Mt. Royal, Putnam County, FL 2010

Pond near the mound complex. Photograph printed on voile, 60 x 60” fabric panel


“They are a most pious people toward their deceased,’’ one Franciscan friar wrote of the Indians. “They all cry with great tenderness for the time of 30 days…’’

Found in burial mounds: shell cups; copper earrings; pottery with holes, so the spirits of the dead could get out; stone ax blades; wooden pipes carved as birds; panther masks; wolf teeth; arrows; and human remains. Some corpses were de-fleshed in charnel houses, skulls and big bones bundled then buried.

Little bones too. Spanish and French accounts tell of Timucua parents who sacrificed their children after the death of a chief.

Is it true? “We think some did,’’ says one archaeologist, “including the Timucua and their pre-Columbian ancestors in northeastern Florida. I’ve excavated what I’m sure were three sacrificed babies from that culture.’’

Next: Green Mound, Volusia County, FL, 2007