Archaeology lab at UNF unveils new finds about the lost indigenous town of Sarabay

The University of North Florida Archaeology Lab is unveiling a lost Indigenous town at Big Talbot Island State Park this week. The student are excavating the native Mocama town of Sarabay, mentioned in early French and Spanish documents.


Big achievements have already been made this year. The team, lead by Dr. Kieth Ashley, “has uncovered large amounts of Indigenous pottery dating to ca 1580-1620 CE, pieces of Spanish olive jar and Spanish majolica (tableware), and bone and shell tools. Students also recovered a few stone arrowheads and a glass bead from Spain,” says the UNF Newsroom.

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The UNF team first found artifacts and building posts that confirmed the location of Saraby way back in 2020. Over the past two summers the team has identified a whopping seven more building posts to add to the seven previously uncovered, “indicating findings of a large Indigenous structure approximately 50-60 feet in diameter, possibly a community council house.”

This dig is part of the UNF Archaeology Lab’s ongoing Mocama Archaeological Project that focuses on the Mocama-speaking Timucua people who lived along the Atlantic coast of northern Florida at the time of European arrival in 1562.

The Mocama were among the first indigenous populations encountered by European explorers in the 1560s.

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