratum

V in Test Units 3 and 4. However, in Test Units 5 and
7, this Stratum VI underlies Stratum IV. Throughout all
these test units, Stratum VI exhibits multiple smaller,
roughly oblong pockets of sediments of various Munsell
classifications (Table 3). These lenses are labeled L1
through L21 in Figure 6, Figure 7, and Table 3.

Pockets or Lenses

We encountered these pockets of sediments
throughout the excavations. They appeared to be circular
stains because we typically identified them at their apical
point. We noted them as features and pedestaled them
as we excavated the surrounding matrix. This quickly
revealed the stains spreading and then dissipating
relatively shallowly. There were some, however, that
were large enough to appear as thin lenses in the larger
matrices.

These pockets appear to be evidence of basket
loading. We interpret them as evidence that native
people did not construct this mound in distinct stages,
with each stage associated with a distinct sedimentary



LAWRES AND COLVIN

ODE em

1G em

Test Unit 6

(Unexcavated)



200 om anes

LEGEND
1OYR3/1 (very dark gray) mottled
with 10YRG/1 (gray)
1OYR3/2 (very dark grayish brown)
: 10YR5/1 (gray)
1OYR7/1 (ight gray)

sediment lenses

UGAMS 37162: cal. AD 770-885



300 em



LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounpb CIty 225

{hem

hii ef 100 em
| Eee eda

Ill

ee

gee

Foe

‘mtn

md
VI ot

ez

«20 crn

: 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown) | BIG MOUND CITY, MOUND 4
Test Units 6 and 7, South Wall Profile

SOO em

Figure 7. South Wall Profile in Test Unit 7. Note in situ carbonized wood sample (F).
This is a westward downhill continuation of the profile shown in Figure 6.

source. Rather, the evidence suggests that people built
the mound in rapid fashion using multiple sources of
sediments or, at the very least, sediments from the same
source but at different depths (i.e., A Horizon, E Horizon,
Bh Horizon, etc.). The latter is more likely given that
shifts in soil horizons occur at shallow depths in this
region because of the aqueous nature of the landscape
(inundated for 9 to 10 months of the year).

As Sherwood and Kidder (2011:72) note, basket
loading is a term referring to “sedimentological structures
composed of individual ‘loads’ or separate deposits that
are typically distinguishable by distinct lithostratigraphic
boundaries that can result in a variegated appearance in
profile.” Often, construction is comprised of loaded fills,
which do not undergo homogenization before deposition
(Sherwood and Kidder 2011:77). In such cases, the result
is a profile exhibiting a hodgepodge of discrete soil types
and colors. However, in some cases, even when loaded
fills are used, individual basket loads contain sediments
of similar enough coloration and texture that when they

are deposited atop one another, they accumulate into a
larger mass where individual loading boundaries are no
longer visible.

In the case of our profile in Mound 4, the stratigraphic
sequence suggests loaded fills. Individual basket loads
are visible in plan view as “lens-shaped blob[s] of dirt”
(Peacock 2005:78). In profile, when encountered near
their midsection, they appear as crescent-like shapes,
and when they are encountered closer to their edges, they
appear in shapes that are amorphous. The boundaries
of these basket-loads are easily distinguished from the
larger matrix because of differences in color and texture
(see Table 3).

The individual loads include L1 through L7, L9
through L13, L15, and L21 in Figures 6 and 7. L16
through L20 may represent individual loads, but because
of their locations adjacent to east or west walls, their
extent is unknown. Larger mantles of accumulated
basket loads include L8 and L14, which may extend to
include L16. Stratum V also represents a large mantle



226 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vo. 72 (4)



where individual loading boundaries are not visible
because of the similarity in coloration and texture of
individual loads. Strata IV and VI are massive loaded
fills (Sherwood and Kidder 2011:77-78) as well. Not
only do they contain the same materials just mentioned,
they also exhibit individual basket loads of sediments
with different coloration and/or textures in their larger
matrices.

Further, the distribution of individual loading
boundaries of L4 through L12 and the arcing shape of this
distribution are suggestive. This arc mirrors the slope of
the mound surface. This suggests deposition of these
lenses on a sloping surface as individual basket loads. If
these lenses were part of a homogenized mantle of soil,
or even a mantle of loaded fill of the same coloration
and texture (i.e., a massive loaded fill), they would not
appear as individual features in the profile. Instead, each
lens has a boundary to it, and these individual boundaries
are likely indicative of individual baskets, or other
containers, that builders of Big Mound City used in the
process of making Mound 4. Similar patterns are visible
in the profiles of Hedgepeth Mounds (Saunders and
Allen 1994). In Hedgepeth profiles, individual loading
boundaries are visible in larger matrices, and individual
loads follow slopes on which they were deposited (see
Saunders and Allen 1994:Figure 4).

In addition, this arcing distribution of lenses
undermines arguments that these could represent animal
burrows. The most likely candidate for making burrows
of the shapes and sizes of these lenses is the gopher
tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). However, this tortoise
is typically associated with pine forests (Jones and Dorr
2004; McRae et al. 1981), an ecosystem not correlated
with the wooded swamp of Big Mound City. It 1s also
unlikely that they would mimic the slope of the surface
as gopher tortoise burrows are typically a single long,
winding tunnel running up to 3 m (10 ft) beneath the
ground surface (Jones and Dorr 2004).

Soil Composition

Additional evidence for construction speed can
be found in pedogenic processes (Kidder et al. 2009;
Ortmann and Kidder 2013). Except for biotic activity
and weathering in the upper 40 cm of the stratigraphic
sequence, evidence for pedogenic development in the
mound is lacking. If pauses in construction occurred
and lasted more than a few weeks, we would expect the
development of features such as surface crusts (Valentin
and Bresson 1992) and thus evidence for lithologic
discontinuities (Schaetzl 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson
2005).

When a surface is exposed to weathering, several
types of soil crusts can form, including structural crusts,
erosional crusts, and depositional crusts (Valentin 1991;
Valentin and Bresson 1992). There are further subtypes
of crusts, and their formation is time-dependent. Over
time, one crust will develop into another if surface
exposure is continuous (Bresson and Boiffin 1990;
Valentin and Bresson 1992; Valentin 1991). Further, the
spatial distribution of crusts is dependent on topography.
In sandy soil, the initial crust formed will be a structural
Sieving crust due to exposure to water drop impact.
However, if crust forms on a flat surface, long-term
exposure to rain will cause formation of a crater, and in
that crater, a depositional crust will form. In contexts
with topographic relief, there is a space-dependent
sequence of crust development: “structural crusts
upslope, erosion crusts, and possibly coarse pavement
crusts midslope, and depositional crusts downslope”
(Valentin and Bresson 1992:238).

The structural crust is of interest because architecture
creates topographic relief that provides the opportunity
to test contexts considered upslope (i.e., the summit).
The structural crust that forms upslope (resulting from
rainfall water drop impacts) is a direct form of surface
weathering. The impacts of water drops creates micro-
craters that vertically sort particles in a mechanical
sieving process resulting in finer particles forced into
a deeper depositional context (Valentin and Bresson
1992:231). There are several types of structural crusts
dependent on a number of conditions, such as sediment
type, climatic conditions, and the rate of formation.

Of interest to the architectural context of this study
is the structural sieving crust, which is comprised “of
a layer of loose skeleton grains overlaying a plasmic
layer” (Valentin and Bresson 1992:230). These skeleton
grains are the coarse fraction, or sand-sized particles, of
a soil’s structure while the plasma is the fine particles
and organic matter that are soluble and mobile in
vertical profiles (Schaetzl and Anderson 2005:776).
Because sand-sized particles are relatively immobile in
soils, their vertical continuity through soil profiles is a
well-established metric for identifying discontinuities
(Schaetzl 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson 2005:218-225),
and the presence of a sieving crust, which is characterized
by a higher concentration of sand-sized particles above a
concentration of fine particles due to the sorting process,
is just such a discontinuity.

Particle size distribution analyses show these
are lacking in the matrices of Mound 4 (Figure 8).
What these distributions show is the areas with larger
proportions of fine particles (clay-sized particles



LAWRES AND COLVIN LARGE-SCALE RApiIp CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounp City az?



Particle Size Distributions
O% 10% 20% 30% A0% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

0-10 cm
10-20 cm
20-30 cm
30-35 cm
35-40 cm
40-50 cm
50-60 cm
60-65 cm
65-70 cm
70-80 cm
80-90 cm

90-100 cm
100-110 cm
110-120 cm
120-125 cm
125-130 cm
130-140 cm
140-145 cm
145-150 cm
150-160 cm
160-170 cm
170-180 cm
180-190 cm
190-200 cm
200-210 cm
210-220 cm
220-230 cm
230-240 cm
240-250 cm
250-260 cm
260-270 cm
270-280 cm
280-290 cm
290-295 cm



M<2 um 2-50 um 50-2000 um

Figure 8. Particle Size Distribution in Mound 4 Test Units. Bars show percent volume of clay-sized (< 2 nm),
silt-sized (2 to 50 um), and sand-sized (50 to 2000 1m) particles. Note that larger grains overwhelm the finer particles.



228 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



of < 2 um, and silt-sized particles of 2 to 50 um) are
associated primarily with the midden in the upper 60
cmbd of the profile and with the base of the mound
(260 to 280 cmbd). The former association is expected
given that it correlates with the midden strata and its
chemical and physical weathering of pottery, faunal
remains, and other anthropogenic materials. The latter
association correlates with the process of lessivage, or
clay translocation (Schaetzl and Anderson 2005), which
is the process in which fine particles and minerals go into
suspension as water percolates downward through the
solum (Duchaufour 1998).

If weathering processes were at play deeper in the
sequence, we would expect the edges of basket loads
to exhibit evidence of weathering processes, such as
oxidation along their edges (see Kidder et al. 2009 for an
example) or the leaching of coloration due to eluviation
and illuviation (Duchaufour 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson

2005). The latter processes, along with pedoturbation,
would obliterate the boundaries of individual basket
loads. As Figures 6, 7, 9 and 10 demonstrate, this is not
the case for Mound 4. The loading boundaries are clearly
visible for L1 through L21. In addition, the boundaries
of the massive loaded fills of Strata IV, V, and VI are
clearly visible, suggesting that even the deposition and
burial of the larger mantles of loaded fill was fast.

It should be noted that the coloration of Strata V and
VI (OYR4/3 and 10YR3/2, respectively) are similar to
that of a Bh Horizon. However, their structure suggests
differences. While both contain multiple lenticular
deposits in their matrices, their overall structure
would be described as loose, nonplastic, massive, and
structureless. They are both comprised of well sorted,
very fine sand, with minimal clay- and _ silt-sized
particles. Stratum V exhibits an average percentage of
0.8% clay-sized particles, 1.5% silt-sized particles, and



Figure 9. Test Unit 5 North Wall Profile. Arrows point to individual loading boundaries.



LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounpb City 229



Figure 10. Northeast Corner in Test Unit 3. Arrow points
to individual loading boundary.

97.7% sand-sized particles. Stratum VI, when removing
samples from the bottom 30 cm to account for lessivage,
exhibits an average of 0.9% clay-sized particles, 1.8%
silt-sized particles, and 97.2% sand-sized particles. In
the bottom 30 cm of Stratum VI, the clay-sized particles
remain the same, but silt-sized particles increase to an
average of 2.5% and sand-sized particles decrease to
96.6%.

These particulate percentages (clay and silt) are
quite telling about the nature of these strata as they have
a significantly smaller percentage of silt-sized particles
than the strata above them, which average 0.8% clay-
sized particles, 2.6% silt-sized particles, and 96.6%
sand-sized particles. This suggests that illuviation did
not play a role in the formation of these strata because
if it did, they should have a higher percentage of both
clay- and silt-sized particles (Duchaufour 1998; Schaetzl
and Anderson 2005). Further, if illuviation were the
formative process behind these strata, we would expect a
structure to form into either angular or subangular blocky
pedons, but instead these strata are unconsolidated and
structureless.



Radiocarbon Dating

While individual strata represent individual episodes
of deposition, the stratigraphic and sedimentary
evidence suggest these episodes are part of a single
mound-building event. This is further corroborated by
radiocarbon data. Our excavations in the midden-mound
(Mound 4) of Big Mound City resulted in the collection of
17 in situ samples of charred botanical materials. These
samples ranged in depth from 68 cmbd to 165 cmbd. An
additional 4,525 small fragments (539.10 g) of charred
botanicals were recovered during sieving. Six of the in
situ samples (UGAMS# 37157, 37158, 37159, 37160,
37161, and 37162) were selected for AMS analysis (see
Figure 6).

These samples were selected because of their
stratigraphic context at either the top or base of a stratum.
None of them was selected from the midden due to
evidence of disturbance near the surface (e.g., tree falls,
hog rooting, etc.). We chose these samples because of
their relatively large size, the smallest was approximately
2 cm in diameter and the largest approximately 5 cm.
While AMS techniques can produce dates from much
smaller amounts of carbonaceous material, size became
a factor in our selection of samples because of the
stratigraphic evidence that suggested rapid construction.
Size is affected by turbation in matrices, thus we
selected specimens in a size range with limited potential
for vertical migration in the sediments. Further, the
presence of clearly demarcated loading boundaries, both
individual and massive, provides further support for the
in situ deposition of these larger fragments of charred
wood rather than their vertical migration through the
matrices. Four additional samples (UGAMS# 37153,
37154, 37155, and 37156) were selected from the 2015
sediment core for AMS analysis to provide dates for
depths between the in situ samples and the basal samples
from the 2015 research (UGAMS# 26599 and 26600)
(Figure 11).

Radiocarbon ages were calibrated with OxCal v4.3
software (OxCal 2019; Bronk Ramsey 2001) using the
IntCall3 calibration curve (Reimer et al. 2013). All
dates in this discussion represent 2-sigma results. The
results of the 10 new AMS analyses show a date range of
cal A.D. 135 to 255 through cal A.D. 1025 to 1155 (Table
4). Six of these dates, however, cluster between cal A.D.
300 and A.D. 560. Another three dates cluster between
cal A.D. 650 and A.D. 885. The tenth date, which does
not cluster with any of the others, is cal A.D. 1025 to
1155. While at first glance this seems like an outlier, on
review of the stratigraphic evidence it provides a new
“earliest possible time” (terminus post quem) for the
construction of Mound 4.



230

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Core 1 (C1) Section 1 (S1)
0

Depth (cmbs)

incest ee ee

10

20

40

50

60

80

90

Duff Layer

Stratum |

Stratum Ila-c

Core 1 (C1) Section 2 (82)

ya






110

UGAMS# 37153
eal. AD 1025-1155

UGAMS# 37154 120
cal. AD 430-560

ot 130 a

140

Depth (cmbs

150

160

UGAMS# 37155
cal. AD 335-430, AD 495-510,

AD 520-530
AD 520-53 170

frccec
4

Mi



UGAMS# 37156
cal. AD 135-255, AD 300-320

Figure 11. Sediment Core with Sample Locations.

Slump

Stratum Lla-b

Stratum IV

Stratum Va-c

Stratum V1

Stratum Vila-f

UGAMS# 26599

cal. 356-284 BC, 256-249 BC 7-63
235-148 BC, 141-112 BC

UGAMS# 26600

cal. AD 250-381

Core 1 (C1) Section 3 (S3)
— ae Slump

Stratum VIII

193
Stratum IX
203

“y ’ E *
213 Stratum X

—Stratum XI

Depth (cmbs)

“Stratum XI]

Stratum XIUT

243

“Stratum XNIVa-e

Stratum XV

Shading shows sections with no recovery.



LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounp CITy

231



Table 4. AMS Dates from 2017 KORES Project at Mound

























UGAMS# | charcoal | TU4Lvl7,68cmbd | Ill
37159 (in situ) (37 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal TUS5 Lvl 10 90 cmbd II
37160 (in situ) (51 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TU7 Lvl 14, 131 cmbd Il
87162 (in situ) (56 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TU3 Lvl 11, 105 cmbd II
37158 (in situ) (79 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TU3 Lvl 11, 100 cmbd
crane (in situ) (74 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TUS Lvl 13, 128 cmbd IV
37161 | (insitu) (93 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal Core |. Section 2, IV
37153 120 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal Core 1. Section Z. V
37154 130 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal Core t, Section 7 VII
a 1s 160 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal Core 1, Section 2, VII
37150 180 cmbs







4, Big

R200 20) 25.45

a 1580 +90) 227 33
iv | ae ces AD 655-675 AD 650-690,
AD 750-760
1660+20| -25.88 AD 355-365, AD 340-420

AD 380-415





ound City.








oa te AD 655-675

AD 650-690,

AD 750-760

1670+ 20) -25.58 AD 350-370, AD 335-420
AD 380-405

AD 775-780,




AD 790-830,

AD 770-885

AD 420-540

AD 835-870
AD 425-435,

AD 450-470,
AD 485-535



AD 1030-1050,
AD 1085-1125,
AD 1135-1150









AD 1025-1155



[S50 = 20

AD 430-490, AD 430-560
AD 530-550

AD 360-365,

FOoU = 25 AD 335-430,
AD 495-510,

AD 520-530

AD 380-425










1800+ 20) -26.15 AD 145-155, AD 133-255,
AD 170-195, AD 300-320
AD 210-250



* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (o13) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **AII dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).

When we group these dates by stratum, and by
depth in individual strata (rather than looking at clusters
of dates), a picture begins to emerge that supports the
stratigraphic evidence discussed previously. In Stratum
III are four samples that date broadly between cal A.D.
335 and 885. However, when considering depth, the
dates do not suggest a gradual development for Stratum
Il. Rather than exhibiting a trend of younger ages as
depth decreases, as would be expected for a gradually
developed stratum, the dates have no order. The three
dates from Stratum IV also demonstrate this pattern.
While the dates are broadly between cal A.D. 340 and
cal A.D. 1155, they are not ordered chronologically by
depth in Stratum IV. In fact, the youngest date, cal A.D.
1025 to 1155, originated near the base of that stratum.
While Stratum V only has a single date, cal A.D. 430 to
560, this date is younger than the oldest date for Stratum
IV above it. Stratum VII is the only one where dates are
ordered chronologically when sorted by depth.

When we combine these new dates with the six
from 2015, the possibility of gradual development starts

to fade. As shown in Figure 12, the total sequence of
16 dates paints a picture of date reversals both between
and within strata. Stratum II exhibits a date older than
any date from Stratum III or Stratum V, and the Stratum
II date is close to the same ranges of two dates from
Stratum IV and one date from Stratum VII.

Date reversals within individual strata are also
apparent, with reversals in Strata III, IV, and XIV
(Figure 12). When the five dates for Stratum III are
sorted by depth, the three deepest dates point to gradual
development because they show a trend of decreasing
age with decreasing depth, but one of the dates above
them is older than all of them and another date is older
than the youngest of the three that are in sequence.
Stratum IV also has five dates, and when sorted by depth,
the dates are disorderly. In addition, the cal A.D. 1025
to 1155 date of a sample toward the base of Stratum IV
is the youngest in the entire sequence of dates, providing
anew terminus post quem. The two dates from Stratum
XIV, which is associated with the base of Mound 4, also
exhibit a reversal when the dates are sorted by depth.



232

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)







Strat ll |




R_Date





Strat Hl




R_Date

R_Date 3




R_Date }





R_Date ;




R_Date

Strat IV _





R_Date




R_Date |





R_Date ,




R_Date 3




R_Date 2

Strat V






R_ Date 2



200 IcalBC/tcalAD 201 401 601 801 1001
Calibrated date (calBC/calAD)



400

Figure 12. All AMS Calibrated 2-Sigma Radiocarbon Dates from Big Mound City’s Mound 4
Sorted by Stratum and Depth Within Stratum. Time is on horizontal axis, depth is on vertical axis.



LAWRES AND COLVIN

The deepest of the dates for Stratum XIV, which is also
the deepest of all dates for Mound 4, has a much older
date above it, which happens to be the oldest for the
mound.

These data substantiate the view presented by the
stratification and soils. Rather than a gradually developed
midden-mound, we are looking at an intentionally, rapidly
constructed mound that is capped by a midden. Not only
do the data preclude evidence for gradual development,
the similarity in dates between strata suggests an event
rather than a protracted process. For instance, four
dates (from Strata II, IV, and VII) cluster between cal
A.D. 70 and 255; three dates (from Strata II, IV, and
VII) cluster between cal A.D. 335 and 420; two dates
(from Strata III and V) cluster from cal A.D. 420 to 560;
and three dates (from Strata III and IV) cluster between
cal A.D. 615 and 690. This clustering of dates between
Strata is indicative of using deposits of similar age for
construction. In other words, these clustered ages do
not represent occupational spans or specific construction
episodes, but instead date the past landscape deposits
mined for construction materials. The differences in the
ages of the clusters suggest that sediments might have
been mined from different depths and that multiple past
landscape surfaces may be represented in the loaded fills
of Big Mound City’s Mound 4.

Finally, based on data currently at hand, we suggest
that the earliest possible date range for construction is
cal A.D. 1025 to 1155, placing construction in the early
portion of the Belle Glade HI period, which Johnson
(1991, 1996) argues was when all Type B circular-linear
earthworks were built. This date is from a sample from
the base of Stratum IV. Because all the other dates are
older, this particular date provides us with the earliest
possible time for construction.

Discussion

Our excavations provide a new view of Belle Glade
monumentality and allow an evaluation ofthe construction
sequence in a portion of Mound 4. Previous research at
other Type B earthworks describes the midden-mounds
of these sites as comprised of three layers. At the base
is either a midden or a stratum of muck or peat, which
is overlain by a constructed stratum of light sand, which
in turn is covered by a midden stratum (Carr and Steele
1994; Carr et al. 1995). This is similar to the Belle Glade
burial mound, which Willey (1949:20-23) describes as
comprised of three distinct mounds superimposed on top
of an old midden.

Mound 4 at Big Mound City, however, provides

LARGE-SCALE Rapip CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounp City 233

us with a different view. Rather than having three
stratigraphic layers, Mound 4 exhibits evidence of large-
scale construction using multiple sediment sources
and a midden on top of the constructed feature. While
Willey (1949:75) describes Mound 4 as a “refuse or
habitation mound,” he also notes that the midden deposit
is vertically restricted to the mound’s uppermost portion
and that “no artifacts were found below the 24-inch
level.” He singles out Mound 4 as the only one at Big
Mound City with evidence of intensive occupation and
that “the excavations showed that the [other] mounds
were intentionally built of sand and were not refuse
accumulations” (Willey 1949:76).

As discussed above, our 2017 excavations support
Willey’s assertion of a vertically restricted midden, with
more than 98% of all artifacts and ecofacts found in
the upper 60 cm of the test units. The remaining 2%
were scattered through the lower sediments and had
no evidence of concentrations. Most were recovered
individually in the screen. Like Willey’s (1949)
explanation for the small amounts of artifacts recovered
in the site’s other mounds, these were likely incidental
inclusions in construction materials.

Evaluating the strata and soils exposed by our
excavations provides a view of the construction
sequence of this massive architectural feature. The
midden-mound (see Figures 6 and 7) exhibits intentional
construction and evidence of multiple sediment sources.
The AMS dates support this view. There are now 16
AMS dates from Big Mound City’s midden-mound.
Table 5 and Figure 12 show the calibrated results of
all the AMS dates grouped by stratum and sorted by
depth within strata. If this mound were the result of
gradual accumulation of refuse, we would expect the
AMS plot to exhibit temporal continuity in reference
to depth. However, an evaluation of these dates shows
temporal nonconformity within stratigraphic sequences
that substantiates the view of this architectural feature as
comprised of multiple sediment sources.

These new data undermine the previous view we
(Lawres and Colvin 2017) put forth for an occupational
range of cal 355 B.C. to A.D. 675 for the site. Rather, the
combination of the stratigraphic and AMS data suggest
that Big Mound City’s Mound 4 was constructed rapidly
in at least one construction event comprised of several
individual depositional episodes. Based on the date
from sample UGAMS# 37153, the earliest possible time
(terminus post quem) for this event is cal A.D. 1025 to
1155, placing construction of this portion of the mound
in the early Belle Glade III period. However, no dates
have been obtained from the midden in the uppermost



234 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Table 5. All AMS Dates from Big Mound City’s Mound 4 Sorted by Stratum and Depth Within Stratum.
Adapted from Lawres (2019:Table 9-4).











bs, 9850 4.25-| 26.2 AD 130-215 AD 85-235
AD 650-690
= am ie 5
1340420] -25.85 AD 655-675 ne eee
AD 350-370,
1670 +20 | -25.58 Re ae AD 335-420
iG80+ 251 263 AD 640-665 AD 615-675
AD 775-780,
1200+ 20) -25.15 AD 790-830, AD 770-885
AD 835-870
AD 425-435,
iss0 430 | 227-34 AD 450-470, AD 420-540
AD 485-535
UGAMS# | charcoal TU3 Lvl 11, AD 650-690
ms ie - 9
aie? | Gates) | 100 cmbd G4 cbs) De eee ere AD 750-760
UGAMS# ST3 Lvl 10, AD 75-140,
24519 75-85 cmbs ee AD 200-205 ee
AD 90-100,
ee charcoal as re | 60+ 25°) 5% AD 125-180. AD 80-225
AD 185-215
UGAMS# | charcoal Tila LAE TS AD 355-365
2 + - 9 f ‘
37161 128 cmbd (93 cmbs) ee ene AD 380-415 pe
| AD 1030-1050,
or charcoal os oe Bel gah ay 96 13 AD 1085-1125, AD 1025-1155
AD 1135-1150
UGAMS# Core | Section.2. AD 430-490,
37154 130 cmbs Aas beg AD 530-550 es

UGAMS# h | ST3 Lvl 6,
wae 45-50 cmbs
UGAMS# | charcoal TU4 Lvl 7,
a7 139 (in situ) | 68 cmbd (37 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal ws Lv 10,
37160 (in situ) | 90 cmbd (51 cmbs)

UGAMS# | ST3 Lvl 7,
aia 50-60 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal ty? Lat id,
37162 (in situ) | 131 cmbd (56 cmbs)

I
:
I

I
I
I

I








UGAMS#
37158

charcoal TLS Lvl ii,

I
in situ) | 105 cmbd (79 cmbs)



I
J
|
Ul
I
V

=

















: AD 335-430,
ee eee ee | a | 1690425) 26,82 as elie AD 495-510,
37155 160 cmbs AD 380-425 AD 520-530




AD 145-155,
AD 170-195, AD 135-255,

UGAMS# Core 1, Section 2
charcoal : : Vil LAO 220) 1) 26.15
37156 sect 180 cmbs ae AD 300-320
355-285 BC,
UGAMS# Core 1, Section 3, 350-310 BC, 255-250 BC,
pape | ee 245 cmbs See ase Wes 210-170 BC 235-150 BC,
140-110 BC

UGAMS# Cove |, Section 3, AD 255-300,

* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (013) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **All dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).





















LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb CIty 235



36 cmbs (with modern and historic disturbances), so it is
possible that the earliest construction date could be later
than provided by the UGAMS# 37153 sample.

These data address some questions posed about the
temporality of Belle Glade monumental construction
in our previous publication. As discussed above, our
previous work identified a tight chronological grouping
for three distinct strata. This raised questions of the
temporality of construction, such as:

When were the midden-mounds first constructed

and were they constructed intentionally, as

the unintentional result of the residues of daily
activities, or the result of many large feasting
events? If the midden-mounds were intentional
constructions, do they represent a_ single
construction event or 1s there evidence suggestive

of multiple construction events over a longer span

of time? [Lawres and Colvin 2017:68]

The stratigraphic sequence clearly exhibits evidence
for intentional construction in creating the mound
underlying the midden. The clear evidence of basket
loading throughout the sequence demonstrates this
beyond doubt.

This also leads us to another important point: this
is not a midden-mound as traditionally conceived:
“accretional formations, the result of midden deposits
accumulating over many generations” (Altschul
1983:9). Rather, Willey’s (1949:75) description of this
architectural feature as a “habitation mound” is more
appropriate. While both terms indicate occupation of
the mound, subtracting the term “midden’” removes
loaded terminology and the connotation that Mound 4
was an accretional accumulation. The term “habitation
mound” allows intentional construction of a mound that
was then occupied. It is likely that the midden on top
of this mound developed in situ following construction
of the underlying mound rather than the builders adding
midden materials to the top as a capping event. This,
however, remains to be tested. To address this, future
excavations should focus on an area of the mound where
fewer disturbances have occurred to maximize control
over samples.

These new data also allow us to reject the hypothesis
we proposed in our previous work. Specifically, we
argued that:

At this juncture in our research the possibility

remains open that the beginnings of construction

may be much earlier than expected. In fact,
we hypothesize this is the case. Specifically,
we posit that the midden-mounds themselves
predate the construction of the rest of the

architectural features, and that they represent

important, persistent places on the landscape

(sensu Schlanger 1992) that were inhabited for

generations prior to major construction events

leading to the Type A and B earthworks. [Lawres

and Colvin 2017:66-67]

This argument was made in light of our data at the
time and of Johnson’s (1991, 1996) proposed chronology
that placed Type A earthworks in the A.D. 200 to 1000
construction range and the Type B earthworks in the
A.D. 1000 to 1500 range. Based on our previous data,
we argued that people began to build Mound 4 much
earlier than the A.D. 200 to 1000 range of Johnson. The
earliest possible time (terminus post quem) of cal A.D.
1025 to 1155 for the Big Mound City construction event
conflicts with this argument and aligns with Johnson’s
Type B circular-linear earthwork range of A.D. 1000 to
1500. In addition to undermining our hypothesis, these
data do not support Johnson’s (1991, 1996) argument that
the Type B circular-linear earthworks were construction
elaborations of already existing Type A circular-linear
earthworks, at least at Big Mound City. To reject this,
however, we need to obtain dates for the construction of
the semi-circle and radiating linear embankments.

These data also show that the dates we considered
outliers based on our previous analysis should be
reconsidered. We identified those outliers because they
appeared to be flipped in the stratigraphic sequence.
One outlier (UGAMS# 24518) presented a range of cal
A.D. 615 to 675 for a stratum between two other strata
that clustered between cal A.D. 70 to 235. Another
outlier (UGAMS# 26600) originated from the deepest
context and produced a range of cal A.D. 250 to 380.
However, the sample from the context directly above it
(UGAMS# 26599) produced a much older range of cal
355 to 110 B.C. Given the limited, minimally invasive
methods we used in 2015, considering these as outliers
(resulting from bioturbation or vertical forcing from
sediment coring) was a plausible reason for removing
the dates from the occupational sequence. However,
given the information obtained from the larger scale
2017 excavations that revealed the complexity of the
stratigraphic sequence, we now know that those dates
were not outliers but instead reflect rapid construction
using multiple sediment sources.

Further Discussion

To place rapid construction in a broader context, as
well as to provide a scalar context for Big Mound City,
we consider the size of mounds at well-known sites in



236 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



the broader region. Table 6 provides a list of mound
volumes from selected sites. The data for Cahokia
and Moundville are from Lacquement (2010), who
recalculated the volumes of all the architectural features
of Moundville and a few of Cahokia using a gridding
method that provides a more accurate portrayal of the
geometry of irregularly shaped mounds than previous
methods. Lacquement’s volumetric assessments are
more conservative compared to those proposed by earlier
researchers.

Table 6. Mound Volumes at Selected Sites.























Big Mound City, Florida




Crystal River, Florida







Moundville, Alabama
(Lacquement 2010:348, Pe eh

Table 2)
Po ae
0 ae Ce
ee ae
ee ee ae
ee ee




Cahokia, [linois
(Lacquement 2010:352,
Table 3
*From Pluckhahn and Thompson 2018:162.



We calculated the volumetric estimates for Crystal
River and Big Mound City using ESRI’s ArcGIS LAS
toolkit. The one exception to this is Crystal River’s
Mound A. The volume of this mound was taken from
Pluckhahn and Thompson (2018:162) because the
available LiDAR data do not provide complete coverage
of Mound A. The LiDAR data for Big Mound City do not
provide complete coverage due to processing by FDEM
personnel (Pluckhahn and Thompson 2012; Lawres
2017, 2019). Thus, we were able only to calculate
volumes for Mounds 4 and 5.

These volumes show that Big Mound City is an
architectural site of scale similar to some of the famous
sites in the broader Southeast. Mound 4 at Big Mound
City is larger than any architectural feature at Crystal
River. While only two mound volumes were calculated
for Big Mound City (Mounds 4 and 5), their combined
volume is greater than all of Crystal River. Big Mound
City’s Mound 4 is larger than most of Moundville’s
architectural features aside from several of the largest
mounds. Big Mound City is dwarfed when compared to
the massive architecture at Cahokia.

While Moundville as a whole is much larger than
Big Mound City, evidence suggests that Moundville’s
architecture was built in several stages, both as individual
features and as a whole (Blitz 2008; Knight 2010),
rather than the rapid building event we have presented
for Mound 4 at Big Mound City. The same is true for
Crystal River, which was built in four broad phases
(Pluckhahn and Thompson 2018; Pluckhahn et al. 2015).
This provides insight on labor involved in construction.
Because the mounded architecture of Crystal River and
Moundville was built over protracted temporal spans
involving several stages of construction, the labor pool
requirements were much smaller than if they had been
built in single construction events.

In contrast, our data support Belle Glade people
building Big Mound City’s Mound 4 (or at least a
sizeable portion of it) in a single construction event,
which implies a different labor requirement. It suggests
that a large number of people were mobilized to build
this mound quickly. Building it in multiple stages, over
a protracted period of time, would require a smaller
number of people.

Knowing the temporality of construction and the
number of construction episodes provides essential
information to calculate architectural energetics. While
this type of analysis cannot provide direct information
about the size of the labor force, such an assessment can
estimate the amount of labor hours to build architectural
features. Architectural energetics “involves the
quantification of the cost of construction of architecture
into a common unit of comparison — energy in the form
of labor-time expenditure” (Abrams 1994:1-2) and that
expenditure is typically presented as person-hours.
The basis of architectural energetics lies in volumetric
measurements of architecture and experimental and
ethnographic data related to extracting and transporting
resources (Abrams 1989, 1994; Abrams and Bolland
1999: Arnold and Ford 1980; Bernardini 2004; Carmean
1991; Craig et al. 1998; Erasmus 1965; Hammerstedt
2005; Kolb 1994; Lacquement 2009).



LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounpb CIty 237



An early historic account of the Lake Okeechobee
area described individual settlements of 30 to 40 people
(Goggin and Sturtevant 1964:186, 210; True 1944:13;
Worth 2014:201), providing a baseline to evaluate rapid
construction. To calculate the number of person-hours
involved in construction, we use Erasmus’ (1965:284-
285) experimental sediment excavation rate of 0.52
m? per person-hour (2.6 m°® in a 5-hour day) and his
sediment transport rate for a distance of 50 m of 0.634
m? per person-hour (3.17 m° in a 5-hour day). As noted
above, Mound 4 has a volume of 13,101 m°. Using
Erasmus’ (1965) rates, excavating the sediments would
require 25,194.23 person-hours, and transporting those
sediments an assumed 50 m distance would require an
additional 20,664.04 person-hours. Thus, a conservative
number of person-hours for construction 1s 45,858.27
person-hours or 9,171.65 person-days, assuming a
5-hour work day. It should be noted that this number is
conservative because it does not account for tamping and
shaping the mound.

If Big Mound City’s labor pool was only 20 people,
it would take 459 days to construct Mound 4. Ifthe labor
pool were 40 people, it would take 229 days. However,
given the lack of evidence for development of surface
crusts or other pedogenic processes in the mound, we
estimate construction to have been on the order of only a
few months, and probably less. To construct the mound
in 90 days, it would require 102 laborers working five
hour days; for 60 days it would require 153 laborers;
for 30 days it would require 306. To reiterate, these
are conservative estimates because they do not include
additional labor-time for tamping sediments and shaping
them into final form.

The point is that Big Mound City’s Mound 4, with
a volume of 13,101 m° of sediments and no evidence
of protracted construction stages, would have required
a large number of people to build in a rapid fashion.
This is especially intriguing given the small population
estimates. Big Mound City’s Mound 5 may have similar
evidence of rapid construction, but this is yet to be tested.
Willey (1949) notes that Stirling’s early excavations in
this mound encountered only white sand that was sterile
of cultural materials, thus it is possible that people also
rapidly built this earthwork.

It is important to note that our data are from limited
testing in Mound 4, so the history of this particular
mound may be more complex than we suggest. In
other words, given the large size of the mound, people
might have built other portions at other times. However,
Stirling’s two large trench excavations in the mound’s
northern portion suggest patterns similar to ours. Those

excavations were prior to the invention of radiocarbon
dating and were devoid of cultural materials below the
24-inch level (Willey 1949). Thus, as discussed above,
Stirling’s excavations, which covered an even larger
portion of Mound 4 than ours, suggest a midden capping
a mound constructed of fill sediments (likely loaded
fills like those we encountered). Unfortunately, the
remainder of Stirling’s documentation does not include
stratigraphic notes, so we do not know if he encountered
individual basket-loads, although we do know that he
did not encounter midden strata beneath the capping
midden (Willey 1949). To us, this suggests that people
constructed most, if not all, of Mound 4 rapidly, but more
testing is needed to be sure.

Concluding Remarks

We are closer to a better understanding of Belle
Glade monumentality by documenting variability in
construction methods used to build habitation mounds
in Type A and B circular-linear earthworks. Our
excavations provide data necessary to evaluate the
construction of Mound 4, the habitation mound at Big
Mound City. We are now in a position to say that people
of the Belle Glade culture, in some cases such as Mound
4, participated in /arge-scale construction events leading
to the building of large architectural features, rather
than only small-scale capping episodes that produced
periodic enlargements of architecture, such as implied
for the habitation mounds at Tony’s Mound (Carr and
Steele 1994) or some of the mounds at Fort Center (Sears
1982). At Big Mound City, a single radiocarbon date
suggests that one of these events occurred between cal
AD 1025 to 1155 and resulted in the construction of all
or a sizeable part of Mound 4. This mound is comprised
of 13,101 m* of sediments, which makes it one of the
largest mounds in Florida and is on a similar scale to
many of the large mounds in the greater Southeast.

However, Mound 4 is only one of many architectural
features at Big Mound City. Future research should
focus on developing an understanding of how other
features, such as the semi-circle and radiating linear
embankments, relate to Mound 4 temporally. Research
aimed at understanding their construction sequences is
already underway (Lawres 2019; Lawres et al. 2018).
Once we understand the temporality of these features,
it will be possible to conduct a site-wide architectural
energetics assessment, which will allow us to address
broader questions of labor (i.e., number of person-hours
for construction, scale of the labor force, etc.) and fisher-
hunter-gatherer complexity.



238 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vou. 72 (4)



Since inception in 2015, the KORES project has
made great strides toward our goal of understanding
Belle Glade monumentality. We have surveyed several
monumental earthworks, produced the first chronometric
dates of monumental architecture outside Fort Center
and the first chronometric dates of massive Big Mound
City, and we here present compelling evidence for rapid,
large-scale construction events. However, we still have a
long way to go to understand Belle Glade monumentality
from a regional perspective. While gaining data to refine
our view of architectural construction at Big Mound
City and working to develop a new method to refine
this view, we are also obtaining the first chronometric
dates at another Belle Glade monumental architectural
site (Colvin et al., in prep.). It is our aim to contribute
to the discipline of anthropological archaeology by
furthering our knowledge of sociocultural complexity
and monumentality in non-agricultural societies.

Acknowledgments

Our gratitude is due to many people who helped
make this research possible. Our thanks go to Christian
Davenport (Palm Beach County Archaeologist), Jeff
Ransom (Miami-Dade County Archaeologist), Andrew
Schneider, Katie Higgins, Jessica Baker, Jennifer Green,
Tasia Renee Scott, Sara Ayers-Rigsby (FPAN), Andres
Garzon, Julio Pachon, Rachael Kangas (FPAN), Mallory
Fenn (FPAN), Stephanie Escoto, Danielle Ashley Simon,
Victoria Ternullo, Carrie Black, Scott Ciliento, Victoria
Lincoln (FPAN), and many other volunteers in fieldwork.

We are extremely grateful to the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) J. W.
Corbett office and staff for assistance in the field and for
providing swamp buggies in the wet season. Without
assistance of so many wonderful, dedicated people, this
research would not have been possible. We would like
to thank Timothy Murtha, Madeline Brown, Nathania
Martinez, Breana Ross, and Luwei Wang for comments
on an earlier draft of this article.

Funding for fieldwork was provided by the University
of Florida (UF) Graduate School Fellowship and the UF
Department of Anthropology’s Jamie C. Waggoner, Jr.
Grant-in-Aid. AMS analyses were funded by the UF
Department of Anthropology’s Charles Fairbanks Award,
the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Ripley P. Bullen
Award, the John S. and James L. Knight Endowment for
South Florida Archaeology, and Laurencine Mazzoli. We
express our gratitude to TeraFlex Suspension Systems
for providing Jeep suspension and lift components to
reach the site when swamp buggies were not available.

Excavations were conducted under State of Florida 1A-
32 Archaeological Research Permit No. 1516.053 and
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Special Use Access Permit No. SUO-51405S.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dorothy Block earned M.A. and B.A. degrees in Anthropology and a B.A. degree in English and American Literature
from Florida Atlantic University. She is the founder of the Palm Beach County Anthropological Society and the former
Director of the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades, in Belle Glade. Dorothy has taught archaeology and general
anthropology at Broward College and Palm Beach State. She has worked for over a decade in Cultural Resource
Management. She is a proud mother and mentor of young anthropologists in her region.

Bianca Maltese Book is a bioarchaeologist with interests in European and Native American prehistory. She was graduated
Suma Cum Laude from Florida State University with a B.S. and MLS. in Anthropology and a minor in Psychology.

Matthew Colvin currently works at the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia, where he
prepares materials for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating and isotopic analyses. His primary research interest
examines the complex histories of long-lived spaces, specifically those of fisher-hunter-gatherers in south-central
Florida.

Christian Davenport holds a B.A. (Franklin Pierce College, New Hampshire) and an M.A. (University of Tennessee,
Knoxville) in Anthropology focusing on zooarchaeology. He is currently working on is Ph.D. in geosciences (Florida
Atlantic University). Chris was awarded the Ripley Bullen Award by FAS in 2018 for furthering good relations among
professional and avocational archaeologists. He is the Historic Preservation Officer/Archaeologist for Palm Beach
County, Florida.

George R. Ferguson published an article in The Florida Anthropologist in 1976 about the Weekiwachee Site in Hernando
County. In 1977, he co-authored an article with Wilfred Neill about the age of Santa Fe projectile points. In 1977 or
1978, he reported a Deptford tripodal ceramic vessel from Pasco County in the FAS News/etter. He donated the vessel
to the West Pasco Historical Society in New Port Richey, Florida.

