But were there other Romans in the Americas long before Washington and the other forefathers, even long before Leif Ericson? Romeo Hristov, a former member of the Southern Methodist University faculty, wants us to think so. After being ignored for several years, he managed recently to get New Scientist magazine to publish his theories about a black terracotta head that was supposedly dug up in 1933 in the Toluca Valley northwest of Mexico City. Mr. Hristov maintains that it was buried sometime before 1510 (ten years before the Spanish arrived).
The head that Hristov has been studying appears to be authentic, but most established archeologists are, to say the least, very dubious about the provenance and the chain of custody of the head. Although Hristov acknowledges that it was lost for most of the time between being excavated and 1994 when he rediscovered it after searching Mexican museums, he and the few people he has convinced are certain that it is the same head and that it was excavated "professionally". As with most such claims, the onus of proof is on the theoretician.
An abstract of a Paper by Hristov is at http://www.unm.edu/~rhristov/project2.html
Read more about the head at http://www.andrewcollins.net/page/articles/romanbust.htm or at http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/calix.htm
PS: Cincinnatus was a victorious Roman military commander of the Republican period who in 458 BC walked away from the opportunity to seize power and returned to farming after leading Roman forces to victory. Washington knew the legend and consciously modeled his behavior on that of Cincinnatus. Sylla used his six legions to seize Rome in the late Republican period, apparently with the good faith intention of preserving Republican institutions, and thereby set the precedent that eventually destroyed the Republic.
Another PS: There have been other Roman finds in the Western Hemisphere, but none have really been properly documented. Orthodox Archeologists assume that the Roman stuff wasintroduced to the New World matrix sometime after Columbus -- and perhaps by the "discoverers" of the Roman artifacts. The responsibility for "proving" the authenticity of such finds is always with those who are trying to make unorthodox claims.