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Encore: New Research Confirms a Spanish Fort was Built on Mound Key in the 16th Century

The people who constructed Fort San Antón de Carlos had to adapt to Mound Key’s unique conditions, researchers said. The fort is the only Spanish structure built atop a shell mound in Florida.

In recognition of March being designated Florida Archaeology Month, we’re listening back to a conversation shedding light on what was happening in Southwest Florida during the Early Modern Period.

Research published in the journal “Historical Archaeology” confirms Mound Key in Estero Bay as the location of a Spanish fort historians had long suspected once existed in the region.

The fort was built in 1566 at the site of what had been the capitol of the Calusa who were the most powerful Native American tribe in the region and who had lived here for more than a thousand years at that point.

The Spanish abandoned the fort about three years later due to frequent conflicts with the Calusa.

We’re listening back to a conversation with the study’s lead author and Curator Emeritus at the Florida Museum of Natural History William Marquardt, Ph.D. He’s also the former director of the Randell Research Center on Bokeelia, which is the home of Calusa archaeology and history.

Follow #CalusaCoast2022 for information on educational events going on throughout the month in celebration of Archaeology Month which will culminate in a special presentation from William Marquardt about the history of the Calusa and his own research on the region’s ancestors from 10:30 – noon on Saturday, March 26 at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium in Fort Myers.