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Saint Augustine, Northeast Florida
Going public with archaeology for outreach, assistance to local governments, and service to the citizens and state of Florida. Visit our website at: http://flpublicarchaeology.org/nerc/
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Green Mound: Millions of Meals

Current Day Green Mound (photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Approximately 1,200 years ago native peoples began throwing remnants of their meals into a pile, some bones but primarily shells. A good portion of their meals consisted of oysters, clams, and donax so between 800 AD - 1600 AD, these shells evolved from a small pile into a huge mound!

clam shell
oyster shell
donax shells

Where there were once numerous such vast shell heaps, Green Mound is now one of the last in the region.  It's located seven miles South of Daytona Beach between the Atlantic Ocean and the Halifax River (making it an ideal place to have harvested shell fish!)
(Photo: wikipedia.org)
Green Mound is most well known for it's stratigraphy.  John W. Griffin (who first excavated the site in 1948) proclaimed the mound to be "the most thorough time-line available", a "chronological yardstick."
(Photo from Bullen and Sleight excavation, 1960)
One can see clearly the stratigraphy in the photograph above (complete with yardstick).  With each stratum representing a different time period, Archaeologists can see what people ate, what structures were built and how things changed over time.  (Obviously, the deeper the stratum, the older the time period!)
More paleo than archeo, but the above image still demonstrates the concept of stratigraphy well (graphic credit: Ray Troll t-shirt designs, idea credit: Sarah Miller's friend's t-shirt)
Through careful excavation, archaeologists can tell that the mound wasn't just a trash heap.  They found post holes (evidence of structures) and clay floors as well as evidence of ash, fire pits and hearths at the site. 
Green Mound in 1924 (www.floridamemory.com)
During the 1920's Green Mound was in danger of being completely destroyed (as many of Florida's mounds were).  Massive amounts of its shell were removed for use in road construction.   By 1930, almost one-third of the site had been put into roads!  But thanks to concerned citizens, Green Mound was protected and can still be visited today.

Today, Green Mound is owned by The State of Florida and managed by the Town of Ponce Inlet.    Located inside the beautiful park of Ponce Preserve, one can walk an easy trail around the mound.

As you walk around the mound, evidence of past meals spills out:
Oyster, Clam and Donax shells
Thankfully, the Town of Ponce Inlet is working to make Green Mound even more accessible with future paths to the top and interpretive signs added in the next few years.  This would make John W. Griffin (the first archaeologist who worked on the site) very happy:
"When Green Mound is properly developed as a monument, the public in general will discover its value.  They will find that the site tells a story of great interest; the story of the Florida Indian, how he lived, and how his way of life changed through time.  And this story will be told on the site on which it happened." (from Griffin's report to the state in 1948).


Text and Photos (except where noted) by FPAN Staff: Robbie Boggs

Finding Archaeology in the Big Apple

I recently got to spend some time in New York City and sought to learn a bit about its history before I left. The original settlement, a Dutch colony by the name of New Amsterdam, was located on the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It thrived from 1624 until 1664, when it was handed over to the British. The small town grow over its almost 400 years, through wars, immigration, industrialization and more, to become the global powerhouse of a city it is today.

But can you still find evidence of its past hidden there between the skyscrapers and subway lines? NYC, in many ways, is not known for its history but rather for its progress.

This is exactly the question that was asked in the 1970s when the first archaeological mitigation project was undertaken. A small building in the oldest section of town was torn down to make way for a large modern skyscraper. Archaeologists were given a few months to survey the area, in hopes of locating undisturbed archaeological deposits under the basement of the old structure. In fact, the very first government building, the Dutch Stadt Huys should have been in the area.

Sure enough, the archaeologist found 17th century foundations, not for the Stadt Huys, but for the tavern next door as well as other deposits from throughout the city's 400 years. Archaeology has continued as a part of construction and preservation throughout the city since then. And there's some great interpretation at the site.


Yellow brick represents the estimated outline of the Stadt Huys.
Foundations of the tavern located next to the Stadt Huys.
Well from the early 18th century.
As a bonus, I also found some cool Florida artifacts in the Museum of the American Indian branch in NYC!
Santa Rosa Swift Creek potsherds from Crystal River Mound.
Weedon Island jar from Taylor County.

