Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 10:00 AM
PALEOENVIRONMENTAL RECONSTRUCTION OF TRIANGLE POND ADJACENT TO LUCAYAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, SAN SALVADOR, THE BAHAMAS
San Salvador Island, Bahamas, located on the windward side of the Bahamas archipelago, is a small island featuring a proportionally large number of inland lakes, most of which are formed between ancient sand dunes. Triangle Pond is located on the northwest side of the island, and like most of the island’s lakes, it is shallow and saline, but unlike most of the lakes, Triangle Ponds shape is defined by its formation between two nearly orthogonal dune crests. The lake also offers an interesting opportunity in studying native people’s relationships with their environment since it is located in close proximity to two Lucayan archaeological sites, Minnis-Ward (1100-1400 AD) and Palmetto Grove (850-1200 AD). These sites are located along the coastal ridge to the west and the dune north of the lake, respectively. Topographic data from maps from 1970s show that the beach barrier height along ridge west of the lake is at an elevation of 12 ft (3.7 m). Two topographic profiles were collected using the Emery leveling method along transects from the beach to Triangle Pond and located north and south of the bedrock promontory of Rocky Point. These data indicate that the lowest barrier elevation of 2.4 m is located south of the point and is the likely location of a paleoinlet connecting the lake basin to the sea. Our data also show that the lake rests at 1.4 m below sea level. In 2013, five cores were extracted from the edge of the pond approximately 70 m from the beach and on the northwest lake shoreline along what is hypothesized to be the location of the western tidal channel. These cores compliment data from five previous cores that were collected in 2009 within the deeper part of the lake basin parallel to the coastal ridge and adjacent to the Minnis-Ward archaeological site. Sediment characterization, macro/microfossil identification, Loss-on-Ignition (LOI) technique for organic matter and carbonate content, and SEM analyses of the cores were used to identify the main depositional units. Unit one at the top of the cores is dominated by algal material, similar to modern hypersaline lake conditions, but unit two is a sand of bioclastic and peloidal sub-rounded with sub-angular grains which likely indicates deeper water and less saline conditions during the time of Lucayan occupation; however, radiocarbon dating is needed to verify this interpretation.