New Radiocarbon Dates for Tampa Bay Sites
Being able to date archaeological sites and components are critical to documenting cultural and environmental changes through time and, more importantly, how people responded to these changes. Research supported by the AWIARE/Levett Foundation student grant has contributed new dates for the Tampa Bay region. University of Florida Ph.D. candidate Trevor Duke, obtained radiocarbon dates from two previously undated sites in Pinellas County, Tierra Verde (8PI51) and Maximo Point (8PI19). Trevor is analyzing pottery from both sites as part of his dissertation project on the role of mortuary pottery specialization in creating, maintaining, and transforming social connections in the region during Safety Harbor and Weeden Island periods.
A date of AD 1024-1155 was obtained from soot on a Tucker Ridge Pinched vessel sherd from the Tierra Verde burial mound. The sherd is one of several from AWIARE’s Lyman Warren Collection, which are being studied by Trevor. The date obtained for this vessel is squarely within the Safety Harbor period (AD 1000-1750), however Tucker Ridge Pinched is typically considered a Weeden Island ceramic type, and Weeden Island pottery from the mound has been interpreted as representing cultural continuity between the two periods. This sherd may represent the use of an heirloomed vessel during burial ceremonies.
A second date of AD 1045-1250 is from a sherd of Pinellas Plain pottery excavated from the domestic midden at Maximo Point by William Sears in 1958 and curated at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. This date also falls within the Safety Harbor time period consistent with Sears’ and others interpretation of this large mound-midden complex that once existed at the southern end of the Pinellas peninsula.
Trevor is currently thin-sectioning sherds from both of these sites for petrographic analysis in order to determine if different pastes were used in the manufacture of mortuary and domestic vessels.