Waterlogged archaeological sites in Florida contain tools, art objects, dietary items, human skeletal remains, and glimpses of past environments that do not survive the ravages of time at typical terrestrial sites. Unfortunately, archaeological wet sites are invisible since their preservation depends upon their entombment in oxygen-free, organic deposits. As a result, they are often destroyed accidentally during draining, dredging, and development projects. These sites and the objects they contain are an important part of Florida's heritage. They provide an opportunity to learn how the state's earliest residents used available resources to make their lives more comfortable and how they expressed themselves artistically. Without the wood carvings from water-saturated sites, it would be easy to think of early Floridians as culturally impoverished because Florida does not have stone suitable for creating sculptures.
This book compiles in one volume detailed accounts of such famous sites as Key Marco, Little Salt Spring, Windover, Ft. Center, and others. The book discusses wet site environments and explains the kinds of physical, chemical, and structural components required to ensure that the proper conditions for site formation are present and prevail through time. The book also talks about how to preserve artifacts that have been entombed in anaerobic deposits and the importance of classes of objects, such as wooden carvings, dietary items, human skeletal remains, to our better understanding of past cultures. Until now this information has been scattered in obscure documents and articles, thus diminishing its importance. Our ancestors may not have been Indians, but they contributed to the state's heritage for more than 10,000 years. Once disturbed by ambitious dredging and draining projects, their story is gone forever; it cannot be transplanted to another location.
Table of Contents
Preface. INTRODUCTION. WET SITE ENVIRONMENTS. INTRODUCTION. THE ORGANIC SOILS OF FLORIDA. Composition of Underlying Deposits. Climate. Vegetation. Chemical Composition. PEATS vs. MUCKS. THE MODEL. FLORIDA'S ARCHAEOLOGICAL WET SITES. INTRODUCTION. KEY MARCO. Excavation and Stratigraphy. Chronology. Flora and Fauna. Preservation. Frank Hamilton Cushing. Comments. References for Key Marco. BAY WEST. Introduction. Methodology. Environment. Fauna. Flora. Human Skeletal Remains. Artifacts. Age of the Site. BELLE GLADE. Introduction. Excavations and Stratigraphy. Fauna and Flora. Artifacts. Human Remains. FORT CENTER. Introduction. Excavations. Wood. Preservation. Human Remains. Pollen Analysis. Fauna. HONTOON ISLAND. Introduction. Excavations and Stratigraphy. Fauna. Flora. Human Remains. Artifacts. Chronology. Preservation. LITTLE SALT SPRING. Introduction. Flora. Fauna. Human Remains. PAGE-LADSON. Introduction. Excavations and Stratigraphy. Palynology and Paleobotany. Fauna. Artifacts and Chronology. REPUBLIC GROVES. Introduction. Excavation Procedures. Artifacts. Antler. Radiocarbon Analysis. Human Remains. WARM MINERAL SPRINGS. Introduction. Stratigraphy and Chronology. Archaeological Excavations. Human Remains. Faunal Remains. Botanical Remains. Artifacts. Archaeologist vs. Amateur. Present Location of Materials Taken From Warm Mineral Springs. References for Warm Mineral Springs. WINDOVER. Introduction. Excavations. Stratigraphy and Chronology. Floral Remains. Faunal Remains. Human Remains. Artifacts. OTHER SITES AND WOODEN ARTIFACTS. Tick Island. Lake Monroe. Similar Sites. Single Wooden Artifacts. Other Wooden Artifacts. FLORIDA CANOES: A MARITIME HERITAGE FROM THE PAST. INTRODUCTION. PRESENT STATE OF KNOWLEDGE. SIGNIFICANCE. PRESERVATION OF ORGANIC MATERIALS FROM ARCHAEOLOGICAL WET SITES. INTRODUCTION. WATERLOGGED WOODS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTS. PRESERVATION OF WATERLOGGED WOOD. Polyethylene Glycol. Freeze-Drying. Wood Preservation in Florida. ADDITIONAL COMMENTS ABOUT PRESERVATION OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL SPECIMENS FROM WET SITES.
Archaeologists and historians interested in Florida should add this book to their libraries. While much remains to be done with Florida's wet site archaeology, Dr. Purdy is to be commended for having taken the first step.
-The Florida Anthropologist