MADIRA BICKEL MOUND STATE ARCHEOLOGICAL SITE
This ancient Native American site was the first in Florida to be designated a State Archaeological Site. Karl and Madira Bickel donated the mound and surrounding property to the state in 1948. 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, the earliest dating back 2,000 years. Picnic tables are available. Plans for the future include a nature trail and a kiosk with historical information. No additional amenities are available at this time. Located off U.S. 19 in Palmetto. The entrance road is approximately one mile south of I-275. The site is located on Bayshore Drive, approximately 1.5 miles after turning off U.S. 19.
The 10-acre site that encompasses Madira Bickel Mound was named after Mrs. Madira Bickel of Sarasota, who joined her husband Karl, in preserving Native American mounds from destruction. In 1948, the Bickels purchased and donated the mound and surrounding land to the state. The mound was the first site in Florida to become a state archaeological site.
Located on Terra Ceia Island, the site?s primary feature is a flat-topped temple or ceremonial mound. The mound is composed of sand, shell and village debris and measures 100 by 170 feet at the base and 20 feet in height. For access the people that once inhabited the area placed a 10-foot wide ramp on the western side of the mound. A present-day trail follows this ancient approach.
The mound itself actually makes up only a small portion of the 10-acre archaeological site. An extensive shell midden was once found northwest of the mound along Miguel Bay. Most of it has been removed over the years.
Early historians and archaeologists speculated that the Madira Bickel Mound site was the village of Ucita, referred to in the narratives of the DeSoto expeditioners. The mound site and surrounding area contains evidence of Native American life and culture as it progressed from the simple life at the beginning of the Christian era through artistic pottery and religious expression in the building of mounds and temples.
During the length of time which the site was occupied, the Native American lifestyle changed considerably. Archaeological excavations have disclosed at least three periods of Native American cultures. 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.