1. Medicine Wheel
  2. Serpent Mound
  3. Mesa Verde
  4. Chaco Canyon
  5. Casas Grandes/Paquime
  6. Ciudad Perdida “lost city”; Teyuna
  7. Ingapirca “Inca”
  8. Chavín de Huántar “pre-Inca”
  9. Sacred City of Caral-Supe *Caral culture developed between 3000 – 1800 BCE*
  10. Machu Picchu
  11. Nazca Lines
  12. Sacsayhuamán
  13. Tiwanaku/Tiahuanaco
  14. Atacama Giant/Lines
  15. Pucará de Tilcara “pre-Inca”

Eighth Millennium Pottery from a Prehistoric Shell Midden in the Brazilian Amazon

9,000 years ago in the coastal city of Sao Luis, northeastern Brazil: stone tools, ceramic shards, decorated shells, and bones

“The top layer was left by the Tupinamba people, who inhabited the region when European colonizers founded Sao Luis in 1612. Then comes a layer of artifacts typical of Amazon rainforest peoples, followed by a “sambaqui”: a mound of pottery, shells and bones used by some Indigenous groups to build their homes or bury their dead. Beneath that, about 6.5 feet below the surface, lies another layer, left by a group that made rudimentary ceramics and lived around 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, based on the depth of the find. Far older than the oldest documented “pre-sambaqui” settlement found so far in the region, which dates to 6,600 years ago.” ref

Sambaqui (Shell Mound) Societies of Coastal Brazil

“Sambaquis (the Brazilian term for shell mounds, derived from the Tupi language) are widely distributed along the shoreline of Brazil and were noted in European accounts as early as the sixteenth century. They typically occur in highly productive bay and lagoon ecotones where the mingling of salt and fresh waters supports mangrove vegetation and abundant shellfish, fish, and aquatic birds. More than one thousand sambaqui locations are recorded in Brazil’s national register of archaeological sites, but represent a fraction of the original number because colonial through modern settlements coincide with these favorable environments. Although sambaquis are of variable scale overall, massive shell mounds are characteristic of Brazil’s southern coast.” ref

“The term “sambaqui” is applied to cultural deposits of varying size and stratigraphy in which shell is a major constituent, undoubtedly encompassing accumulations with a range of functions and origins. Proportions of soil, sand, shell, and the kinds of cultural inclusions and features in sambaquis also are variable. Small sambaquis often consist of shell layers over sandy substrates or sequences of shell and sand layers, with or without signs of burning or significant numbers of artifacts. Larger shell mounds typically have horizontally and vertically complex stratigraphy, including alternating sequences of shell deposits, narrower and darker layers of charcoal and burned bone that mark occupation surfaces, and clusters of burials, hearths, and postholes descending from these surfaces.” ref

The Chronology and Relationships of the Earliest Ceramic Complexes in the New World, 6000-1500 BCE. by John W Hoopes

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

Art and info adapted from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)

I enjoy this book a lot. I liked the part about the seats and their relations. I see seating in art and archaeology can often seem to relate to hierarchy: elites, chiefdom/religious figures, or deities.

“We recognize that communities and constellations of practice entail activities that overlap, transcend, and defy categorization within conventional geographic or cultural boundaries. Indigenous peoples of the Americas include more than half a million speakers of indigenous languages. And while identity can sometimes to linked to indigenous languages, indigenous identities are further complicated for indigenous groups whose identities are not strictly tied to language.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)

“Shellfish was a major source of protein, and shells also became tools and artifacts. In Pre-Colombia art and oral traditions, many animals that were not utilized for food, still feature prominently: birds (Vultures and Eagles), felids (Jaguars, Ocelots, Margays, and others), crocodiles (Crocodiles and Caymans), saurian (Iguanas and basilisks), anurans (Frogs and Toads), rodents (Agoutis and Rabbits), snakes (Pit vipers and Rattlesnakes), and simians (Spider, Howler, Capuchin, and Squirrel monkeys) .” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)  

The early Holocene period (“The Holocene: began approximately 9,700 BCE or 11,650 cal years ago, and corresponds with the rapid proliferation, growth, and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all of its written historytechnological revolutions, development of major civilizations, and overall significant transition towards urban living in the present. ref), saw the first documented use of wild food plants.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)   

Genetic diversity may have begun in the Late Pleistocene (“between 129,000 to 11,700 years ago ref) as populations crossing the Isthmus (“Isthmus and land bridge are related terms, with isthmus having a broader meaning. A land bridge is an isthmus connecting Earth’s major land masses. ref) dispersing both eastward and south. According to the linguistic and genetic evidence, the Chibchan-speaking populations separated into distinct groups in the Early Holocene and maintained a significant level of identity and cohesion thought the archaeological record.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)    

“People spoke Chibchan languages throughout the Isthmo-Colombian Area, from eastern Honduras to southern Colombia. There is no reason to characterize Chibchan languages as “South American” than there is to label them “Central American.” Furthermore, what some authors called “Mesoamerican influence” in Colombia may have come from southern Central America instead. New evidence confirms chthonous expansion beginning in the Late Pleistocene of populations, technologies, sociopolitical strategies, interregional interactions, and ideological systems.” – Info from: Pre-Columbian Central America, Colombia, and Ecuador: Toward an Integrated Approach (Dumbarton Oaks Other Titles in Pre-Columbian Studies) by Colin McEwan (Editor), John W. Hoopes (Editor)  

Who Do I Think I AM?

I did not turn atheist until 35 and around that time I realized, that not just my religious beliefs were a lie, but my morality was wrong as well. And a thinking change occurred in me, to where I went from a strong rightist to a strong far leftist anarchist socialist. I see how the truth can set some free and I try to help others do the same, choosing evidence and reason to guide them. I like to offer my ideas on prehistory and think outside the box often but I want to be very clear, in general, I support mainstream archaeology, anthropology, and historical thinking and stand by archaeologists, anthropologists, and historians, appreciating all their hard work.

I am not an academic. I am a revolutionary that teaches in public, in places like social media, and in the streets. I am not a leader by some title given but from my commanding leadership style of simply to start teaching everywhere to everyone, all manner of positive education. I strive to address fake history (PseudoarchaeologyPseudohistory, and Pseudoscience) and its supporters as well as try to teach real history. I also make speculations on history from how I see the evidence relating. I strive to be right in my thinking and actions but understand as an agreer to some of fallibilism‘s thinking, that I know I can be wrong and am thus rationally open to changing my thinking on valid and reliable reason and evidence. It is my welcoming correction that distills my thinking to the purity available to reach reason.

Here is the form of fallibilism I am thinking, “The claim that all assertions are provisional and thus open to revision in light of new evidence, which is widely taken for granted in the natural sciences.” ref

I fully enjoy the value (axiology) of archaeology (empirical evidence from fact or artifacts at a site) is knowledge (epistemology) of the past, adding to our anthropology (evidence from cultures both the present and past) intellectual (rational) assumptions of the likely reality of actual events from time past.

I post lots of religious info but don’t believe in any religion or spiritual beliefs?

 I am an atheist, antitheist, and antireligionist. However, I am also a self-taught prehistorian, trying to explain the evolution of religion which requires me fully understand the connections of religious or spiritual beliefs to allow others to rethink the belief in them. To expose the evolution of religion and thus understand its humanness not just from reason but do to understanding all the facts of archaeology, anthropology, and religious mythology. It is to bring about awareness to inspire others to atheism or at least a new understanding of religion removing its believed special status when religion or spiritual beliefs are, to me, just “culture” or “sociocultural products, like language. I don’t believe in gods or ghosts, and nor souls either. I don’t believe in heavens or hells, nor any supernatural anything. I don’t believe in Aliens, Bigfoot, nor Atlantis. I strive to follow reason and be a rationalist. Reason is my only master and may we all master reason.

Sociocultural factors characterize social and cultural forces that influence the feelings, attitudes, values, thoughts, beliefs, interactions, and behaviors of related individuals and groups.” ref

Examples of sociocultural factors include:

  • Income and wealth distribution
  • Social classes
  • Attitudes towards education and work,
  • Language, customs, and taboos
  • Business and health practices
  • Housing
  • Religious beliefs
  • Population size and housing
  • Social mobility
  • Age distribution and social values” ref

We are like believing machines we vacuum up ideas, like Velcro sticks to almost everything. We accumulate beliefs that we allow to negatively influence our lives, often without realizing it. Our willingness must be to alter skewed beliefs that impend our balance or reason, which brings about a new caring awareness.

I don’t believe in the supernatural notion of a “soul,” especially with our natural only evolution. Undesigned natural processes of evolution made us “believing-machines.” I am not an animist, thus I don’t believe in souls or spirits. How can I? When in our natural only evolution was there added magical anything? I can’t buy anything but natural, thus I can be labeled a “Metaphysical naturalist (also called ontological naturalist, philosophical naturalist, and anti-supernaturalist) which is a philosophical worldview that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences.” ref

I am a rationalist, not a skeptic. I appeal to reason, not doubt, like most atheists. No “skepticism attack” tactics used on others atheists works on me, as I don’t even value skepticism. When the Truth is afraid, Fascism of some kind, likely Reigns. While many skeptics may tend to strive to master doubt, I as a rationalist, strive to master reason.

Nothing is a justified true belief without valid or reliable reason and evidence; just as everything believed must be open to question, leaving nothing above challenge.

I don’t see religious terms Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, or Paganism as primitive but original or core elements that are different parts of world views and their supernatural/non-natural beliefs or thinking.

In the past or even lingering today, are beliefs often ripe with religious bigotry, seen in how religious/spiritual thinking not Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, or Islam) religious thinking are often believed to be primitive, unequal, or less than monotheism (preserved as the only real or not the correct religion beliefs if not monotheism).

I see all religions as having shared or similar features or core elements that relate to religious terms Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, or Paganism including Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, or Islam) religious thinking. 

I don’t class any religious thinking as primitive but in error to what I see as a natural-only world, that religious thinking then makes up a myriad of non-natural/non-empirical themes/beings, stories, and myths about which group together are called religions.

I do anarchist teaching of prehistory, in that I don’t just make a blog, expecting people to come to me. No, I take all my knowledge and like a gorilla soldier, I force-feed to the world my knowledge, one piece at a time, that is just what is needed. So, I heed that call and teach in public…

Do good, make no excuses, just do good, the world desperately needs more of this, and if we all do more, we all win. We rise by helping each other. I am an autodidactic-polymath in many subjects and a genus in both IQ intelligence as well as EQ emotional intelligence, quite rare. Yet I am ignored? Most disregard my ideas, I don’t think so, or is it due to my blogs that are so long they are like small free books, scary right?

I like learning prehistory!

I also hate: “Pseudo-science, Pseudo-history, and Pseudo-morality.”

So yeah, history is fun, but one must weed through the sometimes added mythology, half-truths, or outright lies. This is even more important when reading religion-related information.

I am not an academic though I work hard for accuracy and facts, I do this hard work of addressing prehistory and religion as activism (Pro-science and Atheist). I know quite a lot as I started researching the “Evolution of Religion” starting in 2006.

Ciudad Perdida “lost city”; Teyuna

“Tairona or Tayrona was a Pre-Columbian culture of Colombia, which consisted in a group of chiefdoms in the region of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in present-day Cesar, Magdalena, and La Guajira Departments of Colombia, South America, which goes back at least to the 1st century CE and had significant demographic growth around the 11th century. The Tairona people formed one of the two principal linguistic groups of the Chibchan family, the other being the Muisca. Genetic and archaeological evidence shows a relatively dense occupation of the region by at least 200 BCE. Pollen data shows considerable deforestation and the use of cultigens such as yuca and maize since possibly 1200 BCE. However, occupation of the Colombian Caribbean coast by sedentary or semi-sedentary populations has been documented to have occurred by c. 4000 BCE. Etymological similarities of the word Tairona survive in the four main linguistic groups of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta: in Sanca Language it is pronounced Teiruna, in Kankuamo language Teijua or Tairuna, and in IjkaTeruna, meaning “Males” or “sons of the Jaguar.ref

“One of the best-known Tairona nucleated villages and archaeological sites is known as Ciudad Perdida (Spanish for “Lost City”). It was a major city, about 13 hectares (32 acres) in the “core”. Recent studies suggest that it was inhabited by approximately 1,600 to 2,400 people that lived in at least 11,700 square meters (124,000 square feet) of roofed space, in about 184 round houses built on top of terraces paved with stone. There are many other sites of similar or greater size. A larger site, Pueblito, is located near the coast. According to Reichel-Dolmatoff‘s research, it contains at least 254 terraces and had a population of about 3,000 people. Archaeological studies in the area show that even larger nucleated villages existed towards the western slope of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, like Posiguieca and Ciudad Antigua.” ref

“Smaller villages and hamlets were part of a very robust exchange network of specialized communities, connected with stone-paved paths. Villages that specialized in salt production and fishing, like Chengue in the Parque Tairona, are evidence of a robust Tairona political economy based on specialized staple production. Chengue contains at least 100 terraces and was inhabited by about 800 to 1,000 people in 15 hectares by 1400. The Tairona are known to have built stone terraced platforms, house foundations, stairs, sewers, tombs, and bridges. Use of pottery for utilitarian and ornamental or ceremonial purposes was also highly developed as a result of fairly specialized communities.” ref

Mound cultures are some of the most amazing things in North America and so-called “Americans” don’t care, think it’s Aliens, or believe some mythical white people from the minds of bigots. All Americans should have to learn about Indigenous American history.

“Many pre-Columbian cultures in North America were collectively termed “Mound Buildersref

Bleera Kaanu-Shell Mound Nicaragua 5,900 years ago human-made shell mound

Watson Brake Louisiana 5,500 years ago human-made mounds

Caral culture 5,000 years ago pyramids, large earthwork platform mounds, and sunken circular plazas

“Archaeological evidence suggests use of textile technology and, possibly, the worship of common deity symbols, both of which recur in pre-Columbian Andean cultures. A sophisticated government is presumed to have been required to manage the ancient Caral.” ref, ref

“The alternative name, Caral–Supe, is derived from the city of Caral in the Supe Valley, a large and well-studied Caral–Supe civilization site. Complex society in the Caral–Supe arose a millennium after Sumer in Mesopotamia, was contemporaneous with the Egyptian pyramids, and predated the Mesoamerican Olmec by nearly two millennia. In archaeological nomenclature, Caral–Supe is a pre-ceramic culture of the pre-Columbian Late Archaic; it completely lacked ceramics and no evidence of visual art has survived. The most impressive achievement of the civilization was its monumental architecture, including large earthwork platform mounds and sunken circular plazas.” ref

Poverty Point  Louisiana 3,700 years ago human-made mounds 

Olmec La Venta Great pyramid 2,394 years ago human-made earth and clay mound

“Olmecs can be divided into the Early Formative (1800-900 BCE), Middle Formative (900-400 BCE), and Late Formative (400 BCE-200 CE). Olmecs are known as the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica, meaning that the Olmec civilization was the first culture that spread and influenced Mesoamerica. The spread of Olmec culture eventually led to cultural features found throughout all Mesoamerican societies. Rising from the sedentary agriculturalists of the Gulf Lowlands as early as 1600 BCE in the Early Formative period, the Olmecs held sway in the Olmec heartland, an area on the southern Gulf of Mexico coastal plain, in Veracruz and Tabasco. Prior to the site of La Venta, the first Olmec site of San Lorenzo dominated the modern day state of Veracruz (1200-900 BCE).” ref

“Unlike later Maya or Aztec cities, La Venta was built from earth and clay—there was little locally abundant stone for the construction. Large basalt stones were brought in from the Tuxtla Mountains, but these were used nearly exclusively for monuments including the colossal heads, the “altars” (actually thrones), and various stelae. For example, the basalt columns that surround Complex A were quarried from Punta Roca Partida, on the Gulf coast north of the San Andres Tuxtla volcano. “Little more than half of the ancient city survived modern disturbances enough to map accurately.” Today, the entire southern end of the site is covered by a petroleum refinery and has been largely demolished, making excavations difficult or impossible. Many of the site’s monuments are now on display in the archaeological museum and park in the city of Villahermosa, Tabasco.” ref

“Complex C, “The Great Pyramid,” is the central building in the city layout, is constructed almost entirely out of clay, and is visible from a distance. The structure is built on top of a closed-in platform—this is where Blom and La Farge discovered Altars 2 and 3, thereby discovering La Venta and the Olmec civilization. A carbon sample from a burned area of the Structure C-1’s surface resulted in the date of 394 ± 30 BCE.ref

“One of the earliest pyramids known in Mesoamerica, the Great Pyramid is 110 ft (34 m) high and contains an estimated 100,000 cubic meters of earth fill. The current conical shape of the pyramid was once thought to represent nearby volcanoes or mountains, but recent work by Rebecca Gonzalez Lauck has shown that the pyramid was in fact a rectangular pyramid with stepped sides and inset corners, and the current shape is most likely due to 2,500 years of erosion. The pyramid itself has never been excavated, but a magnetometer survey in 1967 found an anomaly high on the south side of the pyramid. Speculation ranges from a section of burned clay to a cache of buried offerings to a tomb.ref

“Complex A is a mound and plaza group located just to the north of the Great Pyramid (Complex C). The centerline of Complex A originally oriented to Polaris (true north) which indicates the Olmec had some knowledge of astronomy. Surrounded by a series of basalt columns, which likely restricted access to the elite, it was erected in a period of four construction phases that span over four centuries (1000 – 600 BCE). Beneath the mounds and plazas were found a vast array of offerings and other buried objects, more than 50 separate caches by one count, including buried jade, polished mirrors made of iron-ores, and five large “Massive Offerings” of serpentine blocks. It is estimated that Massive Offering 3 contains 50 tons of carefully finished serpentine blocks, covered by 4,000 tons of clay fill.ref

“Also unearthed in Complex A were three rectangular mosaics (also known as “Pavements”) each roughly 4.5 by 6 metres (15 by 20 feet) and each consisting of up to 485 blocks of serpentine. These blocks were arranged horizontally to form what has been variously interpreted as an ornate Olmec bar-and-four-dots motif, the Olmec Dragon, a very abstract jaguar mask, a cosmogram, or a symbolic map of La Venta and environs. Not intended for display, soon after completion these pavements were covered over with colored clay and then many feet of earth.ref

“Five formal tombs were discovered within Complex A, one with a sandstone sarcophagus carved with what seemed to be an crocodilian earth monster. Diehl states that these tombs “are so elaborate and so integrated to the architecture that it seems clear that Complex A really was a mortuary complex dedicated to the spirits of deceased rulers.ref

Maya 3,000 years ago mounds, raised platforms, pyramids

“The Maya are a people of southern Mexico and northern Central America (GuatemalaBelize, western Honduras, and El Salvador(1000 BCE, approximately 3,000 years ago) they were building pyramidal-plaza ceremonial architecture. The earliest monuments consisted of simple burial mounds, the precursors to the spectacular stepped pyramids from the Terminal Pre-classic period and beyond. These pyramids relied on intricate carved stone in order to create a stair-stepped design. Many of these structures featured a top platform upon which a smaller dedicatory building was constructed, associated with a particular Maya deity. Maya pyramid-like structures were also erected to serve as a place of interment for powerful rulers. Maya pyramidal structures occur in a great variety of forms and functions, bounded by regional and periodical differences.” ref

Hopewell mtDNA, showed clear links between Adena culture, and earlier Glacial Kame culture, confirming Hopewell culture as the descendants of Adena culture (circa 800 BCE to CE 1) who were, in turn, descended from Archaic cultures (circa 3000-500 BCE).” ref

“The Glacial Kame culture was a culture of Archaic people in North America that occupied southern OntarioMichiganOhio, and Indiana from around 8000 to 1000 BCE. The name of this culture derives from its members’ practice of burying their dead atop glacier-deposited gravel hills. Among the most common types of artifacts found at Glacial Kame sites are shells of marine animals and goods manufactured from a copper ore, known as float copperOther regional cultures include the Maple Creek Culture of southwestern Ohio, Red Ocher Culture and Old Copper Culture of Wisconsin.” ref

“Glacial Kame culture produced ceramics, as seen in the discovery of basic pottery at the Zimmerman site near Roundhead, Ohio. Excavation of Glacial Kame sites frequently yields few projectile points — some of the most important sites have yielded no projectile points at all — and their few points that have been found are of diverse styles. For this reason, it appears that different groups of Glacial Kame peoples independently developed different methods of manufacturing their projectile points. This diversity appears even in the culture’s heartland in Champaign, Hardin, and Logan counties in western Ohio; one large Logan County site yielded just three points, each of which was significantly different from the other two.” ref

“Glacial Kame Culture, Late Archaic cultural grouping found around Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and southern Ontario in the period c.1500–1000 BCE. Characterized by mortuary rituals which involved interring the dead in natural hills of glacial gravel. Grave goods of copper ornaments and marine shells were sometimes included and attested to long‐distance trade links.” ref

“The Adena “mound-building” culture was a Pre-Columbian Native American culture that existed from 500 BCE to 100 CE, in a time known as the Early Woodland period. The Adena culture refers to what were probably a number of related Native American societies sharing a burial complex and ceremonial system. The Adena culture was centered on the location of the modern state of Ohio, but also extended into contiguous areas of northern Kentucky, eastern IndianaWest Virginia, and parts of extreme western Pennsylvania. The culture is the most prominently known of a number of similar cultures in eastern North America that began mound building ceremonialism at the end of the Archaic period.” ref

Amazonian Earthworks

“More than 1,100 ancient Amazonian earthworks, with over 1,050 geoglyphs and zanjas plus over 50 mound villages documented in both the Excel file and the KML placemarks file linked above. Almost all earthworks are outlined, along with highlighting of 1,000 lines, visible ancient roads and embankments. Hundreds of Geoglyphs Discovered in the Amazon.” ref

“Cahokia Mounds were involved in the largest and most influential urban settlement of the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies across much of what is now the Central and the Southeastern United States, beginning more than 1,000 years before European contact.” ref

In response to my art above John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist said, Nice! Since you have the Ohio mound groups, you need to start adding the ones in Amazonia. Hundreds of Geoglyphs Discovered in the Amazon

My response, I was not aware of the Amazonia mounds, thanks. The shell mound erected above the woman’s grave buried in what is now Nicaragua nearly 6,000 years ago. I thought this was cool.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist – “Yes, it is! The revelation of thousands of mounds and ditch-and-embankment structures (unfortunately named “geoglyphs”) is radically changing our understanding of ancient South America.”

My response, I totally agree, great stuff, made by the indigenous, and why I get upset when people like Graham Hancock or Ancient Aliens, say it was someone else.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist – “James Q. Jacobs’ work in Google Earth is amazing. If you don’t know it, you really should check it out.”

My response, I will check it out. Thanks for your help.

John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist – “Sure thing! Thanks for YOUR help in getting correct and accurate information out to a wide audience!”

My response, I appreciate your support.

Your Shell Mound blog post, “looks good, I did want to make one clarification. The Caddo people don’t see themselves (or their ancestors) as being a “Mississippian” culture. I see on the drawn map that a few sites (particularly Spiro) are shown for “Mississippian cultures”. I assume that is from the H. Roe’s map from 2010. That map was done before Caddo Nation worked with archaeologists to re-classify the social systems/traditions of their ancestors during that time and found that the “Mississippian” label didn’t align with the cultural systems of their ancestors. It is not a big deal but just something to be aware of in the future. I only know because I work with Caddo Nation now and rather knowledge about the latest research of the Caddo.” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

Jeffrey (JT) Lewis is a southeastern archaeologist and Ph.D. Grad Student who makes archaeology YouTube videos

Addressing Things in History

“I’m coming up to a year on Twitter now, and as a fan of ancient history leaning into the fringe, honestly, I thought @Graham Hancock overcooked his whole “archaeology bad” schtick. But the last couple of months have seen the 500,000-year-old wooden platform and the recent Amazon find, and there really are half a dozen Twitter accounts who will not concede one single inch to his conclusions. This is about the HUMAN STORY yet the petty-minded tribalism is astounding.” – thealbedojourney @albedojourney

“Honestly, I think those discoveries are fabulous Just not sure what they have to do with Hancock All of us agree there is more to be found (and both had precedents, at the same site with the wooden structure archaeologists had previously presented human worked wooden materials).” – Flint Dibble @FlintDibble Archaeologist

The recent Ecuador discovery is cool, but not really seeing how it significantly changes our understanding of Amazon civilization? Seems like that & prior Amazon discoveries are the product of mainstream archeologists over decades of work. Shouldn’t they deserve the credit?” – Tony Trupp @TonyTrupp Tweeting on History, Archeology

“The lead archaeologists say it changes how we see civilization. Agree they should get the credit and don’t see anyone stealing their thunder. Hancock references the archaeological work in America before and doesn’t claim he did the work himself.” – thealbedojourney @albedojourney

“What does either of these add to an out-of-place advanced civilization claim by Hancock? Do we underestimate previous hominid capabilities? Yes, probably but our understanding needs to be evidence-driven. There’s no evidence which can confirm an advanced civilization that can’t fit.” – Karl @KarlHannant

“I know you probably won’t respond to me (because you and @AncientEpoch) just refuse to discuss anything but how does either of those equate to Hancock being right?” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

“Come on then Jeffrey, let’s have a discussion… “Right” isn’t a good term to use here, I don’t think.” – thealbedojourney @albedojourney

“Okay, I’ll try to think of a better way to phrase it. Why do Hancock’s theories deserve to be considered based on these two accomplishments by archaeologists?” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

“I’ll answer your question with a question of my own, similar to the original tweet — why are you making this about Hancock?” – thealbedojourney @albedojourney

“That doesn’t answer my question at all. I mentioned Hancock because the original tweet you made was about Hancock. Now, why do Hancock’s theories deserve to considered based on these two accomplishment by archaeologists? So many say “Archaeologsists won’t research anything against the narrative!” and then when archaeologists discover something they go “Thanks to Hancock saying they should look into this we now know!” How is it even possible for both of those to be true?” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

“I can’t speak for what others say or think, but I’ve never seen Hancock say he found anything alone. I’ve also seen him say, countless times, that his work is made possible by archaeologists. In the end, I’m just fascinated by a major archaeological story. I was moved to write that tweet because other people made it about Hancock. I’m surprised by that way of thinking. I said I couldn’t speak for others. But let’s assume Hancock is the thought leader you suggest, then that is where he is leading he people.” – thealbedojourney @albedojourney

“I agree. Hancock is leading them to not trust archaeologists, even though archaeologists are the ones doing the research and making the discoveries. I can pull a couple of screenshots from his fans to showcase this if need be. I never suggested there wasn’t. I work with amateurs/advocationals all the time – actually have a great relationship with the groups and they invite me to give talks. What “dogma”? People use this term often but often they don’t actually know how diverse people or theories are.” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

“I don’t believe that anyone in Archaeology believes that the history is settled. If that was the case, we would all be out of a job. Why would you need archaeologists if we already knew everything about the past? people still using them for racist purposes (not saying everyone is – just stating that I have seen it a few times on here). An historical example would be the “Moundbuilder Myth” that was used to justify removing Indigenous people from their land in eastern North America. the pseudo side of the argument is because in many cases the theories ignore data or misrepresent the data. I don’t get what you mean by the “can’t be disproved” part, so I can’t really comment on that. As to why Hancock is dangerous, I can only share my personal opinion on that. For me, Hancock shares misinformation and lies about archaeologists. He either is a terrible researcher (which if that is the case why does anyone believe him) or he purposefully misrepresents data to make his argument more compelling. I believe if you have a strong theory, it doesn’t require misrepresentation or ignoring data. If you’d like some examples of Hancock doing this, I would be happy to share them.” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

“Okay, I’ll address the other two questions first. 1) I am not sure why an archaeologists would do that – I don’t think Hancock is racist. 2): I assume you are referring to Petrie. We actually don’t really talk about him anymore in Archaeology classes because of his views but Archaeology definitely had many racist and colonial theories in it. It’s something we are still battling now (I recently shared a tweet about changing terminology in reports on here). A lot of professional organizations know this & that is why many of them have made statements about the past & why names of awards should be changed to not glorify past archaeologists that promoted racist ideologies. It is usually a major focus of most conference papers.” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

“To share a few times that Hancock has lied or misrepresented data – In AA he discussed how a layer at Gunung Padang dated to 11,600BP but a layer didn’t date to that. Dr. Natawidjaja actually writes that the site would have been vacant/not used during that time. Hancock was a reviewer for Dr. Natawidjaja’s paper, so he had to be aware of this. It also is on the poster that the two are looking at during the episode. I’ll provide a link to the next one because I just wrote about it the other day: link I can give other examples of times he has done it if need be. I believe most now don’t just write them off. It’s a rather popular topic in archaeology. There are thousands of publications on it. The archaeologists that don’t actually get corrected by other archaeologists on social media. Which is why I say Hancock either has to be the absolute worst researcher or he is purposefully lying. Personally, I don’t even classify them as “myths”. In most cases archaeologists refer to them as “oral traditions” – to remove the idea that they aren’t truthful.” – Jeffrey (JT) Lewis @jtlewis_arch Southeastern archaeologist. MA, RPA. PhD Grad Student at OU.

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Addressing Pseudoarchaeology, Pseudohistory, Pseudojournalism, Pseudoscholarship, and Pseudoscience

Archaeology Tube by Dr. Bill Farley addressing Real Archaeology and Pseudoarchaeology as well as Science Communication with the Public

“I’ve got to ask: Why do these conversations always revolve around and stem from Hancock? Dude wrote a bunch of mid-ass books and then got a mid-ass doc on Netflix bc of his nepo-baby exec son. Archs are constantly subtweeted like we’re obsessed, but y’all defend him like he cares. I had dozens, more than 50 at last count, of comments using Graham’s wife as a shield against accusations of racism. Every. Single. One of them misrepresented her ethnicity and/or race. It was really sad. I have no idea if Graham has personal racist views. Some things he’s written could imply that, but that was a long time ago and he may have changed. I can’t see in his head. Also, it genuinely doesn’t matter what he thinks, his actions are what matter.” – Bill Farley @ArchaeologyGame Archaeology Professor

“So many guys on here @ ing Graham and defending him like he’s a Playstation and they’ve just got to prove that “Yes, Sony IS better than Microsoft.” He does not care about you! He’s probably smoking weed on a yacht bought with your money alongside Joe Rogan right now. If he’s not claiming to be a scientist or archaeologist, he should stop pretending to be one. And maybe occasionally listen to their criticisms about the apparently uninformed things he says. He really can’t have it both ways. He can’t be the smartest big-brain archaeology mind in the world, and then claim he’s “just a journalist” when his many factual errors are pointed out. Those are the opposite things.” – Bill Farley @ArchaeologyGame Archaeology Professor

“It is just sad to see all of that money, technology, and talent wasted on presenting misleading and pernicious ideas. I feel the same about the twenty seasons of “Ancient Aliens.” What a waste. The ancient past could have been presented without all of the anti-science garbage. The concern is that, just as he appears to be uninformed about many other aspects of archaeology, he is also uninformed about the racist associations of theories that invoke unitary origins for “civilization” and hyperdiffusionism. His work does not mention or critique these. The open letter from the SAA pointed out that the theory #AncientApocalypse presents, “has a long-standing association with racist, white-supremacist ideologies.” It did not call him a racist. Link.” – John Hoopes @KUHoopes Archaeologist

“Graham Hancock should conduct himself as a journalist instead of talking about his “research” in a way that makes it sound like he’s an archaeologist/scholar with the knowledge & truth His books are labeled non-fiction for a reason as there’s no scientific proof for his claims. And yes, many archaeologists and scholars have looked into Graham Hancock’s claims and theories to see if there is any possibility of truth in it. They came up empty-handed, that should say enough on its own Why won’t Graham Hancock FUND excavations at places he talks about? Not every culture is a civilization Cultures were sophisticated intelligent and capable of building amazing structures, but that doesn’t make them a civilization.” – History with Kayleigh @KayleighHistory History with Kayleigh YouTube

“In the Americas, middens are represented by radiocarbon dates of 5000–2000 BCE from Panama and eastern North America. Middens of South America and California probably antedate 2000 BCE.” ref

“The oldest pottery of northern Europe, eastern North America, and Central America occurs in shell mounds.” ref

A 5,000-year-old Earth Pyramid a human-made earth mound is found in North China as well. I actually think the thinking that leads to pyramid/Step Platform mounds is all related to North Asia, Southern Siberia/North China area. To me there are shared ideas related to the people’s movements that spread ideas including mounds/pyramids/step platform mounds. Platform Mounds/Pyramids, to me, relate to several kinds of mythology, creation myths, deity beliefs, heaven/spirits/afterlife/stars/moon/sun, etc. Along with power/elites/inequality/hierarchy. 

