Monthly Archives: August 2015

Meet Spanish Count Alvaro Armada in September

Beaufort, SC – The Santa Elena Foundation is excited to announce the unique opportunity for the general public to meet Spanish Count Alvaro Armada, the current Adelantado of la Florida and direct descendent of 16th century founder of Santa Elena, Pedro Menendez de Aviles.

Upcoming “Meet & Greet” events include:
Wednesday, September 9
-10:00 A.M. short program followed by Q&A
-Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island
Friday, September 11
-1:00 P.M. to 2:00 P.M. drop-in and Q&A
-Beaufort History Museum, Downtown Beaufort Arsenal

The public is welcome to come during these times to meet the Count, learn about him and his lineage, and better understand the efforts to bring Santa Elena, the 16th century settlement on Parris Island, into the spotlight as an important aspect of the founding of America.

“This is only the second time in as many years that the Count has visited Beaufort, and we’d like to share this opportunity with the public,” says Dr. Andy Beall, Santa Elena Foundation Executive Director. “It is a critical time for our Foundation – we are working diligently to open the Santa Elena History Center and prepare for the 450th anniversary in April 2016. We are grateful to our partner organizations for hosting these exciting events.”

The Coastal Discovery Museum, a partner of the Santa Elena Foundation, is located at Honey Horn Plantation on Hilton Head Island and is a community based, educational institution dedicated to fostering greater knowledge and appreciation of the cultural heritage and natural history of South Carolina’s Lowcountry. On site of the museum, visitors can also see a Marsh Tacky horse, a breed that descended from Spanish horses that were brought here in the 16th century.

The Beaufort History Museum, also a partner of the Santa Elena Foundation, is located in downtown Beaufort in the Arsenal on Craven Street. It is chartered by the City of Beaufort to share the deep and rich history of the Beaufort District. Among its many exhibits is an introduction to the story of Santa Elena and the 16th century settlement activity in the Beaufort area.

The mission of the Santa Elena Foundation is to discover, promote, and preserve the “Lost Century” of European colonization through the story of Santa Elena. The Foundation is focused on growing its family of volunteers and supporters to help bring this story and History Center to life.

Partnership with local school announced by Santa Elena Foundation

Beaufort, SC – The start of the new school year brought a partnership between the Santa Elena Foundation and Beaufort Middle School, an art-integrated school with Classical Studies program of choice led by instructors Dr. Brooks Thomas and Mrs. Melanie Blanton.

In the coming weeks, when students learn about the earliest years of American History and the explorations of the 16th century, Santa Elena will become a much more familiar term. The school itself is less than ten miles from the actual site of the 16th century Spanish settlement. And as the Foundation prepares to open the Santa Elena History Center in downtown Beaufort, the Classical Studies students will offer their perspective and insight on creating an interpretive center that captures young imaginations.

“The first week of school provided an exciting introduction to the relevant learning this partnership offers. The students are already deeply involved in the creative processes of planning how this history will be shared.” said Dr. Thomas.

The partnership will support the vision of both programs. Students at Beaufort Middle School will make connections with the community as leaders, thinkers, and good citizens while learning, promoting and preserving the history of the 16th century Spanish settlement of Santa Elena. Educational outreach is a key component of the Foundation’s efforts.

“This opportunity allows for hands-on, real world experiences for our students as readers, writers and historians,” Mrs. Blanton noted. Because the teachers collaborate on curriculum and weave key themes throughout a variety of subjects, the Santa Elena story will also engage students in their music, art, drama, English, Spanish, social studies, and science classes.

Forty Classical Studies sixth-grade students are immersed in this partnership, and the learning experiences have stirred excitement and commitment with eighth-grade teachers through their curriculum, South Carolina History. Additionally, academic arts teachers are planning ways students will integrate their learning through the creative process.