Nathan R. Lawres is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Antonio Waring, Jr. Archaeological
Laboratory at the University of West Georgia. He teaches courses in archaeological methods, experimental archaeology,
laboratory analyses, and cultural resource management. His research has focused on monumentality, ontologies, human-
environment relations, materiality, trade networks, human migration and mobility, issues in curation and museology,
and cultural resource management. Nathan’s primary focus is the southeastern United States, where he has practiced
CRM and academic archaeology for 15 years. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Anthropology from the University of
Central Florida and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida.

George M. Luer is a former FAS President and recipient of the Lazarus and Bullen Awards. He has helped preserve
significant archaeological sites and natural areas, while furthering their research and understanding through scientific
publications. George has worked as an archaeologist in CRM and for the State of Florida in various capacities, including
for the Florida Park Service. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology from the University of Florida, with
studies in coastal geomorphology. He has studied Botany and participated in plant expeditions to various parts of the
world. George also has studied Latin America, history, and Florida folk culture.

Gregory J. Mount is an associate professor of hydrogeophysics at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He works
primarily in the geophysics realm, focusing on electromagnetic and electrical techniques applied to critical zone and
near-surface research. As part of ongoing collaborations with south Florida archaeologists, he still maintains an active
presence in archaeology and geoarchaeology. The research presented here is part of his 2009 thesis, undertaken with
archaeologists Arlene Fradkin, Clifford Brown, and Christian Davenport at Florida Atlantic University.

Wilfred T. Neill, Jr., a herpetologist and native of Augusta, Georgia, was a long-time resident of Florida and member
of FAS. He served two terms as FAS President in 1954 and 1955 and contributed many articles to The Florida
Anthropologist. He authored scholarly books, including Archaeology and A Science of Man (1978). An obituary of
Neill appears in Volume 56, Number 4, of The Florida Anthropologist (December 2003).



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4. 2

FAS CHAPTERS



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TABLE OF CONTENTS

FROM THE EDITORS
ARTICLES

A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES ooii...ococcc ccc ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccceceeees 179-183
DorotuHy BLOCK AND BIANCA MALTESE BOOK

MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE ................... 185-207
GREGORY J. MOUNT AND CHRISTIAN DAVENPORT

AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA .000oooo occ ccccccccccssscecsesssesesseseeees 209
GEORGE R. FERGUSON AND WILFRED T. NEILL

COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT
WC Ey SEA CUNT Vi BEA an foodies cseccnlnced epee oe ee, ted ae 241-23
GEORGE M. LUER

EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:
BIG MOUND CITY REVISITED .......: Fi vs acnundaeinssoudeceguaun fake Mesh voueet eile seme ae vee he = yee 215-243
NATHAN R. LAWRES AND MatTHew H. COLVIN

PRE THI os poeis dacinsc Eeeiesvucicascssviaibuc choca chvazcuatlaus fe Sltescatuaiuialias owas eiins aerate a, 245

Cover:
A portion of a Second Seminole War map titled

“Mackay & Blake’s Florida Seat of War, 1839,” State Library of Florida, Florida Map Collection
From Florida Memory Project, Image #fmc0243.

Copyright 2019 by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
ISSN 0015-3893



Full Text
The
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Anthropologist

olume 72, Number 4, December 2019



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THE FLORIDA
ANTHROPOLOGIST

Volume 72, Number 4
December 2019



TABLE OF CONTENTS

FROM THE EDITORS
ARTICLES

A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES .....000000. cc cccccccccccceseeeeees 179-183
Dorotuy BLOCK AND BIANCA MALTESE BOOK

MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE .......0........... 185-207

GREGORY J. MOUNT AND CHRISTIAN DAVENPORT

AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA .uu. ee eeeees 209
GEORGE R. FERGUSON AND WILFRED T, NEILL

COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT
FROM VOLUSETA COUNTY, FEsORUA bi sicc es cc el 211-213
GEORGE M. LUER

EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:
BIG- MOUND CIVY RE VUSDUTUEDD ccs iccccscckccaec evtin econ celica cee ee 215-243
NATHAN R. LAWRES AND MaTTHEW H. COLVIN

ANBOUT THE AUTHORS oon ooccecccccccescccdeecc tech tect cee 245

Cover:
A portion of a Second Seminole War map titled
“Mackay & Blake’s Florida Seat of War, 1839,” State Library of Florida, Florida Map Collection
From Florida Memory Project, Image #fmc0243.

Published by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
ISSN 0015-3893


FROM THE EDITORS

This is the second issue in Volume 72 to focus on Palm Beach County. The area is seeing more research of its
rich cultural heritage. This builds on work by many dedicated individuals and scholars attracted to the northern

Everglades.

We begin with a Vodou ceramic jug, part of the Haitian diaspora. It reminds us that anthropologist Zora Neale
Hurston (1891-1960) recorded songs for the WPA Florida Folklife Project in Belle Glade in 1935, before she went
to Haiti, where she wrote of the disastrous 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching
God (1937). Our understanding of Haiti and Vodou benefits from the scholarship of Hurston and Melville
Herskovits (1895-1963), both students of renowned anthropologist Franz Boas. The reader can pursue these
topics further in Herskovit’s Life in a Haitian Valley (1937) and Hurston’s Tell My Horse (1938).

This issue continues with new research of Native American shell artifacts as well as important new interpretations
of large-scale mound-building at one of the Lake Okeechobee area’s gigantic earthworks. We also include a
reprint of a brief article from an FAS Newsletter of the late 1970s, and a supplement to it.

As we complete volume 72, we want to acknowledge reviewers. Most helpful was Bob Austin, a former editor
of the journal (December 1995 through September 1999). Ryan Wheeler, another former editor (December 1999
through December 2006), also helped in this process. Thank you Bob and Ryan!

George M. Luer, Ph.D., Editor
Dorothy A. Block, M.A., Assistant Editor
Laura Dean, Technical Editor



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VOLUME 72 (4) THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST DECEMBER 2019


A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES
Dorortuy BLock! AND BIANCA MALTESE BOOK *

! 306 NE Ist Avenue #202 Boynton Beach, FL 33435, uberfrau33460@gmail.com
? 1112 South Magnolia Drive, Apt. 1103, Tallahassee, FL 32301, bbmaltese@gmail.com



Introduction

This article reports a Haitian Vodou ceremonial ceramic jug or “boutey” from the northern Everglades. In May
2016, it was retrieved from muck, where it had been buried on the northeast corner of the intersection of Hatton
Highway and Gator Boulevard, in farmland (sugar cane fields) approximately 6.5 km (4 m1) east of the City of Belle
Glade in Palm Beach County, Florida. Exposed during backhoe excavation of a canal, the jug was spotted and collected
by Belle Glade equipment operator Jerry Holden, who retains it in his private collection.

In July 2017, Holden kindly loaned it to the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades and Glades Historical
Society, in Belle Glade, for study and photogrammetry. The jug was photographed for 3-dimensional modeling by
Kevin Gidusko (2017) of the East Central regional office of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). The
3-dimensional image (Figure 1) 1s publically accessible and can be downloaded (Sketchfab 2019).



Figure 1. Images of Jug from Gidusko (2017).



VOLUME 72 (4) THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 179
180 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Vessel Description

The jug is wheel-thrown brown ceramic, crudely
smoothed. It is 26.5 cm (10.4 in) in height and its body is
51 cm (20 in) in circumference. The neck is constricted,
and is 17 cm (6.7 in) in circumference, 4.5 cm (1.8 in)
diameter at the mouth, and 3 cm (1.2 in) high. Above
the neck, an outward flaring lip measures 1 cm (0.4 in)
thick. A maker’s mark is below the constricted neck,
where the vessel flares outward at the shoulder of the
cylindrical body. The mark is incised, consisting of two
parallel slanted lines crossed by a third line running at
a 45-degree angle to the others. Below the mark and
shoulder, a shallow, narrow, linear indention encircles
the top of the body.

The jug is embellished with writing in black ink,
possibly done with a wide, felt-tip marker (Figure 2).
The writing includes two large “Xs,” with all their distal
ends terminating in a small circle. Three times (between
and to each side of the Xs) are inscriptions in French. The
inscriptions start on the neck and run downward over the
shoulder and down the cylindrical body, running parallel
with the jug’s long axis. Some of the words are difficult
to decipher or illegible, and a few words or word order
vary. Nonetheless, all three inscriptions are similar:

Convocation 21 Nations Morts Sans
(illegible). ..persecution.

Marie Michelle Pierrette Par Maitre
Carrefour

While perhaps subject to improvement, we translate
and interpret it as follows: “Summon the 21 Immortal
Nations [all the Vodou spirits] [to place upon or remove
a] persecution [spell]. Marie Michelle Pierrette through
Master of the Crossroad [asking permission from Papa
Legba].”

Written on one of the large Xs, from top left to
bottom right diagonally, it says again “Marie Michelle
Pierette.” Moving more around the jug, there is a wide
stretch with writing perpendicular to the jug’s long axis.
It reads:

Marie Michelle
Pierrette
Marie Michelle
Pierrette
Marie Michelle
Pierrette

The inside of the vessel smelled of cologne, a typical
offering to the spirits of Vodou. It contained several tiny
white hairs, possibly human, and fine dirt (dry muck).
The jug presumably had a cap or seal, but it was missing
when the jug was brought to the museum for inspection.



Figure 2. Photoshop enhanced view of inscriptions.

Discussion

Upon its arrival at the museum, this jug was
met with excitement by a group of archaeologists,
anthropologists, and students who were called on to
place it in time and to identify its cultural affiliation.
At first glance, 1t was thought possibly to be a Spanish
olive jar or evidence of a possible 18" or 19" century
European presence in the northern Everglades. Soon,
however, it was obvious that the cultural affiliation was
Haitian Vodou, and the temporal position of the artifact
is likely sometime between 1957 and the present. Belle
Glade, an agricultural community, has historically
attracted farm workers whose folkways have been of
interest to anthropologists, such as Zora Neale Hurston
(e.g., Florida Memory Project 2019).

While Haitian people have been known to immigrate
to North America since the 18â„¢ century, mass immigration
of Haitians to the United States began during the late
1950s when civil unrest under the Duvalier dictatorship
caused an exodus that increased in intensity in the 1970s
and 1980s and that persists today (Schiller et al. 2019).
In 2009, U.S. Census data reported 830,000 individuals
BLOCK AND Book

of Haitian ancestry residing in the United States. Of
these, 100,000 live in Florida (USCB 2010).

The majority of Haitian immigrants self-identify as
Christians, most being Catholic. Still, the traditional
practice of Vodou persists in Haitian communities.
Unfortunately, media portrayals of Vodou have distorted
and sensationalized the religion and hushed the practice
of ritual and ceremony in Haitian communities (Schiller
et al. 2019).

By definition, Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion
blending aspects of Christianity (Catholicism) with West
African Vodun (spirit) religions. The practice of Vodun
has evolved through the African diaspora and is called
Vodou by Haitian practitioners, called vodouists. It first
developed in Benin during the 18" Century when French
colonialism forced conversion to Christianity on tribal
groups and suppressed traditional religious expression
(Gordon 2000:10).

Vodou Pantheon and Practice

Haitian Vodou recognizes a supreme creator god,
Bondye (from French Bon Dieu [good God]) who is
inaccessible to humanity. In order to communicate
with Bondye, practitioners of Vodou must call upon
“loa” (spirits, not deities themselves) to intercede with
Bondye on their behalf. Haitian Vodou divides loa into
21 Nations, each syncretized with a Roman Catholic
counterpart. Unlike deities, “loa” are not worshipped,
but served. They are summoned through ritual with
offerings, such as alcohol, cologne, or food.

In order for a vodousit to communicate with loa, she
or he must first acquire permission to do so from “Papa
Legba,” the keeper of the boundary or “gate” between
the human and supernatural realms. Legba, one of the
most important loa, is associated with crossroads and his
‘“veve” (religious symbol) 1s a cross or X.

A veve is used as a beacon to attract the attention
of a specific spirit during a particular ritual. Legba 1s
considered a trickster, most often depicted as an old man
with a cane. In West African Vodoun, Legba appears as
a virile young trickster with horns and a large phallus.
Legba is syncretized with Catholic Saints Peter, Lazarus,
or Anthony (Herskovitz 1937a:635-643; Hurston
1938:128-131; Morris 2006:196).

As Papa Legba is associated with intersections, rituals
made to call upon him are often conducted at crossroads
(Herskovits 1937; Lawless 1988:12). Thus, the find-spot
of the jug reported here, adjacent to a rural intersection,
is typical of Vodou practice related to communicating
with Legba. This interpretation is supported by the

Vopou CERAMIC JUG 181

presence of his veve (X) on the jug’s body (twice) and
the inscription words: “Maitre Carrefour” (Master of
the Crossroad) which also invokes Legba (Meltraux
1959:266-267; Lawless 1988:12), who speaks all
human languages and can grant or deny permission to
communicate with the spirits. In this particular case, the
crossroad was the intersection of four agricultural fields
defined by three paved roads and an unpaved path along
a canal.

Interpretation

Based on the jug’s location and inscriptions, we
interpret it as a Haitian “boutey” or “vodou bottle.” It is
an example of religious paraphernalia (material culture)
associated with Vodou. Vodouists use boutey in rituals
meant to contain the soul of a spirit to use for healing,
protective, or harmful purposes (McAlister 1995).

We hypothesize that the vodouist who buried the jug
was appealing to Legba for permission to communicate
with the spirit world. The inscription incites the “21
nations,” calling upon all the spirits in the Vodou
pantheon. The subject of the appeal was the woman
whose name appears on the jug, Marie Michelle Pierette.
It is possible the appeal to Legba was made by Marie
Michelle Pierétte herself, to invoke protection from
“persecution,” perhaps ill health or ill fortune.

The form of the jug also may be significant. Some
think its shape is meant to be anthropomorphic. As such,
perhaps it symbolizes the person for whom the ritual is
intended, the spirit of the person meant to reside in the
bottle, or the owner of the bottle itself, possibly Marie
Michelle Pierrétte.

It is possible that the vessel was originally capped
and wrapped in cloth or strings symbolizing clothing.
Haitian Vodou boutey typically contain perfume,
powders, skull shavings or small bones (non-human),
which is consistent with our finding of small hairs and
cologne inside the jug. A boutey’s purpose is to contain
the soul of a spirit to use for healing, good luck, or other
purposes (McAlister 1995).

Ethnographic Evidence

Motivated by curiosity, the senior author visited St.
Jacques Botanica in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach County.
There Block quickly discovered numerous nearly
identical jugs with similar maker’s marks (Figure 3).
Browsing the shop, Block observed plentiful offerings to
loa personified as Catholic saints. Many offerings were
alcoholic beverages (single servings of rum and even a
bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne! ).
182 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Desiring to verify the accuracy of our interpretation
of the jug’s inscriptions, Block consulted Vivi Jeanne
Pierre, owner of the botanica and a local Vodou priestess
of some renown (Louima 2004). Vivi kindly took time
to examine sketches of the jug and its inscriptions.
She concurred that the X veve related to Legba and
commented that she thought the spell associated with the
jug was a positive one, for health and protection. She
further concurred that the cologne aroma inside the jug
was an offering to the spirits. She added that such jugs
were made in Cap Haitien, a city on the north coast of
Haiti.

Other Finds

Another south Florida example of a Vodou or
Santeria object is a West Indian petaloid basaltic celt
from Key Biscayne, found around 1981, that may be “of
recent origin and related to Santaria religious activities
common through the South Florida area” (Carr 1987:22-
23, Figure 13C). Archaeologist Robert S. Carr (personal
communication, 2019) reports that “Vodou ritual objects
and offerings are often encountered in outdoor south
Florida.” He first encountered Vodou ritual artifacts
during his 1979-1981 archaeological survey of Miami-
Dade County.

In 1985, during construction of Jose Marti Park,
in downtown Miami, a construction worker uncovered
a polished stone figurine of a Vodou spirit that Carr
turned over to the City Parks Department, but it has
not been seen since. Carr thought it had been placed
in a vacant lot as an offering. In the mid-1990s, Carr
visited a botanica on Southwest 8" Street (“Calle Ocho”)
in Miami and observed numerous black basaltic and
greenstone pebbles for sale, as well as authentic West
Indian petaloid celts and modern copies. All were in the
same bowl and offered at the same price with no concern
of distinguishing modern objects from artifacts.

Conclusion

South Florida has become home for many immigrants
who continue traditional aspects of their cultures. The
Vodou jug from Belle Glade is one of many examples.
Of interest to historians and ethnographers, we encourage
anthropologists to record more cases in the literature.
BLOCK AND Book

Vopou CERAMIC JUG 183



References Cited

Carr, Robert S.

1987 An Archaeological Survey and Investigations
at Bill Baggs State Park Key Biscayne. Metro-Dade
Historic Preservation Division, Miami, Florida.

Florida Memory Project

2019 Works Progress Administration (WPA), Field
Recordings in Eatonville and Belle Glade (1935
Recording Expedition). Recording, https://www.

floridamemory.com/items/show/237999, accessed
November 30, 2019.

Gidusko, Kevin

2017 Sketchfab. Belle Glade Jug photographed

in cooperation with the Florida Public Archaeology
Network (FPAN). Electronic Image: https://sketchfab.
com/3d-models/belle-glade-jug-eafle102dc9c413c959d
Olbcfc5i2c96 (passcode: voodoojug), accessed

October 21, 2020,

Gordon, Leah
2000 The Book of Vodou. Barron’s Educational
Series, New York.

Herskovits, Melville J.
1937a_ Life ina Haitian Valley. Knopf, New York.

1937b African Gods and Catholic Saints in New
World Negro Belief. American Anthropologist
39(4):635-643.

Hurston, Zora Neale
1938 Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and
Jamaica. J.B. Lippincott, Philadelphia.

Lawless, Robert

1988 The Cognition of Intersections: An Analysis
of Kalinga, American and Haitian Folk Models.

The Florida Anthropologist 13(1-2):5-19.

Louima, Gariot
2004 Vodou Priestess Called to Heal. The Palm
Beach Post, p. 16, Sunday, November 14.

McAlister, Elizabeth

1995 A Sorcerer’s Bottle: The Art of Magic in Haiti.
In Sacred Arts if Haitian Vodou, edited by Donald J.
Cosentino, pp. 305-324, UCLA Fowler Museum of
Cultural History, Los Angeles.

Metraux, Alfred
1959 Voodoo in Haiti. Oxford University Press,
New York.

Morris, Brian

2006 ~=Religion and Anthropology: A Critical
Introduction. Cambridge University Press,
New York.

Schiller, Nina Glick, Carolle Charles,

and John Beierle

2019 Haitian Americans. Human Relations
Area File (HRAF) electronic document,
https://ehrafworldcultures. yale.edu/ehrafe/az
Cultures.do?thisChar=H#thisChar=H, accessed
November 22, 2019.

United States Census Bureau (USCB)

2010 The Population with Haitian Ancestry in the
United States. Electronic document, https://
www2.census.gov/library/publications/2010/
acs/acsbr09-18.pdf, accessed November 22, 2019.



MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE

GreGoryY J. Mount! AND CHRISTIAN DAVENPORT

’ Department of Geosciences, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15701, gregory.mount@iup.edu
? Palm Beach County Historic Preservation Office, 2300 North Jog Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33411,

cdavenpo(@pbcgov.org

Introduction

During the Boyer Survey of the southeast rim of
Lake Okeechobee (Figure |), marine shell artifacts were
encountered at four sites. They are, from west to east:
the County Line (8PB13729), Ritta Island (8PB92),
Kreamer Island (8PB43), and Pelican Bay 3 (8PB13601)
sites (Figure 2). We focus on Kreamer Island, where
we collected the majority of marine gastropod and
bivalve shells. Analysis of these materials allows a
greater understanding of the Belle Glade people, an
archaeological culture that is understudied, although it
occupied a pivotal area in the Florida peninsula. The
marine shell artifacts highlight patterns of interaction
with other regions in peninsular Florida.

Jupiter

West Palm |
Beach

Boca Raton



Figure 1. Boyer Survey Location in Palm Beach County,
Marked by Star (approximate, for reference only).

Background

The Boyer Survey was an _ archaeological
investigation of the southeast portion of Lake
Okeechobee undertaken in 2006 through 2011 during
a period of extreme drought when large areas of lake
bottom were exposed. The survey was initiated and
substantially funded by George “Boots” Boyer of
Belle Glade, a concerned layperson who reported the
sites to Christian Davenport, the Palm Beach County
Archaeologist. The survey recorded 33 pre- and
post-Columbian archaeological sites, a few yielding
thousands of marine shell, ceramic, and lithic artifacts
(Davenport et al. 2011; Mount 2009). This article
Summarizes the shell artifact assemblage, most of
which came from the Kreamer Island site. The artifacts
are curated at the Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research, in Tallahassee, and a few are on loan to the
Clewiston Museum.

The use of marine shell as a raw material for tool
manufacture by south Florida native people has been
documented since the late 1800s. Early accounts
include those of antiquarian Clarence B. Moore, who
illustrated and described his finds along the west coast of
Florida (Moore 1900, 1905, 1907, 1921). In the 1940s,
archaeologist John M. Goggin produced a synthesis
of south Florida archaeology that contained the first
typology of artifacts from the area (Goggin 1949).
Archaeologist Gordon Willey (1949) discussed artifacts
from Belle Glade Mound and Midden (8PB40, 8PB41),
a site along the Democrat River.

The Belle Glade Mound and Midden were just inland
of Torry Island, which is approximately 3.2 km (2 m1) to
the northwest of the site. Torry Island is immediately
south of Kreamer Island. Before 20"-century dredging,
the two islands were joined and formed a peninsula
jutting into Lake Okeechobee. The Kreamer Island site
produced ceramics supporting an age range of ca. 500
B.C. to A.D. 1500 (Block 2011), showing that much of
the site’s use was coeval with the Belle Glade Mound
and Midden, which also had post-contact period use
(Davenport et al. 2011).



VOLUME 72 (4)

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 185
186 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)

| County Line Site

| Ritta Island

5,000 10,000

Figure 2. Lake Okeechobee’s Southeast Shore.

The aboriginal sites visited during the Boyer Survey
were on the lake margin exposed by drought. The sites
consisted of scattered cultural materials (rocks, shells,
ceramics, lithics, faunal bones, human bones) lying in
and on sand and muck, some of which were deflated
or reworked by water action. Normally, these sites are

Pelican Bay Three

| Kreamer Island



The four sites yielding shell artifacts are labeled.

covered by shallow water. Analysis of aerial photographs
during the survey revealed that these sites were at the
mouths of now extinct braided rivers that formerly
flowed into and out of Lake Okeechobee. The sites were
accessed by airboat, off road vehicles, and surveyed on
foot, with some shovel testing.
MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 187

caaeneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeeeeee eee

Methods

Shell artifacts from the Boyer Survey were identified
to the lowest taxonomic category possible using Abbott
(1954, 1974) as well as a comparative collection of
shells at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Further
information about the kinds of shells was provided by
archaeologists Robert S. Carr, Theresa Schober, Ryan
Wheeler, and George Luer. Most shell artifacts were
classified using typologies currently used in Florida. For
tools that did not fit the typologies, new categories were
created. Observations about the marine shell artifacts,
such as use-wear, breakage patterns, and re-use, followed
previous research that borrowed from lithic analysis,
such as Masson (1988).

Species Identification

Native people at coastal sites had access to the
marine environment that contained shells suitable for
modification. Native inhabitants of sites in the Everglades
and Lake Okeechobee area did not have direct access to
the marine environment and those resources. Therefore,
marine shells recovered from sites around the lake
clearly represent a process of obtainment, selection, and
preference for specific kinds of shells.

In this article, we retain the taxonomic names of
mollusks traditionally used during the last several
decades in Florida archaeology. We do this to avoid
confusion with new and changing names recently
introduced by taxonomists. Most conspicuous were the
following kinds:

Whelk Shells (Busycon spp.). Whelk artifacts were
commonly encountered on sites in Lake Okeechobee.
Most were identified as lightning whelk (Busycon
contrarium). These shells most likely came from the
Gulf coast of Florida and were transported to the Lake
Okeechobee region, some perhaps via the Caloosahatchee
River. They were shaped into tools such as cutting-edged
tools, hammers, drinking cups, and pendants.

We identified a few artifacts made from Kiener’s
whelk (Busycon carica eliceans), based on their right-
turning spiral and strong twist or bulge in the columella
(the central column in a univalve shell). They consisted
of six body whorl gouges or scrapers. Kiener’s whelk is
an Atlantic coast species that occurs from North Carolina
to central east Florida (Abbott 1974:222). These gouges
might have been exchanged southward from the Indian
River region or St. Johns River region, where such tools
are known (see ““Gouges/Scrapers,” below).

Queen Conch (Strombus gigas). Queen conch shells

were likely obtained on the southeast coast of Florida, or

the Florida Keys, and they or their parts were carried to
the Lake Okeechobee region by way of the Everglades
or the Loxahatchee and Hungryland Sloughs. Celts and
celt fragments from this species were found randomly
scattered around the east side of the former Democrat
River mouth. The majority of these had some form of
use-related or taphonomic damage.

Horse Conch (Pleuroploca gigantea). Shells of this
gastropod are commonly encountered in Florida’s Gulf
coast archaeological sites, and specimens are reported
from the Miami Circle (Wheeler 2004). Its shells were
raw materials for the manufacture of columella cutting-
edged tools, hammers, pendants, and drinking cups.

Quahog Clam (Mercenariasp.). The southern quahog
(M. campechiensis) and northern quahog (M. mercenaria)
are similar in appearance and their geographical
ranges overlap in Florida. Thus, we identified quahog
archaeological specimens to the genus level. The high
frequency of Mercenaria shells and fragments, yet the
few formal tools identified, is of interest and deserves
attention in a future paper. Elsewhere in south Florida,
quahog shells were used as anvil/choppers, notched or
perforated shells, and anvils (Goggin 1949; Griffin 1988;
Luer 1986; Marquardt 1992:211; Reiger 1981). Quahog
shells were transported to Lake Okeechobee by native
people, but it is difficult to discern if they arrived as
whole valves or broken pieces.

Helmet Shells (Cassis sp.). Most of the helmet shell
artifacts appear to have been shaped from the queen or
emperor helmet (C. madagascariensis). The species
occurs widely along the Atlantic coast from North
Carolina to the Greater Antilles as well as the Gulf of
Mexico. It is known from both the Atlantic and Gulf
coasts of Florida, including the Florida panhandle, and is
not restricted to the Florida Keys.

Helmet shell artifacts occur infrequently in the shell
assemblage. Until this survey, only a small number of
helmet shell artifacts had been found in the Okeechobee
region, with examples from Canal Point 1 (8PB44),
Canal Point 4 (8PB47) (Goggin 1949:361, 363), and
Belle Glade (Willey 1949:Plate 12H). Finds from the
Kreamer Island site add to known examples. Most
helmet shell specimens are pendants. The method of
manufacture for a Cassis pendant appears to have been
removal of the lip from the body of the shell, followed
by smoothing the sides by pecking and/or grinding.

At Upper Matecumbe Key (8MO17/8MO1901),
Goggin reported three roughly finished Cassis sp.
lip artifacts measuring 8.5 cm, 10.5 cm, and 11.9 cm
long. Their widths varied from 1.6 to 1.8 cm (Goggin
1949:602). Other reports of helmet shell artifacts in
188 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



south Florida include a lip “hammer” from Miami Circle
(Wheeler 2004:169), another lip “hammer” from Cash
Mound (8CH38) near Charlotte Harbor (Marquardt
1992:219, Figure 14), and a body whorl gorget from
Shaw’s Point (83MA7) near Tampa Bay (Luer 2013:104).

Other Kinds of Shells

A few other kinds of marine shells were scarce. They
included pieces of three kinds of bivalves: sunray venus
(Macrocallista nimbosa), wavy bittersweet (Glycymeris
undata), and eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).
None appeared to be a tool. They may represent curios,
talismans, or utilitarian items. Several additional
gastropods were identified. They included milk conch
(Strombus costatus), Florida fighting conch (Strombus
alatus), olive shell (Olivella sp.), and reticulated cowrie
helmet (Cypraecassis testiculus).

Survey Results

Four sites containing shell artifacts were documented
during the survey: County Line, Ritta Island, Kreamer
Island, and Pelican Bay 3 (Figure 2). A variety of shell
artifacts was found, with an unusually small sample
from Ritta Island (considering the site’s large size) and
the largest sample from the Kreamer Island site (Mount
2009). The latter included a number of “prestige” or
non-utilitarian forms.

County Line Site (8PB13729)

The County Line site was a small site with few
artifacts. A total of three marine shell artifacts and one
Belle Glade Plain sherd was found. A horse conch and a
lightning whelk shell were identified. The only bivalve
shell was a quahog valve split in half.

Ritta Island Site (SPB92)

This large, deflated site is on the northern tip of Ritta
Island and adjacent to an apparent opening of the extinct
Ritta River (Mount 2009). The site was first recorded
in the Florida Master Site File by archaeologist Robert
S. Carr (1975), based on Will (1984:106), and its form
was updated by Wheeler (2001a) during a period of low
water. We found artifacts scattered on both sides of the
former river opening, covering extensive areas on each
side. They were abundant, and a relatively small number
was collected.

The artifact scatter (mostly shells, rocks, and sherds)
is so dense in places that one cannot walk without
stepping on thousands of sherds (Figure 3). Sherds were
mostly sand-tempered plain, suggesting occupation
during the Belle Glade I and II periods (500 B.C. to



Figure 3. Ritta Island Sherds on Surface of Exposed Lake
Bottom. Ceramics are so dense in places that one cannot
walk without stepping on hundreds of sherds.

A.D. 700). Other artifacts included shark teeth and
bone points (Davenport et al. 2011:508, 515, Figures
232 and 236). The Ritta Island site also yielded human
bones (Davenport et al. 2011:518-519, Figure 239) and
abundant chert cobbles (Davenport et al. 2011:492),
some analyzed by Austin (2011).

Eleven shovel tests were excavated across the Ritta
Island site. One formal test unit yielded abundant lithic
flaking debris and microliths (Austin 2011). Despite
the large number of artifacts, only three shell artifacts
were found during the 2007 and 2008 field seasons. One
was a double-grooved columella pendant, and another
was a worked (ground smooth) bi-pointed columella
(Davenport et al. 2011:Figure 235). The rarity of shell
artifacts at the Ritta Island site is in stark contrast to
numerous shell artifacts found at the Kreamer Island site.

Kreamer Island Site (8SPB43)

Drought exposed this large site along the north shore
of Kreamer Island. It was first discovered in the 1920s
and identified as a burial site by “Cracker Historian”
Lawrence E. Will (2002). The Kreamer Island site was
first recorded by Goggin (1951), followed by updates by
Carr (1975), Wheeler (2001b), and Carr et al. (2004). In
MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 189



the central portion of the site is a relic inlet or outlet of
the extinct Democrat River. Shovel testing at the site
did not yield any artifacts. Cultural materials from the
surface were bone tools, sherds, lithics, marine shells,
and human bones. Lithics included bifaces (n=7), finely
made green basalt pendants (n=2), fragments of possible
duck-head pendants (n=3), a finely made limestone
pendant, a slab of coquina rock, and other lithics (Austin
2011; Davenport et al. 2011:472-483).

Sherds were sand-tempered plain (n=87), Belle
Glade Plain (n=61), and St. Johns Plain (n=14), which
combined comprised 92% of the sherd assemblage. The
few decorated sherds included St. Johns Check Stamped
(n=4), Fort Drum Incised (n=1), Deptford Simple
Stamped (n=1), Cane Patch Incised (drag and jab) (n=1),
and Sarasota Incised (n=1) (Block 2011; Davenport et
al. 2011:433). Also recovered were two ceramic pipe
stem fragments and one decorated pipe bowl fragment
(Davenport 2011:441, Figures 173 through 175).

A large number of marine shell artifacts (n=469) was
collected at the Kreamer Island site during the 2007-2009
field seasons. Of these, 190 were classified, representing
10 species (Tables 1 and 2). Among the gastropod

artifacts, the most common were of conch (Strombus
spp.), followed by those of whelk (Busycon spp.). Shell
artifacts include cutting-edged tools, hammers, adze/
celts, gouges or scrapers, and pendants.

Pelican Bay 3 Site (SPB13601)

This site consists of a surface scatter in loose circular
patterns, perhaps a deflated midden. It is at the terminus
of an extinct river that once flowed through Kreamer
Island. The site is 180 m (590 ft) southeast of the
Kreamer Island site. Besides marine shells, we collected
11 sherds (sand-tempered plain and St. Johns Plain) and
one lithic. A total of 16 shell artifacts was collected
from the Pelican Bay 3 site during the 2007-2009 field
seasons. Of these, seven were classified to tool types
and represented three marine mollusk species. The most
common was lightning whelk, followed by queen conch.
A double-grooved whelk columella pendant and a single
horse conch columella were noted (Davenport et al.
2011:Figures 63 and 64). The only bivalve shells were
four quahog, one sunray venus, and one oyster valve
fragments. There was no subsurface testing at the site
(Davenport et al. 2011:279-281).

Table 1. Taxa and Specimens in Shell Artifact Ae from Kreamer Island Site.

Scientific Name



Common Name

Manian at

| Specimens (%)





























Gastropoda Gastropods a
Strombus costatus Milk conch
Strombus gigas Queen or pink conch
Strombus sp. Conch 15 (7.89%)

_ Cassis sp. Helmet 7 (3.68%)
Busycon contrarium Lightning whelk 35 (18.42%)
Busycon carica eliceans Kiener’s whelk 6 (3.16%)
Busycon sp. Whelk 2 (1. ae

3

Pleuroploca gigantea



Olivella sp.

(58%



Indeterminate Gastropoda



Total Gastropoda



Bivalva



Bivalves

Olive l (0. oo
ie 32%)









Glycymeris undata







Macrocallista nimbosa

Wavy bittersweet

Sunray venus

(0.53%)
(2.63%)

Mercenaria sp. Quahog = 68%)

Total Bivalva



Total Number of Specimens
190 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)






Table 2. Marine Shell Tool Types from Kreamer Island Site.






























Busycon contrarium
Busycon contrarium
Pleuroploca gigantea
Indeterminate
Busycon contrarium
Busycon contrarium

Busycon contrarium

Indeterminate
Busycon contrarium
Busycon contrarium
Pleuroploca gigantea
Indeterminate
Strombus costatus
Strombus gigas
Strombus sp.
Mercenaria sp
Strombus gigas
Strombus gigas
Cassis sp
Busycon contrarium
Busycon carica eliceans
Busycon sp.
Strombus costatus
Strombus gigas
Cassis sp.
Indeterminate
Cassis sp,

Shell Artifacts



This section describes the shell artifacts. Appendices
in Mount (2009) and Davenport et al. (2011) list all shell
artifacts identified from the Kreamer Island site and
provide their measurements.

Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools and Hammers
Gastropod cutting-edged tools and hammers were
well represented and usually crafted from lightning
Whelk shells. Figures 4 and 5 show relatively complete
examples; many fragmentary specimens were not
collected. None was assigned to a specific current type
(e.g., Type A, Type B, etc.). However, Figures 4 and
5 show that perforations in the body whorl varied in
their placements. Specimens with two perforations (one

above the shoulder and one close below) may be Type
AX, dating to the Late Archaic, Florida Transitional, and
Early Woodland periods (Bullen et al. 1978:12, Figure
11; Luer 1992:247, 249: Wheeler and McGee 1994:365,
Figure 20). Specimens with a single large perforation
below the shoulder may be Type H, dating to the Middle
Woodland period (Luer 2012:119, Figure 8). Other
types may be present as well. The quantity and diversity
of these tools suggest the site’s inhabitants were skilled
craftspeople, engaged in woodworking.

Gouges/Scrapers
Shell gouges or scrapers crafted from the outer
body whorl and adjacent columella of gastropods were
MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 191



found. The specimens shown in Figure 6 were all made
from right-spiraled Kiener’s whelk shells, with nearest
sources on the Atlantic coast of central and northeast
Florida. These specimens resemble some from sites of
the Late Archaic and Woodland periods in the Indian
River and St. Johns River regions (Bullen and Bullen
1961:11, Figure 7c, d; Goggin 1952:116, 148, Plates 6A
through 6D; Jahn and Bullen 1978:Figure 46r; Rouse
1951:126-127, 231, Plate 6A) and support contacts to
the north with peoples of those areas.

Adze/Celt

The most common kind of tool was the gastropod
adze/celt which was typically made from the body
whorl of a whelk shell or the lip of a queen conch shell
(Figure 7). Many specimens were extensively worked
by grinding. Many had trapezoidal or triangular shapes.

Columella Cutting-Edged Tools

Figure 8 shows two complete specimens and four
fragments of working tips. All these specimens, except
the one on the far right, came from right-spiraled shells.
The specimen on the far left appears to be a horse conch
columella; the other right-spiraled specimens may be
horse conch columellae. The specimen on the far right
appears to be from a lightning whelk columella. On all
these specimens, the apical tip was ground to a cutting
edge. Horse conch and lightning whelk columella
cutting-edged tools are also found on the Florida Gulf
coast, such as in Charlotte and Manatee counties (e.g.,
Luer 2014:Figure 3), from where Lake Okeechobee
specimens could have been obtained.

Columella Perforator

The columella portion of a gastropod shell was
intentionally shaped into a pointed tool, apparently a
perforator (Figure 9, top).

Pendants

Pendants, usually grooved for suspension on one or
both ends, were shaped from shell columellae or shell
lips. They were made of lightning whelk, horse conch,
queen conch, and helmet shells. Figure 9 (bottom)
shows a double-grooved specimen, and Figure 10 shows
single-grooved specimens fashioned from columellae.
Some are cylindrical, others tear-drop shaped; most are
extensively ground smooth.

Nine pendants fashioned from helmet shell lips are
shown in Figure 11. Some are grooved on both ends.
Most were found to the west of the former Democrat
River opening, while other types of pendants were found
over the entire Kreamer Island site.

Possible Mimicry Pendants

Several shell pendants might have been shaped to
mimic the knobby form of helmet shell lips. In Figure
12, the three specimens on the left may be pieces of queen
conch lip shaped to resemble helmet shell lips. In Figure
12, the specimen on the far right is the lip of an apparent
reticulated cowrie helmet (Cypraecassis testiculus),
These artifacts suggest the knobby appearance is what
was important to native people, and when suitable pieces
were not available, they might have been mimicked. This
is the first report of possible non-Cassis shell shaped to
look like Cassis lips.

Other Shell Pendants

One flattened, rectangular pendant (Figure 13a) was
found at the Kreamer Island site. Relic hunters report
that pendants of this form have been found commonly
to the east and south of Lake Okeechobee. Frank and
Nancy Hoff (2007:133, 137, Figures 12.12 and 12.43)
report a number of rectangular pendants from a plowed
field in Martin County, east of Lake Okeechobee. A
double-grooved ovoid pendant (Figure 13b) came from
the north end of Kreamer Island. Its shape resembles
some pictured by Hoff and Hoff (2007:Figure 12.43)
from Martin County and Luer (2013:Figure 15) from
Sarasota County.

Two unusual pendants also came from Kreamer
Island. One is long and thin (12.4 x 1.6 cm) and ground
very smooth. One end is blunt while the other flares
outward and terminates in a conical tip (Figure 14).
It resembles a distal fragment of a shell pendant from
Belle Glade that Willey (1949:137, Plate 12E) called the
“flanged-end variety.” A similar tip is on pendants from
widely scattered sites in peninsular Florida, such as Tick
Island (Jahn and Bullen 1978:Figure 50) and in the Ten
Thousand Islands (Moore 1900:Figure 8D).

In addition, very similar tips were on three shell
pendants in an artifact cache with a human burial in the
Jones Mound (8HI4) northeast of Tampa and dating to
the Weeden Island and precontact Safety Harbor periods
(ca. A.D. 700 to 1500) (Bullen 1952:53-54, Figure
18). Interestingly, this rich cache included a duck head
pendant of exotic stone (Bullen 1952:53, Figure 16b)
similar to a fragmentary one found at the Kreamer Island
site during the Boyer Survey (Davenport et al. 2011:475-
476, Figures 208, 209, 210). Additional similar exotic
stone duck head pendants are reported from the Turkey
Creek site (8BR50) near Melbourne (Rouse 1951:165-
166, 295, Plate 4V, W) and from the charnel pond at Fort
Center (8GL13) (Sears 1982:95-94, 105, 109, Figure
6.1P). Specimens from the latter two sites are thought to
date to Middle Woodland/Hopewellian times.
192 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



The second unusual pendant from Kreamer Island is
smaller (6.5 x 1.7 cm) and also ground smooth, although
a remnant groove of its natural siphonal canal is still
present, indicating it was made from a right-spiraled
shell. One end is blunt while the other narrows to a
very constricted end (Figure 15). This long, narrow end
presumably served for attaching a cord for suspension
(like a groove). A shell pendant with a similar narrow
neck is in a collection from Manatee County on the Gulf
coast (Hoff and Hoff 2007:Figure 12.37).

Body Whorl Gorget

One circular gorget (Figure 16) was recovered to the
east of the former Democrat River opening. The gorget
was made from a portion of the body whorl of a gastropod
shell. Its diameter is 6.6 cm and its thickness is 1 cm. It
is plain except for several small notches along its outer

edge. Asingle, small central hole measures 6 mm across.
Disc-shaped shell gorgets with a single central hole and
notched edges are pictured from Tick Island (Jahn and
Bullen 1978:Figure 40, 41, 46) and similar disc-shaped
shell gorgets are pictured from coastal Manatee County
(Luer 2014:Figure 3).

Net Mesh Gauge

One reduced, rectangular, polished piece of shell
might have been a net mesh gauge. Some fragments of
quahog shell also could have served this purpose.

Bivalve Shells

Of the bivalve shells found, quahog fragments were
the most common. It was only possible to identify one
formal tool, an anvil made from a quahog valve.



Figure 4. Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools and Hammers.
MOUNT AND DAVENPORT LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 193



Figure 6. Shell Gouges. These six specimens were fashioned from right-spiraled whelk shells
that appeared to represent Kiener’s whelk (Busycon carica eliceans).
72 (4)

2019 VoL

Shell Adze/Celts.

7

Figure

a
ma
o
3
—_
S
=
S
eZ
ra
Ee
Z
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E
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oa
=e
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z
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Figure 8. Columella Cutting-Edged Tools.


MOUNT AND DAVENPORT LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS

Figure 10. Pendants. a, b, d: single groove; c: double groove; e, f; teardrop. Scale in upper right applies to e only


196 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Figure 11. Helmet Shell Pendants.



