Speaker Abstracts

 Willet Boyer

“Responses to Missionization: The Historical and Archaeological Evidence
from Two Mission Sites in Northern Central Florida”

Abstract: The Timucuan chiefdoms of Ocale, Potano, and Acuera, in northern central Florida, were all missionized by the Spanish beginning in the early seventeenth century.  Archaeological survey and excavation of late precontact, early contact and mission-era sites in this region, including two seventeenth-century mission sites, suggests a relationship between the later precontact cultural practices of the Potano and the Acuera and these two chiefdom’s differing responses to missionization by the Spanish.  The historical and archaeological evidence concerning these two chiefdoms will be considered and contrasted, and conclusions and future avenues for research in both areas presented.

George E. Avery

The Archaeology of the Spanish Missions in Deep East Texas/Northwest Louisiana: A Summary of the last Twenty Years

George E. Avery

H.F. Gregory, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana

Tom Middlebrook, Texas Volunteer Stewardship Network, Nacogdoches, Texas

Morris K. Jackson, Texas Volunteer Stewardship Network, Nacogdoches, Texas

Abstract:  The French were the cause of the first Spanish Missions in this area, but they did not fare very well, at first.  In 1690, two missions were set up, but by 1694 they were shut down by the Indians in the area who basically told the Spanish, among other things, to leave—and if they came back, to bring their women.  In 1721, the Marqués de Aguayo was looking for married men to be soldiers for the two presidios and six missions which were established in this area.  In 1716, there had been the beginning of another failed attempt at settlement—this time it was the French who scared the Spanish away in 1719.  The threat of another French attack was generally dissipated after 1721, but the presence of Spanish women on the frontier did make a difference, although they were not great in number. A Spanish military inspection in 1727 closed one of the presidios and three of the six missions.  These three missions and one presidio would continue until 1773.  The results of the French and Indian War had made the whole area Spanish—the border had moved to the Mississippi River in 1763.  The 1690s Missions have not been found. Five of the six missions and one of the two presidios that were in existence since 1721 have been found.  Archaeological work at these missions has varied.  Geophysical survey has played an important role in the archaeological investigations at two of these sites.  Also, the search for the various routes of El Camino Real de los Tejas will be discussed.  Overall, the missions were considered a failure in that they did not result in the settling of the American Indian population around the missions.  Although they have been called a “successful failure” by one historian in that they did prevent the westward expansion of the French.

John E. Worth

The Changing Role of Missionaries and Missions in Spanish Florida,

Abstract: Missions have long been recognized as a fundamental aspect of the colonial experience in Spanish Florida.  Only in the last few decades, however, have historians and archaeologists more fully appreciated the pivotal role of Florida’s Franciscan missions in the structural assimilation of functioning indigenous chiefdoms into the multi-ethnic colonial system of greater Spanish Florida during the primary mission era between 1587 and 1706.  In broader perspective, however, the role of missionaries and missions evolved considerably over time, including the earlier era of Dominicans, Jesuits, and secular clergy during the 16th century, and the later era of the Franciscan refugee missions after 1706.  This paper provides an overview of the changing role of missionaries and missions in Florida during the First Spanish Period (1513-1763), and explores how this evolution parallels long-term patterns and changes in Spanish colonial strategies in the southeastern United States.

Mariah Wade

Spanish Missions’ legacies and new perspectives

Abstract: Spanish Missions Studies and research have had a profound social and cultural effect on descendant communities regardless of ethnicity. This paper reviews the research perspectives that evolved in Mission Studies during the last decade and discusses their findings through a selection of published works.

George Aaron Broadwell

Timucua language and social hierarchy —
Evidence from Christian miracle stories

Abstract:  The Franciscan missionaries to the Timucua Indians supervised the translation of a large amount of Christian doctrinal material into the Timucua language.  Among these materials are several dozen exempla, short stories of miraculous events which come from the European folkloric tradition.  Because these exempla have many kinds of interactions between people of different social status, they are an excellent source of information on the language of honor and social deference.  In this talk, I demonstrate that the Timucua language has an elaborate honorific system which indexes social status.  This gives us insight into the social hierarchy of Timucua society.