“I’ve been going since 1996 almost yearly. I’m not an archeologist or professional in any way. However, in my opinion it’s a mistake for anthropologists, etc. to single Cahokia out as a unique site because the relationship between Moundbuilders & Mississippians is complex. Cahokia became a “city” during the Glacial Warming Period. So, in my opinion there were people coming in from the South where the climate was probably too warm for their usual crops. The societal structure was similar to Mesoamerica. The first time I went there, it was under water because of local flooding. My ex-spouse was obsessed with the mounds because it’s part of his culture.  The water table is extremely high. Dickson Mounds is the same way. After the warming period ended and the Little Ice Age began, their crops would’ve failed on a massive scale. So, the huma sacrifices would’ve been an act of desperation. They were probably pushed south by other tribes. Somehow the Catawba who are Siouan language stock ended up in South Carolina while the rest were on the Northern Plains. The Cherokee were Iroquoian speakers in the middle of the Muskogean speaking people.” – Mellodi Zintkala @MZintkala Hunkpapa Lakota Ina~Unci

My response, I am still trying to understand all that happened. I look into languages, mythology beliefs, DNA, archaeology, anthropology, history, pottery, animal movements, plant movements, etc. I want to understand the big picture.

I do plan on finishing writing my book, “The Tree of Lies and its Hidden Roots: exposing the “evolution of religion” and removing the rationale of faith.

Superstition to Religion “The Tree of Lies and its Hidden Roots” (my book I am still rewriting to publish)

I have been working on it for years. The info below explains but a part.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

To me, Animism starts in Southern Africa, then to West Europe, and becomes Totemism. Another split goes near the Russia and Siberia border becoming Shamanism, which heads into Central Europe meeting up with Totemism, which also had moved there, mixing the two which then heads to Lake Baikal in Siberia. From there this Shamanism-Totemism heads to Turkey where it becomes Paganism.

ref

“Haplogroup U is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup (mtDNA). The clade arose from haplogroup R, likely during the early Upper Paleolithic. Its various subclades (labeled U1–U9, diverging over the course of the Upper Paleolithic) are found widely distributed across Northern and Eastern EuropeCentralWestern, and South Asia, as well as North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Canary Islands. Basal U was found in the 26,000-year-old remains of Ancient North EurasianMal’ta boy (MA1). The age of U5 is estimated at between 25,000 and 35,000 years old, roughly corresponding to the Gravettian culture. and is the DNA associated with the seeming first Gravettian shaman burial seen in the Pavlovian culture, around Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia. One of the Dolní Věstonice burials, located near the huts, revealed a human female skeleton aged to 40+ years old, ritualistically placed beneath a pair of mammoth scapulae, one leaning against the other. Surprisingly, the left side of the skull was disfigured in the same manner as the aforementioned carved ivory figure, indicating that the figure was an intentional depiction of this specific individual. The bones and the earth surrounding the body contained traces of red ocher, a flint spearhead had been placed near the skull, and one hand held the body of a fox. This evidence suggests that this was the burial site of a shaman. This is the oldest site not only of ceramic figurines and artistic portraiture, but also of evidence of female shamans.” refrefrefref

Haplogroup U5 is one of the most ancient mtDNA lineages to have existed in Central Europe prior to its dispersal into Northern Europe. This haplogroup is thought to have evolved in the western steppe region and then entered Europe around 30,000 to 55,000 years ago. It appears to have expanded into Europe before the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) over 20 thousand years ago, i.e., before the thick ice sheets covering most of northern continental Europe were in the final stages of dissipating away from the interior.” ref

“Approximately 11% of Europeans (10% of European-Americans) have some variant of haplogroup U5. U5 was the predominant mtDNA of mesolithic Western Hunter Gatherers (WHG). U5 has been found in human remains dating from the Mesolithic in England, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, France, and Spain. Neolithic skeletons (~7,000 years old) that were excavated from the Avellaner cave in Catalonia, northeastern Spain included a specimen carrying haplogroup U5. Haplogroup U5 and its subclades U5a and U5b today form the highest population concentrations in the far north, among SamiFinns, and Estonians. However, it is spread widely at lower levels throughout Europe. This distribution, and the age of the haplogroup, indicate individuals belonging to this clade were part of the initial expansion tracking the retreat of ice sheets from Europe around 10,000 years ago. The modern Basques and Cantabrians possess almost exclusively U5b lineages (U5b1f, U5b1c1, U5b2).” ref

Today, the frequency of U5 varies between 5–12% in most European countries. Its frequency varies particularly widely within Northern Europe. Haplogroup U5 mtDNAs are present in northern Saami populations at over 50%, while their corresponding frequencies in the southern areas of the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark) lie between 6–15%These differing frequencies raise interesting questions about the phylogenetic structure of this major lineage and the timing of the dispersal of its subbranches within the European continent. On this note, while both Saami and Finns speak Finno-Uralic languages, the two populations do not share a close genetic relationship based on nuclear DNA marker loci.” ref

“This pattern is also true to some extent based on mtDNA data. Apart from Scandinavia, U5b mtDNAs with the “Saami motif” (defined by the T16144C, T16189C, and C16270T control-region variants) have been observed at significant frequencies in populations from the northwestern Pskov Oblast and the Republic of Karelia in Russia. This distribution points the emergence of U5b mtDNA in ancestral Saami (Uralic) groups, and their dispersal into surrounding Indo-European populations through admixture. Based on this evidence, it is generally agreed that the Saami are genetically distinct from other European populations, although the source of U5 mtDNAs among these European populations is not entirely clear. Therefore, a broader analysis of the phylogeographic features of haplogroup U5 is necessary to fill this knowledge gap. The aim of this study is thus to combine hierBAPS analysis of haplogroup U5 mitogenome sequences with maximum likelihood (ML) phylogenetics to make inferences about the evolution and dispersal of this major maternal lineage in Northern Europe.” ref

6 Ice Age Humans (30,000 Years Ago)

Abstract: Starting about 35,000 years ago, humans seem to have made a great leap forward culturally. The authors argue that this wasn’t because of genetic changes that caused the human brain to have increased capacity. It was because some groups culturally evolved the “social tools” that allowed them to maintain connections and share information over long distances. The groups with the most effective social tools managed to stay connected and to survive, and their descendants inherited this culture of connectedness. It’s likely that forming greater connectedness and more complex culture was necessary in order to survive the periods of high climate variability that were a feature of the last ice age.” ref

“Archaeologists usually describe two regional variants: the western Gravettian, known mainly from cave sites in France, Spain, and Britain, and the eastern Gravettian in Central Europe and Russia. The eastern Gravettians, which include the Pavlovian culture, were specialized mammoth hunters, whose remains are usually found not in caves but in open air sites. Gravettian culture thrived on their ability to hunt animals. They utilized a variety of tools and hunting strategies. Compared to theorized hunting techniques of Neanderthals and earlier human groups, Gravettian hunting culture appears much more mobile and complex. They lived in caves or semi-subterranean or rounded dwellings which were typically arranged in small “villages”. Gravettians are thought to have been innovative in the development of tools such as blunted-back knives, tanged arrowheads, and boomerangs. Other innovations include the use of woven nets and oil lamps made of stone. Blades and bladelets were used to make decorations and bone tools from animal remains.” ref

“Gravettian culture extends across a large geographic region, as far as Estremadura in Portugal. but is relatively homogeneous until about 27,000 years ago. They developed burial rites, which included simple, purpose-built offerings and/or personal ornaments owned by the deceased, placed within the grave or tomb. Surviving Gravettian art includes numerous cave paintings and small, portable Venus figurines made from clay or ivory, as well as jewelry objects. The fertility deities mostly date from the early period; there are over 100 known surviving examples. They conform to a very specific physical type, with large breasts, broad hips and prominent posteriors. The statuettes tend to lack facial details, and their limbs are often broken off. During the post glacial period, evidence of the culture begins to disappear from northern Europe but was continued in areas around the Mediterranean. The Mal’ta Culture (c. 24,000 years ago) in Siberia is often considered as belonging to the Gravettian, due to its similar characteristics, particularly its Venus figurines, but any hypothetical connection would have to be cultural and not genetic: a 2016 genomic study showed that the Mal’ta people have no genetic connections with the people of the European Gravettian culture (the Vestonice Cluster).” ref

“Fu et al. (2016) examined the remains of fourteen Gravettians. The eight males included three samples of Y-chromosomal haplogroup CT, one of I, one IJK, one BT, one C1a2, and one sample of F. Of the fourteen samples of mtDNA, there were thirteen samples of U and one sample of M. The majority of the sample of U belonged to the U5 and U2. Teschler et al. (2020) examined the remains of one adult male and two twin boys from a Gravettian site in Austria. All belonged to haplogroup Y-Haplogroup I. and all had the same mtDNA, U5. According to Scorrano et al. (2022), “the genome of an early European individual from Kostenki 14, dated to around 37,000 years ago, demonstrated that the ancestral European gene pool was already established by that time.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref

Here are my thoughts/speculations on where I believe is the possible origin of shamanism, which may have begun sometime around 35,000 to 30,000 years ago seen in the emergence of the Gravettian culture, just to outline his thinking, on what thousands of years later led to evolved Asian shamanism, in general, and thus WU shamanism as well. In both Europe-related “shamanism-possible burials” and in Gravettian mitochondrial DNA is a seeming connection to Haplogroup U. And the first believed Shaman proposed burial belonged to Eastern Gravettians/Pavlovian culture at Dolní Věstonice in southern Moravia in the Czech Republic, which is the oldest permanent human settlement that has ever been found. It is at Dolní Věstonice where approximately 27,000-25,000 years ago a seeming female shaman was buried and also there was an ivory totem portrait figure, seemingly of her.

And my thoughts on how cultural/ritual aspects were influenced in the area of Göbekli Tepe. I think it relates to a few different cultures starting in the area before the Neolithic. Two different groups of Siberians first from northwest Siberia with U6 haplogroup 40,000 to 30,000 or so. Then R Haplogroup (mainly haplogroup R1b but also some possible R1a both related to the Ancient North Eurasians). This second group added its “R1b” DNA of around 50% to the two cultures Natufian and Trialetian. To me, it is likely both of these cultures helped create Göbekli Tepe. Then I think the female art or graffiti seen at Göbekli Tepe to me possibly relates to the Epigravettians that made it into Turkey and have similar art in North Italy. I speculate that possibly the Totem pole figurines seen first at Kostenki, next went to Mal’ta in Siberia as seen in their figurines that also seem “Totem-pole-like”, and then with the migrations of R1a it may have inspired the Shigir idol in Russia and the migrations of R1b may have inspired Göbekli Tepe.

Seeming Connections: Totem poles, Ceremonial poles, Spirit poles, Sacred poles, Deity poles, Deities with poles, Pole star, Axis Mundi, Sacred trees, World tree, Maypole, Sun Dance with poles, etc.

ref

“Worldwide distribution of haplogroup Q-M242. The blue star is the original place of haplogroup Q-M242, around Central Asia and Siberia. The brown number one is Russian sample location in the Krasnoyarsk Region. The brown number two is Chinese sample location in Gansu province. The brown number three is Chinese sample location in Zhejiang province. The red arrows are the expansion routes of haplogroup Q-M242. The purple words show the locations of subclades of haplogroup Q used in this study.” ref

“A large minority of people in North Asia, particularly in Siberia, follow the religio-cultural practices of shamanism. Some researchers regard Siberia as the heartland of shamanism. The people of Siberia comprise a variety of ethnic groups, many of whom continue to observe shamanistic practices in modern times. Many classical ethnographers recorded the sources of the idea of “shamanism” among Siberian peoples. Shamanistic practice shows great diversity, even if restricted to Siberia. Shamanism is a religious practice present in various cultures and religions around the world. Shamanism takes on many different forms, which vary greatly by region and culture and are shaped by the distinct histories of its practitioners. Siberia is regarded as the locus classicus of shamanism. The area is inhabited by many different ethnic groups, and many of its peoples observe shamanistic practices, even in modern times. Many classical ethnographic sources of “shamanism” were recorded among Siberian peoples.” refref

  • “‘shaman’: saman (Nedigal, Nanay, Ulcha, Orok), sama (Manchu). The variant /šaman/ (i.e., pronounced “shaman”) is Evenk (whence it was borrowed into Russian).
  • ‘shaman’: alman, olman, wolmen (Yukagir)
  • ‘shaman’: [qam] (Tatar, Shor, Oyrat), [xam] (Tuva, Tofalar)
  • The Buryat word for shaman is бөө (böö) [bøː], from early Mongolian böge. Itself borrowed from Proto-Turkic *bögü (“sage, wizard”)
  • ‘shaman’: ńajt (Khanty, Mansi), from Proto-Uralic *nojta (c.f. Sámi noaidi)
  • ‘shamaness’: [iduɣan] (Mongol), [udaɣan] (Yakut), udagan (Buryat), udugan (Evenki, Lamut), odogan (Nedigal). Related forms found in various Siberian languages include utagan, ubakan, utygan, utügun, iduan, or duana. All these are related to the Mongolian name of Etügen, the hearth goddess, and Etügen Eke ‘Mother Earth’. Maria Czaplicka points out that Siberian languages use words for male shamans from diverse roots, but the words for female shaman are almost all from the same root. She connects this with the theory that women’s practice of shamanism was established earlier than men’s, that “shamans were originally female.” ref

Uralic languages are proven to form a genealogical unit, a language family. Not all speakers of these languages live in Siberia or have shamanistic religions. The largest populations, the Hungarians and Finns, live outside Siberia and are mostly Christian. Sámi people had kept shamanic practices alive for a long time. They live in Europe, but practiced shamanism until the 18th century. Most others (e.g. HungarianFinnicMari) have only remnant elements of shamanism. The majority live outside Siberia. Some of them used to live in Siberia, but have migrated to their present locations since then. The original location of the Proto-Uralic peoples (and its extent) is debated. Combined phytogeographical and linguistic considerations (distribution of various tree species and the presence of their names in various Uralic languages) suggest that this area was somewhere between the Kama and Vyatka rivers on the western side of the Ural Mountains.” ref

“Among several Samoyedic peoples shamanism was a living tradition also in modern times, especially at groups living in isolation until recent times (Nganasans). There were distinguished several types of shamans among Nenets, Enets, and Selkup people. (The Nganasan shaman used three different crowns, according to the situation: one for upper world, one for underneath word, one for occasion of childbirth.) Nenets people, Enets people, Nganasan people speak Northern Samoyedic languages. They live in North Siberia (Nenets live also in European parts), they provide classical examples. Selkups are the only ones who speak Southern Samoyedic languages nowadays. They live more to the south, shamanism was in decline also at the beginning of the 20th century, although folklore memories could be recorded even in the 1960s. Other Southern Samoyedic languages were spoken by some peoples living in the Sayan Mountains, but language shift has taken place, making all these languages extinct.” ref

“Some peoples of the Sayan Mountains spoke once Southern Samoyedic languages. Most of them underwent a language shift in the beginning and middle of the 19th century, borrowing the language of neighboring Turkic peoples. The Kamassian language survived longer: 14 old people spoke it yet in 1914. In the late 20th century, some old people had passive or uncertain knowledge of the language, but collecting reliable scientific data was no longer possible. Today Kamassian is regarded as extinct. The shamanism of Samoyedic peoples in the Sayan Mountains survived longer (if we regard Karagas as a Samoyedic people, although such approaches have been refined: the problem of their origin may be more complex). Diószegi Vilmos could record not only folklore memories in the late 1950s, but he managed also to talk personally to (no longer practicing) shamans, record their personal memories, songs, some of their paraphernalia.” ref

“Whether this shamanism is borrowed entirely from neighboring Turkic peoples, or whether it has some ethnic features, maybe remnants of Samoyedic origin, is unresolved. Comparative considerations suggest, that

  • Karagas shamanism is affected by Abakan-Turkic and Buryat influence. Among the various Soyot cultures, the central Soyot groups, keeping cattle and horses, show Khalkha Mongol phenomena in their shamanism, the shamanism of Western Soyots, living on the steppe, is similar to that of Altai Turkic peoples. A shaman story narrates contacts between Soyots and Abakan Turkic peoples in a mythical form.
  • Karagas and Eastern (reindeer-breeding, mountain-inhabiting) Soyots. have many similarities in their culture and shamanism. It was these two cultures who presented some ethnic features, phenomena lacking among neighboring Turkic peoples. E.g., the structure of their shamanic drum showed such peculiarity: it had two transoms. It was also these two cultures who showed some features, that could be possibly of Samoyedic origin: the shaman’s headdress, dress, and boots has the effigies symbolizing human organs, mostly bones; in the case of headdress, representation of human face. Also, the dress-initiating song of the Karagas shaman Kokuyev contained the expression “my shamanic dress with seven vertebrae”. Hoppál interprets the skeleton-like overlay of the Karagas shaman-dress as symbol of shamanic rebirth, similar remark applies for the skeleton-like iron ornamentation of the (not Samoyedic, but genealogically unclassified, Paleosiberian) Ket “Yeniseian language” shamanic dress, although it may symbolize also the bones of the loon (the helper animal of the shaman). (The theory of Ket origin of the Karagas has already been mentioned above.) The skeleton-like overlay symbolized shamanic rebirth also among some other Siberian cultures.” ref

“Starting from the late 9th century onwards, the ancestors of the Hungarian people migrated from their Proto-Uralic homeland in Siberia to the Pannonian Basin, an area that includes present-day Hungary. Today, shamanism is no longer widely practiced by Hungarians, but elements of shamanism have been preserved in their folklore. Comparative methods reveal that some motifs used in folktales, fragments of songs and folk rhymes retain aspects of the ancient belief system. In an effort to prove that shamanistic remnants existed within Hungarian folklore ethnographer, Diószegi Vilmos, compared ethnographic records of Hungarian and neighboring peoples, and works about various shamanic traditions of some Siberian peoples. Mihály Hoppál continued Diószegi Vilmos’s work comparing shamanic beliefs of speakers of Uralic languages with those of several non-Uralic Siberian peoples. Although Ugrian folklore preserves many traces of shamanism, shamanism itself was a dying practice among the Khanty and Mansi people by the 1930s. Shamanism is still practiced by many indigenous peoples, but, among the modern Ugrians, shamanism is largely practiced by the Khanty.” ref

ref, ref, ref

I tried to put all the DNA migrations, that together help explain Sami DNA, and thus some of their cultural influences.

Sami People

Uralic languages

Ancient North Eurasian

Eastern Hunter Gatherer 

Western Hunter-Gatherer

refrefref

“MA-1 genetic affinities of Mal’ta–Buret’ culture.” ref 

Mal’ta–Buret’ culture of Siberia near Lake Baikal

“The Mal’ta–Buret’ culture is an archaeological culture of c. 24,000 to 15,000 years ago in the Upper Paleolithic on the upper Angara River in the area west of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk OblastSiberiaRussian Federation. The type sites are named for the villages of Mal’taUsolsky District, and Buret’Bokhansky District (both in Irkutsk Oblast). And a buried boy whose remains were found near Mal’ta is usually known by the abbreviation MA-1, remains have been dated to 24,000 years ago. According to research published since 2013, MA-1 belonged to a population related to the genetic ancestors of SiberiansAmerican Indians, and Bronze Age Yamnaya and Botai people of the Eurasian steppe. In particular, modern-day Native AmericansKetsMansi, and Selkup have been found to harbor a significant amount of ancestry related to MA-1.” ref

“MA-1 is the only known example of basal Y-DNA R* (R-M207*) – that is, the only member of haplogroup R* that did not belong to haplogroups R1R2, or secondary subclades of these. The mitochondrial DNA of MA-1 belonged to an unresolved subclade of haplogroup U. The term Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) has been given in genetic literature to an ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture or a population closely related to them. A people similar to MA1 and Afontova Gora were important genetic contributors to Native Americans, Siberians, Northeastern Europeans, Caucasians, Central Asians, with smaller contributions to Middle Easterners and some East Asians. Lazaridis et al. (2016) notes “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” MA1 is also related to two older Upper Paleolithic Siberian individuals found at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site called Ancient North Siberians (ANS).” ref

Ancient North Eurasian (ANE)

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American (AB/ANA)

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG)

Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG)

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) 

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG)

Early European Farmers (EEF)

Jōmon people (Ainu people OF Hokkaido Island) 

Neolithic Iranian farmers (Iran_N) (Iran Neolithic)

Amur Culture (Amur watershed)

Haplogroup R possible time of origin about 27,000 years in Central Asia, South Asia, or Siberia:

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago. The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan) but no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, of North Japan.” ref 

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy”, remains of 24,000 years ago in central Siberia Mal’ta-Buret’ culture 24,000-15,000 years ago “basal to modern-day Europeans”. Some Ancient North Eurasians also carried East Asian populations, such as Tianyuan Man.” ref

“Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were ANE at around 50% and Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) at around 75% ANE. Karelia culture: Y-DNA R1a-M417 8,400 years ago, Y-DNA J, 7,200 years ago, and Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297 7,600 years ago is closely related to ANE from Afontova Gora, 18,000 years ago around the time of blond hair first seen there.” ref 

Ancient North Eurasian

“In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (often abbreviated as ANE) is the name given to an ancestral West Eurasian component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal’ta–Buret’ culture and populations closely related to them, such as from Afontova Gora and the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site. Significant ANE ancestry are found in some modern populations, including Europeans and Native Americans.” ref 

“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy“, the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago in central Siberia, Ancient North Eurasians are described as a lineage “which is deeply related to Paleolithic/Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe,” meaning that they diverged from Paleolithic Europeans a long time ago.” ref

“The ANE population has also been described as having been “basal to modern-day Europeans” but not especially related to East Asians, and is suggested to have perhaps originated in Europe or Western Asia or the Eurasian Steppe of Central Asia. However, some samples associated with Ancient North Eurasians also carried ancestry from an ancient East Asian population, such as Tianyuan Man. Sikora et al. (2019) found that the Yana RHS sample (31,600 BP) in Northern Siberia “can be modeled as early West Eurasian with an approximately 22% contribution from early East Asians.” ref

“Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native AmericansEuropeansCentral AsiansSouth Asians, and some East Asian groups, in order of significance. Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note “a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia.” The ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were found to have a noteworthy ANE component at ~50%.” ref

“According to Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018 between 14% and 38% of Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal’ta–Buret’ people (ANE). This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior Siberian migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Eskimos and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5,000 years ago.” ref 

“Estimates for ANE ancestry among first wave Native Americans show higher percentages, such as 42% for those belonging to the Andean region in South America. The other gene flow in Native Americans (the remainder of their ancestry) was of East Asian origin. Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal’ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.” ref

“The earliest known individual with a genetic mutation associated with blonde hair in modern Europeans is an Ancient North Eurasian female dating to around 16000 BCE from the Afontova Gora 3 site in Siberia. It has been suggested that their mythology may have included a narrative, found in both Indo-European and some Native American fables, in which a dog guards the path to the afterlife.” ref

“Genomic studies also indicate that the ANE component was introduced to Western Europe by people related to the Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic. It is reported in modern-day Europeans (7%–25%), but not of Europeans before the Bronze Age. Additional ANE ancestry is found in European populations through paleolithic interactions with Eastern Hunter-Gatherers, which resulted in populations such as Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers.” ref

“The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) split from the ancestors of European peoples somewhere in the Middle East or South-central Asia, and used a northern dispersal route through Central Asia into Northern Asia and Siberia. Genetic analyses show that all ANE samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal’ta 1, and Yana-RHS) show evidence for minor gene flow from an East Asian-related group (simplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan). In contrast, no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, was found.” ref

“Genetic data suggests that the ANE formed during the Terminal Upper-Paleolithic (36+-1,5ka) period from a deeply European-related population, which was once widespread in Northern Eurasia, and from an early East Asian-related group, which migrated northwards into Central Asia and Siberia, merging with this deeply European-related population. These population dynamics and constant northwards geneflow of East Asian-related ancestry would later gave rise to the “Ancestral Native Americans” and Paleosiberians, which replaced the ANE as dominant population of Siberia.” ref

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage derived predominantly (75%) from ANE. It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. This lineage is closely related to the ANE sample from Afontova Gora, dated c. 18 kya. After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. Evidence suggests that as Ancient North Eurasians migrated West from Eastern Siberia, they absorbed Western Hunter-Gatherers and other West Eurasian populations as well.” ref

Caucasian Hunter-Gatherer (CHG) is represented by the Satsurblia individual dated ~13 kya (from the Satsurblia cave in Georgia), and carried 36% ANE-derived admixture. While the rest of their ancestry is derived from the Dzudzuana cave individual dated ~26 kya, which lacked ANE-admixture, Dzudzuana affinity in the Caucasus decreased with the arrival of ANE at ~13 kya Satsurblia.” ref

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is represented by several individuals buried at Motala, Sweden ca. 6000 BC. They were descended from Western Hunter-Gatherers who initially settled Scandinavia from the south, and later populations of EHG who entered Scandinavia from the north through the coast of Norway.” ref

“Iran Neolithic (Iran_N) individuals dated ~8.5 kya carried 50% ANE-derived admixture and 50% Dzudzuana-related admixture, marking them as different from other Near-Eastern and Anatolian Neolithics who didn’t have ANE admixture. Iran Neolithics were later replaced by Iran Chalcolithics, who were a mixture of Iran Neolithic and Near Eastern Levant Neolithic.” ref

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago. The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago.” ref

“West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSHG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% to 38% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent closely related to the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe. This ancestry is often referred to as Yamnaya ancestry or Steppe ancestry.” ref

“Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal – Ust’Kyakhta-3 (UKY) 14,050-13,770 BP were mixture of 30% ANE ancestry and 70% East Asian ancestry.” ref

“Lake Baikal Holocene – Baikal Eneolithic (Baikal_EN) and Baikal Early Bronze Age (Baikal_EBA) derived 6.4% to 20.1% ancestry from ANE, while rest of their ancestry was derived from East Asians. Fofonovo_EN near by Lake Baikal were mixture of 12-17% ANE ancestry and 83-87% East Asian ancestry.” ref

Hokkaido Jōmon people specifically refers to the Jōmon period population of Hokkaido in northernmost Japan. Though the Jōmon people themselves descended mainly from East Asian lineages, one study found an affinity between Hokkaido Jōmon with the Northern Eurasian Yana sample (an ANE-related group, related to Mal’ta), and suggest as an explanation the possibility of minor Yana gene flow into the Hokkaido Jōmon population (as well as other possibilities). A more recent study by Cooke et al. 2021, confirmed ANE-related geneflow among the Jōmon people, partially ancestral to the Ainu people. ANE ancestry among Jōmon people is estimated at 21%, however, there is a North to South cline within the Japanese archipelago, with the highest amount of ANE ancestry in Hokkaido and Tohoku.” ref

FOLKLORE PARALLELS BETWEEN SIBERIA AND SOUTH ASIA AND THE MYTHOLOGY OF THE EURASIAN STEPPES*

“According to the myth about the origin of man recorded among the people of Eastern Europe and Siberia, the creator set a dog to guard the half-made human figures, but the antagonist bribed the guard and spoiled the creation, making humans vulnerable to disease. The creator told the dog to become the servant of man. Texts recorded in India (mostly among the Munda-speaking groups), the Dards of the Hindu Kush and the Abkhasians, though partly similar to the Northern Eurasian ones, do not share some important details: the antagonist is a horse, it tried to destroy man but a dog drove it away. In the Mongolian (more precisely, the Oirat) version, a cow acts instead of a horse, but in other respects, this variant is similar to the Abkhasian ones. Negative associations related to the horse are rather widespread
in Europe and Central Asia. Stories about the creation of man recorded in northern and southern Eurasia stemmed from the anthropogenic myth that was known to the Indo-Europeans of the Bronze Age. South Asia and the European–Siberian zone also share other tales, in particular the Earth-diver myth. Their analysis opens possibilities for reconstructing the early mythology of the inhabitants of the Eurasian steppe.” ref

Comparative Mythology

Since the term ‘Ancient North Eurasian’ refers to a genetic bridge of connected mating networks, scholars of comparative mythology have argued that they probably shared myths and beliefs that could be reconstructed via the comparison of stories attested within cultures that were not in contact for millennia and stretched from the Pontic–Caspian steppe to the American continent. The mytheme of the dog guarding the Otherworld possibly stems from an older Ancient North Eurasian belief, as suggested by similar motifs found in Indo-European, Native American and Siberian mythology. In Siouan, Algonquian, Iroquoian, and in Central and South American beliefs, a fierce guard dog was located in the Milky Way, perceived as the path of souls in the afterlife, and getting past it was a test.” ref

“The Siberian Chukchi and Tungus believed in a guardian-of-the-afterlife dog and a spirit dog that would absorb the dead man’s soul and act as a guide in the afterlife. In Indo-European myths, the figure of the dog is embodied by Cerberus, Sarvarā, and Garmr. In Zoroastrianism, two four-eyed dogs guard the bridge to the afterlife called Chinvat Bridge. Anthony and Brown note that it might be one of the oldest mythemes recoverable through comparative mythology.” ref

“A second canid-related series of beliefs, myths and rituals connected dogs with healing rather than death. For instance, Ancient Near Eastern and TurkicKipchaq myths are prone to associate dogs with healing and generally categorised dogs as impure. A similar myth-pattern is assumed for the Eneolithic site of Botai in Kazakhstan, dated to 3500 BC, which might represent the dog as absorber of illness and guardian of the household against disease and evil. In Mesopotamia, the goddess Nintinugga, associated with healing, was accompanied or symbolized by dogs. Similar absorbent-puppy healing and sacrifice rituals were practiced in Greece and Italy, among the Hittites, again possibly influenced by Near Eastern traditions.” ref

ref

“The distribution area of traditions containing the northern and southern variants of the myth about the creation of man.
1 – the guard (usually a dog) cannot defend the human fgures created by God from the antagonist; 2 – the guard (usually a dog) successfully drives away the antagonist who tried to destroy God’s creation; 3 – the antagonist is a horse or a cow (among the Oirats).” ref

ref

“The distribution of certain mythological motifs in Eurasia. 1 – Spoiled creation: the dog lets the antagonist pass to the figures of people who were created by God; 2 – Earth-diver (approximate limits of the maximal distribution area of the motif); 3 – Striped chipmunk.” ref

ref

“Iroquois Creation Myth NSky Woman A Depiction Of The Iroquois Creation Myth Oil On Canvas 1936 By Ernest Smith Poster” ref

Earth-diver myth

(creation myth or cosmogonic myth, which is a type of cosmogony, 

symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it.)

