Uncategorized Florida, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Governor Martin House, Hernando de Soto, Tallahassee
Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto has been viewed as a controversial figure in Florida and America’s history. In Spain and in some areas of the U.S. he is seen as a romanticized hero and adventurous explorer. However, many of the Southeastern Native American tribes would more likely view him as a monster or a destructive man. Either way you look at it, he was a product of his time and Medieval Europe. He was born around 1500 in Spain in the province of Extremadura. This province produced many of the Spanish explorers we study today, such as Francisco Pizzarro (among others). He was the second son of a minor Spanish noble, and therefore he had no claim to the family’s wealth. De Soto probably saw the riches and glory of the New World as his way to create his own wealth and reputation. At the young age of fourteen he sailed to Central America as an enlisted man. It was there that he learned the terrorizing skills that he would later use on the native populations in La Florida. Before that though, he would fine tune his skills as a member of Francisco Pizzarro’s army that successfully overthrew the Incas in South America. He returned to Spain with a wealth of Incan treasure and married the daughter of King Charles V. However, the privileged life of a Spanish noble and husband was not for him and he received a grant from the king for the rights to conquer and govern the new Spanish territory, La Florida.
In 1539 de Soto came to Florida and encountered the native inhabitants of the state. At the time these people were already experiencing cultural change, the mound building
A general map depicting Native American communities in Florida at the time of de Soto's arrival in 1539.
Mississippian culture had started to decline and new tribes were increasing their dominance over the land. In the North Central Region of Florida the Apalachee were becoming the dominant chiefdom in the area. Throughout Florida villages would trade, create alliances and battle with each other. Extensive trade routes had been established and stretched throughout Florida. When Hernando de Soto arrived there were nearly 3500,000 natives already living in Florida. Less than 20 years later many of the villages were found abandoned and the native populations had been scattered sparsely throughout the state. Many were killed by the Spanish or European diseases that the Spanish had brought with them.
The St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail.
The Hernando de Soto Trail follows the path he took the first year of his historic expedition through Florida in 1539. Along this route there are 34 stops that mark significant points in his journey through the state. There are kiosks at each of these locations that discuss the cultural and environmental conditions associated with these sites and the historic events that took place there. Hernando de Soto traveled this route by boat, foot and horseback, but fortunately for us, all of these sites are easily accessed by car! On May 25, 1539 the ships anchored near the mouth of Tampa Bay and he traveled northward up through Florida. You are able to relive this historic trek through La Florida by following a map that can be found at any one of the 34 locations along this trail. In the North Central Region there are several sites that are part of this trail. The St. Marks Historic Railroad Trail, Kate Ireland Park, the Governor Martin House at De Soto’s 1539 Winter Encampment Site, Riley Palmer Construction, Lafayette Heritage Trail Park, the First Federal Sports Complex and Falling Creek Falls Park are just a few of the included locations in this region. If you would like to learn of more locations please stop by the Governor Martin House (1001 De Soto Park Dr., Tallahassee) during business hours to pick up your free map and brochure or visit any of the other previously listed sites to pick up a brochure. Additionally, you can follow @FPANNrthCentral on twitter. For the next few weeks, until we have gone through all 34 locations along the trail, we will be tweeting information (including websites) for each site pertaining to Hernando de Soto’s travels throughout the State of Florida. We will also post this information on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/FPANnorthcentral. So be sure to follow us to learn more about this trail and kiosk locations in your area, and don’t forget to pick up your free copy of the map and brochure so that you have it handy for your next road trip through Florida!
Uncategorized Anhaica, Apalache, Archaeological Resource Management Training and Underwater Archaeology, B. Calvin Jones, B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology, Calvin Jones, Cross Bow, Florida Archaeology, Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, Florida Department of State, Florida Division of Historical Resources, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Florida Public Lands Archaeology, FPAN, Governor Martin House, Hernando de Soto, Lafayette Street, Myers Park, National Register of Historic Places, Public Exhibit, Spanish Florida, Tallahassee
In 1987 B. Calvin Jones, an archaeologist working for the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research was driving along Lafayette Street in Tallahassee. He noticed that land clearing
Calvin Jones excavating at the DeSoto Site (photo courtesy of the Florida Memory Project)
had begun near the entrance of the Governor Martin House property in preparation for construction activities. He asked permission to inspect the area and dig a few shovel tests. He had done extensive work on Spanish Missions in the Tallahassee area, and he knew that one mission site was known to exist near this neighborhood, Myers Park, but had yet to be found. Because of his past work relating to Spanish-era sites in the area, he was uniquely qualified to recognize the de Soto winter camp when he found it.
During the initial shovel testing he found artifacts relating both to the Apalache and the Spanish. Some of these artifacts included Apalache Fort Walton ceramics, Chattahoochee Brushed Seminole ceramics, a rusted cross bow dart and early style olive jar fragments. The cross bow was no longer in use during the Spanish Mission period in Florida and later style olive jars were used during the Spanish Mission period. Based on the artifacts it was confirmed that this site dated to an earlier time period than the Spanish Missions. This site dated to the early 1500s, during the period of Spanish exploration in Florida. The only two expeditions known to have been in the northwestern Florida area were the Narvaez expedition of 1527-1528 and the de Soto expedition in 1539-1540.
