Why Southeastern Creeks should study Teotihuacan
The media coverage on the peopling of the Americas is a metaphor of what’s wrong with Southeastern Anthropology today.
Generations of people in eastern North America always thought of Mexico as a land almost as distant and exotic as the Amazon Rain Forest. Even to this day, that mindset is reflected in the orthodoxies of anthropologists in the eastern United States. No one batted an eye when there was a string of articles and press releases claiming to link Chaco Canyon to Mesoamerican civilization. Yet any mention of a connection between the Mississippi River Basin and the Southeastern United States with Mesoamerica gets a frenetic response from the archaeology profession.
The behavior of archaeologists in Georgia and Northern Florida during 2012 was a hoot. For example . . . an archaeology professor from Florida State University sent me an email claiming to be salesman from Northeast Metro Atlanta, who had discovered a “Maya” figurine near Track Rock Gap. Would you believe that the photo, he sent me, was of a figurine from the 2,100 year old Copilco site in Mexico City? That particular figurine was displayed on an oak shelf, immediately to the right of the entrance door to Dr. Román Piña Chán’s office in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia. I rolled in the floor laughing.
The hilarity of events in 2012 aside . . . in regard to Chaco Canyon . . . the anthropologists in both the Southwest and Southeast forgot both their geography and their architecture. The ones in the Southwest also exaggerated a bit. Chaco Canyon did share many traits with the Mexican Northern Desert Cultures such as the Mogollon. However, the consumption of imported chocolate beverages is the most “Mesoamerican” characteristic of Chaco. At least 1265 miles of desert and high mountains separate Chaco Canyon from the Teotihuacan Valley, 1600 miles to the Olmec Capital of La Venta and about 2000 miles to the major Maya city of Tikal. It is 860 miles from Teotihuacan, mostly rivers or ocean, to the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is about 1300 miles from Teotihuacan to Etowah Mounds. Once a trader reached the coast of Mexico, it would be possible to sail or paddle to the entrance gate of Etowah Mounds. It is 900 miles from Etowah Mounds to the Maya city of Chichen Itza. Well, there is more than geography involved. The real name of Teotihuacan was Tula. The real name of Etowah Mounds was E-Tula.
The architecture of Chaco Canyon is straight from Western Peru and bears no resemblance to Mesoamerican architecture . . . despite what you often read. I strongly suspect that relatives of Peruvians, who paddled up the Colorado River in boats woven from reeds and settled in southern Utah and Nevada, on lands later invaded by the Utes and Paiutes . . . also settled in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The Scarlet Macaw’s presence in Chaco Canyon as domesticated animals is cited as “proof” of a Mesoamerican connection. However, the Scarlet Macaw’s primary habitat was along the Pacific Coast of Mexico and Central America, not in the arid interior of central and southern Mexico.
In contrast, throughout the Mississippi River Basin and Southeastern United States were hundreds of towns, displaying Mesoamerican architecture and Mesoamerican concepts of town planning. They grew crops, which were first cultivated in Mesoamerica or Peru. There is no difference between the mounds erected at Ocmulgee National Monument and those of the Olmec Civilization. All so-called pyramids in Mesoamerica began as either earthen mounds or earthen mounds covered with a fieldstone veneer. By building successive expansions of the original mounds, reinforced by fieldstone veneers, Mesoamerican architects were able to achieve building heights and steep slopes, which would be impossible if earth and rubble were the only structural materials.
The same cultural origins
There are a series of murals in Teotihuacan which explain the city’s cultural heritage and religious beliefs. The first mural shows the ancestors of the people of Teotihuacan. Originally, they lived in or near the ocean. A river flows out of the side of a volcano and flows to the ocean. The people then came out of hole in a volcano and prospered in the sunlight of the sun goddess.
Here is where it gets really interesting. The original Migration Legend of the Creek People that I found in 2015, begins at a great volcano, which stands alone. The Bloody River flows off its slopes, which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. That could only be the Orizaba Volcano, which is adjacent to the Tehuacan Valley, where maize was first domesticated. The legend states that the ancestors of the Kaushete-Creek People came out of a hole in the great volcano into the sunlight. Here they were taught agriculture by a more advanced people. However, invaders from another advanced civilization began sacrificing their youth and children. The Kaushete-Creeks were then forced to flee northward on the Great White Path, which paralleled the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.
