“Makes the convincing case that the challenges of researching Florida’s submerged history are not insurmountable and that the insights gained could transform our understanding of the early cultures of Florida and the broader North American Southeast.”—Asa R. Randall, author of Constructing Histories: Archaic Freshwater Shell Mounds and Social Landscapes of the St. Johns River, Florida
“An exceptionally important reference tool for archaeologists in coastal and island environments in North America and worldwide.”—Todd J. Braje, author of Shellfish for the Celestial Empire: The Rise and Fall of Commercial Abalone Fishing in California
Presenting the most current research and thinking on prehistoric archaeology in the Southeast, New Directions in the Search for the First Floridians reexamines some of Florida’s most important Paleoindian sites and discusses emerging technologies and methods that are necessary knowledge for archaeologists working in the region today.
Using new analytical methods, contributors explore fresh perspectives on sites including Old Vero, Guest Mammoth, Page-Ladson, and Ray Hole Spring. They discuss the role of hydrology—rivers, springs, and coastal plain drainages—in the history of Florida’s earliest inhabitants. They address both the research challenges and the unique preservation capacity of the state’s many underwater sites, suggesting solutions for analyzing corroded lithic artifacts and submerged midden deposits.
Looking towards future research, archaeologists discuss strategies for finding additional pre-Clovis and Clovis-era sites offshore on the southeastern continental shelf. The search is important, these essays show, because Florida’s prehistoric sites hold critical data for the debate over the nature and timing of the first human colonization of the Western Hemisphere.
David K. Thulman is professorial lecturer of anthropology at George Washington University and president of the Archaeological Research Cooperative, Inc. Ervan G. Garrison, professor of anthropology and geology at the University of Georgia, is the author of Techniques in Archaeological Geology.