18.2.05

Windover Archaeological Project

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Word of the Day: carapace - A hard bony or chitinous outer covering, such as the fused dorsal plates of a turtle or the portion of the exoskeleton covering the head and thorax of a crustacean.

When the 3-year-old died, her parents placed her favorite toys in her arms, wrapped her in fabric woven from fibers of native plants, and buried her body in the soft, muck bottom of a small pond. Some 7,000 years later, when a young archaeologist uncovered her tiny remains, the toys--a wooden pestle-shaped object and the carapace of a small turtle--were still cradled in her arms. Most remarkable was the state of preservation of the child's bones and her toys, and the remains of some 167 other individuals and numerous artifacts found in that small pond in Windover Farms subdivision. The pond is about one mile southeast of the intersection of Highway 50 and I-95 and just outside the Titusville city limits where, today, a child's favorite toy may be a model of the space shuttle.

The State of Florida allocated nearly a million dollars for excavation and preservation, but now, a wealth of information lies cataloged and boxed at Florida State University because the state cannot provide additional funds for research. Additional research could tell much about the native Americans who lived near a small pond 4,000 years before Christ was born and 2,000 years before the pyramids were built or ceramics came into existence. At the end of the 1986-1987 field season, the well points were pulled, and the dark peat was pushed back into the pond, restoring Windover Pond to its pre-excavation, pristine state.

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