Mysterious Indian battle is "holy grail" of Alabama digs

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It's out there. Somewhere underneath cat claw briars or mud flats or even modern subdivision tracts, there are shards of Spanish metal, burned clay and a palisaded wall waiting to be found, which could answer one of the South's famous mysteries: Where is Mauvilla?

Historians gleaning descriptions from written accounts of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto's expedition across the South say the earliest and bloodiest battle between Europeans and Indians happened at Mauvilla, a fortified village that researchers spell a variety of other ways, including Mabila and Mavila.

It sat between two rivers, likely in Alabama. The accounts describe the landscape, the village, the daylong battle and the weeks of recovery the Spanish spent there after Mauvilla burned to the ground.

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