Founded in 1980 to provide a meeting place for people interested in the southwest Florida area's archaeology, history and cultural past.

Southwest Florida Archaeological Society (SWFAS) January 2020


Happy New Year 2020 to all. This January SWFAS celebrates our 40th anniversary as an official organization and as a chapter of the Florida Anthropological Society. A lot has happened in those forty years and we have been making much of this history available to you in SWFAS On-Line as well as continuing our local efforts at archaeological and historical preservation and education. Our informative presentations to the public on local and statewide archaeological topics, along with activism to preserve our important prehistoric Native American sites, is still a critical part of our mission in 2020. The pressure of increased development in Southwest Florida is the major destructive force at work, along with rising sea levels, that impact our many coastal sites. Once a site is destroyed, all of the data is lost and a piece of our historical legacy is gone forever. One of our articles this month highlights the threat to our coastal sites by rising sea levels. The other highlights a site where it is believed that the inhabitants were producing shell beads for trade.

The Koreshans were a religious cult that began in upstate New York with Cyrus Teed as the leader. Something unusual was happening in upstate New York in the 1840s and 1850s among the small farming communities there. That area gave us the Shakers, the Mormons (JCLDS), several small messianic cults and the Koreshans. Learn about them, how they came to this part of Florida, what they believed and how they lived.

If you would like to join us, please contact me to reserve a place. John Furey at or call 508-330-5566. It will be an interesting visit; beginning at 10AM and we will meet at the parking lot and do a tour of the original Koreshan settlement. Afterward we will have lunch at the local Rusty’s Raw Bar after the tour. There is an entry fee of $5.00 per vehicle and reservations for both the tour and restaurant are required. Please plan to join us. Remember that reservations are required for both Koreshan and lunch, and without a minimum, the trip will again be cancelled.

Continue reading below . . .



The Society attracts speakers who are in the forefront of archaeological research. Programs include presentations by local authors, professors, experts, notables in archaeology and related fields, exploring the marvelous history of Southwest Florida.

Date: February 19, 2020 Time: 7:00pm Location: IMAG, Ft. Myers, FL
Speaker: Theresa Schober, Wild, Wild South: The History of Florida’s Cattle Industry

In 1521, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon attempted to settle Florida at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River. While the settlement failed, some of the expedition’s cattle remained. By the 1600s, 20,000 head of cattle supported early Spanish settlements and missions. Open range, unclaimed herds, and the lawless frontier ultimately created Cattle Barons, wide-open cow towns, rustlers, and a new breed of tough cow-hunters. The story of cattle ranching in Florida reads like a “wild west” novel but is still part of the fabric of everyday life in our state.

Theresa Schober is currently manager of the Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch for Collier County Museums. She holds a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Theresa specializes in collaborative planning and development of archaeological and historic sites into interactive museum and park facilities. Ms. Schober serves as an advisory board member to Florida’s chapter of the National Council for History Education.

Date: March 18, 2020 Time: 7:00pm Location: IMAG, Ft, Myers, FL
Speaker: Xenia Kyriakou, Florida Gulf Coast University, The Bioarchaeology of Monasticism: The Unruly Nuns of Cyprus

Date: April 15, 2020 Time: 7:00pm Location: Collier Museum at Government Center, Naples, FL
Speaker: Robert Carr, Director, Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, The Naples Canal

MAY 8, 9, 10  72nd FAS ANNUAL MEETING in Naples, Florida
SWFAS is the host chapter