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.
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.
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.
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.
This canoe was never finished. . . .