FGCU professor, students look to past in Everglades archaeological dig

FGCU professor, students look to past in Everglades archaeological dig. WINK News

Dr. Bill Locascio, an assistant professor of anthropology at Florida Gulf Coast University, a team of students and the Florida Archaeology Network have been the exploring historical artifacts for the last month.

“It’s all modified for agriculture, but what were sitting on right now is a former tree island,” Dr. Locascio said.

The 10,000-acre farm is used primarily to harvest sugar cane, there was something else there.

“The(y) noticed a subtle rise in the road and some artifacts in the field,” Dr. Locascio said.

Experts believe native communities thrived on the “former tree island” as far back as 1600 B.C.

“People wouldn’t think thousands of years ago people were living in the middle of the Everglades,” said anthropology student Wilitza Santos.

Dr. Locascio noted “these broken pieces of pottery can tell us a lot,” and other artifacts showed how the people lived.

“You can look at someones trash and you can tell a lot … it’s the same thing here but from thousands of years before hand,” said anthropology student Katheryn Ivanovich.

Dr. Locascio stressed this experience is a learning opportunity.

“Understanding how people and animals existed in these ecosystems seems fundamental in understanding how to restore them,” Dr. Locascio said.

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