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Re: [ancient_waterways_society] "Ancient Architects of the Mississippi" timeline begins 8000BC

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  • Vincent Barrows
    Hi Susan; Thanks for your thoughtful email and excellent comparison with regards to the Paradigms. the link that you sent is a very good explanation of the
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 26, 2008
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      Hi Susan;
      Thanks for your thoughtful email and excellent comparison with regards to the Paradigms. the link that you sent is a very good explanation of the formative cultures of the Americas. It is somewhat difficult to explain or to display scientific evidence that shows that even past civilizations were formed upon more ancient civilizations.
      There are to many misconceptions being passed around about Monks Mound; it is important that the facts be understood.
      First there was no emergency. Monks Mound has existed in a state of structural collapse since its initial construction. This is evident in the prehistoric repairs made by the Indians. It is also evident in the massive prehistoric/historic slumping of the wesn side of the mound. About every 10-20 years, there is an anomalously high groundwater recharge event. The watertable in the mound goes up, the water pressures go up, the effective confining pressure in the material goes down, and there is another episode of slumping. Then the water drains out and the stable conditions resume. It’s entirely natural and has been occurring for hundreds (thousands) of years. I visited the mound during 2002 in the recent episode of slumping. Water was seeping from the base of the mound and the material had the consistency of quicksand. It had no strength; an eight-inch grass straw penetrated directly into the material. On a subsequent visit it had reverted to a damp clayey silt.
      If something needed to be done, the correct method was to get the water out of the material. This could have been accomplished with a series of horizontal wells beneath the mound. They could have been installed and operated without disturbing the mound material. To keep the water out of the mound, develop a good stand of grass. Maybe build an elevated viewing platform to keep the tourists off the grass. If done right, this would also have minimal impact on the mound material.  Finally, the terrace and backfill method that was employed is appropriate for unconsolidated alluvium on an otherwise stable hillside. In this case there is a maximum depth to the failure surfaces along which the sliding occurs. It is not appropriate for a four sided homogeneous mound of wet clayey silt. In this case the maximum shear stress and maximum water pressure occur beneath the crest of the mound. The failure surfaces are expected to extend into the core of the mound itself; they are not limited to the surface material.  During the next groundwater recharge episode, the mound along with the new fill material is expected to continue to spread.
      Larry Barrows, a practicing hydrogeologist, and an Illinois licensed geologist who works for an engineering company and has a working knowledge of slope stability problems stated  "If this proposal (to dig deeply into the mound) had crossed my desk for a technical review, its shortcomings would have been appropriately noted.The damage has been done and cannot be undone. There may well have been patterns or designs opn the buried surfaces that will never be recovered. The material that was removed can be sifted to recover pot shards, projectile points, bone fragments, teeth, etc. but their context is lost. It is essential that similar future destruction be prevented. To this end I would suggest that control be transferred to an organization that recognizes their responsibility; perhaps the National Park Service or a native American group.."
      As stated in the attached article, archaeologists were of the opinion that the practice of building a square temple mound around a plaza came from the south in central Mexico and spread to the north. During the late 1800's and early 1900's, several doctors wrote of the similarity of skull shape to mesoamericans. The "Lohman Phase" pottery that was found on monks mound was used by some to justify thier opinion that Monks Mound; with regard to the dating of Cahokia and Monks Mound to around 900 AD or slightly earlier.
      Later, the Esoteric art of the southeastern ceremonial complex was then thought to originate to around 1100- 1200 AD. This concept lead to the decision that all iconographic forms found on artifacts were Mississippian.
      The climatic evidence of the Missisippian period coincided with the "Medieval Warming Period", this conclusion may have been a time in which civilizations collected and cared for earlier pieces of ancient artwork that were created during the Archaic.
      Evidence such as projectile points have been useful in determining pre-ceramic cultural development phases. There is a pattern that emerges when considering the lithic manufacturing style.  The pattern reveals that there was an early archaic cluster of lithic manufacturing people, a sharp decrease around 6000BC, which Corresponds to the 8.2 Kiloyear climatic event. In the late archic, the greatest quantity of projectile points were made.
      The Codex  Megliabechiano shows that Cahokia Points and birdman costumes were in use during the mid 1500's. Could this reveal that Cahokia was inhabited during that time? The cahokia points depicted could only represent simple drawings of ancient projectiles even in 1550?
      Here are the links to the codex that we talked about that resembles the "Cahokia Birdman Tablet".
      here is the text associated with this page:
      Here is the page with Cahokia points in this codex:
      Codex Magliabechiano CL. XIII.3;
      The Codex Magliabechiano was created during the mid-16th century, in the early Spanish colonial period. Based on an earlier unknown codex, the Codex Magliabechiano is primarily a religious document, depicting the 20 day-names of the tonalpohualli, the 18 monthly feasts, the 52-year cycle, various deities, indigenous religious rites, costumes, and cosmological beliefs.
      The Codex Magliabechi has 92 pages made from European paper, with drawings and Spanish language text on both sides of each page.
      It is named after Antonio Magliabechi, a 17th century Italian manuscript collector, and is presently held in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence, Italy.
      Vince Barrows

