During 1998 and 1999, the Greater New Orleans Archaeology Program, under the direction of Christopher Mathews, undertook testing and data recovery at the St. Augustine Site (16OR148), in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. The site, currently located in the churchyard of St. Augustine Church, was the location of a plantation and brickyard established by the Company of the Indies in 1720. Antoine de Morand purchased the plantation and operated it until 1731, and it continued in use as such until subdivided and sold by Claude Tremé in 1798. During the nineteenth century, the main plantation residence served a number of institutional functions, including use by the College d’Orleans and as a school for free girls of color operated by the Ursuline Nuns. The plantation house was demolished in 1926, and its location has been used by the St. Augustine Church (established at the corner of Bayou Road and St. Claude Street in 1842) as a recreational area and playground.
Archaeologists excavated 22 shovel test pits on the site in 1998, all of which were positive for historic cultural remains. Seven site areas were investigated with a total of 25 m2 of horizontal excavations. Identified remains from the eighteenth century included buried historic surfaces dating back to the early-eighteenth-century development of the site, trash pits (both from the Colonial era and from the later nineteenth-century convent’s use of the lot), drainage features, and brick sills, foundations, and other architectural features. Particularly remarkable was the large collection of hand-built pottery from the site in eighteenth-century contexts, presumably of Native American manufacture.The most common vessel forms among these wares were open bowls, which would not have been very well-suited to transporting or storing food or liquids. This pattern has been noted at many other sites in the city as well, and the occurrence of these vessels may be related to the formation of reciprocal relationships through gift exchange.
Unfortunately, almost the entirety of the collection of materials from the St. Augustine excavations is now lost, unintentionally discarded with debris from Hurricane Katrina.