Category Archives: NORTH AMERICA

800-year-old spiral rock carvings marked the solstices for Native Americans

800-year-old spiral rock carvings marked the solstices for Native Americans

The Pueblo people created rock carvings in the Mesa Verde region of the Southwest United States about 800 years ago to mark the position of the sun on the longest and shortest days of the year, archaeologists now say.

The spiral patterns that appear prominently in the rock carvings are thought to be a symbol among ancestral Pueblo peoples for the sky or the sun.

Panels of ancient rock art, called petroglyphs, on canyon walls in the region show complex interactions of sunlight and shadows.These interactions can be seen in the days around the winter and summer solstices, when the sun reaches its southernmost and northernmost points, respectively, and, to a lesser extent, around the equinoxes — the “equal nights”— in spring and fall, the researchers said.

The carvings show scenes depicting the traditions of contemporary Hopi people — descendants of the ancestral Puebloans who lived in parts of the Southwest until the 13th century. The traditions describe important rituals at seasonal points in the yearly solar calendar tied to farming activities, such as planting and harvesting.

The rock carvings “probably marked the specific seasons,” archaeologist Radek Palonkaof Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. “It was not only to observe the phenomena.”

Since 2011, Palonka has led researchers from his university in investigations of ancient sites around Castle Rock Pueblo that date from the early 13th century. Their research is one of only a few European archaeological projects in the region. 

Castle Rock Pueblo is now part of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, near Colorado’s border with Utah and about 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Mesa Verde National Park.

Archaeological investigations

Ethnographic studies in the 19th century suggested that rock carvings in the area may have been used as solar calendars, but Palonka’s team is the first to verify and document the phenomena. 

“We used a lot of new technologies, like laser scanning and photogrammetry,” a method that uses detailed photographs to create a map or 3D model of a place or object, he said. “So we were able to see more stuff on the rocks than it is possible to see only with the naked eye.” 

At one of the sites studied so far, the petroglyphs are carved on a flat, south-racing rock wall that’s shaded by an overhanging rock. They consist of three carved spirals and smaller elements, including rectangles, grooves and hollows. 

At the time of sunset on days near the midwinter solstice, which happens around Dec. 22 each year, patterns of sunlight and shadow can be seen to move through the spirals, grooves and other parts of the petroglyphs, Palonka said.

The phenomenon is also visible around the spring and fall equinoxes, around March 20 and Sept. 22 each year, but it does not occur at other times of the year.

Similar petroglyphs at another ancestral Puebloan site, at nearby Sand Canyon, are lit by sunlight only in the late mornings and early afternoons around the summer solstice, he said.

The observations were made by archaeologists and students from Poland, mostly during the warmer months, and throughout the year by volunteers for the administration of the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. The team has also discovered several panels of Pueblo rock art previously unknown to scientists, Palonka said. 

Pueblo peoples

The name Pueblo — which means “village” in Spanish — was given by Spanish colonists to several Native American peoples who lived in the American Southwest.

Unlike many nomadic Native Americans, the Pueblo peoples lived in large complexes of buildings they constructed from adobe and stone.

In the Mesa Verde region and elsewhere, the ancient villages of ancestral Puebloans are represented by sophisticated “cliff dwellings” in the sides of canyons and under rock overhangs. But the buildings are also found on valley floors, such as at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico.

Many ancient monuments throughout the world show signs of having been used, at least in part, to mark annual events of the solar calendar, such as the midwinter and midsummer solstices.

The importance of solar solstices is also found in several Native American traditions. “This collaboration with native people, in this case Hopi people from Arizona, is really important.” Palonka said.

Among other details, Palonka has learned that the spiral symbol, seen in many of the rock carvings related to the solstices and equinoxes, was often an emblem of the sun or sky — but not always. 

The symbol can also have other meanings — including water, physical migration or spiritual migration — such as moving between the physical world and a mythical or spiritual world, he said.

