Sunday, November 08, 2009

Contraband Teeth? ~ The Laws They Are A Changin'

I didn't know that the shell mound even had a name until I went on-line yesterday to get an idea about how far it was from Placida, Forida, where we'd put the canoes in the water. Now I know. It's called the John Quiet Mound and it's over a kilometer east of Placida. It's the biggest highest shell mound in the area and was inhabited by the Calusa Indians a thousand, perhaps even two thousand years ago. They built it! Leftover shells from cooking the clams and conches can make quite a mound over that period of time, even when you start out piling them mostly in shallow water. It's the size of several city blocks and it is over three meters high in places.

In 1973 I went there the first time with Darryl Seideman, a jet engine mechanic, Laymond Hardy, a naturalist and science teacher, and Buzz, a local businessman who was convinced that there was pirate treasure buried there. The real reason we had all gotten together to go there was to check out some rumors that there had been recent sightings of the fabled Florida skunk ape, a large hairy hominid, in the area. We didn't find one.

It was obvious that we weren't the first people there looking for buried "pirate treasure". There were numerous holes next to piles of dirt and old shells. Some of the holes went all way through the mound to the black muck underneath. The record of history shown by the various layers had been destroyed. Now the state owns the place. It won't be developed into condos or townhouses, but now you're not allowed to dig or even pick up fossils and pottery shards that are laying on top of the ground.

These teeth and bits of human skull were collected in the summer of 1973. I didn't dig them up. They were just laying on top. I also collected a bunch of shards of pottery as well as some pieces of flint and quartz that had traveled south either by foot or canoe about 500 km or so.

Laymond pointed out how the teeth were worn flat by chewing corn that still had stone grit from the grinding process but showed no signs of decay. He estimated the bone to be over a thousand years old, judging by the erosion of the bone.

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Blogger WGibson said...

what happened to the bones and teeth, where are they today?

8:10 PM  
Blogger Al Kaplan said...

I sill have them.

7:44 AM  

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