Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy Marie White, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.


Archaeology, Artifact collector, GIS, Isolated finds, Public


At the end of the Pleistocene and the beginning of the Holocene, between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, humans began to spread throughout North America and into many areas of Florida. These first Floridians are known as Paleoindians, and their culture is largely defined by their lithic assemblage, which includes the well known Clovis point. As the Pleistocene ice age came to a close glaciers melted, rivers experienced a drastic increase in water volume and the landmass of Florida began to shrink as the sea level in the Gulf of Mexico rose. This event likely submerged many early Paleoindian sites in coastal areas, and the only sites known now are usually found in river valleys. This research will examine the distribution of Paleoindian sites in the Apalachicola River Valley of northwest Florida in terms of environmental characteristics, namely distance to river and site elevation. Using data from known sites and from four artifact collectors, this research will show that Paleoindian sites cluster along the Chipola River, the major tributary of the Apalachicola River, and will also argue that it is far more beneficial for archaeologists to work with artifact collectors and document their vast amounts of data than to shun them and deem their data questionable and their methods unethical.