Archaeologists explore a rural field in Kansas, and a lost city emerges

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Professor Donald Blakeslee in one of the pits being excavated in Arkansas City, Kan. (David Kelly / For The Times)

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. [   ]

 

Source  Archaeologists explore a rural field in Kansas, and a lost city emerges

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