All of this left Thornton, who writes often about the Maya for Examiner.com, "dumfounded."
"I actually was giving Williams a plug," he said in an interview with ABC News. "I've got a regular readership, but this thing just went viral."
Did the Mayans get to Georgia? Historian believes 1,100-year-old rock terraces found near mountain show peasants fled to U.S.
- Richard Thornton says site shows Mayan peasants fled Central America
- Rock terraces and mounds by North Georgia mountain dates to 800AD
- Internet battle erupts after professor quoted by Thornton labels it 'bunk'
- Early maps labelled area as 'Itsate' - what Itza Mayans called themselves
Last updated at 8:40 PM on 5th January 2012
We know how the Mayans built astonishing temples in Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras - but now it's been suggested some fled their dissolving civilisation and may have even ended up in Atlanta.
Historian and author Richard Thornton believes a 1,100-year-old archaeological site shows that peasants fled Central America and ended up in the North Georgian mountains near Blairsville.
His astonishing theory is based on the discovery of 300 to 500 rock terraces and mounds on the side of Brasstown Bald mountain that date to 800AD - around the time the Mayans began to die out.
Baid, Georgia. The mounds are possibly tied to a Mayan civilisation and have become an internet sensation
GeneralWhen Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492 he was welcomed by a brown-skinned people whose physical appearance confirmed him in his opinion that he had at last reached India, and whom, therefore, he called Indios, Indians, a name which, however mistaken in its first application continued to hold its own, and has long since won general acceptance, except in strictly scientific writing, where the more exact term American is commonly used. As exploration was extended north and south it was found that the same race was spread over the whole continent, from the Arctic shores to Cape Horn, everywhere alike in the main physical characteristics, with the exception of the Eskimo in the extreme North, whose features suggest the Mongolian.
Race typeThe most marked physical characteristics of the Indian race type are brown skin, dark brown eyes, prominent cheek bones, straight black hair, and scantiness of beard. The color is not red, as is popularly supposed, but varies from very light in some tribes, as the Cheyenne, to almost black in others, as the Caddo and Tarimari. In a few tribes, as the Flatheads, the skin has a distinct yellowish cast. The hair is brown in childhood, but always black in the adult until it turns grey with age. Baldness is almost unknown. The eye is not held so open as in the Caucasian and seems better adapted to distance than to close work. The nose is usually straight and well shaped, and in some tribes strongly aquiline. Their hands and feet are comparatively small. Height and weight vary as among Europeans, the Pueblos averaging but little more than five feet, while the Cheyenne and Arapaho are exceptionally tall, and the Tehuelche of Patagonia almost massive in build. As a rule, the desert Indians, as the Apache, are spare and muscular in build, while those of the timbered regions are heavier, although not proportionately stronger. The beard is always scanty, but increases with the admixture of white blood. The mistaken idea that the Indian has naturally no beard is due to the fact that in most tribes it is plucked out as fast as it grows, the eyebrows being treated in the same way. There is no tribe of "white Indians", but albinos with blond skin, weak pink eyes and almost white hair are occasionally found, especially among the Pueblos.
Origin and antiquityVarious origins have been assigned to the Indian race—from Europe and the East, by way of Greenland or the mythic land of Atlantis; from Asia, by way of the Bering Straits and the Polynesian Islands, has more advocates, and also more reasons in its favour. The fact that Japanese and other Asiatic adventurers have frequently landed upon the North Pacific coast of America is a matter of history, and tribal tradition and other evidence indicate that such contact was as frequent in prehistoric times, but whether all this has been sufficient to make permanent impression upon the physique and culture, let alone to account for a race, is an open question. For some years this problems has been under systematic investigation by the American Museum of New York City, with promise of important results. As far as at present known, the only permanent migration has been in the opposite direction, an Eskimo tribe in Alaska having taken up permanent residence in Siberia within the historic period.
The theory of autochthonous origin is usually, though not necessarily, connected with that of extreme antiquity, several writers claiming for the Indian, as for the primitive cave men of early Europe, an existence contemporaneous with the glacial period. While this theory has many learned advocates, basing their opinion on such isolated finds as those of the Trenton gravels, the "Calaveras skull", and the "Lansing man", the consensus of scientific opinion is that evidence as to the original placement of these finds in undisturbed strata is not sufficient to establish the claim. With regards to shell heaps and other deposits in mass, the highest estimates of age do not give them more than a few thousand years, and Dall, our best authority on Alaska, allows the oldest middens on the Aleutian Islands no more than three thousand. The more civilized nations, such as the Maya, the Totonac, the Musyca, and the Quichua, all probably had their origin, as such, within a thousand years, or within five hundred years of the discovery. Without going back to geologic periods, however, the practical similarity of physical type over both continents implies long occupancy.
The various claims for Jewish, Phoenician, Irish, or Welsh origin have no provable foundation, although the first especially has found advocates for nearly three centuries and has even furnished the motive for the Book of Mormon. The numerous mounds and other earthworks scattered over the eastern United States, with the cliff-ruins and other house ruins in the South-West, have also given opportunity for much speculation and theorizing as to the former existence in these regions of former highly civilized nations now extinct. Scientific examination, however, shows that the ruins and earthworks are of the most rudimentary architectural character, being rude in construction, and inexact and unsymmetrical in dimensional measurements, while the various artifacts found within them are almost identical with those still in use by the uncivilized tribes. The more important house ruins are historically or traditionally known to have been built and occupied by ancestors of the Pueblo, Pima, and other tribes still inhabiting the same region. Some of the mounds of the eastern section are also known to have been in use as foundations of tribal "townhouses" within the historic period, but the majority of the larger earthworks, as those of Cahokia in Illinois, of Etowah in Georgia, the Serpent Mound and Newark earthworks in Ohio, are more ancient, and probably originated with more populous tribes with afterwards moved down into more southern regions. The Aztec themselves, according to definite tribal tradition, reached the valley of Mexico from the far North, and linguistic evidence established their connection with the great Shoshonian linguistic stock whose tribes extend almost continuously along the backbone of the continent from the Columbia River to the Isthmus of Panama. In the same way the Apache and Navajo of the Mexico border are known to have emigrated from the frozen shores of the Yukon and Mackenzie. As in Europe and Asia, the general movement was from north to south, but the Algonkian (Ojibwa, etc.) and Siouan (Sioux, etc.) tribes moved westward from the Atlantic seaboard, while the Muskhogean of the Gulf states had their earlier home west of the Mississippi. One great South American stock—the Arawakan—after occupying the Antilles, completed the chain of connection by planting a colony in Florida.
LanguagesOne of the remarkable facts in American ethnology is the great diversity of languages. The number of languages and well-marked dialects may well have reached one thousand, constituting some 150 separate linguistic stocks, each stock as distinct from all the others as the Aryan languages are distinct from the Turanian or the Bantu. Of these stocks, approximately seventy were in the northern, and eighty in the southern continent. They were all in nearly the same primitive stage of development, characterized by minute exactness of description with almost entire absence of broad classification. Thus the Cherokee, living in a country abounding in wild fruits, had no word for grape, but had instead a distinct descriptive term for each of the three varieties with which he was acquainted. In the same way, he could not simply say "I am here", but must qualify the condition as standing, sitting, etc.
