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Reviews371 At this point Milanich is to be commended for his treatment of what could easily have become tedious—and even boring—archaeological data. He keeps the subject interesting by intertwining ideas from symbolic anthropology and ethnohistory with discussions of pottery sherds, projectile points, and other mundane artifacts archaeologists sometimes dwell upon. The importance of Florida's wetland sites continues to be seen in the two chapters that follow the discussion of Weeden Island: "Cultures of Eastern and Central Florida" and "The South Florida Cultures." At the Hontoon Island site on the St. Johns River, thirty different types of wood and eighty-two species of seeds and other plant parts were identified . The soggy, wet conditions at the site preserved this extraordinary sample of plant remains. In south Florida, remarkable wooden carvings and tablets have been recovered from areas such as Fort Center and the famous Key Marco site, famous for its excellent state of preservation. Com pollen from Fort Center, radiocarbon dated to 450 B.C., may represent the earliest evidence of maize in the eastern United States. Corn, however, did not become important in the economy of precolumbian Floridians or anyone else in the Southeast until after about A.D. 700. And this is the point that Milanich uses to begin the final section of the book. Many of the late precolumbian societies of Florida participated in a widespread eastem cultural tradition archaeologists call Mississippian. These large, complex societies were highly stratified and ruled by hereditary chiefs. These leaders, sanctioned by an elaborate ideological system and supported by the military, could coordinate large-scale communal activities necessary for defense, mound-building, and other activities. In Florida, as elsewhere in the Southeast, these Mississippian cultures depended on an intensive agricultural system that relied heavily on maize production. The chief controlled agricultural surpluses, using them to maintain warriors, artisans, and other specialists within the society. Milanich points out that not all of Florida was suited to this kind of agricultural subsistence technology. In particular, coastal areas continued to be occupied by cultures who relied heavily on aquatic resources and hunting yet still shared many traits with their Mississippian neighbors. Milanich presents an incredible amount of expertly distilled and synthesized data in a readable format. I will refer to this volume often as my career continues as a professional archaeologist, and I look forward to his upcoming book on Florida's Indians during the colonial period. The Seminóles of Florida. By James W. Covington. University Press of Florida, 1993. 379 pp. Cloth $49.95, paperback $18.95. Reviewed by Patricia B. Lerch, professor ofanthropology at the University ofNorth Carolina at Wilmington. Her most recent publications include "Powwows, Parades, and Social Drama among the Waccamaw Sioux," from Célébrations of Identity: Multiple Voices in American Ritual Performance, edited by Pamela R. Frese. Lerch writes on Native Americans in North Carolina, women and tourism in Barbados, and spiritpossession cults in Brazil. The Seminóles ofFlorida is a study of survival. Covington provides an extensive account of the transformation of the Creek Indians into Seminóles from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. The topic fascinates because he gives insight into the amazing human ability to persist against overwhelming force and odds. The author convincingly 372Southern Cultures demonstrates that although the Seminóles have assimilated, they remain Seminole. Covington tells a story of struggle, resistance, and adaptation that may provide a guide to tribal peoples who are still daily challenged and threatened by the encroachment of "civilization." The book is organized chronologically, with each chapter covering a major block of events significant in Seminole history. Covington begins before the earliest migrations of Creek into Northern Florida (circa 1500 to 1700) and ends with an epilogue noting that the population of Seminóles increased five times over (300 to 1,500) between 1858 and the present . These figures include on and off reservation people. A valuable census taken in 1813 and administrative data are included in Appendices A to D. Chapter 1 describes Seminole movement into Florida. Covington points out that the Seminóles were originally Creeks from Georgia and Alabama who began their migration into Florida at the beginning of the 18th...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 371-374
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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