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Ancient Mayan Ruins Have NOT Been Found in Georgia (Duh)

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If you’re been reading the left-wing Drudge Retort lately, you may have been jolted out of your armchair by a bit of exciting news: ancient Mayan ruins have been discovered in the mountains of North Georgia! According to the report, picked up from a fly-by-night Web pub called the Examiner, a small group of archeologists led by University of Georgia scholar Mark Williams discovered the 1,100-year-old city “on the southeast side of Brasstown Bald in the Nacoochee Valley.” Only, the report “is not true,” according to Williams, reached by email. “I have been driven crazy by this.”

The original story was written by one Richard Thornton — who claims that “like most Georgia and South Carolina Creeks, I carry a trace of Maya DNA,” and that his ancestors came to North America fleeing “volcanic eruptions, wars, and drought” — and it has certainly caught fire across the Twitter/blogosphere thanks to the general obsession with the 2012 Mayan prophecies. (Even the venerable Washington Post interrupted its regularly-scheduled news rapportage to alert readers that “a second brick found at a Mayan ruin also contained the Dec. 21, 2012, date.”)

But, as Williams says, “The Maya connection to legitimate Georgia archaeology is a wild and unsubstantiated guess on the part of the Thornton fellow. No archaeologists will defend this flight of fancy.”

Too bad for holiday cocktail-party conversation, the news of Mayan ruins among us appears to be bunk.

- Andrew M. Goldstein

[Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the story had been picked up by the far more famous right-wing Drudge Report and poked a little fun at the conspiracy-friendly nature of that site. We regret the error.]

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  1. I laughed when I first read about this, more internet craziness from people with far to much time on their hands, the mer mention of the word “Mayan” in a sentence and the whole blogsphere explodes, I surprise no one has tried to connect these Mayan non-ruins to the end of the world in 2012.

  2. by armando lawrence

    Wondering why when people from US are referring to US as oppose to Mexico that they do so by referring to US as North America? N. America includes Canada, US, Mexico and Central America

  3. When used by geologists and geographers, “North America” includes Mexico and Central America. However, the term is also used in a cultural sense for non-Latin America, in which case it includes only Canada and the US.

  4. Wrong Drudge. The Drudge Report is This story was posted on, which is the left-wing “Drudge Retort”. Maybe you should be a little less eager to confirm and declare your political biases.

  5. “venerable Washington Post”

    Now there’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one!

    This blog is super fail.

  6. Latest breaking news, authentic medieval Alpine German village found in Helen, Georgia!! It’s true, google it!

    My wife and I were actually planning to go see the “Mayan” ruins later this week. Thanks for the feedback.

  7. Can you believe it!! What a letdown!

  8. It is not true that there’s no evidence of a Mayan presence in Georgia. Here is more evidence:

    Also, Mark Williams did not research the site purported to be a Mayan site. The story states Williams did a two day investigation of a site on the opposite side of the mountain from the possible Mayan terrace site. His report stated that the site was unlike anything else in the archaeological record in the southeast and was quite the enigma. It appears Williams was mentioned in the article to simply show that other enigmatic sites exist in the same area as the terrace site. I’m not sure why he’s being interviewed and questioned about a site he didn’t investigate. The story states that a guy named Loubser investigated the possible Mayan site. Loubser is a South African rock art specialist and not a specialist in Mayan terrace sites so he wouldn’t be able to identify it as a Mayan site either. His investigation of the site amounted to mapping the site and doing a few test digs where he uncovered burials and immediately stopped his investigation. Thus neither of these sites have anything close to resembling a proper archaeological investigation thus who built them is completely unknown. The fact that both of these sites are unique and unlike any other archaeological sites in eastern North America should make professionals somewhat cautious in saying who “didn’t” build them. If it was local Indians then why are both sites so unlike other sites in the region? Williams offered no explanation for this because he simply doesn’t have one.

  9. Kudos for this article. I thought your article is very interesting. I will visit again very soon.

  10. by Joseph Newman

    Here I will teach all I can on the Mayan and Aztec connections:

    Now the Saponi came from the West and there is very good evidence they originally came from Aztec and Mayan like city of Cahokia.

    However it is possble the Mattamuskeet tribes could have had a Mayan and Aztec influence.

    Now we know after the Saponi went into NC in the late 1600’s they was a Siouan speaking tribe, however when they came back to Virginia under Lt. gov Spotswood’s encouragement, the Saponi had now spoke mostly Algonkina words and was discribed nearly word for word that of the Mattamuskeet tribes (Algonkian speakers of the NC Coast).

    The Saponi was mound builders but the Algonkinas was not mound builders.

    Now the Saponi and the Mattamuskeet both had a wooden Idol statue who did not resmble themself (4 of these have been found), This idol resembled the tribes of Florida. Their body paint and tattoos also was that of the Florida tribes.

    We know after the spainish attacked the Aztec and Mayans, the spainish set their eyes on Florida and they brought with them slaves. Desoto even made his way up into North Carolina. Many of the slaves they had was Aztec and Mayans.

    An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America While American school children learn of columbus’s role in the discovery of the New World, they aren’t told the entire story. For example, Columbus employed both Moorish and Spanish sailors, and himself may have been Jewish. On his fourth voyage in 1502 he records two important discoveries:

    First, on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, he discovered an iron pot and an old ship’s mast preserved in an Indian hut. He and his crew determined these artifacts had come from the Canary Islands. The Canaries, a Portuguese possession, had been a favorite dumping ground for Conversos of Muslim Berber origin.

    Second, on July 31, 1502, came an even more extraordinary discovery. Off the island of Jamaica, Columbus encountered strange people on a strange ship that western historians have generally considered to be Mayan Indians.

  11. by Joseph Newman

    This ship was forty feet ling with a diameter of eight feet, and had a shaded pavilion in the center. From a distance, Columbus thought it to be uncannily like the Moorish galleys he and so often seen the the Mediterranean. There were approximately forty men and women on thie galley and unlike the Jamaican Indians, these people wore clothing: sleeveless shirts and with showy colors and designs like those Columbus had seen, in his own, in Muslim Granada.

