ACMS visit Etzanoa site

Working to increase awareness of the work being done by the Etzanoa Conservancy, Cowley College ethics and philosophy instructor Meredith Mahoney recently treated Arkansas City Middle School students to a real archaeology dig.

Students explored a dig site at the middle school with grids and found architectural evidence. In the classroom students reconstructed artifacts and actually categorized actual Etzanoa artifacts.

Etzanoa is a historical Wichita city, located in present-day Arkansas City, Kansas, near the Arkansas River, that flourished between 1450 and 1700. In April 2017, the location of Etzanoa was finally discovered when a local teen found a cannonball linked to a battle near Ark City that took place in the year 1601. Local researchers used this artifact as evidence which enabled them to pinpoint the location of Etzanoa.

Dr. Donald Blakeslee, an archaeologist at Wichita State University, has led recent research on Etzanoa. In 2013, historians at the University of California, Berkeley, retranslated the early Spanish accounts of expeditions to Kansas. These clearer translations allowed Dr. Blakeslee to match written descriptions to archaeological sites.

Ann Headrick, Arkansas City Middle School Academic Coach, said summer Ark City Middle School students have promoted the work of the Etzanoa Conservancy by creating T-shirts, a Google tour, relief maps, brochures, websites and social media posts.

Headrick thanked Mahoney for her time and enthusiasm on this special project.

Mahoney was happy to see the students involved in real-life archaeology activities and to provide them the opportunity to visit the dig site of Dr. Blakeslee.

“I love working with this awesome group of teachers and students,” Mahoney said. “We want the students to understand the fundamentals of archaeology and why we are so organized and methodical. We also want them to understand the importance of teamwork.”

The students will conducted come and go presentations Wednesday on Etzanoa: The Great Settlement in the sixth-grade commons of the Arkansas City Middle School.

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