Maritime heritage trails interpret cultural resources, or historic and archaeological sites, in a way that helps visitors to understand and enjoy them while preserving them for the future. Heritage trails are generally not formal paths but, rather, are a collection of culturally important places. The Gulf of Mexico Paleo-Landscape Maritime Heritage Trail encompasses the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Florida’s west coast. It does not have a formal start and stop point, allowing you to “begin” wherever you choose.

Water sources have always played a vital role to people on the landscape. In fact, 80% of earth’s modern population live near the coast, and most major cities are built on or near major rivers. That fact holds true for modern folks as it did to peoples in the past.

Local Sea-level reconstructions are paramount to understanding where the coastlines were as the glaciers melted after the last glacial period. It also assists in locating where freshwater sources were by determining terrestrial water table depths.

The Paleo-Landscape Maritime Heritage Trail is a comprehensive virtual guide that highlights the ecological and archaeological points of interest in the Gulf of Mexico. This trail gives general information to the inundation of Florida’s coasts during the past 20,000 years. Through educating the public about the submerged pre-contact sites off the Gulf Coast of Florida, the SPLASH project will not only promote heritage tourism in Gulf counties but will also encourage public preservation and professional investigation of the oldest archaeological sites in Florida.

SPLASH archaeologists map a pre-contact quarry called Clint’s Scallop Hole (8JE1796) in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico,.