Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Nancy White, Ph.D.

Keywords

Mortuary variability, Northwest Florida, Skeletal analysis, Prehistoric archaeology, Pensacola culture

Abstract

The objective of my research was to compile all known burial data from the Fort Walton culture located in northwest Florida (A.D. 1000 to contact) to determine any patterns in burial practices. A thorough literature review of all published material was conducted to obtain the burial data. I also reviewed burial practices of other contemporaneous late prehistoric cultures in the Southeast, including the Pensacola and Rood cultures. The burial data clearly indicate that Fort Walton burial practices varied greatly; 14 different burial types were identified from all of the sites. A similar pattern is seen among Pensacola, Rood and Mississippian ceremonial centers. However, secondary burials were dominant at mixed Fort Walton/Pensacola and Pensacola sites when compared to classic Fort Walton burial sites. This may have been the result of European contact, which might have changed native burial practices in northwest Florida, as a result of disease and displacement; however, future studies are needed to assess this hypothesis. Caches of pottery and burials capped with pottery appear to be a unique characteristic among Pensacola burial sites. Two major dissimilarities observed at Rood burials were the practice of dyeing teeth and a mass burial with an altar. Of all of the Fort Walton sites, the elite burials from the Lake Jackson site most closely resembles the elite burials discovered at Etowah, Moundville, and Spiro, due to the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC) goods and the elaborate tombs.

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