Award for Partnership and Collaboration bestowed upon Santa Elena Foundation, USC-Beaufort

April 19, 2018 – The Santa Elena Foundation, along with the University of South Carolina Beaufort, is proud to announce statewide recognition for a progressive partnership.

The prestigious “Engaged Community Partner” honor comes after three years of working together during the establishment and ongoing growth of the Santa Elena History Center thanks to USCB Administration, Professors, and Student support.

As stated in the official press release from the University of South Carolina, the South Carolina Engaged Community Partner Award is presented to a community partner that has worked to support the civic mission of their partnering campus and enhanced the quality of life in the community in meaningful and measurable ways.

“Our working with many departments and levels of USCB is creating a dynamic work-study opportunity for local students. From Heritage Tourism studies to History and Spanish enrichment, and even computer programming, both the Foundation and University have benefited greatly from this partnership. The potential for more collaboration knows no boundaries,” says Megan Meyer, Foundation Director. “Santa Elena Foundation want to be a vibrant cultural resource for the community, especially local students.”

Examples include, Dr. Brian Canada, associate professor of computational science, and his students worked to establish an “Education Station” at the Santa Elena Museum with computer games to educate the public on the history of the Spanish settlement of Santa Elena in Beaufort in the 1500s. By serving on the Board of Directors, Martha Moriarty, Ph.D. associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and institutional effectiveness and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Larry Rowland have also been instrumental in this partnership.

“We are grateful to SC Campus Compact for the recognition of the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff, students and community partners,” said Eric Skipper, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at USCB. “These recognitions also serve as a model of exemplary service for the entire USCB community.”

Archaeologists work to create detailed map of 16th-century Spanish town on Parris Island

March 7, 2018 — Less than two years after discovering the location of an elusive Spanish fort on present-day Parris Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, archaeologists have begun mapping a complex and vast array of archaeological features that can provide insight into over 4,000 years of history in the region, including a focus on the 21 year occupation of Santa Elena (1566-1587) to paint a picture of what life was like during the once-capital of Spanish La Florida. (Click here for the full report: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/10/2/248)

In 2016, University of South Carolina archaeologist Chester DePratter and Victor Thompson, an archaeologist from the University of Georgia, pinpointed fort San Marcos at Santa Elena, founded in 1577 by Pedro Menendez Marquez, the governor of Spanish La Florida.

Archaeologists began excavating the remains of the Charlesfort and Santa Elena site since 1979, but they have never had a good map of the settlement. In a recent paper published in the journal, “Remote Sensing,” DePratter and Thompson discuss how they used remote sensing technology to map the various significant occupations of the site including those of Native Americans, French, Spanish, plantation owners, Freedmen, and World War I era U.S. Marine Corps.

“By combining traditional shovel testing with remote sensing using radar and other instruments, we are well on the way to constructing a detailed map of the Spanish settlement,”
says DePratter, who conducts research through the university’s South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences. “It’s critical to gather the data necessary for putting together a comprehensive tool that will help us better understand what happened not only during the Spanish settlement of Santa Elena 450 years ago but throughout history.”

The team’s most recent work provided new insights into the Spanish presence at Santa Elena occurring between 1566 and 1587. During its early years, the settlement went from military outpost to capital of Spanish Florida, but it was abandoned in 1576 due to a Native American attack. It was reoccupied in 1577 with the construction of fort San Marcos, but a decade later the town was again abandoned. At its peak, Santa Elena covered nearly 15 acres and had about 400 residents.

Under the sponsorship of the Santa Elena Foundation in the summer of 2016, Thompson and DePratter worked with a University of Georgia archaeology field school to look beneath the surface of the 15-acre site. They sent pulses, and electric currents into the ground and measured differences in local magnetic fields in order to map the remains of Santa Elena. They worked to pinpoint locations of some of the lost Spanish buildings, including two missing forts, a church, shops, and houses, as well as the town’s streets and plaza.

While the “focus” of the work was to test the viability of using modern remote sensing methods in conjunction with previous shovel test data to provide comprehensive distribution data on all of the components of the site over 4000 years of occupation, the work also led to important new discoveries, including:
1) “the probable location of the remains of two native council houses that date to the mid-17th century”;
2) areas that represent “rows of dwellings for enslaved peoples. and,
3) circular features in the northern portion of the site dating to the Late Archaic/Early Woodland period of Native American prehistory, 2750-1360 BC. are roughly the same diameter of “shell rings” of the region and possibly represent a “Stallings period Circular Village”

“There are few sites in country that afford the kind of window into the past, such as we have at Santa Elena,” says Thompson, who directs UGA’s Center for Archaeological Sciences. “The conditions at Santa Elena were just ideal for this type of remote sensing survey. We simply could not ask for better circumstances.” DePratter says Santa Elena is the best preserved 16th century town in the country, in part because of its location, which is underneath a former military golf course that has no standing structures on it. Currently, the site is closed to visitors while the Marine Corps finalizes restoration from the recent hurricanes which caused safety hazards from fallen trees. Analysis, assessments, and protection of the resources were necessary before downed trees could be removed. The Marine Corps plans to re-open the site to visitors in the next few months.

