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New Histories of Pre-Columbian Florida

Neill J. Wallis

Publication Year: 2014

Given its pivotal location between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, its numerous islands, its abundant flora and fauna, and its subtropical climate, Florida has long been ideal for human habitation. Yet Florida traditionally has been considered peripheral in the study of ancient cultures in North America, despite what it can reveal about social and climate change. The essays in this book resoundingly argue that Florida is in fact a crucial hub of archaeological inquiry.

New Histories of Pre-Columbian Florida represents the next wave of southeastern archaeology. Contributors use new data to challenge well-worn models of environmental determinism and localized social contact. Indeed, this volume makes a case for considerable interaction and exchange among Native Floridians and the greater Southeastern United States as seen by the variety of objects of distant origin and mound-building traditions that incorporated extraregional concepts. Themes of monumentality, human alterations of landscapes, the natural environment, ritual and mortuary practices, and coastal adaptations demonstrate the diversity, empirical richness, and broader anthropological significance of Florida’s aboriginal past.

Published by: University Press of Florida


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-ix

List of Tables

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pp. x-x

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Introduction: New Approaches to Ancient Florida

Neill J. Wallis and Asa R. Randall

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pp. 1-17

...place to be celebrated, visited, and recorded in photographs. These experiences are materialized in pieces of the state. Painted seashells, postcards, and other kitsch are redistributed globally as mnemonics of this particular paradise. Largely because of its striking beauty, the state is also upheld as one of the last great vestiges of primordial nature to be enjoyed in the...

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1. Archaic Histories beyond the Shell “Heap” on the St. Johns River

Asa R. Randall, Kenneth E. Sassaman, Zackary I. Gilmore, Meggan E. Blessing, and Jason M. O’Donoughue

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pp. 18-37

...communities who initiated their construction, they were places of residence and ceremony. The fact that they deposited diverse objects, materials, and ancestors on mound surfaces and incorporated these items within them attests to the ongoing importance of shell mounds in Archaic lives. Subsequent St. Johns period (ca. 3600–500 cal BP) communities also...

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2. Deconstructing and Reconstructing Caloosahatchee Shell Mound Building

Theresa Schober

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pp. 38-61

...Remnants of elevated mounds and ridges, sculpted canals, and watercourts are a visible yet subtle reminder of the once-thriving Calusa chiefdom in today’s southwest Florida landscape. The Calusa heartland was centered on the Greater Charlotte Harbor watershed from the Peace River to the north and the Cocohatchee River to the south, encompassing the large estuaries of Charlotte Harbor proper, Pine Island Sound, and...

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3. Monumentality beyond Scale: The Elaboration of Mounded Architecture at Crystal River

Thomas J. Pluckhahn and Victor D. Thompson

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pp. 62-73

...In most of these works, the term is never formally defined, although we suspect that the general understanding of monumental architecture is aptly expressed by Flannery’s Real Mesoamerican Archaeologist (RMA): “you couldn’t miss it if you tried” (Flannery 1976, 9). (Some might also subscribe to the RMA’s even less formal definition: “those mounds which require four-wheel...

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4. New Insights on the Woodland and Mississippi Periods of West-Peninsular Florida

George M. Luer

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pp. 74-93

...Harbor area, citing primarily burial mounds, shell middens, shell artifacts, and ceramics. I also bring together data from throughout west-peninsular Florida, the wider region stretching along the Gulf coast from just north of Crystal River to just south of Naples and extending inland...

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5. Radiocarbon Dates and the Late Prehistory of Tampa Bay

Robert J. Austin, Jeffrey M. Mitchem, and Brent R. Weisman

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pp. 94-120

...This landmark of cultural-historical reconstruction formed the basic chronological framework that we continue to use today. A comparison of his sequence of culture periods with Jerald Milanich’s 1994 chronology for the Central Peninsular Gulf Coast, which includes Willey’s central Gulf coast and Manatee regions, shows that despite a small site sample, Willey’s...

