SAFETY HARBOR STEMMED

Lloyd Schroder collection

The Safety Harbor stemmed point was first reported by Son Anderson (1984) and was originally named for the Weeden Island culture. Anderson's research centered around the Tampa Bay area. The type has also been referred to as the Cooley point, as Mr. Brad Cooley had found so many of them. The Cooley site, named by Ripley Bullen for Mr. Brad Cooley who had located it, also contain a Safety Harbor related point.

The Safety Harbor stemmed is a small point measuring between 1 and 2 inches in length. The type resembles miniature Middle Archaic stemmed points. The blade is triangular with straight to slightly convex blade edges and an acute distal and. Shoulders may be straight, slightly angular, tapering, or may be Barbed. The Tang tapers slightly to a flat or rounded basal edge. One example from the Florida archives with a broad, rounded tang may have been a form of repair to a broken stem. Flaking is generally random with fair to good workmanship.

Two examples of a Safety Harbor corner notched point were recently noted in the collection of the Florida State archives. Both examples had convex, serrated blade edges. Serration flakes were taken from both faces of the blade from the barb to the acute distal end. The Tang expands into a corner notch form. The Safety Harbor Stemmed and Safety Harbor Corner Notched points are both believed to have been used during the historic phases of the Safety Harbor culture in the Tampa Bay area. The more common Safety Harbor stemmed point, referred to as the Weeden Island point by John Powell (1990), is described as a "Middle to Late Woodland period arrowhead." The type is illustrated by Gordon R. Willie (1949) as artifacts from the Safety Harbor period Parish Mound III in Manatee County, Florida. This mound is located inland in the cecum-Tampa Bay region of the Safety Harbor culture and seems to date to the Tatham phase between 1500 and 1567 A.D. as the mound also contain European artifacts. The Cooley site in Hillsboro County, located at the present site of the big Ben power plant, was a heavily eroded archaic burial, but also contained one intrusive Safety Harbor point and one Safety Harbor stemmed point. Many examples have been recovered from Hernando and Hillsborough counties and seem to be related to the late Manasota Weeden Island and subsequent Safety Harbor cultures. Gregory Mikell (1994) also recovered an example of the Safety Harbor Stemmed point from a Fort Walton village site (eight WL 38). The site dated to between A.D. 1200 to 1550, based on the presence of European artifacts at the site. This may be a further indication of the trade between the Safety Harbor and Fort Walton cultures. One example, made of coral, was also recovered from Hontoon Island along the St. Johns River at the site of the Jororo village and the Thomas mound. The historical period site also contained Pinellas points and European trade materials (Purdy 1987).

The Safety Harbor Stemmed points are fairly localized within the Tampa Bay region and the Safety Harbor and perhaps Manasota cultures from Manatee County north to Pascoe County. Occasionally examples may occur through trade in other associated culture areas. Powel indicates a distribution from Florida to Mississippi, perhaps referring to the Edwards point of that region and similar periods, but there seems to be no cultural association. Mr. Cooley has also reported recovering a similar point with a wider stem from Jackson County, Florida.