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Contact: Linda Friar, 305-242-7714
Contact: Susan Reece, 239-695-3311
Everglades City, Florida: Join a park ranger guided tour of the striking Turner River Complex Saturday March 28, 2009. This special program is being offered only one weekend during 2009 to celebrate Florida Archaeology Month and will depart from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City.
The Turner River Complex is a prehistoric shell works site located in the 10,000 Island Area of Everglades National Park. Located directly northeast of Chokoloskee Island, one-half mile from the mouth of the Turner River, the Turner River complex cover 30 acres and extend for a quarter-mile along the river. Smithsonian Anthropologist Ales Hrdlička, who visited the site in 1922, considered the Turner River Mounds to be “the most noteworthy group of shell heaps and mounds in the entire region” In 1955, William H. Sears, of the Florida State Museum, secured permission from the owners of the property (Ted Smallwood’s family) to conduct excavations at the site. Sears’ work at the Turner River Shell Works Complex provided the first contour mapping of a mound complex in south Florida and was the first professional archeological excavation within the Ten Thousand Islands.
Motorized boat tours will leave at 1:00, 1:30, 3:00 & 3:30 pm and will make a thirty minute stop at the site. Visitors should arrive at least 15 minutes before hand. The tours cost $35 per adult (regular boat tour price). Space is limited to six persons per trip. In addition to the motorized tour, there will also be a ranger-led canoe to the mounds. People can either bring their own canoe/kayak or rent a canoe. Canoe rental is $26.50 (includes tax). Canoes can hold 2 or 3 people. Singles can pay for 1/2 of a canoe.
On Sunday, March 29, there will be a special boat tour that includes a stop and short walk on Sandfly Island, another important prehistoric mound site. This will be the 2:30 boat tour. This trip will accommodate 46 people. The tour costs $26.50 (regular boat tour price).
All tours will depart from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. Space is limited, so reservations are required for all trips. For more information or reservations call the Gulf Coast Visitor Center at 239-695-3311. The Gulf Coast Visitor Center is located 5 miles south of Highway 41 (Tamiami Trail) on State Road 29, in Everglades City. From Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley), take exit 80 (State Road 29) south and proceed 20 miles to Everglades City. Once in Everglades City, follow the signs to the park. The visitor center is on the right.