The earliest attempt at a classification of the Indian languages of the United States and British America was made by Albert Gallatin in 1836. The beginning of systematic investigation dates from the establishment of the Bureau of American Ethnology under Major J.W. Powell in 1879. For the languages of Mexico and Central America, the basis is the "Geografía" of Orozco y Berra, of 1864, supplemented by the later work of Brinton, in his "American Race" (1891), and corrected and brought up to the latest results in the linguistic map by Thomas and Swanton now in preparation by the Bureau of Ethnology. For South America, we have the "Catálogo" of Hervas (1784), which covers also the whole field of languages throughout the world; Brinton's work just noted, containing the summary of all known up to that time, and Chamberlain's comprehensive summary, published in 1907.
To facilitate intertribal communication, we frequently find the languages of the more important tribes utilized by smaller tribes throughout the same region, as Comanche in the southern plains and Navajo (Apache) in the South-West. From the same necessity have developed certain notable trade jargons, based upon some dominant language, with incorporations from many others, including European, all smoothed down and assimilated to a common standard. Chief among these were the "Mobilian" of the Gulf states based upon Choctaw; the "Chinook jargon" of the Columbia and adjacent territories of the Pacific coast, a remarkable conglomerate based upon the extinct Chinook language; and the lingoa geral of Brazil and the Paraná region, based upon Tupí-Guaraní. To these must be added the noted "sign language" of the plains, a gesture code, which answered every purpose of ordinary intertribal intercourse from Canada to the Rio Grande.
United States, British America, etc.
HousesIn and north of the United States there were some twenty well-defined types of native dwellings, varying from the mere brush shelter to the five-storied pueblo. In the eastern United States and adjacent parts of Canada the prevailing type was that commonly known under the Algonkian name of wigwam, of wagon-top shape, with perpendicular sides and ends and rounded roof, and constructed of stout poles set in the ground and covered with bark or with mats woven of grass or rushes. Doorways at each end served also as windows, and openings in the roof allowed the smoke to escape. Not even pueblo architecture had evolved a chimney. In general the houses were communal, several closely related families occupying the same dwelling. The Iroquois houses were sometimes one hundred feet in length, divided into compartments about ten feet square, opening upon a central passageway along which were ranged the fires, two families occupying opposite compartments at the same fire. Raised platforms around the sides of the room were covered with skins and served both as seats and beds. The houses of a settlement were usually scattered irregularly, according to the convenience of the owner, but in some cases, especially on disputed tribal frontiers, they were set compactly together in regular streets, and surrounded by strong stockades. The Iroquois stockaded forts had platforms running around on the inside, near the top, from which the defenders could more easily shoot down upon the enemy. In the Gulf states, every important settlement had its "town-house", a great circular structure, with conical roof, built of logs, and devoted to councils and tribal ceremonials. The tipi (the Sioux name for house) or conical tent-dwelling of the upper lake and plains region was of poles set lightly in the ground, bound together near the top, and covered with bark or mats in the lake country, and with dressed buffalo skins on the plains. It was easily portable, and two women could set it up or take in down within an hour. On ceremonial occasions the tipi camp was arranged in a great circle, with the ceremonial "medicine lodge" in the centre. The semi-sedentary Pawnee Mandan, and other tribes along the Missouri built solid circular structures of logs, covered with earth, capable sometimes of housing a dozen families. The Wichita and other tribes of the Texas border built large circular houses of grass thatch laid over a framework of poles. The Navaho hogan, was a smaller counterpart of the Pawnee "earth lodge". The communal pueblo structure of the Rio Grande region consisted of a number—sometimes hundreds—of square-built rooms of various sizes, of stone or adobe laid in clay mortar, with flat roof, court-yards, and intricate passage ways, suggestive of oriental things. The Piute wikiup of Nevada was only one degree above the brush shelter of the Apache. California, with its long stretch from north to south, and its extremes from warm plain to snowclad sierra, had a variety of types, including the semi-subterranean. Along the whole north-west coast, from the Columbia to the Eskimo border, the prevailing type was the rectangular board structure, painted with symbolic designs, and with the great totem pole carved with the heraldic crests of the owner, towering above the doorway. On the Yukon we find the subterranean dwelling, while the Eskimo had both the subterranean house and the dome-shaped iglu, built of blocks of hardened snow. Besides the regular dwellings, almost every tribe had some style of temporary structure, besides "sweat houses", summer arbors, provision caches, etc.
Food and its procurementIn the timbered regions of the eastern and southern states and the adjacent portions of Canada, along the Missouri and among the Pueblos, Pima, and other tribes of the south-west, the chief dependence was upon agriculture, the principal crops being corn, beans, and squashes, besides a native tobacco. The New England tribes understood the principal of manuring, while those of the arid south-west built canals and practiced irrigation. Along the whole ocean-coast, in the lake region and on the Columbia, fishing was an important source of subsistence. On the south Atlantic seaboard elaborate weirs were in use, but elsewhere the hook and line, the seine or the harpoon, were more common. Clams and oysters were consumed in such quantities along the Atlantic coast that in some favourable gathering-places empty shells were piled into mounds ten feet high. From central California northward along the whole west coast, the salmon was the principle, and on the Columbia, almost the entire, food dependence. The northwest-coast tribes, as well as the Eskimo, were fearless whalers. Everywhere the wild game, of course, was an important factor in the food supply, particularly the deer in the timber region and the buffalo on the plains. The nomad tribes of the plains, in fact, lived by the buffalo, which, in one way or another, furnished them with food, clothing, shelter, household equipment, and fuel.
In this connection there were many curious tribal and personal taboos founded upon clan traditions, dreams, or other religious reasons. Thus the Navajo and the Apache, so far from eating the meat of a bear, refuse even to touch the skin of one, believing the bear to be of human kinship. For a somewhat similar reason some tribes of the plains and the arid South-West avoid a fish, while considering the dog a delicacy.
Besides the cultivated staples, nuts, roots, and wild fruits were in use wherever procurable. The Indians of the Sierras lived largely upon acorns and piñons. Those of Oregon and the Columbia region gathered large stores of camass and other roots, in addition to other species of berries. The Apache and other south-western tribes gathered the cactus fruit and toasted the root of the maguey. The tribes of the upper lake region made great use of wild rice, while those of the Ohio Valley made sugar from the sap of the maple, and those of the southern states extracted a nourishing oil from the hickory nut. Pemmican and hominy are Indian names as well as Indian inventions, and maple sugar is also an aboriginal discovery. Salt was used by many tribes, especially on the plains and in the South-West, but in the Gulf states lye was used instead. Cannibalism simply for the sake of food could hardly be said to exist, but, as a war ceremony or sacrifice following a savage triumph, the custom was very general, particularly on the Texas coast and among the Iroquoian and Algonquian tribes of the east. The Tonkawa of Texas were know to all their neighbours as the "Man-Eaters". Apparently the only native intoxicant was tiswin, a sort of mild beer fermented from corn by the Apache and neighbouring tribes.
