Early artifacts from raid of Sir Francis Drake
By Raphael Cosme
As part of the commemoration of the 426th anniversary of the attack on the City of St Augustine by Sir Francis Drake, the St Augustine Art Association opened a new permanent exhibit at the Marguerite Phillips Collection Gallery that includes pieces discovered underneath the Association building.
Diane Bradley, president of the St Augustine Art Association recognized City Archeologist Carl Halbirt, his field archaeology team and the group who created the exhibit.
During the excavation process at the Marine Street building, more than 50 pieces of a large, Native American pot were removed, cataloged, cleaned and reassembled by archaeology assistant Linda Masley during a laboratory process that went on for two months.
“Over 49 different types of vessels, a large metal spike, and native American pieces were found on the site,” Halbirt told the audience. “One particular jar could have been manufactured in St. Augustine during the 1580’s.”
Drake, armed with twenty-three ships and 2,000 Englishmen under his command, approached the harbor of Spanish colonial St Augustine. Captain Christopher Carlile led 1,000 of these men onto Anastasia Island and then crossed the Matanzas Bay. They ransacked and burned the city to the ground and took control of the fort for the British Crown.
Halbirt explained how researchers were able to use the discovered ceramic pieces to date the find from the period of 1572 to 1586. A six-foot long layer of charcoal, the remains of burned houses, uncovered atop the ceramics, tied the discovery to the time of the Drake raid.