Title: Friends of the Randell Research Center
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090510/00005
 Material Information
Title: Friends of the Randell Research Center
Series Title: Friends of the Randell Research Center
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Randell Research Center, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Publisher: Randell Research Center, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Pineland, Fla.
Publication Date: March 2003
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090510
Volume ID: VID00005
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Friends of the

'Randell Research Center

New Fieldwork at Pineland

Excavations Build on Previous Research

by John Worth

W ith the [ vent of the new year and
the combination of drier weather and pleasant
temperatures, the RRC has renewed archaeologi-
cal fieldwork in the south pasture of the Pineland
site. In 1990, backhoe trench excavations conducted
in several places across the site were designed to
reveal subsurface layering. Drawings of the layers
in these trenches show obvious stains from rotted
ancient posts, specifically in two distinct layers
of deposits in a ridge near Pineland's Old Mound.
Both layers probably represent buried floors
dating to the earliest centuries of Pineland's
Native American occupation (before A.D. 500).
We hope to perform radiocarbon dating on
samples from this excavation in the near future,
and are actively soliciting sponsorships to cover
the expense of this work.
Both layers are above the dry-season water
table, and both are located in an open area of the
site that can be explored and expanded, so I

proposed new excavations in this area to the
Research and Collections Committee of the RRC
Advisory Board. With enthusiastic support and
offers of technical advice and collaboration, the
proposal was approved and fieldwork began in
late January. With the considerable assistance of
RRC volunteers (as well as a group of Lee County
teachers who spent a day with us in the field-
see article by Dan Marsh on p. 4), we have already
opened two 1-x-1-meter test pits near the 1990
trench. Both pits penetrated a secondary deposit
of shell apparently pushed over from Old Mound
decades ago, revealing intact precolumbian
deposits with abundant refuse. Included were
several pottery sherds that can be fit back
together. Even more important, at the base of
this dark brownish gray sand we have already
uncovered a number of post stains and other
features that probably relate to precolumbian
houses or other structures.

Teachers and RRC volunteers and staff
excavate in secondary shell deposit next to
Trench 5.

The excavation is only just beginning, but
over the course of the next year and a half we
hope to explore these occupational horizons
more fully. Our pace is deliberate and methodi-
cal, but with any luck this new fieldwork will
allow us to build on the rich body of information
already generated at Pineland during previous
projects, and shed new light on the architecture
and daily lives of average Pineland residents
more than 1,500 years ago.

Harbor Science Blossoms
by Ernest D. Estevez, Director, Center for Coastal Ecology,
Mote Marine Laboratory, and RRC Advisory Board Member

The ood worT of the RRC has done
much to document the importance of Charlotte
Harbor in the lives of earlier humans, and now
the Center's prestigious work at Pineland is joined
by a new campaign to assess the same harbor's
modern-day ecological health. Scientists at Mote
Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, have undertaken a
long-term study of the harbor's chemistry and
biology, and a significant part of the work is staged
at a new facility located directly across Waterfront
Drive from the Pineland archaeological site.
Pineland occupies the geometric center of our
study area, which ranges from the Peace and
Myakka to the Caloosahatchee Rivers, Charlotte
Harbor and adjoining inshore waters, and the near-
shore Gulf of Mexico. The study, intended to honor
the memory of lab benefactor William R. Mote,

engages almost all of Mote's Ph.D.-level
scientists in chemistry and biology. The
Mote Scientific Foundation provides the
core funding for the campaign, but investi-
gators have attracted other grants as well
as research collaborators and student
The basic scientific objective is to learn the
roles of freshwater inflow in the ecology of the
harbor, especially as manifest in harbor plants
and animals. Our Pineland facility is a residence
and point of embarkation for Mote and other
scientists. We have equipped it with computers,
secure internet support, and a marine VHF
radio. A weather station provides the public with
up-to-date information over the world wide web
(www.mote.org/pineland/Pineland Weather.phtml).

Field tests of snook physiology being
conducted in shallow waters off the Mote
Field Station (photo by A. Adams).

In addition to exploratory probes of the Pineland
tide flats with John Worth, looking for possible
buried archaeological structures, I have the honor
of recently joining the RRC Advisory Board and
look forward to developing other joint research and
educational programs between our organizations.

