At 46 feet, this is Florida's tallest Native American ceremonial earthwork mound, which was built between 1100 and 1800 years ago, however artifacts and evidence of nearly 12,000 years of human habitation have been found at this site.
This is one of three major surviving mound complexes in the Florida Panhandle. It is believed to have been built by the Weedon Island Culture (200-800 CE), Native Americans who lived in North Florida. The hierarchical society planned and constructed massive earthwork mounds and villages.
"Take a stroll along the boardwalk and trail that leads you past four mounds created by Native American Indians and envision what it was like to live here as they did many years ago. The site is part a large mound community that was began in approximately 400A.D. Look closely at the largest mound (highest in all of Florida) and one can see the design work of ramps and multiple levels. Enjoy your lunch at the picnic pavilion while listening to the interactive exhibit and test your knowledge after you review the historic timeline panels." - Rob Lacy, Park Manager
A half-mile interpretive trail starts at the base of the ceremonial mound boardwalk and winds past several smaller mounds. This trail ends at the restroom near the parking lot. Visitors are likely to spot bald eagles and osprey soaring high above the trees. Deer, squirrel, and wild turkey are seen frequently in the park.
Although the mound today has trees and underbrush growing from it, when originally built, such earthwork mounds were typically clear of vegetation, with smooth prepared sides. Many workers had to bring soils by basket to build the mound. The builders used their knowledge to combine a variety of soils and shells for stability, and usually finished the top and sides with clay. The Letchworth-Love site has one of the largest mounds from any site. The mound measures 300 feet in width and has a height between 46 and 50 feet.
The mound likely rose from flat plazas which were intentionally leveled. Mounds like those at Letchworth-Love Archaeological State Park would have served as gathering places for rituals, games and major occasions. The community, of which such a tall mound was likely the center, would have included nearby dwellings for workers, and communal fields and gardens. Large quantities of maize would have been cultivated to support the population density of such complex societies.
page information credit: Florida State Parks, Wikipedia, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Public Archaeology Network
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors