7,000-year-old Native American burial site found off Florida

Divers search for more evidence underwater

Diver Nicole Grinnan measures the test unit’s depth using a laser level and folding ruler

Archaeologists have uncovered a Native American burial site dating back 7,000 years off the coast of Florida.

The site was found by an amateur diver in 2016 who was looking for shark teeth but stumbled on an ancient jawbone.

In a picture sent from the diver, archaeologist Ryan Duggins noticed a worn down molar tooth attached to the jawbone. This suggested it belonged to a prehistoric person.

Florida state officials called the find an “unprecedented discovery”.

Mr Duggins and his team began investigating the site from the “Archaic Period” located 900ft (275m) from shore.

The burial grounds are expected to cover about 32,000 sq feet (3,000 sq metres) off the coast of Manasota Key.

Underwater stake at burial siteImage copyrightFLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Image caption    One of the stakes excavated at Manasota Key Offshore revealed a notch in its length, it is not yet known what the notch was for

Underwater, the team found densely packed organic remains, human bones, and sharpened wooden stakes and textile fragments, according to National Geographic.

“Seeing a 7,000-year-old site that is so well preserved in the Gulf of Mexico is awe inspiring,” Mr Duggins said in a press release from the Florida Department of State.

“We are truly humbled by this experience.”

The site is believed to have been preserved in a freshwater pond thousands of years ago when water levels were 30ft (9m) lower, according the a press release..

The pond had a bottom covered in peat, which reportedly slowed the process of organic decay and allowed for the preservation of human remains.

“Our hope is that this discovery leads to more knowledge and a greater understanding of Florida’s early peoples,” said Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

The state said they are working closely with Native American tribes to ensure the proper treatment of the bones.

“We are happy to be working, shoulder to shoulder, with the Bureau of Archaeological Research and the residents of Manasota Key to identify a preservation plan that will allow the ancestors to continue to rest peacefully and without human disturbance for the next 7,000 years”, the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s historic preservation officer Paul Backhouse told the Bradenton Herald newspaper.

“The highest priority of all involved is to honour tribal beliefs and customs with respect to this ancestral resting place,” said the Florida Department of State.

Florida archaeologists have discovered other evidence of the Archaic period but say this discovery is remarkable because the site survived offshore through hurricanes and erosion.

“The vast majority of underwater archaeological projects have historically been focused on shipwrecks,” Mr Duggins told National Geographic.

From BBC News

Chinese web users make light of Golden Week travel woes

Chinese web users make light of Golden Week travel woes

People playing frisbee along the Chengdu-Xiamen expressway in southern ChinaImage copyrightPEAR VIDEOImage captionPear Video says that some frustrated travellers in southern China got out of their cars to play frisbee

China’s “Golden Week” national holiday is under way, and social media users are making light of travel problems that are dogging the annual getaway.

Social media are dominated by video and images of the congestion that is hampering travel to popular…

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Chinese web users make light of Golden Week travel woes

People playing frisbee along the Chengdu-Xiamen expressway in southern ChinaImage copyrightPEAR VIDEO
Image captionPear Video says that some frustrated travellers in southern China got out of their cars to play frisbee

China’s “Golden Week” national holiday is under way, and social media users are making light of travel problems that are dogging the annual getaway.

Social media are dominated by video and images of the congestion that is hampering travel to popular destinations such as Beijing.

Official newspaper China Daily estimates that some 650 million people will travel within China this week, with a further six million heading abroad.

Golden Week is one of only two extended periods in which Chinese people can take time off during the year, the other being Chinese New Year, which falls in January or February.

‘People, people, people…’

Sina Weibo hashtag landing page #ImOnTheLongRoadDuringTheLongBreakImage copyrightSINA WEIBO
Image captionOver 13,000 Weibo users have used the hashtag #ImOnTheLongRoadDuringTheLongBreak

Related hashtags have been going viral on popular microblog Sina Weibo since people began embarking on journeys a few days ago.

Tens of thousands of users are posting using #ImOnTheLongRoadDuringTheLongBreak and #OnTheRoadDuringGoldenWeek to discuss the delays and congestion. Images of extreme congestion posted via Sina Weibo have been a big draw.

And mainstream news portals including Sina News have warned travellers to take extra precautions, posting survival guides and warning of the dangers of dehydration and heatstroke.

The official China News Service agency has shared a composite of pictures and videos, attracting more than 1,000 user comments. “People people people people people people,” says one caption. Beijing’s Tiananmen Square is shown thronged with selfie-stick users.

Regional newspaper Jiangnan Metropolis Daily shows birds-eye photos taken from inside a railway station in south-eastern Jiangxi, complete with a crying emoji. In some of the images it is almost impossible to see the station floor because of the crowding.

‘Hahaha!’

Popular media have carried humorous videos showing how embattled travellers have put on a brave face. Some of the videos have had millions of views and thousands of comments.

Cover News shows surveillance footage over Southwestern city ChengduImage copyrightCOVER NEWS
Image captionOne video has captions of users complaining about queues (L) while a user in the opposite lane (R) says “Hahaha!”

They include a video by news portal Cover News, showing gridlocked traffic heading towards the south-western city of Chengdu, and empty lanes exiting the city. Captions superimposed over images of the congested lane say things like “more queues!”, while captions over cars in the empty lane say “Hahaha!”

Video website Pear Video noted that a member of the transport police became an overnight online celebrity in northern Xi’an for entertaining queues of travellers outside a railway station.

The police officer tells them to behave as if they are Terracotta Warriors as they move forward in the queue, and tells them “go with your feelings, and don’t hold anybody’s hand”. The video has been viewed more than five million times.

Chinese tourists stuck on a delayed Caribbean flightImage copyrightGUANGZHOU DAILY
Image captionThousands of users joked about Chinese tourists stranded in the Caribbean, albeit because of Hurricane Maria

Social media users point out that Chinese travellers abroad have also been affected by travel problems. A video posted on Guangzhou Daily received seven million views after it showed a plane full of Chinese travellers passing the time by waving flags and singing the national anthem.

The newspaper says the 381 passengers had had their flight from the Caribbean back to China delayed for two days as a result of Hurricane Maria.

By Kerry Allen