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From Santa Elena to St. Augustine: Indigenous ceramic variability (A.D. 1400-1700)


Abstract and Figures

Archaeologists have long known that important changes took place in aboriginal ceramic assemblages of the northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina coast after the arrival of Europeans. New pottery designs emerged and aboriginal demographics became fluid. Catastrophic population loss occurred in some places, new groups formed in others, and movements of people occurred nearly everywhere. Although culturally and linguistically diverse, the native inhabitants of this region shared the unwelcome encounter with Spanish people and colonial institutions, beginning in the early decades of the 16th century and continuing into the 18th century. Spanish missions and military outposts were established at native communities throughout the area, and these sites have been studied by both archaeologists and historians for decades. As a consequence, the lower southeastern Atlantic coast offers one of the most intensively studied episodes of multicultural colonial engagement in America. The Second Caldwell Conference was organized to bring researchers working in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida together to address and more precisely define aboriginal ceramic change throughout the region as a baseline for approaching a more broadly based anthropological perspective on the consequences of encounter. The scope of inquiry was restricted to late prehistoric and early historic (A.D. 1400-1700) aboriginal ceramic wares from Santa Elena (South Carolina) to St. Augustine (Florida). The primary objective was to more precisely establish the technology, form, and design of the archaeological ceramic evidence. Without devolving into semantic and/or taxonomic wrangles, we examined how well (or poorly) archaeological labels used throughout the region to identify pottery serve as reliable proxies for the physical examples of those ceramic traditions. We also attempted to define the time-space distribution of the various ceramic traditions and pottery types throughout the south Atlantic coast. Specifically, we asked: (1) Did the indigenous ceramic complexes change fundamentally with the arrival of the Spaniards? (2) Or did indigenous ceramic traditions essentially persist, and merely shifted geographically? The eight contributions of this volume examine, on a case-by-case basis, the most important aboriginal ceramic assemblages from Santa Elena southward to St. Augustine, across the region, contextualizing each assemblage with the relevant physical stratigraphy, radiocarbon dates, associations with Euro-American wares, and documentary evidence. We also attempt to situate the physical ceramic evidence from the northern Florida-Georgia-South Carolina coastline with the contemporary archaeological assemblages in the immediate interior. The volume concludes with an epilogue that summarizes the results and general contributions of the conference, relative to archaeological practice in the lower Atlantic coastal Southeast, and also to the larger cultural and methodological issues raised by these papers.
Content may be subject to copyright.
(A.D. 1400–1700)
Editors and contributors
w i t h contributions b y
Ke i t h h. ashley, ch e s t e r b. dePr a t t e r , rebecca saunders,
Gifford J. wa t e r s , MarK williaMs, and John e. wo r t h
Proceedings of the Second Caldwell Conference
St. Catherines Island, Georgia
March 30–April 1, 2007
Number 90, 229 pages, 77 gures, 42 tables
Issued August 26, 2009
Copyright © American Museum of Natural History 2009
ISSN 0065-9452
Ke i t h h. ashley
The Atlantic coastline of northeastern Florida
and southeastern Georgia has long been perceived
as somewhat of an archaeological oddity from the
standpoint of ceramic chronology. Often labeled
a frontier or transitional area, its unique native
history sometimes paralleled that of the St. Johns
region to the south, at other times resembled that
of the Georgia coast to the north, and at still other
times had its own local developments (Russo,
1992). Although acknowledging the uniqueness
of the frontier area, archaeologists in the past
have attempted to impose chronologies and dates
from adjacent areas and make them square with
local archaeological data, which has proven to
be quite frustrating. Over the past decade or so,
a concerted effort has been made to establish a
ceramic chronology pertinent to coastal northern
Florida and southern Georgia by focusing on
survey and excavation data from a variety of sites
in both states.
The rst step was the creation of the St. Marys
region, which combines portions of northeastern
Florida (Nassau, Duval, and northern St. Johns
counties) and southeastern Georgia (Camden
County). It encompasses the coastal mainland
and adjacent barrier island zone from the Satilla
River, Georgia, south to below the St. Johns River,
Florida, and includes the lower reaches of the St.
Johns, Nassau, St. Marys, and Satilla river basins
(g. 5.1). The southern boundary of the St. Marys
region lies in northern St. Johns County where,
prior to modern dredging and rechanneling, the
intracoastal waterway naturally petered out and
was less navigable. In fact, this general vicinity
likely created a natural boundary separating
cultural developments in northeastern Florida
and the broader St. Marys region from coastal
areas to the south at various times throughout
native history.
Northeastern Florida traditionally has been
subsumed geographically within the boundaries
of the St. Johns or East and Central Florida
region to the south. As such, pre-Columbian
cultural developments were assumed to follow
the same St. Johns I–II chronological sequence
(Goggin, 1952: 15; Milanich and Fairbanks,
1980: 28–30). Recent research incorporating
both new information and a reassessment of old
data, however, has clearly demonstrated that this
was not the case (Russo, 1992: Milanich, 1994:
248–254). Because of its lack of chronological t,
northeastern Florida was extracted from the St.
Johns region and combined with coastal Camden
County, Georgia, to form the St. Marys region
in order “to promote research among areas of
Florida and Georgia that are linked by a common
cultural heritage” (Russo, 1992: 107).
Current research has taken advantage of the
wealth of new data generated by CRM projects
and drawn upon older investigations, although
the latter in some cases have been reassessed
in a new light. Moreover, a growing number
of radiometric dates are factoring prominently
into the new chronology. Of course, gaps in the
chronology exist and the exact transitional dates
remain tentative for certain periods, but a solid
temporal framework is forming. The objective
is not to force all areas of the St. Marys region
into one master chronology, but to establish a
baseline against which temporal and cultural
variation can be measured. In fact, though the
Atlantic coast of northern Florida and southern
Fig. 5.1. St. Marys region, including select site locations.
Georgia followed a broadly similar chronology,
current archaeological evidence points to uid
social boundaries and intraregional differences
in the sequencing and timing of ceramic changes
not isomorphic with the boundaries of the St.
Marys region. What sets northeastern Florida
apart from the remainder of the St. Marys region
is its geographic position, which provides direct
and simultaneous links to both the Atlantic coast
and St. Johns heartland to the south via the St.
Johns River. Clearly, cultural identities and
changes in the popularity of pottery styles were
not precisely uniform throughout the boundaries
of the St. Marys region over the millennia prior
to European contact.
For the period under consideration here (a.d.
1400–1700), however, the area followed the
same ceramic chronology, although beginning
dates for the period appear to have been slightly
earlier to the north in southeastern Georgia. In
fact, linguistic and documentary data suggest
that at the beginning of European contact, the
St. Marys region contained a series of culturally
similar and allied Timucua societies such as
Saturiwa, Tacatacuru, Yufera, and Cascangue-
Icafui, who spoke the Mocama dialect of the
Timucua language (Swanton, 1922: 320–332;
Deagan, 1978a; Granberry, 1993: 7; Hann, 1996:
10–12; Milanich, 1996: 47–56). By the early
17th century, three Spanish missions (San Juan
del Puerto, Santa Maria de Sena, San Pedro de
Mocama) were established at preexisting villages
in the St. Marys region (Worth, 1995b: 10–12;
Hann, 1996: 10; Milanich, 1996: 98, 1999: 47;
Saunders, 2000; 1995b). By the 17th century, the
coastal mainland–barrier island province between
the St. Johns River, Florida, and the Altamaha
River, Georgia, was known to the Spaniards
as Mocama (Worth, 1995b: 12; Hann, 1996:
18; Milanich, 1996: 98). The following draws
upon this research to forward a rened ceramic
chronology of the St. Marys region (a.d. 1400–
1700) and in the process explores select aspects
of the archaeological record.
