Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee gathered to discuss new findings at the Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park.
Daniel Seinfeld, a senior archaeologist at the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, presented his research at B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology. Seinfeld has spent 14 years studying archaeology. He started his investigation in hopes to find some practice of Mississippian style at Lake Jackson.
He examined Mississippian style mounds all over Florida. Mounds are artificial heaped piles of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris.
Lake Jackson is one of Florida’s state parks. It has a total of seven mounds with two in good condition. Seinfeld said the others have been damaged over time.
“Lake Jackson is a product of history,” Seinfeld said. “The people who built it wanted to be a part of something bigger.”
His findings reveal that Lake Jackson does have Mississippian style construction. Finding similar artifacts, pottery, animal bones, copper, shark teeth, clay caps and burials helped Seinfeld conclude that it was developed with Mississippian style.
How a mound is structured and layered can explain its construction style. Seinfeld said some mounds were built to have different functions but not all mounds have burials.
“Culture can determine how a mound is built,” Seinfeld said. “There is diversity in mound building. Over time, generations would change mounds’ fundamental appearance.”
Seinfeld said Mississippi-style mounds can be found in the Midwest and the South. Letchworth, Etowah, Moundville and Block-Sterns are all Mississippi-style mounds.
Ground-penetrating radar, which permits radar waves to image sub-surfaces, was the major tool used to investigate Lake Jackson.
Seinfeld found learning the different construction stages of the mounds interesting. He also found it noteworthy that the local park had several similarities and practices to Mississippian sites. He suggests these similarities started from migration because the local people wanted to bring new traditions.
“It’s all about putting it together and getting the bigger picture,” Seinfeld said.
Linda Van Beck, a PAST member from Tallahassee, enjoys the organization and the research they discover.
“This is a good group because they have a lot of professional people and it’s well-attended,” Van Beck said. “It just shows that there is a lot of knowledge in archaeology in Leon County.”
56-year-old Gabrielle Reed, a graduate computer science student at Florida State University from Tallahassee, is intrigued by local history.
“I find it interesting that there is history right in Tallahassee and people do not know,” Reed said. “You could be walking on a mound.”
For more information on the next PAST event, please visit: https://sites.google.com/site/panhandlearcheologyevents/calendar