Photograph of Excavation Unit at Government House, Planview


Material Information

Photograph of Excavation Unit at Government House, Planview
Series Title:
Government House Archaeological Excavation Documents
Physical Description:
City of St. Augustine Archaeological Program


Subjects / Keywords:
Saint Augustine (Fla.)
48 King Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Government House (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 48 King Street
29.892465 x -81.313142

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
West Plaza Lot
System ID:

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structure. The wooden items are currently being conU rban A rcheology served by the Maple Leaf Shipwreck Conservation
Laboratory in Jacksonville. It is hoped that the well strucin St. A ugustine ture can be reconstructed and eventually placed on display at the Government House museum.
The public outreach effort required a high degree of
Volunteers Assist planning and effort prior to beginning the excavation.
Once the background history was known, research quesResearch and tions were developed, and the site was selected, the logistics of doing the excavation were time- consuming but
Public Outreach familiar. The concept of public outreach was first
planned to be a simple process of opening the site to the
Bruce John Piatek public and having a site interpreter present current findings and working hypotheses to visitors. Next a brochure
was added to the concept so that visitors could take additional information from the site. The concept then grew
an agency of the Florida Department of State, to include an exhibit gallery, visible working laboratory view site with visitors. Interpreter is in period dress.
recently completed field work on the Screening for replica artifacts, space, and small museum shop. All this enhanced the Government House excavation. The visitor's experience and provided additional vehicles
Preservation Board is an agency that is charged define the boundaries of the 16th century settlement. through which to teach people about archeology. Exhibit assisted with the excavation.
with the study and preservation of the historical and Behaviors which could be encountered are associated design and construction, and the activities of developing Volunteers were an integral part of this and other comarcheological resources of colonial St. with the guard house and watch tower shown signs, visitor flow patterns, advertising, booking school ponents of the project and provided over 4,500 hours of Augustine, FL, and its environs. The on the 1586 Boazio Map produced after Sir tours, obtaining goods for resale, etc., were new activities labor. Most of the project volunteers were retired profesPreservation Board is assisted in its archeolog- Francis Drake's raid, and Governor Canzo's for Stan Bond and the author who were responsible for sionals, a few high school students, and working people ical research efforts by the St. Augustine home built on the site in 1598. getting these jobs done. that helped on the weekends. Two dedicated volunteers Archaeological Association whose members GOVERNMENT Second, we hoped to better document the The first goal of our outreach effort was to invite the helped construct the archeological exhibits and provided are avocational archeologists. The HOUSE evolutionary history of the buildings that public into the site and allow them to watch the work labor as well as expertise in engineering and technical Association's members provide volunteer ARCHAEOLOGICAL served as the governor's home and office. The and ask questions. The goal was to maximize the public drafting and design. Once the project began, one volunassistance to professional archeological inves- EXCAVATION historic maps contain inconsistencies in the benefit from the expenditure of public funds without sac- teer coordinated and scheduled volunteers to run the tigations and assist in archeological education- structural layout of the building over short rificing archeological quality. We threw open the gates gallery space and assist in the museum store. Volunteers al programs for tourists and residents. The periods of time. These inconsistencies appear and invited the public to watch as artifacts were discov- greeted and interpreted the exhibit space to over 105,000 Government House investigation is currently to be the result of different map makers pro- ered before their eyes. They could see history buried visitors. The exhibit was staffed by volunteers from 10:00 in the analysis phase, with active field work ducing maps of the same building but with under their feet. This component of the project was high- a.m to 4:00 p.m., seven days a week. Volunteers also having ended in September of 1993. differing perspectives on what was important. ly successful. It did slow down the excavation and the assisted at the excavation screens and in the washing and
The author, along with Stan Bond, Mary Sorting out these inconsistencies would help same questions were asked thousands of times, but it initial sorting of artifacts. Many of these volunteers are Martin, and the volunteers of the St. us better understand the evolution of the site was a great opportunity for people to see the real St. members of the St. Augustine Archaeological Augustine Archaeological Association, recent- and future assessments of other colonial prop- Augustine, and to make a link to the past. Association. The Association is a volunteer organization ly completed a successful excavation season erties. A second goal was to develop the 3,000 square foot started by staff of the Historic St. Augustine Preservation working on the Governor's House site in St. Third, we hoped to collect data on the daily exhibit gallery. The author designed the exhibit hall to be Board to encourage interest in archeology and channel Augustine. The dig was conducted by the life of the governors, their family, servants, a hands-on, do what the archeologists do, exhibit space. that interest in positive directions. Other volunteers were Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board. and slaves. This was the first archeological This effort was something new and it worked well. not Association members but wanted a chance to help in The project was designed with three principal research conducted on the site which served Visitors could reconstruct a ceramic dish, match artifacts this exciting project and to meet other people with simigoals for research and three goals for public as home and office to Florida's colonial gover- with the people who used them, dress up like a colonist, lar interests. About three fifths of the volunteer hours education and outreach. nors. It was hoped that data from the excava- use a surveyor's level, see building foundations under were spent in the operation of the gallery with the
The first research goal was to identify the earliest tion could provide new insights and a broader compara- the existing building, step into a mock excavation unit remainder related to field work. Since volunteers had European use of the Government House lot and better tive database for St. Augustine. which appears 6' below ground, see artifacts, look into total freedom to select the activity they wanted, they all The findings from the excavation are preliminary since the laboratory and even excavate and screen for replica moved into tasks that suited them and required little if laboratory work is not complete, but the effort was suc- artifacts. People were able to grasp the bigger picture of any supervision once they were trained. All aspects of cessful. We discovered that during the 18th century the what archeology was and how it discovers the past. The the project, which spanned nearly eight months, were a governor's courtyard was first paved with small stones exhibit invited people to learn by not only seeing artifacts great success. that came into the colony as ships ballast. Later the court- but by touching and doing things. yard was resurfaced with two successive tabby floors. The final goal for public education and outreach was Bruce John Piatek is the museum administrator for the Historic The foundation from an 18th century guard house was the school tour program. School groups toured the exca- St. Augustine Preservation Board. For his work on this project, identified and information was gathered on its construc- vation, archeology gallery, and the Government House Mr. Piatek received Florida's Department of State Productivity tion sequence and dimensions. Post molds indicating an museum. Staff archeologists or volunteers led the tours Award and the Florida Association of Museums' 1993 Museum early-18th- century or late-17th century wooden building which served over 1,000 students. We also had tours Services Award for Innovation, citing his creation of a unique were also identified. Below these features was a mid- from the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind which urban archeology exhibit at the Government House site in St. 17th-century well that graced the governor's courtyard. It provided an interpretative challenge. Tours did not end Augustine. had four coquina stone columns that rose from the cor- with the coming of summer. Students from the local ners of this square well apparently to support a roof. This school board's Summer Marine Sciences program came Photos by the author. elaborate structure was an enhancement of an earlier bar- to the site throughout the summer. They learned how rel lined well. The high point and final day of the excava- important marine resources were to the colonist and even tion was the recovery of the complete, intact barrel from made tabby while in period dress. Students from the San Students enter unit for detailed explanation, the bottom of the well and the board and post well repair Luis Archaeological & Historical Site summer program

14 1994 No. 1 1994 No. 1 15