Time Sifters Archaeology Society presents: Florida’s Submerged Prehistory: Investigating and Protecting Manasota Key Offshore
Name: Time Sifters Archaeology Society presents: Florida’s Submerged Prehistory: Investigating and Protecting Manasota Key Offshore
Date: May 15, 2019
Time: 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM EDT
Florida has the second longest continuous coastline of any state in the USA. Coupled with this, its many rivers, lakes, and sinks mean much of the state’s fascinating archaeological record exists underwater. The Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, and Bureau of Archaeological Research (FBAR) is responsible for the research, interpretation, and protection of archaeological resources located on public lands and in state waters. In June 2016, BAR staff were notified of prehistoric human remains located in the Gulf of Mexico offshore of Manasota Key, Sarasota County. Archaeological investigation identified the presence of a newly identified Archaic period mortuary pond dating to 7214 +/- 30 Cal BP. A sensitive and unique site, Manasota Key Offshore (MKO) is a fascinating example of the south Florida Archaic period cultural practice of interring the bodies of deceased individuals within a pond. MKO, however, is distinguished from other peat burial sites within Florida because of its location in the Gulf of Mexico under 21 feet of seawater. MKO represents the first example in the Americas of a prehistoric burial site surviving Holocene sea level rise. Insight into the circumstances that allowed this delicate site to be preserved can help us understand the effects of sea level rise on submerged archaeological sites. This presentation will provide a summary of FBAR’s investigations at MKO, with a focus on its unique characteristics and the threats posed to the site. MKO is more than just the final resting place of Florida’s indigenous peoples; this site provides clear and unambiguous evidence that the submerged lands of our continental shelves contain significant archaeological sites that demand investigation and protection. Ryan M. Duggins, PhD. leads the Underwater Archaeology Program at the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. He earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University; his research focused on modeling submerged landscape sand site distribution on the Continental Shelf.