HOLOCENE DEPOSITIONAL HISTORY OF SHAD POND, A HYPERSALINE COASTAL LAGOON, ELEUTHERA, BAHAMAS AND ITS INFLUENCE ON LUCAYAN OCCUPATION
The sedimentary sequence was composed of alternating lithofacies that included microbial mats, sand, and peat. Laminated mats often alternated with sandy layers in thin to medium-bedded units. Two peat layers were found in the basal part of the shore-distal core (Site 1) between 1.82-2.40 m and 2.53-2.54 m and were separated by a 13-cm-thick gray mud layer. In general, organic matter and carbonate content tracked granulometry and composition in all cores. High-resolution XRF scans of Ca and Sr at Site 1 show elevated levels ~3,700 cal yBP, which correlate with the top of the peat layer, but these elemental concentrations vary at Site 3. XRF measurements of Fe indicate a dust flux that has been recorded regionally throughout the Caribbean.
Dune transects and GPR profiles indicate a phased history of the pond, beginning with initial stages as an open lagoon dominated by red mangrove, with black mangrove and buttonwood also present. The lake likely closed at approximately 3,700 cal yBP indicated by the transition between the upper peat and microbial mat layers. This could have been due to increased storm events in a regime of rising sea level. Aeolian aggradation continued to heighten the barrier between the bedrock headlands to its present position. Hurricane overwash deposits punctuated the algal mat accumulation throughout this time period. Present-day hypersaline conditions sustain algal mats throughout the lake bottom. It is likely that the occupation by Lucayan culture was influenced by the position of the shoreline along southern Eleuthera and this lake was already unsuitable as a water source at the time of their arrival and occupation during 1300-600 years BP (AD 700-1400).