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Life among the tides : recent archaeology on the Georgia Bight : proceedings of the Sixth Caldwell Conference, St. Catherines Island, Georgia, May 20-22, 2011.

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Life among the tides : recent archaeology on the Georgia Bight : proceedings of the Sixth Caldwell Conference, St. Catherines Island, Georgia, May 20-22, 2011.

Abstract and Figures

Although this volume covers a broad range of temporal and methodological topics, the chapters are unified by a geographic focus on the archaeology of the Georgia Bight. The various research projects span multiple time periods (including Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian, and contact periods) and many incorporate specialized analyses (such as petrographic point counting, shallow geophysics, and so forth). The 26 contributors conducting this cutting-edge work represent the full spectrum of the archaeological community, including museum, academic, student, and contract archaeologists. Despite the diversity in professional and theoretical backgrounds, temporal periods examined, and methodological approaches pursued, the volume is unified by four distinct, yet interrelated, themes. Contributions in Part I discuss a range of analytical approaches for understanding time, exchange, and site layout. Chapters in Part II model coastal landscapes from both environmental and social perspectives. The third section addresses site-specific studies of late prehistoric architecture and village layout throughout the Georgia Bight. Part IV presents new and ongoing research into the Spanish mission period of this area. These papers were initially presented and discussed at the Sixth Caldwell Conference, cosponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and the St. Catherines Island Foundation, held on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, May 20-22, 2011. TABLE OF CONTENTS: Revising the ¹⁴C reservoir correction for St. Catherines Island, Georgia / David Hurst Thomas, Matthew C. Sanger, and Royce H. Hayes -- An assessment of coastal faunal data from Georgia and northeast Florida / Alexandra L. Parsons and Rochelle A. Marrinan -- Archaeological geophysics on St. Catherines Island : beyond prospection / Ginessa J. Mahar -- Paste variability and clay resource utilization at the Fountain of Youth site, St. Augustine, 8SJ31 / Ann S. Cordell and Kathleen A. Deagan -- Petrographic analysis of pottery and clay samples from the Georgia Bight : evidence of regional social interactions / Neill J. Wallis and Ann S. Cordell -- Past shorelines of the Georgia coast / Chester B. DePratter and Victor D. Thompson -- Coastal landscapes and their relationship to human settlement on the Georgia coast / John A. Turck and Clark R. Alexander -- The role of small islands in foraging economies of St. Catherines Island / Matthew F. Napolitano -- Ever-shifting landscapes : tracking changing spatial usage along coastal Georgia / Matthew C. Sanger -- A paleoeconomic model of the Georgia coast (4500-300 B.P.) / Thomas G. Whitley -- A survey of Irene phase architecture on the Georgia coast / Deborah A. Keene and Ervan G. Garrison -- Life and death on the Ogeechee : a view from the Redbird Creek village / Ryan O. Sipe -- Mission San Joseph de Sapala : mission-period archaeological research on Sapelo Island / Richard W. Jefferies and Christopher R. Moore -- The Guale landscape of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale : 30 years of geophysics at a Spanish colonial mission / Elliot H. Blair -- Missions San Buenaventura and Santa Cruz de Guadalquini : retreat from the Georgia coast / Keith H. Ashley, Vicki L. Rolland, and Robert L. Thunen -- Entangling events : the Guale coastal landscape and the Spanish missions / Victor D. Thompson, John A. Turck, Amanda D. Roberts Thompson, and Chester B. DePratter -- Island and coastal archaeology on the Georgia Bight / Scott M. Fitzpatrick.
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American Museum of Natural History Anthropological Papers, Number 98
Life among the Tides
Victor D. Thompson
and
David Hurst Thomas
EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
Recent Archaeology
on the Georgia Bight
Scientific Publications of the American Museum of Natural History
Americ an Museum Novitates
Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History
Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History
Publications Committee
Robert S. Voss, Chair
Board of Editors
Jin Meng, Paleontology
Lorenzo Prendini, Invertebrate Zoology
Robert S. Voss, Vertebrate Zoology
Peter M. Whiteley, Anthropology
Managing Editor
Mary Knight
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is paper meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (permanence of paper).
2013 1LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHT
LIFE AMONG THE TIDES
RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY
ON THE GEORGIA BIGHT
VICTOR D. THOMPSON
AND
DAVID HURST THOMAS
EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
WITH CONTRIBUTIONS BY
Clark r. alexander, keith h. ashley, elliot h. Blair,
ann s. Cordell, kathleen a. deagan, Chester B. dePratter, sCott M.
FitzpatriCk, erva n g. garrison, royCe h. hayes, riChard W. JeFFeries,
deBorah a. keene, ginessa J. Mahar, roChelle a. Marrinan, Christopher
r. Moore, MattheW F. napolitano, alexandra l. parsons, viCki l. rolland,
MattheW C. sanger, ryan o. sipe, aManda d. roBerts thoMpson, roBert l.
thunen, John a. turCk, neill J. Wallis,
and thoMas g. Whitley
Proceedings of the Sixth Caldwell Conference
St. Catherines Island, Georgia
May 20–22, 2011
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS OF
THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Number 98, 494 pages, 184 gures, 59 tables
Issued June 14, 2013
Copyright © American Museum of Natural History 2013
ISSN 0065-9452
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 2 NO. 98
2013 3LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHT
3
CONTENTS
Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………………………… 15
Participants in the Sixth Caldwell Conference ………………………………………………………. 16
Preface. viCtor d. thoMpson and david hurst thoMas …………………………………………17
A word about radiocarbon dating ………………………………………………………………… 21
Acknowledgments ……………………………………………………………………………… 22
PART I. ANALYTICAL APPROACHES TO TIME AND EXCHANGE
Chapter 1. Revising the 14C reservoir correction for St. Catherines Island, Georgia.
David hurst thoMas, MattheW C. sanger, and royCe h. hayes ……………………………… 25
Redening reservoir effects on St. Catherines Island ………………………………………… 26
Expanding the sample ………………………………………………………………………… 28
Recomputing the reservoir age and ΔR ……………………………………………………… 32
Potential issues of oceanic upwelling …………………………………………………………. 34
Seasonal variability in ΔR ……………………………………………………………………. 35
Does ΔR remain constant through time in the Georgia Bight? …………………………………. 36
The paired samples from St. Catherines Island: Late Archaic Contexts……………………… 38
The paired samples from St. Catherines Island: Late Prehistoric Contexts….....................……43
Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………… 45
Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………………… 45
Chapter 2. An assessment of coastal faunal data from Georgia and northeast Florida.
alexandra l. parsons and roChelle a. Marrinan …………………………………………… 47
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………. 47
Methodological advances ………………………………………………………………………. 48
The sites …………………………………………………………………………………………. 49
Discussion of the samples ……………………………………………………………………… 53
Faunal Density …………………………..……………………………………………………. 56
Archaeology of coastal Georgia and northeast Florida …………………………………………. 59
Seasonality studies and sedentism ……………………………………………………………. 59
Prehistoric environment …………………………..…………………………………………. 60
Technology …………………………………………………………………………………… 61
Social behavior ………………………………………………………………………………. 61
Discussion ………………………………………………………………………………………. 62
Appendix 2.1. Vertebrate fauna by class for sites evaluated in this chapter …………………… 64
Appendix 2.2. Faunal analysis composite datasheets for the Grand Shell Ring (8Du1)
and Grant Mound (8Du14) …………………………………………………………………… 68
Chapter 3. Archaeological geophysics on St. Catherines Island: beyond prospection.
ginessa J. Mahar ……………………………………………………………………………… 75
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………… 75
Geophysics today: beyond prospection …………………………………………………………. 76
Geophysical data as empirical archaeological data …………………………………………… 76
Background ……………………………………………………………………………………… 77
Current theories regarding shell ring formation ………………………………………………… 79
Geophysical surveys ……………………………………………….………………………… 79
Data integration and display …………………………………………………………………… 80
Data integration concepts and methods ………………………………………………………. 80
Archaeological interpretations of shell ring geophysics ………………....……………………… 81
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 4 NO. 98
The ring exterior ……………………………………………………………………………… 82
The midden …………………………………………………………………………………… 84
The interior edge ……………………………………………………………………………… 88
The interior …………………………………………………………………………………… 91
Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………………… 93
Chapter 4. Paste variability and clay resource utilization at the Fountain of Youth site,
St. Augustine, 8SJ31. ann s. Cordell and kathleen a. deagan ………………………………… 95
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………… 95
Description of the samples ………………………………………………………………………. 97
Methods of analysis ……………………………………………………………………………… 99
Results ………………………………………………………………………………………… 103
Paste constituents …………………………………………………………………………… 103
Description of paste/clay resource groupings ………………………………………………. 104
Results by pottery traditions ………………………………………………………………… 108
Clay sample variability ………………………………………………………………………… 112
Manufacturing origins of FOY pottery ………………………………………………………… 114
Summary and future directions ………………………………………………………………… 115
Chapter 5. Petrographic analysis of pottery and clay samples from the Georgia Bight:
evidence of regional social interactions. neill J. Wallis and ann s. Cordell ……………… 119
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………… 119
Swift Creek on the Atlantic coast ……………………………………………………………… 119
Sampling ………………………………………………………………………………………. 122
Methods ………………………………………………………………………………………. 122
Results …………………………………………………………………………………………. 126
Swift Creek ………………………………………………………………………………… 126
Deptford and St. Marys ……………………………………………………………………… 132
INAA comparisons …………………………………………………………………………. 137
Nonlocal vessels and models of interaction …………………………………………………… 139
Summary and conclusions ……………………………………....………………………………. 141
PART II. MODELING COASTAL LANDSCAPES
Chapter 6. Past shorelines of the Georgia coast. Chester B. depratter
and viCtor d. thoMpson ……………………………………………………………………… 145
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………….. 145
Basic principles ………………………………………………………………………………… 148
Coastal survey: 1976 to 1984 ………………………………………………………………. 149
The GASF coastal archaeological database …………………………………………………. 152
Paleoshorelines ………………………………………………………………………………… 152
Ossabaw, Wassaw, and Tybee islands ………………………………………………………. 152
St. Catherines and Sapelo islands …………………………………………………………… 154
St. Simons, Little St. Simons, and Jekyll islands ……………………………………………. 159
Implications for archaeology, ecology, and geology ………………………….……………… 159
Chapter 7. Coastal landscapes and their relationship to human settlement on the Georgia coast.
John a. turCk and Clark r. alexander ……………………………………………………169
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………. 169
Background …………………………………………………………………………………… 169
Methods ………………………………………………………………………………………… 172
Vibracoring …………………………………………………………………………………. 172
Core analysis ………………………………………………………………………………… 174
2013 5LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHTCONTENTS
Radiocarbon and OSL dating ………………………………………………………………… 174
Results …………………………………………………………………………………………. 177
Back-barrier area: behind Sapelo Island ……………………………………………………. 177
Nondeltaic Pleistocene-Holocene interbarrier area:
Sapelo-Blackbeard barrier island complex ………………………………………………. 179
Deltaic Pleistocene-Holocene interbarrier area:
Skidaway-Wassaw barrier island complex …………………………………………………183
Pleistocene barrier/Holocene recurved spit setting:
southern end of Sapelo Island……………………………………………………………… 184
Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………… 186
Back-barrier area …………………………………………………………………………… 186
Nondeltaic interbarrier area ………………………………………………………………… 187
Deltaic interbarrier area ……………………………………………………………………… 187
Barrier/recurved spit setting ………………………………………………………………… 188
Concluding remarks …………………………………………………………………………… 188
Chapter 8. The role of small islands in foraging economies of St. Catherines Island.
MattheW F. napolitano ……………………………………………………………………… 191
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………… 191
Archaeology of back-barrier islands and St. Catherines Island ………………………………. 192
Implications for back-barrier island research ………………………………………………… 193
The back-barrier islands of St. Catherines Island ……………………………………………… 194
Bull Island Hammock ……………………………………………………………………… 194
Fieldwork and laboratory protocols ………………………………………………………… 194
Results and analysis …………………………....……………………………………………… 198
Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………… 205
The Sapelo Island surveys …………………………………………………………………… 205
The St. Catherines Island dataset …………………………………………………………… 207
The importance of small islands ………….....…………………………………………………. 208
Chapter 9. Ever-shifting landscapes: tracking changing spatial usage along coastal Georgia.
