Ancient offshore burial site and updates on controversial projects to be focus of May 14 CONA meeting

John McCarthy to discuss archaeological site found off county’s coastline

John McCarthy. File photo

At 7 p.m. on May 14, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will present a discussion of the globally significant archaeological site discovered just offshore of Sarasota County, CONA has announced.

The program also will focus on the efforts being made to protect and preserve the site.

The guest speaker will be John McCarthy, a news release says.

Honored in May 2017 by the Historical Society of Sarasota County as a hero of history, “McCarthy is a renowned local historian and environmentalist,” the release adds. He is the executive director of Historic Spanish Point, which, along with the Florida Department of State and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, is providing the program.

McCarthy also will be recognized as Person of the Year at the CONA anniversary party in November, the release points out.

The ancient site is a rare example of a burial practice of Paleo-Indians living in Florida following the migration of humans to the Western Hemisphere, the release explains. The site has become inundated by sea level rise, the release continues, since the Indians’ culture thrived on a much larger peninsula 7,000 years ago. Surprisingly, the release says, the site was preserved because of the Indians’ unusual burial practices. National Geographic described the site as an “unprecedented find.”

After the traditional half-hour social at the beginning of the gathering — set for 6:30 p.m. — the meeting will open with updates about significant neighborhood issues. Speakers will be Ben Cannon, on the Bath and Racquet Club; Sura Kochman, on Siesta Promenade; and Tom Matrullo, on the Celery Fields.

A question-and-answer session will follow the discussions.

See for more about CONA.

CONA holds its sessionsat the Sarasota Garden Club, which is located at 1131 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota. The building is at the intersection of Tamiami Trail, just south of the Municipal Auditorium. The parking area and the entrance are reached from Van Wezel Way.