took a road trip

got back from short road trip last night. i went to ark city near the kansas-oklahoma border on friday. i drove down the turn pike to el dorado. i took hwy 77 south from there. i had to get a room because the tour was saturday at 10. i didnt want to get up early, drive down then turn around and drive back. that would have been a 6 hour drive.

we met at the land rush museum south of where chilocco was. we watched a film to give us a historical background. we traveled in our own cars to the different areas of the tour. i took a picture with a wooden indian at the musuem. the picture on the top right is a valley where the etzanoa did their trading. they traded with tribes as far away as the pueblos.

the bottom left picture is where the chief had his house.  it was on the highest bluff and had a 360 degree view. the picture on the bottom right is called production mounds. for instance if they processed just buffalo at a mound they would bury the refuse and cover it. they would continue using the same mound for this and keep adding to it. this took place from the 1400s to the 1700s. that is why the mounds grew so big in size.

basically all we did was tour where the big settlement used to be. the settlement has been gone a long time.  people have been finding artifacts such as arrow heads, scrapers and pottery in this area since the 1800s. they knew a large indian population have lived here. there are two golf courses built on the land today. the rest is privately owned by the affluent of ark city.

the story of etzanoa is interesting enough that i wanted to go see it. a conquistador named juan de onate came up it back in the year 1601 in his search for the gold of the ‘seven cities of cibola’. the spanish captured the chief. the rest of the village fled. this allowed the spanish to inspect the town. they left soon after because they thought the indians would bring back reinforcements.

they found large circular houses made of cedar posts and tall prairie grass. each house would hold between 8 and 10 people. they counted 2000 houses and estimated 20 thousand lived in the settlement. they said it would take 2 days to walk the entire village.

the settlement was estimated to stretch 5 miles along both sides of the walnut river where it met the arkansas river. today scholars believe the town was actually larger than than and extended further. the bluffs had springs to provide water. there was fertile bottom land to grow corn, beans, squash and pumpkins. they also hunted. this enable them to live in the same land for such a long time.

the indians that lived in etzanoa were the ancestors of the wichita people. it would have been one of the largest cities in north america. perhaps the biggest. it wasnt too many years after the spanish came thru that the wichita tribe numbered around 500.

i want to go back when they are doing a dig.