A walk through history
Here are recommended Indian heritage sites to visit in Tampa Bay and within a three-hour drive. Here's a list of resources to get you started. If you go, please respect our historic sites by not damaging or removing anything; it's against Florida law. — John Capouya
In Tampa Bay
Safety Harbor Mound, Philippe Park, SAFETY HARBOR: A large walkable Tocobaga mound overlooking the water in a shaded park setting. www.pinellascounty.org/park
Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, Pinellas COUNty: No public mounds, but hands-on exhibits and artifacts tell stories of Tampa Bay's early peoples. www.weedonislandpreserve.org
Sacred Lands, Jungle Prada, St. Petersburg: The Anderson-Narváez mound here, strewn with prehistoric shells, is privately owned and beautifully preserved. For private tours and events, go to www. sacredlands.info.
Emerson Point Preserve, PALMETTO: Pathways lead through an oak and palmetto jungle to Portavant temple mound, southwest Florida's largest, a half-hour from St. Petersburg. www.mymanatee.org
Within three hours of Tampa Bay
Crystal River Archaeological State Park, CRYSTAL RIVER: Walk the green 14-acre complex of ceremonial and burial mounds on the river, and hit the excellent visitors center.
Randell Research Center, Pineland: A 60-acre city on Pine Island Sound built by the Calusa, who ruled South Florida. Mounds, canals and a Heritage Trail rich in info and images. www.flmnh.ufl.edu/rrc
Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville: Major collection of Florida Indian artifacts — stone and wood carvings, masks, tools — and cool archaeological exhibits. www.flmnh.ufl.edu
Trail of Florida's Indian Heritage: Statewide nonprofit for preservation and education. See terrific maps and features sites at www.trailoffloridasindianheritage.org.
www.flmoundsproject.org: More photos, info and video from the folks who produced this story.
"Indian Mounds You Can Visit" by I. Mac Perry. All west coast Florida sites, all the time — he researched and describes 165 of them! www.amazon.com
"Florida's Indians from Ancient Times to the Present" by Jerald T. Milanich. Comprehensive, authoritative and a very engaging read. www.amazon.com
Guided Hikes, Weedon Island Preserve, Saturdays in September and October, 9-11 a.m. Learn about the island's early peoples and coastal environment. Sign up at www.weedonislandpreserve.org.
Family Day at the Morean Arts Center, Oct. 8, noon to 3 p.m. Face painting, American Indian music and the building of a community mound. Also: hands-on "Sifting Through the Past," led by Weedon Island Preserve.
''Meaning, History and Legacy'' at the Morean, Oct. 27, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Photographer Suzanne Williamson and writer John Capouya join Florida archaeologists to discuss American Indian mounds, conservation and the role of art in history. Both Morean events: www.moreanartscenter.org.