This is perhaps one of the greatest Mesoamerican discoveries of all time! Using LIDAR technology archaeologists have been able to peel back the thick forest canopy of the jungles of Guatemala and have discovered thousands of pyramid, palace, causeway, and housing ruins previously unknown. They discovered, also, that the magnificent Mayan ruins of Tikal are only a fraction of a LARGE Mayan city!
Some of the ruins are in swamp areas believed to have been uninhabitable and the ruins are all connected by causeways (elevated highways) suggesting they were frequently used for travel and trade. These finds are going to change the way we think of the Maya and it now appears certain that the Maya had a civilization that rivals anything found in Rome, Greece, and Egypt!
El Chichon Volcano in NW Chiapas, Mexico which is still an active volcano
Many ancient cultures worshiped volcanoes and many believed them to be actual living creatures. Volcanoes have played a big part in human history and one of those places where this was so was in the ancient lands of the Maya. But volcanoes have played another role in human history as well and that role is than of being a cause and in some cases a major cause for large scale cultural changes
Back in February of 2017 a research team released their findings and their study suggested that ancient ash links the El Chichon eruption to a time of significant cultural upheaval in the land of the Maya!
The El Chichon eruption was a major eruption occurring in AD 540 and what is odd is that prior to this El Chichon was a small and insignificant volcano. However, after its eruption it plunged Mayan civilization into a period of darkness and chaos. During this time period the Maya were one of the most sophisticated cultures on Earth but after this eruption the Maya were plunged into a century long “dark age.” All that was sophisticated and remarkable in Mayan civilization was lost.
The Maya had an advanced civilization for the time and most researchers believe they thrived between AD 250-900. They had developed a writing system, precise calendars, mathematics and beautiful cities, pyramids, and temples made of cut stone many of which still stand today. Researching these sites archaeologists began to notice something odd about the Maya in 1938. That’s when an archaeologist noticed that there was a strange gap in the dated Maya monuments! That is, it appeared that for more than 100 years the Maya stopped building new buildings and pyramids and some even abandoned areas they’d long-lived in while others grew more warlike for no apparent reason. Archaeologists were at a loss to explain this although, as always, they had many hypotheses. Earthquakes were suspected or hurricanes while others thought trade routes collapsed. Whatever happened one thing was for sure and that is Mayan society during this gap period showed a degeneration of Mayan society and culture. Continue Reading
Between the years 1545-1550 a mysterious epidemic hit Mexico and it has been called the “Cocoliztli Epidemics.” But up until now researchers have been uncertain as to just what the cause of the epidemic was. Dozens of epidemics hit Mexico with the arrival of the Spanish because the native people how no immunity to pathogens the Spanish brought with them. This was also the case thought the Americas and for the same reason. However, the unidentified cocoliztli epidemics hit Mexico especially hard as it affected large portions of Mexico and Guatemala including Oaxaca, Mexico.
This epidemic caused millions of death in Mexico killing about 80% of the population. It was one of the worst epidemics in human history to say the least. It has been estimated that anywhere between 5 million and 15 million people died and that is astounding! But this pestilence wasn’t finished yet because 30 years later it returned and wiped out half of the remaining native population between 1576-1578. A Spanish Franciscan friar who witnessed the pestilence wrote that New Spain (as the Spaniards called Mexico at the time) “was left almost empty.” He went on to write that in the cities and towns large ditches were dug “and from morning to sunset the priests did nothing else but carry the dead bodies and throw them into the ditches.”
Researchers have pondered just what these epidemics were that killed so much of Mexico’s native population with some suspecting it may have been smallpox, measles, or some type of hemorrhagic fever brought to Mexico by the Spanish conquerors. Sadly, nothing for certain was ever identified as the real cause behind these epidemics until recently when scientists used DNA from a graveyard from that era to identify possible causes. It appears that Salmonella enterica was the cause. This pathogen causes enteric or typhoid fever. Continue Reading
Were the ancient Phoenicians in the Americas? Was this where the gold and silver was obtained from the build the infamous Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem? The Phoenicians were well known for the ability to navigate the high seas and that is not a matter of question. In fact, they were renowned for this ability throughout the ancient world. There is even archaeological evidence that these ancient seafarers used sophisticated instruments for navigation on the waters and that they had a very large fleet of ships. These ships were not some primitive form of dugout but well built and sophisticated vessels some of which could carry over 500 people! These facts alone speak to the greatness of Phoenician shipping.
Artistic depiction of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem
We know that in the 10th century BC suddenly huge amounts of gold and silver found their way to Jerusalem and that during that time Israel’s King Solomon “made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones for abundance.” At least that is what the Bible says in the book of 1 Kings 10:27. But could it be true? Did King Solomon ever exist?
