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.]