The Northwest Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore

By Gardner, Jason A. | Southeastern Archaeology, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

The Northwest Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore


Gardner, Jason A., Southeastern Archaeology


The Northwest Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore. DAVID S. BROSE and NANCY MARIE WHITE (eds.). Classics in Southeastern Archaeology Series, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, 1999. 536 pp., illus., tables, biblio, index. $49.95 (paper), ISBN 0-8173-0992-6.

Reviewed by Jason A. Gardner

This impressive collection is the sixth in a series of nine volumes published by the University of Alabama Press detailing C. B. Moore's archaeological explorations in the Southeast. These once difficult-to-find works include articles from the Journal of the Academy Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and several extra articles from other journals that published the results of his expeditions. The volume under review here is one of three dealing with Moore's Rorida explorations and covers five seasons of work that spanned 17 years, from 1901 to 1918.

David S. Brose and Nancy Marie White, the volume's editors, have themselves spent many years working in northwest Rorida and their introduction puts C. B. Moore and his work in a proper historical and archaeological context. Though at times disapproving of Moore's thoroughness and overall antiquarian attitude, they give him due respect since his work provided a critical foundation of work that was to come. Additionally, the comparison of Gordon Willey to Moore was unnecessarily critical, and I'm certain he never viewed the years he spent with Richard Woodbury surveying C. B. Moore sites as just a "final graduate student project" (pp. 9). (One can consult Willey's novel Selena as testament to the profound influence those years had on the young archaeologist.) Overall, however, Brose and White are to be applauded for "stage setting" this important figure in southeastern archaeology.

As with other volumes in the series, Brose and White provide a table of Moore's sites along with their Rorida State site numbers, if known. They point out that there is a rich database of archaeological information in Moore's notes, collections, and even the sites that still exist, if any interested researchers wanted to track them down (and many have). Brose and White also provide a list of archaeological sites explored by Moore that can be accessed by the public, with helpful directions included. Included is a generalized cultural chronology for northwestern Rorida, with a few diagnostic artifacts to give the reader a sense of the diverse sites visited by Moore.

The first of the five reprinted works is "Certain Aboriginal Remains of the Northwest Rorida Coast, Part I." Here, Moore details his investigations of 16 mounds in the winter of 1901, beginning, actually, at three sites in far eastern Baldwin County, Alabama, on Bear Point, which extends into Peridido Bay. From Bear Point, Moore continues east into northwestern Rorida proper, where he describes in varying detail his work along Santa Rosa Sound as well as Pensacola, Escambia, East, Blackwater, and Choctawhatchee Bays. Moore devoted most of this report (44 out of 77 pages) to the sites with the most elaborate finds, and in this work they were the cemetery at Point Washington and the Mound at Walton's Camp. True to form, the artifacts from these sites are illustrated throughout.

The next report reprinted in the volume is "Certain Aboriginal Remains of the Northwest Rorida Coast, Part II." This report is a continuation of the previous work, performed over a period of four months in 1902. A great deal more ground was covered, or rather uncovered, in this field season. Moore explored 52 sites that included mounds and burial areas, picking up where he left off and heading east to St. Andrew's Bay and continuing down the coast exploring the other bay systems and Gulf-side areas until he reached Cedar Keys. This report is understandably longer (about 230 pages), and this time Moore more or less divides his descriptions up evenly among the sites. It appears, though, he gave the sites with distinctive cut-out figurines (which Brose and White say Moore had become particularly interested in) a bit more coverage. …

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