No archaeological excavations have been conducted at Santa Elena since 2008, but the mapping project will likely provide the impetus for more detailed work on the site in the coming years. “Now that we have collected all the data with three instruments, we will move forward with detailed interpretations of our results to create the final site map,” Thompson says. “Once it is completed, it will be one of the best and most completely mapped sixteenth-century sites in the United States.”

“Once we have a detailed site map, we can focus on individual structures—a church, a house, a fort—rather than just having to open large excavation units in the hope of finding something interesting,” says DePratter.

SCIAA archaeologist Stanley South, who died in 2016, found the remains of Santa Elena in 1979, with DePratter joining the project in 1989. The Charlesfort/Santa Elena National Historic Landmark is located on Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. The current remote sensing work is funded by the Santa Elena Foundation and SCIAA’s Archaeological Research Trust and supported by the University of Georgia’s anthropology department.
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About Chester DePratter:

Chester DePratter is a research professor at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Carolina. He has worked on a variety of Native American sites, primarily in South Carolina and Georgia, and written numerous articles on prehistoric archaeology, exploration routes of Spanish explorers and the early European presence in the southeastern United States. Since 1989 he has focused on 16th-century Spanish site of Santa Elena and the search for the French site of Charlesfort and on the archaeology of Yamasee Indian sites in South Carolina. He is curator of the exhibit, “Santa Elena: America’s Untold Story” at the Santa Elena History Center in Beaufort, South Carolina.

About Victor Thompson:

Victor Thompson is a professor of archaeology and the director of the Center for Archaeological Sciences at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on applications of archaeological science to the study of colonialism, socio-political complexity and the historical ecology of wetland and coastal environments. He uses a number of specialized methods in his research, including the analysis of monumental architecture, shell midden archaeology, stable isotopes, remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS).

About the Santa Elena Foundation:

Established as a 501(c)3 in 2014, the Foundation’s mission is to discover, preserve, and share America’s first – and lost – century through the rise and fall of Santa Elena. In addition to supporting research, the Foundation operates the Santa Elena History Center in downtown Beaufort, SC where visitors can learn about 16th century history and the 21st century re-discovery through exhibits, videos, programs, and living history.

‘Historic Collaboration’ Launches Free Shuttle for all in Downtown Beaufort

Experience Beaufort History Badge

‘Historic Collaboration’ Launches Free Shuttle for all in Downtown Beaufort

For Immediate Release
February 28, 2018

Beaufort, SC – A collaboration between downtown organizations focused on Beaufort’s history — Beaufort History Museum, Historic Beaufort Foundation, Santa Elena Foundation, and Spirit of Old Beaufort — is established collectively as “Experience Beaufort History.” In addition to creating a single avenue for convenient, custom ticket purchases, the effort will now help visitors travel to each destination and around downtown.

The Experience Beaufort History partners see great value in launching a free shuttle that will loop the main areas of downtown Beaufort to improve mobility, lessen the burden of parking, and serve customers of all businesses in the downtown area. The effort has full support from the City of Beaufort, Beaufort Cultural District, and downtown merchants.

The free shuttle will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10am-5pm in an ongoing loop that includes Bay Street, Carteret Street, Craven Street and Scotts Street. The route will stretch from the Santa Elena History Center to the USCB Campus, including stops at Beaufort History Museum, Verdier House, City parking areas, and the Waterfront Park.

“How wonderful that all organizations came together to create a strong history network and offer a special service in the free shuttle. We all work hard to preserve and promote the rich heritage of beautiful Beaufort and want to make sure that everyone who comes downtown can enjoy it all too,” says Megan Meyer, Director of Santa Elena History Center. “May this trial service in the spring prove to be a great solution for residents, visitors, merchants, and our own organizations.”

The “Hop On! Hop Off!” shuttle model will allow users great flexibility to ride the shuttle, and stops will be identified with signage. Route maps will also be available at the Visitor’s Center, Marina, and each museum. And, yes, there will be no charge. The organizations, from their operational funds and Accommodations Tax Funds, are underwriting the shuttle for a trial period in March, April, and May.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.experiencebeauforthistory.org.

