Tolbert Farm: a Paleo-Early Archaic Site complex near Jacksonville, Alabama

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Date: Oct. 2002
Publisher: Alabama Academy of Science
Document Type: Article
Length: 3,466 words

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The Tolbert Farm Complex is located along a tributary branch of Tallasseehatchee Creek. These sites are of interest for two reasons: (1) the diversity and density of Paleoindian/Early Archaic bifaces recovered from the complex as compared to other regional archaic sites; and (2) the fact that these sites lie nearly twenty miles east of the Coosa River along a small tributary branch. The geographical location of the Tolbert Farm Complex along Little Tallasseehatchee Creek, whose headwaters originate in Whites Gap providing a major east-west entry across Choccolocco Mountain, may explain the presence of this prolific early site complex and similar Paleoindian/Early Archaic sites located in the vicinity of Whites Gap and nearby Bains Gap.


The Tolbert Farm Site Complex is situated along Little Tallasseehatchee Creek, a tributary of Tallasseehatchee Creek located just southwest of the city of Jacksonville, Alabama. Six multicomponent archaeological sites along this tributary have yielded a substantial number of diagnostic bifaces indicating a Late Paleoindian/Early Archaic cultural presence: 1Ca201, 1Ca202, 1Ca203, 1Ca204, 1Ca205 and 1Ca295. The Tolbert Farm Complex lies near the headwaters of Little Tallasseehatchee Creek, which originate in Whites Gap providing a major east-west corridor across Choccolocco Mountain. Whites Gap and Bains Gap, which lies six miles to the south, are the only two major crossing points along Choccolocco Mountain.

Choccolocco Mountain is basically a northeast-southwest trending ridge, which begins in the north near Piedmont, Alabama and runs in a southwesterly direction for over 30 miles terminating near Oxford, Alabama. This mountain range, averaging over 1000 feet above the surrounding valleys, presents a formidable barrier to east-west human population movements (Holstein and Little 1982). Whites Gap, lying approximately in the middle of the Choccolocco Mountain, provides a major east-west point into Choccolocco Valley and to the greenstone along the eastern side of this valley. The Tolbert Farm Complex property lying just west of Whites Gap is at the base of Choccolocco Mountain and along Little Tallasseehatchee Creek. These archaeological sites are situated directly in what would have been the logical path of the earliest east-west moving aboriginal population utilizing Whites Gap. Based on the presence of Paleoindian bifaces, it appears this east-west route was first utilized in late Pleistocene times (circa 9,000 BC).

Temporal placement of the Paleoindian period at 10,500-8000 BC, Early Archaic period at 8000-6000 BC, Middle Archaic at 6000-4000 BC, Late Archaic at 4000-700 BC, Early Woodland at 700-100 BC, Middle Woodland at 100 BC- AD 500, Late Woodland at AD 500-AD 1150, and Mississippian at AD 1150-1550 has been established by radiocarbon dates and stratigraphic relationships from Dust Cave in Northwest Alabama (Driskell 1994), Russell Cave in northeastern Alabama (Griffin 1974), and Stanfield-Worley Bluff Shelter in northern Alabama (DeJarnette, 1973).


The Tolbert Farm Complex lies approximately one mile southwest of Jacksonville, Alabama, along both banks of Little Tallasseehatchee Creek (see Figure 1). The complex is located in the Valley and Ridge Physiographic Province within the Weisner Ridge District, which separates the Coosa Valley District from the...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A108548393