Text and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN staff

CLAASP: Working to Document Unprovenienced Artifacts

CLAASP: Communities of Lake Apopka Artifact Survey Project

Unprovenienced artifacts from a private collection on the shores of Lake Apopka.


At FPAN, we are often at the front lines of conversations with the public about the collection of artifacts. This is a complex conversation and one that has a number of different, important viewpoints. Artifact collection by non-professionals is prohibited on public lands without a research permit and disallowed on private lands without a landowner's permission (More info here).  Despite these protections, artifact collection by non-professionals is a persistent practice in many areas of Florida, as well as throughout the world for that matter. Traditionally, the relationship between collectors and the professional community has been fraught with tensions and disagreements about how best to preserve our shared history. Archaeologists in general support preservation and mitigation of impacts on archaeological sites, digging only to answer research questions. A critique from the collector community is that archaeologists do not do enough to protect sites; often, the collector community feels that they are doing valuable work to preserve information that would otherwise not be known about. One significant point of contention is that some in the artifact collector community dig artifacts in order to sell them, something never done by professional archaeologists. There has often, though intermittently, been attempts to bridge the gap between these two camps. On the part of the archaeologists, there is a, begrudging at times, acknowledgement that local artifact collectors may have excellent information to impart about the location of archaeological resources. On the part of collectors, there is a feeling that their goal of preservation is not recognized as such by the professional community, that they are not being acknowledged for their contributions to a field of study they feel passionately about. The CLAASP program is an attempt to bridge the gap between these two groups and to engage the public in the preservation of cultural resources in their local area, the Lake Apopka region of Central Florida. 
56 archaeological sites are within 1 mile of Lake Apopka (map credit: FMSF).


Lake Apopka is Florida's 5th largest lake. It covers over 30,000 acres and has a long history of prehistoric and historic occupation. In the most recent decades it was a center of agricultural production. Though never heavily populated, that trend is changing now as crops, especially citrus, become unprofitable to produce in the area and land is sold to real estate development. In terms of archaeology Lake Apopka and the Central Florida Region has not enjoyed near the levels of professional archaeological interest shown in other parts of the state. As a result, we actually know relatively little about the groups of people that inhabited the region for thousands of years. Currently, the Florida Master Site File only has 56 recorded sites within 1 mile of Lake Apopka, an astonishingly small number for such a large lake feature, especially one that has had documented occupation dating back to Florida's Paleoindian period. This small number of recorded sites represents the work of the professional community in the region which is dictated by professional research, funding for projects, or mitigation projects undertaken by CRM firms. The collector community, however, has been hard at work in the area for decades. Many of these collectors have accumulated far more archaeological material than they can reasonably store and so parts of their collections are often donated to the small museums or nature centers around the lake to be used in outreach and education. These remain, however, unprovenienced and undocumented artifacts that do not serve to answer any broader questions about the lifeways of the peoples who previously inhabited the Lake Apopka Region. 
The Oakland Nature Preserve interprets the environment and cultural hsitory of Lake Apopka.


FPAN has had a presence in this region for several years and has developed long-standing relationships with important cultural and environmental centers around the lake such as the Oakland Nature Preserve. Last year the Director of the Preserve informed us that a local collector had donated buckets worth of cast-off artifacts. The collector's hope was that pottery sherds or lithic flakes could be given to students who visited the Preserve as a keepsake. We suggested against this and worked to engage the collector in a different type of education outreach instead. From this initial contact with the collector grew the idea to work together to record these unprovenienced collections that had been donated to the local cultural institutions around the lake. Our goal was to hold public lab days and to involve the public and collector community in documenting these resources to showcase how artifact assemblages are used to answer questions about the past. And that is where we are at!
Volunteers from the public assist in artifact sorting.

Volunteers assist in almost every step of labwork.


