Douglas T. Peck
POOF member, Douglas T. Peck, dies at age 95
Peck was the first scholar to raise attention to the role of the Chontal Mayas
We wondered why Douglas had not sent us updates on his research in over a year. The discovery of POOF member, Deborah Clifton, that the original name of the Mobile to Apalachicola coastline was Am Ixchel, had inspired Doug to write another book. While studying archaeological sites in southwest Georgia and Florida this week, POOF researcher, Jon Haskell, discovered that Peck had died on January 15, 2014.
To learn more about Douglas Peck’s life and important historical research.
Although best known for his ground-breaking research into the Christopher Columbus voyages and Ponce de Leon’s exploration of Florida, Douglas Peck’s studies of the Chontal Maya set the stage for much of the research now being done by People of One Fire members. He was an experienced seafarer and so could analyze the Chontal Mayas’ nautical skills with great technical detail.
I first talked with Doug almost 14 years ago. A museum had asked me to create an architectural rendering of the Maya town of Bonampak. They wanted the view to be from the Usumacinta River and to include Mayas paddling canoes. I didn’t know anything about Maya canoes and so searched the internet until his name popped up. He graciously agreed to email me drawings and photos of Maya canoes, but then astounded me with what he knew about the Chontal and Itza Maya. Peck was convinced that the Chontal Mayas traded with Florida and Gulf Coast Indians. He just couldn’t find any proof. We have.
Something readers should understand is that both Mexican and North American archaeologists ignored the Chontal Mayas until recently because the ruins of their towns looked almost identical to those of Muskogean mound builders. They most closely resembled the Bottle Creek Mounds in SW Alabama. Dr. Piña-Chan sent me to one Chontal Maya town site in northern Tabasco because he had seen what our towns looked like in a book that I gave him. That is when I observed the earthen, horseshoe shaped Chontal Maya ball court like the one we found in northeast Georgia this past fall.
Although Doug was not a professional archaeologist, his name should go into the Native American Archaeology Hall of Fame. He dug the foundation that made all other discoveries possible. Some of his essays are still on the web. You will find them fascinating.
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