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St. Catherines Island, Georgia

St. Catherines: An Island in Time

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 middens that were constructed on opposite sides of the island some 5000 years ago.

Surveying the Island

Excavations at the Spanish Mission

Shell ring
Archaeological gear used on excavations. Wired Magazine. May 2011
Related Articles in the St. Catherines Island Newsletter
Related Articles in the Anthropological Papers of AMNH

* This is the correct spelling of the island.