Richard Thornton | May 9, 2017 | 23
Life is a box of chocolates . . . Parte Trois
One of my most successful research strategies for the past four years is using the words of the nation or tribe that I am investigating, when Googling for information or photos. Right now I am trying to find more examples of the style of petroglyphs in Scandinavia that are similar to the Toccoa Stone. In fact, today I found one that was quite similar, which is located near where I lived in Sweden. HOWEVER, I also stumbled upon an OMG! moment.
I also tried to find photos of the first petroglyph I ever saw anywhere. A couple of days after I arrived in Landskrona, Sweden my boss, Town Architect Gunnar Lydh, accompanied me to Ven Island to show me the project site. We then walked over to St. Ibb’s Church (900 AD) and clambered down the cliff to the shore of the Öresund Channel. There he showed me Bronze Age petroglyphs that were the same as the “Sacred Fire” and “Concentric Circles” that we see on petroglyphic boulders in North Georgia . . . except that at that time, I didn’t know diddlysquat about either the Bronze Age or the petroglyphs in North Georgia. Like my visit to the terrace complexes around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala two years earlier, it never dawned on me that the experience of seeing Bronze Age petroglyphs in southern Sweden would have any relevance on my life, whatsoever.
My assignment was to plan and design a pedestrian village on Ven Island, which would increase the population of permanent residents on the island, so that the City of Landskrona could afford establishing an electric bus system on the island. The island’s residents had voted to eliminate internal combustion engines, but had angrily voted down a design by an architecture firm in Stockholm for a midrise apartment tower on their ancient landscape. Their response was, “If we wanted to live in a tall apartment building, we would move to Stockholm!”
I located the pedestrian village next to a late medieval farm called Gamlegård, which literally means “Old Farm.” The historic preservation folks didn’t quite like having something new so close to a 550 year old cluster of buildings, even though the houses were to be a traditional style. They didn’t have many options, though. I called the project, Gamlegårdby, which means “Old Farm Village.” Not very clever . . . but hey, I was young!
The Yom Kippur War began shortly after I finished my project. OPEC instituted gargantuan increases in oil prices, which caused the economies of both the United States and Scandinavia to collapse. The plans for Gamlegårdby were shelved . . . apparently forever.
THEN yesterday, I discovered this piece of a petroglyphic rock near Landskrona that is awfully durn similar to the Toccoa Stone. The boats are the same. It is called the Torshog (Thor’s Mound) Stone. According to the Swedish caption, there are other pieces of this petroglyphic stone in museums. I strongly suspect that they will reveal a petroglyph starkly similar to the Toccoa Stone. Why? I still can’t answer.
I then turned to various Google searches in Swedish, associated with tourism, petroglyphs and museums. By accident, I stumbled upon a marketing advertisement for . . . would you believe? . . . Gamlegårdby on Ven Island! OMG! They built it. Evidently, the project was moved down to the area by the shore of the Öresund, where Gunnar Lydh showed me the Bronze Age petroglyphs. Knowing the Swedes, I am certain that the petroglyphs were not damaged. At this location, the new village will not be visible to picky preservationists, who wanted to preserve the Medieval landscape of Ven Island.
Let’s hope that no hurricanes ever appear on the shores of Sweden and Denmark! Now that’s a box of chocolates!
I don’t know where the Bronze Age Scandinavian Connection is heading. I certainly did not anticipate it and would have been very dubious, if someone had sent me an email two months ago that announced their pet theory of Bronze Age pre-Germanic Scandinavians settling on the headwaters of the Savannah River and founding the Province of Ustanaula . . . but there it is.
You can’t deny it. The glyph for a Great Sun or High King appeared in the region where I lived in Scandinavia and in the Georgia Mountains at Track Rock Gap at least 1,200 years before it became a Maya glyph in Mesoamerica. So the impetus for the Maya civilization came from Georgia. The Mayas may have vaguely known about the existence of North America from the very beginning of their civilization. This glyph also happens to be the first Maya glyph translated by that now famous Mayanist, Dr. David Stuart.
It has become obvious that the history of mankind was actually very different than what we were taught in school. During the Bronze Age, brave mariners roamed all of the Earth’s oceans . . . spreading ideas and their genes. Below is a faded color slide that I took of Kyrka Klipa (Church Cliff) where both those first petroglyphs of my life and now, Gamlegårdby, are located. Life is, indeed, a box of chocolates.
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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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