Calusa People Stored Live Fish in Watercourts

April 6, 2020

The Calusa were a huntergatherer/fisher society in Florida and the island of Mound Key

New research indicates they captured and stored fish in walled structures called watercourses made of shell and sediments. They walled off parts of an estuary for short term holding before eating, smoking or drying the fish.

Remote sensing has revealed two large shell mounds, a grand canal, and two large watercourses. A marine highway of 2,000 feet long and 100 feet wide bisected the key. There was a yards long opening to drive fish into the enclosures which would be closed with a gate or net. These structures were built at 1300-1400 CE

The research was published in PNAS;
Victor D. Thompson et al. Ancient engineering of fish capture and storage in southwest Florida. PNAS, published online March 30, 2020; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1921708117

Sci-News has the report here.

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