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Archeologist Weekend

Feb 17, 2007  Native and early European people in Tampa bay.
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 2 votes

This is a great set of places that have not advertised themselves. If your intrest is prehistory of Florida this is a must do.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: St. Petersburg
  • Category: Perfect weekend
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors
  • Appeals to: Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Weedon Island Preserve
    Weedon Island Preserve, St. Petersburg, Florida

    This should be given a full day the first day. The Visitors center will set you up with what you need. This is the name site for native American Weedon pottery. Rent the canoe. Experience the wetlands.

  • 2. Terra Ceia and Madira Bickel Mounds

    Terra Ceia and Madira Bickel Mounds are just across the Skyway bridge south out of Saint Petersburg. Take the first exit after the bridge. The signs for the mounds are on the right. These sites are great examples of the stuff you saw at Weedon Island only better. They are considered are pre-Columbian archeological sites used just prior to the Spanish colonial period. They are like many of the Mississippian period and consist of shell middens which have, to some degree, been damaged or depleted. Possibly used as road gravel. Both the Terra Ceia and the Madira Bickel Mounds date to approximately 1450AD although there is evidence of even earlier habitation and use from the Woodland and perhaps even the Archaic Periods. It has been proposed that the Madira Bickel and Terra Ceia Mounds were inhabited by the Weedon Island culture (700AD to 1300AD). Since this period produced some of the most remarkable pottery products from the pre-Columbian era, the archeological evidence supports this assumption. In Terra Ceia, the mound is a flattened ceremonial mound, or temple, that is composed of sand, shells, and village detritus that is approximately 19-20 feet in height. Newly built stairs lead up the north side to a Gumbo Limbo tree. The site itself is just over 10 acres of which the mound only comprises a small portion of it. Madira Bickel Mounds are not staffed, park take the walk, climb the hill. It is a small site but worth the short side trip.

    After visiting the Madira Bickel site continue down Highway 19 to Bradenton. Turn right onto Manatee Blvd. and then go about three miles watch for the sign to Desoto National Monument. This National monument has a wonderful insight into the early European visitors. Have you ever wanted to try on chain mail? They have it here.

    Try to make the trip back to Saint Petersburg at sunset; the sunset from the Skyway is worth a photo. Best of all, No Charge for any of these sites.

  • 3. Desoto National Monument

    On a swelteringly hot day in May 1539, Spaniard Hernando de Soto splashed ashore at Tampa Bay intent on capturing the riches of La Florida by any means necessary. His army was alternately welcomed and opposed by Native American tribes throughout what is now the Southeastern United States in a four year, four thousand mile odyssey of intrigue, warfare, disease, and discovery.