The earliest evidence of man at Canaveral National Seashore is found in the numerous mounds witin it's boundaries. More than 14,000 years ago, small nomadic bands of First Natives entered Florida. As time passed, regional cultures evolved in response to local environmental conditions. By the time the Europeans came various distinct First Native groups were distributed throughout Florida. Living in the vicinity of Turtle Mound were the Timucuan people.
In their 2,000 years of occupation along the coast, the Timucuans did little to alter the natural landscape. Their few remaining burial mounds and shell mounds are like an unwritten book about the people who lived here. By protecting it, we are assuring that future generations will learn of the Timucuan people.
The large shell mounds hold undisclosed information to the their way of life. From 800 to 1400 CE, generation after generation left evidence behind to tell of the their lifestyle at Turtle Mound.
Winter Camps along the coast were small, consisting of one or more families. The chief of the village live in a structure in the center of the village.
Animal bones uncovered in shell middens revealed the skill of the Timucuan hunters. With bow and arrow, spears and snares, they caught a variety of small mammals and reptiles. Deer was an important meat source. Using a deer's hide and head as a disguise, they stalked their unsuspected prey. So skilled were they in imitating a deer's movements, at times disguised hunters were mistakenly attacked by other hunters.
Juan Ponce de Leon landed in Florida in 1513. Contact with the Europeans led to the rapid demise of the Timucuan people and their culture.Numbering an estimated 40,000 with the coming of the Spanish, the Timucuans were reduced to a handful of survivors who fled wih the Spanish when Spain withdrew from Florida in 1763.
There has never been a complete excavation of Turtle Mound. By protecting it for the future, we will be able to gain more insite into the way of life of the Timucuan people. Archeological sites such as Turtle Mound ae the last remaining vestiges of the Timucuan people. Other mounds have been leveled to provide roadfill material. Some mounds have been so disturbed that their archeological record was destroyed and their artifacts lost forever.
Last updated: May 8, 2020