Archaic Everglades

Since the beginning of the Everglades of Florida, there were people. For thousands of years, Archaic Period Floridians lived in the watery margins of land and water. These early Floridians used generations of knowledge to thrive. They shaped the landscape to their needs.

Now, much of the Northern Everglades has been shaped to fit the desires of modern humans.

Dr. William Locascio and his Florida Gulf Coast University archaeology field class along with Matthew Colvin (University of Georgia graduate student) are unearthing a 3700 year old story from a tree island in the Everglades near Lake Okeechobee.

The tree island is long gone. A casualty of our modern appetite for sugar. Today, vast fields of sugarcane dominate the Everglades Agricultural Area. Fortunately, a farm foreman noticed something unusual. What he saw was a Black Earth Midden from the Archaic Period several thousands of years old. The vigilant foreman protected the Wedgworth Archaic Site from looters and disturbance.

The earliest evidence of humans at this site is 5,000 years old.

Dr. Locascio and his students/colleagues are respectful and dedicated to this special site. They are exploring the lives of these early Floridians carefully extracting exciting artifacts, which will help us all understand the sophisticated lives lived by these early residents of the Everglades. These modern day Floridians are peeling back layers of the Everglades muck to reveal a new story of ancient Florida. A story of human genius and adaptation to a wild environment.

These past people not only lived at this tree island for almost a millenia, they thrived. They thrived ever since the Everglades came into existence.

THANK YOU Jennifer Brown and In To Nature Films

Conquistadors and the Calusa: Reflections on Resistance

Archaeologists, historians, and literary scholars chronicle Ponce de León’s 1513 skirmishes with the Calusa in southwest Florida and the consequences to indigenous populations and Spanish in political, economic, religious, and biological terms. This symposium brought together lead scholars on south Florida’s ethnohistory and those studying collective history and representation in a dialogue about the celebration of La Florida and the impact of commemorations on authentic history.

This symposium was organized by Theresa Schober and was held at the Koreshan Art Hall at the Koreshan State Historic Site in Estero, Florida. It was sponsored by Lee Trust for Historic Preservation, The Friends of Koreshan State Historic Site, The Florida Humanities Council, The National Endowment for The Humanities and filmed by Blue Marble Films; it brought four eminent scholars on Florida Native Americans to speak on the Calusa in this Making History Memorable program series. They are:

Dr. Jerald T. Milanich, Professor Emeritus, University of Florida

Dr. John E. Worth, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of West Florida

Dr. Andrew K. Frank, Allen-Morris Associate Professor of History, Florida State University

Gretchen M. Bataille, Vice President for Leadership and Lifelong Learning


Mound Key Archaeological State Park

Framed in forests of mangrove trees, the shell mounds and ridges of Mound Key rise more than 30 feet above the waters of Estero Bay. Prehistoric Native Americans are credited with creating this island's complex of mounds with an accumulation of seashells, fish bones, and pottery.

Mound Key is believed to have been the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians when the Spaniards first attempted to colonize Southwest Florida. In 1566, the Spanish governor of Florida established a settlement on the island with a fort and the first Jesuit mission in the Spanish New World. The settlement was abandoned three years later after violent clashes with the Indians.

The only access to the island is by boat; there are no facilities. Interpretive displays can be found along a trail that spans the width of the island. Located in Estero Bay, several miles by boat from Koreshan State Historic Site or Lovers Key State Park.

To learn more about Mound Key Archaeological State Park, visit:

This video was produced by Southwest Florida Television. a division of MyitownTv, Inc.

Shadows and Reflections: Florida’s “Lost” People

Before Spanish explorers arrived 500 years ago, Florida was home to a variety of sophisticated and colorful native societies, including diverse groups such as the Calusa, Apalachee, Timucua, and Tequesta. In this film, artist Theodore Morris follows his quest to recreate on canvas the lives and spirits of these vanished people. Archaeological evidence from the land and from below the clear waters combines with facial reconstructions and early historical accounts to paint a fascinating picture of people in tune with the subtropical environment.

Morris canoes rivers, hikes barrier islands, and interviews archaeologists as he prepares to create a new painting of the first people to inhabit the Florida peninsula. He visits a prehistoric slaughter site on the Aucilla River and the mounds at Lake Jackson near Tallahassee, then visits with Glen Doran, a physical anthropologist who is studying skeletal remains to discover the physical characteristics of these early North Americans. (from The Archaeology Channel and Kentucky Educational Television)

Produced by Chaos Productions for Florida Anthropological Society and the Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources.