Under the guidance of Dr. C. Vance Haynes, Mr. Michael K. Faught will collect information for his doctoral dissertation. In the first stage of the research, Mr. Faught will employ a geopulse devise to map underwater features and relict river segments along the Aucilla river channel which is located in Florida's Apalachee Bay. In particular, an attempt will be made to locate underwater sinkholes. With the data thus acquired, a second phase of the work will focus on the coring of promising areas. These cores will be photographed and examined for pollen, macro botanical remains, sediment characteristics and radiocarbon samples. The ultimate objectives of the work are to find bone bed accumulations which are likely spots for Paleo-Indian remains, and to construct a sedimentary profile out from the current Aucilla River mouth onto the continental shelf. The geological data thus obtained will further aid the discovery of underwater archaeological sites. Remains of extinct animals and Paleo-indian artifacts are frequently found in the karst sinkholes of Northwestern Florida along with clear stratigraphic evidence for Holocene environmental change. These sinkholes were reliable sources of water for late Pleistocene animals, hunting sites used by prehistoric people and traps for subsequent sediment accumulations. So far, however, all these sinkholes have been disturbed by amateur diver/collectors before geoarchaeological scrutiny could take place. Sinkholes currently located offshore in this region can solve this problem because they most likely contain extinct faunal remains as well as archaeological materials. (At the end of the Pleistocene sea levels were lower than at present.) Numerous offshore archaeological sites have been located offshore in this area, but no one has yet probed the inundated relict karst river channels for their protected early archaeology. This research is important for several reasons. It will, hopefully, locate sites which can be excavated in future years by Mr. Faught as well as other archaeologists. It will increase our understanding of the native American past and assist in the training of an extremely promising young scientist.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
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John E. Yellen
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University of Arizona
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