    These so-called Mayan Indians carried a cargo of tools, copper implements, and forges for working copper. But perhaps Columbus’s striking observation was that the women aboard this galley “covered their faces like the women of Granada.” Were these truly Mayan Indians? Or simply one more case of biased historians refusing to accept the fact that Muslims could have reached the New World before Columbus? Columbus certainly considered the possibility.

    The establishment of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 was indeed an important event in American history. Bit is was by no means the first European settlement in the New World. The Spanish established the Santa Elena, South Carolina, colony in 1566, forty yrs before Jamestown. The colony thrived for more than twenty yrs until it was overrun by the English in 1587. But since the English won the battle for this Nation, Santa Elena was conveniently left out of American history books.

    North African Berbers and Turks captured in the Mediterranean by the Spanish and Portuguese were regularly used as galley slaves in ships crossing the Atlantic. Once in the New World, these Muslim captives were assigned to slave labor on sugar plantations and in the mining operations of among other places, Cuba and Brazil.

    Perhaps the most stunning evidence is the gene frequency research conducted in 1990 by Dr. James Guthrie, who performed a reanalysis of 177 Melungeon blood samples taken in 1969, in east Tennessee and SW Virginia. Dr Guthrie compared the frequency of certain genes within the Melungion sample to the know genetic make-up of nearly 200 other world population groups. His findings indicated no significant differences between the Melungeon people of east Tennessee and SW Virginia, and the people of North Africa and especially Morocco, Algeria and Libya and the Calician mountains of Spain and Portugal, Iraq, Cyprus, Malta, the Canary Islands and extreme southern Italy, and most interesting certain South American Indians and last but not least, the Turks.

    We also know the slave trader and pirate / privateer was going to South America and bringing Natives back to England….it is said some of these was in fact Aztec

    Sir Francis Drake’s men had went to Mexico City area and left some of his people….these men was repairing their ships and may have picked up Aztecs from the spainish for labor, from here they entered Florida and took a 11 month journey thru the trading paths of the Native Americans, the trip took 11 months before they made it to Canada, many men stop their journey so they may live among various tribes along the way, On this trading path after getting thru Florida the path would take you to the Cherokee then to the Occaneechi, then to the Saponi and Monacan villages.

    Many slaves was brought from the Aztecs and Mayans into the West indies (Carribeans) and from there into Florida.

    We also know even before the Spainish came, the Mayans and Florida shared the same coast and when they looked into the Gulf of Mexico they would have actually been facing each other. The Mayans by boat would have travel about a state’s distance away and entered Cuba, from there going another state’s distance away to reach the florida tribes.Or you could say the distance from the Mayans to the Florida tribes would almost the same as traveling from Miami, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. So the Mayans could have traded with the Florida tribes prior to the Spainish contact and then the Aztecs could have had contact after Spainish contact.

    The Spainish and Portuguese was often seen together, many descendants of Native Americans in the SE had many ancestors who claimed to be Portuguese, the Saponi descendants often have ancestors on records claiming Portuguese and Native descent. The Spainish was all over the SE during the early 1500’s.

    So with that I can now show you very simular things.

    Remember Cahokia was the USA’s version of the Aztec and Mayans, so keep that in mind also.

  12. by Joseph Newman

    THE Discoveries of JOHN LEDERER from Virginia to the West of Carolina, and other parts of the Continent These parts were formerly possessed by the Tacci, alias Dogi but they are extinct; and the Indians now seated here, are distinguished into the several Nations of Mahoe, Nuntaneuck,aliàs Nuntaly, Nahyssan, Sapon, Managog, Mangoack, Akenatzy,and Monakin,&c. One Language is common to them all, though they differ in Dialects. The Indians now seated in these parts, are none of those which the English removed from Virginia, but a people driven by an Enemy from the Northwest, and invited to sit down here by an Oracle above four hundred years since, as they pretend: for the ancient inhabitants of Virginia were far more rude and barbarous, feeding onely upon raw flesh and fish, until these taught them to plant Corn, and shewed them the use of it. But before I treat of their ancient Manners and Customs, it is necessary I should shew by what means the knowledge of them hath been conveyed from former ages to posterity. Three ways they supply their want of Letters: first by Counters, secondly by Emblemes or Hieroglyphicks, thirdly by Tradition delivered in long Tales from father to son, which being children they are made to learn by rite.

    Page 4 For Counters, they use either Pebbles, or short scantlings of straw or reeds. Where a Battel has been fought, or a Colony seated, they raise a small Pyramid of these stones, consisting of the number slain or transplanted. Their reeds and straws serve them in Religious Ceremonies: for they lay them orderly in a Circle when they prepare for Devotion or Sacrifice; and that performed, the Circle remains still for it is Sacriledge to disturb or to touch it the disposition and sorting of the straws and reeds, shew what kinde of Rites have there been celebrated, as Invocation, Sacrifice, Burial The faculties of the minde and body they commonly express by Emblems. By the figure of a Stag, they imply swiftness; by that of a Serpent, wrath; of a Lion, courage; of a Dog, fidelity; by a Swan, they signifie the English,alluding to their complexion, and flight over the Sea. An account of Time, and other things, they keep on a string or leather thong tied in knots of several colours. I took particular notice of small Wheels serving for this purpose among the Oenocks, because I have heard that the Mexicans use the same. Every Nation gives his particular Ensigne or Arms: The Sasquesahanaugh a Tarapine, or small Tortoise; the Akenatzy’s (This is the Occaneechi of the Saponi) a Serpent; the Nahyssanes (This is the Tutelo and holds the same for the Monacan and Manahaocs) three Arrows. In this they likewise agree with the Mexican Indians. They worship one God, Creater of all things, whom some call Okaee (Okee to the Mattamuskeet) ,others Mannith: to him alone the High priest, or Periku,offers Sacrifice; and yet they believe he has no regard to sublunary affairs, but commits the Government of Mankinde to lesser Deities, as Quiacosough and Tagkanysough,that is, good and evil Spirits: to these the inferiour Priests pay their devotion and Sacrifice, at which they make recitals, to a lamentable Tune, of the great things done by their Ancestors. From four women, viz. Pash, Sepoy, Askarin, and Maraskarin, they derive the Race of Mankinde; which they

