Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.

Committee Member

E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent R. Weisman, Ph.D.


climate change, Florida archaeology, landscape modification, mound construction, sea level, Woodland Period


The Crystal River site (8CI1) is a Woodland-period (ca 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1050) mound complex located on the Gulf of Mexico in west-central Florida. Among the features at the site are four shell and sand platform mounds, two burial mounds, and an extensive shell midden. The proximity to the Gulf and the reliance on marine and brackish resources present an apparent, yet poorly understood interaction between the people of this area and their environment. I attempt to model the relationship of the occupation of Crystal River with sea level change. The analysis of 58 soil cores from across the site provided detailed stratigraphic information and AMS radiocarbon dates needed to examine anthropogenic site formation. I then compared the rates of midden deposition and monumental architecture construction with sea level and climatic periods. This research revealed that landscape modification occurred during periods of both high and low mean sea level suggesting that human-environmental interaction at Crystal River cannot be modeled by sea level alone. Further comparison showed that mound construction increased and midden deposition decreased during the Vandal Minimum indicating a possible sociopolitical transition concurrent with changing environmental conditions.