Ancient burial site found underwater off Florida’s coast

Archaeologists discovered human remains around 90 metres off the south Sarasota County coastline, Florida, United States of America, which turned out to be part of a rare 7000-year-old Native American ancestral burial site.

Diver investigating the site (by Florida Department of State & Ivor Mollema)

According to the Department of State officials, the site measures over 300 square metres and contains the remains of Native Americans buried in what was believed to be was a freshwater pond. According to Heather Walsh-Haney, a forensic anthropologist, at least six sets of human remains were found, though there are likely more. Sarasota County archaeologist Steve Koski states, that the Native Americans buried there were likely laid to rest during the Early Archaic period, around 8000 BC – 6000 BC. The discovery of this site demonstrates prehistoric sites as old as 7000 years can survive the rising waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Research indicates that during the Early Archaic period, when sea levels were significantly lower, ancestors of the state’s indigenous people buried the dead in the small inland freshwater pond. Despite sea level rise, peat at the bottom of the pond remained intact. Peat, a soil-like substance consisting of partly decomposed vegetable matter, slows the process of organic decay, which helped preserve the site. The site is frequently patrolled by law enforcement and suspicious activity will be reported to local and state law enforcement.

Artefacts found at the site (by Florida Department of State & Ivor Mollema)

(after Herald-Tribune, Florida Department of State & Ivor Mollema)

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