Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy Marie White, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent R. Wesiman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark R. Hafen, Ph.D.


Middle Woodland, Swift Creek, Weeden Island, Poplar Springs Mound, pottery, exotics, copper, mica, exchange, burial practices.


University of South Florida field investigations in northwest Florida’s Apalachicola Valley have resulted in the relocation of some lost mounds from the Middle Woodland period (ca. A.D. 1 to 650) by trekking through the forest and consulting with avocationals and collectors. This thesis project was triggered by a collector’s donation of some Swift Creek pots and the attempt to relocate the mound from which they came. In the 1970s, Gardner and Nidy recorded this site, named Poplar Springs Mound, categorized as Middle Woodland due to its Swift Creek and Weeden Island pottery. The donated collection contained pottery of the Swift Creek Complicated-Stamped series, Weeden Island series, and a couple of anomalous Mississippian sherds. To see how this mound fit in with other Middle Woodland mounds of the valley, it was necessary to compile data for all of them and relocate as many mounds as possible through additional survey. Artifact types from these mounds, such as pottery, shell, bone, and exotic materials, and burial practices were tabulated and spatial distributions were plotted. The mounds are distributed along the banks of the main navigable waterways of the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers, on smaller streams and along the Gulf Coast. Nearly all ix have both Swift Creek and early Weeden Island ceramics, except for three with only Swift Creek types and a single site with only Weeden Island types. The artifact distributions show stone, bone, and shell tools clustering close to the coast and the main waterways. This is also the case for exotic (nonlocal) raw materials and artifacts made from these materials. Copper is distributed mainly along the coast, while other exotics (i.e. mica, galena, hematite) are located along the coast and close to the main rivers. The tabulation of these data, along with the documentation of the Poplar Springs Mound collection, will help archaeologists to see the manifestation of Middle Woodland ceremonial activity in the Apalachicola Valley.