FLORIDA TODAY, Thursday, November 13,1986
Amend state wetlands law
to cover archaeology sites
The state faces a unique prob- made time capsule findings would
lem in discharging the responsibility have been possible without the
of protecting ancient gravesites and cooperation of the developers.
prehistoric archaeological sites if EKS Inc. is the firm developing
they are out of sight, underneath the the subdivision, and its principals
ground or water, they are unknown, halted construction at the site when
Under the 1984 Wetlands Protec- workers discovered skeletal re.
tion Act, the state Department of mains in a pond in 1982. Since then,
Environmental Regulation must the state Legislature has contrib-
consider archaeological resources uted $800,000 in three years for
as one of seven factors in determin- archaeological research at the site,
ing whether to issue a dredge and bringing te project's total cost to
fill permit. The loophole is that once more than $1 million. The excava-
excavation or work on a devel- tion will conclude in January, while
opment starts, there is no state law research and study of the artifacts
requiring the contractor or devel- and remains will continue.
oper to notify state officials of any Jack Eckerd, drug store mag-
artifacts uncovered. nate, recently accepted .a National
In fact, just the opposite desired Park Service award for his part in
effect may occur. If a developer preserving the Windover archaelog-
thinks the finding of bones, dugout ical site In Titusville. In addition,
canoes or other artifacts will stall or EKS Inc. has received tremendous
block further development, no word publicity because of the richness of
of the find may be made public, the archaeological finds uncovered.
After all, delays can be costly to a It is an outstanding example of what
development. can be accomplished with cooper-
Destruction of gravesites and ation between developers and the
historically important sites have public.
occurred more than once in Florida, All developers, however, are not
and there's no legal way to prevent that enlightened or willing to coop-
such actions now or in the future, erate. As a consequence, state DER
That is one reason why we are officials have considered adding a
pleased with the outstanding coop- clause to dredge and fill permits
eration shown by the developers of requiring anyone finding artifacts to
the Windover Farms site in Titus- stop work and notify an appropriate
ville. state representative. State officials,
Archeologists have found the though, fear it would add to the
remains of at least 80 people and 25 temptation to keep digging and not
well-preserved humans brains at the tell anyone of any finds.
site since 1984, believed to be at We are not sure what the answer
least. 7,500 years old. Pieces of is, but a solution needs to be found to
woven fabric found this year at the protect these important finds. We
site'have experts saying the weav- favor having the Legislature utilize
ing patterns make it the oldest; the experts and resources available
largest and technologically most in the state to come up with an
sophisticated fabric found in the improved method of protecting
Americas. None of the naturally important archaeological sites.