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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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An Update from Florida’s Santa Maria de Ochuse

Monday, August 07, 2017

Florida Luna settlementPENSACOLA, FLORIDA—According to a WUWF report, Santa Maria de Ochuse, the settlement founded by Tristan de Luna, extended over a minimum of 27 acres. Located on a level site overlooking Pensacola Bay, the settlement was inhabited by 1,500 Spanish colonists between 1559 and 1561. A hurricane and storm surge in 1559 destroyed most of the expedition’s supplies and ships shortly after their arrival. The excavation team from the University of West Florida is working to find the outlines of buildings and possible structures such as a plaza and a church. The new measurements indicate Santa Maria de Ochuse was larger than St. Augustine when it was established in 1565, and Santa Elena, established in 1566 on the coast of South Carolina. Both of those communities started with between 300 and 600 individuals. For more, go to “Florida History Springs Forth.”

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