Figure 12. Possible Mimic Pendants.
MLOUNT AND DAVENPORT LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 197



Figure 13. Pendants. a: rectangular; b: ovoid.



Figure 14. Pendant with Conical Tip and Encircling Flange.
198 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Figure 15. Columella Pendant with Constricted End. The narrow waist presumably served
for attaching a cord for suspension.



Figure 16. Circular Gorget. Pen and ink drawing by Sussan Gash.
MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 199



Discussion of Some Shell Artifacts

Columella Pendants

These artifacts make up an interesting portion of the
shell artifact collection from Kreamer Island (Table 3).
Ample previous research shows that artifacts of this type
are often associated with or derived from human burials,
that they often involved considerable labor to fabricate,
and that they often are made of exotic, valued, or rare
materials. This is shown by research by Bullen, Partridge,
and Harris (1970:117-118), Gilliland (1975:173-175),
Goggin (1949:549-553), Luer (2013:115, Figure 15,
ay iy, Fisure 3), Moore (1900, 1905, 1907, 1921),
Reiger (1990, 1999), Steinen (1982:105-106), Wheeler
(2002:34), and Willey (1949:50-51).

Nonetheless, the function of this kind of artifact is
sometimes debated, some asserting that some of them
are utilitarian, others viewing most as prestige items.
Marquardt (1992:205-207, Figure 19) refers to them
as columella sinkers, and Walker (1992, 2000:30-31)
suggests some functioned as parts of composite fish
hooks or as sinkers to weigh down fishing line or nets.



This argument is based on analogy to somewhat similar
objects known ethnographically from the South Pacific as
well as somewhat similar artifacts from South America.
If the same argument is made, then such “sinkers”
would have been used in Lake Okeechobee, a relatively
shallow lake with predominantly small kinds of fish.
However, the size of the artifacts would be better suited
for larger fish (e.g., sharks, large grouper) not found in
Lake Okeechobee (see Table 3 for measurements). To
justify the existence of shell pendants in the Kreamer
assemblage for use in local fishing, one would expect to
see variation of sizes comparable to the sizes of aquatic
resources available.

If one were to consider such artifacts as used for
fishing (prone to frequent loss), one would expect that
they would have been relatively common and could
have been made in a short period of time. Conversely,
if one assumed that these artifacts were prestige items,
they would not occur regularly and the amount of work
necessary to make them would be more. First, the
availability of raw materials must be assessed. The
nearest sources of marine shells recovered from Lake



Table 3. Marine Shell Pendants. Key: Lt = Length, W = Width, Wt = Weight, FS# = Field Specimen Number.

L | Tool Type

Columella Pendant
Columella Pendant, single-groove

Wem) | Wt(g)












Taxon =—i—“‘(ws‘s CLA (cm)



Indeterminate
Busycon contrarium













































| Columella Pendant, single-groove B. contrarium 11.42
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium O28 1.61
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium S29 1.63
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium 6.70
Columella Pendant, double-groove B. contrarium ee
Columella Pendant, double-groove Indeterminate 5.49
Columella Pendant, double-groove Pleuroploca gigantea 6.19
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove Strombus gigas 6.80
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove S. gigas 1a



11.24

Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove 10.51
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove Cassis sp.
Pendant, Non-Columella, Preform Cassis sp.

Mean
Minimum





Pendants


200 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)

Lena eee eer r eee eee rere creer erence

Okeechobee sites would be the Atlantic or Gulf coasts
of Florida. The marine shells found at Lake Okeechobee
sites must have been transported or exchanged into the
area over considerable distance. This distance would
have limited the access to shells, and when combined
with time spent fashioning the objects, their perceived
value would be increased (Trubitt 2003:244).

Second, the time needed to fabricate a pendant
should be considered. Although the process has not been
replicated, making a pendant is a specialized activity
requiring a significant investment of time for each artifact.
If the artifact functioned as a shank or sinker (prone
to loss), one would question the overall investment of
time required for its manufacture. Certainly, a roughly
made sinker would function well enough to hold down a
fishing line or net. This is not the case with the group of
pendants from Kreamer Island. Of particular interest are
the large, finely made specimens. For these, time would
have been spent shaping and polishing the columellae.

Reiger (1999) provides further support for prestige
attributed to shell pendants. He describes 20 pendants
from Jones Mound, near Tampa, and quotes Bullen:
“Tall the] pendants were located at necks or chests and
so, presumably, were suspended from the neck in life”
(Bullen 1952:49). Only 20 of the approximately 150
adult burials in the Jones Mound contained pendants
(Reiger 1999:227). Ripley Bullen (1952) wrote that
perhaps pendants were clan or rank symbols rather than
mere items of personal adornment.

The Kreamer Island site contains human skeletal
remains. However, due to the nature of the deposits and
the surficial finds, the pendants could not be attributed
to the same context as the human bones. The pendants
found at Kreamer Island were not common items; rather
they were rare. Possible uses could be adornment or
mortuary or ceremonial functions.

Accepting arguments that pendants are status items,
perhaps they reflect four levels of status for people at the
Kreamer Island site. We speculate that Cassis pendants
were the most valued pendant form, given the rarity of
helmet shells, their low number as artifacts, the distance
they were transported to the site, and that other kinds
of shells might have been carved to mimic the shape of
Cassis lips. If so, Cassis pendants might have belonged
to the highest ranking individuals. Those with imitations
of Cassis pendants might have held second highest rank,
those with “standard” columella pendants might have

been third, and those people with no pendants might
have comprised the common or fourth rank of the site.
However, different forms of pendants could be related
to differences in gender, age, or kinship groups, rather
than rank.

Adze/Celts

The adze/celt and adze/celt blanks made from the lip
of Strombus gigas are considered ubiquitous tool types
in south Florida (Wheeler 2004:170). Their prevalence
has led to a large body of work on the morphology,
analysis, and interpretation of the use of these artifacts.
Their caching in both blank and adze/celt form has been
noted by Carr and Reiger (1980) as well as by Pepe and
Elgart (2006; personal communication 2008), and this
activity has been compared to caching of lithic materials
elsewhere in the state (Wheeler 2004:170). The use of
different kinds of shells for celts shows an adaptation to
raw material available in pre-Columbian Florida. The
specific usage of Strombus gigas is a regional adaptation
to a readily available shell resource on the Atlantic coast
of Florida (Masson 1988:313).

Masson analyzed celts and adzes from the Cheetum
(8DA1058) and Flagami (8DA1053) sites near the
Atlantic coast of Miami-Dade County. She used
techniques borrowed from lithic analysis to analyze
and to compare use-wear and breakage patterns in the
shell celt assemblages. Masson also defined shell celt
morphology and she used examples from experiments to
illustrate the manufacture processes of these tools.

Comparisons of the adze/celts from Kreamer Island
show, like those from the Miami Circle (Wheeler
2004:170), that all these artifacts exhibit similar methods
of manufacture, breakage patterns, and use (Table 4).
The breakage patterns in the Kreamer Island assemblage
are consistent with those of Masson (1988) and Wheeler
(2004) and support breakage due to structural weaknesses
in the shell material. Wheeler (2004:170) agrees with
Masson (1988:324) that there are inherent flaws, such
as asymmetry, in the structure of Strombus gigas lips
that lend themselves to particular patterns of breakage.
The left side of the Strombus gigas lip is thicker than
the right, resulting in the breaking of the right side of
the celt. Masson (1988:324) states that the dorsal and
ventral surfaces of the adze/celt were ground to reduce
this asymmetry and to increase durability. In terms of
general usage, the patterns of breakage shown by the
assemblage are consistent with rough woodworking.
The initial shaping of logs, removal of large portions
of material, cutting or chopping are all possible uses of
adze/celts.

Wheeler notes a difference in the species utilized
at Miami Circle compared to the Cheetum-Flagami
collection. He shows a high frequency of Strombus
costatus lip celts in the Miami Circle assemblage, even
though itis arelatively uncommon species in south Florida
(Wheeler 2004:171). The Kreamer Island assemblage
MLOUNT AND DAVENPORT



LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS

Table 4. Adze/Celts. Break/Wear attributes are defined by Masson (1988) as follows: R = Right, L= Left, D = Distal,
P = Proximal, DB = Diagonal Break, LB = Longitudinal Break, LS = Longitudinal Split. Key: Lt = Length, W = Width,

Ht = Height, Wt = Weight, FS# = Field Specimen Number.

Taxon








































201



































Strombus costatus ZA 7 a
Strombus gigas 2.12
S. gigas 10.13 5.45 2.25
S. gigas 2.26
2.27
S. gigas a
S. gigas 3.90
S. gigas
S. gigas 8.30 4.00
S. gigas | 7.64 3.80 84 35.1 9.19
|S. gigas 8.58 4.15 1.09 43.9
5 eas T9711 47612401 149.6
S. gigas 10.58 | 3.64
‘S. gigas 5.00 | 5.26
S. gigas 9.11 4.72
S. gigas 9.39 4.00
S. gigas 7.56 3.64
S. gigas 6.22 3.57 66
S. gigas 13.25 3.80 1.48 100.0 ime:
S. gigas 8.50 202
S. gigas 5.78 3.05 83 25.1
S. gigas 6.40 2.89
S. gigas 5.33 Snap
i 15.1 Indeterminate
Strombus sp. Pe tae 1.24 90.8 Nicking/Haft
Strombus sp. 8.00
3.28 Jo Mee R-D-DB
AGT | ORS S08 Snap
ie es 7 i rl a. WS ON ee ee. |e eR es ae
112 | 52.16
Oi3) | 1s
24 | 149.6
more closely resembles the Cheetum-Flagami collection sites. Multiple patterns of exchange or movement of

in this regard as it has only one identified adze/celt of S.
costatus. However, four specimens in the assemblage
were identified only to the Strombus genus.

Curiously, a single S. costatus lip, an apparent
exchange item, was found in the Aqui Esta Mound
near Charlotte Harbor (Luer 2002:167; Luer and
Hughes 2005:139). Masson (1988:314-315) mentions
a regional variation first noted by Willey (1949) in the
species utilized to make adze/celts. He noted the use
of Strombus gigas in Dade and Broward County sites,
versus S. gigas and Busycon contrarium in Belle Glade

native people in south Florida could explain the varied
types and frequencies of marine shells.

Marine Shells

Wheeler (2004:173) states that mollusk species
targeted for shell tool production are partly a function
of their biogeographic ranges. While this was true for
native people with direct access to these resources, inland
people were constrained by the groups with whom they
traded or by the places they visited. Marine shells must
202 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



have been obtained by exchange or otherwise imported
to the Lake Okeechobee region. Therefore, the means
of procurement as well as intergroup relations and the
role each played in the complexity of a culture can be
discussed.

The occurrence at Lake Okeechobee of marine shell
artifacts of some of the same types known to occur on the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, and in the St. Johns
River region, supports the presence of people on the
southeast rim of Lake Okeechobee, who interacted with
people in those other areas. The biogeographic ranges of
the mollusks utilized permit speculation about cultural
interactions and exchange. For example, assemblages
of shell artifacts from sites on the Gulf coast of Florida
are often dominated by Busycon tools, whereas Atlantic
coast artifact assemblages are mainly comprised of
Strombus or other shells. The shell artifact assemblage
from southeast Lake Okeechobee shows exchange or
contact with both coasts.

An extensive network of small waterways,
hammocks, swamps, and sloughs allowed inland peoples
to travel to the coast, and coastal people to travel inland.
The distribution of large archaeological sites along such
waterways is illustrated by the Belle Glade Mound
and Midden and other sites along the Democrat River
(now a relic channel once connected to southeast Lake
Okeechobee) (Figure 17). The same waterways, such as
Hungryland Slough, also had small sites (e.g., Wheeler
1992).

Many shell tools lent themselves to being reworked
after they were damaged, such as some Busycon tools
and adze/celts made from the Strombus lip. Interestingly,
the rest of the Strombus shell appeared to be absent in
the assemblage from Kreamer Island. This suggests that
adze/celts were finished, nearly finished, or blanks when
obtained from the coast.

Shells and Social Complexity

“Complexity” in its broadest sense denotes the
presence of multiple interrelated or interconnected parts.
The definition of complexity as itrelates to a cultural group
is not so straightforward. Many scholars have specified
certain characteristics in defining a society as being
complex. These typically include elaborate technologies,
sedentary communities, intensive subsistence practices,
large dense populations, and organizational changes in
social, economic and ritual structures (Brown and Price
1985). These characteristics may be manifested in the
archaeological record by the presence of certain kinds of
artifact assemblages, features, and structures.



i Pelican Bay 3 a,
ee Pelican Bay 4 | Nea

) umm, Pelican Bay 2 | hy ty, “ny |

i Wy yy) e
\ : Pelican Bay | |

Kreamer Island aii

Kreamer Island Mound he





| Belle Glade M yy,

yuyu tsb.
bimcenikne: |

iy ity, Z # 4 Z
Abi, Why Z
ee ee F
ig Yi % , , Z

Z Mi, My, j i, yh ofp

ly, : Lynn

eh A FE guy
gy by Pr a f j Whig
ay |
if : ti

Figure 17. Democrat River Formerly Connected to
Southeast Lake Okeechobee. This relic channel has
large archaeological sites along it, such as the Belle Glade
Mound/Midden (from Smith 2015:Figure 2).

Several scholars assert that cultural complexity is
defined by social organization intended to overcome
problems in the logistics of access to resources (Cohen
1985:104). Cohen suggests 12 features of socially
complex cultures, all of which in some manner are
related to access to resources and the methods utilized
to control them. Among the features that deal expressly
with exchange networks include the emergence of chiefs,
reciprocal social relations and ceremonial obligations,
interregional alliances, expansion of exchange networks,
emergence of prestige as an economic commodity, and
demand for prestigious goods that symbolize social
hierarchies.

In addition to defining complexity, varied schools
of thought have identified how cultures became
increasingly complex. There continues to be an ongoing
debate in anthropology between those who profess an
evolutionary-ecological approach to cultural change
and those who support a historical-materialist approach.
Other scholars prefer to combine the two approaches,
emphasizing certain aspects of each. Marquardt (1985)
suggests an amalgam of the two schools of thought in his
synopsis concerning fisher-gatherer-hunters. He calls
this amalgam synthetic processualism which combines
the body of knowledge gathered by natural scientists and
the dialectical method of analysis and exposition used
MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 203

caannneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eee ETE

by Marx in his critique of capitalist social formations
(Marquardt 1985:70).

Other scholars have attempted to explain exchange,
and the role it played, by applying World Systems
Theory to individual sites, particularly in South and
Central America (Carmack and Gonzalez 2006; Frank
and Gills 1993; Schortman and Urban 1994; Wallerstein
1974a). World Systems Theory postulates that the
interaction of polities occurred in a core and periphery
system. The core is the developed controlling group or
center, whereas the periphery consists of underdeveloped
groups, providing support under the control of the center
(Wallerstein 1974a). Wallerstein (1974a, 1974b) and
Frank and Gills (1993) suggest that peripheral groups
and sites were relied on and dominated both politically
and economically by the core (Carmack and Gonzalez
2006:21). Other authors have suggested that peripheries
play a much less significant role and refer to periphery
sites as unspecialized zones and contact peripheries
(Carmack and Gonzalez 2006:219).

Perhaps the Ritta and Kreamer Island sites could
be placed in the periphery category, but there are no
data supporting that view for the entirety of the Belle
Glade period. The core and periphery relationship
between sites and groups was a dynamic process, subject
to change over time. This idea is suggested at large
earthworks such as Fort Center (Carr 1985; Sears 1982)
and Ortona (Carr et al. 1995). The presence at those sites
of imported materials and, after contact, European metal
artifacts, such as gold and silver items of adornment (e.g.,
Branstetter 1995; Luer 1994, 2000), seems to contradict
classification of these sites as peripheral. The Belle
Glade area’s huge, raised, radiating earthworks, and other
large mounds (Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson 1991) suggest
that sites near Lake Okeechobee were positions of
power, perhaps acting as a core area for a period of time.
Future research focusing on these earthworks, especially
establishing a temporal framework, will benefit the study
of exchange relations and cultural complexity over time.

The Lake Okeechobee region contains few resources
that are unavailable in other areas of the state. However,
some were especially abundant. One resource could
have been the pond-apple. While the pond-apple can be
found in other areas of the greater Everglades, the large
quantity perhaps available from a 3.2 km (2 mi) wide belt
around the southern end of Lake Okeechobee, may have
been an exchange source. The region also had abundant
frogs, mudpuppies, and deer (hides, antlers, and bone).
Other local resources that might have been desired by
coastal populations included feathers and perhaps “bread
of roots” mentioned by Fontaneda (True 1944).

By location, all the artifacts recovered during the
Boyer Survey (lithics, shell artifacts, and even some
pottery) are technically “exotic” materials. There are
no known chert deposits in the survey area, nor local
access to marine shell. These materials reached the
sites through exchange or by the movement of native
people in and between regions. By Middle Archaic
times, evidence from the Tick Island/Harris Creek site
supports the movement of people between the coast and
interior in the St. Johns River region (Quinn, Tucker, and
Krigbaum 2008). For the Belle Glade region, Austin
(1997:595-600, 2015) cites models of down-the-line
trade and has made an extensive argument for inter-
regional exchange in stone, shell, and shark teeth as a
factor in the development of the Belle Glade culture.

The cutting-edged tools from the Kreamer Island
site imply woodworking. This begs the question: could
locally made wooden objects (bowls, pestles, and
canoes) have been exchanged to procure more shell
tools or the raw material? Until the Boyer Survey, the
Kreamer Island site was thought to be a small hamlet
site. However, given the amount and diversity of non-
local materials, this seems an incorrect inference. The
artifact assemblage is suggestive a larger regional village
with some defined hierarchy.

Conclusion

Due to the deflated nature of the Boyer Survey sites
and their muck soil, the artifacts we recovered from the
surface cannot be attributed to narrow contexts. It was
interesting to find prestige and utilitarian artifacts. We
do not suggest that the assemblages represent a single
occupation, rather they probably represent two or more
cultural periods.

The large shell artifact assemblage from Kreamer
Island was comprised primarily of utilitarian tools,
although numbers of shell pendants (prestige items)
also were found. The assemblage from Kreamer Island
may reflect multiple occupations, perhaps as early as the
Archaic and/or Early Woodland periods (based on whelk
body whorl gouges, possible Type AX gastropod shell
cutting-edged tools, and a Deptford Simple Stamped
sherd) and extending into the Belle Glade HI (ca. A.D.
700 to 1300) and precontact Belle Glade IV (ca. A.D.
1300 to 1500) periods (based on Belle Glade Plain, St.
Johns Check Stamped, and Sarasota Incised sherds). The
site could have had contemporaneous mortuary practices
and site utilization similar to, but smaller in scale than,
the Belle Glade Mound and Midden. Remote sensing
and aerial image analysis have shown that the Democrat
204 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vou. 72 (4)



River that coursed through the Belle Glade Mound and
Midden terminated at the Kreamer Island site. Our
research appears to link them through the shared types
of non-local artifacts found at both sites.

Acknowledgments

We thank archaeologists George Luer and Dorothy
Block for editing this paper, and reviewers for their
help. We also would like to express our thanks to
archaeologists Arlene Fradkin and Clifford Brown,
both at FAU, for their assistance with parts of this study
related to Mount’s 2009 M.A. thesis.

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1999 _ Artistry, Status, and Power: How “Plummet’-
Pendants Probably Functioned in Pre-Columbian
Florida--and Beyond. The Florida Anthropologist
52(4):227-240.

Renfrew, Colin

1975 Trade as Action at a Distance: Questions

of Integration and Communication. In Ancient
Civilization and Trade, edited by J. A. Sabloff and C.

C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, pp. 3-59. School of American
Research Advanced Seminar Series. University of New
Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

1977 Alternative Models for Exchange and Spatial
Distribution. In Exchange Systems in Prehistory, edited
by T. K. Earle and Jonathon E. Ericson, pp. 71-90.
Academic Press, New York.

Rouse, Irving R.

1951 A Survey of Indian River Archaeology, Florida.
Yale University Publications in Anthropology 44,

New Haven.

Schortman, Edward M., and Patricia A. Urban
1994 _ Living on the Edge: Core/Periphery Relations
in Ancient Southeastern Mesoamerica. Current
Anthropology 35(4):401-430.

Sears, William H.

1982 Fort Center: An Archaeological Site in the
Lake Okeechobee Basin. University Presses of Florida,
Gainesville.
MOUNT AND DAVENPORT

LAKE OKEECHOBEE SHELL ARTIFACTS 207



Steinen, Karl T.

1982 Other Nonceramic Artifacts. In Fort Center:
An Archaeological Site in the Lake Okeechobee Basin,
by William H. Sears, pp. 68-110. University Presses of
Florida, Gainesville.

Smith, Catherine

2015 Defining Population Characteristics of the Belle
Glade Culture: Skeletal Biology of the Belle Glade
Mound. M.A. thesis, Department of Anthropology,
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.

Trubitt, Mary Beth D.

2003 The Production and Exchange of Marine
Prestige Goods. Journal of Archaeological Research
11(3):243-277.

True, David O. (editor)

1944 Memoir of Do. d’Escalente Fontaneda
Respecting Florida, Written in Spain, about the Year
1575. Glade House, Coral Gables, Florida.

Walker, Karen Jo

1992 Bone Artifacts from Josslyn Island, Buck
Key Shell Midden, and Cash Mound: A Preliminary
Assessment for the Caloosahatchee Area. In Culture
and Environment in the Domain of the Calusa, edited
by William H. Marquardt, pp. 229-246. Monograph
1, Institute of Archaeology and Paleoenvironmental
Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville.

2000 The Material Culture of Precolumbian Fishing:
Artifacts and Fish Remains from Coastal Southwest
Florida. Southeastern Archaeology 19(1):63-70.

Wallerstein, [Immanuel

1974a The Modern World-System: Capitalist
Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-
Economy in the Sixteenth Century. Academic Press,
New York.

1974b The Rise and Future Demise of the World
Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis.
Comparative Studies of Society and History
16:387-415.

2004 World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction.
Duke University Press, Durham.

Wheeler, Ryan J.
1992 Notices of Conoidal Stones from Southern
Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 45(4):347-351.

2001a_ Florida Master Site File Update for 8PB92,
Ritta Island Site. On file, Florida Master Site File,
Tallahassee.

2001b Florida Master Site File Update for 8PB43,
Kreamer Island Site. On file, Florida Master Site File,
Tallahassee.

2004 = Shell Artifacts from the Miami Circle at
Brickell Point (8DA12). The Florida Anthropologist
SIZ 139-1 Bs.

Wheeler, Ryan J., and Ray M. McGee

1994 Technology of Mount Taylor Period
Occupation, Groves’ Orange Midden (8VO2601),
Volusia County, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist
47(4):350-379.

Will, Lawrence E. ,
1984 Swamp to Sugar Bowl: Pioneer Days in Belle
Glade. Reprint of 1968 edition of Great Outdoors
Publishing Company. The Glades Historical Society,
Belle Glade, Florida.

2002 A Cracker History of Okeechobee. Sir Speedy
Printing, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Willey, Gordon R.

1949 Excavations in Southeast Florida. Yale
University Publications in Anthropology 42,
New Haven.


E


The following brief article is reprinted from the FAS News/etter (no. 85, February 1978), edited by the FAS President,
the late J. Raymond Williams, Ph.D., who was an archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at the University of
South Florida, in Tampa (see an obituary by Dana Ste. Claire in The Florida Anthropologist, vol. 49, no. 4, 1996).
For more information about George Ferguson and Wilfred Neill, see “About The Authors” (this issue) and an obituary
about Neill in The Florida Anthropologist, vol. 56, no. 4 (2003).

AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA

George R. Ferguson and Wilfred T: Neill

To describe an apparently unique artifact might at
first seem an exercise in futility. However, the quality
of uniqueness is apt to prove illusory; and when a
few similar specimens have been reported, a study of
their distribution and mode of occurrence might prove
rewarding. Note, for example, what Williams and
Goggin (1956) were able to infer from a few scattered
occurrences of the “long-Nosed God” masks.

So feeling, we report and illustrate (Figure 1) an
unusual specimen from the Late Preceramic level of
Good’s Shellpit, Volusia County, Florida. It is made
from the lip of a helmet shell, probably the common
helmet (Cassis tuberosa), to judge from its large size.

The object resembles an arrow-wrench, but arrows
were not in use during Late Preceramic times. Perhaps
the artifact was a pendent.

It has been suggested (R. P. Bullen, personal
communication) that this object was an atlatl hook.
Being flat on one side, it could well have been bound to
an atlatl, if not as a hook then as a weight. But any atlatl
to which it might have been bound was most likely a
ceremonial one; for the large size of the object militates
against the idea that it was part of an ordinary, utilitarian
weapon.

It may be significant that Good’s Shellpit has also
yielded one of the few examples of Late Pre-ceramic
ceremonialism: a cache of 48 large Newnan points, all
of imported bluish flint, and each with two or three small
breaks involving tips, barbs, or stems. This large site,
before its virtual obliteration for road fill, may have
contained more unusual, finely crafted objects than 1s
normally to be expected from a Late Pre-ceramic midden.
It is clear that some middens of this period contain
a surprising quantity of uncommon and sometimes
unidentified artifacts; witness the material recovered
from the Bluffton site, Volusia County, Florida (Neill
1954).

References Cited

Neill, Wilfred T.
1954 Artifacts from the Bluffton Midden, Volusia
County, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 7(1):11-17.

Williams, Stephen, and John M. Goggin
1956 The Long Nosed God Mask in the Eastern United
States. The Missouri Archaeologist 18(3).



Figure 1. Helmet Shell Lip Artifact from the Late Preceramic Level of Good’s Shell Pit, Volusia County, Florida
[no scale provided, image scanned from FAS Newsletter #85, February 1978].



VOLUME 72 (4)

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 209



COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM

VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA”

GEORGE M. LUER

The Florida Anthropologist Editor, geoluer@gmail.com

As Ferguson and Neill anticipated, additional
specimens of this artifact type have become known. More
specimens extend its geographic distribution, but we still
know little about its age and function. Hopefully, these
comments and the reprint will elicit further information.

These artifacts were fashioned from the lip of
sizeable helmet shells of the queen or emperor helmet
(Cassis madagascariensis) (Abbott 1974). This mollusk
occurs along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to
the Greater Antilles and in the Gulf of Mexico. It is
known from both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida,
including the Florida panhandle.

Additional specimens that may be the same kind of
artifact have been reported from Palm Beach County.
Archaeologist John Goggin described a well-worked
Cassis lip from the Canal Point | site (8PB44) as having
‘a curved end... projecting beyond the knobbed portion
and a perforation has been made sideways through the
object [at] about the center of the knobbed portion”
(Goggin 1949:602). Goggin (1949:363) also noted a
perforated Cassis lip from the Canal Point 4 site (8PB47).

These specimens also are listed by Willey (1949:77-78),
who called one of them a “gorget or pendant” with an
“overall length of 16 cm.”

The Canal Point | and 4 sites are on the southeast
shore of Lake Okeechobee, to the northeast of the area
covered by the Boyer Survey (see Mount and Davenport,
this issue). In the 1940s, Goggin and Willey saw these
Canal Point Cassis lips in the United States National
Museum (now the Smithsonian National Museum of
Natural History). Some discrepancies exist in Goggin’s
and Willey’s descriptions of them and associated artifacts,
which only further museum research may clarify.

Another worked Cassis lip, very similar to Ferguson
and Neill’s, is attributed to the Tick Island/Harris Creek
site (8VO24) and was pictured by Jahn and Bullen
(1978:Figure 47e). Their photograph is reproduced
here in Figure 1. They called it a “drilled pendant” and
pictured it with three similar pieces of worked shell and
bone, all with one upturned end and having a perforation
near the other end (Figure 1). The two bones appear
to be modified bacula (penis bones), and the shell is



Figure 1. Worked Cassis Lip and Similar Artifacts of Bone and Shell Pictured by Jahn and Bullen
(1978:Figure 47b, c, d, e [no clear scale]).



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THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 211
212 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



of undetermined kind (but apparently not a Cassis
lip). Artifacts from Tick Island range from the Middle
Archaic period through the Woodland period.

Ferguson and Neill state that their perforated
Cassis lip came from a pre-ceramic context, or prior
to the Orange period, which began ca. 4700 cal B.P.
Interestingly, Neill and James Gut previously reported
another find from a deep, pre-ceramic midden deposit in
Good’s Shell Pit. There, they found a rare bone artifact
made from the shaft of a probable deer femur. It was
shaped to resemble a lanceolate projectile point with a
length of 107 mm (Gut and Neill 1953).

Good’s Shell Pit was ina large shell midden bordering
the St. Johns River between 8VO44 and 8VO48 (Gut
and Neill 1953). According to Goggin (1952:Figure 9),
those two sites are between Hontoon Island and Lake
Monroe, south of Deland and northwest of Sanford.
That is consistent with the location of Good’s Shell Pit
in a map of Mount Taylor period sites (Wheeler et al.
2000:Figure 11). The period includes the Mount Taylor
(ca. 7400 to 5600 cal B.P.) and Thornhill Lake (ca. 5600
to 4700 cal B.P.) phases (e.g., Endonino 2017; Randall
2013; Randall et al. 2014). Both pre-ceramic and ceramic
components were present in Good’s Shell Pit:

At this site, pottery (including St. Johns Check
Stamped ware) 1s confined to the upper 3 or 4 feet
of one small area farthest from the river. Most
of the midden is an impressively large expanse



Luke
_ George








Astor®



Lake Dexter

Tick Island - »
Harris Creek site * \






» Lake Woodruff













N

f Good’s Shell Pit §

iSkm

Bluffton Midden

@ Deland

f{___ Hontoon
Island

.. Lake
Monroe

Figure 2. Approximate Location of Good’s Shell Pit.

of shell, completely without sherds. The site...
appears to be a preceramic one which was
reoccupied during St. Johns II times. [Neill, Gut,
and Brodkorb 1956:383]

Neill et al. (1956) identify Good’s Shell Pit as
having site number “VO 135” but it is instead recorded
as 8VO140 in the Florida Master Site File, where it has
lacked a formal form and specific location. The 8VO140
file notes simply that the site was referenced in a 1956
article in American Antiquity (that is, in Neill et al. 1956).
In that article, Good’s Shell Pit provided the majority of
faunal remains, and its midden shells were identified as
primarily representing two kinds of freshwater snail and
one kind of freshwater clam.

Finally, Ferguson and Neill’s Cassis lip, and the
others noted above, are marine shell artifacts found
at inland, freshwater/terrestrial sites. As such, they
represent items obtained through exchange or by travel
to the coast. Quinn et al. (2008) use stable isotope and
faunal evidence to demonstrate mobility of Middle
Archaic people at the Tick Island/Harris Creek site, and
Mount and Davenport (this issue) use non-local shells to
show mobility and/or exchange by later people at Lake
Okeechobee. The Cassis lip artifacts described here add
to the picture of obtaining and using non-local shells
in the middle St. Johns and Okeechobee regions, while
their identity and function remain unclear.



Atlantic
Ocean






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Beach ‘'







LUER VOLUSIA COUNTY UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT 213
SEDAN PR SA ID A RE Pa A ODE Na A EDD NSN AS LCL SS Soe RRL AR EN PRS IR Ua DS SL A IRAN ALAR RAIN ASSERTS ROO PI DSR SINT ABE FOAM IIL NERA ST DRT SEIN Ty AE OL aS IM RNa SE AN ST TITER ETOCS BRD RELL 9 PSR TREE CELE TLD TR RTA

References Cited

Abbott, R. Tucker

1974 American Seashells: The Marine Mollusca of
the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of North America. 2"
edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.

Endonino, Jon C.

2017 The Thornhill Lake Phase — Classifying
Goggin’s Unclassified Complex. The Florida
Anthropologist 70(3):108-120.

Goggin, John M.

1949 Archeology of the Glades Area, Southern
Florida. Typescript on file, P. K. Yonge Library of
Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville
(contains later additions).

1952 Space and Time Perspective in Northern St.
Johns Archaeology, Florida. Yale Publications in
Anthropology 47, New Haven.

Gut, H. James, and Wilfred T. Neill

1953 Bone Artifacts, Resembling Projectile Points,
From Preceramic Sites in Volusia County, Florida.
The Florida Anthropologist 6(3):93-94.

Jahn, Otto L., and Ripley P. Bullen

1978 The Tick Island Artifacts. In The Tick Island
Site, St. Johns River, Florida, edited by Adelaide K.
Bullen and Jerald T. Milanich, pp. 22-23, and Figures
1-60. Florida Anthropological Society Publication 10,
Gainesville.

Neill, Wilfred T., H. James Gut,

and Pierce Brodkorb

1956 Animal Remains from Four Preceramic
Sites in Florida. American Antiquity
21(4):383-395.

Quinn, Rhonda L., Bryan D. Tucker,

and John Krigbaum

2008 Diet and Mobility in Middle Archaic Florida:
Stable Isotopic and Faunal Evidence from the Harris
Creek Archaeological Site (8VO24), Tick Island.
Journal of Archaeological Science 35:2346-2356.

Randall, Asa R.

2013. The Chronology and History of Mount
Taylor Period (ca. 7400-4600 Cal B.P.) Shell Sites
on the Middle St. Johns River, Florida. Southeastern
Archaeology 32(2):193-217.

Randall, Asa R., Kenneth E. Sassaman,

Zackary I. Gilmore, Meggan E. Blessing,

and Jason M. O’Donoughue

2014 Archaic Histories Beyond the Shell “Heap” on
the St. Johns River. In New Histories of Precolumbian
Florida, edited by Neill J. Wallis and Asa R. Randall,
pp. 18-37. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Wheeler, Ryan J., Christine L. Newman,

and Ray M. McGee

2000 A New Look at the Mount Taylor and Bluffton
Sites, Volusia County, with an Outline of the Mount
Taylor Culture. The Florida Anthropologist

SS 2-S) Poze koe,

Willey, Gordon R.

1949 Excavations in Southeast Florida. Yale
University Publications in Anthropology 42,
New Haven.



EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:

BIG MOUND CITY REVISITED

NATHAN R. LAwRES ! AND MartHew H. Couvin ?

’ Department of Anthropology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118, nlawres@westga.edu
* Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, mhcolvin@uga.edu

Introduction

In this article, we focus on the question of how
monumental architecture of the Belle Glade culture was
built. To do so, we focus on the Big Mound City site
(SPB48) in Palm Beach County. In contrast to Fort Center
(SGL13), Belle Glade (8PB40/8PB41), and other sites in
the region, Big Mound City provides detailed evidence
for large-scale, rapid construction events of architectural
features of monumental proportions. To demonstrate
this, we focus on a single architectural feature of the site:
the midden-mound (Mound 4). Drawing on results of
recent excavations, we present stratigraphic, pedogenic,
and chronometric lines of evidence to support an
argument for rapid construction.

Background

The Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades (KOE)
watershed has long been considered an understudied
region in Florida archaeology (Griffin 2002:140; Johnson
1991:1-3; Lawres and Colvin 2017; Milanich 1994:281;
Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:181). Archaeologist John
Griffin (2002:140) wrote that it is “the least known of the
South Florida areas.” Yet, the region offers a distinctive
landscape in North America (Schwadron 2010:114;
Widmer 2002:374) that warrants more attention than it has
received in the past. Its environment is a vast freshwater
landscape stretching north-south approximately 400
km (250 mi) across peninsular Florida (McPherson
and Halley 1996), with water flowing from north to
south most of the year. Throughout this watershed,
the dominant ecosystems have long hydroperiods, and
upland ecosystems are restricted to small topographic
rises called tree island hammocks.

The people who inhabited this watershed, known
to archaeologists as the Belle Glade archaeological
culture, practiced a way of life that provides a stark
contrast to contemporaneous groups throughout the
interior Southeast (Schwadron 2010; Widmer 2002), and
this way of life was entangled with the environmental
characteristics of the watershed. Instead of an
agricultural focus supplemented by hunting, fishing, and
gathering, they focused heavily on fishing supplemented

with gathering and hunting (Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson
1990, 1991; Milanich 1994:279-298; Thompson et al.
2013; Thompson and Pluckhahn 2014; Widmer 1988,
2002). With the exception of the Lake Wales Ridge,
they placed many settlements on tree island hammocks
dotting the landscape because these provided the only
naturally occurring dry ground.

Belle Glade people almost exclusively manufactured
plain pottery rather than decorated wares (Porter 1951;
Sears 1982). While they did inter deceased individuals in
mortuary mounds, they also practiced subaqueous burial
(Davenport et al. 2011:484, 518-519; Hale 1989:161), a
practice shared by the Early and Middle Archaic peoples
of peninsular Florida (e.g., Windover Pond, Republic
Groves, Bay West, and Little Salt Spring). Further,
though they did not practice agriculture (Johnson 1991;
Hale 1989; Thompson et al. 2013), they reached a level
of cultural complexity often overlooked.

Goggin and Sturtevant (1964:196) emphasized the
tremendous size of earthworks, such as Big Mound City,
and wrote: “These large construction efforts suggest
the necessity for organized leadership for planning and
execution, as well as many workers to carry out the tasks
and to be fed while they did so.” Muilanich and Fairbanks
(1980:181) noted: “When examining the archaeology of
South Florida, one cannot help but feel that the most
complex prehistoric cultures were centered, not on the
coasts but inland in the Lake Okeechobee Basin.”

While the KOE region is less understood than most
other areas of Florida, this is beginning to change.
Previously, most of our knowledge about Belle Glade
archaeology stemmed from Stirling’s work at the
culture’s type site (Stirling 1935; Willey 1949) and Sears
and colleagues’ work at Fort Center (Sears 1982), with
several articles, theses, and dissertations providing the
basis for a more regional perspective (Austin 1996, 1997;
Carr 1985; Carr et al. 1995; Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson
1990, 1991, 1994, 1996; Mitchell 1996). However,
over the past decade there has been a renewed concern
with Belle Glade archaeology, resulting in an increase
in research. Thompson, Pluckhahn, and colleagues
(Pluckhahn and Thompson 2012; Thompson et al. 2013;
Thompson and Pluckhahn 2012, 2014; Thompson 2015),



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along with Austin (2015) and Colvin (2015, 2016), have
reinvestigated Fort Center. Locascio and Colvin (2017,
2018) have initiated long-term research on Late Archaic
to Early Woodland sites southeast of Lake Okeechobee,
such as Wedgworth site, while Davenport and colleagues
have concentrated on sites east of Lake Okeechobee and
organized conference symposia on the region (Davenport
2016; Green and Smith 2018).

In 2015, the authors initiated the Kissimmee-
Okeechobee Regional Earthwork Survey (KORES)
project to gather data related to Belle Glade
monumentality. This project is aimed specifically at
taking a regional perspective on the practices surrounding
monumental construction in the KOE watershed and
includes several overarching research questions: “How
do the monumental architectural constructions of the
region relate to each other temporally? Do they conform
to the temporal patterns exhibited at Fort Center? Are
there any temporal disjunctures in the construction of
multifaceted monumental architectural features... or
were they constructed as a singular event?” (Lawres
and Colvin 2017:63). This article focuses on the latter
question by addressing how Belle Glade monumental
architecture was built.

Despite many studies of Belle Glade monumental
architecture (e.g., Carr 1985, 2016; Carr and Steele
1992, 1994; Carr et al. 1995; Carr et al. 1996; Colvin
2014, 2015, 2016; Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson 1990,
1991, 1994, 1996; Lawres 2015, 2016a, 2016b, 2017;
Lawres and Colvin 2016, 2017; Sears 1982; Thompson
2015; Thompson and Pluckhahn 2012, 2014), there has
been minimal discussion of construction sequences or
processes (Lawres et al. 2018). This is something to
address as the question ties to broader anthropological
concerns of complexity among fisher-gatherer-hunter
and hunter-gatherer societies (sensu Marquardt 1985).

Belle Glade Monumental Construction

Much of our knowledge of Belle Glade architectural
construction stems from Stirling’s work at the Belle
Glade site (Willey 1949) and Sears’s (1982) work at Fort
Center. However, this knowledge is limited. Stirling’s
investigations at Belle Glade included excavations in the
midden-mound and burial mound. The only publications
from the research were a preliminary report by Stirling
(1935) and a summary by Willey (1949).

The investigation of the Belle Glade midden-mound
gave the impression of gradual accumulation rather
than intentional construction. Willey (1949:19) noted

that while stratification in the mound was visible, it did
not correlate to “any structural features or changes in
cultural material.” He stated that Stirling only discussed
two lines of evidence for intentional construction:

A great number of house posts were uncovered

during the excavation. The position of these

in the ground gave little information about the

house plans beyond showing a rectilinear type of

construction.... On the south part of the mound

(habitation mound) there is a slight elevation

about 2 feet higher than the general level of the

mound that may represent a platform upon which

a structure was built. [Stirling 1935, in Willey

1949:19]

Stirling did not conduct excavations in this elevated
portion of the mound. Further, he did not discuss
stratification in the mound, except to note that none
was visible. The only stratification that Willey (1949)
discussed was the vertical positions of ceramics as a
means to delineate the culture-historical sequence.

In contrast, investigation of the burial mound
provided a view of multiple construction events and
occupation levels throughout its history. Willey
(1949:20-22) described an initial ground surface that
was occupied, and upon this surface a burial mound
was built of muck soils. On top of this mound, a series
of limestone slabs created a pavement of sorts. A sand
mound built on top of this appears to have been washed
by a flood. The remnants of this mound then became
an occupational area for an unknown time before a third
mound was built over what was likely the center of the
second mound. While this work provides a good, broad
picture of the construction sequence and history of use
for the burial mound, the lack of radiocarbon dating at
the time of Stirling’s excavations limits our temporal
understanding of the sequence.

Sears’s (1982) work at Fort Center in the 1960s
and 1970s provides a broader picture of Belle Glade
monumental construction practices because of the
long-term, intensive excavations he conducted. His
investigation included excavation of 18 architectural
features, which he called “artificial structures” (mostly
mounds and linear earthworks or “causeways’).
However, Sears does not delve into details of construction
except for brief hints. For example, in a discussion of
Mound | and its associated linear earthworks, he states:

Essentially, the picture is one of a low sand

mound built by throwing soil to the inside of a

circular ditch. It was built to approximately its

present height to support a single structure...

[that] probably had a floor level close to the height
LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb CIty 217



of the present mound surface. Some debris, in

aiding humus development, probably added a

few inches to mound height. [Sears 1982:132]

His descriptions of other architectural features provide a
much different view that involves alternating sequences
of occupation and small-scale construction. This form
of construction resulted in anthropogenic midden strata
separated by thin lenses of sand devoid of cultural
materials.

