The Fremont culture or Fremont people is a pre-Columbian archaeological culture which received its name from the Fremont River in the U. S. state of Utah, where the culture's sites were discovered by local indigenous peoples like the Navajo and Ute. In Navajo culture, the pictographs are credited to people; the Fremont River itself is named for an American explorer. It inhabited sites in what is now Utah and parts of Nevada and Colorado from AD 1 to 1301, it was adjacent to contemporaneous with, but distinctly different from the Ancestral Pueblo peoples located to their south. Fremont Indian State Park in the Clear Creek Canyon area in Sevier County Utah contains the biggest Fremont culture site in Utah. Thousand-year-old pit houses and other Fremont artifacts were discovered at Range Creek, Utah. Nearby Nine Mile Canyon has long been known for its large collection of Fremont rock art. Other sites are found in The San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Zion National Park, Arches National Park.
Scholars do not agree that the Fremont culture represents a single, cohesive group with a common language, ancestry, or way of life, but several aspects of their material culture provides evidence for this concept. First, Fremont culture people grew corn; the culture participated in a continuum of reliable subsistence strategies that no doubt varied from place to place and time to time. This shows up in the archaeological record at most village sites and long term camps as a collection of butchered and discarded bone from deer and rabbits, charred corn cobs with the kernels removed, wild edible plant remains. Other unifying characteristics include the manufacture of expedient gray ware pottery and a signature style of basketry and rock art. Most of the Fremont lived in small single and extended family units comprising villages ranging from two to a dozen pithouse structures, with only a few having been occupied at any one time. Still, exceptions to this rule exist, including an unusually large village in the Parowan Valley of southwestern Utah, the large and extensively excavated village of Five Finger Ridge at the above mentioned Fremont Indian State Park, others, all appearing to be anomalous in that they were either occupied for a long period of time, were occupied by a large number of people, 60 or more at any given moment, or both.
The Fremont are sometimes thought to have begun as a splinter group of the Ancestral Pueblo people, although archaeologists do not agree on this theory. According to archaeologist Dean Snow, Fremont people wore moccasins like their Great Basin ancestors rather than sandals like the Ancestral Puebloans, they were part-time farmers who lived in scattered semi-sedentary farmsteads and small villages, never giving up traditional hunting and gathering for more risky full-time farming. They made pottery, built houses and food storage facilities, raised corn, but overall they must have looked like poor cousins to the major traditions of the Greater Southwest, while at the same time seeming like aspiring copy-cats to the hunter-gatherers still living around them. Snow notes that Fremont culture declined due to changing climate conditions c. 950 CE. The culture moved to the then-marshy areas of northwestern Utah, which sustained them for about 400 years; the Range Creek Canyon site complex is unambiguously identified with the Fremont culture, because of its astonishingly pristine state, promises to bring an immense amount of archaeological insight to this hitherto obscure culture.
According to Snow, the Fremont's eventual fate is unknown, but it is possible that they moved into Idaho and Kansas, may have become part of the Dismal River culture to the east or the Ancestral Pueblo communities to the south or absorbed by the arriving Numic-speaking peoples. Cañon Pintado, a Fremont culture site in Colorado List of dwellings of Pueblo peoples Nine Mile Canyon Rochester Rock Art Panel National Park Service CP-Lunha site Snow, Dean R.. Archaeology of Native North America. Prentice Hall. Pp. 269–270. ISBN 0-13-615686-X. Traces of Fremont: Society and Rock Art in Ancient Utah. Text by Steven R. Simms, photographs by Francois Gohier. ISBN 978-1-60781-011-7 Snow, Dean R.. Archaeology of Native North America. Prentice Hall. Pp. 269–270. ISBN 0-13-615686-X. "Fremont culture, on season 15, episode 8". Scientific American Frontiers. Chedd-Angier Production Company. 2005. PBS. Archived from the original on 2006
The Hohokam were an ancient Native American culture centered in the present US state of Arizona. The Hohokam are one of the four major cultures of the American Southwest and northern Mexico in Southwestern archaeology. Considered part of the Oasisamerica tradition, the Hohokam established significant trading centers such as at Snaketown, are considered to be the builders of the original canal system around the Phoenix metropolitan area, which the Mormon pioneers rebuilt when they settled the Lehi area of Mesa near Red Mountain. Variant spellings in current, official usage include Hobokam and Huhukam; the Hohokam culture was differentiated from others in the region in the 1930s by archaeologist Harold S. Gladwin, who applied the existing O'odham term for the culture, huhu-kam, meaning "all used up" or "those who are gone", to classify the remains he was excavating in the Lower Gila Valley. According to the National Park Service Website, Hohokam is an O'odham word used by archaeologists to identify a group of people who lived in the Sonoran Desert.