“The earth-diver is a common character in various traditional creation myths. In these stories, a supreme being usually sends an animal (most often a type of bird, but also crustaceans, insects, and fish in some narratives) into the primal waters to find bits of sand or mud with which to build habitable land. Some scholars interpret these myths psychologically while others interpret them cosmogonically. In both cases, emphasis is placed on beginnings emanating from the depths.” ref

According to Gudmund Hatt and Tristram P. Coffin, Earth-diver myths are common in Native American folklore, among the following populations: ShoshoneMeskwakiBlackfootChipewyanNewetteeYokuts of California, MandanHidatsaCheyenneArapahoOjibweYuchi, and Cherokee. American anthropologist Gladys Reichard located the distribution of the motif across “all parts of North America”, save for “the extreme north, northeast, and southwest.” ref 

“In a 1977 study, anthropologist Victor Barnouw surmised that the earth-diver motif appeared in “hunting-gathering societies“, mainly among northerly groups such as the HareDogribKaskaBeaverCarrierChipewyanSarsiCree, and Montagnais. Similar tales are also found among the Chukchi and Yukaghir, the Tatars, and many Finno-Ugric traditions, as well as among the Buryat and the Samoyed. In addition, the earth-diver motif also exists in narratives from Eastern Europe, namely Romani, Romanian, Slavic (namely, Bulgarian, Polish, Ukrainian, and Belarusian), and Lithuanian mythological traditions.” ref

“The pattern of distribution of these stories suggest they have a common origin in the eastern Asiatic coastal region, spreading as peoples migrated west into Siberia and east to the North American continent. However, there are examples of this mytheme found well outside of this boreal distribution pattern, for example the West African Yoruba creation myth of Ọbatala and OduduwaCharacteristic of many Native American myths, earth-diver creation stories begin as beings and potential forms linger asleep or suspended in the primordial realm. The earth-diver is among the first of them to awaken and lay the necessary groundwork by building suitable lands where the coming creation will be able to live. In many cases, these stories will describe a series of failed attempts to make land before the solution is found.ref

“Among the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the earth-diver cosmogony is attested in Iroquois mythology: a female sky deity falls from the heavens, and certain animals, the beaver, the otter, the duck, and the muskrat dive in the waters to fetch mud to construct an island. In a similar story from the Seneca, people lived in a sky realm. One day, the chief’s daughter was afflicted with a mysterious illness, and the only cure recommended for her (revealed in a dream) was to lie beside a tree and to have it be dug up. The people do so, but a man complains that the tree was their livelihood, and kicks the girl through the hole. She ends up falling from the sky to a world of only water, but is rescued by waterfowl.ref

“A turtle offers to bear her on its shell, but asked where would be a definitive dwelling place for her. They decide to create land, and the toad dives into the depths of the primal sea to get pieces of soil. The toad puts it on the turtle’s back, which grows larger with every deposit of soil. In another version from the Wyandot, the Wyandot lived in heaven. The daughter of the Big Chief (or Mighty Ruler) was sick, so the medicine man recommends that they dig up the wild apple tree that stands next to the Lodge of the Mighty Ruler, because the remedy is to be found on its roots.ref

“However, as the tree has been dug out, the ground begins to sink away, and the treetops catch and carry down the sick daughter with it. As the girl falls from the skies, two swans rescue her on their backs. The birds decide to summon all the Swimmers and the Water Tribes. Many volunteer to dive into the Great Water to fetch bits of earth from the bottom of the sea, but only the toad (female, in the story) is the one successful.ref

GENES AND MYTHS: ANCIENT MAL’TA DNA AND THE EARTH-DIVER MYTHOLOGICAL MOTIF

Earth-Diver is one of the most widely-distributed and well-studied cosmological myths. Found in mostly Uralic-speaking Eastern Europe, in Siberia, in Munda-speaking Northeast India and North America, its action is set in post-diluvial times when a demiurge sends various creatures to bring a piece of mud from the bottom of the ocean. The first creature fails, but the second one succeeds. Importantly, it’s the least likely creature that succeeds, while the more obvious favorite fails. A loon is a much better diver than a duck but it’s the duck that succeeds. In the end, the demiurge blows the earth out of the tiny piece of mud and restores life on it. Depending on the region, the diving creatures are different – in Eurasia it’s waterfowl birds – loon and duck, in North America it’s amphibians such as turtle or frog, animals such as otter or beaver or waterbirds, in Northeast India and the American Southwest – it’s arthropods.” ref

The Initial Stages of Evolution of Uralic-Speakers: Evidence from a Mythological Reconstruction (Proto-Uralic Cosmogonic Myth) have suggested that the Earth-Diver motif is the folkloric manifestation of a more comprehensive system of beliefs related to the experiences of a shamanic flight in Northern Eurasian and Amerindian cultures. Siberian shamans liken themselves to waterfowl birds flying between worlds in search of the soul of their patient and they manipulate waterfowl figurines during their shamanic seances. Remarkably, very similar figurines are found at the 24,000-year-old Mal’ta archaeological site in South Siberia (see one on the left made out of a mammoth tusk), and Napol’skikh, in his 1991 book as well as in a recent talk (see video in Russian, roughly from 11:40 on) proposed that the Mal’ta people possessed the “cult of a waterfowl” and told the Earth-Diver myth. This means that the Earth-Diver motif may go back to pre-LGM times.” ref

“Mal’ta has recently made headlines thanks to the sequencing of the genome of a 4-year-old boy found at this site. The DNA sample fell in-between West Eurasians and Amerindians, without any special connection to East Asians, and showed typical West Eurasian mtDNA and Y-DNA haplogroups, namely U and R, respectively. They are sister lineages of widely distributed in the Americas hg B (mtDNA) and hg Q (Y-DNA). It appears that, in pre-LGM times, Amerindians and West Eurasians formed a genetic continuum and that modern East Asians did not yet emerge as a distinct population. This finding may put the distribution of the Earth-Diver myth into a new perspective. Per Davidski’s request,   adduce the map of the distribution of the Earth-Diver motif in Eurasia and North America (see the shaded areas on the left).” ref

“One should not expect a perfect fit between the distribution of myths and genes but the Earth-Diver distribution is rather clearly demarcated on a worldwide scale and does show continuity between West Eurasia and North America. The motif is notably absent from Western Europe – precisely the area that was covered with the glacier from 25,000 to 14,000 years ago – and from Beringia (Paleoasiatic peoples such as Chukchees and Koryaks as well as Eskimos don’t tell earth-diver stories), which may have been blocked by ice as well. Its presence in the Balkans is a due to relatively recent events such as Turkic and Avar migrations across the southern European steppe.” ref

“According to Napol’skikh’s motif phylogeny (on the left), the Earth-Diver myth has gone through 3 evolutionary stages – MNP-0, MNP-1 and MNP-2. At MNP-0, any creature (and any number of creatures) could become the demiurge’s helper as long as the least likely creature succeeded. At MNP-1, the plot crystallized around a pair of waterfowls in Siberia and Western North America and a pair of animals in Eastern North America. At MNP-3, one of the creatures dropped off and the demiurge used the help of only one helper. The “cladistics” of the myth is, therefore, rather simple: the dynamic and variable ancestral forms crystallize into progressively fewer characters.” ref

“As the detailed maps of motif and submotif distribution show, North America and Northern Eurasia share MNP-2 but then the rest of the variation is continent-specific. Eurasia has a number of clearly derived variants that are missing from the Americas, while America has a number variants not seen in Eurasia.  Napol’skikh observes that stage MNP-0 is better represented in North America – the region that tends to have more archaic versions of the motif and more basal motif diversity (not just waterfowls, but animals, too; not just two creatures but many, etc.). Remarkably, the use of arthropods by the demiurge is a trait shared by Munda-speaking Northeast Indians (see the Berezkin map of Eurasia above) and the Muskogean-speaking Amerindians from the Southeast, both areas being the southernmost extremes of the Earth-Diver distribution. As the Mal’ta boy is re-writing the prehistory of Eurasia, opportunities are growing for cross-disciplinary integration that would tie together genes and culture into a coherent story.ref

ref

A: MNP-2 (two waterbirds)
B: MNP-1 (one waterbird)
C: amphibian as diver (only Romanians, possibly Roma influence)
D: MNP-2 with theo- or anthropomorphic characters who turn into waterbirds are the divers
E: MNP-1 with a theo- or anthropomorphic character as a waterbird
F: A theo- or anthropomorphic character does not turn into a bird but brings a piece of soil in his mouth
G: F: A theo- or anthropomorphic character does not turn into a bird but brings a piece of soil in his hands
H: fuzzy versions ref

ref

A: waterbird(s) are divers
B: animals (otter, beaver) are divers
C: amphibians (turtle, frog, toad) are divers
D: arthropods (beetle, lobster) are divers
E: birds and animals are divers
F: birds and a turtle are divers
G: fuzzy versions ref

Folklore Parallels Between Siberia And South Asia And The Mythology Of The Eurasian Steppes

According to the myth about the origin of man recorded among the people of Eastern Europe and Siberia, the creator set a dog to guard the half-made human figures, but the antagonist bribed the guard and spoiled the creation, making humans vulnerable to disease. The creator told the dog to become the servant of man. Texts recorded in India (mostly among the Munda-speaking groups), the Dards of the Hindu Kush and the Abkhasians, though partly similar to the Northern Eurasian ones, do not share some important details: the antagonist is a horse, it tried to destroy man but a dog drove it away. In the Mongolian (more precisely, the Oirat) version, a cow acts instead of a horse, but in other respects this variant is similar to the Abkhasian ones. Negative associations related to the horse are rather widespread in Europe and Central Asia. Stories about the creation of man recorded in northern and southern Eurasia stemmed from the anthropogenic myth that was known to the Indo-Europeans of the Bronze Age. South Asia and the European–Siberian zone also share other tales, in particular the Earth-diver myth. Their analysis opens possibilities for reconstructing the early mythology of the inhabitants of the Eurasian steppe.” ref

Diver-Myths

“Scientific evidence has shown that at one point parts of the earth that are now dry were covered by water. Many myths allude to this fact by imagining a world once covered by water. Many myths, called diver-myths (Long 188), consisted of a being diving into the water that covers the earth to retrieve some earth. The earth brought to the surface became the land we know today. Other stories had the mud brought to the surface in a different way, but many had the common element of some earth being brought to the surface of the water and growing until it became the Earth.” ref

“According to the Iroquois Native Americans water animals inhabited the Earth before there was land. When a Sky Woman fell from her home above they caught her and dove into the seas to bring up mud. This mud they spread onto the back of Big Turtle. There it began to grow until it became North America.ref

“The Japanese creation myth painted a picture of a muddy ocean which covered the world at the beginning of time. A god and goddess, Izanagi and Izanami, became curious about what was beneath the ocean. Izanagi took his staff and threw it into the ocean. As he lifted it back up some lumps of earth fell off into the water. These became the islands of Japan. No being dove beneath the waters to find mud, but the element of earth being covered by water and a being bringing the earth up is there.ref

“The creation myth of Christians and Jews does not tell of God diving into the water to bring up mud, but Genesis 1:2 says Òthe Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.Ó Therefore according to the Torah and Bible the Earth was once covered entirely by water.ref

Power of Myths

“The most obvious function of myths is the explanation of facts, whether natural or cultural. One North American Indian (Abenaki) myth, for example, explains the origin of corn (maize): a lonely man meets a beautiful woman with long, fair hair; she promises to remain with him if he follows her instructions; she tells him in detail how to make a fire and, after he has done so, she orders him to drag her over the burned ground; as a result of these actions, he will see her silken hair (viz., the cornstalk) reappear, and thereafter he will have corn seeds for his use. Henceforth, whenever Abenaki Indians see corn (the woman’s hair), they know that she remembers them.” ref

“Obviously, a myth such as this one functions as an explanation, but the narrative form distinguishes it from a straightforward answer to an intellectual question about causes. The function of explanation and the narrative form go together, since the imaginative power of the myth lends credibility to the explanation and crystallizes it into a memorable and enduring form. Hence myths play an important part in many traditional systems of education. Many myths explain ritual and cultic customs. According to myths from the island of Ceram (in Indonesia), in the beginning life was not complete, or not yet “human”: vegetation and animals did not exist, and there was neither death nor sexuality. In a mysterious manner Hainuwele, a girl with extraordinary gift-bestowing powers, appeared.” ref

“The people killed her at the end of their great annual celebration, and her dismembered body was planted in the earth. Among the species that sprang up after this act of planting were tubers—the staple diet of the people telling the myth. With a certain circularity frequent in mythology, the myth validates the very cultic celebration mentioned in the myth. The cult can be understood as a commemoration of those first events. Hence, the myth can be said to validate life itself together with the cultic celebration. Comparable myths are told in a number of societies where the main means of food production is the cultivation of root crops; the myths reflect the fact that tubers must be cut up and buried in the earth for propagation to take place.” ref

“Ritual sacrifices are typical of traditional peasant cultures. In most cases such customs are related to mythical events. Among important themes are the necessity of death (e.g., the grain “dies” and is buried, only to yield a subsequent harvest), a society’s cyclic renewal of itself (e.g., New Year’s celebrations), and the significance of women and sexuality. New Year’s celebrations, often accompanied by a temporary abandonment of all rules, may be related to or justified by mythical themes concerning a return to chaos and a return of the dead.” ref

“In every mythological tradition one myth or cluster of myths tends to be central. The subject of the central mythology is often cosmogony (origin of the cosmos). In many of those ceremonies that each society has developed as a symbol of what is necessary to its well-being, references are made to the beginning of the world. Examples include the enthronements of kings, which in some traditions (as in Fiji or ancient India) are associated with a creation or re-creation of the world. Analogously, in ancient Mesopotamia the creation epic Enuma elish, which was read each New Year at Babylon, celebrated the progress of the cosmos from initial anarchy to government by the kingship of Marduk; hence the authority of earthly rulers, and of earthly monarchy in general, was implicitly supported and justified.” ref

“Ruling families in ancient civilizations frequently justified their position by invoking myths—for example, that they had divine origins. Examples are known from imperial China, pharaonic Egypt, the Hittite empire, Polynesia, the Inca empire, and India. Elites have also based their claims to privilege on myths. The French historian of ancient religion Georges Dumézil was the pioneer in suggesting that the priestly, warrior, and producing classes in ancient Indo-European societies regarded themselves as having been ordained to particular tasks by virtue of their mythological origins. And in every known cultural tradition there exists some mythological foundation that is referred to when defending marriage and funerary customs.” ref

“Creation myths play a significant role in healing the sick; they are recited (e.g., among the Navajo people of North America) when an individual’s world—that is to say, the person’s life—is in jeopardy. Thus, healing through recitation of a cosmogony is one example of the use of myth as a magical incantation. Another example is the case of Icelandic poets, who, in the singing of the episode in Old Norse mythology in which the god Odin wins for gods and humans the “mead of song” (a drink containing the power of poetic inspiration), can be said to be celebrating the origins of their own art and, hence, renewing it.” ref

“Modern science did not evolve in its entirety as a rebellion against myth, nor at its birth did it suddenly throw off the shackles of myth. In ancient Greece the naturalists of Ionia (western Asia Minor), long regarded as the originators of science, developed views of the universe that were in fact very close to the creation myths of their time. Those who laid the foundations of modern science, such as Nicholas of CusaJohannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and Gottfried Leibniz, were absorbed by metaphysical problems of which the traditional, indeed mythological, character is evident. Among these problems were the nature of infinity and the question of the omnipotence of God. The influence of mythological views is seen in the English physician William Harvey’s association of the circulation of the blood with the planetary movements and Charles Darwin’s explanation of woman’s menstrual cycles by the tides of the ocean.” ref

Shell Mound Summer Solstice Feasts – Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology

“A spectacular archaeological site with a generic name lies on the end of a peninsula about 12 km north of the town of Cedar Key. Shell Mound (8LV42) is well known to many people who live in and visit the Cedar Key area, but until recently details of its age and use were few. Since 2012 the LSA has delved into the many mysteries of Shell Mound and now have a reasonably good sense of what happened there between about 400 and 650 CE. As the name implies, Shell Mound is a shell mound, although it actually is more of a shell ring. In relief reaching up to 7 m above the ground surface, Shell Mound is a subcircular ridge about 180 x 170 m in outside diameter enclosing an open area about 60 m wide. A program of extensive test excavation revealed a more complex picture than Shell Mound’s surface allows. Deposits along the north and south ridges (arcs) of this subcircle are entirely different. The north ridge consists mostly of dune sands, with midden on top and large in-filled pits along the south slope. Much of the south ridge consists of redeposited midden and pit fill from the inside of the north ridge, terraforming that occurred after about 150 years of occupation, ca. 550 CE. Whether done all at once or in phases of individual mounds, construction of the south ridge enclosed what is arguably a central plaza. Our limited testing in this open space provided suggestive evidence for buildings along the interior edge. A small circular village of 10-15 households is a reasonable estimate in need of testing.” ref

Mound Builders

Many pre-Columbian cultures in North America were collectively termed “Mound Builders“, but the term has no formal meaning. It does not refer to specific people or archaeological culture but refers to the characteristic mound earthworks that indigenous peoples erected for an extended period of more than 5,000 years. The “Mound Builder” cultures span the period of roughly 3500 BCE (the construction of Watson Brake) to the 16th century CE, including the Archaic period (Horr’s Island), Woodland period (Caloosahatchee, Adena, and Hopewell cultures), and Mississippian period. Geographically, the cultures were present in the region of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley, Florida, and the Mississippi River Valley and its tributary waters.ref

“The first mound building was an early marker of political and social complexity among the cultures in the Eastern United States. Watson Brake in Louisiana, constructed about 3500 BCE during the Middle Archaic period, is the oldest known and dated mound complex in North America. It is one of 11 mound complexes from this period found in the Lower Mississippi Valley. These cultures generally had developed hierarchical societies that had an elite. These commanded hundreds or even thousands of workers to dig up tons of earth with the hand tools available, move the soil long distances, and finally, workers to create the shape with layers of soil as directed by the builders. However early mounds found in Louisiana preceded such cultures and were products of hunter-gatherer cultures.ref

“Radiocarbon dating has established the age of the earliest Archaic mound complex in southeastern Louisiana. One of the two Monte Sano Site mounds, excavated in 1967 before being destroyed for new construction at Baton Rouge, was dated at 6220 BP (plus or minus 140 years). Researchers at the time thought that such hunter-gatherer societies were not organizationally capable of this type of construction. It has since been dated as about 6500 BP or 4500 BCE, although not all agree.ref

Watson Brake is located in the floodplain of the Ouachita River near Monroe in northern Louisiana. Securely dated to about 5,400 years ago (around 3500 BCE), in the Middle Archaic period, it consists of a formation of 11 mounds from 3 feet (0.91 m) to 25 feet (7.6 m) tall, connected by ridges to form an oval nearly 900 feet (270 m) across. In the Americas, the building of complex earthwork mounds started at an early date, well before the pyramids of Egypt were constructed. Watson Brake was being constructed nearly 2,000 years before the better-known Poverty Point, and the building continued for 500 years. Middle Archaic mound construction seems to have ceased about 2800 BCE. Scholars have not ascertained the reason, but it may have been because of changes in river patterns or other environmental factors.ref

“With the 1990s dating of Watson Brake and similar complexes, scholars established that pre-agricultural, pre-ceramic American societies could organize to accomplish complex construction during extended periods, invalidating scholars’ traditional ideas of Archaic society. Watson Brake was built by a hunter-gatherer society, the people of which occupied this area only on a seasonal basis. Successive generations organized to build the complex mounds over 500 years. Their food consisted mostly of fish and deer, as well as available plants.ref

“Poverty Point, built about 1500 BCE in what is now Louisiana, is a prominent example of Late Archaic mound-builder construction (around 2500 BCE – 1000 BCE). It is a striking complex of more than 1 square mile (2.6 km2), where six earthwork crescent ridges were built in concentric arrangement, interrupted by radial aisles. Three mounds are also part of the main complex, and evidence of residences extends for about 3 miles (4.8 km) along the bank of Bayou Macon. It is the major site among 100 associated with the Poverty Point culture and is one of the best-known early examples of earthwork monumental architecture. Unlike the localized societies during the Middle Archaic, this culture showed evidence of a wide trading network outside its area, which is one of its distinguishing characteristics.ref

Horr’s Island, Florida, now a gated community next to Marco Island, was excavated by Michael Russo in 1980. He found an Archaic Indian village site. Mound A was a burial mound that dated to 3400 BCE, making it the oldest known burial mound in North America.ref

“From about 800 CE, the mound-building cultures were dominated by the Mississippian culture, a large archaeological horizon, whose youngest descendants, the Plaquemine culture and the Fort Ancient culture, were still active at the time of European contact in the 16th century. One tribe of the Fort Ancient culture has been identified as the Mosopelea, presumably of southeast Ohio, who spoke an Ohio Valley Siouan language. The bearers of the Plaquemine culture were presumably speakers of the Natchez language isolate. The first written description of these cultures were made by members of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto‘s expedition, between 1540 and 1542.ref

“The namesake cultural trait of the Mound Builders was the building of mounds and other earthworks. These burial and ceremonial structures were typically flat-topped pyramids or platform mounds, flat-topped or rounded cones, elongated ridges, and sometimes a variety of other forms. They were generally built as part of complex villages. The early earthworks built in Louisiana around 3500 BCE are the only ones known to have been built by a hunter-gatherer culture, rather than a more settled culture based on agricultural surpluses.ref

“The best-known flat-topped pyramidal structure is Monks Mound at Cahokia, near present-day Collinsville, Illinois. This community was the center of the Mississippian culture. This mound appears to have been the main ceremonial and residential mound for the religious and political leaders; it is more than 100 feet (30 m) tall and is the largest pre-Columbian earthwork north of Mexico. This site had numerous mounds, some with conical or ridge tops, as well as palisaded stockades protecting the large settlement and elite quarter. At its maximum about 1150 CE, Cahokia was an urban settlement with 20,000–30,000 people. This population was not exceeded by North American European settlements until after 1800.ref

“Some effigy mounds were constructed in the shapes or outlines of culturally significant animals. The most famous effigy mound, Serpent Mound in southern Ohio, ranges from 1 foot (0.30 m) to just over 3 feet (0.91 m) tall, 20 feet (6.1 m) wide, more than 1,330 feet (410 m) long, and shaped as an undulating serpent.ref

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The Hopewell pre-Columbianmound-builders” Cosmos

“The People of the Eastern Woodlands clearly possessed a rich cosmological framework enhanced by an understanding of astronomy and mathematics. Subsumed in development, the sites are sequestered from the landscape to form an image that today’s society finds agreeable, an image that archaeologists possess the means to retract.” ref

Suggested Cosmology and Retracted Image: An Analysis of the Newark Earthworks

Across American society today, prevailing trends purvey an understanding of Eastern Woodland Peoples as naturalistic itinerants with a deep and harmonious awareness of forests, waters, and the bounty offered therein. Almost as a default, ‘structure’ suggests images of impermanent longhouses and wigwams. Likewise, ‘culture’ suggests a reverence for the Earth. People seldom consider Native Americans movers and shapers of the landscapes around them, especially in the context of timelines extending back nearly 2000 years. In archaeological practice, the rigid assumptions of the populace at large endanger objective analysis from the outset, especially when it comes to the identification of significant sites and the decision to interpret evidence.” ref

“In Newark, Ohio, not far from Columbus, lies what basic historical literature refers to as “the largest set of geometric earthen enclosures in the world” (“Newark Earthworks”). Even though the area surrounding the sites is highly urbanized in a way that engulfs each one as a separate island of greenspace, archaeology is concerned with the ancient context that extends throughout the landscape. Here, sites of interest have been revealed by extrapolating Native American cosmology and mathematics from features on the landscape.ref

“Recent studies using ground and aerial survey techniques emphasize the importance of Geller Hill in understanding the creation and significance of the Newark Earthworks. Plotted on a map in the midst of a flat plain, Geller Hill is a landmark. Using the diameter of Newark’s Observatory Circle (OCD) as a baseline, archaeologists recognize the significance placed on spatial distance by Hopewell peoples. Located approximately seven OCDs from the peak of Geller Hill, the centers of the Newark’s octagonal and circular earthworks appear to form the sides of an isosceles triangle. According to a local source, “the measured Geller Hill, Octagon, Great Circle triangle varies from the geometric ideal by an average of less than one percent,” much like other Hopewell sites (Romain).ref

Consistent use of the OCD lends credence to an integrated view of landscape and erodes the perception of Native American societies as hapless in their patterns of settlement and naive in their understanding of the universe. Altogether, the Newark Earthworks compose an extensive natural observatory that people used to position themselves within a valid reality. The triangle’s axis of symmetry “[aligns with] the moon’s maximum north rise point” and thereby associates the site with Hopewell ideas of a balance cosmos. Bradley T. Lepper goes so far as to compare the site with a “gigantic machine or factory” drawing together the energies of the Hopewell universe (Lepper).” ref

 

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This art is a “Display at Chucalissa Mounds in Memphis showing all the elements involved in the Path of Souls death journey, a widely held belief system among the mound builders of America.” ref

“Artist Jack Johnson’s interpretation of southeastern Native cosmology, showing the tripartite division of the world. The axis mundi is depicted as a tree or post connecting the fire symbol of this world, the sun symbol of the upper world and the ‘swastika’ symbol of the lower world.” ref

“It should be remembered that the Mississippian culture that built Cahokia may have considered a cedar tree or a striped cedar pole to be a symbol of the Axis Mundi (also called the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, the center of the world, or world tree – has been greatly extended to refer to any mythological concept representing “the connection between Heaven and Earth” or the “higher and lower realms), the pillar connecting the above, middle, & below worlds, & around which the cosmos turns An American Yggdrasil (Norse tree of life). Some work has gone into reconstructing the woodhenge, and it is one of the sites around Cahokia that you can visit today. (The Solar Calendar of Woodhenge in Cahokia | Native America: Cities of the Sky).” – Vulpine Outlaw @Rad_Sherwoodism

“Items adduced as examples of the axis mundi by comparative mythologists include plants (notably a tree but also other types of plants such as a vine or stalk), a mountain, a column of smoke or fire, or a product of human manufacture (such as a staff, a tower, a ladder, a staircase, a maypole, a cross, a steeple, a rope, a totem pole, a pillar, a spire). Its proximity to heaven may carry implications that are chiefly religious (pagodatemple mountminaretchurch) or secular (obelisklighthouserocketskyscraper). The image appears in religious and secular contexts. The axis mundi symbol may be found in cultures utilizing shamanic practices or animist belief systems, in major world religions, and in technologically advanced “urban centers.” ref

Do we know what the symbols represent?

 “Yes. It’s a bit more than I’d want to post on TwiX right now. It’s showing the 3-part universe, an upper, lower, and middle world, & the Milky Way is shown as well as Orion the Hand Constellation, Scorpius the ruler of the underworld, and Cygnus, the Judge. Also the main powers of the upper & lower worlds.” – Gregory L Little, Ed.D. @DrGregLittle2

Gregory L Little, Ed.D. BA/MS Psychology, Ed.D. Counseling/Ed. Psych Author since ’84 (70+ books/workbooks). Mound Builder Society: Be Kind; Respect Everything; Honor the Ancient Ones. 

EVIDENCE FOR STEPPED PYRAMIDS OF SHELL IN THE WOODLAND PERIOD OF EASTERN NORTH AMERICA

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“The Paleolithic dog was a Late Pleistocene canine. They were directly associated with human hunting camps in Europe over 30,000 years ago and it is proposed that these were domesticated. They are further proposed to be either a proto-dog and the ancestor of the domestic dog or an extinct, morphologically and genetically divergent wolf population. There are a number of recently discovered specimens which are proposed as being Paleolithic dogs, however, their taxonomy is debated. These have been found in either Europe or Siberia and date 40,000–17,000 years ago. They include Hohle Fels in Germany, Goyet Caves in Belgium, Predmosti in the Czech Republic, and four sites in Russia: Razboinichya Cave in the Altai RepublicKostyonki-8, Ulakhan Sular in the Sakha Republic, and Eliseevichi 1 on the Russian plain.” ref

1. 40,000–35,500 years ago Hohle FelsSchelklingen, Germany
2. 36,500 years ago Goyet Caves, Samson River Valley, Belgium
3. 33,500 years ago Razboinichya Cave,  Altai Mountains, (Russia/Siberia)
4. 33,500–26,500 years ago Kostyonki-Borshchyovo archaeological complex, (Kostenki site) Voronezh, Russia
5. 31,000 years ago Predmostí, Moravia, Czech Republic
6. 26,000 years ago Chauvet CaveVallon-Pont-d’Arc, Ardèche region, France
7. 17,300–14,100 years ago Dyuktai Cave, northern Yakutia, Siberia
8. 17,000–16,000 years ago Eliseevichi-I site, Bryansk Region, Russian Plain, Russia
9. 16,900 years ago Afontova Gora-1, Yenisei River, southern Siberia
10. 14,223 years ago BonnOberkassel, Germany
11. 13,500 years ago MezineChernigov region, Ukraine
12. 13,000 years ago Palegawra, (Zarzian culture) Iraq
13. 12,800 years ago Ushki I, Kamchatka, eastern Siberia
14. 12,790 years ago NanzhuangtouChina
15. 12,300 years ago Ust’-Khaita site, Baikal region, Siberia
16. 12,000 years ago Ain Mallaha (Eynan) and HaYonim terrace, Israel
17. 10,150 years ago Lawyer’s Cave, Alaska, USA
18. 9,000 years ago Jiahu site, China
19. 8,000 years ago Svaerdborg site, Denmark
20. 7,425 years ago Lake Baikal region, Siberia
21. 7,000 years ago Tianluoshan archaeological site, Zhejiang province, China ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Native American dogs

Native American dogs, or Pre-Columbian dogs, were dogs living with people indigenous to the Americas. Arriving about 10,000 years ago alongside Paleoindians, today they make up a fraction of dog breeds that range from the Alaskan Malamute to the Peruvian Hairless DogThe earliest evidence for dogs in the Americas can be found in Danger Cave, Utah, a site which has been dated to between 9,000 and 10,000 years BCE. These New World dogs have been shown to descend from Old World Eurasian grey wolves. The pre-contact dogs exhibit a unique genetic signature that is now gone, with DNA from the cell nucleus indicating that their nearest genetic relatives today are the Arctic breed dogs—Alaskan Malamutes, Greenland Dogs, Alaskan huskiesCarolina Dogs, and Siberian Huskies. It is theorized that there were four separate introductions of the dog over the past nine thousand years, in which five different lineages were founded in the Americas.” ref

“In 2018, a study compared sequences of North American dog fossils with Siberian dog fossils and modern dogs. The nearest relative to the North American fossils was a 9,000 BCE fossil discovered on Zhokhov Island, Arctic north-eastern Siberia, which was connected to the mainland at that time. The study inferred from mDNA that all of the North American dogs shared a common ancestor dated 14,600 BCE, and this ancestor had diverged along with the ancestor of the Zhokhov dog from their common ancestor 15,600 BCE. The timing of the Koster dogs shows that dogs entered North America from Siberia 4,500 years after humans did, were isolated for the next 9,000 years, and after contact with Europeans these no longer exist because they were replaced by Eurasian dogs.ref

“In South America, the introduction of the dog took place sometime between around 7,550 and 4,550 years ago (5550–2550 BCE). Findings for dogs in South America get only denser by around 3,550  years ago (1550 BCE) but seem to be restricted to agricultural areas in the Andes. The oldest finding of a dog for Brazil is radiocarbon dated to between (249–424 CE), and for the Pampas of Argentina the oldest is dated as (1020 CE). In Peru, depictions of Peruvian hairless dogs appear around 750 CE on Moche ceramic vessels and continue in later Andean ceramic traditions.” ref

Dogs in Religion

Dogs have played a role in the religion, myths, tales, and legends of many cultures. In mythology, dogs often serve as pets or as watchdogs. Stories of dogs guarding the gates of the underworld recur throughout Indo-European mythologies and may originate from Proto-Indo-European religion. Historian Julien d’Huy has suggested three narrative lines related to dogs in mythology. One echoes the gatekeeping noted above in Indo-European mythologies—a linkage with the afterlife; a second “related to the union of humans and dogs”; a third relates to the association of dogs with the star Sirius. Evidence presented by d’Huy suggests a correlation between the mythological record from cultures and the genetic and fossil record related to dog domestication.” ref

“The Ancient Egyptians are often more associated with cats in the form of Bastet, yet here too, dogs are found to have a sacred role and figure as an important symbol in religious iconography. Dogs were associated with Anubis, the jackal headed god of the underworld. At times throughout its period of being in use the Anubieion catacombs at Saqqara saw the burial of dogs. Anput was the female counterpart of her husband, Anubis, she was often depicted as a pregnant or nursing jackal, or as a jackal wielding knives. Other dogs can be found in Egyptian mythology. Am-heh was a minor god from the underworld.” ref

“He was depicted as a man with the head of a hunting dog who lived in a lake of fire. Duamutef was originally represented as a man wrapped in mummy bandages. From the New Kingdom onwards, he is shown with the head of a jackal. Wepwawet was depicted as a wolf or a jackal, or as a man with the head of a wolf or a jackal. Even when considered a jackal, Wepwawet usually was shown with grey, or white fur, reflecting his lupine origins. Khenti-Amentiu was depicted as a jackal-headed deity at Abydos in Upper Egypt, who stood guard over the city of the dead.” ref

God “Set” Animal

In art, Set is usually depicted as an enigmatic creature referred to by Egyptologists as the Set animal, a beast not identified with any known animal, although it could be seen as a resembling an aardvark, an African wild dog, a donkey, a hyena, a jackal, a pig, an antelope, a giraffe, an okapi, a saluki, or a fennec fox. The animal has a downward curving snout; long ears with squared-off ends; a thin, forked tail with sprouted fur tufts in an inverted arrow shape; and a slender canine body. Sometimes, Set is depicted as a human with the distinctive head.” ref

“Some early Egyptologists proposed that it was a stylized representation of the giraffe, owing to the large flat-topped “horns” which correspond to a giraffe’s ossicones. The Egyptians themselves, however, used distinct depictions for the giraffe and the Set animal. During the Late Period, Set is depicted as a donkey or as a man wearing a donkey’s-head mask.” ref

“The earliest representations of what might be the Set animal comes from a tomb dating to the Amratian culture (“Naqada I”) of prehistoric Egypt (3790–3500 BCE or 5,812-5,522 years ago), though this identification is uncertain. If these are ruled out, then the earliest Set animal appears on a ceremonial macehead of Scorpion II, a ruler of the Naqada III phase. The head and the forked tail of the Set animal are clearly present on the mace. In the Book of the Faiyum, he is depicted with a flamingo head.” ref

“Set (or Greek: Seth) is a god of deserts, storms, disorder, violence, and foreigners in ancient Egyptian religion. In Ancient Greek, the god’s name is given as Sēth (Σήθ). Set had a positive role where he accompanies Ra on his barque to repel Apep, the serpent of Chaos. Set had a vital role as a reconciled combatant.  He was lord of the Red Land, where he was the balance to Horus‘ role as lord of the Black Land.” ref

“In ancient Egyptian astronomy, Set was commonly associated with the planet Mercury. Since he is related to the west of Nile which is the desert, he is sometimes associated with a lesser deity, Ha, god of the desert, which is a deity depicted as a man with a desert determinative on his head. Set is the son of Geb, the Earth, and Nut, the Sky; his siblings are Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys. He married Nephthys and fathered Anubis and in some accounts, he had relationships with the foreign goddesses Anat and Astarte. From these relationships is said to be born a crocodile deity called Maga.” ref

Was-sceptre

The was (Egyptian wꜣs “power, dominion”) sceptre is a symbol that appeared often in relics, art, and hieroglyphs associated with the ancient Egyptian religion. It appears as a stylized animal head at the top of a long, straight staff with a forked end. Was sceptres were used as symbols of power or dominion, and were associated with ancient Egyptian deities such as Set or Anubis as well as with the pharaoh. Was sceptres also represent the Set animal. In later use, it was a symbol of control over the force of chaos that Set represented.” ref

“In a funerary context the was sceptre was responsible for the well-being of the deceased, and was thus sometimes included in the tomb-equipment or in the decoration of the tomb or coffin. The sceptre is also considered an amulet. The Egyptians perceived the sky as being supported on four pillars, which could have the shape of the was. This sceptre was also the symbol of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome, the nome of Thebes (called wꜣst in Egyptian).” ref

