Historic Markers Across Florida

Mount Elizabeth

Marker ID:  
Location: in Indian Riverside Park off CR 707, Jensen Beach, FL
County: Martin
Coordinates: N 27° 13.653    W 080° 12.773
  27.22755    -80.21288333
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMXEN8


Mount Elizabeth

Marker for Millennia
A recognizable landmark on the west bank of the Indian River, the prominent rise we know today as Mount Elizabeth, is actually a collection of debris from a Late Archaic village over 4,200 years old. The Archaic tradition (2,500 to 9,500 years ago) represents a time in Florida's past when people were beginning to settle in villages year round and specialize on local environments. Around 6,000 years ago, sea levels were approaching their modern levels and many of Florida's barrier islands, swamps, and wetlands were formed, including the Indian River Lagoon. Their estuary provides protected habitat for thousands of species of aquatic plants, animals and birds.

Early Mount Elizabeth residents made use of the resources in this productive new environment for food and for fashioning tools, clothing and other personal items. Woodworking tools were also made from the queen conch, more commonly found in the Florida Keys. Palmetto fiber and Spanish moss were mixed with clay to form some of the earliest pottery in North America, an innovation that originated in south Georgia/northeast Florida. These traditions tell us that the people at Mount Elizabeth, while focused on local resources, had widespread social alliances along Florida's east coast and possibly beyond.

Earthen History Book
The history of places like Mount Elizabeth is laid down layer by layer through time. If we think of each layer as a chapter in the story, archaeologists read these histories from back to front as they excavate.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the upper 15 feet of this 30-foot tall site is made of layer upon layer of shell midden, all dating to the Late Archaic. Mount Elizabeth was apparently a village of many people, but was only occupied for a few hundred years. The most recent deposits suggest shellfish resources became scarce and people focused almost entirely on fish, possibly due to over harvest. Is that why the people at Mount Elizabeth abandoned their village around 3,700 years ago?

While other American Indian groups came into this area at later times, their use of Mount Elizabeth was limited to the margins of the site. Perhaps out of reverence to the symbol Mount Elizabeth had become on the landscape. It is not surprising then, that residents of the early settlement called "Waveland" chose Mount Elizabeth as their home.

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