Once the home of Tocobaga chiefs, this is the first place in Florida to be named a State Archaeological Site. The flat-topped ceremonial mound-composed of sand, shell, and village debris measures 100 by 170 feet at the base and is 20 feet in height. Archaeological excavations have disclosed at least three periods of Native American cultures (Manasota, Weedon Island, and Safety Harbor), the earliest dating back 2,000 years.
The ten acre site that contains the Temple Mound and the Prine Burial Mound was deeded to the State of Florida in 1948 by Mrs. R.H. Prine of Terra Ceia and Karl A. Bickel of Sarasota. The site is named after Mr. Bickel's wife Madira. This was the first site in Florida to become a state archaeological site.
Archaeological excavations have disclosed at least three periods of Native American culture. During the first period, in which mounds were begun, life was simple. The primary interests were hunting and fishing. Kitchen middens along the shore of the bay were probably begun during this period. The second, or Weedon Island Period, extended from A.D. 700 to A.D. 1300. This period produced some of the most artistic pottery found in Florida. During the third, or Safety Harbor Period, interest in pottery declined. Villages became larger, as agriculture rose in importance. This is also the period in which the first Spanish explorers arrived.
page information credits: Manatee County Schools curriculum materials, Wikipedia, FL Department of Historical Resources, FL Museum of Natural History, Florida State Parks
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors