Sleuth finds a lost Spanish settlement in Florida Panhandle

An amateur archaeologist has found evidence of a 1559 Spanish settlement on shores of Pensacola Bay. Experts say the find will provide an important window into the early Spanish colonial history in the modern-day United States.

Tom Garner stumbled upon broken shards of 16th Spanish pottery while investigating a vacant lot in October.

The find has made Garner something of a celebrity: his discovery is expected to yield crucial details about a doomed Spanish expedition led by Tristan de Luna that brought about a brief-lived settlement established in 1559 — six years before the Spanish reached St. Augustine on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Divers previously found remains of Luna’s fleet in Pensacola in the early 1990s.

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