Annual Honor Roll

Each I ear the Randell Research Center will recognize all those who
have given $100 or more to the Friends of the Randell Research Center during
the previous calendar year by listing them in the Annual Honor Roll,
presented for the first time below. The Friends organization was inaugurated
during the last three months of 2001, so this first Honor Roll covers the period

from October 2001 through December 31, 2002. In cases where 2001 member-
ships have already been renewed, the higher level of giving during the two
years is recognized below. with this Honor Roll we extend our heartfelt
appreciation for the continued financial support that these and all our gifts

Anina Hills Glaize
Maple Hill Foundation
Sustaining Members
Charles B. Edwards
Robert A. Wells, Jr.
Supporting Members
Virginia Amsler
Don Cyzewski
Sarah Taylor Diuguid
William H. Marquardt
Paul and warren Miller
Mote Scientific Foundation
Penniman Family Foundation
SBC Communications Inc.
Carol Byrne
Lammot DuPont
Joan M. McMahan
Anne Reynolds
Thomas P. Taylor

Karen I. Walker
Victoria and william winterer
Contributing Members
Anne Allan
Lawrence E. and Carol F. Aten
Carter and Mary Bacon
T. Peter Bennett
Peter and Sally Bergsten
Arnold and virginia Bertelsen
James Bleakley
Anne Boomer
Patty and Jim Borden
Joseph P. Brinton III
Nancy and Robert Brooks
Robin and Jan Brown
Stuart and Stacey Brown
Brenda C. Burch
Jerry C. and Joretta C. Butcher
Bill and Marjorie Campbell
John Cauthen
Ann Cordell
Captiva Cruises
U.S. Cleveland
John and Gretchen Coyle
William and Mary Cyzewski
Brant and Carolyn Donalson

Barbara M. Donaldson
George and Lee Edwards
Four Winds Marina
Robin and Lin Fox
Margery Friday
Peter L. and Carol E Girardin
Greater Pine Island
Chamber of Commerce
A. William and Edna Hager
Robert Hale and Rona Stage
Ginger Fann Hall
Gene and Evelyn Hemp
Catherine A. House
Carl B. and Sue Johnson
Carole A. Kircher
Robert and Jacklyn Kish
Ronald and Mary M. Koontz
Robin C. Krivanek
Gladys M. Lasser
Janet Levy
Richard Liu
Ben MacKinnon
Darcie MacMahon
Jennie B. McBean
Robert N. McQueen
Richard Merritt
Dr. Jerald T. Milanich
& Dr. Maxine L. Margolis

Linda J. Miller
Cynthia L. and
W. Jeffrey Mudgett
Barbara W. Mulle
Doris Murray
J. william and Carol Newbold
Howard L. and
Karen K. Noonan
Abraham and Cynthia Ofer
Wiley and Betty Parker
David and Darbee Percival
Carol A. Pooser
Shirley M. Reaves
Karl F. and Kathryn K. Schroeder
Robert and Paula Scott
Mary Ann Scott
Herbert and Betty Seidel
Louise Shouse
John and Glenda Sirmans
Robert H. and Inger B. Stovall
Stephen Tutko
Leonard 0. and Ruth C. Walker
Caitlin Joy walker
Rae Ann Wessel
Norris H. Williams
Dr. James S. Wilson
Mary S. Wright

Tuesday at the RRC
by Lana Swearingen, RRC Volunteer Coordinator

If itS Tles d you are sure to find more
volunteers than usualat the RRC. In the beginning,
a small group of volunteer members of the Zoo-
archaeology Team met on that day to clean and
catalog fish skeletons for the RRC's comparative
collection. Karen Walker taught the volunteers
well, and they reveled in the discovery of an identi-
fiable fish bone or a new species awaiting macera-
tion in the freezer. At times, crew members would
find themselves in a quandary. For example, trying
to collect some good-sized samples of shark skin
from a 3-foot black tip shark presented a challenge.
(It is believed that the Calusa may have used shark
skin as sandpaper, and we wanted to try it out.)
But it was quickly discovered that modern tools
were just not up to the task of cleaning the underside
of the skin. At the peak of their frustration, volunteer
Barb Thomas suggested the Calusa method, using

