Sunday, March 27, 2011
Saturday, March 26, 2011
This is the subject of one of my reviews of cranial materials that I did at college, any one of which COULD have been a doctoral thesis. It was a review of the varieties of Native crania in both of the Americas with an eye to determining whether or not the variations indicated separate migrations into the New World. This is a longstanding theory popularized in such sources as the book Men Out Of Asia
by Harold T. Gladwin in the WWII era.
The map at Left illustrates a recent attempt to mark out the migrations and I have it as a reprint, not from the original source. It is interesting that while most other maps indicating mtDNA groups in the New World indicate the presence of group X, this map does not and indicates its ancestor group N in its place. This is if anything worse for the theorists that want to keep the Europeans out of the early Americas, because mtDNA group N is ancestral to ALL of the European mtDNA lineages.
Group 1 on the map is the same as the "Australoid" migration of Gladwin and other authors, as indicated by such groups as the Pericu of Baja California and the similar skulls from Lagoa Santos in South America, illustrated in the photo montage at left here. This group was presumably already in place before the Clovis peoples arrived and possibly even before 25000 years ago, and they originated in SouthEast Asia, the same place as the actual Australian Aboriginals came from. They are actually later in date than the colonization of Australia and somewhat more gracile, in that the brow ridges are not so heavy, but the cranium is long and has a high peaked ridge down its top medially placed.
The main group of the ancestors of later Amerinds were the Clovis wave, initially tall longheads with prominent noses, only later populations tended to become rounder-headed over time. The skulls at left are the Spirit Cave skull in pencil drawing and a photograph of the corresponding South American type. More recently these two populations have tended to center at opposite poles of the Americas, at Argentina and in Canada
The Archaic or Arawak type of skull is basically a smaller-sized variant of the tall longheads and similarly tended to become more rounder-headed as time went on. These skulls are common in the Southern USA after the end of the Ice Age, Central America and the Andes region, and eventually intio the West Indies when they were colonised some time around 4000 BC. There used to be a South American language classification called "Andean-Equatorial" which admirably corresponded to the distribution of this type of skulls, but it has since fallen into disfavor. In the Southeastern USA the earliest peoples that built mounds continued to be of this type. Since this type is found in warmer climates and at the time agriculture was being introduced, we can see it as the more "Civilized" reduction (Smaller, frailer) of the Tall Longheads.
This time at left we have the Small Longheads, drawings (credited to Charles Darwin) from Argentina (Patagonia) and the coloured center artwork done by an artist from Brazil. At one time this was the predominant type in South America just as the Tall Longheads predominated in North America before the Dene peoples came in from the West. However, the same type was also present in the US Southwest and in Central America at an early age, and it is also referred to as the "Basketmaker" type because it is characteristic of that Archaic ("PrePueblo") peoples in the Southwest. In the past there has been confusion about this type which has been said to have odd affinities including with African natives, Pygmies and Bushmen. Most more recent authorities have dismissed those suggestions as unlikely. However in a reivew of the types of skulls corresponding to those illustrated on this page, Neumann said that both of the shorter populations were probably related to one another because of some anatomical similarities and they had separated from one another in different Geiographical locations. Neumann did allow migrations into the Americas corresponding to 1 and 2 on the map above during the Ice age and migrations 3 and 4 after the end of the Ice Age. That would be consistent with most other authorities. The other, shorter types he was not so certain of but he suggested that either one or both could have arisen in the New World out of members of migration 2, the Clovis one. Neumann also identified a Plains type corresponding to the Sioux (Lakotid) but he said it came from a mixing of the newer Dene populations (Athabascans, including Navajos ans Apaches) with the older American lineages derived from migration 2. And he also recognised the Adena type as distinctive but was also uncertain as to its place of origin. It was definitely intrusive into the Eastern USA when it appeared.
Here is a colourised version as published on a Northest Sasquatch Search site: the creatures are taken to be Sasquatches on account of their size and pointed heads. On the contrary, I count them the same as the inbred Giant Warrior sect of Adena mound-builders, and the Adenas were fond of cranial deformation. Some of the reports of the graves mention that the skeletons wore suits of copper armour plates, and on my Oopa-Loopa cafe podcast I explained that most likely this means that the copper plates would have been sewn onto a leather or rawhide backing.
The overall effect was much like the armour worn by Aztec Warriors in the day of Cortez and the Conquistadores, when armour consisted of overall suits of hides or quilted cotton cloth. The addition of shiny copper plates would have made quite an impression. And the weapons that the Stone Giants are shown wielding resemble the wooden swords set with obsidian blades (microlith-style)that the Aztec Warriors used.
Please note also that conical headgear (helmets) were also part of the standard variations that were used at the time. There may or may not have been a direct continuity of the idea between the time of the Adenas and the time of the Aztecs as far as arms and armour goes, but I would not discount the possibility out of hand.
Conehead deformed skull, American division
Best Wishes, Dale D.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Above, Azilian skulls in a case at the American Museum of Natural History at New York City. The Azilians were singled out as representing the last migration of reugees out of Atlantis at about 10000-12000 years ago and they represent a "Mixed crowd". Both longheaded and shortheaded skulls are included, some of them artificially deformed, and some of them are similar to the Archaic populations of the two Americas starting at that time and including the earliest ancestors of the Mayans.
Combe-Capelle skull, a good representation of the smaller morphotype of CroMagnons, for comparison to the Crystal Skull.
Below, the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal skull, in two views.
Speculations on smaller skulls
None of the skulls in museums come from documented excavations. A parallel example is provided by obsidian mirrors, ritual objects widely depicted in Aztec art. Although a few surviving obsidian mirrors come from archaeological excavations, none of the Aztec-style obsidian mirrors are so documented. Yet most authorities on Aztec material culture consider the Aztec-style obsidian mirrors as authentic pre-Columbian objects. Archaeologist Michael E. Smith reports a non peer-reviewed find of a small crystal skull at an Aztec site in the Valley of Mexico. Crystal skulls have been described as "A fascinating example of artifacts that have made their way into museums with no scientific evidence to prove their rumored pre-Columbian origins." A similar case is the "Olmec-style" face mask in jade; hardstone carvings of a face in a mask form. Curators and scholars refer to these as "Olmec-style", as to date no example has been recovered in an archaeologically controlled Olmec context, although they appear Olmec in style. However they have been recovered from sites of other cultures, including one deliberately deposited in the ceremonial precinct of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), which would presumably have been about 2,000 years old when the Aztecs buried it, suggesting these were as valued and collected as Roman antiquities were in Europe.
