“Through careful and thorough archaeological research, Pluckhahn and Thompson have cleared away the speculations and provided a readable interpretation of this archaeological site and its importance.”—Jeffrey M. Mitchem, editor of The West and Central Florida Expeditions of Clarence Bloomfield Moore
“Significantly advances our knowledge by providing exciting new—and sometimes surprising—information about a Florida archaeological site that has been justly famous for over a century.”—William H. Marquardt, coauthor of The Calusa and Their Legacy: South Florida People and Their Environments
“All regional archaeologists of the prehistoric Southeast, and especially those of the Archaic and Woodland periods, will find this book useful.”—Keith Stephenson, director, Savannah River Archaeological Research Program
New Histories of Village Life at Crystal River explores how native peoples of the Southeastern United States cooperated to form large and permanent early villages using the site of Crystal River on Florida’s Gulf Coast as a case study.
Crystal River was once among the most celebrated sites of the Woodland period (ca. 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1050), consisting of ten mounds and large numbers of diverse artifacts from the Hopewell culture. But a lack of research using contemporary methods at this site—and nearby Roberts Island—limited a full understanding of what these sites could tell scholars. Thomas Pluckhahn and Victor Thompson reanalyze previous excavations and conduct new field investigations to tell the whole story of Crystal River from its beginnings as a ceremonial center through its growth into a large village to its decline at the turn of the first millennium while Roberts Island and other nearby areas thrived.
Comparing this community to similar sites on the Gulf Coast and in other areas of the world, Pluckhahn and Thompson argue that Crystal River is an example of an “early village society.” They illustrate that these early villages present important evidence in a larger debate regarding the role of competition versus cooperation in the development of human societies.
Thomas J. Pluckhahn, professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, is the author of Kolomoki: Settlement, Ceremony, and Status in the Deep South, A.D. 350 to 750. Victor D. Thompson, professor of archaeology at the University of Georgia, is coeditor of The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Small Scale Economies.