Burial and kinship during the St. Johns: A Bioarchaeological study of the Ross Hammock site

Author(s): Ian Pawn

Year: 2016


Many aspects of St. Johns lifeways have been studied, but kinship, the most fundamental unit of human organization, has rarely been addressed beyond identifying vaguely defined "lineages" or "kin groups". Some have argued that burial mounds represent kin groups, and this paper investigates St. Johns period kinship systems using the biological affinity of individuals from Ross Hammock Mound, a burial mound at Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. Biological distances between individuals are measured using metric and non-metric dental traits. These data are compared to burial provenience to identify biological/spatial patterns within the mound. Population structures identified through these methods not only help nuance understanding of the construction and use of the burial mound, but clusters of burials help identify interred kin groups. These biological patterns are then compared to household and settlement data, mortuary treatment, and historic records to model kinship during the St. Johns period at Ross Hammock. The evidence suggests the utilization of the mound by a genetically related group, and burial treatment emphasized community kin identity over status differences. Given available data on settlement organization and resource gathering strategies employed during the St. Johns, a bilateral/bilocal (or ambilocal/ambilineal) kinship system is suggested by the current research.

Cite this Record

Burial and kinship during the St. Johns: A Bioarchaeological study of the Ross Hammock site. Ian Pawn. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 405111)

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Spatial Coverage

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