Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site
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|Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
|Location||Manatee County, Florida, USA|
|Nearest city||Bradenton, Florida|
|Area||10 acres (40,000 m2)|
|Established||August 12, 1970|
|Governing body||Florida Department of Environmental Protection|
The Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site is an archaeological site on Terra Ceia Island in northwestern Palmetto, Florida, United States. It is located on Bayshore Drive, west of U.S. 19, a mile south of I-275. On August 12, 1970, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is also a Florida State Park.
The 10-acre (40,000 m2) site was the first Native American location in Florida to be designated as a State Archaeological Site.
Archaeological excavations have established that indigenous occupation reaches back 2,000 years, and across three distinct periods: Manasota, Weedon Island, and Safety Harbor cultures. The people constructed a massive earthwork temple/ceremonial mound from shells, sand and detritus. It is still 20-foot (6.1 m) high, with a base nearly 100 by 170 feet (52 m). Such structures were characteristic of the Southeast Ceremonial Complex (SECC).
Scholars believe that the mound site continued to be of great ceremonial importance to the historic Tocobaga Indians of the surrounding area, who coalesced as a people before European encounter in the late sixteenth century. They survived into the eighteenth century, but disappeared as a tribe due to infectious diseases and warfare.
The site is named for Madira Bickel of Sarasota. She and her husband, Karl, purchased the land around the main mound and donated it to the state in 1948.
The point of greatest interest at the site is the 20-foot (6.1 m) high temple/ceremonial mound. Composed of shells (obtained from a midden to the west), sand, and detritus, the mound's base is 100 by 170 feet (52 m). To more easily reach the top, the Tocobaga constructed a curved 10-foot (3.0 m) wide ramp on the western side.
The state park has graduated stairways for access, and at the top, has cleared an area (protected by a fence) for overlooking the park. Over the centuries, the mound has become covered with vegetation, including tall trees.
Also in the park are the remains of the Prine Burial Mound, which is circular, about 40 feet wide, and about two feet high at the center. It was used through the three major archaeological cultures described above, from 800-1500 AD. Since settlement and development, much of the mound's contents have been disturbed.
As the park is still being developed, picnic tables have been installed. Nature trails and information kiosks are in the works.
Admission and hours
There are no entrance fees. Florida state parks are open between 8 a.m. and sundown every day of the year (including holidays).
- Madira Bickel Mound State Archaeological Site, Florida State Parks
- Manatee County listings, Florida's Office of Cultural and Historical Programs
- "Madira Bickel Temple Mound Site", School District of Manatee County
- Madira Bickel Mound Photograph Gallery, Florida Center for Instructional Technology, University of South Florida