MattheW C. sanger …………………………………………………………………………… 211
Settlement studies and survey datasets ………………………………………………………… 211
Springeld Legacy study area …………………………………………………………………… 211
LiDAR data and methods ………………………………………………………………………. 212
Pedestrian subsurface sampling: strategy, methods, and results …………………………………. 214
Analytical units: landscape, site, and component ……………………………………………… 217
Ceramic chronology and the SLAP landscape ………………………………….……………… 218
Site descriptions ……………………………………………………………….……………… 225
Landscape usage through time …………………………………………………………………. 227
Archaic–Woodland transitions ………………………………………………………………. 229
Shellsh paradox revisited …………………………………………………………………… 230
Long-term demographic changes ……………………………………………………………… 232
Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………………. 234
Chapter 10. A paleoeconomic model of the Georgia coast (4500–300 B.p.).
thoMas g. Whitley …………………………………………………………………………… 235
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………. 235
The study area …………………………………………………………………………………. 236
The habitat model (HM) ………………………………………………………………………. 238
The available caloric model (ACM) …………………………………………………………… 245
The returned caloric model (RCM) ……………………………………………………………. 256
Comparative analysis ………………………………………..…………………………………. 263
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 6 NO. 98
Mean foraging areas and travel friction ……………………………………………………… 266
Mean and monthly dietary components ……………………………………………………… 267
Caloric efciency and sustainable population ………………………………………………. 269
Local scale analysis …………………………………………………………………………… 272
Effective foraging areas ……………………………………………………………………… 272
Resource collection pathways ……………………………………………………………… 275
Foraging competition ………………………………………………………………………… 277
Conclusions …………………………………………………………………………………… 278
Appendix 10.1. GIS methods used in the development of specic surfaces …………………… 280
Appendix 10.2. Habitation sites used in the analysis ………………………………………… 283
PART III. ARCHITECTURE AND VILLAGE LAYOUT BEFORE CONTACT
Chapter 11. A survey of Irene phase architecture on the Georgia coast.
deBorah a. keene and ervan g. garrison ………………………………………………… 289
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………. 289
Ethnohistorical descriptions of architecture along the Georgia coast ………………………… 291
Grove’s Creek site …………..…………………………………………………………………. 292
Site background …………………………………………………………………………….. 292
Structure 5 …………………………………………………………………………………… 294
Structures 1, 2, and 3 …………………..……………………………………………………… 299
Structure 4 …………………………………………………………………………………… 301
Grove’s Creek site summary …………..……………………………………………………… 310
Intersite comparison …………………………………………………………………………… 311
Irene site …………………………...…………………………………………………………. 311
Seven-Mile Bend ………………..……………………………………………………………. 312
9Ch112 ……………………………………………………………………………………… 312
Harris Neck ……………..……………………………………………………………………. 312
Redbird Creek ………..………………………………………………………………………. 312
Discussion …………….………………………………………………………………………… 313
Shape ………………………………………………………………………………………… 313
Size …………………………………………………………………………………………… 313
Construction ………………………………………………………………………………… 313
Associated features ……………...…………………………………………………………… 315
Conclusions …………………………………………………………………………………… 315
Chapter 12. Life and death on the Ogeechee: a view from the Redbird Creek village.
ryan o. sipe …………………………………………………………………………………… 317
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………… 317
Setting ………………………………………………………………………………………… 318
Previous research ……………………………………………………………………………… 320
The “town” of Redbird Creek ………………………………………………………………… 323
Village core ………………………………………………………………………………… 323
Structure 1 …………………………………………………………………………………… 324
Structure 2 …………………………………………………………………………………… 324
Mound C and structures 3 and 4 ……………………………………………………………. 328
Mound B ……….……………………………………………………………………………. 330
The dispersed town ………………………………………………………………………… 334
Radiocarbon data ……………………………………………………………………………… 337
Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………… 339
Future research …………………………………………………………………………………. 340
2013 7LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHTCONTENTS
PART IV. MISSION-PERIOD ARCHAEOLOGY
Chapter 13. Mission San Joseph de Sapala: mission-period archaeological research
on Sapelo Island. riChard W. JeFFeries and Christopher r. Moore ………..........………… 345
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………… 345
Environmental setting ……………..…………………………………………………………… 346
Precontact and mission period culture change ………………………………………………… 346
Previous mission period archaeological research ……………………………………………… 351
University of Kentucky mission period research (2003–2008) ……………………………… 352
Native American mission period artifacts ……………………………………………………… 354
Ceramics …………………………………………………………………………………… 354
Shell ………………………………………………………………………………………… 363
Euroamerican cultural material ………………………………………………………………… 363
Kitchen group ……………………………………………………………………………… 364
Architecture group …………………………………………………………………………… 366
Furniture group ……………………………………………………………………………… 367
Arms group ………………………………………………………………………………… 368
Clothing group ……………………………………………………………………………… 369
Personal group ……………………………………………………………………………… 369
Activities group ……………………………………………………………………………… 372
Food remains ………………………………………………………………………………… 373
Summary and conclusions ……………………………………………………………………… 373
Chapter 14. The Guale landscape of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale: 30 years
of geophysics at a Spanish colonial mission. elliot h. Blair …………………………………. 375
Colonialism and practice ………………………………………………………………………. 375
Mission Santa Catalina de Guale and La Florida:
the spatial organization of communities ……………………………………………………… 376
Native identity and Mission Santa Catalina ……………………………………………………. 385
Geophysical surveys at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale …………………………………… 388
Early geophysical surveys on St. Catherines Island ………………………………………. 389
Geophysical survey on St. Catherines Island in the 1990s ………………………………… 389
21st-century geophysical survey on St. Catherines Island ……………………………… 390
Discussion ……………………………………………………………………………………… 391
Conclusions ……………………………………………………………………………………. 393
Chapter 15. Missions San Buenaventura and Santa Cruz de Guadalquini: retreat
from the Georgia coast. keith h. ashley, viCki l. rolland, and roBert l. thunen ………… 395
Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………. 395
Delineating the Guale and Mocama provinces ………………………………………………… 395
Where is Guadalquini? …………………………………………………………………………. 397
Guadalquini: Mocama or Guale? ………………………………………………………………. 397
Mission period archaeology on St. Simons Island …………………………………………… 401
San Buenaventura y Santa Cruz de Guadalquini: a brief history ………………………………. 401
Where is Santa Cruz de Guadalquini? …………………………………………………………. 404
Cedar Point site: location and brief description ……………………………….……………… 404
Excavations (2005–2009) …………………………………………………………………… 406
Site structure ………………………………………………………………………………… 408
Features and architectural remains ………………………………………………………… 408
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 8 NO. 98
Brief comment on subsistence ………………………………………………………………… 412
Mission period material culture ………………………………………………………………… 412
European artifacts …………………………………………………………………………… 412
Modied bone and shell ……………………………………………………………………… 413
Aboriginal pottery assemblage ……………………………………………………………… 415
Conclusions …………………………………………………………………………………… 419
Chapter 16. Entangling events: the Guale coastal landscape and the Spanish missions.
viCtor d. thoMpson, John a. turCk, aManda d. roBerts thoMpson,
and Chester B. depratter ……………………………………………………………………. 423
Agency, historical archaeology, and colonial events …………………………………………. 424
Environment and background …………………………………………………………………. 426
Methods ………………………………………………………………………………………… 428
Ceramic background ………………………………………………………………………… 429
GASF database ………………………………………………………………………………. 429
Island survey and excavation ………………………………………….…………………… 429
Results …………………………………………………………………………………………. 430
GASF database ………………………………………………………………………………. 430
Island survey and excavation ………………………………………………………………… 433
Entanglement events …………………………………………………………………………… 433
Final thoughts …………………………………………………………………………………. 437
PART V. DISCUSSION
Chapter 17. Island and coastal archaeology on the Georgia Bight.
sCott M. FitzpatriCk ………………………………………………………………………… 441
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………… 441
Issues in island and coastal archaeology ………………………………………………………. 442
Comments ……………………………………………………………………………………… 443
Analytical approaches to time, exchange, and site layout …………………………………… 443
Modeling coastal landscapes ………………………………………………………………… 446
Late prehistoric site layout and architecture …………………………………………………. 447
Mission period archaeology ………………………………………………………………… 448
Final thoughts …………………………………………………………………………………… 449
References ………………………………………………………………………………………… 451
TABLES
1.1. 14C ages, Δ13C, and ∆R values of known-age shells from the central Georgia Bight …………… 29
1.2. Calibrated results for 14C transect across single Mercenaria valve from McQueen
Shell Ring, St. Catherines Island ………………………………………………………………… 36
1.3. Calibrated results for paired charcoal-marine 14C age determinations
from St. Catherines Island ………………………………………………………………………… 39
1.4. Comparison of 15 pairs of marine and terrestrial 14C ages from
St. Catherines Island ………….....................…………………………………………………… 40
2.1. Faunal density using NISP, MNI, and estimated biomass ……………………………………… 58
2.2. Faunal density calculations …………………………………………………………………… 58
4.1. Summary description of pottery traditions ……………………………………………………… 99
4.2. FOY pottery sample …………………………………………………………………………… 100
4.3. Summary descriptions of gross paste groupings by pottery series ……………………………… 102
4.4. Summary descriptions of paste/resource groupings (petrographic data) ………………………… 107
4.5. Grog composition of San Pedro sample ………………………………………………………… 110
2013 9LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHTCONTENTS
4.6. Summary descriptions of clay samples ………………………………………………………… 113
4.7. Manufacturing origins of resource groups …………………………………………………… 115
5.1. Thin section sample from clays and Swift Creek phase pottery ……………………………… 123
5.2. Thin section sample from Cordell 1993 study.............................................…………………… 127
5.3. Gross paste categories among Swift Creek phase samples …………………………………… 128
5.4. Summary descriptions of variability in clay resource groups among clays and Swift
Creek phase samples …............................................................................................................… 129
5.5 Clay resource groupings by county and INAA group ………………………………………… 134
5.6. Temporal, gross temper, and petrographic paste categories
for the Deptford/St. Marys sample ……………………………………………………………… 135
5.7. Summary descriptions of variability in clay resource groups in Deptford/St. Marys sample …… 136
5.8. Clay resource groupings and INAA chemical groups for paddle matching vessels ………… 140
5.9. Samples identied as nonlocal by clay resource grouping …………………………………… 140
6.1. Summary of the general period, phase, ceramic type, and age range for pottery
of the Georgia coast …………………………………………………………………………… 150
7.1. Radiocarbon dates from various locations on the Georgia coast ……………………………… 180
7.2. Optically stimulated luminescence dates from various locations on the Georgia coast ……… 183
8.1. Results of the shovel test pit (STP) survey on Bull Island Hammock ………………………… 199
8.2. Aboriginal ceramic sherd counts and weights ……………………………………………… 201
8.3. Faunal remains from Bull Island Hammock ………………………………………………… 204
8.4. Faunal remains by test pit and number of individual specimens present (NISP) …………… 204
8.5. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dates from Bull Island Hammock …………………… 207
8.6. Results of season of capture analysis ………………………………………………………… 207
9.1. Shovel test pit results from SLAP survey …………………………………………………… 217
9.2. Shovel test pit ceramic count and weight ...................................................................……… 220
9.3. Archaeological sites and their attendant components from SLAP survey …………………… 226
10.1. Forage categories used in the study ………………………………………………………… 239
10.2. Baseline weights used in the habitat modeling ……………………………………………… 246
10.3. Population and reproduction estimates by forage category ………………………………… 250
10.4. Resilience calculations by forage category and by month ………………………………… 253
10.5. Available kcal/30 m2 unit of prime habitat …………………………………………………… 255
10.6. Return rate estimates as a function of one day’s activity …………………………………… 261
10.7. Returned kcal/30 m2 unit of prime habitat (example: 1237 B.p.) …………………………… 264
10.8. Sustainable population estimates by temporal period ……………………………………… 271
11.1. Radiocarbon dates for Grove’s Creek site structures ……………………………………… 295
11.2. Daub totals for structure 4 ………………………………………………………………… 306
11.3. Tree-ring counts for ve timbers recovered from structure 4 ……………………………… 310
12.1. Radiocarbon data from Irene contexts at Genesis Point …………………………………… 338
13.1. Shell Ring II majolica sherds ………………………………………………………………… 366
14.1. Distribution of Altamaha Period sites on St. Catherines Island ……………………………… 382
14.2. Distribution of Altamaha Period isolates on St. Catherines Island ………………………… 383
14.3. Types of population aggregation in Spanish Florida, with examples involving
Mission Santa Catalina de Guale ……………………………………………………………… 387
15.1. Historic artifacts from the Cedar Point site ………………………………………………… 413
15.2. Faunal remains and modied bone from block C (2009) …………………………………… 415
15.3. San Marcos surface decorations, Cedar Point site …………………………………………… 416
15.4. Five major categories of San Marcos surface decorations ………………………………… 418
15.5. Cedar Point site (Santa Cruz) and Santa Catalina Amelia surface decoration …………… 418
15.6. Surface decorations, block C (Cedar Point site) and the proposed kitchen and aboriginal
structure at Santa Catalina Amelia …………………………………………………………… 418
15.7. San Marcos rim forms and orice diameters, block C (2009) sample ……………………… 420
15.8. Summary of colonoware container form study (N = 71 sherds) …………………………… 420
16.1. Ceramic totals from Pumpkin Hammock excavations (9Mc350) ………………………… 436
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 10 NO. 98
FIGURES
[Preface] Participants in the Sixth Caldwell Conference, held May 20–22, 2011, standing near an
exposed sea turtle nest at South Beach ………………………………………………………… 17
1.1. Location of 19th-century oyster factories on St. Catherines Island
(after Thomas, 2008: g. 13.4) ………………………………………………………………… 27
1.2. Map of St. Catherines Island showing modern oyster sample locations ……………………… 31
1.3. The steam-operated oyster boiler installed by Howard Cofn on Sapelo Island
and used roughly 1920–1930 …………………………………………………………………… 32
1.4. This 1906 photograph shows the Shell Bluff Canning Company, located at Valona,
on Shell Bluff Creek ………………….......……………………………………………………… 34
1.5. Graph showing the minimal effects involved in recomputing the revised
St. Catherines Island reservoir correction ….......................................................………………… 35
1.6. Probability proles comparing the composite age for the Mercenaria sample
from the McQueen shell ring (g. 1.8 and table 1.4) with two closely correlated
terrestrial 14C samples ………………………………………………………………………… 38
1.7. Paired samples from Late Archaic contexts on St. Catherines Island ………………………… 41
1.8. Simulated reservoir correction values for the paired A1 samples from the McQueen Shell Ring …… 42
1.9. Paired samples from Late Prehistoric contexts on St. Catherines Island …………………… 44
2.1. Estimated biomass contribution for mammals (in ascending order) ……….........…………… 55
2.2. Estimated biomass contribution for birds (in ascending order) ………..…..………………… 57
2.3. Estimated biomass contribution for reptiles (in ascending order) ……………………………… 57
2.4. Estimated biomass contribution for sh (in ascending order) ……………..…………………… 57
2.5. Graph of the faunal density using biomass estimates (in ascending order)
for samples that were obtained from at least one cubic meter ………………………………… 59
3.1. Locational map of the Golden Sea Islands along the Georgia Bight with St. Catherines Island
highlighted in red (Thomas, 2011: 26) ………………………………………………………… 78
3.2. A selection of shell rings that have been investigated in the southeastern United States
as of 2006 (Russo, 2006) ……………………………………………………………………… 79
3.3. Plate showing St. Catherines Shell Ring data collection results used in the vectorization
process ................................……………………………………………………………………… 79
3.4. Vectorized images of the geophysical results of the soil resistance and
gradiometer surveys at the shell rings …………………………………...................…………… 83
3.5. Shell midden deposit proles from the St. Catherines and McQueen shell rings, respectively 85
3.6. A. Magnetic gradient data from the northern section of the St. Catherines Shell Ring
showing excavated units. Unit N789 E801 is shown as the northernmost white square.
