Mission and Pueblo Santa Catalina de Guale, St. Catherines Island, Georgia: A comparative zooarchaeological analysis

Elizabeth J. Reitz, Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman, Daniel C. Weinand, Gwyneth A. Duncan, David Hurst Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This volume considers the zooarchaeological evidence for animal use by Spaniards and the Guale people during the First Spanish period (a.d. 1565-1763) on St. Catherines Island, Georgia (USA). The focus is on a combined archaeofaunal assemblage containing 70,324 specimens and the remains of an estimated 510 vertebrate individuals associated with Mission Santa Catalina de Guale. This Spanish mission operated on the island from the 1580s until 1680 in a province known as Spanish Florida. Spanish Florida formerly encompassed portions of the present-day states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, and was the first sustained European colonial enterprise north of Mexico. For many years the rich Spanish heritage of the southeastern United States was neglected as a field of study. Spanish colonists themselves often characterized Spanish Florida as a place of poverty, neglect, and ruin. Over the last 30 years, however, archaeologists have demonstrated that this concept of the colony cannot be accurate. Instead of a poverty-stricken Spanish outpost dependent upon imported goods and institutions, archaeologists find that a complex, multiethnic community existed; one in which pre-Hispanic and Spanish traditions merged to form a new relationship with the cultural and natural environments. The study of animal remains from towns and Roman Catholic missions in Spanish Florida highlights the dynamic interchange between natives and immigrants that resulted in new subsistence patterns blending native and immigrant foodways while taking advantage of the local resource base. Instead of a single, inept, transient Spanish government dominating an invisible or resistant native population, we must now think of Spanish Florida as a place where resilient Native Americans developed new patterns of animal use while influencing the diet and exploitation strategies of immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-269
Number of pages269
JournalAnthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History
Issue number91
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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