Late Holocene Oyster Reef Development and Its Impact on Calusa Natural Resource Utilization, Estero Bay, Southwest Florida
The Horseshoe Keys are an extensive oyster reef ecosystem within manageable paddling distance from Mound Key, Estero Bay, Southwest Florida, the site of the Calusa’s political center beginning ~AD950. The Calusa thrived in this bay, partially due to the natural resources available, including these oyster reefs. Sediment cores from this region show a rich history of reef development dating to ~2200 yBP. The reefs exhibit an ecological succession shifting from a vermetiform gastropod community to oysters ~600 yBP, a time when Calusa exploitation of oysters began at Mound Key. Reef history varies between the northern and southern regions of Horseshoe Keys. Northern reefs developed upon mangrove peats and began their history with a rich molluscan fauna indicative of a higher, near marine salinity. Alternatively, the southern reefs developed upon a graminoid marsh with subsequent bay and reef faunas dominated by brackish mollusks. These differences suggest that the Estero River was a formidable freshwater source near Mound Key with more marine conditions located short distances away within the reef tract. Studying these gradients from the geological perspective combined with findings from the archaeology of Mound Key allows for a holistic understanding of environmental change and resource utilization by the Calusa.
Cite this Record
Late Holocene Oyster Reef Development and Its Impact on Calusa Natural Resource Utilization, Estero Bay, Southwest Florida. Samantha Gibson, Kylie Palmer, Sasha Linsin Wohlpart, Michael Savarese, Karen Walker. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442547)
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min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21429