Looters removing Native American artifacts along North Port creek

Published: Dec. 24, 2019 at 12:06 PM EST
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - North Port is known to have archaeological sites within its city limits but a recent discovery has some urging officials to put more restrictions in place to preserve artifacts that are surrounded by park land.

Fossil collecting is allowed in the State of Florida, but it is illegal to dig up, as well as buy or sell, human artifacts from Native America or federal land.

Bill Geotz, a local historian, explains, "Well, what's found underneath this creek are valuable artifacts that date back to the first Native Americans but they're supposed to stay here."

But someone has been collecting items from the Myakkahatchee Creek. Large holes can be found all along the bank and underneath the surface, evidence of looters.

"They're literally digging holes in our history," said Geotz. "These wet sites really preserve a lot. These people were not preserving anything obviously with their excavation techniques, they were just causing damage."

Who took these rare items is now under investigation by both the North Port Police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.

"I mean, this is a big deal for a number of reasons, even if you don't care about the past. If you care about your drinking supply, this is important," Geotz explains. "If these banks collapse, this is where the city draws its municipal water supply from."

If you have any information on this artifact looting, you’re asked to call North Port Police and FWC.

“Over the years we have noticed that there have been others, so hopefully with the police investigating, they can catch them and this will stop,” Geotz says.

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