Archeologist may have found Hernando de Soto's cross in Region 8

Pieces of DeSoto's cross found

PARKIN, AR (KAIT) - A state park in Region 8 discovered an artifact that is likely to bring history buffs from all across America to our area.

Archeologists from Parkin Archeological State Park have discovered what they believe is the original post from a cross that Hernando de Soto put up at Casqui in 1541.

An artist drew a picture years ago to depict how the cross was constructed in the village.

Now, archeologist say they have found the cross's post.

Parts of the post were discovered 50 years ago and since then, they have been investigating the area to find any other parts of the post.

The park received grant money that allowed workers to find a piece of the post they believe will confirm the cross's origin.

Research Archeological Specialist Jeffrey Mitchem told Region 8 News what he was thinking when they discovered the remainder of the post.

"Looking down at this thing, you know it is sort of a mixture of emotions," Mitchem said. "On the one hand you're standing there thinking wow this is actually the thing I've read about all these years."

Mitchem says the next step in the process is to get a tree ring date for the post to determine how old the wood is, which will help them prove its origin.

If this is original post, employees expect to see a growth in visitors.

Mitchem said Casqui is said to be the first documented interaction between Europeans and native Arkansans.

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