[Documents menu] Documents menu

Digging unearths old structures

Detroit Free Press, 7 June 2002

ORTONA, Fla. -- Archaeologists said Thursday they have discovered the longest and oldest canals ever found in North America, a system of channels dug by Indians with wood and shell tools 1,800 years ago.

The two canals, near Lake Okeechobee in southern Florida, together are 7 miles long and show greater complexity in Native American society than previously suspected, said Robert Carr of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy in Miami.

Carr estimated hundreds of Indians lived in the area and used the tools to dig out millions of yards of sand and soil. This suggests one level of technological achievement that really has never been honored before, Carr said.

Previously, archaeologists believed the canals were hundreds of years more recent.