Perhaps the most famous and enigmatic skull was allegedly discovered in 1924 by Anna Le Guillon Mitchell-Hedges, adopted daughter of British adventurer and popularist author F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. It is the subject of a video documentary made in 1990, Crystal Skull of Lubaantun. It has been noted upon examination by Smithsonian researchers to be "very nearly a replica of the British Museum skull--almost exactly the same shape, but with more detailed modeling of the eyes and the teeth." Anna Hedges claimed that she found the skull buried under a collapsed altar inside a temple in Lubaantun, in British Honduras, now Belize. As far as can be ascertained, F.A. Mitchell-Hedges himself made no mention of the alleged discovery in any of his writings on Lubaantun. Also, others present at the time of the excavation have not been documented as noting either the skull's discovery or Anna's presence at the dig.
In a 1970 letter, Anna also stated that she was, "told by the few remaining Maya that the skull was used by the high priest to will death." For this reason, the artifact is sometimes referred to as "The Skull of Doom". An alternative explanation[who?] is a play on 'Skull of Dunn' (Dunn being an associate of Mitchell-Hedges). Anna Mitchell-Hedges toured with the skull from 1967 exhibiting it on a pay-per-view basis, and she continued to give interviews about the artifact until her death in 2007.
The skull is made from a block of clear quartz about the size of a small human cranium, measuring some 5 inches (13 cm) high, 7 inches (18 cm) long and 5 inches wide. The lower jaw is detached. In the early 1970s it came under the temporary care of freelance art restorer Frank Dorland, who claimed upon inspecting it that it had been "carved" with total disregard to the natural crystal axes without the use of metal tools. Dorland reported being unable to find any tell-tale scratch marks, except for traces of mechanical grinding on the teeth, and he speculated that it was first chiseled into rough form, probably using diamonds, and the finer shaping, grinding and polishing was achieved through the use of sand over a period of 150 to 300 years. He said it could be up to 12,000 years old. Although various claims have been made over the years regarding the skull's physical properties, such as an allegedly constant temperature of 70 °F (21 °C), Dorland reported that there was no difference in properties between it and other natural quartz crystals.
While in Dorland's care the skull came to the attention of writer Richard Garvin, at the time working at an advertising agency where he supervised Hewlett-Packard's advertising account. Garvin made arrangements for the skull to be examined at HP's crystal labs at Santa Clara, where it was subjected to several tests. The labs determined only that it was not a composite (as Dorland had supposed), but that it was fashioned from a single crystal of quartz. The lab test also established that the lower jaw had been fashioned from the same left-handed growing crystal as the rest of the skull. No investigation was made by HP as to its method of manufacture or dating.
F. A. Mitchell-Hedges mentioned the skull only briefly in the first edition of his autobiography, Danger My Ally (1954), without specifying where or by whom it was found. He merely claimed that "it is at least 3,600 years old and according to legend it was used by the High Priest of the Maya when he was performing esoteric rites. It is said that when he willed death with the help of the skull, death invariably followed". All subsequent editions of Danger My Ally omitted mention of the skull entirely.
The earliest published reference to the skull is the July 1936 issue of the British anthropological journal Man, where it is described as being in the possession of Mr. Sydney Burney, a London art dealer who is said to have owned it since 1933. No mention was made of Mitchell-Hedges. There is documentary evidence that Mitchell-Hedges bought it from Burney in 1944. The skull was in the custody of Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the adopted daughter of Frederick. She steadfastly refused to let it be examined by experts (making very doubtful the claim that it was reported on by R. Stansmore Nutting in 1962). Somewhere between 1988–1990 Anna Mitchell-Hedges toured with the skull.
In her last eight years, Anna Mitchell-Hedges lived in Chesterton, Indiana, with Bill Homann, whom she married in 2002. She died on April 11, 2007. Since that time the Mitchell-Hedges Skull has been in the custody of Bill Homann. He continues to believe in its mystical properties.
British Museum skull
The crystal skull of the British Museum first appeared in 1881, in the shop of the Paris antiquarian, Eugène Boban. Its origin was not stated in his catalog of the time. He is said to have tried to sell it to Mexico's national museum as an Aztec artifact, but was unsuccessful. Boban later moved his business to New York City, where the skull was sold to George H. Sisson. It was exhibited at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in New York City in 1887 by George F. Kunz. It was sold at auction, and bought by Tiffany and Co., who later sold it at cost to the British Museum in 1897. This skull is very similar to the Mitchell-Hedges skull, although it is less detailed and does not have a movable lower jaw.
The British Museum catalogues the skull's provenance as "probably European, 19th century AD" and describes it as "not an authentic pre-Columbian artefact". It has been established that this skull was made with modern tools, and that it is not authentic.
16.^ Such as at Teotihuacan; see Taube (1992).
17.^ See for eg Olivier (2003).
18.^ Michael E. Smith, "Aztec Crystal Skulls," Publishing Archaeology Blog
19.^ "Smithsonian puts its fake- crystal skull- on display". San Francisco Chronicle (July 18). 2008. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/11/DDV111N1T2.DTL. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
20.^ Artworld University of East Anglia collections
21.^ "Crystal Skull of Labaantun (1990)". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/11717/Crystal-Skull-of-Lubaantun/overview?scp=6&sq=%22crystal%20skull%22&st=cse. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
22.^ Walsh (2008). See also the 1936 debate on its resemblance to the British Museum skull, in Digby (1936) and Morant (1936), passim.
23.^ See Garvin (1973, caption to photo 25); also Nickell (2007, p.67).
24.^ Nickell (2007, pp.68–69)
25.^ Garvin (1973, p.93)
26.^ Hammond (2008)
27.^ Dorland, in a May 1983 letter to Joe Nickell, cited in Nickell (2007, p.70).
28.^ See Garvin (1973, pp.75–76), also Hewlett-Packard (1971, p.9). The test conducted involved immersing the skull in a liquid (Benzyl alcohol) with the same diffraction coefficient and viewing it under polarized light.
29.^ Garvin (1973, pp.75–76); Hewlett-Packard (1971, p.9).
