For years, no one knew one of the most significant archaeological finds in South Carolina history lay hidden under a golf course.
The Spanish settlement of Santa Elena — one of the most important sites of early Spanish exploration in North America — was a city lost to time for more than 300 years. While written accounts proved that the colony, built in 1566, had existed, its exact location had been a source of scholarly debate for decades.
That is, until a group of archaeologists began to dig at the golf course at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island in 1979, a place usually reserved for golf carts and military officers dressed in plaid.
What they unearthed proved that the storied colony had existed right here in Beaufort County.