The Evolution of Calusa
A Nonagricultural Chiefdom of the Southwest Florida Coast
Publication Year: 1988
The aims of this study are twofold: compile, for the first time, all the archaeological, environmental, and geological data pertinent to the evolution of the aboriginal inhabitants of southwest Florida; and, using this basis, develop a specific, integrated, and dynamic model of cultural adaptation that will serve as a stimulus for hypotheses that go beyond simple culture-historical concerns for future archaeological research in this region.
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
List of Tables
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List of Figures
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Southwest Florida is a unique region of the United States. Having grown up in south Florida, I took for granted many of the special features of the unusual environment of the area. The extraordinarily good fishing had always impressed me, and I silently observed on many occasions that it would be impossible for anyone who could fish to starve in coastal south...
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On Friday, June 4, 1513, just two months after Ponce de Leon made his historic landing on the east coast of Florida, the earliest landing by Europeans in the southeastern United States (Lowery 1911), he arrived in the vicinity of Charlotte Harbor on the southwest Florida coast, where he encountered a hostile aboriginal group which we know as the...
2. Theoretical and Methodological Considerations in a Study of Coastal Adaptation
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The paradigm followed in this study is cultural materialism (Harris 1968, 1979; Price 1982). Its underlying principle maintains that "the causes of behavior are most parsimoniously sought with consistent reference to the material conditions of life" (Price 1982:709). As a paradigm, cultural materialism subsumes within it a number of theoretical positions, the most important...
3. The History of Archeological Research in Southwest Florida
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Professional archaeological interest in southwest Florida began about a hundred years ago and started as a result of the area's use as a winter vacation area (Milanich and Fairbanks 1980). Simmons's (1884) description of the extensive shell mounds in the Port Charlotte area was the first acknowledgment of the archaeology of southwest Florida. He observed in...
4. The Prehistory of Southwest Florida
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The specific phase and period names and artifact markers introduced here will be integrated in the subsequent chapters with the geology, ecology, demography, and subsistence and settlement patterns, and so no mention of these characteristics will be presented in this chapter. The taxonomy will follow typical usage developed for the eastern United States for the preceramic...
5. The Environment and Ecology of Southwest Florida
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The environmental characteristics of southwest Florida described here pertain to the premodern land-use conditions that were established about 2500 B.P. In recent times, land-use practices have drastically altered the environmental conditions (see Thomas 1974; Alexander and Crook 1984; DeGrove 1984; Gleason 1984; Parker 1984). The environment...
6. The History of Environmental Change in South Florida
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The static view of the physiography and ecosystem described in the previous chapter may not have pertained to the past, since paleoenvironmental and geological conditions were much different in the Late Pleistocene through Middle Holocene than currently found in the coastal area of southwest Florida. The coastal zone of southwest Florida was influenced by...
7. A Dynamic Model of the Prehistoric Coastal Adaptation in Southwest Florida
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The evolution of the prehistoric coastal adaptation in southwest Florida and the specific timing of the stages in its development are the result of the interplay of environmental, ecological, demographic, geological, and sociopolitical variabies. These variables have been schematically presented in...
8. The Subsistence and Settlement Characteristics of the Calusa Adaptation
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The settlement and subsistence characteristics of the post-A.D. 800 occupation of southwest Florida are reconstructed from archaeological data generated through past field research. Unfortunately, archaeological survey data necessary for the precise phasing and reconstructing of settlement patterns are absent for many areas of southwest Florida. Thus, the settlement...
9. The Sociopolitical Evolution of the Calusa Chiefdom
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The key to the evolution of ranking-that is, chiefdoms-has to be grounded initially in demography. Such hierarchically organized systems are not tolerated in societies with small populations, since differential access to material goods carry a higher energetic cost to the members of a society, and small numbers usually are unable to create the energy surplus to maintain...
10. Summary and Conclusions
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I have tried to show how environmental characteristics tended to shape the type of adaptation that emerged in southwest Florida and how the adequate implementation and maintenance of the adaptation required a series of behavioral responses of a sociopolitical nature. I have attempted to demonstrate the roles of various cultural and biological processes in this adaptation...
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Appendix: Radiocarbon Determinations for the Middle and Late Holocene Sea-Level Position
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Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 1988