Terra Ceia & Madira Bickel Mounds (1450 AD)

Dating back to 1450 AD, the 10-acre site that encompasses Madira Bickel Mound was named after Mrs. Madira Bickel of Sarasota, who joined her husband Karl, in preserving Native American mounds from destruction. In 1948, the mound was purchased by the Bickels and donated, along with the surrounding land, to the state. The mound itself was the first site in Florida to become a state archaeological site.

Located on Terra Ceia Island, the primary feature of the site is a flat-topped temple or ceremonial mound. The mound is made up of sand, shell and village debris and measures 100 by 170 feet at the base and 20 feet in height. The people that once inhabited the area placed a 10-foot wide ramp on the western side of the mound for accessing it. At present as well, a trail follows the same ancient approach.

The mound itself actually is only a small portion of the 10-acre archaeological site. An extensive shell midden was once found northwest of the mound along Miguel Bay of which, most has been removed over the years.

Early historians and archaeologists contemplated that the Madira Bickel Mound site was the village of Ucita. The mound site and surrounding area contains proof of Native American life and culture as it evolved from the simple life at the beginning of the Christian era through artistic pottery and religious expression in the construction of mounds and temples.

During the length of time which the site was occupied, the Native American lifestyle changed significantly. Archaeological excavations have revealed at least three periods of Native American cultures. During the first period, in which mounds were initiated, life was simple. The main interests were hunting and fishing. Kitchen middens along the shore of the bay were most likely begun during this period. The second, or Weedon Island Period, started from A.D. 700 till A.D. 1300. This period created some of the most artistic pottery found in Florida.

During the third, or Safety Harbor Period, attention towards pottery declined. Villages became larger, as agriculture rose in significance. This is the same period in which the first Spanish explorers arrived.

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