We are very fortunate that our site has been so well protected over the years as a result of being on part of the property of the Catholic Church (who are so generous to allow us to excavate here!). However this does not mean that there have been no disturbances to the site. As can be seen in the picture below, there is a pvc pipe running through the coquina foundations of the 1677 church, part of an extensive sprinkler system for the mission grounds.

dig site
Excavation unit in the church area. The areas of light colored sand are where excavations took place in 2014. A pvc pipe from the mission grounds sprinkler system can also be seen.

As our excavations proceeded, we were (sort of un-) surprised to find even more! The pvc pipes themselves had relatively minor impacts on the integrity of site and church foundations, and we are able to excavate around them for the most part.

people digging around pvc pipes
Sprinkler pipes galore in the church excavation unit.

Unfortunately pipes sometime burst, which happened today. As can be seen below, the resulting onslaught of water flooded the excavation unit. We were able to shut off the water and cap the pipe, and are now in the process of cleaning the now dried out unit.

pipe spraying water
Oh no, a pipe burst!
aiming pipe leak into bucket
Trying to stem the tide of the burst pipe.
pit filled with water
Flooding as a result of the burst sprinkler pipe.

Keep checking back for more updates on the Florida Museum of Natural History’s Historical Archaeology program’s excavations at Mission Nombre de Dios!