Florida Guide > State Parks
CRYSTAL RIVER ARCHAEOLOGICAL STATE PARK
Crystal River Archaeological State Park is situated on the six mile long Crystal River and is mid way between The Gulf Of Mexico and Kings Bay which is fed by spring waters.
The history of this place has been traced back for 10000 years when the first signs of occupation have been uncovered and is a pre columbian, Native American site where people came from far and wide to bury the dead.
This park has been open since the 60s but the work here is ongoing.
A good hunting and gathering place this was first mostly a place for travellers to stop for a while; later it became settled in and by 10000 ad there were over 8000 people resident here.
The middens (rubbish tips) provide lots of clues to the life lived here and are some 13000ft long, 100 ft wide and 7 ft deep. These were uncovered in 1960 and named Priests Mound and Village Mound.
Perhaps the most interesting mound is the First Temple Mound; this is an impressive 28 feet high and has a large shell heap. A shell causeway once lead to a primitive cemetery but it has now been covered.
Up to 1500 bodies are buried here dating from 2500 bc to 1300 ad.
An archaeologist named Ripley Bullen encouraged the Florida Park Service to acquire this land and he then worked on it tirelessly to provide exhibits and to restore the burial mounds.
The visitors centre is the hub of this park and will tell you about the archaeology of the place and compares it to others of the same era.
There are many artefacts to be seen; a small number of which are reproductions. Among these exhibits are tools, arrow heads, jewellry and pottery.
Birds are best viewed from the mound complex (take your binoculars and a camera)This park is part of the State Parks birding trail.
There is good fishing; consult a park ranger to see what you may take and you will need a license.
A small picnic area is provided along with a gift shop and the all important loos.
The entry cost is $2, a small price to pay for such a wealth of ancient history. I would encourage you to go on a friday as there is a boat tour. This called the Heritage Ecological Boat tour and last around an hour and a half. Cost is a modest $10 and you can get more info by ringing 352 795 3817.
In the hotter months pack sunscreen, a hat and insect repellant.
Crystal River Archaeological State Park
3400 N. Museum Point
Crystal River, Florida 34428
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