Would you like to know if there are artifacts just waiting to be unearthed following Hurricane Michael? A wonderful group of archaeologists including a university professor, graduate students and undergrads, are very interested in “digging around” in your yard to help understand the lost town that existed only from 1836 to 1841.
Once they are finished the only way you will be able to know they were there is, if you tell! Their technique leaves no marks or evidence of their digging. The University of South Florida is home to this group and they have done many digs in our area.
So . . . how do you know if you even live in an area that includes the plotted town of Old St. Joseph? If you live within a zone beginning at Patton Bayou on U.S. 98 to Madison Street in Oak Grove there’s a good chance you are in part of old St. Joseph. From U.S. 98 back to Cypress Ave. or even the east end of Marvin Ave. has a good chance also of being part of the outstanding but short-lived town from the early 1800’s.
If you found artifacts and are wondering how far back they date, the USF group can help you. If these artifacts are from St. Joseph they possibly will know where they were made in England or elsewhere, and the years they were made. It is fascinating that they can take a small shard and discover where it began and when.
If intrigued about this topic and excited to be a part of it, contact Sandra Chafin, St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve at 227-4342. The Buffer Preserves’ phones are not operational yet however, you may reach Sandra on her cell. Leave a message and your call will be returned as quickly as possible.
In the event you are new to the area and are unfamiliar with Old St. Joseph, there is an excellent museum which details the drafting and signing of Florida’s First Constitution. The Constitution Convention was held in St. Joseph when Florida was still a Territory. The First Constitution was drafted and signed in St. Joseph in the event Florida did become a state one day. Then the town was lost and abandoned after hurricanes and a yellow fever epidemic! The archaeologists are trying to learn more about its story.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Chafin.
Don’t forget the program at the library on Saturday, May 25.