The people of Teotihuacan originally worshiped an invisible sun goddess, but over time that religion was supplanted by a pantheon of deities, brought to city by newcomers. The ancestors of the Creeks worshiped an invisible sun goddess. However, at least by the 1600’s the Apalache-Creek sun goddess had evolved into essentially a female version of the Hebrew’s YHWH. They were a monotheistic society with no idols associated with their religion.
There are NO DNA test markers for the Southeastern indigenous peoples, yet geneticists don’t seem to care.
The internet and smart phones has had a catastrophic impact on the news media. The nosediving circulation and profits (if any) earned by newspapers and magazines have forced them to minimize staffs or even go out of publication. Meanwhile a legion of web-based news sources are trying to minimize human involvement with the publication of news. If one news source, whether legitimate or not, produces a headline that is likely to get clicks on the internet, hundreds or thousands of other newspapers and web news sites will copy it and post. They circumvent copyright laws by starting a paragraph with e.g. “The London Times stated today that . . . ” No one fact checks the original article.
A good example is the reoccurring news articles concerning the early peopling of the Americas. For about 75 years, North American school children were taught that the first humans to live in the Americas were the “Clovis People” and that they came here over a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. Our textbooks didn’t tell us that no Clovis points have ever been found in Alaska Between 1986 and 2012, archaeologists from the University of South Carolina dug deeper and deeper into the ground near a flint outcrop on the Savannah River, known as the Topper Site. By 2006, they had excavated the oldest known Clovis points in the Americas. News media in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida reported the discovery with pride. Those elsewhere used the standard approach of psychologically isolating Dr. Albert Goodyear, the project leader, by quoting in any article about the Topper Site, a long list of academicians, who stated that his radiocarbon dating couldn’t be accurate.
When Goodyear’s team found non-Clovis artifacts that were dated to 16,000 BP, his Clovis-first peers outside the Lower Southeast went bananas. Some anthropology professors in Texas were particularly vicious in their personal attacks on Goodyear, until they found artifacts almost as old in Texas. Then they have managed to present themselves as the ones, who first proved that Clovis was not the first American culture. Goodyear was ridiculed in a wide range of news articles – from newspapers to professional journals. When the team found obviously human-made artifacts, which were identical to those made by Homo Erectus in eastern China and dated to 50,000 BP, Goodyear was made a pariah . . . no longer welcomed to speak at archaeological conferences. Since Goodyear stopped digging at the Topper Site, other archaeologists have been able to trace the birth of the Clovis Culture in the Lower Southeast around 14,000 BP and his spread westward and northward from there. The greatest concentration of Clovis artifacts are in north-central Tennessee. The youngest Clovis artifacts are in British Columbia, near the Pacific Coast.
In 1992, ethnologist Clive Gamble published his report on a comprehensive study of the indigenous peoples of Tasmania, Tierra del Fuego and southeastern Australia. He found that both genetically and culturally, the Tierra del Fuego peoples were much closer related to the earliest aborigines in Australia and Tasmania than they were to American Indians. The rock art of Tierra del Fuego was almost identical to that of Australia. The BBC discovered his research in 1999 and broadcast a special documentary, entitled, “The First Americans Were Australians.” That headline was seen in newspaper articles around the Old World, but did not get much publicity in the Americas. There was no internet news at the time.
In 1999, human bones were found in the Channel Islands off the coast of California. They were radiocarbon dated and genetically analyzed by scientists. The skeleton was found to belong to a POLYNESIAN woman, who died 13,000. More ancient Polynesian skeletons have been found in southern California since then. The international headlines read, “California discovery proves that Polynesians were the first humans in America.” Actually, the discovery of Polynesians in California should not have been any big surprise. It is common knowledge that the indigenous peoples of Baja California and California from Los Angeles southward were Polynesians, when the Spanish conquered the region in the 1600s. That is what Mexican anthropologists taught me when I was 21 years old. By the early 1800s, most of these aboriginal tribes were extinct or nearly extinct. However, Polynesian DNA still shows up in several indigenous ethnic groups in western Mexico . . . also in many Creek families in Georgia and South Carolina. The most recent DNA tests in my mother’s family went a step further and labeled our Polynesian DNA . . . Maori. You go figure.
Apparently, Gringo archeologists never talk to Mexican archaeologists. In addition, the oldest skeletons found so far in Yucatan date to 13,600 years BP. They were either Southeast Asians or Proto-Polynesians. They looked like the famous Georgia Creek mikko, Tamachichi (Tomochichi in English). However, beginning around 11,000 BP, the skeletons found in southern Mexico (so far) seem to be mostly American Indian in heritage. I suspect that the Southeast Asians were pushed southward into the mountains of Chiapas by the more numerous AmerIndians. That is why their partial descendants, the Highland Maya tribes such as the Itza, look pretty much like Indonesians. Farther south in Central America and northeastern South America, Southeast Asian DNA is predominant among several tribes.