According to local oral tradition, the Hohokam may be the ancestors of the historic Pima and Tohono O'odham peoples in Southern Arizona. Gila and lower Salt River drainages in what is known as the Phoenix basin; this is referred to as opposed to the Hohokam Peripheries. Collectively, the Core and Peripheries formed what is referred to as the Hohokam Regional System, which occupied the northern or Upper Sonoran Desert in what is now Arizona; the Hohokam extended into the Mogollon Rim region. Within a larger context, the Hohokam culture area inhabited a central trade position between the Patayan situated along the Lower Colorado River and in southern California. In North America, the Hohokam were the only culture to rely on irrigation canals to water their crops since as early as 800, their irrigation systems supported the largest population in the Southwest by 1300. Archaeologists working at a major archaeological dig in the 1990s in the Tucson Basin, along the Santa Cruz River, identified a culture and people that were ancestors of the Hohokam who might have occupied southern Arizona as early as 2000 BCE.
This prehistoric group from the Early Agricultural Period grew corn, lived year-round in sedentary villages, developed sophisticated irrigation canals. The Hohokam used the waters of the Salt and Gila Rivers and constructed an assortment of simple canals combined with weirs in their various agricultural pursuits. Since the 9th century and extending into the 15th century, they maintained what was to become extensive irrigation networks that rivaled the complexity of those used in the ancient Near East and China; these were constructed using simple excavation tools, without the benefit of advanced engineering technologies, achieved drops of a few feet per mile, balancing erosion and siltation. Over 70 years of archaeological research has revealed that the Hohokam cultivated varieties of cotton, maize and squash, as well as harvested a vast assortment of wild plants. Late in the Hohokam Chronological Sequence, they used extensive dry-farming systems to grow agave for food and fiber, their reliance on agricultural strategies based on canal irrigation, vital in their less than hospitable desert environment and arid climate, provided the basis for the aggregation of rural populations into stable urban centers.
Overall, Hohokam villages and smaller settlements can be classified within the ranchería-tradition. Many features of early Hohokam domestic architecture, such as large square or rectangular pithouses, seem to have been transplanted intact from early Formative Period examples first developed in the Tucson basin. But, by the seventh century, a distinct Hohokam architectural tradition emerged. Throughout the Hohokam Chronological Sequence, individual residential structures were excavated 40 cm below ground level, with plastered or compacted floors that covered between 12 and 35 m2, featured a circular, bowl-shaped, clay-lined hearth situated near the wall-entry. Hohokam burial practices varied over time; the primary method employed was flexed inhumation, similar to the tradition used by the southern Mogollon culture, located to the east. In the late Formative and Preclassic periods, the Hohokam cremated their dead, again strikingly similar to the traditions documented among the historic Patayan culture situated to the west along the Lower Colorado River.
Although the particulars of the practice changed somewhat, the Hohokam cremation tradition remained dominant until around 1300. At this time, extended inhumation, similar to that used by the Salado tradition to the north and northeast, was adopted. Many of the details of the late Hohokam burial patterns were similar to the tradition practiced by the historic Tohono and Akimel O'odham; as an archaeological construct, the Hohokam chronological sequence uses a culture history-based period/phase scheme designed to provide a narrative of what has been perceived as a sequence of significant cultural change. Overall, the reason the HCS is confusing is that two primary methods of expressing this information are used, within this context, a vast plethora of theoretical variants have been posited. Only the two
Poverty Point culture
Poverty Point culture is an archaeological culture that of a prehistoric indigenous peoples who inhabited a portion of the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf coast from about 1730 - 1350 BC. Archeologists have identified more than 100 sites as belonging to this mound-builder culture, which formed a large trading network throughout much of the eastern part of what is now the United States. Preceding the Poverty Point Culture is the Watson Brake site in present-day Ouachita Parish, where eleven earthwork mounds were built beginning about 3500 BC. Watson Brake is one of the earliest mound complexes in the Americas. Next oldest is the Poverty Point Culture, which thrived from 1730 - 1350 BC, during the late Archaic period in North America. Evidence of this mound builder culture has been found at more than 100 sites, including the Jaketown Site near Belzoni, Mississippi; the largest and best-known site is at Poverty Point, located on the Macon Ridge near present-day Epps, Louisiana. The Poverty Point culture may have hit its peak around 1500 BC.