Domesticated animalsThe dog was practically the only domesticated animal before the advent of the whites and was found in nearly all tribes, being used as a beast of burden by day and as a constant sentinel by night, while with some tribes the flesh was also a favourite dish. He was seldom, if ever, trained to hunting. Eagles and other birds were occasionally kept for their feathers, and the children sometimes had other pets than puppies. The horse, believed to have been introduced by the Spaniards, speedily became as important a factor in the life of the plains tribes as the buffalo itself. In the same way the sheep and goats, introduced by the early Franciscans, have become the chief source of wealth to the Navajo, numbering now half a million animals from which they derive an annual income of over a million dollars.
Industries and artsIn the fabrication of domestic instruments, weapons, ornaments, ceremonial objects, boats, seines, and traps, in house-building and in the making of pottery and baskets, the Indian showed considerable ingenuity in design and infinite patience of execution. In the division of labour, the making of weapons, hunting and fishing requirements, boats, pipes, and most ceremonial objects fell to the men, while the domestic arts of pottery and basket-making, weaving and dressing of skins, the fashioning of clothing and the preparation and preservation of food commonly devolved upon the women. Among the sedentary or semi-sedentary tribes house-building belonged usually to the men, although the women sometimes assisted. On the plains the entire making and keeping of the tipi were appointed to the women. In many tribes the man cut, sewed, and decorated his own buckskin suit, and in some of the Pueblo villages the men were the basket-weavers.
While the house, in certain tribes, evinced considerable architecture skill, its prime purpose was always utilitarian, and there was usually but little attempt at decorative effect, excepting the Haida, Tlingit, and others of the north-west coast, where the great carved and painted totem poles, sometimes sixty feet in height, set up in front of every dwelling, were a striking feature of the village picture. The same tribes were notable for their great sea-going canoes, hollowed out from a single cedar trunk, elaborately carved and painted, and sometimes large enough to accommodate forty men. The skin boat or kaiak of the Eskimo was a marvel of lightness and buoyancy, being practically unsinkable. The birch-bark canoe of the eastern tribes was especially well-adapted to its purposes of inland navigation. In the southern states we find the smaller "dug-out" log canoe. On the plains the boat was virtually unknown, except for the tub-shaped skin boat of the Mandan and associated tribes of the upper Missouri.
The Eskimo were noted for their artistic carvings of bones and walrus ivory; the Pueblo for their turquoise-inlaid work and their wood carving, especially mythologic figurines, and the Atlantic and California coast tribes for their work in shell. The wampum, or shell beads, made chiefly from the shells of various clams found along the Atlantic coast have become historic, having been extensively used not only for dress ornamentation, but also on treaty belts, as tribal tribute, and as a standard of value answering the purpose of money. The ordinary stone hammer or club, found in nearly every tribe, represented much patient labour, while the whole skill of the artist was frequently expended upon the stone-carved pipe. The black stone pipes of the Cherokee were famous in the southern states, and the red stone pipe of catlinite from a single quarry in Minnesota was reputed sacred and was smoked at the ratification of all solemn tribal engagements throughout the plains and the lake-region. Knives, lance-blades, and arrow-heads were also usually of stone, preferably flint or obsidian. Along the Gulf Coast, keen-edged knives fashioned from split canes were in use. Corn mortars and bowls were usually of wood in the timber region and of stone in the arid country. Hide-scrapers were of bone, and spoons of wood or horn. Metal-work was limited chiefly to the fashioning of gorgets and other ornaments hammered out from native copper, found in the southern Alleghenies, about Lake Superior, and about Copper River in Alaska. The art of smelting was apparently unknown. Under Franciscan and later Mexican teaching the Navahos have developed a silver-working art which compares in importance with their celebrated basket-weaving, the material used being silver coins melted down in stone molds of their own carving. Mica was mined in the Carolina mountains by the local tribes and fashioned into gorgets and mirrors, which found their way by trade as far as the western prairies, All of these arts belonged to the men.
The making of pottery belonged to the women and was practiced in nearly all tribes, excepting those in the plains and interior basin, and the cold north. The Eastern pottery is usually decorated with stamped patterns. That of the Pueblo and other south-western tribes was smooth and painted over with symbolic designs. A few specimens of glazed ware have been found in the same region, but it is doubtful if the process is of native origin. The Catawba and some other tribes produced a beautiful black ware by burning the vessel under cover, so that the smoke permeated the pores of the clay. The simple hand process by coiling was universally used.
Basket-weaving in wood splits, cane, rushes, yucca- or bark-fibre, and various grasses was practiced by the same tribes which made pottery, and excepting in a few tribes, was likewise a women's work. The basket was stained in various designs with vegetable dyes. The Cherokee made a double-walled basket. Those of the Choctaw, Pueblo tribes, Jicarillo, and Piute were noted for beauty of design and execution, but the Pomo and other tribes of California excelled in all closeness and delicacy of weaving and richness of decoration, many of their grass baskets being water-tight and almost hidden under an inter-weaving of bright-coloured plumage, and further decorated around the top with pendants of shining mother-of-pearl. The weaving of grass or rush mats for covering beds or wigwams may be considered as a variant of the basket-weaving process, as likewise the delicate porcupine quill appliqué work of the northern plains and upper-Mississippi tribes.
The useful art of skin-dressing also belonged exclusively to the women, excepting along the Arctic coasts, where furs, instead of denuded skins, were worn by the Eskimo, while the entrails of the larger sea animals were also utilized for waterproof garments. The skins in most general use were those of the buffalo, elk, and deer, which were prepared by scraping, stretching, and anointing with various softening or preservative mixtures, of which the liver or brains of the animal were commonly a part. The timber tribes generally smoked the skins, a process unknown on the plains. A limited use was made of bird skins with the feathers intact.
The weaving art proper was also almost exclusively in the hands of the women. In the east, aside from basket- and mat-making it was confined almost entirely to the twisting of ropes or bowstrings, and the making of belts, the skin fabric taking the place of the textile. In the South-West the Pueblo tribes wove native cotton upon looms of their own device, and, since the introduction of sheep by the Franciscan missionaries in the sixteenth century, the Navaho, enlarging upon their Pueblo teaching have developed a weaving art which has made the Navaho blanket famous throughout the country, the stripping, spinning, weaving, and dyeing of the wool all being their own. The Piute of Nevada and others of that region wore blankets woven from strips of rabbit-fur. Some early writers mention feather-woven cloaks among the gulf tribes, but it is possible that the feathers were simply overlaid upon the skin garment.
It is notable that the Indian worker, man or woman, used no pattern, carrying the design in the head. Certain designs, however, were standardized and hereditary in particular tribes and societies.
