Archaeologists Honored in Congressional Record

Source of News Item: 
US Congressional Record 115th Congress, 1st Session Issue: Vol. 163, No. 19
November 28, 2017

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.