|Olmec Jadeite Celt|
|Typical Nephrite Jade Celt Mounted as a Tomahawk (Reconstruction)|
A standard overview on Jade as found on many internet souces runs generally like this:
The English term jade gets its meaning from the Spanish term “piedra da ijada”, or loin stone. The name originally came from its famous reputation for curing ailments of the kidneys and loins. In prehistoric times, this stone was used for weapons and tools because of its hardness and density. Archeologists have found a number of tools that were created from jadeite, which is a harder variety of two different types of jade stone. The ancient Chinese revered jade as the “Stone of Heaven”. To them, it was priceless object that provided protection and could turn mortals into immortals.
It was not until the 15th century that Europeans began to take interest in jade as a precious stone. Aside from china, it was also found in the Americas and became graded as a valuable gem. People began to wear jade stone on their jewelry. Aside from their symbolizations, a green jade ring also represented wealth because it was quite rare to obtain. A French professor in the 19th century discovered later that jade could be categorized into two different stones, nephrite and jadeite. Since then, jadeite and nephrite sources have been discovered all over the world from Asia to Europe to America.
Nephrite rings have a creamy white color known as ‘mutton fat’ in Chinese. It can also come in a variety of green colors. This kind of jade was mostly used before the 1800s in China as well as New Zealand and the Atlantic Coasts and Pacific Coasts. Canada holds one of the largest amounts of nephrite, although it can also be found in other areas.
Jadeite was available in many more color variations, including lavender, mauve, blue, pink and a variety of emerald green colors. Jadeite is much more rare compared to nephrite and can only be found in twelve places on earth. Translucent green emerald jadeite is the most prized type, both historically and in modern times. Quetzal jade is a bright green stone from Guatemala that was treasured by the Mesoamerican cultures and still held in high value today. Guatemala and Burma are the primary sources for modern jadeite.
Of especial interest is the fact that the nephrite jade was especially favoured on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the Americas.The main type of jade used in Mesoamerica is the true jadeite. This is unusual and it may be inferred archaeologically that outsiders familiar with making the nephrite jade groundstone axheads (celts) and other objects came into the area and adapted their techniques to using jadeite. The jadeite was traded as far away as the southern United States and out to the West Indies, which is one sure sign of the extent that the Mesoamericans were able to influence directly. However, in Neolithic Europe and along the Atlantic coasts of the Americas, the jade in use was the nephrite jade and it was used in the same way: primarily as these celts or as Tomahawk heads. This was especially true in areas such as the Arawak West Indies and in Megalithic Europe. In both of these cases the actual point of origin for the nephrite used is still unknown although there are known sources for the nephrite outside of those areas.
Origins of Taino on Google Books
Photo, nephrite celt from Tobago
Here is my generalised map to indicate jade use and jade trade from ancient times up into recorded history. The first partially-ground celts are indicated in the Saharan region during what is called the Middle stone age there-corresponding to the Neanderthal age in Europe. (olive on the map)These are old indeed but then they are almost never of jade stones nor are they ground smooth overall. Some examples can be 40 or 50 thousand years old and they are assigned to the Aterian culture. At some point the concept of partially-ground chopping tools spread to Southeast Asia and then to Australia, where they are once again older than anywhere else, perhaps 25 to 30 thousand years old (The Times Atlas of World History, Cambridge Encyclopedia of Archaeology) (medium green on the map)And then something happened locally in Southern Spain, indicated by black on the map. According to M.Whishaw, Southern Spain did not go through a conventional Upper Paleolithic period but instead went straight into using ground stone and slate: there are greenstone celts there older than anywhere else in Europe (Atlantis in Andalucia)
There is some indication that large sections of the Mid-Atlantic ridge area about the Azores plateau region contains large amounts of serpenised minerals (false jade) and also Nephrite: in effect, whole mountains of jade down there. Since Donnelly's book on Atlantis came out in 1881, it has been widely known that there are no sources known for the European Neolithic nephrite groundstone axheads (celts) and subsequently there still are not any known sources for most of the locations. Sources have been found subsequently in Poland and loose boulders of the material (not the sources) found in parts of the Balkans and in the Alps, but this does not account for the bulk of Megalithic Europe, the Canary Islands or the islands of the Mediterranean, or North Africa.That is the more important area as far as traces of Atlantis are concerned, and some of the finds are chemically different from the known Continental sources also.