Games and amusementsNaturally careless of the future, the Indian gave himself up to pleasure when not under immediate necessity or danger, and his leisure time at home was filled with a constant round of feasting, dancing, story-telling, athletic contests, and gambling games. The principal athletic game everywhere east of the Missouri, as well as with some tribes of the Pacific coast, was the ballplay adopted by the French of Canada under the name lacrosse and in Louisiana as racquette. In this game the ball was caught, not with the hand, but with a netted ball-stick somewhat resembling a tennis racket. A special dance and secret ceremonial preceded the contest. Next in tribal favour in the eastern region was the game known to the early traders under the corrupted Creek name of chunkee, in which one player rolled a stone wheel along the ground, while his competitor slid after it a stick curved at one end like an umbrella handle with the design of having the spent wheel fall within the curve at the end of its course. This game, which necessitated much hard running, was sometimes kept up for hours. A somewhat similar game played with a netted wheel and a straight stick was found upon the plains, the object being to dart the stick through the certain netted holes in the wheel, known as the buffalo, bull, calf, etc. Foot races were very popular with certain tribes, as the Pueblo, Apache. Wichita and Crows, being frequently a part of great ceremonial functions. On the plains horse-racing furnished exciting amusement. There were numerous gambling games, somewhat of the dice order, played with marked sticks, plum stones, carved bones, etc., these being in special favour with the women. Target shooting with bow and arrow, and various forms of dart shooting were also popular.
Among distinctly women's games were football and shinny, the former, however, being merely the bouncing of the ball from the toes with the purpose of keeping in the air as long as possible. Hand games, in which a number of players arranged themselves in two opposing lines and alternately endeavoured to guess the whereabouts of a small object shifted rapidly from hand to hand, were a favourite tipi pastime with both sexes in the winter evenings, to the accompaniment of songs fitted to the rapid movement of the hands. Story-telling and songs, usually to the accompaniment of the rattle or small hand-drum, filled in the evening. The Indian was essentially musical, his instruments being the drum, rattle, flute, or flageolet, eagle-bone whistle and other more crude devices. Each had its special religious significance and ceremonial purposes, particularly the rattle, of which there were many varieties. Besides the athletic and gambling games, there were games of diversion played only on rare occasions of tribal necessity with sacred paraphernalia in keeping of sacred guardians. The Indian was fond also of singing and had songs for every occasion — love, war, hunting, gaming, medicine, satire, children's songs, and lullabies.
The children played with tops, whips, dolls, and other toys, or imitated their elders in shooting, riding, and "playing house".
WarAs war is the normal condition of savagery, so to the Indian warlike glory was the goal of his ambition, the theme of his oratory, and the purpose of his most elaborate ceremonial. His weapons were the knife, bow, club, lance, and tomahawk, or stone axe, which last was very soon superseded by the light steel hatchet supplied by the trader. To these, certain tribes added defensive armour, as the body-armour of rawhides or wooden rods in use along the northwest coast and some other sections, and the shield more particularly used by the equestrian tribes of the plains. As a rule, the lance and shield were more common in the open country, and the tomahawk in the woods. The bow was usually of some tough and flexible wood with twisted sinew cord, but was sometimes of bone or horn backed with sinew rapping. It is extremely doubtful if poisoned arrows were found north of Mexico, notwithstanding many assertions to the contrary.
Where the clan system prevailed the general conduct of war matters was often in the keeping of special clans, and in some tribes, such as the Creeks, war and peace negotiations and ceremonials belonged to certain towns designated as "red" or "white". With the Iroquois and probably with other tribes, the final decision on war or peace rested with a council of the married women. On the plains the warriors of the tribes were organized into military societies of differing degrees of rank, from the boys in training to the old men who had passed their active period. Military service was entirely voluntary with the individual who, among the eastern tribes, signified his acceptance in some public manner, as by striking the red-painted war-post, or, on the plains, by smoking the pipe sent round by the organizers of the expeditions. Contrary to European practice, the command usually rested with several leaders of equal rank, who were not necessarily recognized as chiefs on other occasions. The departure and the return were made according to the fixed ceremonial forms, with solemn chants of defiance, victory, or grief at defeat. In some tribes there were small societies of chosen warriors pledged never to turn or flee from an enemy except by express permission of their fellows, but in general the Indian warrior chose not to take large risks, although brave enough in desperate circumstance.
To the savage every member of a hostile tribe was equally an enemy, and he gloried as much in the death of an infant as in that of the warrior father. Victory meant indiscriminate massacre, with most revolting mutilation of the dead, followed in the early period in nearly every portion of the East and South by a cannibal feast. The custom of scalping the dead, so general in later Indian wars, has been shown by Frederici to have been confined originally to a limited area east of the Mississippi, gradually superseding the earlier custom of beheading. In many western tribes, the warrior's prowess was measured not by the number of his scalp trophies, but by the number of his coups (French term), or strokes upon the enemy, for which there was a regular scale according to kind, the highest honour being accorded not to one one who secured the scalp, but to the warrior who struck the first blow upon the enemy, even though with no more than a willow rod. The scalp dance was performed, not by the warriors, but by the women, who thus rejoiced over the success of their husbands and brothers. There was no distinctive "war dance".
Captives among the eastern tribes were either condemned to death with every horrible form of torture or ceremonially adopted into the tribe, the decision usually resting with the women. If adopted, he at once became a member of a family, usually as representative of a deceased member, and at once acquired full tribal rights. In the Huron wars whole towns of the defeated nation voluntarily submitted and were adopted into the Iroquois tribes. On the plains torture was not common. Adults were seldom spared, but children were frequently spared and either regularly adopted or brought up in a mild sort of slavery. Along the north-west coast, and as far south as California slavery prevailed in its harshest form and was the usual fate of the captive.
Social organizationAmong most of the tribes east of the Mississippi, among the Pueblos, Navahos, and others of the South-West, and among the Tlingit and Haida of the north-west coast, society was based upon the clan system, under which the tribe was divided into a number of large family groups, the members of which were considered as closely related and prohibited from intermarrying. The children usually followed the clan of the mother. The clans themselves were sometimes grouped into larger bodies of related kindred, to which the name of phratries has been applied. The clans were usually, but not always, named from animals, and each clan paid special reverence to its tutelary animal. Thus the Cherokee had seven clans, Wolf, Deer, Bird, Paint, and three others with names not readily translated, A Wolf man could not marry a Wolf woman, but might marry a Deer woman, or one of any of the other clans, and his children were of the Deer clan or other clan accordingly. In some tribes the name of the individual indicated the clan, as "Round Foot" in the wolf clan and "Crawler" in the Turtle clan. Certain functions of war, peace, or ceremonial were usually hereditary in special clans, and revenge for injuries with the tribe devolved upon the clan relatives of the person injured. The tribal council was made up of the hereditary or elected chiefs, and any alien taken into the tribe had to be specifically adopted into a family and clan.
The clan system was by no means universal, as supposed by Morgan and his followers of forty years ago, but is now known to have been limited to particular regions and seems to have been originally an artificial contrivance to protect land and other tribal descent. It was absent almost everywhere west of the Missouri, excepting in the South-West, and appears to have been unknown throughout the greater portion of British America, the interior of Alaska, and probably among the Eskimos. Among the plains tribes, the unit was the band, whose members camped together under their own chief, in an appointed place in the tribal camp circle, and were subject to no marriage prohibition, but usually married among themselves.
