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seminolewar


Marco Island Wood Carvers were not Calusa

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This may come as a surprise or be controversial. My latest blog I posted on youtube.

(Sorry, I have decided to remove most of my videos from Youtube, including this one. It had less than a dozen hits in one month anyway.)

The ancient wood carvers from Marco Island were not Calusa. They were earlier.

The Calusa ruled by Carlos were the ones who met Pedro Menendez about 1565. According to Dr. Julian Granberry, their language was from the Tunica or Natchez people who created some impressed mound complexes along the Mississippi River. The Calusa were the last remnant of them.

In 1895, Hamilton Cushing excavated the fantastic wooden objects on Marco Island that we are familiar with, like the anthropomorphic Marco Island cat, some wooden panels with intricate painted animals like dolphins or woodpeckers. (Which also had other meanings.) These have been dated to a thousand years to four hundred earlier than Carlos. We have a word that survives from the Spanish records of what they might have been called, and they were the Muspa.

The artifacts are different enough between Marco and Mound Key to say they were a seperate people or culture.

The Muspa look very similar to Hitchiti, which are an old tribe in the southeast, who were here before the Muskogee. The upper Creeks were mostly Hitchiti. The language of the Miccosukee and most of the Florida Seminoles today is from Hitchiti. And I would guess that the objects found by Cushing are very familiar to the Seminole / Miccosukee.

What happened to the Muspa? All the mound complexes between Marco Island and Chokoloskee were abandoned about 1300 AD. Probably due to climate change, what is known as "the little ice age" that severely effected Europe. A colder earth would lower the sea level, which might have left the mound complexes in the Ten Thousand Islands high and dry. This is certainly verified at Pineland on Pine Island, at the Randell Research Center. The lower water level means that you cannot bring the canoe up to the island.

So the Muspa had to move because of the changing coast line about 1300 AD. After that, artifacts on Marco resemble Calusa.
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