By Meagan Perle
For Hometown News
VERO BEACH - Decades after the Vero Beach Man site was originally discovered and just three years after a man found an extinct elephant bone, archaeologists have decided to revisit the archaeological site to find lost animal and human bones from the end of the ice age.
Sandra Rawls, former chairwoman and current board member of the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee, said that many people forgot about this site after World War II.
"The site was originally discovered between 1913 and 1917 when the main canal was being dug," Ms. Rawls said. "In the 20s and 30s people from all over the world came to Vero Beach to dig, but since World War II people just forgot about the ice age fossils in Florida."
During these original excavations, mammoth bones were discovered, as well as parts of five different humans. Only recently was it accepted that the human bones found were from humans who coexisted with these animals.
Nowhere else in the country have archaeologists ever found human bones this old. She said it is for this reason that OVIASC decided to revisit this site to search for some missing human bones this winter.
Dick Kerr, current vice chairman of the committee, said this site is perhaps one of the most interesting in the Americas. It is extremely rich in wildlife diversity, more so than any other site.
"We want to find out who these people were. There's evidence that other people came to America at that time and you never know," Ms. Rawls said.
Mr. Kerr added the committee wants to not only document new findings, but document what has already been found and do a thorough study of those bones, as well.
"They didn't have the science or sophisticated things we can do now," Mr. Kerr said. "If we find even a piece of coal, we are able to date that and tell how old it is."
Christopher (Andy) Hemmings, was named the lead archaeologist of the dig that will take place between the months of January and April in 2013.
Mr. Hemmings is a Florida trained archaeologist and expert on the oldest Paleoindian sites in the United States. He was chosen for his expertise and knowledge.
To fund this upcoming excavation, the committee has already raised over $50,000 but is hoping to raise $100,000 more.
"Anyone can make a contribution and we're always looking for volunteers," Ms. Rawls said.
For more information, to donate or volunteer, visit www.OVIASC.org or email info@OVIASC.org.