Real Food

Savor the flavors of everyday real food, fresh from the garden or stored on your pantry shelves.

Add to My MSN

A Well Preserved Florida Shell Mound in St. Petersburg

8/14/2014 8:45:00 AM

Tags: Florida, shell mounds, food heritage, The Food Museum, Meredith Sayles Hughes, Tom Hughes

shell moundAnthropologists and archaeologists are finally taking note of and publicizing what early two-leggeds ate on an everyday basis. The old elementary school image of a large group of hunters surrounding and killing a woolly mammoth for food is now seen as an occasional, and lucky occurrence. Keeping elders and children fed day after day was done by the gatherers — were they all women? — who dug tubers and roots, picked berries, snared small mammals, netted birds, and carried back shellfish, to feed their clan.

It’s all part of the vast food heritage saga, as are the 1,000 year-old shell mounds of Florida, once abundant, now existing in just a few, well-protected locations.

The PInellas Point Temple Mound in what is today St. Petersburg was created from the shells of the mollusks that were the native American settlers primary food source. The mound was built using the discarded shells as a base, with builders constructing a type of temple that was placed on top.

It was on this spot that in 1528, Juan Ortiz, a captured Spaniard, was said to have been nearly “barbequed” to death by a local chief as revenge for the nasty treatment of his people by the Spanish explorer Panfilio Narvaez a year earlier.

Ortiz was supposedly rescued from the “barbacoa,” a rack used for smoking and drying meat, - yes, the origin of the bar-b-que - by the chief’s daughter, Princess Hirrihigua, who later helped him escape. Ten years later, Ortiz worked as a translator for the Hernan De Soto expedition. His near escape from grilling was included in various reports that eventually made their way to England. princessplaque

Some believe the fabled Captain John Smith was inspired by this tale to fabricate the story of his own “rescue” 80 years later by another Indian princess, Pocahontas. 

The Tampa Bay area has over a thousand anthropological sites, but this is one of the best preserved. The mound sits in a residential neighborhood. Visitors can now easily get to the top via a wooden boardwalk and stairs, added through the preservation efforts of people in the area. Signs along the way explain the site’s history and natural features.

For more info, explore here

Mound photo via stpeterealestateblog.com

Visit The Food Museum for more food heritage and history.



Related Content

Whatever Happened to That Old Diner?: Preserving Food Heritage

Our mission in preserving food heritage is to research, collect, preserve, and then explain America'...

Rural North Florida Efficiency

Growing up in rural north Florida, Elizabeth Hollingsworth shares her family’s self-sufficiency expe...

A Historic Bakery in Jaffa Produces Pastry and Peace

Established in 1879 by an Arab-Israeli family, Abouelafia Bakery continues to make history.

Ecotourism in Florida, Part 1: Island-Hopping on the Wild Side

With more than 1,700 islands that encompass the Florida Keys, they provide refuge to hundreds of bir...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 










Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.