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Oldest Maya sun observatory hints at origin of civilization

The oldest ancient Maya ceremonial compound ever discovered in the Central American lowlands dates back 200 years before similar sites pop up elsewhere in the region, archaeologists announced today (April 25). The recently excavated plaza and pyramid would have likely served as a solar observatory for rituals.

The finding at a site called Ceibal suggests that the origins of the Maya civilization are more complex than first believed. Archaeologists hotly debate whether the Maya — famous for their complex calendar system that spurred apocalypse rumors last year — developed independently or whether they were largely inspired by an earlier culture known as the Olmec. The new research suggests the answer is neither.

“This major social change happened through interregional interactions,” said study researcher Takeshi Inomata, an anthropologist at the University of Arizona. But it doesn’t look like the Olmec inspired the Maya, Inomata told reporters. Rather, the entire region went through a cultural shift around 1000 B.C., with all nearby cultures adopting similar architectural and ceremonial styles.

“It’s signaling to us that the Maya were not receiving this sophisticated stuff 500 years later from somebody else, but much of the innovation we’re seeing out of the whole region may be coming out of Ceibal or a place like Ceibal,” said Walter Witschey, an anthropologist at Longwood University in Virginia, who was not involved in the study.

Oldest ritual compound

Residences in Ceibal, Guatemala

Archaeologists uncover some of the earliest residences in Ceibal. The oldest layers of the city were buried under 23 to 60 feet (7 to 18 meters) of dirt and later construction.
CREDIT: Takeshi Inomata

The finding comes from seven years of archaeological excavations at Ceibal, a site in central Guatemala that was occupied continuously for 2,000 years. Getting to Ceibal’s origins was no small feat: The earliest buildings were buried under 23 to 60 feet (7 to 18 meters) of sediment and later construction, said study co-researcher Daniela Triadan, also a University of Arizona anthropologist.

The earliest structures recently discovered include a plaza with a western building and an eastern platform, a pattern seen at later Maya sites and also at the Olmec center of La Venta on the Gulf Coast of what is now Mexico. The researchers used radiocarbon dating to peg the date of construction to about 1000 B.C. This technique analyzes organic materials for carbon-14, an isotope or variation of carbon that decays predictably. As such, carbon-14 acts as a chemical clock archaeologists can use to figure out how long something has been in the ground.

A construction date of 1000 B.C. makes the Ceibal structures about 200 years older than those at La Venta, meaning the Olmec’s construction practices couldn’t have inspired the Mayans, the researchers report Thursday (April 25) in the journal Science. Instead, it appears that the entire region underwent a shift around this time, with groups adopting each other’s architecture and rituals, modifying them and inventing new additions.

“We are saying there was this connection with various groups, but we are saying it was probably not one directional influence,” Inomata said.

There was an earlier Olmec center, San Lorenzo, which declined around 1150 B.C., but residents there did not build these distinctive ceremonial structures. By 850 B.C. or 800 B.C., the Maya at Ceibal had renovated their platform into a pyramid, which they continued refining until it reached a height of about 20 to 26 feet (6 to 8 m) by 700 B.C.

Starting a civilization

This early phase of Maya culture occurs before the group developed written language and before any record of their elaborate calendar system, so little is known about their beliefs, Inomata said. But the pyramid-and-plaza area was almost certainly a space for rituals. Among the artifacts found in the plaza are numerous greenstone axes, which seem to have been put there as offerings.

The architecture layout is what’s known as a “group-E assemblage,” said Witschey. These assemblages appear all over the Maya world and worked as solar observatories. From the western building, a view could stand and look at the eastern platform or pyramid, which would have posts at each end and at the center. On the summer solstice, the sunrise would occur over the northernmost marker; on the spring and fall equinoxes, it would be right over the center marker; and finally, on the winter solstice, the sun would rise over the southernmost marker, Witschey said.

“The first people who settled at Ceibal had, already, a well-developed idea about what a village would look like,” Triadan said. “The transition from a mobile hunter-gatherer and horticultural lifestyle to permanently settled agriculturalists was rapid.”