 Marvin T. Smith

Excavations at the presumptive site of Mission Santa Cruz de Cachipile

Abstract: Four field seasons of work at the Lilly-Carter site revealed a large, contact period Native American village believed to be the location of Mission Santa Cruz de Cachipile.  Although heavily disturbed by highway construction, farming, home construction, and the Georgia Welcome Center, intact deposits were found in a number of locations.  Evidence for domestic structures and one public building were revealed.  Ceramics from the site closely resemble those from Suwannee Valley sites to the south, but differ in the choice of temper.

George Cole

Lifeline of the Spanish Missions in Jefferson County, Florida

Abstract: During the Spanish Mission Period in Florida, the missions in the Apalachee area were, in many ways, the very heart of the Spanish mission system in Florida. A key responsibility of the Apalachee missions was to provide provisions for the Spanish colony at St. Augustine since the Apalachee area was ideally suited for that function with its rich land suitable for cultivation as well as a robust native population already practicing considerable agriculture. A key aspect of meeting that responsibility was a shipping network involving the Tocobaga Native American tribe. With their skill in using seagoing canoes, the Tocobago served as the prime movers of freight for the Missions. This presentation discusses the Tocobago shipping network and the key role of the Wacissa River Slave Canal in that network.

Jerry W. Lee

Mission San Luis de Apalachee

Abstract: This presentation will offer a brief overview of Mission San Luis, the provincial capital of Apalachee.  It will also examine Hispanic lifestyle, as reflected in the ceramics recovered from various private residences across the site and their associated refuse deposits.


Keith Ashley and Robert Thunen

The Maritime Timucua: Mocama Missions by the Sea

Keith Ashley
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
University of North Florida

Robert L. Thunen
Associate Professor of Anthropology and Chair
Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work
University of North Florida

Abstract: Among the first crosses raised by Franciscan friars in La Florida were at two Mocama villages, renamed San Juan del Puerto and San Pedro de Mocama by the Spanish in 1587. Within two decades, the establishment of Santa Maria de Sena and San Buenaventura de Guadalquini brought the total number of Mocama missions to four. Following a series of movements and consolidations, the last standing Mocama mission in the Mocama Province, San Juan, was abandoned in the wake of attacks by Carolina militia and affiliated Indian slave raiders in 1702.  This paper reviews what is currently known regarding the archaeology of these Maritime Timucua (Mocama) missions along the Atlantic coast of southern Georgia and northern Florida.

Richard W. Jefferies (University of Kentucky) and
Christopher R. Moore (University of Indianapolis)

Community Structure and Organization at Mission San Joseph de Sapala,
Sapelo Island, Georgia.

Abstract: More than ten years of intensive subsurface and geophysical survey, testing, and block excavations at the Guale village of Sapala and the Mission San Joseph de Sapala on Sapelo Island, Georgia have provided significant insights into the nature of Spanish-Guale interactions and organization of space at this complex site. Our research focuses on understanding variability in 17th century Guale and Spanish material culture, foodways, and community structure and how that variability can inform us about social processes in multiethnic settings. Specifically, excavation of a Spanish military structure demonstrates the ways in which Spanish soldiers and officers were both physically and materially segregated from the Guale town. A series of new AMS dates are helping us understand the timing of activities across the site.

Alissa Slade-Lotane 

An Analysis of Artifacts and Archaeology at 8E106, a Spanish Mission Site in Florida.

Abstract: 8JE106 was discovered, recorded, and investigated between 1968 and 1972, by B. Calvin Jones, a respected archaeologist from what was then the State of Florida’s Division of Archives, History, and Records Management. Jones did not complete a formal analysis of the site, but identified it as 17th century Mission San Miguel de Asilé. Site 8JE106 is located just to the west of the Aucilla River in Lamont, Florida. The Aucilla River is considered to be the traditional dividing line between Timucua and Apalachee Indian Provinces in northern Florida, with Apalachee to the west and Timucua to the east. Historical documentation suggests that San Miguel de Asilé was a Timucuan mission. Following that theory, Miguel de Asilé would be located on the eastern side of the Aucilla River, contradictory to Jones’ conclusions. Ms. Lotane formally analyzed the artifacts and used Jones’ excavation maps, field notes, and photographs to understand the archaeology Jones performed at the site more than 30 years before. These data, and historical documentation, led to several conclusions. 1) 8JE106 is a Spanish Mission Site. 2) 8JE106 is not San Miguel de Asilé. 3) Ceramic collections from 8JE106 suggest an Apalachee affiliation for the site. 4) Available historical information suggests that 8JE106 might be one location for Apalachee Mission San Lorenzo de Ivitachuco.

