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Catastrophic Natural Disasters Struck the Americas Around 1000 Years Ago

Thousands of people also died in the British Isles and North Sea countries in 1014 AD

POOF member, Gary Daniels, wrote a very interesting article in January of 2012. A New York geologist has found evidence that around 1014 AD, a swarm of large meteors or comet debris struck North America and the Atlantic Ocean, causing both a mega-tsunami and local, cataclysmic meteor damage.  Archaeoastronomy of the Ocmulgee Earth Lodge

Forensic geologist Dallas Abbott of the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University has found evidence of a large meteor or comet strike in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which hurled extraterrestrial debris over 3800 km (2361 miles) to a bog in the Black Rock Forest in New York. The material was dated to around 1014 AD. Abbot also found debris from a meteor or comet strike in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean Basin that also dated to 1014 AD.

Gary postulated that the damage wrought by this tsunami (or multiple tsunamis) was similar to the one in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. He believed that the scale of this disaster would have had a major cultural impact on the indigenous peoples of the Americas. He connected the disasters to the stone inscriptions of a great flood along the coast of Mexico and Central America in the early 11th century AD. Gary suggested that the Aztec legend of the death of the Fourth Sun originated in the cataclysmic events of 1014 AD. He also linked the meteors with flaming tails to Pre-Columbian imagery of feathered serpents and European myths about fire-breathing dragons.

ocmulgeetempleSome readers of Gary’s article challenged the validity of its interpretations because no North American archaeology books mention meteor showers, a tsunami or floods during that era. However, I dug further into available historic and anthropological resources. Gary’s statements are backed up by several European archives, geological evidence and sudden cultural changes in the Southeastern United States, Caribbean Basin and Ohio River Valley.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles state:

Anno Domini 1014 – On þissum geare on Sancte Michaeles mæsseæften com þæt mycle sæflod gynd wide þysne eard arn swa feor up swa næfre ær ne dyde adrencte feala tuna mancy tonnes un arimedlic ov getel.

1014 AD – This year, on the eve of St. Michael’s day (September 28), came the great sea-flood, which spread wide over this land, and ran so far up as it never did before, overwhelming many towns, and an innumerable multitude of people.

Other Medieval records confirm Abott’s and Daniels’ interpretation of the geological evidence. William of Malmesbury in The History of the English Kings (vol. 1) states “A tidal wave, of the sort which the Greeks call euripus, grew to an astonishing size such as the memory of man cannot parallel, so as to submerge villages many miles inland and overwhelm and drown their inhabitants.” A sea flood is also mentioned in the Chronicle of Quedlinburg Abbey (Saxony), where it states many people died as a result of the flood in the Low Countries (Juteland, Holstein, Friesland, the Netherlands and Belgium) in 1014.

In 2007 North Carolina geologists published evidence that the coastline of their state had once been protected by a chain of barrier islands and tidal marshes such as those that shield the mainland of Georgia. Either a Class 5 hurricane or a tsunami had destroyed these islands in the 11th century.

The Outer Banks are the remnants of these islands, which were splashed back by the ripples of a tidal surge or tsunami. These geologists are further concerned that multiple fractures in the Continental Shelf could cause the Outer Banks to slide into the ocean, creating a mega-tsunami. Evidence of such a mega-tsunami during the early 11th century in the Atlantic Ocean is undoubtedly also lurking along the coastlines of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Archaeological evidence in the Southeastern United States

No one is known to be looking for evidence of a tsunami on the South Atlantic Coast. However, it is well documented that there were sudden cultural changes in the Southeastern United States during the 11th century. Towns were established with “Mississippian” cultural traits in many locations throughout the Southeast. For example, Ichesi (Lamar Village,) E-tula (Etowah Mounds) and the Bessemer Mounds in Alabama were all founded sometime around the beginning of the 11th century. Ohio archaeologists now believe that the Great Serpent Mound was constructed in the early 11th century. Several mountaintop stone serpents in Georgia were also probably constructed in that era. Was there a connection between the serpent effigies and the great cataclysm of 1014 AD, as Gary Daniels theorizes?

Currently, the earliest radiocarbon date at the Track Rock Terrace Complex is c. 1018 AD. It was from two soil samples obtained in the year 2000. In the spring of 2012 the Gainesville, GA office of the U. S. Forest Service refused to allow forensic geologists employed by the History Channel to obtain soil samples from a wider selection of agricultural terraces – claiming that the retaining walls of the terraces were the burials of “great Cherokee warriors.” One wonders if the settlers of the half mile square town site at Track Rock Gap were refugees from a disaster elsewhere. They also built a stone serpent effigy!

There was a dramatic change at the Cahokia town site in southern Illinois. Between around c. 800 AD and c. 1025 AD, Cahokia was a modest town occupied by newcomers to the region that grew corn, beans and squash. Few, if any, mounds were constructed during this period. There was a sudden change in the early 11th century. The old village was razed and a new town with great pyramidal mounds was planned beside the old site. Such “Mississippian” cultural traits as pyramidal mounds and post-ditch construction houses that appeared in the Ocmulgee Bottoms (Macon, GA) around 900 AD, appeared at Cahokia in the mid-11th century. The region around Cahokia exploded with population growth. Clearly, something had happened during the early part of that century to spark stark cultural and demographic changes.

Over a century of volcanic terror in Mesoamerica

A tsunami hitting North America in 1014 AD is not the whole story, however. The Maya city-states of southern Mexico and the nations of Guatemala, Belize and Honduras, thrived from about 500 BC until the 800s AD. Within relatively few decades most of the Maya cities were abandoned in the central and southern parts of their territory. A volcanic eruption incinerated the great city of Palenque in the mountains of Chiapas around 800 AD. The productive terrace farming regions in the Itza Maya Highlands in Chiapas State, Guatemala and Honduras were almost completely depopulated for a couple of centuries.

Between around 800 AD and 1100 AD a series of violent volcanic eruptions in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean Basin devastated large areas of those regions. Recent studies of historic volcanic activity by Dr. Martin el Pozzo at the University of Mexico’s Institute of Geophysics suggest that catastrophic volcanic eruptions may have been primary causes of the collapse of several of Mexico’s civilizations, including a massive drop in the Maya population between 830 AD and 915 AD. Eruptions in the Caribbean Basin apparently caused Arawak populations to flee northern South America and the Lower Antilles to settle Puerto Rico, Dominica, Cuba and Florida.

The normal climates of Mesoamerica, the Caribbean Basin and even the Southeastern United States were repeatedly altered by the massive volcanic eruptions. Volcanic dust, suspended in the stratosphere, blocked out the sun. The results varied in these regions. Some areas had torrential rains while others had suffocating droughts. Inadequate sunlight caused sun-hungry tropical crops such as maize to be stunted.

The chronic volcanic activity definitely pushed the indigenous peoples of the Central American mountain ranges out of their homeland. Perhaps the shock of a mega-tsunami and swarms of large meteors pushed them into the interior highlands of a fertile continent to the north, where there were no volcanoes and a wall of ocean water couldn’t drown them.

Something to ponder . . . geologists estimate that a mega-tsunami striking the East Coast of North America and the Caribbean Basin, would kill at least one to two million people today.

Y’all stay high and dry, hear?

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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history. Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.

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