    Page 5 therefore divide into four Tribes, distinguished under several names. They very religiously observe the degrees of Marriage, which they limit not to distance of Kindred, but difference of Tribes, which are continued in the issue of the Females: now for two of the same Tribe to match, is abhorred as Incest, and punished with great severity. Their places of Burial they divide into four quarters, assigning to every Tribe one: for, to mingle their bodies, even when dead, they hold wicked and ominous. They commonly wrap up the corpse in beasts skins, and bury with it Provision and Housholdstuff for its use in the other world. When their great men die, they likewise slay prisoners of War to attend them (This was done by taking pine splinters and placing it all over the body then liting it on fire, when the prisoner fell to the ground a warrior would run up and hit him over the head with the Tomahawk, to not kill these prisoners was taken as disrespect to you great warriors and would anger the creator). They believe the transmigration of souls: for the Angry they say is possest with the spirit of a Serpent; the Bloudy, with that of a Wolf; the Timorous, of a Deer; the Faithful, of a Dog, &c. and therefore they are figured by these Emblemes. Elizium, or the abode of their lesser Deities, they place beyond the Mountains and Indian Ocean. Though they want those means of improving Humane Reason, which the use of Letters affords us; let us not therefore conclude them wholly destitute of Learning and Sciences: for by these little helps which they have found, many of them advance their natural understandings to great knowledge in Physick, Rhetorick, and Policie of Government: for I have been present at several of their Consultations and Debates, and to my admiration have heard some of their Seniors deliver themselves with as much Judgement and Eloquence as I should have expected from men of Civil education and Literature.

    The Following is Part of the book, Dinwiddie County, “The Countrey of the Apamatica” compiled by the workers of the Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Virginia…Based on the document written by Abraham Wood. Following nine days at Fort Henry, the expedition started for the Cherokee country. Wood saw Needham off with high hopes of his successful return in -the spring. However, in January, when Indian rumors came to the fort that Needham had been murdered, Wood sent a runner into the back country to get the facts. Before this emissary returned, however, Henry Hatcher, an independent trader who had lately been with the Occaneechi, came to Fort Henry and told of Needham’s murder, naming as his assassin John Hasecoll, an Occaneechi half-breed, known also as Indian John. This scoundrel, “a fat, thick, bluff-faced fellow,” was well known to both Wood and Needham, being none other than the Indian who had been with Needham on his first visit to the Cherokee. The party had proceeded more than 70 miles before Indian John’s designs began to take shape. Then, near the Saura town, when Needham rebuked an Indian for letting his pack slip while crossing a stream, Indian John had become surly and threatening. After camp was made that night, Needham had decided to restore discipline and, with a gesture of Garlessness, had thrown his hatchet to the ground near the guide, saying: “What, John, are you minded to kill me?” At this the halfbreed had shot the white man through the head. Terrified, the Tomahitans had fallen to their knees bewailing that now the English would be upon them for Needham’s death. But the murderer had ripped out Needham’s heart with his knife and shouted defiance to “all the English.” Then, turning on the cowering Tomahitans, he had ordered them to go on to their village and kill the white man waiting there for Needham’s return. With this he had stripped the body and had taken from the expedition packs as much as he could load on the dead leader’s horse, had given Needham’s sword to one of the Tomahitans and ridden toward the Occaneechi village. There he had boasted of what he had done and displayed the Englishman’s pistols. Some of the Tomahitans, hastening home and finding the king away, had dragged Gabriel Arthur to a stake and gathered dry canes from the river’s bank to pile at his feet. But, before the pyre was lighted, the king had come back, shot the ringleader, and taken the white boy to the safety of his own house. Soon the time was at hand for tribal marauding parties to go out, not only against white settlements but against enemy tribes. The king commanded Gabriel to go on these raids, promising that later in the spring he would personally conduct him back to his white master. After many adventures, which Wood recounted in his letter, the lad finally reached Fort Henry, where he was welcomed with great rejoicing-

    1729: William Byrd while visiting one of the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Towns in Southampton County – “the young men danced to beat of a gore drum, stretched tight with a skin – the women wore Blue and Red Match Coats with their hair braided with Blue and White beads.” This is not Saponi..but it helps understand the use of the colors blue and Red.

