170-year-old graves found during construction of Water Street Tampa

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – An incredible discovery was made during the construction of Water Street Tampa on Thursday.

Graves more than a century old were discovered.

Archaeologists uncovered human remains from what’s believed to be a military cemetery from 170 years ago.

The cemetery can actually be seen on an 1838 map of Fort Brooke, an important post during the Seminole Wars.

Rodney Kite-Powell, a curator at the Tampa Bay History Center, said it’s important to remember the humanity of this find.

“Florida wasn’t even a state at this time, it was just a territory,” said Kite-Powell.

“And most of these soldiers came from outside of that territory. And their loved ones never saw them again. And then here they are, rediscovered 170 years later.”

The developer, Strategic Property Partners, hired archeologists who have been working on this for several months.

Strategic Property Partners said the team will ensure the findings are treated with respect and dignity. 

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