Port Charlotte, Florida 33948, United States

HEARTLAND OF THE CALUSA INDIANS

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW LONG HAVE HUMANS BEEN LIVING IN SOUTH FLORIDA?

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People have been living in Florida since 16,000 to 13,000 years ago. Then Florida was much wider and cooler. The first people followed the big game here. Currently, anthropologists have not found any Archaic sites, since they are submerged. There are 3 Archaic sites near by: The recently discovered Manasota Key Offshore site, a once inland fresh-water burial site now under 20 feet of the Gulf. The Little Salt Springs and arm Mineral Springs in North Port. On the East Coast near Titusville Florida is the Windover Pond site, another water burial site.

WHO WERE THE CALUSA AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT

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The Calusa (spelled many ways) were new comers. Most likely they immigrated to Southwest Florida from Louisiana around 800 B.C.. Over 25 centuries, their culture, way, beliefs and political order encompassed the largest culture region on the Florida peninsula. Mound builders, the Calusa engineered systems of canals and even built islands from shell deposits. An example is Mound Key, a Calusa built island in Estero Bay, Lee County. The island served as the political center of the Calusa chief and elite class by the 13th Century. 

HOW CAN I VISIT THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES IN SOUTH FLORIDA?

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There are only nine archaeological sites in all of south Florida that are accessible and that you can visit at this time. Only five of those 9 have amenities such as bathrooms, trails and parking. Picture above, is the Portavant Mound in the Emerson Point State Preserve in Palmetto, Florida, Manatee County. Free, convenient, accessible with facilities. Further south, the Historic Spanish Point has several mound sites with facilities, there is an admission charge. The same is true about the Randall Research Center on Pine Island.