    7th. The next day being Sunday, we ordered notice to be sent to all the neighbourhood that there would be a sermon at this place, and an opportunity of christening their children. But the likelihood of rain got the better of their devotion, and what, perhaps, might still be a stronger motive of their curiosity. In the morning we despatched a runner to the Nottoway town, to let the Indians know we intended them a visit that evening, and our honest landlord was so kind as to be our pilot thither, being about four miles from his house. Accordingly in the afternoon we marched in good order to the town, where the female scouts, stationed on an eminence for that purpose, had no sooner spied us, but they gave notice of our approach to their fellow citizens by continual whoops and cries, which could not possibly have been more dismal at the sight of their most implacable enemies. This signal assembled all their great men, who received us in a body, and conducted us into the fort. This fort was a square piece of ground, inclosed with substantial puncheons, or strong palisades, about ten feet high, and leaning a little outwards, to make a scalade more difficult. Each side of the square might be about a hundred yards long, with loop-holes at proper distances, through which they may fire upon the enemy. Within this inclosure we found bark cabins sufficient to lodge all their people, in case they should be obliged to retire thither. These cabins are no other but close arbours made of saplings, arched at the Page 35 top, and covered so well with bark as to be proof against all weather. The fire is made in the middle, according to the Hibernian fashion, the smoke whereof finds no other vent but at the door, and so keeps the whole family warm, at the expense both of their eyes and complexion. The Indians have no standing furniture in their cabins but hurdles to repose their persons upon, which they cover with mats and deer-skins. We were conducted to the best apartments in the fort, which just before had been made ready for our reception, and adorned with new mats, that were very sweet and clean. The young men had painted themselves in a hideous manner, not so much for ornament as terror. In that frightful equipage they entertained us with sundry war dances, wherein they endeavoured to look as formidable as possible. The instrument they danced to was an Indian drum, that is, a large gourd with a skin braced tight over the mouth of it. The dancers all sang to the music, keeping exact time with their feet, while their heads and arms were screwed into a thousand menacing postures. Upon this occasion the ladies had arrayed themselves in all their finery. They were wrapped in their red and blue match coats, thrown so negligently about them, that their mahogany skins appeared in several parts, like the Lacedæmonian damsels of old. Their hair was braided with white and blue peak, and hung gracefully in a large roll upon their shoulders. This peak consists of small cylinders cut out of a conch shell, drilled through and strung like beads. It serves them both for money and jewels, the blue being of much greater value than the white, for the same reason that Ethiopian mistresses in France are dearer than French, because they are more scarce. The women wear necklaces and bracelets of these precious materials, when they have a mind to appear lovely. Though their complexions be a little sad-coloured, yet their shapes are very strait and well proportioned. Their faces are seldom handsome, yet they have an air of innocence and bashfulness, that with a little less dirt would not fail to make them desirable. Such charms might have had their full effect upon men who had been so long deprived of female conversation, but that the whole winter’s soil was so crusted on the skins of those dark angels, that it required a very strong appetite to approach them. The bear’s oil, with which they anoint their persons all over, makes their skins soft, and at the same time protects them from every species of vermin that use to be troublesome to other uncleanly people. We were unluckily so many, that they could not well make us the compliment of bed-fellows, according to the Indian rules of hospitality, though a grave matron whispered one of the commissioners very civilly in the ear, that if her daughter had been but one year older, she should have been at his devotion. It is by no means a loss of reputation among the Indians, for damsels that are single to have intrigues with the men; on the contrary, they account it an argument of superior merit to be liked by a great number of gallants. However, like the ladies that game, they are a little mercenary in their amours, and seldom bestow their favours out of stark love and kindness. But after these women have once appropriated their charms by marriage, they are from thenceforth faithful to their vows, and will hardly ever be tempted by an agreeable gallant, or be provoked by a brutal or even by a careless husband to go astray. The little work that is done among the Indians is done by the poor women, while the men are quite idle, or at most employed only in the gentlemanly diversions of hunting and fishing. I am sorry I cannot give a better account of the state of the poor Indians with respect to Christianity, although a great deal of pains has been and still continues to be taken with them. For my part, I must be of opinion, as I hinted before, that there is but one way of converting these poor infidels, and reclaiming them from barbarity, and that is, charitably to intermarry with them, according to the modern policy of the most Christian king in Canada and Louisiana.

  13. by Joseph Newman

    April 15 1716: Spotwood visits the Saponi indians at Fort Christiana which he is met by . The Saponey are dresed for war and perform a war dance and practice shooting arrows, They numbered 200 men and had recently been Governed by a Queen, she had either died or was dying so are now governed by 12 men, these 12 men meet Spotswood as he arrives and lay several animal skins at his feet and bow to him at the same time. They inform Spotswood thru a interpretor that the Genitoes had surprised 15 of them and had killed these 15 men. They asked for Spotswood’s assitance in killing 15 of them (which is the code of the Saponi that if any of your men was killed then you could kill that same number but no more). He agreed that they may take revenge and that he would supply ammunition. They also complained of being cheated by the English which Spotswood furnished resitution. 60 young men then show up with feathers in their hair and thru their Ear like a Earring. Face painted blue and Red (the Saponi war colors). Their hair was cut in fantastic ways with some appearing like a Rooster’s comb. They had Blue and Red blankets wraped around them (their war dress), this made them appear like Furies, these men (the soliders) made no speach. Then the women enter, long straight hair to the waist, blanket tied around them and hanging like a petticoat, most of the women was naked from the waist up, the ones not naked from the waist up wore a Mantle over one shoulder made of two deer skins sewed together. These women was greased with bear oil on their head and body which gave a disagreeable smell due to the bear oil mixed with the smoke of their cabins (Cabins was the Saponi current homes). These women was modest and very faithful to their Husbands, straight and well limbed, good shape and extraordinary good features, they look wild and shy of Englishmen with which they will not allow to touch them. The Saponi village was a musket shot from Fort Christiana (which taught 77 children), the village cabins were all joined making a circle with 3 passages 6 feet wide each, the doors all faced inside the circle while the center of the cirlce was a tree stump which the 12 head men spoke on, the infants was hung from trees out of harms way by them being bound to boards in the shape of the child with the top being round in shape, a string went thru a hole on the top of the board making a hoop to place upon tree branches or pin of a post. The boys praticed bow and arrow shooting by shoot at the eye of a axe 20 yards away, spotswood gave the boys knifes and hourglasses. After their village war dance Spotswood treated them to food which they ate wildly. History of the Colony and Ancient Dominion of Virginia By Charles Campbell. Pg.385 (the book lists references). John Fontaine was the author of above.

    Since the Catawba was are foten wrote about when the Saponi are wrote about, they traveled together very often, lived in each other’s villages, and often married each other, then a description of the Catawba should be mentioned. Originally composed of two separate tribes that merged as the Catawba: Catawba proper and Iswa. De Soto’s expedition apparently went directly through their homeland in 1540 but did not mention a name that can be attached to them with any certainty. Pardo met the Ysa (or Iswa) during 1566-67 but says nothing about the Catawba. Archeological evidence indicates that the Siouan-speaking tribes lived in the Carolinas for many years before contact. The Catawba was mainly in SC, they absorbed all the lower NC and upper Siouan speaking tribes. They lived in villages of circular, bark-covered houses, and dedicated temple structures were used for public gatherings and religious ceremonies. The Iroquois called the Catawba “flatheads” because they, as well as many of the other Siouan-speaking tribes of the area, practiced forehead flattening of males infants. Although the area was visited by De Soto in 1540. Pardo’s expedition during 1566-67 was the first to mention the Iswa, a branch of what would later become known as the Catawba. Catawba warriors had a fearsome reputation and an appearance to match: ponytail hairstyle with a distinctive war paint pattern of one eye in a black circle, the other in a white circle and remainder of the face painted black.

