Type of Document Dissertation Author Marks, Brian Stanley URN etd-03272006-122643 Title Site Formation Processes and Activity Areas at Ontolo (8JE1577): A Submerged Prehistoric Human Occupation Site in Apalachee Bay, Florida Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Anthropology, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Rochelle Marrinan Committee Chair Glen Doran Committee Member Joseph Donoghue Committee Member William Parkinson Committee Member Keywords
- site formation
Date of Defense 2006-03-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractAt the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, 20,000 years ago, worldwide sea levels were 130 m lower than today, exposing large amounts of continental shelf. This resulted in Florida being twice its modern size because of the shallow shelf of the Gulf of Mexico. Sea level continued to rise until approximately 6,000 years ago, inundating any prehistoric settlement on the continental shelf. This dissertation focuses on Ontolo (8JE1577), a submerged prehistoric site in Apalachee Bay.
Our understanding of Paleoindians in Florida and the Southeast is not complete until considering submerged sites. Paleoindian sites currently near the coast were over 150 km inland when initially occupied. These submerged sites present archaeologists with a more complete picture of the past. The ocean floor is a dynamic environment, however, and can re-distribute artifacts. Understanding the artifact movement allows archaeologists to evaluate the quality of the data recovered from the site.
Apalachee Bay is low energy portion of the Gulf of Mexico and most hurricanes do not impact the area. Storm waves from far away storms can impact the area, but the preceding storm surge reduces the effects on the ocean bottom. Using wave data from hurricanes, testing in a flume, and on-site experiments I show that only the smallest artifacts at Ontolo are affected by storm events. These artifacts are further protected by the many rock outcrops that jut out of the sand throughout the site.
Despite contextual problems, a study to locate activity clusters within the site was performed. To compensate for the oceanographic and biological movement of artifacts, I averaged all artifacts within 15 m of each of the 121 surface collection units at Ontolo. Activity areas within the site were determined using the Improved Site Function Index I created in my thesis (Marks 2002) and kriging interpolation. This formula factors in the percentage of tools, cores, cortical debitage, as well as the average mass to determine if areas were utilized for extracting lithics or as habitation areas. Ontolo exhibits areas of possible lithic extraction, but also shows an area of that may be a refuse area.
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