Honoring the discovery of Hernando de Soto’s 1539 encampment and the lost Native American town of Potano

Honoring the discovery of Hernando de Soto’s 1539 encampment and the lost Native American town of Potano
by Ted S. Yoho

Source: 2017 Congressional Record, Vol. 163, Page E1601 (November 28, 2017)

HONORING THE DISCOVERY OF HERNANDO DE SOTO'S 1539 ENCAMPMENT AND THE LOST NATIVE AMERICAN TOWN OF POTANO

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HON. TED S. YOHO

OF FLORIDA

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mr. YOHO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor 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 White and Dr. Michele White, and University of Florida Anderson Scholar Ethan 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 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, including these distinguished University of Florida researchers: 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 and Dr. Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History, University of Florida.

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 on the campus of my alma mater, the University of Florida.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).