Monthly Archives: March 2017

Newly Discovered Fort on Santa Elena Site Reconstructed for First Time in 440 Years

March 24 2016 – A special unveiling of a 3D Scaled Model of Fort San Marcos, which was built on the Santa Elena site in 1577, will take place Friday, March 24 at the Santa Elena History Center. This never-before-seen reconstruction follows the major announcement by Archaeologists Dr. Chester DePratter and Dr. Victor Thompson, who recently discovered the long-lost fort.

“The search for this fort lasted for 23 years, and finally, last year, we found it. Fort San Marcos was an important landmark in Spain’s attempt to reclaim and hold on to Santa Elena, its northernmost colonial outpost and former capital in the 16th century,” says Dr. DePratter. “Working on this model brought the past to life for me.”

By cross-referencing analysis from the non-invasive archaeology site work, maps found in Spanish Archives, and a detailed description of the fort by a Spanish Inspector General in 1578, Dr. DePratter worked with local model-maker Alex Coplo to build the structure and its contents. The model will be installed within the main exhibit, in the historic, former courthouse on Bay Street.

“The continuous emergence of information about a ‘lost century’ of American history, much of which occurred right here in Beaufort County, creates ongoing excitement and opportunity for our community,” remarks Megan Meyer, Executive Director of the Santa Elena History Center. “Thanks to our colleagues and community supporters who have made this project possible, efforts to create a first-class History Center and claim Beaufort’s chapter in early American History are forging ahead.”

The project launches the History Center’s plans to expand the main exhibit with new aspects of this significant 16th century history, along with models, replicas and artifacts to help bring the story to life, preserve the earliest local history, and create a must-see experience for residents and visitors.

The archaeological discovery of Fort San Marcos took multiple years and non-invasive methods by leading archaeologists. The announcement of its location ran in hundreds of news outlets internationally. In the attached press release from the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA), the University of Georgia, and the Parris Island Marine Recruit Depot, further details of the finding are explained.

Local Quilters Master the “Santa Elena Challenge”

March 3, 2017

Beaufort, SC – The most recent product of the Santa Elena Foundation’s efforts to collaborate with the community may surprise you. This year the local Sea Island Quilters accepted a challenge to make quilts with a “Santa Elena” theme.

Now on display are dozens of handmade quilts – true pieces of art – at the Santa Elena History Center. Quilters used their imaginations to create original wall hangings with portrayals of scenes from our local, 16th century history.

“What a neat way to have our local history interpreted,” says Megan Meyer, Santa Elena History Center Director. “This project exemplifies the ripple effect that the increased awareness of the Santa Elena story is having on our great community.”

The unique display will be available for the public’s free viewing from March 1-March 15 on the first floor of the Santa Elena History Center.

To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center and upcoming events, visit

Tradition Continues with the Santa Elena Regatta

March 3, 2017

Beaufort, SC – The Santa Elena Foundation and the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club will sponsor the Santa Elena Regatta for PHRF sailboats on March 25 and 26, 2017. This event is the major big boat sailing event in Beaufort each year and commemorates 451 years since the founding of Santa Elena on Parris Island in the spring of 1566.

This regatta is a combination of the Jean Ribault Cup which will be sailed on March 25, and the Perdo Menendez Cup on March 26. The Ribault and Menendez Cups are sailed as separate events and the results from them will be combined to determine the winner of the Santa Elena Regatta and the recipient of the Founder’s Cup.

The Founder’s Cup trophy is unique and quite an honor for the winner. Their name will be etched on the base of a bronze statue of Pedro Menendez, Santa Elena founder, which was donated by Count Alvaro Armada of Spain, the 20th generation descendent of Menendez.

Geography not only plays a major role in the historical references but also in the race logistics. The plan is for the Ribault Cup to be sailed in Port Royal Sound and the Menendez Cup in the Beaufort River starting at the Waterfront Park.

“What a great partnership. The Regatta is a wonderful tradition for the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club and, now, the Santa Elena Foundation,” says Megan Meyer, Santa Elena History Center Director. “Its significance is further realized as we think back 450 years ago… when earliest European settlers too sailed into Port Royal Sound to establish their settlements in the New World.”

The regatta is open to boats with a PHRF rating that are at least 22” LOA. Boats that are 18’ LOA and over will be considered on a case by case basis. Trophies will be awarded for both the Ribault and Menendez Cups as well as to the overall winner of the Santa Elena Regatta.

There will be several social events associated with the regatta including a kickoff Skippers Meeting and cocktail party on Friday night before the racing starts, an Awards Dinner on Saturday night and an Awards Presentation on Sunday after the racing is over. All social events will take place at the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club.

For more information about the historic, local significance of Pedro Melendez and Jean Ribault, and to learn more about the Santa Elena Foundation visit

To see the Regatta Information and other upcoming events on the Santa Elena calendar, visit

Full details of the regatta are in the Notice of Race which can be found on the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club web site at