Fossilized Leg of Dinosaur Ripped Off by Catastrophic Asteroid Impact Found

Fossilized Leg of Dinosaur Ripped Off by Catastrophic Asteroid Impact Found

Scientists now know that a massive Yucatan asteroid struck the earth 66 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous Period, ultimately causing most species of dinosaur to go extinct.

It was the sudden change in climate that accompanied this disastrous astronomical collision that made the earth unlivable for these cold-blooded reptiles, leading to the complete disappearance of creatures that had roamed the earth for more than 100 million years.

But there were some dinosaurs who didn’t meet their demise as a result of catastrophic post-asteroid climate change. These dinosaurs lived in what are now known as the Americas, within the range of the impact zone of the Chicxulub strike, which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico just off the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

These hapless creatures would have been destroyed immediately or soon after the earth-shattering Yucatan asteroid impact, unable to withstand the unimaginably destructive forces unleased in the wake of this planet-killing calamity.

Now, for the first time, paleontologists have uncovered fossilized remains from one of these dinosaurs, an animal killed by the direct physical effects of the Yucatan asteroid, the single most destructive event in the earth’s history.

The Chicxulub Yucatan asteroid hit the Caribbean Sea and somehow cleanly severed the dinosaur’s leg on the same day 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) away.

Skin-covered Dino Leg Severed by Yucatan Asteroid Blast!

While excavating at the Tanis fossil site in the state of North Dakota, in what is known as the Hell Creek Formation, a team of explorers working under the direction of University of Manchester paleontologist Robert DePalma uncovered the fossilized leg of a Thescelosaurus, a small lizard-like herbivore from the late Cretaceous Period .

Amazingly, the leg was intact and still covered by fossilized skin, suggesting that whatever force had removed the leg had been incredibly powerful and concentrated.

“This looks like an animal whose leg has simply been ripped off really quickly,” Professor Paul Barrett of the Natural History Museum in London, told the Daily Mail . “There’s no evidence on the leg of disease, there are no obvious pathologies, there’s no trace of the leg being scavenged, such as bite marks or bits of it that are missing.”  

The Hell Creek Formation , and the Tanis fossil site it contains, were created in the aftermath of the Chicxulub asteroid strike , 66 million years ago. The Yucatan asteroid created an impact creator that was 93 miles (150 kilometers) wide, and its collision with the earth sent out echoes of mass destruction radiating in every direction from ground zero.

North America was hit by seismic waves equivalent to those generated in a magnitude 11 earthquake, and soon after by inland waves that were as powerful as those created by the most destructive tsunami. 

The Thescelosaurus was apparently killed in a sudden and exceedingly violent fashion, even though the asteroid’s point of impact was approximately 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers) away. Putting all the pieces together, it seems clear that the Thescelosaurus was an early and immediate victim of the Yucatan asteroid impact event, which ultimately killed off not only the dinosaurs but up to 75 percent of the animal species living on the planet at that time.

The discovery of the severed dinosaur leg is groundbreaking, paleontologists say, because no other dinosaur fossil has ever been linked directly to the most catastrophic event in earth’s history.

“This is the most incredible thing that we could possibly imagine here, the best case scenario, the one thing that we always wanted to find in this site and here we’ve got it,” Robert DePalma told the BBC . “Here we’ve got a creature that was buried on the day of impact—we didn’t know at that point yet if it had died during the impact but now it looks like it probably did.”

The paleontologists have been able to reconstruct what happened at Hells Creek Formation after the Yucatan asteroid hit. Following the asteroid strike, rising sea levels and tsunamis would have created an inland sea to the north.

The process that created this sea also would have spawned at least two massive, towering waves that moved so far inland that they actually reached what are now the lands of North Dakota. These enormous waves washed over the Tanis site, and eventually covered the animals that died there with up to six feet (1.8 meters) of sediment.

Between the first and second of these waves, glass beads called tektites would have been raining down from the sky like tiny ballistic missiles, reaching speeds in excess of 200 miles (320 kilometers) per hour. It is possible one of these tiny but deadly glass pieces struck the ill-fated Thescelosaurus with enough force to slice off its leg and kill it, although this is just one possible explanation for the creature’s death.

