Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ponce De Leon's Fountain of Youth National Archeological Park

We are now parked in Florida, between Jacksonville and St. Augustine.  Today we drove into historic old St. Augustine and spent the greater part of our afternoon at an archeological park which claims to be North America's first historical site. The park is on the location of an ancient Timucua Indian village. The park also has on display a cross of coquina (a natural form of tabby) excavated in 1909, which Ponce De Leon laid out to establish the Spanish claim for all of North America.
 Near the site of the cross the park has a fountain of water bubbling up from what it advertises as a "pre- historic Indian Spring which Ponce De Leon hoped was the Fountain of Youth".  He sailed into this area in 1513.  Archeological evidence and written records show that the Timucua Indian was seven feet tall and quite healthy in appearance, in comparision to the short pale Spaniards. Can't blame De Leon for thinking that the Indians had found the fountain of youth!  Archeological digs having been going on in this park since 1934, and are still continuing today. Artifacts have also been found of a Spanish village which was started in this area in 1565, but existed for only nine months because of Indian hostilities. The grounds of this park are quite beautiful with flowers, fountains and statues.
 Also peacocks can be seen everywhere in this archeological park. It was the first time I saw a white peacock, superstition has it that they bring eternal happiness. Maybe there was a reason they were placed in a park which just may have the fountain of youth. White peacocks are a variety of peacock and not albinos. The one pictured below is enjoying a stroll through one of the park's flower beds. Quite a beautiful bird!
Near the park is a 208 foot cross which marks the founding of St. Augustine by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565. It is on the grounds of The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche (which honors motherhood). It was getting close to sunset when I snapped the picture posted below.

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