Solomon reportedly had at his disposal a navy from Tarshish and Hiram and once every 3 years the navy of Tarshish brought gold and silver, ivory and apes, and PEACOCKS to Jerusalem. Peacocks are significant here because without a doubt they could have only come from Southeast Asia and that is proof that the Phoenicians sailed to SE Asia to obtain them or, at least, they had contacts with people in SE Asia who provided them with the peacocks. The Phoenicians also brought apes to Jerusalem and those apes could have been large gorillas or monkeys of varied sizes. The must have obtained them from central Africa and/or South or Central America. Again, proof that the Phoenicians had contact with a wide range of people in the world. Continue Reading
A German Mexican (Deutsch Mexikaner in German or Germano Mexicano Or Aleman Mexicano in Spanish) is a Mexican citizen of German descent or origin. Most Germans arrived in Mexico during the mid to late 19th century inspired by the policies of Mexican el Presidente Porfirio Diaz and his liberal policies. German immigrants became merchants, industrialists, and educators. Some went to Mexico to be farmers or find work. Most settled in Mexico City, Veracruz, the Yucatan, and Puebla. During and after the First and Second World Wars significant numbers of Germans also immigrated to Mexico.
Students of the Colegio Aleman Alexander von Humbolt, early 20th century (German School in Mexico)
In Mexico City even today there are some neighborhoods that are clearly German Mexican as reflected in the Germanic styles of some neighborhoods and homes there. German settlements in Mexico go back to when they settled Texas when it was under the rule of Spain. The first permanent German settlement in Texas was in a town called “Industry” in Austin County. After the Mexican-American War of 1848 many Germans left Texas and went deeper into to Mexico as they sided with Mexico during that war.
Entrance to the German section of a cemetery in Mexico City (Panteon Civil de Dolores(
Between 1865-66 about 543 German families were brought from Hamburg in Germany to the Yucatan in Mexico primarily to the villages of Santa Elena and Pustunich. The majority of these Germans were farmers, craftsmen, wheelwright, shoemakers, and cabinet makers. Continue Reading
I’ve posted about this archaeological enigma near Puebla, Mexico before (see link below) but recently I ran across an article about the project written by Dr. Virginia Steen-McIntyre who was one of the geologists on the original project that I found interesting.
I absolutely love her opening sentence in this article which asks the question, “Was someone actively hunting mammoth in Mexico a quarter-million years ago?” Well obviously the evidence says someone WAS but that evidence has been covered up and downplayed by the mainstream because it doesn’t jive with their assertion that man has only been in the Americas since the end of the last ice age some 10-12 kya! That’s all fine and well but the evidence uncovered by Dr. Steen-McIntyre and others on the research team say otherwise.
In the article Dr. Steen-McIntyre provides geological evidence that humans WERE hunting mammoth in Mexico 250 kya and that evidence if not simple speculation but HARD FACT! In fact, she says that the dates arrived at using radiometric methods are actually closer to 275 kya. And this date is for the YOUNGEST site of FOUR SITES known as Hueyatlaco.
Fifteen meters (about 50 ft) in the sediment which is only exposed when the reservoir water is abnormally low is the oldest site known as “El Horno” which is a mastodon kill site and it was here at this oldest site that the team found a slim stone flake still wedged between two teeth of a fossilized mastodon. “Someone,” says Dr Steen-McIntyre, “had tried to remove one of the molars.” Uranium series dates on the tooth indicated this was about 280 kya! Continue Reading
Laying in the Valley of Mexico, actually in a “sub-valley,” lays a magnificent splendor known as Teotihuacan. It’s zenith may have been in the First Millennium AD with a population of perhaps 125,000 people or more. That would have made it the 6th largest city in the world at that time. Wonderful Mesoamerican pyramids can be found at this site including the pyramids of the Sun and the Moon. But there is also the just as magnificent Avenue of the Dead and multi-family residences along with vibrant murals of the utmost quality. The city seems to have also been an export center for obsidian stone tools of fine quality. This site is absolutely beautiful and intriguing to say the least.
It is believed that this city was built somewhere around 100 BC and it may have been lived in up to the 7th or 8th centuries AD. It also appears that its major monuments were sacked and systematically burned in about 550 AD.
We used to think that this magnificent city was built by the Toltecs but it existed before the Toltecs. The Florentine Codex identifies the builders as the Toltecs but that culture flourished centuries (900-1168 CE) before the city so most researchers today no longer believe its builders were the Toltec. By the time the Aztecs arrived in the Valley of Mexico, Teotihuacan was already in ruins and burned. Archaeologists now refer to the city’s builders simply as the “Teotihuacano.”
“Snaketown and Other Sites”
Authors: Dr Roberto Peron, Barb Benson, Rob L.
photo of Snaketown from 1960s during excavations
Snaketown appears to have been the northern capital of the Hohokam (northern Toltec). It is located near San Tan, Arizona in side the Hohokam Pima National Monument. This is just south of modern-day Phoenix. Researchers estimate that this site may have once been home to over 2000 people! The site was excavated in the 1930s and 1960s and those excavations revealed that Snaketown was inhabited from approximately 300 BC until around 1200 AD. After the excavation in the 1960s the site was completely buried again by archaeologists so nothing is visible above ground any longer. Continue Reading