Construction was halted December 18 on a trench for a new water main on Pine Island Road in Davies, Florida when a perfectly preserved burial was uncovered. The woman was thought to be in her 20s or 30s and around 5 feet tall.
“To find a complete burial like this is pretty rare,” Ryan Franklin, of the Florida Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, told the New York Daily News.
“Everyone was fully aware that there was this possibility,” Franklin said. “Remains were found nearby in the late 1980s, so this is basically from the same site.”
The area did not look the same 2,000 years ago Bob Carr, director of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, pointed out.
“Pine Island ridge was actually the Pine Islands,” Carr told WPLG-TV. “There was a group of islands surrounded by the Everglades.”
The woman most likely weaved baskets and smoked fish on an open fire. She may have also hunted and fished from a wooden canoe.
Out of respect to local tribes, carbon dating was not used. Archaeologists dated the remains using artifacts surrounding the bones, including a tool made from deer bone.
“There was no carbon 14 dating or DNA testing, as the Florida tribes don’t want any physical destruction of the bones,” Carr told the Sun Sentinel.
Construction at the site resumed January 9. The remains were reinterred at an undisclosed location donated by the local Miccosukee and Seminole Indian tribes, WPLG-TV reported.