Cahokia-Moundville-Etowah Artifacts Unearthed at Mayan site in Mexico

Over the past year there has been much debate about the possible presence of Maya in America, specifically in Georgia. Certain academics were quite vocal in their opposition to this idea stating emphatically that there was “no evidence” of a Maya presence in Georgia. So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this article from the magazine Archaeology dated to 2010. It clearly states that pottery from the Etowah site in Georgia had been found at the Mayan site of Tamtoc in Mexico. So why all the denials by academics over the past year that there is “no evidence” of a Mayan presence in Georgia? Were they unaware of this major research article in Archaeology magazine? Unlikely.

Furthermore, are we to believe that the inhabitants of Etowah went south but no Maya came north? The article below suggests just this sort of sillyness. The mental gymnastics academics will go through to avoid having the Maya in America is astounding as if there was some type of force field on the Rio Grande River that prevented people a thousand years ago from crossing it. But if this was a trade relationship then the influence likely went back and forth not just in one direction. Read an excerpt below from the Archaeology article to learn about the evidence of artifacts from Etowah (as well as Cahokia and Moundville) at the Mayan site of Tamtoc in northeastern Mexico:

This view looks eastward from the top of one of the long mounds above Tamtoc’s ceremonial plaza. The large ritual mound Cerro del Cubilete is on the left. (Courtesy Tom Gidwitz)

Tamtoc

by Tom Gidwitz

These projectile points, unearthed at Tamtoc, share a style common to points from the Mississippian culture that was prominent in what is now the Southeastern, Eastern and Midwest United States. (Courtesy Patricio Davila and Diana Zaragoza)

For decades, archaeologists have theorized that North America’s Late Woodland and Mississippian cultures drew inspiration from the Huasteca, but Davila and Zaragoza’s excavations at Tamtoc in the 1990s convinced them that cultural influence, and perhaps actual migration, spread from north to south. They unearthed objects that seemed to come from the American Southeast in about A.D. 900—a fragment of a sheet of hammered copper, a pointed metal hand tool, a piece of engraved shell, a cache of a dozen whole and twenty fragmented Cahokia projectile points, and pottery that could have come from sites to the north such as Etowah, and Moundville. When they dug into a terrace beside the site’s western mound, they found that, like the mounds at Cahokia, it had been piled up layer-by-layer in basket-sized loads, with dirt from pits that became the lagoons around the site.

“We dug and dug and dug,” says Davila, “but I understood nothing.” Then he read Garcilaso de la Vega’s La Florida del Inca, an account of the 1539 Hernando de Soto expedition to the Southeast. It describes huge Indian trade and war canoes that plied the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the rivers of the Southeast. “We think there was a migration by sea,” says Davila.

Scholars have long recognized that both the Southeast and Huasteca had towns with artificial lagoons and platform mounds with thatched structures on top, engraved shell jewelry, imagery of feathered dancers, stone pipes, and ghostly pots that represent the dead with closed eyes, open mouths, and filed teeth. They have theorized that the cultural influence flowed from Mesoamerica northward, but the Tamtoc artifacts, other mounds in the Huasteca, and the region’s incised shell gorgets, post-date their earliest North American counterparts.

University of South Florida archaeologist Nancy White says that major cultural influences, as well as people, may well have traveled north to south. “We know other things may have moved from North to South America, things that may be considered less important or equally important, like tobacco.” The Mississippian motifs of the Late Prehistoric period that appear in the Huasteca do indicate that “at this late time people were probably moving around and sharing these ideas, but just a few things.” In the field, Martínez and Córdova want to see for themselves.

Read the full article here: http://www.huasteca.tomgidwitz.com/html/tamtoc.html

Moundville Aerial Video

Chickasaw.tv, the Chickasaw Nation’s online video network, has produced an amazing video featuring the Moundville site in Alabama. The video features aerial flyovers of the Moundville site revealing its true majesty. The site notes,

Moundville was a preeminent ancient center of mound culture on the Black Warrior River, just west of present-day Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It was second in size only to Cahokia. Today the Archaeological Park features about 30 pristine, well-preserved mounds and the remarkable new Moundville Museum.

