Defining Calusa: Renowned anthropologist to give lecture

B. Elaine Michaelis
Special to the Eagle

What do we know about the indigenous tribe known as the Calusa? Get an update on April 4, at Rose History Auditorium, from acclaimed anthropologist, researcher and Professor Dr. William Marquardt.

Marquardt’s lecture, which begins at 7 p.m., will briefly review what has been learned about the Calusa over the past 30 years and also cover the newest discoveries made at Mound Key and the Pineland shell mounds, including the connection between these archaeological sites and other South Florida Indians.

Calusa society, “On Top of World” illustration, provided by William H. Marquardt, Ph.D.

The Calusa were once the most powerful people in all South Florida. For many centuries, they built their culture, accumulated huge shell mounds, engineered canals and sustained thousands of people primarily from the fish and shellfish found in the rich estuaries west and south of Fort Myers.

Mound Key and Pineland are but two of a dwindling number of shell mound sites between Charlotte Harbor and the Ten Thousand Islands area that still exist and are studied today.

Dr. Marquardt is curator of the Archaeological and Ethnographic Collections at the Florida Museum of Natural History, located at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is the director of the University’s Institute of Archaeology and Paleo-environmental Studies, as well as a professor in the Department of Anthropology. He also is the founder and current director of Pineland’s Randell Research Center, a permanent facility dedicated to learning and teaching the archaeology, history and ecology of Southwest Florida.

Calusa, “Daily Life” illustration, provided by William H. Marquardt, Ph.D.

The lecture is free to members of the Society and $10 for nonmembers; all are invited to attend. Rose History Auditorium is located at 180 S. Heathwood Drive, across from the library. For more information, contact MIHS at 239-389-6447 or visit

If you go

Calusa, “People of the Estuary” illustration, provided by William H. Marquardt, Ph.D.

What: Calusa lecture

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 4

Where: Rose History Auditorium, 180 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island

Information: 239-389-6447 or