Searching for Yamasee Mission San Antonio de Punta Rasa: Garcon Point

Continuing the day after we excavated at Mulat, Jodi Preston, Olivia Pitts, Jen Knutson, Kenyan Murrell, Michelle Pigott, John Worth and I worked in the Garcon Point area.

Again, I chose the area following John Worth’s research; particularly helpful is a British plat of land (left) north of Garcon Point oriented with west at the bottom that marked at least one house south of a garden and west of an old fence.

I spoke to landowners in the area, and just like in Mulat, several were excited to host us! We started at a lovely home right on the water and did two shovel tests in the front yard and two in the back yard. Almost immediately, in the front yard Kenyan found a stamped sherd (below left) that matches pottery at other Yamasee sites, as well as other Native American sherds and potentially eighteenth-century nails and pieces of a button. Five meters away, in the top ten centimeters, Kenyan found another Altamaha/San Marcos sherd (below right) among other undecorated sherds.

Archaeologists in South Carolina call this pottery Altamaha after the Yamasee capital town of that name in South Carolina while archaeologists in Florida call it San Marcos after the Castillo of that name in St. Augustine where Yamasees moved to when leaving the Carolinas after the 1715 Yamasee War.

Two shovel tests in the backyard were more disturbed by construction, development, and erosion, but Jen & Jodi found about twenty Native American pottery sherds in another fortunate shovel test. Michelle & Olivia found a particularly eye-catching, though non-colonial find, a 1951 glass carboy from Illinois that looked almost intact!
15BB_28AUG2015_ST12_NPROFILE_2 15BB_28AUG2015_ST12_GLASS_6

People in the area reported extensive damage from hurricanes, particularly Ivan, as well as disturbances from construction and episodes of fill. However, the old driveway in the front yard did protect a potential midden, so intact eighteenth-century features may be found when I return to excavate in the area during this academic year and summer of 2016! I hope to bring more volunteers from the University of West Florida to the Garcon and Mulat areas to gain and share insights about the rich archaeology with helpful people.

In the meantime, I will be analyzing material I had the good fortune to examine at Brockington and Associates, a cultural resource management firm that excavated several Yamasee sites in South Carolina. I’m also translating and interpreting documents written by Yamasee leaders, warriors, and advisers I found in the University of West Florida Archives, the Library of Congress, and the PK Yonge Library of the University of Florida. Please stay tuned for posts about those insights, as well as rare documents and secondary sources about Southeastern Native Americans more broadly that I found at the Newberry Library, New York Historical Society, National Anthropology Archives, as well as other archives and libraries.

About Patrick Johnson

I'm an anthropology PhD candidate studying archaeology and history of Southeastern Native Americans and writing a dissertation about the diplomatic and daily life of Yamasee Indians in eighteenth-century Florida. Find me at or if you're so inclined!
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