Diet and Resources
While oyster, clam and mussel shells dominate the middens, bones found in the middens indicate that catfish were a much larger component of the St. Johns people's diet than were shellfish. The St. Johns diet consisted of a wide variety of fish, shellfish, reptiles, mammals and birds. Investigation of a site at Hontoon Island indicated that fresh water snails, fish and turtles provided most of the meat consumed at the site, and that those resources were exploited year-round. Plant foods included berries, nuts, cabbage palm, amaranth, and various small plants, especially those growing in wetlands. Gourds were grown, but probably used as containers. Maize cultivation reached the Timucua speakers of the St. Johns culture area around 750, although some authorities think the arrival was as late as 1050. The southernmost part of the St. Johns culture area (the Mayacas) had not acquired maize cultivation at the time of first European contact. The St. Johns peoples were not as dependent on maize cultivation as were most cultures in the southeastern United States, as suitable soil for sustainable maize production was scarce in the wetlands favored for habitation, and abundant wetland resources were available year-round.
Except along the western fringes of the region, the only stone resources available were soft coquina and sandstone, which were used for grinding and abrading tools. Tools and implements were more often made of bone and shell, than of stone. Stone artifacts (usually made of chert) in the St. Johns culture are a mixture of styles preserved from the Archaic period with styles representative of neighboring cultures. Wooden artifacts that were preserved in water and wet soils have also been found.
Read more about this topic: St. Johns Culture
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