MARCO ISLAND, Fla - Marco Island is the site of a major archeological find more than a hundred years ago. The famous "Marco Cat" found in 1896 now sits at the Smithsonian Museum.
Now, a sewer project has once again opened up that historical past. Dozens of volunteers started sifting through piles Monday and they've already found hundreds of artifacts.
With every shake, a part of Marco Island's history is honored and revealed. "It's always a mystery until you eventually sift the dirt and see what's there," says Joseph Mankowski, president of Advanced Archaeology, Inc. based in Ft. Lauderdale.
"We're going to try and help tell that story of how the people lived here, what they ate, what they did with their tools, how they survived," says Gene Erjavec, field director for Advanced Archaeology, Inc, and a member of the Marco Island Historical Society.
The Marco Island Historical Society is funding this third and final phase of the acheological dig. The first phase, which included assessment and monitoring, was funded by the City of Marco Island.
The piles now laid out at the corner of Addison Court and Leo Court were collected during a sewer project. Now it's up to the dozens of volunteers to salvage and recover material directly linked to the Calusa Indians.
"I was digging over here and they're telling me that's a piece of pottery, well holy moses some of this stuff is a couple thousand years old. It's kind of awe inspiring when you think about it," says Naples resident Peter Sottong.
From sharks teeth to shell tools and pottery, each and every piece found will eventually be put on display at the Marco Island Historical Museum. It's a way to honor the island's past, share it with the present and protect it for the future.
"For years and years people will look at this material, re-analyze it prove and disprove theories, archeology is a strange thing, you answer one question and you raise 20 more," says Erjavec.
Volunteers will be out at the site from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday for the next two weeks. For more information call the Marco Island Historical Museum at 239-389-6447 or 239-642-1440.