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Contact:  Megan T. Meyer
Executive Director, Santa Elena Foundation
843-379-1550
mmeyer@Santa-Elena.org
www.santa-elena.org

Historic Beaufort Foundation
208 Scott Street, Beaufort, SC 29902
843-379-3331

Beaufort History Museum
713 Craven Street, Beaufort, SC 29902
843-379-3079

Spirit of Old Beaufort Tours
843-525-0459

New Year brings New Offerings, Lower prices, and Variety of Activities to Santa Elena History Center

January 26, 2018 — One of Beaufort’s newest historic destinations, the Santa Elena History Center, is offering great incentives for visitors in order to continue putting a spotlight on a “lost century” of American history – much of which happened in Beaufort County.

The main exhibit, “Santa Elena: America’s Untold Story,” is expanded with multiple new panels and showcase elements, including replica 16th century weaponry and information about the creation of an overland passage that stemmed from Santa Elena to the Appalachian Mountains; the exhibit now also includes interpretation of significant archaeological discoveries such as the kiln and the well.

Updated admission prices to tour the History Center and the main exhibit will better accommodate families, students, and locals. Student price has decreased and children up to seven years old are free. The History Center continues to offer free admission to Active Military and First Responders. In 2018, locals who pay tour admission once may present their receipt when returning with out-of-town guests for no charge until year-end.

Additionally, the well-received program series continues with a variety of presentations developed to share the intriguing local, and often early, history from many perspectives each week for public enjoyment. The new year brings a significant reduction in the cost to attend programs at the Santa Elena History Center. Now, Annual Passholders are admitted at no cost and other attendants are requested to make a donation of their choice. Those who are interested in sharing their own presentations and programs are welcome to contact the History Center.

Other events on the docket for 2018 include the Annual Santa Elena Cup regatta with the Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club (March 16-17) and the second Annual Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair at Cotton Hall Plantation (November 3). More events and activities will be announced regularly and posted on the website calendar at www.santa-elena.org.

This year, plans to explore and research new aspects of this relatively untold history will add dynamic programs, announcements and features to the History Center. The story will come to life as The Santa Elena Company, a growing group of 16th century re-enactors, plan training and activities throughout the year. Those interested are welcome to join the fun!

The Santa Elena Foundation would like to express gratitude to all who made 2017 a successful year — the Volunteers, Annual Passholders, Local Businesses, Partner Organizations, and all who visited – and may 2018 be another great year to gather around a community initiative as important as preserving our earliest history, Santa Elena. All are welcome to join is this incredible project and blossoming community institution!

To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center, becoming an Annual Passholder, school field trips, the calendar of events, and more visit https://santa-elena.org.

LOWCOUNTRY FAIR & MARSH TACKY RACES ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18

A community event unlike any other, sponsored by the Santa Elena Foundation!

October 18, 2017 — What could be more fun than an old-fashioned country fair, filled to the brim with historical flair, held at a beautiful, local plantation?

With the arrival of crisp fall air, the Santa Elena Foundation is hosting the first annual Lowcountry Fair on Saturday, November 18 from 10am to 4pm at Cotton Hall Plantation, off Highway 17 in Northern Beaufort County.

The fun-filled Saturday is headlined by Marsh Tacky Horse Races, providing an exciting show for all who attend.  The Carolina Marsh Tacky Association showcases this unique breed, originally introduced by the Spanish explorers of the 16th century. The Marsh Tacky is the SC State Heritage Horse and one of the most endangered breeds in the world.  Before they race in the afternoon, these beautiful horses will be on display in fun show demonstrations.  Be sure to bring your chairs!

The Lowcountry Fair will also showcase multiple living history re-enactments from the Colonial era Men of Menendez to Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactors and more, performing throughout the day, along with weapons demonstrations.  For children, petting zoo, pony rides, and sugar cane mill tours will bring delight. On stage, a variety of live performances – from The Chilly Willy Band to flamenco dancing demonstrations — will fill the afternoon.  Broadcasting by the County Channel and use of a Jumbotron display will keep fair-goers from missing any of the action on stage, throughout the fairgrounds, or on the racecourse. All of the activities and festive entertainment are included in the admission price for the day.

Come hungry for a special lunch and explore the local palate as many have throughout history. The finest local food will be for sale from restaurant partners Eat Local Beaufort (Plum’s, Saltus, Hearth), Q on Bay, Lady’s Island Oysters and Sea Eagle Market.  For dessert, the food truck “It’s Only Fair” will sell fair-themed goodies.  Beer, wine, and general refreshments will also be available for purchase.

One of the most significant events of the day will be a presentation by Count Alvaro Armada Barcaiztegui, a descendent of Pedro Menendez de Aviles, the founder of Santa Elena in 1566 and Governor of La Florida until 1574.  Arriving from Spain to attend the Lowcountry Fair, the Count will bestow the Foundation with an original 16th century medal and a letter signed by Pedro Menendez, dated in Santa Elena in 1571.

