Aboriginal Settlements and Artifacts from Niceville Sites

(Website best viewed on Windows Internet Explorer as a section of the NICEVILLE, FLORIDA - Onlne History center)

HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM TO PRESERVE NATIVE AMERICAN HISTORY

Museum Location, Personnel, Publications and Comments:

Location: 115 Westview Ave., Valparaiso, FL 32580 904-678-2615.

Personnel: Mrs. Christian S. LaRoche, Museum Dir. Contact: Christian S. LaRoche, P. O. Box 488, Valparaiso, FL 32580. Founded: 1969; Scope: Local Availability: Open to the public; Admission: Free Visitors: General public, School groups, Ethnic community. Staff: 26 (1 full time, salaried; 25 volunteers); Operating budget: $23,000

Publications: New Growth, quarterly. Collection: Ca. 1,500 books, periodicals, audiovisual materials, artifacts, works of art, and archives (personal papers and correspondence, thesis and dissertations, manuscripts, oral histories). The collection is partially cataloged.

Comments: The mission is to preserve documentary and photographic data and artifacts that illustrate the Native American history and cultural composition of the area. (Source: Guide to information resources in ethnic museum, library, and archival collections in the United States. Authors: Lois Buttlar, Lubomyr Roman Wynar 1996 (Native American Resources p. 247 of 369 pages.)

Former Museum Director Died:

Christian S. LaRoche of Niceville passed away Thursday March 30, 2006 in Pensacola after a sudden fall in her home. (Source: Florida Times Union April 7, 2006)

ABORIGINAL SETTLEMENTS IN THE NICEVILLE AREA

Fort Walton Temple Mound: (Note: This is the most significant aboriginal archaelogical site in the area.)

    "Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964, Florida's Fort Walton Temple Mound was once the center of one of the largest and most advanced civilizations on the Gulf Coast.
   Now preserved by the City of Fort Walton Beach, the mound is 17 feet tall and 223 feet long across the base. Built 1,000 years ago, it was the centerpiece of a large group of smaller mounds located in the heart of what is now downtown Fort Walton Beach.
   The mound dates from the time of the Mississippian culture. Due to the size and significance of the site, archaeologists have applied the name "Fort Walton" to the phase of the Mississippian culture that once existed throughout Northwest Florida.
   The Fort Walton site was abandoned by around 1500 A.D., but scientists remain uncertain of the exact reason. For unclear reasons, people of the Mississippian culture walked away from their massive ceremonial centers across the South at about that time. Other mound complexes in Florida, such as the Lake Jackson Mounds in Tallahassee, were similarly abandoned.
   It has been speculated that this may have had something to do with the arrival of Europeans in North America, but the earliest Spanish explorers of Florida found the sites already abandoned.
   By the time of the Civil War, the mounds at Fort Walton Beach had become overgrown objects of curiosity. Confederate soldiers established Camp Walton at the base of the temple mound in 1861 to guard Santa Rosa Sound and Choctawhatchee Bay. They dug out a nearby shell mound for use as a cannon emplacement, exhibiting the relics and skeletons they found at their camp. The items were destroyed by fire when Camp Walton was shelled by Union troops on April 1, 1862." (Source: ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Fort Walton Temple Mound, Florida)

Mound Near Black Point, Choctawhatchee Bay, Walton County, Florida:

    "About one-quarter mile in a northwesterly direction from Black Point, in scrub, formerly a cultivated field, on Government property, is a rather symmetrical mound of circular outline with basal diameter of 83 feet.
The diameter of the summit plateau is 46 feet. Thorough trenching showed the mound to have been a place of residence only. Isolated sherds lay here and there in the sand of which the mound was composed, some of excellent quality, undecorated, with the check-stamep, with the complicated stamp and with incised decoration." (Source: The Northwest Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore (from 1901 - 1918) pages 80-81)

Mounds Near Rocky Bayou, Choctawhatchee Bay, Walton County, Florida:

    "On the west side of Rocky Bayou, about 1.5 miles up, in scrub, not far from the water's edge, was a mound, circular in outline, 28 feet across the base and 2 feet 3 inches in height. A small trench had been dug through the central part.
   This mound, which was demolished by us, was of unstratified sand. Three badly decayed skulls, each with some fragments of other bones, were met with and a few small pieces of bone lying alone.
   About 8 inches below the surface, apparently unassociated, was a tobacco pipe of soapstone, similar to those we found in mounds near the mouth of the St. John's River, Florida, where the orifice for the stem almost equals in size the bowl of the pipe. In shape the pipe forms almost a right-angle with one side 4 inches in length, the other side, 3 inches.
   With human remains, near together, were five small vessels of yellow ware, all perforate as to the base. Three are undecorated bowls, each of about one-half pint capacity. Another, semi-globular, 3.6 inches in maximum diameter, has the rim turning inward to leave an aperture of about 1.7 inches. The height is about 2.4 inches. The fifth vessel has the form of a gourd. Its length is 4.6 inches; its height, 2.8 inches. The diameter of aperture is 1.4 inches (Fig. 47). The end of the stem has a small irregular hold which seems to have come through decay.
   A graceful "celt," probably of igneous rock, with well-ground edge and rounded end, 8.5 inches in length, lay near the surface. In various parts of the mound were several vessels, parts of vessels and sherds, of no particular interest.
About 100 yards east of the eastern side of the mouth of Rocky Bayou, in a field formerly cultivated but now overgrown with scrib, is a mound of irr3egular outline, with basal diameters of 72 feet and 112 feet. The height is 4 feet. Careful trenching gave every indication that the mound had been dociciliary in character." (Source: The Northwest Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore (from 1901 - 1918) page 81)

Indian Temple Mound Museum:

    "Adjacent to the mound is the (Fort Walton) Indian Temple Mound Museum, which preserves more than 6,000 artifacts excavated by archaeologists along Florida's Gulf Coast. Included in the collection are many fine examples of Fort Walton pottery and artwork." (Source: ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Fort Walton Temple Mound, Florida)  

ABORIGINAL ARTIFACTS TAKEN FROM TWELVE NICEVILLE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES  (Source: State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Archives, History and Records Management)  (Note: These aboriginal artifacts establish Niceville as a location of prehistoric settlement. These artifacts were not preserved in Niceville and are difficult to locate today. Most probably some artifacts went to the Indian Temple Mound Museum (see above) as the recorder for some sites was W. C. Lazarus who gave the museum as his address.

1. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK34 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus and Gerald Spence (1951):

OK34

OK34 continued

2. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK37 Niceville, Recorder Gerald Spence (1959):

Indian Artifact Site OK37

3. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK42 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus (1960):

Indian Artifact Site OK42

4. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK53 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus and Gerald Spence (1990):

Indian Artifact Site OK53

5. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK55 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus and Gerald Spence (1961):

OK55

6. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK56 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus and Gerald Spence (1961):

OK56

7. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK63 Niceville, Reporter Neill J. Wallis (2010):

OK63

8. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK64 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus, Cherry, Webb and Owen (1961):

OK64

9. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK65 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus and Jerry E. Flexman (1961):

OK65

10. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK67 Niceville, Reporter Gerald Spence and F. Duncan (1962):

OK67

11. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK73 Niceville, Reporter W.C. Lazarus and Jack Webb (1962:

OK73

12. Aboriginal, Pre-Columbian Artifacts from Site OK96 Niceville, Reporter Nidy, L. Scott, W. Browning and G. Ballo (1991):

OK96