Water from Stone:
Archaeology and Conservation at Florida's Springs

Jason O'Donoughue

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"O'Donoughue writes thoughtfully and poetically about Florida's geological history and long-term patterns of environmental change and cultural adaptation. A compelling case for the relevance of archaeology to current environmental concerns."--Christopher B. Rodning, coeditor of Fort San Juan and the Limits of Empire

"Examines Florida's critically important springs and discusses how they were used and modified over thousands of years by local inhabitants, placing the springs in a deep historic context while offering well-informed suggestions for their long term management and use."--David G. Anderson, coeditor of Archaeology of the Mid-Holocene Southeast


In Water from Stone, Jason O'Donoughue investigates the importance of natural springs to ancient Floridians. Throughout their history, Florida's springs have been gathering places for far-flung peoples. O'Donoughue finds that springs began flowing several millennia earlier than previously thought, serving as sites of habitation, burials, ritualized feasting, and monument building for Florida's earliest peoples.

O'Donoughue moves beyond the focus on the ecological roles of springs and the current popular image of springs as timeless and pristine, approaches taken by many archaeologists and conservationists. He argues for an archaeological perspective that emphasizes the social and historical importance of springs, explaining how this viewpoint creates a bridge between past and present, enhances the intrinsic value of springs, and is vital to the success of contemporary conservation efforts.

Jason O'Donoughue is an archaeologist at the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research in Tallahassee.

A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series
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