Monday, January 11, 2010
de Soto Encampment
The 1539 Spanish expedition led by explorer Hernando de Soto spent its first winter in the tiny village of Anhaica, which for many years was thought to be located near Tallahassee. In 1987, it was confirmed by state archaeologist Calvin Jones’ chance discovery of 16th century Spanish artifacts at this site. He led a team of amateurs and professionals in an excavation which recovered more than 40,000 artifacts. The evidence included links of chain mail armor, copper coins, the iron tip of a crossbow bolt, Spanish olive jar shards, and glass trade beads. They also found the jaw bone of a pig. Pigs were not native to the New World and historical documents confirm that the expedition brought swine. These finds provided physical evidence of the 1539-40 winter encampment, the first confirmed de Soto site in North America. From this location, the de Soto expedition traveled northward and westward making the first European contact with many native societies. To read more about de Soto's history in Tallahassee go here.