Preserving 7,000-year-old Burials Off Shore



On Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m. the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations will present John McCarthy discussing the "globally significant" archaeological site discovered submerged just off our shores and the efforts being made to protect and preserve it.

The ancient site is a rare example of a burial practice of Paleo-Indians living in Florida following the migration of humans to the western hemisphere. The site has become inundated by sea level rise since their culture flourished on a much larger Florida peninsula 7,000 years ago, but surprisingly, it was preserved because of their unusual burial practices. National Geographic described the site as an "unprecedented find."

Honored in May 2017 by the Historical Society of Sarasota County as a hero of history, Mr. McCarthy is a renowned local historian and environmentalist. He also will be recognized as person of the year for 2018 at the annual fundraiser celebrating the 57th anniversary of CONA in November at Michael’s Wine Cellar. Currently, he is the executive director of Gulf Coast Heritage Association and Historic Spanish Point, which, along with the Florida department of state and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, is providing the program.

Mr. McCarthy is a native Floridian who has lived in Sarasota most of his life. Prior to joining the team at Historic Spanish Point, he was the executive director of SCOPE (Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence). In 2012, he retired from Sarasota County government after a career of 33 years. His roles at the county included environmental specialist, county historian and director of parks and recreation. He has served as president of the Florida Recreation and Parks Association Foundation and the Historical Society of Sarasota County.

Mr. McCarthy is a frequent presenter of local history lectures, educational programs, and tours and an author of related articles in local media.

This is a regular monthly meeting of CONA. The meetings are held on second Mondays of the month at the Sarasota Garden Club. See for more information about CONA.

Kafi Benz is the president of CONA.

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