Tellingly, the sediment layer at the Tanis site eventually turned into a type of clay rich in iridium. This substance is rare on earth, but asteroids and meteors have it in abundance.

University of Manchester paleontologist Robert DePalma working at the Hell Creek site, where the Yucatan asteroid impact cleanly severed the dinosaur’s leg.

The Dinosaurs’ Final Day, Revealed in Terrifying Detail

The amazing story of the Tanis site will be introduced to the British public on April 15, when BBC One will broadcast a new documentary entitled “Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough.” The documentary was filmed over the course of three years, and as its narrative unfolds Sir David Attenborough will introduce viewers to many of the fossil finds that have been unearthed at Hell Creek Formation since the site was discovered in 2008.

“We’ve got so many details with this site that tell us what happened moment by moment, it’s almost like watching it play out in the movies,” DePalma explained. “You look at the rock column, you look at the fossils there, and it brings you back to that day .”

DePalma and the other paleontologists involved in the research at the Tanis site have yet to submit their latest findings for peer review and publishing. Nevertheless, they chose to reveal what they’d discovered now, to help generate more interest in the upcoming documentary.

Untouched Mayan “Jaguar God” Ritual Cave Found Full of Precious Relics

Untouched Mayan “Jaguar God” Ritual Cave Found Full of Precious Relics

A sealed and untouched Mayan “ritual” cave has been discovered in a truly momentous find. Sometimes you start out looking for something and, in the process, you find something else. 

That’s what happened to a group of archaeologists who were looking for a sacred well underneath the Mayan city of Chichen Itza, according to National Geographic.

While they were searching for the well, they found a collection of over 150 ritual objects that were hidden away for a millennium.  The objects were hidden in a system of caves known as Balamku, ‘the Jaguar God.’  The discovery of the cave system was announced in Mexico City last March, by the National Institute of Archaeology and History.

Interestingly, it’s not the first time that anyone has found the cave system.  It was first rediscovered in 1966 by local farmers.  At the time, and archaeologist named Victor Segovia Pinto went in and took a look around, even going as far as writing a report that noted that there were a large number of artifacts the caves, but rather than being an excavation, Pinto had the farmers seal the entrance again, and any records related to the discovery disappeared.

It remained unknown and undisturbed until 2018, when it was rediscovered again.  This time the Balamku was found by an explorer from National Geographic, along with his team. 

They were part of the Great Maya Aquifer Project, and were trying to find the water table beneath the Mayan city.

Untouched for 1,000 years, over 150 ritual artifacts were found in the cave at Balamku.

While he was creeping his way through a series of small tunnels, the explorer, Guillermo De Anda, suddenly came upon a sizable cache of vases, incense burners, and many other objects that had been left as offerings by the ancient people of Chichen Itza.  Even more of a surprise, the collection was in a remarkable state of preservation, despite being surrounded by stalagmites.

Since De Anda found that first cache, seven chambers holding ritual offerings have been discovered in the caves. The chambers are deep under the city, and can presently only be accessed by traveling through a long series of tunnels, many of which are so narrow and low that researchers have to go through on their stomachs.

Despite the difficulty of getting to the chambers, the first archaeologist to visit the caves back in the ‘60s also clearly made the trip.  His original report was finally found not very long ago by an archaeologist from University of California.

  That report noted that there were more than 150 objects in the cave, many of them bearing images of the Toltec rain god and other sacred symbols.

Interior of Balamku cave.

A similar cave was found not far away, back in 1959.  It also held sacred objects, but less than half as many as at this site.  That find was also more accessible.  De Anda thinks that’s important. 

He remarked that while quantity isn’t more important than information, he found it telling that such a huge repository of artifacts was located in a place that was so hard to get to.

Interior of the Balamku Cave.

De Anda’s rediscovery of the find means that Modern archaeologists who specialize in Mayan culture may be able to learn some new things about the level of contact and interaction between different Mesoamerican cultures of the time, and other information about the history of the Mayan people prior to the city’s fall.

None of that answers the question, however, of why Pinto decided to reseal the caves back in the ‘60s, rather than study them.

