Midden Mounds: You can learn a lot about a people by what they throw away.


Archaeological excavations generally discover two main classes of phenomena; artifacts are objects which have been altered and/or used in any way by humans. Artifacts, then, are such discrete items as stone tools, bone ornaments, rocks moved from a riverbed to a hearth inside a house, and so on. As important as artifacts are features; these may loosely be defined as arrangements of matter which reflect human activity, such as post-holes and pits dug into the ground (whether or not they contain anything), piles of rock which are in some way associated, fireplaces, caches of tools or valuable items, and so on.


Ideas for Teachers:

This fun graphic was assembled to provide teachers with a resource they may use as they see fit. The Questions to Ponder work well as a guide for class discussions or as writing practice.

If you live in Palm Beach County you have access to a lot of very cool Florida History. Go to Jupiter and visit the Lighthouse and the Dubois home. They're close to each other and a lot of fun. Bring your bathing suit--the Loxahatchee river is super swimmer friendly.

Take a trip out to the mountain of trash the South Florida Waste Management people have been constructing for years. There's talk of another mound to be created out west of Lion Country Safari on Southern Blvd.. Debate the pros and cons of piling garbage into hills.
Can't visit in person? Visit waste Management onloine at www.WM.com. Check out the careers link--very interesting.

A great site to visit is www.JupiterLightHouse.org
Another is www.Irhs.org/htmlPages/dubois.htm
Both reference material found in this section.


return to the Calusa.

n 1: (archeology) a mound of domestic refuse containing shells and animal bones marking the site of a prehistoric settlement
[syn: eitchen midden, kitchen midden] 2: a heap of dung or refuse [syn: dunghill, muckheap, muckhill]

Objects you might find in a Florida midden mound are shown below. See how this mess separates out by scrolling down!

Questions to Ponder:

1. All the stuff above is part of a mound made by native Americans many years ago. What can you tell about the people that made the mound by looking at the jumbled bunch of rocks and bones above?

2. Using just the information supplied here:
     A. How old is the mound being studies here?
     B. Where would you expect to find an Indian Mound?

3. Why did the native people make mounds?

4. What are the modern equivalents of midden mounds?

5. What will future archaeologists be saying about us when they go through our trash heaps in a thousand years?

6. Will there even be trash mountains in a thousand years?


Alligator jaw


Opossum jaw

  Deer rib
Deer leg bone   Turtle shell   Alligator scale
Dolphin vertebra (backbone)   Fish vertebra (backbone)   Oyster shell
Deer skull   Raccoon skull   Whelk shell
Broken pottery (Check-Stamped, 2,500 to 1,250 years ago)   Deer scapula (shoulder blade)   Broken pottery (fiber-tempered, 4,000 to 2,500 years ago)
Pinellas projectile point (750 to 250 years ago)   Columbia projectile point (1,800 to 750 years ago)   Clovis projectile point (12,000 years ago)