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Two possible excavation spots revealed at Old Vero Man site

Results from a ground penetrating radar survey conducted in March at the Old Vero Man site in Vero Beach show there may be two areas worth excavating. 

Mammoth hunting scene [Credit: Indian River Community Foundation]
In a report presented Sunday at a meeting of Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee, two areas are mentioned as likely places to find undisturbed ground that would yield archaeological and zoological remains. 

Area 1 is parallel to the Main Relief Canal and adjoins the parking lot of the County Administration Building. Area 2 is north of the canal, east of Aviation Boulevard and west of U.S. 1. 

The Old Vero Man site has been evaluated and selected by scientists as having a high probability of containing significant fossils and artifacts. Around 1915, dredging at this site unearthed human remains possibly 13,000 years old, along with the remains of extinct animals including mammoth, mastodon, saber-tooth cat and ancient species of tapir, horse and sloth. 

Susan Grandpierre, who chairs the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee, said she was excited by the results of the radar survey conducted by archeologist Dr. Jessie Pincus from Mnemotrix Systems in College Point, Texas. 

"We have now completed the technical groundwork for a possible excavation," said Grandpierre. "Everybody has been working together to figure out where are the best places to dig." 

Joining Grandpierre at the meeting Sunday was Bob Carr, executive director of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy in Davie. Carr explained to the audience how ground penetrating radar sends waves into the ground, which bounce off any areas that contain anomalies. 

"It doesn't exactly tell you what's there," said Carr. "But the beauty of ground penetrating radar is it can save you a tremendous amount of money and you can focus where you really need to focus." 

Carr said he is more hopeful about Area 1 because it looks like the creek bed is about 10 feet below the surface, making it more likely to contain items of interest. 

"Waves are reflecting changes in the sediment," Carr said. "But you are not really going to know for sure until you dig." 

Carr said Area 2 is more problematic for excavation because it appears the subsurface has been altered over the years. 

"It is far more fraught with disturbances," said Carr. "The fact is that you won't be able to figure out anything without moving a lot of dirt." 

Grandpierre said fundraising for a possible excavation is continuing, with a $25,000 grant from the Felburn Foundation coming through last week. 

"We are now in a transitional period," said Grandpierre. "We are raising money and reaching out to the community to build a network of people who are interested in the project." 

Author: Janet Begley | Source: TC Palm [April 29, 2012]

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