ARCHEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS AT THE U.S. NAVY BLUE ANGEL RECREATION PARK,
(Weeden Island and Colonial Period Sites on Perdido Bay)
An archeological investigation of the United States Navy Blue Angel Recreation Park, located on Perdido Bay, was conducted in late 1995 and 1996 by Archeology Inc., through the Pensacola Archaeology Lab. The purpose of the survey was to locate, record, and adequately investigate any archeological sites present within the boundaries of the park.
Two phases of investigations were completed: a Phase I reconnaissance level survey and a Phase II testing of the sites discovered. The Phase I survey identified one previously unrecorded prehistoric Weeden Island (circa 500-1000 AD) site, Hurricane Hole (8Es2246), and more accurately assessed the potential of two previously recorded sites.
The previously recorded sites included Bronson North (8Es1390), a site with primarily Colonial and Early American components (circa 1750-1850 AD), and Bronson South (8Es1391), a very small and severely disturbed prehistoric and historic artifact scatter. During the Phase I survey, Bronson North and Hurricane Hole were found to be potentially significant, therefore, Phase II testing was conducted. These two significant sites are presented in this research article. Both sites are currently under the protection of the U.S.Navy.
Bronson North (8Es1390)
8Es1390 was a relatively small, high-density site producing numerous historic diagnostics, midden deposits, and features. Diagnostic Colonial period and Early American period artifacts and archeological features were present within the in situ deposits on the site. 8Es1390 was the site of a historically documented ferry station along the Pensacola to Mobile road, where a ferryman's household once stood. It was also very possibly of strategic importance during the War or 1812, as a Spanish military post may have been present at the site.
Numerous military and domestic artifacts have been recovered from the site that date to between the 1750s and 1850s. 8Es1390 holds potential data for addressing a wide range of historic research issues, ranging from site structure and settlement function to subsistence and economic status studies of the various occupations that may be isolated and defined through data recovery.
The following pictures illustrate some of the colonial period artifacts recovered from this important site:
The prehistoric component of Bronson North (8Es1390) was a light density scatter of ceramics, generally mixed with historic materials, which appeared to be potentially associated with a nearby Weeden Island village, 8Es2246, Hurricane Hole. The prehistoric component produced no in situ deposits, only marginal diagnostics, and had very little research potential. The historic component, on the other hand, presented a great deal of research potential in terms of addressing Colonial period and Early American settlement of the region.
Hurricane Hole (8Es2246)
Hurricane Hole (8Es2246) was a large, single component, moderate density site with midden deposits, diagnostic artifacts, and features present. Diagnostic Weeden Island artifacts, archeological features, and the possibility of distinct activity areas are present within the in situ deposits on the site. Hurricane Hole (8Es2246) was a Weeden Island period village, where several households may have been present. Unknown areas of the site have been disturbed, but Phase II testing clearly demonstrated that there are buried, potentially significant, deposits left intact. Further archeological testing should provide even greater information for this time period.
8Es2246 has the potential to address several research issues related to the Northwest Florida Weeden Island Period. Settlement structure and site function, settlement pattern, and subsistence strategy data would likely be recovered with Phase III investigations. Weeden Island data sets of such a nature are virtually non-existent for the Perdido Bay area. The Hurricane Hole site appears to be able to provide a wealth of research data pertinent to understanding the regional Weeden Island culture.
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