Research at Crystal River and Roberts Island Shell Mound Complex, on the western coast of Florida, USA, offers a quantitative assessment of the temporality of shell deposit construction, Native subsistence practices, and mobility patterns through stable oxygen isotope data from eastern oyster (C. virginica). The δ18Owater values of oysters vary synchronously with salinity, assuming relatively constant δ18Owater/salinity gradients since the time of occupation, allowing for an examination of shifts in oyster habitat exploitation over time. Our previous (Thompson et al. 2015) study indicated that midden accumulation occurred throughout the year, while oysters from mound deposits were collected in colder months. New data indicate that in addition to differential season of collection, habitat exploitation also varied. During early occupation at the site, oysters were collected primarily from lower saline habitats, while in later phases oysters were obtained from higher salinity waters; we relate this to a lower sea level and concomitant settlement shift seaward. Additionally, oyster from later mound contexts was collected from higher saline habitats relative to those in midden contexts; Native people may have targeted specific bioherms at certain times for the year for feasting-related mound construction.
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