B. North wall prole of unit N789 E801, burnt patches of shell were identied
throughout the excavation ……………………………………………………………………… 86
3.7. Magnetic gradient map results from the St. Catherines and McQueen Shell Ring .………… 89
3.8. Photographs of circular features that exist in the interior shell-free portion of the shell rings of the
St. Catherines Shell Ring and the McQueen Shell Ring ......................…………………………… 90
3.9. Side-by-side comparison of the central magnetic anomalies detected at the St. Catherines
and McQueen shell rings ……….................……………………………………………………… 92
4.1. Fountain of Youth location (adapted from Deagan, 2009b: g. 6.1) …………………………… 96
4.2. Sixteenth-century distribution of ethnic groups (adapted from Saunders, 2009: g. 3.1)
showing location of Fountain of Youth and 9Cm177 ………………………………………… 97
4.3. Pottery types in the FOY sample ……………………………………………………………… 98
4.4. Location of clay samples (white triangles and gray squares; gray squares denote
clays with diatoms) ……………………...……………………………………………………… 101
4.5. Photomicrographs of a San Marcos thin section (FOY 41) showing coarse quartz temper … 104
4.6. Photomicrographs of San Pedro thin sections (ppl, ×40, width of images ~ 2.25 mm) ……… 105
4.7. Photomicrograph of a St. Johns paste thin section (FOY 70, very ne St. Johns) showing
preferred orientation of sponge spicules in longitudinal section ……………………………… 106
2013 11LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHT
4.8. Photomicrographs of fossil diatoms in San Pedro pottery and clay samples ………………… 106
4.9. Ternary diagram of bulk composition of FOY pottery resource groups ..................……… 109
4.10. Bar chart of resource grouping variability by pottery series ………………………………… 109
4.11. Ternary diagram showing St. Johns textural groupings (clay sample 3 is included) ………… 111
4.12. Ternary diagram of matrix composition of resource groups A-C, pottery and clays …… 114
5.1. Sites mentioned in the text …………………………………………………………………… 120
5.2. Late Swift Creek pottery from 9Mc372 and Early Swift Creek pottery
from 8Du5543 (charcoal-tempered) and 8Du43 (sand-tempered) ………...........…………… 121
5.3. Locations of clay samples …………………………………………………………………… 126
5.4. Ternary plots of bulk composition in sand texture/particle
sizes among chemical groups dened by NAA ……………………............………………… 133
5.5. Bivariate plot of cobalt and chromium concentrations among clay resource group members … 138
6.1. Map of the Georgia Coast showing the major islands and wetland areas …………………… 146
6.2. Map of the Georgia Coast showing both Holocene and Pleistocene islands ………………… 147
6.3. Paleoshorelines of the Ossabaw, Wassaw, and Tybee islands section of the Georgia coast 153
6.4. Paleoshorelines of the St. Catherines and Sapelo islands section of the Georgia coast ……… 155
6.5. Paleoshorelines of the St. Simons and Little St. Simons islands section of the Georgia coast … 156
6.6. Site locations with St. Simons, Refuge, and Deptford period components of the Ossabaw,
Wassaw, and Tybee islands section of the Georgia coast ……………………………………… 157
6.7. Site locations with Wilmington, St. Catherines, and Savannah period components
of the Ossabaw, Wassaw, and Tybee islands section of the Georgia coast …………………… 158
6.8. Site locations with Irene, Historic Native American, and Historic Non-Native American
components of the Ossabaw, Wassaw, and Tybee islands section of the Georgia coast ……… 160
6.9. Site locations with St. Simons, Refuge, and Deptford period components
of the St. Catherines and Sapelo islands section of the Georgia coast ………………………… 161
6.10. Site locations with Wilmington, St. Catherines, and Savannah period components
of the St. Catherines and Sapelo islands section of the Georgia coast ………………………… 162
6.11. Site locations with Irene, Historic Native American, and Historic Non-Native American
components of the St. Catherines and Sapelo islands section of the Georgia coast ……………. 163
6.12. Site locations with St. Simons, Refuge, and Deptford period components
of the St. Simons and Little St. Simons islands section of the Georgia coast ………………… 164
6.13. Site locations with Wilmington, St. Catherines, and Savannah period components
of the St. Simons and Little St. Simons islands section of the Georgia coast ………………… 165
6.14. Site locations with Irene, Historic Native American, and Historic Non-Native American
components of the St. Simons and Little St.Simons islands section of the Georgia coast ……. 166
7.1. Aerial photograph of the northern part of the Georgia coast, indicating the main
islands discussed in chapter 7 ………………………………………………………………… 170
7.2. Three former shoreline complexes in relation to the present-day (Holocene)
shoreline complex ……………………………………………………………………………… 171
7.3. Back-barrier area between the mainland and Sapelo Island, indicating the locations of marsh
islands discussed in the text as well as the locations of vibracores and 14C dates ……………… 173
7.4. Interbarrier area between Sapelo and Blackbeard islands, indicating the locations of islands
discussed in the text as well as the locations of vibracores, 14C dates, and OSL dates ………… 175
7.5. Interbarrier area between Skidaway and Wassaw islands, indicating the locations
of 14C and OSL dates …………………………………………………………………………… 176
7.6. Barrier/recurved spit area off of the south end of Sapelo Island, indicating the locations
of vibracores, 14C dates, and OSL dates ……………………………………………………… 177
7.7. Vibracore MT-03, an example of a back-barrier marsh core ………………………………… 178
7.8. Vibracore HNi1-08, an example of an interbarrier marsh core ……………………………… 182
7.9. Details of the Skidaway-Wassaw interbarrier area showing the locations of the OSL and 14C
dates in relation to DePratter’s (1977) shorelines and known (as of 2010) archaeological sites …185
8.1. St. Catherines Island and its associated islands, showing back-barrier islands
and hammocks ………………………………………………………………………………… 195
CONTENTS
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 12 NO. 98
8.2. LiDAR image of Bull Island Hammock with white representing higher elevation ………… 196
8.3. The shovel test pit grid ………………………………………………………………………… 197
8.4. Results of the shovel test pit survey on Bull Island Hammock ……………………………… 200
8.5. Percentage of total sherd weight and count ……………........……………………………… 202
8.6. Distribution of sherds across Late Archaic, Early, Middle, and Late Woodland,
Early and Late Mississippian, and historic contact periods …………………………………… 203
8.7. Results of the shell probe survey on Bull Island Hammock ………………………………… 206
9.1. SLAP study area ……………………………………………………………………………… 212
9.2. Section 6 survey area ………………………………………………………………………… 213
9.3. LiDAR data showing topographically visible historic period features ……………………… 215
9.4. LiDAR data of study area …………………………………………………………………… 216
9.5. Site locations ………………………….......…………………………………………………… 219
9.6. Location of Late Archaic occupations ……………………………………………………… 221
9.7. Location of Early-Middle Woodland occupations …………………………………………… 222
9.8. Location of grog-tempered ceramics ………………………………………………………… 223
9.9. Location of Savannah occupations …………………………………………………………… 224
9.10. Location of Irene occupations ……………………………………………………………… 225
9.11. LiDAR data for 9Li1935 ………………………………………………………………… 228
9.12. Overview of nearby studies ………………………………………………………………… 231
10.1. Study area …………………………………………………………………………………… 237
10.2. Water availability, mouth of Altamaha River …………..............…………………………… 241
10.3. Water salinity, mouths of the Ogeechee and Medway rivers ………...........……………… 242
10.4. Vegetation type 2, mouths of the Satilla and Turtle rivers …………............……………… 243
10.5. Water depth 1, mouths of the Satilla and Turtle rivers ……………...........………………… 244
10.6. January deer habitat, mouth of the Altamaha River ………………..........………………… 247
10.7. June large saltwater sh habitat, Ossabaw, St. Catherines, and Sapelo islands …..............… 248
10.8. Shellsh habitat, between the Altamaha, Turtle, and Satilla rivers ……............………… 249
10.9. Terrestrial travel friction, between the Altamaha and Turtle rivers ………….............……… 258
10.10. Aquatic travel friction, between the Altamaha and Turtle rivers ……………….............…… 259
10.11. Ratio of aquatic to terrestrial foraging area ………………………………………………… 267
10.12. Mean dietary balance as a function of temporal periods and site types …………………… 268
10.13. Available caloric model (ACM) ratio of aquatic to terrestrial fauna by
temporal period and site types ………...........................................................................................269
10.14. Available caloric model (ACM) ratio of aquatic to terrestrial fauna by month by
temporal period and site types ………...........................................................................................269
10.15. Calculated sustainable population estimates (minimums and means) by period ...……… 271
10.16. Site 9Cm471 location and calculated foraging buffers …………………………………… 273
10.17. Caloric landscapes (ca. 500 B.p.) around 9Cm471 for January and June (small, large,
and all saltwater sh) …………………………………………………………………………… 274
10.18. Caloric landscapes (ca. 500 B.p.) around 9Cm471 for January (all aquatic resources) …… 275
10.19. Aquatic resource collection paths (ca. 400 B.p.) plotted with the caloric landscape of
all saltwater sh in June at 9Cm471 ………………………………………………………… 276
10.20. Aquatic resource collection paths (ca. 400 B.p.) plotted with the resource competition ratio
of all aquatic resources in June at 9Cm471 ……………………………………………………… 279
11.1. Map of the Georgia coast indicating approximate location of all archaeological
sites mentioned in the text …………………………………………………………………… 290
11.2. Map of Grove’s Creek site depicting all excavations ……………………………………… 293
11.3. Plan map of structure 5, Grove’s Creek site ………………………………………………… 296
11.4. Composite plan map of structure 5 Grove’s Creek site depicting the daub
recovered from all levels ….....................................................................................................… 297
11.5. The interior wall of structure 5 ……………………………………………………………… 298
11.6. Reconstruction of the interior wall of structure 5 (Courtesy of Darla Huffman) …………… 298
11.7. Frequency distribution map of daub from the Elderhostel excavations …………………… 300
2013 13LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHT
11.8. Archaeological base map of the University of Georgia/Elderhostel
excavations of 1993–2005 ……………………………………………………………………… 301
11.9. A 25 cm topographic contour map of 10 units of structure 4 ………………………………… 302
11.10. Plan view of 10 excavation units of structure 4 …………………………………………… 303
11.11. Structure 4 overview photograph …………………………………………………………… 304
11.12. East cross-sectional proles of structure 4 ………………………………………………… 305
11.13. Wall corner, south wall section, unit 132 …………………………………………………… 305
11.14. Knot impressions in the daub of structure 4 (unit 133) …………………………………… 307
11.15. A palm frond impression in the daub of structure 4 ……………………………………… 307
11.16. Portion of incised wall daub from structure 4, and side view ……………………………… 307
11.17. Plan view of structure 4 after excavation …………………………........…………………… 309
11.18. Wall section and timbers, northeast corner unit 147 ……………………………………… 311
11.19. Topographic 5 cm contour map of the central area of Grove’s Creek site ………………… 311
12.1. Map of Ogeechee coastline showing Genesis Point ……………………………………… 318
12.2. Boundaries of 9Bn9 shown on 2009 Chatham County Georgia aerial LiDAR survey ……… 319
12.3. Filfot jar recovered by Fred Cook at 9Bn9 in 1968 ………………………………………… 321
12.4. Location of surface features at the Redbird Creek site ……………………………………… 321
12.5. Topographic map of mound A by Charles Pearson and Sharon Goad, 1973 ………………… 322
12.6. Village layout at the Redbird Creek site shown on 2009 Chatham County,
Georgia, aerial LiDAR survey ………………………………………………………………… 323
12.7. Plan view of structure 1 as seen in Pearson, 1984 …………………………………………… 325
12.8. Plan view of mechanical stripping trench around Pearson’s excavation block ……………… 326
12.9. Photographs of structural features associated with structure 2 at 9Bn9 …………………… 326
12.10. Plan view drawing of features associated with structure 2 at 9Bn9 ……………………… 327
12.11. Photograph of mound C at 9Bn9 …………………………………………………………… 328
12.12. Structural features associated with structure 3 at Redbird Creek ………………………… 329
