To give substance to bare facts, the author set out to learn firsthand some of the skills that primitive people developed in order to survive. During the five years required to write this book, he replicated many primitive technologies. He fashioned a prehistoric toolkit from stone, wood, bone, and shell, then used the implements to carve wood, twist palm fiber into twine and rope, make and decorate pottery, and weave fabric. Although his success varied, each experiment increased his respect for Florida's early inhabitants. The descriptions of these procedures are detailed enough to allow the reader to try his or her hand at similar aboriginal crafts.
Florida's First People combines contemporary archaeology, the writings of early European explorers, and replication experiments to paint a vivid picture of the state's original inhabitants. It allows us to share in their daily tasks, examine their artistic and ceremonial artifacts, follow them in the hunt, and experience their environment. We can witness their rituals and smell their fires.
“Authoritative, readable, and splendidly illustrated. The 12,000+-year history of Florida's real natives is told sympathetically and factually, relying on modern archaeological findings and the author's own experiments with native technology . . . a book for all ages.“
—William H. Marquardt, Curator in Archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History