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Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Dr. Donald Blakeslee presents more information of the Etzanoa tribe.by Amber Countryman, Sumner Newscow —  At one time, a Native American civilization, with about 20,000 residents of the ancient Wichita tribe, was laid out in a settlement in and around Arkansas City. The large settlement was named Etzanoa, and was referred to as the Great Settlement. The Wichita tribe are the ancestors of the Quivirans, who resided at Etzanoa.Dr. Donald J. Blakeslee, longtime professor of anthropology and archaeology at Wichita State University, who specializes in archaeology of the Great Plains, presented “Etzanoa: The Great Settlement in Southern Quivira” at a recent Sumner County Historical Society meeting at the Raymond Frye Complex.In May 2018, a new interpretation of Spanish records concerning the settlement was published, thus allowing Blakeslee to pinpoint the exact location of Etzanoa. Today, his investigations in the field of the Great Settlement continue.Pottery found on the Etzanoa dig provides more evidence of the ancient civilization near Ark City.In 1541, Francisco Vazquez de Coronado was the first of two explorers to come to what is now Kansas. He encountered the Wichita tribe in a cluster of settlements that he called Quivira, along the great bend of the Arkansas River in central Kansas. He referred to the natives as “Quivirans,” and he and his men stayed with them a little less than a month, but found no gold. He also made many expeditions throughout what is now New Mexico and California.Juan de Onate, a lesser known Spanish explorer, who founded the colony of New Mexico, followed Coronado’s expedition 60 years later. Spanish conquistadors discovered the Great Settlement in 1601, while on an expedition hoping to find rich farm lands, precious minerals and the fabled Seven Cities of Gold, including Cibola. Onate left the pueblo of San Gabriel, which is now Santa Fe with 70 soldiers, many servants and livestock on June 21, 1601.Onate and his men came across a nomadic nation they named the Escanjaques, with about 6,000 members to the tribe. The Escanjaques had enemies to the north, the Quivirans, so told Onate they had attacked and destroyed his previous party and were holding a Spaniard captive. The tribe offered to join the Spaniards to be allies to make war against the group the Spaniards called “Rayados,” which means striped in Spanish, referring to their custom of painting or tattooing their faces and bodies.After the group first saw the settlement to the north from a hill across the river, the Quivirans were shocked to see some of their Escanjaque enemies with the Spanish explorers. The Quivirans poised to go to war, due to the presence of their enemy. Onate signaled to the natives that they were coming in peace. The Quivirans also used sign language to indicate that they also wished for peace.Onate and his men were followed by about 700 Escanjaque warriors hoping that the Spaniards would attack the settlement. Onate and his men held the Quivira chief and others as hostage. When the peaceful tribe of Etzanoa saw this, they ran from their homes to the north.This pit was found during an Etzanoa dig.A war ensued between the 700 Escanjaques and 70 Spaniards, who were armed and ready with muskets using round lead bullets and cannons shooting iron balls, which provided the greatly outnumbered group with protection. A three hour battle occurred with many Escanjaques being killed or injured, and Spaniards only injuries, but no deaths. Being outnumbered didn’t prevent them from winning the war.“I have been trying to track Spanish descriptions of the town,” Blakeslee said.During a dig held this summer, many more discoveries and artifacts were found. Using a magnetometer, it picks up eight soils, and lets the user know when iron is discovered.“Big clusters of pits and fire places were shown on magnetometry,” Blakeslee said. “It gives very similar results to an electromagnetic conductivity meter. Set up with three separate sensors and a broadcasting device, it sends a magnetic pulse into the soil, giving particular depth where you can slice the soil.”While digging down in trenches, Blakeslee said, you have to excavate carefully.“We found some interesting stuff in them,” Blakeslee said. “A pit was found July 19 of this year, three feet at the top, five feet at the bottom, and four feet deep. It was originally used for food storage. When the food went bad, it was filled with trash. We found pieces of pottery here and there, and subsoil thrown in.”They recorded their find using a laser scanner, which is something that the criminal justice system uses. It shines a laser in very rapid pulses, moves around and records what it can see, only it can’t see directly below.“There are only three in the country who have these devices,” Blakeslee said.On the last day of the dig, they set up a new scanner to have it measure.“You press the button and walk away,” Blakeslee said. “It measures in two million points, one million points twice, and takes 26 seconds to scan everything it can see. It takes a million records, then does it again, so you get rid of idiot effects. It compares distances, and if there is a significant distance, it takes a further distance. If there is a discrepancy, it corrects it immediately.”In one pit, they found a bone tool, stone tool, pieces of pottery and an anvil stone. The discovered artifacts will eventually be on display in Ark City.“Etzanoa goes up the Walnut River from Arkansas City to Winfield,” Blakeslee said.With help from a group of institutions working together, including historical societies, towns, cities, and the Wichita Tribe, there are hopes that this will draw more tourists to Kansas.Follow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter.last_img