Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park is part of Florida’s oldest and most ancient human inhabitants. It is believed that this 300 feet wide by nearly 50 feet tall mound is the oldest and the tallest mound system in the entire state. Located just six miles from Monticello, Florida it is easily accessed from I-10 and other nearby roadways. So if you’re into Native American history, then you’re sure to get a kick out of visiting this amazing part of American history.
Thought to have been associated with the Weedon Island culture that emerged in Florida around 200 A.D. its real story is not known. In the early 1990’s archaeologists began work on the two of the main mounds. Evidence at the first site was minimal, leading researchers to believe that the smaller mound was a ceremonial platform or public speaking mound. Next to the smaller mound is the largest mound. Its base is over 300 feet wide and rises to a height of 46 feet. It is the largest recorded mound in Florida.
Archeologists unearthed several bodies at the main mound, leading scientists to speculate that the mound was for burial and ceremonial purposes only. Carbon dating has changed scientist’s opinion about the original date of the site. Determined to be at least 1,800 years or older, the Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park holds Florida’s oldest mound ever built.
Nearby, the Lake Jackson Mound is thought to have been the western capital of a vast city/state, while the Letchworth-Love Mounds are believed to be the eastern half of the first capital of this city/state. These mound cultures would have required vast resources and a complex governing system to build such large earthworks.
Over 23 mounds and separate village sites have been found at Letchworth-Love Mounds Archaeological State Park. The parks mounds are part of a huge array of mounds that continue outside of the park boundaries.
A large viewing platform at the top of the mound offers visitors a panoramic view of the other mounds in the area. Several paved trails weave around the complex and provide visitors with informational kiosks at intervals about the history of the mounds and park.
A covered picnic area serves those guests who bring a lunch after exploring the mounds. A paved trail leads to the picnic area and is wheelchair accessible. It costs just $3 per person to enter the park by depositing the money in an envelope in an honor box. Correct change is required.
For more information on directions to the park, hours of operation and park activities, visit the official state park website here.