The Lost Florida Manuscript of Frank Hamilton Cushing -

Kolianos, Phyllis E.

Published by University Press of Florida
ISBN 10: 0813028035 / ISBN 13: 9780813028033
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Synopsis: "The late 19th century was a time of great intellectual flowering, and Frank Hamilton Cushing bloomed along with his contemporaries. His genius and scholarship are apparent once again with the publication of this lost manuscript. How fortunate for Florida that Cushing arrived on the Gulf Coast in the 1890s and recorded everything that 'his eyes beheld.' His vivid descriptions of the environment and its inhabitants furnish a mental picture of a time and place that have long since vanished."--Barbara A. Purdy, professor emerita, University of Florida, and curator emerita, Florida Museum of Natural History "Frank Cushing's long-lost archaeological manuscript adds important details on the Hope and Safford mounds as well as a host of other coastal sites in southwest Florida. It also firmly established Cushing as an important and innovative anthropological archaeologist whose methods and techniques were well ahead of his time."--William H. Marquardt, curator in archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History  Frank Hamilton Cushing's "forgotten" manuscript, considered by some to be the legendary anthropologist's masterwork, conveys the untamed and undeveloped nature of south Florida in the 1890s and offers new insights into Cushing's significant contributions to Florida archaeology. It describes his initial reconnaissance in 1895 to southwest Florida and his comparative evaluations of artifacts excavated in Tarpon Springs area the following year. The original manuscript--some 708 typed half-pages--was housed in the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Archives in Washington, D.C., and only recently recognized as the "lost" Florida volume that Cushing was preparing at the time of his death in 1900. At that time, the editors observe, "Florida was an archaeological terra incognita." Considered a genius even by his detractors, Cushing had no predecessor on the Gulf Coast, particularly in the southern area from Charlotte Harbor to Key Marco, and Florida occupied a marginal position both geographically and intellectually, quite distant from the center of archaeological thought. The limited amount of time Cushing spent in Florida and the limited range of his actual travels make the scale and insight of his observations all the more remarkable.  In reading Cushing, the editors write, they were struck by the immediacy of his comprehension of the inextricable relationships between ancient cultures and the environments in which they lived. The manuscript presents keen observations of the region's vegetation and terrain, including clear descriptions of its sinkhole system, underground aquifer, and archaeological sites that existed prior to extensive development.  The work culminates in Cushing's impressive attempt to connect the prehistoric civilizations of Florida, the American Southwest, Mexico, the Yucatan, and the Mississippi valley into one massive "continental arc" of culture. It presents all of Cushing's original narrative, glossed with contextual material, and it includes his original figures when available. This grand intellectual synthesis of Cushing's Florida fieldwork reflects his role in shaping American anthropology and in the interaction among the early structure of scientific inquiry, the geological vastness of the American continent, and the cultural diversity of its native peoples.  Phyllis E. Kolianos is environmental education manager for the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center. Brent R. Weisman is associate professor of anthropology at the University of South Florida, Tampa.   

Book Description: "In addition to a wealth of archaeological evidence, Frank Hamilton Cushing left a treasure trove of fascinating images of Florida's Gulf Coast as it appeared to him in the late 19th century. I wish I could visit these places and see what his eyes saw more than 100 years ago."--Barbara A. Purdy, professor emerita, University of Florida, and curator emerita, Florida Museum of Natural History   "Brings to light the long-missing Florida journals of one of the most brilliant yet tragic figures of anthropology. Through Frank Cushing's poignant writings, the reader will learn about one of the most important archaeological excavations ever undertaken and glimpse a still-wild south Florida on the threshold of developments that would change it forever."--William H. Marquardt, curator in archaeology, Florida Museum of Natural History   These previously unpublished journals by one of the most complex and enigmatic American anthropologists, Frank Hamilton Cushing (1854-1900), offer a dramatically new perspective on his Florida explorations. Recorded during 1895-96 as he traveled the Gulf Coast, these daily personal observations add credibility to his contributions to science and anthropology and demonstrate his independent and intuitive intellect.             Sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology, Cushing's expedition came to Florida to explore the extraordinary remains of the ancient mound-building cultures along the coast from Tarpon Springs south to Marco Island. Cushing's discovery of the muck pond that came to be known as the fabled Court of the Pile Dwellers, located in what is now Collier County, uncovered a rich archaeological site with some of the finest examples of prehistoric native art in North America. After excavation of the site, Florida archaeology vaulted into national prominence, adding a critical chapter to Cushing's productive yet controversial career. Known to his colleagues for his earlier research among the Zuni Indians, Cushing often drew criticism from scholars for his search for a theory that could demonstrate a psychic unity linking all cultures that shared common origins, however remote. His Florida journal entries show how he tried to prove himself to his professional contemporaries. They also show his love of adventure and passion for nature. While he suffered frequent headaches and other physical ailments when he worked indoors, Cushing was full of energy and vitality in the field. His notes express elation at the sight of the canals, lagoons, muck fields, and shell works that he saw again and again throughout his journey, and his descriptions will fascinate anyone interested in Florida's landscape at the beginning of the 20th century. Cushing's monumental findings at the Key Marco site have been vitally important to a global understanding of the technological, social, and cosmological complexity of indigenous maritime societies. This collection of personal journals opens the door to new research and information for archaeologists and archaeological theory. Written by a visionary on the eve of Florida's entry into the modern world, the journals provide a rare glimpse of the nascent field of cultural anthropology.  

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Title: The Lost Florida Manuscript of Frank ...
Publisher: University Press of Florida
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