HERITAGE-ECO BOAT TOURS. The vessel "Monroe" (26 passengers) is the vehicle for a lower river Heritage-Eco Tour. The program " The Ancient River Dwellers" is provided weekly. The 1½ hour trip allows the participants the opportunity to see the coastal marsh and learn how it and the associated marine estuary provided for the pre-Columbian people that lived here.
Eagles in the trees along the Crystal River
Birds of Pray on stands in the park
From left to right a older coal power plant, nuclear power plant, then the newer coal power plant.
the Gulf of Mexico.
Crystal River Archaeological State Park
The first humans arrived in Florida about 14,000 years ago. They found a land that extended far out into the Gulf of Mexico. The present Citrus County shore line was at that time almost 200 feet above sea level. We don't know very much about these early nomadic people.
The Crystal River Archaeological State Park gives the first glimpse at the earliest settlements in Citrus County. For approximately 1,600 years (200 B.C. until A.D. 1400), people of the Deptford culture appear to have occupied this site. The 14 acre six mound complex is one of the most imposing prehistoric ceremonial centers on Florida's west coast.
When exploring the documented history of Citrus County, we are looking at a relatively short time span of less than 190 years. The first pioneers arrived in the 1810s. Only after the Civil War did more people move into this frontier region between the Withlacoochee River and the Gulf of Mexico.
This is a midden pile.
For an exploration of the site see: http://www.crystalriverstateparks.org/CrystalRiv3.html
Over a period of approximately 1,900 years, beginning about 500 BC, the Native Americans at the Crystal River Site threw away great quantities of "midden material". Archaeologists sometimes refer to these Miidden Areas as shell heaps. That is because oyster, clam, mussel, conch, crab and snails seem to be just some of the favorite foods of these people. This, we believe is because the local estuary and the Gulf of Mexico provided such an abundance of these kinds of food. Also found in the Midden Area are various kinds of woodland animal bones, fish bones, turtle shells, broken pottery, broken hand tools and arrowheads. These finds represent the remains of past lifeways evident at the Crystal River Site.
By the time the Native Americans abandoned the Crystal River Site, around 1,400 AD, the midden had grown to be about 1,300 feet long, 100 feet wide and seven feet deep, and was crescent shaped. At the west end of the Midden Area there appear to be two small mounds. Whether these areas of the midden were deliberately shaped like mounds by the Native Americans or it happened by accident, through their routine dumping of trash, archaeologists are not sure.
Terry Hard At Work