Archaeologist unearths history of local mounds

A “worm-shaped” pot from Pierce Mound A leads researchers to believe the grub worm may have had cere

A “worm-shaped” pot from Pierce Mound A leads researchers to believe the grub worm may have had ceremonial significance to the people who built the mounds.

Photo courtesy of National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution
Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 12:41 PM.

After 20 years of research, University of South Florida archaeologist Dr. Nancy White has published a report on the history of the Pierce Mounds, on the western edge of Apalachicola , that shows the area was inhabited for more than 2000 years prior to the arrival of European explorers.

White, a professor in the university’s department of anthropology, has helped illuminate a world few imagined once existed in the heart of Franklin County .

For 2000 years, an Indian village nestled on the banks of Turtle Harbor Swamp west of Apalachicola was a center of culture commerce and religion. White’s newly published report offers insight into Franklin County ’s role in the ancient world.

The mounds were named for Alton Pierce, an early owner of the site. Much of the site is now on private property and inaccessible to the public.

Once upon a time, 13 mounds, including a sizeable temple mound and a shell midden more than a mile long, shared with a bustling village the area around what is now Magnolia Cemetery

The people who lived there were prosperous and powerful, influencing trade traffic to the north along Apalachicola River and to the east and west along the Gulf Coast .

They were spared the hard work of farming by an abundance of seafood and game as well as wild fruit and nuts. There is evidence they imported cornmeal to broaden their diet. Skilled potters who produced both fanciful and utilitarian objects, they buried their dead with precious objects including silver, copper and pearls.

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