Wednesday, August 3, 2011

De Leon Springs State Park
In 1894, Archaeologist Clarence Bloomfield Moore (C.B. Moore) discovered a sand mound in the vicinity of De Leon Springs, now a popular Florida State Park in western Volusia County. In the late 1800s, Moore sailed up the St Johns River locating and excavating a number of Indian mounds along the river. In his notes he reports finding a truncated sand mound, 9 feet high and 450 feet in circumference near De Leon Springs. He excavated one burial but found no pottery or implements in the mound.

Lidar Map prepared by Graham Williams
 A number of archaeological surveys have been conducted in De Leon Springs State Park since C. B. Moore’s visit but Moore’s sand mound has never been positively relocated. Some very interesting oral reports from credible sources have come to light and a sad tale was reported of two young boys burrowing into the mound in the 1940s. One boy lost his life when the mound collapsed and one of the reports stated that the mound was then bulldozed.

William Dreggors, De Land Historical Society
Last week Toni Wallace, of the FPAN - NE site identification team, arrived at the park to assist the park manager, Brian Polk, and state biologist, Graham Williams, to relocate the mound. We had reviewed all the previous surveys of the park but our best help came from a gentleman in his 80s from the De Land Historical Society.  He remembered seeing the sand mound in the 1960s as he drove down the local county road. Before the State acquired De Leon Springs and created the State Park in 1982, the area was a cow pasture and the mound may have been visible from the road. But alas, large trees and underbrush have obscured the area now. Our octogenarian was able to point in the direction of the mound. 

With the help of a bush hog tractor clearing the way, we set out on foot to find it. We found two possibilities but could not make a positive identification. There was no nine foot mound in evidence. We took GPS coordinates on the two possibilities but it will take further archaeological survey work to confirm the location of Moore’s missing mound.
The search team, Park Manager Brian Polk (right) and Biologist GrahamWilliams
So the saga of the elusive sand mound continues. Is it still there? Was it completely bulldozed? Shall we call out the PBS Secrets of the Dead team? If anyone has any information about the missing mound at De Leon Springs, please let us know as we continue our search for the mysterious Moore mound.

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