In Search of Mission San Joseph de Sapala: Mission Period Archaeological Research on Sapelo Island, Georgia 2003-2007

Part of the Sapelo Island project

Author(s): Richard W. Jeffries; Christopher Moore

Year: 2009


In 2003, University of Kentucky archaeologists initiated field investigations just north of the famous Sapelo Shell Ring Complex (Site 9Mc23). The purpose of the excavations was to investigate the site’s Late Archaic component; however, test units and shovel probes placed north of Shell Ring II yielded several items of European origin, including several majolica and olive jar fragments and part of a small brass bell. Associated with these European artifacts were hundreds of Native American ceramic sherds representing several temporal periods ranging from the Late Archaic (ca. 4200 B.P.) to the 17th Century. Initial classification of the Native American pottery by Victor Thompson (Jefferies and Thompson 2005) indicated that many represented fragments of Mission period Guale Indian vessels. This suggested that this part of the site represented the long sought after Guale town of Sapala and its associated 17th century Spanish mission, San Joseph de Sapala (Worth 2007). Subsequent field investigations conducted from 2004 to 2007 yielded additional Guale and European artifacts and located several Mission period pit features and postmolds. The following report discusses the nature of 17th century Native American-Spanish

interactions on the Georgia coast, the results of previous Mission period archaeological research

in the Sapelo Island area, and the results of our ongoing Mission period archaeological

investigations at the Sapelo Shell Ring Complex.

Cite this Record

In Search of Mission San Joseph de Sapala: Mission Period Archaeological Research on Sapelo Island, Georgia 2003-2007. Richard W. Jeffries, Christopher Moore. 2009 ( tDAR id: 365275) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8N014JQ

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -81.312; min lat: 31.374 ; max long: -81.151; max lat: 31.564 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Rachel Black

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
sapelo-report-draft-4.pdf 8.60mb Aug 1, 2011 11:42:00 AM Public