An Old World and Its People
To stand on top of a midden where native American Indian houses stood hundreds of years ago and look out across the wet savanna surrounding Lake Okeechobee is a heady experience. To walk beside an earthwork built by human hands more than two thousand years ago can actually raise goose bumps.
I was able to do both in the summer of 1966 when I was an undergraduate student in a University of Florida archaeological field school held at the Fort Center site. It was an experience that many people should be able to enjoy. Indeed, history and archaeology, both disciplines that study the past, are of great interest to many people. Every year tourists travel to archaeological sites to learn about people who lived long ago and, perhaps, to seek some of that same feeling of awe that I enjoyed.
Fort Center was the first archaeological site I had ever knowingly been on. I say knowingly because it turns out that during the late 1950s I had spent many youthful hours walking around on top of an archaeological site that extended along the shore of a shallow lake I fished near the small town of Lockhart in Orange County, Florida. It was more than twenty years later that I learned there had been a site on that lake. My enlightenment came when archaeologists were called to the lake to examine a portion of a precolumbian dugout canoe that had been found preserved in the lake bottom. Not only had my uneducated teenage eyes completely missed the presence of an archaeological site,