“Our Board and Volunteers wanted to give the community an event unlike any other – to commemorate our history and celebrate our local culture – and that’s just what the Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair will bring. Of course, none of this could be accomplished without the support of our local community,” remarked Megan Meyer, Executive Director of the Santa Elena History Center.

Special thanks Joe and Allison Harden who generously offered use of Cotton Hall Plantation and Ameris Bank, Gold Sponsor. These other community-minded businesses and individuals have also made this a stand-out event as sponsors: Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Dude Magazine, Grayco, Lowcountry Real Estate, Sheldon Plantation, Southern Palmetto Landscaping, TD Bank, Visible Displays, Adams Outdoor Advertising, Creative Interiors, Compass Rose Travel, Cuthbert House Inn, Spirit of Old Beaufort, Tacaron Trading, Eat Sleep Play Beaufort, Printology, Robinson Grant & Co, as well as Andy and Laura Beall, Greg and Sarah Dyson,  Dr. and Mrs. Larry Rowland, Russ and Sandy Dimke.

Tickets are available for purchase online (www.santa-elena.org/lowcountry-fair) and at the event admission gate. If purchased in advance, bring confirmation of your tickets to the gate for entry. Prices are: $20/adult and $10/child (5-17), $50 for families, and $40 for active duty military families (show ID).  Patron tickets, which include seating for lunch and finish-line seating for the races, are available for $100. Event sponsorships are also still available starting at $500.

To visit the website for Santa Elena’s Lowcountry Fair, visit https://santa-elena.org/lowcountry-fair.To learn more about the SC Marsh Tacky Association, visit http://marshtacky.info/mt/

Marsh Tacky horses racing Santa Elena presents A Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair featuring Marsh Tacky horse races

Unique Collaboration Brings Together a Charity, University and Business

July 13, 2017 — A convergence of three local institutions – one with college coursework focused on local history, one a local business that supports educational initiatives, and one a new history center seeking dynamic ways to tell a story – have led to the establishment of the Education Station, sponsored by Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort, at the Santa Elena History Center.

Professor Dr. Brian Canada, of University of South Carolina Beaufort, challenged his students to create programming projects with a Santa Elena theme in mind. This resulted in a myriad of games developed around the story of Santa Elena,the Spanish settlement of 1566 on Port Royal Sound.

“From building puzzles of old maps to racing in ships across the Atlantic and conducting commerce throughout the village – the variety and quality of games produced by local students, about local history, is very impressive,” remarked Megan Meyer, Director of the Santa Elena History Center. “We’re so grateful that the team at Kinghorn Insurance believed in this project and made it possible. Furthermore, we are grateful to Dr. Canada and USCB students for contributing one-of-a-kind games to share with the public.”

These games are available for children of all ages to enjoy during their visit to the Santa Elena History Center, adding to the menu of child-friendly resources and showcasing the work by USCB student in a public institution. Due to success of this project, Dr. Canada will continue it with future classes, allowing the inventory of games in the Education Station to remain dynamic.

“Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort is honored and proud to partner with Santa Elena and USCB to help promote education for youth in the community. This new partnership will provide an opportunity to better understand the rich history, culture, significance and beauty of the Lowcountry. Kinghorn Insurance of Beaufort would also like to thank the many individuals that have donated time, talent and money to develop the Santa Elena Foundation as it truly has become a gem of Beaufort.”

 

Lowcountry Fair & Marsh Tacky Races Coming to Beaufort in November 2017

A community event unlike any other, hosted by Santa Elena Foundation

 June 1, 2017— Mark your calendars for a unique community event on a local plantation this fall as the Santa Elena Foundation presents “A Lowcountry Fair with Historical Flair.”

The fun-filled day will include Marsh Tacky Horse Races, Horse Fun Shows, Living History Re-enactments, Weapons Demonstrations, music and special performances, children’s petting zoo and activities, festive refreshments, and much more on the private grounds of Cotton Hall Plantation in Northern Beaufort County on November 18, 2017 from 10am-4pm.

“The Lowcountry Fair will be a stand-out event for the community to enjoy and experience early local heritage mixed in with plenty of good fun, food, and friendship,” remarks Megan Meyer, Executive Director of the Santa Elena History Center. “This furthers the promotion of our efforts to highlight Beaufort County’s unique history and collaborate with many organizations and individuals throughout the community.”

