7000-year-old Native American burial site discovered off Florida coast

7000-year-old Native American burial site discovered off Florida coast

The ever-rising tide of history can obscure many things, but one thing archaeologists may not have expected to be hidden was a 7,000-year-old Native American burial site.

"Our hope is that this discovery leads to more knowledge and a greater understanding of Florida's early peoples", local news website Florida Trends added.

The first evidence of the remarkably well-preserved burial site emerged in the summer of 2016 when an amateur diver came across a human jawbone on the seabed, 21 feet (6.5 meters) below the surface, while searching for the teeth of a giant ancient shark species-the Megalodon-which are commonly found in the area. Doctor Ryan Duggins, Underwater Archaeology Supervisor for the Bureau of Archaeological Research (BAR), hailed the find as a game-changer in the field. The Florida Department of State just announced the discovery and the research.

The site is located on the continental shelf, preserved in what appears to have been a freshwater pond thousands of years ago. As sea levels rose, the peat at the bottom of the lake helped preserve the remains.

The site, which measures roughly 0.75 acres dates back to the Early Archaic period, some 7,000 years ago, a time when Florida's hunter-gatherers were living a more sedentary lifestyle, researchers say.

The remains of six individuals have been discovered so far, including a broken arm bone and pieces of skull. It's likely the pond at the time was on dry land about 9 feet above sea level.

BAR began investigating the offshore site and eventually confirmed the existence of submerged prehistoric burial grounds.

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State Historic Preservation Officer Dr Timothy Parsons explained the site's significance, saying: 'The MKO archaeological site is a revelation for the world of archaeology...

Other underwater burial sites have been discovered in Israel and Denmark. Divers, a statement warned, are prohibited by law from disturbing the site and police are frequently patrolling looking for any suspicious activity.

'Our dedicated team of underwater archaeologists has done an incredible job of documenting and researching the Manasota Key Offshore archaeological site, and I am extremely proud of the work.

The site is protected under Florida law, and it is illegal for anyone not authorized by the state to excavate or remove anything.

The statement explained how the burial site remained preserved for 7,000 years.

"There's probably going to be a lot more", Ryan Duggins, with Florida's Bureau of Archaeological Research, told National Geographic."What we now are thinking is that when an individual passed, they would have been wrapped in handwoven fibers and sunk to the bottom of the pond".

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