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The Mesoamerican-Polynesian Connection . . . many questions

The Mesoamerican-Polynesian Connection . . . many questions


Temple of the Feathered Serpent – Teotihuacan

The People of One Fire is continuing its articles on the early cultures of Mesoamerica and their relationship to the indigenous peoples of the Southeastern United States.  We are uncovering more questions than answers . . . particularly in regard to the origins of the Teotihuacan and Olmec Civilizations. The orthodox Gringo version of Polynesian history is that the Polynesians spread eastward across the Pacific from Taiwan, reaching Tahiti between 300 AD and 800 AD,  Hawaii by 1200 AD and New Zealand by 1300 AD.  This orthodoxy is primarily based on genetics and assumes that hypothetical “American Indian” DNA profile defines all indigenous peoples in the Americas. 

You see there is a problem.  There were Polynesians and distinct Polynesian cultural traditions in the Channel Islands of California, Mexico and Chile, thousands of years before they arrived in Tahiti, the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand.  Uchee and Creek descendants from the Savannah River Basin of Georgia and South Carolina carry substantial Polynesian DNA.   The most recent DNA tests of my mother’s family specifically label that Polynesian DNA . . . Maori.   Now you figure that one out!

Swift Creek style pottery was first made by the Conibo People of Peru then first appeared in the Mandeville Site on the Chattahoochee River around 100 AD.  HOWEVER, Swift Creek motifs are quite similar to the stamped pottery made by the Lapita Culture Polynesians around 1000 BC to 500 BC!  Several common Lapita motifs can be seen on Swift Creek pottery found in Georgia!  It is believed that stamped pottery originated when carved wooden paddles, used for making Polynesian tattoos were applied to wet clay.

When I was in college, my anthropology textbooks by Gordon R. Willey,  An Introduction to American Archaeology (North and Middle America, South America) stated that no evidence of human sacrifice had been found in Teotihuacan.   I was told the same thing while in Mexico.  It was a fib and the archaeologists knew it. Apparently, government officials, who were their bosses, decided that a squeaky clean image for the people of Teotihuacan, was important for the international image of modern Mexico.  The truth was that in 1906, archaeologist Leopoldo Batres uncovered burials of sacrificed babies and children at the four corners of the Pyramid of the Sun. In the years since then, archaeologists have found newborn skeletons associated with altars, leading some to suspect “deliberate death by infant sacrifice”.  The skeletons of many sacrificial victims have been found in the vicinity of the pyramids of the Sun, Moon and Feathered Serpent.  Most recently,  a mass burial containing thousands of sacrificial victims had been found under and around the Plaza of the Columns.

HOWEVER,  when I was in Mexico on the fellowship, the archaeologists matter-of-factly stated that the first humans in Mexico were Polynesians.  Polynesians were still living in Baja California, when the Spanish conquered Mexico.  However, these people lacked the population density to withstand the onslaught of European diseases and therefore were pretty much extinct by the late 1700s.  Recent DNA studies of Baja California skeletons have confirmed that these people, were indeed, most Polynesia . . . with some individuals having partial American Indian ancestry.

When I read about the burials at the four corners of the pyramids,  Polynesian temples came to mind.   It was standard operating procedure for the Polynesians to sacrifice humans and place them on the four corners of their temple foundations.  There was very little difference between Polynesian temples and those built in Central Mexico during the Formative Period ( 500 BC-100 AD).  In both regions, they were constructed with stacked volcanic rock veneers.   There is some sort of cultural connection, but the problem is that the oldest evidence of a Polynesian presence is in Mexico, not Tahiti, Hawaii or New Zealand.  Obviously, we don’t fully understand what happened in the past.

This article is a prequel to a much more detailed article on the origins of Teotihuacan and the shared cultural ancestry of Teotihuacan and the Muskogean Peoples . . . in particular, the Upper Creeks.  It is a complex subject with many unanswered questions.  The shared cultural traits with Polynesia is just one of those mysteries.


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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.



    Hello I would really like to speak with you, I have found the seven cities that DeSoto was searching for please contact me at your earliest convenience thank you


      sound like me, screaming from the rooftops and nobody listens,, I’ll listen if you want


    Richard, “Geneticist Lisa Matissoo-Smith successfully extracted DNA from the teeth of the Teouma skeletons, found in Lapita burial urns, some of which were sitting in the lotus position. She found that they did not contain any Polynesian or East Asian genes. To date she has not yet determined whether the DNA is Melanesian or from a forgotten civilization of Caucasian seafarers.” “Waka” seems to be a connection with what the Creeks called the Okmulgee site? Some of these Native words are connections to some very ancient Sea people that build some of the step pyramids and stone pillars.

    • Geneticists have definitely found Polynesian DNA in Mapuche volunteers in Chile and Argentina, plus skeletons in the southern tip of California, all over Baja California and in oldest human remains in Yucatan. Polynesian DNA is also being found in Creeks from the Savannah River Basin. As I said, it is all a matter of unanswered questions. We really don’t know what exactly was going on in the Americas 3-6,000 years ago.


    Interesting, the only missing piece is how can archaeologist solve a murder 500 – 1,000 years later. I have read many quote on quote scholastic evidence the sacrificial theory. None have substantial evidence to show that people were sacrificed. Here is an example, if some one were to die from a arrow head or blade. How would a archaeologist or forensics personel be able to determine the mind state of the killer or the killers to conclude that there intent was sacrificial ritual 1,000 years after the death of everyone and witness present at the time of death. The evolution, haplogroup migrational patterns, and DNA tracing ethnic lineage are all constructed in theory and is not an can never be proven or called a fact. In the laws of methodological science of experiment, you need to be able to test your subjects and have a controlled variable. Everyone is dead, people have been displaced, and mutated with out the record of how, when, or why in factual format not theoretical. History is being told from a biased and theoretical dispossession which cancels out missing links to formulate answers. I do appreciate your work and research for the resurrection of these ancient truths, your are literally the only one breaking this information on a “scholastic level” I would love to build with you, I am Muskogean from Chaquesama or the Chakchiuma who they history will tell you wen extinct. lol I have a very long lineage and my family has many acres never lost in treaty but in assimilation. I currently live along the chatahoochee and do my independent studies in the surrounding areas, I’ve discovered about 4-5 unexplored mound cites in the areas your works point to.


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