ST. MARYS II PERIOD (ca. a.d. 1100–1450)
By a.d. 1400, the St. Marys region was
marked by the ubiquity of cord-marked pottery,
which distinguished it ceramically from the
contemporaneous northern Georgia coast where
Lamar-derived Irene wares dominated (Caldwell
and McCann, 1941; Larson, 1978, 1984; Crook,
1984a; DePratter, 1984; Braley, 1990: 94–95;
Saunders, 2000a: 39–45) and to the south where
St. Johns series ceramics prevailed (Deagan,
chap. 6, this volume; Milanich, 1994: 262–263).
In previous centuries, cord-marked pottery was
made in abundance along the Atlantic coast from
northeastern Florida into South Carolina and up,
to varying extents, all of the major rivers between
these points. But by the mid-13th century its
production along the Atlantic coast—as the
primary decorative ware—was restricted to the
St. Marys region. While groups to the north at
this time appear to have adopted maize farming
to some degree, St. Marys societies continued
their devotion to a foraging way of life and to the
manufacture of cord-marked pottery.
Focusing on calibrated radiometric dates from
secure contexts, it appears that the production of
St. Marys Cord Marked1 pottery in southeastern
Georgia began sometime prior to the 13th
century a.d., but pinpointing its rst appearance
has been marred by conicting radiometric dates
from less than secure contexts (Espenshade,
1981; Adams, 1985; Saunders, 1989). I have
suggested elsewhere that the appearance of St.
Marys pottery on the Atlantic coast reects the
arrival of interior Ocmulgee III peoples from
south-central Georgia via the Satilla River
(Ashley, 2003: 361–368), but the following
review does not depend on an Ocmulgee coastal
migration scenario. In southeastern Georgia,
the ca. a.d. 900–1100 represents a conspicuous
gap in our understanding of the region’s pre-
Columbian history. Although a brief St. Johns
II occupation may have transpired during that
time, as evidenced by St. Johns II ceramics and
features at the Kings Bay (9CM171b) and Davis
Farm (9CM188) sites (R. Smith, 1982: 179–363,
1985: 53–138), the area may have been largely
unpopulated save for transient forays to the coast
by hinterland groups.
In northeastern Florida, the St. Marys II period
is better dated and it supplanted the St. Johns II
period there by the mid-13th century. At that time,
sandy cord-marked pottery replaced assemblages
previously dominated by chalky St. Johns Plain
and Check Stamped wares. The shift in ceramic
technology was accompanied by distinct changes
in household disposal patterns and mortuary
treatment, intimating the immigration of people
from outside the area (Saunders, 1989; Russo,
1992; Ashley, 1995; Ashley and Rolland, 2002).
The clinal distribution of cord-marked–bearing
sites across northeastern Florida, where more are
situated north of the St. Johns River than on the
river’s south side, points to a southward expansion
of St. Marys groups from coastal southeastern
Georgia, perhaps fueled by population increases
and an out-migration of many St. Johns peoples
in northeastern Florida (Saunders, 1989; Russo,
1992; Ashley and Rolland, 2002; Ashley, 2003).
Po t t e r y a n d ot h e r Mat e r i a l Cu l t u r e
What is most striking about St. Marys II period
sites is their rather mundane and remarkably
similar composition of artifacts. Utilitarian
pottery, consisting of few vessel forms, is the
predominant artifact category found on all
sites. Sand-tempered plain and cord-marked
wares comprise the assemblage, with fabric-
impressed and net-impressed types infrequently
recovered (Ashley and Rolland, 2002). On most
sites, plainwares tend to outnumber their cord-
marked counterpart (Russo, 1992: 116–119).
Burnishing and complicated stamping,
distinguishing attributes of the north Georgia
Savannah ceramic series, are rare to nonexistent
in St. Marys II assemblages (R. Smith, 1984:
75; Ashley and Rolland, 2002: 30). St. Johns
plain and check-stamped pottery occur on most
St. Marys II period sites in varying amounts,
but appear to have been more common on sites
early in the St. Marys II period (Saunders, 1989;
Russo, 1992: 116–119; Ashley, 2003: 96–98;
374–375). Sand-tempered check-stamped sherds
occur infrequently on sites that contain St. Johns
wares, and their paste and thickness generally
differ from that of the cord-marked pottery.
St. Marys II vessels are typically thin walled
and tempered with ne- to medium-sized quartz
particles (Cordell, 1993; Ashley and Rolland,
2002). Coarse sand tempering is infrequent,
and grit sized inclusions are rare. A consistently
higher frequency of micaceous inclusions is
noted in St. Marys Cord Marked paste. Observed
under microscopic examination, sponge spicules
also are sometimes present in low numbers, but
their presence may be inadvertent. Spicules
in low quantities also have been identied
in Savannah Fine Cord Marked sherds from
Chatham County, Georgia, and Prairie Cord
Marked ware fragments from north Florida
(Cordell, 1993: 49). Vessel exteriors were
stamped, often overstamped at oblique angles,
with ne-gauge cordage with predominately
Z-twist (g. 5.2). Medium to thick cord widths
occur less frequently and typically on vessels
with coarser sand tempering. No specimens have
been reported with rim folds or added appliqué
strips, a characteristic of interior Ocmulgee
Cord Marked pottery. However, some poorly
nished lips exhibit clay extrusion along the
exterior that occasionally bears resemblance
to a small, poorly formed fold. Vessels are
typically dark in color, indicating reduced
atmosphere ring. Burnished interior surfaces
have yet to be recorded.
Shell and bone tools and ornaments, all made
of locally available materials, are recovered on
habitation sites. At present, there is no evidence
for a complex bone or shell tool industry; although
some formal types are found, many are expedient
forms. Lithic artifacts are rare and consist of
small triangular (Pinellas) points, crude bifacial
tools, and debitage, all of which are nonlocal.
Prestige goods seem to be completely lacking
at all habitation sites as do other nonlocal raw
materials or material by-products.
se t t l e M e n t a n d su b s i s t e n C e tr e n d s
St. Marys II period habitation sites are
conspicuously similar and often occur as
groupings of discrete shell-midden heaps, 2
to 15 m in diameter, dotted over areas up to
9 ha. Individual middens vary from slightly
discernible rises to distinct mounds as high
as a meter. Sites containing these household
middens (as they are frequently interpreted) are
known from the mainland and all barrier islands
in northeastern Florida (Ashley, 1997; Ashley
and Rolland, 1997a; Ashley and Thunen, 2000;
Bullen and Grifn, 1952; Dickinson and Wayne,
1985, 1999; Ellis and Ellis, 1992; Hemmings
and Deagan, 1973; Hendryx and Smith, 2000;
Johnson, 1998; Jones, 1967; Lee et al., 1984;
Russo et al., 1993; Saunders, 1989; G. Smith et
al., 2001), the mainland of southeastern Georgia
and Cumberland Island (Adams, 1985; Crook,
1984b, 1986; Ehrenhard, 1976, 1981; Larson,
1958; R. Smith, 1982; R. Smith, et al. 1981), as
well as along the central and northern Georgia
coast for both Savannah and Irene groups (Crook,
1986; DePratter, 1984; Larson, 1978; Pearson,
1979, 1984). St. Marys II sites also have been
recorded slightly inland from the coast along the
lower reaches of the St. Johns and Nassau rivers
in Florida and the Satilla River in Georgia. At
present, little is known about the distribution of
archaeological sites along the St. Marys River.
To date, no known mortuary mounds can
be attributed unequivocally to the St. Marys II
period (Russo, 1992: 118; Vernon, 1984: 117).