With a few notable exceptions, there was very little idea of tribal solidarity or supreme authority, and where a chief appears in history as tribal dictator, as in the case of Powhatan in Virginia, it was usually due to his own strong personality. The real authority was with the council as interpreters of ancient tribal customs. Even such well-known tribes as the Creeks and Cherokee were really only aggregations of closely cognate villages, each acting independently or in cooperation with the others as suited its immediate convenience. Even in the smaller and more compact tribes there was seldom any provision for coercing the individual to secure common action, but those of the same clan or band usually acted together. In this lack of solidarity is the secret of Indian military weakness. In no Indian war in the history of the United States has a single large tribe ever united in solid resistance, while on the other hand other tribes have always been found to join against the hostiles. Among the Natchez, Tinucua, and some other southern tribes, there is more indication of a central authority, resting probably with a dominant clan.
The Iroquois of New York had progressed beyond any other native people north of Mexico in the elaboration of a state and empire. Through a carefully planned system of confederations, originating about 1570, the five allied tribes had secured internal peace and unity, by which they had been able to acquire dominant control over most of the tribes from Hudson Bay to Carolina, and if not prematurely checked by the advent of the whites, might in time have founded a northern empire to rival that of the Aztec.
Land was usually held in common, except among the Pueblos, where it was apportioned among the clans, and in some tribes in northern California, where individual right is said to have existed. Timber and other natural products were free, and hospitality was carried to such a degree that no man kept what his neighbour wanted. While this prevented extremes of poverty, on the other hand it paralyzed individual industry and economy, and was an effectual barrier to progress. The accumulation of property was further discouraged by the fact that in most tribes it was customary to destroy all the belongings of the owner at his death. The word for "brave" and "generous" was frequently the same, and along the north-west coast there existed the curious custom known as potlatch, under which a man saved for half a lifetime in order to acquire the rank of chief by finally giving away his entire hoard at a grand public feast.
Enslavement of captives was more or less common throughout the country, especially in the southern states, where the captives were sometimes crippled to prevent their escape. Along the north-west coast and as far south as California, not only the captives but their children and later descendants were slaves and might be abused or slaughtered at the will of the master, being frequently burned alive with their deceased owner, or butchered to provide a ceremonial cannibal feast. In the Southern slave states, before the Civil War, the Indians were frequent owners of negro slaves.
Men and women, and sometimes even the older children, were organized into societies for military, religious, working, and social purposes, many of these being secret, especially those concerned with medicine and women's work. In some tribes there was also a custom by which two young men became "brothers" through a public exchange of names.
The erroneous opinion that the Indian man was an idler, and that the Indian woman was a drudge and slave, is founded upon a misconception of the native system of division of labour, under which it was the man's business to defend the home and to provide food by hunting and fishing, assuming all the risks and hardships of battle and the wilderness, while the woman attended to the domestic duties including the bringing of wood and water, and, with the nomad tribes, the setting up of the tipis. The children, however, required little care after they were able to run about, and the housekeeping was of the simplest, and, as the women usually worked in groups, with songs and gossip, while the children played about, the work had much of pleasure mixed with it. In all that chiefly concerned the home, the woman was the mistress, and in many tribes the women's council gave the final decision upon important matters of public policy. Among the more agricultural tribes, as the Pueblos, men and women worked the fields together. In the far north, on the other hand, the harsh environment seems to have brought all the savagery of the man's nature, and the woman was in fact a slave, subject to every whim of cruelty, excepting among the Kutchin of the Upper Yukon, noted for their kind treatment of their women. Polygamy existed in nearly all tribes excepting the Pueblos.
Religion and mythologyThe Indian was an animist, to whom every animal, plant, and object in nature contained a spirit to be propitiated or feared. Some of these, such as the sun, the buffalo, and the peyote plant, the eagle and the rattlesnake, were more powerful or more frequently helpful than others, but there was no overruling "Great Spirit" as so frequently represented. Certain numbers, particularly four and seven, were held sacred. Colours were symbolic and had abiding place, and sometimes sex. Thus with the Cherokee the red spirits of power and victory live in the Sun Land, or the East, while the black spirits of death dwell in the Twilight Land of the West. Certain tribes had palladiums around which centered their most elaborate ritual. Each man had also his secret personal "medicine". The priest was likewise the doctor, and medicine and religious ritual were closely interwoven. Secret societies were in every tribe, claiming powers of prophecy, hypnotism, and clairvoyance. Dreams were in great repute, and implicitly trusted and obeyed, while witches, fairies, and supernatural monsters were as common as in medieval Europe. Human sacrifices, either of infants or adults, were found among the Timucua of Florida, the Natchez of Mississippi, the Pawnee of the plains, and some tribes of California and the north-west coast, the sacrifice in the last-mentioned region being frequently followed by a cannibal feast. From time to time, as among more civilized nations, prophets arose to purify the old religion or to preach a new ritual. Each tribe had its genesis, tradition, and mythical hero, with a whole body of mythologic belief and folklore, and one or more great tribal ceremonials. Among the latter may be noted the Green-Corn Dance thanksgiving festival of the eastern and southern tribes, the Sun-Dance of the plains, the celebrated snake dance of the Hopi and the Salmon Dance of the Columbia tribes.
BurialThe method of disposing of the dead varied according to the tribe and the environment, inhumation being probably the most widespread. The Hurons and the Iroquois allowed the bodies to decay upon scaffolds, after which the bones were gathered up and deposited with much ceremony in the common tribal sepulchre. The Nanticoke and Choctaw scraped the flesh from the bones, which were then wrapped in a bundle, and kept in a box within the dwelling. Tree, scaffold, and cave burial were common on the plains and in the mountains, while cremation was the rule in the arid regions father to the west and south-west. Northward from the Columbia the body was deposited in a canoe raised upon posts, while cave burial reappeared among the Aleut of Alaska, and earth burial among the Eskimo. The dread of mentioning the name of the dead was as universal as destroying the property of the deceased, even to the killing of his horse or dog, while the custom of placing food near the grave for the spirit during the journey to the other world was almost as common, Laceration of the body, cutting off of the hair, general neglect of the person, and ceremonial wailing, morning and evening, sometimes for weeks, were also parts of their funeral customs.
Language and populationNearly two hundred major languages, besides minor dialects, were spoken north of Mexico, classified in fifty-one distinct linguistic stocks, as given below, of which nearly one-half were represented in California. Those marked with an asterisk are extinct, while several others are now reduced to less than a dozen individuals keeping the language: Algonquian, Athapascan (Déné), Attacapan, *Beothukan, Caddoan, Chimakuan, *Chimarikan, Chimmesyan, Chinookan, Chitimachan, *Chumashan, *Coahuiltecan (Pakawá), Copehan (Wintun), Costanoan, Eskimauan, *Esselenian, Iroquoian, Kalapooian, *Karankawan, Keresan, Kiowan, Kitunahan, Kaluschan (Tlingit), Kulanapan (Pomo), *Kusan, Mariposan (Yokuts), Moquelumnan (Miwok), Muskogean, Pujunan (Maidu), Quoratean (Karok), *Salinan, Salishan, Shahaptian, Shoshonean, Siouan, Skittagetan (Haida), Takilman, *Timucuan, *Tonikan, Tonkawan, Uchean, *Waiilatpuan (Cayuse), Wakashan (Nootka), Washoan, Weitspekan (Yurok), Wishoskan, Yakonan, *Yanan (Nosi), Yukian, Yuman, Zuñian.