It is one of the oldest complex cultures, the first tribal culture in the Mississippi Delta and in the present-day United States. The people occupied villages that extended for nearly 100 miles on either side of the Mississippi River. Poverty Point culture was followed by the Tchefuncte and Lake Cormorant cultures of the Tchula period, a local manifestation of the Early Woodland period; these descendant cultures differed from Poverty Point culture in trading over shorter distances, creating less massive public projects adopting ceramics for storage and cooking, lacking a lapidary industry. Although the earthworks at Poverty Point are not the oldest in the United States, they are notable as the oldest earthworks of this size in the Western Hemisphere. In the center of the site is a plaza, a constructed and leveled, open area covering about 15 hectares or 37 acres. Archeologists believe the plaza was the site of public ceremonies, dances and other major community activities; the site has six concentric earthworks separated by ditches, or swales, where dirt was removed to build the ridges.
The ends of the outermost ridge are 1,204 metres apart, nearly 3/4 of a mile. The ends of the interior embankment are 594 metres apart. If the ridges were straightened and laid end to end, they would compose an embankment of 12 kilometres long; the ridges stood 4 feet to 6 feet high and 140 feet to 200 feet apart. Many years of plowing have reduced some to only 1 foot in height. Archeologists believe; this was the largest settlement at that time in North America. The site had a 50 feet high, 500 feet long earthen pyramid, aligned east to west. A large bird effigy mound, measuring 70 feet high and 640 feet across, is located on the Poverty Point site. On the western side of the plaza, archeologists have found some unusually deep pits. One explanation is these holes once held huge wooden posts. Using the sun’s shadows, the inhabitants could have predicted the changing of the seasons; this great building project demanded a sustained investment of human labor, the organized skill and the cultural will to sustain the effort over many centuries.
One authority calculated that it would take more than 1,236,007 cubic feet of basket-loaded soil to complete the earthworks. That would mean 1,350 adults laboring 70 days a year for three years. Archeological excavation has revealed a wealth including animal effigy figures. Stone cooking balls were used to prepare meals. Scholars believe dozens of the cooking balls were heated in a bonfire and dropped in pits along with food. Different-shaped balls controlled cooking time. Crude human figures, forming another category of artifacts, are thought to have been used for religious purposes. Points made of imported gray Midwestern flint were found. In addition, plummets were fashioned out of heavy iron ore imported from Arkansas. Many of the raw materials used, such as slate, galena, jasper and soapstone, were from as far as 620 miles away, attesting to the distant reach of the trading culture; the Poverty Point culture developed a tradition of making high-quality, stylized and polished miniature stone beads.
Other early cultures in eastern North America used stone to make their beads, opting for softer materials such as shell or bone. The beads depict animals common to the Poverty Point culture's environment, such as owls, dogs and turkey vultures. Poverty Point Archaeological periods of the Mississippi Valley
The Ancestral Puebloans were an ancient Native American culture that spanned the present-day Four Corners region of the United States, comprising southeastern Utah, northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, southwestern Colorado. The Ancestral Puebloans are believed to have developed, at least in part, from the Oshara Tradition, who developed from the Picosa culture, they lived in a range of structures that included small family pit houses, larger structures to house clans, grand pueblos, cliff-sited dwellings for defense. The Ancestral Puebloans possessed a complex network that stretched across the Colorado Plateau linking hundreds of communities and population centers, they held a distinct knowledge of celestial sciences. The kiva, a congregational space, used chiefly for ceremonial purposes, was an integral part of this ancient people's community structure. In contemporary times, the people and their archaeological culture were referred to as Anasazi for historical purposes; the Navajo, who were not their descendants, called them by this term.
