Centuries-old house plates, pottery and colonial wells found during archaeological dig

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — An area of Aviles Street in downtown St. Augustine will now be the site of an archaeological dig for the next few weeks.

It’s mandated by city ordinance before the developers for 9 Aviles St. can start construction on a new building.

Now city archaeologist Andrea White and her team will work to unearth artifacts and document them.

“This was probably used as food and storage. Cooking, as well, as this would be food consumption,” White said as she showed us pieces of broken ceramics.

So far, they’ve discovered centuries-old house plates and pottery, plus evidence of old wells.

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“We found evidence of two colonial wells. We have evidence of posts, of large trash pits. Big deposits of shell and bone,” said White.

White hopes that her work will reveal more clues about how far the city extended in its early days.

“We are able to look to see how far people were living, sort of around the plaza. That’s one of the hypotheses that we’re testing is how far north the town extended,” said White.

The work is mandatory by city ordinance before any construction on a site within the city.

Aviles Street is considered the oldest street in the country.

“It’s not what you find, it’s what you find out. So, we’re really interested in the information,” said White.

The work in the field is only about 25% of what the team does, said White. The bulk of the investigation will be at the lab, where they’ll clean the artifacts, sort them and document each one.

“It requires a lot of historical research, map research and also looking what other archaeologists have found,” said White.