Villasur Massacre
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  1. #1
    Jun 2011
    Teknetics Delta 4000
    2 times

    Villasur Massacre

    Kind of an interesting article, been meaning to detect around this area but haven't had time yet.

    Villasur massacre gets a new look

    Villasur massacre gets a new look

    By Eric Freeman | Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011 8:45 am
    The number of people in the 1720 Spanish expedition to Nebraska and the date and location of where and when the massacre took place are still fiercely debated nearly 300 years after the event.
    Known as the Villasur Massacre, it is believed to have taken place about three miles south and east of the confluence of the Loup and Platte rivers.
    The latest expedition for hard evidence of the massacre was led by Ben Bilgri, a second-year anthropology student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Saturday morning.
    The search for Villasur artifacts took place on the Butler County property of John Woerth located on the south side of the river, south and east of Tail Race Park.
    This search area was located east of previous attempts to find Villasur artifacts and included two sites to be searched with metal detectors.
    The expedition was not exactly an "Indiana Jones" adventure, but Bilgri's basis for the search in that particular location is new.
    Bilgri's thesis states that previous expeditions have not taken into account the changes and evolution of the rivers since the 1720 massacre.
    Bilgri's premise is that the location of the confluence of the Loup and Platte in 1720 was just more than two miles farther east than it is today.
    He calculates this change in the river based on plat maps dating from 1855 and said he believes irrigation, which began in the early 1900s, has changed and diverted the course of the rivers over that time.
    "Joeckel and Henebry emphasize that much of the evolution of the lower Platte River is due to the volume of water which has been diverted away for irrigation after settlement of the area began," Bilgri said. "The land form marking of the 1855 confluence is clearly visible in modern aerial photos."
    Saturday's expedition began with a conference and debate of the historical facts of the massacre and a brief overview of the logistics of the search.
    Once at the site, nearly a dozen historical society members and amateur and professional archaeologists began scanning the area with metal detectors.
    The search was for iron or metal artifacts from the massacre that could be found within the top 12-inches of soil.
    The process involved scanning the area and setting flags at points that registered a possible artifact.
    A second team then came through to dig out the objects that registered on the metal detectors.
    The clump of earth identified was pulled up, divided, scanned and divided and scanned again and again until finally the object was uncovered.
    Although no artifacts from the 1720 Villasur Massacre were discovered, several interesting finds were unearthed.
    From the first location in the morning, several bits of wire, a civil war era square-cut nail, a 1972 coin and a pressed sheet metal skillet, circa 1912, were unearthed.
    Later in the day, a second search area uncovered a 1939 license plate, several tin cans and many other items that indicated the area had been used as a dump site by property owners through the last century.
    "I think it went very well," Bilgri said. We were able to cover the area we had in mind very well. The second area was a bonus even though we didn't find anything from the period, we did find several historical items."
    Bilgri said if there are Villasur artifacts in the area they've been buried too deep for detection of current-day equipment by the action of water over and in the area during the past 300 years."
    A detailed version of the story of the Villasur Massacre and a reprint of the skin painting depicting the massacre is on display at the Columbus Public Library. The original painting is believed to have been painted by a survivor of the massacre on three large buffalo hides.
    It is on display at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, N.M.
    The Platte County Historical Society Museum will host Bilgri's presentation of his research and the findings of the expedition at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 3 at the museum, 2916 16th Street.
    Admission is $3 for non-members and free to historical society members.

  2. #2
    It's dangerous to be right when those with a thimbleful of perceived authority are wrong.

    Mar 2012
    White's MXT, DFX, GMT and Fisher F5
    135 times
    Metal Detecting
    Good article. I had no idea there were any non natives in Nebraska at that early of a date.
    If your first thought is "What is it worth", sell your detector and get a JOB.
    Stop "American Digger" and "Diggers" while you can still HUNT.

  3. #3

    May 2005
    52 times

    Things sure could get lost in an old river bend; any trace could be under
    a lot of ground.

    Old riverboats on the Mississippi are always turning up in some farmers
    field, far far far from where they were thought to be, or where the river
    was thought to be.

    Again, thanks for posting; interesting.

    have a good un.....
    In the academies many books, at the circus many sacks of peanuts, at the club rooms many cigar butts.

  4. #4
    Jun 2011
    Teknetics Delta 4000
    2 times
    Next time I have a day off from work I plan on heading out there. I was out there about 10 years ago before I had a detector and found a bunch of old fossils which was pretty cool. My neighbor told me a teacher found an old battle helmet a few summers ago, not sure if that's true or not but I believe it. I'll post some pics if I find anything worthwhile



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