Many people have dedicated their entire lives to learning all about the history of the world and everyone that once called this ball of rock and water “home.” With so many millions of years of history lying beneath the soil, it seems as though there will always be a new discovery to be found. Over the years, there have been some vast discoveries that have changed everything we know about history.
This world can be a fascinating place, right? After all, there can sometimes be the greatest discoveries lying right under our noses, just waiting to be found. Perhaps it’s no wonder the world is filled with people constantly looking to make the next greatest find, but these archaeologists couldn’t believe what they came across after excavating this field in Kansas. Could they be on to the next-best discovery?
It turns out they very well might be, because the lost city of Etzanoa has been found, and people from far and wide are coming to check it out.
Looking for clues
Over the years, there have been many great archeological discoveries. From artifacts to fossils and everything in between, what can seem insignificant at the time can soon turn into a huge history-altering fact. In fact, there are times discoveries are much more significant than anyone could have ever imagined – such as finding an entire lost civilization or city.
That would certainly get your names in the history books. For example, one particular dig started out simple, but archaeologists couldn’t believe what they found after excavating this field in Kansas.
Searching for greatness
Back in 2015, archaeologist Donald Blakeslee was determined to finally find an answer to his mission. Donald was searching in the Great Plains found in Arkansas City, Kansas where he was hoping to find an entire lost city. It was a big ask.
After all, could there be a whole civilization buried a few miles from the Oklahoma border that had gone unnoticed for so many years? Although he had high hopes, Donald was about to find something even greater.
One mention in time
The city in question was Etzanoa. However, there was only one mention of the city in history, all thanks to Juan de Oñate. However, the Spanish conquistador stumbled upon the civilization by accident. Juan had actually set off in search of Quivira.
The legendary town was also named the “City of Gold,” and Juan couldn’t wait to get his hands on the riches. It was on his journey that Juan and his men discovered the location of Etzanoa.
Juan and his troops weren’t alone. It wasn’t long before the men realized between 300 and 400 natives were approaching them. Thankfully, everyone made it clear they came in peace. Juan was quick to call the natives Rayados which translates to “striped ones.”
It’s thought the nickname came from striped tattoos and body paint the locals used to cover their bodies. Historians now believe the people Juan encountered were part of the Wichitas Native American tribe.
A whole new world
The Spanish wanted to show they came in peace, and it wasn’t long before the natives accepted the newcomers into their land. In fact, they were quick to bring the group to their city. Juan and the men were probably hoping the Rayados would show them to the City of Gold.
After all, they had traveled thousands of miles in the hopes of finding riches. Little did they know, but they were about to see something much more than they ever dreamed.
Sizing it up
Juan and his team soon realized they were about to step into an entirely new world. The city spread over thousands of acres, and Juan soon noted he thought it would take around three days to walk from one side to the other. No one of the Spanish could believe the size of the city or how many people were all living in Etzanoa.
The city was not only filled with people but also housed a variety of fields used to grow food for the population.
The landscape was both strange and beautiful to the Spanish. All they could see were around 2,000 beehive-shaped houses. Juan believed that each home was large enough to house at least ten people. If he was right, that means Etzanoa’s population would be around 20,000 people.
All of those people needed plenty of food to keep them going, and Juan soon stumbled across a variety of huts all used to keep their food safe. The population got bigger everywhere they looked.
Towering over the invaders
To top it off, the Rayados were all of a big build and incredibly muscular. It seemed as though all that work to build their city and maintain all the land gave them quite the workout, and the Spanish knew their hosts could easily overthrow them. However, Juan wanted to keep going; he had to find the City of Gold.
The tribe began to offer their guests corn cakes as a way to show they were willing to accommodate the newcomers. There were just so many of them.
Searching for miles
The Spanish remained in Etzanoa for a few days as they continued to explore all aspects of the city. They soon learned the Rayados was a large civilization capable of living off of the land and growing anything they needed to survive. However, Juan also noticed the building stretched for miles into the distance.
The group was wary of venturing too far into the city in case they upset their hosts. As they were so outnumbered, this was the last thing Juan wanted to do.
Heading for safety
It wasn’t long before some of Juan’s men grew nervous of their hosts and wanted to head back to safety. 100 troupe members all turned around and started to retrace their steps back to the south. They had to make it away from the Rayados before it was too late.
