The final Mound Key talk of the season by local archaeologist Theresa Schober is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2 at the Fort Myers Beach Library at 2755 Estero Boulevard. The free presentation, “Mound Key: Where the New and Old Worlds Collided,” concludes a south Florida speaking tour by Schober to raise awareness of the national significance of Mound Key in Estero Bay – the capital of the Calusa Indians at the time of Spanish contact in Florida.
Three additional boat tours to Mound Key are scheduled for April 7, 14, and May 5 with limited availability remaining. Schober will detail how the remnants of elevated mounds and ridges, sculpted canals and watercourts remain a visible yet subtle reminder of the once thriving Calusa society in today's southwest Florida landscape. Careful archaeological excavation, much of which was carried out by Schober and her colleagues, reveals how and when this landscape was constructed, and its relationship with the development of the Calusa through time that culminated in the highly complex, stratified chiefdom controlling the southern third of the Florida peninsula.
Mound Key – the Calusa capital – remains the first specific location documented in the voyage of Juan Ponce de León in 1513 that named the peninsula La Florida. These early explorations and settlement attempts paved the way for what would ultimately become the United States.
Schober has conducted archaeological research in southwest Florida since 1998, having raised over $4 million dollars for the restoration and exhibit development at Mound House and Newton Park on Fort Myers Beach. Currently, Schober is directing a programming partnership between the Lee Trust for Historic Preservation and the Florida Humanities Council. She is co-curator with Fort Myers Beach based fine arts consultant Barbara Anderson Hill of the successful ArtCalusa: Reflections on Representation exhibition held in Fort Myers in 2013, now traveling the state of Florida.
Schober is also co-curator with Dr. Jerald Milanich of Enchantments: The Photographic Adventures of Julian Dimock & Clyde Butcher opening at the Southwest Florida Museum of History on May 2 and Executive Producer of a documentary in production about Mound Key for the Friends of Koreshan State Historic Site.