    Now here is stuff that was wrote about several of the descendants of the Saponi who some later became known as the Melungeons.

    THOUGHT TO BE DESCENDANTS OF AZTECS SANDUSKY REGISTER JUNE 5, 1894 From The Cincinatti Enquirer “I believe that the Melungeons of East Tennessee are the only living lineal descendants of the ancient Aztecs,” said R. C. Borden, of Asheville. “The Melungeons have always been a mystery and but few facts are known about them. They came to East Tennessee from North Carolina more than a century ago. They have mixed with no other race and have always been filthy and ignorant. A few of them have grown wealthy, but when they do no effort is made to associate with Americans. They have no traditions as to when or how or whence they came except as to their ancestors in North Carolina. Their names are of Portuguese origin, and their appearance suggests an admixture of Portuguese and Indian blood. They have been classed with Negroes but it is easily demonstrated that they are not of negro origin. I mingled with them a great deal at one time, and was fortunate enough to obtain their confidence through an act of kindness to one of their number. A few relics of great age can be found in the pottery and implements. Some of these marked with rude imitations of the Maltese cross. They have a tradition that their ancestors in North Carolina are buried in mounds. Putting these points together, I believe that they are descendants of the Aztecs and of Portuguese sailors who landed upon the North Carolina coast.

    Great Southern Mysteries By E Randall Floyd Pg. 16 “It has also been posited that Melungeon’s ancestors was Mayans”. The Melungeons A Strange and Little Known Tennessee People Descendants of Aztecs and Pizarro’s Spaniards – Their Peculiar Manners and Customs – Speculations: “Who are These Peoplee? (From a Special Contributor) July 29, 1894 Several years ago, while traveling through upper East Tennessee, I incidentally heard of a peculiar race of people living in the mountain section of country embraced within the limits of Hancock county. Having heard enough to awaken my curiosity, I determined to investigate for myself their history, habits and race features, as I could find no written mention of them in any magazine, newspaper or historical word of the State.

    In pursuance of my object I made several trips through their country and made a study of their habits of life and physical trait of character, gleaning what I could from them, of their traditions and history, and believe that I have now sufficient evidence to clearly establish who these people really are, and to what race they originally belonged, tracing them unerringly to the present time. In this I have been greatly aided by the kindly suggestions and valuable information received through the researches by Dr. Bachman, which he very kindly placed at my disposal for use in a more complete and extended historical sketch of these people, which I will publish later. I will now only attempt a brief sketch, showing who these people are, which has been a question much discussed, and about which many theories have been advanced. While following up and linking together the evidence which sowed clearly that theirs was even yet a distinctive, original race from ours, I visited the Anthropological Building at the World’s Fair, and there obtained conclusive evidence that I was not mistaken in the theory which I had believed the correct one.

    Locally these people are known as “The Melungeons.” They are generally of fine appearance, being tall, and unusually well formed, with straight black or reddish hued brown hair, black or brown eyes, always keen and piercing in their glances, high cheek bones, square cut jaws, and of an erect – even – proud – carriage, some of their women being remarkable for their beauty. They are intelligent, but very reticent, and also reserved in manner; particularly so when interrogated as to their history. They are friendly with their fairer skinned neighbors, and in some instances have intermarried with them but as a rule they choose husbands or wives among themselves. They are strictly honest, yet distrustful to some extent of advances coming from strangers. They are firm friends, but implacable and even treacherous enemies. They live mostly in small frame or log houses, farm a little, hunt and fish and take life easy.

    They have but little money, and seem to care but little for it. They go nearly always armed with rifle of shotgun, whether to trade at some neighboring town or to visit a neighbor. Some of them — mostly the younger members – can read and write fairly well enough for the ordinary transactions occurring in such a primitive community. They have and enjoy all the rights of citizenship, yet they live and move, a distinct and separate body from those around them, preserving their individuality and racial distinction.

    “Who are these people?” has been asked thousands of times, doubtless by some passing traveler, who quickly noted their clean-cut, distinctive race features, speech and bearing. The answer made invariably is “Melungeons” – Our fathers who settled here along about 1790 to 1800, found them here, with another small settlement near Nashville’s present site.” This is all you can obtain in the way of information by casual inquiry. But investigation proves these people to be true descendants of the Aztecs, with the blood of Spain and Portugal, as I will endeavor to show later, and, in giving you the proofs, you must follow me in an apparently aimless ramble – or what at first will seem such to you – up among the cloud-crowned mountains, the dark, shadowy caves, where the sun peeps only at noon to lighten the gloom and gild the shadows with its golden light for an hour; beneath frowning, toppling cliffs, pass up the deep and gruesome gorges, wrapped in shadow and mystery beneath the giant firs; listen to the splashing, leaping waters of flowing brooklet, as it winds the sinuous way over, around and under the moss-covered rocks, or huge fragments hurled from the beetling cliffs above; through beds of ferns – only such ferns as can here be found – and sweet smelling woodland flowers; climb with me to the topmost peaks, where the “thunder heads” gather their forces for the coming storm, and the eagles build their nests.

