February 18, 2017 2 P.M.
“The Native Americans of Florida from >12,000 Years Ago to Historic Contact”
Dr. Barbara Purdy, Professor Emeritus
“Penetrating the darkness of time is not an easy task when there are no people to interview and when more than 90% of material items have not survived. In this presentation, I first attempt to furnish the most accurate account available to describe native Floridians who lived here when climate conditions were vastly different, and when now extinct megafauna still roamed. The past becomes more visible with the emergence of modern flora, fauna, and landscapes around 7000-8000 years ago. The preservation of plant and animal species used for food, as well as stone, bone, wood, and shell artifacts add valuable pieces to the prehistoric puzzle. When ceramic technology is introduced around 4000 years ago, an even broader picture of social and ritual life is revealed. Works of art, although rare during early periods, increased through time and were created in many media, such as ivory, bone, wood, stone, shell, and ceramics. In the early 1500s AD, the descendants of this 12,000-year cultural evolution were encountered by the French and Spanish. This encounter soon led to the collapse of Florida’s Native American way of life.”