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, has 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 high mound.
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.