Archeologists to Search for Lost Mission (GA)

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ALBANY, Ga. - Amateur archeologists will get a chance to search this summer for the lost mission of Santa Isabel de Utinahica, built in the wilderness in the 1600s for a lone friar who was dispatched to evangelize among the Indians on the edge of Spain's colonial empire.

"This was on the frontier," said Dennis Blanton, curator of native American archaeology at Atlanta's Fernbank Museum of Natural History. "It was perched on the edge of the known world in this hemisphere. A barefoot Franciscan was dropped alone into alien territory and given his marching orders to convert these Indians and probably gather a certain amount of intelligence."

Fernbank and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Historic Preservation Division have teamed up to launch the exploration in June near the rural south Georgia town of Jacksonville, about 160 miles south of Atlanta.

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