Millennia ago, Florida was a much different place. Lower sea levels meant coastlines far removed from their present location. Odd beasts populated the temperate climes of the broad peninsula, from shoulder-high wolves, to giant sloths, to lions of unimaginable proportions. Very little would seem familiar to a modern visitor - except for the people. For thousands of years, people have populated the region, leaving traces of their presence scattered across the area, whether flooded in sinkholes or submerged offshore by rising sea levels, or hidden in plain sight like the hillocks formed by middens. Knowledge of the remnants and remains of Florida's past inhabitants continues to grow, in the process shedding new and surprising light on a rich, and surprisingly long, history of human occupation. This exploration of southern Florida's prehistory begins with an explanation of the peninsula's geologic formation. It then examines periods of human occupation: the Paleoindian period, the Archaic period, the Formative or Ceramic period, and the Historic period. The chapters illuminate the eras by looking at representative sites from each time period. Seven maps, and over forty sketches and photographs supplement the text. Three appendices reproduce treaties negotiated with the region's native tribes, and two others document the legal requirements for archeological exploration. A glossary, a bibliography of works on edible botanicals, a bibliography and an index are included.
Warren Zeiller is the retired vice president and general manager of the Miami Seaquarium, and has written several books about the area's marine life. He currently does lectures and lives in Miami, Florida.