If you live in Tallahassee, or have visited Florida’s Capital, you are likely familiar with a Tallahassee landmark – Mission San Luis, or San Luis de Talimali as it was named by the Spanish. It was a 17th Century Spanish Mission located on the present-day corner of Ocala Road and West Tennessee Street. From 1656-1704 it was the western capital of La Florida, and housed approximately 1400 Apalachee, including the chief, a resident Franciscan friar, a Spanish military garrison, the soldiers’ families, and other civilians (McEwan 1993).
Previous archaeological excavations focused on determining the site layout and uncovering the larger structures, especially the Apalachee Council House and the Mission Church. A Spanish-style domestic structure and associated features were also investigated. The ten field seasons (not contiguous) or archaeological investigations at San Luis have yielded important information about the Spanish presence in the capital. Likewise, the excavations of the Apalachee Council House have given us insight into this important structure that centered indigenous public and ceremonial life. With the information gained from archaeological excavations and documentary resources as our foundation, we propose to explore the community of Apalachees and Spaniards who lived, worked, and died at San Luis.
*Inside of reconstructed Apalachee Council House at Mission San Luis. Photo taken by author, January 2017.