Floyd’s Mound — Conserving Land and Archeological Resources with the Red Hills Opportunity Fund

Nov 22, 2022

Tall Timbers has acquired a 40-acre parcel in the Aucilla River watershed of archeological significance for the region. The property includes a Native American mound, known locally as Floyd’s Mound. The presence of the mound is striking with its four pyramidal sides rising over 15 feet high and 30 feet wide. Based on archeological surveys completed by the Aucilla Research Institute (ARI), the mound may have been active from the late Fort Walton era (1200-1500 C.E.) to the early Historical Mission period (1500 – 1700 C.E.).

Floyd’s Mound was recently acquired by Tall Timbers, who will serve as a short-term owner until a permanent conservation solution can be achieved. Photo by Peter Kleinhenz

Archeological significance

The platform-style mound was a prominent feature of an adjacent village, and the house of the chief or spiritual leader possibly adorned the top of the mound. ARI’s archeological work around the mound provides evidence that the adjacent village was unique. Recovered artifacts have characteristics of the Fort Walton cultures (Apalachee Chiefdom) and the Suwannee Valley cultures (Timucuan Chiefdom). This village may have served as a border town between these populations with the Aucilla River as a territorial border. Additionally, Hernando de Soto may have camped at the village in 1539, before crossing the Aucilla River and making his way to Tallahassee — journals from de Soto’s travels describe the village of Asile on the eastern shores of the River of Ivitachuco (Aucilla River). While this claim has not been confirmed, the property holds the potential to reveal amazing new discoveries about our past.

Aucilla Research Institute staff share details of the Floyd’s Mound site to local residents and visitors from the Apalachee Native American tribe. Photo by Shane Wellendorf

An excellent candidate for a conservation outcome

Today, the mound and property are relatively intact. It is maintained to allow for further archaeological investigation. The importance of long-term conservation for Floyd’s Mound is evident given its archeological significance. Also, the property includes multiple intact forested wetlands with mature bald cypress throughout. In addition, the neighboring property is permanently conserved with a conservation easement. The Floyd’s Mound’s property is an excellent candidate for a conservation outcome.

The best steward for the property sought

Tall Timbers is excited to serve as a short-term holder of the parcel, until we can find a permanent conservation solution. To accomplish this, we will pursue two potential conservation outcomes: 1) transfer ownership to the State of Florida, or 2) place a conservation easement on the property, and then sell it to a conservation buyer. Tall Timbers has submitted a Florida Forever application to the Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) requesting state funding for an acquisition or a purchased conservation easement. For those interested, submit letters of support to FDEP for the Floyd’s Mound project application. Please contact Peter Kleinhenz for details.

The Opportunity Fund

The Red Hills Land Conservation Opportunity Fund (Opportunity Fund) was the funding source for Tall Timbers to acquire Floyd’s Mound. The purpose of the Opportunity Fund is to make money available for land conservation transactions. For this reason, every transaction will require funds be obtained to replace the money used. This allows the Opportunity Fund to revolve and be sustainable. The Floyd’s Mound acquisition is a great example of how the Opportunity Fund can work to conserve critical tracts of land—especially when time is a concern. To support the Floyd’s Mound transaction and land conservation throughout our region, contribute to the Opportunity Fund. For details, please contact Shane Wellendorf or Crystal Rice.

About the Author
Shane Wellendorf
Shane is the incoming Director of the Tall Timbers Land Conservancy, an accredited land trust that works throughout North Florida and Southwest Georgia. Prior to joining the land conservancy, he worked as a research biologist in the Tall Timbers Game Bird Program. Shane holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University and a Master of Science Degree in Wildlife Science from North Carolina State University and is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with the Wildlife Society. He loves exploring the Red Hills region and beyond with his wife, two daughters, and bird dogs.
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