Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Ph.D.

Committee Member

E. Christian Wells, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.


Micro-artifacts, Plaza, Geoarchaeology, Crystal River, Florida archaeology, Woodland Period


Crystal River (8CI1) is a Woodland period archaeological site on the west-central Gulf Coast of Florida, famous for its diverse suite of exotic artifacts typical of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere, as well as its monumental shell mounds which surround a central plaza. Historically, these plazas are utilized as spaces for cultural expression, daily interactions between members of the community, economic exchanges, and discourse of all types. They also serve as a symbolic space, embodying social and political relations that are critical to the formation and maintenance of cultural identity. These spaces are challenging to study using conventional archaeological techniques since they were often swept clean and kept free of debris, thus discouraging the possibility of recovering artifacts of any significant size. Instead, my study utilizes integrated geoarchaeological techniques, such as microartifact analysis, soil chemical analysis, ground-penetrating radar, and magnetic survey in order to reconstruct plaza activities.

The results indicate a stark difference in function between the northern and southern ends of the plaza. The South Plaza demonstrates high concentrations of elements associated with food preparation and consumption, particularly P, Sr, K, and M, high microartifact densities, and an associated strong magnetic anomaly. On the other hand, phosphate depletion is observed in the North Plaza, and it is generally barren of micro-artifacts, despite the possible presence of a few geophysical anomalies. This area appears to have been kept free of debris, save for a charcoal deposit and elevated K and Mg directly in front of Mound H, which may allude to ceremonial or other functions not associated with food.