12.13. Representative prole photo of diffused clay signatures of structures 3 and 4
at the Redbird Creek site (9Bn9) ……………………………………………………………… 331
12.14. Structural features associated with structure 4 at 9Bn9 …………………………………… 331
12.15. Initial excavations at mound B …………………………………………………………… 332
12.16. Photographs of vessels 1 and 2 …………………………………………………………… 333
12.17. Irene habitation sites of the Genesis Point development tract ……………………………… 335
12.18. Site layout at 9Bn887: the Hammerhead Point site ……………………………………… 337
12.19. Probability distributions of radiocarbon data collected from six Genesis Point samples …… 339
13.1. Archaeological sites on Sapelo Island, Georgia, having mission period components ……… 347
13.2. Guale territory and those of surrounding 17th-century Native American groups …………… 348
13.3. Locations and movements of Spanish missions from 1655 to 1684 ………………………… 350
13.4. Natural and cultural features at site 9Mc23 ………………………………………………… 353
13.5. Distribution of probable mission period shell midden piles north of Shell Ring II ………… 355
13.6. Locations of test units excavated by the University of Kentucky Mission Period
Archaeological Project from 2003 to 2007 …………………………………………………… 356
13.7. Plan view of Units 20–22 showing the distribution of features and postmolds …………… 357
13.8. Distribution of selected mission period features and artifacts ……………………………… 358
13.9. Prole and plan view of Unit 16 extension …………………………………………………… 359
13.10. Distribution of shovel probes, all Altamaha ceramics, Altamaha Red Filmed
ceramics, and probable Spanish artifacts from shovel probes ……...................……………… 360
13.11. Distribution of Native American ceramics by level in units 19–22 ……………………… 361
13.12. Mission period Altamaha series ceramics from north of Shell Ring II …………………… 361
13.13. Box plot showing body sherd thickness (in mm) by time period ………………………… 362
13.14. Examples of kitchen group artifacts ……………………………………………………… 365
13.15. Examples of architecture group artifacts ……………………....…………………………… 367
13.16. Examples of arms group artifacts ……………………….....………………………………… 368
13.17. Examples of clothing group artifacts …………………….....……………………………… 370
CONTENTS
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 14 NO. 98
13.18. Examples of personal group artifacts ……………………….....…………………………… 371
13.19. Sheet iron pail representing the activities group …………………………………………… 372
14.1. Map of Spanish Florida showing Spanish missions and provinces ………………………… 377
14.2. Map of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale quadrangle, oriented along the mission
grid system, with with “mission north” at the top of the page ………………………………… 378
14.3. Map of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale and Pueblo ……………………………………… 379
14.4. Redraft of the Mission Santa María map …………………………………………………… 380
14.5. Distribution of Altamaha Period sites and isolated nds on St. Catherines Island ………… 381
14.6. Composite image of 1980s, 1990s, and 2010 resistivity data at Mission
and Pueblo Santa Catalina de Guale ………………………………………………………… 392
15.1. Georgia and northeastern Florida coast, including historic Mocama and Guale territories …… 396
15.2. The Florida and Georgia locations of San Buenaventura de Guadalquini …………………… 402
15.3. Color-enhanced version of Spanish map, ca. 1705 ………………………………………… 405
15.4. Map of northeastern Florida, giving location of sites mentioned in the text ………………… 406
15.5. Archaeological sites at the southern end of Black Hammock Island ………………………… 407
15.6. Cedar Point site map ………………………………………………………………………… 407
15.7. Composite plan map of block C …………………………………………………………… 409
15.8. Feature 13 artifacts ………………………………………………………………………… 410
15.9. Feature 7 prole, view to the south ………………………………………………………… 410
15.10. Majolicas; Aboriginal Polychrome; Puebla Polychrome …………......…………………… 414
15.11. Brass nger ring, unit 10 …………………………………………………………………… 414
15.12. San Marcos line blocked with raised dot ………………………………………………… 417
16.1. The location of the Guale region and known and hypothesized mission locations ………… 428
16.2.
The location of the four marsh islands in the present study, and their relation
to the mainland and Sapelo Island, one of the major barrier islands on the Georgia coast ……… 430
16.3. The location of Irene Period sites in relation to missions along the Georgia coast ………… 431
16.4. The location of Altamaha Period sites in relation to missions along the Georgia coast …… 432
16.5. The location of Irene Period sites on St. Catherines Island and
the nearby coast in relation to known/hypothesized mission sites ….....................…………… 434
16.6.
The location of Altamaha Period sites on St. Catherines Island
and known/hypothesized mission sites ……………………………………………………… 435
2013 15LIFE AMONG THE TIDES: RECENT ARCHAEOLOGY ON THE GEORGIA BIGHT
ABSTRACT
Although this volume covers a broad range of temporal and methodological topics, the chapters
are unied by a geographic focus on the archaeology of the Georgia Bight. The various research proj-
ects span multiple time periods (including Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian, and contact periods) and
many incorporate specialized analyses (such as petrographic point counting, shallow geophysics, and
so forth). The 26 contributors conducting this cutting-edge work represent the full spectrum of the ar-
chaeological community, including museum, academic, student, and contract archaeologists. Despite
the diversity in professional and theoretical backgrounds, temporal periods examined, and method-
ological approaches pursued, the volume is unied by four distinct, yet interrelated, themes.
Contributions in Part I discuss a range of analytical approaches for understanding time, exchange,
and site layout. Chapters in Part II model coastal landscapes from both environmental and social per-
spectives. The third section addresses site-specic studies of late prehistoric architecture and village
layout throughout the Georgia Bight. Part IV presents new and ongoing research into the Spanish
mission period of this area.
These papers were initially presented and discussed at the Sixth Caldwell Conference, cosponsored
by the American Museum of Natural History and the St. Catherines Island Foundation, held on St.
Catherines Island, Georgia, May 20–22, 2011.
15
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 16 NO. 98
PARTICIPANTS IN THE SIXTH CALDWELL CONFERENCE
Clark r. alexander (Professor, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and Director, Applied Coastal
Research Laboratory, Georgia Southern University)
keith h. ashley (Research Coordinator, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University
of North Florida)
gale a. Bishop (Director, St. Catherines Island Sea Turtle Program and Professor Emeritus, Georgia
Southern University)
elliot h. Blair (Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley and
American Museum of Natural History)
ann s. Cordell (Staff Archaeologist, Florida Museum of Natural History)
sCott M. FitzpatriCk (Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon)
Christina M. FriBerg (Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa
Barbara and American Museum of Natural History)
royCe h. hayes (Superintendent, St. Catherines Island)
riChard W. JeFFeries (Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Kentucky)
ginessa J. Mahar (Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida and American
Museum of Natural History)
MattheW F. napolitano (Lab Supervisor, Nels Nelson North American Archaeology Laboratory,
American Museum of Natural History and University of West Florida)
alexandra l. parsons (Archeologist, Southeast Archeological Center and Florida State Univer-
sity)
lorann s.a. pendleton (Director, Nels Nelson North American Archaeology Laboratory, American
Museum of Natural History)
diana rosenthal (Senior Archivist/Editor, Nels Nelson North American Archaeology Laboratory,
American Museum of Natural History)
MattheW C. sanger (Ph.D. student, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University and Analyst,
Nels Nelson North American Archaeology Laboratory, American Museum of Natural History)
anna M. seMon (Ph.D. Student, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina, Chapel
Hill and American Museum of Natural History)
ryan o. sipe (Master’s student, Department of Anthropology, Georgia Southern University)
david hurst thoMas (Curator of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History)
viCtor d. thoMpson (Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia)
neill J. Wallis (Assistant Curator of Florida Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History)
thoMas g. Whitley (Archaeologist, Department of Archaeology, Western Australia University)
Mark WilliaMs (Sr. Academic Professional, Director, Georgia Archaeological Site Files, Director,
Laboratory of Archaeology, University of Georgia)
16
2013 169COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
CHAPTER 7
COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR
RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
ON THE GEORGIA COAST
John A. Turck And clArk r. AlexAnder1
INTRODUCTION
Local geomorphology and geology are im-
portant to understanding human settlement pat-
terns (Rossignol, 1992; Stafford, 1995, 2004;
Dodonov, A.W. Kandel, A.N. Simakova, et al.,
2007). The geomorphology of a landscape re-
veals when elements of the landscape initially
formed, the processes involved in their forma-
tion, and the processes involved in subsequent
landscape changes over time. Understanding
these factors allows for a better interpreta-
tion of the archaeological record. Ideally, the
analysis of the archaeological record should be
separate from the geomorphology, but they are
sometimes so intertwined that it is necessary to
analyze them simultaneously. This is especially
true in dynamic coastal settings, where environ-
mental changes can occur yearly, seasonally,
and even daily (Wells, 2001; also see Jordan
and Maschner, 2000; Peros, Graham, and Da-
vis, 2006; Dickinson and Burley, 2007; Bicho
and Haws, 2008; Pollard, 2009; Erlandson and
Braje, 2011).
To refine our understanding of Georgia
coastal evolution, a campaign of vibracoring,
dating (radiocarbon and optically stimulated
luminescence), and sediment analyses were
performed in four diverse intertidal settings:
back-barrier, nondeltaic interbarrier, deltaic
interbarrier, and southern end barrier/recurved
spit. The results were then compared to the ar-
chaeological records of these areas, noting the
implication of landscape history for settlement
patterns, as well as how archaeology can speak
to geomorphological studies.
BACKGROUND
The present-day Georgia coast includes bar-
rier islands, marsh islands (also called ham-
mocks), tidal marshes, estuaries, river channels,
tidal creeks, as well as tidally inuenced areas
of the mainland (g. 7.1). The initial formation
of some of these features occurred during the
Late Pleistocene epoch, after the height of the
previous interglacial period around 125,000
b.p. As temperatures decreased and sea levels
fell over the next 100,000 years, barrier island
shorelines and associated back-barrier areas
were created and abandoned. Beginning around
18,000 b.p., temperatures and sea levels started
rising, reooding these former shorelines and
creating a complex mix of Holocene-aged fea-
tures adjacent to, and on top of, Pleistocene and
earlier Holocene features.
At present, the coastal mainland is made
up of two of these former barrier island/back-
barrier shorelines: the Pamlico shoreline com-
plex (formed when sea level was around 7.3 m
higher than at present); and the Princess Anne
(formed when sea level was around 4 m higher
than at present) (Hoyt and Hails, 1967: 1541)
(see g. 7.2). A former Pleistocene shoreline,
known as the Silver Bluff formation, makes
up part of the present-day barrier island com-
plexes. This shoreline formed initially when sea
level was 1.4 m higher than at present (Hails
and Hoyt, 1969; Howard and Frey, 1985: 78).
In a recent study by Booth and Rich (1999),
freshwater peat from a core extracted from the
Silver Bluff section of St. Catherines Island
was radiocarbon dated to earlier than 40,000
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 170 NO. 98
Figure 7.1. Aerial photograph of the northern part of the Georgia coast, indicating the main islands discussed
in chapter 7.
