Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park

Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park

Infobox_protected_area | name = Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park
iucn_category = V

caption =
locator_x = 212
locator_y = 139
location = Leon County, Florida, USA
nearest_city = Tallahassee, Florida
lat_degrees = 30
lat_minutes = 30
lat_seconds = 00
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 84
long_minutes = 18
long_seconds = 49
long_direction = W
area =
established = May 6, 1971
visitation_num =
visitation_year =
governing_body = Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park is an archaeological site in northern Tallahassee, Florida, United States. It is located on the south shore of Lake Jackson. On May 6, 1971, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is also a Florida State Park.


The park includes all or part of three mounds in a complex that originally included seven mounds. The mounds were built during the Mississippian culture period, between 1000 to 1500 AD, probably by the Apalachee people who lived in the area when first encountered by Spanish explorers. Artifacts found at the Lake Jackson site include motifs of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, which coincides with the time period of the Lake Jackson mounds. The largest mound, Mound 2, is convert|36|ft|m high, and 272 by convert|312|ft|m at the base. Three-quarters of Mound 2 are in the park. All of a smaller mound, Mound 4, is included in the park, and about half of Mound 5, a much smaller mound.

Mound 3

The mounds in the park have not been systematically excavated by archaeologists. Mound 3, which was outside the park on private property, was destroyed in the winter of 1975-1976, but Calvin Jones, an archaeologist with the State of Florida Bureau of Historic Sites and Properties, was able to conduct a rescue operation as the mound was dug away to be sold as fill. Mound 3 was originally convert|15|ft|m high and convert|150|ft|m on a side at the base. Radio-carbon dating of wood and charcoal from the bottom and the top of the mound yielded dates of 760 years and 475 years Before Present, respectively.

On the lowest level of Mound 3, near the center, was a large quantity of charred corn. The bulk of the mound was a mixture of midden materials, red clay from nearby hills, and white sand from the lake shore. The pattern of deposits of fill indicate that it had been brought to the site in baskets. The outer surface of the mound was covered in red clay. Postholes indicated that buildings were erected in the flat top of the mound. Periodically, the buildings were burned, the mound raised, a new layer of clay added, and new buildings erected. This cycle was repeated twelve times in a 250 year period.


Twenty-four burials were recovered from the mound. Others were known to have been lost in the destruction of the mound. Seven of the twelve levels that had been the top of the mound had graves dug into them. Graves dug into the other levels may have been lost as the mound was destroyed. The burials were in deep pits, none of which were dug down into previous graves. Some of the graves were lined with split logs. All of the burials were accompanied by burial garments and other grave goods. In the sequence from lower to higher levels, the grave goods became more elaborate. In the upper levels, the grave goods included many objects made of copper, beads made of shell and pearl, and pipes. The burials included one woman, and a child of about eleven years of age. One of the bodies had been cremated. The bones of a dog were found on top of one of the clay levels that represented an earlier top surface of the mound.

Recreational activities

The park has such amenities as hiking and picnicking areas. Concessions are also available.

References and external links

* Brown, Robin C. "Florida's First People". Sarasota, Florida: Pineapple Press, Inc. ISBN 1-56164-032-8
* [ Leon County listings] at [ National Register of Historic Places]
* [ Leon County listings] at [ Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs]
* [ Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park] at [ Florida State Parks]
* [ Lake Jackson Mounds State Archaeological Site] at [ Absolutely Florida]

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