While a few mounds excavated by C.B. Moore
(1896) on Amelia Island are possible candidates,
the lack of diagnostic artifacts renders their
cultural afliation problematic. At Greeneld Site
#8/9 (8DU5544/45), a human burial, uncovered
adjacent to a St. Marys II shell heap and assumed
to be a St. Marys II interment, suggests nonmound
burial practices (G. Smith et al., 2001: 132–136).
If sand burial mounds were constructed during
the St. Marys II period, they were apparently low
and unassuming.
Zooarchaeology and seasonality data indicate
that St. Marys II groups, like earlier St. Johns II
peoples in the same area, lived along the coast
throughout the year and procured small estuarine
sh, shellsh, and other aquatic resources
(Russo, 1992: 118–119; Russo et al., 1993: 172).
The size of sh species represented in St. Marys
middens points to extensive use of nets or other
ne-mesh, mass-capture techniques. Terrestrial
mammals such as deer, opossum, and raccoon
were exploited to some degree, but in middens
the remains of these animals always pale in
comparison to those of sh, shellsh, and reptiles
(mostly turtle). Variance in the specic mix of
captured sh is due in part to seasonal differences
in availability or numbers. Unlike the structured
annual subsistence-settlement model proposed
for the north Georgia coast (Crook, 1986),
foraging movement and settlement shifting may
have taken place on a more ad hoc basis and
not necessarily during the same time each year
(Ashley, 1997; Reitz, 1988: 139; Russo, 1992;
Saunders, 1989).
In summary, the St. Marys II period is
reected archaeologically by a number of
structurally and artifactually similar sites, with
some simply being larger than others. At present,
it is unclear whether the larger sites, most of
which are on barrier islands, are residential hubs
or villages or merely the scene of more repeated
short-term occupations. While the specics of the
yearly cycle are still not fully understood at this
time, groups appear to have moved across the
coastal landscape as social and subsistence needs
arose, with most sites serving the same general
purposes. The large number and widespread
distribution of sites reect a degree of autonomy
and exibility in St. Marys II social organization.
Such an interpretation squares with other
material culture data, suggesting a shared coastal
Fig. 5.2. St. Marys Cord Marked sherds.
shing–hunting-gathering way of life in the St.
Marys region. It further contrasts with the more
nucleated St. Johns II village-mound settlement
structure reported for northeastern Florida during
the previous period (Ashley, 2003: 129–208).
More intrasite settlement data are needed to
determine if this is an accurate representation or
merely the product of sampling bias.
From a sociopolitical perspective, the absence
of any clearly discernible site hierarchy or material
differences among sites or within middens on
the same site suggests band-level relations.
There is no archaeological evidence at present to
support a claim of regional control under a single
individual or settlement. A communal political
economy leaning more toward the egalitarian
end of the spectrum is indicated, but this does not
mean that inequalities did not exist. Present data
suggest these groups were more insular and not
involved in long-distance trafcking of exotics,
as were early St. Johns II societies in northeastern
Florida, suggesting that social reproduction at this
later time required relations and interactions on a
small geographical scale, like those practiced in
the St. Marys region (Ashley, 2002, 2003).
SAN PEDRO PERIOD (ca. a.d. 1450–1625)
While we are now gaining a handle on basic
aspects of the late pre-Columbian (St. Marys II)
and early mission period (San Pedro) chronology
of the St. Marys region, the 16th century has
proven more difcult to ascertain (Borremans,
1985: 286; Walker, 1985: 102–103; Ashley and
Rulland, 1997b). In particular, the precise timing
and circumstances of the ceramic transition
from St. Marys to San Pedro remain debatable.
Since its rst recovery in the early 1970s along
the southwestern shore of Cumberland Island
(Georgia), San Pedro pottery (though unnamed
at the time) has been equated with the mission-
period Tacatacuru (Mocama-speaking Timucua)
of the island (Deagan, 1978a; Milanich, 1971a,
1972a). Subsequent research has demonstrated
that its distribution during the early mission
period also covered the adjacent mainland
coast (Adams, 1985; R. Smith et al., 1981) and
territory associated with the Saturiwa Timucua
of northeastern Florida (Ashley and Rolland,
1997b; McMurray, 1973; Dickinson and
Wayne, 1985; Goggin, 1952: 112; Hemmings
and Deagan, 1973: 119; Rolland and Ashley,
2000; Thunen, 1999).
A challenging question paramount to our
current research is: was San Pedro exclusively an
early mission-period ware or did its production
initiate before European arrival along the Florida
coast in the 1560s? In an earlier article (Ashley
and Rolland, 1997b), I was inclined to view it
as an early mission-period pottery type, with
St. Marys representing the native ware made at
contact (Milanich, 1996: 23). However, with a
decade of new data at hand, I would now like to
build a case for San Pedro as the archaeological
correlate of the contact-era Mocama speakers of
the St. Marys region. Although I am extremely
cautious with regard to the ethnohistoric record,
I do not believe we can successfully track the
development of St. Marys (proto-Timucua) to
San Pedro (Timucua) without the assistance of
documentary sources.
sa n Pe d r o Po t t e r y
a n d it s te M P o r a l Pl a C e M e n t
San Pedro is a grog-tempered ware recovered
on numerous coastal sites in Camden County,
Georgia, and Nassau and Duval counties, Florida
(Ashley and Rolland, 1997b). By early Spanish
mission times, perhaps earlier, it also appeared
on sites to the south in and around St. Augustine
(Ashley, 2001; Deagan, 1978b: 33, chap. 6, this
volume; Merritt, 1983; Herron, 1986). While the
overwhelming majority of vessels in assemblages
are tempered with large pieces of crushed
potsherds, recent analysis indicates that sand and
sand/sparse grog tempering also occurs (Ashley,
2001; Ashley and Rolland, 1997b; Borremans,
1985: 295; G. Smith et al., 2001; Thunen, 1999).
In terms of surface treatments, the series consists
mostly of plain, check-stamped, and cob-marked
wares, and to a lesser extent, heavy cord-marked,
textile-impressed, and complicated-stamped
types (Ashley and Rolland, 1997b; Herron, 1986;
Goggin, 1952: 112; McMurray, 1973; Milanich,
1971a, 1972a). At some sites cob-marked is the
most common decorative application, while at
other sites it is check stamped, but plainwares
always dominate numerically. A unique and
dening trait of the series is the intentional
smoothing of the exterior surface of some vessels
that had been stamped or impressed, resulting in
partial or complete obliteration of the surface
design (Ashley and Rolland, 1997b: 53, 57).
Often this results in burnished patches or streaks
on otherwise decorated exterior vessel surfaces.
Examples of San Pedro pottery are depicted in
figures 5.3 and 5.4.
Two recurring themes garnered from the
earliest European accounts may help shed light on
the identity of the pottery series made at contact
in the St. Marys region: (1) that the Mocama
Timucua grew corn and (2) that the French and
Spanish came well stocked with items either to
give to or trade with the natives (Bennett, 1975:
20–21; Lawson, 1992: 18–19; Lyon, 1982: 12;
Ribault, 1964: 67, 72). Thus, we should expect
to nd evidence of maize along with some
historic artifacts in contact-era contexts. To
date, St. Marys Cord Marked pottery has yet to
be recovered in unequivocal association with
European artifacts, although varying amounts of
European goods (often only olive jars) have been
discovered in contexts with San Pedro pottery
at several nonmission sites (Borremans, 1985:
Hendryx et al., 2004; G. Smith, 2001; Thunen,
1999; Walker, 1985). Admittedly, it is difcult
to determine whether these San Pedro contexts
date to the contact era (ca. 1560s) or the slightly
later post-1587 early mission period. Of course,
the quantity and diversity of European goods in
association with San Pedro pottery are clearly
most evident at Spanish mission sites, such as San
Juan del Puerto (8DU53), Santa Maria de Sena
(8NA41), and San Pedro de Mocama (9CM14).
