Part Seven of the Americas Connected Series
¡Feliz cinco de mayo!
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
The winner was Hazel Parsons from True North, Ontario
Two people correctly guessed that the concentric circle petroglyphs appear on boulders or cliff faces at all of the locations listed. However, only near Tepoztlan and at certain sites in the Georgia Gold Belt do the concentric circles appear on the same rock with the semi-circle symbol near the top of the photo of the boulder near Tepoztlan. They are symbols in two distinct European Bronze Age writing systems, which blended on some petroglyphic sites in the Georgia Mountains.
By tradition, Tepoztlan was the site of the first city (civilization) in Mexico. It was also, traditionally, the birthplace of the first Quetzalcoatl.
The boulder that I photographed without much thought many years ago suggests that it was founded by peoples from the southern tip of the Appalachians, where two petroglyph traditions blended. Thus, from a very early date, several civilizations in Mexico would have known about the lands to the north of the Gulf of Mexico.
You can thank Alejandra!
Do you remember Alexandra? She prepared my revised travel itinerary, after Dr. Piña-Chan tossed the one prepared by Georgia Tech professors in the trash can.
Alexandra was Dr. Piña-Chan’s favorite summer intern at the Museo Nacional de Antropologia near Chapultepec Park in Mexico City. She was fluent in Spanish, English and French! When I met her, she had just graduated from the University of Texas – Austin with a BS in Anthropology and was going to start her postgraduate studies at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in the fall.
The two of us had a natural attraction, since most of her social life in Austin had been with young Southern men, not Mexicans or Mexican Americans. However, both of us were in extraordinary situations, education and career-wise, which we didn’t want to mess up by inappropriate behavior. Neither one of us dared to reveal our interest in the other. We were quite professional all summer . . . although I thought it was amusing that Alejandra questioned me several times about my dates with Alicia Moreno, who lived in the neighborhood, where I was based. She seem relieved that I described our relationship as being like teenagers in high school.
I didn’t realize that she was interested in me until three days before I was to fly back home. While I was in southern Mexico during the month of August, Dr. Piña-Chan was dismissed by the newly elected President, Luis Echeveria . . . who had major totalitarian tendencies. My mentor still had healthy entertainment funds left in his budget so he decided to treat Alexandria and I to an afternoon of feasting and drinking at an expensive restaurant overlooking the Paseo de la Reforma. He said that we were both a lot more fun (and honest) than the government bureaucrats that he normally was expected to wine and dine. We must have spent at least six hours at the restaurant and bar. I don’t want to think how much government money Dr. Piña-Chan was spending.
After several glasses of wine, Alejandra began showing PDA toward me. She told me several times that she was a woman, not a silly little girl like Alicia. Dr. Piña-Chan loved it! Aha! He was playing matchmaker.
She came close to crying when she confided that she dreamed all summer that I would invite her along on my journeys. Dr. Piña-Chan had even given her permission to accompany me to southern Mexico . . . and was going to give her academic credit for this romantic journey. However, I NEVER invited her.
Since I was about to go back to Atlanta, I merely called Alejandra the next day and thanked her for being so supportive all summer. I told her the truth that I thought she was “out of my league, because her family was wealthy” but did several times almost invite her to join me on trips. Only weeks into another grueling year in architecture school, I soon filed her in the “never will see her again” brain file.
Ten years later I was invited to spend two weeks during the Christmas Holidays at a hacienda near Tepoztlan. Who should be there also, but Alejandra. She now had a PhD and was newly single again . . . swearing never to get involved with a Mexican man as long as she lived. While in Texas, she had become a “liberated woman.”
One morning, the young adults and teenagers at the hacienda decided to hike up a canyon in Sierra de Cobre to see an ancient pyramid, which overlooked the valley. The view from the mountainside above the Pre-Aztec pyramid was one of the most spectacular views I had ever seen.
On the way down, Alejandra suggested that we explore another canyon that had a beautiful stream flowing through it. She had heard that there were some very unusual archaeological sites there. Only a few people took up her offer. I was one of them.
We saw the ruins of many fieldstone walls. Nowadays, I get all excited when I see ancient stone walls, but back then I was mainly interested in massive, restored pyramids and palaces. We came to the place where the stream came out of the rocks. Nearby were several boulders with rock carvings on them. I photographed one just a reminder that I had been in that place. Back then virtually nobody knew that there were hundreds of petroglyphs in the southern Appalachians, mostly in Georgia and Alabama.
It has only been in the past four years that I have realized the significance of what Alexandra showed us. Of course, she probably still has no clue that these symbols can be also seen in Northern Europe, Georgia and New Zealand. I have no idea where she lives now. I have a feeling that she moved to the United States or Europe.
Now you know!