    Follow with me in the dusky light of waning day, that distant spiral column of smoke denoting the lowly roof, beneath which I shall find shelter for the night and enjoy with me the free hospitality of my host Nuno and his wife Luizan, with little Nonah and Cecilia and Juan peeping from the cracks between logs, with bright wondering eyes at their strange guest, and mark well these names, all around in the same family; three Spanish or Portuguese sounding and two Indian or Aztec; for in this is one of the direct evidences offered as to “who are these people.” Upon the top of one mountain we found the blackened rocks, fragments fused, fragments disintegrated and crumbled dust made by signal fires. Down in that dark cove we fund stone hammers, stone bowls, half formed upon the rock of which it is still a part. Within the shadows of that gloomy gorge we found arrow-heads of flint. We passed into a cave. It opened into a large cavern, through which a tiny brooklet flowed, and thence out into the gorge we just had left. In this cave is a broken copper medal, an iron implement too badly eaten into by rust to be recognized as to its name or use, a small bag composed of woven grss, a broken piece of pottery – a bowl – with – how strange? – the Maltese cross upon it. The pottery showed threads of grass baked in the clay, that it might be stronger in its structure, a broken dagger of finely tempered steel, before this destroying rust penetrated its polished surface. Further on a piece of heavy dark cloth, covered with shells and teeth of fish – salt water fish – sewn upon it with twisted fibers from the plant known as the “devils shoe string” – among the mountaineers of today – with a bone needle, for here is the needle close by, and not many feet off a broken piece of curved metal, unquestionably part of a helmet, and many other traces all of which you can find duplicates of at Nuno’s home, and which he shows to you with pretended indifference, but with secret reverence. As in the case of the names, we have in these relics a proof of presence of the Spanish soldier and Indian presence at the same time; or if you prefer the knight of Portugal and the Aztec Princess living in love and harmony together.But let us go out from this dark depository of ancient secrets, and once more, under the light of day, wend our way to the mouth of the gorge, then out upon a level basis, fertile and green, a mile or more in diameter, circular in its general form, locked in by towering mountains on every side except flowing from the forge just behind us the brooklet winds its way to nearly the center of this plain There it is joined by streams from several similar gorges. A small lake is formed of cold, clear water, and from this is a nobler stream flows out through a natural cleft in the solid mountain wall, narrow its channel and steep its bed. The waters rush through with a steady roar, resembling the deep-toned rumbling of thunder. Around this pool, or lake, I have mentioned, and covering several hundred aces in its bounds, is the remains of a rock wall built by human hands, and yet perfect beneath the surface, and easily traced. Within its bounds is a cemetery in the southwest corner. Who built so great and strong a wall as this must once have been? What people lie in that cemetery?

    The fact that this wall was six feet thick laid in regular courses, and cemented together by the use of a mortar now difficult to determine its component parts, is proof that it was built by a people who certainly could not be classed as ignorant savages, and the further fact that it was built around a never-failing supply of pure water, in the center of a fertile plain with but one narrow outlet which could be guarded and defended and in which buffalo and other animals could be herded, shows that it had been selected with keen sagacity and for some well-defined purpose

    If besieged by their enemies, they were prepared to stand with comfort a long one, and in times of peace secure against the depredations of ferocious animal marauders, with which the forest were then undoubtedly thickly inhabited No descent could be made successfully by men from the precipitous mountain sides, as these, being sparsely covered with vegetation, would at all times be exposed to view; and again, if a descent was made they would be at the mercy of those sheltered behind a strong and almost impregnable wall, while the distance was too great for a flight of arrows to prove destructive, or even the bolt from a crossbow or the shot from an harquebus fired from the surrounding heights.

    Thus we find them at home and obtain an idea of the manner in which they lived. In brief, they were constantly at war with some other tribal race. They lived in fortified cities; their food consisted of fish and fowl and flesh, with edible plants, maize, roots and salads. There is, however, no vestige of grain food or slightest sign of their having ever tilled the soil. they had intercourse with the tribes along the seacoast or made expeditions there themselves, as proven by their clothing, which we have shown already in another part of this article in some instances to be a cloth ornamented with sea shells, shark’s teeth and animal teeth, serpents teeth, etc. Thus we know they strove to ornament their dress; probably used plumes and feathers in their headdress, wore picturesque costumes, mantels of furs and cloaks of bright-colored feathers. They bury their dead in two ways, although a common cemetery was used. One cloth or a fur mantle – laid full length upon the back, with arms crossed upon the breast, with the head to the west, the feet to the east. In other words, in rising the face would look toward the sun.

  14. by Joseph Newman

    Slabs of stone encase the body, as a vault in appearance. In some instances inscriptions have been cut upon these, but in the lapse of centuries water and fire have destroyed all but the traces of these. In the other way the bodies are buried in a sitting position, with the knees doubled back over the breast and supporting the chin. These bodies are sown up in a mat of woven grass, or shroud of woven feathers, soft, thick and skillfully put together. These bodies are not encased with stone slabs, but sit with their faces turned toward the rising sun. These remains of walled cities and cemeteries have been found in several places in Tennessee. Haywood briefly mentions one discovered by the first settlers from Virginia and North Carolina near the present site of Nashville, but only in a casual way and without particulars. The ruins can yet be seen by excavating at that point and in other places, which I intend to mention in a later article.

    When I visited the World’s Fair I spent ten long days in the anthropological building and also visited the cave of the cliff dwellers. To my great pleasure I found perfect duplicates of what my researches in the mountains of Tennessee had brought to light.

    Now, let us take all the evidences we have before us-the names, features, bearings, habits, fondness for bright clothing and ornaments, traits of character and disposition, relics yet preserved in their homes, although unassociated as links in the chain of a direct history of their ancestry in the minds of the present tribe or race of “Melungeons,” yet is convincing to me that they are the diect descendants of the Aztecs and Portuguese, the latter commingling with the Aztecs probably as far back as the sixteenth century-I say this because I believe I can furnish proof of evidence difficult to refute of this being true-tat the Aztecs welcomed among them these few adventurers and that the union of the two races never extended farther than a limited area and a proportionately small amount of mixed blood, these being confined to the present limits of Tennessee, and represented now by a few hundred “Melungeons.” The terrible tribal conflicts, disease and later conflicts with our own people have decimated and destroyed all but a few of their descendants, who yet linger among the mountains, which once knew the presence of a great and powerful nation other than ours. This nation in Tennessee-as shown by the evidence I have introduced-both in their mode of burial and weapons and habits of life contained the blood also of another separate and distinct race in their veins, and that these were men of Portugal and Spain, who either deserted or were captured from De Soto’s army.

