Category: Native American

Village of Tekesta

Tekesta People

The Tekesta were an indigenous maritime people, whose primary villages were near the mouths of rivers along the Atlantic Coast of what are now Miami-Dade, Broward and southern Palm Beach Counties. 1Hann, John H. (2003). Indians of Central and South Florida: 1513-1763. University Press of Florida; pp. 139-141. At certain periods in the past, they also occupied the Florida Keys, but Calusa artifacts outnumber those of Tekesta in Florida Key archaeological sites, 4:1. This suggests that most of the time, the Keys were occupied by people related to the Calusa. The Tekesta were closely allied to their immediate neighbors to

The Miami Circle

The Miami Circle was discovered in 1998 during excavation for the construction of a luxury condominium at Brickell Point in Downtown Miami near the Miami River and Biscayne Bay. 1“The Miami Circle.” Wikipedia. The developer, Michael Baumann, tore down an existing apartment complex in 1998. Prior to initiating construction of the new tower, he was required to retain archaeologists to carry out a brief field survey the site by the city’s historic preservation ordinance. However, Baumann did not do this until pressured by the Miami-Dade Historic Preservation Division Director, Bob Carr, pressured him to do so. The survey was actually

Birdseye View of Calusa

The Calusa People

During the 1500s and early 1600s, when Spanish explorers were first making contact with the indigenous inhabitants of the Florida, they made contact with a powerful nation on the southwest coast between Charlotte Harbor and Cape Sable. 1MacMahon, Darcie A. and William H. Marquardt. (2004). The Calusa and Their Legacy: South Florida People and Their Environments. University Press of Florida; pp. 1-2. The first contact was made in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon, when he landed at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida. His landing boats were attacked by Calusa war canoes, lined with round shields.

Big Gopher and Boynton Mound Complexes

The immensely rich archaeological heritage of South Florida is little known outside the southern tip of the Florida Peninsula. Perhaps least known are the large town sites east of Lake Okeechobee. Several have been studied by professional archaeologists and the large town sites are all now protected by some form of public ownership. The 143 acre Big Mound City and 12 acre Big Gopher Archaeological Zones are located in central Palm Beach County, Florida. 1“People of the Water.” Historical Society of Palm Beach County. Web Site. They are ten miles east of Canal Point, in the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management

Site Plan of Big Mound City archaeological zone

Big Mound City Archaeological Zone

Big Mound City is the only site from the Belle Glade culture on the National Register of Historic Places. 1“The Early History of the Corbett Wildlife Management Area.” Friends of the Corbett Wildlife Management Area web site. It was added in 1973 as an example of a Calusa ceremonial complex, but is now understood to have originally been constructed by the same ethnic group that built the Ortona and Wakate towns – probably ancestors of the Mayaimi. Even though its earthworks are about 1000 to 1500 years older than those of Fort Center, the architecture was extremely similar. Its final

Key Marco

Muspa Culture, Key Marco and other Platform Villages

A cluster of islands on the Gulf Coast of Florida, immediately south of Naples, FL and southwest of Lake Okeechobee once held numerous mounds and town sites. Know as the Ten Thousand Islands Region, it contains the villages and mounds of an unidentified Archaic Period people, the Muspa Culture and the Calusa People, who absorbed the Muspa. The Muspa or Thousand Islands Culture in recent years has been considered a division of the Lake Okeechobee-Glades Culture. 1MacMahon, Darcie A. and William H. Marquardt (2014). The Calusa and Their Legacy: South Florida People and Their Environments. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of

Wakata temples

Wakate – Guacata Town

Around the year 900 AD, the provinces of the Calusa, Mayaimi and Tekesta in southern Florida merged into one political entity that was the scale of a nation. 1Johnson, William G. (1992.) “Part II: Archaeological Contexts: Chapter 11. Lake Okeechobee Basin/Kissimmee River, 3000 B.P. to Contact.” Florida’s Cultural Heritage: A View of the Past. Tallahassee, Florida: Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State: pp. 81-90. Almost immediately, the same styles of pottery were being produced in all three provinces, and the Mayaimi town of Wakate (Guacata in Castilian) began to grow rapidly. This archaeological zone is also known as

A vector image of Chontalpa Town

The Chontal Maya or Putun Maya

The presence of crescent shaped temple mounds in the Florida Peninsula strongly suggests cultural contacts with Maya ethnic groups, who worshiped the goddess, Ixchel. Very few Florida archaeologists have been willing to suggest publicly that Florida, Mesoamerica and South America had direct cultural contacts. Those who did, were all ostracized by their peers. However, the linguistic and architectural evidence is overwhelming for contacts between illiterate Maya merchants and the indigenous peoples in Georgia – which is north of Florida.

Ortona Sceptor Pond

Maya Cultural Traditions at the Ortona Archaeological Zone

One of the several arguments that Southeastern archaeologists have used to dismiss a direct cultural connection between the Southeastern United States and Mesoamerica is that architecture of the respective regions was different. The architecture of the largest and most sophisticated Maya cities WAS more sophisticated and larger scaled than in towns in the Southeast, but the same architectural elements could be found in both regions. The Mesoamerican pyramids were really earthen mounds veneered with stone in some civilizations, left as clay stuccoed mounds in others.

Pawnee Priests Making a Smoke Offering

Use Of Tobacco Among North American Indians

Tobacco has been one of the most important gifts from the New World to the Old. In spite of the attempts of various authors to prove its Old World origin there can be no doubt that it was introduced into both Europe and Africa from America. Most species of Nicotiana are native to the New World, and there are only a few species which are undoubtedly extra- American. The custom of smoking is also characteristic of America. It was thoroughly established throughout eastern North and South America at the time of the discovery; and the early explorers, from Columbus on, speak of it as a strange and novel practice which they often find it hard to describe. It played an important part in many religious ceremonies, and the beliefs and observances connected with it are in themselves proof of its antiquity. Hundreds of pipes have been found in the pre-Columbian mounds and village sites of the eastern United States and, although these remains cannot be dated, some of them must be of considerable age. In the southwestern United States the Basket Makers, an ancient people whose remains are found below those of the prehistoric Cliff Dwellers, were smoking pipes at a time which could not have been much later than the beginning of our era.