MOLINO, Fla (WALA) - The archaeological group at the University of West Florida is spending their days out of the classroom and touching pieces of North American history.
In the ground in Molino, Florida, the group found evidence of a mostly intact missionary village once occupied by a Spanish-Indian tribe. The village is estimated to be more than 300 years old.
"We've got one structure that's about 50 feet long. It's a huge, large, well-engineered and kind of over-engineered Spanish structure with lots of nails and a post, and it seems to be consistent with a Spanish cavalry barracks," said Dr. John Worth, who is leading the excavation.
The group has been at work since 2009, digging and uncovering more of this significant relic hidden under the soil.
"We identified it, and the next year, in 2010, we bounded it and found the edges of it. But this year we're finding the heart of the mission," said Worth.
Worth expects a church is also underground nearby, and they hope to find it.
The village was built on the site for a specific reason: its location. It's directly next to the Escambia river which was called the Escambe river to the Spanish Indians. Later when the English took it, it was called Escambia and gave its name to the areas surrounding it.
Danielle Dadiego has been with the group for two years now, and said this find answers many questions but also leads to more.
"Almost always you get more questions than answers at the end. That's what makes it so exciting is that you can't figure it all out, or you come in not knowing all the answers to your questions," Dadiego said.
She said the experience of this dig is what she values the most.
"Seeing the students faces and, when I come over, the excitement you get from uncovering something or a new feature - even if it's just a stain on the ground or a rusty nail. It's thrilling that we're uncovering the life of these people and seeing how they lived their lives and the trials they faced," said Dadiego.
She'll get that chance as they continue to uncover more of this ancient village throughout the summer.
Dr. Worth's group will also continue their research again next year.
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