STORIES BENEATH OUR FEET
UNDERGROUND EXHIBIT ARTIFACTS
Visitors to the underground exhibit have an opportunity to view ,and even hold, some of the Calusa artifact replicas that have been discovered by archaeologists. These replicas help visitors better understand the art and technical skill of the Calusa. Some of the items on display in our underground exhibit are shown below:
Lightning Whelk Gorget
A gorget with a cross in the center was discovered at the Key Marco site. It is estimated to have been made between 1200-1500 AD. Gorgets were carved from the penultimate whorl of the lightning whelk and were used as ornaments and trade goods by the Calusa.
This decorated hairpin was modeled after a deer bone hairpin discovered Hontoon Island site in Volusia County and was estimated to have been manufactured around 1200-1300 AD. Florida Indians ,including the Calusa, were known for their intricate hair decorations which may have been used as symbols to display status and authority. Or in this case, keep the hair out of your eyes.
Decorated Turtle Carapace
In this instance the square “scute” of a marine turtle’s shell has been decorated with a carved pair of dolphins. This artifact may also have been used as a small mesh net gauge,used to set the mesh diameter when making nets. This artifact was discovered at the Key Marco site as well.
This painted board depicting a pileated woodpecker was discovered at the Key Marco site. It is interesting to note that pileated woodpeckers are often observed on the Mound House property. Wooden artifacts such as this one were discovered at the Key Marco site preserved in the anaerobic muck of an ancient pond. Archaeologists speculate that the wide variety of artifacts discovered in this muck layer may have been the result of a hurricane sweeping through the Calusa village.