Etzanoa Visits the Kansas House

House members applauded after approving a resolution that was read by Anita Judd-Jenkins, Republican representative from Ark City.

Standing behind her as she read from a podium were several Ark City residents, archaeologists and archaeology enthusiasts who have promoted and participated in the studies of the prehistoric Native American site.

“Based on the evidence, the Etzanoa archaeological site of a 5-mile-long settlement of an estimated 20,000 ancestors of the Wichita tribe, thrived from about 1425 to the early 1700s,” Judd-Jenkins said in prepared remarks.

WSU professor, students continue research on archaeological discovery

Donald Blakeslee, professor of archaeology at Wichita State University, presented in March at the annual conference of the Society for American Archaeology discussing recent archaeological evidence that shows a thriving ancestral Wichita Indian town of more than 20,000 residents near Arkansas City, Kansas.

The discovery began with new translations of old Spanish documents by the Cibola Project at the University of California, Berkley. Members of the team made photocopies of the original documents, re-transcribed them from the Old Spanish and then retranslated them. Earlier historians and archaeologists who had used the documents dealt with misleading errors in transcription and translation, which is why many archaeological discoveries in the area were misinterpreted.

Searching For Etzanoa

In the early summer of 1601, Juan de Oñate, a conquistador who helped establish the Spanish colony of New Mexico, set off on a search to find Quivira, a fabled “city of gold.” Led by the lone survivor of an earlier expedition, Oñate marched east from his base near what is now Santa Fe with some 200 soldiers and several cannons, as well as a dozen priests and a large gaggle of camp followers. Along the way, the explorers encountered herds of American bison, marveling at these “most monstrous cattle” and the Apache hunters who stalked them.

Plans For Exploration

A community of Wichita tribe ancestors who settled between the two rivers that converge southeast of Arkansas City is one of the two largest prehistoric settlements of Native Americans in the United States, a Wichita State University archaeologist said Thursday night.

With an estimated population of 20,000 people and an area more than five miles long, the Ark City settlement is now thought to be the first or second largest Native American settlement, with the other large one in the St. Louis area, WSU professor Don Blakeslee said.

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