Crystal River Archaeological State Park


Crystal River Archaeological State Park
Crystal River Indian Mounds
Temple mound
Crystal River Archaeological State Park is located in Florida
Location: Crystal River, Florida
Coordinates: 28°55′01″N 82°36′33″W / 28.91694°N 82.60917°W / 28.91694; -82.60917Coordinates: 28°55′01″N 82°36′33″W / 28.91694°N 82.60917°W / 28.91694; -82.60917
Area: 61 acres (250,000 m2)
Visitation: 21,000
Governing body: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
NRHP Reference#: 70000178[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: September 29, 1970
Designated NHL: June 21, 1990[2]

Crystal River State Archaeological Site is a 61-acre (250,000 m2) Florida State Park located on the Crystal River and within the Crystal River Preserve State Park. The park is located two miles (3 km) northwest of the city of Crystal River, on Museum Point off US 19/98.

Under the title of Crystal River Indian Mounds, it is also a U.S. National Historic Landmark (designated as such on September 29, 1970).

Contents

History

The park contains a six-mound complex, built by pre-Columbian mound builders, that is considered one of the longest continually occupied sites in Florida, believed to have been occupied for 1,600 years. Native Americans traveled long distances to the complex to bury their dead and to engage in trading activities. An estimated 7,500 people may have visited the complex annually when it was occupied. The complex contains burial mounds, temple/platform mounds, a plaza area, and a midden. Over a period of approximately 1,900 years, beginning about 500 BC, the Native Americans at the Crystal River Site threw away great quantities of materials that would form the middens that adorn the site. This "midden material" contained various kinds of woodland animal bones, fish bones, turtle shells, broken pottery, broken hand tools and arrowheads. By the time of abandonment, the midden area had reached 1,300 feet in length, 100 feet in width, 7 feet in depth, and was formed into a crescent shape[3]. Two large platform mounds are believed to have been used primarily for ceremonial purposes. A half-mile paved loop trail passes by each mound, with signs interpreting the mounds. A 55 step observation deck atop the park's largest mound, Temple Mound, provides a panoramic view of the area. The park contains coastal marsh and is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.

The park is also home to a limestone slab, possibly a "stele", on which is a crudely carved human face and torso.[4] There has been debate as to how strongly this inscribed stone slab was influenced by the monumental stelae of Mesoamerica.[5] Although there may be some evidence for contact between the Huastec Culture of the Mexican Gulf Coast and the American Southeast[6] , those claims which suggest the most direct connections are probably unfounded. The slab is today housed on the site within a metal cage.[7]

Recreational activities

Activities include salt and fresh water fishing, picnicing, bird watching and a boat tour of Crystal River. Amenities include a small picnic area. The visitor center/museum features an open captioned video about the tribes that once lived in the area, and houses a collection of artifacts from the site, including arrowheads, pottery, jewelry, stone and bone tools.

Hours

The museum is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily. Florida state parks are open between 8 a.m. and sundown every day of the year (including holidays).

References

  1. ^ "National Register of Historical Places - Florida (FL), Citrus County". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-02-25. http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/FL/Citrus/state.html. 
  2. ^ Crystal River Site at National Historic Landmarks Program
  3. ^ crytal river state parks
  4. ^ Milanich, Jerald T. (1994). Archaeology of Precolumbian Florida. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. pp. 217. ISBN 0-8130-1273-2. 
  5. ^ Milanich, Jerald T. (1999). Famous Florida Sites: Mount Royal and Crystal River. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-8130-1694-0. 
  6. ^ Bullen, Ripley P. (1966). "Stelae at the Crystal River Site, Florida". American Antiquity, 31(6):865
  7. ^ Snow, Dean R. (2010). Archaeology of Native North America. New York, New York: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-615686-X. 

See also

External links




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