Uses of the Barley Barber Swamp
| Meeting point | Initial
use of mounds | Transportation and exploration
route | Used for construction | Making
The east-west orientation of the Barley Barber Swamp probably created
an important transportation route for aboriginals. This theory is
supported by the existence of a large sand mound with the elevation
of about 16 feet and dimensions of 50 feet by 150 feet. A ramp-like
extension from the mound to the east, and two parallel ridges to
the west, have led archeologists to believe that the mound was used
for Indian trading.
The Barley Barber may have been a central meeting point for Indians
from "inland Florida," the coastal regions and Lake Okeechobee.
These Indians may have pulled their canoes onto the ridges and traded
their wares under the watchful eyes of the chiefs seated on the
Initial use of mounds
Initial investigations of other mounds just east of the swamp revealed
potsherds (pottery fragments) of the Belle Glades Plain period,
indicating a use between 300-900 years ago. This time period for
the use of the mound has been reinforced by the dating of human
remains from at least 12 individuals unearthed nearby.
Transportation and exploration route
Early military maps, as well as expedition records of the Florida
peninsula during the mid-1800's indicate a wetland connection between
the Barley Barber Swamp, the Allapattah Marsh, the Hungryland Slough
and Lake Okeechobee. Each of these "waterways" served
as important military transportation and exploration routes, especially
during the Seminole Indian Wars.
Used for construction
During the first quarter of this century (1915-1926), the cypress
trees of this area were logged by construction crews for bridge
and railroad tie timber. Evidence of this logging is visible as
stumps on the perimeter of the swamp.
The pine trees of the adjacent flatwoods also were reported to
have been "turpentined" and several stills to make turpentine
were located near Indiantown.