N
Sapelo Island
Blackbeard Island
Skidaway Island
Wassaw Island
010 20
KM
2013 171COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
Figure 7.2. Three former shoreline complexes in relation to the present-day (Holocene) shoreline complex.
N
SHORELINE COMPLEXES
Pamlico
Barrier Island Facies
Marsh/Lagoonal Facies
Princess Anne
Barrier Island Facies
Marsh/Lagoonal Facies
Silver Blu
Barrier Island Facies
Holocene Shoreline
Barrier Island Facies
Marsh/Lagoonal Facies
010 20
KM
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 172 NO. 98
b.p. The peat was most likely deposited during
a time of lowered sea level, indicating that Silver
Bluff sections of the present-day barrier islands
formed earlier than 40,000 b.p. (Linsley, Bishop,
and Rollins, 2008). Wehmiller et al. (2004) report
that the Silver Bluff islands are approximately
80,000 b.p. based on U/Th dating.
The present-day back-barrier area, then, will
have a fairly complex sedimentary history. Com-
plicating the matter further is that in any given
area, some parts of the stratigraphic sequence are
preserved and other parts may be missing. How-
ard and Frey (1985: 78) suggest that stratigraphic
deposits here will follow an estuarine sequence
(either riverine or salt marsh), not a lagoon-ll
sequence. Basal layers will be coarser-grained,
and may contain thin sequences of the offshore
facies of the Pamlico and Princess Anne shore-
lines, or deposits of tidal inlet/tidal channel ll,
etc. (Hayes et al., 1980: 289). Above this should
be the Pleistocene marsh facies that formed con-
temporaneously with, and behind, the Silver
Bluff shoreline. Lying unconformably on top of
these marsh deposits should be an erosional un-
conformity, the evidence of subaerial exposure
and terrestrial inuences, as sea level remained
at least 40 m lower than present levels since
80,000 b.p. (see Martinson et al., 1987). Overly-
ing this should be Holocene marsh sedimentation
from the last 4500 years. Marsh islands within
the back-barrier area are assumed to be remnants
of former shorelines formed sometime after the
Princess Anne shoreline, but before the Silver
Bluff shoreline. It is also possible that they were
parts of the Princess Anne and/or Silver Bluff
shorelines that have since been erosionally sepa-
rated from these larger features. This, of course,
excludes those marsh islands of recent historical
formation created by the deposition of dredge
spoil or ship ballast.
In addition to the Pleistocene-age sections
of the present-day barrier islands, there are also
Holocene-age beach ridge/dune complexes that
formed within the last 4500 years (Hayes et al.,
1980: 285). Most of these Holocene deposits are
found seaward of, and in close proximity to, the
Pleistocene islands. However, Tybee, Wassaw,
Little St. Simons, and Sea islands are separated
from their Pleistocene counterparts due to the
relatively abundant sediment supply from the Sa-
vannah and Altamaha rivers (Hayes et al., 1980:
282), allowing seaward progradation of these
deltaic coastlines (Hayes et al., 1980: 285).
Intertidal areas between these Pleistocene and
Holocene islands have a different sedimentolog-
ical history than the back-barrier areas between
the Pleistocene barrier islands and the mainland,
and thus will be termed Pleistocene–Holocene
interbarrier areas. These interbarrier areas do
not have an underlying Pleistocene marsh fa-
cies. Basal deposits typically consist of relative-
ly coarse, Pleistocene sands, especially where
marshes closely ank barrier islands (Edwards
and Frey, 1977: 236; Frey and Basan, 1981:
118). Holocene marsh deposits (4500 b.p.–pres-
ent) are found on top of these sands (Frey and
Basan, 1981: 118). Marsh islands in interbarrier
areas represent relict beach ridges and dunes and
must have formed within the last 4500 years giv-
en the sea level history in the area. A recent hy-
pothesis suggests that many of these interbarrier
areas were originally inlets, but have since been
abandoned after rising sea levels caused rivers to
follow a more direct route (Chowns et al., 2008;
Chowns, 2011).
DePratter and colleagues (DePratter, 1977a;
DePratter and Howard, 1977; DePratter and
Thompson, this volume, chap. 6) have used
Native American ceramics to date archaeologi-
cal sites, and thus date when upland landforms
were present and utilized by humans. Using this
technique in the deltaic Pleistocene–Holocene
interbarrier area between Skidaway and Wassaw
islands, DePratter (1977a) documented seaward-
advancing shoreline positions dating to 1500,
1000, 675, and 100 b.p. These data revealed that
this part of the coastline prograded eastward over
time, with the inhabitants moving with it to ac-
cess resources. Using cultural remains proved to
be a valuable technique in documenting changes
in coastline positions, at least for prograding
coastlines. DePratter and Thompson (chap. 6)
use more recent archaeological data to rene
these shoreline positions, and infer the position
of Holocene shorelines for the rest of the progra-
dational portions of the Georgia coast.
METHODS
VibrAcoring
Numerous sediment cores from various envi-
ronments along the Georgia coast were extracted
and analyzed to better understand coastal evolu-
tion. In the back-barrier area behind Sapelo Is-
land, cores were extracted from Jack Hammock,
Mary Hammock, Fishing Hammock, and the ad-
2013 173COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
Figure 7.3. Back-barrier area between the mainland and Sapelo Island, indicating the locations of marsh islands
discussed in the text as well as the locations of vibracores and 14C dates.
Vibracores
Vibracores with 14C dates
14C dates
0 250 500
M
N
JH-02
Jack
Hammock
Pumpkin
Hammock
MT-06
MT-05
MT-04
MT-03
MT-02
MT-01
Stump-1
MH-03
MH-01
MH-02
Mary
Hammock
Fishing
Hammock
PNi12-01 to 04
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 174 NO. 98
jacent marsh (g. 7.3). In the nondeltaic Pleisto-
cene-Holocene interbarrier area between Sapelo
and Blackbeard islands, cores were extracted
along a transect that runs from the western side
of the Holocene-age Bay Hammock (a landform
made up of at least seven beach ridges just to the
west of Blackbeard Island), into the marsh, over
a small marsh island, and then into the marsh on
the other side of the hammock (g. 7.4). Cores
were also collected in between Skidaway and
Wassaw islands to examine coastal development
in a deltaic Pleistocene-Holocene interbarrier
setting (g. 7.5). The last area of core extraction
was between a Pleistocene barrier island and
a Holocene accretionary recurved spit, found
typically at the southern ends of barrier islands.
These cores were extracted in a transect running
from the southern edge of Sapelo Island, into
the marsh, across a small marsh island, and into
the marsh on the other side (g. 7.6).
A vibracorer was used to collect 7.6 cm di-
ameter core samples in aluminum barrels at all
sites. The top sediment unit containing root mat
(between 15 and 36 cm) was removed with a
shovel or bucket auger at some locations prior
to coring, to avoid increased friction and clog-
ging in the core barrel. Before and after removal
of the barrel from the ground, numerous mea-
surements were taken (e.g., the amount of root
removal, the length of core pipe sticking out of
the ground, the ground surface on the inside of
the core, etc.) to calculate the amount of com-
paction that occurred during coring. All cores
were between 1.5 and 6.0 m lengths, and were
cut into 1.5 m lengths and capped on site, prior
to transportation to the laboratory facility.
core AnAlysis
Cores were transported to the Applied
Coastal Research Laboratory of Georgia South-
ern University on the campus of the Skidaway
Institute of Oceanography in Savannah for anal-
ysis. Cores were split lengthwise to produce
two halves: one for sampling (the working half)
and one for archiving (the archive half). First,
both halves of each core section were photo-
graphed to record the original core color and
character. Second, X-radiographs were taken of
each working half with a VR 1020 portable X-
ray machine to identify discrete layers and sedi-
mentary structures not visible to the naked eye
(Edwards and Frey, 1977; Butler, 1992). This
aided in sampling, and helped locate unique
items in the core (e.g., organic/carbonate ma-
terial for dating, cultural remains, etc.). Cores
were then described visually and subsampled
for later analyses (see below). Color, texture,
grain size, bioturbation, layering, and inclu-
sions downcore were part of the visual descrip-
tions. The archive halves of the cores were put
into D-tubes and immediately refrigerated at
4°C, as were the working halves after core sam-
pling took place.
Samples for particle size analysis were ex-
tracted from the working halves at either 10 or
20 cm intervals. The coarse fraction (i.e., grains
larger than or equal to 63 μm) was separated
from the ne fraction and dry sieved. The pi-
pette method was performed on the ne fraction
(i.e., grains smaller than 63 μm) to quantify the
distribution of silt and clay (following Gale-
house, 1971; also see Folk, 1980).
rAdiocArbon And osl dATing
As an integral part of understanding the tim-
ing of the various geomorphological changes
on the coast, several dating procedures were
employed. Samples for radiocarbon (14C) dat-
ing (dominantly carbonate) were collected from
cores where suitable material was present. Ra-
diocarbon samples were cleaned, dried, and an-
alyzed by accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS)
at the Woods Hole, MA NOSAMS facility, as
well as the UGA Center for Applied Isotope
Studies in Athens, GA. Where appropriate, 14C
ages were calibrated using the online version
of Calib 6.0. For marine samples, the ΔR value
from Thomas (2008: chap. 13, 359) of –134 ±
26.0 was applied, and calibrated using the ma-
rine calibration curve (Marine09).
No organic material was present in many of
the cores, necessitating the use of another tech-
nique to provide temporal context to our core
observations. Strategically located soil samples
for optically stimulated luminescence (OSL)
dating were collected with a hand auger from a
number of locales mentioned previously, includ-
ing Pleistocene and Holocene barrier islands,
Holocene beach ridges, and marsh islands. OSL
samples were analyzed in the lab of Dr. George
Brook at the University of Georgia. To correlate
these dates to the calibrated 14C dates (which are
in years before A.d. 1950), a value of 60 years
was subtracted from each of the reported OSL
dates. Thus, all OSL dates reported in this paper
are in relation to years before 1950.
2013 175COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
Figure 7.4. Interbarrier area between Sapelo and Blackbeard islands, indicating the locations of islands dis-
cussed in the text as well as the locations of vibracores, 14C dates, and OSL dates.
80
0160
M
N
Vibracores
Vibracores with 14C dates
14C dates
OSL dates
Bay Hammock
HNi1-01
HNi1-02
HNi1-03
HNi1-04
OSL01
HNi1-08
HNi1-05 to 07
Blackbeard
Midden
OSL02
Blackbeard
Island
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 176 NO. 98
Figure 7.5. Interbarrier area between Skidaway and Wassaw islands, indicating the locations of 14C and OSL dates.
02 4
KM
N
Bethesda Shoreline
A and B
SK-03 OSL07/OSL-07VB
OSL08/OSL-08VB II
OSL09
OSL10
Wassaw Island
OSL11
SK-05B
SK-06B
Skidaway
Island
Vibracores with 14C dates
14C dates
OSL dates
2013 177COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
RESULTS
bAck-bArrier AreA: behind sApelo islAnd
MArsh: Visual inspection of cores from the
marsh near Mary Hammock (MT-01 to 06, MH-
03) and Fishing Hammock (PNi12-02 to 04) re-
vealed three main facies (g. 7.7). The uppermost
facies is modern marsh, which extends from the
marsh surface to between 31 and 108 cm below
surface (cmbs). The characteristics of this layer
include a live root system (mostly of Spartina al-
terniora, but also of Salicornia sp., etc.), within
a soft, very dark gray or greenish gray mud (i.e.,
silt and clay), which becomes sandier with depth.
Figure 7.6. Barrier/recurved spit area off of the south end of Sapelo Island, indicating the locations of vibrac-
ores, 14C dates, and OSL dates.
50
0100
M
N
Sapelo Island
OSL04
PCi29-01
PCi29-03
PCi29-05
PCi29-06
PCi29-08
PCi29-00
PCi29-02
PCi29-04
OSL03
PCi29-07
PCi29-09
Vibracores
OSL dates
Vibracores with 14C dates
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 178 NO. 98
Figure 7.7. Vibracore MT-03, an example of a back-barrier marsh core.
SAND, SILT, CLAY (%)
020 40 60 80 100
0
25
50
75
100
125
150
175
200
Modern Marsh
Sand Layer
Greenish Gray
Clay
CENTIMETERS BELOW MARSH SURFACE
Sand
Silt
Clay
2013 179COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
The middle facies is made up of a very dark gray-
ish brown to gray sandy matrix, mottled with
black streaks, diffuse dark stains, and clay inclu-
sions. In some of the cores, this sandy layer also
contains very dark brown to grayish brown con-
cretions of muddy sand. The bottom facies is a
dense, overconsolidated greenish gray clay layer,
which is encountered between 163 and 304 cmbs.
It contains iron-rich dark yellowish brown and/
or brownish yellow stains surrounding preserved
root casts. In many of the cores there is a thin
transitional layer, where the sandy layer over-
lies the greenish gray clay layer. This interface,
which typically exhibits an erosional character,
manifests itself as either a dark yellowish-brown
iron-stained layer, or dark yellowish-brown iron-
stained clasts in a gray sandy matrix.