Historians do know that among the Mayan people, a ritual cave was considered entrances to the underworld, and were thus considered extremely sacred, even to the extent that they played a role in social organization and site planning, according to Mayan archaeology expert Holley Moyes.

The technology available to scientists has improved dramatically since the middle of the last century, which means that they may be able to get a lot more useful information by using methods like 3-D mapping. 

That information could help answer questions about not only the sorts of rituals that went on in the caves, but also about the city above them.

According to De Anda, it’s not currently known why Chichen Itza declined and fell, but Balamku should be able to help answer that question with its collection of artifacts and organic matter.  It’s been speculated that the area was devastated by severe droughts.  Some researchers further believe that the extreme weather cycles in the area were exacerbated by deforestation further south.

1,800-Year-Old Offering to the Gods Discovered Beneath Pyramid of Teotihuacan

1,800-Year-Old Offering to the Gods Discovered Beneath Pyramid of Teotihuacan

Several bouquets of offering flowers have been discovered 59 feet below the temple of the god Quetzalcóatl – a pyramid that still stands in the Mexican ruined city of Teotihuacan. 

Quetzalcóatl, or ‘Plumed Serpent’ was an important god during ancient Mesoamerica, a historical region that included central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica.

This deity was said to have given maize to humanity and was responsible for the creation of mankind, which may be why offering flowers were uncovered under the god’s temple.

Sergio Gómez, an archaeologist at Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, said the stems are in good condition and still tied with the original cotton-made cords.

The stems are in good condition and still tied with the original cotton-made cords

‘In total there are four bouquets of flowers in very good condition, they are still tied with ropes, probably cotton,’ Gómez told Mexican news outlet La Jornada.

‘This is a very important find because it speaks of the rituals that were carried out in this place.’

Gómez says it is too early to determine what kind they are – but he hopes to solve that mystery soon.

‘Although we do not know the exact date of when they were deposited, because we just took them out this week, they must be very old and correspond to the first phases of Teotihuacan, between 1,800 and 2,000 years ago,’ Gómez explained.

‘We have found complete objects that were placed in this shot; the ceramics are also from the Zacuali and Miccaotli phases, from the beginning of our era, between years zero and 200 after Christ.’

Gómez has been working in the ruined city for nearly 12 years, sifting through ancient soil, rocks and pyramids looking for clues about those who once called the area home.

Some 30 miles (50km) north of Mexico City, Teotihuacan, with its huge pyramids of the sun and moon, is made up of a labyrinth of palaces, temples, homes, workshops, markets and avenues.

In 2011, archaeologists uncovered other offerings at the base of the pyramid, including animal remains, three human figurines and a haunting, green mask that was used in rituals 2,000 years ago

The city is thought to have been built in 100 BC and existed until the 8th century. Archaeologists consider it one of the most influential in pre-Hispanic North America, with a population of 200,000 at its peak.

However, only 5 percent of Teotihuacan has been excavated despite more than 100 years of exploration. During excavations, Gómez recovered more than 100,000 artifacts within the ancient city and specifically under the three pyramids that are still standing.

However, the offering flowers are the first intact botanical materials ever to be found at the site.

‘It is very relevant because it will give us indications of the flora that was used for ritual purposes,’ Gómez said.

The mask was carved from a single jade stone and is the only one of its kind to be discovered in the ancient city

‘In this same context, while sifting the earth, several kilos of charcoal were found as a result of a ritual ceremony that included the burning of seeds and fruits.’

In 2011, archaeologists uncovered other offerings at the base of the pyramid, including animal remains three human figurines and a haunting, green mask that was used in rituals 2,000 years ago.

Perez Cortez, an investigator with the Zacatecas INAH Center, said in a statement when the mask was discovered: ‘We know [the offerings were] deposited as part of a dedication ceremony.’

The mask was carved from a single jade stone and is the only one of its kind to be discovered in the ancient city. 

