On Thursday, March 22 from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Key West Art & Historical Society welcomes Distinguished Speaker Series guest Theresa Schober, an archaeologist, educator, and noted expert on Calusa Indian life to Old City Hall on Greene Street, where she will discuss “Escampaba- The Kingdom of Carlos,” her documentary about the Calusa capital village of Mound Key, and how we represent the past through film.
Today’s Mound Key, a 125-acre archaeology site and state park with more than 30 feet of shell mound middens rising above Estero Bay, stands as a significant landmark of both American history. Shober’s film recreates that forgotten piece of history, bringing the past to life with re-enactments, animations, archival photographs and environmental footage.
The site is believed to have been the cultural center for the Calusa— a non-agricultural hunting and gathering chiefdom that dominated south Florida for over 2000 years. It is also where the Calusa first encountered Europeans when the Spaniards explored the Caribbean and the Florida peninsula, and where they drove Conquistador Ponce de León and his men away in a hostile attack in 1513, after León “claimed” La Florida for Spain despite approximately 20,000 Calusa already living there and in nearby Calusa territories. They continued to resist Spanish rule, including 1566 Spain’s first Governor of Florida, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, and forced settlements fully out by 1569. Though the Spaniards fled, they left behind diseases for which the natives had no immunity, ultimately leading to the demise of their once great society.
For more than two decades, Shober has been a proponent of public engagement in archaeology and history, and provides educator workshops on Florida history through the Florida Humanities Council. Her research has focused on the settlement and use of the Estero Bay estuarine system in southern Lee County by the Calusa Indians.
Tickets available at kwahs.org/education/distinguished_speaker_series; $5 for KWAHS members, $10 for non-members—advanced ticket purchase is recommended. Sponsored in part of the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Helmerich Trust. For more information, contact Adele Williams, Director of Education, at 305.295.6616, x115. Your Museums. Your Community. It takes an Island.