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St. Catherines Island, Georgia, 1981-present

Island map


Transect map


Located just off the coast of Georgia, St. Catherines* island has a storied history as home to Archaic-period American Indians, the Guale Indian tribe, Spanish priests, enslaved African-Americans, a signer of the US Declaration of Independence, Edward James Noble (the founder of Lifesavers Candy), various animals from the Bronx zoo, and several generations of archaeology students who have come to train under David Hurst Thomas.

Dr. Thomas has conducted research on the island over the past three decades and has developed a comprehensive archaeological, historical, and geographical history of St. Catherines.

Highlights of his research on the island include the discovery, through remote-sensing, of the long-lost Santa Catalina de Guale mission, which was established in 1587 but was lost to the history books until its rediscovery by Dr. Thomas in 1981. Currently, he and a number of graduate students are researching the island's ancient past -- two large, constructed shell rings that were constructed on opposite sides of the island some 5000 years ago.

Read it on GoogleBooks: St. Catherines: An Island in Time
 

Surveying the island


 
 

Excavations at the Spanish mission


 
 

Shell ring


 

Related Article in Wired Magazine, May 2011

The Well-Armed Archaeologist: archaeological gear used on excavations.

Related Articles in the St. Catherines Island Newsletter

Return of the Late Prehistoric: Reporting on Recent Fieldwork at Meeting House Field. Volume 5, Issue 6, June 2009

Sneaking a Peek into the Past: The Remote Sensing of Meeting House Field.Volume 5, Issue 7, July 2009

Curator David Hurst Thomas Tests Darwin in Archaeological Sites. Volume 5, Issue 2, February 2010

Taking The Earth's Temperature to Understand Deep History. Volume 5, Issue 3, March 2010

Hammock Archaeology. Volume 5, Issue 4, April 2010

Fifth Caldwell Conference Highlights Microchronology in Archaeology. Volume 5, Issue 7, July 2010

Raising Red Roofs: Conservation at South End Settlement. Volume 5, Issue 11, November 2010

St. Catherines: An Island in Time (second edition). Volume 6, Issue 3, March 2011

Geoarchaeology of St. Catherines Island. Recent Graduates of St. Catherines Island. Volume 6, Issue 4, April 2011

Related Articles in the Anthropological Papers of the AMNH

The anthropology of St. Catherines Island. 1, Natural and cultural history. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, v. 55, pt. 2, 1978.

The anthropology of St. Catherines Island. 2, The Refuge-Deptford mortuary complex. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, v. 56, pt. 1, 1978.

The anthropology of St. Catherines Island. 3, Prehistoric human biological adaptation. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, v. 57, pt. 3, 1982.

The anthropology of St. Catherines Island. 4, The St. Catherines period mortuary complex. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, v. 57, pt. 4, 1982.

The archaeology [i.e. anthropology] of St. Catherines Island. 5, The South End Mound complex. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, v. 63, pt. 1, 1986.

The archaeology of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale. 1, Search and discovery. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, v. 63, pt. 2, 1987.

The Archaeology of Mission Santa Catalina de Guale. 2, Biocultural interpretations of a population in transition. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, v. 68, 1990

The struggle for the Georgia coast: an 18th-century Spanish retrospective on Guale and Mocama. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 75, 1995.

Bioarchaeology of the late prehistoric Guale: South End Mound I, St. Catherines Island, Georgia. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no.84, 2002.

Native American landscapes of St. Catherines Island, Georgia. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 88, 2008.

The beads of St. Catherines Island. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 89, 2009.

From Santa Elena to St. Augustine: indigenous ceramic variability (A.D. 1400-1700): proceedings of the Second Caldwell Conference, St. Catherines Island, Georgia, March 30-April 1, 2007. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 90, 2009.

Mission and Pueblo Santa Catalina de Guale, St. Catherines Island, Georgia (USA): a comparative zooarchaeological analysis. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 91, 2010.

Trend, tradition, and turmoil: what happened to the southeastern Archaic? Proceedings of the Third Caldwell Conference, St. Catherines Island, Georgia, May 9-11, 2008. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 93, 2010.

Geoarchaeology of St. Catherines Island, Georgia: proceedings of the Fourth Caldwell Conference, St. Catherines Island, Georgia, March 27-29, 2009. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 94, 2011.

Seasonality and human mobility along the Georgia Bight: proceedings of the Fifth Caldwell Conference, St. Catherines Island, Georgia, May 14-16, 2010. Anthropological papers of the AMNH, no. 97, 2012.

* This is the correct spelling of the island.

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