The most detailed account of construction activities
that Sears provides is related to the Mound-Pond
Complex, where he discusses the entire complex based
on stratigraphic ties between sediment sources and
architectural features. However, there is no discussion
of temporality, simply a description of the movement
of sediments from one area to another to build an
architectural feature. He discusses different occupation
levels and activities that led to discolorations or stains
in these levels, but he did not focus on the construction
sequence of architectural features. Thus, we are not able
to discern construction events or to determine if they
were rapid or long-term and repetitive.



“ REPUBLIC GROVE



. BAY WEST
O 20 40 80

« WINDOVER

With the exception of his brief description of the
construction of Mound 1, Sears (1982) gives an overall
impression of long-term construction activities at Fort
Center. Thompson and Pluckhahn (2012, 2014) build
upon that view. They specifically state that at Fort Center
“many earthworks demonstrate an extended history
of construction and use” (Thompson and Pluckhahn
2012:62).

Big Mound City

Environment

Big Mound City is in the J. W. Corbett Wildlife
Management Area, managed by the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in Palm
Beach County (Figure 1). It is in the southern end of the
Eastern Flatlands (Davis 1943) or Eastern Valley (White
1970) physiographic region of Florida and along the
edge of the Loxahatchee Scarp (Hale 1989; Rochelo et al.
2015; Wheeler et al. 2019). Willey (1949:73) describes
it as “a lonely and uninhabited area where the edge of
the Everglades meets the higher land of the pinewoods.”’
The Eastern Flatlands/Eastern Valley has very low

cy. a







120 160
ss ees Kilometers



Figure 1. Florida Sites Mentioned in the Text.
218 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



topographic relief, with an average elevation above mean
sea level of 7.6 to 9.1 m (25 to 30 ft) (Lichtler 1960;
White 1970). White (1970:110) describes it as having
a degree of flatness “second only to the Everglades.”
Further, he characterizes it as being a transitional zone
between a northern area of more topographic relief and
the “‘reliefless plains of the southern end of the peninsula”
(White 1970:110).

Big Mound City is characteristic of what Johnson
(1991, 1996) labels Type B circular-linear earthworks.
It contains a large oblong midden-mound partially
enclosed by a large semi-circular embankment, from
which multiple linear embankments project outward
(Figure 2). In total, there are 39 known architectural
features at Big Mound City (Rochelo et al. 2015). They
consist of 28 mounds, the semi-circular embankment,
and 10 linear embankments. Of the linear embankments,
seven are attached to the semi-circle, while three are
detached. With an architectural footprint of 81,884
m’, Big Mound City is the largest of the Belle Glade
monumental earthworks (Lawres and Colvin 2017:64).

The entirety of Big Mound City is comprised
of earthen architecture. Every elevated landform is
architecture in the confines of several flowing-water
ecosystems. They include cypress sloughs, the Allapattah
Slough or Allapattah Flats (Davis 1943; White 1970),
and cypress swamps. For approximately nine months of
the year, these ecosystems are inundated by water that is
in many places over | m (3 ft) deep (McVoy et al. 2011).
In some places, the water depth reaches nearly 2 m (6 ft).

Early Work

Matthew Stirling, as part of the Federal Emergency
Relief program, conducted the first excavations at Big
Mound City in 1933 and 1934 (Stirling 1935). This
project involved excavations in 11 mounds and the
survey and detailed topographic mapping of the site, but
otherwise produced limited information. Stirling (1935)
published only a brief description of the project in his
report to the Smithsonian Institution.

It was not until Willey (1949) published Excavations
in Southeast Florida that any substantive information
about the site was put in print. Even this is limited
because very few collections remained from the
excavations. The only part of the collections available to
Willey for analysis was a handful of sherds from Mound
9. Willey stated:

The descriptions of field operations are based upon

Mr. Garner’s notes. Other than these field records,

the only sources of information on Big Mound

City are a description in a manuscript prepared

150

Meters



Figure 2. Plan of Big Mound City. Top: Stirling’s 1933-
1934 map rotated to correct for magnetic north with box
around Mound 4. Bottom: LiDAR image of Mound 4
showing maximum length and width.
LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE Rapip CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb City 219



Table 1. Basic Information about Stirling's Excavations at Big Mound City.



Height 1

Diameter —







n/a n/a





6a n/a 2 iin Embankment | (South)
a 6x12 m 0.7m West of Midden-Mound
§ 6m 1 34 Interior of Semi-Circle
10 6m 0.7m Between Mounds 5 & 9





by Mr. M. W. Stirling and some comments and

photographs published by Mr. John K. Small.

[Willey 1949:73]

Even so, Willey provides an important glimpse
into Big Mound City in his five-page description of
the excavation results and interpretation. He provides
brief descriptions of the architecture that include the
dimensions of many features, the dimensions and depths
of the excavation units, basic soil coloration, and a
general description of the results of each excavation unit.
Table 1 provides these results.

A salient aspect of the results of these excavations is
that most of the core Type B architecture (Semi-Circle
and radiating linear embankments) is devoid of cultural
material. With the exception of the midden-mound
(Mound 4), there is no evidence of intensive occupation
on the core architectural features. Willey notes this:

Only Mound 4 was aplace of intensive occupation.

While potsherds were scattered throughout

- the body of several of the other mounds, the
excavations showed that the mounds were
intentionally built of sand and were not refuse
accumulations. The potsherds found in the sand
mounds can be accounted for in one of two ways.

Either the sherds were incidentally included in

the fill used in construction, or they were dropped

by Indians who occupied the mound tops for brief
periods after their construction. The occupation
area called Mound 4 1s proof that village detritus
was available close at hand and could have been
mixed with sand in the building of the mounds....
There is no information, unfortunately, as to

Location ©

2.4m Interior of Semi-Circle Small amount of pottery

l 10.6 m

> | Sim | 15a
3 18.2m

4) 91x10m | wa

5 30m 7.6m End of Embankment 1

Between Embnkmt. 1 Pair






#Trenches ,

Pottery, human bone

3.6m End of Embankment 3 Small amount of charcoal

7 ee Rees
mm ere




3 human skeletons, no skulls

whether there were post molds or other evidences

of permanent or semi-permanent structures on

the mounds. [Willey 1949:76] |

After Stirling, no further archaeological excavations
were conducted at Big Mound City for 81 years. There
were surface surveys and a mapping project during
that time (Rochelo et al. 2015; Wheeler and Newman
1997). However, it was not until 2015 that subsurface
archaeology resumed (see Lawres and Colvin 2017).

6m | 0.7m End of Embankment 2 cee eee Small amount of pottery
1] North of Type B Complex

KORES at Big Mound City

Our investigations represent the first component
of the long-term KORES project mentioned above.
The goal of our initial work at Big Mound City was to
collect carbonized wood samples for accelerator mass
spectrometry (AMS) dating from architectural features
using minimally invasive methods, including sediment
cores and shovel tests. We extracted cores using a JMC
PN425 Environmentalist’s Sub-Soil Probe PLUS. This
mechanism was a manually operated slide-hammer
percussion core with a 1.2-inch diameter core tube and a
core extraction tool. Extracted sediments were collected
in a 3-foot polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)
copolyester core liner. Core extensions allowed for
extraction of additional sediments from lower depths.

We extracted six cores to obtain sediments spanning
the top of the architecture to its base. The cores originated
from three different contexts: the midden-mound (Mound
4), Mound 8, and the open space inside the Semi-Circle.
Two cores came from the midden-mound, one from the
summit and one from the foot slope. Three cores were
220 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vou. 72 (4)



taken from Mound 8 and include the summit, shoulder
slope, and toe slope of the architecture. A single core
originated from the interior of the Semi-Circle (Lawres
and Colvin 2017).

In addition, we excavated four shovel tests adjacent
to the core extraction locations. These shovel tests had
two primary goals: (1) to provide a means to verify
the stratification in the sediment cores and to aid in
laboratory analysis; and (2) to provide the means to
collect carbonized wood samples from contexts with
stronger vertical control than could be provided by a
percussion core (Lawres and Colvin 2017). All shovel
tests were 50 x 50 cm squares that were excavated in 10
cm arbitrary levels in natural strata, and all the sediments
were sieved through 1/8 in (3.18 mm) hardware cloth.

Six AMS dates resulted from these initial
investigations, providing the first chronometric dates for
Big Mound City. All the dates were based on carbonized
wood samples recovered from the shovel test and
sediment core extracted from the summit of the midden-
mound (Mound 4). Figure 3 shows the sample origins,
and Table 2 and Figure 4 provide the results of the AMS
analyses.

The resulting dates suggested an occupational range
of cal 355 B.C. to A.D. 675 (originally published as cal

wW
©

&
oO

UGAMS# 24517
cal. AD 86-235
UGAMS# 24518
cal. AD 614-674

oO
©

perry
Pe
on
=
i
a)
i
oo
Sp
oy

a2
°

_UGAMS# 24519
cal. AD 70-215

_ UGAMS# 24520
cal. AD 82-227

UNEXCAVATED



356 B.C. toA.D. 674). Further, they demonstrated a tight
chronological grouping for three discrete stratigraphic
layers from 45 to 95 cmbs (centimeters below surface)
in the shovel test: Stratum I (25 to 50 cmbs), Stratum
II (50 to 75 cmbs), and Stratum IV (75 to 95 cmbs).
However, a date of cal A.D. 614 to 674 from Stratum
II was much younger than the cal A.D. 86 to 235 date
from Stratum II and the two dates, cal A.D. 70 to 215
and cal A.D. 82 to 227, from Stratum IV, raising the
possibility of bioturbation or the use of midden materials
for construction fill (Lawres and Colvin 2017:65-
66). The dates from the sediment core were obtained
from materials toward the base of the mound in order
to provide the earliest time (terminus post quem) for
occupation and construction. However, they also
produced inverted results, with the sample from the
deeper context producing a younger date.

While the dates provided new insight into Belle
Glade monumentality and allowed us to begin evaluating
Johnson’s (1991, 1996) chronology, they also raised
additional questions. The two most pressing questions
concerned the inverted dates in the vertical sequence
and the temporal relationship of the midden-mound to
other architectural features at the site: (1) were they a
result of bioturbation or did they reflect Belle Glade

_-Slump
p-Stratum VIII

Stratum NII

UGAMS# 26599 )
cal. 356-284 BC, 256-249 BC
235-148 BC, 141-112 BC

UGAMS# 26600 *
cal. AD 250-381

Figure 3. Carbonized Wood Sample Locations from 2015 KORES Project. Left: Shovel test. Right: Sediment core.
LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG MounpbD CIty 221



Table 2. AMS D







UGAMS# | ST3 Lvl 6,
OAS ee 45-50 cmbs
UGAMS# | ya ST3 Lvl 7,
Oey ca 50-60 embs
UGAMS#| | ST3LvI 10,
24519 sania. hl 75-85 cmbs


















UGAMS# Core 1, Section 3, AD 255-301,
26600 | “MATA! | 959 cmbs ee AD 316-344

tes from 2015 KORES Project at Big Mound City. Adapted from Lawres and Colvin (2017:Table 2).

1850 + 25 AD 129-214 AD 86-235
1380 + 25 AD 641-665 AD 614-674
AD 75-139,



AD 90-100, AD 123-
180, AD 186-214 ee





UGAMS# Heh aes S13 Lai fi,
Das 85-95 cmbs
UGAMS# Core 1, Section 3,
36599 charcoal 345 cmbs XIV “71602 75












350-310 BC, 356-284 BC, 256-249
oa BC, 235-148 BC,
4 141-112, BC



AD 250-381

* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (o'*) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **All dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).



Calibrated date (calBC/calAD)
Figure 4. Calibrated AMS Dates from 2015 KORES Project (problematic dates removed).

monumental practices? and (2) how do these dates relate
to architectural features outside the midden-mound? To
address this, the senior author expanded the KORES
project at Big Mound City in 2017. He focused on the
core Type B architectural elements: the midden-mound,
Semi-Circle, and radiating linear embankments. This
involved a more in-depth evaluation of the midden-
mound and an assessment of the radiating linear
embankments. This article focuses on the midden-
mound construction sequence.

Methods

To evaluate the midden-mound in 2017, a series of six
1 x 1 m test units were excavated along the summit and
shoulder slopes of the mound. These units were placed
along a transect running W/SW at 251°, approximately
10° S of perpendicular to the long axis of the mound.
The 2017 transect was chosen based on the location of
the 2015 investigations. It was placed near the 2015
transect, running down the opposite, western slope of the
mound (Figure 5).
228 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



150

Meters

eee Vieters
om oo 20 30 40



Figure 5. Mound 4 and Plan of Excavations.

The first five units are best described as a trench,
while the sixth was located 3 m farther down slope. The
reason for the offset of the sixth unit was the presence
of a very large live oak (Quercus virginianus) tree. The
offset also provided an additional stratigraphic view of
the mound. This view provided a broader horizontal
picture of stratification, showing the continuation of
contiguous strata.

All test units utilized a single datum placed at the
summit of the mound near the southeast corner of Test
Unit 1. The datum was 15 cm above the ground surface.
We excavated units in a stepped fashion, with the intent
to excavate the first two units to 100 cmbd (centimeters
below datum), the second two units to 200 cmbd, and the
fifth unit to 300 cmbd. We excavated in 10-cm arbitrary
levels in natural strata, with all sediments sieved through
1/8-inch (3.18 mm) hardware mesh. The University
of Florida’s Department of Anthropology African
Archaeology Laboratory is housing the recovered
materials until completion of the project. Additional
analyses of ceramics were conducted at Florida Atlantic
University’s Department of Anthropology. | Upon
completion of the project, all materials will be transferred
to the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research for
curation.

The goal of these excavations was to reach the base
of the mound to expose the full stratigraphic sequence
to assess mound construction. However, we terminated
Test Unit 1 early due to an extremely dense root ball of a
sabal palm (Sabal palmetto) adjacent to the unit. Further,
due to almost daily heavy rains, and encountering
numerous sedimentary stains that we treated as features,
the depth goals were not met. We excavated Test Units
3, 4, and 5 to a depth of 180 cmbd. To overcome this
and reach the base of the mound (which we estimated to
be at 280 cmbd based on the observed vertical difference
between the summit of the mound and the off-mound
ground surface), 50 x 50 cm shovel test windows were
excavated in Test Units 3 and 5. The Test Unit 5 shovel
test accomplished this task, which exposed a stratum
of underlying peat at 280 cmbd. Because dating the
construction was a primary concern of this project,
we made an effort to collect in situ carbon samples
throughout the excavations. We submitted the samples
to the University of Georgia’s Center for Applied Isotope
Studies for AMS dating.

Results

Our excavations in Big Mound City’s midden-
mound (Mound 4) confirmed some previous work while
revealing a new picture of the mound’s structure. As
LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb CIty

223



noted by earlier investigators, the midden is vertically
restricted to the uppermost portion of the mound (Willey
1949). In fact, in his report of Stirling’s investigations,
Willey (1949:75) states a lack of artifacts below 61 cmbs
(24 inches below surface). Our excavations confirmed
this, with roughly 98% of all artifacts and ecofacts
originating from 0 to 60 cmbs. The remaining materials
were scattered throughout the sediments below but not
in any concentration. Thus, the midden of this “midden-
mound” is in the top portion of the mound.

Soil Profile

The stratigraphic sequence of Mound 4 presents a
complicated picture unlike anything reported previously
for Belle Glade monumental architecture. Figures 6
and 7 present the full stratigraphic sequence. In these
figures, each test unit is contiguously placed in horizontal
fashion as measured from the site datum. Thus, along
the transect, Test Unit 1 is 0 to 100 cm, Test Unit 2 is
100 to 200 cm, Test Unit 3 is 200 to 300 cm, Test Unit 4
is 300 to 400 cm, and Test Unit 5 1s 400 to 500 cm. The

one exception is Test Unit 7, which is at 800 to 900 cm
from the site datum. Test Unit 6 (500 to 600 cm) was
planned, but was not excavated.

The contiguous, anthropogenic midden soils (Strata
I, II, and III) are restricted to the upper portion of the
mound, where the vast majority of cultural materials
were recovered. Stratum I is characterized by poorly
sorted fine sand with a Munsell classification of 10YR3/1
(very dark gray) mottled with lOYR6/1 (gray). Stratum
II consists of poorly sorted fine sand of 1OYR3/2 (very
dark grayish brown). Stratum III is well sorted fine sand
of 10YRS5/1 (gray). The south sides of Test Units 1 and 2
contain a large root ball of a sabal palm (Sabal palmetto)
tree with fine sand of 10YR3/1 (very dark gray) that
interrupts Strata I] and Hin these units. Further, Stratum
III is not continuous through all test units, exhibiting a
break in Test Unit 3.

Beneath these strata, the picture becomes much more
complicated. The underlying strata are relatively devoid
of cultural materials. Directly underlying Stratum III is
Stratum IV. This stratum of well sorted very fine sand

Table 3. Sedimentary Lenses Encountered During Excavations and Their Associated Stratum and Munsell Designation.

Lens Stratum




Munch



|B V 10YR3/1 (very dark gray)
EZ V LOYR7/1 (light gray)













a oe

Ly VI

L3 IV LOYRS/ 1 (gray)
L4 V 1OYR7/1 (ight gray)
ES yy. 1OYR7/1 (light gray)



L6 V 1OYR7/1 (light gray)
a) V LOYR6/1 (gray)
L8 VI

10YR3/1 (very dark gray) mottled with 1OYR6/1 (gray)
10YR3/1 (very dark dray)





1OYR6/1 (gray) mottled with 10YR3/1 (very dark Sa 0 oN





[i i

oy VI 1OYR6/1 (gray)

L18 VI 1OYRS5/2 (grayish brown)
Lig IV LOYRS5/2 (grayish brown)
L260 VI 1OYR6/1 (gray)







————________—_|

L10 VI LOYR2/1 (black)

Lt VI LOYR2/1 (black)
eZ VI

Li3 VI LOYR7/1 (light gray)
L14 VI 1OYRS/I (gray)

£15 VI 1OYR6/1 (gray)

L16 VI 1OYRS/1 (gray)







iA VI 1OYR6/1 (gray) |
224 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



200 om

Hem
100 cm

Oem

{00 em



LEGEND
1: = 10YR3/1 (very dark gray) mottled
with LOYRG6/1 (gray)
TI: 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown)
Il: 10YR5/1 (gray)
1V: 10YR7/1 (ight gray)
10YR4/3 (Brown)
: 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown)
sediment lenses
UGAMS 37159: cal. AD 650-690, AD 750-760
UGAMS 37160: cal. AD 335-420
UGAMS 37158: cal. AD 420-540
UGAMS 37157: cal. AD 650-690, AD 750-760
UGAMS 37161: cal. AD 340-420





200 cm







Pop r <<



300 em



300 em
40) cm
300 cm

0 cm

100 cm |

VI Ls A 18 | L9
L10 Eee TT
2010 cm
Vi Li6 =~ 119
ee a ——I—T.17
1.18

BIG MOUND CITY, MOUND 4
Test Units 1-5, South Wall Profile

300 cnn

Figure 6. South Wall Profile in Test Units 1 through 5. Note in situ carbonized wood samples (A through E).

of 10YR7/1 (light gray) is continuous through Test
Units 2 through 5 and Test Unit 7, but it arcs upward to
obscure Stratum II throughout most of Test Unit 3. This
suggests that when Stratum III was placed on Stratum
IV, it filled depressions adjacent to the upward arc of
Stratum IV visible in the profile. Further, in Test Unit
4 and the southernmost portion of Test Unit 5 is a large,
oblong pocket (L3 in Figure 6) of well sorted fine sand
that matches Stratum III (1OYRS5/1, gray).

Underlying Stratum IV is Stratum V, which consists
of well sorted very fine sand of 1OYR4/3 (brown) on top
of Stratum VI. Stratum V, however, is not continuous
throughout the trench. It is restricted to Test Units 2
through 4. Further, at the base of Stratum V are four
oblong lenses of sediment. Three of these match the
Munsell classification of Stratum IV (1OYR7/1, light
gray), and the fourth has a classification of 10YR6/1
(gray). All these lenses consist of well sorted very fine
sand.

Stratum VI, comprised of well sorted very fine sand
of 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown), underlies Stratum

V in Test Units 3 and 4. However, in Test Units 5 and
7, this Stratum VI underlies Stratum IV. Throughout all
these test units, Stratum VI exhibits multiple smaller,
roughly oblong pockets of sediments of various Munsell
classifications (Table 3). These lenses are labeled L1
through L21 in Figure 6, Figure 7, and Table 3.

Pockets or Lenses

We encountered these pockets of sediments
throughout the excavations. They appeared to be circular
stains because we typically identified them at their apical
point. We noted them as features and pedestaled them
as we excavated the surrounding matrix. This quickly
revealed the stains spreading and then dissipating
relatively shallowly. There were some, however, that
were large enough to appear as thin lenses in the larger
matrices.

These pockets appear to be evidence of basket
loading. We interpret them as evidence that native
people did not construct this mound in distinct stages,
with each stage associated with a distinct sedimentary
LAWRES AND COLVIN

ODE em

1G em

Test Unit 6

(Unexcavated)



200 om anes

LEGEND
1OYR3/1 (very dark gray) mottled
with 10YRG/1 (gray)
1OYR3/2 (very dark grayish brown)
: 10YR5/1 (gray)
1OYR7/1 (ight gray)

sediment lenses

UGAMS 37162: cal. AD 770-885



300 em



LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounpb CIty 225

{hem

hii ef 100 em
| Eee eda

Ill

ee

gee

Foe

‘mtn

md
VI ot

ez

«20 crn

: 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown) | BIG MOUND CITY, MOUND 4
Test Units 6 and 7, South Wall Profile

SOO em

Figure 7. South Wall Profile in Test Unit 7. Note in situ carbonized wood sample (F).
This is a westward downhill continuation of the profile shown in Figure 6.

source. Rather, the evidence suggests that people built
the mound in rapid fashion using multiple sources of
sediments or, at the very least, sediments from the same
source but at different depths (i.e., A Horizon, E Horizon,
Bh Horizon, etc.). The latter is more likely given that
shifts in soil horizons occur at shallow depths in this
region because of the aqueous nature of the landscape
(inundated for 9 to 10 months of the year).

As Sherwood and Kidder (2011:72) note, basket
loading is a term referring to “sedimentological structures
composed of individual ‘loads’ or separate deposits that
are typically distinguishable by distinct lithostratigraphic
boundaries that can result in a variegated appearance in
profile.” Often, construction is comprised of loaded fills,
which do not undergo homogenization before deposition
(Sherwood and Kidder 2011:77). In such cases, the result
is a profile exhibiting a hodgepodge of discrete soil types
and colors. However, in some cases, even when loaded
fills are used, individual basket loads contain sediments
of similar enough coloration and texture that when they

are deposited atop one another, they accumulate into a
larger mass where individual loading boundaries are no
longer visible.

In the case of our profile in Mound 4, the stratigraphic
sequence suggests loaded fills. Individual basket loads
are visible in plan view as “lens-shaped blob[s] of dirt”
(Peacock 2005:78). In profile, when encountered near
their midsection, they appear as crescent-like shapes,
and when they are encountered closer to their edges, they
appear in shapes that are amorphous. The boundaries
of these basket-loads are easily distinguished from the
larger matrix because of differences in color and texture
(see Table 3).

The individual loads include L1 through L7, L9
through L13, L15, and L21 in Figures 6 and 7. L16
through L20 may represent individual loads, but because
of their locations adjacent to east or west walls, their
extent is unknown. Larger mantles of accumulated
basket loads include L8 and L14, which may extend to
include L16. Stratum V also represents a large mantle
226 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vo. 72 (4)



where individual loading boundaries are not visible
because of the similarity in coloration and texture of
individual loads. Strata IV and VI are massive loaded
fills (Sherwood and Kidder 2011:77-78) as well. Not
only do they contain the same materials just mentioned,
they also exhibit individual basket loads of sediments
with different coloration and/or textures in their larger
matrices.

Further, the distribution of individual loading
boundaries of L4 through L12 and the arcing shape of this
distribution are suggestive. This arc mirrors the slope of
the mound surface. This suggests deposition of these
lenses on a sloping surface as individual basket loads. If
these lenses were part of a homogenized mantle of soil,
or even a mantle of loaded fill of the same coloration
and texture (i.e., a massive loaded fill), they would not
appear as individual features in the profile. Instead, each
lens has a boundary to it, and these individual boundaries
are likely indicative of individual baskets, or other
containers, that builders of Big Mound City used in the
process of making Mound 4. Similar patterns are visible
in the profiles of Hedgepeth Mounds (Saunders and
Allen 1994). In Hedgepeth profiles, individual loading
boundaries are visible in larger matrices, and individual
loads follow slopes on which they were deposited (see
Saunders and Allen 1994:Figure 4).

In addition, this arcing distribution of lenses
undermines arguments that these could represent animal
burrows. The most likely candidate for making burrows
of the shapes and sizes of these lenses is the gopher
tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). However, this tortoise
is typically associated with pine forests (Jones and Dorr
2004; McRae et al. 1981), an ecosystem not correlated
with the wooded swamp of Big Mound City. It 1s also
unlikely that they would mimic the slope of the surface
as gopher tortoise burrows are typically a single long,
winding tunnel running up to 3 m (10 ft) beneath the
ground surface (Jones and Dorr 2004).

Soil Composition

Additional evidence for construction speed can
be found in pedogenic processes (Kidder et al. 2009;
Ortmann and Kidder 2013). Except for biotic activity
and weathering in the upper 40 cm of the stratigraphic
sequence, evidence for pedogenic development in the
mound is lacking. If pauses in construction occurred
and lasted more than a few weeks, we would expect the
development of features such as surface crusts (Valentin
and Bresson 1992) and thus evidence for lithologic
discontinuities (Schaetzl 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson
2005).

When a surface is exposed to weathering, several
types of soil crusts can form, including structural crusts,
erosional crusts, and depositional crusts (Valentin 1991;
Valentin and Bresson 1992). There are further subtypes
of crusts, and their formation is time-dependent. Over
time, one crust will develop into another if surface
exposure is continuous (Bresson and Boiffin 1990;
Valentin and Bresson 1992; Valentin 1991). Further, the
spatial distribution of crusts is dependent on topography.
In sandy soil, the initial crust formed will be a structural
Sieving crust due to exposure to water drop impact.
However, if crust forms on a flat surface, long-term
exposure to rain will cause formation of a crater, and in
that crater, a depositional crust will form. In contexts
with topographic relief, there is a space-dependent
sequence of crust development: “structural crusts
upslope, erosion crusts, and possibly coarse pavement
crusts midslope, and depositional crusts downslope”
(Valentin and Bresson 1992:238).

The structural crust is of interest because architecture
creates topographic relief that provides the opportunity
to test contexts considered upslope (i.e., the summit).
The structural crust that forms upslope (resulting from
rainfall water drop impacts) is a direct form of surface
weathering. The impacts of water drops creates micro-
craters that vertically sort particles in a mechanical
sieving process resulting in finer particles forced into
a deeper depositional context (Valentin and Bresson
1992:231). There are several types of structural crusts
dependent on a number of conditions, such as sediment
type, climatic conditions, and the rate of formation.

Of interest to the architectural context of this study
is the structural sieving crust, which is comprised “of
a layer of loose skeleton grains overlaying a plasmic
layer” (Valentin and Bresson 1992:230). These skeleton
grains are the coarse fraction, or sand-sized particles, of
a soil’s structure while the plasma is the fine particles
and organic matter that are soluble and mobile in
vertical profiles (Schaetzl and Anderson 2005:776).
Because sand-sized particles are relatively immobile in
soils, their vertical continuity through soil profiles is a
well-established metric for identifying discontinuities
(Schaetzl 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson 2005:218-225),
and the presence of a sieving crust, which is characterized
by a higher concentration of sand-sized particles above a
concentration of fine particles due to the sorting process,
is just such a discontinuity.

Particle size distribution analyses show these
are lacking in the matrices of Mound 4 (Figure 8).
What these distributions show is the areas with larger
proportions of fine particles (clay-sized particles
LAWRES AND COLVIN LARGE-SCALE RApiIp CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounp City az?



Particle Size Distributions
O% 10% 20% 30% A0% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

0-10 cm
10-20 cm
20-30 cm
30-35 cm
35-40 cm
40-50 cm
50-60 cm
60-65 cm
65-70 cm
70-80 cm
80-90 cm

90-100 cm
100-110 cm
110-120 cm
120-125 cm
125-130 cm
130-140 cm
140-145 cm
145-150 cm
150-160 cm
160-170 cm
170-180 cm
180-190 cm
190-200 cm
200-210 cm
210-220 cm
220-230 cm
230-240 cm
240-250 cm
250-260 cm
260-270 cm
270-280 cm
280-290 cm
290-295 cm



M<2 um 2-50 um 50-2000 um

Figure 8. Particle Size Distribution in Mound 4 Test Units. Bars show percent volume of clay-sized (< 2 nm),
silt-sized (2 to 50 um), and sand-sized (50 to 2000 1m) particles. Note that larger grains overwhelm the finer particles.
228 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



of < 2 um, and silt-sized particles of 2 to 50 um) are
associated primarily with the midden in the upper 60
cmbd of the profile and with the base of the mound
(260 to 280 cmbd). The former association is expected
given that it correlates with the midden strata and its
chemical and physical weathering of pottery, faunal
remains, and other anthropogenic materials. The latter
association correlates with the process of lessivage, or
clay translocation (Schaetzl and Anderson 2005), which
is the process in which fine particles and minerals go into
suspension as water percolates downward through the
solum (Duchaufour 1998).

If weathering processes were at play deeper in the
sequence, we would expect the edges of basket loads
to exhibit evidence of weathering processes, such as
oxidation along their edges (see Kidder et al. 2009 for an
example) or the leaching of coloration due to eluviation
and illuviation (Duchaufour 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson

2005). The latter processes, along with pedoturbation,
would obliterate the boundaries of individual basket
loads. As Figures 6, 7, 9 and 10 demonstrate, this is not
the case for Mound 4. The loading boundaries are clearly
visible for L1 through L21. In addition, the boundaries
of the massive loaded fills of Strata IV, V, and VI are
clearly visible, suggesting that even the deposition and
burial of the larger mantles of loaded fill was fast.

It should be noted that the coloration of Strata V and
VI (OYR4/3 and 10YR3/2, respectively) are similar to
that of a Bh Horizon. However, their structure suggests
differences. While both contain multiple lenticular
deposits in their matrices, their overall structure
would be described as loose, nonplastic, massive, and
structureless. They are both comprised of well sorted,
very fine sand, with minimal clay- and _ silt-sized
particles. Stratum V exhibits an average percentage of
0.8% clay-sized particles, 1.5% silt-sized particles, and



Figure 9. Test Unit 5 North Wall Profile. Arrows point to individual loading boundaries.
LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounpb City 229



Figure 10. Northeast Corner in Test Unit 3. Arrow points
to individual loading boundary.

97.7% sand-sized particles. Stratum VI, when removing
samples from the bottom 30 cm to account for lessivage,
exhibits an average of 0.9% clay-sized particles, 1.8%
silt-sized particles, and 97.2% sand-sized particles. In
the bottom 30 cm of Stratum VI, the clay-sized particles
remain the same, but silt-sized particles increase to an
average of 2.5% and sand-sized particles decrease to
96.6%.

These particulate percentages (clay and silt) are
quite telling about the nature of these strata as they have
a significantly smaller percentage of silt-sized particles
than the strata above them, which average 0.8% clay-
sized particles, 2.6% silt-sized particles, and 96.6%
sand-sized particles. This suggests that illuviation did
not play a role in the formation of these strata because
if it did, they should have a higher percentage of both
clay- and silt-sized particles (Duchaufour 1998; Schaetzl
and Anderson 2005). Further, if illuviation were the
formative process behind these strata, we would expect a
structure to form into either angular or subangular blocky
pedons, but instead these strata are unconsolidated and
structureless.



Radiocarbon Dating

While individual strata represent individual episodes
of deposition, the stratigraphic and sedimentary
evidence suggest these episodes are part of a single
mound-building event. This is further corroborated by
radiocarbon data. Our excavations in the midden-mound
(Mound 4) of Big Mound City resulted in the collection of
17 in situ samples of charred botanical materials. These
samples ranged in depth from 68 cmbd to 165 cmbd. An
additional 4,525 small fragments (539.10 g) of charred
botanicals were recovered during sieving. Six of the in
situ samples (UGAMS# 37157, 37158, 37159, 37160,
37161, and 37162) were selected for AMS analysis (see
Figure 6).

These samples were selected because of their
stratigraphic context at either the top or base of a stratum.
None of them was selected from the midden due to
evidence of disturbance near the surface (e.g., tree falls,
hog rooting, etc.). We chose these samples because of
their relatively large size, the smallest was approximately
2 cm in diameter and the largest approximately 5 cm.
While AMS techniques can produce dates from much
smaller amounts of carbonaceous material, size became
a factor in our selection of samples because of the
stratigraphic evidence that suggested rapid construction.
Size is affected by turbation in matrices, thus we
selected specimens in a size range with limited potential
for vertical migration in the sediments. Further, the
presence of clearly demarcated loading boundaries, both
individual and massive, provides further support for the
in situ deposition of these larger fragments of charred
wood rather than their vertical migration through the
matrices. Four additional samples (UGAMS# 37153,
37154, 37155, and 37156) were selected from the 2015
sediment core for AMS analysis to provide dates for
depths between the in situ samples and the basal samples
from the 2015 research (UGAMS# 26599 and 26600)
(Figure 11).

Radiocarbon ages were calibrated with OxCal v4.3
software (OxCal 2019; Bronk Ramsey 2001) using the
IntCall3 calibration curve (Reimer et al. 2013). All
dates in this discussion represent 2-sigma results. The
results of the 10 new AMS analyses show a date range of
cal A.D. 135 to 255 through cal A.D. 1025 to 1155 (Table
4). Six of these dates, however, cluster between cal A.D.
300 and A.D. 560. Another three dates cluster between
cal A.D. 650 and A.D. 885. The tenth date, which does
not cluster with any of the others, is cal A.D. 1025 to
1155. While at first glance this seems like an outlier, on
review of the stratigraphic evidence it provides a new
“earliest possible time” (terminus post quem) for the
construction of Mound 4.
230

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Core 1 (C1) Section 1 (S1)
0

Depth (cmbs)

incest ee ee

10

20

40

50

60

80

90

Duff Layer

Stratum |

Stratum Ila-c

Core 1 (C1) Section 2 (82)

ya






110

UGAMS# 37153
eal. AD 1025-1155

UGAMS# 37154 120
cal. AD 430-560

ot 130 a

140

Depth (cmbs

150

160

UGAMS# 37155
cal. AD 335-430, AD 495-510,

AD 520-530
AD 520-53 170

frccec
4

Mi



UGAMS# 37156
cal. AD 135-255, AD 300-320

Figure 11. Sediment Core with Sample Locations.

Slump

Stratum Lla-b

Stratum IV

Stratum Va-c

Stratum V1

Stratum Vila-f

UGAMS# 26599

cal. 356-284 BC, 256-249 BC 7-63
235-148 BC, 141-112 BC

UGAMS# 26600

cal. AD 250-381

Core 1 (C1) Section 3 (S3)
— ae Slump

Stratum VIII

193
Stratum IX
203

“y ’ E *
213 Stratum X

—Stratum XI

Depth (cmbs)

“Stratum XI]

Stratum XIUT

243

“Stratum XNIVa-e

Stratum XV

Shading shows sections with no recovery.
LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounp CITy

231



Table 4. AMS Dates from 2017 KORES Project at Mound

























UGAMS# | charcoal | TU4Lvl7,68cmbd | Ill
37159 (in situ) (37 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal TUS5 Lvl 10 90 cmbd II
37160 (in situ) (51 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TU7 Lvl 14, 131 cmbd Il
87162 (in situ) (56 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TU3 Lvl 11, 105 cmbd II
37158 (in situ) (79 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TU3 Lvl 11, 100 cmbd
crane (in situ) (74 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal | TUS Lvl 13, 128 cmbd IV
37161 | (insitu) (93 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal Core |. Section 2, IV
37153 120 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal Core 1. Section Z. V
37154 130 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal Core t, Section 7 VII
a 1s 160 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal Core 1, Section 2, VII
37150 180 cmbs







4, Big

R200 20) 25.45

a 1580 +90) 227 33
iv | ae ces AD 655-675 AD 650-690,
AD 750-760
1660+20| -25.88 AD 355-365, AD 340-420

AD 380-415





ound City.








oa te AD 655-675

AD 650-690,

AD 750-760

1670+ 20) -25.58 AD 350-370, AD 335-420
AD 380-405

AD 775-780,




AD 790-830,

AD 770-885

AD 420-540

AD 835-870
AD 425-435,

AD 450-470,
AD 485-535



AD 1030-1050,
AD 1085-1125,
AD 1135-1150









AD 1025-1155



[S50 = 20

AD 430-490, AD 430-560
AD 530-550

AD 360-365,

FOoU = 25 AD 335-430,
AD 495-510,

AD 520-530

AD 380-425










1800+ 20) -26.15 AD 145-155, AD 133-255,
AD 170-195, AD 300-320
AD 210-250



* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (o13) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **AII dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).

When we group these dates by stratum, and by
depth in individual strata (rather than looking at clusters
of dates), a picture begins to emerge that supports the
stratigraphic evidence discussed previously. In Stratum
III are four samples that date broadly between cal A.D.
335 and 885. However, when considering depth, the
dates do not suggest a gradual development for Stratum
Il. Rather than exhibiting a trend of younger ages as
depth decreases, as would be expected for a gradually
developed stratum, the dates have no order. The three
dates from Stratum IV also demonstrate this pattern.
While the dates are broadly between cal A.D. 340 and
cal A.D. 1155, they are not ordered chronologically by
depth in Stratum IV. In fact, the youngest date, cal A.D.
1025 to 1155, originated near the base of that stratum.
While Stratum V only has a single date, cal A.D. 430 to
560, this date is younger than the oldest date for Stratum
IV above it. Stratum VII is the only one where dates are
ordered chronologically when sorted by depth.

When we combine these new dates with the six
from 2015, the possibility of gradual development starts

to fade. As shown in Figure 12, the total sequence of
16 dates paints a picture of date reversals both between
and within strata. Stratum II exhibits a date older than
any date from Stratum III or Stratum V, and the Stratum
II date is close to the same ranges of two dates from
Stratum IV and one date from Stratum VII.

Date reversals within individual strata are also
apparent, with reversals in Strata III, IV, and XIV
(Figure 12). When the five dates for Stratum III are
sorted by depth, the three deepest dates point to gradual
development because they show a trend of decreasing
age with decreasing depth, but one of the dates above
them is older than all of them and another date is older
than the youngest of the three that are in sequence.
Stratum IV also has five dates, and when sorted by depth,
the dates are disorderly. In addition, the cal A.D. 1025
to 1155 date of a sample toward the base of Stratum IV
is the youngest in the entire sequence of dates, providing
anew terminus post quem. The two dates from Stratum
XIV, which is associated with the base of Mound 4, also
exhibit a reversal when the dates are sorted by depth.
232

THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)







Strat ll |




R_Date





Strat Hl




R_Date

R_Date 3




R_Date }





R_Date ;




R_Date

Strat IV _





R_Date




R_Date |





R_Date ,




R_Date 3




R_Date 2

Strat V






R_ Date 2



200 IcalBC/tcalAD 201 401 601 801 1001
Calibrated date (calBC/calAD)



400

Figure 12. All AMS Calibrated 2-Sigma Radiocarbon Dates from Big Mound City’s Mound 4
Sorted by Stratum and Depth Within Stratum. Time is on horizontal axis, depth is on vertical axis.
LAWRES AND COLVIN

The deepest of the dates for Stratum XIV, which is also
the deepest of all dates for Mound 4, has a much older
date above it, which happens to be the oldest for the
mound.

These data substantiate the view presented by the
stratification and soils. Rather than a gradually developed
midden-mound, we are looking at an intentionally, rapidly
constructed mound that is capped by a midden. Not only
do the data preclude evidence for gradual development,
the similarity in dates between strata suggests an event
rather than a protracted process. For instance, four
dates (from Strata II, IV, and VII) cluster between cal
A.D. 70 and 255; three dates (from Strata II, IV, and
VII) cluster between cal A.D. 335 and 420; two dates
(from Strata III and V) cluster from cal A.D. 420 to 560;
and three dates (from Strata III and IV) cluster between
cal A.D. 615 and 690. This clustering of dates between
Strata is indicative of using deposits of similar age for
construction. In other words, these clustered ages do
not represent occupational spans or specific construction
episodes, but instead date the past landscape deposits
mined for construction materials. The differences in the
ages of the clusters suggest that sediments might have
been mined from different depths and that multiple past
landscape surfaces may be represented in the loaded fills
of Big Mound City’s Mound 4.

Finally, based on data currently at hand, we suggest
that the earliest possible date range for construction is
cal A.D. 1025 to 1155, placing construction in the early
portion of the Belle Glade HI period, which Johnson
(1991, 1996) argues was when all Type B circular-linear
earthworks were built. This date is from a sample from
the base of Stratum IV. Because all the other dates are
older, this particular date provides us with the earliest
possible time for construction.

Discussion

Our excavations provide a new view of Belle Glade
monumentality and allow an evaluation ofthe construction
sequence in a portion of Mound 4. Previous research at
other Type B earthworks describes the midden-mounds
of these sites as comprised of three layers. At the base
is either a midden or a stratum of muck or peat, which
is overlain by a constructed stratum of light sand, which
in turn is covered by a midden stratum (Carr and Steele
1994; Carr et al. 1995). This is similar to the Belle Glade
burial mound, which Willey (1949:20-23) describes as
comprised of three distinct mounds superimposed on top
of an old midden.

Mound 4 at Big Mound City, however, provides

LARGE-SCALE Rapip CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounp City 233

us with a different view. Rather than having three
stratigraphic layers, Mound 4 exhibits evidence of large-
scale construction using multiple sediment sources
and a midden on top of the constructed feature. While
Willey (1949:75) describes Mound 4 as a “refuse or
habitation mound,” he also notes that the midden deposit
is vertically restricted to the mound’s uppermost portion
and that “no artifacts were found below the 24-inch
level.” He singles out Mound 4 as the only one at Big
Mound City with evidence of intensive occupation and
that “the excavations showed that the [other] mounds
were intentionally built of sand and were not refuse
accumulations” (Willey 1949:76).

As discussed above, our 2017 excavations support
Willey’s assertion of a vertically restricted midden, with
more than 98% of all artifacts and ecofacts found in
the upper 60 cm of the test units. The remaining 2%
were scattered through the lower sediments and had
no evidence of concentrations. Most were recovered
individually in the screen. Like Willey’s (1949)
explanation for the small amounts of artifacts recovered
in the site’s other mounds, these were likely incidental
inclusions in construction materials.