Headlining the event are the Marsh Tacky Horses, whose races will provide an exciting show for the crowd. Led by the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association, the races will showcase horses from all parts of the southeast and bring awareness to the special breed originally introduced by the Spanish explorers of the 16th century. The Marsh Tacky is the South Carolina state heritage horse and one of the most endangered breeds in the world. They once roamed freely by the hundreds through the South Carolina Sea Islands and Lowcountry but their numbers neared extinction as tractors, trucks, and development took the place of horsepower. Today, only around 400 Marsh Tacky Horses remain.

“We are excited to bring the Marsh Tacky Race back to the Lowcountry – as we strive to save the breed, it’s important to celebrate their historical significance,” says Jackie McFadden, secretary of the Carolina Marsh Tacky Association. “By partnering with the Santa Elena Foundation the day of racing will be even more enjoyable with a myriad of other activities on the grounds of such a special place.”

Tickets will be available for purchase in advance (online) and at the gate on the date of the event. Levels include: $20/adult and $10/child (5-15), $50 for families, and $40 for active duty military families. Also available to help the event generate proceeds for the Santa Elena Foundations mission are Patron tickets at $100 and recognized sponsorship levels starting at $500.

The event is weather contingent and all donations will benefit the Santa Elena Foundation.

To learn more about the SC Marsh Tacky Association, visit http://marshtacky.info/mt/

 

 

Replica Columbus Ships ‘Nina’ and ‘Pinta’ to Sail Into Downtown Beaufort

April 4, 2017 — In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, leading to the discovery of a “New World” and marking the beginning of America’s earliest history. This earliest chapter of our nation’s history – and the local story of 16th century settlement Santa Elena – is shared with visitors daily at the Santa Elena History Center.

On Friday, April 20, the ‘Pinta’ and the ‘Nina’, replicas of Columbus’ Ships, will sail into Port Royal Sound and be open to the public for tours in downtown Beaufort on April 21-25 until departure on April 26.

The ‘Nina’ was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.” In 2005, the ‘Pinta’, also a caravel, was launched in Brazil and is known as the first ship to sight land in the New World. Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the fifteenth century.

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced ‘sailing museum’ for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the ‘caravel’, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers to discover the world. Before him, the Old World and the New remained separate and distinct continents and ever since their fates have been bound together for better or for worse. The ships allow visitors to see what it was like aboard the ships that carried Columbus and crew across the ocean.

“What a special activity for us to enjoy here in Beaufort this spring, a year after the Santa Elena History Center’s Grand Opening ,” remarks Megan Meyer, Executive Director of the Santa Elena History Center. “We hope many people will take advantage of this unique “sailing museum” to learn about the Columbus ships, and visit the Santa Elena History Center to learn what occurred during the next 100 years – much of which took place right here in Beaufort County.”

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Admission charges are $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, and $6.00 for students 5 – 16. Children 4 and under are Free. The ships are open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. No reservations necessary.
Teachers or organizations wishing to schedule a 30-minute guided tour with a crew member should call 1-787-672-2152 or email columfnd1492@gmail.com. Minimum of 15 at $5.00 per student.

For more information about the replica ships and Columbus Foundation Inc., visit www.ninapinta.org.

To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center, visit https://santa-elena.org.

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, “Santa Elena: America’s Untold Story,” 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 https://santa-elena.org.

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 www.Santa-Elena.org.

To see the Regatta Information and other upcoming events on the Santa Elena calendar, visit https://santa-elena.org/event/the-santa-elena-sailing-regatta/?instance_id=2206.

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 http:www.byscnet.com/about/racing/santaelena.

New Exhibit on 16th Century Navigation Unveiled at Santa Elena History Center

For Immediate Release
August 3, 2016

Beaufort, SC – Following an exciting port of call in Port Royal by El Galeon, the replica 16th Century Spanish Ship, and thanks to a grant from Beaufort 300, the Santa Elena History Center is opening a new exhibit titled “A Spanish Galleon’s Voyage.”

Visitors can learn about the preparation and packing of ships that carried hundreds of hopeful settlers and their supplies to the New World during the time of Santa Elena’s founding in 1566. The exhibit includes interpretive panels, video, and a model ship donated by a local family.

“This is another exciting, new feature at the Santa Elena History Center,” says Executive Director Megan Meyer. “All ages will enjoy learning about the ships and life at sea as a significant aspect of the 16th century history that occurred around Beaufort.”

Long-Lost Fort on Santa Elena Site is Discovered  

UPDATE: NOVEMBER 28, 2016
The Santa Elena History Center is commissioning a 3-D Scaled Model of Fort San Marcos to be prominently displayed in the the main exhibit “Santa Elena: America’s Untold Story.”

To learn more about this project and make a gift of any amount toward the $15,000 goal, please click here.