“Was sceptres were depicted as being carried by gods, pharaohs, and priests. They commonly occur in paintings, drawings, and carvings of gods, and often parallel with emblems such as the ankh and the djed-pillar. Remnants of real was sceptres have been found. They are constructed of faience or wood, where the head and forked tail of the Set animal are visible. The earliest examples date to the First Dynasty. The Was (wꜣs) is the Egyptian hieroglyph character representing power.” ref

“A sceptre (British English) or scepter (American English) is a staff or wand held in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia. Figuratively, it means a royal or imperial authority or sovereignty. The Was and other types of staves were signs of authority in Ancient Egypt. For this reason they are often described as “sceptres”, even if they are full-length staffs. One of the earliest royal sceptres was discovered in the 2nd Dynasty tomb of Khasekhemwy in Abydos. Kings were also known to carry a staff, and Pharaoh Anedjib is shown on stone vessels carrying a so-called mks-staff. The staff with the longest history seems to be the heqa-sceptre (the “shepherd’s crook”).” ref

“The sceptre also assumed a central role in the Mesopotamian world, and was in most cases part of the royal insignia of sovereigns and gods. This is valid throughout the whole Mesopotamian history, as illustrated by both literary and administrative texts and iconography. The Mesopotamian sceptre was mostly called ĝidru in Sumerian and ḫaṭṭum in Akkadian. The ancient Tamil work of Tirukkural dedicates one chapter each to the ethics of the sceptre. According to Valluvar, “it was not his spear but the sceptre which bound a king to his people.” Among the early Greeks, the sceptre (Ancient Greek: σκῆπτρον, skeptron, “staff, stick, baton”) was a long staff, such as Agamemnon wielded (Iliad, i) or was used by respected elders (Iliad, xviii. 46; Herodotus 1. 196), and came to be used by judges, military leaders, priests, and others in authority.” ref

“It is represented on painted vases as a long staff tipped with a metal ornament. When the sceptre is borne by Zeus or Hades, it is headed by a bird. It was this symbol of Zeus, the king of the gods and ruler of Olympus, that gave their inviolable status to the kerykes, the heralds, who were thus protected by the precursor of modern diplomatic immunity. When, in the Iliad, Agamemnon sends Odysseus to the leaders of the Achaeans, he lends him his sceptre.Among the Etruscans, sceptres of great magnificence were used by kings and upper orders of the priesthood. Many representations of such sceptres occur on the walls of the painted tombs of Etruria. The British Museum, the Vatican, and the Louvre possess Etruscan sceptres of gold, most elaborately and minutely ornamented.” ref

“The Roman sceptre probably derived from the Etruscan. Under the Republic, an ivory sceptre (sceptrum eburneum) was a mark of consular rank. It was also used by victorious generals who received the title of imperator, and its use as a symbol of delegated authority to legates apparently was revived in the marshal’s baton. In the First Persian Empire, the Biblical Book of Esther mentions the sceptre of the King of Persia. Esther 5:2 “When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand.” ref

“So Esther came near, and touched the top of the scepter.”Under the Roman Empire, the sceptrum Augusti was specially used by the emperors, and was often of ivory tipped with a golden eagle. It is frequently shown on medallions of the later empire, which have on the obverse a half-length figure of the emperor, holding in one hand the sceptrum Augusti, and in the other the orb surmounted by a small figure of Victory.” ref

“The baton can most likely be traced back to the mace, with ancient Kings and Pharaohs often being buried with ceremonial maces. The ceremonial baton is a short, thick stick-like object, typically in wood or metal, that is traditionally the sign of a field marshal or a similar high-ranking military officer, and carried as a piece of their uniform. The baton is distinguished from the swagger stick in being thicker and effectively without any practical function. A staff of office is rested on the ground; a baton is not. Unlike a royal sceptre that is crowned on one end with an eagle or globe, a baton is typically flat-ended.” ref

Humans and Dogs

“The Western Eurasian dog population (European) was then partially replaced by a human-mediated translocation of Asian dogs at least 6400 years ago, a process that took place gradually after the arrival of the eastern dog population.” ref

Study: At Least Five Dog Lineages Existed 11,000 Years Ago: http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/five-dog-lineages-paleolithic-09012.html

“A recent study of dozens of ancient dog genomes suggests that these lineages were all established by at least 11,000 years ago. Based on their morphology and context, additional potential dogs may be present at Pleistocene Siberian sites such as Afontova Gora, Diuktai Cave, and Verkholenskaia Gora, although their status has yet to be established. In the Americas, the earliest confirmed archaeological dog remains, based on combined morphological, genetic, isotopic, and contextual evidence, are from the Koster and Stilwell II sites, which have been dated to ∼10,000 years ago.” https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/118/6/e2010083118.full.pdf

“Swedish farmers and their dogs are both descended from canines of the Near East, suggesting that man and dog followed the development of agriculture together through Europe. On the other hand, German farmers 7,000 years ago came from the Near East, but their dogs didn’t.” https://bigthink.com/the-past/ancient-dogs/

Research on Dogs adds understanding to human history as well because as humans moved, there can be detected a clear link to new types of dogs highlighting a deep connection between humans then other animals and their dogs and makes since they were in mythology as gardens of the afterlife. http://www.sci-news.com/archaeology/five-dog-lineages-paleolithic-09012.html

Tell-tail signs of dual dog domestication: https://www.scienceintheclassroom.org/research-papers/tell-tail-signs-dual-dog-domestication

Dog domestication and the dual dispersal of people and dogs into the Americas: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/6/e2010083118

Diet adaptation in dog reflects spread of prehistoric agriculture: https://www.nature.com/articles/hdy201648

A refined proposal for the origin of dogs: the case study of Gnirshöhle, a Magdalenian cave site: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-83719-7

Dogs ‘first domesticated in China’ https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2016-04/27/content_24875302.htm

The Origins of Dogs, Our best friends’ earliest lineage is shrouded in mystery. New genetic research may finally reveal their roots. https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/the-origins-of-dogs

Rethinking dog domestication by integrating genetics, archeology, and biogeography https://www.pnas.org/content/109/23/8878

“Burial remains of a dog that lived over 7,000 years ago in Siberia suggest the male Husky-like animal probably lived and died similar to how humans did at that time and place, eating the same food, sustaining work injuries, and getting a human-like burial.” https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna41830341

“Pet dog buried 6,000 years ago is earliest evidence of its domestication in Arabia. The ancient tomb where the remains were found is one of the oldest in the region, dating back to about 4300 B.C. The tomb had been used by many generations over a period of around 600 years during the Neolithic-Chalcolithic era. It was also built above ground, which was unusual for the time because it would be easily seen by grave robbers, according to the researchers.” https://www.livescience.com/earliest-evidence-dog-domestication-arabian-peninsula.html

“At least 15,000 years ago, dogs were buried with humans. Near Lake Baikal, dogs were buried in cemeteries 7,000 years ago “lying down” or “sitting up.” One with stone tools and a round pebble placed in its mouth. Another dog wore a necklace of elk-tooth human jewelry, for the afterlife. This dog was buried about 7,000 years ago near Lake Baikal in southern Siberia with stone tools and a round pebble placed in its mouth. At least 15,000 years ago, dogs were getting buried with humans. When dogs died near Lake Baikal, the human hunter-gatherers treated them as family. The dogs buried in cemeteries 7,000 years ago near Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, one with stone tools and a round pebble placed in its mouth. The dogs were in “sleeping” or “sitting up” positions. Another dog wore a necklace of elk-tooth jewelry that humans wore obvious gifts, presumably offerings into the dog graves meant for the afterlife. Like people when they died, they’d transport the dog long distances to these cemeteries,” Losey said in a phone interview from his office at the University of Alberta. “They’d put items on its body in the grave – spoons, necklaces, arrowheads, antlers from roe deer – the same grave goods they’d leave in the graves of humans. “People had long lives with those dogs – the dogs we found were mostly older dogs, so they’d been with these people for years.” They ate the same food. Chemical tests on dog and human bones showed both were eating a lot of fish. “Given that the dogs weren’t fishing, it means they were fed.” Losey could tell from DNA and from dog skeletons that the Lake Baikal dogs were medium-sized, with yellow and white thick fur and heads shaped like modern Siberian huskies. “If you saw them walking down the street, you’d recognize them immediately as dogs and not wolves.” They worked for their living, likely hauling sleds and guarding camps full of children and grandmothers from predators and rival bands of hunters. “But there was clearly also an emotional bond,” Losey said.” https://www.kansas.com/news/local/article142279974.html

“Near Lake Baikal on the Siberian steppes, archeologists were opening 7,000-year-old graves. The bodies had been carefully interred. One was buried with a long, carved spoon. Another had been honored with a necklace of elk teeth.” When the first farmers came to Europe from what is now eastern Turkey, they didn’t adopt the dogs already living there. They brought their own.” https://lethbridgenewsnow.com/2020/10/29/they-came-with-dogs-genomes-show-canines-humans-share-long-history/

“The site at Lake Baikal points to some of the earliest evidence of dog domestication but also suggests dogs were held in the same high esteem as humans. ‘The dogs were being treated just like people when they died. An ancient cemetery where dogs were buried like humans (remains shown) between 5,000 and 8,000 years ago is shedding light on our close relationship with man’s best friend. Prized canines were buried wearing decorative collars, or with objects such as spoons, suggesting people believed they had souls in the afterlife. Some of the graves contain artifacts such as spoons and collars, suggesting people thought the dogs had souls and access to an afterlife.” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3485496/Ancient-burials-reveal-dogs-man-s-best-friend-Canines-treated-like-humans-8-000-years-ago.html

“Canids as persons: Early Neolithic dog and wolf burials, Cis-Baikal, Siberia” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S027841651100002X

“This 8,000-Year-Old Rock Art Is The Earliest Depiction of Domesticated Dogs” https://www.sciencealert.com/1000-year-old-rock-art-saudi-arabia-earliest-depiction-domestic-dogs-hunting

Tel Tsaf

“is an archaeological site located in the central Jordan Valley, south-east of Beit She’an. Tel Tsaf is dated to ca. 5200–4700 BCE or 7,222-6,722 years ago, sometimes called the Middle Chalcolithic, a little-known period in the archaeology of the Levant, post-dating the Wadi Rabah phase and pre-dating the Ghassulian Chalcolithic phase.” ref

“The excavations unearthed four architectural complexes. Each consists of a closed courtyard with rounded or rectangular rooms and numerous rounded silos. Four burials were found within or adjacent to silos. Outside the settlement a well was cut into the water table, approximately 6.5 m in depth. Common finds included numerous flints, pottery, and animal bones.” ref

“The terms “Tel Tsaf Decoration” or “Tsafian” were derived from an assemblage of painted pottery, consisting mainly of relatively elaborate vessels bearing geometric decoration using red and black paint on a white slip background. The decoration was executed in two steps: first, white wash was applied to the upper part of the vessel, while the lower part was covered with red wash. Second, the patterns were painted in continuous horizontal bands on the upper part of the vessel. The painting was executed with a fine brush, in some cases 0.5 mm.” ref

“Other finds included about 150 clay sealings (bullae) and a rich assemblage of imported exotic items including artifacts of basalt and obsidian, beads, sea shells, Nilotic shell, and a few pottery sherds of the Ubaid culture of north Syria. This is the first reported occurrence of Ubaid sherds in an excavation in the southern Levant.” ref

Tel Tsaf Silos

“The silos are cylindrical, barrel-shaped structures with an outer diameter between 2 and 4 m. The base is a podium, probably built to protect the cereals from rodents. It consists of several courses of bricks sealed inside with lime plaster. The silos demonstrate several universal principles guiding the construction of silos worldwide, past and present:

1. Rounded sides, giving the structure a cylindrical shape. This form better withstands the pressure exerted by the contents, which is distributed evenly onto the sides of the silo and does not create excessive stress at the base or the corners as is the case with a rectilinear shape.

2. Building of a number of silos near one another allows for greater ease of handling than one big installation. This facilitates separation of grain from different years or different crops. In the event of fire, humidity, rodent or insect infestation, some of the stored grain may be spared.

3. Organization of silos in adjacent rows facilitates their arrangement within a confined space. The stability of silo shape over considerable periods of time and large geographical regions provide an outstanding case in human architecture.” ref

Tel Tsaf and the Oldest metal artifact found in the Southern Levant

“An awl made of cast-metal copper and dated to the late sixth millennium or early fifth millennium BCE was found in 2007 during excavations. It was part of the grave goods accompanying the burial of a woman wearing a belt decorated with 1,668 ostrich eggshell beads. This is the most elaborate burial of its period in the entire Levant, the presence of the awl being an indication of the high prestige enjoyed by metal objects in that time and region. The fact that the grave was dug inside an abandoned silo is an indication for both the high status of the woman, and the importance ascribed to the silo. The chemical composition of the copper let the researchers believe that the awl originated in the Caucasus, from a distance of ca. 1,000 kilometers.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) is a symbolic narrative of how the world began and how people first came to inhabit it. While in popular usage the term myth often refers to false or fanciful stories, members of cultures often ascribe varying degrees of truth to their creation myths. In the society in which it is told, a creation myth is usually regarded as conveying profound truths – metaphorically, symbolically, historically, or literally. They are commonly, although not always, considered cosmogonical myths – that is, they describe the ordering of the cosmos from a state of chaos or amorphousness.” ref

“Creation myths often share a number of features. They often are considered sacred accounts and can be found in nearly all known religious traditions. They are all stories with a plot and characters who are either deities, human-like figures, or animals, who often speak and transform easily. They are often set in a dim and nonspecific past that historian of religion Mircea Eliade termed in illo tempore (‘at that time’). Creation myths address questions deeply meaningful to the society that shares them, revealing their central worldview and the framework for the self-identity of the culture and individual in a universal context. Creation myths develop in oral traditions and therefore typically have multiple versions; found throughout human culture, they are the most common form of myth.” ref

Creation myth definitions from modern references:

  • “A “symbolic narrative of the beginning of the world as understood in a particular tradition and community. Creation myths are of central importance for the valuation of the world, for the orientation of humans in the universe, and for the basic patterns of life and culture.”
  • “Creation myths tell us how things began. All cultures have creation myths; they are our primary myths, the first stage in what might be called the psychic life of the species. As cultures, we identify ourselves through the collective dreams we call creation myths, or cosmogonies. … Creation myths explain in metaphorical terms our sense of who we are in the context of the world, and in so doing they reveal our real priorities, as well as our real prejudices. Our images of creation say a great deal about who we are.”
  • A “philosophical and theological elaboration of the primal myth of creation within a religious community. The term myth here refers to the imaginative expression in narrative form of what is experienced or apprehended as basic reality … The term creation refers to the beginning of things, whether by the will and act of a transcendent being, by emanation from some ultimate source, or in any other way.” ref

Religion professor Mircea Eliade defined the word myth in terms of creation:

“Myth narrates a sacred history; it relates an event that took place in primordial Time, the fabled time of the “beginnings.” In other words, myth tells how, through the deeds of Supernatural Beings, a reality came into existence, be it the whole of reality, the Cosmos, or only a fragment of reality – an island, a species of plant, a particular kind of human behavior, an institution.” ref

“All creation myths are in one sense etiological because they attempt to explain how the world formed and where humanity came from. Myths attempt to explain the unknown and sometimes teach a lesson. ref

“Some Ethnologists and anthropologists who study origin myths say that in the modern context theologians try to discern humanity’s meaning from revealed truths and scientists investigate cosmology with the tools of empiricism and rationality, but creation myths define human reality in very different terms. In the past, historians of religion and other students of myth thought of such stories as forms of primitive or early-stage science or religion and analyzed them in a literal or logical sense. Today, however, they are seen as symbolic narratives which must be understood in terms of their own cultural context. Charles Long writes: “The beings referred to in the myth – gods, animals, plants – are forms of power grasped existentially. The myths should not be understood as attempts to work out a rational explanation of deity.” ref

“While creation myths are not literal explications, they do serve to define an orientation of humanity in the world in terms of a birth story. They provide the basis of a worldview that reaffirms and guides how people relate to the natural world, to any assumed spiritual world, and to each other. A creation myth acts as a cornerstone for distinguishing primary reality from relative reality, the origin and nature of being from non-being. In this sense, cosmogonic myths serve as a philosophy of life – but one expressed and conveyed through symbol rather than through systematic reason. And in this sense, they go beyond etiological myths (which explain specific features in religious rites, natural phenomena, or cultural life). Creation myths also help to orient human beings in the world, giving them a sense of their place in the world and the regard that they must have for humans and nature.” ref

Historian David Christian has summarised issues common to multiple creation myths:

“Each beginning seems to presuppose an earlier beginning. … Instead of meeting a single starting point, we encounter an infinity of them, each of which poses the same problem. … There are no entirely satisfactory solutions to this dilemma. What we have to find is not a solution but some way of dealing with the mystery …. And we have to do so using words. The words we reach for, from God to gravity, are inadequate to the task. So we have to use language poetically or symbolically; and such language, whether used by a scientist, a poet, or a shaman, can easily be misunderstood.” ref

Mythologists have applied various schemes to classify creation myths found throughout human cultures. Eliade and his colleague Charles Long developed a classification based on some common motifs that reappear in stories the world over. The classification identifies five basic types: Brahmā, the Hindu deva of creation, emerges from a lotus risen from the navel of Viṣņu, who lies with Lakshmi on the serpent Ananta Shesha.” ref

  • Creation ex nihilo in which the creation is through the thought, word, dream, or bodily secretions of a divine being.
  • Earth diver creation in which a diver, usually a bird or amphibian sent by a creator, plunges to the seabed through a primordial ocean to bring up sand or mud which develops into a terrestrial world.
  • Emergence myths in which progenitors pass through a series of worlds and metamorphoses until reaching the present world.
  • Creation by the dismemberment of a primordial being.
  • Creation by the splitting or ordering of a primordial unity such as the cracking of a cosmic egg or a bringing order from chaos.” ref

Marta Weigle further developed and refined this typology to highlight nine themes, adding elements such as deus faber, a creation crafted by a deity, creation from the work of two creators working together or against each other, creation from sacrifice, and creation from division/conjugation, accretion/conjunction, or secretion.” ref

An alternative system based on six recurring narrative themes was designed by Raymond Van Over:

  • “Primeval abyss, an infinite expanse of waters or space.
  • Originator deity which is awakened or an eternal entity within the abyss.
  • Originator deity poised above the abyss.
  • Cosmic egg or embryo.
  • Originator deity creating life through sound or word.
  • Life generating from the corpse or dismembered parts of an originator deity.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

I am still researching the “god‘s origins” all over the world. So you know, it is very complicated but I am smart and willing to look, DEEP, if necessary, which going very deep does seem to be needed here, when trying to actually understand the evolution of gods and goddesses. I am sure of a few things and less sure of others, but even in stuff I am not fully grasping I still am slowly figuring it out, to explain it to others. But as I research more I am understanding things a little better, though I am still working on understanding it all or something close and thus always figuring out more. 

Sky Father/Sky God?

“Egyptian: (Nut) Sky Mother and (Geb) Earth Father” (Egypt is different but similar)

Turkic/Mongolic: (Tengri/Tenger Etseg) Sky Father and (Eje/Gazar Eej) Earth Mother *Transeurasian*

Hawaiian: (Wākea) Sky Father and (Papahānaumoku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

New Zealand/ Māori: (Ranginui) Sky Father and (Papatūānuku) Earth Mother *Austronesian*

Proto-Indo-European: (Dyus/Dyus phtr) Sky Father and (Dʰéǵʰōm/Plethwih) Earth Mother

Indo-Aryan: (Dyaus Pita) Sky Father and (Prithvi Mata) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Italic: (Jupiter) Sky Father and (Juno) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Etruscan: (Tinia) Sky Father and (Uni) Sky Mother *Tyrsenian/Italy Pre–Indo-European*

Hellenic/Greek: (Zeus) Sky Father and (Hera) Sky Mother who started as an “Earth Goddess” *Indo-European*

Nordic: (Dagr) Sky Father and (Nótt) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Slavic: (Perun) Sky Father and (Mokosh) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Illyrian: (Deipaturos) Sky Father and (Messapic Damatura’s “earth-mother” maybe) Earth Mother *Indo-European*

Albanian: (Zojz) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Baltic: (Perkūnas) Sky Father and (Saulė) Sky Mother *Indo-European*

Germanic: (Týr) Sky Father and (?) *Indo-European*

Colombian-Muisca: (Bochica) Sky Father and (Huythaca) Sky Mother *Chibchan*

Aztec: (Quetzalcoatl) Sky Father and (Xochiquetzal) Sky Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Incan: (Viracocha) Sky Father and (Mama Runtucaya) Sky Mother *Quechuan*

China: (Tian/Shangdi) Sky Father and (Dì) Earth Mother *Sino-Tibetan*

Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian: (An/Anu) Sky Father and (Ki) Earth Mother

Finnish: (Ukko) Sky Father and (Akka) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Sami: (Horagalles) Sky Father and (Ravdna) Earth Mother *Finno-Ugric*

Puebloan-Zuni: (Ápoyan Ta’chu) Sky Father and (Áwitelin Tsíta) Earth Mother

Puebloan-Hopi: (Tawa) Sky Father and (Kokyangwuti/Spider Woman/Grandmother) Earth Mother *Uto-Aztecan*

Puebloan-Navajo: (Tsohanoai) Sky Father and (Estsanatlehi) Earth Mother *Na-Dene*

refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref 

 

Sky Father/Sky Mother “High Gods” or similar gods/goddesses of the sky more loosely connected, seeming arcane mythology across the earth seen in Siberia, China, Europe, Native Americans/First Nations People and Mesopotamia, etc.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, refrefrefrefrefref

1. Kebaran culture 23,022-16,522 Years Ago, 2. Kortik Tepe 12,422-11,722 Years Ago, 3. Jerf el-Ahmar 11,222 -10,722 Years Ago, 4. Gobekli Tepe 11,152-9,392 Years Ago, 5. Tell Al-‘abrUbaid and Uruk Periods, 6. Nevali Cori 10,422 -10,122 Years Ago, 7. Catal Hoyuk 9,522-7,722 Years Ago

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art 

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Sky Burials: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, and Paganism

“In archaeology and anthropology, the term excarnation (also known as defleshing) refers to the practice of removing the flesh and organs of the dead before burial, leaving only the bones. Excarnation may be precipitated through natural means, involving leaving a body exposed for animals to scavenge, or it may be purposefully undertaken by butchering the corpse by hand. Practices making use of natural processes for excarnation are the Tibetan sky burial, Comanche platform burials, and traditional Zoroastrian funerals (see Tower of Silence).  Some Native American groups in the southeastern portion of North America practiced deliberate excarnation in protohistoric times. Archaeologists believe that in this practice, people typically left the body exposed on a woven litter or altar.” ref

Ancient Headless Corpses Were Defleshed By Griffon Vultures

Sky burial ( Animal Worship mixed with Ancestor Worship) is a funeral practice where a human corpse is placed on a mountaintop, elevated ground, tree, or constructed perch to decompose while be eaten by scavenging animals, especially birds. This Animal Worship (or Zoolatry) rituals may go back to the  Neanderthals who seem to Sacralize birds starting around 130,000 years ago in Croatia with eagle talon jewelry and oldest confirmed burial. Or possible (Aurignacian) “Bird Worship” at  Hohle Fels cave, Germany, early totemism and small bird figurine at around 33,000 years old, which had been cited as evidence of shamanism.

As well as possible ‘Bird Worship’ (in the Pavlovian culture/Gravettian culture) part of Early Shamanism at Dolní Věstonice (Czech Republic) from around 31,000-25,000 years ago, which held the “first shaman burial.” The shamanistic Mal’ta–Buret’ culture of Siberia, dating to 24,000-15,000 years ago, who connect to the indigenous peoples of the Americas show Bird Worship. The Magdalenian cultures in western Europe, dating from around 17,000-12,000 years ago have a famous artistic mural with a bird that I think could relate to reincarnation and at least bird symbolism. Likewise, there is evidence of possible ‘Bird Worship’ at  Göbekli Tepe (Turkey), dated to around 13,000/11,600-9,370 Years ago with “first human-made temple” and at Çatalhöyük (Turkey), dated to around 9,500-7,700 Years ago with “first religious designed city” both with seeming ancestor, animal, and possible goddess worship.

The Tibetan sky-burials appear to have evolved from ancient practices of defleshing corpses as discovered in archeological finds in the region. These practices most likely came out of practical considerations, but they could also be related to more ceremonial practices similar to the suspected sky burial evidence found at Göbekli Tepe (11,500 years ago) and Stonehenge (4,500 years ago). ref 

(Native American mythology)

“HAYICANAKO is a Tlingit (Na-dene Language) Earth Goddess. An elderly Goddess who has the world on a stick. ’The Old Woman Beneath Us’. She holds the pole supporting the Earth and gives it a shake now and then if she is not happy about something. In case of earthquakes it is best to placate her by pouring some melting fat on the fire — it will drip down until it reaches her.” ref

“HAYICANAKO is the Tlingit Goddess of natural order. She is a giantess who lives in a mountain, where she holds up a column that supports the earth. When she gets hungry, she loses her concentration and the column starts to quiver, causing earthquakes. Her hunger can be fed by her worshippers throwing fat into their fires. Another version says that earthquakes happen when Raven jostles her arm and tries to make her lose her grip. Hayicanako’s name, which means “Old Woman Underneath Us,” is also seen as HAYICANAK.” ref

 Raven made a woman under the earth to have charge of the rise and fall of the tides.

“Raven made a woman under the earth to have charge of the rise and fall of the tides. One time he wanted to learn about everything under the ocean and had this woman raise the water so that he could go there. He had it rise very slowly so that the people had time to load their canoes and get into them. When the tide had lifted them up between the mountains they could see bears and other wild animals walking around on the still unsubmerged tops. Many of the bears swam out to them, and at that time those who had their dogs had good protection. Some people walled the tops of the mountains about and tied their canoes inside. They could not take much wood up with them. Sometimes hunters see the rocks they piled up there, and at such times it begins to grow foggy. That was a very dangerous time. The people who survived could see trees swept up roots and all by the rush of waters and large devilfish and other creatures were carried up by it.” ref  

Click for more on the myth of Raven and the Tides: Tlingit myth about the origin of the tides.

Tlingit Raven Mythology

 “In the lore of Tlingit, Haida and other northern Native Americans a raven was both a trickster spirit and the creator of the world. The most interesting story about the raven in Tlingit folklore is the one concerning his responsibility for placement of the Sun in the sky.” ref 

“There are countless Raven stories in the Tlingit community, and there are many versions of how Raven came to bring the light to the world. The stories are not necessarily contradictory, but they do emphasize different points and have different details, depending on whom the caretaker of that story was and how he or she was taught to tell the story. Smarch described how angry Raven’s grandfather was when Raven released all of his treasures into the sky. In her telling, he gathered the pitch from all around the house, placed it into a bentwood box and threw it in the fire. Raven could not find the smoke hole and flew around in the black smoke, becoming the black bird we know today. Raven sacrificed his supernatural state of being in order to bring light to the world.” ref 

“In many versions of “Raven and the Box of Daylight” — including both ethnographic accounts and popular English versions of the story — at the beginning of his journey, Raven is white, one marker of his supernatural status. Tlingit scholar and professor Maria Williams wrote in her children’s book “How Raven Stole the Sun (Tales of the People)” that Raven was “pure white from the tips of his claws to the ends of his wings.” Hammond described Raven as a white or translucent being early on in his telling of the story. Depending on whom is telling the story, the details of how Raven became black differ, but the results are always the same. The story of “Raven and the Box of Daylight” contains messages and symbolism of hope, forgiveness, tolerance, love and sacrifice — messages and symbolism that encourage humans to be kinder toward each other.” ref 

“Early records suggest that the Tlingit believed in a creator, Kah-shu-goon-yah, whose name was sacred and never mentioned above a whisper. This primordial grandfather, or “divisible-rich-man,” controlled the sun, moon, stars, and daylight in addition to creating all living things. Little more is known of him. The sacred past centers upon Raven (cultural hero, benefactor, trickster, and rascal) who was credited with organizing the world in its present form and in initiating many Tlingit customs. Raven was never represented, symbolized, or made equal with the supreme being who transcended Tlingit legends. The Tlingit inhabited a world filled with spirits, or jek. These spirits could manifest their power through individuals, animals, or things.”

“Since every material object or physical force could be inhabited by a spirit, Tlingit were taught to respect everything in the universe. The penalty for disrespect was the loss of ability to obtain food. Properly purified persons could acquire spirit power for curing illnesses, for protection in warfare, for success in obtaining wealth, and for ceremonial prerogatives. Each Tlingit had a mortal and an immortal spirit. Spirits of the dead traveled to the appropriate level of heaven commensurate with their moral conduct in this life. Morally respectable people went to the highest heaven, Kiwa-a, a realm of happiness; moral delinquents went to a second level, or Dog Heaven, Ketl-kiwa, a place of torment. Individuals remained in the afterworld for a period of time and then returned to this world as a reincarnation of some deceased maternal relative.” ref 

“Tlingit legends have one great word in our culture: haa shageinyaa. This was a Great Spirit above us, and today we have translated that reverence to God.” ref

 “Wisakedjak (Wìsakedjàk in Algonquin, Wīsahkēcāhk(w) in Cree and Wiisagejaak in Oji-cree) is the Crane Manitou found in northern Algonquian and Dene storytelling, similar to the trickster Nanabozho in Ojibwa aadizookaanan (sacred stories), Inktonme in Assiniboine lore, and Coyote or Raven from many different tribes. His name is found in a number of different forms in the related languages and cultures he appears in, including Weesack-kachack, Wisagatcak, Wis-kay-tchach, Wissaketchak, Woesack-ootchacht, Vasaagihdzak, and Weesageechak. As with most mythological characters, Wisakedjak is used to explain the creation of animals or geographical locations. He is generally portrayed as being responsible for a great flood which destroyed the world. In other stories he is also one of the beings who created the current world, either on his own, or with magic given to him by the Creator for that specific purpose.” ref   

Blackfoot (Algonquian language) Native American Legends: Komorkis (Ko’komiki’somm)

“Komorkis is the Moon Goddesses, second eldest of the sacred Sky People. Komorkis is the wife of the sun god Natos and mother of the stars, of which the most important is Morning-Star. Komorkis is said to be the grandmother of several heroes of Blackfoot legend, such as Star-Boy.” ref

“Buga” Siberian Evenki Supreme God of Everything?

“One significant feature of the Evenki is that the supreme deities can be both male gods and female goddesses. According to traditional Evenk ideas, the Universe consists of three worlds: the upper (Ugu Buga), the middle (Doolin Buga), the lower (Hergu Buga). The upper world was located at sunrise, the lower at sunset. The upper and lower worlds are inaccessible to ordinary people and are inhabited by spirit gods. One of the main deities is Seveki spirit, whose function is the creator of all living things. The spirit of Enekan Buga monitors the life of people and animals, periodically visiting the earth. His assistant, Enekan Togo, is a spirit of fire living in a home. Through fire, the Evenki address spirits.” ref, ref

Nanabozho great spirit-being?

“Nanabozo is a supernatural being of various Indigenous oral traditions. He is the embodiment of life, with the power to create life in others. In some Anishinaabe and Cree stories, Nanabozo is a main player in the creation of Turtle Island. Nanabozho is a shapeshifter who is both zoomorphic as well as anthropomorphic, meaning that Nanabozho can take the shape of animals or humans in storytelling. Thus Nanabush takes many different forms in storytelling, often changing depending on the tribe. The majority of storytelling depicts Nanabozho through a zoomorphic lens. In the Arctic and sub-Arctic, the trickster is usually called Raven. Coyote is present in the area of California, Oregon, the inland plateau, the Great Basin, and the Southst and Southern Plains. Rabbit or Hare is the trickster figure in the Southeast, and Spider is in the northern plains. Meanwhile, Wolverine and Jay are the trickster in parts of Canada. Often, Nanabozho takes the shape of these animals because of their frequent presence among tribes. The animals listed above have similar behavioral patterns. The gender identity of Nanabozho changes depending on the storytelling. Because Nanabozho is a shapeshifter, they are androgynous. While the majority of stories told about the trickster figure are written with he/him pronouns, the gender identity changes depending on the story and many are written with feminine pronouns.” ref, ref

Puebloan Sky Father and Earth Mother?

PuebloanZuni: (Ápoyan Ta’chu) Sky Father and (Áwitelin Tsíta) Earth Mother

“The mist clouds formed into the Great Waters, where Earth Mother, Áwitelin Tsíta, and Sky Father, Ápoyan Ta’chu, formed, the two of whom conceived all men and creatures in the four-fold womb of the world. The Sun Father and Earth Mother then brought forth the Twin Children of the Sun, the twin brothers Ko’wituma and Wats’usi. These twins were endowed with sacred knowledge, caps, bows, arrows, and shields to have dominion over all men and creatures as Twin War Gods.” ref

Puebloan-Hopi: (Tawa) Sky Father and (Kokyangwuti) Earth Mother

“Tawa (the sun god) and Kokyangwuti/Spider Woman (Spider Grandmother) who is identified with the Earth Goddess. They separate themselves to create other lesser gods, then create the earth and its creatures.(close to the Zuni creation myth)” ref

Puebloan-Navajo: (TSOHANOAI) Sky Father and (Estsanatlehi) Earth Mother

“Estsanatlehi a Fertility goddess probably regarded as the most powerful deity in the Navaho pantheon is the consort of the Sun god TSOHANOAI and the mother of the war god NAYENEZGANI.” ref, ref

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“Uto-Aztecan languages are found almost entirely in the Western United States and Mexico and Proto-Uto-Aztecan 3,000 BCE or around 5,000 years old.” ref, ref, ref

To me, religion involves conspiracy theories of reality.