While the Indian population was never dense, the idea that the Indian has held his own. or even actually increased in number, is a serious error, founded on the fact that most official estimates begin with the federal period, when the native race was already wasted by nearly three centuries of white contact and in many regions entirely extinct. An additional source of error is that the law recognizes anyone of even remote Indian ancestry as entitled to Indian rights, including in this category, especially in the former "Five Civilized Nations" of Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), several thousand individuals whose claims have always been stoutly repudiated by the native tribal courts. Moreover, the original Indian was a full-blood, while his present-day representative has often so little aboriginal blood as to practically a white man or a negro. Many broken tribes of today contain not a single full-blood, and some few not even one of half Indian blood. The Cherokee Nation, officially reported to number 36,000 persons of pure or mixed Cherokee blood contains probably not 4000 of even fairly pure blood, the rest being all degrees of admixture even down to one-sixty-fourth or less of Indian blood, besides some 7000 claimants officially recognized, but repudiated by the former Indian Government. In Massachusetts an official census of 1860 reported a "Yartmouth tribe" of 105 persons, all descended from a single Indian woman with a negro husband residing there in 1797. It is obvious that the term Indian cannot properly be applied to such diluted mixtures.
The entire aboriginal population of Florida, of the mission period, numbering perhaps 30,000, is long since extinct without descendants, the Seminole being a later emigrations from the Creeks. The aborigines of South Carolina, counting in 1700 some fifteen tribes of which the Catawba, the largest tribe, numbered some six thousand souls, are represented today by about a hundred mixed blood Catawba, together with some scattered mongrels, whose original ancestry is a matter of doubt.
The same holds good upon the plains, The celebrated Pawnee tribe of some 10,000 souls in 1838 is now reduced to 650; the Kansas of 1500 within the same period have now 200 souls, and the aborigines of Texas, numbering in 1700 perhaps some 40,000 souls in many small tribes with distinct languages, is extinct except for some 900 Caddo, Wichita, and Tonkawa. The last-named, estimated at 1,000 in 1805, numbered 700 in 1849, 300 in 1861, 108 in 1882, and 48 in 1908, including several aliens. In California the aboriginal population has decreased within the same period from perhaps a quarter of a million to perhaps 15,000, and nearly the same proportion of decrease holds good along the whole Pacific coast into Alaska. Not only have tribes dwindled, but whole linguistic stocks have become extinct within the historic period. The only apparent exceptions to the general rule of decay are the Iroquois, Sioux, and Navaho, the first two of whom have kept up their number by wholesale adoptions, while the Navaho have been preserved by their isolation. The causes of decrease may be summarized as: (1) introduced diseases and dissipation, particularly smallpox, sexual disease, and whiskey; (2) wars, also hardship and general enfeeblement consequent upon frequent removals and enforced change from accustomed habitat. The present Indian population north of Mexico is approximately 400,000, or whom approximately 265,000 are within the United States proper.
Mexico, Central America, and West IndiesBetween the Rio Grande and the Isthmus of Panama was a large number of tribes, constituting some twnety-five linguistic stocks, and representing every degree of culture from the lowest savagery to a fairly advanced civilization. Lowest of all were the tribes of the California peninsula, with the Seri of Tiburon Island. Of somewhat higher grade, but still savages, were the dwellers in the low coast-lands of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The Tarumari, Tepehuan, Huichol, and others of the northern sierras were about on a level with our own Pueblo tribes, while the Aztec, Totonac, Tarasco, Zapotec, and Mistec, the Maya, Kiché, and Cakchiquel, of the central region, might almost be considered civilized nations, counting their citizens by hundreds of thousands, with agriculture and all the common industrial arts, a well-developed agriculture, an established and orderly government, and a voluminous hieroglyphic literature.
As in the United States the general direction of migration seems to have been from north to south, excepting for the tribes of the Chibchan stock, an offshoot from the main body in Columbia. The celebrated Aztec, whose tribes occupied the valley of Mexico and its immediate environs, had a definite tradition of northern origins, and linguistic evidence shows them to have been closely cognate to the Pima and Shoshoni, while their culture was borrowed from the earlier and much more cultured, but less warlike, nations which they had overpowered some five centuries before their own conquest by Cortés in 1519. The empire which they had built up comprised many tribes of diverse stocks, held together only by the superior force of the conqueror, and easily disintegrated by the assaults of the Spaniards. The native civilizations, however, have left their permanent stamp on both Mexico and Central America.
In general characteristics, the cultures of the several civilized nations were very similar. Agriculture was the basis of industry and dependence; mountain-terracing, canal-irrigation, and even floating lake-gardens, being all utilized to meet the necessities of a swarming population. Stone, and more particularly obsidian, was still the chief material for ordinary implements, but they had discovered the art of bronze-casting, and were expert designers in gold. The working of iron—the master metal—was practically unknown upon the American continent. They were neatly clothed in cotton garments of various colours. Their pottery, particularly that of the Taracso, was beautiful in both design and manufacture, with glazed surface and inlay of precious metal. Their public architecture included magnificent temples and pyramids, of cut and polished stone set in mortar and covered with hieroglyphic inscriptions. The ruined cities of the Maya of Yucatán — Mayapan, Uxmal, and Chichén-Itzá, with scores of others, all occupied at the time of the conquest with such older ruins as Teotihuancan, and Copal, and Mitla—rival the great remains of classical antiquity.
The social and political organization seems to have been based upon the family group. There was a system of public education in which boys were taught military science, writing, and religious ritual, while girls were instructed in morals and domestic arts. Each civilized nation had an elaborate calendar system, that of the Maya proper being the most intricate, with cycles of 20, 52, and 260 years. The religious systems were characterized by the number and magnificence of their ceremonials, with armies of priests and priestesses, processions, feasts, and sacrifices, and by the general bloody tenor of their sacrifices, especially among the Aztecs, who yearly sacrificed thousands of captives to their gods, the bodies of the victims being afterwards eaten by the priests or by the original captors. The Maya religion, like the people, appears to have been of a milder character, although still admitting human sacrifice. In all these nations the king was of absolute authority. Whole libraries of native literature existed, chiefly of ritual content, written in iconomatic or hieroglyphic characters, upon paper of maguey fibre. Of those which have escaped the fanaticism of the first conquerors some of the most noted (Aztec) are exemplified in Lord Kingsborough's great work. Of the Mayan nations the most valuable literary monument is the "Popol Vuh" of the Kiché of Guatemala, translated by the Abbé Brasseur de Bourbourg. For a comprehensive view of these native civilizations our best authorities are Gomara and Herrara, of the earlier period, with Prescott and Hubert H. Bancroft of our own time. In spite of the exterminating wars of the conquest and the subsequent awful oppression under the slave system, the descendants of the aboriginal races—largely Christianized and assimilated to Spanish forms — still constitute the great bulk of the population between the Rio Grande and the Isthmus.
