Florida's First People, Revised Edition

The early people who inhabited Florida—from about 12,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age until the first Europeans set foot in the state in the early 1500s—developed diverse, hardy, and complex societies. Dramatic archaeological advances in methods of excavation, preservation, and analysis are bringing to light a wealth of new information about these people and their lifestyles. Florida's First People uses the fascinating discoveries at five archaeological sites around the state to illustrate the major culture periods of Florida prehistory.

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

Paperback $29.95
ISBN: 978-1-56164-628-9
Size: 8.5 x 11
262 Pages

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