    In this manner, I now close this hasty sketch of “Melungeons” of Tennessee, except to say that I have gathered and preserved many of their traditions, which I hope later to make public and further confirm the position assumed in this article. I would like, further, to suggest that the evidence found here, in New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Mexico, Peru and Chili, and the exhumations of Egyptian tombs prove that the Aztecs were the same race of people in each country above named, only modified by climate and surroundings; that they ruled in Egypt and ruled the Western Hemisphere, with the Maltese cross following them everywhere, and to the almost utter extinction of their people and their race down to the present race. there is indubitable proof of the existence of a Masonic order extending through centuries of time among the Aztecs.

    R. A. BOWIE THE HISTORY OF VERACRUZ By John P. Schmal During the Fifteenth Century and the early years of the Sixteenth Century, the mighty Aztec Empire, ruled by the Mexica Indians from their capital city Tenochtitlán, began a concerted effort to subdue and incorporate the rich coastal areas into their domain. Eventually, Veracruz, along with portions of the neighboring states, would make up the Aztec provinces of Tochtepec, Cuetlaxtlan, Cempoallan, Quauhtochco, Jalapa, Misantla, and Tlatlauhquitepec. Sir Francis Drake (1545-1596) was a British explorer, slave-trader, privateer (a pirate working for a government) in the service of England, mayor of Plymouth, England, and naval officer (he was an Admiral).

    Drake was also involved in the slave trade and was a fierce warrior and privateer. Drake and John Hawkins were on a slave-trading trip to the West Indies (backed by Queen Elizabeth) that ended with an attack by the Spanish fleet at San Juan de Ulua, near Veracruz, Mexico. The six English slave-trading ships were in the harbor for repairs, and only two ships survived the attack, those commanded by Hawkins and Drake; the Spanish did not want the English competing in their highly profitable slave-trading business. This battle led to a series of battles that later resulted in a war between Spain and England. In this war, England crushed the Spanish Armada in 1588 and became the dominant world power. Drake helped the British defeat the Spanish Armada; he was second in command. The Spanish called him El Draque, meaning “The Dragon.”

    1513 Juan Ponce de Leon, in search of the fountain of youth and other fabulous riches, instead became the first European to land in Florida. At the time, he was also the first governor of Puerto Rico. On a later expedition, he discovered the Gulf Stream This current became very important for Spanish trips from Europe to the Americas.

    The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico, exits through the Strait of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean. At about 30°W, 40°N, it splits in two, with the northern stream crossing to northern Europe and the southern stream recirculating off West Africa. It is part of the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. The Gulf Stream influences the climate of the east coast of North America from Florida to Newfoundland, and the west coast of Europe. Its presence has led to the development of strong cyclones of all types, both within the atmosphere and within the ocean. The Gulf Stream is also a significant potential source of renewable power generation.

    1539 Hernando De Soto was the first European to explore Florida and the southeastern US. He had already explored Nicaragua, and with Francisco Pizarro, won fame by toppling the Incan empire in Peru. De Soto landed on the west coast of Florida with 600 men, and spent four years looking for gold and brutalizing the native people. He died near the Mississippi River.

    1526 Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón was the first European colonizer of what is now South Carolina, although his colony failed. He also explored Cape Fear.

    1528 Panfilo de Narvaez led a disastrous expedition to settle Florida, when almost all of his men, and de Narvaez himself, died after being abandoned onshore. Four men survived, and spent the next eight years crossing Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, looking for a Spanish settlement. Cabeza de Vaca and his three companions were the first Europeans to explore the Southwest, and the first to contact many Southwestern tribes.

    1565 Captain Pedro Menendez de Aviles established a settlement at St. Augustine, Florida, making it the oldest European city in the U.S.. De Aviles also explored the coastline of North America as far north as St. Helena Island, South Carolina, and had forts built along the coast for protection.

    The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the transatlantic slave trade, was the trade of African people supplied to the colonies of the New World that occurred in and around the Atlantic Ocean. It lasted from the 16th century to the 19th century. Most slaves were shipped from West Africa and Central Africa and taken to the New World.

    European colonists initially practiced systems of both bonded labor and Indian slavery, enslaving many of the natives of the New World. For a variety of reasons, Africans replaced Indians as the main population of slaves in the Americas. In some cases, such as on some of the Caribbean Islands, warfare and diseases such as smallpox eliminated the natives completely. In other cases, such as in South Carolina, Virginia, and New England, the need for alliances with native tribes coupled with the availability of African slaves at affordable prices (beginning in the early 18th century for these colonies) resulted in a shift away from Indian slavery.

    A burial ground in Campeche, Mexico, suggests slaves had been brought there not long after Hernán Cortés completed the subjugation of Aztec and Mayan Mexico. The graveyard had been in use from approximately 1550 to the late 1600s.

    The second leg of the triangle exported enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to South America, the Caribbean Islands, and North America.

    The Atlantic Slave Trade was the result of, among other things, labor shortage. Native peoples were at first utilized as slave labor by Europeans, until a large number died from overwork and Old World diseases.

    1502: Juan de Córdoba of Seville becomes the first merchant we can identify to send an African slave to the New World. Córdoba, like other merchants, is permitted by the Spanish authorities to send only one slave. Others send two or three.

    1504: a small group of Africans – probably slaves captured from a Portuguese vessel – are brought to the court of King James IV of Scotland.

    1509: Columbus’s son, Diego Cólon, becomes governor of the new Spanish empire in the Carribean. He soon complains that Native American slaves do not work hard enough.

    22 January 1510: the start of the systematic transportation of African slaves to the New World: King Ferdinand of Spain authorises a shipment of 50 African slaves to be sent to Santo Domingo.

    2 April 1513: Juan Ponce de Leon becomes the first European to reach the coast of what is now the United States of America (modern Florida).

