The Nine Lives of Florida's Famous Key Marco Cat
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Excavated from a waterlogged archaeological site on the shores of subtropical Florida by legendary anthropologist Frank Hamilton Cushing in 1896, the Key Marco Cat has become a modern icon of heritage, history, and local identity. This book takes listeners into the deep past of the artifact and the Native American society in which it was created. Austin Bell explores nine periods in the life of the six-inch-high wooden carving, beginning with how it was sculpted with shell and shark-tooth tools and what it may have represented to the ancient Calusa-perhaps a human-panther god. Preserved in the muck for centuries on Marco Island and discovered in pristine condition due to its oxygen-free environment, the Cat has since traveled more than 12,000 miles and has been viewed by millions of people. In this fascinating account, Bell traces the clues to the Cat's mysterious origins that have emerged in its later lives. Captivating listeners with the miracle and beauty of this rare example of pre-Columbian art, Bell marvels at how an object originally understood to hold cosmological power has indeed transformed the people and places around it. The Nine Lives of Florida's Famous Key Marco Cat is the story of a timeless masterpiece of staggering simplicity that has prevailed over impossibly long odds.