Archaeologists uncovered a prehistoric Native American burial site underneath the Florida coastline of Manasota Key. They theorized the burial site to be 7,000 years old and it has been preserved underwater since then.
The researchers identified the ancient burial site under the water after a recreational diver found human remains at the site in 2016. The diver sent the photos of the remains such as the barnacle-crusted jaw to Florida’s Bureau of Archaeological Research, according to National Geographic.
Ryan Duggins, the bureau’s underwater archaeology supervisor, said there was a single molar attached to the jawbone. He further stated that is something they do not see in modern populations. This means that they were dealing with the prehistoric individual, according to Duggins.
Science Alert reports that Native Americans lived, hunted, and buried their dead in the Florida peninsula before sea level rose and swept their homes away thousands of years ago. The Florida peninsula submerged over the several millennia and prehistoric people vanished underwater.
Their ancient culture is now emerging with the recent discovery. Duggins, together with his team, relocated the site, which is about 300 yards from the shore and 21 feet below the surface.
“As soon as we were there it became clear that we were dealing with something new,” said Duggins.
Their finds include a broken arm bone on the seabed, three separate skull fragments, textile fragments, and a cluster of carved wooden stakes, among others. Duggins then realized that it was a Native American bog burial site that had been submerged by the rising sea level and was preserved miraculously.
Duggins said that the vast majority of underwater archaeological projects have historically been focused on shipwrecks. On the other hand, in the past decades, some prehistoric sites, mostly scatters of stone tools, have been identified off the Florida coast. He thought that what they discovered near the Manasota Key could confirm that these landscapes beneath the water have much potential archaeologically.
Currently, the authorities in Florida are talking with indigenous representatives of the Seminole of Florida to ensure that the preserved remains in the discovered burial site will be appropriately treated. Duggins said that it is important to remember that this is a burial site and must be treated with the utmost respect.