30.^ Hewlett-Packard (1971, p.10).
34.^ See Mitchell-Hedges (1954, pp.240–243); also description of same in the chapter "Riddle of the Crystal Skulls", in Nickell (2007, pp.67–73).
35.^ Mitchell-Hedges' quote, as reproduced in Nickell (2007, p.67).
36.^ See Morant (1936, p.105), and comments in Digby (1936). See also discussion of the prior ownership in Nickell (2007, p.69).
37.^ Stelzer, C.D. (2008-06-12). "The kingdom of the crystal skull". Illinois Times. http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid:7678. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
38.^ "A Great Labor Problem. It Receives Attention from the Scientists. They devote attention, too, to a beautiful adze and a mysterious crystal skull." (PDF). New York Times (August 13). 1887. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9803E5D71430E633A25750C1A96E9C94669FD7CF&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
39.^ British Museum (n.d.-a, n.d.-b)
40.^ Digby (1936)
41.^ British Museum (n.d.-a)
42.^ British Museum (n.d.-c). See also articles on the investigations which established it to be a fake, in Connor (2005), Jury (2005), Smith (2005), and Walsh
43.^ Rincon (2008), Sax et al. (2008)
It should be mentioned that the critical slant against the crystal skull is referenced solely to the work of one researcher, and Anne Mitchell-Hedges had adequately accounted for the stories of the skull pasing through several hands, like the Maltese Falcon, until it came back into her possesssion. Not that the stories don't sound highly suspicious, I am just saying that they were actually accounted for by the skull's owner.
The British Museum Skull, found four decades earlier, is undoubtedly a much later and much cruder copy of the Mitchell-Hedges skull, which would at least mean that the MH skull was an unrecovered relic in the interrim and was the original; and also it means that the British Museum is not unbiased on the subject.
Now as for my part I am a Skull Fancier. This one crystal skull is the one I always had a possibility of being genuine: I doubt the observations of persons that say that the skull was manufactured by modern machine tools although parts of it could have been test-ground experimentally by various owners in unobtrusive areas such as on the inside of the teeth. The separable lower jawbone is a marvel not attempted in the other skulls, and it is a feature authenticated in replica skulls actually made in antiquity. That I consider the large crystal skull to be unique I do not consider it to be unprecidented: smaller crystal skulls are also regularly alleged to be real and the entire second category of replica skulls done in JADE in both various Oriental countries and in the New World goes without question. In this case it might be considered that the techniques of carving a jade skull using sand and water as guided by strips of reed have been successfully transferred to a rock crystal analogue.
Late Classical Mayan Small Jade Skull Now I am not saying absolutely that the skull is genuine, I have not examined it for myself and I know a thing or two to look for to determine if it is geniune or not. I am also not saying it is necessarily 12000 years old. But my point is that the skull is a good reproduction of the type of skull that began to show up in Europe 12000 years ago and considered by Lewis Spence to represent the final migration out of Atlantis. Moreover in my opinion it is definitely a representation of a female out of that population.
Obercassel Late Upper Paleolithic European male skull in museum case to the left and the reconstruction of the corresponding female below.
Reconstruction of an Archaic female skull from a burial at Leandra, Tezas; and a painting of a "Queen of the Taino Arawaks" named Yuiza [Puerto Rico], all very close to the same type.
Please note that the Classical Mayan skulls are NOTHING like the Crystal skull, either the male or the female skulls, and that the corresponding more recent European skulls tend to be very much more fragile in structure.
The reconstruction of the Archaic woman from Texas should be compared to the drawing of the Obercassel woman facing right, and the portrait of Yuiza should be compared to the face-on view. The setting of the eyes, shape of the nose and the full mouth is the same for each one.
The colouration is different because the European artist wanted to make the woman in the artwork to be a blonde.
Obercassel Female Skull Compared to Crystal Skull, and the Reconstruction. The Obercassel skulls are thought to be in the realm of 12000 years old.
Obercasel Female Skull, M-H Crystal Skull and British Museum skull. The worksmanship on the M-H Crystal Skull is that of a gifted master craftsman and the British Museum specimen so much inferior to it to seem the work of a competent but uninspired amateur. Note the skillful representation of the eye sockets in the M-H Crystal skuull and the plain circles of the British Museum piece, and above all the care and skill with which the individual teeth are carved on the M-H skull as opposed to the stylized scratches on the British Museum one: besides which the M-H skull has a separable jaw. The two skulls were NOT made by the same hand. Joe Nickel is no expert evaluator of art objects and apparently has little knowledge of the anatomy of human skulls or that much would seem obvious. The British Museum itself (as mentioned before) is obviously biased and their statements on the similarities between the two Crystal Skulls are unreliable. That the British Museum skull could be an inferior copy is entirely possible.
by Evan Hadingham
From its first public announcement in May 2007, the hypothesis that a comet devastated North America 12,900 years ago has aroused intense skepticism and debate among scientists. The debate revolves around several key questions:
•Is there solid, unambiguous evidence for an extraterrestrial impact or airburst at this time?
•Did the impact cause the dramatic extinction of some 35 types of large animals, or megafauna, in North America, also dated roughly to this period?
•Or should we blame these extinctions on the Clovis people, the first well-documented prehistoric hunters in North America, who had entered the continent only two or three centuries before?
•If the Clovis hunters were not to blame, could a sudden, sharp "deep freeze"—an abrupt reversal of the climate back to Ice Age conditions—have been the culprit?
•Finally, could this sudden chill somehow be connected to the claimed impact?
To dig deeper into the clashing arguments, follow the links highlighted below, all of which connect to sources freely available on the Web and do not require special academic access. We also provide full references to each journal article or book.
