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  Week 4   The Spanish   Program Menu
  Program 16 St. Augustine 
      While we know that St. Augustine is America’s oldest city, traces of the very first settlement there have only recently been discovered.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, and this is Unearthing Florida…

In 1565, Spaniard Pedro Menendez landed in St. Augustine with 800 people. He hastily moved into a Timucua Indian village and fortified their council house. Nearby, the Spaniards began building their own settlement. But, within months, the Indians attacked and forced them to move across the bay.

The remains of this first settlement had eluded archaeologists until 2001, when Dr. Kathleen Deagan found it right under everyone’s nose in the ”fountain of youth” park in downtown St. Augustine. There, in a low wet area, was a well made of barrels, trash pits, and thousands of 16th century Spanish artifacts scattered all around. She even found the moat and posts of the makeshift fort.

Archaeologists had spent decades looking for that elusive first settlement, but with newly discovered historical information, a new NASA satellite image, and good old-fashioned persistence, they finally found it.
  Program 17 Cuban Fishing Ranchos 
      Extensive research of church archives in Cuba turned up evidence of a long lost connection between that nation and Florida.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, and this is unearthing Florida…

Long before state travel restrictions, Dr. John worth, an historical archaeologist with the university of west Florida, made several visits to Cuba and spent hours searching through thousands of baptismal records and parish registries--copying several by hand.

He found important details about some early Cuban fishing communities called ranchos that once existed on Florida’s southwest coast.

Apparently, in the late 1700s, Spanish fisherman from Regla, Cuba found the waters around charlotte harbor and Tampa Bay a productive place to catch fish in the fall and winter months.

Within decades, these seasonal Cuban fishing camps had become year round communities, until the people were forced to relocate due to the Seminole war in the 1830s.

Artifacts from these fishing ranchos, include fragments of clay pipes once used to smoke tobacco and lead weights used to sink fishing nets.
  Program 18 Tatham Mound 
      When Spanish forces invaded Florida early in the 16th century, they left behind an abundance of shiny objects and a trail of death; especially in Florida’s big bend.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, and this is Unearthing Florida…

Two huge Spanish expeditions led by Narváez in 1528 and Soto in 1539 landed on the shores of Tampa Bay and charged north to explore and conquer. While, the Spanish metal and glass items were intriguing to the natives, their invisible germs and viruses were deadly.

The Tatham Mound in Citrus County reflects this clash of cultures. In the upper layers of a sand burial mound, 90 people were found in a mass grave, along with glass and metal objects of Spanish origin. Archaeologists point to the presence of Spanish artifacts as a clue that these massive deaths were caused by an epidemic of European diseases caught from the Spanish invaders. Several bones had sword wounds as well.

The Tatham Mound bears silent testimony to the fact that Florida Indians were the first to suffer the devastating effects of the Spanish invasion of North America.
  Program 19 DeSoto Winter Camp 
      Florida’s Spanish presence dates back to the rugged conquistadors who trail-blazed the European path through its swamps, forests, and rivers in the 16th century.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, and this is Unearthing Florida…

Hernando De Soto, who assisted in conquering the Incas in Peru, led an expedition to Florida in the summer of 1539.

He made landfall at Tampa bay on May 25th.

De Soto marched his expedition inland and soon battled with Native American tribes, enslaving and sowing destruction along the way. They made their first winter encampment at the main town of the Apalachee Indians, at what is today the site of the Governor Martin house in downtown Tallahassee.

It was here - in 1987 - that archaeologists first found (and identified) traces of De Soto’s path. State archaeologist Calvin Jones and his team discovered vestiges of De Soto and his men including fragments of olive jars, coins, iron crossbow bolt tips, and beads. He also discovered a cooking pit and a cistern.

You can now retrace De Soto’s Path, with a trail guide (and kiosks) provided by the National Park Service.
  Program 20 Mission San Luis 
      Buried in the Tallahassee hills are the remains of almost a dozen once thriving Spanish Catholic missions; the largest was mission San Luis de Apalachee.

I’m Dr. Judy Bense, and this is Unearthing Florida.

There was a chain of missions between St. Augustine and Tallahassee, ending at San Luis, which was the Apalachee Indian capital with more than 1500 Indian and Spanish residents. Huge public buildings ringed its circular plaza including a fort, church, friary, and an Apalachee council house and a chief’s house--each built in their traditional style.

Archaeologists found all of these large structures on the plaza, as well as the remains of Spanish houses, which surprisingly revealed that Spanish lived very well. Artifacts from their homes included expensive imported items such as olives, wine, and jewelry.

Mission San Luis is one of the archaeological crown jewels of Florida. Much of it has been reconstructed and there is a state of the art museum on site that’s free and open to the public.
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