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“Dem Dry Bones…”

While reading through other blog postings this morning I came across one by Spirit Lights the Way on WordPress called “An Ancient village Discovered In Miami.” I reblogged that post which called to mind another such archaelogical find which was made near Titusville, Florida in 1982. While doing background research for a book which I have written, entitled “Tears, Toil and Taters,” about the inception and growth of the potato production industry in Florida, I had come across information about the Windover Bog find. That rich treasure trove of physical effects of some of the early Indians who inhabited the state of Florida was an accidental find. In the process of preparing for the construction of a housing development, a backhoe operator discovered a large quantity of human bones in the black peat he was digging from the bottom of a pond near Titusville. After radiocarbon dating on the bones was done it was found that the bones were over 7,000 years old. Windover Bog was no modern mass murder site! Indeed, it was not a mass murder site at all, but an ancient cemetery. It was found to be one of the most intact cemeteries dating to about 6,000 B.C. that has ever been discovered. Remarkably, brain tissue was found in over 90 of the skulls at the site. Scientists were ecstatic about having the opportunity to study DNA from such old tissue samples. Many fully articulated skeletons were also found at the site, which site was the last resting place for at least 168 people, men, women, and children. A meticulous excavation of that bog cemetery was undertaken over a period of three field seasons and yielded finds that were truly unique. Those finds necessitated a revision of ideas formerly promulgated about the type of life experienced by people from seven to eight-thousand years ago. Skeletal remains of several of those found at Windover Bog demonstrated that they had received a great deal of attention and loving care in life after having suffered severe afflictions. Unique woven fabric samples, artifacts made from wood, bone and antler were found at the site, including an atlatl, and the remains of a bottle gourd which is the earliest gourd ever found in this part of the world, being native to Central and South America. Along with those exciting discoveries was the recovery of eighty-seven samples of weaving, basketry, wood-working and clothing belonging to those Middle Archaic people of the American Southeast. The bones, human brain tissue and all other materials at Windover Bog were very well preserved when found, providing modern-day archaelogists and scientists with important sociological information. The find also raised many questions for which those scientists will never be able to give an absolute answer. It will be interesting to see what finds may be made at this newest site, in the city of Miami! Thanks to Spirit Lights the Way for posting about that site.

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