“A global sample of hunter-gatherers and seven traits describing hunter-gatherer religiosity: animism 100%, belief in an afterlife 79%, shamanism 79%, ancestor worship 45%, high gods 39%, and worship of ancestors 24% or high gods 15% who are active in human affairs.” ref

To me, there seems to be three basic categories of the “Great Spirit” deity term:

  1. “A life force” (no human gender, more animistic related)
  2. “A Supreme Being” (differing or mixed gender, like both male and female, more shamanistic related)
  3. “A defined god” (mostly male gender, like Father, Grandfather, or Old Man, more totemistic paganism related) ref

“The Great Spirit is the concept of a life force, a Supreme Being or god known more specifically as Wakan Tanka in Lakota, Gitche Manitou in Algonquian, and by other, specific names in a number of Native American and First Nations cultures. While the concept is common to a number of indigenous cultures in the United States and Canada, it is not shared by all cultures, or necessarily interpreted in the same way. According to Lakota activist Russell Means, a more semantically accurate translation of Wakan Tanka is the Great Mystery.” ref

“The Great Spirit has at times been conceptualized as an “anthropomorphic celestial deity,” a god of creation, history and eternity, who also takes a personal interest in world affairs and might regularly intervene in the lives of human beings. Numerous individuals are held to have been “speakers” for the Great Spirit; persons believed to serve as an earthly mediator responsible for facilitating communication between humans and the supernatural more generally. Such a speaker is generally considered to have an obligation to preserve the spiritual traditions of their respective lineage. The Great Spirit is looked to by spiritual leaders for guidance by individuals as well as communities at large.” ref

Is the “Staff God” the oldest provable god in the Americas?

“The oldest known depiction of the Staff God was found on some broken gourd fragments in a burial site in the Pativilca River Valley (Norte Chico region) and carbon dated to 2250 BCE or 4,273 years ago. This makes it the oldest image of a god to be found in the Americas.” ref

Who is God Viracocha?

“Viracocha is the great creator deity in the pre-Inca and Inca mythology in the Andes region of South America. Full name and some spelling alternatives are Wiracocha, Apu Qun Tiqsi Wiraqutra, and Con-Tici (also spelled Kon-Tiki, the source of the name of Thor Heyerdahl’s raft). Viracocha was one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon and seen as the creator of all things, or the substance from which all things are created, and intimately associated with the sea. Viracocha created the universe, sun, moon, and stars, time (by commanding the sun to move over the sky) and civilization itself. Viracocha was worshipped as god of the sun and of storms. He was represented as wearing the sun for a crown, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from his eyes as rain. In accord with the Inca cosmogony, Viracocha may be assimilated to Saturn, the “old god”, the maker of time or “deus faber” (god maker), corresponding to the visible planet with the longest revolution around the sun.” ref

“A ceremonial pole is a stake or post utilized or venerated as part of a ceremony or religious ritual. Ceremonial poles may symbolize a variety of concepts in different ceremonies and rituals practiced by a variety of cultures around the world. In many cultures, ceremonial poles represent memorials and grave markers. In The Evolution of the Idea of God, Grant Allen notes that Samoyeds of Siberia, and Damara of South Africa plant stakes at the graves of ancestors. Ceremonial poles may also be raised during celebrations and festivals, as with Gudi Padwa in South Asia and the maypole dance in Europe. In some cultures, they may represent sacred trees or tools wielded by deities. They may also symbolize the axis mundi or world tree. In religious ceremonies, they may be venerated as idols or representations of tutelary deities.” ref

Levant: Asherah (goddess) pole

Mesopotamia: pole/tree symbol of (god) Anu

Central Asia: serge (ritual pole)

China: Huashan festival (flower poles)

Korea: Jangseung (village guardian) and sotdae (pole/pillar with a carved bird on top)

India: ritual poles are features of temples

Myanmar: Kay Htoe Boe poles (sacred Eugenia tree)

Europe: Maypole is a tall wooden pole, Germanic Thor’s Oak and the Irminsul, Norse world tree, known as Yggdrasil

New Zealand Māori: Staff God or atua rakau combine gods with humans,  Rongo food god, especially kūmara (sweet potato), represented by a god stick called whakapakoko atua ref

The Broad Land Is Our Mother, the High Sky Is Our Father

“The traditional religious beliefs of the indigenous population of Lake Baikal of Siberia, the Buryats (Mongolic-Transeurasian language) and the Evenks (Tungusic-Transeurasian language), are characterized by the idea of ​​the inseparable unity of two worlds – the world of people and the world of nature. The most probative fact of the deep ecological consciousness of these people was and still is the cult of worshipping both their territory – the habitat of their people – and the Earth in general. The concept of “Earth” in the Buryat and Tungus languages – “delegey, delekhei daida” – means “vast, plentiful”. This main epithet of the Earth tells about its immensity, boundlessness. An important role in the life of the autochthonous population of Baikal is played by the Earth as a territory of their residence. However, the image of the Earth is inextricably linked with their perception of the world view with the obligatory deification of the Eternal Blue Sky and Earth – the forces giving energy to people.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“These ideas are my speculations from the evidence.”

Genetic history of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas

“Indigenous American populations descend from an Ancient Paleo-Siberian population, itself a combination of an Ancient East Asian lineage which diverged from other East Asian peoples prior to the Last Glacial Maximum, between 36,000 and 25,000 years ago, and subsequently migrated into Siberia, where they merged with Ancient North Eurasians. They later dispersed throughout the Americas after about 16,000 years ago (exceptions being the Na-Dene and Eskimo–Aleut speaking groups, which are derived partially from Siberian populations which entered the Americas at a later time). A review article published in the Nature journal in 2021, which summarized the results of previous genomic studies, similarly concluded that all Indigenous Americans descended from the movement of people from Northeast Asia into the Americas.” ref

“Overall, the ‘Ancestral Native Americans’ formed from an ‘Ancient Paleo-Siberian‘ lineage which formed from the admixture between East Asian people and a distinct Paleolithic Siberian population known as Ancient North Eurasians, closer related to modern Europeans, giving rise to both Indigenous peoples of Siberia and Native Americans. Around 67% of the ancestry of Native Americans is derived from East Asian sources, while c. 33% is derived from an Ancient West Eurasian (ANE-like) source. A “Central Siberian” origin has been postulated for the paternal lineage of the source populations of the original migration into the Americas. Membership in haplogroups Q and C3b implies Indigenous American patrilineal descent.ref

“A 2018 study analysed ancient Indigenous samples. The genetic evidence suggests that all Indigenous Americans ultimately descended from a founding population that combined East Asian and Ancient North Eurasian ancestry. The authors also provided evidence that the basal northern and southern Indigenous American branches, to which all other Indigenous peoples belong, diverged around 16,000 years ago. An Indigenous American sample from 16,000 BCE in Idaho, which is craniometrically similar to modern Indigenous Americans as well as Paleosiberians, was found to have been largely East-Eurasian genetically, and showed high affinity with contemporary East Asians, as well as Jōmon period samples of Japan, confirming that Ancestral Indigenous Americans split from an East-Eurasian source population somewhere in eastern Siberia.” ref

“Since the discovery of Q-M3, several subclades of M3-bearing populations have been discovered. An example is in South America, where some populations have a high prevalence of (SNP) M19, which defines subclade Q-M19. M19 has been detected in (59%) of Amazonian Ticuna men and in (10%) of Wayuu men. Subclade M19 appears to be unique to South American Indigenous peoples, arising 5,000 to 10,000 years ago. This suggests that population isolation, and perhaps even the establishment of tribal groups, began soon after migration into the South American areas. Other American subclades include Q-L54Q-Z780Q-MEH2Q-SA01, and Q-M346 lineages. In Canada, two other lineages have been found. These are Q-P89.1 and Q-NWT01.” ref

“The Na-DeneInuit and Native Alaskan populations exhibit Haplogroup Q-M242; however, they are distinct from other Indigenous Americans with various mtDNA and atDNA mutations. This suggests that the peoples who first settled in the northern extremes of North America and Greenland derived from later migrant populations than those who penetrated farther south in the Americas. Linguists and biologists have reached a similar conclusion based on analysis of Indigenous American language groups and ABO blood group system distributions.” ref

“Haplogroup C-M217 is found mainly in Indigenous Siberians, Mongolians, and Kazakhs. Haplogroup C-M217 is the most widespread and frequently occurring branch of the greater (Y-DNA) haplogroup C-M130. Haplogroup C-M217 descendant C-P39 is most commonly found in today’s Na-Dene speakers, with the greatest frequency found among the Athabaskans at 42%, and at lesser frequencies in some other Indigenous American groups. This distinct and isolated branch C-P39 includes almost all the Haplogroup C-M217 Y-chromosomes found among all Indigenous peoples of the Americas.ref

“Some researchers feel that this may indicate that the Na-Dene migration occurred from the Russian Far East after the initial Paleo-Indigenous American colonization, but prior to modern Inuit, Inupiat and Yupik expansions. In addition to in Na-Dene peoples, haplogroup C-P39 (C2b1a1a) is also found among other Indigenous Americans such as Algonquian– and Siouan-speaking populations. C-M217 is found among the Wayuu people of Colombia and Venezuela.ref

“The Indigenous American populations show a lesser genetic diversity than populations from other continental regions. Observed is a decreasing genetic diversity as geographic distance from the Bering Strait occurs, as well as a decreasing genetic similarity to Siberian populations from Alaska (the genetic entry point). Also observed is evidence of a greater level of diversity and lesser level of population structure in western South America compared to eastern South America. There is a relative lack of differentiation between Mesoamerican and Andean populations, a scenario that implies that coastal routes (in this case along the coast of the Pacific Ocean) were easier for migrating peoples (more genetic contributors) to traverse in comparison with inland routes.ref

“According to an autosomal genetic study from 2012, Indigenous Americans descend from at least three main migrant waves from East Asia. Most of it is traced back to a single ancestral population, called ‘First Americans’. However, those who speak Inuit languages from the Arctic inherited almost half of their ancestry from a second East Asian migrant wave. And those who speak Na-Dene, on the other hand, inherited a tenth of their ancestry from a third migrant wave. The initial settling of the Americas was followed by a rapid expansion southwards along the west coast, with little gene flow later, especially in South America. One exception to this are the Chibcha speakers of Colombia, whose ancestry comes from both North and South America. Linguistic studies have reinforced genetic studies, with relationships between languages found among those spoken in Siberia and those spoken in the Americas.” ref

“The common occurrence of the mtDNA Haplogroups A, B, C, and D among eastern Asian and Indigenous American populations has long been recognized, along with the presence of Haplogroup X. As a whole, the greatest frequency of the four Indigenous American associated haplogroups occurs in the AltaiBaikal region of southern Siberia. Some subclades of C and D closer to the Indigenous American subclades occur among Mongolian, Amur, Japanese, Korean, and Ainu populations. A 2023 DNA study found that “[i]n addition to previously described ancestral sources in Siberia, Australo-Melanesia, and Southeast Asia, … northern coastal China also contributed to the gene pool of Native Americans” as well as that of Japanese people.” ref

“Indigenous American haplogroups, including haplogroup X, are part of a single founding East Asian population. It also indicates that the distribution of mtDNA haplogroups and the levels of sequence divergence among linguistically similar groups were the result of multiple preceding migrations from Bering Straits populations. All Indigenous American mtDNA can be traced back to five haplogroups, A, B, C, D and X. More specifically, Indigenous American mtDNA belongs to sub-haplogroups A2, B2, C1b, C1c, C1d, D1, and X2a (with minor groups C4c, D2a, and D4h3a).ref 

“This suggests that 95% of Indigenous American mtDNA is descended from a minimal genetic founding female population, comprising sub-haplogroups A2, B2, C1b, C1c, C1d, and D1. The remaining 5% is composed of the X2a, D2a, C4c, and D4h3a sub-haplogroups. X is one of the five mtDNA haplogroups found in Indigenous Americans. Native Americans mostly belong to the X2a clade, which has never been found in the Old World. According to Jennifer Raff, X2a probably originated in the same Siberian population as the other four founding maternal lineages.ref

“Haplogroup X genetic sequences diverged about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago to give two sub-groups, X1 and X2. X2’s subclade X2a occurs only at a frequency of about 3% for the total current Indigenous population of the Americas. However, X2a is a major mtDNA subclade in North America; among the Algonquian peoples, it comprises up to 25% of mtDNA types. It is also present in lower percentages to the west and south of this area — among the Sioux (15%), the Nuu-chah-nulth (11%–13%), the Navajo (7%), and the Yakama (5%). The predominant theory for sub-haplogroup X2a’s appearance in North America is migration along with A, B, C, and D mtDNA groups, from a source in the Altai Mountains of central Asia. Haplotype X6 was present in the Tarahumara 1.8% (1/53) and Huichol 20% (3/15).ref

“The similarities in ages and geographical distributions for C4c and the previously analyzed X2a lineage provide support to the scenario of a dual origin for Paleo-Indigenous Americans. Taking into account that C4c is deeply rooted in the Asian portion of the mtDNA phylogeny and is indubitably of Asian origin, the finding that C4c and X2a are characterized by parallel genetic histories definitively dismisses the controversial hypothesis of an Atlantic glacial entry route into North America.” A 2016 genetic study of Indigenous peoples of the Amazonian region of Brazil (by Skoglund and Reich) showed evidence of admixture from a separate lineage of an otherwise unknown ancient people. This ancient group appears to be related to modern day “Australasian” peoples (i.e. Aboriginal Australians and Melanesians). This “Ghost population” was found in speakers of Tupian languages.ref

Prevalence of Y-SNP haplogroup C-M217 (C3*) around the Pacific Ocean. Light blue: previous studies; dark blue: present study; yellow: relative frequency of C-M217 (C3*) carriers. https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Prevalence-of-Y-SNP-haplogroup-C-M217-C3-around-the-Pacific-Ocean-Light-blue_fig3_236207412

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“Males carrying C-M130 are believed to have migrated to the Americas some 6,000-8,000 years ago, and was carried by Na-Dené-speaking peoples into the northwest Pacific coast of North America.” ref 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“Several linguists and geneticists suggest that the Uralic languages are related to various Siberian languages and possibly also some languages of northern Native Americans. A proposed family is named Uralo-Siberian, it includes Uralic, Yukaghir, Eskimo–Aleut (Inuit), possibly Nivkh, and Chukotko-Kamchatkan. Haplogroup Q is found in nearly all Native Americans and nearly all of the Yeniseian Ket people (90%).” ref, ref

You can find some form of Shamanism, among Uralic, Transeurasian, Dené–Yeniseian, Chukotko-Kamchatkan, and Eskaleut languages.

My speculations of shamanism are its dispersals, after 24,000 to 4,000 years ago, seem to center on Lake Baikal and related areas. To me, the hotspot of Shamanism goes from west of Lake Baikal in the “Altai Mountains” also encompassing “Lake Baikal” and includes the “Amur Region/Watershed” east of Lake Baikal as the main location Shamanism seems to have radiated out from. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or “Mal’ta boy“, the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago in central Siberia. Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native AmericansEuropeansAncient Central AsiansSouth Asians, and some East Asian groups (such as the Ainu people), in order of significance.” ref

“Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians: Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (R1a-M417, around 8,400 years ago), Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (around 8,000 years ago), Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American (around 11,500 years ago), West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer, Western Steppe Herders (closely related to the Yamnaya culture), Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal (14,050-13,770 years ago), Lake Baikal Holocene (around 11,650 years ago to the present), Jōmon people, pre-Neolithic population of Japan (and present-day Ainu people).” ref

“Since the term ‘Ancient North Eurasian’ refers to a genetic bridge of connected mating networks, scholars of comparative mythology have argued that they probably shared myths and beliefs that could be reconstructed via the comparison of stories attested within cultures that were not in contact for millennia and stretched from the Pontic–Caspian steppe to the American continent.” ref

“For instance, the mytheme of the dog guarding the Otherworld possibly stems from an older Ancient North Eurasian belief, as suggested by similar motifs found in Indo-EuropeanNative American, and Siberian mythology. In SiouanAlgonquianIroquoian, and in Central and South American beliefs, a fierce guard dog was located in the Milky Way, perceived as the path of souls in the afterlife, and getting past it was a test. The Siberian Chukchi and Tungus believed in a guardian-of-the-afterlife dog and a spirit dog that would absorb the dead man’s soul and act as a guide in the afterlife. In Indo-European myths, the figure of the dog is embodied by CerberusSarvarā, and GarmrAnthony and Brown note that it might be one of the oldest mythemes recoverable through comparative mythology.” ref

“A second canid-related series of beliefs, myths, and rituals connected dogs with healing rather than death. For instance, Ancient Near Eastern and TurkicKipchaq myths are prone to associate dogs with healing and generally categorized dogs as impure. A similar myth-pattern is assumed for the Eneolithic site of Botai in Kazakhstan, dated to 3500 BC, which might represent the dog as absorber of illness and guardian of the household against disease and evil. In Mesopotamia, the goddess Nintinugga, associated with healing, was accompanied or symbolized by dogs. Similar absorbent-puppy healing and sacrifice rituals were practiced in Greece and Italy, among the Hittites, again possibly influenced by Near Eastern traditions.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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California-Peruvian connection

“The Cell study also revealed a surprising connection between ancient people living in California’s Channel Islands and the southern Peruvian Andes at least 4,200 years ago. It appears that these two geographically distant groups have a shared ancestry, the researchers found. It’s unlikely that people living in the Channel Islands actually traveled south to Peru, the researchers said. Rather, it’s possible that these groups’ ancestors sallied forth thousands of years earlier, with some ending up in the Channel Islands and others in South America. But those genes didn’t become common in Peru until much later, around 4,200 years ago, when the population may have exploded, the researchers said. It could be that this ancestry arrived in South America thousands of years before and we simply don’t have earlier individuals showing it,” study co-lead researcher Nathan Nakatsuka, a research assistant in the Reich lab at Harvard Medical School, said in the statement. “There is archaeological evidence that the population in the Central Andes area greatly expanded after around 5,000 years ago. Spreads of particular subgroups during these events may be why we detect this ancestry afterward.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Postglacial genomes from foragers across Northern Eurasia reveal prehistoric

mobility associated with the spread of the Uralic and Yeniseian languages

Abstract

“The North Eurasian forest and forest-steppe zones have sustained millennia of sociocultural connections among northern peoples. We present genome-wide ancient DNA data for 181 individuals from this region spanning the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age. We find that Early to Mid-Holocene hunter-gatherer populations from across the southern forest and forest-steppes of Northern Eurasia can be characterized by a continuous gradient of ancestry that remained stable for millennia, ranging from fully West Eurasian in the Baltic region to fully East Asian in the Transbaikal region. In contrast, cotemporaneous groups in far Northeast Siberia were genetically distinct, retaining high levels of continuity from a population that was the primary source of ancestry for Native Americans. By the mid-Holocene, admixture between this early Northeastern Siberian population and groups from Inland East Asia and the Amur River Basin produced two distinctive populations in eastern Siberia that played an important role in the genetic formation of later people. Ancestry from the first population, Cis-Baikal Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Cisbaikal_LNBA), is found substantially only among Yeniseian-speaking groups and those known to have admixed with them. Ancestry from the second, Yakutian Late Neolithic-Bronze Age (Yakutia_LNBA), is strongly associated with present-day Uralic speakers. We show how Yakutia_LNBA ancestry spread from an east Siberian origin ~4.5kya, along with subclades of Y-chromosome haplogroup N occurring at high frequencies among present-day Uralic speakers, into Western and Central Siberia in communities associated with Seima-Turbino metallurgy: a suite of advanced bronze casting techniques that spread explosively across an enormous region of Northern Eurasia ~4.0kya. However, the ancestry of the 16 Seima-Turbino-period individuals–the first reported from sites with this metallurgy–was otherwise extraordinarily diverse, with partial descent from Indo-Iranian-speaking pastoralists and multiple hunter-gatherer populations from widely separated regions of Eurasia. Our results provide support for theories suggesting that early Uralic speakers at the beginning of their westward dispersal where involved in the expansion of Seima-Turbino metallurgical traditions, and suggests that both cultural transmission and migration were important in the spread of Seima-Turbino material culture.” ref

“The oldest pottery of northern Europe, eastern North America, and Central America occurs in shell mounds.” ref

“As of 2012, the earliest pottery vessels found anywhere in the world, dating to 20,000 to 19,000 years before the present, was found at Xianrendong Cave in the Jiangxi province of China. Other early pottery vessels include those excavated from the Yuchanyan Cave in southern China, dated from 16,000 BCE, and those found in the Amur River basin in the Russian Far East, dated from 14,000 BCE. The Odai Yamamoto I site, belonging to the Jōmon period, currently has the oldest pottery in Japan, with earthenware fragments that have been dated as early as 14,500 BCE.” ref

“Most evidence points to an independent development of pottery in the Native American cultures (but since the people migrated from Siberia several times I think they already knew about pottery from Siberia before coming to the Americas), with the earliest known dates from Brazil, from 9,500 to 5,000 years ago and 7,000 to 6,000 years ago. Further north in Mesoamerica, dates begin with the Archaic Era (3500–2000 BCE), and into the Formative period (2000 BCE – CE 200). These cultures did not develop the stoneware, porcelain or glazes found in the Old World. Maya ceramics include finely painted vessels, usually beakers, with elaborate scenes with several figures and texts. Several cultures, beginning with the Olmec, made terracotta sculpture, and sculptural pieces of humans or animals that are also vessels are produced in many places, with Moche portrait vessels among the finest.” ref

Ceramics of Indigenous peoples of the Americas

“Ceramics of Indigenous peoples of the Americas is an art form with at least a 7500-year history in the Americas. Pottery is fired ceramics with clay as a component. Ceramics are used for utilitarian cooking vessels, serving and storage vessels, pipes, funerary urns, censers, musical instruments, ceremonial items, masks, toys, sculptures, and a myriad of other art forms. Due to their resilience, ceramics have been key to learning more about pre-Columbian Indigenous cultures. Not all Indigenous American pottery requires added tempers; some Hopi potters use pure kaolin clay that does not require tempering.” ref

“The choice of temper used in ceramics was constrained by what was available, but changes in the choice of temper can provide clues to influence and trade relations between groups. Shell-tempered ware was produced sporadically in various places across the eastern United States, but in the late Woodland and early Mississippian periods it became the predominant temper used across much of the Mississippi Valley and middle gulf coast, and a major defining characteristic of Mississippian culture pottery.” ref

“The earliest ceramics known from the Americas have been found in the lower Amazon Basin. Ceramics from the Caverna da Pedra Pintada, near Santarém, Brazil, have been dated to between 7,500 and 5,000 years ago. Ceramics from Taperinha, also near Santarém, have been dated to 8,000 to 7,000 years ago. Some of the sherds at Taperinho were shell-tempered, which allowed the sherds themselves to be radiocarbon dated. These first ceramics-making cultures were fishers and shellfish-gatherers.” ref

“Ceramics appeared next across northern South America and then down the western side of South America and northward through Mesoamerica. Ceramics of the Alaka culture in Guyana have been dated to 6,000 to 4,500 years ago. The pottery tradition at Pedra Pintada in Brazil represents the oldest known ceramics in the Americas. Dating back to 5630 BCE, this same tradition continued for 2500 years. Ceramics of the San Jacinto culture in Colombia have been dated to about 4530 BCE, and at Puerto Hormiga, also in Colombia, to about 3794 BCE. Ceramics appeared in the Valdivia culture in Ecuador around 3200 BCE, and in the Pandanche culture in Peru around 2460 BCE.ref

“The spread of ceramics in Mesoamerica came later. Ceramics from Monagrillo in Panama have been dated to around 2140 BCE, from Tronadora in Costa Rica to around 1890 BCE, and from Barra in the Soconusco of Chiapas to around 1900 BCE. Ceramics of the Purrón tradition in southcentral Mexico have been dated to around 1805 BCE, and from the Chajil tradition of northcentral Mexico, to around 1600 BCE.ref

“The appearance of ceramics in the Southeastern United States does not fit the above pattern. Ceramics from the middle Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina (known as Stallings, Stallings Island, or St. Simons) have been dated to about 2888 BCE (around 4,888 years ago), and ceramics of the Orange and Norwood cultures in northern Florida to around 2460 BCE (or around 4,460 years ago) (all older than any other dated ceramics from north of Colombia). Ceramics appeared later elsewhere in North America. Ceramics reached southern Florida (Mount Elizabeth) by 4000 years ago, Nebo Hill (in Missouri) by 3700 years ago, and Poverty Point (in Louisiana) by 3400 years ago.ref

“Fiber-tempered ceramics associated with shell middens left by hunter-fisher-gatherers of the Early Northwest South American Literature appeared at sites such as Puerto Hormiga, Monsú, Puerto Chacho, and San Jacinto in Colombia by 3100 BCE. Fiber-tempered ceramics at Monsú have been dated to 5940 radiocarbon years before present. The fiber-tempered pottery at Puerto Hormiga was “crude”, formed from a single lump of clay. The fiber-tempered pottery at San Jacinto is described as “well-made”. Sand-tempered coiled ceramics have also been found at Puerto Horrible.” ref

“Fiber-tempered ceramics associated with shell middens left by Late Archaic hunter-fisher-gatherers appeared in the Atlantic coastal plain of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina starting in 2500 BCE. The earliest attested pottery is in the Stallings culture area, around the middle Savannah River. Fiber-tempered pottery of the Orange culture in northeast Florida has been dated to 2000 BC or a bit earlier.” ref 

“The earliest ceramics in the Andean area have been radiocarbon dated to about 1800 BCE, although according to John H. Rowe the date may go back even to 2100 BC. Early ceramics have been found on the central coast at the large settlement of Las Haldas, at Huarmey, as well as at some other sites in the Casma River region, and in Lima area. Fiber-tempered pottery of very similar form spread along coasts and river valleys of the Southeastern United States from the Atlantic coast into Alabama, reaching northwestern Florida (Norwood culture) and the Gulf coast by 1300 BCE, the interior Middle South by 1100, and Poverty Point by 1000 BCE.” ref

“The Tiwanaku and Wari cultures shared dominance of the Andes, roughly from 500 to 1000 BCE. The Tiwanaku civilizations originated in Lake Titicaca region of Bolivia, and a staff-bearing deity figured largely in their artwork. Tiwanaku artists continued the tradition of naturalistic, ceramic portrait vessels. The ubiquitous Wari ceramics carried over imagery from their textiles and metalwork, such as llama and alpaca imagery.” ref

“The similarities of the Stallings series ceramics to the earlier Puerto Hormiga ceramics of Colombia, which were both associated with shell rings, and the presence of winds and ocean currents favoring journeys from South America to the Southeastern United States, led James A. Ford, among other archaeologists, to offer the hypothesis that the two areas had connections, and that the technology of fiber-tempered ceramics in the southeastern United States had been imported from Colombia. Other archaeologists have noted that there are no known archaeological sites between Colombia and Florida that are of a type or age consistent with such connections, and that the cultural traditions of the Southeastern United States show no significant changes associated with the appearance of ceramics, indicating that there was no migration or people, and no transfer of technology or other elements of culture, other than the appearance of ceramics.ref

“Later significant developments in ceramics in the Southeastern Woodlands included Mississippian culture pottery in the Mississippi River valley, and Weedon Island pottery, a style of pottery used primarily in ceremonial contexts and high status burials, produced and traded along the Gulf of Mexico coast from southwestern Florida to the Florida panhandle.ref

Mesoamerican pottery

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“The shaman is, above all, a connecting figure, bridging several worlds for his people, traveling between this world, the underworld, and the heavens. He transforms himself into an animal and talks with ghosts, the dead, the deities, and the ancestors. He dies and revives. He brings back knowledge from the shadow realm, thus linking his people to the spirits and places which were once mythically accessible to all.–anthropologist Barbara Meyerhoff” ref

“Haplogroup N is the ancestral haplogroup to almost all clades today distributed in Europe and Oceania, as well as many found in Asia and the Americas.” ref

Pic ref

Ancient Women Found in a Russian Cave Turn Out to Be Closely Related to The Modern Population https://www.sciencealert.com/ancient-women-found-in-a-russian-cave-turn-out-to-be-closely-related-to-the-modern-population

Abstract

“Ancient genomes have revolutionized our understanding of Holocene prehistory and, particularly, the Neolithic transition in western Eurasia. In contrast, East Asia has so far received little attention, despite representing a core region at which the Neolithic transition took place independently ~3 millennia after its onset in the Near East. We report genome-wide data from two hunter-gatherers from Devil’s Gate, an early Neolithic cave site (dated to ~7.7 thousand years ago) located in East Asia, on the border between Russia and Korea. Both of these individuals are genetically most similar to geographically close modern populations from the Amur Basin, all speaking Tungusic languages, and, in particular, to the Ulchi. The similarity to nearby modern populations and the low levels of additional genetic material in the Ulchi imply a high level of genetic continuity in this region during the Holocene, a pattern that markedly contrasts with that reported for Europe.” ref

“Six of seven individuals whose remains have been recovered from the cave have been DNA tested. Originally, three of the specimens were thought to be adult males, two were thought to be adult females, one was thought to be a sub-adult of about 12-13 years of age, and one was thought to be a juvenile of about 6-7 years of age based on the skeletal morphology of the remains. Results of genetic analysis of the sub-adult individual have not yet been published. However, two specimens, NEO236 (Skull B, DevilsGate2) and NEO235 (Skull G), who had been presumed to be adult males according to a forensic morphological assessment of their remains, were discovered through genetic analysis to actually be females. The juvenile specimen also has been determined to be female through genetic analysis. Three of the specimens (including the only adult male plus NEO235/Skull G and another adult female, labeled as Skull Е, DevilsGate1, or NEO240, who has been genetically determined to be a first-degree relative of NEO235/Skull G) have been assigned to mtDNA haplogroup D4m; a previous genetic analysis of one of these adult female specimens determined her mtDNA haplogroup to be D4. Another three specimens (including the juvenile female, the DevilsGate2 specimen, and another adult female; both the juvenile female and the DevilsGate2 specimen have been determined to be first-degree relatives of the other adult female, and the juvenile female and the DevilsGate2 specimen also have been determined to be second-degree relatives of each other) have been assigned to haplogroup D4; a previous genetic analysis of the DevilsGate2 specimen determined her mtDNA haplogroup to be MThe only specimen from the cave who has been confirmed to be male through genetic analysis has been assigned to Y-DNAhaplogroup C2b-F6273/Y6704/Y6708, equivalent to C2b-L1373, the northern (Central Asian, Siberian, and indigenous American) branch of haplogroup C2-M217. ref

“The haplogroup C-M217 is now found at high frequencies among Central Asian peoples, indigenous Siberians, and some Native peoples of North America. Haplogroup C-M217 is the modal haplogroup among Mongolians and most indigenous populations of the Russian Far East, such as the Buryats, Northern Tungusic peoplesNivkhsKoryaks, and Itelmens. The subclade C-P39 is common among males of the indigenous North American peoples whose languages belong to the Na-Dené phylum. C2b1a1a P39 Canada,USA(Found in several indigenous peoples of North America, including some Na-Dené-,Algonquian-, orSiouan-speaking populations).” ref

“Males carrying C-M130 are believed to have migrated to the Americas some 6,000-8,000 years ago, and was carried by Na-Dené-speaking peoples into the northwest Pacific coast of North America. The distribution of Haplogroup C-M130 is generally limited to populations of Siberia, parts of East Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. Haplogroup C2 (M217) – the most numerous and widely dispersed C lineage – was once believed to have originated in Central Asia, spread from there into Northern Asia and the Americas while other theory it originated from East Asia. C-M217 stretches longitudinally from Central Europe and Turkey, to the Wayuu people of Colombia and Venezuela, and latitudinally from the Athabaskan peoples of Alaska to Vietnam to the Malay Archipelago. The highest frequencies of Haplogroup C-M217 are found among the populations of Mongolia and Far East Russia, where it is the modal haplogroup. Haplogroup C-M217 is the only variety of Haplogroup C-M130 to be found among Native Americans, among whom it reaches its highest frequency in Na-Dené populations.” ref

The Center of the World “Axis Mundi” and/or “Sacred Mountains” Mythology Could Relate to the Altai Mountains, Heart of the Steppe

“Golden Mountains of Altai is the name of the Altai and Katun Natural Reserves, Lake Teletskoye, Belukha Mountain, and the Ukok Plateau. The region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation”. The Altai region is made up of four primary sites and landscapes: Mount Belukha, the Ukok Plateau, the Katun River, and the Karakol Valley. Mount Beluka is regarded as a sacred site to Buddhists and the Burkhanist. Their myths surrounding this portion of the mountain range lent credence to their claim that it was the location of Shangri-la (Shambala). The Ukok Plateau is an ancient burial site of the early Siberian people. Moreover, a number of myths are connected to this portion of the Golden Mountains. For example, the plateau was thought to have been the Elysian fields. The Katun River is an important religious location to the Altaians where they (during celebrations) utilize ancient ecological knowledge to restore and maintain the river. The Karakol Valley is home of three indigenous villages where tourism is greatly managed. While the Golden Mountains of Altai are listed on the World Heritage List under natural criteria, it holds information about the nomadic Scythian culture. The permafrost in these mountains has preserved Scythian burial mounds. These frozen tombs, or kurgans, hold metal objects, pieces of gold, mummified bodies, tattooed bodies, sacrificed horses, wood/leather objects, clothes, textiles, etc. However, the Ukok Plateau (in the Altai Mountains) is a sacred site to the Altai people, so archeologists and scholars who are looking to excavate the site for human remains raise controversy.” ref

Genetics Reveal Movements of Ancient Siberians

“DNA reveals the previously unknown degree of mixture between Japan, North America, and the Eurasian mainland. Ancient DNA preserved in the icy climate of Siberia has revealed new insights about how ancient humans migrated five to seven thousand years ago.” ref

“In a study published recently in Current Biology, the researchers examined the DNA from 10 different ancient humans, which is quite a lot considering most of them date from 5,500 to 7,500 years old. These remains came from three locations in Siberia — the Altai Mountains, the Kamchatka Peninsula, and the Russian Far East.” ref

Altai Mountains meetings and Shamanism?

