Archaeological Status Monitoring of City Landscaping at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, 1993


Material Information

Archaeological Status Monitoring of City Landscaping at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, 1993
Series Title:
Castillo de San Marcos Terreplein Project
Physical Description:
Physical Location:
Folder: Castillo reports

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
97-3003; 93-3000; 94-3000
Castillo de San Marcos
System ID:

Full Text



TO: Michael Griffin, CBO, Planning and Building Manager

DATE: October 28, 1993

RE: Archaeological Monitoring of City Landscaping at the
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

From October 4 to 12, 1993 the City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program monitored landscaping activities at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. Monitoring was done in conjunction with the planting of wax myrtles and the installation of irrigation lines by the City of St. Augustine's Parks Division. The wax myrtles were planted to provide a hedge row to separate the parking lot from the fort green (i.e., the slope or glacis that surrounds the fort) and to mask the installation of parking meters on the lot.

Most of the ground-penetrating disturbances were. limited to holes dug to plant the wax myrtles. These holes were between 18 and 24 inches in diameter and 12 to 14 inches deep. The number of plantings totaled 318, that were restricted to the edges of the parking lot and the center median, as illustrated in the attached figure. Adjacent to these plantings were irrigation lines that extended 4 to 6 inches into the soil deposits. An inspection of the irrigation ditches revealed that they were within existing disturbed soil deposits.

Where the irrigation lines extended beneath the asphalt parking lot and concrete walkway, a jack-and-bore system was used to emplace the lines. Pits measuring roughly 5 feet by 3 feet by 2 feet deep were required to install the lines, one at either end. Three pairs of jack-and-bore pits (both front and back) were excavated. Of concern here were the two pits adjacent to the glacis (A and B on the attached figure) that evidenced archaeological deposits. The other four pits were found to have been placed in existing disturbed contexts.

The following presents the results of the archaeological monitoring of City landscaping activities for the plantings and the jack-and-bore pits separately.

Michael Griffin, CBO, Planning and Building Manager October 28, 1993
Page 2


Inspection of the holes and adjacent backdirt piles prior to the placement of the wax myrtles did not reveal significant archaeological deposits. Most of the digging had been confined to soil deposits associated with earlier construction projects related to prior parking lots at the fort or represent recent fill. In many holes, recent fill was found to be situated atop the culturally sterile sand deposit, which was a yellow-gold soil.

Toward the base of some holes, soil deposits were found that may associate with archaeological contexts, such as the fort glacis or historical fill around the fort. The attached figure shows in which holes evidence of the glacis or historical fill were found. It is evident that the area along the western portion of the parking lot still contain some archaeological integrity. Areas toward the middle and east side of the parking lot have lost whatever archaeological deposits may have existed.

The few artifacts recorded from the plant holes were primarily of nineteenth or twentieth century origin, although a few pieces dating to the eighteenth century were observed. Ceramic materials include fragments of white ware, transferprinted white ware, porcelain, shell-edged pearlware, olive jar, delft ware and crock. Other artifacts noted include some glass bottle fragments, a stem to a glass goblet, round-headed nails and some unidentified metal. The impression that emerges from this assemblage is the relative paucity of artifacts. Of the 318 holes excavated, artifacts were observed in only 21 holes (6.6% of the total), which attests to the recent disturbances that have occurred on the property.

Jack-and-Bore Pits

Of the six pits dug for the jack-and-bore system (see attached figure), four were within the central median of the parking lot. Soil deposits within these pits revealed that the area had been impacted by recent filling activities. The soil was unconsolidated and of a coarse texture and extended to the culturally sterile substratum. In all probability, activities related to modern roads and parking lots in front of the Castillo de San Marcos have resulted in the disturbance of existing archaeological deposits and in the subsequent build up of fill. The exceptions were two pits excavated adjacent to the glacis, which did exhibit undisturbed soil deposits.

Michael Griffin, CBO, Planning and Building Manager October 28, 1993
Page 3

The two jack-and-bore pits that did evidence undisturbed archaeological deposits were adjacent to the southwest glacis that fronted the Bastion of San Pedro (see attached figure). The pits were along the southern edge of the glacis.

An inspection of the pit profiles revealed that the initial 12 to 14 inches (30-35 cm) of soil deposits were related either to road construction activities or some type of modern fill. Beneath these disturbance contexts were soil deposits that were essentially undisturbed except for a sewer line that was found to bissect each pit.

Soil deposits beneath the disturbed zone consist of various soil strata, some of which were present in both pits. Found was a gray, consolidated sandy soil that evidenced laminated lenses of thin, dark sand. This cultural zone extended from 15-17 inches (39-45 cm) beneath the present ground surface (BPSG) to 21-24 inches (54-60 cm) BPGS, where it either intersected with the original ground surface (a dark grayish brown sand lens) or culturally sterile sands. The few artifacts observed from this zone include coarse earthenware, English slipware, iron spikes and unidentifiable metal. The zone probably can be classified as soil deposits associated with the glacis, which were situated atop the original ground surface at the Castillo de San Marcos. This original ground surface is between 21-24 inches (54-60 cm) BPGS.

Separating the disturbed zone from soils associated with the glacis was a lens of mottled sand. This lens was situated from 12-14 inches BPGS to 15-17 inches BPGS. Represented were soils associated with culturally sterile sands, the glacis and historical deposits. One fragment of salt glazed earthenware was recovered from this lens. In all probability, the lens constitutes erosional deposits associated with the glacis and subsequent efforts to stabilize the slope during the late 1700s to early 1800s.


The monitoring of City landscaping activities at the parking lot at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument did not document any remains or features of archaeological significance. What was recorded was the fact that a large portion of the parking lot area had been disturbed and subsequently filled within the last 100 years, probably in response to the demands of tourism for adequate access and parking. The monitoring program does provide, however, some tentative information concerning the distribution of potential archaeological deposits.

Michael Griffin, CBO, Planning and Building Manager October 28, 1993
Page 4

The investigation did disclose possible areas within and near the parking lot that may contain archaeological remains. In particular, the area adjacent to the glacis fronting the Bastion of San Pedro may still contain archaeological deposits of some integrity. In addition, an area toward the southwest section of the parking lot evidences soil deposits that represent historical fill, which may contain intact and undisturbed archaeological features.

Based on the monitoring results it is recommended that no additional archaeological work is required for most locations within the parking lot area of the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. The exceptions, as illustrated in the attached figure, are along the western portion of the parking lot where archaeological deposits are present. Should additional landscaping activities occur within this area, then archaeological mitigation should occur.

Should you have any questions regarding the archaeological monitoring program in the parking lot at the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, please contact me.

Carl D. Halbirt
City Archaeologist


cc: Joseph Pomar, Jr., City Manager
Jack Cubbedge, Director, Public Works
Gordie Wilson, Supt., Castillo de San Marcos National

o8 1g oaaq0


4- 0

w M 0 S'0 c0

=0*"J j L 0 < co U)r t:o 4J

<~* _jC 3 1 / -j -/ < C

1 0

- zl

/ co

L Wo


-4 a

/ 0

/d o N. P4

& q(

cd o ci r

co 4
3*r4 1z1