Reflecting historic traditions, the term was used to mean "ancient enemies". Contemporary Puebloans do not want this term to be used. Archaeologists continue to debate; the current agreement, based on terminology defined by the Pecos Classification, suggests their emergence around the 12th century BC, during the archaeologically designated Early Basketmaker II Era. Beginning with the earliest explorations and excavations, researchers identified Ancestral Puebloans as the forerunners of contemporary Pueblo peoples. Three UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the United States are credited to the Pueblos: Mesa Verde National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park and Taos Pueblo. Pueblo, which means "village" in Spanish, was a term originating with the Spanish explorers who used it to refer to the people's particular style of dwelling; the Navajo people, who now reside in parts of former Pueblo territory, referred to the ancient people as Anaasází, an exonym meaning "ancestors of our enemies", referring to their competition with the Pueblo peoples.
The Navajo now use the term in the sense of referring to "ancient people" or "ancient ones". Hopi people used the term Hisatsinom, to describe the Ancestral Puebloans; the Ancestral Puebloans were one of four major prehistoric archaeological traditions recognized in the American Southwest. This area is sometimes referred to as Oasisamerica in the region defining pre-Columbian southwestern North America; the others are the Mogollon and Patayan. In relation to neighboring cultures, the Ancestral Puebloans occupied the northeast quadrant of the area; the Ancestral Puebloan homeland centers on the Colorado Plateau, but extends from central New Mexico on the east to southern Nevada on the west. Areas of southern Nevada and Colorado form a loose northern boundary, while the southern edge is defined by the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers in Arizona and the Rio Puerco and Rio Grande in New Mexico. Structures and other evidence of Ancestral Puebloan culture has been found extending east onto the American Great Plains, in areas near the Cimarron and Pecos Rivers and in the Galisteo Basin.
Terrain and resources within this large region vary greatly. The plateau regions have high elevations ranging from 4,500 to 8,500 feet. Extensive horizontal mesas are capped by sedimentary formations and support woodlands of junipers and ponderosa pines, each favoring different elevations. Wind and water erosion have created steep-walled canyons, sculpted windows and bridges out of the sandstone landscape. In areas where resistant strata, such as sandstone or limestone, overlie more eroded strata such as shale, rock overhangs formed; the Ancestral Puebloans favored building under such overhangs for shelters and defensive building sites. All areas of the Ancestral Puebloan homeland suffered from periods of drought, wind and water erosion. Summer rains could be unreliable and arrived as destructive thunderstorms. While the amount of winter snowfall varied the Ancestral Puebloans depended on the snow for most of their water. Snow melt allowed the germination of seeds, both cultivated, in the spring.
Where sandstone layers overlay shale, snow melt could accumulate and create seeps and springs, which the Ancestral Puebloans used as water sources. Snow fed the smaller, more predictable tributaries, such as the Chinle, Animas and Taos Rivers; the larger rivers were less directly important to the ancient culture, as smaller streams were more diverted or controlled for irrigation. The Ancestral Puebloan culture is best known for the stone and earth dwellings its people built along cliff walls during the Pueblo II and Pueblo III eras, from about 900 to 1350 AD in total; the best-preserved examples of the stone dwellings are now protected within United States' national parks, such as Navajo National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Aztec Ruins National Monument, Bandelier National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument, Canyon de Chelly National Monument. These villages, called pueblos by Spanish colonists, were accessible only by rope or through rock climbing.
These astonishing building achievements had modest beginnings. The first Ancestral Puebloan homes and villages were based on the pit-house, a common feature in the Basketmaker periods. Ancestral Puebloans are known for their pottery. In general, pottery used for cooking or storage in the region was unpainted gray, either smooth or textured. Pottery used for more formal purposes was more richly adorned. In the n
Archaic period (North America)
In the classification of the archaeological cultures of North America, the Archaic period or "Meso-Indian period" in North America, taken to last from around 8000 to 1000 BC in the sequence of North American pre-Columbian cultural stages, is a period defined by the archaic stage of cultural development. The Archaic stage is characterized by subsistence economies supported through the exploitation of nuts and shellfish; as its ending is defined by the adoption of sedentary farming, this date can vary across the Americas. The rest of the Americas have an Archaic Period; this classification system was first proposed by Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips in the accepted 1958 book Method and Theory in American Archaeology. In the organization of the system, the Archaic period followed the Lithic stage and is superseded by the Formative stage; the Lithic stage The Archaic stage The Formative stage The Classic stage The Post-Classic stageNumerous local variations have been identified within the cultural rankings.
