Friday, July 17, 2009

Debunking Donald Sheppard

Donald Sheppard's Where Conquistadors went in North America Is the most extensive De Soto site on the web, with its many pages, and mirror site servers (at least 4 that I’ve detected), which tend to fill search engines crowding out other sites. Also, while it does give an excellent account of the four year-four thousand mile journey of the expedition its route re-construction is not at all accepted by most scholars and seems to have established itself in the explorer's Wikipedia entry as well. Charles Hudson’s route is controversial enough, this site ignores Hudson’s and compares itself to Swanton's 1939 reconstruction. Though I am quite skeptical about Shepard's conclusions, I've also been content to let the academics argue this one out. However I have noticed an unfortunate number of grade school sites using this site almost exclusively, and tending to mimic its claims.

Probably because of this quote
'One internet link site proprietor sarcastically classified the Sheppard pages as "Alternate History", but at this point we move into the realm of outright fantasy.' ; the first site I found debunking Sheppard's theories was William Saunders'


Another, more recent site along the same lines, but not quite as humorous is here.

Debunking Donald Sheppard's Hernando de Soto Trail Hypothesis: Errors Revealed

1 comment:

  1. You aren't even allowed or authorized to honor, preserve and protect the very reason for your own national memorial's existence. How can you sit here and bad mouth Donald Sheppard for proposing his own theories on this lost trail? No, the state of Florida has to pretend your history never happened at the same time you keep on commemorating it did just because of where your namesake stepped foot perhaps. Not necessarily on the same path as your long standing Florida Traditions. But, these so called knowledgeable experts sent Mike Leverette death threats just for publishing his own De Soto 1539 landing theory in your Florida Scientific Journal called the Soto States Anthropologist back in 1990. So how is it you fail to stand up for your own heritage when it was discovered in Saint Augustine of all places? Yes, you've fallen for Hudson and Milanich hook, line and sinker even to the point of having to pillage and plunder Florida's own once perfect examples of early 16th century contact after it was revealed what they really were. The real life historical figure you call Hernando de Soto is not even welcomed at his own memorial. Can you please explain the reasons why? I read your vision, mission and core values in that Foundation Document Overview put out by the NPS and nowhere in there does it say to rape, pillage and plunder your own past if and when the state of Florida doesn't like where it was found or who discovered it. You never gave the Sheppard Theory a chance either. Not even when the archaeological evidence to support it was being unceremoniously dumped down an EPA super fund repository at the same time people were trying to have it included on our national historic register. Maybe someday you will stop pretending and give your past a chance to be seen and heard. Or must you forever have to bury your heads in the sand as far as historical truth is concerned and just go by somebody's own opinion yourselves? Dr. Glowacki your state archaeologist can park her desk on top of De Soto's 1539 First Winter Encampment but am I to believe she cannot even recognize the historical significance of this same date in time and the name Soto that goes with it while holding it in the palm of her own hand for over 8 years now? Maybe we need to debunk the vision, mission and core values of the NPS and the state of Florida combined, because it doesn't make any logical historical sense at all and never will until you realize just who you are and what you represent. Thank you.