Ancient Burial Mounds

07 Apr

Last week Joe and I took a trip to the Crystal River Archaeological State Park, an impressive area Native American Indians used for 1,600 years; dating between 200 BC to 1400 AD. The burial site encompasses 14 acres and is the most imposing prehistoric ceremonial area on Florida’s west coast.


Tour Map of the Burial Site

People of the Deptford culture appear to have occupied this site and threw away great quantities of “midden material”, or in archaeologists terms “shell heaps”.

“Shell Heaps” is the term used because oyster, clam, mussel, conch, crab and snails seem to be just some of the favorite foods of these people, and the Gulf of Mexico provided this seafood in an abundance. They have also found animal bones, fish bones, turtle shells, broken pottery, broken hand tools and hunting arrowheads.

Temple Mound "A"

View from top of Mound "A"

By the time the Native Americans abandoned the Crystal River Site, around 1,400 AD, the midden had grown to be about 1,300 feet long, 100 feet wide and seven feet deep, and was crescent shaped. At the west end of the Midden Area there appear to be two small mounds. Whether these areas of the midden were deliberately shaped like mounds by the Native Americans or it happened by accident, through their routine dumping of trash, archaeologists are not sure. What purpose, if any, these two small mounds may have served is still unknown.

The Plaza Sign

Plaza Mound

Plaza Mound

It was a fascinating tour. The area seemed extremely peaceful, so quiet and still. We did see a few birds flying about, but no ground animals like squirrels.  I guess that is just another mystery, maybe something else happened there that the animals don’t like.

Ancient Canoe

This canoe was never finished. . . .


Posted by on April 7, 2011 in New Article, Photo


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5 responses to “Ancient Burial Mounds

  1. in every atom

    April 8, 2011 at 4:33 am

    Temple mound “A” looks so peaceful. I love the canoe made out of a palm tree truck; it looks so McGyver-like. Incredible that the canoe survived so many years.

  2. Don't Make That Face

    April 8, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Beautiful pictures. I love this. It gave me a serene yet uneasy feeling, but I like the mixture of the two feelings.
    We have ancient burial mounds in my hometown that all school age children in the district tour when they’re about 9 years old. It always fascinated me, but scared many.

  3. belladonna23

    April 9, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Mmmm i can’t wait to travel…

  4. thepetalpusher

    September 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    This interests me very much. Have you guys heard of Little Salt Spring in Sarasota? My girlfriend does artwork for them. It’s a huge sinkhole where they have found artifacts dating back 12,000 years.

    • Craig & Joe

      October 2, 2011 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks for the info. Now that we have our camper and gear set up we are looking for new places to visit. With the cooler weather coming in Central Florida we might just take a trip a bit further south.


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