    1516: the governor of Cuba, Diego Velázquez, authorises slave-raiding expeditions to Central America. One group of slaves aboard a Spanish caravel rebel and kill the Spanish crew before sailing home – the first successful slave rebellion recorded in the New World. 1516: in his book Utopia, Sir Thomas More argues that his ideal society would have slaves but they would not be ‘non-combatant prisoners-of-war, slaves by birth, or purchases from foreign slave markets.’ Rather, they would be local convicts or ‘condemned criminals from other countries, who are acquired in large numbers, sometimes for a small payment, but usually for nothing.’ (Trans. Paul Turner, Penguin, 1965)

    18 August 1518: in a significant escalation of the slave trade, Charles V grants his Flemish courtier Lorenzo de Gorrevod permission to import 4000 African slaves into New Spain. From this point onwards thousands of slaves are sent to the New World each year.

    1522: A major slave rebellion breaks out on the island of Hispaniola. This is the first significant uprising of African slaves. After this, slave resistance becomes widespread and uprisings common.

    1527: earliest records of sugar production in Jamaica, later a major sugar producing region of the British Empire. Sugar production is rapidly expanding throughout the Caribbean region at this time – with the mills almost exclusivly worked by African slaves.

    November 1528: a slave called Esteban (or Estevanico) becomes the first African slave to step foot on what is now the United States of America. He was one of only four survivors of Pánfilo de Narváez’s failed expedition to Florida. He and the other three took eight years to walk to the Spanish colony in Mexico. After their return in 1536, the group’s leader, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, published an account of their journey through modern Texas and Mexico (1542).

    1530: Juan de la Barrera, a Seville merchant, begins transporting slaves directly from Africa to the New World (before this, slaves had normally passed through Europe first). His lead is quickly followed by other slave traders.

    22 January 1532: Martim Afonso de Souza founds the first Portuguese colony in Brazil at São Vicente. Sugar production begins almost immediately.

    30 May 1539: Hernando de Soto, following reports from Cabeza de Vaca, lands on the coast of Florida. Of about 1200 men in his expedition, around 50 were African slaves. After exploring modern Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Carolina, the expedition ended in disaster.

    October 1562: John Hawkins of Plymouth becomes the first English sailor that we know about to have obtained African slaves – approximately 300 of them in Sierra Leone – for sale in the West Indies. Hawkins traded the slaves illegally with Spanish colonies, but the trip was profitable and others followed. These contributed to increasing tensions between England and Spain. (As well as initiating the English slave trade, Hawkins also introduced both the potato and tobacco to England.)

    13 December 1577: Sir Francis Drake sets out from Plymouth on his circumnavigation of the globe. (Returns 26 September 1580)

    1580: Following the death of King Henry of Portugal, and a short campaign by the duke of Alva, Spain and Portugal are united under Philip II of Spain. Spain thus becomes the most important colonial power – and the largest participant in the slave trade.

  15. Hola! I’ve been reading your website for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

  16. I think you are very premature declaring this site is not Mayan.
    I’m pretty sure the clay found in Georgia and the clay used to make
    The Mayan blue paint have been geologically matched. Also a lot
    Of the art work is identical to work found at Mayan sites in South America

  17. by melinda carroll

    The Georgian clay has been scientifically proven to be the same type that was used to make the blue paste that covered the Mayan human sacrifice victims. Earth and clay have many different components in each region of the world. No soil or clay is the same, thus this allows for mapping the region where individual samples originate. So, how did Georgian clay come to be used for the Mayan blue paint? The regions had contact with each other. Please see the newest research. U.S. history is being rewritten as we blog.

  18. The testing concluded that the clay was not only the same type – the clay from Georgia WAS used in the Maya Blue paint use on the Mayan ruins. The chemical markers in the testing show that the clay used was not from local sources and that at least a trade route must have linked these areas. It would be interesting to see testing from different time periods in the ruins to see if the time of contact can be established.

  19. by Motte Thomas

    I spent 4 days surveying last Spring 2012, video taping and mapping the entire site. See my Video on You Tube “Adventure to Track Rock Gap Mayan Ruins” if you want to see it with your own eyes.

  20. by Chipper Williams

    Thank you Joseph Newman. Great information!

  21. by Will Warwick.

    I am a well educated man. My colleagues and I have walked the entire huge site four times in the last month. It is very real and very different from anything the Cherokee or Creek have ever constructed. There are hundeds of structures that look all of 1100 or 1200 years old as all parties agree, whether they are open to the idea of a Mayan connection or not. Rather than the USFS acting like children and cutting scores of trees on ancient trails to make it hard to find, the site needs to be protected and thoroughly researched. What is under the ground must be totally amazing!!!

  22. Hernando De Soto was the first European to explore Florida and the southeastern US. He had already explored Nicaragua, and with Francisco Pizarro, won fame by toppling the Incan empire in Peru. De Soto landed on the west coast of Florida with 600 men, and spent four years looking for gold and brutalizing the native people. He died near the Mississippi River.

  23. Volume VI July, 1927 Number 1
    Periodical of


    The Creeks, who were his allies, came in as Seminoles – following these English raids. The word Seminole is from Sua (Sun God), ma (literally mother, but in such connection a most emphatic negative) – ol (people, as derived synthetically from oc,spirit and atl great the generative force of life, as well as the regenerative, being attributed to water-specifically the ocean as the origin of life). The name Seminole is, therefore, people whom the Sun God does not love” (i. e. accursed).

    The Indians found here by the early explorers (de Narvaea and de Soto) were evidently descendants of Maya immigrants from Yucatan. Some of them, as for example, the Apalaches, can be traced by name to the headwaters of the Guarani stem of the Orinocco River in South America.

    The original Indians living between the Aucilla and Apalachicola rivers took the name of Miccosukees following de Soto’s expedition,-that is, all except a remnant that retained the name of Apalaches and lived near the mouth of the Apalachicola river,a band of some fourteen being all that were left when the forced migration to the West was made by the
    U. S. government following the early Indian War (1835-1842).

  24. by chichenitza

    IF you visit Chichen Itza or Tulum, even the small pyramids in Isla Mujeres, they actually agree that there was a mayan civilization in Georgia. They explain trading between the Chichen Itza and this purported discovery. Honestly, don’t know what to believe if we are supposed to remain skeptical on everything we read/hear. But I prefer to believe that there is a connection.

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