“Researchers were surprised to discover a previously unknown population with mixed genetics in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia. At some point during the last Ice Age, a group of ancient north Eurasians mixed with a population from northeastern Siberia. The corresponding mixture is one that researchers haven’t seen before, the head researcher explained. It’s also not clear where these two groups first met and intermingled since the people were mostly nomadic at the time. It’s possible they met in the region where the remains are found, though, which may have provided a good passage between mountains to the north and the desert to the south. “It’s a perfect meeting point for groups, geographically speaking,” the head researcher explained.” ref

“Five of the Altai Mountains remains — all males — had very similar DNA, despite dating from different times between 7,500 and 5,500 years ago. But the sixth male, which dates to about 6,500 years ago, comes from farther east. The DNA shows this, but so does the archaeological context. The individual was buried with rich burial goods and a costume that the head researcher explained could indicate some sort of shamanism. Moreover, the head researcher explained it’s unclear whether this man is representative of a larger migration between the Altai Mountains and people farther east. But it shows that a degree of movement was occurring between different people at the time.” ref

Japanese Connection?

“Nest, one of the analyzed individuals was found in the Russian Far East. This male isn’t that remarkable at first glance, for the DNA resembles that of other similarly aged people that have been previously analyzed. Or at least three-quarters of the DNA is similar. The other quarter of this man’s genome appears to be Japanese. This discovery is surprising. This man dates back to about 7,000 years ago, but Japan was settled much earlier — possibly 30,000 years ago. This means that people from Japan were traveling back to the mainland and mixing with other humans there. “These hunter-gatherers were also able to cross bodies of water and interact among each other,” the head researcher explained. Overall, these results show how fluid ancient people were in Eurasia and even North America. “These foraging communities were in close contact with each other, they were highly mobile with each other and were admixing,” the head researcher also explained. “We are really talking about large-distance mobility.” ref

Crossing the water to and from the Americas?

“Two males and one female from Kamchatka lived relatively recently — only 500 years ago. The reason it’s interesting is that researchers haven’t previously published any ancient genome information from this region. All three of the remains the head researcher and his colleagues analyzed contained small portions of ancestry from Indigenous Americans. The presence of these markers suggests that Indigenous Americans were also crossing back to Russia prior to the period these individuals were alive. “This probably happened over a long period of time,” the head researcher explained. While researchers had previously known there was gene flow back and forth across the Bering Sea — perhaps for 5,000 years — this finding stretches that area of gene flow further south into the Kamchatka Peninsula.” ref

Here are other supporting articles:

Animism in Altai Mountain Area?

“Worship of nature, the three worlds in Altai mythology, Altai shamanism, Altai epic myths, Altai annual communal ceremonies marking the season cycles, sacred fire mythology, Prayers/Blessings, Altai magic (tarmalga), afterlife/soul belief, and Shamanistic Healing.”

“The Republic of Altai,  (the mountainous Altai), is a republic of Russia located in southern Siberia, and is part of the Russian Federation.  The Republic is located about 500km South of Novosibirsk, bordering China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. The Altai people, in total, number 76,000, and are made of 6 different groups; Telengit, Altai Kizhi, Tubular, Kumandin, Shor, and Chalkan. This research paper will focus on the 65,000 Altai (Telengit and Altai Kizhi) people who speak Southern Altai fluently. The language is used in arts, media, in education and in everyday life. The majority of the Altai are also fairly fluent in Russian, with the exception of those living in remote villages. I am interested in researching their animistic and shamanistic worldview and practices more thoroughly in order to have increased insight into their culture.” ref

Worship of nature?

“The Altai religious beliefs are based on animism. The Altai worship gods in nature, in trees, rivers, and mountains. In Altai, a wise person is one who knows and observes the laws of nature and who respects and lives in harmony with the forces of nature, which are all dependent on the energy from the sky, fire, and water spirits. There is a higher power (Ulgen), angels, spirits of the mountains, rivers, and springs, spirits of the home, and the ruler of the lower earth (Erlik). Altai’s mountains are sacred places to the clans of the Altai people. Mountains protect clans from evil spirits and facilitate prosperity and well-being. Each clan (seok) has a sacred mountain (yiyk tuu). Each valley, each mountain peak, and each spring has its own spirits, or masters, known in Altai as ‘eezi’.” ref

“The Altai tradition of worshipping mountain, river, and mountain-pass spirits has deep roots and still plays a significant role in the people’s worldview. Mountain spirits often occur in epics, myths, legends, and stories. There are specific rituals undertaken today, through which a particular clan worships at their mountain. The Altai try to pacify nature by bringing presents for the mountains, such as bright-colored ribbons to attach to trees and the sprinkling of alcohol and milk on the top of mountain passes to thank the gods for safe passage. The mountains in turn help people in trouble, and each mountain has its own name and legend. Previously, each traveler, knowing where he was going, and which mountain passes he would cross, would prepare his ribbons and take them with him. Through the tying of the ribbons, the traveler is asking a blessing, but also promising to keep the local traditions and preserve the Altai nature. The tying of the ribbons shows love and loyalty to the Altai spirit. The ribbons are normally white, but yellow ribbons symbolize the sun, blue the sky, red is fire and green symbolizes grass. This tradition is continued today.” ref

Three Worlds?

“There are three worlds in Altai mythology, with the ‘eternal poplar’ which symbolizes a world tree marking the center of the world. The road to the higher and lower levels of the world runs up and down this tree, which unites all the worlds by passing through the middle world where humans dwell. Good white substances rise up to the sky in blessings, and heavy black substances flow down towards the lower world, the realm of Erlik, and his evil forces. The middle world where humans dwell is divided into two; visible and invisible. The flat territory, such as plains and valleys, is the visible realm of man, and the mountains and rivers are the domains of the spirits, where man is a guest and must observe certain rules. These three worlds are interconnected and express the Altai understanding of God through nature.” ref 

Shamans?

“Shamans are the link between the world of the living and that of the spirits. In Altai today, there are no official shamans who still use the dark force and worship Erlik. However, shamanistic rituals have played a large role in the history and the culture of the Altai people, and so these still play a large part in making up people’s worldview. Unofficially there are prophets (jarlikchi) who operate privately and use white energies in their rituals. There is a movement within Altai to revive the animistic and shamanist beliefs and practices.” ref

“Altai shamanism is oral in nature and there is no written statement of rules and regulations. The function of the shaman is healing, controlling the weather, exorcism, searching for lost objects and the sending of the spirits of the dead into the next world. The shaman in Altai is called the ‘kam’, who is a mediator between the world of the dead and humans. The shaman communicates with the spirits, using a drum, and is able to send his ‘double’ to different places in the universe. The shaman can also ask the spirits of nature to assist him.  The ‘kam’ ability is inherited, and the man predestined to become a shaman, will fall ill in childhood and into a frenzy or trance. Black shamanism involves the worship of Erlik (the demonic Lord of the underworld) and travels to the spirit underworld.” ref

“The drum or tambourine is a special gift given by the gods to the shaman, as evidence that he is qualified. The ceremony of manufacturing and presenting the tambourine goes on for several days watched by a large crowd. The tambourine is played with a special rhythm while the shaman appeals to the gods. If the tambourine skin breaks during the ritual, it means spirits have come to punish the shaman and he will die soon. Other than the tambourine, the other sacred Altai object of worship is the shaman costume. When the shaman strikes the tambourine, the spirits rush towards him, and some settle in his garments and some in the tambourine. The most important spirits go into the shaman himself, with a large intake of breath from the shaman. The shaman clothes include braids, pendants, tissue, animal skins, and parts, as well as images of snakes and monsters.” ref

White Shamanism?

“White shamanism experienced a revival in the early 20th century and a movement was founded called the ‘White Faith’ (‘Ak Jang’). The followers of the ‘White Faith’ excluded contact with the dark spirits and underworld, and only worshipped the white guardians. The highest deity was called ‘Altai-Kudai’ in place of Ulgen. The ‘spirits of place’ were re-named ‘burkhans’ and that is why the ‘White Faith’ is also called ‘Burkhanism’ today. Blood sacrifice to the spirits using cattle was stopped, and so was the use of wine and tobacco in rituals. Their spirit messengers were re-named ‘jarlikchi’. The ‘White Faith’ movement is waiting for the return of the Oirot-khan as a national hero and Saviour. The White Faith group only communicates with the good white spirits and attempts to maintain harmony with nature and to bring blessing through their practices.” ref

Altai epic myths?

“The oral epic story tradition is of great importance to the Altai people, and traditionally these myths and legends were re-told through the medium of throat singing on the two-stringed lute (topshur). Originally, these throat singers were considered to have unusual abilities, as a result of their special relationship to the spirits. The ancient Altai epic myths show the life and history of the Altai people. They are oral masterpieces which been passed down from generation to generation. The epic “Altai Baatyrlar” (Altaian Bogatyrs or heroic warriors) was published in nine volumes (approximately 100,000 lines of poetry), and there are many other unpublished epic tales. The Altai myths also contain plots, heroes and characteristics from other people’s legends, such as the Kyrgyz or the Buryat. These epic stories are told through throat-singing (kay) and it can take a week to sing an epic of 7,000 lines.” ref

“The most famous Altai epic is called ‘Maadai-Kara’ by Elbek Kalkin. Khan Maadai-Kara is an old hero who has already lost his power. He sleeps for sixty days, but when he wakes up, he realizes that a hostile ruler is approaching to seize him, his property, and his people. When his wife gives birth to a son, Khan Maadai-Kara hides his son in the black mountain under the protection of the birch trees. This son is raised by the spirit-owner of Altai in the forests. When his parents are captured by Erlik, he eventually rescues them, and he returns the golden era to Altai. The epic stories are very similar in themes: wars with lords who attack Altai land and property; wars for brides when there are many candidates; or wars for stolen herds of animals. The characteristic of Altai legends is that all the heroes possess magic powers: the hero’s horse knows and sees everything; the wife of the hero can predict all things in advance; and the young girl knows beforehand whom she will marry.” ref

“The Altai also have legends which explain the creation of the world. According to these legends, there were three brothers in heaven who jointly created the world: Ulgen, Tayashi, and Erlik. However, after creating the world they argued amongst themselves about who had put the most effort into creating, and as a result of this argument they split the world into three parts: Ulgen stayed in the heavens, Tayashi came down to earth, and the youngest brother Erlik went to the under-world. From heaven, Ulgen rained down on earth cold, lightning, thunder, snow, and rain, and using this, Tayashi created on earth lakes and rivers, forests, and animals, and all the animals and birds that live in them. Under the earth, Erlik became angry and offended with his brothers, and decided to bring evil on all earth’s inhabitants, resulting in conflict and suffering to this day.” ref 

Ceremonies?

“The Altai perform four major communal annual ceremonies, marking the season cycles of the year. They are Altai New Year in March (the ‘year-melt’), the rituals of spring (‘green leaves’), the rituals of autumn (‘yellow leaves’), and the New Year festival (‘white feast’). At the start of the summer, those conducting the ritual ask the higher powers for more livestock, a good harvest, and prosperity. In the autumn, they ask for the protection of livestock over the winter and a good end to a difficult period. These ceremonies are undergoing a period of revival in some Altai villages today.” ref

“During these festivals, milk and white food are cast into the fire, and white ribbons are hung on trees, in dedication to the local spirits and gods. The Altai are trying to gain the approval of the spirits and their blessing on the time ahead, and especially on the livestock, the hunting, and the harvest. There are also games, meals, and competitions organized along with these rituals. Once every two years, all of the Altai Republic gathers for the festival of El-Oyin, (‘nationwide games’) with the aim to maintain the customs and traditions of the Altai people, including sports, competitions, throat singing, and theatrical shows. I was present at the opening ceremony of this festival in 2017, when one of the epic Altai legends was acted out and sung.” ref

“Other ceremonies in Altai include the visitation of healing springs (arzhan) which involves a broad range of religious and healing rituals and procedures, including fasting and abstinence from smoking and alcohol. In order to visit the arzhan, one doesn’t have to be sick. On the contrary, it is considered best to conduct these rituals in order to support one’s life force.” ref

Fire?

“The Altai have a special relationship of respect to fire, and they call fire the ‘head of the family’. The home fire is sacred, so rubbish should not be thrown into it, it should never be extinguished, and gifts are made to the fire. The shaman will begin the ‘kam’ ritual celebrating and turning to the god of mother fire, and she can be asked for assistance in upcoming travels. If the Altai people do not fear fire, the fire will cause destructive fires in the home and in the village. During wedding preparations, while the bride’s hair is plaited, the groom lights a fire which represents the fire of their family life. If the fire burns well, they will have success as a family, and if the fire wanes or goes out, so will their family life. Every family must feed their own fire daily with food and milk offerings, and if a guest arrives with food, that food must first be offered also to the fire. If a family member becomes ill, they are placed on their back and cooled cinders from the hearth are placed on their stomach and rubbed in, while the house owner declares a blessing.” ref

Ails?

“Traditionally the Altai people lived in ails, which are hexagonal constructions made of timber with a conical roof. The door must be orientated towards the east, which is where the sun rises. It is only possible to move counterclockwise round the ail, and the honored guests are always seated in the place of honor near the fireplace. Today Altai families live in Russian houses, but they still use their ails as a summer house.” ref 

Prayers and Blessings?

“A lot of the ancient Altai mythology is found in their prayers and blessing (alkysh). Communication with the good spirits of nature of the ‘excluded middle’ in the Altai spiritual worldview takes place by their prayers (ailatkysh) and blessings (alkysh). To read a blessing one needs to specify a certain intention or goal. Here is an example of an Altai blessing:

“Lord God Altai! Spirit of Altai! Precious elements! Give your blessing! May no dark substance curse my path with obstacles. Help me to fulfill my purpose. White substance, give your strength, pure substance, give the consciousness necessary in order to… (personal intention follows). May the spirit of kindness fill our hearts, God Altai, Spirit of Altai! Chok!” ref

“‘Chok’ means, ‘I worship, revere, and bow before you’. When making a blessing, the person should turn towards the East where the sun rises, and then to the peak of a sacred mountain and make a small bow. Men remove their hats and stroke their head several times from the crown to the forehead, and women stroke their hair forwards or push it behind their ears with both hands bending their head. Blessings are normally made at group gatherings, usually held at the new moon before mid-day in the morning sunlight. These blessings strengthen the energy of the soul and provide a way to influence one’s destiny for the better. They always take place outside and provide a link with nature, channeling the good energy of nature towards the person. Such blessings help to strengthen the energy of the soul.” ref

Magic?

“Altai magic (tarmalga) has existed for a very long time, and includes sorcery, wizardry, witchcraft, magic, superstitions, prediction, signs, omens, and incantations. Originally white and black magic existed together. The symbol for white magic in Altai is a leather milk vessel used for holding milk that is sprinkled during prayer. The sign for black magic is a mask, probably explained by the fact that the person loses their true identity when they practice black magic. There are various ritual objects now held in the National Museum in Altai that are covered in symbols and help explain some of the ancient magical practices. Cult signs can be found on flint stones. On the flint stones used in white magic, the morning star was shown, and on those used in black magic, either the evening star or two masks were depicted.” ref

“One of the most important actions of a sorcerer is the banishment of the spirit of illness or demons from a person’s soul. A demon may live in the center of a soul, and an illness can cause a person to be cruel and unkind, causing harm to those around him. Such a person has become a victim of dark energy which has come to live in his soul, banishing the white energy of kindness. If the sorcerer is not able to exorcise the illness, he may ask the assistance of the white shaman or prophet (jarlikchi). The healing rituals take place between the 8th and 15th day of the month when there is the whitest substance in the atmosphere. During the ritual the sorcerer or prophet will say a blessing or an incantation. The sick person may be given a protective amulet made by the prophet to be carried on his person for further protection from dark energies and influences.” ref

“During the ritual, the shaman uses a drum or tambourine, and a ritual object symbolizing images of the shaman’s ancestors on the maternal and paternal life for six generations. This would protect the shaman and his family from accidents, ill-spoken words, and the evil eye, and these objects were also used in divination. Every ritual object would have its own sphere of influence – over hunting, over sick people, over the health of children, over the cattle etc. There are currently no shamans in Altai serving the dark force as in the past. There are prophets (jarlikchi) who use white energies in the rituals and burn heather and juniper. The function of this interaction with the spirit world is protection over the evil dark forces, through incantations, amulets, and other ritual objects.” ref 

Death?

In the very ancient Altai culture, death was considered a passage into another life, and a man’s possessions were buried with him. It was believed that a person goes into this life with a horse and goes out with it, so horses were buried with the rich. Nowadays, sometimes a ritual after death may be carried out by a spirit-seer in Altai, who makes offerings to the soul of the deceased. A spirit-seer is invited to the home of the deceased, and he is able to see the soul of the deceased. The soul communicates with the seer, expressing its last wishes before departing. On the seventh day the soul returns home to collect personal belongings needed in the next world and to have refreshments. The seer carries out a ritual to make offerings to the soul of the deceased, which takes place in the evening, with offerings made from an earthenware bowl. Food is placed in the bowl, alcohol is sprinkled on the ground and crockery is smashed.” ref

?On the seventh day the spirit of milk leaves the human body. The door should be kept ajar, and the home should be quiet and unlit. After the fortieth day the spirit of the deceased will never again return to the family home or pursue loved ones. The soul of the deceased may be sent to the underworld to be cleansed if the person has broken the laws of nature during their life. If the deceased appears in a relative’s dream, the prophet may be called to conduct another ritual, aiming to separate the deceased’s soul from the relative’s consciousness. The fire cleansing ritual is carried out in the relatives’ house and words of an incantation are spoken. The purpose of this communication with the soul of the dead is to provide protection for the living, and to allow the soul of the deceased to leave the body in a peaceful way.” ref 

Healing?

“Healing has a special significance in the context of traditional Altai Shamanism. Every sickness is perceived as the work of evil, and so the need for healing by supernatural means is one of the crucial needs of the Altai people. An important part of the shaman’s work was healing, as the shamans would banish the spirit of illness or demons from the person’s soul. Now, despite the lack of official shamans, local folk doctors are sometimes preferred over medical doctors. Rituals for healing the sick are still carried out and the sick person may be given an amulet for protection from dark influences. Water is also believed by the Altai people to be a source of strength and healing. They believe that there are spirits who live in the rivers and lakes who are able to heal illness and give long-life.” ref 

Blessing and Harmony?

“The gaining of favor and blessing from the good spirits in nature as a family and as a society is a key felt need of the Altai people. There are several important Altai festivals during the year, one of which is Chaga-Bairam, the Altai New Year. This is celebrated in February at the beginning of the new moon. It is an ancient festival which is designed to bring about the development of the Altai people and country, peace and favor to society, fullness and blessing in the family, and health to the cattle and crops to be planted later in the year. The festival begins early in the morning with a ritual to worship the sun of Altai. Sacrifices of milk products are brought on a special altar, ribbons are tied to trees and a fire is lit and fed. Later in the day there is a celebration, including skating on skates and furs, eating national food, and cultural and sport competitions. The Altai are celebrating the soon arrival of spring and the new cycle of the calendar year.” ref

“In June, while a full moon can be seen in the sky, the Altai people celebrated the holiday which was a symbol of the beginning of summer, called ‘Green leaves’. This was the time when the first leaves came out and everything was in blossom, so that people could graze their cattle again. During the holiday they thanked the spirits for a good winter. In autumn they celebrated ‘Yellow leaves’. This holiday is devoted to the master of Altai taiga forest. During this holiday people asked him for warm and ‘full of food’ winters. The Altai people need harmony with nature, good weather, and success in hunting, and these two festivals answered these felt needs. These Altai festivals have not been celebrated during the Soviet era, but currently, there is a revitalization of these rituals and in some places now in Altai these festivals are celebrated.” ref 

Protection?

?The Altai people are searching for security and an ability to control basic life issues. They are looking for protection from potential dangers which are perceived to be linked to the spiritual world. One category of protection is from physical dangers: wild animals, weather conditions, road accidents, drowning, getting lost, and so on. These remain very important issues for hunters and professional drivers whose everyday life is endangered by harsh Siberian conditions. Another important category is protection from the influence of evil spirits. In the following paragraphs there is a description of different ways in which the Altai religion provides this protection, which is so eagerly sought.” ref 

“In their houses, the Altai hang a protector of their house called a ‘jaik’. In order to set up the ‘jaik’ in the house, an unofficial shaman is invited. Then, each month, at the new moon, the spirit ‘jaik’ is presented with offerings of food. The ‘jaik’ is the defender and protector of the house and the heart of the family. The Altai also burn juniper and the smoke is considered a very valuable smell practically to kill bacteria, but also to cleanse the house and area around from evil spirits. It burns away black substance and strengthens the soul. The fire is also the heart of the family, providing protection, and traditionally was regularly fed to pacify and please the spirits. Moreover, any storm, illness or misfortune which occurs after the failure to observe the fire-feeding ritual may be interpreted as judgement from the spirits. The fire feeding is a way to influence everyday reality and avoid problems. Due to the high esteem shown to fire, the Altai people will never throw rubbish on a fire, spit on it or cross over it.” ref

“Another method to ward off unclean spirits, is the hanging of a bear’s paw over the door of the house. People believe that this paw can ward off unclean spirits. If a cow stops giving milk, it is believed that someone has given the cow the Evil Eye and that bad energy has affected the cow. At this point the owner of the house will take the paw of the bear and do a massage of the cow’s teats. The cow is relieved from stress and the milk will return. Whips are also hung over doors, connected to the belief that unclean spirits are afraid of the whip’s handle, since it is made from a thorny bush. Such a whip can also be used to exorcise unclean spirits from people.” ref

“After eating fatty food in the evening and before going outside, an Altai person will cleanse their mouth with a lit match or a hot branch from the fire.  This is believed to stop an evil spirit licking the person’s lips. If they go to bed in an unknown house, they lie down with their head towards the door. Then, when an unclean spirit comes, it will fall on their legs instead of on their heads. In order to be protected from bad dreams at night, the Altai put a knife or match underneath their pillows.” ref

“Mothers also keep the umbilical cord of their children and make a guardian key-ring from it to protect their children. Previously this was sewn into the women’s Altai costume. The key-ring is four-cornered for a boy, and three-cornered for a girl. Above a newborn baby’s cot, Altai people also hang the claws of a wild beast and these will also protect the baby from unclean spirits. If someone kills a duck, above his tail there is a special part containing fat protected by the flapping of the duck’s wings. The hunter cuts off this fatty part and sews it into the clothes of a child, to ward off evil spirits. If some of the feathers, still attached to this fatty part of the duck, start to become fluffy like a dandelion, it is held that the child will grow up healthy.” ref

“A mother may sew small buttons and the claw of a rat into the fur coat of a child to protect it from the evil eye. These charms in Altai are connected often to animals and nature, and many can be obtained through hunting, which is an important part of Altai life and culture. The Altai hunters also have a special amulet that is the patron of their weapons. If the amulet is placed in a special pipe, tobacco is placed over it and it is smoked, then an unclean spirit cannot harm his hunter.” ref

“This is off your subject but natural mounds, hills, and mountains were also important to many tribes. The Cheyenne and Lakota held The Black Hills to be sacred and unbeknownst to them there was gold underneath. So the Lakota have a creation story of falling through a hole in the Big Dipper after living among the Pleiades and then after they fell to Earth somehow they emerged through Wind Cave. This is something not all Oceti Sakowin agree on because they were once part of the Dakota who were farther east. There are no ceremonies held at Wind Cave so it’s not considered as holy as places such as Bear Butte. The Cheyenne were pushed farther west although they remained allies and I have Northern Cheyenne friends who travel for a ceremony to Bear Butte to this day. Whether they could feel ley lines under the ground and thought that was a sign of a power vortex or what pre-colonization, is unknown. I believe that there were 2 separate groups of people who migrated here to these continents and some arrived in South America and some came over the Bering Strait. The most recent being the Alaskan Natives. However, tribes like the Cherokee although under colonization are considered part of the Five Civilized Tribes- that only meant that they accepted conversion to Christianity. They are Iroquoian language stock and separate from the rest of the Muskogean speakers in the southeast. Their DNA is different from most other tribes as well. Anyway, these tribes were part of successive waves after the last glacial maximum and the long period of time it took for the ice to retreat. There are people who say that they have been in the Dakotas for time immemorial which is a term I deeply hate…but those areas were covered with ice and then huge lakes.” – Mellodi Zintkala @MZintkala Hunkpapa Lakota Ina~Unci

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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My Speculations are in Comparative Mythologies?

For instance, the mytheme of an ancient belief that is seemingly shared though changed and adapted, a fundamental generic unit of narrative structure seems to be shared a common relation with mountains/ancestors/gods or sacred animals with Sacred Mounds, Mountains, Kurgans, and Pyramids

“My speculation is that Sacred Mountain Mythology all may relate to beliefs relating to the Altai Mountains.”

“The Altai Mountains, also spelled Altay Mountains, are a mountain range in Central and East Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan converge. The Altai Mountains have been identified as being the point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the Seima-Turbino Phenomenon which arose during the Bronze Age around the start of the 2nd millennium BCE and led to a rapid and massive migration of peoples from the region into distant parts of Europe and Asia. The Altaic language family takes its name from this mountain range. Altaic (also called Transeurasian) may include Turkic languages, Mongolic languages, Tungusic languages, Koreanic languagesJaponic languages, and Ainu languages. The research on their supposedly common linguistics origin has inspired various comparative studies on the folklore and mythology among the TurksProto-Mongols and Tungus people.” refref

High mobility of ancient hunter-gatherers 7,500 years ago,

 Indicated by genetic data from the Altai

“Research has identified a previously unknown hunter-gatherer population in the Altai some 7,500 years ago which illustrates the high mobility between populations in Siberia and elsewhere in North Asia. Furthermore, the Altai hunter-gatherer group contributed genetically to many contemporaneous and subsequent populations across North Asia, showing how great the mobility of those foraging communities was. The Altai region (Altai Mountainsis widely known as the place where an archaic hominin group, the Denisovans, was first discovered. Yet this region is also highly important for the demographic history of our own species, says Cosimo Posth. “Its geographic location makes the Altai an important crossroads for population movements between northern Siberia, Central Asia, and East Asia over millennia.” ref

“The genetic data from the Altai show that East Eurasia harbor highly connected gene pools since at least the Early Holocene, some 10,000 years ago. “Such connection across long geographic distances is remarkable. This suggests that human migrations and admixtures were the norm and not the exception also for ancient hunter-gatherer societies. Moreover, a burial in the region in the same period as the other Altai hunter-gatherers had a completely different genetic profile, carrying genetic affinities to populations located in the Russian Far East. This man, known as the Nizhnetytkesken individual, was found in a cave containing rich burial goods and with a costume and objects interpreted as a possible representation of shamanism.” ref

“These 6,500-year-old remains discovered in Nizhnetytkesken Cave in the Altai Mountains had genetic ties to a group living about 900 miles away. “This implies that individuals with very different [genetic] profiles were living in the same region, and with belongings indicate that this person may have been a shaman. His ancestral group may have inhabited a larger area than previously thought, or he may have been a traveling healer. Therefore, it seems that mixing between ancient hunter-gatherer groups probably occurred more frequently than previously believed.” ref

“This shows that people with very different genetic profiles were living in the area. It is not clear if the Nizhnetytkesken individual came from far away or the population from which he originated was living close by. “However, his grave goods appear different from other archeological sites, implying movements of both culturally and genetically diverse individuals into the Altai region,” says Wang. This study also reports data from a 7,000-year-old individual from the Russian Far East which show genetic links with hunter-gatherer groups from the Japanese Archipelago.” ref

“Furthermore, newly generated ancient genomes from the Kamchatka Peninsula reveal multiple phases of North America-related gene flow to northeastern Asia over the last multiple millennia. These results raise the question to what extend genetic profiles and archaeological cultures were correlated in Siberian forager groups. There are still large temporal gaps across this huge geographic region to fill with more interdisciplinary archeological and ancient DNA research, according to Posth. “We need more archaeogenetic studies focusing on North Asia to find out which demographic processes were involved in the formation of distinct hunter-gatherer gene-pools, and how these were possibly linked with different cultural practices,” he says.” ref

And the study of 10 sets of human remains in North Asia dating back as many as 7,500 years ago suggests that hunter-gatherers traveled far and wide, including back and forth across the Bering Land Bridge, according to a Live Science report. Genes from groups in North America were also detected in remains in central Siberia and on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. The researchers suggest that genes flowed back and forth between North America and Asia for about 5,000 years.” ref

“Volcanos and Mountains in the Mesoamerican Highlands’ Mythology” by Juan Carlos Barrientos-García

*Volcanos and Mountains in Mesoamerican Mythology*
They had witnessed the frightening miracle of the earth bleeding stone in slow, molten sheets from the craters on top of the great cones. Volcanoes were, in their experience, the clearest example of the world being born out of the Otherworld below. No people who have seen the sky turn black in billowing clouds of eruption and then rain stony fire and desolation onto the fertile, surrounding countryside could doubt that mountains contain spiritual forces capable of dispensing prosperity or disaster in human lives.” Freidel, D. et al. (1993) ‘Maya Cosmos: Three Thousand Years On The Shaman’s Path’ Quill William Morrow: New York.” ref
“The author of the previous lines managed to capture the essence of the sacramental appreciation the Mesoamericans held for the powerful elements that molded their environment while living under the presence of these fuming mountains. It has been noted by scholars that the Maya made little distinction between volcanoes and mountains in the sense of ranking their importance, and usually, in the written evidence the terms of mountain and volcano are used interchangeably (Beek, 2008). In the Mesoamerican conceptual vision of the universe, the mountains represented a sacred space elevated from the chaotic primeval waters, where they could be in communion with the spiritual realm. These spaces were regarded as sacred portals to this other world, and had to be respected and even feared because of the capricious spirits that dwelled there.” ref
Volcanoes were the most perfect of these formations and became the symbol of the most noble or powerful of these beings which the Mayas called “Witz’’ (De Salvo, 2008). Volcanoes and high peaks rise above the horizon and they naturally became sacred altars because of their proximity to “the heart of heaven” The summits were a privileged location for the study of the stars. However, the hot fire at the mouth of volcanoes was also considered to be a window into the warm “heart of the earth”. In Mesoamerican beliefs, fire was the purest of the elements since fire cannot be polluted, unlike air, earth, or water. They believed that fire, therefore, was the manifestation of life itself, and that the gods had lit a sparkle of fire in the chests of the first maize-fashioned humans to bring them to life. Volcanic eruptions hence were not seen as the destructive forces of enraged gods like Kabracán the Mayan deity of earthquakes and mountains, but actually as an event of new earth being brought to life by the primordial fire inside the mountain (Christenson, 2003). In the mythology shared throughout Mesoamerica, Mountains were thought to be depositaries of wealth. They were “impregnated” with riches jealously guarded by the spirits of the underworld (De Salvo, 2008). It was from inside a mountain full of the gods’ bounty that a small ant managed to bring a stolen kernel of corn to be given to humans, so that the Mesoamerican man could plant the maize that became their staple crop, a vital force with which they strongly identify.” ref

“The Mesoamericans are the hombres delmaízthe “Men of corn”  (Christenson, 2003). Mountains were also regarded as the depositaries of water, therefore becoming sanctuaries of water worship. Evidence of the mountains being considered as natural temple structures where the water gods were venerated remains in the name of several locations throughout modern Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Many mountain places bear the name Azacualpa, which literally means the “water-worshipping place”, from the Nahuatl atl-“water”, -zacualli “temple pyramid” and  pa “place” (Incer, 1985)It is interesting to mention that Nahuatl (the language of the Mexica) had become before the arrival of the Spanish, the lingua franca spoken by the Mesoamericans due to the sway of powerful polities in Mexico which culturally and economically influenced the greater Mesoamerican area. Several place names in the region have their origins in this language (Carmack, 1981).In essence, volcanoes and mountains represented for ancient Mesoamericans portal to the spiritual world. The imposition of their massive presence in the scenery made them into natural temples enclosing riches and the vital waters people needed for sustenance. Volcanoes were producers of life and holders of the primordial fire of life, home to powerful spirits, and were also high altars for worshipping the heavens. They were unequivocally the backdrop for the myths and the materialization of the powers of the spirits that inhabited within their midst.” ref

Mountains in the ancient Mesoamerican Mythology
“The mountains in ancient Mesoamerican mythology embody the link between heaven, earth, and the underworld. In the Popol-Vuh, the book of the sacred Mayan stories, the underworld was the abode of the gods of Xibalba where the spirits were ruled by powerful lords. This was a place of mystical darkness accessed by caves; a place of water and of heat (volcanoes). Just as the horizon in Central America is dominated by the imposing figures of large massifs and volcanoes, so did the peoples who inhabited this land ascribe corresponding associations of power to these geological features. Because of their proximity to the essence of their environment and to their gods who inhabited both the heavens and the underworld, mountains were perceived as natural temples. The violence of volcanic activity was viewed by the ancients as a manifestation not only of their gods’ prowess but also of the birth of life and renewal. Mountains were the sacred spaces of communion with the realm of the spiritual. Modern-day Mesoamericans revere their mountains, while they coexist with and respect their volcanos. They understand them to be venerable characters, sometimes with personalities of their own. In present-day Guatemala, where the volcano Fuego that inspired this essay recently unleashed flows of devastation, volcanos are still regarded as sentient beings with temperaments as well as protective qualities in spite of their rate of eruptions. Such is their nature, and they have learned that they can’t be contended.” ref

Animism in Altai Mountain Area?

