Tag Archives: indian mounds

We “All” Live in an Ancient Indian Archaeological Zone

-Erosion at Santa Lucea Beach, Martin County , FL  11-11-22, JTLJust a few days ago, Hurricane Nicole whipped up the Atlantic Ocean and unearthed an ancient Ais Indian burial site at Chastain Beach on Hutchinson Island, near Bathtub Beach and Sailfish Point. Once again, we are reminded of history and those who lived here before us. I would hope, in time, these remains will be sacredly reinterred.

11-12-22 TCPalm article “Hutchinson Island Burial Site May Have Exposed Bones”

It is important to note that the local native people of Florida did not just live on Hutchinson Island, they utilized our entire coastal area of the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. In fact, almost our entire coastal region is designated an “Archaeological Zone.”

-Below: map insert section of Martin County, Florida coast. “An Archaeological Survey of Martin County, Florida, 1995.” The shaded areas denote archaeological zones – areas the native people especially lived in and utilized. This includes Hutchinson Island, Sewall’s Point, parts of Rio, Jensen, Stuart, Palm City,  Rocky Point, and Hobe Sound among others. This report was not just to map these areas but also to alert developers. What does this mean? It means that in 1995 the famous archaeologist, Robert Carr, and his team determined such, and this is documented in their publication written for Martin County Government. Ironically, I had just asked my mother for a copy for our study of Palm City so when the unearthing occurred I took note.

The publication  provides the following designating these Archaeological Zones.

I am reminded to share an old blog post of mine about the Indian Mound, still visible,  in Ft Pierce. Tuckahoe, in Jensen, is also an ancient Indian mound. Most of course were disrespectfully carted away to construct roads.

“The Ais were a tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the Atlantic Coast of Florida. They ranged from present day Cape Canaveral to the St. Lucie Inlet, in the present day counties of Brevard, Indian River, St. Lucie and northernmost Martin. They lived in villages and towns along the shores of the great lagoon called Rio de Ais by the Spanish, and now called the Indian River.” -House of Refuge exhibit

Not just after a hurricane, but every day, we should remember those who were here before us and how they lived- in tune and respecting Nature. The best place to learn about the Ais people is at the House of Refuge on Hutchinson Island near to where the recent artifacts and bones were unearthed.

By the way, where do you live?

Video “Shadows & Reflections, Florida’s Lost People, features archaeologist Robert Carr and gives an idea of many of Florida’s native peoples.


Breathtaking/Historical Indian River Drive Along the Indian River Lagoon

Antique post card of Indian River Drive. (Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, ca. 1940s)
Antique post card of Indian River Drive. (Courtesy of Sandra Henderson Thurlow, ca 1940s.)
Writing on back of post card sent to Jensen Beach from Germany as a V.E. Day souvenir.
Writing on back of post card sent to Jensen Beach from Germany as a V.E. Day souvenir.
Indian River Drive today. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2014.)
Indian River Drive today. (Photo Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, 2014.)

For six years I have driven north to Ft Pierce from the Town of Sewall’s Point, along Indian River Drive, to attend my meeting as a representative for the Treasure Coast Council of Local Governments.

I love this time. I love this road. It is a meditation, a prayer for me.

I know lots of stories that I heard throughout my childhood and they all seem to come alive as I drive through the cathedral of sabal palms, old plantations, and ancient live oaks;  my car creeps up the rising ridge rolling at the 25 mile an hour speed limit; I gaze over the lagoon itself, sometimes quiet, sometimes moody, but always beautiful. Ospreys keep their high perch or fly in circles over my head, egrets and herons stand along  the shallow shoreline; I pass ancient Indian mounds, and when I wave, the the warriors hold up their right arms in strength and friendship; I see old pioneers like Captain Richards, and Bahamian workers sweating buckets, as they labor to grow pineapples in the heat of the 1800s; I see their graveyards …Every once in a while, I have to stop day dreaming and let a family of sandhill cranes cross the road. Sometimes I think I see a pirate out of the corner of my eye…

The road is an old one, first an Indian trail on the pushed up Atlantic Ridge along the west side of the lagoon; later to become a river road for Florida’s early pioneers as they traveled along its “river highway,” trading supplies and establishing post offices.  After being a military/wagon trail it evolved with the modernization of the post World War II era, and the event of the automobile, into a “modern drive,” and its large parcels were sold off and eventually the “Indian River Freeholder Association” formed in St Lucie County, for its protection and order. (http://rickinbham.tripod.com/TownOfSIRD/SIRD_History_2.html)

Indian River Drive covers more than our shores going more or less the entire 156 mile length of the Indian River Lagoon from Stuart to St Augustine covering  five counties; thankfully it has been designated as a “Scenic Highway” in many areas. (http://www.floridascenichighways.com/indian-river-lagoon-national-scenic-byway/)

It is my favorite drive along our Treasure Coast.

If you have not driven it lately, on a beautiful morning please take a ride,  and if your imagination gets the best of you, don’t be afraid to wave!




Visit Florida: “Treasure Coast Scenic Highway” Indian River Drive  (http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/listings/002/a0t40000007qu8nAAA.html)