The ruder coastal tribes of central America present no distinguishing cultural features, subsisted by a limited agriculture, supplemented by hunting and fishing, without arts, monuments, or history of importance. The Ulva of Honduras practiced head-flattening. The Carib of the same region were forced immigrants from the Antilles.
Practically the whole of the West Indies were occupied by tribes of two linguistic stocks, the earlier of the Arawakan origin, the more recent being Cariban invaders from the northern coast of South America. The Arawakan aborigines were about in the cultural status of our own Gulf tribes, subsisting chiefly by agriculture and practicing the simpler arts, but unfitted by their peaceful habit to withstand the inroads of the predatory Carib, whose very name is synonymous with "cannibal". Under the awful cruelties of their Spanish conquerors and taskmasters they were virtually exterminated within two generations of the discovery (see Arawaks).
As commonly recognized, the linguistic stocks represented in Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies were about twenty-five in number, as given below, those marked with an asterisk being also extra-limital: *Athapascan (Chihuahua etc.); *Cariban (Honduras and the islands); Chiapanecan (Oaxaca); Huavean (Oaxaca); Lencan (Honduras); Maratinian, or Tamaulipecan (Tamaulipas); Matagalpan (Nicaragua); Mayan (Yucatan, Tabasco, Chiapas, Guatemala); Mosquitan (Honduras); *Nahuatlan Shoshonian (Mexico, etc.); Olivean (Tamaulipas); Otomian (Guerrero, etc.); Pakawan, or Coahuiltecan (Coahuila); Payan (Honduras); Serian (Sonora); Subtiaban (Nicaragua); Tarascan (Michoacan); Tequistlatecan (Oaxaca, Guerrero); Totonacan (Vera Cruz); Ulvan (Nicaragua etc.); Waikurian (California); Xanambriam (Tamaulipas); Xicaquan (Honduras); Xincan (Guatemala); *Yuman (California).
South AmericaOn the South American continent there existed prior to European occupation a chain of highly developed civilizations extending along the Andean plateaus from the Isthmus southward into Chile, while all the rest—including the narrow coast strip along the Pacific and the great forests and pampas stretching forward to the Atlantic—were occupied by petty tribes of primitive culture status, from the sedentary agriculturalists of the middle Orinoco and the Piraná to the rude savages of Tierra del Fuego.
Among the civilized nations, in order from north to south, were the Muysca or Chibcha of Columbia, the Yunca and Quichua of Peru, and the somewhat problematic Aymará of the Peru-Bolivia frontier. Of these the most populous, most important, and best known were the Quichua, whose great empire of Peru, with its capital at Cuzco, dominated the whole region west of the great Cordillera from the Chibcha territory to about the 35th parallel in Chile, with outlying colonies among the Chalchaqui of Catamarca, east of the Andes chain. Their ruling caste, the Incas, who claimed descent from the sun and to whom belonged the emperors and the nobility, appear to have been originally the nucleus tribe of the empire, which in the course of centuries had gradually absorbed almost all the tribes of cognate Quichuan stock, together with a number of tribes and nations of alien stocks and of greater or less degree of culture. Unlike the Aztec, who held subjected tribes only by superior force, the Inca tribes pursued a systematic policy of removal and colonization with reference to the conquered tribes under which tribal differences rapidly disappeared, and the new subjects were completely fused into the body of the empire. The government, while nearly absolute, was mild and paternal, looking carefully after the welfare of every class and citizen, defining their privileges and duties, and holding each to a strict account according to its contribution to the general welfare. The religion took part in the same benevolent character, having none of the bloody and cannibalistic rites of the Aztec. The material civilization was probably the most advanced in aboriginal America, agriculture, pottery-making, weaving, and metal-working in gold and bronze being at their highest, while the stupendous temples, fortresses, and roads, in massive cut stone, were without parallel on the Continent, and still defy the centuries. In sculptural art, however, they were behind the Aztec, Maya, and other northern nations, and in anything literary had not progressed beyond a simple system by means of quipus or knotted cords. Among the best accounts of Inca civilization is that contained in Prescott's "Conquest of Peru", a description which will apply with approximate correctness to the others of the Andean region. The Chibcha race was virtually exterminated by the Spanish conquerors in their thirst for gold, but in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia the descendants of the old civilized nations still constitute the bulk of the population, and the Quichua is the dominant language outside of the cities.
The Araucanians of southern Chile, who successfully resisted all attempts at their subjugation to the present day; the Moxos tribes of southern Bolivia and their neighbours, the Calchaqui of Argentina; the populous Guaraní tribes of the Paraguay; and the majority of the tribes of the middle Orinoco, were chiefly sedentary and agricultural in habit, and fairly well advanced in the simple native arts, including pottery-making, weaving, and the preparation of tapioca flour from the manioc root. The tribes of the great Amazon basin and of eastern Brazil, as a rule, were primarily hunters or fishers and of lower culture, as were the predatory equestrian tribes of the Chaco, central Argentina, and Patagonia, while the Ona and others of inclement Tierra del Fuego displayed the lowest degree of savagery, being without clothing, shelter, structure, or any art worthy of the name. Cannibalism prevailed over a large portion of the continent, especially among the Botocudo, Guaraní, and others of the Piraná and eastern Brazil, in portions of Guiana and the great Orinoco region, and on some of the upper streams of the Amazon. Social organization and tribal laws and government, excepting among the more sedentary tribes of the more southern region, were very loosely defined, and the religion of all seems to have been simple animism, with apparently much less of ceremonial form than was common among the tribes of similar grade on the northern continent, probably due to the nature of the tropical wilderness, which made it difficult to come together in large numbers.
The eastern tribes were terribly wasted by the organized slave-traders in the earlier period and until the Jesuits armed them for effective defence in the seventeenth century. Civilization with its introduced vices and new diseases, particularly smallpox, has been as destructive to them as to other savage races, and in spite of missionary effort and sporadic government protection in some states, they seem rapidly marching to final extinction.
