Researchers unexpectedly discovered a Native American burial site that is 7,000 years old off the coast of Florida.
The burial grounds were found at the Manasota Key Offshore archaeological site, located west of Venice, Florida.
Florida's Department of State put out a statement about the recently-discovered burial grounds, which the state called 'unprecedented'.
A 7,000-year-old Native American burial site has been discovered off the west coast of Florida. It was originally discovered by an amateur diver who reported it to the State after finding possible human remains in 2016
The discovery of the burial ground stemmed from an expedition that happened during the summer of 2016.
Divers found 'possible human skeletal material' at that time, and it was reported to the Department of State's Division of Historical Resources.
The division's Bureau of Archaeological Research (BAR) has protective authority over human remains that are unmarked and more than 75 years old.
BAR began investigating the offshore site and eventually confirmed the existence of submerged prehistoric burial grounds.
The site is only three-quarters of an acre, and it existed along a shoreline close to what is now Venice some 7,000 years ago during the Early Archaic period.
Research has proven that sea levels were lower during his time and that an inland freshwater pond, which was small, existed where the site is located.
The State confirmed the existence of a prehistoric burial site off the west coast of Venice, Florida. Divers and other researchers have been prohibited from visiting the site and can be met with felony charges for disturbing it
There, the ancestors of indigenous people living in Florida buried their deceased.
The statement explained how the burial site remained preserved for 7,000 years.
It said: 'As sea levels rose, the pond was covered by the Gulf of Mexico; despite the flooding, the peat bottom of the pond remained intact.
'Peat slows the process of organic decay, which allowed the site to stay well-preserved.'
The burial ground's survival and discovery demonstrated to archaeologists that underwater sites have been able to survive natural occurrences, including hurricanes and erosion.
However, these locations are few and far between.
The statement said: 'Submerged offshore prehistoric burial sites are exceedingly rare, some of the only other examples are