This six-mound complex is believed to have been started around 200 B.C. by the Indians of the Deptford culture. It is considered to be one of the longest, continually occupied sites in Florida.

Museum

The visitor center displays many artifacts discovered on this site.


The stelae

Face on stone

A unique enigmatic feature of the site are the stelae and marker stones. There are two carved stones pointing from opposite sides to the burial mound. The features and color of the faces have considerably eroded over the centuries.

To help identify the face and hair, check the outlined area on the left.



Burial mound

The early Native Americans that lived year round at the Crystal River Site faced the same problems of trash disposal as we do today. Over a period of approximately 1,900 years, beginning about 500 BC, the Native Americans at this Site threw away great quantities of "midden material". Archaeologists sometimes refer to these Midden Areas (above) as shell heaps. That is because oyster, clam, mussel, conch, crab and snails seem to be just some of the favorite foods of these people.

Temple mound

The temple mound was at the time of its construction a large, rectangular, pyramidal, flat-topped mound of earth and midden material approximately 30 feet high. The temple mound is located adjacent to the Crystal River and very similar in appearance to the temple mounds built by other prehistoric peoples elsewhere in Florida.


These Indians had no apparent written language and kept no apparent records. Because of this and the relatively small amount of archaeological work done since the site's discovery in 1903. little is known about their everyday life. Questions like "why did they build their mounds here?" and "why did they eventually abandon them?" must be left unanswered. Future archaeological work at the site may provide answers to many of these mysteries.

Exhibits in the visitor center include artifacts such as pottery and projectile points, Park personnel are available to answer questions and elaborate on topics of special interest to visitors. The park office is located in the visitor center.

A mile paved walking trail leads from the visitor center through the mound complex. Ask the park ranger about special needs. Guided tours for groups of 10 people or more may be arranged. Tours are based on staff availability.

For more information, contact Crystal River Archaeological State Park, 3400 N. Museum Point, Crystal River, FL 344287724; (352) 795-3817, or send an e-mail to the Park Manager


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