Thursday, June 14, 2018

Florida home of ancient Native American ruler rediscovered at Mound Key

Posted By on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 at 12:20 PM

The formerly lost house of Calaas, an ancient indigenous ruler who led a unique civilization on the southwest coast of Florida, was rediscovered by archaeologists on Mound Key.

Excavators found the first known remains of the 16th century building using records created by Spanish missionaries who visited the royal house in 1566, according to National Geographic. The reconstruction of the ruins details the elaborate nature of home that could host up to 2,000 people.

The archaeologists published their findings online in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology on June 1.

The Calusa kingdom was different from other ancient societies because of its reliance on fishing rather than agriculture – as National Geographic points out, farming helped these societies create "food surpluses that support a large population and specialized labor."

The Calusa people thrived mainly on fish, such as mullet, shark and shellfish, along with game like deer and birds. The only vegetation they consumed was from tiny home plots where they grew chili peppers, gourds and papayas, according to National Geographic.

But their way of life resembled kingdoms that relied on agriculture – the Calusa society had a king, specialized priesthoods, military, canals and trade routes. The community remained a phenomena to archaeologists, but the recent discovery of the remains will help researchers shed light on the development of the Calusa kingdom and its complex society.

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