Fort San Marcos

Fort San Marcos drawing in Archives of the indies in Seville, Spain

July 28, 2016

Beaufort, SC – The Santa Elena Foundation is excited to announce that Dr. Chester DePratter and Dr. Victor Thompson located the long-lost Fort San Marcos, which was built on the Santa Elena site in 1577.

The Santa Elena Foundation supported the effort, which took multiple years and non-invasive methods to make the discovery. 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.

“The volunteers, Board members and staff – this entire community who has helped bring this story to life – could not be more excited for Prof. DePratter and Dr. Thompson,” says Dr. Andy Beall, Chariman and CEO. “Days like today are the reason we established the Foundation with a vision to uncover this significant history.”

With plans underway for Phase Two of the Main Exhibit “Santa Elena: America’s Untold Story,” this emerging information can be incorporated to share more information. The Re-Elect Pedro Menendez Campaign is leading the marketing and fundraising efforts for this expansion of the story.

To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center, visit https://santa-elena.org.

Click here to read the article in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

The Santa Elena Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Beaufort County, South Carolina.  The mission of the foundation is to expand the story of European colonization of North America through discovery, preservation and promotion of Santa Elena, a 16th Century Spanish settlement and colonial capital in the present-day United States.

Three Beaufort History Museums Forge Visitation Partnership

Beaufort History Museum logoHistoric Beaufort Foundation logoSanta Elena History Center logo small square
Contact:
Carla Marsh
561-376-7651
cmarshpr@earthlink.net
July 6, 2016

For Immediate Release

 

Three Beaufort History Museums Forge Visitation Partnership
Sticker Identification System Assures Discount

            Beaufort, SC – July 6, 2016 – Three museums located in Beaufort’s downtown historic district will now offer visitors the opportunity to receive a discount on tickets.  The Beaufort History Museum, Historic Beaufort Foundation and Santa Elena History Center have forged a partnership and are launching an innovative plan to encourage museum visitation.    Here is how it works:

  • Purchase a full price ticket at any participating museum and receive a sticker from that museum with your ticket.
  • The museum sticker entitles the wearer to $1.00 off full price admission at the other two museums.

The museums are all within easy walking distance of each other and provide a scenic route through Beaufort’s downtown area.  Each has a different mission, distinctive presentation and unique perspective so that a visit to all of the venues enhances learning and deepens the cultural experience:

The Beaufort History Museum: 713 Craven Street (Arsenal) c.1798 – Housed in the historic 1798 Arsenal, the Museum tells the story of the 500-year history in the Beaufort area through artifacts, photos and tours given by knowledgeable docents.
843-379-3079   www.beauforthistorymuseum.com

Historic Beaufort Foundation: 801 Bay Street (Verdier House) c. 1804 – The only planter’s house in Beaufort open to the public. The mission of Historic Beaufort Foundation is to support the preservation, protection and presentation of sites and artifacts of historic, architectural and cultural interest throughout Beaufort County.      843-379-3331   www.historicbeaufort.org

Santa Elena History Center: 1501 Bay Street (Old Courthouse)– More than 40 years before the English settled at Jamestown, the Spanish established a town in 1566 on the shores of Port Royal Sound in present-day Beaufort County. Come to this newly opened interpretive center to learn “Santa Elena: America’s Untold Story.” (843) 379-1550   www.Santa-Elena.org

For more information on the Museum Pass Program please call or visit any of the participating organizations or visit their website.

Santa Elena Foundation Announces 450th Commemoration Schedule, Grand Opening of History Center

For Immediate Release
April 4, 2016

Beaufort, SC – During the upcoming month of April 2016, the Santa Elena Foundation will host a series of events, along with partner organizations throughout Beaufort County, to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the establishment of Santa Elena, the 16th century Spanish town on present-day Parris Island, in 1566. This date was nearly forty years before the founding of Jamestown and about sixty years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.

The significance of the 450th Commemoration is coupled with the grand opening of the Santa Elena History Center and the inaugural exhibit, “Santa Elena: America’s Untold Story.” The events on April 30 fulfill our mission to promote, preserve and discover a lost century of American history. Efforts bring international attention to the story of Santa Elena that is expanded by ongoing discoveries from historical research and archaeology across the Southeast and at the archives of Spain.

Eminent archaeologists and historians from across the country will gather for a Scholars Conference in Beaufort on April 15 to share with the public their studies of early Spanish colonization in America, 16th century exploration of la Florida, and recent archaeological findings.

“The Santa Elena Scholars Conference will be the first time this group of scholars have come together to collaborate and share their knowledge with the general public under one roof,” said Dr. Chester DePratter, Lead Archaeologist for Santa Elena. “Join us at the University of South Carolina Beaufort’s Center for the Arts to enjoy this unique opportunity to hear special presentations by those scholars and scientists who made the discoveries.”

