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Home Is Where the Past Is: The Role of Environmental and Social Factors in Pre-Columbian Settlement on the Northern Gulf Coast of Florida

Author(s): Paulette McFadden

Year: 2016

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Summary

Pre-Columbian settlement practices in coastal settings were influenced by both environmental and sociocultural factors, but determining the role of each is often hindered by a lack of paleoenvironmental data that is applicable to particular coastal areas. In Horseshoe Cove, on the northern Gulf coast of Florida, settlement practices varied between the Deptford/Swift Creek periods and the Weeden Island period, but were these practices driven by environmental change or were they linked to social forces? A paleoenvironmental reconstruction specific to Horseshoe Cove made it possible to isolate environmental factors thus providing a better understanding of the sociocultural aspects of shifting settlement practices. When shoreline transgression forced relocation after about 500 BC, Deptford/Swift Creek residents targeted mainland areas bordering marshes and adjacent to tidal creeks. As new areas were settled, seaward sites were abandoned. After the 7th Century AD, these abandoned sites were re-occupied by Weeden Island people, even though they were isolated from the mainland, likely lacked a source of fresh water, and were more vulnerable to the higher energy open marine environment. The lack of single-component Weeden Island occupations in other similar environmental settings in the cove suggests that these sites may have been targeted because of their previous occupations.


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Home Is Where the Past Is: The Role of Environmental and Social Factors in Pre-Columbian Settlement on the Northern Gulf Coast of Florida. Paulette McFadden. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404667)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -91.274; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -72.642; max lat: 36.386 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America