Evaluating the strata and soils exposed by our
excavations provides a view of the construction
sequence of this massive architectural feature. The
midden-mound (see Figures 6 and 7) exhibits intentional
construction and evidence of multiple sediment sources.
The AMS dates support this view. There are now 16
AMS dates from Big Mound City’s midden-mound.
Table 5 and Figure 12 show the calibrated results of
all the AMS dates grouped by stratum and sorted by
depth within strata. If this mound were the result of
gradual accumulation of refuse, we would expect the
AMS plot to exhibit temporal continuity in reference
to depth. However, an evaluation of these dates shows
temporal nonconformity within stratigraphic sequences
that substantiates the view of this architectural feature as
comprised of multiple sediment sources.

These new data undermine the previous view we
(Lawres and Colvin 2017) put forth for an occupational
range of cal 355 B.C. to A.D. 675 for the site. Rather, the
combination of the stratigraphic and AMS data suggest
that Big Mound City’s Mound 4 was constructed rapidly
in at least one construction event comprised of several
individual depositional episodes. Based on the date
from sample UGAMS# 37153, the earliest possible time
(terminus post quem) for this event is cal A.D. 1025 to
1155, placing construction of this portion of the mound
in the early Belle Glade III period. However, no dates
have been obtained from the midden in the uppermost
234 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 2019 VoL. 72 (4)



Table 5. All AMS Dates from Big Mound City’s Mound 4 Sorted by Stratum and Depth Within Stratum.
Adapted from Lawres (2019:Table 9-4).











bs, 9850 4.25-| 26.2 AD 130-215 AD 85-235
AD 650-690
= am ie 5
1340420] -25.85 AD 655-675 ne eee
AD 350-370,
1670 +20 | -25.58 Re ae AD 335-420
iG80+ 251 263 AD 640-665 AD 615-675
AD 775-780,
1200+ 20) -25.15 AD 790-830, AD 770-885
AD 835-870
AD 425-435,
iss0 430 | 227-34 AD 450-470, AD 420-540
AD 485-535
UGAMS# | charcoal TU3 Lvl 11, AD 650-690
ms ie - 9
aie? | Gates) | 100 cmbd G4 cbs) De eee ere AD 750-760
UGAMS# ST3 Lvl 10, AD 75-140,
24519 75-85 cmbs ee AD 200-205 ee
AD 90-100,
ee charcoal as re | 60+ 25°) 5% AD 125-180. AD 80-225
AD 185-215
UGAMS# | charcoal Tila LAE TS AD 355-365
2 + - 9 f ‘
37161 128 cmbd (93 cmbs) ee ene AD 380-415 pe
| AD 1030-1050,
or charcoal os oe Bel gah ay 96 13 AD 1085-1125, AD 1025-1155
AD 1135-1150
UGAMS# Core | Section.2. AD 430-490,
37154 130 cmbs Aas beg AD 530-550 es

UGAMS# h | ST3 Lvl 6,
wae 45-50 cmbs
UGAMS# | charcoal TU4 Lvl 7,
a7 139 (in situ) | 68 cmbd (37 cmbs)

UGAMS# | charcoal ws Lv 10,
37160 (in situ) | 90 cmbd (51 cmbs)

UGAMS# | ST3 Lvl 7,
aia 50-60 cmbs

UGAMS# | charcoal ty? Lat id,
37162 (in situ) | 131 cmbd (56 cmbs)

I
:
I

I
I
I

I








UGAMS#
37158

charcoal TLS Lvl ii,

I
in situ) | 105 cmbd (79 cmbs)



I
J
|
Ul
I
V

=

















: AD 335-430,
ee eee ee | a | 1690425) 26,82 as elie AD 495-510,
37155 160 cmbs AD 380-425 AD 520-530




AD 145-155,
AD 170-195, AD 135-255,

UGAMS# Core 1, Section 2
charcoal : : Vil LAO 220) 1) 26.15
37156 sect 180 cmbs ae AD 300-320
355-285 BC,
UGAMS# Core 1, Section 3, 350-310 BC, 255-250 BC,
pape | ee 245 cmbs See ase Wes 210-170 BC 235-150 BC,
140-110 BC

UGAMS# Cove |, Section 3, AD 255-300,

* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (013) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **All dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).


















LAWRES AND COLVIN

LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BIG Mounpb CIty 235



36 cmbs (with modern and historic disturbances), so it is
possible that the earliest construction date could be later
than provided by the UGAMS# 37153 sample.

These data address some questions posed about the
temporality of Belle Glade monumental construction
in our previous publication. As discussed above, our
previous work identified a tight chronological grouping
for three distinct strata. This raised questions of the
temporality of construction, such as:

When were the midden-mounds first constructed

and were they constructed intentionally, as

the unintentional result of the residues of daily
activities, or the result of many large feasting
events? If the midden-mounds were intentional
constructions, do they represent a_ single
construction event or 1s there evidence suggestive

of multiple construction events over a longer span

of time? [Lawres and Colvin 2017:68]

The stratigraphic sequence clearly exhibits evidence
for intentional construction in creating the mound
underlying the midden. The clear evidence of basket
loading throughout the sequence demonstrates this
beyond doubt.

This also leads us to another important point: this
is not a midden-mound as traditionally conceived:
“accretional formations, the result of midden deposits
accumulating over many generations” (Altschul
1983:9). Rather, Willey’s (1949:75) description of this
architectural feature as a “habitation mound” is more
appropriate. While both terms indicate occupation of
the mound, subtracting the term “midden’” removes
loaded terminology and the connotation that Mound 4
was an accretional accumulation. The term “habitation
mound” allows intentional construction of a mound that
was then occupied. It is likely that the midden on top
of this mound developed in situ following construction
of the underlying mound rather than the builders adding
midden materials to the top as a capping event. This,
however, remains to be tested. To address this, future
excavations should focus on an area of the mound where
fewer disturbances have occurred to maximize control
over samples.

These new data also allow us to reject the hypothesis
we proposed in our previous work. Specifically, we
argued that:

At this juncture in our research the possibility

remains open that the beginnings of construction

may be much earlier than expected. In fact,
we hypothesize this is the case. Specifically,
we posit that the midden-mounds themselves
predate the construction of the rest of the

architectural features, and that they represent

important, persistent places on the landscape

(sensu Schlanger 1992) that were inhabited for

generations prior to major construction events

leading to the Type A and B earthworks. [Lawres

and Colvin 2017:66-67]

This argument was made in light of our data at the
time and of Johnson’s (1991, 1996) proposed chronology
that placed Type A earthworks in the A.D. 200 to 1000
construction range and the Type B earthworks in the
A.D. 1000 to 1500 range. Based on our previous data,
we argued that people began to build Mound 4 much
earlier than the A.D. 200 to 1000 range of Johnson. The
earliest possible time (terminus post quem) of cal A.D.
1025 to 1155 for the Big Mound City construction event
conflicts with this argument and aligns with Johnson’s
Type B circular-linear earthwork range of A.D. 1000 to
1500. In addition to undermining our hypothesis, these
data do not support Johnson’s (1991, 1996) argument that
the Type B circular-linear earthworks were construction
elaborations of already existing Type A circular-linear
earthworks, at least at Big Mound City. To reject this,
however, we need to obtain dates for the construction of
the semi-circle and radiating linear embankments.

These data also show that the dates we considered
outliers based on our previous analysis should be
reconsidered. We identified those outliers because they
appeared to be flipped in the stratigraphic sequence.
One outlier (UGAMS# 24518) presented a range of cal
A.D. 615 to 675 for a stratum between two other strata
that clustered between cal A.D. 70 to 235. Another
outlier (UGAMS# 26600) originated from the deepest
context and produced a range of cal A.D. 250 to 380.
However, the sample from the context directly above it
(UGAMS# 26599) produced a much older range of cal
355 to 110 B.C. Given the limited, minimally invasive
methods we used in 2015, considering these as outliers
(resulting from bioturbation or vertical forcing from
sediment coring) was a plausible reason for removing
the dates from the occupational sequence. However,
given the information obtained from the larger scale
2017 excavations that revealed the complexity of the
stratigraphic sequence, we now know that those dates
were not outliers but instead reflect rapid construction
using multiple sediment sources.

Further Discussion

To place rapid construction in a broader context, as
well as to provide a scalar context for Big Mound City,
we consider the size of mounds at well-known sites in
236 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 VoL. 72 (4)



the broader region. Table 6 provides a list of mound
volumes from selected sites. The data for Cahokia
and Moundville are from Lacquement (2010), who
recalculated the volumes of all the architectural features
of Moundville and a few of Cahokia using a gridding
method that provides a more accurate portrayal of the
geometry of irregularly shaped mounds than previous
methods. Lacquement’s volumetric assessments are
more conservative compared to those proposed by earlier
researchers.

Table 6. Mound Volumes at Selected Sites.























Big Mound City, Florida




Crystal River, Florida







Moundville, Alabama
(Lacquement 2010:348, Pe eh

Table 2)
Po ae
0 ae Ce
ee ae
ee ee ae
ee ee




Cahokia, [linois
(Lacquement 2010:352,
Table 3
*From Pluckhahn and Thompson 2018:162.



We calculated the volumetric estimates for Crystal
River and Big Mound City using ESRI’s ArcGIS LAS
toolkit. The one exception to this is Crystal River’s
Mound A. The volume of this mound was taken from
Pluckhahn and Thompson (2018:162) because the
available LiDAR data do not provide complete coverage
of Mound A. The LiDAR data for Big Mound City do not
provide complete coverage due to processing by FDEM
personnel (Pluckhahn and Thompson 2012; Lawres
2017, 2019). Thus, we were able only to calculate
volumes for Mounds 4 and 5.

These volumes show that Big Mound City is an
architectural site of scale similar to some of the famous
sites in the broader Southeast. Mound 4 at Big Mound
City is larger than any architectural feature at Crystal
River. While only two mound volumes were calculated
for Big Mound City (Mounds 4 and 5), their combined
volume is greater than all of Crystal River. Big Mound
City’s Mound 4 is larger than most of Moundville’s
architectural features aside from several of the largest
mounds. Big Mound City is dwarfed when compared to
the massive architecture at Cahokia.

While Moundville as a whole is much larger than
Big Mound City, evidence suggests that Moundville’s
architecture was built in several stages, both as individual
features and as a whole (Blitz 2008; Knight 2010),
rather than the rapid building event we have presented
for Mound 4 at Big Mound City. The same is true for
Crystal River, which was built in four broad phases
(Pluckhahn and Thompson 2018; Pluckhahn et al. 2015).
This provides insight on labor involved in construction.
Because the mounded architecture of Crystal River and
Moundville was built over protracted temporal spans
involving several stages of construction, the labor pool
requirements were much smaller than if they had been
built in single construction events.

In contrast, our data support Belle Glade people
building Big Mound City’s Mound 4 (or at least a
sizeable portion of it) in a single construction event,
which implies a different labor requirement. It suggests
that a large number of people were mobilized to build
this mound quickly. Building it in multiple stages, over
a protracted period of time, would require a smaller
number of people.

Knowing the temporality of construction and the
number of construction episodes provides essential
information to calculate architectural energetics. While
this type of analysis cannot provide direct information
about the size of the labor force, such an assessment can
estimate the amount of labor hours to build architectural
features. Architectural energetics “involves the
quantification of the cost of construction of architecture
into a common unit of comparison — energy in the form
of labor-time expenditure” (Abrams 1994:1-2) and that
expenditure is typically presented as person-hours.
The basis of architectural energetics lies in volumetric
measurements of architecture and experimental and
ethnographic data related to extracting and transporting
resources (Abrams 1989, 1994; Abrams and Bolland
1999: Arnold and Ford 1980; Bernardini 2004; Carmean
1991; Craig et al. 1998; Erasmus 1965; Hammerstedt
2005; Kolb 1994; Lacquement 2009).
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LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION AT BiG Mounpb CIty 237



An early historic account of the Lake Okeechobee
area described individual settlements of 30 to 40 people
(Goggin and Sturtevant 1964:186, 210; True 1944:13;
Worth 2014:201), providing a baseline to evaluate rapid
construction. To calculate the number of person-hours
involved in construction, we use Erasmus’ (1965:284-
285) experimental sediment excavation rate of 0.52
m? per person-hour (2.6 m°® in a 5-hour day) and his
sediment transport rate for a distance of 50 m of 0.634
m? per person-hour (3.17 m° in a 5-hour day). As noted
above, Mound 4 has a volume of 13,101 m°. Using
Erasmus’ (1965) rates, excavating the sediments would
require 25,194.23 person-hours, and transporting those
sediments an assumed 50 m distance would require an
additional 20,664.04 person-hours. Thus, a conservative
number of person-hours for construction 1s 45,858.27
person-hours or 9,171.65 person-days, assuming a
5-hour work day. It should be noted that this number is
conservative because it does not account for tamping and
shaping the mound.

If Big Mound City’s labor pool was only 20 people,
it would take 459 days to construct Mound 4. Ifthe labor
pool were 40 people, it would take 229 days. However,
given the lack of evidence for development of surface
crusts or other pedogenic processes in the mound, we
estimate construction to have been on the order of only a
few months, and probably less. To construct the mound
in 90 days, it would require 102 laborers working five
hour days; for 60 days it would require 153 laborers;
for 30 days it would require 306. To reiterate, these
are conservative estimates because they do not include
additional labor-time for tamping sediments and shaping
them into final form.

The point is that Big Mound City’s Mound 4, with
a volume of 13,101 m° of sediments and no evidence
of protracted construction stages, would have required
a large number of people to build in a rapid fashion.
This is especially intriguing given the small population
estimates. Big Mound City’s Mound 5 may have similar
evidence of rapid construction, but this is yet to be tested.
Willey (1949) notes that Stirling’s early excavations in
this mound encountered only white sand that was sterile
of cultural materials, thus it is possible that people also
rapidly built this earthwork.

It is important to note that our data are from limited
testing in Mound 4, so the history of this particular
mound may be more complex than we suggest. In
other words, given the large size of the mound, people
might have built other portions at other times. However,
Stirling’s two large trench excavations in the mound’s
northern portion suggest patterns similar to ours. Those

excavations were prior to the invention of radiocarbon
dating and were devoid of cultural materials below the
24-inch level (Willey 1949). Thus, as discussed above,
Stirling’s excavations, which covered an even larger
portion of Mound 4 than ours, suggest a midden capping
a mound constructed of fill sediments (likely loaded
fills like those we encountered). Unfortunately, the
remainder of Stirling’s documentation does not include
stratigraphic notes, so we do not know if he encountered
individual basket-loads, although we do know that he
did not encounter midden strata beneath the capping
midden (Willey 1949). To us, this suggests that people
constructed most, if not all, of Mound 4 rapidly, but more
testing is needed to be sure.

Concluding Remarks

We are closer to a better understanding of Belle
Glade monumentality by documenting variability in
construction methods used to build habitation mounds
in Type A and B circular-linear earthworks. Our
excavations provide data necessary to evaluate the
construction of Mound 4, the habitation mound at Big
Mound City. We are now in a position to say that people
of the Belle Glade culture, in some cases such as Mound
4, participated in /arge-scale construction events leading
to the building of large architectural features, rather
than only small-scale capping episodes that produced
periodic enlargements of architecture, such as implied
for the habitation mounds at Tony’s Mound (Carr and
Steele 1994) or some of the mounds at Fort Center (Sears
1982). At Big Mound City, a single radiocarbon date
suggests that one of these events occurred between cal
AD 1025 to 1155 and resulted in the construction of all
or a sizeable part of Mound 4. This mound is comprised
of 13,101 m* of sediments, which makes it one of the
largest mounds in Florida and is on a similar scale to
many of the large mounds in the greater Southeast.

However, Mound 4 is only one of many architectural
features at Big Mound City. Future research should
focus on developing an understanding of how other
features, such as the semi-circle and radiating linear
embankments, relate to Mound 4 temporally. Research
aimed at understanding their construction sequences is
already underway (Lawres 2019; Lawres et al. 2018).
Once we understand the temporality of these features,
it will be possible to conduct a site-wide architectural
energetics assessment, which will allow us to address
broader questions of labor (i.e., number of person-hours
for construction, scale of the labor force, etc.) and fisher-
hunter-gatherer complexity.
238 THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST

2019 Vou. 72 (4)



Since inception in 2015, the KORES project has
made great strides toward our goal of understanding
Belle Glade monumentality. We have surveyed several
monumental earthworks, produced the first chronometric
dates of monumental architecture outside Fort Center
and the first chronometric dates of massive Big Mound
City, and we here present compelling evidence for rapid,
large-scale construction events. However, we still have a
long way to go to understand Belle Glade monumentality
from a regional perspective. While gaining data to refine
our view of architectural construction at Big Mound
City and working to develop a new method to refine
this view, we are also obtaining the first chronometric
dates at another Belle Glade monumental architectural
site (Colvin et al., in prep.). It is our aim to contribute
to the discipline of anthropological archaeology by
furthering our knowledge of sociocultural complexity
and monumentality in non-agricultural societies.

Acknowledgments

Our gratitude is due to many people who helped
make this research possible. Our thanks go to Christian
Davenport (Palm Beach County Archaeologist), Jeff
Ransom (Miami-Dade County Archaeologist), Andrew
Schneider, Katie Higgins, Jessica Baker, Jennifer Green,
Tasia Renee Scott, Sara Ayers-Rigsby (FPAN), Andres
Garzon, Julio Pachon, Rachael Kangas (FPAN), Mallory
Fenn (FPAN), Stephanie Escoto, Danielle Ashley Simon,
Victoria Ternullo, Carrie Black, Scott Ciliento, Victoria
Lincoln (FPAN), and many other volunteers in fieldwork.

We are extremely grateful to the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) J. W.
Corbett office and staff for assistance in the field and for
providing swamp buggies in the wet season. Without
assistance of so many wonderful, dedicated people, this
research would not have been possible. We would like
to thank Timothy Murtha, Madeline Brown, Nathania
Martinez, Breana Ross, and Luwei Wang for comments
on an earlier draft of this article.

Funding for fieldwork was provided by the University
of Florida (UF) Graduate School Fellowship and the UF
Department of Anthropology’s Jamie C. Waggoner, Jr.
Grant-in-Aid. AMS analyses were funded by the UF
Department of Anthropology’s Charles Fairbanks Award,
the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Ripley P. Bullen
Award, the John S. and James L. Knight Endowment for
South Florida Archaeology, and Laurencine Mazzoli. We
express our gratitude to TeraFlex Suspension Systems
for providing Jeep suspension and lift components to
reach the site when swamp buggies were not available.

Excavations were conducted under State of Florida 1A-
32 Archaeological Research Permit No. 1516.053 and
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Special Use Access Permit No. SUO-51405S.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dorothy Block earned M.A. and B.A. degrees in Anthropology and a B.A. degree in English and American Literature
from Florida Atlantic University. She is the founder of the Palm Beach County Anthropological Society and the former
Director of the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades, in Belle Glade. Dorothy has taught archaeology and general
anthropology at Broward College and Palm Beach State. She has worked for over a decade in Cultural Resource
Management. She is a proud mother and mentor of young anthropologists in her region.

Bianca Maltese Book is a bioarchaeologist with interests in European and Native American prehistory. She was graduated
Suma Cum Laude from Florida State University with a B.S. and MLS. in Anthropology and a minor in Psychology.

Matthew Colvin currently works at the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia, where he
prepares materials for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating and isotopic analyses. His primary research interest
examines the complex histories of long-lived spaces, specifically those of fisher-hunter-gatherers in south-central
Florida.

Christian Davenport holds a B.A. (Franklin Pierce College, New Hampshire) and an M.A. (University of Tennessee,
Knoxville) in Anthropology focusing on zooarchaeology. He is currently working on is Ph.D. in geosciences (Florida
Atlantic University). Chris was awarded the Ripley Bullen Award by FAS in 2018 for furthering good relations among
professional and avocational archaeologists. He is the Historic Preservation Officer/Archaeologist for Palm Beach
County, Florida.

George R. Ferguson published an article in The Florida Anthropologist in 1976 about the Weekiwachee Site in Hernando
County. In 1977, he co-authored an article with Wilfred Neill about the age of Santa Fe projectile points. In 1977 or
1978, he reported a Deptford tripodal ceramic vessel from Pasco County in the FAS News/etter. He donated the vessel
to the West Pasco Historical Society in New Port Richey, Florida.

Nathan R. Lawres is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Antonio Waring, Jr. Archaeological
Laboratory at the University of West Georgia. He teaches courses in archaeological methods, experimental archaeology,
laboratory analyses, and cultural resource management. His research has focused on monumentality, ontologies, human-
environment relations, materiality, trade networks, human migration and mobility, issues in curation and museology,
and cultural resource management. Nathan’s primary focus is the southeastern United States, where he has practiced
CRM and academic archaeology for 15 years. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Anthropology from the University of
Central Florida and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida.

George M. Luer is a former FAS President and recipient of the Lazarus and Bullen Awards. He has helped preserve
significant archaeological sites and natural areas, while furthering their research and understanding through scientific
publications. George has worked as an archaeologist in CRM and for the State of Florida in various capacities, including
for the Florida Park Service. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology from the University of Florida, with
studies in coastal geomorphology. He has studied Botany and participated in plant expeditions to various parts of the
world. George also has studied Latin America, history, and Florida folk culture.

Gregory J. Mount is an associate professor of hydrogeophysics at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He works
primarily in the geophysics realm, focusing on electromagnetic and electrical techniques applied to critical zone and
near-surface research. As part of ongoing collaborations with south Florida archaeologists, he still maintains an active
presence in archaeology and geoarchaeology. The research presented here is part of his 2009 thesis, undertaken with
archaeologists Arlene Fradkin, Clifford Brown, and Christian Davenport at Florida Atlantic University.

Wilfred T. Neill, Jr., a herpetologist and native of Augusta, Georgia, was a long-time resident of Florida and member
of FAS. He served two terms as FAS President in 1954 and 1955 and contributed many articles to The Florida
Anthropologist. He authored scholarly books, including Archaeology and A Science of Man (1978). An obituary of
Neill appears in Volume 56, Number 4, of The Florida Anthropologist (December 2003).



VOLUME 72 (4) THE FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGIST 245




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TABLE OF CONTENTS

FROM THE EDITORS
ARTICLES

A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES ooii...ococcc ccc ccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccccceceeees 179-183
DorotuHy BLOCK AND BIANCA MALTESE BOOK

MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE ................... 185-207
GREGORY J. MOUNT AND CHRISTIAN DAVENPORT

AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA .000oooo occ ccccccccccssscecsesssesesseseeees 209
GEORGE R. FERGUSON AND WILFRED T. NEILL

COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT
WC Ey SEA CUNT Vi BEA an foodies cseccnlnced epee oe ee, ted ae 241-23
GEORGE M. LUER

EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:
BIG MOUND CITY REVISITED .......: Fi vs acnundaeinssoudeceguaun fake Mesh voueet eile seme ae vee he = yee 215-243
NATHAN R. LAWRES AND MatTHew H. COLVIN

PRE THI os poeis dacinsc Eeeiesvucicascssviaibuc choca chvazcuatlaus fe Sltescatuaiuialias owas eiins aerate a, 245

Cover:
A portion of a Second Seminole War map titled

“Mackay & Blake’s Florida Seat of War, 1839,” State Library of Florida, Florida Map Collection
From Florida Memory Project, Image #fmc0243.

Copyright 2019 by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
ISSN 0015-3893





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The Florida
Anthropologist
Volume 72, Number 4
December 2019
Table of Contents
From the Editors
Articles
A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES 179-183
Dorothy Block and Bianca Maltese Book
MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE 185-207
Gregory J. Mount and Christian Davenport
AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA 209
George R. Ferguson and Wilfred T. Neill
COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT
FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA” 211-213
George M. Luer
EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:
BIG MOUND CITY REVISITED 215-243
Nathan R. Lawres and Matthew H. Colvin
About the Authors 245
Cover:
A portion of a Second Seminole War map titled
“Mackay & Blake’s Florida Seat of War, 1839,” State Library of Florida, Florida Map Collection
From Florida Memory Project, Image #fmc0243.
Published by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
ISSN 0015-3893

FROM THE EDITORS
This is the second issue in Volume 72 to focus on Palm Beach County. The area is seeing more research of its
rich cultural heritage. This builds on work by many dedicated individuals and scholars attracted to the northern
Everglades.
We begin with a Vodou ceramic jug, part of the Haitian diaspora. It reminds us that anthropologist Zora Neale
Hurston (1891-1960) recorded songs for the WPA Florida Folklife Project in Belle Glade in 1935, before she went
to Haiti, where she wrote of the disastrous 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane in her novel Their Eyes Were Watching
God (1937). Our understanding of Haiti and Vodou benefits from the scholarship of Hurston and Melville
Herskovits (1895-1963), both students of renowned anthropologist Franz Boas. The reader can pursue these
topics further in Herskovit’s Life in a Haitian Valley (1937) and Hurston’s Tell My Horse (1938).
This issue continues with new research of Native American shell artifacts as well as important new interpretations
of large-scale mound-building at one of the Fake Okeechobee area’s gigantic earthworks. We also include a
reprint of a brief article from an FAS Newsletter of the late 1970s, and a supplement to it.
As we complete volume 72, we want to acknowledge reviewers. Most helpful was Bob Austin, a former editor
of the journal (December 1995 through September 1999). Ryan Wheeler, another former editor (December 1999
through December 2006), also helped in this process. Thank you Bob and Ryan!
George M. Luer, Ph.D., Editor
Dorothy A. Block, M.A., Assistant Editor
Laura Dean, Technical Editor
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Volume 72 (4)
The Florida Anthropologist
December 2019

A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES
Dorothy Block 1 and Bianca Maltese Book 2
1306 NE 1st Avenue #202 Boynton Beach, FL 33435, uberfrau33460@gmail.com
2 1112 South Magnolia Drive, Apt. 1103, Tallahassee, FL 32301, bbmaltese@gmail.com
Introduction
This article reports a Haitian Vodou ceremonial ceramic jug or “boutey” from the northern Everglades. In May
2016, it was retrieved from muck, where it had been buried on the northeast corner of the intersection of Hatton
Highway and Gator Boulevard, in farmland (sugar cane fields) approximately 6.5 km (4 mi) east of the City of Belle
Glade in Palm Beach County, Florida. Exposed during backhoe excavation of a canal, the jug was spotted and collected
by Belle Glade equipment operator Jerry Holden, who retains it in his private collection.
In July 2017, Holden kindly loaned it to the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades and Glades Historical
Society, in Belle Glade, for study and photogrammetry. The jug was photographed for 3-dimensional modeling by
Kevin Gidusko (2017) of the East Central regional office of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). The
3-dimensional image (Figure 1) is publically accessible and can be downloaded (Sketchfab 2019).
Volume 72 (4)
The Florida Anthropologist
179

180
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Vessel Description
The jug is wheel-thrown brown ceramic, crudely
smoothed. It is 26.5 cm (10.4 in) in height and its body is
51 cm (20 in) in circumference. The neck is constricted,
and is 17 cm (6.7 in) in circumference, 4.5 cm (1.8 in)
diameter at the mouth, and 3 cm (1.2 in) high. Above
the neck, an outward flaring lip measures 1 cm (0.4 in)
thick. A maker’s mark is below the constricted neck,
where the vessel flares outward at the shoulder of the
cylindrical body. The mark is incised, consisting of two
parallel slanted lines crossed by a third line running at
a 45-degree angle to the others. Below the mark and
shoulder, a shallow, narrow, linear indention encircles
the top of the body.
The jug is embellished with writing in black ink,
possibly done with a wide, felt-tip marker (Figure 2).
The writing includes two large “Xs,” with all their distal
ends terminating in a small circle. Three times (between
and to each side of the Xs) are inscriptions in French. The
inscriptions start on the neck and run downward over the
shoulder and down the cylindrical body, running parallel
with the jug’s long axis. Some of the words are difficult
to decipher or illegible, and a few words or word order
vary. Nonetheless, all three inscriptions are similar:
Convocation 21 Nations Morts Sans
(illegible).. .persecution.
Marie Michelle Pierrette Par Maitre
Carrefour
While perhaps subject to improvement, we translate
and interpret it as follows: “Summon the 21 Immortal
Nations [all the Vodou spirits] [to place upon or remove
a] persecution [spell], Marie Michelle Pierrette through
Master of the Crossroad [asking permission from Papa
Legba].”
Written on one of the large Xs, from top left to
bottom right diagonally, it says again “Marie Michelle
Pierette.” Moving more around the jug, there is a wide
stretch with writing perpendicular to the jug’s long axis.
It reads:
Marie Michelle
Pierrette
Marie Michelle
Pierrette
Marie Michelle
Pierrette
The inside of the vessel smelled of cologne, a typical
offering to the spirits of Vodou. It contained several tiny
white hairs, possibly human, and fine dirt (dry muck).
The jug presumably had a cap or seal, but it was missing
when the jug was brought to the museum for inspection.
Figure 2. Photoshop enhanced view of inscriptions.
Discussion
Upon its arrival at the museum, this jug was
met with excitement by a group of archaeologists,
anthropologists, and students who were called on to
place it in time and to identify its cultural affiliation.
At first glance, it was thought possibly to be a Spanish
olive jar or evidence of a possible 18th or 19th century
European presence in the northern Everglades. Soon,
however, it was obvious that the cultural affiliation was
Haitian Vodou, and the temporal position of the artifact
is likely sometime between 1957 and the present. Belle
Glade, an agricultural community, has historically
attracted farm workers whose folkways have been of
interest to anthropologists, such as Zora Neale Hurston
(e.g., Florida Memory Project 2019).
While Haitian people have been known to immigrate
to North America since the 18th century, mass immigration
of Haitians to the United States began during the late
1950s when civil unrest under the Duvalier dictatorship
caused an exodus that increased in intensity in the 1970s
and 1980s and that persists today (Schiller et al. 2019).
In 2009, U.S. Census data reported 830,000 individuals

Block and Book
Vodou Ceramic Jug
181
of Haitian ancestry residing in the United States. Of
these, 100,000 live in Florida (USCB 2010).
The majority of Haitian immigrants self-identify as
Christians, most being Catholic. Still, the traditional
practice of Vodou persists in Haitian communities.
Unfortunately, media portrayals of Vodou have distorted
and sensationalized the religion and hushed the practice
of ritual and ceremony in Haitian communities (Schiller
et al. 2019).
By definition, Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion
blending aspects of Christianity (Catholicism) with West
African Vodun (spirit) religions. The practice of Vodun
has evolved through the African diaspora and is called
Vodou by Haitian practitioners, called vodouists. It first
developed in Benin during the 18th Century when French
colonialism forced conversion to Christianity on tribal
groups and suppressed traditional religious expression
(Gordon 2000:10).
Vodou Pantheon and Practice
Haitian Vodou recognizes a supreme creator god,
Bondye (from French Bon Dieu [good God]) who is
inaccessible to humanity. In order to communicate
with Bondye, practitioners of Vodou must call upon
“loa” (spirits, not deities themselves) to intercede with
Bondye on their behalf. Haitian Vodou divides loa into
21 Nations, each syncretized with a Roman Catholic
counterpart. Unlike deities, “loa” are not worshipped,
but served. They are summoned through ritual with
offerings, such as alcohol, cologne, or food.
In order for a vodousit to communicate with loa, she
or he must first acquire permission to do so from “Papa
Legba,” the keeper of the boundary or “gate” between
the human and supernatural realms. Legba, one of the
most important loa, is associated with crossroads and his
“veve” (religious symbol) is a cross or X.
A veve is used as a beacon to attract the attention
of a specific spirit during a particular ritual. Legba is
considered a trickster, most often depicted as an old man
with a cane. In West African Vodoun, Legba appears as
a virile young trickster with horns and a large phallus.
Legba is syncretized with Catholic Saints Peter, Lazarus,
or Anthony (Herskovitz 1937a:635-643; Hurston
1938:128-131; Morris 2006:196).
As Papa Legba is associated with intersections, rituals
made to call upon him are often conducted at crossroads
(Herskovits 1937; Lawless 1988:12). Thus, the find-spot
of the jug reported here, adjacent to a rural intersection,
is typical of Vodou practice related to communicating
with Legba. This interpretation is supported by the
presence of his veve (X) on the jug’s body (twice) and
the inscription words: “Maitre Carrefour” (Master of
the Crossroad) which also invokes Legba (Meltraux
1959:266-267; Lawless 1988:12), who speaks all
human languages and can grant or deny permission to
communicate with the spirits. In this particular case, the
crossroad was the intersection of four agricultural fields
defined by three paved roads and an unpaved path along
a canal.
Interpretation
Based on the jug’s location and inscriptions, we
interpret it as a Haitian “boutey” or “vodou bottle.” It is
an example of religious paraphernalia (material culture)
associated with Vodou. Vodouists use boutey in rituals
meant to contain the soul of a spirit to use for healing,
protective, or harmful purposes (McAlister 1995).
We hypothesize that the vodouist who buried the jug
was appealing to Legba for permission to communicate
with the spirit world. The inscription incites the “21
nations,” calling upon all the spirits in the Vodou
pantheon. The subject of the appeal was the woman
whose name appears on the jug, Marie Michelle Pierétte.
It is possible the appeal to Legba was made by Marie
Michelle Pierétte herself, to invoke protection from
“persecution,” perhaps ill health or ill fortune.
The form of the jug also may be significant. Some
think its shape is meant to be anthropomorphic. As such,
perhaps it symbolizes the person for whom the ritual is
intended, the spirit of the person meant to reside in the
bottle, or the owner of the bottle itself, possibly Marie
Michelle Pierrette.
It is possible that the vessel was originally capped
and wrapped in cloth or strings symbolizing clothing.
Haitian Vodou boutey typically contain perfume,
powders, skull shavings or small bones (non-human),
which is consistent with our finding of small hairs and
cologne inside the jug. A boutey s purpose is to contain
the soul of a spirit to use for healing, good luck, or other
purposes (McAlister 1995).
Ethnographic Evidence
Motivated by curiosity, the senior author visited St.
Jacques Botánica in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach County.
There Block quickly discovered numerous nearly
identical jugs with similar maker’s marks (Figure 3).
Browsing the shop, Block observed plentiful offerings to
loa personified as Catholic saints. Many offerings were
alcoholic beverages (single servings of rum and even a
bottle of Moet Chandon Champagne!).

182
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
v *
Figure 3. Botánica Shelf with Vodou Jugs for Sale in Boynton Beach, 2019.
Desiring to verify the accuracy of our interpretation
of the jug’s inscriptions, Block consulted Vivi Jeanne
Pierre, owner of the botánica and a local Vodou priestess
of some renown (Louima 2004). Vivi kindly took time
to examine sketches of the jug and its inscriptions.
She concurred that the X veve related to Legba and
commented that she thought the spell associated with the
jug was a positive one, for health and protection. She
further concurred that the cologne aroma inside the jug
was an offering to the spirits. She added that such jugs
were made in Cap Haitien, a city on the north coast of
Haiti.
Other Finds
Another south Florida example of a Vodou or
Santeria object is a West Indian petaloid basaltic celt
from Key Biscayne, found around 1981, that may be “of
recent origin and related to Santaria religious activities
common through the South Florida area” (Carr 1987:22-
23, Figure 13C). Archaeologist Robert S. Carr (personal
communication, 2019) reports that “Vodou ritual objects
and offerings are often encountered in outdoor south
Florida.” He first encountered Vodou ritual artifacts
during his 1979-1981 archaeological survey of Miami-
Dade County.
In 1985, during construction of Jose Marti Park,
in downtown Miami, a construction worker uncovered
a polished stone figurine of a Vodou spirit that Carr
turned over to the City Parks Department, but it has
not been seen since. Carr thought it had been placed
in a vacant lot as an offering. In the mid-1990s, Carr
visited a botánica on Southwest 8th Street (“Calle Ocho”)
in Miami and observed numerous black basaltic and
greenstone pebbles for sale, as well as authentic West
Indian petaloid celts and modem copies. All were in the
same bowl and offered at the same price with no concern
of distinguishing modern objects from artifacts.
Conclusion
South Florida has become home for many immigrants
who continue traditional aspects of their cultures. The
Vodou jug from Belle Glade is one of many examples.
Of interest to historians and ethnographers, we encourage
anthropologists to record more cases in the literature.

Block and Book
Vodou Ceramic Jug
183
References Cited
Carr, Robert S.
1987 An Archaeological Survey and Investigations
at Bill Baggs State Park Key Biscayne. Metro-Dade
Historic Preservation Division, Miami, Florida.
Florida Memory Project
2019 Works Progress Administration (WPA), Field
Recordings in Eatonville and Belle Glade (1935
Recording Expedition). Recording, https://www.
floridamemorv.com/items/show/237999. accessed
November 30, 2019.
Gidusko, Kevin
2017 Sketchfab. Belle Glade Jug photographed
in cooperation with the Florida Public Archaeology
Network (FPAN). Electronic Image: https://sketchfab.
com/3d-models/belle-glade-jug-eafl el 02dc9c413c959d
01bcfc5f2c96 (passcode: voodoojug), accessed
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Gordon, Leah
2000 The Book of Vodou. Barron’s Educational
Series, New York.
Herskovits, Melville J.
1937a Life in a Haitian Valley. Knopf, New York.
1937b African Gods and Catholic Saints in New
World Negro Belief. American Anthropologist
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Hurston, Zora Neale
1938 Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and
Jamaica. J. B. Lippincott, Philadelphia.
Lawless, Robert
1988 The Cognition of Intersections: An Analysis
of Kalinga, American and Haitian Folk Models.
The Florida Anthropologist 13(1 -2):5-19.
Louima, Gariot
2004 Vodou Priestess Called to Heal. The Palm
Beach Post, p. 16, Sunday, November 14.
McAlister, Elizabeth
1995 A Sorcerer’s Bottle: The Art of Magic in Haiti.
In Sacred Arts if Haitian Vodou, edited by Donald J.
Cosentino, pp. 305-324, UCLA Fowler Museum of
Cultural History, Los Angeles.
Metraux, Alfred
1959 Voodoo in Haiti. Oxford University Press,
New York.
Morris, Brian
2006 Religion and Anthropology: A Critical
Introduction. Cambridge University Press,
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Schiller, Nina Click, Carolle Charles,
and John Beierle
2019 Haitian Americans. Human Relations
Area File (HRAF) electronic document,
https://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/ehrafe/az
Cultures.do?thisChar=H#thisChar=H, accessed
November 22, 2019.
United States Census Bureau (USCB)
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United States. Electronic document, https://
www2.census.gov/library/publications/2010/
acs/acsbr09-18.pdf, accessed November 22, 2019.


MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE
Gregory J. Mount 1 and Christian Davenport 2
1 Department of Geosciences, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA 15701, gregory.mount@iup.edu
2 Palm Beach County Historic Preservation Office, 2300 North Jog Road, West Palm Beach, FL 33411,
cdavenpo@pbcgov. org
Introduction
During the Boyer Survey of the southeast rim of
Lake Okeechobee (Figure 1), marine shell artifacts were
encountered at four sites. They are, from west to east:
the County Line (8PB13729), Ritta Island (8PB92),
Kreamer Island (8PB43), and Pelican Bay 3 (8PB13601)
sites (Figure 2). We focus on Kreamer Island, where
we collected the majority of marine gastropod and
bivalve shells. Analysis of these materials allows a
greater understanding of the Belle Glade people, an
archaeological culture that is understudied, although it
occupied a pivotal area in the Florida peninsula. The
marine shell artifacts highlight patterns of interaction
with other regions in peninsular Florida.
Figure 1. Boyer Survey Location in Palm Beach County,
Marked by Star (approximate, for reference only).
Background
The Boyer Survey was an archaeological
investigation of the southeast portion of Lake
Okeechobee undertaken in 2006 through 2011 during
a period of extreme drought when large areas of lake
bottom were exposed. The survey was initiated and
substantially funded by George “Boots” Boyer of
Belle Glade, a concerned layperson who reported the
sites to Christian Davenport, the Palm Beach County
Archaeologist. The survey recorded 33 pre- and
post-Columbian archaeological sites, a few yielding
thousands of marine shell, ceramic, and lithic artifacts
(Davenport et al. 2011; Mount 2009). This article
summarizes the shell artifact assemblage, most of
which came from the Kreamer Island site. The artifacts
are curated at the Florida Bureau of Archaeological
Research, in Tallahassee, and a few are on loan to the
Clewiston Museum.
The use of marine shell as a raw material for tool
manufacture by south Florida native people has been
documented since the late 1800s. Early accounts
include those of antiquarian Clarence B. Moore, who
illustrated and described his finds along the west coast of
Florida (Moore 1900, 1905, 1907, 1921). In the 1940s,
archaeologist John M. Goggin produced a synthesis
of south Florida archaeology that contained the first
typology of artifacts from the area (Goggin 1949).
Archaeologist Gordon Willey (1949) discussed artifacts
from Belle Glade Mound and Midden (8PB40, 8PB41),
a site along the Democrat River.
The Belle Glade Mound and Midden were just inland
of Torry Island, which is approximately 3.2 km (2 mi) to
the northwest of the site. Torry Island is immediately
south of Kreamer Island. Before 20th-century dredging,
the two islands were joined and formed a peninsula
jutting into Lake Okeechobee. The Kreamer Island site
produced ceramics supporting an age range of ca. 500
B.C. to A.D. 1500 (Block 2011), showing that much of
the site’s use was coeval with the Belle Glade Mound
and Midden, which also had post-contact period use
(Davenport et al. 2011).
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Pelican Bay Three
Kreamer Island
County Line Site
Ritta Island
Figure 2. Lake Okeechobee’s Southeast Shore. The four sites yielding shell artifacts are labeled.
The aboriginal sites visited during the Boyer Survey
were on the lake margin exposed by drought. The sites
consisted of scattered cultural materials (rocks, shells,
ceramics, lithics, faunal bones, human bones) lying in
and on sand and muck, some of which were deflated
or reworked by water action. Normally, these sites are
covered by shallow water. Analysis of aerial photographs
during the survey revealed that these sites were at the
mouths of now extinct braided rivers that formerly
flowed into and out of Lake Okeechobee. The sites were
accessed by airboat, off road vehicles, and surveyed on
foot, with some shovel testing.

