Recovery and analysis of ancient tissue and bone of human origin has long been extensively investigated. Only recently, however, has it been technically possible to recover genetic material from ancient human and animal samples. As both previous studies involved dried tissue, it is important to determine whether other conditions may also preserve ancient tissue and genetic material. We describe here an analysis of preserved human bone and soft matter discovered in 1984-85 buried in a small swampy pond in central Florida. The recovered skeletal material represented a minimum of 40 individuals of both sexes and various ages. Corrected radiocarbon dates directly from bone and from peat matrix gave consistent ages in the range of 7,790 to 8,290 yr before present (BP). Nine individuals with intracranial soft matter were recovered and, in five of these, material recognizable as preserved or replaced brain tissue was present. Further analysis demonstrated gross anatomical features, remnant cellular structure and human DNA. As this find appears to be the oldest-known example of preserved human cell structure and DNA, it represents a significant resource for both anthropological and genetic studies.