The History of Big Talbot Island

By: Alexia Carrasco and Joe Manuola

If you’ve ever been to the Talbot Islands you’ve seen the driftwood beaches or enjoyed the variety of different outdoor activities, but you may not know about the long-lost history that surrounds the area.

Over a 1,000 years ago the Timucuan Indians settled on this land, and the reason we know this is because the University of North Florida’s archaeology department has found remains in the area. UNF has been digging in the area since 1998 but their last dig was in 2017 when they found a shell ring, carved bone, broken pieces of pottery, and tools. As they have continued to dig throughout the years, they have found even more surprising findings.

“We’ve done five projects and four of them have been UNF field schools, we know that there’s a site there that the French and Spanish arrived in the 1560s there was a Timucuan village called Serabay. And we think we found Serabay,” said UNF archeology professor, Keith Ashley.

Based on all the findings, the university has been able to put together how the Indians might have lived.

“I think the richness of the estuary, fishing was so great you don’t need undertake agriculture so I think that’s how they were living, we do see at various points in time they are involved in long distant interactive networks, we don’t see a lot of evidence on big Talbot island but on site in that time period we do see,” said Ashley.

Findings also show that the Indians were raiding other tribes that might have crossed their land.

Evidence of weapons suggest that they might have fought for their survival and land, but it could have also been for hunting and fishing.

The history of the Indians seems to have been forgotten because when the Europeans arrived to the area, they wiped out the whole tribe leaving nothing. UNF’s archaeology department wants to bring awareness and information about the Timucuans to Jacksonville.

“A big responsibility we have here at UNF is not just to write scholarly articles or journals, but also to get the information out to the people here in Jacksonville.

You can WATCH Alexia and Joe’s Story Here.