Blog Description

Mound House Happenings shares the latest in ongoing projects, site improvements, scheduled programs and events, plus interesting facts and photos on our unique archaeology, history and ecology.

Mound House

Mound House
October 15, 2013

Monday, April 15, 2013


 Visitors to the Mound House are offered an opportunity to learn about the Calusa culture and those who built and lived on this site so long ago. As a distinct culture, the Calusa are described as a having a well-organized and stratified society who traded extensively and collected tribute from tribes from as far away as the east coast of Florida and the Kissimmee River basin. One of the groups with whom the Calusa interacted, traded with, and collected tribute from, were their neighbors to the east, known by archaeologists as the “Belle Glade People.” Like the Calusa to the west, these folks were also mound builders. Belle Glade people shared many of the same technologies and cultural structures as the Calusa, but are given a distinct identity based on historical accounts and archaeological evidence.

 While the Calusa lived primarily along the coast of Florida, from Charlotte Harbor to the 10,000 Islands, are known as the “Shell People,” the Glades Indians might be considered their “Freshwater” neighbors. The forests, hammocks, swamps, and ponds of the south Florida interior were, and still are, rich in fish and wildlife. The Belle Glade people harvested, ate, and utilized most everything, including alligators, frogs, turtles, and snakes. They fished for largemouth bass, catfish, bream, and garfish. They hunted deer, turkeys, bears, ducks, wading birds, and numerous small mammals such as raccoons, opossums and rabbits. As noted above, the Glades People were mound builders. However, their mounds were constructed of earth and sand rather than shell. In addition, unlike the Calusa, there is some evidence that the Glades people may have grown crops, including maize.

 The most notable of the Belle Glade archaeological sites is Fort Center, in Glades County. Here archaeologists have discovered extensive earthworks and a series of circular canal systems. Bundles of human remains and beautiful, intricate, wooden carvings of wildlife including birds, cats, bears foxes and eagles have been uncovered.  Centuries later, a cabbage palm palisade, Fort Center, was constructed by the United States army during the Third Seminole War in 1855.

 Today you can visit the Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area and enjoy the beautiful area the Belle Glades people once occupied. Visitors can fish, hunt, bike, canoe, and camp while taking in the natural splendor.