Could this have been an omen of what was to come? They were about to find out. It seemed as though the Spanish’s hosts grew upset their guests were leaving so early.
The reports seem to vary about the truth of what happened when Juan and his men tried to leave the city. Some state the Spanish were being held against their will and had to make a grand escape to safety. On the other hand, there are drawings and recordings that suggest the Spanish were keeping some of the natives captive.
It seemed as though either way the Rayados weren’t happy about the quick exit. They needed to stop their guests from escaping.
A sudden appearance
As the Spanish all banded together to leave, they were suddenly surrounded by more than 1,000 natives. The group were trapped in a rocky ravine meaning there was nowhere they could go. To top it off, the Spanish were completely outnumbered by the natives.
It looked as though they had suddenly outstayed their welcome, but they would have to think on their feet if they were going to make it out alive. There was only one thing to do.
Fighting them off
The small Spanish group knew they would have to fight, but they would have to be quick if they were going to outdo their attackers. They grabbed the only weapons they had, including some small pistols and miniature cannons.
The Spanish began to shoot at the Rayados, but the tribe had been living off of the land for many years. The Rayados were skilled in the ways of the world and knew how to outsmart Juan and his troops.
Fleeing to safety
Amazingly, Juan and the men were able to fight off the Rayados and were soon fleeing to the south. No one had any idea how they were able to take down so many people, but they were just thankful to be safe. Although the Spanish never found the City of Gold, they had been able to escape with their loves.
No one ever dared return to the city of Etzanoa. However, Juan documented their entire encounter in case anyone was brave enough to visit.
100 years passed, and French explorers were now keen to see if they could track down Etzanoa and, eventually, discover the City of Gold. The group located Juan’s map to use as a guide but were in for a surprise. They soon reached Etzanoa.
At least, they thought they had. It turned out the entire city and all of the tribe members were long gone. Historians believe Juan and the group brought in smallpox or another European disease and wiped out the Rayados until there was nothing left.
Translating the truth
Donald had spent many years of his life reading all about the city of Etzanoa and had done as much research as he could, but now this archeologist wanted to take his work to the next level; he wanted to uncover the city.
If he could find it, Donald would be able to prove that Juan was telling the truth all those years ago, even though no one else had ever seen Etzanoa with their own eyes. Thankfully, Donald translated Juan’s Spanish documents in 2013 to give him even more clues.
Holding out hope
Donald wasn’t new to the archeologist scene. In fact, he had been digging all around Kansas City for many years. The area is now famous for its rich Native American history. All of the culture in the area means Donald has been able to find hundreds of artifacts, including pots, weapons, and tools.
However, Etzanoa was on a whole new level. If the archeologist was right, Donald was about to unearth the largest pre-Columbian civilization ever found.
A budding, young hopeful
The team soon set to work looking for the city, but it seemed as though Donald was out of luck once more. Adam Ziegler, a 17-year-old freshman at high school, was one of the members of the team. While everyone else was ready to call it a day, Adam wanted to borrow Donald’s metal detector.
The youngster then spent the next two hours scanning the land looking for evidence. It was then the machine started to beep. Had Adam found the answer?
The smallest of clues
The team all rushed to Adam and began to dig into the ground. However, they didn’t have to work for long as the cause of the beep lay just four inches below the surface. It was a marble-sized ball. Although it looked insignificant, the ball was next to a horseshoe nail from a Spanish horse.
It had to be something. Donald soon took it back to the lab to analyze what it could be. It was only then he realized it was a tiny cannonball. Adam had just found the greatest discovery of them all.
Not only had Adam managed to find one of the smallest clues to the city of Etzanoa, but he had managed to locate the exact site where the Native Americans and the Spanish had fought their epic battle all those hundreds of years ago. Donald couldn’t believe his luck!
Now, he could show the world that Etzanoa existed as well as proving all his theories and Juan’s documents had been right all along. It was the greatest pay off this archeologist had been hoping for.
Traveling to trade
Donald has now opened up the land to the public where people from all around the world can enjoy tours of Etzanoa and even have a go at finding their own treasures. The archeologist hopes he will be able to teach the next generation about the lost city as well as continue to uncover many more great finds.
Thanks to his donation of land, Donald has now even been able to prove the Native Americans of the area would travel to trade, which totally disproved many previous theories.