Protect, Preserve, Educate
The Manasota Key Offshore (MKO) site provides a unique set of management challenges. Given its proximity to Venice, which is a well-known fossil hunting destination, the site is in danger of intentional and unintentional disturbance by avocational divers. Long term site plans emphasize protecting this delicate submerged landscape and developing appropriate techniques to ensure the respectful protection of the individuals buried there.
The site is protected under Florida law and it is illegal to excavate and/or remove any material or human remains from the site. 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 a human burial.
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. DHR has partnered with several local law enforcement agencies to ensure the continued protection of the MKO archaeological site.