Tomoka Mounds (2510 BC)

 This 3-D reconstruction shows how the Tomoka Mounds would have looked 4,000 years ago. Please help support this site by making a purchase in our store or by making a donation. All proceeds help fund future exhibits.

The Tomoka Mounds near the current Ormand Beach area are also representative of Archaic pre-Columbian Native American cultures in Florida. The Tomoka Mounds date to 2500 BC which is somewhat later than the previously discussed site, Horr’s Island Mounds. Tomoka Mounds represent a fine example of the end of the Archaic ages Late period which came to a close at the same time (Waselkov & Braund).

This archaeological site is a large complex of burial mounds and shell middens that comprise one of the earliest Native American settlements on the Central East Coast of Florida. This mound construction dates back to the Mount Taylor period, around 5500 years ago. Among the more interesting things found at the site are artifacts imported from quite some distance, including a cache of six bannerstones made of materials that are native to north Georgia.

Such discoveries are enlightening because it indicates considerable trade or nomadic activity at such an early period in Native American history. Some conjecture still exists on whether the Tomoka Mounds are indicative of a nomadic or permanent settlement.

The actual construction method of the Tomoka Mounds consists of extensive use of sand-layering techniques in which nine separate layers of differently colored sand are laid over each other (Milanich). The exact purpose of this construction technique is undetermined but some researchers have conjectured it might relate to various ethnic or group associations within the community.

The remains of shells at the site have revolutionized thought about when the area was inhabited. These early dwellers came to Central Florida before the streams were receptive to oyster development.

The next sites in our story of Florida’s ancient Native American civilizations, the Guana River & Joseph Reed Shell Rings, are similar to the previous site of Horr’s Island Mounds. The one thing all these sites have in common is the use of shells as a building material which is why these cultures are often called the Shell Mound Builders.

Leave a Reply