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Archaeological Excavations

Archaeological Excavations

Since 1993, the University of Florida has made significant strides in unearthing some of the most important findings in St. Augustine’s history.  This work, conducted on the Mission grounds, has led to evidence of one of the earliest, if not the earliest, Spanish fortifications in Florida.

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The following text, prepared by Dr. Kathleen Deagan, Curator of the Florida Museum of Natural History and Archaeology as well as professor of Anthropology at the University of Florida, appears on a sign located between the Mission chapel and the Rustic Altar:

            A collaborative project of the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Florida

            Department of State, the National Geographic Society of the Catholic Diocese of

            St. Augustine.

            On September 8, 1565, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés of Spain landed near here and

            claimed Florida for the Spanish Crown.  He built the first Spanish fort in Florida

            by fortifying the Chief’s house at the nearby Timucua Indian town of Seloy.

            Archaeologists from the University of Florida have recently discovered a moat

            from a sixteenth-century Spanish structure believed to be that of Menéndez on

            the grounds of the Nuestra Señora de La Leche Shrine (Mission Nombre de Dios).

            Excavations are underway to uncover it and study the remains of some of the

earliest European presence in what is now the United States.

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  • Take a Part of History Home With You

    After spending time walking the grounds and meditating at the Shrine, be sure to stop by The Shrine Gift Shop. Here you will find a large selection of religious articles and gifts. The items you purchase will not only be a lasting reminder of your visit to The Shrine, but also help us take care of the Shrine & Mission grounds.

    Shop Online »
  • Schedule of Services

    New Hours of Operation:
    The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, Mission, Museum, and Gift Shop

    9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

    Noon to 4:00 p.m.

    *Museum closes at 4:00 p.m. every day

    Mass is celebrated at noon each day: Monday–Saturday

    Confession: 11:00 a.m. to noon, or by appointment

    Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Monday–Friday