Bottle Creek: A Pensacola Culture Site in South Alabama

Bottle Creek: A Pensacola Culture Site in South Alabama

Bottle Creek: A Pensacola Culture Site in South Alabama

Bottle Creek: A Pensacola Culture Site in South Alabama


Consisting of 18 earthen mounds and habitation areas dating to AD 1250-1550, the Bottle Creek site was first investigated in 1932 when David DeJarnette of the Alabama Museum of Natural History began work there. This text examines various aspects of the site.


It ain’t what I don’t know that gets me in trouble. What gets me in
trouble is what I know that just ain’t so.

Will Rogers

I found it difficult to resist the editor’s invitation to write a foreword to this volume. It was not merely because I was one of the two discussants to the SEAC symposium at which the original field reports were presented, and it was certainly not because, with uncharacteristic exaggeration, the editor opined I might be the oldest archaeologist yet alive to have visited the Bottle Creek site (“see Bottle Creek and die”). It is because over the last two decades I have grown increasingly aware of the key that knowledge about this site may hold for understanding the end of Mississippian hegemonies along the central Gulf Coast and I have communicated that belief widely.

My awareness grew slowly. First exposed to southeastern archaeology in the 1970s, my views matured with work at the Fort Walton Cayson and Yon sites in west Florida (Brose et al. 1976). Although carefully initiated into the revealed truths of west Florida archaeology (especially Willey’s monumental work [Willey and Woodbury 1942; Willey 1949]), it became increasingly apparent to me that published descriptions of Fort WaltonPensacola culture were inapplicable to what we were excavating on the banks of the Apalachicola River (Brose and Percy 1978). We were finding a distinctly home-grown Mississippian Fort Walton society centuries before shell temper or Pensacola motifs appeared in Alabama north of Mobile Bay.

In interpreting the significance of these Apalachicola River sites as a responsible colleague, thesis chair (e.g., White 1982; Scarry 1984), or survey director, I constantly was forced to return to thinking about this Pensacola side of the traditional equation for late prehistory on Florida’s westernmost coast and I learned about Bottle Creek.

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