History and Cultural Signs
Shell Mounds at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Florida. Published by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS).
|Florida Pocket Maps|
2 1 East River: site of CCC and Salt Works Plum Orchard: site of Port Leon Wakulla Beach: site of Wakulla Beach Hotel and West Goose Creek Seineyards Seineyard 84°8.710' W 84°8.892' W 84°15.703' W 30° 7.797' N 30° 9.099' N 30° 6.316' N 6 5 4 Mandalay: site of Aucilla River St. Marks Lighthouse: site of Lighthouse, Ft. Williams, and Spanish Hole/Shipwreck Mounds Station: site of Shell Mounds and Naval Naval Stores Stores Paleo Indians and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge History Trail 3 GPS Coordinates: GPS Coordinates: 84° 9.869' W ~ 30° 5.282' N 84° 10.955' W ~ 30° 4.658' N This piece of pottery dates from the recent Leon – Jefferson Period (1550-1750 A.D.). Artifacts such as pottery and tools recovered during archeological excavations provide clues about the culture of the various people who lived on this land thousands of years ago. Pottery is one of the signature markers for judging the age of a site. The style and composition of the clay evolved from a simple utilitarian design of the Archaic Period to finer, more artistic bowls, storage jars, or burial vessels with distinctive decorations and pigments that appeared in the Weeden Island Period. (Courtesy Florida Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Archaeological Research) 83° 58.769' W 84° 58.769' 83° 10.955' W 84° 9.869' W 30° 6.985' N 30° 4.658' N 30° 5.282' N The Paleo-Indian period lasted about 5,100 years between 13,000 and 7,900 B.C. About 40 Paleo-Indian sites occur near the refuge, mostly along the Aucilla River. Since more of land mass was exposed FortFlorida’s Williams, in a drawing from Frank Leslie’s during that time it is likely that sev-(deIllustrated Newpaper, February 22, 1862 tail). Florida) eral (Courtesy sites areState nowArchives underofthe water of Apalachee Bay. The Archaic Period, between 7,900 - 500 B.C., is divided into Early (7,900 - 5,000 B.C.), Middle (5,000 3,000 B.C.), and Late (3,000 - 500 B.C.). During this time some clans began to form small semi-permanent and permanent villages as well as hunting camps near coastal marshes and river systems. Bolen points, a distinctive form of arrowhead found in the southeastern U.S., and fiber tempered pottery appeared during this time period. The Woodland Period, 500 B.C. - 900 A.D., is divided into three distinctive eras based on styles of pottery: Deptford (500 B.C. - 100 A.D.); Santa Rosa - Swift Creek (100 - 300 A.D.); and Weeden Island (300 - 900 A.D.). Native cultures became more organized during this period as indicated by elaborate ceremonial complexes, mound burials, permanent settlements, population growth, and organized societies. The Mississippian - Fort Walton Period, 900 A.D. to the time of European contact, is characterized by the spread of temple mounds and This diorama at the Museum of Florida History in Tallahassee shows what a village might have looked like around 1450. the cultivation of crops such as corn, beans, and squash. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge protects numerous ancient habitation sites; only a few were places of burial. A permanent village required access to a reliable food supply, the resources to build shelters, and a nearby source of fresh water. The coastal area now protected by the refuge supplied abundant varieties of seafood. The forests supplied firewood, small game, some edible plants, and shelter materials. Fresh water was available from the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers. The Mounds Trail traverses an area that has been used since prehistoric times. The fire tower is built on a shell midden and evidence of the Deptford, Weeden Island, Swift Creek, and Fort Walton cultures have been discovered by archeological excavations. Humans have touched this land for more than 10,000 years. As you walk along, imagine the scent of wood smoke from a cooking fire and listen for the voices of people who lived in an ancient camp near the Mounds Trail. The St. Marks Refuge Association, Inc., with a matching grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, produced the signs and brochures for the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge History Trail. The association is a 501(c)(3) organization that supports educational, environmental, and biological programs of St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Visit www.stmarksrefuge.org for more information. 9/2010