The same association exists with respect to
corn. Available evidence reveals that the rst
appearance of maize in the archaeological record
of the St. Marys region is concurrent with the
emergence of San Pedro ceramic technology.
Excluding 17th-century mission sites, preserved
corn in the form of charred cobs, kernels, or
cupules has been recovered from six sites in
northeastern Florida and all were associated with
San Pedro pottery (Hendryx and Smith, 2002;
Hendryx et al., 2004; Holland, 1987; Lee et al.,
1984; Smith et al., 2001; Thunen, 1999: 6). Data
from one of these sites (8DU634), however, has
been used to argue for the presence of corn in the
St. Marys region as early as a.d. 1200 (Lee et
al., 1984; Milanich, 1994: 249). A reassessment
of this site, in my opinion, lends credence to
precontact production of San Pedro pottery.
In the early 1980s, two fragments of preserved
maize were recovered from 8DU634 along
the north side of the St. Johns River. A narrow
kernel was retrieved from a “burned and crushed
shell concentration” (Feature 4) amid a shell
midden (8 × 7.5 m) designated Feature 1 (Lee
et al., 1984: 88). An oyster shell from Feature
4 was radiocarbon dated to a.d. 1250–1310,
although shells from Feature 1 were dated to a.d.
1405–1455 and a.d. 1490–1640 (all are 1-sigma
calibrated dates). The latter dated contexts also
contained a few cob-marked sherds. Analysis
Fig. 5.3. San Pedro Cob Marked sherds (impression on right sherd is partly obliterated).
identied a charred cob fragment from an
undated context within a nearby shell midden
that yielded cob-marked pottery. Shell middens
at 8DU669, located less than 250 m to the north,
were also tested and yielded 149 cob-marked
sherds (2.9% of the pottery assemblage). Ten
radiometric dates, each processed on shell from
either general midden levels or inclusive deposits
within larger shell middens, indicate two major
periods of occupation: ca., a.d. 1200–1300 and
a.d. 1450–1550.
Both sites consisted of a series of shallow
shell middens less than 10 m in size. Included
within tested middens were large quantities of
sand-tempered plain and cord-marked sherds
along with minor amounts of sand-tempered cob-
marked and grog-tempered plain, cob-marked,
and burnished ware fragments. The authors
noted that composition of the recovered ceramic
assemblage did not match what would be expected
of St. Johns, Savannah, or inland Alachua sites,
but concluded that it most closely resembled
Alachua with “Savannah inuences” (Lee et al.,
1984: 235–236). Although they acknowledged
that the assemblages were “very similar to” those
from the Devil’s Walkingstick site (9CM177) at
Kings Bay, Georgia (Lee et al., 1984: 238), they
opted to interpret the shell middens as byproducts
of short-term estuarine resource procurement by
inland horticulturists (Alachua culture of north-
central Florida). This interpretation has found no
support among regional archaeologists, and the
cultural afliation routinely has been considered
St. Marys II.
Although 25 years ago the assemblage may
have appeared unusual or out of place, based on
our current knowledge of St. Marys II and San
Pedro ceramic assemblages, it is what we should
expect of a local late-15th/early-16th century
assemblage. At 8DU634 and 8DU669, Savannah
Burnished was described as representative of
pots originally cord marked then smoothed over
Fig. 5.4. Section of large San Pedro Cob Marked vessel.
through the “act of burnishing” (Lee et al., 1984:
185), which is a classic San Pedro surface nishing
characteristic. In addition, the grog tempering of
cob-marked pottery was explained as “crushed
sherds and [its presence] represents a deliberate
cultural act” (Lee et al., 1984: 200), another San
Pedro attribute. However, cob-marked pottery
from both sites was overwhelmingly sand
tempered (90%).
To verify the suspected presence of San Pedro
wares in the collections, I recently conducted a
cursory examination of the pottery from 8DU634
and 8DU669. Classic examples of both St. Marys
Cord Marked and San Pedro series pottery were
present, as well as assemblage characteristics that
could be viewed as hybrid. As Lee and colleagues
(1984: 96–97,180–182) observed, cordage width
was more variable and there appeared to be a
correlation between ne cordage and ne sand
tempering and coarser sand and grog tempering
and wider cord thickness. A similar association
was noted at the Devil’s Walkingstick site
(Borremans, 1985), which yielded radiocarbon
dates comparable to those from 8DU634 and
8DU669 (table 5.1).
The ceramic data from these sites suggest
the presence of a transitional St. Marys II–San
Pedro pottery assemblage. Working at the
Devil’s Walkingstick site, Borremans (1985:
271) came to this same conclusion some 20
years ago, noting that:
Sometime in the 15th century a.d, cord
marking began to decline and cob marking
became more popular. Sandy plain pottery
also appears to have decreased while grog
tempered plain remained constant. These
are most probably gradual changes and
do not seem to indicate displacement of
the indigenous population or intrusion by
nonlocal people.
In fact, several researchers working on the
Kings Bay Project thought that Savannah (St.
Marys II) and grog-tempered (San Pedro) wares
combined to form a late pre-Columbian pottery
assemblage, although postdepositional mixing
was always a concern (Borremans, 1985: 210,
271, 286; DesJean, 1985: 149; Espenshade, 1985:
307, 329; R. Smith, 1982: 354–355; Walker, 1985:
102–103). Viewing the two wares in their classic
forms—San Pedro pottery with its thick body
and heavy grog tempering and St. Marys with its
thin walls and ne sand-tempered paste—had led
some researchers, including myself, to entertain
the possibility that the emergence of San Pedro
was the result of a historic period phenomenon
somehow linked to missionization (Ashley and
Rolland, 1997b; Rolland and Ashley, 2000: 41;
Saunders, 2000a: 248).
As to surface treatment/decoration, St. Marys
pottery is almost exclusively cord marked,
whereas San Pedro has a much wider range that
includes cord marking, textile impressing, cob
marking, and paddle stamping (mostly large
checks but some complicated stamping). San
Pedro, however, does parallel the St. Marys series
in its limited range of vessel forms, although San
Pedro pots can be much larger (Ashley, 2001).
Interestingly, San Pedro does resemble inland
late pre-Columbian and early mission-period
Alachua series pottery (Potano region) in terms
of some decorative techniques (Borremans, 1985:
255–256; DesJean, 1985: 149–15; Espenshade,
1985: 308; Walker, 1985: 104), but the Alachua
series lacks paddle-stamped varieties (Milanich,
1971b). Though often downplayed, a small
percentage of Alachua pottery contains “sherd
tempering” (Milanich, 1971b: 31; 1972b: 54),
but apparently not the large pieces typical of San
Pedro wares.
In both areas cord marking dominated early
on (Hickory Pond period of the Alachua tradition
and St. Marys II period), but eventually was
superseded by cob marking (Alachua period of the
Alachua tradition and San Pedro period). Another
intriguing similarity is that Alachua series cord
and cob-marked surfaces are often smoothed
over to varying degrees like San Pedro pottery
(Milanich, 1971a: 32–33; 1996: 32). In the St.
Marys region this ceramic transition apparently
occurred in the late-15th/early-16th century,
while in the Alachua area the shift is loosely
linked to the mid-13th century (Milanich, 1971b,
1994: 337–338). But as Milanich (1994: 338)
admits, “the Alachua ceramic seriation is not yet
rmly tied to radiocarbon dates.” This begs the
question: could the introduction of cob marking
on Alachua pottery have taken place roughly at
the same time as that of San Pedro pottery on the
coast, suggesting a broadscale late-15th/early-
16th century phenomenon?
