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Late Prehistoric Florida

Archaeology at the Edge of the Mississippian World

Keith Ashley

Publication Year: 2012

Prehistoric Florida societies, particularly those of the peninsula, have been largely ignored or given only minor consideration in overviews of the Mississippian southeast (A.D. 1000-1600). This groundbreaking volume lifts the veil of uniformity frequently draped over these regions in the literature, providing the first comprehensive examination of Mississippi-period archaeology in the state.

Featuring contributions from some of the most prominent researchers in the field, this collection describes and synthesizes the latest data from excavations throughout Florida. In doing so, it reveals a diverse and vibrant collection of cleared-field maize farmers, part-time gardeners, hunter-gatherers, and coastal and riverine fisher/shellfish collectors who formed a distinctive part of the Mississipian southeast.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

The aboriginal inhabitants of Florida were the first people of what is now the United States to be encountered and described by sixteenth-century Old World explorers. As a consequence, their cultures were severely impacted and their numbers decimated by these foreign invaders. ...

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1. Late Prehistoric Florida: An Introduction

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pp. 1-28

The archaeological record of late prehistoric Florida is often bypassed or devalued by scholars outside the state, many of whom tend to view Florida natives as somehow cut off from the supposedly more complex and important developments of the interior Southeast. ...

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2. Southwest Florida during the Mississippi Period

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pp. 29-61

This book focuses on the Mississippi period, ca. A.D. 1000 to 1500. In the archaeology of the southeastern United States, “Mississippian” generally means chiefdom-level societies that “practiced a maize-based agriculture, constructed (generally) platform mounds for elite residences and various corporate and public functions, ...

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3. Mississippian Influence in the Glades, Belle Glade, and East Okeechobee Areas of South Florida

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pp. 62-80

The effects of the sweeping tide of “Mississippianization” across the greater Southeast upon Native Americans in southeastern Florida (including the Lake Okeechobee area) have received little attention by scholars. Mississippian influences in the extreme southern end of the peninsula appear to have been ephemeral at best, ...

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4. The Indian River Region during the Mississippi Period

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pp. 81-99

The Indian River region of east-central Florida was inhabited by mobile fisher-hunter-gatherers for millennia prior to European arrival. Though they had contact with neighboring peoples during this time, Indian River populations were largely severed from intensive interactions with the broader Southeast ...

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5. Early St. Johns II Interaction, Exchange, and Politics: A View from Northeastern Florida

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pp. 100-125

The presence of raw materials and Mississippian artifacts on sites far from their place of origin speaks of complex interaction networks that connected many mound centers and smaller communities across the greater Southeast. Natives living along the St. Johns River were clearly involved in these interregional exchanges, ...

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6. The Alachua of North-Central Florida

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pp. 126-148

North-central Florida was home to the sixteenth-century Potano Timucua, who, according to European documents, were maize farmers organized into simple chiefdoms (Hann 1996; Worth 1998a). From an archaeological perspective the Potano and their precolumbian predecessors are represented by the Alachua culture. ...

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7. An Overview of the Suwannee Valley Culture

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pp. 149-171

During the Mississippi period the interior riverine region of northern Florida was characterized by an archaeological culture that, by almost any measure, seems to have lacked any of the more obvious and visible trappings of the otherwise widespread Mississippian cultural phenomenon, including platform mounds, ...

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8. Safety Harbor: Mississippian Influence in the Circum–Tampa Bay Region

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pp. 172-185

The Mississippi-period occupation in the central peninsular Gulf coast Florida region (figure 8.1) has been termed Safety Harbor by archaeologists (Milanich 1994: 389–412; Mitchem 1989: 556). Gordon Willey (1949a: 475–88) was the first to define formally what he termed the Safety Harbor period, ...

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9. Fort Walton Culture in the Tallahassee Hills

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pp. 186-230

Mississippi-period archaeology in the Tallahassee Hills region suffers from a surfeit of interpretation by proxy. We have the illusion of interpretation but the reality of a database representing very few local sites. Local culture history is woefully underdeveloped from local archaeological evidence. ...

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10. Fort Walton Culture in the Apalachicola Valley, Northwest Florida

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pp. 231-274

Fort Walton is the Mississippian variant in northwest Florida–south Alabama–southwest Georgia, defined 60 years ago by Gordon Willey (1949a), and characterized by agricultural villages, temple mounds, and Mississippian forms of ceramics that are, however, not shell tempered like most other Mississippian pottery, ...

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11. Defining Pensacola and Fort Walton Cultures in the Western Panhandle

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pp. 275-295

Pensacola culture is an archaeological construct first defined by Gordon Willey (1949a) based on a series of plain and decorated shell-tempered pottery found on the Gulf coast of the western Florida panhandle (figure 11.1). Although he recognized the distinctive pottery as somehow related to Moundville-influenced ceramics ...

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12. The Mississippi Period in Florida: A View from the Mississippian World of Cahokia

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pp. 296-310

In this closing chapter I attempt to place the Mississippi-period societies of Florida within a much broader temporal and spatial context of the larger Mississippian world, from the perspective that reflects my area of expertise, Cahokia, located within the central Mississippi River valley. ...

References Cited

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pp. 311-362

List of Contributors

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pp. 363-364


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pp. 365-398

Further Reading

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813043586
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813040141
Print-ISBN-10: 0813040140

Page Count: 388
Illustrations: 25 b&w photos, 35 maps, 21 tables
Publication Year: 2012