THE ARTIFACTS OF THE MIAMI CIRCLE
Artifacts excavated from the Miami Circle include stone axes; chipped stone artifacts; pumice; galena; and bone and shell implements. Specialized studies included zooarchaeological analysis of animal bones from the site and radiocarbon dates. [information and images from http://info.flheritage.com/miami-circle/Artifacts/]
Most of the shell tools identified from the Miami Circle site are related to woodworking. Most tools were made of the queen or pink conch, though other shells were used, including the Florida horse conch, lucine clams, the helmet shell, and the West Indian chank shell. The chank shell is a rare find in southeastern Florida where it occasionally occurs in the Florida Keys. Many of the shell tools were identified as woodworking tools similar to metal wedges, gouges, and adzes found in nineteenth century American tool boxes. The tools were concentrated in the northwestern quadrant of the Miami Circle excavation where they were probably used near the water’s edge for carving canoes and other large items like bowls and mortars. Like the analysis of bone artifacts the shell tool and ornament assemblage suggests everyday tool making and use at the site.
University of Miami geologist Jacqueline Dixon and her colleagues studied the stone celts or axes recovered during excavation of the Miami Circle. Neither object showed signs of use. One of the celts was found in place inside one of the holes in the bedrock. Spectrographic analysis of the basaltic celt fragments from the site indicates that the Macon, Georgia area is a likely source for this material. This analysis is important since it helped dispel speculation that the stone celts were proof of contact with the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, or northern South America. The sourcing study also helps demonstrate that the Tequesta and their ancestors participated in long-distance exchange networks with other parts of Florida and the Southeast.
Some stone scrapers made of flint, were found on the site. Because there were only three modest sources in Florida, much of the flint was imported from sources near current day Savannah and Columbus, Georgia. Scrapers had many uses, the foremost of which were scraping animal or reptile skins and removing charcoal from trunks in the process of canoe building.