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Ancient Architects of Florida

Mound Key


This artwork is available on many products in our museum store.

The Mound Key site is located in Southwest Florida and is a complex of mound structures spread across a small area on an island. The mounds are midden in character as well consisting of seashells, fish bones, and pottery items leftover from daily activities (Milanich). The late Mississippian inhabitants credited with forming and maintaining the Mound Key site are the Calusa Indians whom the Spanish regularly battled for dominance in the area. Mound Key is considered to be the capital of the Calusa Indians and the Spanish later established a fort on the island (Hann). Calusa artifacts found in the Mound Key site consist of the typical pre-Columbian shell gorgets, wooden implements, as well as some highly valued copper implements (Milanich).

The Calusa people were clearly involved in the established trade networks up and down the Florida peninsula and the variety of material recovered from the Mound Key site supports this. Initially, trade in European goods was slowly integrated into these established networks and many European artifacts have been found among the sites discoveries (Hann). The Mound Key site also functioned as a burial site and it is believed that human sacrifices were also undertaken there. While the Mound Key sites importance to pre and post Columbian Native American archeology is understood, the sites development is as an archeological project is a work in progress.

 

 Resources & Further Reading:

Milanich, Jerald T. Archaeology of Precolumbian Florida. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1994.

Morgan, William N. Pre-Columbian Architecture in Eastern North America. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1999.

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