Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve reaches over 6,000 years. The park helps tell stories of the native people who survived in Florida’s environment prior to the European’s entry into this area. Visitors can learn about the clash of cultures that occurred as various nations entered into the New World. The park also helps visitors experience modern phenomenon such as the growing tourism industry and present community efforts to sustain modern life while preserving our local environment and its history.
Kingsley Plantation was the home of Zephaniah Kingsley. He set up the plantation which produced Sea Island cotton, citrus, sugar cane, and corn. Over the years, Archeologists have conducted excavations on the site. In 2009, University of Florida archeology students conducted digs around the plantation site. Students have been digging at various sites at the Kingsley Plantation since 2005, looking for insight into the lifestyles of the slaves on the plantation. In 2006, the bones of a full chicken were discovered buried beneath a slave cabin. This is believed to be an African ritual sacrifice. Archeologists are continuing to look for more evidence that Zephaniah Kingsley allowed his slaves to have freedom of religion. Additionally, an iron conglomerate that might have been part of an altar was found providing further evidence of the slaves’ religious expression. In addition to the evidence for religious freedom, a sugar mill that was buried underground after the plantation closed and an oyster-shell concrete walls that confirming the octagonal structure’s existence have been discovered.
For more information about Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, explore its website. For more information about Kingsley Plantation, visit this link. For more information on the archeological projects conducted in the park, check out this article.