Since the beginning of the Everglades of Florida, there were people. For thousands of years, Archaic Period Floridians lived in the watery margins of land and water. These early Floridians used generations of knowledge to thrive. They shaped the landscape to their needs.
Now, much of the Northern Everglades has been shaped to fit the desires of modern humans.
Dr. William Locascio and his Florida Gulf Coast University archaeology field class along with Matthew Colvin (University of Georgia graduate student) are unearthing a 3700 year old story from a tree island in the Everglades near Lake Okeechobee.
The tree island is long gone. A casualty of our modern appetite for sugar. Today, vast fields of sugarcane dominate the Everglades Agricultural Area. Fortunately, a farm foreman noticed something unusual. What he saw was a Black Earth Midden from the Archaic Period several thousands of years old. The vigilant foreman protected the Wedgworth Archaic Site from looters and disturbance.
The earliest evidence of humans at this site is 5,000 years old.
Dr. Locascio and his students/colleagues are respectful and dedicated to this special site. They are exploring the lives of these early Floridians carefully extracting exciting artifacts, which will help us all understand the sophisticated lives lived by these early residents of the Everglades. These modern day Floridians are peeling back layers of the Everglades muck to reveal a new story of ancient Florida. A story of human genius and adaptation to a wild environment.
These past people not only lived at this tree island for almost a millenia, they thrived. They thrived ever since the Everglades came into existence.