Scientists have uncovered a thriving city in central Kansas field that’s at least 400 years old. Centuries ago, Spanish conquistadors came here searching for a city with streets that were paved with gold. Instead, they faced a fierce group of Native American warriors.

City of Gold

The Kansas region where the once-thriving city was discovered is an unassuming little place that hardly seems the type of town to harbor a centuries-old mystery. But underground, there are riches galore in the form of Native American artifacts that are beginning to paint a very clear picture of what life was like here when Spanish explorers came searching for a city they called Quivira.


Armed with newly-translated documents first penned by Spanish explorers 400 years ago, scientists believe they have pinpointed the city of Etzanoa, hunted by conquistadors in the 1500s. Archaeologists say it’s the second-largest Native American metropolis ever discovered, after Cahokia in Illinois.

Search for the City

Many others have tried to find the city, rumored to be filled with gold by early Spanish conquistadors. Francisco Vazquez de Coronado first traveled to Kansas in 1541. This led Juan de Onate here decades later in 1601. With him was a contingent of about 70 men, all hungering for gold.


Here, they met a tribe they dubbed the Escanxaques. The locals called their city Etzanoa. Onate and his men numbered 2,000 homes here surrounded by gardens full of corn, sunflowers and pumpkins. Before they could complete their survey, they were greeted by 1,500 warriors. Onate and his men fled, suffering heavy casualties, and never returned.


A century later when French explorers found the region, there was nothing left of the once-grand city that was home to thousands. After that, the city was lost to time…until now.


The site excavations that began in 1994 have unearthed thousands of relics. Archaeologists believe that around 20,000 people once lived here continuously for 200 years. Etzanoa was an impressive city, and the excavation site is full of incredible items. The found items include Native American arrowheads and Spanish cannonballs that whisper of the history that once happened here.

Some parts of the city are now open for tours, so the public can see what scientists have uncovered here firsthand.