Archaeology students find artifacts in Big Talbot Island

Breanna Cataldo, Features Editor

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UNF students began digging for artifacts in Big Talbot Island in early May. The goal was to find evidence that an ancient Native American Village was once there.

Professor Keith Ashley and some of his students have been exploring the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. For many of these students, this is their first archaeological dig. So far, it’s been quite successful.

One of the students who went on the trip, Ejvind Sorensen, made a comment on the matter.

“This is fascinating to be out here,” Sorensen said. “Being able to see this sort of stuff, being able to unearth a piece of pottery out of the ground that literally nobody has seen for over 1,000 years is completely fascinating.”

Europeans documented the village the students are looking for in the 1500s, called Sarabay, and not much is known about it. What shocked the students was the amount of Timucua items that were found on the land that dated back to even earlier than the documentation of Sarabay.

Some of the items date as far back as 950 A.D., according to the archaeologists. There were also some discoveries from the era between the 1200s and 1500s, when the French and Spanish inhabited the land.

Over the summer, the students are still going to continue their search for Sarabay. In the European documentation, it was noted that the village had walls around it. The student’s goal is to figure out whether these noted features were actually there, according to professor Ashley.

The discoveries made are impacting the students involved by giving them a new perspective of the land they’ve lived on their whole lives.