|11 January 2014
Remains of 2,000-year-old woman found in Florida
Archeologists say a significant prehistoric find was made in Davie (Florida, USA): a woman's remains perfectly preserved for 2,000 years. She rested in peace until utility crews came shortly before Christmas to install a new waterline. That's when the fully intact skeleton of what is believed to be a Tequesta Indian woman was found - perhaps the best-preserved remains of an ancient human uncovered in the past 40 years, authorities said.
"It's either Tequesta or the member of a people that predates the Tequesta," said Bob Carr, of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy in Davie. "It's unusually well preserved, considering it's been under a highway with thousands and thousands of cars going over it every day."
The woman, about 5 feet tall and about 20 to 30 years old, will now be analyzed by state and local archaeological authorities and then reburied in about a month in a secret location, with Seminole and Miccosukee Indians conducting the ceremony.
No artifacts were found with the skeleton, and it had no distinguishing marks to indicate how she died. "There's nothing in the bones to indicate trauma," Carr said. After the skeleton was unearthed, Seminole and Miccosukee Indian officials requested the discovery remain quiet and insisted no photos be taken of it.
Weaving baskets and smoking fish on an open fire is probably the best description of what life was like for the woman 2,000 years ago, living on one of the Pine Islands, fishing and hunting out of wooden canoes. "Pine Island ridge was actually the Pine Islands," said Carr. "There was a group of islands surrounded by the Everglades." The Everglades stretched well into Davie and Fort Lauderdale, and the islands have been inhabited for 5,000 years. "I can assure you there are more graves under Pine Island Road," said Carr.
Three other intact skeletons were found in the same vicinity in the 1980s and another skeleton was found in a new development in far western Miramar about 12 years ago. The most recent one was the best preserved and among the oldest, Carr said. The age estimate was based on "context," as artifacts found earlier near the discovery site, including pottery shards, were determined to be at least 2,000 years old. "There was no carbon 14 dating or DNA testing, as the Florida tribes don't want any physical destruction of the bones," Carr said.
He and other archaeologists also have found Tequesta artifacts in Parkland in 2008; a major Tequesta settlement, dating back to 800 A.D., along Fort Lauderdale's New River in 2009; and bones up to 3,000 years old, believed to be those of members of the Jeaga tribe, along State Road A1A in Delray Beach in 2012.
Edited from SunSentinel (9 January 2013), Local10.com (10 January 2014)
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