WHO BUILT THE MOUNDS
More than eight centuries ago, Native Americans inhabited the area around Lake Jackson. Today, Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park preserves the remains of six of the seven known earthen temple mounds. The two intact available for viewing by the public are situated in an open area that would have been used as a central plaza. The mound complex was composed of the seven mounds, surrounded by scattered hamlets and farmsteads. Six mounds in the complex form two paired East to West rows and are oriented toward the cardinal points.
Salvage excavations of a mound at Lake Jackson in the 1970s revealed copper and shell items that bore Mississippian style artwork. Mississippian sites feature distinctive earthen mound architecture, artwork and trade items that were exchanged across the Mississippian interaction network. Lake Jackson is the southernmost mound center associated with this network, which consisted of the peoples who participated in shared cultural and ritual activities and exchanged Mississippian style objects. Artifacts found at the Lake Jackson site include plain and repoussé copper plates, copper headdress badges, engraved shell gorgets, pearl beads, copper axes, and stone and ceramic pipes. Many of these pieces had motifs representative of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex or SECC. Similar artifacts have been found at the Spiro Site in Oklahoma, the Moundville Site in Alabama, and Etowah Mounds in northwestern Georgia. Stylistic analysis has shown that of the three, Lake Jackson had the closest ties with Etowah.
Additional investigations using ground penetrating radar (GPR) in 2014 at Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park revealed new information about this unique site. GPR data provided information on the construction of the mounds and the possible presence of structures on and around the mounds. Ongoing research into the chronology of the site promises to shed light on the origins of Lake Jackson and the spread of the Mississippian interaction network into North Florida.
Archaeologists classify the site as part of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex [SECC]. This large regional culture is related to the Mississippian Period (approximately A.D. 800 to 1600). SECC was first recognized in the mid-20th century, although it was then called the Southern Cult, or even the "Southern Death Cult". However, today it is sometimes referred to as the Mississippian Ideological Interaction Sphere [MIIS] or the Mississippian Art and Ceremonial Complex [MACC]. Sites of this cultural group are scattered throughout the southeastern United States.
MORE ABOUT THE PARK
Lake Jackson is a beautiful park to enjoy a picnic. Numerous picnic tables are located between the two mounds and under the pavilion. The pavilion is first-come, first-served, unless there is a paid reservation. The interpretive exhibit is located under the picnic pavilion. Educate yourself about the Native Americans that once inhabited the area around Lake Jackson Mounds Archaeological State Park.
This Florida State Park offers a .75 mile interpretive trail that meanders past an early 1800s Grist mill located in Butler Mill Creek. The mill belonged to Colonial Robert Butler who was the first land Surveyor General of Florida. The park also has a 2.2 mile nature trail where you can enjoy a multitude of flora and fauna. The interpretive trail is a little more challenging due to the rougher terrain and slope of portions of the trail. The nature trail is mostly grasslands mixed throughout with more stable grade and slope.
Lake Jackson also offers numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing and bird-watching.
page information credit: Florida State Parks, Wikipedia, Mutt Maps
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors