Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy Marie White, Ph.D.


Prehistoric archaeology, Cultural resources, Apalachicola Valley, Artifact collections, Ceramic typology


Fort Walton, the local variant of Mississippian culture in northwest Florida, has long been studied in the Apalachicola River Valley beginning in the early 1900s, most notably by Clarence B. Moore (though he did not call it Fort Walton), and has continued to intrigue archaeologists and collectors alike. Gordon Willey and Richard Woodbury were the first to create a ceramic chronology for the Florida Gulf Coast. Willey continued this work, resulting in the publication of Archeology of the Florida Gulf Coast, an impressive compilation of information on prehistoric cultures, sites, and their ceramic technologies and typologies. This book has continued to be most widely accepted reference for Fort Walton ceramics. This thesis builds on knowledge of ceramic seriations for the Apalachicola River Valley, working toward a more accurate chronology. Two sources of data are utilized in this study. Each comes from the Curlee Site (8Ja7), in Jackson County, Florida, just south of the Jim Woodruff Dam near the top of the Apalachicola River.

The first, the Leon Perry Collection, is an unprovenienced collection donated to the University of South Florida. The second, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Collection, consists of excavated data and materials collected in the late 1970s. Over 10,000 sherds were documented in the Leon Perry Collection. Type, weight, vessel shape, temper, and decorative attributes of each sherd were recorded. The type Fort Walton Incised in this collection revealed several variations of scroll designs increasingly varied through time. Commonalities were found between Lake Jackson Plain and Lake Jackson Incised types. These two should should be consolidated into one ceramic type. Ceramics from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History collection were reexamined by White and Yuellig in the spring of 2006 with consideration toward patterns found in Fort Walton Incised and Lake Jackson types in the Leon Perry Collection.

Trends in the stratigraphic distribution of these patterns were documented in order to test whether they could result in better temporal control. This research serves as a case study in how knowledge gained from an unprovenienced collection can shed new light on archaeological data with temporal control.