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The University of North Florida Archaeology Lab was awarded a $43,000 State of Florida Historic Preservation Grant to undertake a systematic archaeological survey to locate evidence of the lost French colony of La Caroline, better known as Fort Caroline.
“Fort Caroline Memorial is visited by thousands of people each year. But the fort is a replica dedicated to the first French settlement in North America (1564-1565),” said Dr. Keith Ashley, UNF coordinator of Archaeological Research. “Currently, not one shred of material evidence has been found relating to the French colony of La Caroline. With the 450th anniversary of Fort Caroline right around the corner, we believe now is an opportune time to search for the fort.”
This early French community was established in June 1564 and abandoned 15 months later in September 1565. Fort Caroline holds an important place in American history as it represents one of the first European attempts to establish a foothold in North America.
The UNF survey team is also searching for clues to the location of native Mocama (Timucua) villages that may have been occupied when the French first arrived in the 1560s.
The team will be conducting shovel tests in several areas of the park, as well as adjacent private properties where permission has been obtained.
The project, supported in part by a State of Florida Historic Preservation Grant, is also being performed with the cooperation of the National Park Service (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve).
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