In 2003, a distinguished international group of forensic anthropologists and geneticists, led by José R. González issued their report on a comprehensive study of ancient and modern skeletons in Baja Califormia and Tierra del Fuego. The study confirmed what I was taught in Mexico many years before. The indigenous people of Baja California were Proto-Polynesians. It stated that the first humans arrived in the Americas via unidentified routes around 40,000 years ago and they were NOT AmerIndians from Siberia. They were Australoids, Southeast Asians and Polynesians. These peoples mixed then when several more waves of immigrants arrived from northeastern Asia, much mixing occurred again. The broad diversity of physical types, cultural traditions and skin color in the Americas is the result of the mixing in various proportions of these ancestors over 40,000 years of time. The study determined that the indigenous peoples of the Americas were really a separate race. The difference of appearance between the oldest and next oldest period of skeletons in Mexico was the result of ethnic mixing, not the replacement of one ethnic group by another. The report received very little coverage in the media and was dissed by many anthropologists in the United States.
In 2014, Dennis O’Rourke, a University of Utah geneticist, announced his discovery that there was a 25,000 gap between the DNA of Siberians and Native Americans. News media around the world announced, “The ancestors of all Native Americans came across the Bering Strait around 25,000 years ago.” Geologists immediately countered that northwestern Canada was covered in a thick sheet of ice until around 12,500 years ago and archaeologists stated that the oldest know human camp site dated to around 10,000 years ago.
In 2015, David Reich, a highly respected geneticist at Harvard University, announced the results of his genetic analysis of several South American tribes in Smithsonian Magazine. He confirmed the presence of Southeast Asian/Indonesian DNA in several tribes around the periphery of South America, but determined that the oldest DNA in the Amazon Basin and southern tip of South America was Australoid. Their closest relatives today were the Aborigines of Australia and New Guinea. Reich and his associate at Harvard, Pontus Skoglund, theorized that the settlers of New Guinea, Australia and South Africa had a common ancestral tribe. One branch went south to Australia. The other branch went north and eventually crossed the Bering Strait . . . earlier than American Indian ancestors. They didn’t say this, but my guess is that they think this ancestor came into the Americas BEFORE the last Ice Age. The timing would match Dr. Albert Goodyear’s radiocarbon dates at the Topper Site, but apparently Reich did not want to be ostracized like Goodyear.
It is important for the reader to understand that the ancestors of the Australoids are currently believed to have been the first Homo Sapiens out of Africa after the ancestors of the Neanderthals. Their homeland was in Ethiopia and perhaps what was then a verdant paradise in the Sahara Desert. Their descendants quickly became master mariners and had visited Australia by 80,000 BC then settled Australia around 55,000 years ago. Even as they were migrating, however, the proto-Australoids evolved into several genetically distinct families. They interbred with Neanderthals,or Denisovans to varying degrees. Some branches were extremely tall. Some became pygmies. Some developed red hair. Africans do not carry Neanderthal DNA.
The headline for Reich’s article in the Smithsonian was “A DNA Search for the First Americans Links Amazon Groups to Indigenous Australians.” The first wave of news articles around the world in response to the Smithsonian article read, “Genetic study finds that Australian aborigines settled America first.” This was followed by an secondary wave of many web based, African-American news sites, which announced, “Africans Discovered America.” These were followed by “fringe” websites, which declared that the news that Africans discovered America was proof that the Olmec and Maya civilizations were founded by immigrants across the Atlantic from Africa, who were great mariners. There is now at least one website that claims Africans built the mounds in the Southeast, based on the “fact” that the Olmecs were from Sub-Saharan Africa. Two websites claim that the mounds in the Southeast were built by Muslim Arabs or Muslim Africans as bases for mosques. They claim that the British burned the mosques and created a false history that Native Americans built the mounds.
