A council circle at etzanoa? Multi-sensor drone survey at an ancestral Wichita settlement in southeastern Kansas
Laugier, Elise Jakoby
Hill, Austin Chad
Blakeslee, Donald J.
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Casana, J., Laugier, E., Hill, A., & Blakeslee, D. (2020). A Council Circle at Etzanoa? Multi-sensor Drone Survey at an Ancestral Wichita Settlement in Southeastern Kansas. American Antiquity, 85(4), 761-780
This article presents results of a multi-sensor drone survey at an ancestral Wichita archaeological site in southeastern Kansas, originally recorded in the 1930s and believed by some scholars to be the location of historical Etzanoa, a major settlement reportedly encountered by Spanish conquistador Juan de Onãte in 1601. We used high-resolution, drone-acquired thermal and multispectral (color and near-infrared) imagery, alongside publicly available lidar data and satellite imagery, to prospect for archaeological features across a relatively undisturbed 18 ha area of the site. Results reveal a feature that is best interpreted as the remains of a large, circular earthwork, similar to so-called council circles documented at five other contemporary sites of the Great Bend aspect cultural assemblage. We also located several features that may be remains of house basins, the size and configuration of which conform with historical evidence. These findings point to major investment in the construction of large-scale ritual, elite, or defensive structures, lending support to the interpretation of the cluster of Great Bend aspect sites in the lower Walnut River as a single, sprawling population center, as well as demonstrating the potential for thermal and multispectral surveys to reveal archaeological landscape features in the Great Plains and beyond.
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