The reason for the technological change to
thick grog-tempered pots is unclear at this time,
but the coupling of San Pedro pottery and maize
(both preserved remains and cob-marked pottery)
Site Beta no. Material Measured
14C age (b.P.)
ratio (‰) Conventional
14C age (b.P.)
1 sigma (a.d.)
with intercept
2 sigma (a.d.) Reference
9CM177 4001 charcoal 530 + 80 0.0 940 + 80 1335–1460 1295–1515 DesJean, 1985
8DU634a6623 clam 540 + 50 0.0 950 + 50 1390–1445 1325–1475 Lee et al., 1984
8DU634a6626 oyster 520 + 50 0.0 930 + 50 1405–1455 1345–1485 Lee et al., 1984
8DU669a6628 oyster 490 + 70 0.0 900 + 70 1410–1485 1335–1540 Lee et al., 1984
9CM177 4427 charcoal 570 + 80 0.0 910 + 80 1395–1480 1310–1535 DesJean, 1985
8DU669a6631 oyster 470 + 50 0.0 880 + 50 1430–1485 1405–1520 Lee et al., 1984
9CM177 3494 charcoal 440 + 100 0.0 850 + 100 1415–1535 1320–1665 Walker, 1985
9CM177 4422 charcoal 440 + 70 0.0 850 + 70 1430–1515 1395–1625 Walker, 1985
8DU5599 162197 corn 150 + 40 –11.1 380 + 40 1450–1620 1440–1640 Hendryx, p.commun.
8DU631 131315 oysterb370 + 60 –0.2 780 + 60 1465–1560 1435–1665 Thunen, 1999.
9CM177 3488 charcoal 370 + 70 0.0 780 + 70 1465–1625 1430–1670 DesJean, 1985
8DU5545 150310 corn 110 + 40 –10.8 340 + 40 1480–1640 1450–1660 Smith et al., 2001
9CM177 3986 charcoal 360 + 80 0.0 770 + 80 1465–1640 1425–1680 Walker, 1985
8DU634a6622 oyster 350 + 60 0.0 760 + 60 1490–1640 1455–1675 Lee et al., 1984
8DU634a6624 oyster 340 + 60 0.0 750 + 60 1505–1640 1475–1670 Lee et al., 1984
8SJ48 63071 oyster 340 + 50 0.0 730 + 50 1515–1655 1475–1680 Bond, 1993; Ashley, 2001
8NA709 126314 oyster 310 + 50 0.0 720 + 50 1515–1660 1475–1690 Dickinson and Wayne, 1999
9CM177 3495 charcoal 260 + 70 0.0 670 + 70 1545–1685 1490–1810 Walker, 1985
8SJ48 63069 oyster 280 + 50 0.0 670 + 50 1600–1685 1515–1715 Bond, 1993; Ashley, 2001
8NA703 147517 charcoal 310 + 50 –25.0 220 + 30 1650–1680 1530–1690 Hendryx and Smith, 2000
Calibrated Radiocarbon Assays for San Pedro Contexts in the St. Marys Region
aPreviously classied as St. Marys II (Ashley and Rolland 2002), now viewed as transitional St. Marys II/San Pedro.
bCorn in dated context.
suggests that the ceramic transformation might
have technofunctional implications related to
a variety of new cooking and storage practices
that might have included corn preparation. San
Pedro pots often display exterior surface soot
indicating use over re, and sometimes unsooted
yet oxidized bases are recovered indicating direct
placement in re embers. Research among some
early Mississippian societies in southeastern and
midwestern North America has shown that abrupt
technological changes in pottery assemblages
coincided with increased maize agriculture.
Specically, vessels become thicker and large-
particle tempering becomes more common
(Kelly, 1990: 108). In general, large-particle grog
tempering has the potential to enhance thermal
shock resistance. Thus San Pedro pots may have
been well suited for prolonged simmering at low
temperatures, perhaps to cook stews, soups, or
some form of corn gruel (Ashley, 2001).
sa n Pe d r o si t e di s t r i b u t i o n s
a n d Mo C a M a so C i a l Ge o G r a P h y
San Pedro period sites, much like earlier St.
Marys II period sites, are often manifested as
small, mounded shell middens peppered over
broad areas (Borremans, 1985: 272; Johnson,
1998; Milanich, 1971a, 1971b; Rock, 2006; G.
Smith et al., 2001; Thunen, 1999). Based on
shovel test and larger unit results at several large
sites, some middens yield both San Pedro and
St. Marys wares, whereas others contain more
distinct assemblages. Such a scenario would be
expected of an in situ displacement of St. Marys
pottery by San Pedro pottery. The overall size
of these large sites is probably due to intrasite
shifting of household locations over time. This
is exemplied at Greeneld Site #8/9 where
groupings of San Pedro shell middens exist amid
and adjacent to St. Marys II middens (Johnson,
1998; G. Smith et al., 2001).
Efforts to identify contact-period Timucua
villages in the St. Marys region with certainty
have come up empty, particularly because we
have yet to uncover artifacts that can be assigned
precisely to the decade of initial contact (1560s).
Our best chance for identifying contact villages
might be to focus efforts on early mission-related
sites (post-1587), because these were established
at preexisting villages in the St. Marys region.
During the initial stage of frontier missionization,
a standard strategy on the part of the Spanish was
to establish missions or doctrinas at preexisting
native communities (Worth, 1998a: 41–42).
Extant native villages located near a doctrina
served as visitas, and together these communities
formed the friar’s evangelical jurisdiction. Visitas
were visited periodically by the friar to perform
Mass and administer sacraments.
By the end of the opening decade of the
17th century, three Spanish missions had
been ensconced among the Mocama-speaking
Timucua of the St. Marys region: San Juan del
Puerto was among the Saturiwa on Fort George
Island, Florida; San Pedro de Mocama was
among the Tacatacuru on Cumberland Island,
Georgia; and Santa Maria de Sena was situated
between the two on Amelia Island, Florida
(Hann, 1996: 10; Milanich, 1996: 98, 1999: 47;
Worth, 1995b: 10–12). Focusing on San Juan del
Puerto, I would like to present a brief overview
of where we stand at present with regard to our
knowledge of the early mission period landscape
in northeastern Florida.
San Juan del Puerto has been identied
on Fort George Island at 8DU53 and tested
intermittently over the past half century
(Dickinson and Wayne, 1985; Grifn, 1960; Hart
and Fairbanks, 1982; Jones, 1967; Nidy, 1974;
Russo et al., 1993). Census information taken
in 1602 indicated that San Juan had nine visitas
and a combined population of 500 Christian
Indians (Pareja, 1602). Two additional villages
on Amelia Island had a population of 292 (Lopez,
1602). These documents imply that all Indians
living in northeastern Florida at the time had
been Christianized. This information, at best a
ballpark gure, suggests that there were around
800 mission-related natives living in northeastern
Florida at the turn of the 17th century. Beyond
census information, the 1602 document authored
by Fray Francisco Pareja indicates how far each of
the nine visitas was from San Juan (Milanich and
Sturtevant, 1972). If these visitas were preexisting
settlements, then their general locations might
have been inhabited when Europeans arrived 40
years earlier.
Using Fray Pareja’s list of nine visitas as a
rough guide, we can attempt to reconstruct the
social geography of the late 16th-/early 17th-
century Mocama of northeastern Florida. To
date, 13 sites in northeastern Florida have yielded
quantities of San Pedro pottery, but this does not
necessarily mean that each was a visita, or contact
village (g. 5.5). Of the 13, one represents the
location of San Juan del Puerto (8DU53) and
Fig. 5.5. Select mission period sites in northeastern Florida.
another is equated with Santa Maria de Sena
at the Harrison Homestead site (8NA41). Five
occur on or near Amelia Island, indicating that
they were outside the jurisdiction of San Juan.
