Public is invited to observe experts unearth ancient tools and more Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Local archaeologists are starting the new year by digging into the past at Phillippi Estate Park.
Phillippi Estate Park, located at the end of Phillippi Creek is home to one of the more historical residences in Sarasota County, the Edson Keith Mansion. But thousands of years before the house was built it was home to some of the first Sarasotans.
In 1988, shortly after Sarasota County purchased the property to make it into a park, archaeologists identified three archaeological sites.
"We’re trying to understand better the archaeological records of these county-owned lands," said Uzi Baram, professor of anthropology at New College.
The purpose for the excavation is to outline the largest site on the property, known as the Manasota midden, which dates to 2,500 years ago to 1,300 years ago. The plot at Phillippi Estate Park can be seen from the porch steps of the Edson Keith Mansion.
"With the centennial of the Edson Keith Mansion, the timing seemed appropriate to reflect on the history of the land," Baram said. "We know from the 1988 excavation basically where the mound actually was. This work today is giving us more precision on the actually delineation of the midden and also giving us more artifacts that give us a better sense of the way of life of these ancient people."
Baram and several New College students partnered with Sarasota Count and the Florida Public Archaeology Network to make the excavation possible.
On the first day of the excavation the team discovered pieces of pottery, remnants of possible tools and shells revealing the lives of natives that inhabited the region during the Manasota Period. The findings will help determine how people lived on the land and what the did with their time.
Archaeologists are encouraging members of the public to visit the site during the second day of the excavation from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at Phillippi Estate Park.