Ms Ka Kay  Kennedy  World Geography
      Safety Harbor Middle
      125 7th St N  Safety Harbor Fl 34695

Note title:  Tocobaga/Safety Harbor Groups                       Lines:   62
Author:      FIRNVX::ESTABRR     Richard Estabrook
Number:      17.1         Created: 07-Nov-1992 01:15pm           Replies: 6
The Tocobaga of the Tampa Bay Area

The last prehistoric society in the Tampa Bay area before the Spanish came 
were called the Tocobaga.  Archaeologists call these people the Safety 
Harbor culture, and refer to the period of time in which these people
lived as the Safety Harbor phase.  This phase began about A.D. 900
and lasted until about 1567.  It ended with the arrival of the
Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles in Tampa Bay.

The Tocobaga lived in villages that were ruled over by a chief.  Each
village, or groups of sub-villages, were self-sufficient, and
provided the food and shelter that each member of the group needed. 
The best known sites of the Tocobaga are identified by large
ceremonial centers.  Tocobaga ceremonial centers contain flat-
topped temple mounds and open village plazas, which were surrounded
by middens.  A midden is another name for a trash heap.  The
Tocobaga buried their dead in large earthen or earth and shell
mounds.  These mounds, called burial mounds by archaeologists, are
often located near the villages.

Historical accounts, typically those of Spanish explorers, and 
archaeological data suggest that the Tocobaga had complex political and 
ceremonial systems.  They may have learned of these systems from their 
trade and contact with other groups living in north Florida, or perhaps as 
far away as Arkansas or Ohio.  Their every-day village life, however 
probably had not changed much in several thousand years.  Hunting animals,
gathering plants, and especially catching fish and collecting
shellfish like clams and oysters continued as their primary sources
of food.  The farming of domestic plants like corn, beans and
squash, associated with most Native American cultures in the
eastern US does not appear to have been practiced by the Tocobaga. 

Not all of the peoples we now call Tocobaga were the same.  Recent
work by Dr. Jeffrey Mitchem has identified regional differences in
Safety Harbor culture.  From his work with Safety Harbor period
burial mounds and pottery Dr. Mitchem has identified five regional
differences in Tocobaga groups.  The heartland of Tocobaga society
centered in what is now Pinellas, Hillsborough, and southern Pasco
Counties.  Tocobaga groups may have lived as far north os the
Withlacoochee River, as far south as Lee and Charlotte Counties,
and perhaps as far east as Polk or Highlands Counties.

Safety Harbor sites are primarily found on the coast and include the
Safety Harbor site, now called Phillippe Park, and the Tierra Verde
site, both located in Pinellas County.  Buck Island, situated just
north of what is now the main campus of the University of South
Florida and the Picnic Mound in east-central Hillsborough County
represent sizable inland sites related to the Safety Harbor
culture.  Use and/or occupation of the region's interior is assumed
but we lack data regarding the nature and extent of this
occupation.  Safety Harbor components have been recorded at many
inland sites, but most consist of a few small, triangular-shaped,
"Pinellas" projectile points or a few sherds of Safety Harbor phase
ceramics.  Only two interior sites including the Orchard Fenceline
site (8Hr11) and the Mississippi Chemical site (8Hr5) both located
in Hardee County.  Excavations at these sites indicate that they
were short term (probably seasonal) camp sites.  Both have been
radio-carbon (C-14) dated to the Safety Harbor time period.

(This response was uploaded to  US Geopolitical Project Webpage)
Kay Kennedy

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