The 50th anniversary of Georgia Tech’s Barrett Fellowship
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner
Subscribers of The Americas Revealed and members of Linkedin are will be treated to a very unusual series this summer as I go through the pages chronologically of the journal that I kept while traveling through Mesoamerica. Explanations of the journal entries will be accompanied by digitally enhanced copies of the color slides that I took on that particular day. I then will tell you what we know now that I didn’t know then. For example . . .
On July 6, 1970, I spent several hours in the Sala Olmeca of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia. I noticed this collection of figurines, which seemed to be a group of bald-headed men standing next to their surf boards. In his landmark book, Los Olmecas, my fellowship coordinator, Dr. Román Piña Chán, stated that the people of the Olmec Civilization “worshiped” children, who were born with birth defects . . . in particular, skull abnormalities. That is the reason that so much of their sculptural art featured figures with these same strange skulls. This was the orthodoxy that I would have to put on a quiz to get a “correct” answer.
- That same year, Erich Von Dannikin published his best-selling book, “Chariots of the Gods,” which claimed that the figures above were extraterrestrials.
- In 1947, Smithsonian Institute archaeologist, Joseph Caldwell, excavated a large town on the Etowah River of northwest Georgia in which all 1000+ skeletons excavated, had these same skulls. He interpreted the discovery to mean that all residents of the town were hydrocephalic. Subsequent generations of Georgia archaeologists have tried to conceal Caldwell’s discovery, because they have not developed an explanation of why skulls typical of the Paracus Culture in Peru, would appear in northern Georgia.
- Anthropologist Brien Foerster, has devoted many years of his entire career to the study of the Paracas Skulls in western Peru. Using scientific methodology, he has determined that the above skulls were typical of hybrids, who were mixed homo sapiens and homo sapiens paracas. The full-blown massive Paracas skull have been traced genetically to the region immediately north of the Black Sea.
Orientation session with Dr. Román Piña Chán
My tour of all six floors of the Museo National de Antropologia with Dr. Ignacio Bernal and initial orientation session with Román Piña Chán were postponed two weeks because I came down with a potentially lethal form of food poisoning the first night in Mexico. However, I began going to the museum to study exhibits prior to meeting my coordinator. We will tell you about that in the first article of the series on June 21, 2020.
During 2012, Bill Torpy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was spoon-fed by some Georgia archaeologists a series of articles about the Track Rock Terrace Complex and “Mayas In Georgia Thing.” The public was deceived into thinking that no archaeologist believed that there had been cultural contacts between Mexico and the Southeastern United States, plus that I was an ignoramus, who was totally unqualified to discuss such things. Look at what the principal topic of discussion was on July 6, 1970 between one of the world’s greatest archaeologists and a “wet-behind-the-ear” Georgia Tech architecture student.
During the “Mayas In Georgia” nonsense in 2012, I received an email from someone, who claimed to be a salesman in Northeast Metro Atlanta. He wrote that while visiting friends, who lived near Track Rock Gap, they showed him the figurine on the right, which they had unearthed in their garden. He wanted to me to know that I could now tell people that an authentic Maya artifact had been found at Track Rock Gap. He suggested that we schedule a joint press conference at which he would bring the figure and show it to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Area television stations.
I wrote back that if his friends had that figurine in their possession, they had stolen it from the director’s office of the Museo Nacional de Anthropologia de Mexico. It was a Formative Period figurine from the Copilco site in Mexico City, not Maya. I remembered seeing it on the wooden shelf in front of the inter-office window immediately to the right of the entrance door of the museum director’s office.
I never heard back from the “salesman.” I traced his email to a server on the Florida State University campus in Tallahassee, Florida. Some people in the world of academia think that they are a whole lot smarter then they really are.