Native American Shell Middens


Dec 4, 2003
Freehold Area
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Let us not forget self storage space to!!!!!!

And, let's add to the mix... Strip malls, home improvement stores, "warehouse" shopping centers, McMansions, the list goes on...


Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome back. It is good to be posting again. Things have been a little hectic and I have not had time to lift my head. But, I hope to be back out in the pines researching again soon.



Dec 11, 2005


... only professionals working in the Cultural Resource field can access site-specific information for both historic and prehistoric archaeological locations. All too often shell middens contain vital material culture that yield important information for those scholars making a scientific study of prehistoric life.

Best regards,

Florida, too, has extensive midden sites networked throughout the state coinciding with ancient tribes, Timicuan and Myacca to name a few, now long extinct. The middens are protected by law. Unfortunately, many large sites were destroyed in the late 1800's , used for road fill and for the Flagler railroad system, and so are lost forever. Archeological studies have unearthed remains of foodstuffs, both plant and animal, children's toys, earthenware fragments, shell jewely, and of course, human remains. A beautiful Owl totem was found in the St. Johns River near Hontoon Island.


Dec 7, 2008
After the fire in '07 with all the brush gone, I spotted the tip of a shell midden east of Rt. 539. I will have to go back and confirms its' location.

I prefer shell middens to beer bottle middens...


New Member
Apr 5, 2009
The Giants

Hi! I'm a newbie. Ran across NJPB recently. Anyway, I thought it was interesting that you mentioned giants, and it brought to mind something I read recently in a book, "The Grandfathers Speak, Native American Folk Tales of the Lenape People." In it, Hitakonanu'laxk (Tree Beard) writes in his introduction how according to their traditions, long ago the Lenape people migrated across the "cold north" to warmer areas to the South. When they finally reached Nam'es Sipu, or the Mississippi, they followed it down to where the Allegewi Sipu, or Ohio River, empties into the Mississippi.

"...Here we camped while our warriors scouted the country across the river, to the East...Our scouts discovered that the country east of the Nam'es Sipu was inhabited by a very powerful Nation, who had many large towns built on the great rivers flowing through their land. These people called themselves Tallegewi...They were said to be remarkably tall, and there were giants among them, people much taller than the tallest Lenape..."

Giants are also mentioned in some Lenape folk tales. Perhaps there was a Nation of giants living here, and it's not just a "tall tale," as someone had put it!
There are several shell Middens along in the Barnegat bay area (some near Tuckerton), but some others may have eroded or been removed for navigation or other reasons. Also some may have been damaged for "seeding clam or oyster beds". There has been at least one burial found in the Tuckerton mounds and possibly more. The possibility exists of many areas, now bay marsh, that were shell piles not as large or appearant as Tuckerton's throughout southern New Jersey. Also remember that the coastline may have been different (lower) or more extensive as sandbars and islands grew or shrank.

Unless the areas inland have access to large waterways, I think the shell piles found more than a few miles from the bays are probably from early Iron furnaces. They used shells to make lime (in kilns) for "flux" that they added to the furnaces along with charcoal and ore. There is evidence of some freshwater mollusks in the Pines, but to my knowledge, no shell middens of these have been mentioned. Probably harvested in too few numbers. Remember, the shell middens in the bay area are from massive harvesting and preserving efforts year after year. Other than a few trails it is believed that the Lenape avoided travel overland if they could take a water route! If you were drying shell fish, the wide open bay area would be your best option for solar drying as well as the fact that that's where the clams are!
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Sep 5, 2023
(ex-piney) in Florida
I've read much on the mound builders and a quick google search under mound builders giants will return many results of very large skeletons being unearthed in the mounds in the 1800's early 1900's.the smithsonian apparently lost or destroyed many remains from these mounds from back then.makes you wonder why you hear about excavations from egypt and peru but never anything about mounds in our own country.Are they hiding something?I've been to the mounds in mississippi and would love to go to cahokia.I can't believe they were made by primitive savages.maybe savages but definitely not primitive.Look at the human sacrifices of the aztecs.savage yes but the pyramids weren't made by idiots.
Reading suggestion. Any of the "Peoples" series of books by Michael and Kathleen Gear. Will definitely give you an appreciation of native peoples and culture.