As part of the commemorative celebrations, a replica of the flagship that sailed from St. Augustine to settle Santa Elena 450 ago years will return to Port Royal Sound on April 21. The voyage re-enacts the travel by Pedro Menendez de Aviles and hundreds of Spaniard colonists who established Santa Elena as the major settlement in Spanish North America. The floating museum, run by the Nao Victoria Foundation of Spain, will dock at the 11th Street docks in the Town of Port Royal. Public tours of the 170-foot long, 500-ton vessel will be available from 10am to 7pm, April 23 – May 1.

“Over a span of just a few months, the Santa Elena Foundation transformed the old Federal Courthouse Building into an interpretive museum to tell this important history,” said Dr. Andy Beall, Executive Director of the Santa Elena Foundation. “We hope the 450th Commemoration and Grand Opening will launch the History Center into success as an educational and entertaining destination for visitors and local residents.”

Further, the 450th Commemoration of Santa Elena launched a county-wide effort to promote the vast historic and cultural heritage of Beaufort County. Hosted by FirstShore and the local Chambers of Commerce, the 2016 Beaufort County Spring Tour will take place April 24-May 1. Organizations throughout Beaufort County are celebrating the Santa Elena 450th by hosting events themed around Spanish history, the Port Royal Sound, and life throughout the area in the 1500’s.
To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center’s 450th Commemoration, visit https://santa-elena.org/450th-anniversary/.

For information about the Beaufort County Spring Tour, visit http://firstshore.org/site/beaufort-county-spring-tour/.



The Santa Elena Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The mission of the foundation is to expand the story of European colonization of North America through discovery, preservation and promotion of Santa Elena, a 16th Century Spanish settlement and colonial capital in the present-day United States.

Special thanks to Beaufort County, Town of Port Royal, Nao Victoria Foundation, O’Quinn Marine, Accion Cultural de Espana, City of Beaufort, Hargray Communications, Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, and many organizations and individuals who have supported the Santa Elena project, especially the April 2016 commemoration events.

Santa Elena Foundation Announces Meaningful New Partnership with Local, Industry-Leading Hargray

March 2, 2016

Beaufort, SC – The Santa Elena Foundation and Hargray Communications announced today a multi-year partnership in which Hargray will provide leadership support of the Santa Elena History Center in downtown Beaufort.

With the fast approaching April 2016 grand opening of the Santa Elena History Center’s new exhibit, Hargray leaders decided now is the right time to help bring America’s Untold Story to the community and help the Foundation fulfill its mission to discover, preserve and promote the “lost century” of American History, much of which occurred in present-day Beaufort County.

“The efforts of the Board, volunteers, and supporters of the Santa Elena Foundation over the past two years have focused on opening the Santa Elena History Center and showcasing the inaugural exhibit,” says Dr. Andy Beall, Executive Director. “To have the support of a leading community organization like Hargray to give us a final push at this critical point, is truly remarkable.”

In addition to the Santa Elena History Center ribbon-cutting and grand opening, April will host the 450th commemoration of Santa Elena’s founding in 1566. The month will begin with a regatta for the Jean Ribault and Pedro Menendez Cups, hosted in Port Royal Sound by Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club. Then on April 15, scholars from around the United States will confer on Beaufort to provide a day-long Scholars Conference supported by Beaufort County at The Arts Center of Beaufort. Finally, at the end of the month, on April 30, the ribbon will be cut, the public will enjoy the Inaugural Exhibit, and a BBQ Festival and Celebration will be held at the corner of Bladen and North Streets.

Representatives from Hargray will be present to help cut the ribbon and are working closely with the Santa Elena team to further promote the History Center as a key cultural destination in Beaufort County.

“What an important story and unique opportunity for our community,” says Chris McCorkendale, Senior Vice President, Sales and Business Development for Hargray. “Our team is proud to partner with the Santa Elena Foundation and help make the History Center a success so that students, residents, and visitors can enjoy access to such a rich resource.”

To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center, visit https://santa-elena.org.

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The Santa Elena Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The mission of the foundation is to expand the story of European colonization of North America through discovery, preservation and promotion of Santa Elena, a 16th Century Spanish settlement and colonial capital in the present-day United States.

Hargray Communications is a leader in the telecommunications industry, dedicated to meeting the communication needs of our residential, business, large enterprise and resort customers. The mission is to envision and deliver customer delight through a team of more than 350 employees, including 100+ service technicians, who all live, work and contribute in our Lowcountry community. Hargray is committed to excellence, delivering the most advanced technology and the best customer service.

