Ancient Civilizations of Florida

Native Americans constructed impressive structures(referred to as Indian Mounds) throughout the state of Florida for over 5,000 years. This Amerindian building activity occurred across three separate archaeological time periods in Florida: the Archaic period, the Woodland period, and the Mississippian period. Some of the first monumental constructions, the Horr’s Island mounds, were built along the […]

Horr's Island Mounds diagram

Horr’s Island Mounds (3000 BC)

The Horr’s Island Mounds site located in southwest Florida near present-day Fort Myers represents the beginning of a new way of life for Florida’s Native Americans. Established between 3000 – 2800 B.C., not only is this one of the first permanent villages to be occupied year round but it also is the site of the oldest burial mound in the state of Florida (and perhaps North America).

Tomoka Mounds (2510 BC)

Tomoka Mounds 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.

Guana River & Joseph Reed Shell Rings (2050 BC)

The Guana River, Joseph Reed, and St. Augustine Shell Ring structures found in Florida represent the earliest part of the Woodland Period in pre-Columbian America. The Woodland Period extends from approximately 2000BC to 1000AD and these Shell Ring structures date from approximately 2050 BC (Florida). Shell Ring archeological structures are a unique indicator of pre- […]

John Quiet Mound- An ancient NativeAmerican civilization in Florida

Big Mound Key & John Quiet Mounds (850 BC)

Located on the Cape Haze peninsula within Charlotte Harbor in southwest Florida are two very similar mound sites: Big Mound Key and John Quiet Mounds. Approximately eighty miles due west of Lake Okeechobee, both sites are constructed from tons of seashells and feature several flat-topped mounds situated next to a series of semi-circular ridges. The […]

Fort Center Mounds (850 BC)

Around 850 BC new people arrive in Florida possibly from Mexico or Central America. We know this because of something they brought with them: corn. Large amounts of corn pollen were discovered at the Fort Center site in south Florida near Lake Okeechobee. The pollen was found both in the soil and embedded in the […]

Ortona Mounds (250 AD)

Twenty miles southwest of Fort Center in the Lake Okeechobee basin is another equally impressive Native American site: Ortona Mounds. Occupied at the same time as Fort Center, Ortona’s collection of mounds suggests it was an administrative center whereas Fort Center was an agricultural center. The people of Ortona also dug an extensive network of […]

Crystal River Mounds (150 BC)

Still another example of Woodland period archeological sites is the Crystal River Mounds found in northwestern Florida. The Crystal River mounds consist of two larger temple mound structures, a small mound used for residential purposes, as well as several burial mounds (Florida). The Crystal River mound complex is approximately 14 acres and dates variously from […]

Letchworth Mounds (450 AD)

The Letchworth Mounds by nearby Monticella in Florida are, like the Crystal River Mounds, considered a complex because there are several mound structures of varying purposes. The Letchworth Mounds represent the tallest mounds of the period with the tallest one certainly being ceremonial in nature (Mainfort).   Like the other Woodland Period mound structures, the […]

Lake Jackson Mounds (1000 AD)

Lake Jackson Mounds State Archaeological Site, one of the Florida’s most important archaeological sites, is a 41-acre excavation. It is thought to have been the political as well as the religious center between 1200 and 1500 A.D. The tallest mound here is more than 35 feet high. The site was once known to be a large ceremonial […]

Fort Walton Mound (850 AD)

From the Mississippian Period, this mound is the largest on salt water and possibly the largest prehistoric earthwork on the Gulf coast and is thought to be built around 800 AD. The Indian Temple Mound is a monument to Native Americans dating back 1000 years and is a historic national landmark. The Indian Mound Temple originally served […]

Shields & Mount Royal Mounds (1200 AD)

The Mississippian Period that started with the building of Lake Jackson Mounds continued with the Shields and Mount Royal Mounds. During this period the Indians created the most sophisticated civilizations outside of Mexico and constructed some of the most complex Indian mound centers in the state of Florida as well as in the entire southeastern United […]

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