Crystal River Archeological State Park

Location: Crystal River, Florida

Webpage: Florida State Park

General Description: Crystal River Archeological State Park is a 61 acre historic park consisting of 6 Indian mounds occupied for 1600 years, the longest continually occupied sites in Florida.  Native Americans traveled long distances to bury their dead and trade in the marketplace.  It is estimated that 7500 people visited the site annually.  The site contains burial mounds, two temple/platform mounds, a plaza area, and a huge midden heap.  The site also contains two “stele”, one of which has a crude carving of an Indian face and torso in the limestone face.  At one time there is evidence there was a platform extending from each of the two temple mounds to the stele.

Brochure

Impressions:

1) The site of the Indian mounds is beautifully maintained with interpretive signs at most of the mounds giving a brief introduction of its use.

BurialMound

2) The Visitor Center was closed the day we visited in preparation for a public fund raising event to commemorate the unveiling of a painted mural in the museum.  Therefore, I cannot comment on the museum itself.

VisitorCenter

3) There is an educational area where they hold demonstrations of the archeological field techniques for the public to participate in at special events.  The “mound” they use for this purpose was created when they dredged out the boat dock from the river.  Therefore, the material has all been disturbed losing its time frame, however, it still serves a very useful and unusual purpose since artifacts are found through the sifting process.

DemonstrationArea

4) There are two limestone blocks called stele in the park.  There is evidence that the ramps leading from each of the two temple mounds extended to one of the stele.  On one of the stele you can still see a carved image of a face, although I have trouble making out the torso.

Stele

5) The largest temple mound has steps leading to the top from which you can an excellent view of the river and surrounding area.  You can easily see the beginning of the ramp used by the Indians to access the mound.

RampFromMound

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