Paleoindian Societies of the Coastal Southeast

James S. Dunbar

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“A masterful review of Paleoindian archaeology of Florida. . . . [And] a landmark synthesis of the remarkable archaeological record of a key region in North America.”—Journal of Anthropological Research     
“A readable and welcome compendium to the scholarship of the Paleoindian period in the United States.”—American Antiquity
"Dunbar presents new information, perspectives, and interpretations that will have a significant impact on the way archaeologists think about the initial settlement of the lower Southeast and how the dynamic late Pleistocene-early Holocene landscape influenced the lives of Paleoindian people."—Richard W. Jefferies, author of The Archaeology of Carrier Mills: 10,000 Years in the Saline Valley of Illinois

"Dunbar takes the reader on an extensive, multidisciplinary journey and presents a composite picture of an environment and a way of life at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary."—Barbara Purdy, coauthor of How to Do Archaeology the Right Way, second edition

"Crosses interdisciplinary boundaries to provide a remarkable sketch of the history of Paleoindian research as well as excellent overviews of issues that consider the intertwining of terrestrial, oceanographic, and glacial aspects of the peopling of the Americas."—Dennis Stanford, author of Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

The late Pleistocene-early Holocene landscape hosted more species and greater numbers of them in the Southeast compared to any other region in North America at that time. Yet James Dunbar posits that a misguided reliance on using Old World origins to validate New World evidence has stalled research in this area. Rejecting the one-size-fits-all approach to Pleistocene archaeological sites, Dunbar analyzes five areas of contextual data—stratigraphy; chronology; paleoclimate; the combined consideration of habitat, resource availability, and subsistence; and artifacts and technology—to resolve unanswered questions surrounding the Paleoindian occupation of the Americas.

Through his extensive research, Dunbar demonstrates a masterful understanding of the lifeways of the region’s people and the animals they hunted, showing that the geography and diversity of food sources was unique to that period. He suggests that the most important archaeological and paleontological resources in the Americas still remain undiscovered in Florida’s karst river basins. Building a case for the wealth of information yet to be unearthed, he provides a fresh perspective on the distant past and an original way of thinking about early life on the land mass we call Florida.

James S. Dunbar retired after more than 35 years of service with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. He currently serves as an archaeological consultant and is a founder of the Aucilla Research Institute, Inc.
A volume in the Florida Museum of Natural History: Ripley P. Bullen Series
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