ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- According to St. Augustine archaeologist Carl Halbirt, a 19th-century home on Cordova Street offers a rare opportunity to excavate for clues on the city's history.
"We've done about 700 projects through the city's archaeological preservation ordinance, and I would say out of that 700 only five were within actually structures," said Halbirt.
Because the area is beneath the home, the soil has been practically untouched for a hundred years.
In the next few weeks Halbirt and a team of volunteers will start digging to see what is buried underneath the home.
"This particular property is right along the 18th-century Rosario line which was a line of circumvallation that encircles St. Augustine's boundaries of the 18th-century city," said Halbirt.
General contractor, Len Weeks, is in charge of the home's renovations. According to Weeks, the homeowner plans on turning it into a modern dessert café called "The Chocolate Turtle." However, the renovations will have to wait until after the excavation is complete.
"Our city is one of the few communities in the United States that has a full time archaeologist on staff, so yes, it slows the project down a little but it's worth it," said Len Weeks of Len Weeks Construction Design Development.
The goal is to be able to document as much information as possible in order to get a better idea of how life in the nation's oldest city used to be.
"It's a process of discovery, you never know what you're going to find in St. Augustine," said Halbirt.
On Monday, crews will use hydraulics to lift the home 18 inches off the ground and once it's stabilized, the archeology team will go in. The team expects to begin excavating in mid-July and the project is expected to last two to three weeks.