SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - On Dr. Martin Luther King Day, the archaeologist who started digging at the Manatee Mineral Springs Park opened the excavation site to the public.
Before there was a Manatee Mineral Springs Park, there were the Angolans, who were African slaves looking for freedom. They lived in the area back in the 1700s. Archaeologist Dr. Uzi Baram explains what happens when they find a piece of history.
“Bring up all the findings to New Public Arts Archaeology Lab and then we have months and months of work. Washing the artifacts, identifying them, analyzing and interpreting them. That’s where we’re going to recover the ways of life of these people of those decades," Dr. Baram explained.
An information center is by the site to teach visitors about the Angolans, who fought for freedom and equality, making the opening on Dr. Martin Luther King Day timely.
“It’s emotional. And to know that you’re actually walking the grounds and to know the historical circumstances, their desire to be free. I’m only here because of their desire to be free. They wanted to live in freedom on their own terms. They were going to fight for it, to do whatever they could and to make sure they maintained their way of life," said archaeologist Jason Brown, who traveled from Atlanta to Bradenton after learning that his ancestors were Angolan.
Brown says he will continue to excavate at the site as he learns about his ancestors’ past.