The Blueberry Site is a Belle Glade Village Site that was occupied permanently from A.D. 1200 until at least A.D. 1700
The Blueberry Site is the current focus of Public Archaeology efforts undertaken by KVAHC.
This site represents the northernmost known Belle Glade Ceremonial Center.
Belle Glade Archaeological Culture Area
This site represents a Belle Glade Village expanding across approximately 61 acres. The site is situated at the confluence of Upland and Lowland Environments on upland ridge (The Lake Wales Ridge) directly adjacent to a lowland basin known as the Kissimmee Valley.
Map Depicting the Kissimmee Valley of South-Central Florida
(Photo Courtesy of the Southwest Florida Water Management District)
The Blueberry site contains at least 2 earthen mounds, a linear earthen ridge, an abundance of Red Ochre nodules discovered in virtually all levels of the primary occupation, thousands of pottery sherds, numerous diagnostic projectile points, an amazing bone tool assemblage, as well as exotic Artifacts and Ritual Paraphernalia such as : One Native Copper Tablet, and One Historic Period Lead Tablet, Native Copper Bosses, A Greenstone Duckbill Pendant, and Marine Shell Jewelry. This remarkable site also contains an intact Belle Glade Sheet Midden containing hundreds of intact features such as foundation post molds, storage pits and cooking hearths.
Busycon Columella Pendant (Marine Shell Pendant)
This specimen is unique because it is polished, has a suspension hole, and has residual evidence of yellow ochre. Often, this type of shell artifact would be classified into a utilitarian tool typology, and it would be recognized as a Columella Grinder/Pulverizer. We believe, the anterior suspension hole, the application of yellow ochre and the context of it’s discovery (which was a Mound) indicate a ceremonial connotation for this item. It is possible that this type of ritual paraphernalia was utilized for ceremonial purposes and may in fact be the same type of artifact depicted in many of the well known Southeastern Ceremonial Complex birdman motif which includes a marine shell columella pendant worn around the neck. The bird man was traditionally believed to be a supernatural deity that resided in the Upperworld with the spirits of the Sun, Moon and Stars. The Bird Man deity symbolizes the Upperworld, order, and light. The Bird Man motif is also associated with Fertility and Warfare. The Upperworld and the earth were thought to be connected by the sky and the Bird Man was able to move between the two realms and serve as a conduit for communication between the two realms. It is conceivable that a spiritual leader residing at the Blueberry site was in fact participating in ritual and ceremony at the site and wearing similar ritual Paraphernalia as the symbolic Bird Man deity.
3-Dimensional Laser Scan Image of Mound A from the Blueberry Site
The image above demonstrates the application of Three Dimensional High Definition Laser Scanning at the Blueberry Site (8HG678). Three dimensional, high definition laser scanning analyzes real world objects, structures and environments in order to collect data on their geometric shape and appearance, in a non-invasive manner. This image highlights the application of this technology as a non-destructive analytical archaeological method and position its application within the context of Belle Glade culture in south-central Florida.
This research demonstrates the archaeological application of three dimensional high definition laser scanning toward the virtual preservation of three features at the Blueberry site (8HG678) in Highlands County. Feature one: Belle Glade Mound (Mound A). Feature two: borrow pit adjacent to Mound A (south of mound). Feature three: borrow pit adjacent to Mound A (north of mound).
Virtual Preservation is significant because this advanced technique allows archaeologists to conserve precise data symbolizing the conditions of significant artifacts or features. This conserved data virtually represents archaeological data and can be uploaded to platforms and shared on digital networks that can be used as conservation and education conduits.
The Blueberry Site (8HG678) is owned by Anne and Charles Reynolds who sponsor the ongoing Phase II excavation. Research objectives, research design and research goals for this groundbreaking research are outlined below.
Phase II Research Objectives
The Phase II Public Archaeology Research Initiative at the Blueberry parcel is being conducted as a private research endeavor designed to engage specific questions related to the known cultural resource that exists on the 101 acre rural landscape. This project prioritizes public involvement, excavation under the direction of David Butler PhD, RPA as the principle investigator and is directly linked to the results of the Phase I CRA (2005-2008) (2008: Butler, Site Report On File with FMSF).
Phase II Research Design
Prioritize Scientific, Goal Driven Research led by a qualified, professional archaeologist who is a specialist in the region where the site is located. The specific goals of this Phase II assessment include but are not limited to 1) develop a precise timeline of occupation based on detailed observation and analytical testing of stratigraphy in block units 2) focus on areas with the highest artifact density discovered during the Phase I 3) develop enhanced understanding of specific behaviors at these locations based on artifact type and density as well as analytical analysis of features associated with specific behavioral events 4) disseminating information (public outreach and education) 5) prioritize the stratigraphic and environmental context of these resources (environmental factors such as topography, soil type, and geological deposition and its interaction with the archaeological record will be prioritized as significant components of the landscape complementing information gleaned from cultural data recovered at the parcel). Regardless of the justification for research, when discovered, cultural resources represent loci of human activity that are identified through a process synthesizing documentary research, field methodology and lab analysis.
Phase II Research Goals
- Analyze primary artifact categories in detail to provide insight into form and function of artifacts used by inhabitants of the Blueberry site.
- Provide for the long-term storage and continued research of the artifact assemblage recovered from ongoing Phase II block excavation.
- Analyze features in detail to maximize our understanding of the cultural behavior associated with their formation as part of the archaeological record.
- Analyze the chronology of occupation at the Blueberry site by verifying a specific site chronology through relative and absolute dating techniques such as relative dating based on artifact sequence and absolute dates established by radiocarbon (AMS C14) dating.
- Investigate regional and intra-regional trade networks based on evidence provided by Phase II research.
- Analyze Belle Glade cultural traits present at the Blueberry site and relate these site variables to Belle Glade sites in the region.