The Archaeology of Arrowroot: Miami's First Industry

Robert S. Carr

in Digging Miami

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780813042060
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043463 | DOI:
The Archaeology of Arrowroot: Miami's First Industry

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This chapter examines the history and archaeology of the production of Zamia flour, a unique industry in South Florida during the nineteenth century. The origin of this pioneer economy is likely from contact with Seminoles but no records clearly indicate when that event may have occurred. Three coontie mills are discussed based on their archival history and archaeological evidence. The largest mill site is the Ferguson Mill established by 1844 at the headwaters of the Miami River. Salvage excavations there yielded numerous historic artifacts related to the mill workers. The discovery of the Arch Creek mill race in 1979 is also presented with its unique sluice cut into the limestone bedrock that controlled water flow between both sides of the natural arch. This mill may have been destroyed during a Union raid on rebel sympathizers during the Civil War.

Keywords: coontie; mill; Ferguson brothers; Arch Creek Mill

Chapter.  4830 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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