The Cosmic-Impact Hypothesis
The impact hypothesis was first publicly presented at the Spring 2007 joint assembly of the American Geophysical Union in Acapulco, Mexico, by its leading proponents: James Kennett of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Richard Firestone of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, geological consultant Allen West, and others:
New insights into extraterrestrial impacts, Younger Dryas cooling, mass extinction, and the Clovis people I
Younger Dryas (YD) impact AGU press conference
Blast in the past? [PDF]
A more critical report appeared shortly afterwards in the journal Science:
Mammoth-killer impact gets mixed reception from Earth scientists [PDF]
The impact team's main arguments, based on nearly a dozen different types of evidence at 26 sites from the U.S. West Coast to Belgium, were first published in October 2007 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS):
Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling
A strongly critical report appeared in March 2008 in Science, which cited inconsistencies in many of the team's claimed impact markers, including a failure to replicate finds of elevated iridium, and the argument that the alleged "E.T." materials could have been deposited gradually by meteoritic dust "fallout" from the upper atmosphere rather than by a sudden impact:
Experts find no evidence for a mammoth-killer impact [PDF]
Later in 2008, an interesting exchange of views appeared in the online journal GSA Today, beginning with a highly critical commentary by Nicholas Pinter and Scott Ishman:
Impacts, mega-tsunami, and other extraordinary claims
Comment by Firestone and West
Comment by Bunch, Kennett, and Kennett
Since these initial criticisms, the impact hypothesis team has focused mainly on a single type of evidence, microscopic nanodiamonds, which it claims to be a clear signature of a catastrophic event in the atmosphere. The nanodiamond arguments were reported in Science:
Nanodiamonds in the Younger Dryas boundary sediment layer
This Science article was accompanied by another commentary by Richard Kerr:
Did the mammoth slayer leave a diamond calling card?
A press release summarized this Science paper:
Six North American sites hold 12,900-year-old nanodiamond-rich soil
NOVA's program "Last Extinction" reports on the team's latest round of research on the Greenland ice sheet, carried out mainly by Paul Mayewski of the University of Maine. As shown on the program, the initial results of this fieldwork indicate strikingly high levels of impact-shocked diamonds in the relevant layer of the Greenland ice sheet. This latest work is currently awaiting publication as follows:
Nanodiamonds discovered in the Greenland ice sheet within the Younger Dryas boundary layer
The Megafauna Extinction Debate
For more than four decades, scientists have debated why so many types of large animals, or megafauna, were driven into extinction at the end of the last ice age. For an authoritative and up-to-date introduction to the arguments, see the following essay by archeologist Gary Haynes, who favors the "overkill" theory that the impact of prehistoric human hunting was the crucial factor:
Introduction to the volume In American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene
Anthropologist Donald Grayson argues a contrasting viewpoint—that climate change was decisive. His survey compares the evidence from North America with the very different patterns of extinction in Europe and Asia:
Deciphering North American Pleistocene extinctions [PDF]
A requiem for North American overkill [PDF]
A premature burial: comments on Grayson and Meltzer's "Requiem for overkill" [PDF]
What killed the mammoths and other behemoths that once roamed the Americas? This mammalogist thinks it may have been hyperlethal disease
Taking a broader perspective on the controversy, biologist Anthony Barnosky relates the megafauna extinction debate to the present-day context of global warming and worldwide extinctions:
Megafauna biomass tradeoff as a driver of Quaternary and future extinctions
Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming
by Anthony D. Barnosky
(Chapter 5 specifically)
Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America
by Paul S. Martin
American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene
by Gary Haynes, editor
The Early Settlement of North America: The Clovis Era
by Gary Haynes
The Younger Dryas Mystery: What Caused the Climate to Flip?
From around 16,000 years ago, the world began to emerge from the deep freeze of the last ice age. As the global climate warmed up, it suddenly flipped back to glacial conditions for a thousand years or so before the present age of relatively warm conditions finally took hold. The cause of that mysterious flip has been the focus of intense debate ever since ice-core research in Greenland revealed that the cold interval (named the Younger Dryas after an alpine wildflower, Dryas octopetala) both started and ended in a decade or less.
More recent work indicates that the time frame may have been even more abrupt, flipping in and out of the deep freeze in a mere one to three years:
Did you say fast? [PDF]
What could cause such a sudden flip? Columbia University Earth scientist Wally Broecker pioneered the leading contender among Younger Dryas theories during the 1980s. His theory involves a disruption or shutdown of the great Atlantic Ocean conveyor, the northeast-flowing current that brings warm water from the tropics up to the northern latitudes. Broecker proposes that at the end of the Ice Age, Lake Agassiz, a lake over 700 miles wide fed by the melting glaciers and covering much of present-day North Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, suddenly drained into the St. Lawrence valley in what is now eastern Canada. A huge pulse of freshwater would have interfered with the Atlantic circulation, plunging the Northern Hemisphere into icy conditions. Broecker summarizes the theory in the following paper:
What if the conveyor were to shut down? Reflections on a possible outcome of the great global experiment
The great climate flip-flop
Although a shutdown of the Atlantic conveyor remains a widely accepted explanation, hard evidence for a flood from Lake Agassiz remains elusive, as Broecker has recently acknowledged:
Was the Younger Dryas triggered by a flood? [PDF]
Younger Dryas "black mats" and the Rancholabrean termination in North America [PDF]
According to the scientists who are proposing the comet-impact hypothesis, a thin layer at the base of the black mat also contains charcoal, nanodiamonds, and other materials claimed to be the signature of a cosmic explosion. The scientists have suggested that the comet or its fragments may have hit the great ice sheet covering Canada and destabilized it, or perhaps launched the Lake Agassiz flood, either of which could have led to the shutdown of the Atlantic conveyor and plunged the climate into the deep freeze of the Younger Dryas. However, until an impact crater or other evidence is found, this aspect of the impact hypothesis remains only a speculation. The idea is reviewed, along with more general background about the Younger Dryas, in the blog at Realclimate.org:
Younger Dry-as dust?
The Younger Dryas comet-impact hypothesis: gem of an idea or fool's gold?
Finally, today's concerns about global warming are fueling an intense scientific quest to understand the causes of the Younger Dryas and many other similar abrupt climate shifts in earlier periods. The evidence of these ancient climate shifts poses a disturbing question: Will today's steady build-up of carbon dioxide emissions lead to a predictable, equally steady gradual rise in global temperatures? Or could the climate system suddenly "flip" to a disastrously warm state?
Among many popular books examining this question and reporting on the evidence for rapid climate change, the following are particularly useful:
The Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change
by Paul A. Mayewski and Frank White
The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future
by Richard B. Alley
The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate
by David Archer
Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains
by Mark Bowen
See a list of references for all journal articles and books mentioned in this article.
To join the debate yourself, see our discussion board.
