Archive for Olmec

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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Poverty Point, The Manufacturing of Copper Oxhides for the Atlantic Copper Trade

Bronze Age Town & Gulf Ports on the Copper Trail

Open-fire manufacturing of Copper Oxhides

(NE Louisiana, & Mississippi c.2000-700 BC)

 

J.S. Wakefield, jayswakefield@yahoo.com

 

Photos coming soon, apologies from AA staff.

 

Summary

The “Late Archaic” Poverty Point earthworks in Louisiana are the earliest and largest monuments in prehistoric North America. The site that remains covers a square mile, features six concentric segmented semi-circular walls, surrounded by six large mounds. The site is shown to be a prehistoric town, and a manufacturing and trading center which was a part of the worldwide megalithic culture. The site design reveals encoded latitudes of transatlantic sailing routes, and evidence of multicultural involvement in the manufacturing of copper oxhide ingots.

 

Introduction & Dating

The Poverty Point complex is a Louisiana State Commemorative Area, open to the public, and has been a National Historical Landmark since 1962. Collectors have been picking up artifacts since the 1870’s, but it was not recognized as such a huge site until the ring pattern was recognized in a 1938 aerial photograph (Fig.2, right). The American Museum of Natural History dug at the site in 1942/3 and 1955, and showed “how large and unusual [the site] was” (Ref.1). Today, there is a road built through the rings, and 15,000 visitors a year pass through the site’s museum. Some of the illustrations used in this article are from the book (The Ancient Mounds of Poverty Point, Place of the Rings) and website of John L. Gibson, previously employed as the site archaeologist, who devoted his career to the study of Poverty Point.

 

The site is located in the northeastern corner of Louisiana, northwest of Vicksburg, Mississippi at 33°N (Fig.1). Poverty Point is built on Maçon Ridge, a plateau 90 miles long, and five miles wide, in the swampy floodplains of the Mississippi River. Gibson reports 38 radiocarbon dates, all between 2278 BC (2470-2040) and 650 BC, with most between 1500 and 1300 BC. Gibson says that while the land and waters were biologically rich, the richest asset was the location. “This was one of the few places in the entire Mississippi valley where a departing pirogue could have been paddled without portages”(Refs.1,2).

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Olmec Beards

by Cyclone Covey, DFMES, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.

 

Originally published in The Midwestern Epigraphic Journal, Volume 20, 2006.

 

Comments on: Lawrence F. Athy, “Foreign Influences on the Priesthood & Nobility of Precolumbian America,” ESOP XVII (1983), 106-120 & “Beards in North America Before Columbus,” XIX (1990), 169-175.

 

THESE SEMINAL ARTICLES did not receive proper deliberation during the lifetime of Larry Athy, a deeply thoughtful genleman best known as one of the world’s 3 leading authorities on Comalcalco (with Neil Steede & Frank Reynolds) who declared Comalcalco not the most spectacular bust most important precolumbian site.  Whether so, its inscribed bricks in many languages besides Mayan confirmed foreign influences.  He notably demonstrated (at the 1988 ISAC Conference) a startling parallel of Aegean and precolumbian Mexican art, apparently confirming Olmec beards transatlantic.  As a native of Ponca City, Okla. he knew Indians had virtually no facial hair, so conjectured goateed Olmec aristocrats including shamans Europoid.

Though the Mexican government decreed all precolumbian Mexican art & artifacts indigenous, Athy knew that evolution did not start at a height, conjecturing already-full-blown Olmec could have resulted from 100 men in 4 ships but probably many more men and ships visiting Veracruz and departing without establishing colonies or trade-after native women favored them, thus Caucasoid and Negroid descendants.  Native Indian women, we know from Spanish colonial experience, preferred Black husbands because they treated women better. Athy neglected to note that the famous gigantic Negro Olmec heads beardless, thus Blacks unlikely co-responsible for Olmec beards.

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Expressly discounting an Asian source, extrapolating from Indians of his acquaintance, he seemed unaware that while Chinese were not typically bearded, there were bearded Chinese immemorially, especially savants, shamans, and emperors.  Neither did beards typify Mongols.  Yet Mongol emperors also had beards, including Yuan & Ming dynasties.  Genghis Khan was described bearded.  Olmec sculptures indicate beards, however, as uncommon in Mexico as in China and Mongolia.  The Shang empire stretched a thousand miles all the way to Gansu encompassing half-Caucasoid Turks and Caucasoid Tocharians (Scythian/Sogdian Indo-Iranian & Italo-Celtic Yuchis), whereas Asians migrating to America in remote antiquity who sired the uniform population of medieval and modern Mexico evidently hailed from coastal South China.

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