Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy White, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert H. Tykot, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Diane Wallman, Ph.D.


Fort Walton, Lamar, Mississippian Shatter Zone, Shell Midden, Northwest Florida


The dawn of the eighteenth century in the Apalachicola delta region of the Florida panhandle was a time of major social upheaval that has been underexplored by current research. There are no historic records that describe the events and peoples in the region during establishment of the Spanish missions in the Tallahassee area to the east. Archaeological evidence shows the disappearance of the late prehistoric Mississippian Fort Walton people and the brief emergence of the protohistoric Lamar archaeological culture during the time of the destruction of the Spanish mission system around 1704. The Lighthouse Bayou site, 8Gu114, in Gulf County, has both a Fort Walton and a Lamar component, and therefore offers an opportunity to understand this tumultuous time period better. Comparison of the ceramics shows a transition from incised rectilinear scrolling motifs during Fort Walton to a series of incised and stamped designs, along with the emergence of check-stamping as common surface decorations during Lamar. Temper choices are further indicative: pottery of both components has extensive sand and grit tempering, with only limited shell- or grog-tempered vessels, suggesting that indigenous peoples here did not identify with the missionized Apalachee Indians. The lithic data, while limited, show that both the Fort Walton and Lamar inhabitants were more likely retouching existing tools rather than creating new ones; however, the proportion of flake types suggest that the Lamar inhabitants may have exploited chert to a greater extent than did their Fort Walton counterparts. The faunal data show considerable difference in food source exploitation strategies. The Fort Walton inhabitants used the Lighthouse Bayou site specifically to procure shellfish and fish, while the Lamar inhabitants made use of a wider variety of protein sources throughout the area. These differences suggest a contrast between the two time periods: Fort Walton existed under the relatively stable aegis of the late prehistoric Mississippian era. The Lamar people, while not Apalachee Indians, must have been another group fleeing the conflict amid the destruction of the Spanish missions and the general social collapse in Florida’s early eighteenth century.