Researchers found this fragile bottle in a St. Augustine historic well. Because it was found in wet soil, the vial must be stored in water to keep it intact.


Glass Perfume Bottle
From St. Johns Co., Florida
Dates to late 17th century


Historical Archaeology


This exquisite glass vial was found in a well at the Fatio house in St. Augustine. It dates to the second half of the 17th century and was likely used as a perfume bottle. Because it was found in a waterlogged deposit, it requires special conservation techniques. In order to protect this beautiful and fragile object it must remain stored in water. Even though the glass isn’t extremely porous, it’s still over time being submerged; water and salts from the water have leached into the glass and it would take a special conservation technique to slowly draw out the moisture and salts and replace them to keep the glass itself from shattering into hundreds of little pieces.

Gifford Waters
Collection Manager, Historical Archaeology
Florida Museum of Natural History


On display Sept. 23, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018, Rare, Beautiful & Fascinating: 100 Years @FloridaMuseum celebrated the Museum’s rich history. Each Museum collection was asked to contribute its most interesting items and share the stories that make them special. Though the physical exhibit is closed, this companion website remains online, providing an opportunity to experience the Florida Museum’s most treasured specimens.

Exhibit Area: Working Lab

Theme: Preservation and Preparation

Cover of the All Things Beautiful bookWant to see more? Explore more than 300 breathtaking color photos of plants, animals, fossils and cultural heritage materials from the Florida Museum of Natural History’s collections in the award-winning book All Things Beautiful available from the University Press of Florida.

*This title was accurate at the time the exhibit was on display in 2017. Please visit the collection website to verify current staff and student information.

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