Treasure Hunting in Ocala

By: Jodi Mailander Farrell

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Murano glass beads from Italy, chain mail from Spanish armor and the largest cache of medieval coins found in the American mainland to date are part of “New World Treasures: Artifacts from Hernando De Soto’s Florida Expedition” at the Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida, in Ocala.

Discovered in Marion County, the artifacts will be on display at the Appleton through Dec. 31, 2013, in conjunction with the statewide “Viva Florida 500” anniversary celebration.

The artifacts are from the oldest confirmed New World contact site in the United States of Conquistador De Soto’s journey through Ocala in August 1539. This was one of the earliest Royal Spanish expeditions to the New World.

The coins include rare King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella related coins, including a Spanish piece made in Spain between 1471 and 1474. Also included is pottery by the tribe of Potano Native Americans who encountered De Soto, with some of the pieces dating back to 850 B.C.

Appleton Museum of Art, 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala; 352-291-4455, 

www.AppletonMuseum.org. Admission is

$6 for adults; $4 for seniors 55 and up, and students 19 and over; $3 for youths ages 10-18; and free for members, CF students, children age 9 and under, and active military personnel and their immediate families.

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