09 July 2024

How bog bodies were secured underwater

Wet sites have yielded some of the most spectacular archaeological finds in the world. Prior to Windover’s discovery, ancient human remains had been uncovered at four others in Florida:  Little Salt Springs (Sarasota County), Warm Mineral Springs (Sarasota County), Republic Groves (Hardee County), and Bay West (Collier County). Known as mortuary ponds, these sites served as cemeteries during the Early and Middle Archaic periods, roughly 10,000 to 5,000 years ago...

Toward the end of the first field season, Doran and Dickel made an astonishing discovery: a mushy, greasy, tan substance inside one of the skulls... confirmed that a sample was actually human brain tissue. By the end of that year, several intact brains had been recovered. Though shrunken to a quarter of their original size, they still retained the shape and surface features of a typical human brain...

The bodies were tucked into a “flexed” position, bundled in fabric along with a variety of grave goods, and submerged beneath the water, typically on their left sides, facing west. Wooden stakes driven through the cloth kept them anchored to the bottom of the pond. Generation after generation returned to the pond to bury their dead in this manner for the next 1,000 years.
More information at the Orange County Regional History website.


  1. I guess there are no critters in that muck to eat the bodies.
    But the burial in that goo must have been harder than digging a hole and to bury them. Probably some religious beliefs involved but after a couple it becomes tradition that are tough to break.
    On their left side facing west would have the pointing south... and mooning north.

  2. I hope they used a different pond for drinking water, and / or fishing?

    1. Hopefully, but then the crew of HMS Victory tapped the barrel of which Admiral Nelson dead body was stored in. So there's that.

  3. may i suggest a little more introductory information be added? I did not know what Windover referred to as I started reading this post. I do remember posts about Bogman (believe he was even given the name Pete Bog by researchers) discovered in UK many years back. Coverage of that made the major news carriers. while the information gleaned from these discoveries is helpful to understanding sevelopemnt & anthropology, i imagine those involved in creating these burials generations past would not be thrilled with modern american "progress" diesel equipment disturbance discovery and even subsequent careful removal for scientific examinations. Guessing if one prefers their bodily remains to not be discovered, removed and picked over generations later, cremation and scatter may be the best option.


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