[see for example:
Quote: Metamorphic greenstones also comprise, to varying degrees, large rock sequences of Precambrian age (Archaean through Proterozoic) that are called greenstone belts. Such belts also include metamorphosed sedimentary rocks and are most often associated with granites and gneisses. It is generally agreed that these assemblages formed at ancient plate boundaries including oceanic spreading zones, such as today's Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and island arcs, such as the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific (De Wit and Ash- wal 1997). ]
So basically my idea is that nephrite jade groundstone greenstone celts are an atlantean invention and sent out as trade items to other areas during the last days of the Pleistocene, and haneded down as keepsakes after that.
On the map the enclosed darker green areas are generally where nephrite celts have been found, and usually they are Holocene in date (after 10000 years ago): some of the outlying areas are subsequent centers developing as satellites. One of my informants states that there are greenstone celts found at the mouths of the Meikong and looking much the same as any other ones.Smetime at around the beginning of the Holocene, celts were introduced along with microliths into Southern Russia, Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan and then into India. Shortly after that the idea spread through Southeast Asia and as far as New Guinea. However in the regions farther eastward there was already the tradition of setting the groundstone cutting tools crosswise to the hafting as axes and adzes were more usually used (Both axes and adzes remained in use in the area as in the whole world over, but in Southeast Asia and the Pacific adzes were more popular. Their diffusion over the early holocene is easily traced by a succession of new styles)
By 7000-8000 years ago, groundstone nephrite jadeworking was introduced into China and began their Neolithic. Only something happened at the time: the Chinese fell in love with it and began to shape it in new ways that had not been thought of before. It had become a highly prized and valued item.
I imagine that this must have followed an earlier process further south and China was lagging a little behind the more important cultural center of Sundaland, where the religious revernce for jade and the fondness of using it as an artistic medium would have seized hold earlier, in the late Pleistocene. There is some evidence of some direct diffusion of some of the same ideas taking hold in Atlantis at the time, such as cranial deformation, coming into Sundaland by way of the Near East and even passing beyond into Australia: and somewhere somehow along the way, Atlantis seems to have acquired a taste for such Lemurian food items as coconuts and bananas.
But the lighter green areas indicate the diffusion of the Oriental fondness for nephrite jade, eventually to include New Zealand, where some forms strikingly like the Chinese Neolithic ones were established very much later on.
In the New World, something very similar happened among the Olmecs and then the later Mayas and others, and there is some direct evidence that these ideas were brought over from China. However, in Mesoamerica the jade available is actually jadeite and a different mineral. spread of jadeite trade goods in the New World is easily noted:We also know definitely jadeite would not be known for thousands of years in China and that when the Chinese did finally learn of it, it came from Burma. So none of the Olmec jade ever made it back to China, even if China WAS the source for the way the Olmecs revered and used their own special kind of jade (Some early jade celts are known to be marked with readable Chinese writing on them, from before 1000 BC: I do not know what kind of jade was involved in this case)
As far as nephrite goes, there is a large trade network involving deposits in British Columbia and once again the items made are usually celts (originally tommyhawks). And then in Brazil thee is another center around the mouth of the Amazon and on Marajo Island, where there have been "Mound Builders" about as long as the American "Mound Builders" and otherwise similar. They seem to have had contacts all the way up the river and up into the andes, from their pottery. And they had an extensive jade trade going up into the West Indies and in Northern South America, in nephrite jade this time.
|Neolithic Europe. Red Dots are Individual Pottery finds|
|Neolithic British Arrowheads, very like their North American Contemporaries|
|European Neolithic Cordmarked pot, Atlantis-City Plan Design|
|European Neolithic Settlement, also typically|
a concentrically walled and moated structure
|British Neolithic Nephrite Celt, virtually identical to the ones across the Atlantic and|
called "Petaloid" celts. Once again, no known source for the mineral on the British Isles.