June 15, 2018
Ancient Native American King’s House Rediscovered in Florida
Spanish troops met a great Calusa leader at Mound Key, Florida in 1566. The king lived in a structure that could host 2000 individuals. The Calusa created a non-agricultural complex society based on fishing, hunting, and gathering. They ate sharks, turtles, shellfish, mullet, deer, birds, wild produce, and animals from the coasts, estuaries and mangrove forests. They grew chili peppers, papaya, and gourds in home gardens.
They developed a priesthood, military, canals, extensive trade routes, and tribute gathered from 20,000 people. Mound Key was an artificial island made from oysters and clam shells, topped with the huge royal house. The Spanish were forced to withdraw from the area after three years due to unending hostility. The Calusa burned down Mound Key. The Spanish did not return for another century. But Spanish diseases decimated their population. The remaining Calusa fled into the Florida Keys and Cuba by the end of the 18th century.
An archaeological team has reconstructed the outlines of the Calusa great house. It was oval shaped, 80 feet long and 65 feet wide, held up by 150 wooden posts. It was built in three stages starting in 1000 CE.
The research is published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.
The report is in National Geographic;
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