Shadow and Reflection story in St. Pete Times

Here’s a cover story of the St. Pete Times’ Sunday Floridian section that ran on Sept. 25. It tells the story–through Suzanne’s photos and John’s narrative text–of our explorations of FL’s mound sites over the past 2-3 years. There’s also a list of sites you can visit, as well as video interviews with historian Mac Perry and archaeologist Richard Estabrook.

Here’s a link to the main story; scroll down to see the photo gallery on the right, plus other links:

What’s your ceremonial or celebratory place?

What and where are our contemporary mounds? Some friends and colleagues share their thoughts:

* “My mound is a beautiful hill in a Catholic cemetery–the place where I buried my parents. I visit their graves to speak to them with love and to ask for their help, as Florida’s earlier people visited their ancestors. This is a place where people who share kinship and belief come to connect with those they love.”

* “Public parks where families hold a July 4th picnic or a family reunion. Though usually less monumental than mounds, they’re still shaped and constructed, and give us a place to gather in Nature.”

* “Habitat for Humanity. Disparate people selflessly give their labor for the common good, literally, physically building community (houses), transforming and improving existing environments.”

Send your ideas to John at:

Archaeologists on today’s mounds

What are the mounds of today, what does our society build and use in the ways Native Americans did their monuments? Some archaeologists answer:

* “Football stadiums. That’s where we gather today for highly ritualized ceremonies–including feasts. They’re also markers that show your historical and family ties to that territory.”

* “The World Trade Center (before 9/11), or other huge skyscraper. We bring our trading partners to the highest places in the biggest cities to make a deal, to impress with our power and importance, and early peoples used mounds to make the same statement.”

* “Burning Man. Mobile people with common interests–a cult–come together for ritual and creative expression, including building structures. Also, that festival’s over in a week, and we know some mounds were created quickly, in as little as three months.”

What do you think? Please share your reactions and ideas to John at