They would have been afliated either with Santa
Maria at the Harrison Homestead site or with San
Pedro on Cumberland Island. Of the remaining
six, four are suspected to represent the visitas of
Vera Cruz, Sarabay, San Pablo, and San Mateo
(Ashley and Thunen, 2000; Johnson, 1998; Russo
et al., 1993; Smith et al., 2001; Thunen, 1999). Of
these, Sarabay (Armellino site, 8DU631) and San
Pablo (Greeneld site #8/9, 8DU5544/45) have
been subjected to trench and block excavations.
Limited salvage testing conducted nearly 20
years ago at the suspected visita of San Mateo
(Riverwoods site, 8DU11831) purportedly
uncovered San Pedro pottery, olive jars, majolica,
and a native structure (Holland, 1987), though a
report of ndings has yet to be written.
At present, the variety of evidence from these
sites does not support the archetypical image of a
consolidated and palisaded settlement as depicted
in the 1591 DeBry engraving. Based on survey
and limited excavation results, preliminary
distribution data at suspected contact and
mission-period habitation sites reveal that San
Pedro sherds were spread across broad areas often
marked by distinct shell heap deposits, similar
in many ways to earlier St. Marys II deposits in
the region. This distributional pattern, if it holds
up under further archaeological scrutiny, might
relate to a settlement pattern based on dispersed
household farming with a small core area
containing chiey residences or a council house
that during the mission period may have housed
a church or chapel.
PERIOD (ca. a.d. 1625–1702)
The early 17th-century social geography of
the St. Marys region consisted of the depopulated
remnants of indigenous Mocama societies gathered
at the missions of San Juan, San Pedro, and Santa
María and their associated visitas. It appears
likely that immigrant Timucua speakers from
the southern Georgia interior had been relocated
either to visitas or the missions themselves to
augment dwindling coastal population numbers
resulting from the spread of disease. By 1650,
Mocama speakers that once lived at 20 or more
coastal mainland and barrier island settlements
had been reduced to settlements in the three
missions. In 1665, San Juan del Puerto was the
only mission settlement of any kind in the St.
Marys region, and by the early 1690s it was the
only Mocama mission within the entire Mocama
province (Worth, 1995b, 1997).
Spanish documents clearly indicate that
during the early 17th century some Guale Indians
from northern coastal Georgia were moved to
St. Augustine and that during the second half of
the century a wholesale relocation occurred to
missions in the northeastern Florida (Deagan,
1993; Saunders, 2000; Worth, 1995b). Mission-
related sites of the 17th and early 18th centuries
in the St. Marys region are highlighted by
the presence of Altamaha/San Marcos series
pottery, a grit-tempered ware often stamped with
complicated or simple designs (Larson, 1978;
Otto and Lewis, 1974; Saunders, 2000; H. Smith,
1948). Colonoware forms also occur. Although
the appearance of Altamaha/San Marcos pottery
on sites in the region traditionally has been
interpreted as evidence of relocated Guale
or Yamasee occupations, it now appears that
Altamaha/San Marcos pottery was the dominant
17th-century mission ware manufactured by
coastal Guale, Yamasee, and Mocama Indians
north of St. Augustine (Hann, 1996: 86; Rolland
and Ashley, 2000: 38, 41; Saunders, 2000a;
Worth, 1995b, 1997: 13–14).
When missionization began the Mocama
potters of the St. Marys region were making San
Pedro pottery, but its dominance clearly ended by
the mid-17th century. Pinpointing exactly when
San Pedro period pottery gave way to Altamaha/
San Marcos–period pottery in the St. Marys
region is a thorny undertaking with the data at
hand. According to documentary evidence, San
Pedro and San Juan were Mocama missions
throughout their tenure in the St. Marys region,
and neither received signicant numbers of Guale
or Yamasee immigrants (Hann, 1996: 86; Worth,
1997: 14). As such, the two missions should
contain mostly San Pedro pottery in domestic
contexts. While this appears true for the San
Pedro mission (1587–1655), it is not the case for
San Juan (1587–1702).
When the results of three testing and/or
surface-collecting investigations were combined
at Dungeness Wharf site (San Pedro mission), San
Pedro pottery outnumbered Altamaha/San Marcos
pottery 3 to 1 (>1500 total sherds; Ehrenhard,
1981: 23, 31; Milanich, 1971a: 117; Rock,
2006: 97). At San Juan, the ratio of Altamaha/
San Marcos to San Pedro was 6 to 1 (>7000
total sherds), based on the combined results of
McMurray (1973), Dickinson and Wayne (1985),
and Hart and Fairbanks (1982). Variability exits
in the ratio of the two pottery series across the
archaeological sites at San Juan and San Pedro,
and a more thorough synthesis of the ceramics
from the two missions and adjacent sites related
to the missions needs to be undertaken.
It is worth noting that in spite of the relocation
of other Christian Timucua populations to San
Juan, its population was consistently lower during
the second half of the 17th century than during
its early years (Hann, 1996: 262–264; Worth,
1995b). This, along with the sheer dominance
of Altamaha/San Marcos relative to San Pedro
pottery, implies a lengthy period for on-site
production of Altamaha/San Marcos wares at San
Juan del Puerto.
Relying on in-depth knowledge of Spanish
mission documents, Worth (1997: 11) offers
important insights that might help to target
an approximate date range for when Mocama
potters shifted to making Altamaha/San Marcos
pottery. He states:
most of the myriad settlements charac-
terizing the Mocama region during the
late 1590s and 1600s appear to have been
simply abandoned during the rst quarter
of the 17th century, long prior to any
long-distance immigration by other ethnic
groups . . . [and] there is no documentary
evidence for even a single mainland
Mocama site that was reoccupied by
immigrant Guale and Yamasee Indians
during the Mission period.
With this said, we should not expect to nd
much Altamaha/San Marcos at any Mocama site
away from the missions, particularly those on
the mainland. However, appreciable quantities
of Altamaha/San Marcos, beyond what one
might expect from trade, have been recovered
at the three presumed visitas mentioned above:
Riverwoods site (8DU11891), Greeneld
Site #8/9 (8DU5544/45), and Armellino site
Archaeological testing at the Armellino
site on Big Talbot Island, which is not known
to have been home at any time to Guale or
Yamasee immigrants, yielded 986 San Pedro
and 516 Altamaha/San Marcos sherds (Thunen,
1999), suggesting that Mocama potters were
making Altamaha/San Marcos wares prior to
consolidation at San Juan del Puerto. Similar
mixtures of San Pedro and Altamaha/San Marcos
have been recovered at the Brady Point site
(8NA921) on the mainland across from Santa
Marie de Sena and the Devil’s Walkingstick site
(9CM177) on the mainland west of San Pedro
de Mocama (Borremans, 1985; DesJean, 1985;
Hendryx et al., 2004; Walker, 1985). These two
locations also likely represent visita settlements.
Two other archaeological sites tentatively
matched to documented Mocama settlements
deserve mention. Excavations at the Cedar
Point site (8DU81) on Black Hammock Island,
northwest of San Juan del Puerto, have uncovered
the suspected location of the transplanted mission
of San Buenaventura de Guadalquini (Thunen
et al., 2006). This mission had been located on
the south end of St. Simons Island, but moved
to northeastern Florida in 1685, where it was
renamed Santa Cruz de Guadalquini (Hann, 1996:
271; Worth, 1995b: 198). It remained there until
around 1697 when its residents moved to San
Juan. To date, while more than 1000 Altamaha/
San Marcos sherds have been recovered along
with late 17th-century majolica, no San Pedro
pottery has been identied (Thunen et al., 2006).
