The Surprising Connection Between Teotihuacan and Ireland
The favorite sport of Ireland for at least the past 2000 years was also popular in Teotihuacan
The indigenous peoples of Mexico, for the past 500 years, have consistently stated that their first city and their first civilization began at Tepoztlán, Morelos . . . The “Olmec” Civilization was not “first” as all references tell you. Years ago, when I spent two weeks during the Christmas holidays, at a hacienda just outside of Tepoztlán, this is exactly what the people told me. They also stick to the tradition that the first King Quetzacoatl was born in Tepoztlán . . . long, long ago. That region has also been the scene of repeated UFO sighting in recent decades . . . making it a favorite location for filming science fiction movies.
Mexican and Gringo archaeologists chuckled at this tradition until three years ago. Contractors working on a controversial expressway that skirts the foot of the Sierra de Cobre (Copper Mountains) immediately north of Tepotzlan, encountered ancient ruins. Archaeologists were brought in and immediately realized that they were looking at multiple cultural layers going back to ancient times. What they found at the lowest level, however, was deeply disturbing. There was architecture and artifacts unlike anything else “officially” found in Mexico. There was little cultural continuity between this occupation level and the strata above it. Newer levels showed a clear cultural connection to the evolution of indigenous Mesoamerican societies.
Perhaps even more disturbing were the discoveries of INAH survey teams that went up into the rugged canyons of the Sierra de Cobre. They found Bronze Age petroglyphic boulders and field stone shrines identical to those that we are identifying in the gold-bearing mountains of Northeast Georgia and that Irish archaeologists have identified in the gold-bearing mountains of southwestern Ireland.
Orders came down from the highest levels of the Mexican federal government to cover up the enigmatic ruins and reconstruct buildings over them that “looked like” typical indigenous Mesoamerican structures. Middle level archaeologists in the INAH were outraged. Some lost their jobs in the literal “cover up.” Federal officials would have succeeded in concealing the truth from researchers elsewhere, had not some of the Mexican archaeologists personally created videos for Youtube that told the truth.
Turning the clock backward to Teotihuacan
During my fellowship in Mexico I was directed to thoroughly study the ancient cities in the Valley of Mexico of Teotihuacan, Cholula, Copilco, Teneyuca, Nonoalco-Tlatilolco, Cuicuilco and Naucalpan . . . then return to the National Museum for a brown bag lunch show-and-tell session, with Dr. Piňa-Chan and some of his graduate students. There was one question that the Mexican anthropologists couldn’t answer. I couldn’t find any ballcourt in Teotihuacan . . . a city that had over 100,000 residents. Back then as is the case now, a big deal is made over the “Mesoamerican ball game.” It involves two competing teams hitting a rubber ball with parts of their body until one team successfully knocks the ball through a stone ring. It is considered quintessential to Mesoamerican culture and academicians believe that was played in Olmec Civilization cities . . . but not in Teotihuacan, which developed several hundred years after the Olmec Civilization collapsed. I strongly suspect that the large U-shaped earthworks in Zoque (Olmec Civilization) cities were for another sport, not the one played with a 10-pound rubber ball. We will talk about that below.
Even today, despite the use of LIDAR and extensive surveys by international archaeological teams, no traditional Mesoamerican ballcourt has been found at Teotihuacan. For decades, researchers have noted the appearance Teotihuacan’s murals of men carrying wooden bats and round objects being near them. The wooden bats were traditionally labeled “Mesoamerican swords.”
Five years ago, Mexican scholars finally admitted that stickball was probably the main sport at Teotihuacan. It was played on fields roughly the size of an American football field or a Gaelic hurling field. Both Mesoamerican stickball and Irish hurling are played with a wooden bat and leather ball. Above you can see the extreme similarity of the two sports.
Hurling has been dated back in Ireland and Scotland to at least 2,000 years . . . probably in a simpler form, thousands of years earlier. Hurling is the grand-daddy of several other games, such as cricket, field hockey, golf, cricket and baseball. Nevertheless, it is clear that pretty much the same sport was being played in the British Isles and Mexico at the same time.
So far, in our survey of ancient sites in the Upper Chattahoochee and Soque River valleys, we have identified five large U-shaped “stadiums” for playing a sport. Their playing fields are about the size of an American football field . . . about 145 feet (44 m) wide and 315-345 feet (96-105 m) long. Even as late as 1776, William Bartram observed such facilities in the hearts of Creek towns and described them as stick ball fields. He also visited the ruins of a ball stadium on the coast near Brunswick, GA.
When noticed at all by Georgia archaeologists in the 20th century, such structures were either labeled “unknown purpose” or “chunky courts.” Robert Wauchope gave an official archaeological site number to the ball stadium in front of Nacoochee High School in Sautee, GA. That was forgotten when the state widened a highway in the late 20th century and two years ago when part of the facility was regraded for a parking lot by the Sautee-Nacoochee Community Center. Utah archaeologist, V. Garth Norman, found an obsidian blade in the new parking lot! The Nacoochee Youth Soccer team unknowingly practices in this ancient stickball field . . . probably at least 1000 years old.
Stickball, as now played by Southeastern Indigenous peoples, utilizes something similar to a lacrosse stick. References and most anthropology textbooks state that northern tribes introduce lacrosse (stickball) to the southern tribes. Given the obvious age of these stadiums in Northeast Georgia, that is highly unlikely. They closely resemble the stadiums in Olmec Civilization cities.
Eyewitness accounts of Creek Stickball in the early and mid-1700s describe them playing with a wooden stick, shaped like a club or paddle . . . like a hurling stick or perhaps a cricket bat. Some authors commented that these tools of sport doubled as weapons of war. Most likely, the current Southeastern Stickball stick with a mesh at its end, was introduced by the Cherokee or Shawnee. Remember there are official Dutch and French maps that show the Cherokee living east of Lake Erie in Quebec as late as 1643. They began moving southward sometime later to escape the Iroquois Confederacy during the Beaver Wars (1629-1701).
A Bronze Age Irish connection with Mexico?
The fact that the same sport was played in Ireland/Scotland, Georgia and Central Mexico does not “prove” close encounters of a third kind between thee three regions. The fact is that stickball or field hockey was also an ancient tradition in the Indus Valley of present-day Pakistan and India. Perhaps Bronze Age traders from the Indus Valley civilizations introduced the sport to Ireland. It also can be argued that stickball is a direct outgrowth of warfare or perhaps, the use of an atlatl by hunters around the world.
On the other hand, the exact same petroglyphs can be found in gold-bearing region southwestern Ireland, the Etowah River Basin in the Georgia Gold Belt and the Copper Mountains of Central Mexico. That cannot be a coincidence. Then there is another fact, which I discussed in my five part Youtube Video series on the Georgia petroglyphs. The Maya and Creek glyph for “Great Sun” or “High King” can be found in the petroglyphs at Nyköping, Sweden. They have been dated to 2000 BC! The Truth is out there somewhere!
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