Archaeologists rarely find delicate objects intact. This glass vial from the Fig Springs Mission site likely held sacramental oils. Only one other complete vial has been found from Spanish mission sites in Florida.


Glass Vial
From Columbia Co., Florida
Dates to late 16th–17th century


Historical Archaeology


This glass vial is from the Fig Springs site which is believed to be the mission of San Martín de Timucua. It likely held sacramental oils that were used in religious activities at the mission during the 17th century. Only one other complete vial has been found at Spanish mission sites in Florida and three have been found at a single Spanish mission site off the coast of Georgia. It’s very rare that archaeologists find complete vials such as these which makes this a very unique and special artifact in our collections.

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: Objects Tell Stories

Theme: Spanish Colonial Archaeology

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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