The Extinction Debate References
The Cosmic-Impact Hypothesis
Dalton, Rex. 2007. "Blast in the past?" Nature 447: 256-257.
Kerr, Richard. 2007. "Mammoth-killer impact gets mixed reception from Earth scientists." Science 316: 1264-1265.
Firestone, R.B., et al. 2007. "Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 104: 16016-16021.
Kerr, Richard. 2008. "Experts find no evidence for a mammoth-killer impact." Science 319: 1331-1332.
Pinter, Nicholas, and Scott E. Ishman. 2008. "Impacts, mega-tsunami, and other extraordinary claims." GSA Today 18(1): 37-38.
Firestone, Richard B., and Allen West. 2008. "Comment: Impacts, mega-tsunami, and other extraordinary claims." GSA Today 18(6): e13.
Bunch, Ted P., James Kennett, and Douglas K. Kennett. 2008. "Comment: Impacts, mega-tsunami, and other extraordinary claims." GSA Today 18(6): 11.
Kennett, D.J., et al. 2009. "Nanodiamonds in the Younger Dryas boundary sediment layer." Science 323: 94.
Kerr, Richard. 2009. "Did the mammoth slayer leave a diamond calling card?" Science 323: 26.
Kurbatov, A.V., Mayewski, P.A., et al. "Nanodiamonds discovered in the Greenland ice sheet within the Younger Dryas boundary layer." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Forthcoming.
The Megafauna Extinction Debate
Haynes, Gary. 2008. "Introduction to the volume." American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene. Springer. 1-20.
Grayson, Donald K. 2007. "Deciphering North American Pleistocene extinctions." Journal of Anthropological Research 63: 185-213.
Grayson, Donald K. 2003. "A Requiem for North American overkill." Journal of Archaeological Science 30: 585-593.
Fiedel, Stuart and Gary Haynes. 2004. "A premature burial: comments on Grayson and Meltzer's `Requiem for overkill.'" Journal of Archaeological Science 31: 121-131.
Grayson, Donald K. and David J. Meltzer. 2004. "North American overkill continued?" Journal of Archaeological Science 31:133-136.
Barnosky, Anthony D. 2008. "Megafauna biomass tradeoff as a driver of Quaternary and future extinctions." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 105(Supplement 1): 11543-11548.
Barnosky, Anthony D. 2009. Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming. Island Press.
Martin, Paul S. 2007. Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America. University of California Press.
Haynes, Gary, ed. 2009. American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene. Springer.
Haynes, Gary. 2002. The Early Settlement of North America: The Clovis Era. Cambridge University Press.
The Younger Dryas Mystery: What Caused the Climate to Flip?
Flückiger, Jacqueline. 2008. "Did you say `fast'?" Science 321: 650-651.
Broecker, W.S. 1999. "What if the conveyor were to shut down? Reflections on a possible outcome of the great global experiment." GSA Today 9(1): 1-7.
Calvin, William H. 1998. "The great climate flip-flop." The Atlantic Monthly 281(1): 47-64.
Broecker, Wallace S. 2006. "Was the Younger Dryas triggered by a flood?" Science 312: 1146-1148.
Haynes, C. Vance, Jr. 2008. "Younger Dryas `black mats' and the Rancholabrean termination in North America." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 105(18): 6520-6525.
Mayewski, Paul A., and Frank White. 2002. The Ice Chronicles: The Quest to Understand Global Climate Change. University of New Hampshire Press.
Alley, Richard B. 2002. The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future. Princeton University Press.
Archer, David. 2009. The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth's Climate. Princeton University Press.
Bowen, Mark. 2005. Thin Ice: Unlocking the Secrets of Climate in the World's Highest Mountains. Henry Holt and Co.
There are several interesting aspects to all of this. First of all, nearly all of the experts seem blissfully unaware of the reality of the Cape York meteorites sitting in a special hall of the American Museum of Natural History, The Carolina Bays and their associated tektites, of the suggestion of large meteorite craters at the bottom of the North Atlantic, and so on. On the other hand these several papers do confirm many aspects of this impact event and the peculiar period which followed as a result.
Younger Dryas-Actually probably indicating conditions immediately following the Giant Asteroid impact itself. The intensely cold area is the shadow of the cloud of debris centered on the North Atlantic and blowing over Europe.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The following is based on a situation well-known in Diffusionist literature and includes the matter of the "African (Black) Olmecs"
Olmec alternative origin speculations are explanations that have been suggested for the formation of Olmec civilization which contradict generally accepted scholarly consensus. These origin theories typically involve contact with Old World societies. Although these speculations have become somewhat well-known within popular culture, particularly the idea of an African connection to the Olmec, they are not considered credible by the vast majority of Mesoamerican researchers.
Osteological evidence Some researchers have seen evidence for African skeletons at prehistoric sites in Mexico. Constance Irwin and Andrez Wiercinski have both reported that skeletal remains with African characteristics have been found in Mexico. Irwin, in Fair Gods and Stone Faces, says that there are "distinct signs of Negroid ancestry in many a New World skull." Wiercinski claims that some of the Olmecs were of African origin. He supports this claim with cranial evidence from two Mesoamerican sites: Tlatilco and Cerro de las Mesas. Tlatilco is a site in the Valley of Mexico. Although outside the Olmec heartland, Olmec influences appear in the architectural record. The crania were from the Pre-Classic period, contemporary with the Olmec. Cerro de las Mesa is within the Olmec heartland, although according to Wiercinski, "the series . . . is dated on the Classic period." The Classic period is generally defined to start around AD 250, or 600 years after the end of the Olmec culture.
Site ...................................... # of Crania .............................. Time Period
Tlatilco ..................................... 100 .................................... Pre-Classic
Cerro de las Mesas ....................... 25 .................................. Classic
To determine the racial heritage of the skeletons, Wiercinski used classic diagnostic traits, determined by craniometric and cranioscopic methods, as well as the Polish Comparative-Morphological School skeletal reference collection. These measurements were then compared against three crania sets from Poland, Mongolia and Uganda to represent three racial categories, which allowed Wiercinski to sort each skull into one or more racial categories.
In his conclusion, Wiercinski presented his findings:
Based on his comparisons, Wiercinski found that 14% of the skeletons from Tlatilco and 4.5% of the skeletons from Cerro de las Mesas had elements of "Black" racial composition.