a quahog clam shell as a scraper. with the ease
of methods tried and true, the skin was cleaned
in minutes. It can't be said enough that it always
pays to have the right tool for the job.
Over time, more activities were added to
Tuesday's schedule, until the hours spent at the
Center grew from a few in the morning, to "Oh
my gosh, is it 3 o'clock already?" In addition to
the fish project, biweekly volunteer staff meetings
are held on Tuesdays. John shares information
about the state of the RRC and volunteer coordin-
ator Lana Swearingen announces upcoming tours
and events that require volunteer support. News
of the Center's programs is spreading fast, but
the docents are up to the task. Diane Maher, Dave
Hurst, Marty Kendall, Gloria Andrews, Gary Edwards,
and Lana Swearingen cover tour groups ranging
from 4th graders to Elderhostel seniors. Recently

L dci ~_r-L k

Docents Marty Kendall and Diane Maher lead
tour of Pineland site for Elderhostel group.

added to Tuesday's schedule is a task for which
volunteers are not lacking. A new dig has started
at Pineland, and volunteers who attended John's
archaeology training sessions now have the oppor-
tunity to apply what they learned in the field. If
asked, every volunteer would tell you that the
return on their time and efforts is immeasurable.

Soapberry (Sapindus saponaria L.)
by Dick Workman, RRC Advisory Board Member

V heTn ohn K. Small was botanizingg"
the shell mounds of the coasts of Florida in the
early part of the last century, soapberry frequently
appeared in his notes. The scientific name for
this mainly-tropical genus is Sapindus. The name
assigned to the plant by Linneaus is from the Latin
for soap (sapo) and Indian indicuss) referring to
the property of the seed coverings to produce a
soapy lather when rubbed between the hands of
Indians with water. I have tried it and it works
well with non-Indian hands too.
There are two species native to Florida. Sapindus
marginatis occurs in northern Florida and is
distinguished by a lack of wings on the compound
leaf stems. The tropical Sapindus saponaria, a.k.a.
wingleaf soapberry, grows mostly in the Keys and
was probably transported by people to south-
west Florida for use of the biologically active
saponin compounds in the plant. Mound Key,
the Calusa stronghold in Estero Bay, harbors a
large specimen of this tree. Lots of seeds and
seedlings can usually be found under this tree.

Wildlife aren't known to eat the
seeds, so they don't distribute them.
But there are several reasons why
people would collect the plant and
move it from place to place. The
hard brown seeds are round and
about the size of a small marble.
Their use as beads and buttons is
known. In addition to use of the seed
coverings for soap, the seeds can be
crushed and used to poison fish -
a practice that today is illegal. The Dried
compounds in the seeds when released RRC
near fish in the water interfere with their seeds
respiration and the stunned fish float to *****
the surface for easy collection.
Fishing with plant poisons probably required
a lot of trial-and-error-developed skills. Fish
with too much poison in them might well spoil
the chowder.
Saponins also occur in different forms in food
plants such as tomatoes, beans, and other modern


I soapberry specimens from Mound Key in
botanical comparative collection (individual
Sat top).

table fare. The biological activity of saponins is
currently being studied for use in fighting cancer
and heart disease. One current researcher refers
to some of the saponin compounds found in
edible plants as "natural antibiotics." Perhaps
the Calusa medicine kit included some of these

New and Renewing Friends of the RRC

as of February 28, 2003

(Please let us know of any errors or omissions. Thank you for your support!)

Supporting Members
William H. Marquardt
Paul and warren Miller
Mote Scientific Foundation
Sponsoring Members
Virginia Amsler
Lammot DuPont
Anne Reynolds
Victoria and william winterer
Contributing Members
Anne Allan
Lawrence E. and Carol F. Aten
Carter and Mary Bacon
Peter A. Bergsten
Joseph P. Brinton III
John Cauthen
Don Cyzewski
Robin and Lin Fox
Peter L. and Carol E. Girardin
Carole A. Kircher
Robin C. Krivanek

Ben MacKinnon
Janet Levy
Jennie B. McBean
Richard Merritt
Dr. Jerald T. Milanich & Dr.
Maxine L. Margolis
David and Darbee Percival
John and Glenda Sirmans
Stephen Tutko
Karen J. Walker
Leonard 0. and Ruth C. Walker
Family Members
Chris and Paul Andrews
Randy and Chris Briggs
Jefferson Chapman
John and Sydney Cosselman
Louis and Joan Franks, Jr.
Dr. Bill R. and Dee Fulk
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Gaddy
Thomas A. Joseph
Randy and Dianne King
Art and Lynn Lee
Guenter and Paula Metz
John and Sue Miller
Scott E. and Susan Mitchell
Cynthia L. and W. Jeffrey Mudgett