This 1,000-Year-Old Stone Tablet May’ve Been a Maya Sports ‘Scoreboard’

This 1,000-Year-Old Stone Tablet May’ve Been a Maya Sports ‘Scoreboard’

An ancient stone “scoreboard” likely used in a soccer-like ball game was discovered at an archeological site in Mexico earlier this week, archaeologists said.

Found at the Maya Chichen Itza site, researchers and archeologists said the circular stone’s diameter was just over 32 centimeters (or just over 12 inches), and it weighed 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds), according to a statement from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History on Twitter.

The stone, which is believed to be a kind of scoreboard, dates from between 800 CE and 900 CE.

“In this Maya site, it is rare to find hieroglyphic writing, let alone a complete text,” said Francisco Perez, one of the archaeologists coordinating the investigation, according to Reuters.

The stone appears to show two figures in the center, with hieroglyphics surrounding the outer edge.

One is wearing a feather headdress, and the other – presumed to be his opponent – is adorned with a “snake turban,” reserved for high-ranking individuals in Maya society.

Experts are now in the process of analyzing and interpreting the stone and taking steps to prepare it for conservation.

Iconography experts identified the two figures on the stone as playing the ball game “pelota” – a team game played with a heavy rubber ball, according to the BBC.

Mesoamerican people played the ball game as a form of traditional practice, and it is thought to have had ritual connotations, per Reuters.

The Chichen Itza in the Yucatán peninsula of Mexico is a historical center of the Maya civilization, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

10,000-Year-Old Spirit Cave Mummy Revealed as Belonging to an Early Caravan of Immigrants to the Americas

10,000-Year-Old Spirit Cave Mummy Revealed as Belonging to an Early Caravan of Immigrants to the Americas

The remains were found with moccasins, a rabbit-skin blanket, and many other artifacts. Mummies are deceased humans or animals that have been preserved, which keeps their remains from decaying any further. While Ancient Egyptians are most commonly associated with the mummification process, there are actually mummies found all over the world.

The Process Can Either Be Deliberate or Accidental

Although you may have used toilet paper for a mummy costume in the past, the real method includes wrapping the dead body in linen and embalming it. And on rare occasions, environmental conditions happen to be just right to result in a body’s preservation.

Now you may be wondering who the oldest mummy is, and that honor goes to the Spirit Cave Mummy at 10,600 years old. However, its importance runs deeper than just its old age.

The Spirit Cave Mummy was part of a fierce battle between the government and a Native American tribe over its cultural and scientific significance.

The Spirit Cave Mummy was discovered in 1940 by archaeologists and husband-and-wife team George and Sydney Wheeler. They found several sets of remains in a small rocky cave located in northwest Nevada, one of which was partially mummified.

The mummified man was determined to have died while he was in his forties. His remains were found wrapped in a rabbit-skin blanket and reed mats, and he was still wearing moccasins.

At the time the man’s mummy was found, it was estimated that he died between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago. However, when more advanced testing methods came along in the 1990s, it was found that the skeleton was actually 10,600 years old, making the Spirit Cave Mummy the oldest mummy found in North America.

There was a long legal argument starting in 1997 over who should have possession of the oldest mummy in North America. Native Americans from the region believed that they should have the remains due to cultural affiliation since the mummy was found in their ancestral homeland.

However, when the federal government rejected their request for possession, the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe of the Fallon Reservation and Colony sued the government.

The government alleged that they wanted possession of the remains for scientific research, but the US Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act states that Native Americans have control over resurfaced items and remains to which they have biological or cultural connections.

The US government’s Bureau of Land Management is the agency that declined the tribe’s request. Although a US District Court Judge told the agency to reconsider their decision, no progress was really made with this case for 20 years.

Initially, the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe did not want to pursue genetic analysis to prove that the mummy was an ancestor, but eventually, they agreed to do so.

A couple of years later, the DNA sequencing test revealed that the skeleton was in fact related to the indigenous people of North and South America. On November 22, 2016, the mummy was repatriated to the Paiute-Shoshone Tribe and they held a reburial for the remains.

Several scientific findings were made due to the discovery of the Spirit Cave Mummy. It was one of the first to be dated using accelerated mass spectrometer radiocarbon dating, a process that revealed the mummy to be much older than previously thought.

