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Ancient Architects of Florida

Big Mound City


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The Big Mound City site in Indiantown, Florida is a combination of a mound structure and an embankment complex. It dates to the late Mississippian Period, circa 1450-1500AD and has led various researchers to believe its construction is based on some type of detailed architectural plan (Milanich). Because of its location and proximity to other major Belle Glade sites, the Big Mound City complex is considered part of that nexus, although late in developmental terms. It is at sites such as the Big Mound City site that archeologists begin to see artifacts of European descent or origin interspersed with Native American artifacts because of its presence during the Spanish and European arrivals.

Tobacco cultivation and use had also become widely used during this period; a fact that led Spanish colonialists to take up the habit as well as export it back to Europe. Archeological evidence at the Big Mound City clearly shows agriculture, including tobacco cultivation, was a part of daily life at the site (Milanich). Stone tools used for clearing fields and creating and managing fire have been found among the various artifacts discovered at the site. The remains of some structures are sometimes found among mound sites, particularly the Big Mound City site but not usually residential structures because these were primarily constructed of thatch work material that was not durable. The Big Mound City remains one of the best examples of pre-Columbian/post-Columbian settlements.

 

 Resources & Further Reading:

Milanich, Jerald T. Archaeology of Precolumbian Florida. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1994.

Morgan, William N. Pre-Columbian Architecture in Eastern North America. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 1999..

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