Archeologists in New Mexico have found the remains of a site where the Spanish explorer Coronado may have camped in the 16th century during one of his searches for El Dorado, the legendary city of gold.
Although hundreds of Indian archeological sites are known from the state, this is said to be the first old, non-Indian campsite found in New Mexico.
Among the artifacts recovered were seven iron horseshoe nails, a sewing needle, a piece of metal from a horse's harness, burnt beans and corn kernels, several unidentified pieces of animal bones and fragments of pottery of a type that was made and used by Spaniards in the 1500s and early 1600s.
According to Brad Vierra, staff archeologist at the state's Museum of New Mexico, who has just completed an excavation of the site, the Indians of the time had neither horses nor iron.
Coronado, whose full name was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, is known to have traveled much of the Southwest in the 16th century on exploring and colonizing expeditions from Mexico, sometimes taking parties of several hundred people. He is believed to have traveled through New Mexico near the site, about 20 miles north of Albuquerque.
The site was discovered by workmen widening a road. Their bulldozers exposed a layer dotted with charcoal-stained spots that appear to be the remains of campfires. The archeologists were called in and found the artifacts.