CLAASP is up and running at the Oakland Nature Preserve. We have been posting open lab days where the public is welcome to do the work of archaeologists and assist in recording information about these collections that may otherwise have languished in a closet. Once we are done at the Preserve we will move to another institution around the lake and begin lab work there. Our goal is to provide some basic information about the types of artifacts present in this area and to hopefully generate interest in further professional research. If nothing else, the public will be helping us to record invaluable information about a quickly changing landscape. We look forward to creating new partnerships and bridging any gaps we come across; this is an experiment and we hope you will join in!

Text and pics (except where noted): Kevin Gidusko

FPAN Celebrates 10 Years at SAAs!


This month the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN East Central) welcomed the 81st annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Orlando. FPAN staff took it as an opportunity to celebrate 10 years of helping save the state's buried past through education and outreach by organizing a group session. Below are the cover slides and abstracts from each of the papers. If you're interested in learning more about the papers or projects, contact the author by clicking on their name which will take you via hyperlink to his/her email.


My Best (and Worst) Day at FPAN: Celebrating 10 years of Florida Public Archaeology Network Program Highlights and Continuing Challenges
 The Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) began operations in 2005 and since that time has experienced a range of public archaeology highs and lows. Papers in this session will be delivered by current and past staff asked to consider their best program and greatest challenge. Some of the highlights will include the Submerged Sites Education andArchaeological Stewardship (SSEAS), Cemetery Resource Protection Training(CRPT), Archaeology Works, Teacher in-service, local government assistance, and partnered programs with Florida’s Division of Historical Resources. Challenges include assessment, measuring impact, large population centers, rural outreach, turnover rate of partners, and navigating economic trends. 



The Best Days at FPAN are Under Water: The SSEAS and HADS Programs for Sport Divers and Diving Leadership
FPAN’s development of the Submerged Sites Education & Archaeological Stewardship(SSEAS) program targeted to sport divers and the Heritage Awareness DivingSeminar (HADS) targeted to diving leadership has led to gains in the appreciation and protection of the underwater cultural heritage, in Florida and elsewhere. In presenting these programs, FPAN staff have worked with divers ranging from newly certified to long-time educators, in the process learning as much as we teach. This paper describes these programs and how they are intended to encourage divers to become active in preserving underwater cultural heritage, monitoring historic wrecksites, and making their own discoveries, thereby producing information instead of simply consuming information.


Engaging the Living in Honor of the Dead: the Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) Program across Florida
The flagship program to come out of FPAN’s Northeast Regional Center, hosted by Flagler College in St. Augustine, is the Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) workshop. CRPT developed in an effort to curb the mass deterioration of historic cemeteries across the state, particularly in Jacksonville, Palatka, and Fernandina where municipal governments are responsible for their preservation. Outcomes of CRPT were the subject of a recent AAP article (Miller 2015:275-290) but the challenges are on-going and subject to great change after local elections. This paper will describe the CRPT program, present the most challenging cases to date, and deliberate how to stay the course through political and economic change. 



Understanding Archaeological Site Protection at the Local Level in Florida
Archaeological sites face many threats in Florida. While both natural and cultural forces are at play the most destructive threat might be inaction at the local level from the professional and amateur archaeology communities. Local preservation programs began in earnest with the passage of state laws aimed at managing and regulating growth in the state and have continued largely through the implementation of the Certified Local Government Program. However, an apparent lack of a clear understanding of archaeology and best management practices at the local level has left archaeological sites to be sorely underrepresented in local government preservation programs and woefully unprotected under local ordinance. This presentation details some of the initiatives undertaken by FPAN to bring together information on local level preservation ordinances throughout the State of Florida, work with local governments on their management of archaeological sites, and create a clearing house for preservation ordinances and locally designated sites and resources.



The Best Days at FPAN are Shared with Others: The Various Partnerships FPAN had Developed over the Years
Since its inception, the Florida Public Archaeology Network has relied on partnerships with other organizations to help meet our goal of public awareness and education. Throughout the years we have partnered with various organizations to offer training, workshops, youth and adult programs and other opportunities for the public to learn about Florida's archaeological heritage. Each of these partnerships is unique and bring with them their own challenges and successes. This paper will discuss some of the lessons we have learned through these partnerships. 


