‘Significant’ Archaeological Site Threatens Spaceport

By  //  July 5, 2013

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site will be be 'right smack on it"

Archaeologist Dot Moore (in purple shirt) and historian Roz Foster (in hat) work with volunteers to excavate the ruins of an 18th century English sugar plantation on the site where Space Florida wants to build a commercial spaceport. (National Park Service image)

Archaeologist Dot Moore (in purple shirt) and historian Roz Foster (in hat) work with volunteers to excavate the ruins of an 18th century English sugar plantation on the site where Space Florida wants to build a commercial spaceport. (National Park Service image)

TAMPA BAY TIMES – Space Florida, the state’s aerospace economic development agency, wants to build a commercial spaceport next to Kennedy Space Center. Local business and government officials are all for the chosen site, seeing it as a way to boost the future of the Space Coast now that America’s shuttle program has ended.

But the past sometimes reaches out to trip the future.

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed commercial spaceport planned by a state agency, Space Florida. However, its site next to the Kennedy Space Center may conflict with preserving a major archaeological discovery there — an 18th century English sugar plantation, largely untouched since the 1780s. (Space Florida image)

An artist’s rendering shows the proposed commercial spaceport planned by a state agency, Space Florida. However, its site next to the Kennedy Space Center may conflict with preserving a major archaeological discovery there — an 18th century English sugar plantation, largely untouched since the 1780s. (Space Florida image)

The property along the Volusia-Brevard county line where Space Florida wants to build its spaceport turns out to be already occupied. It contains the ruins of an 18th century English plantation, complete with slave villages, a sugar factory and a rum distillery. National Park Service officials have declared it “one of the most significant properties in North America.”

“This site, what they’re proposing, they’ll be right smack on it,” said Roz Foster.

“This site, what they’re proposing, they’ll be right smack on it,” said Roz Foster, a local historian who runs the North Brevard Heritage Foundation in Titusville. When she informed Space Florida of what was there, though, “they were surprised that it existed.”

That dismayed Foster because the ruins had been fully explored and documented by archaeologists five years ago. “They should have known,” she said.

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