Romans in Tucson
Artifacts were found nearly 80 years ago that suggested an ancient Roman settlement in Tucson. The first artifacts were found September 1924 by Charles Manier and Thomas Bent, sticking from a wash bed eight miles north of Tucson. These artifacts included lead alloy crosses, swords and other items inscribed with phrases and dates ranging from 760 A.D. to 900 A.D. The number of objects found eventually totaled 32. Some of the Latin inscriptions on these artifacts were translated as telling the tale of an 8th century battle between a settlement of Roman Jews and Native Americans described as “Toltezus”, the predecessors of the Aztec. There was a controversy on whether or not the objects were really ancient. The items were displayed in the Arizona State Museum in 1929. Researchers in the decades following this discovery consider the items forgeries. These artifacts disappeared but later were found to be in the possession of Thomas Bent. The artifacts were then donated to the Arizona Historical Society. These artifacts are not on display at the Arizona Historical Society.
“Roman find may spark new debate.” Tucson Citizen. January 4, 2003. Page B1.