Since the Heritage Crossroads corridor is so extensive, the historical narrative pertaining to the project is, in some respects, the history of the development of the entire county. That history begins with the information provided through archaeological investigation of prehistoric Native American sites in the region, and continues with the historic record of the earliest exploration and settlement of the northeastern portion of the Florida peninsula. Archaeological work in northeastern Florida has shown that Flagler County lies within the East and Central Archaeological District of Florida, which is characterized by a four part chronology with each period based upon distinct cultural and technological characteristics recognized by archaeologists.
The earliest evidence for human occupation in Florida dates to the Paleo-Indian Period, which began between 10,000 and 12,000 B.C. This period is poorly known along the northeast Florida coast, and to date, no solid evidence of a Paleo-Indian presence has been found in Flagler County. Sites attributable to the period may exist on the continental shelf beneath ocean waters.
During the Archaic Period, however, inhabitants on the St. Johns River left behind shell deposits at the river’s edge and along its tributaries, as well as along the coastal estuaries. Recent archaeological surveys in Flagler County and elsewhere have indicated that these preceramic groups were occupying the Atlantic coast on a regular basis during the Middle Archaic Period. They were exploiting the abundant aquatic estuarine resources of the Atlantic Seaboard, including the many estuaries of Flagler County. During the late Archaic Period, also known as the Mount Taylor Period, it appears that coastal inhabitants moved inland to the St. Johns River.