It raised further questions about migration patterns in early North and South America. Additionally, a total of 67 artifacts were recovered from the cave along with the mummy, revealing how ancient humans lived and died.

Although it took many years for the mummy to be repatriated to the local Native American tribe, DNA testing ended up being a win-win for all parties involved.

The Paiute-Shoshone Tribe was able to prove ancestry and have the remains returned to them, and the government was able to gain some vital scientific information from performing the test before repatriating the remains.

There is so much more to be discovered about the past, and each finding brings scientists closer to more answers. DNA analysis on the Spirit Cave Mummy gave more insight into early humans and resolved the conflict between the federal government and the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe.

2,000-Year-Old Realistic Green Mask Found Nestled Inside an Ancient Pyramid

2,000-Year-Old Realistic Green Mask Found Nestled Inside an Ancient Pyramid

Mexico has many remarkable archaeological sites that provide insight into its pre-Columbian history. Among the most impressive structures is the Pyramid of the Sun, which continues to reveal amazing discoveries.

Built approximately in 100 CE, this pyramid is the largest structure in Teotihuacan and has been under continuous research by archaeologists.

Although few artifacts have been unearthed on-site, in 2011,researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) made a surprising discovery using a 380-foot-long tunnel excavated by archaeologists in the 1930s.

By using the tunnel, the team was able to reach the mother-rock level. Upon arrival, they discovered a valuable assortment of artifacts, such as fragments of clay pottery, animal bones, obsidian pieces, three serpentine human figurines, and a remarkable “Green” serpentine mask. The green mask holds significant interest as, during its unearthing, it was the sole mask of its type discovered in a ritual context in Teotihuacan.

According to a statement by INAH, the discovery comprises 11 ceremonial clay pots dedicated to a rain god resembling Tlaloc. The findings also included animal bones, such as rabbits fed to eagles, and feline and canine remain yet to be identified.

These offerings were placed on a rubble base where the temple was built around 50 AD. It is noteworthy that Tlaloc was still revered in the region even after 1,500 years.

These offerings were believed to be deposited as part of a ritual to inaugurate the pyramid’s construction, which explains their location at the lower level. The discovery of this mask was particularly noteworthy because it depicted a human face with remarkable accuracy and simplicity.

This is significant due to the importance of masks in indigenous people’s religious practices. The Aztecs, in particular, were a culture that placed great value on masks, as noted by renowned anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.

There are numerous types of masks, both intended for wear and crafted as miniature versions, possibly for use as amulets. With a history of mask-making in the region spanning millennia, ranging from rudimentary pottery to intricate art pieces, the diversity of masks would have been remarkable, given their various shapes and forms.

Unfortunately, only a limited number of masks have been discovered despite the estimated abundance of them, but the depictions of masks throughout history strongly suggest that many more existed over the centuries.

The Pyramid of the Sun, known today as the world’s third-largest pyramid, was named by the Aztecs who visited Teotihuacan centuries after its abandonment. The original name of the pyramid remains a mystery.

Teotihuacan was once a flourishing city known as the City of the Gods, with a population of 200,000 at its peak. However, researchers have yet to learn about the people who inhabited this city and why they disappeared.

In the Aztec culture, masks played an essential role in religious ceremonies as they were meant to represent one of their many gods. The Aztecs were known for their artistic skills and colorful masks.

However, the few masks discovered so far had strong symbolism, such as animal features or distorted proportions compared to humans.

Some scholars suggest that individuals did not wear masks during their duties. Instead, they were placed on holders or over a skull, sent as tokens to other rulers and chiefs, or used as death masks.

This might explain why some masks were not carved out to allow the wearer to see. Despite this, most of the masks showed some elaboration or alteration of the human figure.

Masks have played a central role in the religion and rituals of Mesoamerican civilizations for millennia. Therefore, finding a mask resembling a buried person is unique.

New archaeological findings in the future may shed more light on this discovery, the site at large, and the beautiful Mesoamerican cultures.

