Underwater Archeology in Florida Part 1 | Silver River Mammoths

[Music]>>Morgan Smith: There’s a lot more open
mindedness when it comes to ideas about peopling the Americas, because we’re starting to
realize how little we do know.>>Michael Faught: I’ve heard Ken Sassaman
say it’s a thousand piece puzzle and we have about fifteen pieces. And it’s so challenging on so many issues.>>Morgan Smith: It seems like every piece
of the puzzle that we get is complicating the picture even more. So every question we answer is ten more questions.>>Michael Faught: And that makes it fun. That challenge is fun.>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: We know that humans
came to the new world over a land bridge connecting Alaska and Siberia. It turns out, however, that when they crossed
the bridge, there were likely already people here. But who were those people? These archeologists are finding some answers
in Florida waterways. We catch with them on the Silver River. [Music and bird noises]>>Morgan Smith: What we’re working on here
at Silver Springs State Park are a series of Pleistocene archeological sites. So that is, before about 11,000 or 12,000
years ago, during the last ice age. And there are two sites here were recorded
in the 1960s and 70s. The first is Silver Springs head spring site,
Mammoth Spring.>>Morgan Smith (on boat): So the first thing
we’ll do is set up the baseline and you guys can just start sketching and pointing
stuff out. [Splash]>>Morgan Smith: Silver Springs head spring,
Wilfred Neill excavated that in 1964. And he found several Paleo-Indian projectile
points, which these points date to the last ice age, before about 11,000 years ago, inside
the head spring, in close association with several large mammoth or mastodon bones. The second was that we were working on the
Guest Mammoth site. That’s our main focus here at the park. The Guest mammoth site was excavated in 1973
by Charles Hoffman, who was at the University of Florida at the time. This was the first submerged prehistoric site
ever excavated in the Americas. Scuba was pretty much in its infancy for recreational
use. He was using entirely new methods underwater. He was working on an entirely different type
of site. In addition, very few people thought that
man and megafauna interaction sites would be evident east of the Mississippi River. Now, they’d been present in the American
west. He presented this at an archeological conference,
and the findings were widely rejected, basically, by the archeological community. They didn’t believe you could do archeology
underwater with the precision needed to prove what he was claiming. And they didn’t believe, based on the theories
at the time, that people should be in Florida as early as he proclaimed.>>Shawn Joy: Ocala famous, babe!>>Morgan Smith: Yeah!>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: Today, underwater
archeology research is better accepted by academia, and it’s getting more public attention. A lot of that progress was made by members
of this crew.>>Rob Diaz de Villegas (behind camera): So,
who’s that in the picture?>>Shawn Joy: That’s me, that’s Jesse,
that’s Morgan, and uh…>>Morgan Smith: A lot of these guys are really
experienced, you know, they’ve worked many archeological sites. Michael Faught is kind of the father of submerged
prehistory in the Americas, I’d really say. He’s quite well known and he’s done a
lot of this research, particularly on off shore sites. [Music]>>Michael Faught: So there’s been a hiatus
from when I was at Florida State and now Florida State is picking up again the prehistoric
work. And these students- Texas A&M, Florida State
University- the students are creating a new energy that really wants to go out on the
offshore. It’s really exciting for me. It’s been since 2003 that I was out there.>>Morgan Smith: There was a big lull in underwater
archeology in Florida from, you know, around the 2000s, and Dr. Jesse Halligan and (Dr.)
Mike Waters started renewing investigations on the Aucilla River. [Music]>>Morgan Smith: They kind of just pieced together
this crew of people who were really interested in addressing these questions of finding first
American sites in the southeast.>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: Jesse Halligan is
an assistant professor at Florida State University. Shawn Joy is one of her graduate students.>>Shawn Joy: I met Jesse and this group in
2013, 2014, around there. And, yeah, we were working down here and that
kind of really hooked me. I was like, “Yeah, this is definitely something
I want to do for the rest of my life.”>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: At another of Morgan’s
sites, Shawn worked with FSU diving students getting their first taste of archeology.>>Shawn Joy: They’d been working on their
diving skills, and then finally getting them into the water and getting them to do what
they’d been training for nine months to do was really exciting,
To see that every last one of them was really good at it.>>Rob Diaz de Villegas: On part two of our
underwater prehistory adventure, we see these students in action on the Wacissa River. We also get into the science of archeology,
and see some of what Morgan and friends have dug up. For WFSU, I’m Rob Diaz de Villegas.

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