Unforgettable Experiences in an Extraordinary Place
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Common Name: Chicken
Scientific Name: Gallus gallus
Chickens are found in virtually every Spanish colonial settlement in Florida, and were by far the most common bird consumed at Mission San Luis. They were readily available to Indians as well, and appear to have had relatively little monetary value.
"We bartered for the hens with things of little value and so slight that on one occasion I did not wish to give two needles for a hen."
Fray Andrés de San Miguel 1595
Animal Used at Mission San Luis
The study of plant and animals from sites (ethnobotany and zooarchaeology, respectively) is one of the most illuminating aspects of archaeological research. It can reveal details about past environments, resources, settlement patterns, agricultural practices, architecture, social life, and diet unavailable from other types of data.
Since plant remains are so fragile and often difficult to see, we have limited their display to a static exhibit case format (see "Apalachee Life"). However, we have selected some animal bones found at Mission San Luis, along with comparative skeletal materials (Drawers 17-26), to give to a sense of the challenges faced by those researchers who identify, analyze, and interpret these materials.
We have supplemented the skeletal materials with archaeological and documentary information about the use of these animals in Spanish Florida and at Mission San Luis.