Today was the big day, the 450th Anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine!

While the focus of our research has been on the 1677-1728 church and convento at Mission Nombre de Dios, these excavations were also part of a public archaeology program in association with the 450th. Celebrations started this past Friday and culminated today with a reenactment of the landing of Pedro Menendez de Aviles here on the mission grounds.

There was a tremendous turnout for today’s events, with lots of interested locals and tourists stopping by, as well as a number of dignitaries. Lots of chances to explain our research to hundreds, if not thousands, of interested people today…this is what public archaeology is all about.

A big thank you to Eric Johnson and everyone else at Nombre de Dios, my intrepid field crew and volunteers, our friends at FPAN (especially Sarah Miller who unknowingly ended up being today’s photographer…thanks for the images!) and SAAA, and everyone who stopped to learn more about what we’ve been doing!

recreation of boat and landing party
Pedro Menendez de Aviles and his men row ashore.
reenactors in Spanish clothing carrying flags
Reenactment procession at Mission Nombre de Dios.
crowd watching reenactors
The field crew and volunteers got front row viewing for the landing!
priests getting a tour of the site
Dignitaries to the site today included Cardinal O’Malley, Bishops Estévez, Galeone, and Snyder.
museum researcher talking to crowd
Public archaeology in action. Explaining our finds to some of the many visitors for the 450th.
father and daughter at dig site
Goofing off a bit and playing with my favorite little archaeologist in training!