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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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17th-Century Spanish Mission Building Studied in Florida

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Florida Spanish Mission BuildingST AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA—According to a report in The St. Augustine Record, a team led by Kathleen Deagan of the University of Florida and Timothy Johnson of Flagler College is investigating a building foundation first uncovered in the 1950s at St. Augustine’s Mission Nombre de Dios by Father Charles Spellman, a Christian priest and archaeologist who recorded his discovery and mapped it, but did not share it with others. He thought the building could be a shrine to Our Lady of La Leche, built in 1677 by the Spanish. “It got covered up and everyone forgot about it,” Deagan explained. Her team rediscovered the foundation in 2011, and Spellman’s records were found in a church archive in 2009. Deagan’s team will now try to determine whether the building served as a church, chapel, or convent, and whether it may have been a pilgrimage destination. The site could also help scholars understand how the first Europeans in St. Augustine interacted with each other and with the region’s indigenous population. To read about another site in Florida with material dating to the Spanish period, go to “Off the Grid: Mission San Luis.”

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