“Learning this missing piece of history has become a school-wide endeavor. By assisting in this local re-discovery of 16th century history, the Classical Studies program will build on the past to develop responsible, knowledgeable, creative 21st century citizens,” shared Carole Ingram, principal of Beaufort Middle School, “and the ripple effect will be felt throughout our school.”

In September, the students will have the unique opportunity to meet Spanish Count Alvaro Armada, the current Adelantado of la Florida and direct descendent of 16th Century founder of Santa Elena, Pedro Menendez de Aviles. This also sets the stage for another learning opportunity as Spanish Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15.

“Together we are learning much more about our country’s heritage and the ‘lost century’ of American history,” noted Dr. Andy Beall, Foundation Executive Director. “To have these bright, young minds engaged in the process is simply sensational, and we appreciate the partnership with Beaufort Middle School. We hope that all schools and textbooks will eventually share more information about this important part of American history.”

The Foundation offers a lesson plan created by the National Park Service as a free resource for all teachers and is accessible via the Education section of the Santa Elena website. To learn more about the Santa Elena Foundation’s education outreach and lesson plans, visit

Efforts target bringing Beaufort County’s past into the present

CaptureFrom the Beaufort Gazette:

“More than 30 people filled the meeting room at the Beaufort County Library last week in Beaufort to hear a presentation about progress at Fort Frederick.

After watching S.C. Department of Natural Resources videos, the group piled into cars and followed DNR archeologist Meg Gaillard down to Port Royal, eventually rumbling down a dirt path behind Beaufort Naval Hospital to an 18th-century fort, thought to be the oldest tabby structure in the state and built by the British to defend Port Royal Sound and the city of Beaufort from the Spanish.” Read More at the Island Packet / Beaufort Gazette

Notable new advisors commit to Santa Elena Foundation

Beaufort, SC — The Santa Elena Foundation has named three new members to its Advisory Board: Dr. Walter Edgar, Dr. Rex Garniewicz, and Dr. David Moore.

They join an esteemed group of advisors that participate in the development of the Santa Elena Foundation and offer insight and guidance as the Foundation prepares to open the Santa Elena Center, host the 450th anniversary symposium and commemoration events, and continue archaeology at the Santa Elena site. Their expertise on 16th century and local history, archaeology, museum management, and business development are valuable assets to the Santa Elena team.

Dr. Walter Edgar is a Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of South Carolina. He received his B.A. at Davidson College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. at University of South Carolina. Throughout his career as a professor, Dr. Edgar received numerous awards and honors, including entry into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. Dr. Edgar has published dozens of papers, articles, and books; among them is The South Carolina Encyclopedia.

Dr. Rex Garniewicz received his B.A from Wesleyan University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology from Indiana University. He is currently President & CEO of the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head Island. Dr. Garniewicz previously served as Deputy Director at the San Diego Museum of Man and as Vice President of Science and Technology at the Indiana State Museum. His interests in archaeology and museum work are wide-ranging.  He has published archaeological work from both Native American sites and early American forts, and he is currently curating a traveling exhibition on the history of beer for the Smithsonian Institution.

Dr. David Moore received his B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and his MA and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He served as the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology’s Western Office archaeologist for 18 years before becoming a full-time faculty member at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Dr. Moore has directed the archaeological investigations at the Berry site since 1986. He is the author and co-author of numerous book chapters and articles. Dr. Moore is leading 450th anniversary commemoration events for the overland trail of Juan Pardo, which originated at Santa Elena.

The three new additions to the Santa Elena Advisory Board join these members: Dr. Daryl Ferguson, Alvaro Armada Barcaiztegui, Dr. Eugene Lyon, Dr. Paul Hoffman, Dr. Chester DePratter, Dr. William Kelso, Dr. Michael Francis, Dr. Eric Emerson, Dr. Bruce Fryer, Dr. Mary Socci, Dick Stewart, Dean Moss, and Maggie Bertin.

To learn more about the Santa Elena Foundation’s Board and Advisory members, visit