Submerged pre-contact sites in Apalachee Bay, Florida, have been the focus of archaeological research for nearly four decades (Faught 2004b, 2004a). The bay is considered by many as the birthplace of modern methodologies for conducting pre-contact marine archaeological research in the United States.
The Clint Scallop Hole archaeological site was reported to archaeologists in 2017 by recreational divers who were searching for scallops in Apalachee Bay, Florida. The site was reported as four sandy holes in seagrass with lots of broken rock. One of the holes, referred to as the main Clint Scallop Hole site, was relocated by archaeologists of the Archaeological Research Cooperative 501c3 non-profit (Arc Co-op) in 2019 and was part of their Submerged Paleo-Landscape Archeological Survey and Heritage Project (SPLASH). The site was identified by geoarchaeologist Morgan F. Smith as a submerged prehistoric quarry site. The chert was identified by Texas A&M Ph.D. student Adam Burke as being from the Wassia Quarry Cluster.
In the winter of 2019, the area was systematically scanned using an Edge Tech 424 sub-bottom profiler to define the site boundaries. The team utilized methods developed in Europe, and further refined by ArcCo-op researchers to identify the human-modified lithic material that was deposited at submerged sites (Grøn et al. 2018; Faught and Joy 2019; Smith et al. 2018).
During the summer 2019 field school, the chert outcrop and lithic reduction site rendered roughly 400 surface artifacts that were methodically mapped in by the research team. This was the first time an underwater field school has conducted operations on submerged pre-contact sites in the Apalachee Bay since ARCO-OP Vice President Dr. Michael Faught taught students in the early 2000s. During the two weeks of survey in the summer of 2019, archaeologists and field school students mapped and collected artifacts on the surface of the site. ARCOOP’s Shawn Joy has accurately created a sea-level model for the bay and estimates that the site was submerged approximately 5,000 years ago (Joy 2019). The low energy hydrological environment of Apalachee Bay appears to have preserved the context of the site indicated by the preliminary identification of refit flakes on to lithic cores and what appears to be two lithic reduction centers. No diagnostic artifacts were identified during the survey, leaving the cultural period a mystery. ARCO-OP’s SPLASH team intends to return to the site to conduct Phase III excavations in the summer of 2020.
Faught, Michael K.
2004a The Underwater Archaeology of Paleolandscapes, Apalachee Bay, Florida. American Antiquity 69(2):275–289. DOI:10.2307/4128420.
2004b Submerged Paleoindian and Archaic Sites of the Big Bend, Florida. Journal of Field Archaeology 29(3–4):273–290. DOI:10.1179/jfa.2004.29.3-4.273.
Faught, Michael Kent, and Shawn Joy
2019 The Potential for Offshore Industry to Enable Discovery of Paleo-Landscapes and Evidence for Early People: Past Present and an Optimistic Future. In OTC-29329-MS, pp. 10. Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, April 26.
Grøn, Ole, Lars Boldreel, Jean-Pierre Hermand, Hugo Rasmussen, Antonio Dell’Anno, Deborah Cvikel, Ehud Galili, Bo Madsen, and Egon Nørmark
2018 Detecting human-knapped flint with marine high-resolution reflection seismics: A preliminary study of new possibilities for subsea mapping of submerged Stone Age sites. Vol. 35. August 6.
2019 The Trouble With The Curve: Reevaluating the Gulf of Mexico Sea level Curve. Quaternary International Manuscript submitted for publication.
Smith, Morgan, Shawn Joy, Michael K. Faught, and David K. Thulman
2018 Identifying Submerged Precontact Archaeological Sites with Next-Generation Geophysics.