Green Mound
Green Mound is one of the largest Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 shell mounds, or shell middens, in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Located in Ponce Inlet, Florida
Ponce Inlet, Florida
Ponce Inlet is a town in Volusia County, Florida, United States. The population was 2,513 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 3,178....

, the peak of the mound is the highest elevation in the small city. While it once stood at fifty feet above sea level, a combination of public works projects on the nearby roads and natural erosion have reduced the height of the mound by approximately 10 feet.

The mound is thought to have been built by Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

s in the late St. Johns culture
St. Johns culture
The St. Johns culture was an archaeological culture in northeastern Florida, USA that lasted from about 500 BCE until shortly after European contact in the 17th century. The St. Johns culture was present along the St. Johns River and its tributaries The St. Johns culture was an archaeological...

, or after 800 AD. This was the period of time following the Archaic period. The St. John’s period was characterized by the introduction of mound-building and a more sedentary, rather than nomadic lifestyle. The natives that once lived at this location were closely tied to both the nearby Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and the resource-rich saltwater
Seawater is water from a sea or ocean. On average, seawater in the world's oceans has a salinity of about 3.5% . This means that every kilogram of seawater has approximately of dissolved salts . The average density of seawater at the ocean surface is 1.025 g/ml...

An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 of the Halifax River
Halifax River
The Halifax River is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, located in northeast Volusia County, Florida. The waterway was originally known as the North Mosquito River, but was renamed after George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax, during the British occupation of Florida .-Geography:The...

 that are near the mound. The mound was built from a combination of discarded oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

 shell, clam
The word "clam" can be applied to freshwater mussels, and other freshwater bivalves, as well as marine bivalves.In the United States, "clam" can be used in several different ways: one, as a general term covering all bivalve molluscs...

 shell, and other debris.

While studies of Florida shell middens date to the 1850s, initial studies of the Green Mound area were conducted in the early to mid 1940s by archeologist Dr. John Griffin, who found that the mound was in fact inhabited by its builders and their subsequent generations. Later excavation revealed multiple layers of clay floors, remnants of structural components such as posthole
In archaeology a posthole is a cut feature used to hold a surface timber or stone. They are usually much deeper than they are wide although truncation may not make this apparent....

s, and evidence of ash, fire pits and hearth
In common historic and modern usage, a hearth is a brick- or stone-lined fireplace or oven often used for cooking and/or heating. For centuries, the hearth was considered an integral part of a home, often its central or most important feature...

s at the site. It is thought that the dwellings that sat upon the mound were constructed of materials such as palmetto
-Botany:Members of several genera of small palms:*the genus Sabal of the Arecaceae family**Dwarf Palmetto**Sabal palmetto*Saw Palmetto, Serenoa repens*Silver saw palmetto, Acoelorraphe wrightii-Place names:United States...

 limbs and other local forms of timber such as oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

. It is also inferred that due to the social structure that existed at the time, the inhabitation of the mound’s top was reserved for the highest ranking members (elites) of the community. The most likely inhabitants of these prime locations on top of the mound would have been tribal chiefs and religious leaders. Depending on their social status, other members of the community would have lived in areas closer to ground level.

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