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Volusia County's prehistoric sites

A self-guided tour

Because of their remoteness, many Volusia County prehistory sites are difficult to see. On the other hand, several key examples of the area's native past are easily accessible.

The following self-guided tour allows explorers to experience firsthand some important prehistoric resources. Beginning with the site of Nocoroco at Tomoka State Park in the northeastern part of the county, this tour examines important spots along the coast, crosses inland to Lake Ashby, and finally explores the St. Johns River basin.

Note: These sites are protected by federal, state, county and city regulations and ordinances. It is unlawful to disturb or remove artifacts from any archaeological site located on public lands.

(The travel directions and text are adapted from True Natives: The Prehistory of Volusia County, by Dana Ste. Claire [Daytona Beach, Florida: The Museum of Arts and Sciences, 1992].

On the horizon

For people interested in east Florida's prehistory, chances to visit and understand key sites should be improving. In the future, some interesting spots may be easier to see, and some that are open now may be offering more interpretive help for explorers. Unfortunately, today's visitors will find that some stops mentioned in the web page's tour have little to explain what is there.

Among the places where access and interpretation should be getting better is the Spruce Creek Mound, between Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach in the Spruce Creek Preserve. Standing on an enormous bluff, this mound contains human skeletons and features a long ramp - suggesting that the site served as a ceremonial, social and political center for late-St. Johns people. In short, it is one of the most impressive prehistoric earthen works in Florida.

To the west, the Ocala National Forest has two famous St. Johns River sites - Bluffton and Mt. Taylor - that may be getting easier to visit and learn about in the future. For updates on them, and changing opportunities to explore other prehistory spots, please check this web page.

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