Being 2012 and the end of the Mayan calendar, we have seen how a lot of people have been going crazy with wild speculation of what will happen. Then there is this architect who is trying to prove that the Mayans settled Georgia, and he wrote an article on a website about Mayan pyramids in northern Georgia that everyone thinks is really great. The guy is a quack. His evidence is not from archaeological investigation, but hearsay when he asked some professor in Mexico if the mounds looked Mayan, and the Mexican professor said yes. Archaeologists who I have heard talk about the subject and who have investigated the site, say that there is nothing there that matches the claims of this architect.
Let us put this garbage to rest once and for all. I was going to write this a few weeks ago, but was missing some information. That was filled in for me last week by a Muskogee elder who also has more degrees and university teaching behind him than this quack architect.
Do not misunderstand the point that I am trying to say here. The Mayans were an impressive civilization and everyone agrees with that. But so were the Mississippian Mound builders. It is probably a good bet that these ancient civilizations knew about each other. But one does not owe its existence exclusively to the other.
People who have fallen for this theory that the mounds in Georgia were built by Mayans ignore the mountain of archaeological evidence to the contrary. Yes there was a civilization, but it was Mississippian and not Mayan.
People jump on this fringe theory ignoring their own history. This architect claims to be Muscogee descent, but he is showing total lack of knowledge to his own Muscogee heritage and oral history. This is what happens when people become totally disconnected from their native roots and ancestry. Then people start to throw out any wild theory about the origin of the Mound Builders except who they were. They were not Welsh, not the Lost Tribes of Israel, not Egyptians, and not early tribes that were enslaved by a race of god-like extraterrestrials. They should look at the evidence, and there is much, and accept the easiest theory first.
Recent articles in Science Magazine deal with some fantastic new discoveries at Cahokia, the Mound Builder city along the Mississippi in Illinois. And the articles in Science magazine certainly hold more weight than one fringe blog. Cahokia has been found to be much bigger and than originally thought. Excavations to the west of the main mound complex have found the remains and evidence of 50,000 homes. That is at least 150,000 people living in this mound city at one time. This was a huge civilization.
Cahokia is considered the main capital for the Mississippian Mound builders that flourished after 700 AD and reached a peak about 1200 AD. These new finds are pushing the dates back even further. Mound builders in Florida such as the ones at Crystal River were there even earlier, starting around 500 BC.
One plant that is common among all tribes in Mexico, the southwest, the southeast, and even up the eastern coast into Canada, is corn. Corn has now been found in the southeast and elsewhere that is centuries older than what has been found from excavations of the Mayan civilization. Corn has been found in mounds in Florida that date 800-400 BC.
Another article in Science Magazine says that there is now more compelling evidence that the Mississippian tribes on the lower Mississippi River were probably where Meso-American civilization originated. That means that ancient civilization started around the upper gulf coast and moved south. (And north and east.) What this is leading many anthropologists to believe is that the Mississippian Mound builders gave civilization to the Mayans, not the other way around.
Now when a civilization develops, or a religious practice spreads, the further away you get from the origin, the crazier it will become. Which is why Christianity started as a relatively simple little Jewish cult in Jerusalem without much organization, but by the time it had gotten to Rome, you now have the church full of strange rituals and secret societies, led by a single celibate guy in a funny hat and robes who practices ritual cannibalism. The further away you get, things tend to get more ritualistic and extreme.
Now back to corn. Corn is everything to these ancient civilizations. It made it possible for them to grow as a civilization. It is the survival of the people. If they have a year of bad crops and don't save any in supply, the whole community will be endangered. So it would make sense that main practices in the culture would be about planting and harvesting corn. The ancient civilizations also had a planting calendar. This calendar follows a simple mathematical formula. Even the Muskogee and Seminole people use this as their ceremonial cycle and calendar. Through astronomical observation, and close study of the growing crops, a cycle is found that works as a planting calendar, and it just so happens to work out to 365 days a year.
Now we know from both the remaining Mayan pyramids and Mississippian mounds like Serpent Mound, the ancient people were keen observers of astronomical events. Both civilizations figured out the cycle of Venus in the sky and also developed their calendar around it. It just so happens, that Venus also corresponds with the planting cycle. The ancient Egyptians would see it as a sign of the flooding of the Nile and planting time. These mathematical formulas make perfect sense. They are not really complicated. In ages past it was considered ceremonial knowledge, and I will respect it by acknowledging that it exists and not saying any more. I am not going to give out the formula here, and do not ask me for it either.
So what about the Mayan calendar? Well if you were making a calendar for planting and astronomical observations, would it be enough to project it to 500 years in the future and leaving it at that? If anyone wants to continue in the future, than they can continue the work. The Mayans just ran out of dates and stone to carve onto and saw no need to continue any further.