Honoring The Discovery Of Hernando De Soto's 1539 Encampment And The Lost Native American Town Of Potano
Author(s): United States Congress
United States Congressional Record
115th Congress, 1st Session Issue: Vol. 163, No. 193
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 and History Honors Graduate, 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.
Dr. Charles M. Hudson, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and History, University of Georgia, noted on the important discovery, “Crossbow points, 7-layered chevrons, mail armor, and Ferdinand and Isabella coins now backed up with XFR testing, this is the definitive De Soto site.” “The discovery and recognition of the White site is a major archaeological and historical event. The on-going investigations and interpretation of the White / De Soto site promise to clarify the Spanish and Indian history of north-central Florida and to add immeasurably to our knowledge of the Hernando De Soto expedition.” Professor Hudson is considered the world’s top scholar on Hernando De Soto, author of countless research publications and Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun.
Dr. Jerald T. Milanich, Curator Emeritus in Archaeology of the Florida Museum of Natural History, stated on the significant discovery, "I looked at the archaeological evidence. There is absolutely no doubt that is a De Soto contact site.” “The site Ashley White has found seems certainly 100 percent I’d say to be the main Indian town of Potano that De Soto had been at and also the later location of the mission of San Buenaventura de Potano.” Professor Milanich is the leading expert and author of multiple books about the Potano culture and Hernando De Soto’s expedition.
Dr. Gifford Waters, Collections Manager for Historical Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History and an expert on Spanish missions, noted, "This (the De Soto site) is an extremely important site, historically and archaeologically."
Dr. Michael V. Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History, University of Florida, stated that, “The White Ranch / De Soto site is one of the absolute most important American / Spanish archaeological discoveries in my lifetime. Having been a priest and being able to walk the site and hold a Rosary discovered within the mission ruins was quite overwhelming. There was a calming and reassuring feeling that the 500 years of history here had not been lost and that the fine archaeological work would ensure a permanent record and the hope the artifacts will join the collection of the University of Florida Museum of Natural History.” Professor Gannon is one of the most influential scholars and authors on Spanish colonial history.
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.
Sixteenth Century European Artifacts from the Confirmed 8MR03538 De Soto Encampment Site with X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis, Fred A. White, Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of State, Bureau of Archaeological Research, Master Site File MR03538, 2017
Hernando De Soto Archaeology and Artifacts, Fred A. White, Tallahassee, FL: Florida Department of State, Bureau of Archaeological Research, Master Site File MR03538, 2010
Artifacts and Archaeology from the Conquistador Hernando De Soto's Potano Encampment and the Lost Franciscan Mission. Fred A. White, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ARCHAEOLOGY, Volume 4, Number 4, 2016
THE ARCHAEOLOGY CHANNEL - Documentary - The Discovery of Conquistador Hernando De Soto’s 1539 Encampment and the Lost Spanish Mission of San Buenaventura, 2012
Oldest New World contact site discovered in the terrestrial United States, ARCHAEOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF AMERICA, Halifax Media Group, July 10, 2012
Archaeologists Discover de Soto's Artifacts and Lost Mission, Paula Neely, Michael Bawaya, Editor, AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY, Vol. 16, No. 3, 2012
Investigating one of the earliest expeditions to America, Dirk van Gorp, Editor, MEDIEVAL WARFARE, Vol III, Issue 4, 2013
Coins Found at Site of De Soto's 1539 Florida Encampment, Alan Stahl, THE E-SYLUM, Volume 15, The Numismatic Society, 2012
De Soto Artifacts Surface, Stephen Petranek, Editor, AMERICAN HISTORY, Vol. 12, December 2012
Archaeologist Uncovers Evidence of Hernando de Soto's Expedition, Andrew O'Reilly, FOX NEWS, World Edition, July 12, 2012
Archaeologists Verify De Soto Discovery, Jessica E. Saraceni, ARCHAEOLOGY MAGAZINE, July, 9, 2012
Archaeologist has found evidence of De Soto's expedition, HISTORY NEWS NETWORK, George Washington University, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, July 8, 2012
Cite this Record
Honoring The Discovery Of Hernando De Soto's 1539 Encampment And The Lost Native American Town Of Potano. United States Congress. Congressional Record 115th Congress, 1st Session Issue: Vol. 163, No. 193. Washington DC: United States Congress. 2017 ( tDAR id: 439930)
MR 03538 White Ranch / De Soto
Archaeological Overview • Architectural Documentation • Collections Research • Ethnographic Research • Ethnohistoric Research • Geophysical Survey • Ground Disturbance Monitoring • Heritage Management • Historic Background Research • Site Stewardship Monitoring
Calendar Date: 1528 to 1540
min long: -82.388; min lat: 29.292 ; max long: -81.82; max lat: 29.541 ;