Deptford Culture - Artifacts


Early Deptford ceramics appear to have been developed in Georgia around 2,600 years ago out of the Early Woodland Refuge phase (near Savannah), and spread north into South Carolina and North Carolina and south into Florida. Deptford ceramics continued to be made and found on Middle Woodland sites in the southeastern U.S. until about 600 BCE. Occupation for the Atlantic coastal plain of Georgia and the Carolinas seems to have followed a seasonal pattern of winter shellfish camps on the coast, then inland occupation during the spring and summer for deer hunting, and fall for nut gathering.

From the Early through the Middle Woodland periods, the extensive, low-lying coastal environment of the South Atlantic coast, stretching from North Carolina to northern Florida, was used by numerous Deptford hunter-gatherer bands who lived seasonally within a variety of ecosystems and took advantage of seasonally available foods.

Along the Gulf Coast, the Deptford culture continued the seasonal existence throughout the Middle Woodland. Settlements in this geographical area lacked permanence of occupation, although the cultures here participated in the Hopewellian trading network to a limited extent and constructed numerous low sand burial mounds. These sand burial mounds along coastal Georgia and Florida (noted at Canaveral National Seashore and Cumberland Island National Seashore, for instance), as well as in the Carolinas, are believed to represent local lineage burial grounds rather than the resting place of an elite individual.

In northwestern Florida, the Early Woodland Deptford culture evolved in place to become the Swift Creek and Santa Rosa-Swift Creek cultures.(Milanich 1994, p. 142) Trade items recovered from burial mounds include copper panpipes, ear ornaments, stone plummets, and stone gorgets. These show this area's incorporation within the Hopewellian Interaction Sphere by about 1,900 years ago.

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