Archaeologists Honored in Congressional Record
HONORING THE DISCOVERY OF HERNANDO DE SOTO'S 1539 ENCAMPMENT AND THE LOST NATIVE AMERICAN TOWN OF POTANO
US Congressional Record honors the discovery of
Hernando de Soto's 1539 Encampment and the lost Native American town of
Potano, by the University of Florida professors, Dr. Fred A. White and Dr.
Michele C. White, and University of Florida Anderson Scholar Ethan A. White.
This newly discovered archaeological site is the oldest confirmed New
World contact site in the United States.
In one of the most important events in U.S. history, de Soto was the
first European to discover the Mississippi River and explore an area
that today would hold 10 States. Until this incredible archaeological
discovery, there was no physical evidence of de Soto's 4,000-mile
journey. The collection of artifacts recovered near Orange Lake,
Florida, includes very rare King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella coins, and a
King Enrique IV of Castile coin that is the oldest dated European
artifact ever unearthed in the United States.
Other rare items include Murano glass beads and Spanish weapons and
armor dated from the early 1500s. The artifacts were excavated in the
lost ancient Native American town of Potano. Also discovered in the
town of Potano were the remains of the first location of the San
Buenaventura Franciscan mission built there in the 1580s. Within the
floors of the 16th century mission, the team discovered the largest
cache of medieval coins found in the American mainland so far.
Acknowledgment for confirmation and identification of the artifacts
goes to a large and diverse group of scholars throughout the country,
Dr. Alan M. Stahl, Curator of Numismatics, Princeton University, Dr.
Jerald T. Milanich, Curator Emeritus in Archaeology of the Florida
Museum of Natural History, Dr. Gifford Waters, Historical Archaeology
Collections Manager of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Dr.
Kathleen Deagan, Distinguished Research Curator of Archaeology for the
University of Florida, Dr. Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service
Professor Emeritus of History, University of Florida and Dr. Charles M. Hudson,
Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and History, University of Georgia.
The recent scientific findings were published in the peer-reviewed
International Journal of Archaeology and with the Florida Department of
State, Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Archaeological
Research in Tallahassee, Florida. The collection of artifacts is at the
Florida Museum of Natural History.