It’s Florida Archaeology Month! Every March, Florida celebrates the rich archaeological heritage of our state. Join us as we explore the archaeology collections of Governor’s House Library all month long. To kick-off the celebration, we are highlighting one of our favorite structures – the Arrivas House.
The Arrivas House was the first archaeological project completed by the St. Augustine Historical Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission. Located at 46 St. George Street, the building has a long and varied history. The first known structure on this property occurred between 1650 and 1680. Through the centuries, many owners and residents left their mark on the house.
When the St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission purchased Arrivas House in 1960, they employed archaeologist Hale G. Smith to lead an excavation. Students – Ross Morrell, Susan Powell, Pheriba Stacy, Robert Hall, and Suwat Pananon – assisted him in the dig. The team used a trench system that crossed the house from north to south and east to west – including the patio.
The archaeological team examined layers of soil – called stratum – underneath Arrivas House. Their excavations revealed architectural features – such as shell walls and fire places – from over the years. They used artifacts – like 20th century coins and Spanish pottery sherds – found in the stratum to create a chronology for the house.
The St. Augustine Historical Restoration and Preservation Commission used the archaeologists’ findings in the restoration of Arrivas House. The Commission restored the house to its Second Spanish Period appearance in anticipation of St. Augustine’s 400th Anniversary celebrations in 1965.
To read the final field report from the 1960 archaeological investigation, visit the University of Florida Digital Collections by clicking here.