Hurricane Nicole unearths 200-year-old remains of at least six Native Americans on Florida beach

The remains were unearthed after Florida’s east coast was hit by Hurricane Nicole just six weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated the area

Hurricane Nicole unearths 200-year-old remains of at least six Native Americans on Florida beach
Investigators recovered skeletal remains believed to belong to six Native American people in Florida (Martin County Sheriff's Office)
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VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA: Remains of at least six people dating back more than 200 years were excavated on a Florida beach after Hurricane Nicole tore through the east coast of the state, according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office. The six skulls and bones were found on Chastain Beach on South Hutchinson Island following the storm. Investigators said the bones, which belong to Indigenous people, were first spotted by beachgoers and the human remains came from a Native American burial ground located nearby.

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“Our medical examiner’s office is saying that they believe the bones are in excess of 200 years of age,” Martin County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy John Budensiek told NBC News. This is not the first time that skeletal remains have washed up in the area. In 2019 and 2012, Hurricane Dorian and Hurricane Sandy, respectively, unearthed bones belonging to Native Americans. The latest remains discovered will be transferred from the Medical Examiner’s Office to the Bureau Archeological Research Department of State. The Chief Deputy also stated that he has been in touch with the Seminole Nation of Florida.

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Budensiek added that investigators will only recover the remains revealed by Hurricane Nicole and will not dig any further in an effort to preserve history. He also urged people to not look for the remains as it’s a felony crime to dig up artifacts like these. The strong winds brought by Nicole uncovered the bones in the area. The violent storm arrived in the Sunshine State just south of Vero Beach around 3 am with sustained winds of about 75 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Florida’s east coast was lashed by Hurricane Nicole just six weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated the area. It brought dangerous storm surges, powerful waves, extensive flooding, and heavy rainfall along with intense winds to areas still recovering from Ian. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for 45 of Florida’s 67 counties, with “16,000 linemen staged, 600 guardsmen activated, and 7 Urban Search and Rescue teams on standby to deploy.”

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Officials shut down airports and theme parks ahead of the storm and ordered large-scale evacuations. Videos posted on social media showed the destruction caused by the hurricane and a stretch of beachfront homes in Daytona Beach Shores torn apart due to severe erosion caused by the storm’s strength. According to Fox News reporter Caroline Elliott, Volusia County officials said 49 buildings have been deemed unsafe. 

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“If you go anywhere near the beach, you are putting your life in danger,” Beach Safety Deputy Director Tammy Malphurs warned Floridians. 

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