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Gathering at Silver GlenCommunity and History in Late Archaic Florida$
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Zackary I. Gilmore

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062716

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062716.001.0001

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Anonymizing Perspectives and Current Understandings of Florida’s Late Archaic Past

Anonymizing Perspectives and Current Understandings of Florida’s Late Archaic Past

(p.16) 1 Anonymizing Perspectives and Current Understandings of Florida’s Late Archaic Past
Gathering at Silver Glen

Zackary I. Gilmore

University Press of Florida

Chapter 1 considers some of the traditional anthropological assumptions commonly brought to bear on the study of premodern and nonagricultural societies and discusses the restrictions that they have placed on archaeological narratives of the Archaic Southeast. The chapter begins with the notion of “prehistory,” which has long been instrumental in maintaining a sharp divide between Western civilization and a primitive “Other” by obscuring the varied history-making practices of nonliterate peoples worldwide. Many of the pejorative connotations attached to this term are exacerbated when it is applied to “hunter-gatherers,” a category of people widely assumed to lack historical consciousness, long-term foresight, and the overall cultural wherewithal to transcend the determinative power of their natural surroundings. These general topics are used as an entry point into a more specific discussion regarding the generalized and largely ahistorical character of the archaeological accounts conventionally constructed for groups in the Archaic southeast. The chapter concludes with background on the Middle and Late Archaic periods in Florida’s middle St. Johns River valley and an assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the dominant archaeological approaches currently employed in this and neighbouring regions.

Keywords:   prehistory, hunter-gatherer, Archaic period, southeastern U.S., St. Johns River

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