Volunteers Unearth History at Wakulla Springs

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By: Natalie Rubino
August 31, 2015

Under the hot August sun, deep in the woods of Wakulla Springs, archaeologists and volunteers dig,drill and search for missing puzzle pieces of history dating back as far as 14,500 years ago.

"It's location, location, location and this is a wonderful place to be," Dr. Jim Dunbar, the site's head archaeologist, said.

Their work is paying off.

"We found a lead musket ball but what's interesting about it is it's .62 caliber," Dr. Dunbar said.

The musket is proof that the Kinnard brothers, two Lower Creek Indians had a trading post on the land in the early 1800s, trading with British troops.

"The Kinnard brothers moved from Georgia to right in this area where we're standing. They had both a trading post and a cattle operation," Lonnie Mann, a volunteer digger and member of the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee said.

Perhaps the most precise part of the dig is the screening. That's when screeners shake through the soil looking for artifacts that could be of interest to them.

"This is a weapon that would be used for slotting bones of a deer," Dr. Dunbar showed WCTV.

The weapon is evidence of another time period, 14,000 years ago, when Paleo Indians roamed the land

"The old Paleo Indian occupation 14,500 would be a time when native Americans would be hunting large animals like mastodons."

The archaeologists say Wakulla's soil is like a layered cake of time but what they hope to find are larger pieces of history.

"We'd certainly like to find some of the structures..evidence of trading posts, foundations and post holes," Mann said.

But like sand in an hour glass, the group knows when unearthing history, you have to move slowly.

Volunteers include people from Friends of Wakulla State Park, the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee and the Aucilla Research Center.

They started at the end of July and will be on site through the middle of September.

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