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17 October 2004
4,000-year-old pottery found in Florida

A 4,000-year-old small piece of porous, blackened pottery, the oldest artifact ever found on Hutchinson island (Florida, USA) was discovered as archaeologists surveyed three newly uncovered American Indian graves.
     Bob Carr, executive director of the Miami-based Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, said both the small pottery shard and the location of at least three graves in the rock south of Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge were exciting and historically significant.
     There were probably many more graves, estimated to be at least 2,000 years old, on the property than the few exposed, he said. Unearthed by the hurricanes, the graves were next to a midden - evidence of a living area where the Ais Indians threw refuse. The fact the location was used for multiple purposes made the discovery more interesting, he said. Carr said he planned to take a sample of a shell from the nearby midden to determine the age of the bones, which cannot by law be carbon-dated.
     The piece of pottery, estimated to be 2,000 years older than the graves, was nearby. "This is the oldest artifact on Hutchinson Island," he said. Carr said he thinks the graves are vulnerable to looting, accidental treading or a hurricane.

Source: Sun-Sentinel.com (16 October 2004)

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