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Florida Sinkhole Holds 12,000-Year_Old Clues To Early Americans

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Author Topic: Florida Sinkhole Holds 12,000-Year_Old Clues To Early Americans  (Read 1216 times)
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« on: July 22, 2009, 11:00:01 pm »


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« on: June 27, 2007, 03:35:09 pm » Quote Modify 


Recently, evidence has come to light of a sophisticated human culture existing on Florida’s Gulf coast as early as 10,000 BC. Human remains dating back 7,000 years and tools and weapons dating back 12,000 years have been found over a period of many years at a now threatened site at Fort Myers. Current excavations being conducted by marine archaeologist John Gifford of the University of Miami hope to uncover evidence of the oldest humans in North America. However, archaeologists fear that they are fighting a losing battle as pollutants from ever encroaching urban development flood the site.

The finds are coming from a 75-yard-wide sinkhole that descends to a depth of 220 feet. Known as Little Salt Spring, it is located between Fort Myers and Sarasota, and was donated to the University in 1982 following the discovery of artefacts there during the 1970s. These were found to have been preserved in a good condition due to the unique nature of the water, which has been described as ‘brackish’ and ‘anoxic’, in that it has very little oxygen whatsoever.

Regular scuba dives have been made into the sinkhole by a team led by Gifford, who has argued against the artificial construction of the Bimini Road. They have removed objects such as tools and weapons from ledges, caves and basins placed at different levels of different time periods. Among the items found include a completely new type of wooden tool which has been named a ‘putter’, due to its resemblance to a golf club. Six of these tools have been found which are thought to be around 8,500 years ago. In addition to the ‘putters’, a weapon has been found similar to the boomerang of Australia, Egypt and Europe. This ‘nonreturning’ variant, as it has been described, is thought to be 9,000 years old and is perhaps the oldest example of this weapon so far discovered. More significantly, a form of atlatl, a kind of spear thrower well-known among Pre-Colombian cultures of Mexico such as the Aztecs, has also been retrieved from the sinkhole. There was also a bead made from a bird’s bone, which has been drilled and is thought to be around 8,500 years old.

One of the most interesting finds was the discovery on a ledge 85 feet down of a collapsed shell of an extinct species of land tortoise. It had been pierced through by a wooden stake which revealed a Carbon-14 date of 12,000 BP (before present). The whole thing was perfectly preserved, and now Gifford and his colleagues hope to find human remains of the same age on the same ledge. If this were to be the case, they would predate North America’s oldest accepted human remains, which are those of the greatly controversial Kennewick Man, which was found in Washington State around four years ago and is around 9,000 years old.

In addition to the artefacts, an ancient cemetery has been found in peat on the edge of the sinkhole. It has produced 7000-year-old human bones, some of which were ceremonially wrapped in grass.

In past ages Little Salt Spring was filled with fresh water which would have attracted peoples from far and wide. Yet as the sea-levels rose in the nearby Gulf of Mexico at the end of the last Ice Age, the waters would have become more and more salty, driving away settlers but preserving their artefacts through to the present day. Yet now the area is being encroached once more, and this time by modern habitation and recreational facilities. Housing estates, schools and golf courses threaten the equilibrium of the sinkhole because the water run off from this urban development is pouring pollutants into the sinkhole. Gifford is currently making a number of tests in the hope that he can preserve the quality of the water for future generations. (For further information check out the Miami Herald web site Thanks to David Southwell for bringing this story to my attention).

The importance of Little Salt Spring is to emphasise just how easy it would have been for this fairly sophisticated prehistoric culture to have ventured across the Florida Straight to the Bahamas, which I suggest was inhabited prior to a major natural catastrophe around 9000-8500 BC, and plausibly afterwards in areas which were finally reclaimed by the rising sea-level between approximately 8000 and 3000 BC. The Little Salt Spring material is clear evidence that some of the most advanced ancient Americans were in Florida at exactly the right time, and so could have constituted the memory of a former Bahaman culture - Plato’s Atlantean race. I look forward to further evidence of a human presence from the Little Salt Spring site. 
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