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Texas Archaeology Team Dives to Assess Florida's Unique Underwater Site

An underwater archaeology site on the bed of the Silver River, in the Silver Springs State Park near Ocala, is home to mammoth bones and other ancient remains dating back 10,000 years ago. First discovered in the 1970s, the history these discoveries revealed were dismissed at the time due to the perceived inaccuracy of underwater archaeology. This summer, a team of archeologists are diving there to "set the record straight."

According to the Ocala Star Banner, archaeologist and anthropologist Charles Hoffman first began excavating the site after a recreational diver reported finding a mammoth calf and human artifacts. The findings could potentially rewrite the story of human migration in North America, but Hoffman’s work was largely ignored due to the developing science of underwater archaeology.

Now Morgan F. Smith, a doctoral student at Texas A&M University's Center for the Study of First Americans, is leading a team of seven as they dive, document, and preserve new findings from the bottom of the Silver River. Smith joins Gulf Coast Live to share the story of the submerged archeological site, why early finds were so contested, what the site could tell is about humanity and Ice Age animals in ancient Florida, and what the team has found in their work so far this summer.

Copyright 2020 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Photo: Alan Youngblood/Ocala Star Banner via Morgan F. Smith /

Photo: Alan Youngblood/Ocala Star Banner via Morgan F. Smith /

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
Julie Glenn is the host of Gulf Coast Live. She has been working in southwest Florida as a freelance writer since 2007, most recently as a regular columnist for the Naples Daily News. She began her broadcasting career in 1993 as a reporter/anchor/producer for a local CBS affiliate in Quincy, Illinois. After also working for the NBC affiliate, she decided to move to Parma, Italy where she earned her Master’s degree in communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Her undergraduate degree in Mass Communication is from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.