Thursday, August 11, 2011

More evidence of ancient transcontinental contact in Central American sculpture

In the previous post, we examined the newly-discovered guardian lion from the citadel at Tell Ta'yinat which shows that as many as 3,000 years ago in Asia Minor, lions were considered guardians of gates and doorways, and noted that this tradition is clearly present in classical China and in the ruins of Central America as well. In fact, we noted that archaeologists have found evidence of maned lions serving in a similar "gate-guardian" function in ancient Maya art and that maned lions (or at least "bearded jaguars") were depicted by ancient Olmecs in pre-Columbian Central America as well.

In that previous post, we argued that the use of maned lions as gate guardians may well have arrived in ancient Central America from another continent, since maned lions did not exist in the Americas. We said that those who deny the possibility of ancient contact across the bluewater oceans must allege that:
those ancient artists just happened to stumble upon a made-up creature that looks startlingly like an animal that they had never seen, but which lives on other continents and just happens to have been commonly depicted guarding gates and doorways on those continents as well. What lucky guessers those ancient pre-Columbian artists were: in addition to somehow dreaming up and carving lions that they had never seen, they also depicted men with features typical of men that they had never seen either, including Europeans, Asians and Africans.
While many readers are familiar with the existence of numerous ancient pre-Columbian sculptures in Central America that appear to accurately depict the distinctive characteristics of Europeans, Asians and Africans, here are a few that illustrate the point.

Above is an image of one of the famous figurines of Jaina Island, a pre-Columbian Maya site containing extensive burial sites and a high number of exquisite ceramic figurines. These figurines exhibit incredible artistic talent and a high degree of individuality, including differences in age, social rank, and even -- apparently -- ethnicity. Some of the figurines appear to depict features common to Native Americans of the area, while others -- such as the one shown above -- have beards and mustaches.

The figure above depicts distinctive facial tattooing or scarification, typical of that found among some tribes of North Africa and among the Maori of New Zealand. The Jaina Island figurine in this image exhibits even more distinctive characteristics not commonly associated with the Indians of the Americas including not only beard and mustaches but also facial structure and appearance. However, their clothing, headgear and jewelry clearly indicate that these are not images depicting Europeans after the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s.

Below: the location of Jaina Island on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

As noted in the previous blog, not only must historians who deny the possibility of ancient trans-oceanic contact assert that Central American artists just happened to guess what Old World lions looked like (and just happened to use lion sculptures to guard gates and doorways in the same way that they were used in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China), and that they just happened to create sculptures that looked like Europeans (although they never actually saw a European), but they must also maintain that the ancient artists of Central America created sculptures that accidentally depicted features common to Africans and Asians as well, without ever seeing men from those continents.

Below is one of the famous Olmec heads, which some observers believe exhibit features more indicative of African warriors than of the Native American Indians of the region.

Other observers believe that these sculptures look more like Polynesian warriors than like African warriors. If so, this may provide additional support for the theory of Thor Heyerdahl that the Polynesians originated in the Americas rather than in Malaysia or Southeast Asia.

Also of interest is the fact that the Olmecs created exquisite artifacts of serpentine greenstone and jade, such as the one shown below.

The similarity to the greenstone carvings of the Maori, discussed in this previous post, is striking, and provides further data in support of the theories of Thor Heyerdahl which suggest that the Polynesians originated in the Americas. Of course, the theory that the voyagers to Polynesia originated in the Americas does not preclude the possibility of previous contact by voyagers from Africa, Asia and Europe with the civilizations of Central America.

Below is another Olmec jade artifact which appears to depict Asian facial features.

The above mask (of jade, which has long been prized by artists in Asia as well as in the Americas and in ancient New Zealand) is featured on a Wikipedia page entitled "Olmec alternative origin speculations," as if the suggestion of contact with Europe, Asia or Africa based on the above archaeological artifacts is "speculative" rather than based upon solid evidence. The discussion on that page states that such suggestions "contradict generally accepted scholarly consensus" and are "not considered credible by the vast majority of Mesoamerican researchers."

The Wikipedia article states that the suggestion of ancient contact with other continents is not only speculative but actually vicious. It declares that "The great majority of scholars" actually "regard the promotion of such unfounded theories as a form of ethnocentric racism at the expense of indigenous Americans." In other words, it is not racist to argue that ancient Asians or Africans lacked the ability to have visited Central America and been the sculptors or at least the subjects of the artifacts depicted above. Or, to put it another way, it is fine to take away from the possible ancient achievements of some races but not of others, according to the arguments of these misguided modern academics (although we do actually not accept the premise that allowing for ancient trans-oceanic contact "takes away" from the accomplishment of anyone).

So, according to the "scholarly consensus," the clear evidence of the above-depicted artifacts (which are not isolated artifacts but are representative of many others like them) must be ignored, and instead we must swallow the theory that the artists who crafted them simply dreamed up facial features that would suggest men from other regions of the world that they had never actually seen. Not only is this position ludicrous, but the reader can judge for himself whether or not it is more demeaning of the artistic abilities of the "indigenous Americans" to assert that they were accurately depicting Africans, Asians and Europeans in their art, or to assert that they were so incompetent that their attempts to depict Native Americans ended up looking like men of other continents whom they never actually met.

While it is (barely) possible to assert that ancient art does not actually indicate ancient contact across the oceans long before Columbus, it is more difficult to make the same arguments about human remains. Mayan and Olmec sculptors could, theoretically, construct sculptures that look like maned lions, or men from other continents whom they had never seen, but it is much more difficult to argue that mummies found in the Americas with distinctly European features did not actually come from Europe. In light of the fact that hundreds of such pre-Columbian mummies have been found, it is astonishing that "the great majority of scholars" apparently regard the possibility of ancient trans-oceanic contact as "unfounded theories" based upon "ethnocentric racism at the expense of indigenous Americans."

The sculptures discussed in this post are extremely convincing evidence of ancient trans-oceanic contact between the continents, but they are by no means the only such evidence. It is high time that open-minded investigators of this evidence ask themselves why the "vast majority of Mesoamerican researchers" refuse to follow the clear implications of this evidence, and what ideologies are coloring their conclusions, even as they label as "ethnocentric" and "racist" anyone who disagrees with their pronouncements.