Once There Was A Mound . . .
Robert Austin, Ph.D., Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, Inc.
During the third week of July 1950, bulldozers began chewing away at the sides of a large shell mound in downtown St. Petersburg, bringing to an end a once iconic landmark. During the city's early development, images of Shell Mound Park were used to promote tourism and boost real estate sales. But the fact that little was known archaeologically about the mound enabled naive, and sometimes outlandish, interpretations of its origin and function to be perpetuated by the public and press. These ultimately influenced public and political perceptions of the mound's value and Shell Mound Park became a source of conflict between the forces of progress and preservation. Eventually, the mound succumbed to the advancing front of urbanization. This is that story.
Robert Austin has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Florida and worked in the cultural resource management field for nearly 40 years before retiring in 2015. He is a co-founder of the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education, Inc. (AWIARE) where he currently serves as Treasurer and Principal Archaeologist.
This program is sponsored by the Central Gulf Coast Archaeological Society, and the Alliance for Weedon Island Archaeological Research and Education.