Calvin Jones met with the project contractor for the construction project to discuss the possibility of further study of this site. At this time, there were no Federal or State laws or local ordinances that required any change of plans, and the construction company had already obtained all of the required permits. The construction company was within their rights to deny Calvin Jones access to the property. Fortunately, the construction company was interested in learning more about the site, and granted Calvin Jones access to the property and adjusted project construction activities as needed to accommodate the archaeological investigation.
During the excavation it became evident that this site was likely that of Anhaica Apalache, where it is documented that the de Soto expedition spent the winter of 1539-1540. It just so happened that this site was discovered near the 450th anniversary of that exact event. The site took on a statewide, national and international importance as the only confirmed site of the de Soto expedition. Shovel testing was able to further confirm the presence of Apalache and Spanish artifacts. It was demonstrated by shovel testing and auger testing that the site was large enough to contain 250 Apalache structures, which was the same amount of structures chronicled by Spanish Explorers at Anhaica Apalache. These Apalache structures were circular or oval shaped with thatched roofs and clay plastered walls, commonly referred to as daub. The Spanish, when they arrived, constructed square or rectangular buildings using metal fastenings. These buildings were only meant as temporary structures. Evidence of both types of structures was found at this site. Also found at this site were early sixteenth century native and Spanish artifacts. In fact, over a thousand artifacts were recovered from this site!
It was proposed that the property should be acquired by the state. The construction company agreed to sell the property for use as a State Park. It is believed that the area acquired
Volunteers assisting with excavation of DeSoto Site (photo courtesy of the Florida Memory Project)
by the State of Florida represents the most advantageous part of the village area-the area where the chief’s house and where de Soto and his primary lieutenants were likely house during their stay.
In 2005 the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research moved into the Governor Martin House, located on the de Soto property, and the Governor Martin House was co-named the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology in recognition of his many outstanding contribution to Florida archaeology, including the discovery of the de Soto winter encampment site. Today three Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Archaeological Research programs are headquartered at the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology- Florida Public Lands Archaeology, Archaeological Resource Management Training and Underwater Archaeology. The property is home to the North Central Regional office of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. An exhibit, featuring artifacts from the de Soto excavation, is open to the public at the Governor Martin House, B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology. So next time you are in the area, stop by and give us a visit!
Uncategorized Archaeology, Archaeology Education, Barbara Hines, Eddible Plants, Florida, Florida Anthropological Society, Florida Archaeological Council, Florida Archaeology Month, Florida Archaeology Month 2011, Florida Department of State, Florida Division of Historical Resources, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Governor Martin House, History, Hontoon Island, Key Marco, Lafayette Street, Loran Anderson, March, Medicinal Plants, medicine, Native People, Native Plants, Outreach, Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee, Pine Island, Plant of the Week, Poster, Prehistory, Southeast, Tools, Windover
Happy Florida Archaeology Month everyone! That’s right, our wonderful state has a whole month dedicated to archaeology, and that month is March! This statewide event is held each year to allow Floridians and visitors a chance to learn more about the archaeology and history of our state, and to preserve these important parts of our rich cultural heritage. Each year we have a different theme, and this year’s theme is “Native Plants, Native People”. It explores how native people in Florida used plants and how archaeologist investigate these plants that were used by prehistoric inhabitants of Florida. You can find a calendar of events at http://www.fasweb.org/index.htm.
Each year many organizations are involved in coordinating this statewide celebration, including the Florida Anthropological Society, the Florida Public Archaeology Network, the Florida Archaeological Council and the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. Many local museums, historical commissions, libraries, and public and private schools also participate and support Florida Archaeology Month.
Each year there is also a poster that is created around the theme. This years poster is two sided and highlights some of the sites in Florida that have contained plant remains. It is a beautiful poster! Probably one of my favorites so far. If you would like to pick one up, just let me know. They are free and a wonderful educational tool. You can also view it at the website mentioned above.
Most people don’t think of plants when they think of archaeology, but the study of plants can provide us with insight into what prehistoric people were eating, what medicines they were using, what tools they were making and their ceremonial activities. By studying sites that contain plants, such as Windover, Key Marco, Pineland, Hontoon Island and various others, we have learned that plants made up to fifty percent of the native diet and at least that much (if not more) of their material goods! However, plant remains are very fragile, and it is very rare to find plant remains at an archaeological site, so these sites are very special and unique. In celebration of Florida Archaeology Month this year, we are going to explore the native plants of Florida and how they were used by prehistoric peoples with our “Plant of the Week” posts. Of course, it is very important to note that this information is just for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES! Do not use the plants in the manner that we will describe. Native people had an intensive and vast knowledge of the plants and the individuals that were using them. We are just beginning to understand how these plants were used by prehistoric people, so remember, read and learn, but please don’t try! Even edible plants that are considered harmless can have undesirable effects on your body if you are not used to ingesting or using them in the manner described. We hope you will learn a great deal this month about our state’s unique cultural heritage. Hopefully this new knowledge that you gain this month will create a greater appreciation for our state’s cultural sites. So please, take some time this month to attend some local Florida Archaeology Month events in your area. You never know what you might learn! So, again, happy Florida Archaeology Month!
If you are in the Tallahassee area, you might consider joining the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee tonight at the B. Calvin Jones Center for Archaeology (Governor Martin House-located at 1001 DeSoto Park Drive, off of Lafayette Street behind Olive Garden) starting at 7pm for a discussion on native plants and the prehistoric peoples of Florida. Loran Anderson and myself will both be presenting on this topic. It is sure to be a great time for all and a wonderful way to kick off Florida Archaeology Month. Anderson&Hines