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) December 2019


Happy Holidays to one and all from the Southwest Florida Archaeological Society!
Christmas 2019 in Florida is quite different than Christmas in Florida in 1539. The first Christmas Catholic Mass in Florida was held that year at the winter encampment of Hernando de Soto and his conquistadors. It was in the native Apalachee village of Anhaica, what is now Tallahassee, that the Spanish and their Franciscan friars spent the winter. Evidence for the discovery of the 1539-1540 encampment was long suspected to be in the Tallahassee area but it was not until 1987 that Division of Historical Resources archaeologist B. Calvin Jones located proof of it at the Governor Martin Site. Our December article describes the De Soto trek in Florida and beyond while another article provides further research about the site.



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.


JANUARY (Wednesday the 15th) Location: IMAG, Ft. Myers, FL
SPEAKER: Dr. Margo J. Schwadron, Foraging, Feasts and Monuments: Investigating the Monumental Shell Work Landscapes of the Ten Thousand Islands, Florida

The Ten Thousand Islands contain some of the largest, most complex shell midden mound constructions in the world. Over 12 years ago, Dr. Schwadron began some of the first investigation of many of these monumental sites, and over many years, through National Geographic grants, dissertation work, and National Park Service supported fieldwork, she has completed numerous investigations and specialized studies throughout the region. This talk will provide an overview of the Archeology of Ten Thousand Islands Shell Works sites, presenting a settlement pattern overview of the types of sites, chronology, and patterns of shell work communities in the region. It will feature many visuals that will allow you to see how these prehistoric fisher-hunter-gatherer communities constructed, altered, maintained and used meaningful community spaces, monuments and functional constructions through shell works over time.

Dr. Margo Schwadron is an Archaeologist for the National Park Service who specializes in wetlands, islands, coastal archeology and shell middens in the southeastern United States,
especially south Florida. Her research takes a landscape-centered approach to archaeology, incorporating large-scale archeological survey and testing, remote sensing/GIS, and integrating paleo-environmental and paleo-climate research into understanding historical ecology and the interaction of humans and environment through time. Recent work includes National Geographic funded investigation of prehistoric hunter-fisher-gatherer shell midden sites from the Ten Thousand Islands in the Everglades, Florida.

FEBRUARY (Wednesday the 19th)
SPEAKER: David Southall, The Black Seminoles: Caught Between Two Cultures
IMAG, Ft. Myers, FL 

MARCH (Wednesday the 18th)
SPEAKER: Xenia Kyriakou, Florida Gulf Coast University, The Bioarchaeology of Monasticism: The Unruly Nuns of Cyprus
Ft, Myers, FL, IMAG 

APRIL (Wednesday the 15th)
SPEAKER: Robert Carr, Director, Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, speaking on the Naples Canal
Location: Collier Museum at Government Center, Naples, FL

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