Established in 1983, the Florida Museum of Natural History’s South Florida Program investigates, reports on, and conserves knowledge of the past environments and cultures of South Florida.

With the ultimate goal of understanding the emergence of social and political complexity in precolumbian South Florida, William Marquardt has directed an interdisciplinary research project in Southwest Florida, heartland of the Calusa Indian people (Lee, Charlotte, and Collier counties). The interdisciplinary project makes use of documentary, archaeological, and environmental data to reach an understanding of cultural changes before, during, and after European contact.