Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Environmental Science and Policy

Major Professor

Eric Oches, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Philip Van Beynen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent Weisman, Ph.D.


geomorphology, sediment, Tampa Bay, shell midden, paleodune


Weedon Island, a peninsula located on the western inner shoreline of Tampa Bay, Florida, is the location of a collaborative geological and archaeological project that aims to relate the present day geomorphology to natural processes and human occupational activity during the middle to late Holocene. The area is known for extensive archaeological sites, which were originally investigated in the 1920s, although they have received relatively little scientific attention during most of the last century. We hypothesize that activities associated with pre-historic human occupation of Weedon Island at various times during the last ca. 5,000 years influenced the geomorphic evolution of the peninsula. An interdisciplinary approach, including geomorphic mapping, sediment-coring, and archaeological survey and excavation, is being used to test our hypothesis and is expected to reveal the extent to which natural processes and human activities interacted to shape the present-day configuration of the peninsula.

More recent human impacts on the peninsula have impeded our efforts in some areas. During the twentieth century, dredging, mosquito ditching, and road construction, have disturbed the surface and portions of the upper sediment record in many locations. Sediments below obvious disturbances or in unimpacted areas of the peninsula, along with radiocarbon dating, have helped reconstruct the mid to late Holocene paleoenvironments and paleolandscape of Weedon Island.