Caption for the photo at right, by staff photographer Cliff Partlow: C. Andrew Hemmings, Ph.D, left, OVIASC project archaeologist and atlatl (a prehistoric weapon) expert, discusses the weapons' use with Dann Jacobus Thursday, June 6. Dr. Hemmings is a noted Paleoindian researcher and faculty member of Mercyhurst University.
Donations still needed to cover costs
By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH -- The Old Vero Ice Age Sites committee is making progress toward their goal of searching for more clues of Vero Beach's past residents and lifestyles.
Last week, the committee went to the proposed dig site to meet with the lead archaeologist for the dig, C. Andrew Hemmings, of Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and David E. Gunter, a superintendent of the Indian River Farms Water Control District.
"The proposed dig site is near the main relief canal and excavation will take extra care and caution because of the abundance of groundwater," said Susan Grandpierre, committee spokeswoman. "By beginning in January, which is historically a drier season in Florida, there should be less problems mitigating the effect of digging near the canal."
The Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee is a nonprofit organization that formed in 2010 to raise funds and awareness of ice age sites in the county and to coordinate the excavation and study of the sites.
"So far, $126,000 has been raised toward the excavation of the Vero Man site by the committee, and about $100,000 more is needed to cover the cost of the four-month dig," Ms. Grandpierre said.
The Vero Man site was first discovered in the early 1900s when the main relief canal was dredged and bones were discovered in the walls of the canal and surrounding area in a dig led by state geologist Elias Howard Sellers.
The age of the bones discovered has been disputed, but Ms. Grandpierre hopes that this new dig will put to rest the timeline argument.
The committee will be partnered by the Mercyhurst Archeological Institute in the excavation, and Mercyhurst University will contribute close to $200,000 toward the cost.
The dig will last four months, and then the artifacts will be taken into laboratories and screened and tested, which could take years, Ms. Grandpierre said.
For more information about the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee, visit www.oviasc.org.