Southwest Florida During the Mississippi Period

Misha Klein

in Late Prehistoric Florida

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780813040141
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813043821 | DOI:
Southwest Florida During the Mississippi Period

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This chapter traces the Mississippi-period cultural trajectory of the Calusa of subtropical southwest Florida against an environmental backdrop bolstered by climate and sea-level data from the Gulf coast and beyond. The richness of the paleoenvironmental information allows the authors to identify short-term meteorological fluctuations in the mostly favorable environmental conditions of the southwest Florida estuaries, particularly Charlotte Harbor. The available archaeological record is addressed to assess the impact of these environmental oscillations on the native population and explore how they reacted. While lacking true platform mounds, shell-tempered pottery, and corn farming, the Calusa had social complexity and large-scale construction projects in the form of midden-mounds and a sophisticated system of excavated canals that rivaled those of any Mississippian chiefdom, save for perhaps Cahokia.

Keywords: Calusa; shell midden-mounds; climate and sea-level data; Charlotte Harbor; canals

Chapter.  11830 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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