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Contact: Sarah Revell
[email protected]

Buoys Installed Marking the Protected Area of the Manasota Key Offshore Archaeological Site


Buoys were placed at the corners of the Manasota Key Offshore (MKO) archaeological site last week on Wednesday, July 11 to mark the area. The site is protected under Florida law and the buoys advise boaters and divers of the presence of a sensitive and unique cultural resource on and under the sea floor. Divers and other interested individuals are prohibited from disturbing the site. It is not a violation to boat through or swim in the marked area.

Announced in February by Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the MKO archaeological site is a 7,000-year-old Native American ancestral burial site submerged in offshore waters near Venice, Florida. The Department of State has been working closely with local, regional and statewide partners to ensure appropriate protection and preservation of this unprecedented discovery.

“The Gulf Coast Community Foundation provided funding to accelerate the process of acquiring and installing the buoys, and the Department is grateful for their partnership and support,” said Secretary Detzner. “The local community continues to play a critical role in the protection of this extremely rare and unique site. If you see any suspicious behavior within the marked area, please take appropriate action. We have created a flow chart to help locals know when and who to call if they see potential illegal activity taking place.”

Under Florida law, it is the State’s responsibility to manage and protect the MKO archaeological site and ensure it is treated in a respectful manner. Section 267.13, Florida Statutes, makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to remove artifacts from an archaeological site without authorization. Section 872.05, Florida Statutes, makes it a third-degree felony to knowingly disturb, destroy, remove, vandalize, or damage an unmarked human burial.

“Everyone involved in this collaboration appreciates the site’s significance to Florida’s history and the urgency to protect and preserve it,” said Dr. Mark S. Pritchett, President and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “From state and regional law enforcement to the homeowners associations on Manasota Key, a diverse group of partners is committed to supporting and assisting the Department of State’s efforts.”

The MKO archaeological site is patrolled and monitored by law enforcement including the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Any suspicious or unusual activity will be reported to local and state law enforcement.

If you see any activity in or adjacent to the designated area, use the flow chart below to assess the situation and determine the appropriate course of action.


The Department of State Division of Historical Resources continues to document and research the site, as well as analyze the data that has already been collected. The public will be kept informed as more is learned about the site and on any potential next steps.

For more information on the MKO archaeological site, please visit


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About the Division of Historical Resources

The Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources (DHR) is responsible for preserving and promoting Florida’s historical, archaeological, and folk culture resources. The Division Director’s office oversees a grants-in-aid program to help preserve and maintain Florida’s historic buildings and archaeological sites; coordinates outreach programs such as the State Historic Markers program and the Florida Folklife program which identifies and promotes the state's traditional culture. DHR directs historic preservation efforts throughout the state in cooperation with state and federal agencies, local governments, private organizations, and individuals. The Division Director serves as the State Historic Preservation Officer, acting as the liaison with the national historic preservation program conducted by the National Park Service. The Division is comprised of two Bureaus, archaeological research and historic preservation. For more information visit