“Worship of nature, the three worlds in Altai mythology, Altai shamanism, Altai epic myths, Altai annual communal ceremonies marking the season cycles, sacred fire mythology, Prayers/Blessings, Altai magic (tarmalga), afterlife/soul belief, and Shamanistic Healing.”

“The Republic of Altai,  (the mountainous Altai), is a republic of Russia located in southern Siberia, and is part of the Russian Federation.  The Republic is located about 500km South of Novosibirsk, bordering China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. The Altai people, in total, number 76,000, and are made of 6 different groups; Telengit, Altai Kizhi, Tubular, Kumandin, Shor, and Chalkan. This research paper will focus on the 65,000 Altai (Telengit and Altai Kizhi) people who speak Southern Altai fluently. The language is used in arts, media, in education and in everyday life. The majority of the Altai are also fairly fluent in Russian, with the exception of those living in remote villages. I am interested in researching their animistic and shamanistic worldview and practices more thoroughly in order to have increased insight into their culture.” ref 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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“8,000-Year-Old Fortress Discovered In Siberia Is World’s Oldest. The prehistoric fort hints at inter-group violence between hunter-gatherers. The fact that this Stone Age fort was built by hunter-gatherers is transforming our understanding of ancient human societies. Archaeologists have long associated fortresses with permanent agricultural settlements. However, this cluster of fortified structures reveals that prehistoric groups were constructing protective edifices much earlier than originally thought. Recent excavations at the site have revealed the existence of ten “house pits”, surrounded by a series of banks and ditches that enclose the tip of the promontory. Identified remains of wooden palisades, indicating that the site was probably surrounded by a defensive wall. A second set of ten house pits were also discovered just outside the fortress, suggesting a hierarchical structure involving a fortified inner area and an unprotected outer section. Radiocarbon dating estimates obtained from one of the palisades and charcoal found in a ditch indicate that the fortress was initially constructed in the final century of the seventh millennium BCE. However, stratigraphic evidence from the house pits suggests that the site was repeatedly burned to the ground, hinting at the existence of violent conflict in the region 8,000 years ago.ref, ref 

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Kurgan Hypothesis

“The Kurgan hypothesis (also known as the Kurgan theory or Kurgan model) or Steppe theory is the most widely accepted proposal to identify the Proto-Indo-European homeland from which the Indo-European languages spread out throughout Europe and parts of Asia. It postulates that the people of a Kurgan culture in the Pontic steppe north of the Black Sea were the most likely speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE). The term is derived from the Russian kurgan (курга́н), meaning tumulus or burial mound. The Steppe theory was first formulated by Otto Schrader (1883) and V. Gordon Childe (1926), then systematized in the 1950s by Marija Gimbutas, who used the term to group various prehistoric cultures, including the Yamnaya (or Pit Grave) culture and its predecessors. In the 2000s, David Anthony instead used the core Yamnaya culture and its relationship with other cultures as a point of reference.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Masseboth similar but much smaller than a European Menhir, dates to around 13,000-11,000 years ago in the Near East. Kurgan a burial mound over a timber burial chamber, dates to around 7,000/6,000 years ago. Dolmen a single-chamber ritual megalith, dates to around 7,000/6,000 years ago. Ziggurat a multi-platform temple around 4,900 years ago. Pyramid a multi-platform tomb, dates to around 4,700 years ago. #3 is a Step Pyramid (or proto pyramid) for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser it went through several revisions and redevelopments. First are three layers of Mastaba “house of eternity” a flat-roofed rectangular structure, then two step pyramid one on top the other, showing the evolution of ideas.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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The Hongshan Culture

“As an important part of the Neolithic Age in Northern China, the Hongshan Culture covers an area from the Wuerjimulun River valley of Chifeng, Inner Mongolia in the north to Chaoyang, Lingyuan and the northern part of Hebei Province in the south, and extends eastward to cover Tongliao and Jinzhou. Hongshan Culture is characterized primarily by the ancient painted potteries, the “Z”-stripped potteries, and the unique digging tools-stone spades and laurel leave-shaped two-holed stone knives. The potteries of Hongshan Culture fall into two types-clay potteries and sand-mixed potteries, both manually made. The clay potteries are mostly red, usually in the forms of bowl, basin, jar, and pots, etc., most of which are containers with small flat bottoms. Most of the clay potteries are decorated with black or purple stripes arranged mainly in parallel lines, triangles, scale-shaped patterns, and occasionally in “Z”-shaped pressed stripes. The stoneware of Hongshan Culture is made by grinding with the blades of stone knives finely ground and the edges and backs in curved symmetry, indicating a fairly developed agricultural economy of the culture. Within the area of Hongshan Culture, bones of oxen, lambs, pigs, deer, and river deer have been unearthed, though in small numbers. The oxen, lambs, and pigs, which are presumably domestic animals, vaguely indicate that the early inhabitants of Hongshan Culture lived a settled life supplemented by animal husbandry, fishery, and hunting.” ref

“More than 20 cirrus-shaped jade articles have been unearthed at the site of Hongshan Culture, and each of them represents two fundamental themes-cirrus-shaped angles and minor convexities. A combination of cirrus-shaped angles and minor convexities in different ways constitute the various patterns and designs of the cirrus-shaped jade articles of Hongshan Culture, which is best demonstrated by the enormous blackish-green jade dragon unearthed at Sanxingtala Township of Wengniute Banner. The dragon is 26 cm in height with the head of a swine and the body of a serpent, coiling like cirrus. Similar dragons were found later in Balin Right Banner and the Antiques Store of Liaoning Province. These cirrus-shaped jade articles can be classified into four types by analyzing their patterns and designs: decorative articles, tools, animals, and special ones, of which the hoop-shaped articles are among the typical pieces of the jade ware of Hongshan Culture. The association of the shapes of these jade articles with their cultural context indicates that the special articles and the tools were made to meet the needs of religious ceremonies. The discovery of cirrus-shaped jade dragon at Hongshan Culture strongly suggests Inner Mongolia as one of the essential sites to trace the worship for dragons by the Chinese people.” ref

“From religious relics of Hongshan Culture like the “Goddess Temple” and stone-pile tombs have been found at Dongshanzui of Kazuo County and Niuheliang at the juncture of Lingyuan County and Jianping County of Liaoning Province. The central part of Dongshanzui relics is the foundation of a large-scaled square structure built of stone. The overall layout of the bilateral symmetry of the foundation to a south-north axis, which is characteristic of the traditional Chinese architectural style, is the first of its kind ever discovered at the site of Neolithic Age. The pottery figures unearthed at the relics indicate that the sites used to be places for sacrificial ceremonies or similar activities. In the first place, archeological studies show that Hongshan Culture was developed on the basis of Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture, and the inheritance and development in religious traditions between the three cultures are evident. No sites devoted exclusively to sacrificial rites have been found so far in Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture. The discovery of Niulianghe Relics indicates that large-scaled centers for sacrificial rites had shown up by the end of Hongshan Culture. This is not only a breakthrough in the study of Hongshan Culture but a discovery of great significance to the exploration of the origin of the Chinese civilization.” ref

“Secondly, Hongshan Culture is credited with remarkable achievements in architecture, pottery-making, jade-carving, and pottery sculptures which are at higher levels than those of Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture. The duet of square pottery molds unearthed at the relics of a house of Hongshan Culture at Xitai, Aohan Banner, which is the earliest mold for metal casting, shows that the early people of Hongshan Culture had mastered the technology of bronze casting. Next, hunting was in the dominant position in Xinglongwa Culture and Zhaobaogou Culture, while by contrast, agriculture played an essential role in the economy of Hongshan Culture. Judging from the position of Hongshan Culture in the archeological culture of ancient Northern China and China in the Neolithic Age, we can well assume that Hongshan Culture is one of the most advanced cultures among the ranks of its peers in both southern and northern China at that time when the smelting of bronze had made appearance, the earliest cities surrounded by ditches had shown up, and the division between urban and rural areas had taken shape. Religious activities characterized by worshiping dragon and jade and respecting the ancestors were in vogue. The conflicts among social groups and the subsequent fights for the unification of religious beliefs had become the fundamental social issue. This is another proof to the assumption that the people of Hongshan Culture had marched from the clan society into the historical phase of ancient kingdoms. Therefore, we can say that by laying a foundation for the development of the Chinese civilization of five thousand years and formulating and influencing the layout of the origin and the progress of the protocol-dominating culture of China, Hongshan Culture plays an extremely essential role in the evolution of the Chinese civilization.” ref

“The archaeological site at Niuheliang is a unique ritual complex associated with the Hongshan culture. Excavators have discovered an underground temple complex—which included an altar—and also cairns in Niuheliang. The temple was constructed of stone platforms, with painted walls. Archaeologists have given it the name Goddess Temple due to the discovery of a clay female head with jade inlaid eyes. It was an underground structure, 1m deep. Included on its walls are mural paintings. Housed inside the Goddess Temple are clay figurines as large as three times the size of real-life humans. The exceedingly large figurines are possibly deities, but for a religion not reflective in any other Chinese culture. The existence of complex trading networks and monumental architecture (such as pyramids and the Goddess Temple) point to the existence of a “chiefdom in these prehistoric communities.” ref

“Painted pottery was also discovered within the temple. Over 60 nearby tombs have been unearthed, all constructed of stone and covered by stone mounds, frequently including jade artifacts. Cairns were discovered atop two nearby two hills, with either round or square stepped tombs, made of piled limestone. Entombed inside were sculptures of dragons and tortoisesIt has been suggested that religious sacrifice might have been performed within the Hongshan culture.” ref

Niuheliang is a Neolithic archaeological site in Liaoning Province, Northeast China, along the middle and upper reaches of the Laoha River and the Yingjin River (presently on the border of Chaoyang and Jianping County). The Niuheliang site belongs to the Hongshan culture (4,700 – 2,900 BC 6,720 to 4,9320 years ago). It includes evidence of religion, such as a temple, an altar, and a cairnNiuheliang is a large burial site scattered over hilltops over a 50 square kilometer area. The altitude of Niuheliang ranges between 550 meters and 680 meters above sea level. Niuheliang dates to 3,500-3,000 BCE. It was a burial and sacrificial center in the late Hongshan period. No residential settlements have been discovered here so far.  The site features a unique temple on a loam platform, with an altar and cairn complex, covering an area of around 5 km². The altar at Niuheliang was made of stone platforms, supported by painted, clay cylinders. A north-south axis connects this temple complex with a central peak of the Zhushan mountains, otherwise known as “Pig Mountain”. The subterranean ritual complex was built on a ridge and decorated with painted walls, referred to by Chinese archaeologists as the Goddess Temple, due to the discovery of a clay female head with jade inlaid eyes. Pig dragons and large, nude, clay figurines were also found at Niuheliang. Some of the figurines are up to three times the size of real-life humans; the interior of the figurines was structured from wood and straw. Six groups of cairns were discovered nearby, south, and west of the temple site. The primary burial goods accompanying the graves were jade artifacts, although most of the excavated graves had already been looted.” ref

Interpretations?

“According to the excavator of this site, Guo Dashun, there are in fact two varieties of animals represented in the jades. One is a boar with narrow eyes and flat snout; the other is a bear, represented by round eyes and short perky ears. He also found similar boar and bear symbolism in the vessels found at Xiaoheyan site. The bear has been widely worshipped in Northeast Asia, such as by the Ainu in northern Japan, and in Siberia. Thus, Guo Dashun sees this site in the wider Northeast Asian context. Some similarities with Xinglongwa culture (6200-5400 BC) of northeastern China have also been pointed out.” ref

Pyramidal structure?

“One year after the temple-cairns complex was discovered nearby a pyramidal structure “disguised” as a hill known as Zhuanshanzi, which was included during the Han dynasty (-206~220) in a section of the Great Wall. Built with earth and imported stone, its structure is more elaborate than the cairns. This site contains some of the essential elements, temples, cairns, and platforms, present in later ancestor worship of the Chinese such as the Ming tombs 5000 years later.” ref

“63% of the combined samples from various Hongshan archeological sites belonged to the subclade N1 (xN1a, N1c) of the paternal haplogroup N-M231 and calculated N to have been the predominant haplogroup in the region in the Neolithic period at 89%, its share gradually declining over time. Today this haplogroup is most common in Finland, the Baltic states, and among northern Siberian ethnicities, such as the Yakuts.” ref

Chinese archaeologists discovered a pyramid-shaped building, dating back more than 5,000 years ago, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, in north China. The “pyramid”, located on a mountain ridge one kilometer north of Sijiazi Township in the Aohan Banner (county), is a three-storied stone building, with the bottom layer being more than 30 meters long and 15 meters wide. The “pyramid” belongs to the Hongshan Culture period of 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, according to Guo Dashun, a famous Chinese archaeologist who works in Liaoning Archaeological Research Institute. Seven tombs and ruins of an altar were found on the top of the “pyramid.” ref

“At the site of the altar, there are many fragments of broken pottery carved with the Chinese character “mi” (rice). Archaeologists said that the character “mi” may have something to do with people’s understanding of astrology in ancient times. In one of the tombs, archaeologists found a bone flute and a stone ring, and they unearthed a stone sculpture of a goddess the size of a human body in another tomb. Archaeologists were surprised to find a stone-carved linga on the wall of a tomb and a small stone statue of a goddess below the linga in the same tomb.” ref

“Archaeologist Guo said that many of the relics were first-time discoveries and they are of great significance in studying the burial customs, religious and sacrifice rituals, and the social structure of the Hongshan Culture. He pointed out, the discovery of the “pyramid” is also of great significance in exploring the origin of the Chinese civilization. The Hongshan Culture, belonging to the Neolithic culture, is mainly distributed in the juncture area between Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and Hebei provinces.” ref

“In northeast China, Hongshan culture was preceded by Xinglongwa culture (6200–5400 BC), Xinle culture (5300–4800 BC), and Zhaobaogou culture, which may be contemporary with Xinle and a little later. Moreover, the Yangshao culture was in the larger area and contemporary with Hongshan culture. These two cultures interacted with each other.” ref

Pyramids in China (pyramidal shaped tomb structures: 5,000 years old)

In the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China, Chinese archeologists have discovered a pyramid which they have dated to be more than 5,000 years old. Archaeologist Guo Dashun stated that the three-stepped pyramid belongs to the Hongshan culture period of 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, during the Stone Age. At the top of the pyramid, the archeologists found seven tombs and the ruins of an altar. Also found were many fragments of broken pottery carved with the Chinese character mi (rice). They also discovered a bone flute, a stone ring, and a life-sized sculpture of a goddess. The term Chinese pyramids refers to pyramidal shaped structures in China, most of which are ancient mausoleums and burial mounds built to house the remains of several early emperors of China and their imperial relatives. About 38 of them are located around 16 to 22 mi) north-west of Xi’an, on the Guanzhong Plains in Shaanxi Province. The most famous is the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, northeast of Xi’an and 1.7 km west of where the Terracotta Warriors were found. The earliest tombs in China are found just north of Beijing in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and in Liaoning. They belong to the Neolithic Hongshan culture (6,700 to 2,900 years ago) a culture in northeastern China. The site of Niuheliang in Liaoning contains a pyramidal structure.culture in northeastern China. Hongshan burial artifacts include some of the earliest known examples of jade working. The Hongshan culture is known for its jade pig dragons and embryo dragons. Clay figurines, including figurines of pregnant women, are also found throughout Hongshan sites. Small copper rings were also excavated. Origin of the mysterious Yin-Shang bronzes in China indicate they contain lead with puzzlingly highly radiogenic isotopic compositions appeared suddenly in the alluvial plain of the Yellow River around 3,400 years ago. Excavators have discovered an underground temple complex—which included an altar—and also cairns in Niuheliang. The temple was constructed of stone platforms, with painted walls. Archaeologists have given it the name Goddess Temple due to the discovery of a clay female head with jade inlaid eyes. It was an underground structure, 1m deep. Included on its walls are mural paintings. Housed inside the Goddess Temple are clay figurines as large as three times the size of real-life humans. The exceedingly large figurines are possibly deities, but for a religion not reflective in any other Chinese culture. The existence of complex trading networks and monumental architecture (such as pyramids and the Goddess Temple) point to the existence of a “chiefdom in these prehistoric communities. Painted pottery was also discovered within the temple. Over 60 nearby tombs have been unearthed, all constructed of stone and covered by stone mounds, frequently including jade artifacts. Cairns were discovered atop two nearby two hills, with either round or square stepped tombs, made of piled limestone. Entombed inside were sculptures of dragons and tortoisesIt has been suggested that religious sacrifice might have been performed within the Hongshan culture. In northeast China, Hongshan culture was preceded by Xinglongwa culture (6200–5400 BC), Xinle culture (5300–4800 BC), and Zhaobaogou culture, which may be contemporary with Xinle and a little later. Yangshao culture was in the larger area and contemporary with Hongshan culture (see map). These two cultures interacted with each other. Just as suggested by evidence found at early Yangshao culture sites, Hongshan culture sites also provide the earliest evidence for feng shui. The presence of both round and square shapes at Hongshan culture ceremonial centers suggests an early presence of the gaitian cosmography (“round heaven, square earth”). The three exceptional pyramids around Xi’an, constructed using three different methods:

1. The Qian Shi Huang pyramid (Qin Dynasty) constructed of clay bricks

The first and largest “burial pyramid” is thought to be that of the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who unified China as a country and founded the Qin Dynasty. It lies in the huge mausoleum at the foot of the Qing Ling Shan Mountains, 80 km southwest of Xi’an. He began construction as soon as he ascended the throne at the tender age of 13 in 246 BC. It was to be of tremendous dimensions – its base was 354 x 357 meters, and its original height was 200 meters, making it the largest “pyramid” in the world (for comparison, the great pyramid in Giza is 230 x 230 meters and 147 meters high). For the 36 years that work went on, up to 700,000 people were employed at the site at a time to construct the pyramid and the subterranean complexes over an area of several thousand square meters. Construction was completed in 210 BC.

2. Qian Ling pyramid (Tang Dynasty), formed from a hill

This pyramid and the burial complexes are located on the slopes of Mount Liang, 6 km north of Quianling, the county seat, 80 km northwest of Xi’an. It is the mausoleum of the third Tang emperor, Gaozong (650-683 AD) and his wife, who became the Empress Wu Zetian (684-704, seventh daughter of Emperor Zhongzong (Li Xian), who was buried there in 684 or 706. The “pyramid” was not made by piling up material, however, but by shaping an existing hill (resulting in a “shaped pyramid”) which is not square and has large differences in its base lengths. What is special is the emperor’s subterranean burial chambers, which belie influences that are atypical for early China (see Fig. ??). Of the 18 Tang emperor burial sites in the Guanzhong Plain, it is the only complex that was not found and plundered by grave robbers. The enormous stairway access is almost 2 km long with two bulwark towers in front of the “pyramid” and is flanked by figures of animals and people that are up to 4 meters high and by monolithic stone pillars. Among these are armed guards, winged horses (yima), stone lions (shishi) and the Shusheng Tablets and Uncharactered Stele (wuzibei).

3. Earthen Pyramid of Princess Yongtai (Tang Dynasty)

Princess Yongtai (Huang Ti) was the granddaughter of Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu Zetian, and died in 701 AD at only 17 years of age. She was buried near the Qianling Mausoleum in 706, together with Prince Duwei Wu Yanhin, a nephew of Wu Zetian who had died one year earlier (this delayed burial was possible because the bodies had been mummified). Yongtai‘s grave is surrounded by strong, 3-meters-tall walls, oriented to the four cardinal directions. They are 275 meters long from north to south and 220 meters wide from east to west. The pyramidal hill is located in the middle of the mausoleum. Today, it is only 14 meters high, with a respectable side length of 56 meters. An arched corridor 88 meters long, almost 4 meters wide and 6 meters high leads from the southern entrance to an antechamber and from there to the actual burial chamber. This one impressed and surprised me even more than that of Emperor Gaozong; it corresponds almost exactly to the Egyptian construction method. These similarities are not limited to the long corridors leading below the pyramid, but also include the chamber‘s shape and especially the outer sarcophagus. It is made of black basalt and is almost identical to the 24 sarcophagi in the Serapeum of Sakkara (see page 92). The frescoes are also exceptionally well preserved. The burial chamber‘s east and west walls are covered with depictions of black dragons, white tigers and an honor guard, and the ceiling features astronomical motifs. The antechamber‘s east and west walls bear depictions of waiting servants. This tomb is believed to have been plundered very early. Nevertheless, more than 1,300 items have been discovered in the vicinity during the past 50 years, including gold- and silverware, glazed figurines, porcelain and copperware.

3. Earthen Pyramid of Mao Ling (Han Dynasty)

This burial site is located 40 km from Xi‘an, near the village of Maoling, northeast of the city of Xingping. The mausoleum of Mao Ling, the burial pyramid of Emperor Wudi of the Han Dynasty (141-87 BC) is the largest of the five mausoleums built during the Western Han Dynasty and is also called the “Pyramid of the East”. Its construction is thought to have begun in 139 BC and lasted 53 years. It was surrounded by a square bulwark wall almost 6 meters thick, 431 meters long east to west and 415 meters long north to south. There was one gate in the middle of each section of the wall, one for every cardinal point. The central burial mound is a truncated pyramid, eroded to a height of 46.5 meters, with a base of about 217 x 222 meters. Around the central mausoleum are over 20 other tombs for Wudi’s family, ministers and generals, such as the burial pyramid of generals Huo Qubing, Wei Qing and Jin Midi, located between 1 and 2 km east of the emperor‘s tomb. Today, the complex also features the Mao Ling Museum, where splendid burial objects are displayed; historical records claim that the emperor spent one third of all tax income for several decades on the mausoleum‘s construction and his family’s burial goods.

Finding feng shui?

Early feng shui relied on astronomy to find correlations between humans and the universe. The culture may also have contributed to the development of settlements in ancient Korea. A group called “Qiang” were mentioned in ancient Chinese texts as well as in inscriptions on oracle bones 3000 years ago. The Qiang people who practice Qiang folk religion are an ethnic group in Chin mainly in a mountainous region in the northwestern part of Sichuan on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau. It is possible that the modern Qiang might be descendants of one of the groups referred to as Qiang in ancient times. Many of the peoples formerly designated as “Qiang” were gradually removed from this category in Chinese texts as they become sinicized or reclassified, and by the Ming and Qing dynasties, the term “Qiang” denoted only non-Han people living in the upper Min River Valley and Beichuan area, the area now occupied by the modern Qiang. Qiang territory lies between the Han Chinese and historical Tibet, and the Qiang would fall under the domination of both. Each village may have one or more stone towers in the past, and the Himalayan Towers remains a distinctive feature of some Qiang villages. Himalayan Towers are also called Stone star-shaped towers, are a series of stone towers located mostly in Kham, a province of premodern Tibet, and in Sichuan. The towers are located principally in the Changtang and Kongpo regions of Tibet as well as in the area inhabited by the modern Qiang people and in the historical region inhabited by the Western Xia. These towers can be found both in cities and in uninhabited regions. Many of the towers use a star pattern of walls as opposed to a strictly rectangular method and heights can exceed 200 ft. The Qiang worship five major gods, twelve lesser gods, some tree gods, and numerous stones were also worshiped as representatives of gods. A special god is also worshiped in every village and locality, who are mentioned by name in the sacred chants of the Qiang priests. Mubyasei, also known Abba Chi, is the supreme god of the universe and the same name is also used to refer to a male ancestor god, Abba Sei. In certain places, Shanwang, the mountain god, is considered to represent the supreme god. Archaeologists have released a photograph of a skull found in an ancient tomb in Alaer (Aral) in Southern Xinjiang, China.  The skull shows an unusual characteristic in which the teeth are vertically oriented instead of horizontally.  In addition, the researchers have revealed that the skeleton recovered from the tomb measured a massive 2.3 metres (7 feet 6 inches) which researchers have said that skeleton is 4,000 years old and belonged to the Qiang people. The Qiang people have been recognized as a ‘first ancestor’ culture due to their ancient roots – they were mentioned in ancient Chinese texts as well as inscriptions on the oracle bones of 3,000 years ago. However, the ancient Qiang people referred to in these ancient texts were a broad group of nomadic people and the ancestors of the modern Tibeto-Burman speakers, they are therefore not the equivalent of the modern Qiang people who are a small branch of the ancient Qiangs. The Qiangs were also not a single distinctive ethnic group in the past. According to historical records, a clan group made their homes in what is today’s Sichuan Province. During 600 to 900 AD when the Tibetan Regime gradually expanded its rule over the region, some Qiangs were assimilated by the Tibetans and others by the Hans, leaving a small number unassimilated. These developed into the distinctive ethnic group of today. Prehistoric transport and trade nvolved migrations out of the Fertile Crescent would carry early agricultural practices to neighboring regions—westward to Europe and North Africa, northward to Crimea, and eastward to MongoliaInterestingly, the region where the tomb was uncovered is in the same region where the well-known Tarim mummies with Caucasoid features were recovered. The mummies were found to have typical Europoid body features (elongated bodies, angular faces, recessed eyes), and many of them have their hair physically intact, ranging in color from blond to red to deep brown. Like the Qiang skeleton, the Tarim mummies were also found to be very tall.  Could there be a link between them? The ancient people of the Sahara imported domesticated animals from Asia between 6000 and 4000 BCE. In Nabta Playa by the end of the 7th millennium BCEprehistoric Egyptians had imported goats and sheep from Southwest AsiaForeign artifacts dating to the 5th millennium BCE in the Badarian culture in Egypt indicate contact with distant Syria. In predynastic Egypt, by the beginning of the 4th millennium BCEancient Egyptians in Maadi were importing pottery as well as construction ideas from Canaan. By the 4th millennium BCE shipping was well established, and the donkey and possibly the dromedary had been domesticated. Domestication of the Bactrian camel and use of the horse for transport then followed. Charcoal samples found in the tombs of Nekhen, which were dated to the Naqada I and II periods, have been identified as cedar from Lebanon. Predynastic Egyptians of the Naqada I period also imported obsidian from Ethiopia, used to shape blades and other objects from flakesThe Naqadans traded with Nubia to the south, the oases of the western desert to the west, and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean to the east. Pottery and other artifacts from the Levant that date to the Naqadan era have been found in ancient Egypt. Egyptian artifacts dating to this era have been found in Canaan and other regions of the Near East, including Tell Brak and Uruk and Susa in Mesopotamia. By the second half of the 4th millennium BCE, the gemstone lapis lazuli was being traded from its only known source in the ancient world—Badakhshan, in what is now northeastern Afghanistan—as far as Mesopotamia and Egypt. By the 3rd millennium BCE, the lapis lazuli trade was extended to HarappaLothal and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley Civilization (Ancient India) of modern-day Pakistan and northwestern India. The Indus Valley was also known as Meluhha, the earliest maritime trading partner of the Sumerians and Akkadians in Mesopotamia. The ancient harbor constructed in Lothal, India, around 2,400 years ago is the oldest seafaring harbor known. Ancient Egyptian trade consisted of the gradual creation of land and sea trade routes connecting the Ancient Egyptian civilization with the Fertile CrescentArabiaSub-Saharan Africa, and India. are circular and stepped and were made of clay. structures of Igbo culture was the Nsude Pyramids, at the Nigerian town of Nsude, northern Igboland. Ten pyramidal structures were built of clay/mud. The first base section was 60 ft. in circumference and 3 ft. in height. The next stack was 45 ft. in circumference. Circular stacks continued, till it reached the top. The structures were temples for the god Ala/Uto, who was believed to reside at the top. A stick was placed at the top to represent the god’s residence. The structures were laid in groups of five parallel to each other. Because it was built of clay/mud like the Deffufa of Nubia, time has taken its toll requiring periodic reconstruction. These pyramids bear a different but somewhat similar resemblance to the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, in Egypt and could have possibly, derive from the same cultural/religious/philosophical tradition that inspired this ancient Egyptian monument also similar to Nubian-like pyramids thousands of miles away from the Nubian area in the heart of Igboland. Evidence like this could show some correlation between the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Igbo. There is an existing ideology amongst the Yorubas of Nigeria and other writers of Yoruba history that the original ancestors of the Yorubas originated in ancient Egypt hence there was migration between Egypt and Yorubaland. This researcher contends that even if there was migration between Egypt and Nigeria, such migration did not take place during the predynastic and dynastic period as speculated by some scholars. No one knows precisely the origins of the methods of specialized bronze and brass castings in Nigeria, and the reasons for the similarities between the Nok terracottas (as old as 2,500 years), the art from Igbo-Ukwu near Enugu, and the Yoruba art that produced the famous Ife bronze heads and those of ancient Egyptians. These arts found in Nigeria might have been produced independently of any foreign culture. The ancient Egyptians were not known to be too keen about traveling and to adapt so much to foreign cultures. Trade, adventure, and escape from wars might have led some of them to travel to other parts of the world, but traveling to stay in other countries seemed not to be one of their preferences. Furthermore, the absence of a known and generally acceptable descendant of Egyptians in Nigeria suggests that the Egyptians did
not live in Nigeria permanently. The Nubian dynasty of Egypt (the 25th Dynasty of Egypt) saw the first widespread construction of pyramids (many in modern Sudan) since the Middle Kingdom. Amongst the Yorubas of Nigeria, are of the opinion that there were migrations between Egypt and Yorubaland. There is some thinking that there is some linkage between the Egyptians to the Yorubas, like the various forms of spirits, gods and ancestors worshipped. A royal pyramidal tomb, located in Ji’an, Jilin, was built by the Goguryeo Kingdom. The site includes archaeological remains of 40 tombs which were built by Goguryeo, which was founded by Jumong in a region called Jolbon Buyeo, thought to be located in the middle Amrok River and Tongjia River basin, overlapping the current ChinaNorth Korea border located in and around the city of Ji’an in China. Some of the tombs have elaborate ceilings designed to roof wide spaces without columns and carry the heavy load of a stone or earth tumulus (mound) was placed above them. The paintings in the tombs, while showing artistic skills and specific style, are also an example of strong influence from various cultures. located in and around the city of Ji’an in China. Koguryo (or Goguryeo, 2,037 years ago to 668 CE) was an ancient kingdom located in what is now Manchuria and the northern Korean Peninsula. Goguryeo was a Korean kingdom with a religion makeup of BuddhismTaoism, and Shamanism. In the geographic monographs of the Book of Han, the word Goguryeo was first mentioned around 2,113 to 1,349 years ago, as a region under the jurisdiction of the Xuantu Commandery, page 33. Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Goguryo Kingdom located in and around the city of Ji’an in China and located in the northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula and the southern and central parts of inner and outer Manchuria. Goguryeo was an active participant in the power struggle for control of the Korean peninsula and was also associated with the foreign affairs of neighboring polities in China and JapanJumong, the founder of Goguryeo, was worshipped and respected among the people. There was even a temple in Pyongyang dedicated to Jumong. At the annual Dongmaeng Festival, a religious rite was performed for Jumong, ancestors, and gods.  Other pyramids in China, built using different construction methods, and not simply made of piled-up earth. What may deserve more attention than the earthen pyramids of Xi’an, as they are actual layered stone block pyramids, much like those in South America.

