Wednesday, November 2, 2011
"Stunning" Jewelry Find Redraws Route? Conquistador Was A Deep U.S.
Under a former Native American village in Georgia, basically what is now the United States, say the archaeologists have found 16 century jewelry and other objects in Spanish.
The discovery suggests that an expedition led by the conquistador Hernando de Soto ventured far from his course, which took the men suspected of Florida, Missouri, and participated in the ceremonies in a thatched roof pyramid-shaped temple.
(Related: "The proof of Spain's 16th century Fort in Appalachia?")
This discovery could redraw the map of de Soto March 1539-1541 in North America, where he hoped to repeat Spain overthrow of the Inca Empire in South America. There, the conqueror had served on the side of the head of Francisco Pizarro.
Five centuries and a continent away, a search organized by Atlanta Fernbank Museum of Natural History found buried glass beads, iron tools and copper and silver jewelry dating from the mid 1500-century. The South Georgia based on the location, where they had been looking for a 17th century Spanish mission was called the site glass.
"For a South Indian 500 years, things like glass beads and iron tools could have been the iPhone," said project leader Dennis Blanton, an archaeologist who until recently was an independent archaeologist Fernbank staff.
"These were things that were just fantastic for them. They were made of materials that were unknown and were at times brilliant blue and red colors were unrivaled language of the world."
Blanton asked to find a "surprise". Before the discovery, it was generally accepted that de Soto and his men had crossed a river about 100 miles (160 kilometers) upstream of the site, but archaeologists did not suspect that the expedition had ventured so far south and east.
The Treasure of the objects, which could fit in a shoebox - is the largest collection of early 16th century artifacts found in Spanish in the United States outside of Florida, according to Blanton, whose work was funded in part by the Committee of the National Geographic Society Research and Exploration. (The company owns National Geographic News.)
Quid Pro Quo?
Archaeology Excavation team Blanton suggests a large building with a thatched roof pyramid once stood on the site glass. The structure was surrounded by a ditch, contained a large central fireplace, and perhaps served as an important ceremonial center or temple.
The concentration of Spanish artifacts of glass rather suggests de Soto may have participated in a ceremonial exchange of gifts with the principal and other leaders of the city. We do not know what the Spaniards would have received in return, but they frequently asked for food, information, free passage, baggage carriers, and perhaps female company, Blanton said.
By comparing the archaeological evidence in the newspaper accounts of the Spanish party, think Blanton and Glass site team was an important village in a province governed by the Indians Ichise. The team also believes that de Soto and his men were made between March 30 and April 2, 1540, according to newspapers.
The Man Who Fell to Earth
De Soto party consisted of over 600 men and hundreds of pigs and horses, animals that many Indians had never seen before.
"There are accounts in Chronicles of the way the Indians initially thought the men assembled to form a single being," said Blanton.
To encourage cooperation between the Indians and avoid conflict, sometimes, Soto said he was a god.
"De Soto took advantage of the fact that the Indians worshiped the sun and even Ichise claimed descent from there," said Blanton.
In 1540, the voices of the "alien people" had already spread to the south-east of the North American Indians, the Indians, but few would have faced a European in the flesh, he said.
"A meeting of Soto would have been for most if not all of the people on the site of Glass a totally new experience and perhaps sensational," said Blanton.
The fact that there is no evidence of mass murder or vandalism at the site of Glass suggests Soto and his men were well treated during their stay, he added. And in fact, Spanish log records say that the Spaniards were provided with food and hospitality to a suspect Ichise Village Blanton was Glass-site habitat.
This is not always true.
"The native Spaniards often treated very badly, and when the locals did not agree to their demands, de Soto, a local leader is usually taken as a hostage until he got in," said Jeffrey Mitchem, de Soto , a researcher at the Arkansas Archaeological Survey, which was not involved in the discoveries.
"In general, their demands for food and the young women wore Welcome very fast," said Mitchem, "as the natives were almost always try to make them as quickly as possible."
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