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Crescent Lake Archaeological Survey

Crescent Lake Archaeological SurveyThe Crescent Lake Archaeological Survey was designed to locate submerged prehistoric sites in the near-shore margins of Crescent Lake, Putnam and Flagler counties, Florida. A sampling design based on bathymetry of the lake bottom proved largely unsuccessful at locating sites, but local informants shared information about several locations of artifacts, including two fully submerged shell middens. A total of 151 cores were extracted from the lake bottom at 25 locations of known or suspected archaeological sites. In addition to coring, surface survey and limited subsurface testing was conducted at 12 locations of known or suspected archaeological sites. The combined effort resulted in verification and further documentation of 11 of 14 previously recorded sites and preliminary testing and documentation of 14 new sites. The project was encouraged and partially funded by Dr. Barbara Purdy, with additional funding supplied by a Survey and Planning Grant of the Florida Division of Historic Resources.

Crescent Lake Archaeological SurveyThe record of submerged and near-shore terrestrial sites at Crescent Lake attests to an overall rise in water levels since the late Pleistocene, punctuated by a possible higher-than-present stand at ca. 4000 B.P., and generally lower, but fluctuating elevations over the late Holocene. The vulnerability of the lake shore to changing water levels along the north, east, and south margins of Crescent Lake is contrasted with landform stability along the flank of the Crescent City Ridge to the west. A transition to hypereutrophic conditions after ca. 3500 B.P. may have rendered Crescent Lake incapable of sustaining productive shellfish beds and hence precluded intensive human settlement predicated on their economic utility. Still, the lake area supported limited human settlement throughout prehistory and may likely have played a significant role in the regional dynamics of populations centered on the St. Johns River and on the Atlantic Coast.

Crescent Lake Archaeological Survey

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Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology

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Laboratory of Southeastern

1112 Turlington Hall
PO Box 117305
Gainesville FL 32611-5565
Phone: 352.392.6772
Fax: 352.392.6929