Indian mounds get modern day dig

July 21st, 2015 by Red Hills

mound research by Terri Messler

published in Tallahassee Democrat 10/2/14

This past summer, Florida State University teamed up with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research (BAR) to conduct the six-week 2014 Archaeology Field School. The research was conducted at two of the most significant sites in North Florida: Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park and Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park. FSU graduate and undergraduate students majoring in art history, anthropology, art and the classics participated, along with two dig supervisors from Texas State University.

According to Dan Seinfeld, BAR research archaeologist and managing supervisor of the project, “The students learned the fundamentals of archaeological fieldwork including survey, excavation, documentation and processing artifacts for curation.”

Letchworth-Love Mounds date to the Middle Woodland period, A.D. 200–700, and feature the largest prehistoric earthen temple mound in Florida at approximately 46 feet in height. This summer’s Field School provided new information about the age of the site and the nature of settlement around the mounds. Laboratory analysis is ongoing and promises to shed new light on this unique and mysterious site.

The Field School also spent several weeks at Lake Jackson Mounds, on the north side of Tallahassee. Lake Jackson is the southernmost center for the Mississippian culture, dating from about A.D. 1000-1500. Previous archaeological work at Lake Jackson found evidence of Mississippian culture, including copper breastplates with intricate designs depicting mythological figures. The Field School uncovered new information about the site’s settlement pattern and its earliest occupation.

Seinfeld will publish a complete analysis of the Field School work in the coming months. In the meantime, he will present information about the summer’s findings at an upcoming meeting of the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee (P.A.S.T), in Tallahassee at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. P.A.S.T. meetings are held at the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology at the Governor Martin House, 1001 De Soto Park Drive.

Both Letchworth-Love Mounds and Lake Jackson Mounds are managed by the Florida Park Service and are open to visitors 365 days a year. Visit More on Florida State Parks.

Terri Messler is a Florida Park Services specialist in the Tallahassee-St. Marks area.

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