Finally, several testing projects at Greeneld
Site #8/9 have identied refuse deposits believed
to be associated with a refuge community at around
1700 known as Pilijiriba (Arnade, 1960; Hann,
1996: 290, 297; Johnson, 1998: 45–50; Smith
et al., 2001: 40–41, 60–67). In the “San Marcos
Area” of the site, several hundred Altamaha/San
Marcos ware fragments were recovered along
with a handful of San Pedro sherds; the latter of
which may relate to earlier deposits. This differs
from other areas of the site to the northeast,
where San Pedro pottery dominates, at times to
the exclusion of Altamaha/San Marcos ceramics
(Johnson, 1998; Poplin and Harvey, 1990; Smith
et al., 2001). These other areas are assumed to
represent contact and early mission contexts,
some of which are believed to be associated with
the visita of San Pablo.
Collectively, the above information suggests
that the in situ transition from San Pedro to
Altamaha/San Marcos pottery assemblages
could have realistically taken place any time
between 1600 and 1650. Acknowledging that
the implementation of a single transition date is
not possible, I forward 1625 as a preliminary and
loose date until more ne-grained archaeological
and/or documentary evidence comes to light.
The archaeological manifestation of the
contact-era Mocama of the St. Marys region
has proven difcult to pin down because of our
inability to distinguish early from late 16th-century
contexts, particularly in the absence of European
artifacts. I now believe evidence is mounting to
support San Pedro as the archaeological correlate
of the contact-era Mocama speakers of the St.
Marys region, developing out of the St. Marys
II archaeological culture during the mid-to-
late 15th century. By approximately 1625, the
indigenous San Pedro pottery was being replaced
by Altamaha/San Marcos pottery, which became
the principal ware among all coastal mission
Indians north of St. Augustine. At this time,
specic transitional dates between St. Marys II–
San Pedro and San Pedro–Altamaha/San Marcos
continue to be elusive, but a solid chronology is
coming into focus.
Interestingly, our current understanding of the
St. Marys II archaeological culture, which was
based exclusively on shing-hunting-gathering
and residential mobility, does not square with
the information set to paper by early European
invaders. If the organization of the coastal
Timucua in reality bore any resemblance to that
of “farming chiefdoms,” as some documents
suggest, then such a way of life must have trans-
formed rather quickly out of a long history
of foraging during the San Pedro period in the
century prior to European contact. A question
we should begin to consider is: how much of
an effect did documented endeavors by earliest
Spanish explorers (e.g., Juan Ponce de Leon,
Lucas Vásquez de Allyón, Pánlo de Narváez,
and Hernando de Soto) as well as illicit coastal
slave raiders have on shaping the contact-era
coastal Timucua way of life, as described in
historic accounts of the 1560s?
1. St. Marys Cord Marked has been introduced as an
alternative type name for pottery formerly referred to as
Savannah Fine Cord Marked in the St. Marys region (Ashley
and Rolland, 2002). In the pre-2002 literature on the region,
cord-marked pottery is variously designated Savannah,
Savannah-like, Savannah-derived, and Savannah-inuenced.
St. Marys Cord Marked differs both temporally (a.d.
1250–1500) and technologically (thinner and sand tempered)
from Savannah ne cord marked (see Ashley and Rolland,
2002, for a justication for this distinction). The label St.
Marys II also has been introduced as a temporal replacement
for Savannah, to signify sites or site components marked by
St. Marys Cord Marked pottery (Ashley and Rolland, 2002;
cf. Russo, 1992). Support for dividing the Mississippian
period of extreme northeastern Florida into the St. Johns II
a.d. 900–1250) and St. Marys II (a.d. 1250–1450) periods
is supported by archaeological evidence, including nearly
40 calibrated radiocarbon assays from 18 sites (Ashley,
2005; Ashley and Rolland, 2002). Previous researchers have
placed the production of Cord Marked pottery at Kings Bay,
Georgia, as early as a.d. 600, but contexts yielding these
early dates were from multicomponent sites marred by
ceramic mixing due to site reoccupation.
... Some vessels were also incised and punctated. The size of aplastics increased in size during the Altamaha Period as well (Deagan and Thomas, 2009a: 209) Another hallmark of the Altamaha period is Red Filmed ware, in which a red film or slip was applied to one or both sides of vessels (Williams and Thompson, 1999;Guerrero and Thomas, 2008: 390) When typing sherds, the similarity between Irene and Altamaha makes differentiating between the two wares difficult (see Deagan and Thomas, 2009b). Exactly when and where along the east coast Altamaha pottery developed and how this relates to the distribution of aboriginal groups is still unclear (DePratter, 2009;Thomas, 2009;Worth, 2009). ...
... Regionally, this pottery was produced from South Carolina to northern and northwestern Florida. When recovered from South Carolina and northern Georgia it is identified as Altamaha; when found in southern Georgia and Florida it is identified as San Marcos pottery (see Deagan and Thomas, 2009b). Differences between the two types are minimal; the separate type names are the product of archaeologists working in separate region than separate pottery producing traditions. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The majority of coastal archaeological research focuses on mainland coasts and large islands, creating a bias in the anthropological literature as small islands are seen as marginal areas for aboriginal subsistence and settlement. To fully understand the aboriginal economies, it is necessary to examine small islands with the same focus given to large islands. One area where it is possible to address this problem is on the coast of Georgia (USA). Long-term research on St. Catherines Island resulted in detailed subsistence and settlement models for the entire aboriginal occupation of the island. A systematic survey on Bull Island Hammock, a small marsh island to the west of St. Catherines Island, revealed over four thousand years of aboriginal activity. Results of this survey were then contextualized with the St. Catherines Island dataset and recent work on the small islands off Sapelo Island, Georgia. This study demonstrates that small islands played a changing role in the subsistence and settlement patterns of aboriginal populations and that archaeologists’ current understanding of these models may be incomplete.
... The multi-component model places the beginning of the Irene phase in the thirteenth century, sometime between cal. 1200-1270 AD 4 (Table 9.7), earlier than the conventionally accepted start date of between AD 1300 and AD 1350 (Deagan & Thomas, 2009;DePratter, 1991). A posterior Date estimate for the model suggests that the most likely span of activity at the sampled sites was between cal. ...
Important methodological advances have led to the availability of high-resolution datasets relating to environment, settlement, and chronology in archaeological studies. Such advances in resolution can lead to new understandings, but they also create new issues. In this chapter, we discuss synthetic datasets and their utility in identifying and understanding large-scale population movements. We focus on the 14th and 15th century AD Savannah River Valley as a case study given its position as one of the earliest, synthetic explorations of the multi-faceted relationship between settlement, mobility, climate, and culture in the archaeological literature of the Eastern Woodlands. We begin by outlining some of the history of synthetic approaches to settlement and demographic analysis in Eastern North America and discuss how this tradition of study has successfully and productively made the leap to the digital realm in recent years, using the Digital Index of North American Archaeology (DINAA) as an example. We then demonstrate how the types of data indexed by DINAA can be used to identify regional population shifts and investigate the demographic and social trajectories in play. This approach provides an alternative to traditional methods of identifying episodes of migration, such as the various analyses applied to artifact assemblages or to ancestral remains. Due to the nature of the archaeological record in this region, which we will return to, these more traditional analytical approaches are not always applicable or available. Using newly created digital datasets, we present evidence for a large-scale immigration to the neighboring coastal region of Georgia, using methods that we believe can be widely and productively applied elsewhere to document large-scale population movements.
