Today we found a few more promising signs of our mission. One shovel test yielded more fragments of Native American ceramics, one of which is known as Walnut Roughened, tempered with crushed shell and lightly brushed on the surface. This pottery type was originally common among Creek Indians in the interior of Alabama and Georgia, particularly during the period when many Apalachee Indians lived among the Creeks before descending to Pensacola in 1718. It is also commonly found at Pensacola's Santa Rosa presidio during the time period of the Escambe mission. Mission-era ceramics have now been found in a number of shovel tests in a cluster along the river bluff, and may well represent part of the Apalachee community there until its destruction in 1761.
In two of these same tests (and one earlier test in the same area), we also found some small circular lead objects which have us somewhat puzzled as to their identity (a bent example is shown in the photo to the right). They might relate to later occupation at the site, but given their association with the Native American ceramics noted above, they may relate to the mission occupation.
A few of our shovel tests were placed in areas capped with clay fill excavated from nearby ponds and used to level the original ground surface many years ago. While most of these have only a small layer of fill, a few have considerably more. One shovel test today penetrated a total of two feet of fill before reaching the original ground surface, and ended up even deeper after pushing all the way down to the original clay subsoil. It was waist-deep before backfilling (see photo to left), and was a real challenge to excavate by hand at the very bottom while hanging head-first over the side.
We also encountered some more of the local indigenous wildlife today!