Historic City News was informed that on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, John Fraser, President of St. Augustine’s Fountain of Youth Properties, Inc., presented an Award of Recognition to Raphael Cosme for his dedication to archeology, artifact preservation and their display.
“Raphael Cosme’s passion for digging is exceeded only by his love for his family and his unending desire to share the story of Ponce de Leon with everyone,” Fraser told Historic City News.
For more than two years, a collection of Cosme’s treasures has been on display inside the entrance to the Historical Planetarium Exhibit.
Cosme told reporters that he accompanied a mission organized to salvage Spanish Colonial artifacts in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1978.
Cosme said that he discovered the items on display in an underground pit that measured about 2 square meters. “The result of this investigation was impressive,” Cosme said.
Six pottery artifacts from the Colonial era, dated from 1500 to 1630, were unearthed during the salvage mission. “What makes this exhibit truly fascinating is the fact that the site location of the excavation could be the land boundary of Ponce de Leon’s temporary wooden house in San Juan, which was built between 1519 and 1521,” Cosme reported. “These may be some of the first ever recorded artifacts associated with Adelantado of La Florida and his descendants”.
Cosme has been researching and investigating Spanish colonial artifacts for the last 30 years. His finds include a comb carved out of bone, buttons, glass, coins dating from 1500 to 1630, cattle bones, and other inimitable pieces.
“More than 40 million people of Hispanic descent are living in the United States,” Cosme told us. He says that it is an honor for him and his family to represent them through the presentation of this Award during their Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.
“I am happy to share my collection with the Fountain of Youth and its visitors,” said Cosme. “I hope that when people from all around the world visit the Park, they will have a unique encounter with these artifacts that once belonged to Juan Ponce de Leon.”
Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park