Florida: Home of the 13,000 Year Old Art Work

Most of us were taught in school about the migration from Asia across the frozen Bering Straight of the ancestors of today’s American Indians (the Clovis Theory).  In Florida there are two archaeological sites that may challenge that as the only story of ancient North Americans.  Florida is becoming a place of mystery for archaeologists and anthropologists.

In 1982 a backhoe operator of the EKS Corporation dug up human bones in a black peat bog one miles southeast of Highway 50 and I-95 in Titusville.  Draining the the Windover Bog researchers discovered nearly 170 bodies wrapped in the oldest flexible fabric ever found in North America.  The bog had such good PH neutral and little oxygen that the bodies were not very decayed and many skulls had brain tissue.

floridatraveler Windover Bog

The Bog Excavation Before Letting Water Back In

The DNA research was originally said to be of Asian origin with a rare haplogroup X and some noted that this group was the only demonstrated instance of the extinction of a group of Native Americans with no close surviving relatives.  The study found the bodies were from 6,990 to 8,120 years old.

floridatraveler WINDOVER_ARCHEOLOGICAL

Nature Returns The Bog To Its Old Look

Some anthropologists were upset at the distribution of the samples – many now reburied.  To some the one remaining photograph of one of the skulls (taken by a newsman) looked more European (Solutrean) than Asian.  Dr. Joseph Lorenz from Coriell Institute for Medical Research compared the Windover DNA with global samples and noted the bone DNA from the five Floridians he studied looked European.

floridatraveler windover Skull

Only Windover Bog Skull Photograph

To add to the mystery an amateur archaeologist James Kennedy of Vero Beach found a mammoth bone with a man-made drawing of a beast on it.  Vero Beach was already the home of the Vero Man’s skull, found in 1915 in the company of ice-age animal bones dated to 12,000 years BC.

The Kennedy artifact shocked scientists who believed that mammoths and mastodons had become extinct in Florida by at least 10,000 years.   After careful study with an energy dispersive X-Ray spectroscopy and  a scanning electron microsope, forensic anthropologists at the Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the University of Florida declared that both the carving and the bone’s surface were the same age.

floridatraveler oldest art in america

The Oldest Art Work In America: The Vero Mammoth

Both the University of Florida and the Smithsonian believe the artifact to be at least 13,000 years old, making it the oldest piece of known art in North America.

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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