Monday, April 30, 2012

Giant effigy mounds in South America discovered by Professor Robert Benfer

Professor Robert Benfer is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  He says, "My research programs should be winding down, but a series of unexpected discoveries has them expanding."  As this recent article explains, Professor Benfer -- who has been involved in archaeological work involving Central and South American civilizations since the early 1970s -- had long observed that ancient archaeological earthworks in Peru resembled animal shapes, but until recently dismissed the idea, saying:
 I had always noted that a very large structure, just north of Lima, resembled a bird. But since there were supposedly no giant animal effigy mounds in South America, I thought it couldn't be.
Now, with the help of the greater availability of satellite imagery, he has confirmed that in fact Peru is home to ancient "effigy mounds" in the shape of birds and other animals -- an extremely important discovery.

This article by Professor Benfer from the September 2011 edition of Antiquity describes these mounds in more detail, complete with imagery from Google Earth Pro.  He explains that these mounds may date from the period 2200 BC to 1750 BC.  The article also points out that, "While geoglyphs are common in Peruvian coastal valleys, they differ from effigy mounds in that they lack three-dimensional structure; both types of monuments are however similar in that they are best viewed from overhead."  

The article also explains that effigy mounds are most commonly associated with the north-central United States.  Many readers are no doubt familiar with the famous Serpent Mound of Ohio (pictured above in a map from the 1800s), perhaps the most well-known effigy mound in the US.  Interestingly enough, the Serpent Mound has been shown to have strong celestial alignments -- including alignments to solstice rising and setting azimuths, as well as to significant lunar rising and setting points -- and the Peruvian effigy mounds discovered by Professor Benfer appear to incorporate similarly significant alignments in their design as well.

In fact, at the end of the article, Professor Benfer notes the possibility that these Peruvian mounds may "represent animals that mirror those in the Andean Zodiac, in the same manner as North American effigy mounds may be seen as representing animals of their respective constellations."  Some evidence that the effigy mounds of the US represent constellations (the Serpent Mound corresponding to the constellation Draco) are linked below.

That these effigy mounds in North and South America appear to incorporate astronomical alignments, and that they might also represent constellations, does not mean that the cultures that constructed them were connected, and Professor Benfer's article does not suggest that they are (the thoughts below about possible connections between widely geographically dispersed monuments are not meant to imply that Professor Benfer believes any such theories). 

While these newer Peruvian discoveries have not been extensively studied yet, there is some amazing analysis of the moundworks of Ohio which suggests that those North American mounds may be in some way connected to other ancient sites around the world, including the Giza pyramids!  The potential similarities between the South American mounds and the North American mounds must of course be explored further, and they may be coincidental similarities that arose in isolation -- but that is certainly not the only possibility, and (just as in a crime scene) all possibilities should be explored and none should be rejected out-of-hand if there appears to be evidence in its favor.

The idea that the North American mounds might intentionally mirror aspects of Old World sites (or derive from a common influence without intentionally mirroring one another) is a startling assertion, but there is in fact extensive evidence found throughout the Americas (and across the Pacific all the way to New Zealand) which suggests an ancient connection with a culture or cultures influenced by the same influence behind the pyramids of Egypt, some of which has been discussed in this blog and in the Mathisen Corollary book itself, as well as in the work of many other authors.  The insistence by the defenders of the conventional narrative of mankind's ancient past that there was no significant ancient contact across the oceans is very strange, given the extent of the archaeological evidence which suggests otherwise -- for one recent discussion of some of this evidence see this post, and for a long list of others (with links) see this older post.

The extensive and extremely sophisticated alignments of the earthworks of the American Midwest are discussed in great detail in some of the articles of Martin Doutré which he makes available on his website, Ancient Celtic New Zealand (click on "Articles" for a list of those, many of which deal with sites outside of North America).

For a discussion of the dimensions and alignment of the earthworks in the area of Newark, Ohio (including the "Octogon" pictured above, which is next to a circle and which together with the circle may represent a spider), see this article by Mr. Doutré.  In that article, he notes that the dimensions of the circle and the octagon have very close correspondence with the dimensions of the Great Pyramid.  We have previously discussed a possible connection in the dimensions of Stonehenge to the dimensions of the Great Pyramid, also based upon the work of Mr. Doutré.

This article, by Ross Hamilton and Patricia Mason also discusses the Octagon and other ancient sites in Ohio, and notes that "The angle of true north off the central axis is very close, if not the same as, the slope of the Great Pyramid, i.e. between 51.5 and 52 degrees" (meaning the angle to true north from the central axis of the Octagon earthwork with its accompanying circle, which you can see in the image above in the upper-left portion of the map: the axis is easy to see because the mound-builders included an actual "neck" connecting the circular head of the spider with the octagonal body or abdomen of the spider).  Note that Mr. Doutré linked to that article and others by Ross Hamilton and Patricia Mason in some of his articles, but that the site he linked to which used to display their articles now contains a fairly generic site about the mounds with little controversial information included, although this page of that site does link to an "archived" section containing the articles of Mr. Hamilton and Ms. Mason.

That material from Ross Hamilton and Patricia Mason also includes a discussion of evidence that the Serpent Mound corresponds to an ancient understanding of the circumpolar constellation Draco.

Mr. Doutré has also written detailed articles examining the alignments and dimensions of other extensive earthworks in the American Midwest, including the incredible Cahokia Mounds of Illinois.  If you take the time to read through all the pages of that article, you will be stunned that you have never heard of this amazing archaeological treasure, and dismayed at the damage that has been done to it over the years (parts of the site have been turned into tract housing, parts have been paved over into a large parking lot, and parts of it were turned into a modern gravel quarry), although some belated attempts to undo these horrible blunders appear to be in progress.  

It is very difficult to argue with the massive evidence that Mr. Doutré presents which demonstrates that the designers of this extensive mound complex possessed a precise understanding of the precessional constant (beyond what either Hipparchus or Ptolemy understood), as well as an understanding of the sophisticated mathematical concept of phi, and -- most astonishing -- a clear understanding of the size of the spherical earth, and navigational concepts required for successfully crossing the bluewater oceans.  Did ancient Native Americans somehow know all of these things, as well as knowing of Stonehenge and Giza?  If so, how?  If not, who else might have had a hand in the design of these little-understood moundworks in North America?

It will be very important to examine the effigy mounds that Professor Benfer has discovered in Peru, to see if important dimensional codes akin to those described by Mr. Doutré in the mounds of Illinois and the Octagon of Ohio might be present there as well.  The other similarities to the earthworks of North America -- such as alignments with important astronomical events, and connection with constellations -- suggest that this analysis may prove to be worthwhile.  The astonishing similarities discussed in this previous post (about aligned stones, V-shaped notches on the horizon, and subtly-sculpted rock faces found in Peru and elsewhere around the globe) also suggest that this new discovery by Professor Benfer may point to connections around the globe.

Professor Benfer is to be congratulated for this exciting new contribution to our collective anthropological understanding -- in addition to all the other work he has contributed to anthropological knowledge throughout his career.  His use of the new wealth of information provided by modern technology -- in this case Google Earth -- has opened an intriguing new perspective on areas he has long examined from "ground level."  Let us hope that we can all learn from his ability to see things from different angles, and from his demonstrated success in following these new perspectives to such fruitful conclusions!  

I for one look forward to his upcoming analysis of this important new development in human history.