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The Gulf of Mexico in 1600BC

7 May 2011

This is a bit of a fanciful story but is based on a series of hard facts – interspersed with some speculation. For starters the date is significant, closely following the 1628-5BC low growth tree ring event – but what was happening in the Gulf of Mexico? At www.examiner.com/architecture-design-in-national/was-there-an-ancient-lo… there is a four page article that begins by saying that around 1600BC  there were many unexplained cultural changes in the basin of the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to that date the most advanced civilisation in the Americas (a bit of conjecture here) was located in SE North America and this possibly also included Cuba, Puerto Rica and Hispanoila – but the key word here is 'possibly' which suggests once again conjecture. Architecture is known from Louisiana from 3500BC (but he forgets to mention the same is true of Peru) and the earliest discovered (so far) pottery came from Georgia (but there is lots of archaeology in the US). The pottery is dated to 2500BC and around 2200BC people in the SE began erecting massive shell rings – which functioned as villages. The same rings were abandoned in 1600BC and this is what caught my eye as it is remarkable there was an extraordinary amount of activity at Stonehenge at the same time – but little evidence of activity after 1600BC. Note that Stonehenge is also a ring – and numerous stone circles were constructed at this time all over Britain (see also www.examiner.com/architecture-design-in-national/america-s-architectural… ). Around 1600BC large villages on raised semi circular earthen platforms were built along the tributaries of the Lower Mississippi – and ceremonial mounds. They had been long abandoned by the time European colonisation began (see also www.examiner.com/architecture-design-in-national/poverty-point-national-… ). In Mexico a new culture appeared around 1600BC – the Olmecs, located on the Gulf coast. The Olmecs built pyramidal mounds to begin with and introduced pottery, villages, and cultivation, and by 1200BC cities were being constructed with very large pyramids etc. These were abandoned around 600BC, the author claims, but more exactly some time in the window 800-400BC to be more exact (coinciding with the C14 dating anomaly at this time). At this point the story goes a bit awry, especially at www.examiner.com/architecture-design-in-national/who-are-the-yuchi/ and we suddenly get a mix of Polynesians (long before the historical Polynesians were riding the high seas) and Atlantis (say no more). The main thrust of the story is strongly US centric – ignoring what was happening in Peru for example and barely mentioning the Maya or the Mexican cultivation of corn which goes back thousands of years before 1600BC. However, it does seem to indicate that low growth tree ring events affected the Americas as much as they did the Old World. The story seems to have picked up the idea that the Americas were colonised by people from SE Asia at the end of the Ice Age – or possibly during the Ice Age, the story talking in numbers going back 50,000 years ago. These people, it suggests, gravitated towards the Gulf of Mexico – and lets not forget that during the Ice Age the Gulf was a very different place to what it was today, with the Bahamas, for example, being a very large block of land and islands such as Cuba being much bigger. However, converting that into Atlantis is something else.  

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