The Importance of Yat Kitischee

Imagine trying to explain to someone living in a foreign land what life is like back home in Florida by showing them photographs of Disney World, the Thunder Dome or Tyrone Mall. “Where do people live?” they might ask. “Where do they work and what do they do for a living? What kinds of clothing styles are popular? Are the people healthy? How do you deal with pollution and garbage disposal?” You wouldn’t be able to answer these questions because your photographs show some, but not all, aspects of modern life. It seems silly, doesn’t it? No one would try to portray the complexity of life in any society with such a limited sample of photographs. But for many years archaeologists did something very similar by focusing their attention on burial mounds, shell mounds, and large complex sites like Weedon Island and Safety Harbor. But just like in our modern example, archaeologists soon found that to understand prehistoric life in all of its detail, it was necessary to study the smaller villages, hamlets and campsites as well.

At Yat Kitischee, archaeologists were very excited to have the chance to discover what life in a typical coastal hamlet might have been like. They were especially excited because the site was known to have been occupied at the same time that the nearby Weedon Island site was flourishing. And people continued to live there during the time when sites such as Safety Harbor eclipsed Weedon Island as important centers for ceremonial, political, and social gatherings.