Archive for February 28, 2015

Were Prehistoric Copper Oxhide Ingots manufactured on the Mississippi coast near the mouth of the Mississippi River?

By,

Jay S.Wakefield, jswakefield@comcast.net

 

Copper: According to American Indian oral tradition, Michigan copper was mined in antiquity by “red haired white-skinned ‘marine men’ who came from across the sea”. Tens of thousands of pits, up to 30’ deep, were mined using fire-setting and stone hammers, with an estimated half a billion tons of pure crystalized copper removed from the glacier-exposed lava beds. From wood timbers anaerobically preserved under water in the ancient mine pits, this mining has been radiocarbon dated to between 2400 BC and 1200 BC, a period of more than a thousand years. During this same period, Europe experienced the Bronze Age, though historians and archaeologists now say they have no idea where the copper came from. One of the more interesting finds in digging out one of these old mine holes (Drier & Du Temple, Prehistoric Copper Mining in the Lake Superior Region) was a Walrus skin bag, indicating the miners had traveled over seas in the north. If people came from overseas to mine copper in Michigan during the Bronze Age, there can be little doubt they transported it back overseas for use in the manufacture of bronze.

 

Ancient routes for the transport of Michigan’s copper have been traced downstream from the mines on Isle Royale and the Keweenaw Peninsula, past storage pits with corroded copper in them, and beyond Beaver Island, with its ancient raised garden beds and huge 39-stone circle. In the Great Lakes, water levels fluctuated widely, as ice dams retreated, and the land rebounded from the glacial weight. Around 2300 BC there was a high water stage, called the “Nipissing Stage”. Dr. Jim Schertz, Professor Emeritus with the Ancient Earthworks Society (Old Water Levels and Waterways during the Ancient Copper Mining Era) says that when the water rose 40-50 feet above present levels, an outlet opened into the Illinois River, through the present Chicago Ship Canal. On the south bank, where the river started, stood a 3,000 pound stone block, overlooking Lake Michigan. Known as the Waubansee Stone, carved with the face of a man with a beard and holes connecting the bowl at the top to the mouth of the face. Another is said to have been on the north bank. At these stones, sacrifices may have been made prior to the perilous voyages, loaded with copper, down the rivers to Poverty Point, Louisiana.

 

Poverty Point: Six huge earthmounds and six enormous concentric earth rings characterize the enigmatic Archaic period town of Poverty Point, formerly accessible only by boat from the Mississippi. The site is carbon dated to 2400 BC, with the big mounds made around 1500 BC. It is one of the largest, and oldest centers of civilization on Earth. Jean Hunt, then President of the Louisiana Mounds Society, wrote in 1993 in Ancient American Magazine that “the Poverty Point archaeologist or curator talked about traces of large “spots” of copper on the surface, which he thought might have represented places where raw copper from the Michigan mines was placed while awaiting trans-shipment”. Dexter and Martin (America’s Ancient Stone Relics) report that Mitchell Hillman, Assistant Curator for the Louisiana Office of State Parks, has found spots of copper on the surface both north and south of Poverty Point, for a distance of five to fifteen miles, on both sides of the river. Researcher Daniel Wood, in another Ancient American article, “Bronze Age Michigan”, describes a 20’x50’ Torch Lake (Keweenaw) pit found to contain 20 tons of carbonate of copper, dated c.1800 BC. Other pits were discovered as far east as Sault Ste Marie, and others in southern Wisconsin. Early in 2006, a magnetic gradiometry study done at Poverty Point by Mike Hargrave and Burley Clay shows large dark spots that were described as metal “hits” (see Rocks & Rows).

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Black Olmecs Likely Were West Africans

By John J. White, III

Originally published in The Midwestern Epigraphic Journal Volume 16

 

Reporting and interest in ancient history is rather ethnocentric. The shortage of authors with Black African heritage leads to an understatement of Black African participation in Cultural Diffusion to the Americas. The leading contributor by far is Professor Ivan Van Sertima, who wrote the inspiring book They Came Before Columbus. He reports Mandinga Nubian and Egyptian travelers to ancient America in his many books.

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West Africans Traded in the Caribbean Basin Before Columbus According to Van Sertima

By, John J White, III

Originally Published in The Midwestern Epigraphic Society Newsletter Volume 25

 

Ivan Van Sertima and Barry Fell made major impacts on the ancient history establishment in 1976 when they published their famous books. The MES joined forces with Barry Fell in 1983 and soon acquired the eastern Kentucky Ogham sites as a primary interest. The question of looking into the findings of Ivan Van Sertima, Thor Heyerdahl, George Carter, Clyde Keeler, or many others could not be given a large share of the precious energy available. With the passing of Victor Moseley before the Kentucky work was finished, the MES was responsive only to new opportunities that were easily acquired. These were Joe Mahan (ISAC), Cyclone Covey, Ethel Stewart, Zena Halpern, and Russell Burrows (Burrows Cave) plus some notable locals like Hu McCulloch, Bill Conner, Victor Kachur, and Ken Zimmerman.

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Mahan, Covey, and Stewart had interest in Asia (Native American origins) Fell was the expert on Polynesia and North Africa and there was little American interest in sub-Saharan Africa, except for Van Sertima and his impressive underlying Journal of African Civilizations. Fell gave some attention to Van Sertima, but as fortune would have it, there appeared more dividends to be reaped but responding to South African experts, such as Raymond Dart and Credo Mutwa. The reports of African faces on Burrows Cave artifacts (allegedly Carthaginian sailors) was the first MES contribution to African history. The current author has made additional small efforts in recent years.

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