(By Mac Perry)
Today, when Lynda Faye and I walk through our neighborhood overlooking Boca Ciega Bay in St. Petersburg, we count about 300 residents. A hundred years ago, there was no one here, only a dense jungle hammock full of snakes and armadillos. No one noticed the swollen mounds and ridges beneath the leafy humus on the hammock floor. In fact, today many homes sit on these mounds and ridges (ours included—illustration to left)
and still no one pays much attention to them. But a thousand years ago, 300 tanned nearly naked Indians scurried about this very same neighborhood (see Dean Quigley painting on the Education Page.) They fished and collected shellfish from the bay and threw the empty shells onto an eight-foot ridge along the shore, the very ridge where our home sits today. They eventually built houses
on the ridge, bundled the bones of their dead and placed them on a platform that once stood at the end of our street, then buried these bundles in a circular mound like the one two doors down. And finally they built a huge temple mound 16 feet tall and 172 feet wide right down the street where I just installed a sign that reads: Welcome to our Pre-historic Neighborhood.
You can read about (and visit) the mounds in our neighborhood and the 164 other Indian mound sites I found on Florida’s west coast in my book Indian Mounds You Can Visit But here, I have written descriptions of and directions to the most prominent mounds along Florida’s west coast. Because Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay provided a great wealth of seafood staple, most of the
pre-historic villages were concentrated around those two harbors. (Southwest Florida Indians were the only US Indians to achieve a highly populated complex society without the help of corn. They did it with seafood.)
Click on the map above to see a list of the
Indian mounds that are open for public
visitation for you and your family.
"…these mounds contain no treasures and are protected under Florida law. Their only treasures are tiny bits of charcoal and animal bone fragments and chips of broken pottery that become words of history only if collected by archaeologists from an undisturbed site." - p106, Indian Mounds You Can Visit
PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL WHEN VISITING THESE SITES.
TAKE ONLY PICTURES.
LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS...
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