X-radiography and particle size analyses, for
the most part, conrm the ndings of the visual
inspection. They also revealed signicant bio-
turbation, with varying amounts of marsh mud
mixed in with the sandy layer, as well as the de-
struction of any physical sedimentary structures.
In general, the middle sandy layers contain 70%
sand or more. In the upper marsh facies and the
bottom clay layer, sand percentages are less than
20%, clay content is around 60%, and silt content
is typically less than 30%. More detailed analy-
sis of the sand fraction revealed that ne sands
(250–125 μm) make up the majority of the sand
component, except within the greenish gray clay
layer, which is made up of mostly very ne sands
(125–64 μm).
The only organic materials obtained from
these cores that could be used for 14C dating were
roots and root casts (see table 7.1), which have
poor, indeterminate vertical positioning. One
root sample (core MT-06) obtained from within
the greenish gray clay layer, about 223 cmbs, was
dated to between 4972 and 4629 cal b.p. Anoth-
er sample (core MT-02) obtained from the sand
layer, about 162 cmbs, was dated to 2952–2792
cal b.p. As another way of dating marsh formation
in the area, Turck (2011) extracted a tree stump
from ~130 cm below the marsh surface, and had
a sample of it (stump-1) radiocarbon-dated. The
date range reported for it was between 4427 and
4247 cal b.p.
MArsh islAnds (MAry, Fishing, And JAck
hAMMocks): Cores from the marsh islands (MH-
01 and 02, JH-02, PNi12-01) in back-barrier set-
tings display a stratigraphy similar to the back-
barrier marsh cores, but without the upper marsh
unit. Visual observations identify an upper sandy
unit extending from the surface to 150–360 cmbs,
underlain by the same overconsolidated clay unit
observed in marsh cores. While this stratigraphy
is typical, it is not always present. One core col-
lected in this study from the eastern side of Mary
Hammock (MH-01) displays a thick sequence of
sandy deposits throughout its 5.25 m length, with
no overconsolidated clay layer.
X-radiography and sediment texture obser-
vations show characteristics similar to the back-
barrier marsh cores, with bioturbation present in
the sandy unit and little preserved stratication,
with the exception of heavy mineral laminae and
coarser interbeds near the sand/overconsolidated
clay boundary. As in the marsh, sandy sediments
can be characterized as ne sands (~150 μm, or
2.75 phi units). These are found in the upper 1.5–
3.6 m, and are made up of 80% sand or more, with
10% or less of silt and clay. The overconsolidated
silty clays contain <10% sand, ~65% clay, and
~25% silt with a mean size of 1–2 μm. Textural
data from samples collected with a hand auger
during surveys of 20 Pleistocene Georgia back-
barrier marsh islands displayed similar character-
istics with an average size of 160 μm, and aver-
age contents of 82%, 10%, and 8% of sand, clay,
and silt, respectively (Alexander, 2008). Core
MH-01, from the east side of Mary Hammock,
displays similar sand sizes (~150 μm) in the up-
per 264 cm of the core, but below that boundary,
the stratigraphy is different than that observed on
other marsh islands, displaying a broad range of
mean sizes (~64 μm to ~4 μm) over short depth
scales, common presence of mica, and concentra-
tions of heavy minerals at the boundary between
the upper and lower sand units. Radiocarbon
analysis of possible marine shells (they look like
Turritella sp.) found in this lower, distinctive
sand unit at the base of core MH-01 provided
ages of 49,274–46,484 cal b.p. (475 cmbs) and
43,221–41,975 cal b.p. (516 cmbs). A bulk carbon
14C date of the overconsolidated greenish gray
clay from Jack Hammock (JH0609-02) provided
an age of 9887–9520 cal b.p.
nondelTAic pleisTocene-holocene
inTerbArrier AreA:
sApelo-blAckbeArd bArrier islAnd coMplex
MArsh: Cores within the nondeltaic Pleisto-
ceneHolocene interbarrier marsh area (cores
HNi1-02, 03, 04, 06, 07, and 08) show a con-
sistent stratigraphy that differs from that of the
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 180 NO. 98
Lab/sample no. Name/core
no. Provenience cmbs Material δ13C
(‰)
Adjusted
14C age b.p.
14C age b.p.,
calibrated
(± 2σ)
Median
age b.p.
UGAMS-5003 Stump-1
Marsh,
by Mary
Hammock
130.0 wood -26.60 3920 ± 30 4427–4247 4357
UGAMS-5004 MT-02
Marsh,
by Mary
Hammock
161.5 plant
frag. -27.60 2780 ± 30 2952–2792 2878
UGAMS-5005 MT-06
Marsh,
by Mary
Hammock
223.0 plant
frag. -25.90 4270 ± 50 4972–4629 4843
NOSAMS-
71166 OSL-07VB Marsh island,
by Skidaway 384.5 shell -0.54 2720 ± 15 2745–2374 2595
NOSAMS-
71167
OSL-08VB
II
Marsh island,
by Skidaway 219.5 shell -0.9 1600 ± 15 1437–1126 1282
NOSAMS-
71168
OSL-08VB
III
Marsh island,
by Skidaway 377.5 shell -0.93 1580 ± 20 1404–1094 1262
NOSAMS-
71163 PCi29-02 Marsh, by
Sapelo 517.5 shell 0.85 38,400 ±
1100
44,369–
41,070 42,647
NOSAMS-
71161 PCi29-05 II Marsh island,
by Sapelo 268.0 shell -2.36 2450 ± 20 2442–2056 2246
NOSAMS-
71162
PCi29-05
III
Marsh island,
by Sapelo 409.5 shell -0.13 2360 ± 15 2318–1971 2152
NOSAMS-
71164 PCi29-09 Marsh, by
Sapelo 431.5 shell -0.9 2420 ± 25 2375–2001 2215
NOSAMS-
68513
Blackbeard
midden
Blackbeard
Island 50.0 shell 0.01 2090 ± 30 2000–1616 1820
NOSAMS-
68462 HNi1-03 Marsh, by
Blackbeard 437.5 shell 0.84 3690 ± 35 3976–3560 3770
NOSAMS-
71165 HNi1-08 I Marsh, by
Blackbeard 99.5 shell -4.99 3140 ± 20 3311–2904 3104
NOSAMS-
68500 HNi1-08 III Marsh, by
Blackbeard 422.5 shell 0.25 3700 ± 40 3997–3561 3782
NOSAMS-
74565 JH0609-02 Jack
Hammock 212.0 bulk sed. -24.95 8650 ± 70 9887–9520 9626
NOSAMS-
74484 MH-01 III Mary
Hammock 474.5 shell -1.23 45,000 ±
440
49,274–
46,484 47,870
NOSAMS-
74485 MH-01 IV Mary
Hammock 515.5 shell 0.2 38,400 ±
410
43,221–
41,975 42,592
UGAMS-
R50537
Bethesda
Shoreline A
Mainland, by
Skidaway 150.0 shell 0.19 39,317 +
185
43,728–
42,757 43,211
UGAMS-
R50537B
Bethesda
Shoreline B
Mainland, by
Skidaway 150.0 shell 0.06 41,572 +
412
45,602–
44,289 44,922
TABLE 7.1
Radiocarbon Dates from Various Locations on the Georgia Coast
Abbreviation: cmbs = centimeters below the surface.
2013 181COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
back-barrier marsh. In all these cores, the upper
unit (~100–175 cm thick) is a mixture of sand and
varying amounts of mud, and exhibits coarsening
with depth (see g. 7.8). Cores on the fringes of
the marsh have less mud content, and those in the
middle of the marsh have more. Black staining
and streaks, along with mud inclusions is also
common. Below the sandy layer, all marsh cores
exhibit a rapid transition to normally consoli-
dated, Holocene muds. This grades downward
into interbedded sands and muds. This is signi-
cantly different from cores from the back-barrier
areas, where overlying sands transition rapidly
into overconsolidated, Pleistocene muds (i.e., the
greenish gray clay layer), below which we have
not been able to penetrate.
Textural and X-radiographic data illustrate
that the grain sizes and sedimentary structures
observed in the nondeltaic Pleistocene-Holocene
interbarrier marsh cores are actually fairly simi-
lar to that observed in the back-barrier marsh
cores. Bioturbation is common in the upper unit,
destroying sedimentary structures, whereas the
ne-grained deposits below contain relict roots
and inclusions of black organics. Grain sizes in
the upper and lower units are similar to those in
the back-barrier setting as well. The upper unit
contains ne sands (~150 μm or 2.75 phi units),
with slightly less mud observed (approximately
95–90% sand). The normally consolidated muds
in the lower unit are silty clays with a mean size
of 1–2 μm, and typically contain <5% sand, ~75%
clay, and ~15% silt. The interbedded sands and
muds exhibit variable mean grain sizes between
64 and 300 μm, and with 99–25% sand, 40–2%
clay, and 7–1% silt. X-radiographs illustrate that
the interface between the overlying sands and the
underlying muddy deposits is erosional and that
the interbedded sands and muds are cross-strati-
ed and preserve graded bedding.
Radiocarbon dates from shell material in two
cores in this region provide three ages that con-
strain the formation of the marsh. In core HNi1-
03, a 14C age of 3976–3560 cal b.p. was deter-
mined in the lower part of the interbedded sands
and muds near the base of the core at 438 cmbs.
In core HNi1-08, a 14C age of 3997–3561 cal b.p.
(sample HNi1-08 III) was determined in similar
interbedded sands and muds at 423 cmbs. Higher
up in this same core (at 99.5 cmbs), a 14C age
of 3311–2904 cal b.p. (sample HNi1-08 I) was
determined at the transition from the sandy mud
layer to the consolidated Holocene mud layer.
These ages constrain the initial development of
Holocene marsh in the nondeltaic interbarrier
area to after 3560 b.p., but prior to 2900 b.p.
MArsh islAnd (hni1): The single marsh is-
land core (HNi1-05) within the nondeltaic Pleis-
toceneHolocene interbarrier area exhibits a
sandy upper unit about 265 cm thick. This unit
overlies the same Holocene mud and interbed-
ded sand and mud units described for the above
marsh cores. The only signicant stratigraphic
difference is the additional thickness (~100 cm)
of the overlying sandy unit, and the bedded,
coarser sediments at the boundary between the
upper (sandy) and middle (muddy) units.
Textural analysis shows that the upper sandy
unit contains 97–100% sand, 0–2% clay, and
0–1% silt. It also indicates similar characteristics
in the surrounding marsh cores (HNi1-01 to 04,
and 06 to 08), exhibiting ne sands in most of
the unit (~150 μm, or 2.75 phi units). The low-
ermost 50 cm of the unit coarsens signicantly,
from ne to coarse sand (~1000 μm) and exhibits
obvious, well-preserved graded bedding. Textur-
al data from samples collected with a hand auger
during surveys of ve Holocene marsh islands
in a PleistoceneHolocene interbarrier setting
displayed similar characteristics with an aver-
age size of 190 μm and average sand, clay, and
silt contents of 98%, 1%, and 1%, respectively
(Alexander, 2008). X-radiographs highlight the
obviously energetic zone between the overlying
sand and the underlying mud by exhibiting the
cross-bedded internal structure of the coarser lay-
ers, as well as the rough, erosive nature of the
sand/mud interface.
One OSL date from this island (sample
OSL01), collected from the sandy layer (~116
cmbs), provides a date range between 6240 and
4440 b.p. (see table 7.2). As mentioned above, the
14C method revealed that the underlying Holo-
cene mud unit began forming between 3560 and
3311 cal b.p. The resulting age ranges from these
two methods are not only out of sequence, they
do not even overlap. This issue will be discussed
later and requires further examination.
holocene bArrier islAnd (blAckbeArd):
Two samples from a sandy beach ridge on the
westernmost side of Blackbeard Island pro-
vide independent estimates of the island’s ini-
tial formation. One sample (OSL02) from 135
cmbs was determined to have an age range of
1340–1140 b.p. using the OSL method. The other
sample (Blackbeard midden) was an oyster shell
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 182 NO. 98
Figure 7.8. Vibracore HNi1-08, an example of an interbarrier marsh core.
SAND, SILT, CLAY (%)
020 40 60 80 100
0
50
100
150
200
250
300
350
400
425
Marsh
Marsh
Sand
Silt
Clay
CENTIMETERS BELOW MARSH SURFACE
2013 183COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
from a shell midden approximately 50 cmbs. The
14C method returned an age of 2000–1616 cal b.p.
