Of all the places to discover a lost city, this pleasing little community seems an unlikely candidate. There are no vine-covered temples or impenetrable jungles here — just an old-fashioned downtown, a drug store that serves up root beer floats and rambling houses along shady brick lanes.
Yet there’s always been something — something just below the surface.
Locals have long scoured fields and river banks for arrowheads and bits of pottery, amassing huge collections. Then there were those murky tales of a sprawling city on the Great Plains and a chief who drank from a goblet of gold.
A few years ago, Donald Blakeslee, an anthropologist and archaeology professor at Wichita State University, began piecing things together. And what he’s found has spurred a rethinking of traditional views on the early settlement of the Midwest, while potentially filling a major gap in American history.
Using freshly translated documents written by the Spanish conquistadors more than 400 years ago and an array of high-tech equipment, Blakeslee located what he believes to be the lost city of Etzanoa, home to perhaps 20,000 people between 1450 and 1700.
They lived in thatched, beehive-shaped houses that ran for at least five miles along the bluffs and banks of the Walnut and Arkansas rivers. Blakeslee says the site is the second-largest ancient settlement in the country after Cahokia in Illinois. [ ]