To many people in South Florida, and "oldtimer" is someone who has lived there for more than five years. Prehistoric Peoples of South Florida considers the culture history of the real South Florida "oldtimers" dating from 10,000 B.C. through the invasion by Europeans and analyzes the ways in which they adapted to their environment through time—or caused their environment to adapt to them.
South Florida is a biological island, its plant communities circumscribed by the southern limits of frost. Its peoples were distinct from those to the north and were less studied by scholars. In recent years the pace of research has increased, but there has been no attempt at synthesis since John M. Goggin wrote his still-unpublished manuscript on the Glades nearly half a century ago. Prehistoric Peoples of South Florida assembles the available knowledge and discusses competing theories, and does so in terms that are understandable to the general reader. McGoun outlines a cultural system that maintained an impressive continuity for 10,000 years—before being destroyed by two centuries of European contact.