By Brent Richards Weisman
In 1949, tantalizing discoveries of Spanish and Indian artifacts within the waters of Fig Springs in North Florida hinted on the situation of an early seventeenth-century undertaking website. 40 years later, archaeologists again to the world to seek out and excavate the undertaking. Weisman's account of this seek is an event in box archaeology and discovery, and he presents the 1st unique description of an aboriginal habitation linked to an early Spanish mission.
whereas many undertaking websites were excavated within the colonial capital of St. Augustine and within the populous Apalachee Province close to present-day Tallahassee, few precise excavations were conducted within the frontier province of Timucua, an early surroundings for the Franciscan attempt to deliver Christianity to Florida's local peoples. nonetheless fewer excavations have focused on the village parts of the undertaking community.
The dag at Fig Springs has printed remarkably intact is still of a number of undertaking structures in addition to hundreds of thousands of artifacts in and round the constructions came across as they have been left while the challenge was once deserted within the mid-seventeenth century. most crucial, Weisman exhibits, the artifacts, structure, and group plan from this web site exhibit how venture tradition developed way past the spiritual measurement and mixed qualities of either ecu and aboriginal cultures. The well-preserved artifacts of actions equivalent to cooking, device making, condominium development, and trash disposal characterize a trememdous archaeological source for realizing the aboriginal adventure of challenge life--an adventure hardly pointed out in modern documentary resources. The richness of the positioning augments the normal concentration of study into the Florida challenge interval and is helping to supply a extra entire photograph of the undertaking commmunity as a whole.
Brent Richards Weisman is an archaeologist with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological study in Tallahassee and is the writer of Like Beads on a String: A tradition background of The Seminole Indians in Northern Peninsular Florida.
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Additional info for Excavations on the Franciscan frontier: archaeology at the Fig Springs Mission
About 320 sq m of site area were excavated, including the remains of what are identified as a mission church, a convento, the mission cemetery, most of a large structure in the associated Indian village, and midden deposits dating to the mission period. Of course, field archaeologists are well aware of the shortcomings of the archaeological record in reflecting the complex realities of the past and are justifiably reluctant to ascribe functional titles to excavated remains until all the facts are in.
De Soto Trail research, much of it done under the direction of Jerald T. Page 21 Milanich of the Florida Museum of Natural History, paid almost immediate public dividends as new discoveries along the route came to light (Milanich and Milbrath 1989). The second objective of the Landrum plan was to find and excavate a Spanish mission in one of Florida's state parks and ultimately complete an architectural reconstruction of the mission for public interpretation. Public interest in the Florida missions had already been amply demonstrated by the success of the San Luis project in Tallahassee (Shapiro 1987b).
Catherines Island, Georgia (Thomas 1987), the mission at San Juan del Puerto (said to have an impressive bell tower; Milanich and Sturtevant 1972), the missions of St. Augustine, and the San Luis mission at the administrative capital of the Apalachee Province, the Florida missions were humble affairs (Gannon 1965:3940). Town plan of the mission settlements was regulated by royal ordinance and consisted of a church, convento, and kitchen or cocina arranged around a central plaza. Around or Page 7 opposite the plaza was the Indian village, the most impressive feature of which was the main council house, or buhiyo principal, usually a circular thatched structure that could accommodate the entire population of the village for public meetings or other gatherings (Hann 1987; Shapiro 1987a).