      Susan <beldingenglish@...> wrote:
      Vince, All,
      Vince, I was unable  to open the photos from the interesting articles you'd sent earlier in the week. If you think  they'd be of interest to the AWS archives, please insert them into  our Photos section.  I've not added photos myself, but MinnesotaStan aand others here would know how. Also, in one  or two of the other related web discussion groups (Ancient Vikings in America, PI  or THOR), I noticed in a few recent posts a rather noteable  descrepency between you and and a few others in regard to dating of  the earliest origins of Monks Mound, perhaps other mounds of  the original 120+ mounds at Cahokia, IL. I believe you are stating mound construction began  far earlier than the approximately 1000-1500 BP stated by mainstream archaeology, many of whom believe additions took place over a period of 300  years.
      I ran across a  Natl. Park Service  article "Ancient Architects of the Mississippi" :  http://www.nps. gov/archeology/ FEATURE/FEATURE. HTM  Right side of  the home page under subtitle, Timeline (5000 BC-1000 AD-ARCHAIC-WOODLAND PERIODS) the  column refers back even further  to 8000 BC for earliest lower Delta region burial mounds:
       'The first mounds in the Southeast, used mainly to bury the dead, were probably constructed between 8000 and 1000 BC. By around 800 AD, a distinct way of life was developing in the lower Delta...'
      When archaeologists lump large  spans of time as they commonly do, it is not difficult to think they are doing a lot of guessing,  covering their behinds, or both. I find I am often recalling the excellent point Steve G. made about the  tencencies of 'glomping' spans of centuries and millinnea together into single time periods without considering that a lot  can and undoubtedly did occur during such vast frameworks.
      My personal biases  slant me toward spending far more time investigating possibilities within more 'ancient' time periods of advanced human development.  Therefore, was delighted to see the 8000 BC statement within even an article by the US Dept. of the Interior backed by many 'official' scientific associations.  The 8000 BC date was referring to the lower Delta, SE regionof the US,  but it surely did not take several millinnea for the various mound building cultures to begin construction of sites at Cahokia.  I'd think decades, maybe a century or two at best if  necessity or curiosity led people  to explore, trade,  settle  northward.  How far is the nautical  distance along the Mississippi between the Gulf, Poverty Pt., and Cahokia?
      As was very clear at the Miami Circle when I was doing an investigatiaon there several years ago. Uninvestigated but acknowledged by two archeologists at the site are countless ' layers upon layers of altars' and other things evidenced along  underwater walls of the highly polluted passageways along Bay of Biscayne. Archaologist and others otherwise  discount the fact that civilizations, mounds, altars, sacred sites, cities are usually built atop layers and layers of previous ones. Possibly omitted because we tend to identify with and 'value' more highly advanced technologies as opposed to more basic 'levels' of society and earthen/stoneworks.  In that same light, textbooks usually reflect the same 'surface layers' and, as a result, we students have built upon and are living the legacies of  more superficial, historic aspects of civilizations. Perhaps we are neither looking toward or getting close to  the bedrock or to the very roots of human civilization very much at all. Nor to the true intelligence, greatness of who we  human beings really are.
      Before heading to the roof to hack at a foot of ice buildup, I want to put out a couple of things I hope to find further clarification.
      First, what do 'we' mean when we say 'ancient' as opposed to 'historic' periods, peoples, etc. Then, 'archaic' is also used, as above in the Mississippian timeline.  Seems the terms bump into each other at some points but refer to oftentimes vastly different constructs or time periods.  Because so many  people refer to 1300-1400's  Vikings, and 1500 AD Cahokia as 'ancient', I've been  more inclined now to use 'very ancient'  when talking about periods such as 10,500 BC.  And 'very, very ancient' to references of  millions of years. Very vague to have to do so. Time dating oftentimes seems very relative,  ambiguous, and  a very slippery slope during discussions of  the sort we engage in at these sites.  It best not be so, but even the various carbon dating processes are still vague scientific tools.
      An historic event I  know little of along Mississippi Riverways,  I ran into earlier todayagain when searching for  river passage distance between New Orleans and St. Louis. It is  the 3-part New Madrid Earthquake (Dec, Jan, Feb, 1811-1812), reportedly  the largest earthquake recorded in the continuous US.  Where approximately half the town of New Madrid (in the  Louisiana Territory, now Missouri) was destroyed and  aftershocks continued  in the region throughout the winter. 
      There are estimates that the earthquakes were felt strongly over 50,000 square miles (130,000 km²), and moderately across nearly one million square miles. The historic San Francisco earthquake of 1906, by comparison, was felt moderately over 6,000 square miles (16,000 km²).
      Imagine the devistation to civilizations, ancient sites, waterways, and human losses that took place from an earthquake of a strength which temporarily  reversed the flow of the Mississippi River.
      Even historic data associated with the 1811-1812 event is vague.  It is difficult to fathom the countless number of assumptions we have and continue to  pick up from historical texts (as well as even greater omissions of  data) believed to be absolute facts.  And this is  not talking about 'ancient' here, but historic.
      I purchased the entire  earthquake file from Michigan Tech University years ago re: an early 18th century earthquake along the Keweenaw Fault. Within a half a inch stack of reprints of  news items, letters, was an assortment of highly conflicting and oftentimes superstitious reports of the earthquake at a time before there were seizmonitors in the area.  The standard of  measure of intensity at the time was,  as the New Madrid earthquake, how great a distance the tremors could be felt.
      Thanks to all here for recent posts as well as interesting, polite responses to each other. I learn so much from you at this site.

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