Similar to the abovementioned Holocene marsh
island, there is a slight discrepancy between the
OSL and 14C dates. However, in this case, the 14C
date is older than the OSL date. There is also the
added variable that this shell is from a cultural
deposit. Again, this issue will be discussed later.
delTAic pleisTocene-holocene
inTerbArrier AreA:
skidAwAy-wAssAw bArrier islAnd coMplex
MArsh islAnds And bArrier islAnds: Four
vibracores (OSL 7VA, 7VB, 8VA, and 8VB) and
ve auger cores (OSL07 through 011) were col-
lected from marsh islands between Skidaway and
Wassaw islands, and from the west side of Was-
saw Island to examine the accuracy of the dat-
ing methodology of DePratter (1977a). In gen-
eral, these marsh islands consist of a sandy unit
up to 5 m thick, with one or two ner, isolated
units contained within this sandy unit. Textural
analyses for cores show that sediments are clean,
ne sands (~150 μm), with 99–92% sand and
4–1% clay and silt. A few muddy interbeds were
also noted in the cores. These layers are textur-
ally varied, and consist of 64–7% sand, 61–21%
clay, and 32–15% silt. Textural data from 15 oth-
er marsh islands in the deltaic interbarrier area
that were collected with a hand auger displayed
Lab/sample no. Name Provenience cmbs Material Years ago
Age b.p.
(years
before
1950)a
Age range
b.p.
UGA08OSL-593 OSL01 Marsh island, by
Blackbeard 115.5 quartz 5400 ± 900 5340 6240–4440
UGA08OSL-592 OSL02 Blackbeard Island 134.5 quartz 1300 ± 100 1240 1340–1140
UGA08OSL-594 OSL03 Marsh island, by
Sapelo Island 82.0 quartz 2200 ± 300 2140 2440–1840
UGA08OSL-595 OSL04 Sapelo Island,
south end 149.5 quartz 56,400 ± 9000 56,340 65,340–
47,340
UGA02OSL SK-03 Mainland 500.0 quartz 62,600 ± 13,000 62,540 75,540–
49,540
UGA02OSL SK-05B Skidaway Island,
south end 117.5 quartz 46,500 ± 9800 46,440 56,240–
36,640
UGA02OSL SK-06B Skidaway Island,
south end 117.5 quartz 45,800 ± 10,200 45,740 55,940–
35,540
UGA03OSL OSL07 Marsh island, near
Skidaway 115.0 quartz 1556 ± 220 1496 1716–1276
UGA03OSL OSL08 Marsh island, near
Skidaway 115.0 quartz 925 ± 100 865 965–765
UGA03OSL OSL09 Marsh island, near
Skidaway 85.0 quartz 528 ± 50 468 518–418
UGA03OSL OSL010 Wassaw Island,
western side 115.0 quartz 389 ± 60 329 389–269
UGA03OSL OSL011 Wassaw Island,
south end 115.0 quartz 135 ± 20 75 95–55
TABLE 7.2
Optically Stimulated Luminescence Dates
from Various Locations on the Georgia Coast
Abbreviation: cmbs = centimeters below the surface.
a To correlate the OSL dates to the calibrated radiocarbon dates, 60 years were subtracted from the reported
OSL date.
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 184 NO. 98
similar characteristics. The average grain size is
19 μm, with average sand, clay, and silt contents
of 98%, 1%, and 1%, respectively (Alexander,
2008). The stratigraphy observed in all of these
cores is very similar to what was documented in
the cores from the marsh islands in the nondel-
taic interbarrier area (discussed in the previous
section). In terms of depositional units, then, the
data provided by these cores are consistent and
comparable.
Two OSL samples from the Silver Bluff-age
Skidaway Island, SK-05B and SK-06B, returned
ages of 46,440 and 45,740 b.p., respectively.
These constrain the age of the last active period
for geomorphologic change on Skidaway Island.
Moving eastward from Skidaway, ve OSL ages
were produced from auger cores OSL07 through
011 on two marsh islands and Wassaw Island (g.
7.9). Core OSL07, on DePratter’s (1977a) 1500
b.p. line, returned an OSL age of 1496 ± 220 b.p.
Core OSL08, just east of the 1000 b.p. line, pro-
vided an OSL age of 865 ± 100 b.p. Core OSL09,
on the 675 b.p. line, returned an age of 468 ± 50
b.p. Core OSL010, on the western edge of Was-
saw Island just east of the 675 b.p. line, returned
an age of 329 ± 60 b.p. Finally, Core OSL011,
east of the 675 b.p. line, and west of the 100 b.p.
line, returned an age of 75 ± 20 b.p. A second set
of dates was produced using the 14C method from
two of these OSL sampling sites, to independent-
ly check the dating of this area. A date of 2745–
2374 cal b.p. (sample OSL-07VB) was produced
from shell about 385 cmbs, from the same site as
OSL07. Two 14C dates were produced from the
same site as OSL08. A date of 1437–1126 cal b.p.
(sample OSL-08VB II) was produced from shell
about 220 cmbs, while a date of 1404–1094 cal
b.p. (sample OSL-08VB III) was produced from
shell at 378 cmbs.
pleisTocene bArrier/holocene recurVed
spiT seTTing:
souThern end oF sApelo islAnd
pleisTocene bArrier islAnd (sApelo): The
core from Sapelo Island (PCi29-00) exhibited
only sandy sediments throughout its 250 cm
length. Textural data show that the upper few
meters of this core are similar to that observed
in other cores throughout this study: ne sand
with a mean size of ~150 μm. The lower meter of
this core coarsens to a medium sand (~300 μm).
An OSL date from 150 cmbs returned an age of
56,340 ± 9000 b.p. (sample OSL04).
MArsh: Cores from the marsh (PCi29-01 to
04, and 06 to 09) have highly variable stratigra-
phy. Along the island fringe, cores (PCi29-04,
06, 07, and 08) have stratigraphy similar to back-
barrier and interbarrier areas. Upper sand units
are 125–260 cm thick, made up of ne sands with
a mean size of ~150 μm. Sands become ner with
depth. Sand composes more than 93% of the sed-
iments in these cores.
Cores farther out into the marsh (PCi29-01 to
03, and 09), farther from the island fringe, do not
exhibit similar characteristics to the other cores
examined in this study. Changes in texture occur
relatively quickly, on length scales of 10–25 cm.
The grain size changes are large as well. Mean
grain sizes range from 1–700 μm over length
scales of tens of centimeters. In addition, ho-
mogeneous beds intercalated with interbedded
sands and muds were found in these cores. This
sedimentological character is not similar to the
other marsh cores examined in this study, and
highlights the dynamic nature of the sound mar-
gin environment. Two 14C ages were determined
from two of these marsh cores. A date of 44,369–
41,070 cal b.p. (PCi29-02) was produced from
shell at about 518 cmbs. A date of 2375–2001 cal
b.p. (PCi29-09) was produced from shell at about
432 cmbs. Once again, this discrepancy in dates
will be addressed below.
MArsh islAnd (pci29): One core was ex-
tracted from the marsh island (PCi29-05). This
core exhibits a distinct stratigraphy that again
accentuates the dynamics of the sound margin
environment. In addition, the sediments in this
core are the coarsest observed in this study. Tex-
tural analyses show that the upper unit is about
100 cm thick and made up of ne sands of ~150
μm. Sediments coarsen to ~1000 μm, exhibiting
interbedded medium and coarse sands between
125 and 250 cmbs. Below 250 cm, sediments
span a range of sizes (2–64 μm) and occur as in-
terbedded sands and muds, as well as thick beds
of mixed sand and mud. X-radiographs show
well-preserved sedimentary structures, including
cross-bedding, graded bedding, erosional trunca-
tions of strata, and concentrations of shells.
Three dates were determined from this island
core. One 14C age of 2318–1971 cal b.p. (PCi29-
05 III) was determined at 410 cmbs. Another 14C
age of 2442–2056 cal b.p. (PCi29-05 II) was de-
termined higher up in the core, at 268 cmbs. An
OSL date range of 2440–1840 b.p. (OSL03) was
determined at this same site, at about 82 cmbs.
2013 185COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
Figure 7.9. Details of the Skidaway-Wassaw interbarrier area showing the locations of the OSL and 14C dates
in relation to DePratter’s (1977) shorelines and known (as of 2010) archaeological sites.
SITES
Middle Woodland
Late Woodland
Early Mississippian
Middle Mississippian
Late Mississippian
Unknown
2
04
KM
N
Skidaway
Island
56,240–36,640
OSL: 1716–1276
14C: 2745–2374
OSL: 965–765
14C: 1437–1126
and 1404–1094
518–418
389–269
Wassaw
Island
95–55
Flora Hammock/
Little Wassaw Island
4500 B.P.
1500
B
.
P
.
1000 B.P.
675
B
.
P
.
100
B
.
P
.
Vibracores with 14C dates
OSL dates
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 186 NO. 98
DISCUSSION
bAck-bArrier AreA
Positing that the back-barrier area behind
Sapelo Island had a fairly complex sedimentary
history proved to be an understatement. The
overconsolidated greenish gray clay layer found
at the bottom of all but one of the cores from the
back-barrier region may represent a relict Pleis-
tocene marsh or other estuarine setting, deposited
behind the Silver Bluff shoreline after it formed.
The Holocene age of 4972–4629 cal b.p. (sample
MT-06) can be discounted, due to the nature of
the preserved root casts within this clay layer.
These root casts represent plants that were liv-
ing on a surface higher in the core than the level
where the sample was obtained, representing
young carbon contamination. The living surface
of the plants was most likely in the sandy layer,
above the greenish gray clay layer. Direct dating
of the root (sample MT-06) only revealed that the
greenish gray clay layer is older than 4629 cal
b.p. This carbon contamination problem also af-
fected the bulk carbon measured in the sample
from Jack Hammock (sample JH0609-02). The
age of 9887–9520 cal b.p. was also obtained with
some organic material from root casts. A similar-
ly compacted blue-green clay layer was found in
the back-barrier area of Virginia (Finkelstein and
Ferland, 1987: 149). Sandy peat underneath that
clay layer has 14C dates of 23,550 and 30,870 b.p.
(Finkelstein and Ferland, 1987: 147 and 151),
suggesting that this type of layer is much older.
The sandy layer in between the Holocene
marsh layer and the overconsolidated greenish
gray clay layer most likely represents the for-
mer upland surface that was exposed prior to
Holocene marsh deposition (Turck, 2011). The
14C date for the stump reveals a terminal date
of 4427–4247 cal b.p. for this sandy layer, sug-
gesting that saline conditions increased, and pos-
sible marsh formation occurred, in the vicinity of
Mary Hammock at this time. The elevation of the
tree (~130 cmbs) correlates well to the height of
sea level at 4200 b.p. (see Turck, 2011: 132–133)
as proposed by DePratter and Howard (1981) and
Gayes et al. (1992).
The 14C determinations reported in this chap-
ter for Mary Hammock are Pleistocene in age
(MH-01 III and IV) and are found within prob-
able intertidal channel deposits. That these dates
were obtained from what look like marine shells
is confusing. If they are indeed marine in origin,
they may have eroded from earlier deposits into
these deposits by tidal channel migration during
the Holocene and may not be related to the for-
mation of the marsh island. The only other date
for back-barrier marsh islands in this area comes
from shell collected from a “core hole” on Pump-
kin Hammock (Hoyt, Henry, and Weimer, 1968:
385–386). Results from this shell support the
older ages for the shells from Mary Hammock, as
this shell had a nite age of >38,500 b.p. derived
using an older, less sensitive 14C dating technique
(Hoyt, Henry, and Weimer, 1968: 385–386).
From our current set of observations near
Sapelo Island, it appears that most of the back-
barrier marsh islands may be perched atop relict
Pleistocene muds, indicating that the marsh is-
lands formed after the Silver Bluff shoreline and
after the formation of the marsh behind the Silver
Bluff shoreline. If true, this indicates that the sur-
face expression of these marsh islands does not
represent erosional remnants of former Pleisto-
cene shorelines. One possible explanation is that
marsh islands represent features that were creat-
ed by sea levels that were higher than present-day
levels, sometime after the Silver Bluff highstand,
but before 4500 b.p.
Another explanation is that these marsh is-
lands did form before the Silver Bluff shoreline,
but had a smaller area and were higher in eleva-
tion at the time. After the formation of the Silver
Bluff shoreline and subsequent marsh deposition
around these existing uplands, erosion deated
the marsh islands, and spread their sand on top of
the Silver Bluff marsh. Thus, the original inter-
face between the marsh and the island edge may
be much closer to the center of the islands than
the position of the present-day island edge. This
premise could be tested with a series of closely
spaced cores from the edge to the center of one
of the back-barrier marsh islands, and/or with the
use of geophysical techniques. It is also possible
that the bottom clay layer does not represent rel-
ict Pleistocene marsh, another premise that needs
to be tested.
