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Prehistoric Sites 2

A 1774 map charted by Bernard Romans noted, “Next to the northward of Elliot’s Kay is a little island, having two small hills on it, whence the Spaniards have called it Las Tetas.” The Spanish place name dates back to at least 1595. The mounds stood out because hills do not naturally occur along the island chain. The Tetas contained remains of food sources like fish bones and conch shells. The island, found within the Northern Keys, is known as Sands Key today.

Roman’s also remarked, “At Cayos Vacos and Cayo Hueso, we see the remains of some savage habitations, built, or rather piled up of stones; these were the last refuges of the Caloosa nation.”

After Dr. Benjamin B. Strobel’s 1829 visit to Key West, an account of which was published in the Charleston Courier, May 12, 1837, he wrote, “The former residents of Indians on this island is proved by the existence of a number of mounds supposed to have been burial places. One of those was opened and examined in the year 1823. It contained a number of human skeletons, gold and silver ornaments, domestic utensils, arrowheads, pipes… Immense quantities of human bone found on every part of the island.”