Bridging Histories: The Bioarchaeology of Identity in Postcontact Florida


in Bioarchaeology and Identity in the Americas

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780813036786
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041865 | DOI:
Bridging Histories: The Bioarchaeology of Identity in Postcontact Florida

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This chapter explores the changing fabric of community organization and identity during the late-precontact and early-historic periods (early eighteenth century) in Spanish Florida. Changes in population structure and demography are modelled through three time periods among three linguistic groups in northern Florida and southern Georgia. Results indicate an initial increase in between-group genetic variation, reflective of diminished biological integration and decreasing population size. After 1650, however, inter-group genetic variation declines rapidly, reflecting changes in patterns of mate exchange among Florida's indigenous converts. This temporal pattern is interpreted as the genesis of a novel “Spanish-Indian” identity in La Florida that was subjected to diaspora when the English destroyed Spain's colony in 1706. Ethnohistoric, archaeological, and settlement data, combined with these bioarchaeological data, suggest the Florida Seminole have ancestral roots in this nascent Spanish-Indian identity, despite the lack of recognition of this modern tribe for nearly 100 years.

Keywords: Seminole; La Florida; Spanish missions; Georgia; ethnogenesis; biodistance analysis; Apalachee

Chapter.  8081 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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