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Old March 17th, 2013, 08:34 AM   #1

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Mayan influence in North America ?


The HC documentary America Unearthed -- American Maya Secrets emphasizes connections between the Maya, in the Yucatan, e.g. Chichenitza; and Georgia, e.g. Track Rock ruins (c.1000 AD) & Ocmulgee mounds. Prima facie, those sites, on opposite sides of the Gulf of Mexico, showed similarities, of site layout, astronomical alignments of buildings, religious symbolism. And, languages local to Georgia share many Mayan words. Georgia's Muskogee languages correlate to the South Appalachian branch of the mound-building Mississippian culture; and are arguably related to those native languages spoken by the Plaouemine branch of the Mississippians. If so, then all southern Gulf-coastal Mississippians spoke common "Gulf" tongues c.1000 AD:
Click the image to open in full size.
At Chichenitza, the Maya often sacrificed humans, commonly 9-10 year old boys. Sacrificial victims were painted in "Maya blue" pigment, a combination of palygorskite clay, from unknown sources; and blue-indigo pigment, from "an ill" plants local to the Yucatan. The bottom of Chichenitza's sacred cenote (Chichenitza means "mouth of the cenote") is covered by fifteen feet of Maya blue pigment. Georgia contains copious quantities of palygorskite, which x-ray analysis identified, in samples from the Yucatan.

Connections were also noted, between the Maya, and Florida, e.g. the native tribes near Miami and lake Okeechobee:
  • Maya-yuaca
  • Maya-imi (Miami)
  • Maya-ka
Prima facie, the Totonac & Maya on the southern coasts of the Gulf of Mexico, had profound impact, upon the Mississippians on the northern coasts, with whom they traded, and from whom knowledge of agriculture, astronomy, and religious symbolism were acquired. The Maya were plausibly a prestigious society, whose influence was felt far afield; and who were widely imitated. When the Maya culture collapsed c.900 AD, some Maya may have fled northwards, as refugees, to trade and/or family relations, reminiscent of Aeneas fleeing from fallen Troy.

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Old March 17th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #2

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The Mississippian culture-complex (c.900-1500 AD) arose from the Hopewell culture-complex (c.200 BC-500 AD):
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In between, several centuries of "dark age" were characterized by population dispersal to smaller settlements; the introduction of the bow & arrow, also of the "three-sisters" (maize, beans, squash).

The Hopewell began growing corn c.200 BC; the Mississippians arose when corn was finally fully adapted to the northern climate c.900 AD:
Quote:
Maize was first grown in the eastern United States around 200 BC, and highly productive adapted strains became widely used around 900 AD. The spread was so slow because... more productive varieties of maize had to be developed to compete with indigenous crops and to suit the cooler climates and shorter growing seasons of the northern regions of the continent. It seems that maize was adopted first as a supplement to existing agricultural plants, but gradually came to dominate as its yields increased
In the north, the Hopewell of North America declined c.500 AD (cp. 536 AD climatic catastrophe). But, in the south, the Gulf-coast Hopewell persisted until c.800 AD; after c.900 AD, the same region evolved into the South Appalachian (and Plaouemine?) Mississippians.

About the same time, the Maya of Meso-America declined c.750-900 AD. Presuming close cultural connections, across the Gulf of Mexico, then the far northern periphery of the Mayan world "Balkanized" c.500 AD; whereas the Gulf-coastal core persisted until c.800-900 AD. Thereafter, the development of northerly-adapted maize fueled the rise of the Mississippians. The dispersal of populations, in the far north, c.500 AD, coincides with the introduction of beans & squash; of the bow & arrow; of loss of long-distance trade in luxury items.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 11:45 AM   #3

