In 2015 archaeologist Donald Blakeslee was searching the Great Plains for what he believed was a lost Native American city. Four-centuries-old conquistador writings had given him the idea that this city existed. But he’d drawn a blank. Then a student, Adam Ziegler, heard a signal on his metal detector and uncovered a cannon ball. But was this the evidence Blakeslee had been seeking?
The city that Blakeslee had hoped to find was called Etzanoa. And, if it existed, it could blow beliefs about how the Great Plains Indians had lived out of the water. The generally held idea was that they had been nomadic, following the herds of wild buffalo. But Blakeslee believed that they had actually built large settlements on the city scale.
The basis for his beliefs was the writings of two Spanish conquistadors who visited what is now central Kansas, traveling north from modern-day Mexico and New Mexico. Of these, the first was Francisco Vazquez de Coronado. Like so many of the conquistadors, he was following vague tales about fabulous riches, principally gold.