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INDIAN MOUNDS OF TAMPA BAY

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Indian Mounds of Tampa Bay Estuary Explorations Archive from Tampa Bay Estuary Program

Indian Mound

 

The shores surrounding Tampa Bay are rich with Native American history. Archeological excavations in downtown Tampa show Indian occupation from 8,000 BC. Centuries ago, Indian villages with their ceremonial or midden mounds (trash mounds of mainly oyster shells) lined the shores by the dozens. But thanks to unbridled development, most have disappeared.

The bay and surrounding waters were fertile with oysters and clams, the shells of which helped build the mounds. Take an Estuary Exploration by checking out a few of the area's remaining historic Indian mounds:

Pinellas County

Phillippe Park

Phillippe Park

Phillippe Park

The mound at Philippe Park in Safety Harbor is probably the largest and most impressive Indian mound in the area. Follow the signs to a paved path that leads to the top of this huge mound, which was part of a Tocobaga village dating from 900 to the 1500s. From the top, you'll be rewarded with a lovely view of Old Tampa Bay. Phillippe Park features not only the mound, but a boat ramp, sheltered picnic areas and several playgrounds. It's well worth a trip to explore this large temple mound.

Note: It's an easy paddle to Phillippe Park from the city marina, where you can launch or rent kayaks and paddleboards from Tocobaga Ecotours (727) 389-8687

Phillippe Park
2525 Philippe Pkwy
Safety Harbor, FL 34695

» http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/11_Philippe.htm ∞


Jungle Prada Mound Park

A mound dating to around 1,000 AD can be found off Park Street at Jungle Prada in south St. Petersburg. Jungle Prada was the site of a thriving Tocobaga village and is recognized as the 1528 landing site of the Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narvaez . The wooded property overlooking Boca Ciega Bay is now a St. Petersburg city park, and the rest is a Sacred Land Preserve, which houses a museum and education center where visitors can see Indian artifacts from more than 500 years ago.

Jungle Prada Mound Park
1700 Park Street N
St. Petersburg 33710


Maximo Park

Maximo Park has an archeological site dating to 800 AD and consisting of several large shell middens that run along the beach on Boca Ciega Bay. Enter the 70-acre city park just northwest of the Skyway Bridge, park, and walk to the tower along the beach. In the nearby woods is a nature trail that runs along the top of the old midden. If you look close you'll see that the mound runs 1,200 feet along the shore from the woods through the picnic area. Maximo Park also features boat ramps, picnic shelters, a playground and beach, making this a nice day trip.

Maximo Park
34th Street and Pinellas Point Dr.
St. Petersburg

» http://www.stpeteparksrec.org/maximo-park.html ∞


Pinellas Point Temple Mound

Hidden away in a residential neighborhood in south St. Petersburg is the Pinellas Point Temple Mound. Dating from 900 to 1,500 AD, the ceremonial mound overlooking Tampa Bay was part of a Tocobaga village and mentioned in the expeditions of Spanish explorers Panfilo de Narvaez and Hernando de Soto. Today it stands 18 feet high by 150 feet long.

Pinellas Point Temple Mound
access from Serpentine Circle, off 21st Street South
Pinellas Point FL

Manatee County

Emerson Point Preserve

Emerson Point Preserve, a 365-acres barrier island at the mouth of the Manatee River, is the site of the impressive Portavant Mound complex. Nearly 1,000 years old, the 150-foot-long and 80-foot-wide flat-topped mound is considered one of the oldest temple mounds in Florida. It is believed to have been the village of ancestors of the Timucua Indians. A boardwalk takes visitors to the top of the mound, while a trail will lead you past a series of smaller middens to the water. Where the Restoration Trail ends, cross the park road to access the Terra Ceia Trail, a winding path through the mangrove forests lining Terra Ceia Bay. There are overlooks and an observation tower to provide a view of the bay and in the distance, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Bring a picnic lunch or kayak and plan to make this a half-day excursion.

Portavant Mound complex at Emerson Point Preserve

Portavant Mound complex at Emerson Point Preserve

Emerson Point Preserve
5801 17th Street West
Palmetto, FL 34221

» http://www.mymanatee.org/home/government/departments/
natural-resources/resource-management/emerson-point.html ∞



Madira Bickle Mound State Archeological Site

Just west of US 19 in Palmetto is Madira Bickle Mound, a State Archeological Site under management of the State Park system. The flat-topped ceremonial mound is about 20 feet high and 170 feet wide at the base. Archaeological excavations have disclosed at least three periods of Native American cultures, the earliest dating back 2,000 years. The 10-acre site was named after Madira Bickel of Sarasota, who joined her husband Karl, in preserving the mounds from destruction by donating the property to the state in 1948. There is a paved path and wooden stairway leading to the mound.

Madira Bickle Mound State Archeological Site
Bayshore Drive
Palmetto, FL
(941) 723-4536

» http://www.floridastateparks.org/madirabickelmound/ ∞

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