Fragments of cross erected by Spanish conquistador unearthed in Arkansas
Archaeologists have unearthed what they believe are the remains of a large wooden Christian cross that Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto placed atop a hill in 1541 in what is now Cross County, Arkansas.
|Jared Pebworth and Mike Evans uncover the charred post [Credit: TAC/Jessica Crawford]|
Jeffery Mitchem, the Parkin park site archaeologist for the Arkansas Archaeological Survey, said he will send a 2-foot chunk of cypress thought to have been used for the cross more than 500 years ago to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville next week for further testing.
Mitchem learned of the discovery of the potential cross in 1992 -- two years before he became the Parkin park's archaeologist -- and began his research, theorizing then that the wood was from de Soto's cross.
|Site archaeologist Jeffery Mitchem of the Arkansas Archaeological Survey points to the pattern of a posthole at the |
spot in Parkin Archaeological State Park where a team found a large wooden post in 1966
[Credit: TAC/Jessica Crawford]
According to four accounts of the journey written by de Soto's voyagers, de Soto ordered several of his men to cut a tall cypress tree and build a massive cross. On July 4, 1541, about 100 men raised the cross, according to the accounts.
The explorers only stayed in Casqui for two days before leaving. They returned again later that summer for another two days before heading to southeastern Arkansas. De Soto died in May of 1542.
|Bald cypress fragments from the post [Credit: TAC/Jessica Crawford]|
On Monday, survey archaeologist Tim Mulvilhill located the cross's spot, which was marked by UA archaeologists in 1966.
The team then found a section of wooden post Tuesday buried about 2 feet into the soil atop the park's largest mound. Much of the wood was rotted or burned.
Source: Fox News Latino [April 24, 2016]