Sitting to the north-east of Mexico City, Teotihuacan is one of Mexico‘s most visited ancient architectural sites.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) has been researching to uncover more information about the ancient civilization of Teotihuacán.

One of the recent discoveries made by INAH was an underground tunnel found beneath the Pyramid of the Moon. The use of electrical resistance technology enabled the mapping of the tunnel without the need for ground excavation.

The tunnel leads to an underground chamber, preceded by a chamber measuring 49 feet in diameter. This newly discovered chamber may hold more treasures. The accumulation of these findings will hopefully provide more insight into the civilization of Teotihuacán and reveal more information about its decline.

Verónica Ortega, the director of the Integral Conservation Project for the Plaza of the Moon, explains that the large offering complexes constitute the sacred heart of Teotihuacan, making it a mecca for civilization.

The discoveries made within these complexes can help to unravel the relationship that the ancient metropolis had with other regions of Mesoamerica.

The emergence of life on Earth could have occurred 300,000 million years earlier.

The emergence of life on Earth could have occurred 300,000 million years earlier.

An international team of scientists has identified mysterious filaments and tubes in fossils that were discovered several years ago in a fist-sized piece of ancient rock.

It is established that these traces were left by a biological form of life about 300 million years before life appeared on Earth, at least according to the generally accepted theory.

Initial discovery: Samples did not fit the generally accepted theories

These stone was discovered in 2008 in Quebec, Canada. Inside it, scientists found clearly visible comb-branched and parallel centimetre-sized filaments, consisting of red hematite. Some of them have curves, tubes, and various kinds of spheroids.

Initially, it was stated that the piece of rock contains the oldest fossils on Earth of microorganisms that lived on the seabed near hydrothermal vents and metabolized iron, sulfur, and carbon dioxide.

However, this statement immediately had opponents, since the age of the traces found did not fit into the generally accepted theory of the origin of life.

Age of the samples: When did life appear on Earth?

Already a preliminary analysis showed that these traces were left in the period from 3.75 to 4.28 billion years ago. And in itself, this conclusion challenges the generally accepted idea of ​​when life began.

After all, if this is true, then complex life on our planet appeared about 300 million years earlier than previously thought. In addition, it turns out that it appeared about 300 million years after the Earth itself was born.

“For more than 40 years, microbiologists have told us that the origin of life most likely occurred in hydrothermal vent environments, with microorganisms eating iron and probably sulfur, as we can infer from our own observations.”

Subsequent research concluded that this is the oldest evidence of life on Earth

Speaking of traces, opponents of the new theory argued that traces like biomarkers could also be created by non-biological materials. This is indeed possible. Therefore, the aim of the new study was to determine whether the disputed filaments and tubes are biological or not.

The conclusions made by the new research team suggest that traces were probably left by the most ancient bacteria ever discovered to date.

Certain structures could have been created by natural chemical reactions but the majority of the patterns should be the result of prehistoric iron-eating microbes.

The filaments you see in this microscope image indicate evidence of the oldest life forms on Earth.

In their work, the team also provides evidence that these ancient bacteria received their energy in different ways.

Apparently, they could do absolutely without oxygen and lived only at the expense of iron, sulfur, carbon dioxide, and light, which participated in biological processes in the form of photosynthesis.

In short, the new results, according to the researchers, suggest that diverse microbial life could have appeared on Earth as little as 300 million years after the formation of the planet. Geologically, it’s not just fast, it’s incredibly fast.

Skeletons found under Florida wine shop could be some of America’s first European settlers

Skeletons found under Florida wine shop could be some of America’s first European settlers

Historians announced in Florida that several small children’s bones buried beneath underneath the last place one might think to look: a wine shop.

However, there will be no police inquiry. The Florida wine shop happens to be located in St. Augustine, America’s oldest city. And those bones? They’re just about as old as the city is.

Skeletons Found Under a Florida Wine Shop May Be Some of America’s First Colonists

The archaeologists actually believe that these skeletal remains could have been among the first settlers in North America.

In the past few weeks, researchers have found seven people including three children, in the ancient graveyard.

