The Lost City In Kansas That Still Baffles Archaeologists To This Day
In modern times, it can feel like there aren’t many things that still remain mysteries. The average person has access to more information on their cell phone than even the most knowledgeable scientists of a century ago. If you’ve got a question, you can ask Google, Siri, or Alexa and get a response within seconds. One field of study that does manage to still retain some element of the unknown is archaeology, and we’ve got plenty of great archaeological finds in Kansas. Our region has had residents for thousands of years, with an extensive Native American history in Kansas. You can even come across ancient arrowheads and fossils while out walking amongst our plains! One of the most intriguing archaeological finds in Kansas is the lost city of Etzanoa, Kansas. This place is fascinating and there is still so much that is unknown!
Check out this drone footage of an archaeological dig site at Etzanoa:
There will hopefully one day be a visitor’s center in the location of Etzanoa, but for now, you can learn more from the Etzanoa Conservancy website.
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etzanoa lost city
- What – and where – was the lost city of Etzanoa Kansas?
Etzanoa was a historical city of the Wichita people located around what is now present-day Arkansas City. Its strongest decades were between 1450 and 1700 and its population might have been as high as 20,000 people at its peak. Spanish travelers and traders referred to the settlement as “The Great Settlement” thanks to its size, and in 1601 there was a great battle here. A local teenager happened to find an old cannonball in Arkansas City that, long story short, eventually ended up helping pinpoint the exact location of Etzanoa.
- Are there any other lost cities in Kansas?
Though there are hundreds of ghost towns in Kansas, there is only one “lost city,” and that’s Etzanoa! However, if you’re interested in some “lost towns” (ie, ghost towns), some of the most interesting ghost towns in Kansas are ones like:
- Diamond Springs – Once a popular travel stop along the Santa Fe Trail, this town was attacked by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. It didn’t last for long after.
- Dunlap – This town was once a beloved place for freed slaves to get their lives back together. It was established by Joseph Dunlap, an agent for the Kanza Tribe.
- LeHunt – This town may or may not be haunted thanks to a tragic work accident a long, long time ago. We don’t know if this is true or not, but the town itself is a thing of the past.
- Elmdale – This town was at its best in the early 1900s. Following catastrophic flooding, most residents left. Today, Elmdale might have a few stragglers, but overall, it’s an official ghost town.
Learn more about all of these lost towns in Kansas, plus a few more.
- What's some of the Native American history in Kansas?
Over the centuries, there have been five main tribes once called the “Five Civilized Tribes” that called Kansas home, plus many more traveling or nomadic tribes that have briefly called it home for a time or two. The Five Civilized Tribes were:
- The Cherokee
- The Chickasaw
- The Choctaw
- The Creek
- The Seminole
Nowadays, there are four Federally recognized tribes in Kansas, and these are the Kickapoo, the Ioway, the Prairie Band Potawatomi, and Sac and Fox Nation. Learn more about the Native tribes of Kansas!