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Indian mound sites to visit, resources for learning about them

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville: Major collection of Florida Indian artifacts — stone and wood carvings, masks, tools — and cool archaeological exhibits.

Trail of Florida's Indian Heritage: Statewide nonprofit for preservation and education. See terrific maps and features sites at 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!

"Florida's Indians from Ancient Times to the Present" by Jerald T. Milanich. Comprehensive, authoritative and a very engaging read.


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

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:

Indian mound sites to visit, resources for learning about them 09/23/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 23, 2011 7:59pm]
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