As far as human settlement patterns are con-
cerned, shovel test surveys of back-barrier marsh
islands (Little Sapelo Island, Pumpkin Ham-
mock, Mary Hammock, and Patterson Island;
see Thompson and Turck, 2010; Turck, 2011;
Thompson, Turck, and DePratter, 2013), as well
as a shoreline survey of Jack Hammock by De-
Pratter (Georgia Archaeological Site File data-
base), reveal that Native American occupations
2013 187COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
basically span from 4200 to 250 b.p. (i.e., the Late
Archaic through historic contact periods). That
the earliest human occupation of these marsh is-
lands began around 4200 b.p. seems to conrm
the idea that these islands formed more recently.
However, this pattern is typical of most of the
Georgia coast. There are very few sites that date
prior to 4500 b.p. (i.e., during the Paleo-Indian,
Early Archaic, and Middle Archaic time periods)
on landforms of any age (see Turck, Williams,
and Chamblee, 2011). This is related, in part, to
assumed lower population levels, to the lack of
site visibility (e.g., no pottery or shell deposition
occurred during these earlier periods), and to for-
mation processes (e.g., possibly deeply buried
sites). The 4427–4247 cal b.p. date range from the
tree stump (Stump-1), indicating the time of ini-
tial ooding of the back-barrier upland by marine
waters and initiation of marsh formation, lends
support to the idea that coastal Late Archaic pop-
ulations were tied closely to the establishment
of the marsh-estuarine system. (Although, see
Turck, 2012, for a discussion on the potential for
Middle Archaic period marsh formation and its
implication for Late Archaic period settlement.)
nondelTAic inTerbArrier AreA
Holocene marsh formation rst occurred in
the area between Sapelo and Blackbeard islands
sometime after 3560 cal b.p. up until about 2900
cal b.p. These underlying salt marsh deposits
exhibit the expected transition from interbed-
ded sand and mud representing tidal channel
deposits to more homogeneous, bioturbated,
overlying salt marsh silts and clays. This sug-
gests that a Holocene barrier formed by 3560
b.p., protecting the area from wave action. This
same marsh deposit can be traced stratigraphi-
cally in cores underneath the marsh island and
the widespread upper sandy unit, suggesting that
the island formed after the marsh. It is probable
that energetic forces (e.g., storms or hurricanes)
created an erosional unconformity on the marsh
surface as they transported sand back onto the
marsh, forming the island. It is also important to
note that the timing of this unconformity (some-
where around 3311–2904 b.p.) is close in time to
the drop/rise in sea level noted by DePratter and
Howard (1981) and Gayes et al. (1992) (also see
Turck, 2011: 13–14 for discussion). Since that
time, the sandy layer has been capped by en-
croaching marsh and tidal waters, transporting in
muddy sediment that has since bioturbated down
into the sandy unit. The marsh island probably
formed around 2904 cal b.p. (sample HNi1-08 I),
which is the age at the base of the widespread
sandy unit that truncates and caps the underly-
ing salt marsh deposits. The older date (6240–
4440 b.p.) for the island itself (sample OSL01),
probably results from the observed presence of
storm-derived, heavy mineral concentrates in the
core, which have been shown to affect age calcu-
lations using the OSL technique.
While there is no evidence of human occu-
pation on this particular marsh island, there are
multiple archaeological sites on marsh islands
directly to the north, as well as on Bay Hammock
and Blackbeard Island to the east. Surveys by
DePratter (1977a) and Marrinan (1980) on these
nearby landforms revealed 39 sites with 51 com-
ponents, none of which date to before 1500 b.p.
(i.e., before the Late Woodland period). An OSL
date of 1340–1140 b.p. (sample OSL02), and a
14C determination of 2000–1616 cal b.p. (Black-
beard midden) from the same sampling site on
the western edge of Blackbeard Island are con-
sistent with the archaeological data. The 14C date
was obtained from an oyster shell from a human-
deposited shell midden, so it is not surprising that
this date corresponds with the archaeology. The
OSL date, from 135 cmbs, reveals the age of the
dune ridge formation itself.
delTAic inTerbArrier AreA
The OSL and 14C dates between Skidaway
and Wassaw islands, for the most part, support
the technique of using Native American and his-
toric ceramics to date shoreline positions (De-
Pratter, 1977a; DePratter and Howard, 1977).
There is general agreement between the archaeol-
ogy-based timelines and the OSL samples on the
marsh islands between Wassaw and Skidaway is-
lands. However, the youngest archaeology-based
shorelines proposed for Wassaw Island do not
agree with the OSL constrained ages, which are
consistent with historical records of shoreline po-
sition from old maps and charts.
Part of this discrepancy may be due to the
fact that the shoreline dates are uncalibrated,
making the comparison tenuous. However, this
discrepancy also reveals the problem with only
using archaeological data to interpret sea level
history. The geomorphology of the beach ridges
of Wassaw Island, in conjunction with the OSL
dates reported here, indicate the island has been
eroding on its north end and accreting toward the
ANTHROPOLOGICAL PAPERS AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY 188 NO. 98
south for the past 300–500 years, thus showing
that the island gets younger from north to south.
The lack of dated archaeological sites on Was-
saw Island makes it difcult, if not impossible,
to locate former shorelines without taking into
account such geologic information. This also un-
derscores the need for thorough archaeological
surveys. Without such surveys, the proper data
needed for this technique to work will not be
available. For example, a lack of sites noted in
an area might be due to a lack of archaeological
survey, not necessarily to the formation process-
es of the landforms.
DePratter and Thompson (this volume, chap.
6) offer more rened shoreline positions based
on recent archaeological data, removing the 1500
b.p. shoreline and adding a 1400 b.p. shoreline
to the east of Flora Hammock. This shoreline
incorporates the Middle Woodland sites found
on Flora Hammock, and ts better with the OSL
(1716–1276 b.p.) and 14C (2745–2374 cal b.p.) age
ranges (g. 7.9). Although there were discrepan-
cies between the 14C date and the OSL dates, the
samples for 14C dating were found between 1.0
and 2.7 m deeper than the OSL samples. Deeper
stratigraphic locations represent older surfaces,
and thus older dates are expected. The transition
from subtidal to intertidal to supratidal should be
recorded by the sediment record, with the super-
position of multiple features reecting different
sea levels.
The 14C dates (1437–1126 and 1404–1094 cal
b.p.) just to the east of the 1000 b.p. shoreline are
more difcult to interpret. It is possible that the
1000 b.p. shoreline should be moved eastward
of the marsh island with these older dates. How-
ever, the 14C samples are from fairly deep below
the feature (220 and 378 cmbs, respectively),
and represent surfaces that would have been in-
tertidal or below sea level at that time. Archaeo-
logical sites have been found on this marsh is-
land, but were not dated (DePratter, 1977a: 16),
indicating that more detailed archaeological and
geomorphological studies need to be performed
on this island.
bArrier/recurVed spiT seTTing
The cores extracted from this area illustrate
the dynamic nature of the inlet/sound environ-
ment, and contrast sharply with the cores from
the back-barrier, nondeltaic, and deltaic areas.
The upper deposits on Sapelo Island formed be-
tween 65,340 and 47,340 b.p. (OSL04). Well-pre-
served sedimentary structures found in the marsh
and marsh island cores, including cross-bedding,
graded bedding, erosional truncations of strata,
and concentrations of shells, all suggest that sedi-
ments accumulated relatively rapidly, and that an
energetic environment prevailed at the site during
the initial formation of the marsh island (PCi29).
Although at present Doboy Sound is about 925 m
away, this location was an active sound margin
in the past. While the dates for the marsh island
(samples OSL03, PCi29-05 II, and PCi29-05 III)
and the marsh (sample PCi29-09) are slightly out
of sequence, their ranges overlap considerably,
showing strong coherence. All four dates overlap
within the range of 2318–2056 b.p., indicating
that the area went from an active inlet to a pro-
tected marsh setting fairly rapidly (in a little more
than 250 years). The 42,647 cal b.p. 14C age from
deep in the marsh (core PCi29-02) is anomalous
and represents an old shell, remobilized from
Pleistocene deposits. The textural data indicate
that Doboy Sound was directly adjacent to the
southern edge of Sapelo Island at this time—such
coarse sediments are not found along the beaches
or other back-barrier islands.
The marsh island at this location was initially
thought to be Pleistocene in age and to have po-
tentially been a section of Sapelo Island, based
on its proximity and its roughly circular nature.
Holocene hammocks are typically elongate in
character. Under this scenario, rising sea levels
would have isolated the landform, and eventu-
ally lled the intervening areas with marsh sedi-
ment. The dating, as well as the archaeology,
refuted this idea. While no formal archaeologi-
cal survey has been performed on this marsh is-
land (site 9Mc495), Turck and Thompson have
performed two informal pedestrian surveys in
conjunction with the coring activities reported in
this chapter. The earliest occupation seems to be
around 1500–1000 b.p. (i.e., Wilmington cord-
marked pottery was noted), although shovel test-
ing and/or excavation could reveal an earlier oc-
cupation. These documented ages coincide with
the OSL and 14C dates for the island, and show
the utilization of the upland surface soon after it
was created.
CONCLUDING REMARKS
This chapter reveals that processes are not
always consistent in a dynamic landscape. This
inconsistency highlights the many difculties
2013 189COASTAL LANDSCAPES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO HUMAN SETTLEMENT
encountered in generalizing changes in coastal
landforms. Back-barrier marsh islands might not
be remnants of former Pleistocene shorelines.
Reworking of sediment and transport onto pre-
viously formed surfaces might describe more
landform formation than once thought. Despite
a close proximity to Pleistocene barrier islands,
marsh islands can date to much more recent
times. In short, the timing of landform creation
cannot be estimated based solely on the position
of that landform on the landscape. One implica-
tion for archaeology, then, is that different geo-
logical and geomorphological processes occurred
within close proximity of each other on the land-
scape, allowing for a range of environments
from which humans could choose when settling
the coast. In addition, this study reveals that the
timing of the human occupation of a landform
should not be assumed without some form of ar-
chaeological ground-truthing (i.e., survey or ex-
cavation). As Turck (2011: 210–211) notes, each
specic environment/habitat of the Georgia coast
needs to be treated separately, and character-
ized both environmentally and archaeologically.
Deltaic, nondeltaic, barrier, back-barrier, inter-
barrier, mainland, island, marsh, Pleistocene,
Holocene, etc., are all characteristics that inform
us of the environmental processes that formed
the landscape. They are also variables related to
how the landscape was affected by environmen-
tal changes over time (especially changes in sea
level). Only after each landform is characterized,
including their geomorphological changes over
time, can we appreciate any subtle changes in
human settlement and subsistence patterns that
may be manifest on those landforms and begin to
better understand the timing of (and reasons for)
those patterns (Turck, 2011: 211).
This chapter also corroborated what others
have noted previously, namely that the archaeo-
logical record can be used to effectively date land-
forms (DePratter, 1977a; DePratter and Howard,
1977; DePratter and Thompson, this volume,
chap. 6). Our observations also corroborate an
important aspect of human settlement patterns
that has been noted before: coastal landforms
were rapidly utilized by humans soon after the
landforms developed (DePratter, 1977a; DePrat-
ter and Howard, 1977; also see Thompson, Turck,
and DePratter, 2013). This continuity between
landform development and utilization illustrates
that archaeological studies of an area can be as
good as radiometric dating at revealing the ages
of landscapes, as long as pertinent geological and
site formation processes are also considered. In
addition, while surface surveys worked particu-
larly well in areas of rapidly moving coastlines
(DePratter and Howard, 1977), we suggest that
subsurface surveys should be employed in areas
where landform creation is slower and where
there is currently no obvious erosion. This will
allow deeper, unexposed, and possibly older, ar-
chaeological deposits to be found that might not
be manifest on the surface.
One nal point to be made is of the comple-
mentary nature of archaeological, geological,
and geomorphological techniques. Although this
chapter reveals how each can inform the others,
it must be stressed that they are directly comple-
mentary and must be used together to best en-
hance interpretations. Comparison of the OSL
dates from the Skidaway-Wassaw area with the
shoreline ages proposed by DePratter (1977a) for
the same area shows that geological, as well as
archaeological, knowledge must be employed to
get the most accurate estimates of former shore-
line position and age. Together, these techniques
can be used to understand processes that are not
straightforward in either eld individually, avoid
circular arguments, and add a human dimension
to physical landscape change.
NOTES
1. The authors would like to thank the National Science
Foundation for providing support for this work through grant
OCE-0620959. We would also like to thank the Georgia
Coastal Ecosystems Long Term Ecological Research project
for their logistical and eld support of the geological and
archaeological research. We would also like to thank Andrew
Ivester, George Brook, Mike Robinson, Nick Scoville, and
Claudia Venherm for their help with sampling and analysis.
John Turck would like to thank his dissertation committee,
Ervan Garrison, David Hally, Stephen Kowalewski, and
Victor Thompson, as much of his contribution was directly
related to his dissertation. Thanks to Tom Pluckhahn,
Torben Rick, Chris Rodning, and Chester DePratter for
their comments and suggestions. Special thanks to Victor
Thompson and David Hurst Thomas for inviting us to submit
our recent research on the Georgia Coast to this volume.
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