Spanish Colonial Architecture in the Southeast . . . as rendered by Artlantis VR Software

We are continuing the celebration of my 20 year marriage to Artlantis of Paris, France with more architectural renderings that few readers have seen.

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

In 2007, I was contacted by archaeologists from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This was formerly the Heye Museum . . . the people, who excavated the Nacoochee Mound in 1915. They still hold almost all of the artifacts excavated there. The skeletons that Gustaf Heye unearthed were treated as rubbish . . . a different era.

They had heard that I was doing research into Creek architecture and construction techniques and had restored many Colonial Era buildings in Virginia. They asked for my assistance in interpreting the findings of AMNH archaeologists, working on St. Catherines Island, Georgia. I was to prepare architectural renderings of Spanish and Native American structures on St. Catherines, based on the archaeological reports and my own research. This led to a series of commissions for interpreting Early Colonial architecture, plus the publication of the book, Earthfast . . . the Dawn of a New World.

The AMNH archaeologists first required me to read two boxes full of archaeological reports and photocopied Spanish Colonial Period reports. It was while reading these Spanish reports that I realized that (1) Forts Caroline and San Marco were in Georgia, near St. Catherines Island and (2) the Native Americas on the coast of Georgia and South Carolina were not Creek Indians.

Fort San Mateo (1566)

Altamaha River in present-day Georgia

Fort San Felipe at Santa Elena (1566)

Parris Island, South Carolina

Juan Pardo Forts (1567)

In South Carolina, North Carolina and (possibly) Georgia

Rectangular style fort

Triangular style fort

Mission San Pedro (1567)

Cumberland Island, Georgia

Fort San Felipe II (1570)

Parris Island, Florida

Fort San Marcos and Pueblo Santa Elena (1570)

Parris Island, South Carolina

Mission Santa Catalina de Guale (1601)

St Catherines Island, Georgia

Fort built at Mission Santa Catalina in response to pirate raids

By 1688, all Spanish missions and forts north of the St. Marys River had been abandoned. In 88 years, Spanish occupation had caused the catastrophic collapse of Native American population on the Georgia Coast from about 20,000 persons to less than a 100. Spanish abuses were magnified by attacks from Native American slave hunters, white slave hunters, pirates and Creek war parties from the Georgia Piedmont.

Fort Apalache (1646)

Spanish fortified trading post in the Nacoochee Valley of Georgia

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