Ancient Native American King’s House Rediscovered in Florida

In February 1566, Caalus sat on his throne and watched a procession of strange men march toward his house.

The Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Aviles had assembled 200 soldiers, drummers, trumpeters, fifers, and a dwarf who was a gifted singer and dancer. They climbed to the peak of Mound Key, Florida, with the match cords on their guns lit and a biblical text on display—hoping to impress the indigenous Calusa monarch who ruled over a large chunk of South Florida at the time.

Now, archaeologists say they’ve found the first known traces of the long-lost building where this meeting took place. Their reconstructions suggest it was just as impressive as the Spanish missionaries described: a royal house that could fit 2,000 individuals.

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