In spite of the oppressive heat and humidity Northwest Florida has been receiving over the last several days, our crews are starting to pick up some speed as we move our way toward the river and along the bluff edge. In fact one of our crews (right) completed two shovel tests today, for the first time this field season.
In virtually all our shovel tests, we continue to find abundant evidence for human activity within the last century and a half, but colonial-era debris is still sparse in this area. We may be dealing with a dispersed settlement pattern for the Escambe mission community, which might only have comprised less than a dozen Apalache houses separated from one another by as much as fifty or more meters, meaning each positive shovel test may be surrounded by a lot of negative ones. We've still only covered a small fraction of the search area, so we may still find a village center with more abundant residential debris from the 1750s.
As we move toward the water we also move into the woods, where the growth is very thick. One team today (left) spent most of their day trying to beat the dense vegetation along the edge of the forest into submission so that they could continue to put in shovel tests along one of the transects.
In the video below, one of our field school students demonstrates the proper way to wield a machete.