A recent Los Angeles Times article pinpointing Etzanoa, which archaeologists say was one of the largest Native American settlements in the country 400 years ago, has created a lot of buzz in Arkansas City and other locations.
The LA Times story on the paper’s website is accompanied by a graphic showing the settlement along the banks of the Walnut and Arkansas rivers, where Arkansas City now sits. To read the story, visit http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-kansas-lost-city-20180819-htmlstory.html.
The story’s writer, LA Times special correspondent David Kelly, visited a dig site in a field in eastern Ark City in June.
The field school was led by Wichita State University anthropology professor and archaeologist Don Blakeslee.
Since the LA Times article appeared Aug. 19, it has gained national — and even international — attention.
And it has led to numerous calls to City Hall, the local museum, and the Arkansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau.
“We’ve received a number of calls from Kansas cities, different government officials, asking to see the site,” said City Manager Nick Hernandez.
“There’s a lot of interest out there.”
Public Information Officer Andrew Lawson said a Kansas State University professor is interested is designing an architectural curriculum around the site, perhaps even contributing free architectural services for the design of an eventual visitors center.
Pam Crain, the director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau who is quoted in Kelly’s article, said Aug. 23 that the story has “caused a lot of conversation in different places — it has created some buzz.”
Crain said she had received a call from a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism official in Topeka who is interested in promoting tours, which are available for people who want to see Etzanoa sites documented by Spanish conquistadors who came to Kansas in 1601.
Cherokee Strip Land Rush Museum has received numerous calls since the article appeared, said Sandy Randel, museum director and current coordinator of Etzanoa activities.
“It has been a busy week so far,” she said in an email Aug. 22. “We have had 2,000 hits on the website and over 200 requests for tours, volunteers, and additional information.”
Contacted by email, Kelly said he was surprised by the popularity of the article on the LA Times website.
“It was the most popular story since (Aug. 19), dropping briefly to second when (Paul) Manafort was found guilty, but then went back up,” he said. “So apparently there is a pent-up interest in conquistadors on the Plains out there. Or people are sick to death or reading about politics.”
This information was provided by Etzanoa Conservancy member Foss Farrar. Ark City Daily Bytes reporter Jeni McGee contributed to this story.