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Lake Okeechobee Shell Artifacts
187
Methods
Shell artifacts from the Boyer Survey were identified
to the lowest taxonomic category possible using Abbott
(1954, 1974) as well as a comparative collection of
shells at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Further
information about the kinds of shells was provided by
archaeologists Robert S. Carr, Theresa Schober, Ryan
Wheeler, and George Luer. Most shell artifacts were
classified using typologies currently used in Florida. For
tools that did not fit the typologies, new categories were
created. Observations about the marine shell artifacts,
such as use-wear, breakage patterns, and re-use, followed
previous research that borrowed from lithic analysis,
such as Masson (1988).
Species Identification
Native people at coastal sites had access to the
marine environment that contained shells suitable for
modification. Native inhabitants of sites in the Everglades
and Lake Okeechobee area did not have direct access to
the marine environment and those resources. Therefore,
marine shells recovered from sites around the lake
clearly represent a process of obtainment, selection, and
preference for specific kinds of shells.
In this article, we retain the taxonomic names of
mollusks traditionally used during the last several
decades in Florida archaeology. We do this to avoid
confusion with new and changing names recently
introduced by taxonomists. Most conspicuous were the
following kinds:
Whelk Shells {Busycon spp.). Whelk artifacts were
commonly encountered on sites in Lake Okeechobee.
Most were identified as lightning whelk (Busycon
contrarium). These shells most likely came from the
Gulf coast of Florida and were transported to the Lake
Okeechobee region, some perhaps via the Caloosahatchee
River. They were shaped into tools such as cutting-edged
tools, hammers, drinking cups, and pendants.
We identified a few artifacts made from Kiener’s
whelk (.Busycon carica eliceans), based on their right-
turning spiral and strong twist or bulge in the columella
(the central column in a univalve shell). They consisted
of six body whorl gouges or scrapers. Kiener’s whelk is
an Atlantic coast species that occurs from North Carolina
to central east Florida (Abbott 1974:222). These gouges
might have been exchanged southward from the Indian
River region or St. Johns River region, where such tools
are known (see “Gouges/Scrapers,” below).
Queen Conch {Strombus gigas}. Queen conch shells
were likely obtained on the southeast coast of Florida, or
the Florida Keys, and they or their parts were carried to
the Lake Okeechobee region by way of the Everglades
or the Loxahatchee and Hungryland Sloughs. Celts and
celt fragments from this species were found randomly
scattered around the east side of the former Democrat
River mouth. The majority of these had some form of
use-related or taphonomic damage.
Horse Conch (Plenroploca gigantea). Shells of this
gastropod are commonly encountered in Florida’s Gulf
coast archaeological sites, and specimens are reported
from the Miami Circle (Wheeler 2004). Its shells were
raw materials for the manufacture of columella cutting-
edged tools, hammers, pendants, and drinking cups.
Ouahog Clam {Mercenaria sp.). The southern quahog
(M campechiensis) and northern quahog (M mercenaria)
are similar in appearance and their geographical
ranges overlap in Florida. Thus, we identified quahog
archaeological specimens to the genus level. The high
frequency of Mercenaria shells and fragments, yet the
few formal tools identified, is of interest and deserves
attention in a future paper. Elsewhere in south Florida,
quahog shells were used as anvil/choppers, notched or
perforated shells, and anvils (Goggin 1949; Griffin 1988;
Luer 1986; Marquardt 1992:211; Reiger 1981). Quahog
shells were transported to Lake Okeechobee by native
people, but it is difficult to discern if they arrived as
whole valves or broken pieces.
Helmet Shells {Cassis sp.). Most of the helmet shell
artifacts appear to have been shaped from the queen or
emperor helmet (C. madagascariensis). The species
occurs widely along the Atlantic coast from North
Carolina to the Greater Antilles as well as the Gulf of
Mexico. It is known from both the Atlantic and Gulf
coasts of Florida, including the Florida panhandle, and is
not restricted to the Florida Keys.
Helmet shell artifacts occur infrequently in the shell
assemblage. Until this survey, only a small number of
helmet shell artifacts had been found in the Okeechobee
region, with examples from Canal Point 1 (8PB44),
Canal Point 4 (8PB47) (Goggin 1949:361, 363), and
Belle Glade (Willey 1949:Plate 12H). Finds from the
Kreamer Island site add to known examples. Most
helmet shell specimens are pendants. The method of
manufacture for a Cassis pendant appears to have been
removal of the lip from the body of the shell, followed
by smoothing the sides by pecking and/or grinding.
At Upper Matecumbe Key (8MO17/8MO1901),
Goggin reported three roughly finished Cassis sp.
lip artifacts measuring 8.5 cm, 10.5 cm, and 11.9 cm
long. Their widths varied from 1.6 to 1.8 cm (Goggin
1949:602). Other reports of helmet shell artifacts in

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south Florida include a lip “hammer” from Miami Circle
(Wheeler 2004:169), another lip “hammer” from Cash
Mound (8CH38) near Charlotte Harbor (Marquardt
1992:219, Figure 14), and a body whorl gorget from
Shaw’s Point (8MA7) near Tampa Bay (Luer 2013:104).
Other Kinds of Shells
A few other kinds of marine shells were scarce. They
included pieces of three kinds of bivalves: sunray venus
(.Macrocallista nimbosa), wavy bittersweet (Glycymeris
undata), and eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica).
None appeared to be a tool. They may represent curios,
talismans, or utilitarian items. Several additional
gastropods were identified. They included milk conch
{Strombus costatus), Florida fighting conch (Strombus
alatus), olive shell (Olivella sp.), and reticulated cowrie
helmet (Cypraecassis testiculus).
Survey Results
Four sites containing shell artifacts were documented
during the survey: County Line, Ritta Island, Kreamer
Island, and Pelican Bay 3 (Figure 2). A variety of shell
artifacts was found, with an unusually small sample
from Ritta Island (considering the site’s large size) and
the largest sample from the Kreamer Island site (Mount
2009). The latter included a number of “prestige” or
non-utilitarian forms.
County Line Site (8PB13729)
The County Line site was a small site with few
artifacts. A total of three marine shell artifacts and one
Belle Glade Plain sherd was found. A horse conch and a
lightning whelk shell were identified. The only bivalve
shell was a quahog valve split in half.
Ritta Island Site (8PB92)
This large, deflated site is on the northern tip of Ritta
Island and adjacent to an apparent opening of the extinct
Ritta River (Mount 2009). The site was first recorded
in the Florida Master Site File by archaeologist Robert
S. Carr (1975), based on Will (1984:106), and its form
was updated by Wheeler (2001a) during a period of low
water. We found artifacts scattered on both sides of the
former river opening, covering extensive areas on each
side. They were abundant, and a relatively small number
was collected.
The artifact scatter (mostly shells, rocks, and sherds)
is so dense in places that one cannot walk without
stepping on thousands of sherds (Figure 3). Sherds were
mostly sand-tempered plain, suggesting occupation
during the Belle Glade I and II periods (500 B.C. to
Figure 3. Ritta Island Sherds on Surface of Exposed Lake
Bottom. Ceramics are so dense in places that one cannot
walk without stepping on hundreds of sherds.
A.D. 700). Other artifacts included shark teeth and
bone points (Davenport et al. 2011:508, 515, Figures
232 and 236). The Ritta Island site also yielded human
bones (Davenport et al. 2011:518-519, Figure 239) and
abundant chert cobbles (Davenport et al. 2011:492),
some analyzed by Austin (2011).
Eleven shovel tests were excavated across the Ritta
Island site. One formal test unit yielded abundant lithic
flaking debris and microliths (Austin 2011). Despite
the large number of artifacts, only three shell artifacts
were found during the 2007 and 2008 field seasons. One
was a double-grooved columella pendant, and another
was a worked (ground smooth) bi-pointed columella
(Davenport et al. 2011:Figure 235). The rarity of shell
artifacts at the Ritta Island site is in stark contrast to
numerous shell artifacts found at the Kreamer Island site.
Kreamer Island Site (8PB43)
Drought exposed this large site along the north shore
of Kreamer Island. It was first discovered in the 1920s
and identified as a burial site by “Cracker Historian”
Lawrence E. Will (2002). The Kreamer Island site was
first recorded by Goggin (1951), followed by updates by
Carr (1975), Wheeler (2001b), and Carr et al. (2004). In

Mount and Davenport
Lake Okeechobee Shell Artifacts
189
the central portion of the site is a relic inlet or outlet of
the extinct Democrat River. Shovel testing at the site
did not yield any artifacts. Cultural materials from the
surface were bone tools, sherds, lithics, marine shells,
and human bones. Lithics included bifaces (n=7), finely
made green basalt pendants (n=2), fragments of possible
duck-head pendants (n=3), a finely made limestone
pendant, a slab of coquina rock, and other lithics (Austin
2011; Davenport et al. 2011:472-483).
Sherds were sand-tempered plain (n=87), Belle
Glade Plain (n=61), and St. Johns Plain (n=14), which
combined comprised 92% of the sherd assemblage. The
few decorated sherds included St. Johns Check Stamped
(n=4), Fort Drum Incised (n=l), Deptford Simple
Stamped (n=l), Cane Patch Incised (drag and jab) (n=l),
and Sarasota Incised (n=l) (Block 2011; Davenport et
al. 2011:433). Also recovered were two ceramic pipe
stem fragments and one decorated pipe bowl fragment
(Davenport 2011:441, Figures 173 through 175).
A large number of marine shell artifacts (n=469) was
collected at the Kreamer Island site during the 2007-2009
field seasons. Of these, 190 were classified, representing
10 species (Tables 1 and 2). Among the gastropod
artifacts, the most common were of conch (Strombus
spp.), followed by those of whelk (Busycon spp.). Shell
artifacts include cutting-edged tools, hammers, adze/
celts, gouges or scrapers, and pendants.
Pelican Bay 3 Site (8PB13601)
This site consists of a surface scatter in loose circular
patterns, perhaps a deflated midden. It is at the terminus
of an extinct river that once flowed through Kreamer
Island. The site is 180 m (590 ft) southeast of the
Kreamer Island site. Besides marine shells, we collected
11 sherds (sand-tempered plain and St. Johns Plain) and
one lithic. A total of 16 shell artifacts was collected
from the Pelican Bay 3 site during the 2007-2009 field
seasons. Of these, seven were classified to tool types
and represented three marine mollusk species. The most
common was lightning whelk, followed by queen conch.
A double-grooved whelk columella pendant and a single
horse conch columella were noted (Davenport et al.
2011:Figures 63 and 64). The only bivalve shells were
four quahog, one sunray venus, and one oyster valve
fragments. There was no subsurface testing at the site
(Davenport et al. 2011:279-281).
Table 1. Taxa and Specimens in Shell Artifact Assemblage from Kreamer Island Site.
Scientific Name
Common Name
Number of
Specimens (%)
Gastropoda
Gastropods
Strombus costatus
Milk conch
3
(1.58%)
Strombus gigas
Queen or pink conch
36
(18.95%)
Strombus sp.
Conch
15
(7.89%)
Cassis sp.
Helmet
7
(3.68%)
Busycon contrarium
Lightning whelk
35
(18.42%)
Busycon carica eliceans
Kiener’s whelk
6
(3.16%)
Busycon sp.
Whelk
2
(1.05%)
Pleuroploca gigantea
Horse conch
3
(1.58%)
Olivella sp.
Olive
1
(0.53%)
Indeterminate Gastropoda
31
(16.32%)
Total Gastropoda
139
Bivalva
Bivalves
Glycymeris undata
Wavy bittersweet
1
(0.53%)
Macrocallista nimbosa
Sunray venus
5
(2.63%)
Mercenaria sp.
Quahog
45
(23.68%)
Total Bivalva
51
Total Number of Specimens
190

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Table 2. Marine Shell Tool Types from Kreamer Island Site.
Type Name
Taxon
Number of
Specimens
Gastropod Cutting-Edged Tool
Busycon contrarium
8
Gastropod Hammer
Busycon contrarium
3
Columella Cutting-Edged Tool
Busycon contrarium
2
Columella Cutting-Edged Tool
Pleuroploca gigantea
1
Columella Cutting-Edged Tool
Indeterminate
3
Columella Perforator
Busycon contrarium
1
Columella Hammer, single-ended
Busycon contrarium
3
Columella, Pendant
Indeterminate
1
Columella Pendant, single groove
Busycon contrarium
2
Columella Pendant, double groove
Busycon contrarium
7
Columella Pendant, double groove
Pleuroploca gigantea
1
Columella Pendant, double groove
Indeterminate
1
Adze/Celt
Strombus costatus
1
Adze/Celt
Strombus gigas
24
Adze/Celt
Strombus sp.
4
Anvil
Mercenaria sp.
1
Net Mesh Gauge
Strombus gigas
1
Gorget
Strombus gigas
1
Debitage
Cassis sp.
1
Gastropod Gouge/Scraper
Busycon contrarium
1
Gastropod Gouge/Scraper
Busycon carica eliceans
6
Gastropod Gouge/Scraper
Busycon sp.
1
Gastropod Gouge/Scraper
Strombus costatus
1
Pendant, Non-Columella, double groove
Strombus gigas
2
Pendant, Non-Columella, double groove
Cassis sp.
3
Pendant, Non-Columella, double groove
Indeterminate
1
Pendant Preform, Non-Columella
Cassis sp.
1
Total
83
Shell Artifacts
This section describes the shell artifacts. Appendices
in Mount (2009) and Davenport et al. (2011) list all shell
artifacts identified from the Kreamer Island site and
provide their measurements.
Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools and Hammers
Gastropod cutting-edged tools and hammers were
well represented and usually crafted from lightning
whelk shells. Figures 4 and 5 show relatively complete
examples; many fragmentary specimens were not
collected. None was assigned to a specific current type
(e.g., Type A, Type B, etc.). However, Figures 4 and
5 show that perforations in the body whorl varied in
their placements. Specimens with two perforations (one
above the shoulder and one close below) may be Type
AX, dating to the Late Archaic, Florida Transitional, and
Early Woodland periods (Bullen et al. 1978:12, Figure
11; Luer 1992:247, 249; Wheeler and McGee 1994:365,
Figure 20). Specimens with a single large perforation
below the shoulder may be Type H, dating to the Middle
Woodland period (Luer 2012:119, Figure 8). Other
types may be present as well. The quantity and diversity
of these tools suggest the site’s inhabitants were skilled
craftspeople, engaged in woodworking.
Gouges/Scrapers
Shell gouges or scrapers crafted from the outer
body whorl and adjacent columella of gastropods were

Mount and Davenport
Lake Okeechobee Shell Artifacts
191
found. The specimens shown in Figure 6 were all made
from right-spiraled Kiener’s whelk shells, with nearest
sources on the Atlantic coast of central and northeast
Florida. These specimens resemble some from sites of
the Late Archaic and Woodland periods in the Indian
River and St. Johns River regions (Bullen and Bullen
1961:11, Figure 7c, d; Goggin 1952:116, 148, Plates 6A
through 6D; Jahn and Bullen 1978:Figure 46r; Rouse
1951:126-127, 231, Plate 6A) and support contacts to
the north with peoples of those areas.
Adze/Celt
The most common kind of tool was the gastropod
adze/celt which was typically made from the body
whorl of a whelk shell or the lip of a queen conch shell
(Figure 7). Many specimens were extensively worked
by grinding. Many had trapezoidal or triangular shapes.
Columella Cutting-Edged Tools
Figure 8 shows two complete specimens and four
fragments of working tips. All these specimens, except
the one on the far right, came from right-spiraled shells.
The specimen on the far left appears to be a horse conch
columella; the other right-spiraled specimens may be
horse conch columellae. The specimen on the far right
appears to be from a lightning whelk columella. On all
these specimens, the apical tip was ground to a cutting
edge. Florse conch and lightning whelk columella
cutting-edged tools are also found on the Florida Gulf
coast, such as in Charlotte and Manatee counties (e.g.,
Luer 2014:Figure 3), from where Lake Okeechobee
specimens could have been obtained.
Columella Perforator
The columella portion of a gastropod shell was
intentionally shaped into a pointed tool, apparently a
perforator (Figure 9, top).
Pendants
Pendants, usually grooved for suspension on one or
both ends, were shaped from shell columellae or shell
lips. They were made of lightning whelk, horse conch,
queen conch, and helmet shells. Figure 9 (bottom)
shows a double-grooved specimen, and Figure 10 shows
single-grooved specimens fashioned from columellae.
Some are cylindrical, others tear-drop shaped; most are
extensively ground smooth.
Nine pendants fashioned from helmet shell lips are
shown in Figure 11. Some are grooved on both ends.
Most were found to the west of the former Democrat
River opening, while other types of pendants were found
over the entire Kreamer Island site.
Possible Mimicry Pendants
Several shell pendants might have been shaped to
mimic the knobby form of helmet shell lips. In Figure
12, the three specimens on the left may be pieces of queen
conch lip shaped to resemble helmet shell lips. In Figure
12, the specimen on the far right is the lip of an apparent
reticulated cowrie helmet (Cypraecassis testiculus).
These artifacts suggest the knobby appearance is what
was important to native people, and when suitable pieces
were not available, they might have been mimicked. This
is the first report of possible non-Cassis shell shaped to
look like Cassis lips.
Other Shell Pendants
One flattened, rectangular pendant (Figure 13a) was
found at the Kreamer Island site. Relic hunters report
that pendants of this form have been found commonly
to the east and south of Lake Okeechobee. Frank and
Nancy Hoff (2007:133, 137, Figures 12.12 and 12.43)
report a number of rectangular pendants from a plowed
field in Martin County, east of Lake Okeechobee. A
double-grooved ovoid pendant (Figure 13b) came from
the north end of Kreamer Island. Its shape resembles
some pictured by Hoff and Hoff (2007:Figure 12.43)
from Martin County and Luer (2013:Figure 15) from
Sarasota County.
Two unusual pendants also came from Kreamer
Island. One is long and thin (12.4 x 1.6 cm) and ground
very smooth. One end is blunt while the other flares
outward and terminates in a conical tip (Figure 14).
It resembles a distal fragment of a shell pendant from
Belle Glade that Willey (1949:137, Plate 12E) called the
“flanged-end variety.” A similar tip is on pendants from
widely scattered sites in peninsular Florida, such as Tick
Island (Jahn and Bullen 1978:Figure 50) and in the Ten
Thousand Islands (Moore 1900:Figure 8D).
In addition, very similar tips were on three shell
pendants in an artifact cache with a human burial in the
Jones Mound (8HI4) northeast of Tampa and dating to
the Weeden Island and precontact Safety Harbor periods
(ca. A.D. 700 to 1500) (Bullen 1952:53-54, Figure
18). Interestingly, this rich cache included a duck head
pendant of exotic stone (Bullen 1952:53, Figure 16b)
similar to a fragmentary one found at the Kreamer Island
site during the Boyer Survey (Davenport et al. 2011:475-
476, Figures 208, 209, 210). Additional similar exotic
stone duck head pendants are reported from the Turkey
Creek site (8BR50) near Melbourne (Rouse 1951:165-
166,295, Plate 4V, W) and from the charnel pond at Fort
Center (8GL13) (Sears 1982:95-94, 105, 109, Figure
6.1P). Specimens from the latter two sites are thought to
date to Middle Woodland/Hopewellian times.

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2019 Vol. 72 (4)
The second unusual pendant from Kreamer Island is
smaller (6.5 x 1.7 cm) and also ground smooth, although
a remnant groove of its natural siphonal canal is still
present, indicating it was made from a right-spiraled
shell. One end is blunt while the other narrows to a
very constricted end (Figure 15). This long, narrow end
presumably served for attaching a cord for suspension
(like a groove). A shell pendant with a similar narrow
neck is in a collection from Manatee County on the Gulf
coast (Hoff and Hoff 2007:Figure 12.37).
Body Whorl Gorget
One circular gorget (Figure 16) was recovered to the
east of the former Democrat River opening. The gorget
was made from a portion of the body whorl of a gastropod
shell. Its diameter is 6.6 cm and its thickness is 1 cm. It
is plain except for several small notches along its outer
edge. A single, small central hole measures 6 mm across.
Disc-shaped shell gorgets with a single central hole and
notched edges are pictured from Tick Island (Jahn and
Bullen 1978:Figure 40, 41, 46) and similar disc-shaped
shell gorgets are pictured from coastal Manatee County
(Luer 2014:Figure 3).
Net Mesh Gauge
One reduced, rectangular, polished piece of shell
might have been a net mesh gauge. Some fragments of
quahog shell also could have served this purpose.
Bivalve Shells
Of the bivalve shells found, quahog fragments were
the most common. It was only possible to identify one
formal tool, an anvil made from a quahog valve.
Figure 4. Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools and Hammers.

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Lake Okeechobee Shell Artifacts
193
Figure 5. Whelk Shell Cutting-Edged Tools and Hammers.
Figure 6. Shell Gouges. These six specimens were fashioned from right-spiraled whelk shells
that appeared to represent Kiener’s whelk (Busycon carica eliceans).

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Figure 7. Shell Adze/Celts.
Figure 8. Columella Cutting-Edged Tools.

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Figure 9. Columellae. Top: pointed tool. Bottom: double-grooved pendant.
Figure 10. Pendants, a, b, d: single groove; c: double groove; e, f; teardrop. Scale in upper right applies to e only.

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Figure 11. Helmet Shell Pendants.
Figure 12. Possible Mimic Pendants.

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Figure 13. Pendants, a: rectangular; b: ovoid.
Figure 14. Pendant with Conical Tip and Encircling Flange.

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2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Figure 15. Columella Pendant with Constricted End. The narrow waist presumably served
for attaching a cord for suspension.
Figure 16. Circular Gorget. Pen and ink drawing by Sussan Gash.

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Discussion of Some Shell Artifacts
Columella Pendants
These artifacts make up an interesting portion of the
shell artifact collection from Kreamer Island (Table 3).
Ample previous research shows that artifacts of this type
are often associated with or derived from human burials,
that they often involved considerable labor to fabricate,
and that they often are made of exotic, valued, or rare
materials. This is shown by research by Bullen, Partridge,
and Harris (1970:117-118), Gilliland (1975:173-175),
Goggin (1949:549-553), Luer (2013:115, Figure 15,
2014:107, Figure 3), Moore (1900, 1905, 1907, 1921),
Reiger (1990, 1999), Steinen (1982:105-106), Wheeler
(2002:34), and Willey (1949:50-51).
Nonetheless, the function of this kind of artifact is
sometimes debated, some asserting that some of them
are utilitarian, others viewing most as prestige items.
Marquardt (1992:205-207, Figure 19) refers to them
as columella sinkers, and Walker (1992, 2000:30-31)
suggests some functioned as parts of composite fish
hooks or as sinkers to weigh down fishing line or nets.
This argument is based on analogy to somewhat similar
objects known ethnographically from the South Pacific as
well as somewhat similar artifacts from South America.
If the same argument is made, then such “sinkers”
would have been used in Lake Okeechobee, a relatively
shallow lake with predominantly small kinds of fish.
However, the size of the artifacts would be better suited
for larger fish (e.g., sharks, large grouper) not found in
Lake Okeechobee (see Table 3 for measurements). To
justify the existence of shell pendants in the Kreamer
assemblage for use in local fishing, one would expect to
see variation of sizes comparable to the sizes of aquatic
resources available.
If one were to consider such artifacts as used for
fishing (prone to frequent loss), one would expect that
they would have been relatively common and could
have been made in a short period of time. Conversely,
if one assumed that these artifacts were prestige items,
they would not occur regularly and the amount of work
necessary to make them would be more. First, the
availability of raw materials must be assessed. The
nearest sources of marine shells recovered from Lake
Table 3. Marine Shell Pendants. Key: Lt = Length, W = Width, Wt = Weight, FS# = Field Specimen Number.
Tool Type
Taxon
Lt (cm)
W (cm)
Wt(g)
FS#
Columella Pendant
Indeterminate
6.43
2.57
31.2
2.20
Columella Pendant, single-groove
Busycon contrarium
15.90
1.45
45.5
2.19
Columella Pendant, single-groove
B. contrarium
11.42
2.10
63.0
2.21
Columella Pendant, double-groove
B. contrarium
9.23
1.61
22.9
3.02
Columella Pendant, double-groove
B. contrarium
11.88
2.37
72.2
6.03
Columella Pendant, double-groove
B. contrarium
9.04
1.84
28.4
8.03
Columella Pendant, double-groove
B. contrarium
7.49
1.49
27.6
8.032
Columella Pendant, double-groove
B. contrarium
8.95
1.63
31.5
11.03
Columella Pendant, double-groove
B. contrarium
6.70
2.13
34.2
11.04
Columella Pendant, double-groove
B. contrarium
10.59
2.58
59.0
23.02
Columella Pendant, double-groove
Indeterminate
5.49
1.88
19.7
11.05
Columella Pendant, double-groove
Pleuroploca gigantea
6.19
1.74
19.0
19.02
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove
Strombus gigas
6.80
2.42
49.7
4.03
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove
S. gigas
7.10
2.71
27.6
4.05
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove
Cassis sp.
11.24
1.95
50.3
4.04
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove
Cassis sp.
10.51
2.05
41.9
9.241
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove
Cassis sp.
10.83
1.75
26.3
20.01
Pendant, Non-Columella, double-groove
Indeterminate
5.01
1.60
15.5
12.03
Pendant, Non-Columella, Preform
Cassis sp.
10.30
2.17
43.1
12.06
Pendants
Mean
9.01
2.00
37.3
Minimum
5.01
1.45
15.5
Maximum
15.90
2.71
72.2

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The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Okeechobee sites would be the Atlantic or Gulf coasts
of Florida. The marine shells found at Lake Okeechobee
sites must have been transported or exchanged into the
area over considerable distance. This distance would
have limited the access to shells, and when combined
with time spent fashioning the objects, their perceived
value would be increased (Trubitt 2003:244).
Second, the time needed to fabricate a pendant
should be considered. Although the process has not been
replicated, making a pendant is a specialized activity
requiring a significant investment of time for each artifact.
If the artifact functioned as a shank or sinker (prone
to loss), one would question the overall investment of
time required for its manufacture. Certainly, a roughly
made sinker would function well enough to hold down a
fishing line or net. This is not the case with the group of
pendants from Kreamer Island. Of particular interest are
the large, finely made specimens. For these, time would
have been spent shaping and polishing the columellae.
Reiger (1999) provides further support for prestige
attributed to shell pendants. He describes 20 pendants
from Jones Mound, near Tampa, and quotes Bullen:
“[all the] pendants were located at necks or chests and
so, presumably, were suspended from the neck in life”
(Bullen 1952:49). Only 20 of the approximately 150
adult burials in the Jones Mound contained pendants
(Reiger 1999:227). Ripley Bullen (1952) wrote that
perhaps pendants were clan or rank symbols rather than
mere items of personal adornment.
The Kreamer Island site contains human skeletal
remains. However, due to the nature of the deposits and
the surficial finds, the pendants could not be attributed
to the same context as the human bones. The pendants
found at Kreamer Island were not common items; rather
they were rare. Possible uses could be adornment or
mortuary or ceremonial functions.
Accepting arguments that pendants are status items,
perhaps they reflect four levels of status for people at the
Kreamer Island site. We speculate that Cassis pendants
were the most valued pendant form, given the rarity of
helmet shells, their low number as artifacts, the distance
they were transported to the site, and that other kinds
of shells might have been carved to mimic the shape of
Cassis lips. If so, Cassis pendants might have belonged
to the highest ranking individuals. Those with imitations
of Cassis pendants might have held second highest rank,
those with “standard” columella pendants might have
been third, and those people with no pendants might
have comprised the common or fourth rank of the site.
However, different forms of pendants could be related
to differences in gender, age, or kinship groups, rather
than rank.
Adze/Celts
The adze/celt and adze/celt blanks made from the lip
of Strombus gigas are considered ubiquitous tool types
in south Florida (Wheeler 2004:170). Their prevalence
has led to a large body of work on the morphology,
analysis, and interpretation of the use of these artifacts.
Their caching in both blank and adze/celt form has been
noted by Carr and Reiger (1980) as well as by Pepe and
Elgart (2006; personal communication 2008), and this
activity has been compared to caching of lithic materials
elsewhere in the state (Wheeler 2004:170). The use of
different kinds of shells for celts shows an adaptation to
raw material available in pre-Columbian Florida. The
specific usage of Strombus gigas is a regional adaptation
to a readily available shell resource on the Atlantic coast
of Florida (Masson 1988:313).
Masson analyzed celts and adzes from the Cheetum
(8DA1058) and Flagami (8DA1053) sites near the
Atlantic coast of Miami-Dade County. She used
techniques borrowed from lithic analysis to analyze
and to compare use-wear and breakage patterns in the
shell celt assemblages. Masson also defined shell celt
morphology and she used examples from experiments to
illustrate the manufacture processes of these tools.
Comparisons of the adze/celts from Kreamer Island
show, like those from the Miami Circle (Wheeler
2004:170), that all these artifacts exhibit similar methods
of manufacture, breakage patterns, and use (Table 4).
The breakage patterns in the Kreamer Island assemblage
are consistent with those of Masson (1988) and Wheeler
(2004) and support breakage due to structural weaknesses
in the shell material. Wheeler (2004:170) agrees with
Masson (1988:324) that there are inherent flaws, such
as asymmetry, in the structure of Strombus gigas lips
that lend themselves to particular patterns of breakage.
The left side of the Strombus gigas lip is thicker than
the right, resulting in the breaking of the right side of
the celt. Masson (1988:324) states that the dorsal and
ventral surfaces of the adze/celt were ground to reduce
this asymmetry and to increase durability. In terms of
general usage, the patterns of breakage shown by the
assemblage are consistent with rough woodworking.
The initial shaping of logs, removal of large portions
of material, cutting or chopping are all possible uses of
adze/celts.
Wheeler notes a difference in the species utilized
at Miami Circle compared to the Cheetum-Flagami
collection. He shows a high frequency of Strombus
costatus lip celts in the Miami Circle assemblage, even
though it is a relatively uncommon species in south Florida
(Wheeler 2004:171). The Kreamer Island assemblage

Mount and Davenport
Lake Okeechobee Shell Artifacts
201
Table 4. Adze/Celts. Break/Wear attributes are defined by Masson (1988) as follows: R = Right, L = Left, D = Distal,
P = Proximal, DB = Diagonal Break, LB = Longitudinal Break, LS = Longitudinal Split. Key: Lt = Length, W = Width,
Ht = Height, Wt = Weight, FS# = Field Specimen Number.
Taxon
Lt (cm)
W (cm)
Ht (cm)
Wt (g)
Break/Wear
FS#
Strombus costatus
5.20
4.07
.74
18.3
R-D-DB/Snap
15.06
Strombus gigas
5.82
2.56
1.03
20.8
R-D-DB
2.12
S. gigas
10.13
5.45
.88
69.7
Haft
2.25
S. gigas
5.33
4.05
1.58
59.9
Snap
2.26
S. gigas
4.57
3.90
.68
18.8
Snap
2.27
S. gigas
8.50
3.23
.79
33.3
Distal Impact Scar
2.3
S. gigas
3.90
3.60
1.00
21.5
Snap
3.03
S. gigas
11.00
3.69
1.15
57.1
L-P-DB/R-LS
6.01
S. gigas
8.86
4.60
2.20
131.7
Indeterminate
9.15
S. gigas
8.30
4.00
1.90
83.8
Haft
9.16
S. gigas
7.64
3.80
.84
35.1
Indeterminate
9.19
S. gigas
8.58
4.15
1.09
43.9
R-D-DB
9.25
S. gigas
9.71
4.76
2.40
149.6
Haft
9.26
S. gigas
10.58
3.64
1.21
54.0
R-D-DB/Haft
9.27
S. gigas
5.00
5.26
.59
25.6
Snap
9.29
S. gigas
9.11
4.72
.13
69.8
Snap
9.3
S. gigas
9.39
4.00
1.00
45.1
R-D-DB
9.31
S. gigas
7.56
3.64
1.40
60.6
Haft
9.32
S. gigas
6.22
3.57
.66
21.7
R-Nicking
9.34
S. gigas
13.25
3.80
1.48
100.0
L-LB
13.03
S. gigas
8.50
3.92
1.43
58.5
R-LB
15.12
S. gigas
5.78
3.05
.83
25.1
Indeterminate
22.01
S. gigas
6.40
2.89
1.06
34.1
Indeterminate
22.02
S. gigas
5.33
3.63
.82
24.9
Snap
22.03
S. gigas
6.65
2.14
.79
15.1
Indeterminate
13.11
Strombus sp.
11.17
6.13
1.24
90.8
Nicking/Haft
2.24
Strombus sp.
8.00
3.60
.89
45.5
Indeterminate
3.01
Strombus sp.
8.85
3.28
.75
25.2
R-D-DB
13.1
Strombus sp.
6.76
4.67
1.28
50.9
Snap
15.07
Mean
7.74
3.96
1.12
52.16
Minimum
3.9
2.14
0.13
15.1
Maximum
13.25
6.13
2.4
149.6
more closely resembles the Cheetum-Flagami collection
in this regard as it has only one identified adze/celt of S.
costatus. However, four specimens in the assemblage
were identified only to the Strombus genus.
Curiously, a single S. costatus lip, an apparent
exchange item, was found in the Aqui Esta Mound
near Charlotte Harbor (Luer 2002:167; Luer and
Hughes 2005:139). Masson (1988:314-315) mentions
a regional variation first noted by Willey (1949) in the
species utilized to make adze/celts. He noted the use
of Strombus gigas in Dade and Broward County sites,
versus S. gigas and Busycon contrarium in Belle Glade
sites. Multiple patterns of exchange or movement of
native people in south Florida could explain the varied
types and frequencies of marine shells.
Marine Shells
Wheeler (2004:173) states that mollusk species
targeted for shell tool production are partly a function
of their biogeographic ranges. While this was true for
native people with direct access to these resources, inland
people were constrained by the groups with whom they
traded or by the places they visited. Marine shells must

202
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
have been obtained by exchange or otherwise imported
to the Lake Okeechobee region. Therefore, the means
of procurement as well as intergroup relations and the
role each played in the complexity of a culture can be
discussed.
The occurrence at Lake Okeechobee of marine shell
artifacts of some of the same types known to occur on the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, and in the St. Johns
River region, supports the presence of people on the
southeast rim of Lake Okeechobee, who interacted with
people in those other areas. The biogeographic ranges of
the mollusks utilized permit speculation about cultural
interactions and exchange. For example, assemblages
of shell artifacts from sites on the Gulf coast of Florida
are often dominated by Busycon tools, whereas Atlantic
coast artifact assemblages are mainly comprised of
Strombus or other shells. The shell artifact assemblage
from southeast Lake Okeechobee shows exchange or
contact with both coasts.
An extensive network of small waterways,
hammocks, swamps, and sloughs allowed inland peoples
to travel to the coast, and coastal people to travel inland.
The distribution of large archaeological sites along such
waterways is illustrated by the Belle Glade Mound
and Midden and other sites along the Democrat River
(now a relic channel once connected to southeast Lake
Okeechobee) (Figure 17). The same waterways, such as
Hungryland Slough, also had small sites (e.g., Wheeler
1992).
Many shell tools lent themselves to being reworked
after they were damaged, such as some Busycon tools
and adze/celts made from the Strombus lip. Interestingly,
the rest of the Strombus shell appeared to be absent in
the assemblage from Kreamer Island. This suggests that
adze/celts were finished, nearly finished, or blanks when
obtained from the coast.
Shells and Social Complexity
“Complexity” in its broadest sense denotes the
presence of multiple interrelated or interconnected parts.
The definition of complexity as it relates to a cultural group
is not so straightforward. Many scholars have specified
certain characteristics in defining a society as being
complex. These typically include elaborate technologies,
sedentary communities, intensive subsistence practices,
large dense populations, and organizational changes in
social, economic and ritual structures (Brown and Price
1985). These characteristics may be manifested in the
archaeological record by the presence of certain kinds of
artifact assemblages, features, and structures.
Figure 17. Democrat River Formerly Connected to
Southeast Lake Okeechobee. This relic channel has
large archaeological sites along it, such as the Belle Glade
Mound/Midden (from Smith 2015:Figure 2).
Several scholars assert that cultural complexity is
defined by social organization intended to overcome
problems in the logistics of access to resources (Cohen
1985:104). Cohen suggests 12 features of socially
complex cultures, all of which in some manner are
related to access to resources and the methods utilized
to control them. Among the features that deal expressly
with exchange networks include the emergence of chiefs,
reciprocal social relations and ceremonial obligations,
interregional alliances, expansion of exchange networks,
emergence of prestige as an economic commodity, and
demand for prestigious goods that symbolize social
hierarchies.
In addition to defining complexity, varied schools
of thought have identified how cultures became
increasingly complex. There continues to be an ongoing
debate in anthropology between those who profess an
evolutionary-ecological approach to cultural change
and those who support a historical-materialist approach.
Other scholars prefer to combine the two approaches,
emphasizing certain aspects of each. Marquardt (1985)
suggests an amalgam of the two schools of thought in his
synopsis concerning fisher-gatherer-hunters. He calls
this amalgam synthetic processualism which combines
the body of knowledge gathered by natural scientists and
the dialectical method of analysis and exposition used

Mount and Davenport
Lake Okeechobee Shell Artifacts
203
by Marx in his critique of capitalist social formations
(Marquardt 1985:70).
Other scholars have attempted to explain exchange,
and the role it played, by applying World Systems
Theory to individual sites, particularly in South and
Central America (Carmack and Gonzalez 2006; Frank
and Gills 1993; Schortman and Urban 1994; Wallerstein
1974a). World Systems Theory postulates that the
interaction of polities occurred in a core and periphery
system. The core is the developed controlling group or
center, whereas the periphery consists of underdeveloped
groups, providing support under the control of the center
(Wallerstein 1974a). Wallerstein (1974a, 1974b) and
Frank and Gills (1993) suggest that peripheral groups
and sites were relied on and dominated both politically
and economically by the core (Carmack and Gonzalez
2006:21). Other authors have suggested that peripheries
play a much less significant role and refer to periphery
sites as unspecialized zones and contact peripheries
(Carmack and Gonzalez 2006:219).
Perhaps the Ritta and Kreamer Island sites could
be placed in the periphery category, but there are no
data supporting that view for the entirety of the Belle
Glade period. The core and periphery relationship
between sites and groups was a dynamic process, subject
to change over time. This idea is suggested at large
earthworks such as Fort Center (Carr 1985; Sears 1982)
and Ortona (Carr et al. 1995). The presence at those sites
of imported materials and, after contact, European metal
artifacts, such as gold and silver items of adornment (e.g.,
Branstetter 1995; Luer 1994, 2000), seems to contradict
classification of these sites as peripheral. The Belle
Glade area’s huge, raised, radiating earthworks, and other
large mounds (Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson 1991) suggest
that sites near Lake Okeechobee were positions of
power, perhaps acting as a core area for a period of time.
Future research focusing on these earthworks, especially
establishing a temporal framework, will benefit the study
of exchange relations and cultural complexity over time.
The Lake Okeechobee region contains few resources
that are unavailable in other areas of the state. However,
some were especially abundant. One resource could
have been the pond-apple. While the pond-apple can be
found in other areas of the greater Everglades, the large
quantity perhaps available from a 3.2 km (2 mi) wide belt
around the southern end of Lake Okeechobee, may have
been an exchange source. The region also had abundant
frogs, mudpuppies, and deer (hides, antlers, and bone).
Other local resources that might have been desired by
coastal populations included feathers and perhaps “bread
of roots’’ mentioned by Fontaneda (True 1944).
By location, all the artifacts recovered during the
Boyer Survey (lithics, shell artifacts, and even some
pottery) are technically “exotic” materials. There are
no known chert deposits in the survey area, nor local
access to marine shell. These materials reached the
sites through exchange or by the movement of native
people in and between regions. By Middle Archaic
times, evidence from the Tick Island/Harris Creek site
supports the movement of people between the coast and
interior in the St. Johns River region (Quinn, Tucker, and
Krigbaum 2008). For the Belle Glade region, Austin
(1997:595-600, 2015) cites models of down-the-line
trade and has made an extensive argument for inter¬
regional exchange in stone, shell, and shark teeth as a
factor in the development of the Belle Glade culture.
The cutting-edged tools from the Kreamer Island
site imply woodworking. This begs the question: could
locally made wooden objects (bowls, pestles, and
canoes) have been exchanged to procure more shell
tools or the raw material? Until the Boyer Survey, the
Kreamer Island site was thought to be a small hamlet
site. However, given the amount and diversity of non¬
local materials, this seems an incorrect inference. The
artifact assemblage is suggestive a larger regional village
with some defined hierarchy.
Conclusion
Due to the deflated nature of the Boyer Survey sites
and their muck soil, the artifacts we recovered from the
surface cannot be attributed to narrow contexts. It was
interesting to find prestige and utilitarian artifacts. We
do not suggest that the assemblages represent a single
occupation, rather they probably represent two or more
cultural periods.
The large shell artifact assemblage from Kreamer
Island was comprised primarily of utilitarian tools,
although numbers of shell pendants (prestige items)
also were found. The assemblage from Kreamer Island
may reflect multiple occupations, perhaps as early as the
Archaic and/or Early Woodland periods (based on whelk
body whorl gouges, possible Type AX gastropod shell
cutting-edged tools, and a Deptford Simple Stamped
sherd) and extending into the Belle Glade III (ca. A.D.
700 to 1300) and precontact Belle Glade IV (ca. A.D.
1300 to 1500) periods (based on Belle Glade Plain, St.
Johns Check Stamped, and Sarasota Incised sherds). The
site could have had contemporaneous mortuary practices
and site utilization similar to, but smaller in scale than,
the Belle Glade Mound and Midden. Remote sensing
and aerial image analysis have shown that the Democrat

204
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
River that coursed through the Belle Glade Mound and
Midden terminated at the Kreamer Island site. Our
research appears to link them through the shared types
of non-local artifacts found at both sites.
Acknowledgments
We thank archaeologists George Luer and Dorothy
Block for editing this paper, and reviewers for their
help. We also would like to express our thanks to
archaeologists Arlene Fradkin and Clifford Brown,
both at FAU, for their assistance with parts of this study
related to Mount’s 2009 M.A. thesis.
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1989 Prehistoric Subsistence Strategies and
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Hoff, Frank, and Nancy Hoff
2007 Shell Artifacts: Emphasis on Southeast
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Blakely. Pastime Artifacts, Dade City, Florida.
Jahn, Otto L., and Ripley P. Bullen
1978 The Tick Island Artifacts. In The Tick Island
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Bullen and Jerald T. Milanich, pp. 22-23, and Figures
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Johnson, William G.
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Luer, George M.
1986 Some Interesting Archaeological Occurrences
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1992 The Palmetto Lane Midden (8S096): Some
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1994 A Third Ceremonial Tablet from the Goodnow
Mound, Highlands County, Florida: With Notes on
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2000 Three Metal Ceremonial Tablets, With
Comments on the Tampa Bay Area. The Florida
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2002 The Aqui Esta Mound: Ceramic and Shell
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2012 A New Kind of Shell Tool in Florida, With
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2013 Tabbed Circle Artifacts in Florida: An
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2014 Four More Tabbed Circle Artifacts in Florida,
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Ron Hatfield, and Darden Hood
1986 Whelk Shell Tool Blanks from Big Mound Key
(8CH10), Charlotte County, Florida: With Notes on
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124. Florida Anthropological Society Publication 12,
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Luer, George M., and Daniel Hughes
2005 Revisiting the Aqui Esta Mound’s Shell
Vessels. The Florida Anthropologist 58(1-2): 121-139.
Marquardt, William H,
1985 Complexity and Scale in the Study of Fisher-
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1992 Shell Artifacts from the Caloosahatchee
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Masson, Marilyn A.
1988 Shell Celt Morphology and Reduction:
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Moore, Clarence B.
1900 Certain Antiquities of the Florida West
Coast. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of
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1905 Miscellaneous Investigations in Florida.
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1907 Notes on the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida.
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1921 Notes on Shell Implements from Florida.
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Mount, Gregory J.
2009 Prehistoric Trade Networks in the Lake
Okeechobee Region: Evidence from the Ritta Island
and Kreamer Island Sites. M.A. thesis, Department of
Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton.
Pepe, James P., and Alison Elgart
2006 Strombus Celt Caches in Southern Florida: A
Functional Interpretation. Paper presented at the 58th
Annual Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society,
Stuart, Florida.
Quinn, Rhonda L., Bryan D. Tucker, and
John Krigbaum
2008 Diet and Mobility in Middle Archaic Florida:
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Creek Archaeological Site (8V024), Tick Island.
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Reiger, John F.
1981 An Analysis of Four Types of Shell Artifacts
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1990 “Plummets”—An Analysis of a Mysterious
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1999 Artistry, Status, and Power: How “Plummet’’-
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Sears, William H.
1982 Fort Center: An Archaeological Site in the
Lake Okeechobee Basin. University Presses of Florida,
Gainesville.