As tabulated by Chamberlain, our most recent authority (South American Linguistic Stocks, 1907), the number of South American linguistic stocks was approximately eighty, as given below, the list being liable to some change with more extended investigation. Of these the Tuplan, or Tupi-Guaraní, alone occupies the greater portion of Brazil and Paraguay, and forms the basis of the lingoa geral or trade language. Alikulufan (Tierra del Fuego), Andaquian (Columbia), Apoliston (Bolivia), Arauan (Brazil), Araucan, or Aucan (Chile), Arawakan (Venezuela &c.), Ardan (Ecuador), Atacameñan (Chile), Aymaran? (Peru, Bolivia), Barbacoan (Columbia), Betoyan (Columbia, Venezuela), Bororoan (Brazil), Calchaquian (Argentina), Canarian (Peru-Ecuador), Canicunan (Bolivia), Carajan (Brazil), Caraban (Venezuela, Guiana, &c.), Caririan (Brazil), Cayubaban (Bolivia), Charruan (Uruguay), Chibchan (Columbia), Chiquitan (Bolivia), Chocoan (Columbia), Cholonan (Peru), Chonoan (Chile), Churoyan (Columbia), Cocnucan (Columbia), Corabecan (Bolivia), Cunan (Columbia), Curucunecan (Bolivia), Curuminacan (Bolivia), Enomagan (Paraguay), Goyatacan (Brazil), Guahiban (Columbia), Guraraunan (Venezuela), Guatoan (Bolivia-Brazil), Guaycuran (Argentina), Itenean (Bolivia), Itonaman (Bolivia), Itucalean (Peru), Jivaran (Ecuador), Laman (Peru), Lecan (Bolivia), Lorenzan (Peru), Lulean (Argentina), Mainan (Ecuador), Makuan (Brazil), Matacan (Argentina, Paraguay), Miranhan (Brazil), Mocoan (Columbia), Mosetenan (Bolivia), Moviman (Bolivia), Muran (Brazil), Ocoronan (Bolivia), Onan (Tierra del Fuego), Otomacan (Venezuela), Otuquian (Bolivia), Paniquitan (Columbia), Panoan (Peru), Peban (Peru, Ecuador), Piaroan (Columbia, Venezuela), Puelchean (Argentina), Puinavian (Columbia), Puquinan (Peru), Quichuan (Peru, Ecuador, &c.), Salivan (Venezuela), Samucan (Bolivia), Tacanan (Bolivia), Tapuyan (Brazil, Columbia), Ticunan (Brazil), Timotean (Venezuela), Tupían (Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, &c.), Trumaian (Brazil), Tsonekan (Argentina), Uitotan (Brazil), Yaganan (Tierra del Fuego), Yaruran (Venezuela—Columbia), Yuncan (Peru), Yurucan (Bolivia), Zaparan (Ecuador).
About this page
‘I am the archaeologist Mark Williams mentioned in this article,’ Professor Williams said on Facebook. ‘This is total and complete bunk. There is no evidence of Maya in Georgia. Move along now.’
However Professor Williams’s comments on the Examiner article have themselves caused a backlash as other readers labelled his dismissive words as ‘pompous’, ‘arrogant’ and ‘disrespectful’.
The professor responded by telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution: ‘There’s a feeling that people are hiding the truth. Someone needed to stand up and say: “This is silly”.’
The remains were first found by retired engineer Carey Waldrip when he went walking in the area in the 1990s.
‘I think that (Mr Thornton) selectively presents the evidence,’ Mr Loubser told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. ‘But he’s a better marketer than I and other archaeologists are.’
Mr Loubser, who excavated a rock wall and small mound, added that claims like this must be backed up with ‘hard evidence’ because of the various conflicting opinions in the archaeological world.
Theory: The Mayans could have left Central America and ended up in the North Georgian mountains
Fascinating: The Mayans died out around 900AD for reasons still debated by scholars - although drought, overpopulation and war are the most popular theories (file picture)
Mr Loubser believes the structures could have been built by the Cherokee Indians or an earlier tribe between 800AD and 1100AD. He stopped digging because he realised the site could be a grave.
But Mr Thornton claimed early maps of the location named two villages ‘Itsate’, which was how Itza Mayans described themselves. The terrace structures and date helped him reach his conclusion.
The Mayans have been under intense scrutiny over the past few years as rumours abound about their mysterious 5,125-year calendar allegedly predicting the apocalypse on December 21 2012.
But various experts have spoken out over the last month, including Mexico's 'Grand Warlock' Antonio Vazquez, to say that the Mayan calendar instead will just reset and a new time-span will begin.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2082720/Richard-Thornton-rock-terraces-near-mountain-Mayans-fled-falling-civilisation-Georgia.html#ixzz1if0E1yuN
By Brian Robinson
University of Maine
The so-called "Red Paint People" of nearby Maine provided one of New England's earliest archeological controversies. Evidence of the Red Paint People was found throughout the nineteenth century as groups of stone artifacts (for example, gouges or woodworking tools, fishing plummets, flaked stone knives and spearheads of ground slate) in deposits of bright red ocher (iron oxide powder). The first detailed excavations were conducted by Charles Willougby in 1892, for the Peabody Museum of Harvard University and his 1899 account remains a model of archeological reporting. Later work by Warren K. Moorehead (n.s. Peabody Museum, Andover, MA) from about 1912-1920 brought wider attention to the "Red Paint People" as well as controversy surrounding their identity.
The controversy surrounding the age and identity of the people originated with the character of red ocher deposits. Although they were generally considered to be graves, they were apparently so old that no bones were preserved and some of the stone artifacts were even badly decayed. This led Moorehead to declare in the pages of the preimmenent journal, American Anthropology:
"It is our conviction that the graves represent an ancient and exceedingly primitive culture, totally diffferent from that of the later Algonquin tribes" (Moorehead 1913).
The proposal of a "new" ancient culture could not go unchallenged and the challenge came in 1914 from none other than David T. Bushnell of the Smithsonian Institution, who suggested that the Red Paint People may indeed be quite recent. This controversy occured long before the radiocarbon dating (carbon 14) techniques had been invented, and with so many controversies, that of the Red Paint People faded away with new information. Moorehead was correct that the graves were quite ancient, usually dating between 2,000 to 6,000 years ago, but with rocks going as far back as 6,000 years. Bushnell's concern was not unfounded, however, as the Smithsonian was at the time waging a battle against other "Satanic" interpretations of Native American archeology, most notably the theory that the Mound Builders of Midwestern United States were an ancient race of people, perhaps one of the seven tribes of Isreal, that came before the Indian cultures of North America.
Archeology has come a long way since the turn of the century and presumably has a long way to go, if reserach can keep pace with all the agents of destruction, both natural and man made. The "Red Paint People" were initially only recognized from their cemetery sites and these are now more commonly referred to as the "Moorehead burial tradition" in archeological journal. Recent research, conducted by the Maine State Museum and various campuses of the University of Maine has foucused on the occupation sites or living areas of the people and their maritime hunting and fishing culture. The regular hunting of swordfish in the Gulf of Maine provides an example of their hunting and boating skills.
Ironically, some of the old "Mysteries of the Red Paint People" persist but for different reasons. One of the early theories explaining their disappearance called upon the then recent (1930) evidence that the coast of Maine was subsiding below the ocean. This geological evidence was expanded upon with the suggestion that the ocean side habitation areas of the people may have succumbed to tidal waves that resulted from violent earthquakes that caused the land to sink. While such catastrophes did not likely wipe the people out, the slow rise of the sea level is methodically destroying the coastal occupation sites and thus our ability to learn about them. Relatively few such sites remain after 4,000-5,000 years, and the few that have been excavated, such as the Turner Farm site in Penobscot Bay (Bruce Bourque 1995), contain precious glimpses of what was once a typical lifestyle of the area.
Photo courtesy NH Div of Historical Resources.
©1997 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved
www.facebook.com/#!/treatycouncil International Indian Treaty Council
wrote this article on facebook Dec 11, 2011