In the last section of his paper, Wiercinski compared the physiognomy of the skeletons to corresponding examples of Olmec sculptures and bas-reliefs on the stelas. For example, Wiercinski states that the colossal Olmec heads represent the "Dongolan" type. The empirical frequencies of the Dongolan type at Tlatilco calculated by Wiercinski was 0.231, more than twice as high as Wiercinski's theoretical figure of 0.101, for the presence of Dongolans at Tlatilco.
Wiercinski summarizes his research by offering the following "ethnogenetical hypotheses":
The indigenous rootstock of Tlatilco and Cerro de las Mesas consists of "Ainoid, Arctic, and Pacific racial elements".
"A next migratory wave" brought in additional Pacific as well as "Laponoid" elements.
"Some Chinese influence of Shang Period could penetrate Mesoamerica"
"A strange transatlantic, more or less sporadic migration" brought Armenoid, Equatorial, and Bushmenoid elements.
Wiercinski's research methods and conclusions are not accepted by the vast majority of Mesoamerican scholars, in part because of his reliance on the Polish Comparative-Morphological methodology which limits the placement of skull types within a very narrow spectrum that is often within: Caucasian, Negroid, and Mongoloid. Native Americans are thus made to fit within these groups which often yields false and contradictory assumptions as a result of sample bias.
An interdisciplinary analysis of Native American skulls has shown that there is no real evidence, apart from superficial misjudgments and erroneous conclusions, that Native Americans have any link to an African presence in America before the European encounter.
15.^ Wiercinski (1972b).
16.^ Keita (1993,1996); Keita, S.O.Y. (1993). Studies and comments on ancient Egyptian biological relationships, History in Africa, 20, 129-131; Keita,S.O.Y.& Kittles,R.A. (1997). The persistence of racial thinking and the myth of racial divergence, American Anthropologist, 99 (3), 534-544.
17.^ Carlson,D. and Van Gerven,D.P. (1979). Diffussion, biological determinism and bioculdtural adaptation in the Nubian corridor,American Anthropologist, 81, 561-580.
18.^ MacGaffey,W.(1970). Concepts of race in Northeast Africa. In J.D. Fage and R.A. Oliver, Papers in African Prehistory (pp.99-115), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
19.^ P. 156.
20.^ "Laponoid" refers to those from Lapland, or in more general terms northern Europeans.
21.^ Wiercinski states that the engraving of the bearded man on La Venta Stela 3 (see Olmecs as Nordics) is a "representative of Armenoid" (p. 163).
22.^ "Ainoid" refers to the Ainu while Arctic refers to the general Siberian population.
23.^ Wiercinski (1972b), p.160
24.^ Wiercinski, p. 158 or p. 171.
Now it just so happens that measuring and comparing human crania is what my degree is for, it's my "Thing". And I can tell you right off that Wiercinski and his whole classifactory system are both full of canal water, if not some pretty offensive raw sewage. Nevertheless, he may well be right in an identification class or two. For the most part, the "Races" he identifies are nothing of the sort, they are clusters of simlar phenotypes internally related to each other, identifiable through time, but nothing remotely analogous to the definition for "Race" or Subspecies (which is the exact equivalent to race in a Taxonomical sense) these groupings are too minor to represent geographically-defined varieties of the human species and that is in fact the fatal flaw of ALL such racist theories: they confuse morphologial variants with geographically-defined variants. Hence if you have Nordics, Alpines and Mediterraneans living in the same geographic region for thousands of years then they might be recognisable morphological subtypes but they are all the same race, Biologically speaking. In a sense it is still useful to be able to trace genetic heritage by bony anatomy, but that is a separate thing from the political meanings often attached to studies of the bony anatomy.
And for the most part, even the subtypes he defines are pretty meaningless. My own opinion is that such categories as "Armenoid-Bushmen" and "Laponid (Lapp)-Equatorial" are not only nonsensical, they are luducrous enough to be laughable.
Following are some examples of early-Mexican skulls from before 10000 BC. The Tlacopoya cranium is first and it is obviously the same as the generalized-Asiatic Upper Paleolithic type of skull shown next. This type has been called "Eastern Cro-Magnon" and it is obviously what Wiercinzski s calling the "Ainuoid" Aboriginal type. That category would also include his "Ainu-Arctic" and "Subainuoid" types.
The highest percentage of skulls that Wiercinzski identifies are "Pacific" types (including "Pacific-Equatorial" and "Subpacific") That would mean like Polynesians, which is unusual because there were not supposed to be Polynesians out in the Pacific in Olmec times. Doubtless these would be the Indians of the post-Harappian interval, and more usually called Dravidian in type, possibly mixed with early Indonesians and/or Japanese. Along with them are some Middle-Eastern-type settlers called "Armenoid", "Anatolian" and "Alpine"which could quite easily be an absorbed Sumerian contingent included with the post-Harappians.
Tlatlico Originals from India
And, Having said all that, I am willing to grant him the Shang Chinese and the "Dongolian" Nubians, conditional to the fact that they must be confirmed independantly. The "Dongolian" presence also corresponding to the "Negroid" giant heads is also possibly still an important possibility.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
in An Introduction to the Study of Southwestern Archaeology, Eckholm and his asociates mentioned multiple probable transpacific contacts starting as early as the introduction of Pottery to South America from the Jomonic period of Japan as early as 3000 BC and then again intermittent cultural packages transmitted across the Pacific at later dates. One definite set of new traits seems to have been transmitted from Southeast Asia directly across the Pacific before 250 BC and there are reasons to say that it must have been established before 500 BC. The information was credited to Estrada and Meggers, 1961 and the traits included pottery neck-rests; pottery models of houses on stilts (piles) and with saddle-shaped roofs, seated figurines with their legs folded one on top of the other, pottery representations of sick patients tied to their beds, pottery ear-plugs, polished red pottery, pottery net-weights, stone and pottery pendants in the shape of boar's tusks and (from Thor Heyerdahl independantly) at least one instance of babyrusa (Celebes wild hog) tusks found in a Peruvian grave. associated with these traits may also be the use of the coolie-yoke, foot-plow, and graduated pan-pipes, possibly even the lost-wax method of copper or bronze casting and the use of batiks (resist-dyeing)
This exchange must have gone on before the general spread of the Dong-son brass drums as trade items in Indonesia and yet has distinct resemblances to some of the cultural items in use by the Dongson trade network and probably the Old Megalithic probably arising in (Tamil) Southern India originally. However this wave follows on an older and much more interesting cultural exchange which must have gone on between India in the wake of the collapse of Harappan or Indus-Valley Civilization and Mexico in the Preclassic period, where a whole array of identifiable Indian decorative traits superimposed itself on an older and quite separate Olmec tradition.