Mount and Davenport
Lake Okeechobee Shell Artifacts
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1982 Other Nonceramic Artifacts. In Fort Center:
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2015 Defining Population Characteristics of the Belle
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2003 The Production and Exchange of Marine
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Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 45(4):347-351.
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Printing, West Palm Beach, Florida.
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University Publications in Anthropology 42,
New Haven.


The following brief article is reprinted from the FAS Newsletter (no. 85, February 1978), edited by the FAS President,
the late J. Raymond Williams, Ph.D., who was an archaeologist and Professor of Anthropology at the University of
South Florida, in Tampa (see an obituary by Dana Ste. Claire in The Florida Anthropologist, vol. 49, no. 4, 1996).
For more information about George Ferguson and Wilfred Neill, see “About The Authors” (this issue) and an obituary
about Neill in The Florida Anthropologist, vol. 56, no. 4 (2003).
AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA
George R. Ferguson and Wilfred T. Neill
To describe an apparently unique artifact might at
first seem an exercise in futility. However, the quality
of uniqueness is apt to prove illusory; and when a
few similar specimens have been reported, a study of
their distribution and mode of occurrence might prove
rewarding. Note, for example, what Williams and
Goggin (1956) were able to infer from a few scattered
occurrences of the “long-Nosed God” masks.
So feeling, we report and illustrate (Figure 1) an
unusual specimen from the Late Preceramic level of
Good’s Shellpit, Volusia County, Florida. It is made
from the lip of a helmet shell, probably the common
helmet (Cassis tuberosa), to judge from its large size.
The object resembles an arrow-wrench, but arrows
were not in use during Late Preceramic times. Perhaps
the artifact was a pendent.
It has been suggested (R. P. Bullen, personal
communication) that this object was an atlatl hook.
Being flat on one side, it could well have been bound to
an atlatl, if not as a hook then as a weight. But any atlatl
to which it might have been bound was most likely a
ceremonial one; for the large size of the object militates
against the idea that it was part of an ordinary, utilitarian
weapon.
It may be significant that Good’s Shellpit has also
yielded one of the few examples of Late Pre-ceramic
ceremonialism: a cache of 48 large Newnan points, all
of imported bluish flint, and each with two or three small
breaks involving tips, barbs, or stems. This large site,
before its virtual obliteration for road fill, may have
contained more unusual, finely crafted objects than is
normally to be expected from a Late Pre-ceramic midden.
It is clear that some middens of this period contain
a surprising quantity of uncommon and sometimes
unidentified artifacts; witness the material recovered
from the Bluffton site, Volusia County, Florida (Neill
1954).
References Cited
Neill, Wilfred T.
1954 Artifacts from the Bluffton Midden, Volusia
County, Florida. The Florida Anthropologist 7(1): 11-17.
Williams, Stephen, and John M. Goggin
1956 The Long Nosed God Mask in the Eastern United
States. The Missouri Archaeologist 18(3).
Figure 1. Helmet Shell Lip Artifact from the Late Preceramic Level of Good’s Shell Pit, Volusia County, Florida
[no scale provided, image scanned from FAS Newsletter #85, February 1978].
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COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM
VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA”
George M. Luer
The Florida Anthropologist Editor, geoluer@gmail.com
As Ferguson and Neill anticipated, additional
specimens of this artifact type have become known. More
specimens extend its geographic distribution, but we still
know little about its age and function. Hopefully, these
comments and the reprint will elicit further information.
These artifacts were fashioned from the lip of
sizeable helmet shells of the queen or emperor helmet
{Cassis madagascariensis) (Abbott 1974). This mollusk
occurs along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to
the Greater Antilles and in the Gulf of Mexico. It is
known from both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida,
including the Florida panhandle.
Additional specimens that may be the same kind of
artifact have been reported from Palm Beach County.
Archaeologist John Goggin described a well-worked
Cassis lip from the Canal Point 1 site (8PB44) as having
“a curved end... projecting beyond the knobbed portion
and a perforation has been made sideways through the
object [at] about the center of the knobbed portion”
(Goggin 1949:602). Goggin (1949:363) also noted a
perforated Cassis lip from the Canal Point 4 site (8PB47).
These specimens also are listed by Willey (1949:77-78),
who called one of them a “gorget or pendant” with an
“overall length of 16 cm.”
The Canal Point 1 and 4 sites are on the southeast
shore of Lake Okeechobee, to the northeast of the area
covered by the Boyer Survey (see Mount and Davenport,
this issue). In the 1940s, Goggin and Willey saw these
Canal Point Cassis lips in the United States National
Museum (now the Smithsonian National Museum of
Natural History). Some discrepancies exist in Goggin’s
and Willey’s descriptions of them and associated artifacts,
which only further museum research may clarify.
Another worked Cassis lip, very similar to Ferguson
and Neill’s, is attributed to the Tick Island/Harris Creek
site (8V024) and was pictured by Jahn and Bullen
(1978:Figure 47e). Their photograph is reproduced
here in Figure 1. They called it a “drilled pendant” and
pictured it with three similar pieces of worked shell and
bone, all with one upturned end and having a perforation
near the other end (Figure 1). The two bones appear
to be modified bacula (penis bones), and the shell is
Figure 1. Worked Cassis Lip and Similar Artifacts of Bone and Shell Pictured by Jahn and Bullen
(1978:Figure 47b, c, d, e |no clear scale]).
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of undetermined kind (but apparently not a Cassis
lip). Artifacts from Tick Island range from the Middle
Archaic period through the Woodland period.
Ferguson and Neill state that their perforated
Cassis lip came from a pre-ceramic context, or prior
to the Orange period, which began ca. 4700 cal B.P.
Interestingly, Neill and James Gut previously reported
another find from a deep, pre-ceramic midden deposit in
Good’s Shell Pit. There, they found a rare bone artifact
made from the shaft of a probable deer femur. It was
shaped to resemble a lanceolate projectile point with a
length of 107 mm (Gut and Neill 1953).
Good’s Shell Pit was in a large shell midden bordering
the St. Johns River between 8V044 and 8V048 (Gut
and Neill 1953). According to Goggin (1952:Figure 9),
those two sites are between Hontoon Island and Lake
Monroe, south of Deland and northwest of Sanford.
That is consistent with the location of Good’s Shell Pit
in a map of Mount Taylor period sites (Wheeler et al.
2000:Figure 11). The period includes the Mount Taylor
(ca. 7400 to 5600 cal B.P.) and Thornhill Lake (ca. 5600
to 4700 cal B.P.) phases (e.g., Endonino 2017; Randall
2013; Randall etal. 2014). Both pre-ceramic and ceramic
components were present in Good’s Shell Pit:
At this site, pottery (including St. Johns Check
Stamped ware) is confined to the upper 3 or 4 feet
of one small area farthest from the river. Most
of the midden is an impressively large expanse
of shell, completely without sherds. The site...
appears to be a preceramic one which was
reoccupied during St. Johns II times. [Neill, Gut,
and Brodkorb 1956:383]
Neill et al. (1956) identify Good’s Shell Pit as
having site number “VO 135” but it is instead recorded
as 8VO140 in the Florida Master Site File, where it has
lacked a formal form and specific location. The 8VO140
file notes simply that the site was referenced in a 1956
article in American Antiquity (that is, in Neill et al. 1956).
In that article, Good’s Shell Pit provided the majority of
faunal remains, and its midden shells were identified as
primarily representing two kinds of freshwater snail and
one kind of freshwater clam.
Finally, Ferguson and Neill’s Cassis lip, and the
others noted above, are marine shell artifacts found
at inland, freshwater/terrestrial sites. As such, they
represent items obtained through exchange or by travel
to the coast. Quinn et al. (2008) use stable isotope and
faunal evidence to demonstrate mobility of Middle
Archaic people at the Tick Island/Harris Creek site, and
Mount and Davenport (this issue) use non-local shells to
show mobility and/or exchange by later people at Lake
Okeechobee. The Cassis lip artifacts described here add
to the picture of obtaining and using non-local shells
in the middle St. Johns and Okeechobee regions, while
their identity and function remain unclear.

Luer
Volusia County Unidentified Artifact
213
References Cited
Abbott, R. Tucker
1974 American Seashells: The Marine Mollusca of
the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of North America. 2nd
edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York.
Endonino, Jon C.
2017 The Thornhill Lake Phase - Classifying
Goggin’s Unclassified Complex. The Florida
Anthropologist 70(3): 108-120.
Goggin, John M.
1949 Archeology of the Glades Area, Southern
Florida. Typescript on file, P. K. Yonge Library of
Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville
(contains later additions).
1952 Space and Time Perspective in Northern St.
Johns Archaeology, Florida. Yale Publications in
Anthropology 47, New Haven.
Gut, H. Janies, and Wilfred T. Neill
1953 Bone Artifacts, Resembling Projectile Points,
From Preceramic Sites in Volusia County, Florida.
The Florida Anthropologist 6(3):93-94.
Jahn, Otto L., and Ripley P. Bullen
1978 The Tick Island Artifacts. In The Tick Island
Site, St. Johns River, Florida, edited by Adelaide K.
Bullen and Jerald T. Milanich, pp. 22-23, and Figures
1-60. Florida Anthropological Society Publication 10,
Gainesville.
Neill, Wilfred T., H. James Gut,
and Pierce Brodkorb
1956 Animal Remains from Four Preceramic
Sites in Florida. American Antiquity
21(4):383-395.
Quinn, Rhonda L., Bryan D. Tucker,
and John Krigbaum
2008 Diet and Mobility in Middle Archaic Florida:
Stable Isotopic and Faunal Evidence from the Harris
Creek Archaeological Site (8V024), Tick Island.
Journal of Archaeological Science 35:2346-2356.
Randall, Asa R.
2013 The Chronology and History of Mount
Taylor Period (ca. 7400-4600 Cal B.P.) Shell Sites
on the Middle St. Johns River, Florida. Southeastern
Archaeology 32(2): 193-217.
Randall, Asa R., Kenneth E. Sassaman,
Zackary I. Gilmore, Meggan E. Blessing,
and Jason M. O’Donoughue
2014 Archaic Histories Beyond the Shell “Heap” on
the St. Johns River. In New Histories of Precolumbian
Florida, edited by Neill J. Wallis and Asa R. Randall,
pp. 18-37. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
Wheeler, Ryan J., Christine L. Newman,
and Ray M. McGee
2000 A New Look at the Mount Taylor and Bluffton
Sites, Volusia County, with an Outline of the Mount
Taylor Culture. The Florida Anthropologist
53(2-3): 132-157.
Willey, Gordon R.
1949 Excavations in Southeast Florida. Yale
University Publications in Anthropology 42,
New Haven.


EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:
BIG MOUND CITY REVISITED
Nathan R. Lawres ' and Matthew H. Colvin 2
1 Department of Anthropology, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118, nlawres@westga.edu
2 Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, mhcolvin@uga.edu
Introduction
In this article, we focus on the question of how
monumental architecture of the Belle Glade culture was
built. To do so, we focus on the Big Mound City site
(8PB48) in Palm Beach County. In contrast to Fort Center
(8GL13), Belle Glade (8PB40/8PB41), and other sites in
the region, Big Mound City provides detailed evidence
for large-scale, rapid construction events of architectural
features of monumental proportions. To demonstrate
this, we focus on a single architectural feature of the site:
the midden-mound (Mound 4). Drawing on results of
recent excavations, we present stratigraphic, pedogenic,
and chronometric lines of evidence to support an
argument for rapid construction.
Background
The Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades (KOE)
watershed has long been considered an understudied
region in Florida archaeology (Griffin 2002:140; Johnson
1991:1-3; Lawres and Colvin 2017; Milanich 1994:281;
Milanich and Fairbanks 1980:181). Archaeologist John
Griffin (2002:140) wrote that it is “the least known of the
South Florida areas.” Yet, the region offers a distinctive
landscape in North America (Schwadron 2010:114;
Widmer 2002:374) that warrants more attention than it has
received in the past. Its environment is a vast freshwater
landscape stretching north-south approximately 400
km (250 mi) across peninsular Florida (McPherson
and Halley 1996), with water flowing from north to
south most of the year. Throughout this watershed,
the dominant ecosystems have long hydroperiods, and
upland ecosystems are restricted to small topographic
rises called tree island hammocks.
The people who inhabited this watershed, known
to archaeologists as the Belle Glade archaeological
culture, practiced a way of life that provides a stark
contrast to contemporaneous groups throughout the
interior Southeast (Schwadron 2010; Widmer 2002), and
this way of life was entangled with the environmental
characteristics of the watershed. Instead of an
agricultural focus supplemented by hunting, fishing, and
gathering, they focused heavily on fishing supplemented
with gathering and hunting (Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson
1990, 1991; Milanich 1994:279-298; Thompson et al.
2013; Thompson and Pluckhahn 2014; Widmer 1988,
2002). With the exception of the Lake Wales Ridge,
they placed many settlements on tree island hammocks
dotting the landscape because these provided the only
naturally occurring dry ground.
Belle Glade people almost exclusively manufactured
plain pottery rather than decorated wares (Porter 1951;
Sears 1982). While they did inter deceased individuals in
mortuary mounds, they also practiced subaqueous burial
(Davenport et al. 2011:484, 518-519; Hale 1989:161), a
practice shared by the Early and Middle Archaic peoples
of peninsular Florida (e.g., Windover Pond, Republic
Groves, Bay West, and Little Salt Spring). Further,
though they did not practice agriculture (Johnson 1991;
Hale 1989; Thompson et al. 2013), they reached a level
of cultural complexity often overlooked.
Goggin and Sturtevant (1964:196) emphasized the
tremendous size of earthworks, such as Big Mound City,
and wrote: “These large construction efforts suggest
the necessity for organized leadership for planning and
execution, as well as many workers to carry out the tasks
and to be fed while they did so.” Milanich and Fairbanks
(1980:181) noted: “When examining the archaeology of
South Florida, one cannot help but feel that the most
complex prehistoric cultures were centered, not on the
coasts but inland in the Lake Okeechobee Basin.”
While the KOE region is less understood than most
other areas of Florida, this is beginning to change.
Previously, most of our knowledge about Belle Glade
archaeology stemmed from Stirling’s work at the
culture’s type site (Stirling 1935; Willey 1949) and Sears
and colleagues’ work at Fort Center (Sears 1982), with
several articles, theses, and dissertations providing the
basis for a more regional perspective (Austin 1996,1997;
Carr 1985; Carr et al. 1995; Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson
1990, 1991, 1994, 1996; Mitchell 1996). However,
over the past decade there has been a renewed concern
with Belle Glade archaeology, resulting in an increase
in research. Thompson, Pluckhahn, and colleagues
(Pluckhahn and Thompson 2012; Thompson et al. 2013;
Thompson and Pluckhahn 2012,2014; Thompson 2015),
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along with Austin (2015) and Colvin (2015, 2016), have
reinvestigated Fort Center. Locascio and Colvin (2017,
2018) have initiated long-term research on Late Archaic
to Early Woodland sites southeast of Lake Okeechobee,
such as Wedgworth site, while Davenport and colleagues
have concentrated on sites east of Lake Okeechobee and
organized conference symposia on the region (Davenport
2016; Green and Smith 2018).
In 2015, the authors initiated the Kissimmee-
Okeechobee Regional Earthwork Survey (KORES)
project to gather data related to Belle Glade
monumentality. This project is aimed specifically at
taking a regional perspective on the practices surrounding
monumental construction in the KOE watershed and
includes several overarching research questions: “How
do the monumental architectural constructions of the
region relate to each other temporally? Do they conform
to the temporal patterns exhibited at Fort Center? Are
there any temporal disjunctures in the construction of
multifaceted monumental architectural features... or
were they constructed as a singular event?” (Lawres
and Colvin 2017:63). This article focuses on the latter
question by addressing how Belle Glade monumental
architecture was built.
Despite many studies of Belle Glade monumental
architecture (e.g., Carr 1985, 2016; Carr and Steele
1992, 1994; Carr et al. 1995; Carr et al. 1996; Colvin
2014, 2015, 2016; Hale 1984, 1989; Johnson 1990,
1991, 1994, 1996; Lawres 2015, 2016a, 2016b, 2017;
Lawres and Colvin 2016, 2017; Sears 1982; Thompson
2015; Thompson and Pluckhahn 2012, 2014), there has
been minimal discussion of construction sequences or
processes (Lawres et al. 2018). This is something to
address as the question ties to broader anthropological
concerns of complexity among fisher-gatherer-hunter
and hunter-gatherer societies (sensu Marquardt 1985).
Belle Glade Monumental Construction
Much of our knowledge of Belle Glade architectural
construction stems from Stirling’s work at the Belle
Glade site (Willey 1949) and Sears’s (1982) work at Fort
Center. However, this knowledge is limited. Stirling’s
investigations at Belle Glade included excavations in the
midden-mound and burial mound. The only publications
from the research were a preliminary report by Stirling
(1935) and a summary by Willey (1949).
The investigation of the Belle Glade midden-mound
gave the impression of gradual accumulation rather
than intentional construction. Willey (1949:19) noted
that while stratification in the mound was visible, it did
not correlate to “any structural features or changes in
cultural material.” He stated that Stirling only discussed
two lines of evidence for intentional construction:
A great number of house posts were uncovered
during the excavation. The position of these
in the ground gave little information about the
house plans beyond showing a rectilinear type of
construction.... On the south part of the mound
(habitation mound) there is a slight elevation
about 2 feet higher than the general level of the
mound that may represent a platform upon which
a structure was built. [Stirling 1935, in Willey
1949:19]
Stirling did not conduct excavations in this elevated
portion of the mound. Further, he did not discuss
stratification in the mound, except to note that none
was visible. The only stratification that Willey (1949)
discussed was the vertical positions of ceramics as a
means to delineate the culture-historical sequence.
In contrast, investigation of the burial mound
provided a view of multiple construction events and
occupation levels throughout its history. Willey
(1949:20-22) described an initial ground surface that
was occupied, and upon this surface a burial mound
was built of muck soils. On top of this mound, a series
of limestone slabs created a pavement of sorts. A sand
mound built on top of this appears to have been washed
by a flood. The remnants of this mound then became
an occupational area for an unknown time before a third
mound was built over what was likely the center of the
second mound. While this work provides a good, broad
picture of the construction sequence and history of use
for the burial mound, the lack of radiocarbon dating at
the time of Stirling’s excavations limits our temporal
understanding of the sequence.
Sears’s (1982) work at Fort Center in the 1960s
and 1970s provides a broader picture of Belle Glade
monumental construction practices because of the
long-term, intensive excavations he conducted. His
investigation included excavation of 18 architectural
features, which he called “artificial structures” (mostly
mounds and linear earthworks or “causeways”).
However, Sears does not delve into details of construction
except for brief hints. For example, in a discussion of
Mound 1 and its associated linear earthworks, he states:
Essentially, the picture is one of a low sand
mound built by throwing soil to the inside of a
circular ditch. It was built to approximately its
present height to support a single structure...
[that] probably had a floor level close to the height

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
217
of the present mound surface. Some debris, in
aiding humus development, probably added a
few inches to mound height. [Sears 1982:132]
His descriptions of other architectural features provide a
much different view that involves alternating sequences
of occupation and small-scale construction. This form
of construction resulted in anthropogenic midden strata
separated by thin lenses of sand devoid of cultural
materials.
The most detailed account of construction activities
that Sears provides is related to the Mound-Pond
Complex, where he discusses the entire complex based
on stratigraphic ties between sediment sources and
architectural features. However, there is no discussion
of temporality, simply a description of the movement
of sediments from one area to another to build an
architectural feature. He discusses different occupation
levels and activities that led to discolorations or stains
in these levels, but he did not focus on the construction
sequence of architectural features. Thus, we are not able
to discern construction events or to determine if they
were rapid or long-term and repetitive.
With the exception of his brief description of the
construction of Mound 1, Sears (1982) gives an overall
impression of long-term construction activities at Fort
Center. Thompson and Pluckhahn (2012, 2014) build
upon that view. They specifically state that at Fort Center
“many earthworks demonstrate an extended history
of construction and use” (Thompson and Pluckhahn
2012:62).
Big Mound City
Environment
Big Mound City is in the J. W. Corbett Wildlife
Management Area, managed by the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in Palm
Beach County (Figure 1). It is in the southern end of the
Eastern Flatlands (Davis 1943) or Eastern Valley (White
1970) physiographic region of Florida and along the
edge of the Loxahatchee Scarp (Hale 1989; Rochelo et al.
2015; Wheeler et al. 2019). Willey (1949:73) describes
it as “a lonely and uninhabited area where the edge of
the Everglades meets the higher land of the pinewoods.”
The Eastern Flatlands/Eastem Valley has very low
Figure 1. Florida Sites Mentioned in the Text.

218
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2019 Vol. 72 (4)
topographic relief, with an average elevation above mean
sea level of 7.6 to 9.1 m (25 to 30 ft) (Lichtler 1960;
White 1970). White (1970:110) describes it as having
a degree of flatness “second only to the Everglades.”
Further, he characterizes it as being a transitional zone
between a northern area of more topographic relief and
the “reliefless plains of the southern end of the peninsula”
(White 1970:110).
Big Mound City is characteristic of what Johnson
(1991, 1996) labels Type B circular-linear earthworks.
It contains a large oblong midden-mound partially
enclosed by a large semi-circular embankment, from
which multiple linear embankments project outward
(Figure 2). In total, there are 39 known architectural
features at Big Mound City (Rochelo et al. 2015). They
consist of 28 mounds, the semi-circular embankment,
and 10 linear embankments. Of the linear embankments,
seven are attached to the semi-circle, while three are
detached. With an architectural footprint of 81,884
m2, Big Mound City is the largest of the Belle Glade
monumental earthworks (Lawres and Colvin 2017:64).
The entirety of Big Mound City is comprised
of earthen architecture. Every elevated landform is
architecture in the confines of several flowing-water
ecosystems. They include cypress sloughs, the Allapattah
Slough or Allapattah Flats (Davis 1943; White 1970),
and cypress swamps. For approximately nine months of
the year, these ecosystems are inundated by water that is
in many places over 1 m (3 ft) deep (McVoy et al. 2011).
In some places, the water depth reaches nearly 2 m (6 ft).
Early Work
Matthew Stirling, as part of the Federal Emergency
Relief program, conducted the first excavations at Big
Mound City in 1933 and 1934 (Stirling 1935). This
project involved excavations in 11 mounds and the
survey and detailed topographic mapping of the site, but
otherwise produced limited information. Stirling (1935)
published only a brief description of the project in his
report to the Smithsonian Institution.
It was not until Willey (1949) published Excavations
in Southeast Florida that any substantive information
about the site was put in print. Even this is limited
because very few collections remained from the
excavations. The only part of the collections available to
Willey for analysis was a handful of sherds from Mound
9. Willey stated:
The descriptions of field operations are based upon
Mr. Gamer’s notes. Other than these field records,
the only sources of information on Big Mound
City are a description in a manuscript prepared
Figure 2. Plan of Big Mound City. Top: Stirling’s 1933-
1934 map rotated to correct for magnetic north with box
around Mound 4. Bottom: LiDAR image of Mound 4
showing maximum length and width.

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
219
Table 1. Basic Information about Stirling's Excavations at Big Mound City.
Mound
Diameter
Height
Location
#Trenches
Results
1
10.6 m
2.4 m
Interior of Semi-Circle
3
Small amount of pottery
2
9.1 m
1.5 m
Interior of Semi-Circle
2
Pottery, human bone
3
18.2 m
3.6 m
End of Embankment 3
2
Small amount of charcoal
4
91x10 m
n/a
Midden-Mound
3
Numerous artifacts
5
30 m
7.6 m
End of Embankment 1
1
Sterile
6
n/a
n/a
Between Embnkmt. 1 Pair
1
Sterile
6a
n/a
2.7 m
Embankment 1 (South)
1
Sterile
7
6x12 m
0.7 m
West of Midden-Mound
1
Pottery
8
6 m
1.5 m
Interior of Semi-Circle
2
Pottery, 3 human skulls
9
6 m
0.7 m
End of Embankment 2
1
Small amount of pottery
10
6 m
0.7 m
Between Mounds 5 & 9
1
Sterile
11
n/a
n/a
North of Type B Complex
1
3 human skeletons, no skulls
by Mr. M. W. Stirling and some comments and
photographs published by Mr. John K. Small.
[Willey 1949:73]
Even so, Willey provides an important glimpse
into Big Mound City in his five-page description of
the excavation results and interpretation. He provides
brief descriptions of the architecture that include the
dimensions of many features, the dimensions and depths
of the excavation units, basic soil coloration, and a
general description of the results of each excavation unit.
Table 1 provides these results.
A salient aspect of the results of these excavations is
that most of the core Type B architecture (Semi-Circle
and radiating linear embankments) is devoid of cultural
material. With the exception of the midden-mound
(Mound 4), there is no evidence of intensive occupation
on the core architectural features. Willey notes this:
Only Mound 4 was a place of intensive occupation.
While potsherds were scattered throughout
the body of several of the other mounds, the
excavations showed that the mounds were
intentionally built of sand and were not refuse
accumulations. The potsherds found in the sand
mounds can be accounted for in one of two ways.
Either the sherds were incidentally included in
the fill used in construction, or they were dropped
by Indians who occupied the mound tops for brief
periods after their construction. The occupation
area called Mound 4 is proof that village detritus
was available close at hand and could have been
mixed with sand in the building of the mounds....
There is no information, unfortunately, as to
whether there were post molds or other evidences
of permanent or semi-permanent structures on
the mounds. [Willey 1949:76]
After Stirling, no further archaeological excavations
were conducted at Big Mound City for 81 years. There
were surface surveys and a mapping project during
that time (Rochelo et al. 2015; Wheeler and Newman
1997). However, it was not until 2015 that subsurface
archaeology resumed (see Lawres and Colvin 2017).
KORES at Big Mound City
Our investigations represent the first component
of the long-term KORES project mentioned above.
The goal of our initial work at Big Mound City was to
collect carbonized wood samples for accelerator mass
spectrometry (AMS) dating from architectural features
using minimally invasive methods, including sediment
cores and shovel tests. We extracted cores using a JMC
PN425 Environmentalist’s Sub-Soil Probe PLUS. This
mechanism was a manually operated slide-hammer
percussion core with a 1.2-inch diameter core tube and a
core extraction tool. Extracted sediments were collected
in a 3-foot polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG)
copolyester core liner. Core extensions allowed for
extraction of additional sediments from lower depths.
We extracted six cores to obtain sediments spanning
the top of the architecture to its base. The cores originated
from three different contexts: the midden-mound (Mound
4), Mound 8, and the open space inside the Semi-Circle.
Two cores came from the midden-mound, one from the
summit and one from the foot slope. Three cores were

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2019 Vol. 72 (4)
taken from Mound 8 and include the summit, shoulder
slope, and toe slope of the architecture. A single core
originated from the interior of the Semi-Circle (Lawres
and Colvin 2017).
In addition, we excavated four shovel tests adjacent
to the core extraction locations. These shovel tests had
two primary goals: (1) to provide a means to verify
the stratification in the sediment cores and to aid in
laboratory analysis; and (2) to provide the means to
collect carbonized wood samples from contexts with
stronger vertical control than could be provided by a
percussion core (Lawres and Colvin 2017). All shovel
tests were 50 x 50 cm squares that were excavated in 10
cm arbitrary levels in natural strata, and all the sediments
were sieved through 1/8 in (3.18 mm) hardware cloth.
Six AMS dates resulted from these initial
investigations, providing the first chronometric dates for
Big Mound City. All the dates were based on carbonized
wood samples recovered from the shovel test and
sediment core extracted from the summit of the midden-
mound (Mound 4). Figure 3 shows the sample origins,
and Table 2 and Figure 4 provide the results of the AMS
analyses.
The resulting dates suggested an occupational range
of cal 355 B.C. to A.D. 675 (originally published as cal
356 B.C. to A.D. 674). Further, they demonstrated a tight
chronological grouping for three discrete stratigraphic
layers from 45 to 95 cmbs (centimeters below surface)
in the shovel test: Stratum II (25 to 50 cmbs), Stratum
III (50 to 75 cmbs), and Stratum IV (75 to 95 cmbs).
However, a date of cal A.D. 614 to 674 from Stratum
III was much younger than the cal A.D. 86 to 235 date
from Stratum II and the two dates, cal A.D. 70 to 215
and cal A.D. 82 to 227, from Stratum IV, raising the
possibility of bioturbation or the use of midden materials
for construction fill (Lawres and Colvin 2017:65-
66). The dates from the sediment core were obtained
from materials toward the base of the mound in order
to provide the earliest time (terminus post quern) for
occupation and construction. However, they also
produced inverted results, with the sample from the
deeper context producing a younger date.
While the dates provided new insight into Belle
Glade monumentality and allowed us to begin evaluating
Johnson’s (1991, 1996) chronology, they also raised
additional questions. The two most pressing questions
concerned the inverted dates in the vertical sequence
and the temporal relationship of the midden-mound to
other architectural features at the site: (1) were they a
result of bioturbation or did they reflect Belle Glade
Figure 3. Carbonized Wood Sample Locations from 2015 KORES Project. Left: Shovel test. Right: Sediment core.

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
221
Table 2. AMS Dates from 2015 KORES Project at Big Mound City. Adapted from Lawres and Colvin (2017:Table 2).
Sample ID
Material
Provenience
Stratum
,4C Age*
0 l3C, %0
1 Sigma
Calibration**
2 Sigma
Calibration**
UGAMS#
24517
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 6,
45-50 cmbs
ii
1850 ±25
-26.2
AD 129-214
AD 86-235
UGAMS#
24518
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 7,
50-60 cmbs
hi
1380 ±25
-26.3
AD 641-665
AD 614-674
UGAMS#
24519
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 10,
75-85 cmbs
IV
1880 ±25
-25.6
AD 75-139,
AD 199-206
AD 70-215
UGAMS#
24520
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 11,
85-95 cmbs
IV
1860 ±25
-25.6
AD 90-100, AD 123-
180, AD 186-214
AD 82-227
UGAMS#
26599
charcoal
Core 1, Section 3,
245 cmbs
XIV
2160 ±25
-24.8
350-310 BC,
209-170 BC
356-284 BC, 256-249
BC, 235-148 BC,
141-112 BC
UGAMS#
26600
charcoal
Core 1, Section 3,
259 cmbs
XIV
1730 ±20
-26.9
AD 255-301,
AD 316-344
AD 250-381
* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (a13) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **A11 dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).
Calibrated AMS Dates for Big Mound City
QxCal v4.2.4 Bronk Ramsey (2013): r:5 IntCall3 atmospheric curve CReimer et al 201
24517
24519
24520
26599
J L LA L i 1,
I â–  l â–  I â–  I i 1,,,., 1 1 > 1 I I I â–  L . I I â–  I
I > i ■ l l l : < i Í l • i
500 400 300 200 100 1calBC/1calAD 101
Calibrated date (caIBC/calAD)
201 301
Figure 4. Calibrated AMS Dates from 2015 KORES Project (problematic dates removed).
monumental practices? and (2) how do these dates relate
to architectural features outside the midden-mound? To
address this, the senior author expanded the KORES
project at Big Mound City in 2017. He focused on the
core Type B architectural elements: the midden-mound,
Semi-Circle, and radiating linear embankments. This
involved a more in-depth evaluation of the midden-
mound and an assessment of the radiating linear
embankments. This article focuses on the midden-
mound construction sequence.
Methods
To evaluate the midden-mound in 2017, a series of six
1 x 1 m test units were excavated along the summit and
shoulder slopes of the mound. These units were placed
along a transect running W/SW at 251°, approximately
10° S of perpendicular to the long axis of the mound.
The 2017 transect was chosen based on the location of
the 2015 investigations. It was placed near the 2015
transect, running down the opposite, western slope of the
mound (Figure 5).

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2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Figure 5. Mound 4 and Plan of Excavations.
The first five units are best described as a trench,
while the sixth was located 3 m farther down slope. The
reason for the offset of the sixth unit was the presence
of a very large live oak (Quercus virginianus) tree. The
offset also provided an additional stratigraphic view of
the mound. This view provided a broader horizontal
picture of stratification, showing the continuation of
contiguous strata.
All test units utilized a single datum placed at the
summit of the mound near the southeast comer of Test
Unit 1. The datum was 15 cm above the ground surface.
We excavated units in a stepped fashion, with the intent
to excavate the first two units to 100 cmbd (centimeters
below datum), the second two units to 200 cmbd, and the
fifth unit to 300 cmbd. We excavated in 10-cm arbitrary
levels in natural strata, with all sediments sieved through
1/8-inch (3.18 mm) hardware mesh. The University
of Florida’s Department of Anthropology African
Archaeology Laboratory is housing the recovered
materials until completion of the project. Additional
analyses of ceramics were conducted at Florida Atlantic
University’s Department of Anthropology. Upon
completion of the project, all materials will be transferred
to the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research for
curation.
The goal of these excavations was to reach the base
of the mound to expose the full stratigraphic sequence
to assess mound construction. However, we terminated
Test Unit 1 early due to an extremely dense root ball of a
sabal palm (Sabalpalmetto) adjacent to the unit. Further,
due to almost daily heavy rains, and encountering
numerous sedimentary stains that we treated as features,
the depth goals were not met. We excavated Test Units
3, 4, and 5 to a depth of 180 cmbd. To overcome this
and reach the base of the mound (which we estimated to
be at 280 cmbd based on the observed vertical difference
between the summit of the mound and the off-mound
ground surface), 50 x 50 cm shovel test windows were
excavated in Test Units 3 and 5. The Test Unit 5 shovel
test accomplished this task, which exposed a stratum
of underlying peat at 280 cmbd. Because dating the
construction was a primary concern of this project,
we made an effort to collect in situ carbon samples
throughout the excavations. We submitted the samples
to the University of Georgia’s Center for Applied Isotope
Studies for AMS dating.
Results
Our excavations in Big Mound City’s midden-
mound (Mound 4) confirmed some previous work while
revealing a new picture of the mound’s structure. As

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
223
noted by earlier investigators, the midden is vertically
restricted to the uppermost portion of the mound (Willey
1949). In fact, in his report of Stirling’s investigations,
Willey (1949:75) states a lack of artifacts below 61 cmbs
(24 inches below surface). Our excavations confirmed
this, with roughly 98% of all artifacts and ecofacts
originating from 0 to 60 cmbs. The remaining materials
were scattered throughout the sediments below but not
in any concentration. Thus, the midden of this “midden-
mound” is in the top portion of the mound.
Soil Profile
The stratigraphic sequence of Mound 4 presents a
complicated picture unlike anything reported previously
for Belle Glade monumental architecture. Figures 6
and 7 present the full stratigraphic sequence. In these
figures, each test unit is contiguously placed in horizontal
fashion as measured from the site datum. Thus, along
the transect, Test Unit 1 is 0 to 100 cm, Test Unit 2 is
100 to 200 cm, Test Unit 3 is 200 to 300 cm, Test Unit 4
is 300 to 400 cm, and Test Unit 5 is 400 to 500 cm. The
one exception is Test Unit 7, which is at 800 to 900 cm
from the site datum. Test Unit 6 (500 to 600 cm) was
planned, but was not excavated.
The contiguous, anthropogenic midden soils (Strata
I, II, and III) are restricted to the upper portion of the
mound, where the vast majority of cultural materials
were recovered. Stratum I is characterized by poorly
sorted fine sand with a Munsell classification of 10YR3/1
(very dark gray) mottled with 10YR6/1 (gray). Stratum
II consists of poorly sorted fine sand of 10YR3/2 (very
dark grayish brown). Stratum III is well sorted fine sand
of 10YR5/1 (gray). The south sides of Test Units 1 and 2
contain a large root ball of a sabal palm (Sabalpalmetto)
tree with fine sand of 10YR3/1 (very dark gray) that
interrupts Strata II and III in these units. Further, Stratum
III is not continuous through all test units, exhibiting a
break in Test Unit 3.
Beneath these strata, the picture becomes much more
complicated. The underlying strata are relatively devoid
of cultural materials. Directly underlying Stratum III is
Stratum IV. This stratum of well sorted very fine sand
Table 3. Sedimentary Lenses Encountered During Excavations and Their Associated Stratum and Munsell Designation.
Lens
Stratum
Munsell
Ll
V
10YR3/1 (very dark gray)
L2
V
10YR7/1 (light gray)
L3
IV
10YR5/1 (gray)
L4
V
10YR7/1 (light gray)
L5
V
10YR7/1 (light gray)
L6
V
10YR7/1 (light gray)
L7
V
10YR6/1 (gray)
L8
VI
10YR3/1 (very dark gray) mottled with 10YR6/1 (gray)
L9
VI
10YR3/1 (very dark dray)
L10
VI
10YR2/1 (black)
Ll 1
VI
10YR2/1 (black)
L12
VI
10YR6/1 (gray) mottled with 10YR3/1 (very dark gray)
L13
VI
10YR7/1 (light gray)
L14
VI
10YR5/1 (gray)
L15
VI
10YR6/1 (gray)
L16
VI
10YR5/1 (gray)
L17
VI
10YR6/1 (gray)
L18
VI
10YR5/2 (grayish brown)
L19
IV
10YR5/2 (grayish brown)
L20
VI
10YR6/1 (gray)
L21
VI
10YR6/1 (gray)

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2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Figure 6. South Wall Profile in Test Units 1 through 5. Note in situ carbonized wood samples (A through E).
of 10YR7/1 (light gray) is continuous through Test
Units 2 through 5 and Test Unit 7, but it arcs upward to
obscure Stratum 111 throughout most of Test Unit 3. This
suggests that when Stratum III was placed on Stratum
IV, it filled depressions adjacent to the upward arc of
Stratum IV visible in the profile. Further, in Test Unit
4 and the southernmost portion of Test Unit 5 is a large,
oblong pocket (L3 in Figure 6) of well sorted fine sand
that matches Stratum III (10YR5/1, gray).
Underlying Stratum IV is Stratum V, which consists
of well sorted very fine sand of 10YR4/3 (brown) on top
of Stratum VI. Stratum V, however, is not continuous
throughout the trench. It is restricted to Test Units 2
through 4. Further, at the base of Stratum V are four
oblong lenses of sediment. Three of these match the
Munsell classification of Stratum IV (10YR7/1, light
gray), and the fourth has a classification of 10YR6/1
(gray). All these lenses consist of well sorted very fine
sand.
Stratum VI, comprised of well sorted very fine sand
of 10YR3/2 (very dark grayish brown), underlies Stratum
V in Test Units 3 and 4. However, in Test Units 5 and
7, this Stratum VI underlies Stratum IV. Throughout all
these test units, Stratum VI exhibits multiple smaller,
roughly oblong pockets of sediments of various Munsell
classifications (Table 3). These lenses are labeled LI
through L21 in Figure 6, Figure 7, and Table 3.
Pockets or Lenses
We encountered these pockets of sediments
throughout the excavations. They appeared to be circular
stains because we typically identified them at their apical
point. We noted them as features and pedestaled them
as we excavated the surrounding matrix. This quickly
revealed the stains spreading and then dissipating
relatively shallowly. There were some, however, that
were large enough to appear as thin lenses in the larger
matrices.
These pockets appear to be evidence of basket
loading. We interpret them as evidence that native
people did not construct this mound in distinct stages,
with each stage associated with a distinct sedimentary

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
225
Figure 7. South Wall Profile in Test Unit 7. Note in situ carbonized wood sample (F).
This is a westward downhill continuation of the profile shown in Figure 6.
source. Rather, the evidence suggests that people built
the mound in rapid fashion using multiple sources of
sediments or, at the very least, sediments from the same
source but at different depths (i.e., A Horizon, E Horizon,
Bh Horizon, etc.). The latter is more likely given that
shifts in soil horizons occur at shallow depths in this
region because of the aqueous nature of the landscape
(inundated for 9 to 10 months of the year).
As Sherwood and Kidder (2011:72) note, basket
loading is a term referring to “sedimentological structures
composed of individual Toads’ or separate deposits that
are typically distinguishable by distinct lithostratigraphic
boundaries that can result in a variegated appearance in
profile.” Often, construction is comprised of loaded fills,
which do not undergo homogenization before deposition
(Sherwood and Kidder 2011:77). In such cases, the result
is a profile exhibiting a hodgepodge of discrete soil types
and colors. However, in some cases, even when loaded
fills are used, individual basket loads contain sediments
of similar enough coloration and texture that when they
are deposited atop one another, they accumulate into a
larger mass where individual loading boundaries are no
longer visible.
In the case of our profile in Mound 4, the stratigraphic
sequence suggests loaded fills. Individual basket loads
are visible in plan view as “lens-shaped blob[s] of dirt”
(Peacock 2005:78). In profile, when encountered near
their midsection, they appear as crescent-like shapes,
and when they are encountered closer to their edges, they
appear in shapes that are amorphous. The boundaries
of these basket-loads are easily distinguished from the
larger matrix because of differences in color and texture
(see Table 3).
The individual loads include LI through L7, L9
through L13, L15, and L21 in Figures 6 and 7. L16
through L20 may represent individual loads, but because
of their locations adjacent to east or west walls, their
extent is unknown. Larger mantles of accumulated
basket loads include L8 and L14, which may extend to
include LI6. Stratum V also represents a large mantle

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The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
where individual loading boundaries are not visible
because of the similarity in coloration and texture of
individual loads. Strata IV and VI are massive loaded
fills (Sherwood and Kidder 2011:77-78) as well. Not
only do they contain the same materials just mentioned,
they also exhibit individual basket loads of sediments
with different coloration and/or textures in their larger
matrices.
Further, the distribution of individual loading
boundaries of L4 through L12 and the arcing shape of this
distribution are suggestive. This arc mirrors the slope of
the mound surface. This suggests deposition of these
lenses on a sloping surface as individual basket loads. If
these lenses were part of a homogenized mantle of soil,
or even a mantle of loaded fill of the same coloration
and texture (i.e., a massive loaded fill), they would not
appear as individual features in the profile. Instead, each
lens has a boundary to it, and these individual boundaries
are likely indicative of individual baskets, or other
containers, that builders of Big Mound City used in the
process of making Mound 4. Similar patterns are visible
in the profiles of Hedgepeth Mounds (Saunders and
Allen 1994). In Hedgepeth profiles, individual loading
boundaries are visible in larger matrices, and individual
loads follow slopes on which they were deposited (see
Saunders and Allen 1994:Figure 4).
In addition, this arcing distribution of lenses
undermines arguments that these could represent animal
burrows. The most likely candidate for making burrows
of the shapes and sizes of these lenses is the gopher
tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus). However, this tortoise
is typically associated with pine forests (Jones and Don-
2004; McRae et al. 1981), an ecosystem not correlated
with the wooded swamp of Big Mound City. It is also
unlikely that they would mimic the slope of the surface
as gopher tortoise burrows are typically a single long,
winding tunnel running up to 3 m (10 ft) beneath the
ground surface (Jones and Dorr 2004).
Soil Composition
Additional evidence for construction speed can
be found in pedogenic processes (Kidder et al. 2009;
Ortmann and Kidder 2013). Except for biotic activity
and weathering in the upper 40 cm of the stratigraphic
sequence, evidence for pedogenic development in the
mound is lacking. If pauses in construction occurred
and lasted more than a few weeks, we would expect the
development of features such as surface crusts (Valentin
and Bresson 1992) and thus evidence for lithologic
discontinuities (Schaetzl 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson
2005).
When a surface is exposed to weathering, several
types of soil crusts can form, including structural crusts,
erosional crusts, and depositional crusts (Valentin 1991;
Valentin and Bresson 1992). There are further subtypes
of crusts, and their formation is time-dependent. Over
time, one crust will develop into another if surface
exposure is continuous (Bresson and Boiffin 1990;
Valentin and Bresson 1992; Valentin 1991). Further, the
spatial distribution of crusts is dependent on topography.
In sandy soil, the initial crust formed will be a structural
sieving crust due to exposure to water drop impact.
However, if crust forms on a flat surface, long-term
exposure to rain will cause formation of a crater, and in
that crater, a depositional crust will form. In contexts
with topographic relief, there is a space-dependent
sequence of crust development: “structural crusts
upslope, erosion crusts, and possibly coarse pavement
crusts midslope, and depositional crusts downslope”
(Valentin and Bresson 1992:238).
The structural crust is of interest because architecture
creates topographic relief that provides the opportunity
to test contexts considered upslope (i.e., the summit).
The structural crust that forms upslope (resulting from
rainfall water drop impacts) is a direct form of surface
weathering. The impacts of water drops creates micro¬
craters that vertically sort particles in a mechanical
sieving process resulting in finer particles forced into
a deeper depositional context (Valentin and Bresson
1992:231). There are several types of structural crusts
dependent on a number of conditions, such as sediment
type, climatic conditions, and the rate of formation.
Of interest to the architectural context of this study
is the structural sieving crust, which is comprised “of
a layer of loose skeleton grains overlaying a plasmic
layer” (Valentin and Bresson 1992:230). These skeleton
grains are the coarse fraction, or sand-sized particles, of
a soil’s structure while the plasma is the fine particles
and organic matter that are soluble and mobile in
vertical profiles (Schaetzl and Anderson 2005:776).
Because sand-sized particles are relatively immobile in
soils, their vertical continuity through soil profiles is a
well-established metric for identifying discontinuities
(Schaetzl 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson 2005:218-225),
and the presence of a sieving crust, which is characterized
by a higher concentration of sand-sized particles above a
concentration of fine particles due to the sorting process,
is just such a discontinuity.
Particle size distribution analyses show these
are lacking in the matrices of Mound 4 (Figure 8).
What these distributions show is the areas with larger
proportions of fine particles (clay-sized particles

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
227
0-10 cm
10-20 cm
20-30 cm
30-35 cm
35-40 cm
40-50 cm
50-60 cm
60-65 cm
65-70 cm
70-80 cm
80-90 cm
90-100 cm
100-110 cm
110-120 cm
120-125 cm
125-130 cm
130-140 cm
140-145 cm
145-150 cm
150-160 cm
160-170 cm
170-180 cm
180-190 cm
190-200 cm
200-210 cm
210-220 cm
220-230 cm
230-240 cm
240-250 cm
250-260 cm
260-270 cm
270-280 cm
280-290 cm
290-295 cm
Particle Size Distributions
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
â–  <2 pm â–¡ 2-50 pm â–¡ 50-2000 pm
Figure 8. Particle Size Distribution in Mound 4 Test Units. Bars show percent volume of clay-sized (< 2 pm),
silt-sized (2 to 50 pm), and sand-sized (50 to 2000 pm) particles. Note that larger grains overwhelm the finer particles.

