Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy Marie White, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Gregory S. Herbert , Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diane Wallman, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Traci Ardren, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.


Florida Keys Archaeology, Stock Island (8Mo2), Glades Period, Spanish History, Stable Isotope Sclerochronology, Codakia orbicularis, Paleoenvironment, Cayo Hueso


Later Glades-period cultures (ca. 500–1760 CE) of south Florida and the Florida Keys are understudied and thus poorly understood, especially those that pre-date the arrival of Spaniards to the New World. Recent archaeological models of their sociopolitical organization suggest that by the Glades I-II transition (750/800 CE), south Florida peoples were organized into what appear to be regional population centers (e.g., Pineland and Mound Key, Granada, Turner River) and smaller hinterland towns in the Everglades (e.g., Cane Patch, Bear Lake) and the Florida Keys (e.g., Stock Island, Clupper Site). Smaller towns are hypothesized to be sedentary, heterarchically-organized, simple chiefdoms from ~800 CE onward (i.e., each headed by a single chief/leader who possessed comparatively equal political control or influence relative to one another). Yet, for most small towns, empirical data are lacking to demonstrate sedentism or even multiple seasons of habitation, a crux to any model that suggests a stable, sedentary chieftaincy for these settlements across south Florida. Here, stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C) profiles of tiger lucine Codakia orbicularis shells are constructed from the Stock Island site (cal. 600–1650 CE) to assess whether the Lower Keys were fished year-round. Profiles indicate the island was inhabited during the wet and dry seasons. δ18O and δ13C values further reveal the local waters around Key West were slightly warmer or wetter during the Glades II period and, that today’s waters are elevated in seawater δ13C as a function of anthropogenic carbon from twentieth-century development and tourism. The artifact assemblage at Stock Island and the written historical records reveal a continuous Glades-period fishing settlement and outpost that grew into a small town and cacique (chiefdom) named Cuchiyaga by sixteenth-century Spaniards.