Understanding the late Pleistocene human occupation of the Americas is important to our recognizing the assumptions and traditions of the nineteenth-century and twentieth-century researchers who have considered this occupation substantively. We can characterize the initiating paradigm of the late 1800s and early 1900s as Neolithic First, meaning that no people occupied the Americas in the Pleistocene. A second paradigm, known as Clovis First, dominated academic conversations until the early twenty-first century. Now in a transformative time, we approach a paradigm based on the idea that no people occupied the Americas before about sixteen thousand years ago. During these academic maneuverings, the regional scene in Florida and the Southeast was sometimes confused by academic powerhouses elsewhere: southeastern archaeologists more or less reported their findings, and reports about Paleoindians in the Southeast usually accumulated without comment. But sometimes the wrath of “current thought” rained down on researchers such as E. H. Sellards for his work at the Vero Man site. After World War II, SCUBA complicated paradigm discussions with ever-increasing discoveries of late Pleistocene faunal remains and seemingly associated Paleoindian artifacts. It is with this background in mind that the various archaeological contexts will be explored and discussed in the chapters that follow.
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