The period has been subdivided by region and time. For instance, the Archaic Southwest tradition is subdivided into the Dieguito-Pinto, Oshara and Chihuahua cultures. Since the 1990s, secure dating of multiple Middle Archaic sites in northern Louisiana and Florida has challenged traditional models of development. In these areas, hunter-gatherer societies in the Lower Mississippi Valley organized to build monumental earthwork mound complexes as early as 3500 BC, with building continuing over a period of 500 years; such early mound sites as Frenchman's Bend and Hedgepeth were of this time period. Watson Brake is now considered to be the oldest mound complex in the Americas, it precedes. More than 100 sites have been identified as associated with the regional Poverty Point culture of the Late Archaic period, it was part of a regional trading network across the Southeast. Across what is now the Southeastern United States, starting around 4000 BC, people exploited wetland resources, creating large shell middens.
Middens developed where the people lived along rivers, but there is limited evidence of Archaic peoples along the coastlines prior to 3000 BC. Archaic sites on the coast may have been inundated by rising sea levels. Starting around 3000 BC, evidence of large-scale exploitation of oysters appears. During the period 3000 BC to 1000 BC, shell rings, large shell middens that more or less surround open centers, were developed along the coast of the Southeastern United States; these shell rings are numerous in South Carolina and Georgia, but are found scattered around the Florida Peninsula and along the Gulf of Mexico coast as far west as the Pearl River. In some places, such as Horr's Island in Southwest Florida, resources were rich enough to support sizable mound-building communities year-round. Four shell or sand mounds on Horr's Island have been dated to between 4,870 and 4,270 Before Present. Early Archaic8000 BC: The last glacial ends, causing sea levels to rise and flood the Beringia land bridge, closing the primary migration route from Siberia.
8000 BC: Sufficient rain falls on the American Southwest to support many large mammal species--mammoth, a bison species-—that soon go extinct. 8000 BC: Hunters in the American Southwest use the atlatl. 7500 BC: Early basketry. 7560—7370 BC: Kennewick Man dies along the shore of the Columbia River in Washington State, leaving one of the most complete early Native American skeletons. 7000 BC: Northeastern peoples depend on deer and wild grains as the climate warms. 7000 BC: Native Americans in Lahontan Basin, Nevada mummify their dead to give them honor and respect, evidencing deep concern about their treatment and condition. Middle Archaic6500 BC–200 AD: The San Dieguito-Pinto tradition and Chihuahua Tradition flourish in southern California, the Southwest, northwestern Mexico. 6000 BC: Ancestors of Penutian-speaking peoples settle in the Northwestern Plateau. 6000 BC: Nomadic hunting bands roam Subarctic Alaska following herds of caribou and other game animals. 6000 BC: Aleuts begin to arrive in the Aleutian Islands.
5700 BC: Cataclysmic eruption of Mount Mazama in Oregon. 5500 BC–500 AD Oshara Tradition, a Southwestern Archaic Tradition, arises in north-central New Mexico, the San Juan Basin, the Rio Grande Valley, southern Colorado, southeastern Utah. Natives of the Northwestern Plateau begin to rely on salmon runs. 5000 BC: Early cultivation of food crops began in Mesoamerica. 5000 BC: Native Americans in the Pacific Northwest from Alaska to California develop a fishing economy, with salmon as a staple. 5000 BC: The Old Copper Culture of the Great Lakes area hammers the metal into various tools and ornaments, such as knives, awls, bracelets and pendants. 5000 BC–200 AD: The Cochise Tradition arises in the American Southwest. Native Americans in the northern Great Lakes produce copper tools and utensils traded throughout the Great Plains and Ohio Valley. Shell ornaments and copper items at Indian Knoll in Kentucky evidence an extensive trade system over several millennia. 4000 BC: Inhabitants of Mesoamerica cultivate maize while Peruvian natives cultivate beans and squash.