Rochelle A. Marrinan

The Lives of Friars in Apalachee Province

Abstract: A single friar manned the mission stations in Apalachee Province as they generally did in most of the mission provinces of Spanish Florida. Findings in the church-convento area of the O’Connell Mission site (8Le157) provide insights relative to the life of the resident friar. Large trash-filled pits near the convento contain evidence of the kinds of activities conducted in the area as well as the kinds of provisions in the friar’s household. In the Spanish system, the governor was charged with assuring standard provisions to the friar. A comparison of documentary evidence of official provisions with the contents from late Mission-period features suggests that the lives of the friars in the province were far from easy.

Tanya M. Peres, PhD, RPA
Department of Anthropology
Florida State University

From Farm to Table: Investigating Apalachee Foodways in the Mission Period

Abstract: Archaeology allows us to recover the residues of meals and associated culinary equipment from secure contexts, essential components in the study of past foodways. Generally foodways studies in the Southeastern United States are limited to describing the subsistence strategy practiced at a site or during a specific time period (i.e., hunting-gathering, agriculture), or defining the environmental zones exploited. While these are useful studies, they are only a part of the behaviors and ideas associated with foodways. Foodways are patterned behaviors based on cultural ideas and parameters. Defining eating events, or meals, in context, allows us to study foodways, which includes the food itself and all of the activities, rules, contexts, and meanings that surround the production, harvesting, processing, cooking, serving, and consumption of those foods. Isolating the patterned behaviors (foodstuffs, vessels, other culinary equipment, cooking areas, etc.) leads to a greater understanding of the cultural ideas (social organization) that they construct and maintain.

Our knowledge of Apalachee foodways in the pre-Mission and Mission periods is limited. It has been well established that the Apalachee lived in an environment conducive to farming, hunting, fishing, and foraging. The woodlands, freshwater lakes, streams and rivers, and arable soils of the Tallahassee Red Hills region enabled the Apalachee to attain a high standard of food security in the pre-Mission period. This level of success took the form of extensive agricultural fields and stores of dried deer meat, as was noted in the de Soto chronicles. While the historic documents include some information about maize or black drink preparation, overall, little textual attention is given to foodways. Fortunately, archaeology allows us to piece together this information from multiple lines of evidence.

In this presentation I will review the subsistence evidence we have to date for Apalachee Province during the Mission Period, including animal and plant data. These data will then be combined with other currently available forms of foodways data such as food storage and preparation indicators, types of cooking and serving vessels and tools, contextual information, and historic documentation to paint a picture of what we know about Apalachee foodways in the Mission Period. I will also offer a glimpse at future research in this realm with a focus on the upcoming work to be conducted at Mission San Luis by Florida State University’s Anthropology faculty and students.

Elliot H. Blair
University of Alabama

A Social Network Approach to Exploring Identity
at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale

Abstract: Beads and other ornaments were important objects involved in early colonial entanglements between Europeans and Native Americans, with the color, texture, and physical properties of beads fostering the embodiment of new social roles within changing colonial worlds. In this paper I discuss how such objects were involved in the material manifestation of social identities as pluralistic native communities aggregated in the Spanish missions of La Florida.  Looking specifically at the aggregated population of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale, a 17th century mission located on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, I use the methods of social network analysis (SNA) to explore how mission neophytes utilized European glass trade beads to both foster the persistence of social identities and to create new communities in the context of population aggregation.  Presenting a bipartite network reconstruction of the Santa Catalina community, I discuss how both individuals and objects of adornment acted together to materialize changing colonial identities.