Santa Elena Foundation Announces trip to Washington DC to Promote Local History, Regional Effort

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2016

Beaufort, SC – Leaders of the Santa Elena Foundation will travel to Washington DC this week as guests of both the Spanish Embassy and World Bank to share the 16th century story of Spanish colonization. Joining the Santa Elena team are Dr. Michael Francis from University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Florida and Dr. David Moore from the Exploring Joara Foundation in Morganton, NC.

“What an honor to travel to our nation’s capital and be sponsored by the Spanish Embassy and World Bank. This is a great achievement for our team and helps further the mission to promote and preserve the story of Santa Elena,” says Dr. Andy Beall, Executive Director of the Santa Elena Foundation. “Additionally, sharing this opportunity with colleagues from Florida and North Carolina brightens the spotlight on the significance of this regional story of our heritage.”

At the World Bank on Friday, February 26, the group will present an overview of the Santa Elena, Joara, and St. Augustine stories. Then the focus will transition to the “Heritage Tourism” research that brings further community benefit to an educational and cultural gem. For more information about this event, or to register to view the presentation online, visit: https://collaboration.worldbank.org/events/2502.

On Saturday, February 27 the group will participate in “Designing America: Spain’s Imprint in the U.S.,” an exhibition organized by the Fundacion Consejo Espana-Estados Unidos in partnership with the Biblioteca Nacional de Espana (National Library of Spain). This will be an opportunity present the facts from research and archaeology that tell the complex story of Spanish colonization in the 16th century. For more information on this event, visit: http://www.spainculture.us/city/washington-dc/designing-america/.

“This is a unique opportunity to merge our local efforts together and present a cohesive story,” says Dr. David Moore, Archaeologist for Exploring Joara Foundation. “There are great benefits educationally, culturally, and economically for the general public to have a better understanding of the historical events at Santa Elena, Joara, and St. Augustine.”

All of the organizations are focused on working collaboratively to bring attention to a significant chapter of American History. Many facts continue to emerge through present-day research and archaeology as each organization furthers its mission.

To learn more about the Santa Elena History Center, visit https://santa-elena.org, and for the Exploring Joara Foundation, visit www.ExploringJoara.org.


The Santa Elena Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The mission of the foundation is to expand the story of European colonization of North America through discovery, preservation and promotion of Santa Elena, a 16th Century Spanish settlement and colonial capital in the present-day United States. Representatives for the Washington DC trip include Executive Director Dr. Andy Beall, Director of Development Megan Meyer, and Board Member Stu Rodman.

The Exploring Joara Foundation is committed to promoting public archaeology in the upper Catawba and Yadkin river valleys of western North Carolina. Our mission is to support research, education, and outreach on preservation of our past. The foundation is dedicated to finding and protecting archaeological resources, while fostering an understanding and appreciation for archaeology in the community. Representing the Explore Joara Foundation in Washington DC is Dr. David Moore, lead Archaeologist.

As the Hough Family Chair of Florida Studies at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg, Historian Dr. Michael Francis will represent the historical perspectives and research on St. Augustine, Florida.

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry Awards Grant to Santa Elena Foundation

Exhibit2-960For Immediate Release
December 7, 2015

Beaufort, SC –The Board of Directors of the Santa Elena Foundation are excited to announce a partnership with Community Foundation of the Lowcountry – the newest member of the Santa Elena Founders Society – through their $30,000 grant to support the inaugural exhibit at the Santa Elena History Center.

Set to open in April 2016, the initial exhibit will occupy the second floor of the Santa Elena History Center, the former site of a District Federal Courthouse, at 1501 Bay Street in downtown Beaufort. The exhibit was originally developed by a Spanish Government Agency. A local team working with The History Workshop, a renowned museum design firm, will present an expanded exhibit to best tell the story of Santa Elena.

Visitors may learn many perspectives of Santa Elena and the 16th century settlement activity that occurred throughout the Lowcountry. The exhibit will focus on the race by Europeans to claim this territory, the Spanish town of Santa Elena for 21 years, and archaeology rediscovering this important, little-known history.

“Our wonderful
team spent months on the acquisition and planning for this extraordinary exhibit; generous support from Community Foundation of the Lowcountry helps with the final phases of this journey – construction and installation,” says Dr. Andy Beall, Santa Elena Foundation Executive Director. “Our community of supporters make this project possible, and this grant provides a big step toward our goal. We are very grateful to Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, and excited to move forward with our plans.”

Community Foundation of the Lowcountry, founded in 1994, has a mission to strengthen the community by connecting people, resources, and needs. During the current competitive grants cycle, over $157,000 was awarded to five local non-profit organizations.

The mission of the Santa Elena Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization, 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.

To learn more about the Santa Elena Foundation, see plans for the inaugural exhibit, register for programs, or offer support of this important cause, please visit https://santa-elena.org.