The Best Days at FPAN are Out of Sight: Public Archaeology Airwaves of Unearthing Florida and the DARC Geotrail
The Florida Public Archaeology Network has created a variety of unique projects throughout the past decade of its existence. Two of these projects called Unearthing Florida and DARC Geotrail used “airwaves” through the medium of radio and the technology of GPS satellites as a way to educate the public about Florida’s archaeological heritage and to promote archaeotourism. Unearthing Florida is a radio program broadcast Florida public radio NPR member stations designed to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of Florida’s archaeological heritage. DARC Geotrail is a project that uses the worldwide GPS based scavenger hunt game of geocaching as a way to promote responsible site visitation and tourism to historic and archaeological sites in Northwest Florida. This paper reflects on some of the successes and challenges of creating and maintaining both these projects using “airwaves” over the past four years.


What Have We Here?: Demonstrating the Opportunities for Heritage Preservation to Local Governments
Tristan Harrenstein
Part of the Florida Public Archaeology Network’s mission is to work with local governments to both protect archaeological sites and to ensure that these communities receive the benefits related to their preservation. However, many of the smaller communities in Florida are unaware of the opportunities available for state and federal assistance in preserving their heritage. This paper details a new project designed to educate local governments and historical societies about the benefits and legal pitfalls associated with archaeological and historic resources.


Collaboration in Progress: FPAN Central Regional Center and the Florida Park Service
Among the many places that the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) uses as a base of operation, the relationship the Central Region has with the Crystal River Archaeological State Parks is unlike any other. Housed within the visitor’s center at the Crystal River PreserveState Park, FPAN’s Central Region is the only regional center located at a National Historic Landmark prehistoric mound complex. This provides the center with a unique opportunity for outreach, education, and promotion of this important site and the compatible mission of the Florida Park Service. The distinct relationship comes with distinct successes and challenges. This paper navigates these opportunities including development of site based interpretation and collaboration on existing State Park programs. Also considered are challenges such as working within the bureaucratic framework of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and ethical considerations necessary at a prehistoric mound complex.


Archaeology in your Backyard: Successes and Lessons Learned from FPAN-Led Community Archaeology Projects
 Over the past 10 years, staff from the Florida PublicArchaeology Network (FPAN) have developed curricula, programs, and trainings that educate both the general public and land managers about archaeology and Florida's unique past. While many of these initiatives might take place in a classroom or lecture hall, FPAN archaeologists also get out in the field to organize community archaeology projects that engage the public with the discovery of their own pasts. This presentation will highlight some of the successful strategies employed for these community based archaeology programs, as well as some of the challenges of this type of work outside of a traditional academic setting. Participatory mapping, oral history work, and public archaeology days have been useful in listening to and learning from the public about their local histories, but what happens when memories clash with archaeological interpretation? How can "public archaeologists" bridge the gap while also respecting the layered and ever changing histories that communities are constantly building and changing?


Exploring Strategies for Talking to the Public: Learning from 10 Years of the Florida Public Archaeology Network
The last 10 years of outreach and education has allowed staff from the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) to experiment with many different strategies for discussing archaeology with the public. Through this experience we have become better aware of the ways to effectively communicate archaeological concepts and garner an appreciation for our archaeological and historic heritage. This presentation will provide some basic strategies and outline specific programming that we have found successful. Some of the most useful strategies combine numerous approaches to simultaneously engage visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. 


CLAASP: A Public Archaeology Initiative To Preserve Archaeological Information In Central Florida
Kevin Gidusko
The Communities of Lake Apopka Artifact Survey Project(CLAASP) is an attempt by several regions within the Florida Public Archaeological Network (FPAN) to preserve information about the many unprovenienced collections of artifacts hailing from this area in Central Florida.  Relative to several other areas in the state, the Lake Apopka region is under-represented in the archaeological record. This is in part due to the long term use of much of this area for agriculture prior to the creation of laws requiring cultural resource surveys and the collection of many artifacts by avocational archaeologists. Many of these unprovenienced collections have found their way into local museums around the Lake and throughout the region. CLAASP seeks to create a basic database of these collections by creating partnerships with local cultural institutions and avocational archaeologists. This project will allow FPAN to engage the public via open lab days, educational opportunities, and the creation of interpretive material.


