8,000–2,000 years ago

Native Americans continued to live by hunting and gathering as the population expanded and tribes claimed their territories. Southwest Florida’s earliest Indian mounds date from this period.

Mounds and earthworks were built for a variety of reasons. The most common form of mound was a shell refuse midden where Paleo-Indians disposed of trash such as oyster shells and animal bones. Other mounds were temples or burial sites.

Although most of west-central Florida’s mounds have long been bulldozed or paved over, some still exist. Post-Archaic “Mill Point 3” near Williams Park on the Alafia’s north bank is from about 1,500–1,000 years ago.

The Orange Period (4,000–3,000 years ago) brought about the invention of pottery. Then came the Transitional Period (3,000–2,500 years ago) when Florida’s Paleo-Indians developed agriculture.

The Weeden Island Culture (1,700–700 years ago) was marked by ornate pottery and elaborate burials. By the onset of the Safety Harbor Period (700–300 years ago), central Florida’s Timucuan Indians were an ordered society of chiefs, warriors, commoners and slaves.

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