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6. Northwest Florida Woodland Mounds and Middens: The Sacred and Not So Secular

Michael Russo, Craig Dengel, and Jeffrey Shanks

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pp. 121-142

...conical mounds from one to three meters high and 15 to 20 meters in diameter. As for their contents, he provided numerous but cursory descriptions of mound artifacts and inhumation orientations. But the spatial relations of mounds to other site types were less often mentioned largely because nonmound...

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7. North Gulf Coastal Archaeology of the Here and Now

Andrea Palmiotto, and Asa R. Randall

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pp. 143-162

...By some measures, over half of the population of the United States today lives on or near the coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. In Florida, which boasts over 3,660 kilometers of tidal coastline, the proportion of coastal dwellers is much higher...

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8. The Modification and Manipulation of Landscape at Fort Center

Victor D. Thompson and Thomas J. Pluckhahn

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pp. 163-182

...west and 1 kilometer north-south, and is located at the junction of a river meander belt system, grass savannah, and oak hammock along Fisheating Creek (figure 8.1) (Thompson and Pluckhahn 2012; Sears 1982). While Fort Center is the most well-known and intensively researched site in the Belle Glade area, it is one of many large earthwork complexes that...

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9. Crafting Orange Pottery in Early Florida: Production and Distribution

Rebecca Saunders and Margaret K. Wrenn

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pp. 183-202

...Why pottery was adopted around the world in general—and specifically in the time and place it was in the southeastern United States—has been a topic of considerable concern for archaeologists. In this chapter, we discuss the origin and trajectory of Orange pottery in northeast Florida, one of the earliest potteries in the United States, by comparing...

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10. It’s Ceremonial, Right? Exploring Ritual in Ancient Southern Florida through the Miami Circle

Ryan J. Wheeler and Robert S. Carr

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pp. 203-222

...Many popular accounts of the Miami Circle site proposed that the circle feature carved into the limestone at the mouth of the Miami River was the center of ritual activity. The remains of a shark, a sea turtle, and a bottlenose dolphin buried at the site were thought to represent ritual interments and one fanciful newspaper account speculated that the basin features...

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11. Woodland and Mississippian in Northwest Florida: Part of the South but Different

Nancy Marie White

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pp. 223-242

...Like many other famous landforms with peninsulas (such as Italy), Florida has an “appendicular” portion extending into and surrounded by the sea and another connecting it to the edge of the continent; the archaeology of these two land features differs accordingly. My work is at the mainland edge, in the Apalachicola/Lower Chattahoochee Valley of northwest...

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12. Ritualized Practices of the Suwannee Valley Culture in North Florida

Neill J. Wallis

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pp. 243-261

...The study of ritual in archaeology often has been closely tied to the excavation and interpretation of mortuary contexts. From its colonial beginnings until just over half a century ago, much archaeology in southeastern North America took mortuary ritual as its primary...

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13. Ritual at the Mill Cove Complex: Realms beyond the River

Keith Ashley and Vicki Rolland

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pp. 262-282

...Copper plates, long-nosed god earpieces, and spatulate celts are not often thought of as the material possessions of foragers, particularly ones living at the edge of the early Mississippian world. But in northeastern Florida, St. Johns II (AD 900–1250) fisher-hunter-gatherers acquired appreciable quantities of stone, metal, and other mineral artifacts from far...

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List of Contributors

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pp. 283-286

...Keith Ashley is coordinator of archaeological research and instructor of anthropology in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of North Florida...


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pp. 287-302

E-ISBN-13: 9780813048970
E-ISBN-10: 0813048974
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813049366

Page Count: 310
Illustrations: 7 maps, 20 b&w photos, 24 illustrations
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 879948977
MUSE Marc Record: Download for New Histories of Pre-Columbian Florida

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Subject Headings

  • Indians of North America -- Florida -- Antiquities.
  • Mississippian culture -- Florida.
  • Woodland Indians -- Florida.
  • Excavations (Archaeology) -- Florida.
  • Kitchen-middens -- Florida.
  • Florida -- Antiquities.
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