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Liberty artifacts in Atlanta museum
JP StCaths1
A curator works on some of the artifacts from St. Catherines. - photo by Fernbank Museum photo
Residents of the Liberty County area will soon be able to view artifacts from the rich history of St. Catherines Island but they will have to go to Atlanta to do it.
The Fernbank Museum of Natural History has about a million artifacts removed from the island by archeologists and is working to display some of the materials. Dennis Blanton, curator of Native American archeology at the Fernbank, says the project is a high priority for him.
“We are now developing a new exhibit that will feature a sample of the objects and plan to open it by the end of the calendar year,” Blanton said. “We will feature only a portion of the full collection but even so I believe we will be able to highlight several important stories.”
St. Catherines added to its fame among historians with the discovery of the remains of a 16th century Spanish mission.
Fernbank said in a statement, “The St. Catherines Island research, and the collection produced by it, is very important. The results are as critical to understanding world history as they are to filling out the picture of Georgia’s past.
“The work is best known for discovery of a Spanish mission that had existed on the island from the 1570s to about 1680, long before James Oglethorpe established the English colony of Georgia in 1733,” Blanton said.
“The mission, known as Santa Catalina de Guale, was the northernmost settlement in the Spanish realm of La Florida for more than a century.
“By revealing details of the region’s earlier Spanish colonial period, we gain a better perspective on events that came later.
“Our ultimate plan is to develop a more ambitious exhibit over the next five or so years,” Blanton said. “In the interim we have placed some information about the collection on our Web site and more installments are in the works.”
The Web site address is
Fernbank Museum of Natural History is at 767 Clifton Road, NE, in the historic Druid Hills area of Atlanta.
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