It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, it’s Public Engagement! One Summer Library Program as an Effective Outreach Platform
 Summer library programming is a crucial element of the Florida Public Archaeology Network’s (FPAN) outreach efforts. Library programs are a common and important part of FPAN's work as they allow us to explore multiple approaches to engagement and education.  The program "Superheroes of Stewardship" was developed by FPAN for the Orange County Public Library System's summer programming in 2015, and serves as an example of the efficacy of queer archaeology in engaging and educating young audiences. This program is designed to teach children about archaeological methods and stewardship while maintaining some core concepts of queer archaeology, such as non-gendered interpretation of data. This program is similar to the majority of FPAN's programming, however it was developed as an application of queer archaeology in this type of outreach setting.


My best day at FPAN was teaching teachers: Celebrating 10 years of Project
Archaeology in Florida
 The Florida Public Archaeology Network was established in 2005 and within a year hosted its first Project Archaeology: Intrigue of the Past workshop. As a proud sponsor of Project Archaeology in Florida, regional center staff partnered with the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve (NPS) to publish the first Investigating Shelter investigation in the southeast. It was also the first in the Investigating Shelter series to feature a National Park site. Investigating aTabby Slave Cabin teacher guide and student handbook were produced through an internal NPS grant that combined the efforts of Teacher-Ranger-Teachers, Park Service interpreters, FPAN staff, and cooperating archaeologist Dr. James Davidson from University of Florida. By investigating a Kingsley tabby cabin through a series of lessons (geography, history, archaeology, preservation), we hope teachers and students will better understand slavery and the families who occupied the cabins. In June 2016, the new Lighthouse Shelter curriculum will launch at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum. Experience gained from the drafting, piloting, and publishing of the program will be discussed. Finally, this paper will highlight past, present, and future partnerships with Florida teachers.



Submerging the Public: Perspectives on Developing Guided Archaeological Shipwreck Tours
Community interest in archaeological shipwreck sites is increasingly profound in Florida. Though laws protecting these submerged cultural resources in state waters have been in place for nearly 30 years, many people are still unaware of the importance of these resources as heritage tourism destinations, foci of archaeological research, and representatives of community identity. After award of a grant to explore the 16th-century Spanish Emanuel Point II shipwreck in 2014, the University of West Florida (UWF) Division of Anthropology andArchaeology began considering new avenues for providing public engagement built around a preservation message. This paper explores the recent development of the “PAST (Public Archaeological Shipwreck Tours)” diving program. PAST allows FPAN and UWF archaeologists to offer local recreational divers an opportunity to learn more about shipwreck sites (like the Emanuel Point shipwrecks) and participate in guided dive tours. Reflections on the program include a discussion of the successes of initial PAST events, participant feedback, and plans for the future.

Post editor: Sarah Miller, FPAN staff
www.fpan.us 

Bioarchaeology: A Body of Knowledge


Bioarchaeology: A Body of Knowledge

Elizabeth Mills, a graduate student in bioarchaeology at the
University of Central Florida, measuring a cranium. 
Archaeologists learn about people and cultures from the past by studying the “stuff” they leave behind and the remnants of the places they used to live. Often, archaeologists are able to analyze artifacts and ecofacts (natural objects that are meaningful to the site: such as animal bone, plants, charcoal from a fire…etc.) to learn about a prehistoric diet or lifestyle. There are some limits, however, to what we can learn about ancient populations through looking at these things. Archaeologists who are concerned with learning about the health of a population, or the life history of an individual, can turn to the population itself to gain some answers to these questions and many more.

A skeleton with selected bones labeled. From:
http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/

Archaeologists who specialize in the study of human remains from archaeological sites are called bioarchaeologists. The human body is an excellent record-keeper. Even after thousands of years body tissues such as bone, hair, nails, and even preserved skin can yield invaluable information about a person’s life history, such as:
  • What kinds of food did they eat? Did they get adequate nutrition?
  •  Were they healthy as an adult? As a child?
  •    Did this person migrate during their lifetime?
  •  Did this person suffer from any major injuries during their life?
  •  What kind of work did this person do?
  They can also ask questions about the culture the person was a part of:
  • Did men and women perform similar jobs?
  • Did the culture have advanced medical technology? Could they mend bones, perform surgery?
  • Did the culture have any unique ideas about beauty that are reflected in the skeleton or on the body? 

