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Around 8,000 years ago near the east coast of central Florida, a group of Archaic people lived by a small pond. Eventually they died, and their remains were buried in the pond. Their existence was unknown until, in the early 1980s, a backhoe operator preparing the land for the construction of a subdivision, scooped up a human skull.

The discovery of the skull and other human remains initially resulted in the suspicion of a recent mass murder, but county medical examiners determined that the human remains were very old, and consequently they contacted the anthropology department at Florida State University. Under the direction of Florida State archaeologist Glen Doran, the excavation of the one-half acre pond, now known as the Windover site, was soon underway, and over the next several years discoveries were made that informed archaeologists about Florida’s ancient people. The shallow pond turned out to be an ancient burial site for these early people and the peat sediments and water chemistry was such that it preserved both human remains and grave goods.

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