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Prima facie,
Marksville culture (Hopewell) ---> Plaouemine culture (Mississippian)
South-Creek culture ---> South Appalachian culture
Only the latter seems to have persisted, past c.500 AD. Ipso facto, cultures across the whole of the Mississippi river watershed fragmented & dispersed after c.500 AD, as long-distance trade collapsed. Parsimoniously, long-range trade, in lucrative luxury items, had brought clans together into tribes, and tied the tribes together up & down the Mississippi river & tributaries. Then, the loss of the luxury market, induced everybody to break back apart. Perhaps Meso-Americans found an alternative supply, of luxury items, c.500 AD ?? Or, if loss of long-range trade was not the cause; then perhaps subsisting for survival demanded dispersal, inhibiting trade, as the effect ??
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Old March 17th, 2013, 12:06 PM   #4

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[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Agricultural_Complex]Eastern Agricultural Complex - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

As early as the 3rd millennium BC, natives in North America had begun cultivating several sorts of seeds, including a variety of squash, whose husks were also used as gourds.

But, beginning c.200 BC,
Quote:
The indigenous crops were replaced slowly by other more productive crops developed in Mexico: maize, beans and additional varieties of squash... Maize was first grown in the eastern United States around 200 BCE, and highly productive adapted strains became widely used around 900 CE
So, the Hopewell culture-complex c.200 BC - 500 AD seems associated, with the introduction of influences from Meso-America. c.500 AD, something, conceivably climatic collapse (e.g. 536 AD ?) caused the collapse of the "proto-Mississippian" Hopewell culture-complex up-and-down the Mississippi river valley -- tribes, gathered together into single settlements, dispersed into more-but-smaller sites. When the Meso-American staples were fully adapted to North American climate c.900 AD, the Mississippian culture rapidly rose, as people grew dependent on large-scale agriculture. So, somehow, before the "three-sisters" were fully adapted to the north, c.500-900 AD, something forced everyone to forage farther afield. Populations dispersed, in search for food, and had little time, to search for luxury items to trade. i get the impression, that long-range trade during the Hopewell period was somehow permitted, by clement climatic conditions, making finding food faster & easier, so giving northern (Siouian?) natives more free time, which they then devoted, in diversion, from hunting, to searching for luxury items to trade. But when their survival depended upon finding food, they started spending more time hunting, and less time trading. And the Hopewell culture-complex collapsed, until the "three-sisters" began dependably feeding people, without need for (as much) hunting.
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Old March 17th, 2013, 02:25 PM   #5
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Could there be a Norse element in Hopewell? Did that influence a north-south cultural conflict?
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Old March 20th, 2013, 05:24 AM   #6

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Norse influence in North America, e.g. Kensington rune-stone, dates to the 14th century AD, at the height of the Mississippian culture, a thousand years after the Hopewell culture.

The Kensington rune-stone was found in Minnesota, north of all Mississippian settlements, north even of the Oneota sites:
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:04 AM   #7

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You like to say prima facae a lot without supporting it.
Any evidence at all that the Mayans were water travellers? Thats a distance of several thousand miles on land through deserts, swamps, and a host of less than peaceful fellows.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:22 AM   #8
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Saint Brendan did it around 500 to be sure.
"There is a St Brendan Society that celebrates the belief that Brendan was the first European to reach North America. [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Severin"]Tim Severin[/ame] has demonstrated that it is possible that a leather-clad boat such as the one described in the Navigator could have reached [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_America"]North America[/ame].[8][9]"
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:27 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zincwarrior View Post
You like to say prima facae a lot without supporting it.
Any evidence at all that the Mayans were water travellers? Thats a distance of several thousand miles on land through deserts, swamps, and a host of less than peaceful fellows.
evidence suggests Maya traded with the Hopewell, across the Gulf of Mexico. that only means, that luxury items from North America, wound up in the Yucatan. there may have been middlemen involved, or perhaps all the sailing / rowing was done by Hopewell merchants, or something else. i only said, evidence seems to suggest, that the Hopewell & Maya both belonged to the same trade network. Cp. silk did traverse all of Asia, from China to Rome.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 07:17 AM   #10

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There could have been a very limited trade throughout various parts of North and South America. Thats logical (and kind of cool if you think about it). To go beyond extremely limited trade however, requires substantial support.

After Rome traded silks with China. I'd hardly say they were influenced by China at all.

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