Sleuth finds a lost Spanish settlement in Florida Panhandle

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- Amateur archaeologist Tom Garner had time to kill and took a drive along the Florida Panhandle. Seeing a newly cleared lot, he poked about, hoping to find artifacts from the city's rich history dating back centuries to the Spanish explorers.

See Full Article

Garner stumbled upon some shards of 16th century Spanish pottery. The discovery has made him a celebrity in archaeological circles.

Experts have confirmed the find as the site of the long-lost settlement of a doomed 1559 Spanish expedition led by Tristan de Luna. The discovery bolsters Pensacola's claim as the first European settlement in the modern-day United States, six years before the Spanish reached St. Augustine on Florida's Atlantic seaboard.

The expedition was scuttled by a hurricane in September 1559, shortly after the fleet arrived in Pensacola. Five ships sank.

Archaeologists diving in Pensacola Bay found part of Luna's doomed fleet in the 1990s, including the anchor of one ship. But the exact site where Luna and 1,500 soldiers, Mexican Indians and Spanish settlers lived for about two years had eluded searchers until now.

Many believed Luna's settlement had washed away in storms or was entombed beneath centuries of development.

Archaeologists from the University of West Florida are now digging in the quaint, waterfront neighbourhood.

"This gives us a whole new window on early Spanish colonialism here in the United States," said John Worth, an associate professor of anthropology with the University of West Florida.

Luna's mandate from the Spanish king was to construct a village that would include a church, government house, town plaza and residential site. The archaeologists hope to find out how far the work progressed.

Had Luna succeeded in colonizing the northern Gulf Coast, it would have changed the history of North America, Worth said. A lasting Spanish foothold in the Panhandle could have checked later French influence on the region, he said.

Spaniard Pedro Menendez founded the first successful Spanish settlement at St. Augustine in 1565.

Cal Halbirt, city archaeologist for St. Augustine, said the discovery should add new understanding to Florida's colonial past. Meanwhile, St. Augustine proudly maintains its claim as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement city in the present-day U.S.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Mini, eight-legged 'monster' discovered lurking under Canadian Arctic sea ice

    Tech & Science CTV News
    A new species has been found paddling along the subsurface of the Arctic Ocean – a discovery that marks the first of its kind in Canada. Aurelie Delaforge, University of Manitoba PhD student at the Centre for Earth Observation Science, first stumbled upon a new form of Monstrilloida zooplankton in the icy waters of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, in 2014. Source
  • Spacewalking astronauts replacing blurry camera on robot arm

    Tech & Science CTV News
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Astronauts went spacewalking Friday to provide some necessary focus to the International Space Station's robot arm. The main job for commander Randy Bresnik and teacher-turned-astronaut Joe Acaba was to replace a blurry camera on the new robotic hand that was installed during a spacewalk two weeks ago. Source
  • Pollution causing more deaths worldwide than war or smoking: Lancet

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Increasing pollution worldwide is proving deadlier than war, natural disasters or smoking, according to a new report in the Lancet medical journal. Based largely on 2015 data from the Global Burden of Disease, the report estimates at least nine million premature deaths — 16 per cent of all deaths worldwide — were caused by diseases from toxic exposure. Source
  • Trojan horses are the most dangerous online threats of 2017

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Trojan horses alone account for 60 per cent of online threats recorded by Avira, with more than 788 million detections during the first eight months of 2017. Trojan horses are malicious programs that are disguised as useful or helpful programs to trick users into downloading them. Source
  • Viral smartphone game lets ordinary Chinese 'clap' for Chinese president

    Tech & Science CTV News
    BEIJING - Ordinary young Chinese may not have paid close attention to Xi Jinping's 3 1/2-hour speech this week, but they're happy to "applaud" the president in the newest viral phenomenon to sweep China's internet. Source
  • Soothing touch eases the pain of social rejection, study finds

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The soothing power of touch eases both physical pain and the sting of hurt feelings, say researchers — a finding that may be increasingly important in our social-media-driven world. When someone hurts an arm, they may brace and rub it to make it feel better. Source
  • Reports of cellphone trackers near Parliament Hill caused concern at Supreme Court, CRA: documents

    Tech & Science CBC News
    The Supreme Court of Canada and a senior executive with the Canada Revenue Agency anxiously reached out to Canada's communications spy agency for help after the CBC revealed cellphone tracking technology was being used near Parliament Hill, according to documents. Source
  • Researchers in Mexico search for vaquita porpoise

    Tech & Science CTV News
    MEXICO CITY - Researchers trying to catch and enclose the last survivors of the vaquita porpoise species captured a calf but released it because it was too young to survive without its mother. Mexico's Environment Department said veterinarians determined the calf was too young and experts said it was showing signs of stress after capture. Source
  • World pollution deadlier than wars, disasters, hunger: study

    Tech & Science CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- Environmental pollution -- from filthy air to contaminated water -- is killing more people every year than all war and violence in the world. More than smoking, hunger or natural disasters. More than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Source
  • Manipulating master? Dogs use facial expressions to convey emotions: study

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Your dog may be a master manipulator, deliberately making puppy eyes to pull at your heart strings, according to a study Thursday into a ploy many mutt owners have long suspected. The research suggests that dogs may be in control of their facial expressions, using them to communicate, researchers reported in the journal Scientific Reports. Source