4000–1000 BC: Old Copper Complex emerges in the Great Lakes region 3500 BC: The largest, oldest drive site at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Canada. 3500–3000 BC: Construction of extensive mound complex built at Watson Brake in the floodplain of the Ouachita River near Monroe in northern Louisiana. Shell ornaments and copper items at Indian Knoll, Kentucky evi
An archaeological site is a place in which evidence of past activity is preserved, which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record. Sites may range from those with few or no remains visible above ground, to buildings and other structures still in use. Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a "site" can vary depending on the period studied and the theoretical approach of the archaeologist, it is invariably difficult to delimit a site. It is sometimes taken to indicate a settlement of some sort although the archaeologist must define the limits of human activity around the settlement. Any episode of deposition such as a hoard or burial can form a site as well. Development-led archaeology undertaken as cultural resources management has the disadvantage of having its sites defined by the limits of the intended development. In this case however, in describing and interpreting the site, the archaeologist will have to look outside the boundaries of the building site.
According to Jess Beck in "How Do Archaeologists find sites?" the areas with a large number of artifacts are good targets for future excavation, while areas with small number of artifacts are thought to reflect a lack of past human activity.” Many areas have been discovered by accident. The most common person to have found artifacts are farmers who are plowing their fields or just cleaning them up find archaeological artifacts. Many people who are out hiking and pilots find artifacts they end up reporting them to archaeologist to do further investigation; when they find sites, they have to first record the area and if they have the money and time for the site they can start digging. There are many ways to find sites, one example can be through surveys. Surveys involve walking around analyzing the land looking for artifacts, it can involve digging, according to the Archaeological Institute of America, “archaeologists search areas that were to support human populations, or in places where old documents and records indicate people once lived.”
This helps archaeologists in the future. In case there was no time, or money during the finding of the site, archaeologists can come back and visit the site for further digging to find out the extent of the site. Archaeologist can sample randomly within a given area of land as another form of conducting surveys. Surveys are useful, according to Jess Beck, “it can tell you where people were living at different points in the past.” Geophysics is a branch of survey becoming more and more popular in archaeology, because it uses different types of instruments to investigate features below the ground surface. It is not as reliable, because although they can see what is under the surface of the ground it does not produce the best picture. Archaeologists have to still dig up the area in order to uncover the truth. There are two most common types of geophysical survey, which is, magnetometer and ground penetrating radar. Magnetometry is the technique of mapping patterns of magnetism in the soil, it uses an instrument called a magnetometer, required to measure and map traces of soil magnetism.
The ground penetrating radar is a method. It uses electro magnetic radiation in the microwave band of the radio spectrum, detects the reflected signals from subsurface structures. There are many other tools that can be used to find artifacts, but along with finding artifacts, archaeologist have to make maps, they do so by taking data from surveys, or archival research and plugging it into a Geographical Information Systems and that will contain both locational information and a combination of various information. This tool is helpful to archaeologists who want to explore in a different area and want to see if anyone else has done research, they can use this tool to see what has been discovered. With this information available, archaeologists can expand their research and add more to what has been found. Traditionally, sites are distinguished by the presence of both features. Common features include the remains of houses. Ecofacts, biological materials that are the result of human activity but are not deliberately modified, are common at many archaeological sites.
In the cases of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic eras, a mere scatter of flint flakes will constitute a site worthy of study. Different archaeologists may see an ancient town, its nearby cemetery as being two different sites, or as being part of the same wider site; the precepts of landscape archaeology attempt to see each discrete unit of human activity in the context of the wider environment, further distorting the concept of the site as a demarcated area. Furthermore, geoarchaeologists or environmental archaeologists would consider a sequence of natural geological or organic deposition, in the absence of human activity, to constitute a site worthy of study. Archaeological sites form through human-related processes but can be subject to natural, post-depositional factors. Cultural remnants which have been buried by sediments are in many environments more to be preserved than exposed cultural remnants. Natural actions resulting in sediment being deposited include aeolian natural processes. In jungles and other areas of lush plant growth, decomposed vegetative sediment can result in layers of soil deposited over remains.
