Dr. Ashley White, an American archaeologist and his team have discovered the oldest New World contact site in the terrestrial United States. This archaeological site dated at 1539 was an encampment of conquistador Hernando de Soto’s royal expedition to the New World. His entrada is arguably one of the most important events in the history of the United States and the most important in the Southeast United States. De Soto was the first European to discover and cross the Mississippi River. Now hundreds of European artifacts correlating with De Soto’s elusive expedition have been recovered during this seven year project near Ocala, Florida. This never before seen collection of rare 16th century artifacts includes beautiful Murano glass fabricated in Italy during the early 1500s as well as the largest cache of medieval coins found in the American mainland so far. The collection contains very rare King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella related coins and Spanish armor items. A collection of these lost archaeological treasures will be gifted to the Kingdom of Spain in correlation with a royal visit by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain. An exhibition of the artifacts will be held in correlation with Florida’s 500th Anniversary Celebration which commemorates Florida’s rich Spanish heritage and diverse cultural history through 2013.
For more information, official press and student education packages please contact:
The Appleton Museum of Art
The College of Central Florida
4333 East Silver Springs Boulevard
Ocala, Florida 34470-5001
Ruth Grim, Curator of Exhibitions
Steve Specht, Events Coordinator