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RSW Living Magazine

Pre-European Era, Native American Artifacts Found on Marco Island as a Result of Hurricane Irma

Jun 06, 2018 10:41AM ● By Kevin

Possible ancient Calusa tribe artifacts unearthed by Hurricane Irma. Photo courtesy of American Archaeology on Twitter‏ (@tac_org).

Archaeologists from the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) in Pensacola were able to explore the history of the Calusa Indians recently, as it was discovered that pre-European era artifacts from the tribe were unearthed in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma last fall.

Rachael Kangas M.A., RPA, and public archaeology coordinator at FPAN told AccuWeather in a recent article that the artifacts were found during routine monitoring at Otter Mound Preserve on Marco Island. During the damage assessment, FPAN analyzed many downed trees and found the artifacts as a result of that.

Kangas explained that the discoveries were mostly shell tools and pottery from the pre-European contact period, probably made by the people known as the Calusa. The artifacts are now in the care of Collier County, in coordination with the Marco Island Historical Museum.

Otter Mound is located in southwestern Collier County in a residential area of Marco Island, known locally as the Indian Hills section, according to Collier County's website. Otter Mound and the property surrounding it was a home site for early settlers in the Caxambas Village who worked in the Marco Island clamming industry, according to a summary on Wikipedia. "The 'Mound' on which Otter Mound Preserve sits was constructed by the Calusa native inhabitants from oyster, southern surf clam, lightning whelk, and other shellfish species and dates between 700 AD – 1200 AD."

The Florida Public Archaeology Network, according to its website, "is dedicated to the protection of cultural resources, both on land and underwater, and to involving the public in the study of their past. Regional centers around Florida serve as clearinghouses for information, institutions for learning and training, and headquarters for public participation in archaeology."

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