Calusa Days Coming To Historical Village

The Sanibel Historical Village will again honor the Calusa Indians with a festive and informative day-long event, Calusa Day, on Wednesday, March 22.

Calusa Day is an opportunity for people to see and hear more of their history. The Calusa people had a complex society for over a thousand years before contact with Ponce de Leon in 1513. By the 17th century, there were few Calusa left.

The historical village has artifacts from archaeological digs that illustrate Calusa daily life and art. “Visitors will be able to participate in a shell-mound-building activity and learn what is known about Calusa shell mounds,” said Emilie Alfino, Executive Director.

Join archaeologist Theresa Schober, author of ArtCalusa, Exploring the Calusa in Art. Schober interprets the life and experiences of the Calusa Indians through their contact with early European explorers.

Mounds constructed of shellfish remains dot the world’s coastlines and are visible features on both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida. Answers to the question of how intentional shell mounds are built varies widely, from haphazard accumulation to the construction of geometrically complex monuments, Schober said.

Schober has worked in south Florida since 1998,
recording south Florida shell mound, midden, and
mortuary sites. Her research has focused on the settlement and use of the Estero Bay estuarine system in southern Lee County by the Calusa Indians. A proponent of public engagement in archaeology and history, Schober is executive producer of a forthcoming documentary film about the Causa capital of Mound Key; she provides educator workshops on Florida history through the Florida Humanities Council. She serves as president of the Florida Anthropological Society and vice president of the nonprofit Archaeological Research Cooperative.

Historical Village docents specializing in the Calusa will give talks in the museum’s Calusa Room: Susan Schmidt will speak in the morning, and Bonnie Frankel will speak in the afternoon.

Calusa Day will include activities for the children, including coloring Calusa masks. There will also be Calusa shells and pottery available for viewing and handling.
The historical village is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The village is located at 950 Dunlop Road (next to BIG ARTS). Admission is $10 for adults 18 and older; those under 18 and members are free. Docent-guided tours are available at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at no extra charge, based upon docent availability. There is handicap access to all buildings except the Post Office. For information, call 472-4648 during business hours or visit www.sanibelmuseum.org.