As we finish up our last days of the UWF Campus Survey excavations, we wanted to share with you some of the artifacts that we’ve found during this half of our field school.
Below an area of relocated shell midden we uncovered a large fragment of a grinding/nutting stone. One face of this large rock had a very shallow, circular stain – evidence of its use as an anvil for cracking nuts. The reverse side showed evidence of wear suggesting it was a metate-like surface for grinding nuts or seeds into meal.
At this angle you can see more of its curved face.
Further evidence of Native American dietary habits was revealed when bone fragments were found scattered throughout the shell midden and from some of the features. While most of the pieces were so small they were virtually impossible to identify in the field, we were able to easily identify a large portion of a deer jaw and tibia that were found within the midden. Fish and turtle elements were also found in and amongst the freshwater clam shells.
Deer Mandible found in Shell Midden
We found a fragment of a point made of Tallahatta Sandstone. Two Coastal Plain chert points were also recovered during the second half of the field school.
Tallahata Sandstone Point
Steph with one of the chert points she found
One of our main goals for this field season was to determine who exactly was living here and during what time period(s) the site was occupied. The best way to figure out the answers to these questions in prehistoric sites is to look at the ceramics recovered. This season we have recovered a considerable quantity of ceramics that can give us insight into these questions. However, it is often difficult to assign such labels in the field. For instance, we have found several pieces of check-stamped sherds that can fall under three categories that all closely resemble each other. They could either be Wakulla Check Stamped (which ranges from the Late Woodland to the Fort Walton period), Deptford Check Stamped (found within the Middle Woodland period), or Gulf Check Stamped (which ranges from the Middle Woodland to the Santa Rosa-Swift Creek period). At this point we suspect they are primarily Gulf Check Stamped, but only further lab analysis will tell for sure.
An example of the Check Stamped ceramics we are finding.
Sandwiching these Woodland series are fiber-tempered Norwood series sherds dating to the Late Archaic period and a few shell-tempered late prehistoric sherds found during the first half of the field season. Laboratory analysis will commence in the Fall semester and will help us narrow down the specific cultural expressions found at Thompson’s Landing.