Mayas In Georgia
History Channel H2 airs second program on “Mayas In Georgia”
Astounded by the popularity of the premier of the new History Channel H2 series, “America Unearthed,” network executives decided to take viewers back to Georgia and Mexico for the series finale. Initially, there were no plans to do a second program on the Mayas until the second season was filmed. However, the premier garnered the highest viewership of any program ever broadcast on H2. It is now being sold as a video by Amazon.com.
The program, “Finding the Mayas in Georgia” debuts on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 10:00 EDT and 11:00 EDT. Other broadcasts will occur on both H2 and the History Channel’s original channel. Videos are also available for streaming online at the “American Unearthed” web site.
At least as early as 1972, internationally renowned archeologist, Roman Piña-Chan, had expressed his professional opinion that the Mayas, Totonacs and possibly the great city of Teotihuacan near Mexico City had direct cultural contacts with the indigenous peoples of Southeastern North America. He also suspected from viewing certain pieces of Maya art that the ancestors of the Creek Indians had traveled to Mexico on occasion. Piña-Chan was Maya himself. For many years, he was director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico City. He eventually became Director of the Institutio Nacional de Historia Y Antropologia in Mexico.
Meanwhile, the Mexico-Georgia connection has continued to be a taboo subject among most North American archaeologists. In the 1960s, the Director of the University of Georgia’s Department of Anthropology, Dr. Arthur Kelly, found artifacts along the Chattahoochee River, which he interpreted to be either made in Mesoamerica or copies of Mesoamerican artifacts. His public statements about these discoveries infuriated some members of the faculty. He was forced to resign his position in 1969. Ironically, Kelly’s artifacts were located in walking distance of the famous Attapulgus mines, where it is now known that the Mayas mined a special clay to make their Maya blue.
This second program focuses on the technology and intensive research effort by People of One Fire members that made possible the discoveries which changed the history books on December 21, 2012.
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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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