This object is on permanent display in the South Florida People & Environments exhibit, located in the “How to Make a Cord” section of the “Gulf Coast Fishing: 6,000 Years of Tradition” gallery.


Fishing Net Fragments
From Collier Co., Florida
Dates to ~AD 700-1500


South Florida Archaeology


This is a remarkable example of a palm fiber fishing net from the Key Marco site, excavated by Frank Cushing in 1896. It’s well over 1,000 years old, yet you can still see the knots in the net and tell how they were tied.

The preservation is very unusual and is due to the muck in which the net was buried. This made for what we call an anaerobic, or oxygen-deprived condition, which helped to preserve wooden and fiber objects that would ordinarily rot away.

The coastal Indians of Southwest Florida depended on nets for their daily food and they used a variety of nets with different sized openings to catch different sizes of fish.

Bill Marquardt
Curator, South Florida Archaeology & Ethnography*
Director, Randell Research Center*
Florida Museum of Natural History


On display Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum celebrated the Museum’s rich history. Each Museum collection was asked to contribute its most interesting items and share the stories that make them special. Though the physical exhibit is closed, this companion website remains online, providing an opportunity to experience the Florida Museum’s most treasured specimens.

Exhibit Area: Always on Display

Cover of the All Things Beautiful bookWant to see more? Explore more than 300 breathtaking color photos of plants, animals, fossils and cultural heritage materials from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s collections in the award-winning book All Things Beautiful available from the University Press of Florida.

*This title was accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website to verify current staff and student information.

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