It’s not clear what might have prompted the lowland Maya to give up their semi-settled life for permanent villages and cities, Inomata said. One possibility is that maize production became more efficient around 1000 B.C. The coastal Olmec people had long been able to grow maize reasonably well, given fertile soil from rivers feeding into the Gulf of Mexico. But the Maya lowlands were less wet and less fertile, with fewer fish and fowl that the Olmec could have depended on to round out their diets. If maize farming became more productive around 1000 B.C., however, it may have prompted the Maya to start staying put.

“At that point, it probably made sense to cut down many forest trees in the Maya lowlands and then commit more strongly to an agricultural way of life,” Inomata said.

Members of the research team are currently working on environmental analysis to try to better understand the climate and weather of the area around the time of settlement. What does seem clear, Inomata said, is that Maya civilization didn’t have to arise from an earlier, failing civilization.

“This study is not just a study about this specific civilization,” he said. “We also want to think about how human society changed and how human society develops.”

What the Maya findings suggest is that a new civilization doesn’t have to arise from the dust of a previous one, but can happen through the interaction of multiple groups trading ideas, Inomata said.

“What they’re reminding us is how much the jungle still hides, how much more there is to learn and how complex a story of the evolution of this civilization we really have on our hands,” Witschey said.

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Ancient

40,000-Year-Old Bracelet Made With Advanced Technology — the Evidence

Dating back to the Denisovan species of early humans, scientists have confirmed that a bracelet found in Siberia is 40,000 years old. This makes it the oldest piece of jewelry ever discovered.

The bracelet is discovered in a site called the Denisova Cave in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008 and after detailed analysis Russian experts now accept that the bracelet’s age as correct.

Scientists conclude it was made by our prehistoric human ancestors, the Denisovans, an extinct species of humans genetically distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans, and shows them to have been far more advanced than ever realized.

But what made the discovery especially striking was that the manufacturing technology is more common to a much later period, such as the Neolithic era. Indeed, it is not clear yet how the Denisovans could have made the bracelet.

Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said:

“There were found two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm.”

“Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement – technology that is common for more recent times”, Dr. Derevyanko told the Siberiantimes.

Image: Bracelet is made of Chlorite – Inside are traces of drilling.
Image credit: Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Anastasia Abdulmanova.

It is known that the Denisovans migrated out of Africa and having branched away from other humanoid ancestors some 1 million years ago.

Genetic studies confirm that skeletal remains of Denisovans, that dated back as early as 600,000 years ago were quite different to both Neanderthals and modern man and the studies confirm that they did coexist not only with modern humans and the Neanderthals, prior to become extinct, but as DNA evidence suggests, the Denisovans also must have interbred with an as yet unknown and undiscovered species of humans beings… or maybe an Extraterrestrial species?

By ufosightingshotspot

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300,000 year old nanostructures found in the Ural mountains

Found in the Ural Mountains in Russia, these objects have caused quite a buzz since their discovery. A lot of websites went on and posted articles about these mysterious objects that were discovered in 1991 near the banks of Russia’s Kozhim, Narada, and Balbanyu rivers. The tiny structures are believed to have been the product of an extremely ancient civilization that was capable of developing nanotechnology about 300,000 years ago. The age of these mysterious nanostrctures have placed them in the list of “out of place artifacts” given the fact that researchers estimate them to be around 300,000 years old.

The objects were discovered during a geological research mission whose purpose was the extraction of gold in the Ural mountains in Russia, and while gold was the number one thing to look for, researchers weer amazed to find something apparently much more valuable. The pieces discovered are coils, spirals and shafts among the list of unidentified components that were unearthed during the geological missions in the area.

The Russian Academy of sciences performed several tests on these mysterious objects and the results were quite interesting. Researchers found out that the largest pieces that were unearthed were made almost entirely out of copper and the smaller ones from tungsten and molybdenum.

The Russian Academy of Science has a structure of 11 specialized scientific divisions, three territorial divisions also referred to as branches, and it consists of 14 regional scientific centers. The Academy has numerous councils, committees and commissions, organized for different purposes and studies.

