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Discovery Befitting a Skeleton Crew

Friday, February 7, 2014

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A well-preserved skeleton at least 2,000 years old has turned up under a Florida highway, found by construction crews digging a trench for a new water main.

Construction work stopped for three weeks while archaeologists removed the remains from Pine Island Road in Davie, FL.

Experts believe the skeleton belongs to a woman from the Tequesta Indian tribe, or possibly older, dating back to the late Archaic period.

Indian skeleton remains
Photos courtesy Archaeological and Historical Conservancy Inc.

The skeletal remains of a woman, believed to date back 2,000 years, were discovered in Florida when a construction crew started digging a trench. Out of respect and state law, images of the remains are not made public.

"We uncovered the remains of an Indian woman," Bob Carr, director of the Florida Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, told WPLG Local 10.

'There Are More Graves'

The skeleton was found in an area that was once part of the Pine Islands in the Florida Everglades. The islands have been inhabited for 5,000 years.

"Thousands of cars have passed over this every month, so it gives you an idea that even under a modern highway, there could be some archeological gem," Carr said.

"I can assure you there are more graves under Pine Island Road."

The five-foot-tall woman was believed to be between 20 and 30 years old. Other artifacts, like tools made out of deer bones, were also found with the skeleton, which was discovered Dec. 18.

The Toe Bone's Connected to the...

"To find a complete burial like this is pretty rare," Ryan Franklin, of the Florida Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, told

Florida Archaeological and Historical Conservancy

"I can assure you there are more graves under Pine Island Road," said Bob Carr, director of the Conservancy.

"We first found a toe bone, then followed it up into a foot and a leg and it just kept going from there. The whole skeleton was there with very little disturbance," Franklin said.

It took about a week for the team to uncover the entire body after discovering the toe, Franklin told

Carr told that there was no evidence of trauma, so the woman's death was likely disease-related.

According to Franklin, other remains were found in a nearby area in the late 1980s.

Out of respect and state law, images of the skeleton have not been made public. The woman will be reburied at a secret burial ground donated by local Miccosukee and Seminole Indian tribes.


Tagged categories: Construction; Historic Preservation; Roads/Highways

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