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Founder's Day Features Special Archeology Programs

De Soto National Memorial

National Park News

For Immediate Release Contact: (941)792-0458 x107

?Traces of Our Past,? a special event that explores the history and archaeology of the Manatee River, will highlight De Soto National Memorial 58th anniversary

De Soto National Memorial Superintendent Charles E. Fenwick announced today that the site is presenting a day of special activities on March 11, 2006, to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the establishment of De Soto National Memorial as a unit of the National Park Service. The program will engage the public in an exploration of the dynamic and diverse history of the Manatee River and its surrounding communities.

Superintendent Fenwick said, ?We are very excited to bring to the public for the first time, the many forgotten voices of the past as well as our first public tours of the Tabby House ruins at De Soto.? Inspired by archeological testing of the Tabby House Ruins, one of the park?s historic resources, ?Traces of Our Past? will use a lecture, panel discussion, and archeological site tours to engage the public in a variety of programs which focus on the diverse history of the Manatee River in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a history which includes the slave as well as the slaveholder, the fisherman as well as the settler, the herder as well as the rancher, and people of British, Spanish, Cuban, Seminole, and African American descent.

?Traces of Our Past? is an educational program supported by the Florida Humanities Council, the nonprofit statewide program of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Partnering with De Soto National Memorial to present this program are New College of Florida, the state?s honors college, and Bradenton Front Porch Florida, a state initiative to revitalize some of Florida?s underserved and disadvantaged communities. Traces of Our Past programs for Saturday March 11th: 11:00 Dr. Canter Brown ? Florida A&M University ? Join historian Canter Brown as he tells the story of the region?s late eighteenth and early nineteenth century history. 1:00 National Park Service archeologist Margo Schwadron, M.A., will discuss the history and archeology of the Tabby House ruins. Dr. Uzi Baram, New College of Florida, will discuss the importance of archeology to learning more about the diverse histories of the Manatee River. 2:00 ? 4:00 Tabby House Ruins site tours ? Students from New College of Florida and park volunteers will lead tours along the park?s De Soto Expedition Trail to the Tabby House Ruins.

Additionally, National Park Rangers in historic costumes will present different aspects of De Soto?s expedition, including the Native American cultures they encountered and demonstrations of cavalry and weaponry. De Soto Expedition programs for Saturday March 11th: 10:00 Cavalry - Volunteer Heidi May will demonstrate why horses were de Soto?s greatest weapon. 10:30 De Soto: The Beginning - What brought de Soto to Florida and where did he land? 12:00 Words from a Woman Volunteer Elizabeth Neily tells the story of the women on de Soto?s expedition 3:30 The Legacy of the de Soto Expedition What are the de Soto Chronicles? Was the expedition a success?

De Soto National Memorial was established by Act of Congress on March 11, 1948, 16 U.S.C.? 450dd, as the only site commemorating the landing of Hernando de Soto in 1539 and his extraordinary four year, four thousand mile expedition through what is now the Southern United States.

De Soto National Memorial is located at the end of 75th Street NW in Bradenton, Florida. Entrance to the park is free, as are all activities. The Park is open from sunrise to sunset; the parking area closes at 5:00 p.m. Visit our web page at for more information.


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