Excavations of a more than 330-year-old church are underway in St. Augustine. Jessica Clark, First Coast News
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Archaeologists are excited about rock at the Mission of Nombre de Dios is St. Augustine.
They're working on a dig to know more about what is believed to be the first stone church in St. Augustine and possibly in Florida.
Just feet away from the Great Cross in St. Augustine, stone foundations of walls are visible on the dig site.
The church was built in 1677 by the Spanish. No one really knows what it looked like.
Linda Chandler, a University of Florida Archaeology Tech, explained all the excitement boils down to construction materials.
In a time when most other buildings in the area were made of wood, the crew is finding these church walls and foundation were made of tabby (which is a manmade construction material made of natural ingredients) and of coquina (stone) that the Castillo de San Marcos fort would eventually be made of.
Chandler said, "It could be very significant being the first use of tabby in construction in North America. It's possible."
This first-of-its-kind Florida stone church took a beating – literally.
It was destroyed and rebuilt a couple times in military attacks.
But more than military attacks, this latest dig gives insight about colonial life at the church, the pottery that was used and all the rooms it had.
"Perhaps pilgrims came to it so it would've had rooms perhaps for pilgrims to stay," Chandler said.
The excavation wraps up today but mapping will continue for the next couple of weeks.