Viewing Index Keys

The virtual museum is set up to allow a random stroll through the exhibits or to search for a specific type of item based on several descriptive keys. A file of the exhibits, such as illustrated below, provides a thumbnail photo of the object together with brief descriptive information.

Image Index Number Description Period Location Latitude Longitude Material
A001 Hamilton point Early Archaic Ashville, FL 30.58 -83.7777 heat treated chert
A002 Simpson point Early Archaic Aucilla R. 30.14 -83.8 heat treated chert

As may be seen, the index provides a small photo of the artifact, an index number that has been assigned to that item, a one or two-word description of the item, the time period from which the artifact dates, the approximate location and geographic coordinates of where the artifact was found, and the material of which it is composed. The time period is based on 11 classifications which are described later in this writeup.

Viewers may click on the photo of an item of interest to see an enlarged photo together with descriptive information regarding the artifact or a 3-D digital model of the item may be downloaded for detailed examination.

Alternatively, viewers may search for all exhibits meeting a certain description, a certain time period, from a certain location, or composed of the same material. Searching is done by entering the desired key in the boxes at the top of the screen. You can narrow the search by entering more than one key on which to sort.

Using Map Function

With the map tab at the top of the page, you can see a map depicting the location of all or a subset of the articles that you have selected. You can pan around the map with a mouse or zoom in or out with the wheel on your mouse.

Downloading Models

For any scans of special interest, users may download those models. Once downloaded, scans may be viewed in three dimensions using any of various viewing programs (such as Cloud Compare) which are available for free download on the internet. With such viewers, scans may be examined and studied from any perspectives and measurements made on the image. Alternatively, viewers may use the downloaded models to create reproductions of the artifacts with 3-D printers which are available at many public libraries, universities and private entities. In the near future, it is hope to be able to view the exhibits in 3-D online. The downloaded scans are PLY files which may be viewed and analyzed using various observing software. A typical digital model of a small object is about 100 megabytes in size. Therefore, downloads may take several minutes.

Typical Model being viewed in Cloud Compare Software. The image may be enlarged as desired as well as rotated and viewed from any perspective. Measurements may also be made with typical viewing software.

Classification of Time Periods

The periods with which the items have been classified are selected from the following list:

Period Calendar years BP Comments
Paleoindian 14,500 to 11,500 BP The culture that coexisted with now extinct Pleistocene megafauna (mammoths, mastodons, etc.). Lanceolate stone points of various types as well as carved ivory tools. The spear thrower is used as a primary hunting weapon based on evidence from Aucilla River inundated sites.
Early Archaic 11,500 to 7,800 BP First cultures after the Pleistocene, they lived in the Early Holocene after the ice age. Side-notched stone points on the early end and stemmed points towards the latter end. Stone adzes and axes are common.
Middle Archaic 7,800 to 5,250 BP Many types and forms of stemmed points, some being generically classified as “Stemmed Archaic”, others rise to a formal type classification. Bone tools proliferate. Middle Archaic sites are ubiquitous in the Big Bend area of North Florida and South Georgia.
Late Archaic 5,250 to 3,150 BP Sea level approaches modern levels for first time since the last ice age. Stemmed points continue. The first pottery is Norwood, fiber tempered in this area of the Southeast. It is tempered with plant fibers.
Deptford 3,150 to 2000 BP Beginning of the Woodland Period. The Deptford people were coastal and wetlands adapted. Various forms of stone points, some notched, others triangular lanceolate. Bone toolkit includes fishhooks and other fishing tackle. Yent complex sites occur late in Deptford and include exotic pottery forms. Yent complex sites extend from Franklin County to Citrus Counties along the Big Bend coast of Florida. Extensive trade networks are established with peoples outside Florida.
Swift Creek 2000 to 1500 BP
AD 1 - 450
Extensive use of wood paddles to stamped designs on pottery. This pottery exhibits curvilinear, geometric designs. Culture is still centered in wetland areas. Trade networks extend well outside Florida. Ceremonial bi-pointed mortuary stone blades.
Weeden Island 1500 to 950 BP
AD 450 - 1000
Tradition of curvilinear, geometric design pottery still occurs with other, sometime exotic “sacred” designs. Mound complexes appear along the Big Bend Gulf Coast as well as inland locations. Towards the end of Weeden Island wetland sites and upland sites are occupied. A tendency towards smaller stone points indicates the first wide-spread use of the bow and arrow. Transition from Woodland to Mississippian Period in later Weeden Island.
Fort Walton 950 to 400 BP
AD 1000 to 1550
Most but not all sites are located in the upland agricultural area. Early Mississippian has major mound complexes and trade networks throughout the eastern US. Middle and Late Mississippian sees population shifts away from mound complexes as climate interval known as the Little Ice Age also impacts the cultures of the Southeast. Warfare increases and life spans generally decrease.
Leon-Jefferson 400 to 240/200 BP
AD 1550 - 1710 / 1750
A Fort Walton cultural transition from what it had been and reflects European influences and adaptation to it in this part of Florida. Population decline due to European diseases and waring. Early on small stone arrow points dominate and are used with the dreaded Apalachee long bow that easily penetrated Spanish armor. In some parts of Florida, the spear thrower or Atl Atl is used for fishing. First metal and glass arrow points appear as well as metal cutlery.
Creek/Miccosukee/Seminole 240/200 to 120 BP
AD 1710 / 1750 - 1830
The time of Native American cultures from outside Florida filling the void left by local culture decline due to war and extirpation. An interval of both traditional means of weaponry as well as the use of firearms.
American Territorial-Recent Post - 129 BP
Post AD 1821
Florida becomes a territory in 1821 and a state in 1845. The Big Bend area of Florida is one of the first places settled by citizens from the fledgling US. The area above the Cody Scarp (the so-called Red Hills area) becomes prime plantation property.

The Scanning Process

The ARI has developed an artifact scanning lab equipped with a high-resolution laser scanner associated with computer system and software. The heart of the scanning lab is a Next Engine scanner. That device "paints" the object being scanned with four bands of an infrared laser to measure distances and angles and create an amazingly dense image of 67,000 points per square inch.

Artifact being scanned for creation of a 3-D model

In addition to allowing the development of the virtual museum, the scanning lab allows the ARI to provide scanning services for archeological researchers from various universities working in the Florida area. That resource will be an attractive feature for such researchers, allowing them to immediately document their findings and share them with colleagues anywhere in the world. It can also be used for scanning items other than archeological artifacts. Potential applications are almost unlimited.