Monday, June 6, 2011
Crystal River Mounds
Crystal River Temple Mound overlooking the river, fifty-five steps to the top of the mound platform. The temple would have been built on top of the mound. Crystal River Ceremonial Mound Complex dates from 200 AD to 1300 to 1400 AD and is part of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex. According to the National Park Service, "This six-mound complex is considered one of the longest continually occupied sites in Florida. For 1,600 years these 14 acres were an imposing prehistoric ceremonial center."
View of the river ancient people would have had from the temple. I can just envision them floating down the river in their dugout canoes. The Crystal River Mounds have been found to contain various pottery artifacts and the burial mounds, as other mounds in pre-Columbian archeological sites within Florida, contain artifacts that were not sourced locally, such as Grizzly Bear teeth, mica from the Appalachian Mountain area to the north of Florida, and copper earrings from the Ohio area. The primary burial mound consists of white sand and is said to contain, by some estimates, as many as a 1,000 separate burials (Milanich).
The Crystal River mound complex also contains two stone objects estimated to date to 440-450AD and whose purpose is not definitively known. These stone objects are about five feet in height and are fashioned out of limestone and one is carved to be representative of a human head (Milanich). Some archeologists have hypothesized that the entire complex is a massive calendar to mark the major planetary events such as equinoxes, solstices, and star alignments (Milanich).
Gary on the platform on the top of the mound. Mound builders were prehistoric people who inhabited North America who constructed various styles of earthen mounds for burial, residential and ceremonial purposes.
River side of the temple mound showing all the shells and earth built up for the temple mound.
Weeden Island Culture pottery.
Arriving early we had the park and museum to ourselves. There was much to learn about ancient cultures of Southeast America.
I found myself reflecting on religion and ritual, sustenance and necessity, the trials and tribulations of daily life, and about beauty and love. Thanks for reading my blog and for all your support.