Believe it or not, if a bio-archaeologist was to study your bones, they could answer a lot of these questions about you! But how? Here’s the shorthand version:
A skeleton being excavated by bioarchaeologists. Image from: ancient-origins.com
Bone can be preserved for thousands of years. Bioarchaeologists have many techniques to study bone to answer specific questions, including: gross analysis, microscopic analysis and chemical analysis. 
When they simply hold a bone and inspect it by looking at it (with no microscope) to evaluate its shape and condition, it is called “gross analysis” (don’t worry, it’s not really gross). There are many things a bio-archaeologist can see on bone through gross analysis. For starters, it is possible to establish whether the person was a male or female, whether they were an adult or a child, and what the person's ancestry may have been. The bioarchaeologist can also discover evidence of disease, nutritional deficiency, injury, and even purposeful changes to bone for purposes of beauty through this type of analysis!


Bio-archaeologists who specialize in Florida archaeology have done a lot of research to determine the impact that European colonization and missions had on the health and lifestyle of the Native American populations who once lived here. The book “Bioarchaeology of Spanish Florida” edited by Clark Spencer Larsen is a great source of information if you are interested in learning about the effects that colonization had on the Native People of Florida from a bioarchaeological perspective. I highly recommend checking it out (literally!)

Image from: Amazon.com
Bioarchaeology is a fascinating area of study within the realm of archaeology. Today, we touched on some of the things that bioarchaeologists can study through looking at bone, but there are many questions that can be answered through looking at other body tissues, such as preserved skin, hair, and nails! Bone is much more likely to be found archaeologically, but in some instances these other tissues are can provide just as much information.

That's all for this time, but next time we will look at some of the skeletal techniques that bioarchaeologists use to determine whether a person is a male or female, and whether they are an adult or a child!



Works Referenced:
"Artifacts and Features." Learning Center of the American Southwest. 18 September 2013. Web. 31 March 2016.

Larsen CS. 2001. Bioarchaeology of Spanish Florida: The Impact of Colonialism. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Hutchinson DL, Larsen CS. 2001. Enamel Hypoplasia and Stress in La Florida. In: Larsen CS, ed. Bioarchaeology of Spanish Florida: The Impact of Colonialism. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.

Schultz M, Larsen CS, Kreutz K. 2001. Disease in Spanish Florida. In: Larsen CS, ed. Bioarchaeology of Spanish Florida: The Impact of Colonialism. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida.


Woodland Pottery: Swift Creek

To continue with our Florida Archaeology Month-themed blogs, let's take a look at one of the important parts of Woodland culture: pottery!

Here in Northeast Florida, we see two main types surface during the Woodland Period: St. Johns and Swift Creek. St. Johns is our tried and true sponge spicule tempered pottery found all over Northeast Florida from 500 BC until around AD 1600. I feel like a lot gets said about St. Johns, so I thought I would focus on Swift Creek.

Swift Creek pottery dates between AD 100 - 850 and is found predominately in Georgia and adjoining states including Florida, South Carolina and Alabama. The complicated-stamped wares were first adopted around the Lower St. Johns and Altamaha Rivers and soon became the most common wares in the region during the period.

While Swift Creek is primarily found around in the grey area, archaeologists have found it at sites as far away as Indiana and Ohio. (Wallis 2011)

So what does Swift Creek look like? It features elaborate designs stamped on various types of bowls and cups. Early vessels had rounded and flattened rims as well as fancier notched, nicked, scalloped and crenulated. Later vessels had thick folded rims and simple rounded or flattened lips.  The pottery is usually sand tempered but charcoal is common in earlier vessels. They've even found some with bone and grog tempering! 

Early Swift Creek rim sherds (Ceramics Technology Lab)
Late Swift Creek rim sherds (Ceramics Technology Lab)
Swift Creek body sherds (Ceramics Technology Lab)

The designs were pressed into the vessels before firing by using carved paddles. However, no wooden paddles have ever been found. Archaeologists have been able to determine what they could have looked like based on the stamped designs in pottery.