Indus Valley God and Goddess
Tlatilco is a village found in the environs of modern Mexico City and the culture that is characteristic of it. This culture had its heyday in the period somewhere between 1000 and 500 BC and it was the first known largescale settlement of the area. It is associaed with some large mound areas but these are not recognised as pyramids.
Tlatilco pottery is very highly developed and shares a good many themes and motifs characteristic of early India as mixed with local traditions. However little is known of the actual India of this period and so direct comparison is impossible to make between the two. The Tlatilco settlers seem to have been a bunch of very outgoing, cheerful, expressive, robust, sensuous and physically harmonious bunch-one imagines rather as if a bunch of out-of-work carnival and circus performers from India had come to Mexico as their retirement home. The Vedic Indians seem to have named the New World Uttarkuru (Far Kuru, possibly a corruption of Far Peru) and they might have been the ones to introduce the board game of parchisi (patolli) to Mexico.[Please see additional discussion at bottom]
Indus Valley Civilization is known for showing people assuming the postures similar to those known from Yoga. The Tlatilco terracotta figurines are also remarkable for the same reason.
I call pieces like these "Kama Sutra" Pieces
Tlatilco potters were probably most often women because of the size of the fingerprints they left in the clay. In Teotehuacan, male potters took over considerably later on and evidently under the theory that the potter's job had become more prestigious.
Several Tlatilco sculptures also feature musclemen and athletes.
Tlatilco Wrestler and Indian Wrestler.
I call this Tlatilco sculpture "Arnold"
Because of his obvious bicep-flexing pose
Tlatilco and Indus Civilzations also have absolutely comparable pottery stamps for marking designs on clay, fabric or on the skin.
This is an Indus Valley Seagoing vessel, presumably the sort of craft that would have made the long voyage.
The originating port in India would have been like this. The period we are talking about is after the end of the Indus civilization proper and before the beginning of the next recognisable period of Indian history, the Mauryan, but with resemblances to each of those periods. The artwork of those different eras do show some continuity but with an increaed Greek influence after the time of Alexander the Great. The Tlatilco period would have ended well before then.
Collared pecarry, native to the New World. Not exactly like Old World pigs, the disc on the end of the snout and their tusks are not so large
There is evidence that the Indian colonists that settled in the area of Mexico city to add their input into the Tlatilco culture brought with them chickens, pigs and dogs. They seem to have subsequently eaten up their chickens and pigs (this also happened on some of the islands of Polynesia in similar settlements made by the Polynesians) however the porrtery pigs represented by the Tlatilco culture are NOT peccaries, they have broader snouts and smoother coats. They more resemble domesticated breeds such as are known to have been raised in India.
The Indian dog breeds the colonists would have had dogs like the Pariah dogs of India. The Tlatilco colonists did not care if they were Pariah dogs, they obviously loved them anyway. Similar breeds of dogs still live in Mexico and even South America for that matter.
Indus Valley Terracotta, woman driving an Oxcart
The Indonesian area would be just experiencing a colonization by the Chola Tamils from Southern India, more important in much more recent times and not well represented in the BC days.
Indus Goddess Princess Leia with big side buns. Although not two-headed actually, you can see it is headed in that direction. About 3000 BC and typical of MUCH older Goddess figurines from the Mid-East and Africa (Nubia) except for the hairstyle.
Another Tlatilco comical figurine,
Tlatilco representation of The Mother Of Us All.
This is actually nicely executed, very detailed and expressive.
Another Maurya Empire Indian Woman shown as similar to Tlatilco
Tlatilco Woman wearing what looks like baggy pants. This could be a representation to the Traditional Indian garment known as a shalwar
The latest thing in shalwars.
Tlatilco representations are also notable for their frequent representations of turbans.
Some features of Tlatilco pottery are also similar to contemporaneous Japan, the late Jomon period. The Jomon period is very long and there are several different styles represented in the Jomon. This is a later type. rock art in Japan and attributed to the Jomonic also includes designs that have been attributed to Indus valley script. These designs are represented in several standard reference books on rock art, but the similarity to the Indus script is disputed. Such symbols also appear in rock art of Sumatra, where they are not so hotly disputed since it is known that Indus valley ships came to Sumatra for camphor, cardomom and other spices. Some of these trade items found their way into Ancient Egypt where they are noted in the papyrus texts.
Easter Island script engraved on a rongo-rongo board. Easter Islanders say that only the master scribes engraved on wood, the apprentices used banana leaves. The Wikipedia entry on rongo-rongo writing notes that some experts consider that the writing was originally ONLY on the banana leaves and that the rongo-rongo boards were designed to look like banana leaves, even including the ridges between the lines of writing which correspond to the veins on the banana leaf. Also of interest is the tradition that the Incas of Peru had not always been without writing-that they used to write codices like the Mayans did, but on banana leaves, and that during times of war and famine all of the old codices had been burnt up. This is scoffed at by experts saying there could have been no banana leaves then, but then again, Thor Heyerdahl points out that Archaeologists had legitimately reported items found in Peruvian graves wrapped in banana-leaves. Evidently banana leaves are preserved better in the Peruvian climate than would have otherwise seemed likely.
There has been an interestring observation made that several of the Indus Valley script characters are absolutely identical to the characters on the Rongo-rongo boards from Easter Island, with the exception that the ones from the Indus valley are engraved with one line and the ones from Easter Island are all engraved with double lines. This has frequently been presented in diffusionist literature and is remarked upon by Thor Heyerdahl in American Indians in the Pacific, as well by many other authors generally, even including Charles Berlitz. Several authors are puzzled by the fact that the two points are two oceans apart and it seems that there are no intermediate stops along the way to show how the Indus Valley script could have gotten to Easter Island.
