Archaeologist Ashley White has found artifacts on his property in Marion County, Florida, that strongly indicate that he has found the site of Potano, visited by De Soto in 1539. Temporal and cultural identification of the artifacts comes from the minting date of a Spanish coin found at the site, and the technological attributes of the chain mail (manufactured by methods that went out of favor by the 1600s). They also found a domesticated (European-introduced) pig jaw at the site, and glass beads found there are consistent with the date and cultural affiliation. I love it when dating can be done without expenive radiometric procedures, and I also love it when zooarchaeology can come to the rescue. Personally, I have been fascinated with the De Soto’s travels in what is now the U.S. for several years (especially the descriptions of the Yazoo area), and the more I learn about DeSoto, the weirder his life story seems to be. It wasn’t until 1997 that I learned he died in Arkansas and it wasn’t until 2003 (I’m just slow) that I realized that he also traveled to South America and was one of the first Europeans to interact with the Inca (whether you consider that to mean “Inca people,” “Inca empire,” or “Inca/King” — it works for any of the meanings of that word).
I am totally convinced by the evidence that this is a De Soto site, and here’s the clincher: Jerald Milanich is quoted saying:
There is absolutely no doubt that is a De Soto contact site, and I am 99.99 percent sure this is the town of Potano
For more links (text and some maps & photos):