“A useful resource for Florida archaeology and for archaeologists and others interested in iconography and wetsite archaeology. The volume also illustrates the value of revisiting legacy collections, some of which were recovered decades ago, further exemplifying the relevance of museum collections in current archaeological inquiry.”—Ann S. Cordell, coauthor of Archaeology of Northern Florida, A.D. 200–900: The McKeithen Weeden Island Culture
“Presents some of the first successful approaches to linking Florida’s underwater and terrestrial archaeological records. Through deep context, the contributors transform underwater finds from fascinating curios to dynamic components of ancient social histories.”—Asa R. Randall, author of Constructing Histories: Archaic Freshwater Shell Mounds and Social Landscapes of the St. Johns River, Florida
Beginning with Frank Hamilton Cushing’s famous excavations at Key Marco in 1896, a large and diverse collection of animal carvings, dugout canoes, and other wooden objects has been uncovered from Florida’s watery landscapes. Iconography and Wetsite Archaeology of Florida’s Watery Realms explores new discoveries and reexamines existing artifacts to reveal the influential role of water in the daily lives of Florida’s early inhabitants.
Contributors compare anthropomorphic wooden carvings such as the Key Marco cat statuette to figures found elsewhere in the Southeast, connecting Floridians with the Mississippian world. They use ethnographic data to argue that Newnans Lake was once an intersection between major watersheds and that the more than 100 canoes unearthed there likely facilitated travel throughout the peninsula. A second look at artifacts from the Fort Center pond reveals mortuary figurines were deposited intentionally and over the course of several centuries. Other sites discussed include Chassahowitzka Springs, Weedon Island Preserve, Pineland, and Hontoon Island. Essays address the challenges of excavating and preserving perishable artifacts from waterlogged sites, especially those in saltwater environments, highlight the value of revisiting museum collections to ask new questions and employ new analytical techniques, and emphasize the important role of the public in the discovery of wetland sites.
This volume demonstrates that, despite the difficulties faced by archaeologists working with saturated deposits, these sites are vital for understanding Florida’s prehistory.
Ryan Wheeler, director of the Robert S. Peabody Institute of Archaeology in Andover, Massachusetts, is coeditor of Glory, Trouble, and Renaissance at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology. Joanna Ostapkowicz is research associate in Caribbean archaeology at the University of Oxford.