Archeologist hunts area for clues to settlement patterns

Published 6:52 pm Monday, June 28, 2004

By By ANNA M. LEE Managing Editor
Archeologist Duane Quates has been in this area for more than a month, doing preliminary research that may change the way archeologists study settlement patterns.
In the early 1800s, before this area was settled by white people, Pensacola became a marketplace and port where Creek and Seminole Indians traded deerskins and cattle with the Spanish.
In about 1815, after the Creek Indian War the Indians' land was turned over to the United States, and white people from South Carolina started to settle in this area.
The fact that settlers were coming here from the east, and their goods were being traded to the south, creates an unusual opportunity for archeological research.
For the six weeks Quates was here this summer, he spent his time scouting areas of interest throughout the Murder Creek/Conecuh River drainage area.
He was also in the area last summer, and hopes to be back next year with a crew of workers.
If Quates only finds evidence of very simple settlements in this area, he can attribute that lack of complexity to being so far from the origin of the immigration; if he finds more complex settlements, he knows that's due to the area's proximity to a marketplace (Pensacola).
On May 25, Quates spoke to the Escambia County Historical Society on "The Significance of Fort Crawford." Fort Crawford was built in 1815 or 1816, right around the same time that is of interest to Quates. According to Quates, Troy University is planning a survey of Fort Crawford and that research will be of use in his study of the area.