Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pilgrimage to Apalachee

Today the students and staff of the Colonial Frontiers field school were joined by the members of two other UWF field schools (Maritime and UWF Campus) in a caravan leading to Mission San Luis, the reconstructed 17th-century capital of the Apalachee mission province in present-day Tallahassee, Florida. The trip was especially meaningful, since some of the Apalachee inhabitants of Mission Escambe in Molino (or their parents or grandparents) may well have been born in Mission San Luis before its destruction in 1704. We were also intrigued to see the configuration and construction details of buildings reconstructed for the public at the site, and to learn more about the archaeological findings that have led to the remarkable reconstructions and new museum facility. We were led on a fascinating tour of the site by archaeologist Heidi Edgar, who appears in several of the photos below along with the students. Today's blog post will simply be a photo essay on our trip.

Group photo showing the nearly 50 UWF students and staff in front of the huge mission church at San Luis.

Students approaching the reconstructed Apalachee council house.

Entering the narrow door to the council house.

Students learning about the archaeology that led to the reconstruction in which they are standing.

Another view showing the gargantuan size of the council house.

Students having a closer look at the reconstructed Spanish family dwelling on the edge of the town plaza, recently re-roofed with plank shingles instead of thatch.

A view of the reconstructed Spanish fort, built near the end of the mission's existence as defense against increasing English/Creek hostilities which eventually led to the destruction and abandonment of the mission.

The entrance to the "casa fuerte" within the stockade and moat.

Students perusing the interior of the mission church (and probably wondering if we will eventually be able to identify the presumably much smaller church at Mission Escambe).

A view inside the archaeological lab at Mission San Luis, where students were treated to a look at a diverse array of remarkable artifacts from the Apalachee/Spanish mission community.

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