Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Transcript

Plate XXX
Construction of Fortified Towns among the Floridians

This is how the Indians construct their towns: they choose a place near a swift stream and level it as much as possible. Next they make a circular ditch and fix in the ground, very close together, thick round palings the height of two men. At the town's entrance they make the opening of the circle narrower, in the form of a spiral so that this entrance does not admit more than two men abreast at a time. The course of the stream is diverted to this point. At the beginning and end of this passage a round edifice is erected, full of holes and slits which, considering their means, are constructed very elegantly. In each, sentinels who are expert at smelling the enemy from afar are stationed. As soon as they detect the scent of the enemy, they rush out, shrieking, to find him. At this alarm the inhabitants of the town run out to defend their fortress, armed with bows and arrows and clubs. The king's dwelling is in the middle, and has been a little sunk into the ground to avoid the sun's heat. All around it are grouped the nobles' houses, lightly constructed and roofed with palm branches. As has been mentioned earlier, they only spend nine months of the year here, emigrating to the forest for the rest of the time. They make new houses with the same materials, if, on their return, they find they have been burnt down by the enemy. Thus magnificent are the palaces of the Indians.


All transcriptions are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).