Since the ruins of the Santa Catalina de Guale Spanish mission on St. Catherines Island were discovered in the 1980s, countless artifcats have been unearthed

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In the early 1980s American Museum of Natural History archeologist David Hurst-Thomas found the ruins of the Spanish mission, Santa Catalina de Guale, on the western side of St. Catherines Island.

Unearthing the mission provided evidence the Spaniards had made it to the New World centuries before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. It also provided a glimpse of the Guale Indian tribe believed to be among the first settlers on the coastal island since it formed roughly 5,000 years ago.

On May 15, amid torrential rain, the Courier got to tour St. Catherines Island, including a visit to the mission site led by Anna Semon, lab director for the North American Archeology Division of Anthropology for the AMNH. She is also the excavation crew chief for the archeological projects on the island.

"There was a chain of Spanish missions that went up the Atlantic Coast from St. Augustine to Santa Helena," Semon said, pointing to a map. "There was another group that went across St. Augustine to Tallahassee and points west and they created this whole chain."

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