Native Peoples of Florida’s Mangrove Coast
Monday, October 23
Join us in St. Petersburg for a welcome reception.
Tuesday, October 24
We’ll visit Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, where we’ll observe manatees, alligators, and other species, and learn about the riverine environment where the Tocobaga Indians lived. At the Crystal River site, we’ll explore the ceremonial center and mounds of the mysterious Crystal River culture.
Wednesday, October 25
We’ll travel across Old Tampa Bay and tour the Safety Harbor Mound, type-site of the Safety Harbor Culture that arose around A.D. 900. From there we’ll visit the Weedon Island Site, an important Woodland period type-site. We’ll also explore the Anderson Narvaez site, a unique shell mound complex located in the heart of St. Petersburg.
Thursday, October 26
We’ll begin the day learning about a pivotal moment in Florida and Southeastern history. We’ll visit the De Soto National Memorial to learn about Florida’s Spanish invasions, and we’ll take a walk through a mangrove wilderness. Then we’ll visit the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature to see the impressive collections housed there. We’ll spend time discussing the Tallant Collection which contains stone tools, ceramics, and European material from the early Spanish exploration and settlement of Florida.
Friday, October 27
We’ll have a special tour at the Randell Research Center to see the mounds and canals of this incredible Calusa site. A portion of this site was preserved by the Conservancy and is now protected by the University of Florida. After lunch, we’ll travel to Mound House Museum, the oldest structure on Estero Island. The centerpiece of the museum is a large cutaway of a shellmound surrounded by a breathtaking mural of this Calusa village as it may have looked over 2,000 years ago. Mound house is still recovering from the effects of the hurricane, so we will get the opportunity to learn about disaster archaeology.
Saturday, October 28
Our first stop will be a visit to see the famous Key Marco artifacts currently on loan from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to the Marco Island Historical Society. The exhibit includes the Key Marco Cat, a remarkably preserved kneeling cat carved from native hardwood some 500 to 1,500 years ago by early Calusa people or their Muspa ancestors. For the first time since its discovery, it is reunited with other rare pre-Columbian artifacts discovered on Key Marco in 1896 during a Smithsonian sponsored archaeological expedition. The expedition produced some of the greatest discoveries in the history of North American archaeology and we’ll get a special tour of the exhibit. After lunch, we’ll do some citrus sampling and shopping at Sun Harvest Citrus in Fort Myers.
Sunday, October 29
We’ll head back north to visit Paulson Point Indian Mound Park. The Conservancy has tried to work with local governments and developers to protect the archaeology around Paulson Point from development. We’ll have lunch and then see Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site, Florida’s first archaeological State Park. It was occupied from the Manasota, Weedon Island, and Safety Harbor Periods, AD 700-1300. Then we’ll return to our St. Petersburg hotel and you’ll have some free time before we gather for our final happy hour.
Monday, October 30
Tour participants depart for home or can extend their stay to enjoy the white sandy beaches of southwest Florida.
Cost includes first-class hotel accommodations based on double occupancy (single supplement is $395), lunches, happy hours, expert Conservancy and special guides, admittance fees, tips, tours, background reading, and surface travel via air-conditioned bus with restroom.
Not included are meals other than lunches and travel to and from St. Petersburg.
PLEASE NOTE: A moderate amount of walking is required.