What in the heck are Totonac voladores doing on a Norwegian Bronze Age petroglyph site?

The correct answer to the May 6, 2022 quiz is . . .

“Østfold, Norway.”

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner

Don’t know who the Totonacs are? Here is a comprehensive article that I wrote on the Totonacs in 2021. It also discusses the presence of the LOGO of the City of Tepoztlan, Morelos being on those Norwegian Bronze Age petroglyphs! You see, there is a connection. The Totonacs originated in Tepoztlan.


Below is the slide I took of the petroglyphs, cleaned up and enhanced by a Corel Graphics program. It appears to portray and expedition that visited Tepoztlan in Mexico, but then the men were chased back to their ships by the locals.

This chart from Lund University will help you understand the petroglyphs.

Why I missed this detail long ago

I don’t believe I ever even looked at this slide until 2019! During two weeks in the August of 1972, I was asked to drop what I was doing in the City Architect’s Office and travel the length of Sweden to pose as the Sami boyfriend of a NATO biologist, who also looked Sami. She was gathering samples of fallout from Soviet nuclear tests on vegetation.

After finishing up in Lapland, I took the train southward through the entire length of Norway. While staying in Oslo, I went on a bus tour of the many archaeological sites in Østfold, just south of Oslo. Those petroglyphs were just one of many in that region.

The day after I got back to Landskrona, I realized that the Black September terrorist cell that I was supposed to be watching down the hall of the apartment building had disappeared without a trace, while I was gone. After work I had to take the ferry to Copenhagen to notify Danish Naval Intelligence. Denmark was a member of NATO. Sweden wasn’t. In fact, the American Embassy in Stockholm was closed. Everybody freaked out. Somebody had gotten evidence that the men and women in the cell planned to blow-up the Landskrona-Copenhagen ferry.

Floor plan given to me over the Atlantic that showed the location of the terrorist cell. Up that point, I wondered why I had been hired for a “dream job” in Sweden that I hadn’t applied for! Yes, it was exactly like a scene in “Mission Impossible.”

The developed color slides probably did not come back in the mail until the second week in September. On September 5, the big news around the world was that Black September terrorists had attacked the Munich Olympics. I almost committed hari-kari when I saw that flash on the TV. I soon got word that my “people” were not inside the Israeli Athletes Compound. I received an order to drop what I was doing and take the next train to Munich. I was to mingle in the crowd to look out for the terrorists that I had been watching. I never saw them.

I soon finished the plans of my project. Then on September 13, the mayor of Landskrona funded a catered lunch in our offices and then in a little ceremony gave me several nice gifts to say thank you for my official and unofficial work in the city. The following weekend was devoted to Britt-Louise, my official Swedish girlfriend, Britt. Then I took off to back-pack all over Europe . . . all the way to the tip of Sicily.

I ran out of money in December. A week after I arrived in Atlanta, I was hired by Richard P. Browne Associates of Columbia, MD (the famous newtown). After Christmas, I flew up there to be oriented and trained then returned to the just-getting-started Peachtree City Newtown, south of Atlanta. I was immediately put out in the woods in front of the bulldozers to lay out the first segment of the now famous Peachtree City path system . . . now the longest urban path system in the world. From then on in my life, until three years ago, I never had time or the inclination to look at my slides from Europe . . . and really had only looked at a small percentage of the 2,500+ slides from Mexico.

Now you know!

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