A lot of people who read about these artifacts have discredited their discovery and meaning stating that there is no research facility from the RAS and that the research performed was dubious but they are mistaken as the Ural Division of the RAS was established in 1932, with Aleksandr Fersman as its founding chairman. Research centers are in Yekaterinburg, Perm, Cheliabinsk, Izhevsk, Orenburg, Ufa and Syktyvkar.

The materials were submitted to a more extensive research a couple of years after their discovery to find out more about the mysterious objects and their composition and according to the Russian Academy of Science and their department for Geology; the metals have not originated in nature on their own, meaning that they are components that have a artificial technological origin, in other words they were manufactured.

According to the information available, these nanostructures were found at a depth between 10 and 40 feet, research also shows that they range in date from 20,00 to over 300,000 years. But who made them and for what purpose? are they the result of a now extinct ancient civilization? Or are they the result of something beyond our planet? These are the questions that have been asked when it comes to the origin of these ancient nanostructures.

Even though research has been made in Russia, some argue that given the skeptical opinion worldwide about this findings, it would have been interesting to see what other researchers in other countries have to say about these nanostructures and even though the materials were studied in Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Moscow there have been no documents made available concerning the nanostructures, their origins and purpose.

According to Dr. E.W. Matveyeva, of the Section for Geology, Prospecting Techniques, and Economics of Precious Metal Alluvial Deposits; The layer which contains the spiral-shaped objects is characterised as gravel and detritus deposits of No. 3 stratum, which in our view, show inner-sedimentary erosion of polygenetic accumulative layers (i.e. layers composed of material of various origins). From their orientation these layers can be dated to 100,000 years and correspond to the lying parts (i.e. the lower regions) of the Mikulinsk horizon of the upper Pleistocene.

Particular attention should be paid to the final conclusion reached by the Moscow institute. Report No. 18/485 states that the age of the deposits and the results of the tests give a very low probability to the assumption that the origin of these unusual, thread-shaped tungsten crystals is of a technogenic cosmic nature, due to the rocket take-off route from the Plesetsk space-station over the polar part of the Ural region.

Debate over these object will continue due to the “mysterious” nature of these objects and while there is a possibility that these nanostrcutres could have originated from n ancient civilization that lived on Earth hundreds of thousands of years ago, other possibilities cannot be excluded.

( via ancient-code.com )

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The Dispilio Wood Tablet – One of the Oldest Written Texts in History

by John Black, Ancient Origins

According to conventional archaeology, writing wasn’t invented until 3000 to 4000 BC in Sumeria.  However, an artefact was found over a decade ago which contradicts this belief – and perhaps this is the reason why few people know about the discovery.

The Dispilio tablet was discovered by a professor of prehistoric archaeology, George Xourmouziadis, in 1993 in a Neolithic lake settlement in Northern Greece near the city of Kastoria. A group of people used to occupy the settlement 7,000 to 8,000 years ago.

The Dispilio tablet was one of many artefacts that were found in the area, however the importance of the table lies in the fact that it has an unknown written text on it that goes back further than 5,000 BC.

The wooden tablet was dated using the C12 method to have been made in 5260 BC, making it significantly older than the writing system used by the Sumerians.

The text on the tablet includes a type of engraved writing which probably consists of a form of writing that pre-existed Linear B writing used by the Mycenaean Greeks. As well as the tablet, many other ceramic pieces were found that also have the same type of writing on them.

Professor Xourmouziadis has suggested that this type of writing, which has not yet been deciphered, could be any form of communication including symbols representing the counting of possessions.

More artefacts were discovered that show the economic and agricultural activities of the settlement, proof of animal breeding and their diet preferences as well as tools and pottery, figurines and other personal ornaments.

Decoding the writing is going to be difficult if not impossible, unless a new Rosetta stone is found. Unfortunately, by the moment the tablet was removed out of its original environment, contact with oxygen started the deterioration process and it is now under preservation.

It is impressive to think that the wooden tablet had remained at the bottom of the lake for 7,500 years.

While this artefact predates the Sumerian writing system, I am sure in the future more will be found in other areas of the world that will go even further back in time, until the true history of humanity will be unravelled and completely change what we know about our history.

The Danube civilization is rarely mentioned, yet it is probably the oldest in Europe.

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