Academic journal article Southeastern Archaeology

Biological Structure of the San Pedro Y San Pablo De Patale Mission Cemetery

Academic journal article Southeastern Archaeology

Biological Structure of the San Pedro Y San Pablo De Patale Mission Cemetery

Article excerpt

Dental metric variation is a vehicle for investigating the biological structure of burials at mission San Pedro y San Pablo de Patale (8LE152). Analysis of burial patterns at this early-seventeenth-century Apalachee mission suggests that the carefully maintained row structure of graves within the cemetery represent family burial plots (Jones, Hann, and Scarry 1991). Jones and colleagues additionally identified burials that were archaeologically differentiated from normative burial practices. The research presented in this paper addresses the kin structure hypothesis and estimates the affinity of atypical burials in reference to the corpus of the Patate congregation. Disparity in dental profile may suggest a Spanish, mestizo, or nonlocal indigenous biological affinity for such individuals.

Continuing work on the Spanish mission period in Florida (ca. 1573-1706) has witnessed unprecedented integration of historical, archaeological, and bioanthropological perspectives. While historical and archaeological research has anchored mission period research, biological anthropologists have also contributed in unique ways to this regional history. The work of Larsen and colleagues (see Larsen 2001), conducted as part of the La Florida Bioarchaeology Project, has been particularly successful in demonstrating the important contribution of bioanthropological data to reconstructing the postcontact lives of Florida's indigenous populations, focusing on population diet and health, mobility and activity patterns, and mortality experience. Research by Griffin (1993) and colleagues (Griffin, Lambert, and Monahan-Driscoll 2001) and by Stojanowski (2001, 2003a, 2003b, 2004, 2005a, 2005b, 2005c; Stojanowski et al. n.d.) has used paleogenetic approaches to reconstruct microevolutionary processes concurrent with missionization. Griffin (1993) and colleagues (Griffin, Lambert, and Monahan-Driscoll 2001) estimated patterns of affinity among coastal populations, primarily Guale (Santa Catalina de Guale and Santa Maria Island populations), while Stojanowski (2001, 2003b, 2005c; Stojanowski et al. n.d.) has addressed similar issues inclusive of the Apalachee (San Luis de Talimali, San Pedro y San Pablo de Patale) and western Timucua (San Martín de Timucua). This article adds to the growing literature on mission era population biology through an analysis of the biosocial structure of graves at mission Patale, the only pre-1650 mission excavated to date without significant burial disturbance and with the original row and aisle structure of burials intact.

Previous microevolutionary research on the Apalachee has addressed two topics: changes in phenotypic variability coincident with the missionization of this chiefdom (Stojanowski 2001, 2003b, 2005a) and patterns of biological affinity among Apalachee samples (Stojanowski 2004b). Stojanowski and colleagues (n.d.) have also assessed patterns of affinity among individual burials at Mission San Luis de Talimali.

Stojanowski (2001, 2003b, 2005a) investigated changes in phenotypic variability from the precontact through early and late mission periods and found no significant changes during the transition to the postcontact period (at mission Patale) and a significant increase in phenotypic variability during the late mission period (at San Luis). The pattern of stasis followed by increasing genetic variability was opposite of that documented among Guale populations (Griffin 1993; Griffin, Lambert, and Monahan-Driscoll 2001; Stojanowski 2001, 2004, 2005a, 2005c), among whom genetic variability peaked early in the mission period and then declined rapidly. This latter pattern was consistent with early postcontact population aggregation, following rapid epidemic-related population losses, followed by complete demographic collapse and eventual population extinction. The temporal pattern for Apalachee is consistent with more stable early seventeenth-century population sizes, followed post-1650 by increased population aggregation, intergroup migration, and mestizaje at San Luis, a burgeoning Hispanic community. …

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