The Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute (MAI) is working with the Old Vero Ice Age Sites Committee (OVIASC) on a strategy to excavate one of the potentially most important Ice Age sites in North America – the Old Vero Man site in Vero Beach, Fla. Limited excavations were conducted at the site in 1915-1916.
These early investigations and later core borings indicate that the Vero Site contains an extensive inventory of both large and small Ice Age animals, notably including mastodons and saber tooth cats, as well as a diversity of well preserved plant remains of the period. The original excavations also yielded human bones, which may be associated with the Ice Age plant and animal collection and, hence, could be 13-14,000 years old.
According to MAI Executive Director James M. Adovasio, Ph.D., the site has the potential to illuminate a poorly known time frame in the prehistory of Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
OVIASC has raised more than $100,000 and is continuing its fundraising efforts to achieve the estimated $150,000 that is needed before the excavation can begin, most likely in December.
To encourage support of the archeological project, OVIASC will host a fundraising program called “Dig Old Vero: Challenges and Possibilities” on April 12 in Vero Beach. Adovasio will be the keynote speaker. C. Andrew Hemmings, a noted Early Paleoindian researcher on the faculty of Mercyhurst University, is the project archaeologist for OVIASC.
Adovasio is the longtime principal investigator of the Meadowcroft Rockshelter situated in southwestern Pennsylvania. Meadowcroft is widely considered to hold the oldest solid evidence of humans in eastern North America.
PHOTO: Mercyhurst President Thomas Gamble and MAI Director James Adovasio tour the Old Vero Man site.