“They worshipped three deities and believed that they themselves had three souls, the third of which dwelt in their eyes and survived death. They feasted on fish and shellfish, piling their kitchen scraps and broken pottery into midden mounds upon which they built their temples and homes.

They inhabited and dominated Southwest Florida from Charlotte County to Collier County and beyond for more than 2,000 years. They fought against Spanish invasion, slinging the arrow that eventually killed Ponce de Leon. In the end, they succumbed to the diseases the conquistadores rained down upon them.

The Calusa people have always been a source of fascination for history geeks and experts in Florida and nationwide. Along a trail that has preserved their culture, regional sites help modern-day Floridians and visitors understand these combative, spiritual people who dominated much of Southwest Florida.

The history lessons are ongoing, as digs continue. The year 2018 once again shines a spotlight on the ancient people with the publication of important finds on Mound Key and the arrival of a landmark artifact exhibit to the Marco Island Historical Museum.”

Read the full story with images: Florida Weekly “The Year of the Calusa”