228
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
of < 2 pm, and silt-sized particles of 2 to 50 pm) are
associated primarily with the midden in the upper 60
cmbd of the profile and with the base of the mound
(260 to 280 cmbd). The former association is expected
given that it correlates with the midden strata and its
chemical and physical weathering of pottery, faunal
remains, and other anthropogenic materials. The latter
association correlates with the process of lessivage, or
clay translocation (Schaetzl and Anderson 2005), which
is the process in which fine particles and minerals go into
suspension as water percolates downward through the
solum (Duchaufour 1998).
If weathering processes were at play deeper in the
sequence, we would expect the edges of basket loads
to exhibit evidence of weathering processes, such as
oxidation along their edges (see Kidder et al. 2009 for an
example) or the leaching of coloration due to eluviation
and illuviation (Duchaufour 1998; Schaetzl and Anderson
2005). The latter processes, along with pedoturbation,
would obliterate the boundaries of individual basket
loads. As Figures 6, 7, 9 and 10 demonstrate, this is not
the case for Mound 4. The loading boundaries are clearly
visible for LI through L21. In addition, the boundaries
of the massive loaded fills of Strata IV, V, and VI are
clearly visible, suggesting that even the deposition and
burial of the larger mantles of loaded fill was fast.
It should be noted that the coloration of Strata V and
VI (10YR4/3 and 10YR3/2, respectively) are similar to
that of a Bh Horizon. However, their structure suggests
differences. While both contain multiple lenticular
deposits in their matrices, their overall structure
would be described as loose, nonplastic, massive, and
structureless. They are both comprised of well sorted,
very fine sand, with minimal clay- and silt-sized
particles. Stratum V exhibits an average percentage of
0.8% clay-sized particles, 1.5% silt-sized particles, and
Figure 9. Test Unit 5 North Wall Profile. Arrows point to individual loading boundaries.

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
229
Figure 10. Northeast Corner in Test Unit 3. Arrow points
to individual loading boundary.
97.7% sand-sized particles. Stratum VI, when removing
samples from the bottom 30 cm to account for lessivage,
exhibits an average of 0.9% clay-sized particles, 1.8%
silt-sized particles, and 97.2% sand-sized particles. In
the bottom 30 cm of Stratum VI, the clay-sized particles
remain the same, but silt-sized particles increase to an
average of 2.5% and sand-sized particles decrease to
96.6%.
These particulate percentages (clay and silt) are
quite telling about the nature of these strata as they have
a significantly smaller percentage of silt-sized particles
than the strata above them, which average 0.8% clay¬
sized particles, 2.6% silt-sized particles, and 96.6%
sand-sized particles. This suggests that illuviation did
not play a role in the formation of these strata because
if it did, they should have a higher percentage of both
clay- and silt-sized particles (Duchaufour 1998; Schaetzl
and Anderson 2005). Further, if illuviation were the
formative process behind these strata, we would expect a
structure to form into either angular or subangular blocky
pedons, but instead these strata are unconsolidated and
structureless.
Radiocarbon Dating
While individual strata represent individual episodes
of deposition, the stratigraphic and sedimentary
evidence suggest these episodes are part of a single
mound-building event. This is further corroborated by
radiocarbon data. Our excavations in the midden-mound
(Mound 4) of Big Mound City resulted in the collection of
17 in situ samples of charred botanical materials. These
samples ranged in depth from 68 cmbd to 165 cmbd. An
additional 4,525 small fragments (539.10 g) of charred
botanicals were recovered during sieving. Six of the in
situ samples (UGAMS# 37157, 37158, 37159, 37160,
37161, and 37162) were selected for AMS analysis (see
Figure 6).
These samples were selected because of their
stratigraphic context at either the top or base of a stratum.
None of them was selected from the midden due to
evidence of disturbance near the surface (e.g., tree falls,
hog rooting, etc.). We chose these samples because of
their relatively large size, the smallest was approximately
2 cm in diameter and the largest approximately 5 cm.
While AMS techniques can produce dates from much
smaller amounts of carbonaceous material, size became
a factor in our selection of samples because of the
stratigraphic evidence that suggested rapid construction.
Size is affected by turbation in matrices, thus we
selected specimens in a size range with limited potential
for vertical migration in the sediments. Further, the
presence of clearly demarcated loading boundaries, both
individual and massive, provides further support for the
in situ deposition of these larger fragments of charred
wood rather than their vertical migration through the
matrices. Four additional samples (UGAMS# 37153,
37154, 37155, and 37156) were selected from the 2015
sediment core for AMS analysis to provide dates for
depths between the in situ samples and the basal samples
from the 2015 research (UGAMS# 26599 and 26600)
(Figure 11).
Radiocarbon ages were calibrated with OxCal v4.3
software (OxCal 2019; Bronk Ramsey 2001) using the
IntCall3 calibration curve (Reimer et al. 2013). All
dates in this discussion represent 2-sigma results. The
results of the 10 new AMS analyses show a date range of
cal A.D. 135 to 255 through cal A.D. 1025 to 1155 (Table
4). Six of these dates, however, cluster between cal A.D.
300 and A.D. 560. Another three dates cluster between
cal A.D. 650 and A.D. 885. The tenth date, which does
not cluster with any of the others, is cal A.D. 1025 to
1155. While at first glance this seems like an outlier, on
review of the stratigraphic evidence it provides a new
“earliest possible time” (terminus post quern) for the
construction of Mound 4.

230
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Figure 11. Sediment Core with Sample Locations. Shading shows sections with no recovery.

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
231
Table 4. AMS Dates from 2017 KORES Project at Mound 4, Big Mound City.
Sample ID
Material
Provenience
Stratum
,4C Age*
0 l3C, %0
1 Sigma
Calibration**
2 Sigma
Calibration**
UGAMS#
37159
charcoal
(in situ)
TU4 Lvl 7, 68 cmbd
(37 cmbs)
in
1340 ±20
-25.85
AD 655-675
AD 650-690,
AD 750-760
UGAMS#
37160
charcoal
(in situ)
TU5 Lvl 10 90 cmbd
(51 cmbs)
hi
1670 ±20
-25.58
AD 350-370,
AD 380-405
AD 335-420
UGAMS#
37162
charcoal
(in situ)
TU7 Lvl 14, 131 cmbd
(56 cmbs)
in
1200 ±20
-25.15
AD 775-780,
AD 790-830,
AD 835-870
AD 770-885
UGAMS#
37158
charcoal
(in situ)
TU3 Lvl 11, 105 cmbd
(79 cmbs)
in
1580 ±20
-27.33
AD 425-435,
AD 450-470,
AD 485-535
AD 420-540
UGAMS#
37157
charcoal
(in situ)
TU3 Lvl 11, 100 cmbd
(74 cmbs)
IV
1340 ±20
-26.33
AD 655-675
AD 650-690,
AD 750-760
UGAMS#
37161
charcoal
(in situ)
TU5 Lvl 13, 128 cmbd
(93 cmbs)
IV
1660 ±20
-25.88
AD 355-365,
AD 380-415
AD 340-420
UGAMS#
37153
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
120 cmbs
IV
950 ±30
-26.13
AD 1030-1050,
AD 1085-1125,
AD 1135-1150
AD 1025-1155
UGAMS#
37154
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
130 cmbs
V
1550 ±20
-28.06
AD 430-490,
AD 530-550
AD 430-560
UGAMS#
37155
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
160 cmbs
VII
1650 ±25
-26.82
AD 360-365,
AD 380-425
AD 335-430,
AD 495-510,
AD 520-530
UGAMS#
37156
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
180 cmbs
VII
1800 ±20
-26.15
AD 145-155,
AD 170-195,
AD 210-250
AD 135-255,
AD 300-320
* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (al3) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **A11 dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).
When we group these dates by stratum, and by
depth in individual strata (rather than looking at clusters
of dates), a picture begins to emerge that supports the
stratigraphic evidence discussed previously. In Stratum
III are four samples that date broadly between cal A.D.
335 and 885. However, when considering depth, the
dates do not suggest a gradual development for Stratum
III. Rather than exhibiting a trend of younger ages as
depth decreases, as would be expected for a gradually
developed stratum, the dates have no order. The three
dates from Stratum IV also demonstrate this pattern.
While the dates are broadly between cal A.D. 340 and
cal A.D. 1155, they are not ordered chronologically by
depth in Stratum IV. In fact, the youngest date, cal A.D.
1025 to 1155, originated near the base of that stratum.
While Stratum V only has a single date, cal A.D. 430 to
560, this date is younger than the oldest date for Stratum
IV above it. Stratum VII is the only one where dates are
ordered chronologically when sorted by depth.
When we combine these new dates with the six
from 2015, the possibility of gradual development starts
to fade. As shown in Figure 12, the total sequence of
16 dates paints a picture of date reversals both between
and within strata. Stratum II exhibits a date older than
any date from Stratum III or Stratum V, and the Stratum
II date is close to the same ranges of two dates from
Stratum IV and one date from Stratum VII.
Date reversals within individual strata are also
apparent, with reversals in Strata III, IV, and XIV
(Figure 12). When the five dates for Stratum III are
sorted by depth, the three deepest dates point to gradual
development because they show a trend of decreasing
age with decreasing depth, but one of the dates above
them is older than all of them and another date is older
than the youngest of the three that are in sequence.
Stratum IV also has five dates, and when sorted by depth,
the dates are disorderly. In addition, the cal A.D. 1025
to 1155 date of a sample toward the base of Stratum IV
is the youngest in the entire sequence of dates, providing
a new terminus post quem. The two dates from Stratum
XIV, which is associated with the base of Mound 4, also
exhibit a reversal when the dates are sorted by depth.

232
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Figure 12. All AMS Calibrated 2-Sigma Radiocarbon Dates from Big Mound City’s Mound 4
Sorted by Stratum and Depth Within Stratum. Time is on horizontal axis, depth is on vertical axis.

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
233
The deepest of the dates for Stratum XIV, which is also
the deepest of all dates for Mound 4, has a much older
date above it, which happens to be the oldest for the
mound.
These data substantiate the view presented by the
stratification and soils. Rather than a gradually developed
midden-mound, we are looking at an intentionally, rapidly
constructed mound that is capped by a midden. Not only
do the data preclude evidence for gradual development,
the similarity in dates between strata suggests an event
rather than a protracted process. For instance, four
dates (from Strata II, IV, and VII) cluster between cal
A.D. 70 and 255; three dates (from Strata III, IV, and
VII) cluster between cal A.D. 335 and 420; two dates
(from Strata III and V) cluster from cal A.D. 420 to 560;
and three dates (from Strata III and IV) cluster between
cal A.D. 615 and 690. This clustering of dates between
strata is indicative of using deposits of similar age for
construction. In other words, these clustered ages do
not represent occupational spans or specific construction
episodes, but instead date the past landscape deposits
mined for construction materials. The differences in the
ages of the clusters suggest that sediments might have
been mined from different depths and that multiple past
landscape surfaces may be represented in the loaded fills
of Big Mound City’s Mound 4.
Finally, based on data currently at hand, we suggest
that the earliest possible date range for construction is
cal A.D. 1025 to 1155, placing construction in the early
portion of the Belle Glade III period, which Johnson
(1991, 1996) argues was when all Type B circular-linear
earthworks were built. This date is from a sample from
the base of Stratum IV. Because all the other dates are
older, this particular date provides us with the earliest
possible time for construction.
Discussion
Our excavations provide a new view of Belle Glade
monumentality and allow an evaluation of the construction
sequence in a portion of Mound 4. Previous research at
other Type B earthworks describes the midden-mounds
of these sites as comprised of three layers. At the base
is either a midden or a stratum of muck or peat, which
is overlain by a constructed stratum of light sand, which
in turn is covered by a midden stratum (Carr and Steele
1994; Carretal. 1995). This is similar to the Belle Glade
burial mound, which Willey (1949:20-23) describes as
comprised of three distinct mounds superimposed on top
of an old midden.
Mound 4 at Big Mound City, however, provides
us with a different view. Rather than having three
stratigraphic layers, Mound 4 exhibits evidence of large-
scale construction using multiple sediment sources
and a midden on top of the constructed feature. While
Willey (1949:75) describes Mound 4 as a “refuse or
habitation mound,” he also notes that the midden deposit
is vertically restricted to the mound’s uppermost portion
and that “no artifacts were found below the 24-inch
level.” He singles out Mound 4 as the only one at Big
Mound City with evidence of intensive occupation and
that “the excavations showed that the [other] mounds
were intentionally built of sand and were not refuse
accumulations” (Willey 1949:76).
As discussed above, our 2017 excavations support
Willey’s assertion of a vertically restricted midden, with
more than 98% of all artifacts and ecofacts found in
the upper 60 cm of the test units. The remaining 2%
were scattered through the lower sediments and had
no evidence of concentrations. Most were recovered
individually in the screen. Like Willey’s (1949)
explanation for the small amounts of artifacts recovered
in the site’s other mounds, these were likely incidental
inclusions in construction materials.
Evaluating the strata and soils exposed by our
excavations provides a view of the construction
sequence of this massive architectural feature. The
midden-mound (see Figures 6 and 7) exhibits intentional
construction and evidence of multiple sediment sources.
The AMS dates support this view. There are now 16
AMS dates from Big Mound City’s midden-mound.
Table 5 and Figure 12 show the calibrated results of
all the AMS dates grouped by stratum and sorted by
depth within strata. If this mound were the result of
gradual accumulation of refuse, we would expect the
AMS plot to exhibit temporal continuity in reference
to depth. However, an evaluation of these dates shows
temporal nonconformity within stratigraphic sequences
that substantiates the view of this architectural feature as
comprised of multiple sediment sources.
These new data undermine the previous view we
(Lawres and Colvin 2017) put forth for an occupational
range of cal 355 B.C. to A.D. 675 for the site. Rather, the
combination of the stratigraphic and AMS data suggest
that Big Mound City’s Mound 4 was constructed rapidly
in at least one construction event comprised of several
individual depositional episodes. Based on the date
from sample UGAMS# 37153, the earliest possible time
(terminus post quern) for this event is cal A.D. 1025 to
1155, placing construction of this portion of the mound
in the early Belle Glade III period. However, no dates
have been obtained from the midden in the uppermost

234
The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Table 5. All AMS Dates from Big Mound City’s Mound 4 Sorted by Stratum and Depth Within Stratum.
Adapted from Lawres (2019:Table 9-4).
Sample ID
Material
Provenience
Stra¬
tum
l4C Age*
o 13C, %o
1 Sigma
Calibration**
2 Sigma
Calibration**
UGAMS#
24517
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 6,
45-50 cmbs
II
1850 ±25
-26.2
AD 130-215
AD 85-235
UGAMS#
37159
charcoal
(in situ)
TU4 Lvl 7,
68 cmbd (37 cmbs)
in
1340 ±20
-25.85
AD 655-675
AD 650-690,
AD 750-760
UGAMS#
37160
charcoal
(in situ)
TU5 Lvl 10,
90 cmbd (51 cmbs)
hi
1670 ±20
-25.58
AD 350-370,
AD 380-405
AD 335-420
UGAMS#
24518
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 7,
50-60 cmbs
hi
1380 ±25
-26.3
AD 640-665
AD 615-675
UGAMS#
37162
charcoal
(in situ)
TU7 Lvl 14,
131 cmbd (56 cmbs)
hi
1200 ±20
-25.15
AD 775-780,
AD 790-830,
AD 835-870
AD 770-885
UGAMS#
37158
charcoal
(in situ)
TU3 Lvl 11,
105 cmbd (79 cmbs)
in
1580 ±20
-27.33
AD 425-435,
AD 450-470,
AD 485-535
AD 420-540
UGAMS#
37157
charcoal
(in situ)
TU3 Lvl 11,
100 cmbd (74 cmbs)
IV
1340 ±20
-26.33
AD 655-675
AD 650-690,
AD 750-760
UGAMS#
24519
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 10,
75-85 cmbs
IV
1880 ±25
-25.6
AD 75-140,
AD 200-205
AD 70-215
UGAMS#
24520
charcoal
ST3 Lvl 11,
85-95 cmbs
IV
1860 ±25
-25.6
AD 90-100,
AD 125-180,
AD 185-215
AD 80-225
UGAMS#
37161
charcoal
(in situ)
TU5 Lvl 13,
128 cmbd (93 cmbs)
IV
1660 ±20
-25.88
AD 355-365,
AD 380-415
AD 340-420
UGAMS#
37153
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
120 cmbs
IV
950 ±30
-26.13
AD 1030-1050,
AD 1085-1125,
AD 1135-1150
AD 1025-1155
UGAMS#
37154
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
130 cmbs
V
1550 ±20
-28.06
AD 430-490,
AD 530-550
AD 430-560
UGAMS#
37155
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
160 cmbs
VII
1650 ±25
-26.82
AD 360-365,
AD 380-425
AD 335-430,
AD 495-510,
AD 520-530
UGAMS#
37156
charcoal
Core 1, Section 2,
180 cmbs
VII
1800 ±20
-26.15
AD 145-155,
AD 170-195,
AD 210-250
AD 135-255,
AD 300-320
UGAMS#
26599
charcoal
Core 1, Section 3,
245 cmbs
XIV
2160 ±25
-24.8
350-310BC,
210-170 BC
355-285 BC,
255-250 BC,
235-150 BC,
140-110 BC
UGAMS#
26600
charcoal
Core 1, Section 3,
259 cmbs
XIV
1730 ±20
-26.9
AD 255-300,
AD 315-345
AD 250-380
* These ages are corrected for Delta-13 (g13) and expressed at 1 Sigma. **All dates calibrated using INTCAL13 (Reimer et al. 2013).

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
235
36 cmbs (with modem and historic disturbances), so it is
possible that the earliest construction date could be later
than provided by the UGAMS# 37153 sample.
These data address some questions posed about the
temporality of Belle Glade monumental construction
in our previous publication. As discussed above, our
previous work identified a tight chronological grouping
for three distinct strata. This raised questions of the
temporality of constmction, such as:
When were the midden-mounds first constructed
and were they constructed intentionally, as
the unintentional result of the residues of daily
activities, or the result of many large feasting
events? If the midden-mounds were intentional
constructions, do they represent a single
constmction event or is there evidence suggestive
of multiple construction events over a longer span
of time? [Lawres and Colvin 2017:68]
The stratigraphic sequence clearly exhibits evidence
for intentional constmction in creating the mound
underlying the midden. The clear evidence of basket
loading throughout the sequence demonstrates this
beyond doubt.
This also leads us to another important point: this
is not a midden-mound as traditionally conceived:
“accretional formations, the result of midden deposits
accumulating over many generations” (Altschul
1983:9). Rather, Willey’s (1949:75) description of this
architectural feature as a “habitation mound” is more
appropriate. While both terms indicate occupation of
the mound, subtracting the term “midden” removes
loaded terminology and the connotation that Mound 4
was an accretional accumulation. The term “habitation
mound” allows intentional construction of a mound that
was then occupied. It is likely that the midden on top
of this mound developed in situ following constmction
of the underlying mound rather than the builders adding
midden materials to the top as a capping event. This,
however, remains to be tested. To address this, future
excavations should focus on an area of the mound where
fewer disturbances have occurred to maximize control
over samples.
These new data also allow us to reject the hypothesis
we proposed in our previous work. Specifically, we
argued that:
At this juncture in our research the possibility
remains open that the beginnings of constmction
may be much earlier than expected. In fact,
we hypothesize this is the case. Specifically,
we posit that the midden-mounds themselves
predate the constmction of the rest of the
architectural features, and that they represent
important, persistent places on the landscape
(sensu Schlanger 1992) that were inhabited for
generations prior to major constmction events
leading to the Type A and B earthworks. [Lawres
and Colvin 2017:66-67]
This argument was made in light of our data at the
time and of Johnson’s (1991, 1996) proposed chronology
that placed Type A earthworks in the A.D. 200 to 1000
construction range and the Type B earthworks in the
A.D. 1000 to 1500 range. Based on our previous data,
we argued that people began to build Mound 4 much
earlier than the A.D. 200 to 1000 range of Johnson. The
earliest possible time (terminus post quern) of cal A.D.
1025 to 1155 for the Big Mound City constmction event
conflicts with this argument and aligns with Johnson’s
Type B circular-linear earthwork range of A.D. 1000 to
1500. In addition to undermining our hypothesis, these
data do not support Johnson’s (1991, 1996) argument that
the Type B circular-linear earthworks were construction
elaborations of already existing Type A circular-linear
earthworks, at least at Big Mound City. To reject this,
however, we need to obtain dates for the construction of
the semi-circle and radiating linear embankments.
These data also show that the dates we considered
outliers based on our previous analysis should be
reconsidered. We identified those outliers because they
appeared to be flipped in the stratigraphic sequence.
One outlier (UGAMS# 24518) presented a range of cal
A.D. 615 to 675 for a stratum between two other strata
that clustered between cal A.D. 70 to 235. Another
outlier (UGAMS# 26600) originated from the deepest
context and produced a range of cal A.D. 250 to 380.
However, the sample from the context directly above it
(UGAMS# 26599) produced a much older range of cal
355 to 110 B.C. Given the limited, minimally invasive
methods we used in 2015, considering these as outliers
(resulting from bioturbation or vertical forcing from
sediment coring) was a plausible reason for removing
the dates from the occupational sequence. However,
given the information obtained from the larger scale
2017 excavations that revealed the complexity of the
stratigraphic sequence, we now know that those dates
were not outliers but instead reflect rapid construction
using multiple sediment sources.
Further Discussion
To place rapid construction in a broader context, as
well as to provide a scalar context for Big Mound City,
we consider the size of mounds at well-known sites in

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2019 Vol. 72 (4)
the broader region. Table 6 provides a list of mound
volumes from selected sites. The data for Cahokia
and Moundville are from Lacquement (2010), who
recalculated the volumes of all the architectural features
of Moundville and a few of Cahokia using a gridding
method that provides a more accurate portrayal of the
geometry of irregularly shaped mounds than previous
methods. Lacquement’s volumetric assessments are
more conservative compared to those proposed by earlier
researchers.
Table 6. Mound Volumes at Selected Sites.
Site
Mound
Volume (m3)
Big Mound City, Florida
4
13,101
5
8,812
Crystal River, Florida
A
9,002*
C
557
F
1,490
G
602
H
3,461
J
1,932
K
1,606
Moundville, Alabama
A
30,150
(Lacquement 2010:348,
B
49,530
Table 2)
C
5,080
D
3,880
E
10,820
F
2,790
G
6,790
I
2,690
J
2,570
K
1,855
L
4,420
P
15,880
Q
3,210
R
21,820
V
22,460
Cahokia, Illinois
48
42,230
(Lacquement 2010:352,
60
36,460
Table 3)
42
34,620
*From Pluckhahn and Thompson 2018:162.
We calculated the volumetric estimates for Crystal
River and Big Mound City using ESRI’s ArcGIS LAS
toolkit. The one exception to this is Crystal River’s
Mound A. The volume of this mound was taken from
Pluckhahn and Thompson (2018:162) because the
available Li DAR data do not provide complete coverage
of Mound A. The LiDAR data for Big Mound City do not
provide complete coverage due to processing by FDEM
personnel (Pluckhahn and Thompson 2012; Lawres
2017, 2019). Thus, we were able only to calculate
volumes for Mounds 4 and 5.
These volumes show that Big Mound City is an
architectural site of scale similar to some of the famous
sites in the broader Southeast. Mound 4 at Big Mound
City is larger than any architectural feature at Crystal
River. While only two mound volumes were calculated
for Big Mound City (Mounds 4 and 5), their combined
volume is greater than all of Crystal River. Big Mound
City’s Mound 4 is larger than most of Moundville’s
architectural features aside from several of the largest
mounds. Big Mound City is dwarfed when compared to
the massive architecture at Cahokia.
While Moundville as a whole is much larger than
Big Mound City, evidence suggests that Moundville’s
architecture was built in several stages, both as individual
features and as a whole (Blitz 2008; Knight 2010),
rather than the rapid building event we have presented
for Mound 4 at Big Mound City. The same is true for
Crystal River, which was built in four broad phases
(Pluckhahn and Thompson 2018; Pluckhahn et al. 2015).
This provides insight on labor involved in construction.
Because the mounded architecture of Crystal River and
Moundville was built over protracted temporal spans
involving several stages of construction, the labor pool
requirements were much smaller than if they had been
built in single construction events.
In contrast, our data support Belle Glade people
building Big Mound City’s Mound 4 (or at least a
sizeable portion of it) in a single construction event,
which implies a different labor requirement. It suggests
that a large number of people were mobilized to build
this mound quickly. Building it in multiple stages, over
a protracted period of time, would require a smaller
number of people.
Knowing the temporality of construction and the
number of construction episodes provides essential
information to calculate architectural energetics. While
this type of analysis cannot provide direct information
about the size of the labor force, such an assessment can
estimate the amount of labor hours to build architectural
features. Architectural energetics “involves the
quantification of the cost of construction of architecture
into a common unit of comparison - energy in the form
of labor-time expenditure” (Abrams 1994:1-2) and that
expenditure is typically presented as person-hours.
The basis of architectural energetics lies in volumetric
measurements of architecture and experimental and
ethnographic data related to extracting and transporting
resources (Abrams 1989, 1994; Abrams and Bolland
1999; Arnold and Ford 1980; Bemardini 2004; Carmean
1991; Craig et al. 1998; Erasmus 1965; Hammerstedt
2005; Kolb 1994; Lacquement 2009).

Lawres and Colvin
Large-Scale Rapid Construction at Big Mound City
237
An early historic account of the Lake Okeechobee
area described individual settlements of 30 to 40 people
(Goggin and Sturtevant 1964:186, 210; True 1944:13;
Worth 2014:201), providing a baseline to evaluate rapid
construction. To calculate the number of person-hours
involved in construction, we use Erasmus’ (1965:284-
285) experimental sediment excavation rate of 0.52
m3 per person-hour (2.6 m3 in a 5-hour day) and his
sediment transport rate for a distance of 50 m of 0.634
m3 per person-hour (3.17 m3 in a 5-hour day). As noted
above, Mound 4 has a volume of 13,101 m3. Using
Erasmus’ (1965) rates, excavating the sediments would
require 25,194.23 person-hours, and transporting those
sediments an assumed 50 m distance would require an
additional 20,664.04 person-hours. Thus, a conservative
number of person-hours for construction is 45,858.27
person-hours or 9,171.65 person-days, assuming a
5-hour work day. It should be noted that this number is
conservative because it does not account for tamping and
shaping the mound.
If Big Mound City’s labor pool was only 20 people,
it would take 459 days to construct Mound 4. If the labor
pool were 40 people, it would take 229 days. However,
given the lack of evidence for development of surface
crusts or other pedogenic processes in the mound, we
estimate construction to have been on the order of only a
few months, and probably less. To construct the mound
in 90 days, it would require 102 laborers working five
hour days; for 60 days it would require 153 laborers;
for 30 days it would require 306. To reiterate, these
are conservative estimates because they do not include
additional labor-time for tamping sediments and shaping
them into final form.
The point is that Big Mound City’s Mound 4, with
a volume of 13,101 m3 of sediments and no evidence
of protracted construction stages, would have required
a large number of people to build in a rapid fashion.
This is especially intriguing given the small population
estimates. Big Mound City’s Mound 5 may have similar
evidence of rapid construction, but this is yet to be tested.
Willey (1949) notes that Stirling’s early excavations in
this mound encountered only white sand that was sterile
of cultural materials, thus it is possible that people also
rapidly built this earthwork.
It is important to note that our data are from limited
testing in Mound 4, so the history of this particular
mound may be more complex than we suggest. In
other words, given the large size of the mound, people
might have built other portions at other times. However,
Stirling’s two large trench excavations in the mound’s
northern portion suggest patterns similar to ours. Those
excavations were prior to the invention of radiocarbon
dating and were devoid of cultural materials below the
24-inch level (Willey 1949). Thus, as discussed above,
Stirling’s excavations, which covered an even larger
portion of Mound 4 than ours, suggest a midden capping
a mound constructed of fill sediments (likely loaded
fills like those we encountered). Unfortunately, the
remainder of Stirling’s documentation does not include
stratigraphic notes, so we do not know if he encountered
individual basket-loads, although we do know that he
did not encounter midden strata beneath the capping
midden (Willey 1949). To us, this suggests that people
constructed most, if not all, of Mound 4 rapidly, but more
testing is needed to be sure.
Concluding Remarks
We are closer to a better understanding of Belle
Glade monumentality by documenting variability in
construction methods used to build habitation mounds
in Type A and B circular-linear earthworks. Our
excavations provide data necessary to evaluate the
construction of Mound 4, the habitation mound at Big
Mound City. We are now in a position to say that people
of the Belle Glade culture, in some cases such as Mound
4, participated in large-scale construction events leading
to the building of large architectural features, rather
than only small-scale capping episodes that produced
periodic enlargements of architecture, such as implied
for the habitation mounds at Tony’s Mound (Carr and
Steele 1994) or some of the mounds at Fort Center (Sears
1982). At Big Mound City, a single radiocarbon date
suggests that one of these events occurred between cal
AD 1025 to 1155 and resulted in the construction of all
or a sizeable part of Mound 4. This mound is comprised
of 13,101 m3 of sediments, which makes it one of the
largest mounds in Florida and is on a similar scale to
many of the large mounds in the greater Southeast.
However, Mound 4 is only one of many architectural
features at Big Mound City. Future research should
focus on developing an understanding of how other
features, such as the semi-circle and radiating linear
embankments, relate to Mound 4 temporally. Research
aimed at understanding their construction sequences is
already underway (Lawres 2019; Lawres et al. 2018).
Once we understand the temporality of these features,
it will be possible to conduct a site-wide architectural
energetics assessment, which will allow us to address
broader questions of labor (i.e., number of person-hours
for construction, scale of the labor force, etc.) and fisher-
hunter-gatherer complexity.

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The Florida Anthropologist
2019 Vol. 72 (4)
Since inception in 2015, the KORES project has
made great strides toward our goal of understanding
Belle Glade monumentality. We have surveyed several
monumental earthworks, produced the first chronometric
dates of monumental architecture outside Fort Center
and the first chronometric dates of massive Big Mound
City, and we here present compelling evidence for rapid,
large-scale construction events. However, we still have a
long way to go to understand Belle Glade monumentality
from a regional perspective. While gaining data to refine
our view of architectural construction at Big Mound
City and working to develop a new method to refine
this view, we are also obtaining the first chronometric
dates at another Belle Glade monumental architectural
site (Colvin et al., in prep.). It is our aim to contribute
to the discipline of anthropological archaeology by
furthering our knowledge of sociocultural complexity
and monumentality in non-agricultural societies.
Acknowledgments
Our gratitude is due to many people who helped
make this research possible. Our thanks go to Christian
Davenport (Palm Beach County Archaeologist), Jeff
Ransom (Miami-Dade County Archaeologist), Andrew
Schneider, Katie Higgins, Jessica Baker, Jennifer Green,
Tasia Renee Scott, Sara Ayers-Rigsby (FPAN), Andres
Garzón, Julio Pachón, Rachael Kangas (FPAN), Mallory
Fenn (FPAN), Stephanie Escoto, Danielle Ashley Simon,
Victoria Ternullo, Carrie Black, Scott Ciliento, Victoria
Lincoln (FPAN), and many other volunteers in fieldwork.
We are extremely grateful to the Florida Fish and
Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) J. W.
Corbett office and staff for assistance in the field and for
providing swamp buggies in the wet season. Without
assistance of so many wonderful, dedicated people, this
research would not have been possible. We would like
to thank Timothy Murtha, Madeline Brown, Nathania
Martinez, Breana Ross, and Luwei Wang for comments
on an earlier draft of this article.
Funding for fieldwork was provided by the University
of Florida (UF) Graduate School Fellowship and the UF
Department of Anthropology’s Jamie C. Waggoner, Jr.
Grant-in-Aid. AMS analyses were funded by the UF
Department of Anthropology’s Charles Fairbanks Award,
the Florida Museum ofNatural History’s Ripley P. Bullen
Award, the John S. and James L. Knight Endowment for
South Florida Archaeology, and Laurencine Mazzoli. We
express our gratitude to TeraFlex Suspension Systems
for providing Jeep suspension and lift components to
reach the site when swamp buggies were not available.
Excavations were conducted under State of Florida 1A-
32 Archaeological Research Permit No. 1516.053 and
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Special Use Access Permit No. SUO-51405.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dorothy Block earned M.A. and B.A. degrees in Anthropology and a B.A. degree in English and American Literature
from Florida Atlantic University. She is the founder of the Palm Beach County Anthropological Society and the former
Director of the Lawrence E. Will Museum of the Glades, in Belle Glade. Dorothy has taught archaeology and general
anthropology at Broward College and Palm Beach State. She has worked for over a decade in Cultural Resource
Management. She is a proud mother and mentor of young anthropologists in her region.
Bianca Maltese Book is a bioarchaeologist with interests in European and Native American prehistory. She was graduated
Suma Cum Laude from Florida State University with a B.S. and M.S. in Anthropology and a minor in Psychology.
Matthew Colvin currently works at the Center for Applied Isotope Studies at the University of Georgia, where he
prepares materials for accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating and isotopic analyses. His primary research interest
examines the complex histories of long-lived spaces, specifically those of fisher-hunter-gatherers in south-central
Florida.
Christian Davenport holds a B.A. (Franklin Pierce College, New Hampshire) and an M.A. (University of Tennessee,
Knoxville) in Anthropology focusing on zooarchaeology. He is currently working on is Ph.D. in geosciences (Florida
Atlantic University). Chris was awarded the Ripley Bullen Award by FAS in 2018 for furthering good relations among
professional and avocational archaeologists. He is the Historic Preservation Officer/Archaeologist for Palm Beach
County, Florida.
George R. Ferguson published an article in The Florida Anthropologist in 1976 about the Weekiwachee Site in Hernando
County. In 1977, he co-authored an article with Wilfred Neill about the age of Santa Fe projectile points. In 1977 or
1978, he reported a Deptford tripodal ceramic vessel from Pasco County in the FAS Newsletter. He donated the vessel
to the West Pasco Historical Society in New Port Richey, Florida.
Nathan R. Lawres is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Antonio Waring, Jr. Archaeological
Laboratory at the University of West Georgia. He teaches courses in archaeological methods, experimental archaeology,
laboratory analyses, and cultural resource management. His research has focused on monumentality, ontologies, human-
environment relations, materiality, trade networks, human migration and mobility, issues in curation and museology,
and cultural resource management. Nathan’s primary focus is the southeastern United States, where he has practiced
CRM and academic archaeology for 15 years. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in Anthropology from the University of
Central Florida and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Florida.
George M. Luer is a former FAS President and recipient of the Lazarus and Bullen Awards. He has helped preserve
significant archaeological sites and natural areas, while furthering their research and understanding through scientific
publications. George has worked as an archaeologist in CRM and for the State of Florida in various capacities, including
for the Florida Park Service. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Anthropology from the University of Florida, with
studies in coastal geomorphology. He has studied Botany and participated in plant expeditions to various parts of the
world. George also has studied Latin America, history, and Florida folk culture.
Gregory J. Mount is an associate professor of hydrogeophysics at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He works
primarily in the geophysics realm, focusing on electromagnetic and electrical techniques applied to critical zone and
near-surface research. As part of ongoing collaborations with south Florida archaeologists, he still maintains an active
presence in archaeology and geoarchaeology. The research presented here is part of his 2009 thesis, undertaken with
archaeologists Arlene Fradkin, Clifford Brown, and Christian Davenport at Florida Atlantic University.
Wilfred T. Neill, Jr., a herpetologist and native of Augusta, Georgia, was a long-time resident of Florida and member
of FAS. He served two terms as FAS President in 1954 and 1955 and contributed many articles to The Florida
Anthropologist. He authored scholarly books, including Archaeology and A Science of Man (1978). An obituary of
Neill appears in Volume 56, Number 4, of The Florida Anthropologist (December 2003).
Volume 72 (4)
The Florida Anthropologist
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Table of Contents
From the Editors
Articles
A VODOU CERAMIC JUG FROM THE NORTHERN EVERGLADES 179-183
Dorothy Block and Bianca Maltese Book
MARINE SHELL ARTIFACTS FROM THE BOYER SURVEY OF LAKE OKEECHOBEE 185-207
Gregory J. Mount and Christian Davenport
AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA 209
George R. Ferguson and Wilfred T. Neill
COMMENTS ON FERGUSON AND NEILL’S “AN UNIDENTIFIED ARTIFACT
FROM VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA” 211-213
George M. Luer
EVIDENCE FOR LARGE-SCALE RAPID CONSTRUCTION IN A BELLE GLADE MONUMENT:
BIG MOUND CITY REVISITED 215-243
Nathan R. Lawres and Matthew H. Colvin
About the Authors 245
Cover:
A portion of a Second Seminole War map titled
“Mackay & Blake’s Florida Seat of War, 1839,” State Library of Florida, Florida Map Collection
From Florida Memory Project, Image #fmc0243.
Copyright 2019 by the
FLORIDA ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY, INC.
ISSN 0015-3893
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PERMIT NO.