“Explores the current diversity of academic thought on the early human occupation of the American Southeast.”—Ervan Garrison, author of Techniques in Archaeological Geology
“The early occupation of the Southeast for too long has been treated as essentially invariable, and contributors to this volume address this with new methods and data.”—Philip J. Carr, coeditor of Contemporary Lithic Analysis in the Southeast: Problems, Solutions, and Interpretations
Bringing together major archaeological research projects from Virginia to Alabama, this volume explores the rich prehistory of the Southeastern Coastal Plain. Contributors consider how the region’s warm weather, abundant water, and geography have long been optimal for the habitation of people beginning 50,000 years ago. They highlight demographic changes and cultural connections across this wide span of time and space.
New data are provided here for many sites, including evidence for human settlement before the Clovis period at the famous Topper site in South Carolina. Contributors track the progression of sea level rise that gradually submerged shorelines and landscapes, and they discuss the possibility of a comet collision that triggered the Younger Dryas cold reversion and contributed to the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna like mastodons and mammoths. Essays also examine the various stone materials used by prehistoric foragers, the location of chert quarries, and the details stone tools reveal about social interaction and mobility.
Early Human Life on the Southeastern Coastal Plain synthesizes more than fifty years of research and addresses many of today’s controversial questions in the archaeology of the early Southeast, such as the sudden demise of the Clovis technoculture and the recognition of the mysterious “Middle Paleoindian” period.
Albert C. Goodyear is a retired research affiliate at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology and director of the Southeastern Paleoamerican Survey. Christopher R. Moore is a geoarchaeologist with the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program.