... 4; Thomas, 2008, chap. 1; see also Deagan and Thomas, 2009). FOREWORD David Hurst Thomas see also Worth, 2007). ...
In the late fall of 1597, Guale Indians murdered five Franciscan friars stationed in their territory and razed their missions to the ground. The 1597 Guale Uprising, or Juanillo's Revolt as it is often called, brought the missionization of Guale to an abrupt end and threatened Florida's new governor with the most signifcant crisis of his term. To date, interpretations of the uprising emphasize the primacy of a young Indian from Tolomato named Juanillo, the heir to Guale's paramount chieftaincy. According to most versions of the uprising story, Tolomato's resident friar publicly reprimanded Juanillo for practicing polygamy. In his anger, Juanillo gathered his forces and launched a series of violent assaults on all five of Guale territory's Franciscan missions, leaving all but one of the province's friars dead. Through a series of newly translated primary sources, many of which have never appeared in print, this volume presents the most comprehensive examination of the 1597 uprising and its aftermath. It seeks to move beyond the two central questions that have dominated the historiography of the uprising, namely who killed the fve friars and why, neither of which can be answered with any certainty. Instead, this work aims to use the episode as the background for a detailed examination of Spanish Florida at the turn of the 17th century. Viewed collectively, these sources not only challenge current representations of the uprising, they also shed light on the complex nature of Spanish-Indian relations in early colonial Florida.
... Although the political and linguistic identities of FOY residents are unclear, essentially three aboriginal ethno-linguistic groups can be distinguished in the coastal region between South Carolina and St. Augustine, Florida at the time of Spanish colonization, each with a distinctive ceramic tradition that persisted into the colonial period (Deagan and Thomas, 2009;Worth, 2009) (Fig. 2). The southernmost group and FOY residents, were likely the "Saltwater" Timucua (as they were known to the Spanish), and produced chalky, spiculate St. Johns pottery (Fig. 3A). ...
A case study is presented to test the notion that minority pottery types from 16th century contexts at the Fountain of Youth (FOY) site in St. Augustine reflect population movements from the north that preceded major political reorganizations in the region. Petrographic methods are employed to trace the manufacturing origins of early historic period aboriginal pottery in northeast Florida. Fragments of siliceous microfossils, including sponge spicules, opal phytoliths, and, most notably, diatoms, were identified in the matrix of some early historic period aboriginal pottery from FOY, as well as in some clay samples from the coastal region of northeast Florida and southeast Georgia. Diatom taxa are identified and their spatial distribution is assessed. The distribution of microfossils supports the nonlocal manufacturing origins of some samples from St. Augustine and conform to expectations about the historic movement of certain aboriginal groups to the settlement.
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.
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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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East of the present day city of St. Louis, Missouri, the valley of the Mississippi River abruptly broadens to form the American Bottom, an area of approximately 800 sq km, which witnessed, from A.D. 600-1100, the development of the most complex prehistoric sociopolitical system known north of Mexico. In this chapter, I want to review previous explanatory models for this developmental process, and to offer an alternative explanation. In order to discuss such developmental explanations, however, it is necessary to first provide an environmental, temporal, and spatial context for the Mississippian emergence in the American Bottom region, and to provide a brief outline of the cultural historical framework for the five-century span in question.
SEVERAL years ago, Kluckhohn (1939) upbraided anthropologists in gen-eral and archeologists in particular for failure to examine critically the assumptions and concepts which lie at the foundations of their methodologies. Perhaps this well justified censure has prompted the healthy introspection that has developed in the past decade and resulted in valuable papers such as those by Rouse (1939), Krieger (1944), Brew (1946), Taylor (1948), and Ehrich (1950).
The venerable concept of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC) needs to be discarded, because it has become an impediment to understanding. The phenomena to which this name most commonly refers are not necessarily Southeastern, not focused primarily on the ceremonial, and most emphatically are not a "complex" in any meaningful sense. Art style, iconography, ritual practice, and exchange have divergent trajectories in the Mississippian Southeast. Progress will be made by replacing the SECC with more specific units addressing these domains, at variable scales.
This chapter discusses the analysis of late Mississippian settlements on Ossabaw Island, Georgia. Analysis of settlement patterns has become an increasingly important aspect of prehistoric archaeology. In general, this type of analysis offers an effective and expedient means of assessing a wide variety of prehistoric cultural phenomena. The chapter also discusses the Irene phase and Ossabaw Island in detail. Four different techniques are sequentially employed to analyze the Irene phase settlement system that existed on Ossabaw Island. Settlement-size distributional analysis will be employed initially to assess the general state of the settlement system. Cluster analysis will then be used to formulate a hierarchical model for the settlement system. Once this hierarchical model is formulated, frequency distributional analysis will be used to compare it with the theoretical expectations of geographical models of settlement systems. Finally, environmental analysis will be carried out to assess the relative importance of different environmental variables in determining the location of sites from different levels of the proposed settlement hierarchy.
Larson's (1978) early synthesis of change in Native American lifeways as a consequence of Spanish missionization was the basis of much of the subsequent research into Mission period effects. Larson was the first to describe changes in prehistoric and historic Guale Indian pottery as part of a detailed description of other cultural features. However, information on the timing of these changes has been slow to develop and detailed descriptions of changes outside of mission contexts remain limited. In this paper, analyses of pottery assemblages from two sites with possible protohistoric and early historic components on the central Georgia coast, Meeting House Fields and Pine Harbor, are presented. These are compared to results of a long-term study of Guale Indian pottery change from A.D. 1300 to 1702. Results indicate a precipitous rise in incising and the resurrection of older rim treatments in the later contexts at Pine Harbor. These changes, along with an overall increase in heterogeneity of the pottery assemblage in historic Guale pottery assemblages, may be useful in identifying historic Native American sites in the absence of European artifacts.
This study is an analysis and summary of the pottery assemblages from all known Lower Creek Indian archaeological sites (n = 460) that date to the Lawson Field phase (A.D. 1715-1830). The direct historic approach, Kriging interpolation, and GIS are used to analyze data derived from existing reports and publications. The analytical sample includes 54 sites that were excavated beyond simple shovel testing and that could be dated independently by historic references or European trade goods. This regional and historic approach to ceramic analyses identified differences in assemblages between ethnolinguistic groups as well as temporal and geographic variations that probably are the result of Muscogee and Hitchiti Indian migrations during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Shell tempering is significantly and negatively correlated with time and geographically associated with Hitchiti-speaking populations. Mission Red Filmed pottery also is geographically associated with the Hitchitispeaking populations.
This volume examines the almost 70,000 individual beads recovered during extensive archaeological excavations on St. Catherines Island (Georgia)-primarily from Mission Santa Catalina de Guale. Founded in the 16th century, this site was the capital and administrative center of the province of Guale in Spanish Florida for the better part of a century. This volume describes and classifies this extraordinary bead assemblage, putting the entire collection into a worldwide perspective. Part I describes the global origins of beadmaking and provides an overview of previous studies of bead manufacture. Particular attention is paid to the beads of the Spanish colonial empire, the source of most trade beads recovered on the Island. Part II presents a history of archaeological research on St. Catherines Island, a long-term perspective of the aboriginal people who lived there, and the details of archaeological work at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale. It also presents a comprehensive catalog of the St. Catherines Island bead assemblage. Part III discusses the Santa Catalina bead assemblage from a global perspective, specifically examining presumed centers of origin and the diverse manufacturing techniques employed by various glassmaking guilds in Europe. Part IV concludes with a consideration of the bead assemblage within the cultural matrix of 16th- and 17th-century Mission Santa Catalina de Guale.