VENICE, Fla. (AP) — State officials say archeologists have located a 7,000-year-old Native American ancestral burial site in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced the find Wednesday.
The Manasota Key Offshore archaeological site is located on the continental shelf near Venice. It’s preserved in what appears to have been a peat-bottomed freshwater pond thousands of years ago.
Reports of the site began in June 2016 when divers identified possible human skeletal material. Archeologists have since confirmed a submerged site from the Early Archaic period, measuring roughly 0.75 acres (0.3 hectares).
Officials say offshore prehistoric burial sites are rare, with others located in Israel and Denmark.
The site is protected under Florida law, and it is illegal for anyone not authorized by the state to excavate or remove anything.