You can view the video here: http://m.chickasaw.tv/?video=8

Moundville Native American Festival Celebrates Ancient Culture

Ancient rulers and thousands of their subjects thrived in a city behind huge wooden walls that once surrounded the Moundville site. These prehistoric Native Americans farmed, hunted and fished. Their society recognized nobles by birth and praised the feats of great artists, warriors and holy people. Each year, descendants of this vibrant culture return, celebrating the South’s rich Indian heritage at the Moundville Native American Festival.

Repeatedly named one of Alabama’s Top 20 Tourism Events, the award winning Moundville Native American Festival is always slated for Wednesday through Saturday during the first full week of October. Located at The University of Alabama’s Moundville Archaeological Park, performers, artists, craftspeople and tradition bearers entertain and educate visitors about the rich culture and heritage that makes Southeastern Indians unique.

Portal to the Past

Visit the newly renovated Jones Archaeological Museum! State-of-the-art exhibits tell a story of the nobility who once lived at Moundville. Stunning artifacts, recreated scenery and a special effects theatre are all part of the new displays. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Knotted Bird Gifts and The Black Warrior Coffee Company.

Art of the Craft

See pottery being pit fired or learn how Choctaws make rivercane baskets in the festival’s Arts and Crafts Arbors. See fire kindled by friction or talk with a world-class bowman as he carves wooden longbow. Native Americans and other experts demonstrate these and many other arts, crafts and technologies during the entire festival.

Bull’s Eye!

Watch experts shoot the bow and arrow or throw a spear 50 yards with the help of a stick. See how a hollow piece of cane can be used to blow a deadly dart at the festival’s Target Range.

Hands-On

Kids of all ages get firsthand experience in playing native games and making simple crafts in the Children’s Area. Play the ancient game of stickball, dress up like Southeastern Indians or throw an Indian football. Make a shell bead necklace or try your hand at Indian Twister. There’s fun for the whole family.

Dig Deep

Visit the Archaeology in Action station to find out how scientists excavate and discover new things about the ancient Moundville people. Tour guides, stationed at Mound B, one of North America’s tallest earthen mounds, and at other strategic spots around the site reveal what we know about Moundville as well as researcher’s latest findings.

Rhythm of Life

The Native American Stage features renowned dancers, storytellers and musicians. Hear the heartbeat of native music as the drum pounds or the rattles shake. Find out why certain animals look or act the way they do. Listen to voices blended in haunting harmony or a flute sighing as it remembers the wind.

See the Point

Knapper’s Corner hosts stone toolmakers from around the country. Making spear and arrow points from rocks that break like glass, these artists reproduce ancient works as well as creating new works of art. See craftsmen demonstrate “flintknapping,” a fascinating technology used by humans worldwide before forged metal was invented.

History Lives

Discover why the fur trade was so important to Indians in the late 1700s and early 1800s in the Living History Camp. Through sights, sounds and smells, this camp brings the past to life. Smell native foods cooking on an open fire, or hear an elder describe his journeys through the wilderness. Enactors are dressed in period clothing, their authentic camps filled with items suggesting a simple time gone past.

Trader’s Circle and Arts Market

Authentic handicarfts, artifact reproductions, art prints musical instruments, toys, clothing, books, jewelry and a wide assortment of souvenirs are all for sale in the Trader’s Circle or Arts Market. Some of the country’s finest artists and craftspeople are featured exhibitors. Don’t forget to check out Knotted Bird Gifts in the newly renovated Jones Archaeological Museum. There’s a gift for every pocketbook!

Food for Thought

The festival’s Food Court, located next to the museum, features a cornucopia of Native American food as well as an abundance of traditional festival concessions. Try an Indian taco, shuck roasted corn or a smoked turkey leg. Additional food is available at the riverbank near Knapper’s Corner.

Festival Admission (Oct. 5th-8th):

Adults: $ 10.00

Children: $ 8.00

Groups with Reservations: $ 8.00 per person. Teachers and bus drivers are admitted free with registered group.

Festival Hours:

Weekdays    9:00 am to 3:30 pm

Saturday      9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Directions:

Moundville Archaeological Park is a division of University of Alabama Museums. The park is located 13 miles south of Exit 71A on I-20/59 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama off of State Highway 69.

Learn more about other public Indian sites of Alabama and other ancient Native American civilizations that once existed throughout the southeastern U.S.