Digging into the Past

This Temple Mound is one of six Native American burial mounds in Crystal River Archaeological State Park in Florida.

Some people go to state parks to hike, camp, or have picnics. Crystal River State Park is a Florida state park. Visitors there might fish on the coast or bird-watch on a trail. But most people visit to see the archaeological sites.

Experts believe that, for 1600 years, the area was a ceremonial center for Native Americans. People came from far away to trade with others and to bury their dead.

In 1903, an archaeologist named Clarence Bloomfield Moore traveled by boat with his crew. They went up and down the Florida coast. They saw the towering mound of shells at Crystal River. He and his crew spent time digging in the area. They found artifacts such as soapstone pipes, pots, tools made of bone, and arrowheads. Those artifacts are now in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

About 50 years later, another archaeologist, Ripley Bullen, explored the site. He convinced people to make the area a state park. This would protect the land. He and his crew found more artifacts. You can see them in a museum at the park.

Today, archaeologists use technology to explore the area. That way, they don’t disturb the remains of people buried there. 

What Do You Think? Do you know who lived long ago in the area where you live now? How could you find out more about them and their way of life?

Photo Credit: Carver Mostardi/Alamy Stock Photo