A woman digging in her backyard on the Florida Keys last fall found a jaw bone and a piece of human skull. Detectives were able tell her the bones were likely to be as much as 75 years old.
Surprise! The results of radiocarbon dating tests have determined that the bones are around 2400 years old, which places them around 200-40 B.C.
In addition to the jaw bone and piece of the skull, there was an arm, a leg, a foot, and back bones that likely belonged to two adults–one was a woman.
What started out as a forensic case turned out to be new insight into ancient people who lived in Florida.
My understanding is that because there was cultural material from modern day, along with tiny bones from a cat, a fish and a bear that the investigators believe that they might have been brought to the Keys years ago in dirt fill from another location in Florida. There were no ancient artifacts among the bones.
Anthropologists have known that ancient people lived in Florida from 200-40 B.C. and the bones reinforce this belief.
These ancient people of Florida were mostly hunter-gatherers who made use of the state’s marine resources, sometimes moving away from the coast to find raw material for tools. They were big- boned and well-muscled compared to modern humans.
The bones are being turned over to the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research to be examined. The origin of the dirt fill will also be analyzed to determine the origin of the fill.
The Florida Bureau will also be responsible for the ensuring that the ancient human remains are properly protected under state and federal laws.
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