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Indian pottery dating to at least 400 B.C. unearthed in Panhandle

The remnants of a Weedon Island culture are recovered on a proposed condo site. Part of it will be fenced off.

By Associated Press
Published November 16, 2004

FORT WALTON BEACH - Archaeologists have found pieces of rare Indian pottery dating between 400 and 700 B.C. at the site of a proposed condominium complex in Fort Walton Beach.

Among thousands of pottery shards are many with decorated rims very unusual for that period of the early Weedon Island culture, said lead archaeologist Frank Servello.

The decorations indicate the plates and bowls were used by wealthy people. They provide additional evidence that the Weedon Island culture had a distinct class structure with the upper class living on the sound, which was the main food source, Servello said.

The Prentice Thomas & Associates archaeologists also found shells and bones left over from meals and pots in which holes had been punched to free the spirits of the potters or perhaps seal deals, Servello said.

He thinks the site on Santa Rosa Sound was used for weddings and other ceremonies. Food utensils and items from earlier cultures also were found.

The 22 ancient refuse pits containing the artifacts may never have been found if not for the impending construction because it allowed the archaeologists to dig deeper than they normally might, Servello said.

NWEC Development, which is building the condos, paid for the dig and has a claim to the artifacts, but the state could take them or they might be turned over to the Indian Temple Mound Museum across the street from the site, he said.

The development site also contains an Indian mound that NWEC intends to fence off and retain.

[Last modified November 16, 2004, 00:39:15]

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