Engineering a Calusa City

Small fish houses are built over the shallow waters of the bays. Over the years the buildup of waste from shells that accumulate under the decks of stilt houses developed into ridges. As more houses are added, they begin to form the long fingers fanning out from the center of the key, creating an organic growth pattern. Adding to the confusion of stilt buildings, are the net ways, where fishing nets are hung out to dry in the sun.


THE CONNECTION — Behind the young man returning from a day’s fishing, you can see a boy pouring empty shells down through a space in the decking.


BELOW This color diagram of Mound Key elevation shows how the discarded shell ridges fanned out over the years.