Reproductions of paddles - an steriotypical Swift Creek design is second from left.

Some interesting notes about Swift Creek:
  • Archaeologists have created a database of specific design motifs and can track the patterns through space and time.
  • Not only have they found matching designs, but even specific paddles! Flaws such as cracks in the wood have been found in impressed designs, allowing researchers to track specific paddles through space and time.
  • Chemical anaylsis of the clay itself has shown non-local vessels were found almost exclusively in mortuary settings while locally made vessels were used in daily village life.
  • Technofuntional analysis shows vessels found in village settings were mostly cooking vessel while mortuary assemblages included a diverse array of special-use and ceremonial vessels in addition to cooking.  

Check out Neil Wallis's The Swift Creek Gift for more information about this awesome pottery.
You can also search for Swift Creek pottery from your area in the Florida Museum of Natural History's database!

Unless otherwise noted, text and images by Emily Jane Murray, FPAN Staff.

Works Referenced:
2011 Wallis, Neil. The Swift Creek Gift. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.
Ceramics Technology Lab at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Ever Wonder About The Woodland Period But Were Too Afraid To Ask?

pottery making
"Artisan of the Woodland" is the theme of this year's Florida Archaeology Month.  But as we meet the month's half way mark, some of you may still be wondering "what IS the Woodland Period?" and "what were the artisans doing?"  If you still have these questions, don't be ashamed, you're not alone!

Florida's Woodland Period occurred approximately 1000 BC - 1000 AD in the Eastern part of North America (from Eastern Canada to the Eastern part of the United States down to the Gulf of Mexico).  To give a very general idea of where this falls on the timeline of Prehistoric peoples:

 Paleo-Indian Era 13,000 B.C. - 7000 B.C.
Archaic Era 7500 B.C. - 500 B.C.
*Woodland Period 1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D.
Mississippian Period 1000 A.D. - 1600 A.D.

The Woodland Period is further broken down into three parts: Early, Middle, and Late (creatively labeled!)  For more details on each of these, see the Southeast Archaeological Center

But what generally sets the Woodland period apart from the other eras?  It is defined by three key traits:
1) increased sedentism and social stratification
2) intensification of cultivation (to supplement hunting and gathering)
3) widespread adoption of ceramics

The native peoples did not awake on the first day of year 1001 BC and say "Hey! Lets stay put for a while and start planting these seeds!"


Rather, changes occurred gradually through deep time.  These traits actually begin to be seen in the late Archaic Era but are not wide spread in the Southeast until later in the Woodland Period.                


Life of the Woodland people is still very evident in Florida today.  It can most prominently be seen in our State's many existing mounds such as Green Mound, Turtle Mound and Thursby Mound, just to name a few.  Some of these mounds reflect the peoples' increased sedentism (large trash heaps comprised primarily of oyster and clam shells).  Other mounds reveal their increased social stratification (higher physical location = higher social position).  While still others reveal both (archaeologists discovering layers of trash, building remains, more trash and more building remains).                               
Turtle Mound in Cape Canaveral National Seashore
In addition to mounds, Archaeologists often see evidence of the Woodland Peoples in their pottery remains, the most commonly found being St. Johns.  St. Johns Pottery differs from its predecessor, The Archaic Period's Orange Pottery which is thicker and fiber tempered:                                                   
Orange Pottery
St. Johns Pottery has thin walls, is light weight and chalky.   It further evolved from having a plain surface:                                                   
St. Johns Plain Pottery
to having a check stamp:
St. Johns Check Stamped Pottery
Of course St. John's pottery can be broken down into WAY more complicated detail (some archaeologists counting the amount and spacing of the checks!)  If you want more detailed differentiation, check out the collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Now, enjoy the remaining half of Florida Archaeology Month!  





Text by FPAN Staff, Robbie Boggs
Photo Credits:  pottery making image: nps.gov, Turtle Mound photo: University of Central Florida, modern trash photo: ricksblog.biz, light bulb photo: clipartpanda.com, orange and st. johns pottery photos: Florida Museum of Natural History







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