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The Underwater Archaeology of Paleolandscapes, Apalachee Bay, Florida

  • Michael K. Faught (a1)


Submerged prehistoric sites investigated in northwest Florida along the margins of the drowned Aucilla River channel (or PaleoAucilla) extend our understanding of prehistoric settlement patterns and paleolandscape utilization. Bifacial and unifacial tools indicate Late Paleoindian and Early Archaic logistical activities at these sites, as well as later Middle Archaic occupations. Other evidence for terrestrial conditions at these sites include extinct and extant terrestrial faunal remains, in-place tree stumps, and possible eroded middle Holocene shell middens. This report outlines the methodologies used for site investigations, and then discusses the geomorphic setting, character, cultural-historical connections, and timing of full inundation for these offshore sites. During late Pleistocene and early Holocene times, the coastline was much farther out on the continental shelf, and this segment of the PaleoAucilla was forested and well inland. Later, during the middle Holocene stages of transgression, the segment was more of a wide grassy marsh with brackish water tidal creeks and oysters. In this continental shelf setting, submerged archaeological sites remain in clustered arrays accessible by underwater archaeological methods, and the data provide a critical supplement to our present understanding of late Pleistocene and early Holocene settlement patterns and paleolandscape utilization.


Los sitios prehistóricos sumergidos en la placa continental del Golfo de México presentados en este artículo han producido hallazgos de restos liticos que se han diagnosticado como pertenecientes a los tiempos culturales Paleoindio (época geológica tardio Pleistocénica) y Arcaico (época geológica temprana Holocenica). Estos hallazgos confirman y extienden la ocupación y el patron de asentiamento prehistórico del noroeste de la Florida al fin de Pleistocenica, que es ya conocida a través de excavaciones terrestres en esta área. Al alejarse de la costa, estos sitios representan ocupaciones más antiguas y así aumentan nuestro conocimiento de las estrategias de población y organización de los Paleoindios Clovis y sus descendientes. Final-mente, las investigaciones presentadas en este artículo fomentan mayores estudios de la placa continental como sitio potencial de restos prehistóricos. Esta información enfoca en el desarollo de los principios y métodos básicos necesarios para el estudio de los sitios prehistóricos sumergidos en otras areas del mundo.



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American Antiquity
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