Historic Markers Across Florida



Pinellas Point Tocobaga Temple Mound



Marker ID:  
Location: Mound Place S., Petersburg, FL
County: Pinellas
Coordinates: N 27° 42.260    W 082° 39.499
  27.70433333    -82.65831666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMKCGJ
 



Text:

The Tocobaga were Native Americans who lived in villages around Tampa Bay dating to about A.D. 1000. They lived near the water's edge where they subsisted on a wide variety of fish, shellfish, wild game, and a variety of plants from upland areas. Spanish explorers described them as well-formed, muscular people with a high level of civilization. Based on linguistics, the Tocobaga-language shares characteristics with tribes such as the Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole.

The Tocobaga used many native plants for food and building materials. The sabal palm provided materials to make rope and roof thatch, and the heart of the palm is edible. The Tocobaga brewed their caffeinated "Black drink" from the yaupon holly.

The Tocobaga created many tools to assist them in their everyday living. These included tools made from shells, pottery and spears and arrows.

What were Tocobaga villages like?
Tocobaaga villages were situated around a public area known as the plaza that was used as a meeting place. Central to the village were two or more mounds. One mound was often used for burials and the other was a temple mound, also called a platform mound. On top of the mounds would be one or more buildings. Spanish explorers indicated the more important villagers had their houses around the central public area and the less important villagers lived in huts farther from the plaza. Homes were constructed with poles that held up a thatched roof.

How were the Mounds built?
Mounds were built from dirt, sand, and shells. To get to the top of the mound, a ramp ran from the central public area of the village to the top of the mound.

What is a Temple Mound?
A Temple Mound was a place of worship by the Tocobaga. It was a place where important religious relics were stored and their religious practitioners may have lived. Nearby was a structure known as a chapel house, a place where the dead were prepared for burial.

How are Indian Mounds relevant to us today?
Indian Mounds provide a link to the past and give us an opportunity to imagine what things were like prior to modern society. Archaeological studies of these sites show us how people lived and how they survived. Mounds remind us that people lived on a much simpler scale-no roads, houses, televisions or air conditioning. For Native Americans, mound sites are spiritual places where they can talk, thank, or pray to the people who lie there.

What happened to the Tocobaga Indians?
Spanish explorers arrived in the Tampa Bay area in April 1528 bringing both disease and violence. These two factors, combined with political infighting among other Indian groups, contributed to the disappearance of this Native American tribe. Although some Tocobaga members relocated to the Apalachee and St. Marks River areas during the seventeenth century, the remaining Tocobaga in the Tampa Bay area were destroyed when colonial raiding parties swept through Florida destroying Spanish missions and the Indians beginning in 1704. Remnants of the Tocobaga people are said to have been incorporated into various Seminole bands in the 1700s.