Archaeologists Dig at Ocala City Hall
They are in search of the past as the City of Ocala looks towards the future.
Construction crews began ripping through the ground in downtown Ocala to make way for changes.
But archaeologists have now moved in when remnants of Ocala's history were discovered.
Over and over, shouts of joy were heard after pieces of Ocala's past were unearthed--pieces of ceramic, bottle fragments and even a couple of horseshoes.
"We found a couple of horseshoes yesterday, so this is the first one today. It's pretty exciting,"
Dig Team Member, Anastasia Herbert told TV20.
Construction crews are giving City Hall a modern update, but it was a surprise to find so much of the past.
"It's nice to be able to preserve the past while we're looking toward the future," Dr. Willet Boyer, lead Archaeologist and adjunct professor at The College of Central Florida said.
He explained that the City of Ocala was first settled in 1846 when pioneers came in search of land shortly after the end of the Second Seminole War.
Marion County separated from Alachua and Sumter Counties and built it's own courthouse in the 1840's.
"The original courthouse was on this spot," Dr. Boyer spoke of a shady area right behind the current city hall. "It would have been a log cabin, if memory serves, I think it would have been a two story structure."
Dr. Boyer and his team, including students from the College of Central Florida are busy at work and say they dig archaeology despite weird tan lines and dirty nails.
"I have a very intelligent manicure," Dig Team Member, Kayla Knight said. "The evidence and the history is seeping right through me."
Dr. Boyer has a few tricks, like tasting ceramic for clues. But even the construction workers were getting in on the action and finding artifacts.
The team is using the artifacts to help determine what life in Ocala was like 160 years ago.
The artifacts from this dig will eventually be displayed at Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology.
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