According to the St. Augustine Register, one of them was a young white European woman.

Researchers are still examining the other remains, but a pottery fragment found nearby suggests that these people died sometime between 1572 and 1586.

“What you’re dealing with is people who made St. Augustine what it is,” Carl Halbirt, St. Augustine city archaeologist, tells FirstCoast News. “You’re in total awe. You want to treat everything with respect, and we are.”

Excavations inside the Fiesta Mall (City of St. Augustine)

Archaeologists were able to dig underneath the building thanks to the effects of last year’s Hurricane Matthew, the flooding from which convinced the building’s owner that it was time to replace the wooden floor.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, the building’s floor was constructed in 1888, and the soil beneath the building has remained untouched since then, thus creating a virtual time capsule.

The building also happens to be built where the ancient Church of Nuestra Señora de la Remedios used to stand.

“The mission churches across Florida buried everybody in the church floor,” Ellsbeth Gordon, an architectural historian, told FirstCoast News. “It was consecrated ground, of course.”

According to Smithsonian, Sir Francis Drake burned the church down in 1586, a hurricane destroyed it again in 1599, and the British once again burned it down in 1702.

That last time may have been for good, but until then the church had been the main meeting point for a colony that had been established 55 years before the Pilgrims ever set foot on Plymouth Rock.

While the archaeologists are planning on moving the bones found outside the wine shop to a nearby cemetery, the skeletons found inside will stay right where they have lain for the past 400 years.

Archaeologists Found More Than 200-year-old Shipwreck In Mexico’s Caribbean

Archaeologists Found More Than 200-year-old Shipwreck In Mexico’s Caribbean

A fisherman discovered a coral-coated shipwreck off the coast of Mexico that has laid hidden beneath the surface for over 200 years.

Archaeologists Find a More Than 200-year-old Shipwreck

The wreck is named after Manuel Polanco, the man who discovered it, and sits in a watery grave just 21 miles from Majahual on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

Archaeologists dated the wooden remains to the 18th or 19th century and although it is degraded, metal parts, iron ingots, the anchor and an eight-foot cannon are still intact.

The team believes the vessel sank after hitting the Chinchorro Bank, which was known for centuries as ‘ Nightmare reef ‘ or ‘Sleep-robbing reef’ due to the dangers it posed to sailors.

Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) found the shipwreck after receiving a tip from Polanco who spotted it while diving in the waters.

‘The fishermen are the ones who know Chinchorro best since they navigate it daily to earn their living, diving the Caribbean waters to find fish, lobsters or conch, that they sell in Mahahual or Xcalak, and often they happen to find submerged archaeological contexts,’ INAH shared in a press release.

‘Manuel Polanco is an example of this, because although he is now retired from diving, in the ’60s and ’70s, he found the remains of various shipwrecks, including two of the most iconic in Banco Chinchorro: ’40 Cañones’ and ‘The Angel’.’

Underwater archaeologists said the currents where the cannon was found were strong

Polanco alerted archaeologists about the wreck in the 1990s, but experts have only made the first dives to inspect it in the past two months.

Unfortunately, Polanco is now in his golden years and was unable to accompany the researchers to inspect the wooden remains.

When the team dove to the depths where the ship laid, they found the organic material had degraded over the centuries.

Laura Carrillo Márquez, SAS researcher and head of the Banco Chinchorro Project, said: ‘It lies directly on the reef barrier where the ocean current is strong.’ ‘Only the solid elements remain, encrusted into the reef.’

She noted all that remained were the pig iron ingots that were used as ballast, some tubes, a cannon approximately eight feet long and an anchor.

Because the anchor was ‘active’, Márquez believes that the crew saw the reef up ahead and hoped to slow down the boat before crashing.

The anchor was found in shallow waters at Banco Chinchorro

However, the anchor was unable to stop the vessel and it collided with the ‘Nightmare reef.’

‘Although some of the vestiges seem to indicate a British affiliation, the INAH researcher clarifies that this hypothesis must be yet corroborated or discarded, through analyses that will be meticulously done, taking care of the natural environment of the site,’ Márquez explained.