Myrtle and John Orzalli
Tim and Judith Sear
Kim and Kris Sears
Herbert and Betty Seidel
Herschel E. Shepard
Stuart L. and Rita A. Stauss
David Steadman and Anne Stokes
John and Sally Van Schaick
Caitlin Joy Walker
Jack and Beth Ann Ward
Ann and Bill Wollschlager
Individual Members
Eileen G. Boren
Mark Brenner
Mark J. Brooks
Mr. Lois E. Clarke
Joanne Cole
Robert H. Cotton
Judith J. D'Agostino
Barbara Dobbs
Paul R. Douglass, DVM
Guy P. Fischer
Dennis Guthrie
Lee Harrison
Marjorie K. Johnson
Barbara B. Mann

Edith Marquardt
Bonnie G. McEwan
Jeffrey M. Mitchem
Michael E. Moseley
Helmut A. Nickel
Vernon Peeples
Mary Myers Peterson
Joan Rogers
Donna L. Ruhl
Henry R. Sawyer
Mary Ann Scott
Graig D. Shaak
Michael Simonik
Lillian E. Sizemore
Lana Swearingen
Tom Vickery
Janet Walker
Warm Mineral Springs
Archaeological Society
Rae Ann Wessel
Judith A. Williams
Susan Zell
Student Members
Randoph H. Watts, Jr.
Winston Watts




for a Day
by Dan Marsh, RRC Volunteer, English Teacher (retired)

701S 811 E Level 86. No, this isn't an
address for a condominium apartment on Pine .
Island, but a precise location for our archaeological
dig. On Feb 14th a group of Lee County teachers
met with John worth to dig at the excavation site
where John has detected indications of posts used
to support Calusa structures. John had provided
much anticipatory information and the group was
ready to get down to some serious digging. However,
we quickly realized we weren't exactly digging, but
more like cutting the dirt and transferring it to buckets,
with some brushing when artifacts were found.
Three teachers at each 1 -x-1 -m hole learned how The process continued until we passed through
to hold the trowel at just the right angle to make the shell layer and exposed the black sandy surface.
the cut. The buckets of dirt where passed to the Greg Koza, our marine biologist from North High,
shaker-screen teams, who carefully examined the uncovered our first large pottery sherd. All work
material. Before the material could be dumped into stopped as the phrase "I think we've got something
the waste pile, volunteers Barb Thomas and Gloria here" wafted on the breeze. we excitedly peered
Andrews had to be called for a final inspection to into the hole as a small piece of orange-colored
make sure our untrained eyes had not overlooked pottery was exposed. Volunteer Lana Swearingen
anything. They praised us, and calmed us down assisted the diggers, and carefully documented
when we got excited over nothing but an ordinary the precise location and depth of the find. Then
oyster shell, the piece was carefully passed around and catego-

John Worth
Ernest Estevez
Dan Marsh
Lana Swearingen
Dick Workman
John Worth
Merald Clark

GBS Productions
Send questions or comments to:
John Worth
Randell Research Center
PO Box 608
Pineland FL 33945-0608
Telephone (239) 283-2062
Email: randellcenter@aol.com



-- .

Biology teacher Greg Koza and 3rd-grade
helper Christopher Worth pose with mapped
specimen from testpit.

rized as a "sand tempered plain rim-sherd from
an open bowl, 500 A.D. or earlier." Whew, heady
stuff for us neophyte archaeologists.
Before we finished at the site, John showed us
one last technique for retrieving information. Like
a concrete finisher smoothing out a patio pad, he
carefully smoothed out the moist sand surface
with the trowel, looking for subtle cultural clues.
In the glistening dark sand, vague outlines of post
holes were revealed as well as charcoal flakes.
We were again reminded of the art and science
of archaeological study.
Our thanks go out to John Worth and his volun-
teers for providing us with this remarkable experi-
ence and empowering us with renewed enthusiasm
for archaeology and our continuing study of the
Calusa Indians.

SPO Box 608
SPINELAND, FL 33945-0608

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Pineland, FL
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