The Tequesta of South Florida
AUTHOR: McGoun, William E.
PUBLISHER: University Press of Florida
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"Ancient Miamians places a prehistoric face on a Miami that too often is regarded as a modern postscript to Flagler's railroad. McGoun paints 10,000 years of human history onto a missing piece of Florida archaeology."--Robert S. Carr, director, Dade County Historic Preservation Division
"Presents widely scattered archaeological information in a novel and very accessible way. The literary device of 'a day in the life' is especially useful in bringing life to the standard archaeological facts."--James J. Miller, state archaeologist and chief, Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, Division of Historical Resources
Focusing on the Native Americans the Spanish called Tequesta and their ancestors, Ancient Miamians covers the 10,000 years from 8,000 B.C. to A.D. 1761, painting a vivid word portrait of a resident from each of six eras as they make tools, obtain food, deal with their fellow humans, and seek harmony with the forces that govern their lives. From first light to evening firelight, McGoun presents for the non-specialist a series of narratives depicting a single day in each of the lives of six typical men and women who once lived on the land around present-day Biscayne Bay.
This concise and readable tale of the remarkable predecessors of Miami-Dade's current 2 million residents is the first such treatment of Florida's pre-European and early historic native people. Without violating archaeological fact, McGoun includes the major cultural periods and significant archaeological sites in the region, all in terms of day-to-day life rendered in engaging narrative. The story begins with the first settlers, who moved down the Florida peninsula more than 10 millennia ago, pursuing large animals that are now mostly extinct. It draws to a close with the 250 years that saw the Tequesta themselves become extinct, beginning with a time when "the English and their friends just won't take 'Go away' for an answer, and they become such pests that finally even the Spaniards look good, or at least better."
Bibliographic summaries allow readers to extend the scope of their exploration beyond this fictionalized reconstruction of prehistoric culture.
William E. McGoun is a longtime journalist and anthropologist.
PUBLICATION DATE: 5/23/2002
CATEGORY: Social Science