Jensen Beach in Martin County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
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
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.
All text by Theresa Schober, MA Archaeologist & Museum Consultant, 2012. Indian/canoe art by Merald Clark, courtesy Florida Museum of Natural History.
Erected by Indian Riverside Park.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & Archaeology • Native Americans • Parks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 27° 13.648′ N, 80° 12.764′ W. Marker is in Jensen Beach, Florida, in Martin County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Northeast Indian River Drive (County Route 707) and Northeast Elaine Street, on the left when traveling south. Entrance to the park is opposite NE Elaine St. Marker is near the Tuckahoe Mansion. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1707 Northeast Indian River Drive, Jensen Beach FL 34957, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Tuckahoe (within shouting distance of this marker); Mount Elizabeth Mound (within shouting distance of this marker); The Mansion at Tuckahoe (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stuart Welcome Arch (approx. half a mile away); All Saints' Cemetery (approx. half a mile away); The Bakers of Waveland (approx. 1.7 miles away); Sewall's Point (approx. 1.9 miles away); Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge (approx. 3˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jensen Beach.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 7, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 6, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 60 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 6, 2020, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.