Friday, April 29, 2016

Current Day Green Mound (photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Approximately 1,200 years ago native peoples began throwing remnants of their meals into a pile, some bones but primarily shells. A good portion of their meals consisted of oysters, clams, and donax so between 800 AD - 1600 AD, these shells evolved from a small pile into a huge mound!

clam shell
oyster shell
donax shells

Where there were once numerous such vast shell heaps, Green Mound is now one of the last in the region.  It's located seven miles South of Daytona Beach between the Atlantic Ocean and the Halifax River (making it an ideal place to have harvested shell fish!)
(Photo: wikipedia.org)
Green Mound is most well known for it's stratigraphy.  John W. Griffin (who first excavated the site in 1948) proclaimed the mound to be "the most thorough time-line available", a "chronological yardstick."
(Photo from Bullen and Sleight excavation, 1960)
One can see clearly the stratigraphy in the photograph above (complete with yardstick).  With each stratum representing a different time period, Archaeologists can see what people ate, what structures were built and how things changed over time.  (Obviously, the deeper the stratum, the older the time period!)
More paleo than archeo, but the above image demonstrates the concept of stratigraphy (graphic credit: Ray Troll t-shirt designs, idea credit: Sarah Miller's friend's t-shirt)
Through careful excavation, archaeologists can tell that the mound wasn't just a trash heap.  They found postholes (evidence of structures) and clay floors as well as evidence of ash, fire pits and hearths at the site. 
Green Mound in 1924 (www.floridamemory.com)
During the 1920's Green Mound was in danger of being completely destroyed (as were many of Florida's mounds).  Massive amounts of Green Mound's shell were removed for use in road construction.   By 1930, almost one-third of the site had been put into roads!  But thanks to concerned citizens, Green Mound was protected and can still be visited today.

Today, Green Mound is owned by The State of Florida and managed by the Town of Ponce Inlet.    Located inside the beautiful park of Ponce Preserve, one can walk an easy trail around the mound.

As you walk around the mound, evidence of past meals spills out:
Oyster, Clam and Donax shells
Thankfully, the Town of Ponce Inlet is working to make Green Mound even more accessible with future paths to the top and interpretive signs added in the next few years.  This would make John W. Griffin (the first archaeologist who worked on the site) very happy:
"When Green Mound is properly developed as a monument, the public in general will discover its value.  They will find that the site tells a story of great interest; the story of the Florida Indian, how he lived, and how his way of life changed through time.  And this story will be told on the site on which it happened." (from Griffin's report to the state in 1948).


Text and Photos (except where noted) by FPAN Staff: Robbie Boggs

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