Site of Oldest European Settlement in US Confirmed

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tags: archaeology, Luna settlement, Don Tristan de Luna



Thumbnail Image - Assorted pottery sherds originally found on the surface of the Luna settlement, including Spanish olive jar, lead glazed coarse earthenware, majolica, incised and plan Native American pottery. University of West Florida

The site of a Spanish colony established by Don Tristan de Luna in August of 1559 has been confirmed to be in Pensacola, Florida. 

The oldest European multi-year settlement of its kind, the Luna colony was founded more than half a decade before St. Augustine and almost half a century before Jamestown, Virginia became the first major English colony to be established in the New World. While the exact location of the site has been kept under wraps to ensure that the archaeological find remains intact – and the neighborhood in which it resides is relatively undisturbed – officials say that the downtown urban site is in view of a pair of Luna expedition ships that sank in Pensacola Bay.

Originally discovered by Tom Garner, a local historian, in October of this year, the site and its identity were confirmed by archaeologists from the University of West Florida (UWF). Historian of the sixteenth century and associate UWF historical archaeology professor John Worth remarked in an interview with the Pensacola News Journal that the find was akin to a “once-in-a-lifetime” event. While the archaeologist had always believed that one day the Luna colony would be found – most likely by accident – he had no expectations that such an event would unfold during his tenure at the university.




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