Colluviation, the burial of a site by sediments moved by gravity can happen at sites on slopes. Human a
St. Johns culture
The St. Johns culture was an archaeological culture in northeastern Florida, USA that lasted from about 500 BCE until shortly after European contact in the 17th century; the St. Johns culture was present along the St. Johns River and its tributaries (including the Oklawaha River, along the Atlantic coast of Florida from the mouth of the St. Johns River south to a point east of the head of the St. Johns River, near present-day Cocoa Beach, Florida. At the time of first European contact, the St. Johns culture area was inhabited by speakers of the Mocama, Agua Fresca and Acuera dialects of the Timucua language and by the Mayacas; the St. Johns culture is defined in terms of pottery styles. Plain chalky ware was the dominant St. Johns ceramic type. "Exotic" ceramic ware is common in ceremonial contexts. These "exotic" ceramics represent types from the Deptford, Belle Glade, Swift Creek, Weeden Island, Safety Harbor, Fort Walton cultures. There was a transitional area from the mouth of the St. Johns River extending into southeastern Georgia where St. Johns ware overlapped with Savannah ware, another transitional area, the Indian River region, where St. Johns ware overlapped with Belle Glade and Glades ware.
The St. Johns culture was based on the exploitation of fresh water resources. Villages and camps were located close to rivers, wetlands, coastal lagoons and estuaries. During the 2000 years of the St. Johns culture, large middens of shell and other debris, sometimes covering several acres and up to 25 feet high, accumulated throughout the region; some existing mounds extend for as long as a half-mile along the banks of the St. Johns River. While oyster and mussel shells dominate the middens, bones found in the middens indicate that catfish were a much larger component of the St. Johns people's diet than were shellfish; the St. Johns diet consisted of a wide variety of fish, reptiles and birds. Investigation of a site at Hontoon Island indicated that fresh water snails and turtles provided most of the meat consumed at the site, that those resources were exploited year-round. Plant foods included berries, cabbage palm and various small plants those growing in wetlands. Gourds were grown, but used as containers.
Maize cultivation reached the Timucua speakers of the St. Johns culture area around 750, although some authorities think the arrival was as late as 1050; the southernmost part of the St. Johns culture area had not acquired maize cultivation at the time of first European contact; the St. Johns peoples were not as dependent on maize cultivation as were most cultures in the southeastern United States, as suitable soil for sustainable maize production was scarce in the wetlands favored for habitation, abundant wetland resources were available year-round. Except along the western fringes of the region, the only stone resources available were soft coquina and sandstone, which were used for grinding and abrading tools. Tools and implements were more made of bone and shell, than of stone. Stone artifacts in the St. Johns culture are a mixture of styles preserved from the Archaic period with styles representative of neighboring cultures. Wooden artifacts that were preserved in water and wet soils have been found.
Purpose-built mounds of sand first appeared in the St. Johns culture region around 100 CE; as was common throughout Florida, mounds were used for burials. Some bodies were buried intact, in a flexed position, but most were first placed in charnel houses, which were built on top of a mound; the flesh was removed from, or allowed to rot off of, the bones, the bones were cleaned. The accumulated long bones and skulls of each individual were bundled and buried in a group in the mound; the charnel house would be destroyed by fire. A new layer of sand might be added to the mound, a new charnel house build on the top; the early mounds in the St. Johns culture region were 4 feet high up to an occasional 10 feet; the number of burials in a mound might be as high as 100, but most held fewer than 25. After 1050 influence from the Mississippian culture led some groups to construct platform mounds, which may have been topped by temples and/or chiefs' residences. One of these mounds, the Shields Mound in Duval County reached 190 feet along each side of the base, held 150 burials.
Another mound, Mt. Royal Mound, just north of Lake George, 15 feet high and 160 feet in diameter, was a burial mound; this mound contained many items received as trade goods from the region of the Mississippian culture. Chiefdoms in the St. Johns culture region did not achieve the size and power of those to the west, from the Florida panhandle through to the Mississippi valley, large platform mounds were rare in the St. Johns region. Milanich, Jerald T. "Chapter 3: St. Johns Culture of East and Central Florida", Florida's Indians from Ancient Times to the Present. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1599-5 Southeastern Prehistory - Middle Woodland Period - Retrieved July 17, 2007 An Environmental History of Northeast Fl