| 6 January 2008
Ancient artifacts unearthed in Florida
Kristy Mickwee is part of a University of West Florida archaeology team surveying 168 acres of the Falling Waters State Park in Chipley (Florida, USA). During the past few weeks, the team has dug the park full of 'shovel tests' in search of Native-American artifacts. Fieldwork was extended because of the bountiful findings. John Phillips, an archaeologist with the UWF Archaeology Institute, thinks the inland areas of Florida, particularly in the Panhandle, have not received the attention they deserve compared with more archaeologically popular coastal sites.
Artifacts unearthed from the site include bits of ceramic pottery and arrowheads. "Prehistoric ceramic styles change like Detroit changes car styles," Phillips said. He holds up various pieces, each hailing from a different stratum of time. The artifacts range from 1,000 to 1,500 years old. The people who crafted these finds are not too different from modern-day man. For example, they enjoy the same camping spots; many of the artifacts were in what currently are state park campsites.
The findings of this survey will be used to learn more about the area's early inhabitants. That information will be used to create interpretive displays in the park. But the team saw something at Falling Waters, a mystery no one involved with the archaeological survey has been able to wrap their heads around. "The cave drawing is up in the air," Phillips said hesitantly. "What we have is some amorphous things; I'm not ready to say it's cave painting. It may be; we certainly haven't ruled that out."
Off the beaten path, requiring one to climb, crawl and squeeze, are the questionable amorphous smears of red. If it is weathered graffiti, it's disappointing on several levels, but if it is a cave painting, it's amazing on just as many, the team said. No other cave paintings have been found in Florida. "One of our rangers happened upon that a couple of months ago and said, 'Oh, by the way, there's something on one of the walls down there,' " Sweeney recalled.
The UWF team went to investigate but was unable to draw any concrete conclusions. Samples are being studied.
Source: Orlando Sentinel (6 January 2008)
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