In early 2018, another genetics research team announced that the ancestors of all Native Americans came across the Bering Strait Land Bridge around 20,000 BC, became trapped in Alaska and then populated all of the Americas, when a gap opened up in the Canadian Ice Sheet around 12,500 years ago. The initial headlines were in an Alaska newspaper, which stated, “Genetic analysis of ancient Alaskan child suggests the region was settled by people crossing from Asia 25,000 years ago.” If you read the article, you would learn that the skeleton’s radiocarbon date was actually 9,500 BC. That’s not 25,000 years. Nevertheless, hundreds of news outlets shortened the title to “Study proves that ancestors of all modern Native Americans came across the Bering Strait Land Bridge.” Sub-head lines stated “Bering Strait advocates proved right along.” Forsooth! Those pesky Clovis First archaeologists were at it again.
Genetic study proves that Scots were the first people in the Americas!
Obviously, today’s generation of journalists don’t read their own headlines and certainly don’t fact-check the draft articles, which are spoon-fed to them by this generation of publicity hungry academicians. I certainly don’t pretend to be terribly knowledgeable about the intimacies of genetics. They seem to change every week anyway. However, I did get a heavy dose of statistics and computer modeling in graduate school and have developed those skills throughout my career. Furthermore, I am very good at sniffing out caca de toro in anthropological and archaeological reports. At my 20th high school reunion, my former guidance counselor, Jay Baggott, informed me that even to that day, I had scored the highest score on deductive reasoning of any student in the Fulton County and Atlanta school systems. (Yes, really!) It was quite a shock to me because one of my classmates, Lisa Blackstone, scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT and was star student for the State of Georgia. In high school, my own self image was that of a star athlete, hot-shot rock band drummer and a slick dancer with the gals at Friday night sock hops. Several POOF subscribers danced with me! LOL I studied merely enough to get into a good college.
So-o-o, I took a discerning view at that last genetic study. The geneticists did exactly the same thing that I constantly complain about in Southeastern archaeological reports. They took a statistically insignificant sample of the survey population then generalized the results to make broad, sweeping statements, which would catch the attention of the news media. Keep in mind that the indigenous population of the Americas declined at least 90% due to the impact of the European Holocaust. In this case, the researchers looked at a handful of Gentech DNA samples from modern indigenous Americans in tribes along the western side of North and South America . . . but carefully avoided those regions where Polynesian and Australoid DNA has been found. Of course, none of the DNA samples were from Southeastern tribes. Sheezam Andy! All of the Native Americans carried at least some DNA typical of Native Americans! Since they knew for a fact that all Native Americans walked across the Bering Strait, it was a done deal.
My theory is that people from Scotland were the first Americans. To prove my point I carried out a DNA study of 24 Native American students, attending William McIntosh Elementary School in Chelsea OK within the Old Cherokee Nation. All 24 students carried significant levels of Scottish DNA, but only five mixed Creek-Cherokees carried any Native American DNA. That is proof that the Scots were the first Native Americans. Furthermore, the famous Olmec heads look just like Scottish singer, Susan Boyle, when she’s had too much Scotch whiskey. That’s proof that the Scots founded the Olmec Civilization.
Getting back to Teotihuacan
In the good ole days at National Geographic, when I brought goat cheese to their staff parties and in return, they gave me architectural commissions to restore their Colonial farms in northern Virginia, articles on Native American archaeology were written by senor staff members, who had professional credentials in both anthropology and journalism. Editors carefully reviewed articles and accompanying illustrations for historical accuracy. Those days are gone . . . I guess in the name of cost-cutting . . . or is it a symptom of Goat Cheese Deficiency Disease?
The November National Geographic Magazine carried an article on Teotihuacan. It mainly consisted of interviews with non-Mexican archaeologists, who have worked there. The thesis of the article was that archaeologists still don’t know who founded the city or who lived there. Teotihuacan is roughly 800 miles from the heartland of the Classic Maya Civilization. The author commented that there was only slight evidence of Maya influence. Duh-h-h, anyone who knows anything about Mesoamerican culture, knows that vast armies from Teotihuacan invaded the Maya country, beginning around 200 AD or earlier. Until around 600 AD most of the Maya cities were ruled by princes from Teotihuacan. It was Teotihuacan, which influenced Maya culture, especially the Itza Mayas. Many Totonac words were incorporated into the Itza language and then later absorbed into Muskogean languages. But then . . . we have the first page of the National Geo Teotihuacan article . . .
Latest posts by Richard Thornton (see all)
- Teotihuacan’s suburbs at ground level - February 14, 2019
- Professor say the darndest things! . . . Parte Trois - February 12, 2019
- Traveling back in time along the Unicoi Trail - February 12, 2019
- Protection and documentation of Native American heritage sites - February 11, 2019
- Snapshot: Creek cousin in the audience - February 7, 2019