Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Discovery of Conquistador Hernando de Soto's 1539 Encampment

A team of international historians and archaeologists are currently investigating one of the earliest known New World expedition sites in the terrestrial United States. The credit for this rare discovery rests with Dr. Ashley White, from the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America, Dr. Michele White, author and bioarchaeologist and Ethan White, of Trinity Catholic History Honors.  

This Florida site is considered one of the most important archaeological finds in the early history of the United States. The medieval artifacts include beautiful Murano glass and King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella coins. Historians confirm are evidence of conquistador Hernando de Soto's 1539 expedition to the New World. 

While excavating near the Orange Lake Hernando de Soto site Dr. White's archaeological team made another historical find. They discovered the remains of a lost Franciscan mission associated with the Timucua Native Indians. Circa 1580 Spanish priests constructed a mission in the town of Potano known to have been visited by De Soto in 1539. 

The mission was first named Apula and then rebuilt in 1607 as San Buenaventura de Potano. Little was known of it until now with the discovery of the foundation of a mission church. The religious activity at the site was relocated in the early 1600s but the Spanish continued using the site for cattle ranching until the 1700s.