Actually, it turns out that examples of the Indus-style scripts and even some of the succeding early Tamil scripts from South India appear in grafitti of South America. Verill and Verill in Old Civilisations of the New World speak of inscriptions in the 'Indus-Gangetic' script on a rock face 150 miles north of Cuzco , Peru, and another one like it in another location in Peru: similar signs have been found as grafitti on rock faces across Peru and even into Northern Argentina according to the researches of Bernardo da Silva Ramos (done for tthe Brazillian government but then denounced by the government for what his findings implied: the book was printed at private expense in 1939 as Inscripcioes e Traducioes da America Prehistorica) So that the Indus peoples and their successors (up to the time they started writing in Brahmi and other Indic alphabetical scripts) had indeed made repeated voyages to South America and it wold have been a simple matter for the Indus Valley script to come to Easter Island by way of Peru.
Some of the Tlatilco stamp-seals are known to have patterns on them corresponding to the later Mayan glyphs. Since the Tlatico culture came in during the Olmec period and in fact installed itself upon an Olmec-like background, the glyphs are of about Olmec age and are presumably related to the Olmec style of making the glyphs.
This is an illustration of the oldest known incription on stone written in Olmec glyphs, ancestors of the later Mayan glyphs. It is asserted by some that the glyphs are sometimes derived from Shang Chinese writing in some individual characters and alternatively that some experts see a resemblance to Indus Valley writing symbols. This information and several of the illustrations for this blog posting come from Wikipedia.
While doing research on this blog posting, I came upon the interesting assertion that the oldest Shang ideogramic characters from China were identical to some Indus Valley characters but written in a different orientation. This is interesting because it makes it much more likely that all the early Oriental enigmatic scripts are related and all are derived from a form of Sumerian writing (through Elamite script, supposedly the ancestor of the Indus Valley script) In the evolution of Sumerian characters to cuneiform, it is also known that the orientation was shifted 90 degrees at one point.
Patolli, the ancient game of the Aztecs, has traditionally been regarded as having the same ancestor as Pachisi (the Pachisi-Patolli theory). The argument were based on what seemed to be similar significant features between Pachisi and Patolli and that this game could not have been developed independently on opposite sides of the globe (diffusion). It was also an argument in favor for the highly controversial theory of pre-Columbian transpacific contact.
The following is all based on Lieve Verbeec's article "Bul: A Patolli game in Maya lowland" from 1998:
Before the Spanish Conquest many games of chance using beans or reeds as dice were widespread in Mesoamerica3. But no accurate description has been found of how these games were played (and many sources are contradictory). The Aztec board game of Patolli is still a riddle. But it is generally accepted that the Patolli boards are cosmological images.
Originally the term Patolli were only used to describe one specific Aztec game - played on a mat on which there was drawn a cruciform board with four black marked patolli beans as dice (marked with white dots). By now it is a generic term and labels any variant of the square, cruciform or circular game-boards drawn or incised on floors or benches of ancient buildings, or featuring in the multiple pre-colonial or early-colonial codices, as well as some of the the twentieth century games of chance that are assumed to be survivals or variants of the ancient game of Patolli.
Patolli has been labeled as a race game by the earlier board game historians. But as Verbeeck claims, it could just as well have been a war game. The earliest Spanish sources referred to both war and race games when they tried to describe Patolli and compared it with native Spanish games.
When and where the game of Patolli originated is not clear. It might have existed long before the Aztec period (- AD 1450). Archaeological sources says patolli boards occurred at least ten centuries ago, both in the Maya area as well as in Central Mexico.
As a result of a comparative study of four Mexican board games, Verbeeck found the following common characteristics and list the following tentative typology of the patolli games:
1 - the dice - the use of four two-sided lots which corresponds with the number and characteristics of the patol beans used in ancient times
2 - scoring method: every marked side counts one
3 - scoring method: the value of five for a throw of four identical lots (the number five had a symbolic religious value)
4 - team game (always played in two teams of equal numbers)
5 - capture by simple replacement
6 - the circuit - no matter the shape or length of the circuit, the teams have their own entrances on the board
7 - the circuit - the common part of the circuit, where capture is the object of both teams
This typology includes both race games and war games. In both types the opponents have to run a circuit. The difference between the two types of games actually only lies in the fact that in the latter games the opponents' counters are not returned to let them enter the circuit again. So the generic term patolli labels both race and war games of Mesoamerican origin.
"Still, the question whether the famous Aztec patolli, the "game of mat" was a race game or a war game, remains an intriguing one." (pg. 97)
Bul (buul, boolk, puluc)
The Mayan game Bul (as played today in Belize) is a modern variant of Patolli. It is a social ceremonial joyful game. Male farmers play Bul before planting their corn in the spring ("play corn"). Win or loose don't matter, it is only important that the corn, which is going to be planted the next day, should be surrounded by bright joyfulness the night before it will go down into the "dark earth".
Played with any even numbers of players above six, in two teams, board marked by twenty grain of floor (corn) in a straight line (continuous circuits). It is played as an war game. The players use a four corn-dice (called bul). The captives keep on accompanying their captors on the circuit and consequently may expect their chances of retakes and liberation.
The Maya board game Bul is a survival or modern variant of the ancient patolli games. It's date of origin or how it was originally played is impossible to know.
1. Originally by Tylor, E. B.: The game of Patolli in Ancient Mexico, and its probably Asiatic origin. In: Journal of the Anthropological institute of Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 8 (1878), pp. 116-131
2. Parlett, 1999, pg. 54
3. Meso-america: The pre-Columbian culture area where different native American people shared common cultural traits. Northern frontier (at it's peak): Rio Grande and southern frontier: east of Nicoya in Costa Rica (Verbeeck, p. 99)
- Parlett, David: The Oxford history of Board Games, Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN: 0-19-212998-8
- Verbeeck, Lieve: Bul: a Patolli game in Maya lowland, p. 83-100. In: Board game studies: international journal for the study of board games, Leiden: Research School CNWS, 1998
Possible Patolli Game carved in stone, Found near the Pyramids of Teotihuacan
Codex Florentinus Illustration of Patolli Game
Playing Pachisi, Lucknow in 1790
Wikipedia-Real Pachisi Board from India
Vedic Diagram of World-Jambu Dwipa (Dwipa=Continent) represents India and Meru represents Tibet, supposedly also the North Pole. On the far side past the North Pole is Uttar Kuru (Far Kuru) which could represent the New World.