Layered stone pyramid of Jian/Zangkunchong (Goguryeo Dynasty)

There are two isolated layered pyramids near the city of Ji’an in Jangxi province in southeastern China. The perfectly preserved Ji’an pyramid is built of precisely cut stone blocks and contains a large burial chamber. Each base has a length of exactly 31.60 meters on every side, and the height is 12.4 meters. It is made up of seven layers, the first of four layers of stone, and all others of three. This layout is surprisingly similar to that of the layered pyramids in South America. The twelve monoliths that were placed so as to lean against the outer walls’ lower layers – the largest of which is 2.7 meters wide and 4.5 meters high – also set this one apart from other Chinese pyramids. Of these twelve monoliths, four are so-called guardian stones, but only “Paechong” (Korean for “warden‘s tomb”) is still intact. Interestingly, the pyramid is oriented to the cardinal points, while the heads of the stone sarcophagi in the chamber pointed precisely to the mystical volcanic crater of Paektusan (Mount Paektu) on the horizon with its beautiful crater lake at an altitude of 2,500 meters. There are three hypotheses about who built it: The first hypothesis suggests that it was built during the ancient Goguryeo empire, which briefly ruled Korea and parts of eastern China, as a stone mausoleum for King Kwangkaeto the Great (Gwangaeto, 374-413 AD). He is also credited with the construction of the nearby stone pyramid that is almost completely destroyed. The foundation walls, with their base lengths of almost 40 meters, are all that remain of that pyramid, which is thought to be his tomb. The second hypothesis posits that the remaining pyramid is the tomb of King Zangsu (Jangsu), which is why it is called “Zangkunchong”. It is also called Juni Ten (the general’s tomb) and “Pyramid of the East”. This name comes from the 20th regent of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the three Korean kingdoms, whose capital was Ji’an. Historical documents state that king Jansu was crowned king in 413 AD at the young age of 19 and went on to lead the kingdom, stretching from Korea to Mongolia, to its golden age. He died in 491 AD. But how did the Goguryeo Dynasty acquire the knowledge necessary for the construction of such flawless layered pyramids, the likes of which had never been seen in the area, and were not seen there again? The third hypothesis posits that the pyramids were built during the Kokuryo period, around 500 AD. That theory does not name the ruler who is buried there.

Xia Pyramids (Xia Dynasty), made of clay bricks 

The Xia pyramids are located in western China, on the eastern slope of the Helan mountains, about 35 kilometers west of Yinchuan, the capital of the autonomous region of Ningxia Hui. They consist of pyramidal mausoleums for the imperial family with heights of between 9 and 20 meters, and 207 documented stone tombs for nobles and higher magistrates, all scattered over an area of 40 km2. Chinese researchers have conducted archaeological and scientific analyses on these tombs since the 1980s, but the sudden rise and fall of the western Xia dynasty (also referred to as the Tangut Empire, 1038-1227) remains a mystery. One theory suggests that they were overrun and largely eradicated by invading Mongols under Genghis Khan. The best-preserved burial pyramid (Mausoleum No. 3) is the only one to have been excavated and explored. It was attributed to the first Xia emperor, Jingzong (1003-1048), whose birth name was Li Yuanhao. The pyramids were built with clay tiles, and the construction method used combines elements from the construction of pyramids, towers and traditional temple-mausoleums, while the chambers feature Buddhist elements and paintings, although these might have been added later.

Stone and earth Xituanshan Pyramid near Jiaohe

The ruins of Xituanshan, near the city of Jiaohe, on the border of the Taklamakan Desert, were excavated in 1950 after water erosion exposed the first two tombs (see sunken desert cities on page 586). The entire complex spans an area of 1,000 meters x 500 meters for a total area of 500,000 m2. Historical accounts state that it was the capital of the Chesi Empire from about 108 BC to 450 AD. But in 2006, Chinese archaeologists dug deeper and uncovered a group of six much older tombs that are thought to date back to the Bronze Age, or 1,000 BC, making them 3,000 years old, or almost 1,000 years older than the Chesi empire. For five of the pyramidal structures, only parts of the foundations and first layers remain, but these still reveal their original shape and size. The largest pyramidal tomb has been clearly identified as a three-layered pyramid made of stones and earth. It has a square base of 50 meters x 30 meters and an oval platform of 15 meters x 10 meters at its apex, on which stood a stone sarcophagus covered with a granite plate and surrounded by four engraved stone tablets. This mysterious sarcophagus and the pyramidal tombs were attributed to the “king of an earlier tribe”. I am certain that this complex was built by the legendary Sand People.

Stone and earth Hongshan Pyramids near Sijiazi

In the autonomous province of Inner Mongolia in northeastern China, a 5,000-year-old, three-tiered pyramid was discovered on a shaped-hill pyramid north of the city of Sijiazi in Aohan County. Even Chinese archaeologists immediately recognized it as a man-made pyramid, specifically as a burial complex from the Hongshan Culture (4,500-2,250 BC). The tiered pyramid is said to be about 30 meters long and 15 meters wide, and an altar and seven graves were found on its platform. In the graves, besides the remains, were various vaults containing a bone flute, a stone ring and the stone statue of a goddess. The archaeologists also discovered clay fragments with small stars scratched into their interiors which they believed to indicate either an early culture’s astronomical knowledge or a mythology that indicated that they would one day return to the stars.

What is the oldest Chinese dynasty?

The Shang dynasty is the oldest Chinese dynasty whose existence is supported by archaeological finds, but more evidence for the existence of the Xia dynasty may yet emerge. It’s estimated that the Shang ruled the Yellow River Valley of China for most of the second millennium BCE—so about 1766 to 1046 BCE. For centuries, people found what they called dragon bones—bones and shells with mysterious inscriptions—in many parts of China. Excavations of the ancient city of Anyang in the early twentieth century revealed tens of thousands of these bone fragments and bronze vessels, many of which had inscriptions in proto-Chinese characters. These artifacts contained records dating back to the Shang dynasty, allowing scholars to learn much about Shang life, such as their agricultural methods, medical treatments, legal system, and craft making styles. The Shang built huge cities with strong social class divisions, expanded earlier irrigation systems, excelled in the use of bronze, and developed a writing system. Shang kings fulfilled a sacred, not political, role, while a council of chosen advisers and bureaucrats—official administrators—organized and ran the government. The oldest surviving form of Chinese writing is found as inscriptions of divination records on the bones or shells of animals, called oracle bonesoracle, from a similar Latin root as the English word orator, means holy messenger or speaker. The writing found on oracle bones shows complexity, indicating that this language had existed for a long time. Writing allowed science in the Shang dynasty to advance, as observations could be recorded more accurately. The Oracle Scripts are accounts of eclipses and other celestial events written by astronomers of the Shang period. Shang astronomers’ works also showed advances in mathematics, the development of odd and even numbers, and principles of accounting. The I-Ching—also known as The Book of Changes—was either written or compiled at this same time, around 3,250 to 3,150 years ago. The I-Ching is a book of divination with roots going back to the fortune tellers of the rural areas and their oracle bones. Musical instruments were also developed by the Shang. At Yin Xu, near Angyang, excavations have revealed instruments from the Shang period such as the ocarina—a wind instrument—drums, and cymbals. Bells, chimes, and bone flutes have been discovered elsewhere. The Shang created a lunar calendar, based on the cycles of the moon, that was used to predict and record important events, especially planting and harvesting of crops. Because lunar years are shorter than solar years, which are based on the Earth’s orbit of the sun, Shang kings employed specially-trained astronomers who made adjustments and maintained the precision of the calendar. Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was a hugely important metal during the Shang period. Shang metal workers developed a highly sophisticated method for casting bronze and used it to make ceremonial objects and weapons. Bronze swords and spearheads were stronger than other available metals, giving Shang soldiers an advantage in battle. The influence of the Early Shang extended hundreds of kilometers away from the capital, and many of the Shang bronze techniques diffused over large areas. The Shang in turn adopted skills, ideas, and even crops from some neighboring societies, such as wheat and axes, which may have come from Western Asia. However—because natural barriers like the ocean, mountain ranges, deserts, and steppes kept the Shang in relative isolation—the Shang dynasty as well as later dynasties evolved in unique and insular ways. The first Shang ruler supposedly founded a new capital for his dynasty at a town called Shang, near modern-day Zhengzhou on the Yellow River, is in east-central China Henan province notable as the ancient Shang dynasty capital, whose earthen walls still stand in the city center. Shang, along with other ancient Chinese cities, had two city walls—one inner and one outer wall. The common residents could live within the outer wall, but could not go past the inner wall, which enclosed a temple area, cemetery sites, bronze foundries, bronze casting areas, and bone workshops. The inner walls thus encircled an area of political elite and craft specialists, who together were the engineers of the important ritual performances. In this way, the architecture of these cities was designed to separate different social classes. However, it seems that there were many capitals aside from this one, and rulers may have moved from one to the other because of religious rituals, military strategy, or food requirements. That suggests that the power of the dynasty was concentrated in the king, whose political authority was reinforced by the Shang religion. Anyang, another Shang capital, also in modern-day Henan Province, is another important—but slightly later—Shang city that has been excavated. It was located at the intersection between lowland agricultural areas of the North China Plain and mountains which acted as a defensive border. This site yielded large numbers of oracle bones that describe the travels of eleven named kings. The names and timeframes of these kings match traditional lists of Shang kings. Anyang was a huge city, with an extensive cemetery of thousands of graves and 11 large tombs—evidence of the city’s labor force, which may have belonged to the 11 Shang kings. Cities were crucial to political and religious affairs, and they were the seats of administrative affairs, royal tombs, palaces, and shrines. Common people were concentrated in the agricultural areas outside the cities. The border territories of Shang rule were led by chieftains who gained the right to govern through connections with royalty. Shang relied heavily on neighboring fiefs for raw materials, much of which was devoted to ceremonial performances. The Shang enacted a feudal system, a system in which duties are tied to land ownership, with sharp class divisions based on clan birthright. The aristocracy were centered around Anyang, which was the seat of governmental affairs for the surrounding areas. Regional territories farther from the capital were also controlled by the wealthy. There were many local rulers who held hereditary titles. In this imperial system, elite classes benefitted from the production of peasants and large-scale projects under elite control, usually operated using various forms of unfree labor. There is also evidence of a class of proto-bureaucrats, many of whom were titled officials, who had managerial roles and kept extensive records. Shang religion was incredibly important, and it extended into the political and economic spheres. The Shang religion and state power were closely connected; state power was consolidated through a sense of reverence for royal Shang ancestors. Further, by the end of the Shang dynasty, the king was the only one who could interpret the oracle bones, thereby making him the head shaman. The Shang religion was characterized by a combination of animism, the idea that everything has a soul; shamanism, the belief in shamans who have the ability to communicate with the spiritual world; ancestor worship; and divination. Different gods represented natural and mythological symbols, such as the moon, the sun, the wind, the rain, the dragon, and the phoenix. Peasants prayed to these gods for bountiful harvests. Festivals to celebrate gods were also common. In particular, the Shang kings, who considered themselves divine rulers, consulted the great god Shangdi—the Supreme Being who ruled over humanity and nature—for advice and wisdom. The Shang believed that the ancestors could also confer good fortune; the Shang would consult ancestors through oracle bones in order to seek approval for any major decision, and to learn about future success in harvesting, hunting, or battle. It appears that there was belief in the afterlife during the Shang dynasty. Archaeologists have found Shang tombs surrounded by the skulls and bodies of human sacrifices. Some of these contain jade, which was thought to protect against decay and grant immortality. Archaeologists believe that Shang tombs were very similar to those found in the Egyptian pyramids in that they buried servants with them. Chinese archaeologists theorize that the Shang, like the ancient Egyptians, believed their servants would continue to serve them in the afterlife. Because of this belief, aristocrats’ servants would be killed and buried with them when they died. Another interpretation is that these were enemy warriors captured in battle. One elaborate tomb which has been unearthed was that of Lady Hao, a consort of a Shang king who reigned around 1200 BCE. The artifacts found in her tomb indicate that she had a high social status and a great deal of power in Shang society, which makes historians speculate about the role of women in the Shang dynasty. Based on the artifacts found in Lady Hao’s tomb, it seems that she had her own wealth and political influence, and it is possible that she also had a prominent role in the military, as many bronze weapons were found buried with her. The 16 other skeletons in Fu Hao’s tomb are believed to have been slaves, who were buried alive in order to serve her in the afterlife. The Chinese Bronze Age had begun by 3,700 years ago in the kingdom of the Shang dynasty and ancient DNA reveals a migration of the ancient Di-qiang populations into Xinjiang as early as the early Bronze Age. Moreover, in the Chinese Bronze Age it was believed the king’s right to rule was based on his good relations with the spirits of his ancestors who controlled the destiny of the domain. The king continually posed questions to his ancestors about policy. He did this by instructing his scribe to write the question on an “oracle bone” — that is, an animal shoulder blade or the breast bone of a turtle. A priest then held a hot rod to the bone until it cracked and interpreted the pattern of the cracks for the answer. It was also the king’s duty to please the great forces of nature — the sun and rain gods — who controlled the outcome of the harvest. So that these gods and his ancestor spirits would look favorably on his kingdom, the king made regular sacrifices of wine and cereals, which were placed in elaborate bronze vessels and heated over the fires on the temple altar. During the Shang dynasty bronze vessels were the symbol of royalty. At times the Shang kings make animal and human sacrifices as well; and when the king and powerful members of the royal court died, it was not unusual that their wives, servants, bodyguards, horses and dogs were killed and buried with them. During the Zhou Dynasty people gradually turned away from this custom and substituted clay figures for real people and animals. The Zhou Dynasty (Chinese folk religionAncestor worship, and Heaven worship) lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history with capitals in Fenghao (3,046 to 2,771 years ago), Luoyang (2,510 to 314 years ago). The Zhou emulated extensively Shang cultural practices, perhaps to legitimize their own rule, and became the successors to Shang culture. At the same time, the Zhou may also have been connected to the Xirong, a broadly defined cultural group to the west of the Shang, which the Shang regarded as tributaries. In about 1050 BC the Shang dynasty was defeated in battle by armies from Zhou, a rival state to the west, which seems both to have inherited cultural traditions from the Neolithic cultures of the northwest and to have absorbed most of the material culture of the Shang.  The conquerors retained their homeland in the Wei River valley in present-day Shaanxi province and portioned out the rest of their territory among their relatives and local chiefs, creating a number of local courts or principalities. The culture of the early Zhou is known to us not solely through archaeological evidence, but also through transmitted texts, such as the Book of Documents (Shujing), which describes the Zhou conquest of the Shang as the victory of just and noble warriors over a decadent and dissolute king.  In these texts and bronze inscriptions alike, the rule of the Zhou kings was linked to heaven, conceived of as the sacred moral power of the cosmos.  A king and a dynasty could rule only so long as they retained heaven’s favor. Zhou rulers introduced what was to prove one of East Asia’s most enduring political doctrines. The concept of the “Mandate of Heaven”. They did this so by asserting that their moral superiority justified taking over Shang wealth and territories, also that heaven had imposed a moral mandate on them to replace the Shang and return good governance to the people. The Mandate of Heaven was presented as a religious compact between the Zhou people and their supreme god in heaven (literally the ‘sky god’). The Zhou agreed that since worldly affairs were supposed to align with those of the heavens, the heavens conferred legitimate power only one person, the Zhou ruler. In return, the ruler was duty-bound to uphold heaven’s principles of harmony and honor. Any ruler who failed in this duty, who let instability creep into earthly affairs, or who let his people suffer, would lose the mandate. Under this system, it was the prerogative of spiritual authority to withdraw support from any wayward ruler and to find another, more worthy one. In this way, the Zhou sky god legitimated regime change. In using this ccreed, nthe Zhou rulers had to acknowledge that any group of rulers, even they themselves could be ousted if they lost the mandate of haven because of improper practices. The book of odes, written during the Zhou period clearly intoned this caution. The early Zhou kings contended that heaven favored their triumph because the last Shang kings had been evil men whose policies brought pain to the people through waste and corruption. After the Zhou came to power, the mandate became a political tool. Like in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus River valley, civilization in China developed around a great river. The Yellow River carried floodwater and sediment to the land around it, making the area incredibly fertile, and thus an excellent place for the Stone Age inhabitants of the area to experiment with agriculture. While the Yellow River was the main cradle of Chinese civilization, people also settled around other rivers, such as the Huai and the Yangtze. By around 4000 BC, villages began to appear. They cultivated a number of crops, but most important was a grain called millet (two types of millet: proso and foxtail millet). The Chinese, even up to modern times, revere the Wǔgǔ, the Five Sacred Grains, which are traditionally considered soybeans, wheat, hemp, and the two types of millet. Rice was also cultivated in this period, but it was not yet the important staple that it would later become in the Chinese diet. The Neolithic Chinese domesticated animals such as pigs, dogs, and chickens. Silk production, through the domestication of silk worms, probably also began in this early period. During the Neolithic period in China, there were multiple groups of people, mostly around the Yellow River, with separate emerging cultures. Some of these various cultures include the Yangshao culture (ca. 4800 – ca. 3000 BC), the Majiayao culture (ca. 3800 – ca. 2000 BC), the Dawenkou culture (ca. 4300 – ca. 2400 BC), the Qijia culture (ca. 2200 – ca. 1800 BC), and the Longshan culture (ca. 2600 – ca. 2000 BC). Over time, they influenced each other more and more, and pottery, art, and artifacts recovered by archaeologists show greater homogenization as time went on. By 2000 BC a more unified Chinese culture was developing, and there is also evidence of urbanism and the use of early writing among the Chinese. Archaeologists have discovered advanced Bronze Age culture in China, which they call the Erlitou culture. Its capital, Erlitou, was a huge city around 2000 BC, with two possible palaces, a drainage system, and what seems to have been a very high population. This may be the people referred to in Chinese mythology as the Xia. refrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefrefref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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Pre-Columbian Red-Paint (red ochre) Maritime Archaic Culture 8,000-3,000 years ago

The Mystery Of The Lost Red Paint People (VIDEO)

Secrets Of The Lost Red Paint People (VIDEO)

“The Red Paint People are a Pre-Columbian culture indigenous to the New England and Atlantic Canada regions of North America. They were named after their burials, which used large quantities of ochre, normally red, to cover both the bodies of the dead and grave goods. They flourished between 5,000-3,000 years ago. Alternatively, they can be called by the period in which they lived, either the “Maritime Archaic” (emphasizing a coastal and seafaring culture) or “Late Archaic” (emphasizing time and leaving open the possibility of living inland seasonally), although these terms often cover the longer period from 9,000 years ago to 1000 CE. Multiple hypotheses exist as to which if any later peoples might be their descendants and there is little archaeological evidence to support any hypothesis. The Red Paint People lived, fished, and hunted along the coasts and rivers. Some coastal sites show evidence of year-round occupation, discrediting an older theory that these people were seasonal nomads, living the summers on the coast and the winters inland. Their diet included sea and migratory fish, shellfish, meat, berries, acorns, nuts, and roots. The Red Paint People had stone and bone tools, as well as boats capable of catching swordfish. No pottery or metal tools have been found in sites associated with this culture. Their trading range is known to have extended from Labrador to the New York side of Lake Champlain.” ref

The Swordfish Hunters: The History and Ecology of an Ancient American Sea People (VIDEO)

7,714-year-old grave of a young boy from the Red-Paint (red ochre) Maritime Archaic Culture and the L’Anse Amour Site in Labrador Canada is the oldest known burial mound in North America. The body was wrapped in a shroud of bark or hide and placed face down in the grave with his head facing to the west. At that point, a large mound of rocks was erected over his burial place. The burnt patches on either side of the body under the mound is charcoal from fires that would have been set north and south of the body in a sacred ritual. The Red Paint People are a Pre-Columbian culture indigenous to the New England and Atlantic Canada regions of North America in which they mainly flourished between 5,000-3,000 years ago. On the west side, it looks like a mound of rocks but from the East Side, there is a small dolmen-like chamber opening. A dolmen is a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, with a large flat stone laid on upright ones, and the oldest known are found in Western Europe, dating from around 7,000 years ago. ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref, ref

“The L’Anse Amour burial was a circular mound, constructed of large flagstones. Careful excavation revealed the skeleton of a young boy, lying buried several meters below the surface, at the heart of the mound. Offerings buried with the boy included what appeared to be a set of hunting tools – perhaps for hunting walrus. The kit contained stone and bone spearheads, a walrus ivory toggling harpoon head and hand toggle, ceremonial paint objects and a bird-bone whistle. It is intriguing to suppose that the boy may have been killed while on a walrus hunt.” ref

“Megalithic “dolmen” tomb in the Golan, it is possible that the megalithic landscape of the Golan is analogous to the megalithic landscapes of Europe, which developed as palimpsests of short, disparate episodes of megalithic construction over long periods of time. Focusing on dolmens in Jordan, there is a distinct spatial relationship between dolmen fields and settlement sites that were occupied in the Early Bronze I. Furthermore, there is also a clear correspondence in size, where small dolmen fields are found near small Early Bronze I settlement sites, and large dolmen fields are found near large sites. Yet this correlation is not absolute. While dolmens are always found near Early Bronze I settlements, not all Early Bronze I settlements are found near dolmens. Dolmen cemeteries are separated by large areas such as the Wadi Yarmouk that were also settled in the 4th millennium BCE, but in which no dolmens are found. If the distribution of dolmens was solely related to the Early Bronze I settlement landscape, then why are dolmens found close to some Early Bronze I settlement sites but not others?” ref

“‘An answer lies in understanding the distribution of dolmens within the geological landscape. The Golan and Leja are characterized by hard lava flows. And Dolmens are found in areas dominated by hard sandstone, limestone, and basalt formations that are conducive to the extraction of large slabs, and are absent in areas dominated by softer chalks and marls that are suitable for the excavation of subterranean chambers. In short, there’s a distinct correlation between dolmens and Early Bronze I settlements in areas dominated by microcrystalline strata, and a marked absence of dolmens in areas where softer strata are found, even if these areas were also settled in the 4th millennium BCE.” ref 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

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I don’t think they crossed the Atlantic Ocean across the water but by land going both directions from Asia west to Europe as well as east crossing the Bering Strait, between Asia and The Americas.

PNAS February 26, 2019,  Radiocarbon dates and Bayesian modeling support maritime diffusion model for megaliths in Europe 

“There are ∼35,000 presently extant European megaliths, a term which is derived from Greek μέγας (mégas), “big,” and λίϑος (líthos), “stone.” These include megalithic tombs, standing stones, stone circles, alignments, and megalithic buildings or temples. Most of these were constructed during the Neolithic and the Copper Ages and are located in coastal areas. Their distribution is along the so-called Atlantic façade, including Sweden, Denmark, North Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, northwest France, northern Spain, and Portugal, and in the Mediterranean region, including southern and southeastern Spain, southern France, the Islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Malta and the Balearics, Apulia, northern Italy, and Switzerland. Interestingly, they share similar or even identical architectonic features throughout their distribution. Megalithic graves were built as dolmens and as passage or gallery graves. Thousands of anthropogenic erected stones either stand isolated in the landscapes or were arranged as circles or in rows. There is evidence all across Europe for an orientation of the graves toward the east or southeast in the direction of the rising Sun. The question therefore arises whether there was a single, original source from which a megalithic movement spread over Europe or regional phenomena developed independently due to a similar set of conditions.” ref 

“According to study was conducted by Bettina Schulz Paulsson, a prehistoric archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, European megaliths can be traced back to a single hunter-gatherer culture that originated nearly 7,000 years ago in what’s today the Brittany region of northwestern France.” ref 

“From 10,000-8,000 years ago, Sweden as a whole became populated by people who lived by hunting, gathering and fishing, and who used simple stone tools. Dwelling places and graves dating from the Stone Age, lasting until about 3,800 years ago, are found today in increasing numbers. The Bronze Age was marked in the Nordic region – especially in Denmark but also in Sweden – by a high level of culture, shown by the artifacts found in graves. After 2,500 years ago, such artifacts become increasingly rare as iron came into more general use. During the early Iron Age, the population of Sweden became settled, and agriculture came to form the basis of the economy and society.” ref 

Megalithic tombs in western and northern Neolithic Europe were linked to a kindred society

A new phenomenon of constructing distinctive funerary monuments, collectively known as megalithic tombs, emerged around 4500 BCE along the Atlantic façade. The megalithic phenomenon has attracted interest and speculation since medieval times. In particular, the origin, dispersal dynamics, and the role of these constructions within the societies that built them have been debated. We generate genome sequence data from 24 individuals buried in five megaliths and investigate the population history and social dynamics of the groups that buried their dead in megalithic monuments across northwestern Europe in the fourth millennium BCE. Our results show kin relations among the buried individuals and an overrepresentation of males, suggesting that at least some of these funerary monuments were used by patrilineal societies.” ref

“Paleogenomic and archaeological studies show that Neolithic lifeways spread from the Fertile Crescent into Europe around 9000 BCE, reaching northwestern Europe by 4000 BCE. Starting around 4500 BCE, a new phenomenon of constructing megalithic monuments, particularly for funerary practices, emerged along the Atlantic façade. While it has been suggested that the emergence of megaliths was associated with the territories of farming communities, the origin and social structure of the groups that erected them has remained largely unknown. We generated genome sequence data from human remains, corresponding to 24 individuals from five megalithic burial sites, encompassing the widespread tradition of megalithic construction in northern and western Europe, and analyzed our results in relation to the existing European paleogenomic data. The various individuals buried in megaliths show genetic affinities with local farming groups within their different chronological contexts. Individuals buried in megaliths display (past) admixture with local hunter-gatherers, similar to that seen in other Neolithic individuals in Europe. In relation to the tomb populations, we find significantly more males than females buried in the megaliths of the British Isles. The genetic data show close kin relationships among the individuals buried within the megaliths, and for the Irish megaliths, we found a kin relation between individuals buried in different megaliths. We also see paternal continuity through time, including the same Y-chromosome haplotypes reoccurring. These observations suggest that the investigated funerary monuments were associated with patrilineal kindred groups. Our genomic investigation provides insight into the people associated with this long-standing megalith funerary tradition, including their social dynamics.” ref

Radiocarbon dates and Bayesian modeling support maritime diffusion model for megaliths in Europe

“The radiocarbon dates suggest that the first megalithic graves in Europe were closed small structures or dolmens built aboveground with stone slabs and covered by a round or long mound of earth or stone. These graves emerge in the second half of the fifth millennium calibrated years (cal) BC within a time interval of 4794 cal BC to 3986 cal BC (95.4%4770 cal BC to 4005 cal BC68.2%) (Dataset S3M7-2 to M29-4), which can be reduced most probably to 200 y to 300 y, in northwest France, the Channel Islands, Catalonia, southwestern France, Corsica, and Sardinia. Taking the associated cultural material into consideration, megalithic graves from Andalusia, Galicia, and northern Italy presumably belong to this first stage (Fig. 3). There are no radiocarbon dates available from the early megalithic graves in these regions, or their calibrated ranges show an onset extending into the fourth millennium cal BC, as is the case for Galicia. Of these regions, northwest France is the only one which exhibits monumental earthen constructions before the megaliths (SI Appendix, Fig. S2).” ref

“The Passy graves in the Paris Basin have no megalithic chamber yet, but are impressive labor-intensive structures with a length of up to 280 m. These graves seem to be the earliest monumental graves in Europe; the first individual buried in the Passy necropolis died in 5061 cal BC to 4858 cal BC (95.4%5029 cal BC to 4946 cal BC68.2%) (Dataset S3M1-4). Somewhat later, the first monumental graves emerge in Brittany, and especially in the region of Carnac, in the form of round tumuli covering pit burials, stone cists, and dry-wall chambers. The first building phase of the tumulus St. Michel in Carnac is dated to the time interval 4782 cal BC to 4594 cal BC (95.44724 cal BC to 4618 cal BC68.2%) (Dataset S3M4-2 to M4-4). The earliest megalithic grave chambers in Brittany, such as Tumiac, Kervinio, Castellic, St. Germain, Manio 5, Mané Hui, and Kerlescan (1416), emerge within this horizon as an architectonic feature of monumental long and round mounds. For these early megaliths, no radiocarbon determinations are available. It is only possible to limit the time interval of construction to the Ancient Castellic horizon based on the typochronological considerations of the grave goods and according to Ancient Castellic contexts with associated radiocarbon results ranging from 4794 cal BC to 3999 cal BC (95.4%4770 cal BC to 4034 cal BC68.2%) (Dataset S3M7-2 to M7-7).” ref

The first monumental cemeteries of western Europe : the „Passy type“ necropolis in the Paris basin around 4500 BCE

In the Seine-Yonne basin at around 4500 B.C. numerous cemeteries appeared, including giant “enclosures” which as a funerary manifestation would have no later equivalent in Europe. These constructions, whether tumuli, palisade enclosures, or mixed systems, sometimes exceed 300 m in length but contain very few burials. Beyond the classic interpretation, which sees high investment in a few individuals as reflecting a hierarchical society, structural analysis of these cemeteries shows the repetition of an elementary module, associated with consistent attributes, evoking hunting and more broadly, the wild. An exercise of association and exclusion brings into play the morphology and arrangements of the monuments, the gender of the inhumed individuals and their attributes. In the male monuments, a central figure is thus distinguished, sometimes with original physical characteristics and accompanied by an enigmatic insignia: a pointed bone instrument with a wide base, trivially called an “Eiffel Tower”. This figure is surrounded by other individuals interpreted as hunters on the basis of the accompanying objects. Other individuals probably served as no more than passive figurants, rather like foils. In any case, the monumental cemeteries of the 5th millennium correspond to the earliest human groups for which we can identify diverse and repetitive statuses.” ref

“A bayesian statistical approach to 2,410 currently available radiocarbon results from megalithic, partly pre-megalithic, and contemporaneous non-megalithic contexts in Europe to resolve this long-standing debate. The radiocarbon results suggest that megalithic graves emerged within a brief time interval of 200 y to 300 y in the second half of the fifth millennium calibrated years BCE in northwest France, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic coast of Iberia. We found decisive support for the spread of megaliths along the sea route in three main phases. Thus, a maritime diffusion model is the most likely explanation of their expansion.” ref

No ‘lost tribes’ or aliens: what ancient DNA reveals about American prehistory

“New genetics research settles questions about the peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador. Genetic Discontinuity between the Maritime Archaic and Beothuk Populations in Newfoundland, Canada which addresses the genetic diversity within three different ancient groups who lived in Newfoundland and Labrador.  One reason this region is of particular interest is that it’s on the furthest northeastern margin of North America and so was one of the last areas in the Americas to be peopled. It appears to have been occupied successively by three culturally distinct groups beginning about 10,000 years ago in Labrador and 6,000 years ago in Newfoundland: the Maritime Archaic, the Paleo-Inuit (also referred to as the Paleo-Eskimo), and the indigenous peoples that Europeans called the Beothuk. Today the region is home to several indigenous groups, including the Inuit, the Innu, the Mi’kmaq and the Southern Inuit of NunatuKavut.”  ref

“The members of the Maritime Archaic tradition created the oldest known burial mounds in North America (dating to 7,714 years ago) and subsisted upon coastal marine resources. Approximately 3,400 years ago they seem to have abandoned Newfoundland, either in response to the appearance of Paleo-Inuit in the region or because of climate changes. The Paleo-Inuit’s presence on the island overlapped with the peoples referred to as the Beothuk beginning around 2,000 years ago. The Beothuk encountered European settlers in 1500 AD, and in response to their presence gradually moved to the interior of the island, where their populations declined. Apart from that single exception, the Maritime Archaic, Paleo-Inuit, and Beothuk are clearly genetically distinctive from one another. However, it’s important to note that this study was done on mitochondrial DNA, which is exclusively matrilineally inherited, and so we can only say that the three groups were not maternally related.” ref

“In the case of Newfoundland, the three groups were genetically distinct; they do not share any maternal haplogroups except for haplogroup X2a, lineages of which were found in both the Maritime Archaic and Beothuk. (The presence of haplogroup X2a in North American populations has sometimes been cited as evidence for European ancestry in ancient Americans. If you’re interested in why I and most other geneticists specializing in Native American populations disagree with that, you can read about it here).” ref

ref

“Haplogroup X is found in approximately 2% of native Europeans, and 13% of all native North Americans. Subclade X2 appears to have undergone extensive population expansion and dispersal around or soon after the Last Glacial Maximum, roughly 20,000 years ago. It is more strongly represented in the Near East, the Caucasus, and southern Europe, and somewhat less strongly present in the rest of Europe. The highest concentrations are found in the Ojibwe (25%), Sioux (15%), Nuu-Chah-Nulth (12%), Georgia (8%), Orkney (7%), and amongst the Druze Assyrian community in Israel (27%). Subclades of X2 are not present in South Americans Amerindian populations. The oldest known human associated with X2 is Kennewick Man, whose c. 9000-year old remains were discovered in Washington State. Fossils excavated at the Late Neolithic site of Kelif el Boroud in Morocco, which have been dated to around 5,000 years old, have also been found to carry the X2 subclade. In Eurasia, the greatest frequency of haplogroup X is observed in the Druze, a minority population in IsraelJordanLebanon, and Syria, as much in X1 (16%) as in X2 (11%).” ref

Haplogroup X – found most often in Western Eurasia, but also present in the Americas.

    • Haplogroup X1 – found primarily in North Africa as well as in some populations of the Levant, notably among the Druze
    • Haplogroup X2 – found in Western Eurasia, Siberia, and among Native Americans. ref

“Haplogroup X is also one of the five haplogroups found in the indigenous peoples of the Americas. (namely, X2a subclade). Although it occurs only at a frequency of about 3% for the total current indigenous population of the Americas, it is a bigger haplogroup in northern North America, where among the Algonquian peoples it comprises up to 25% of mtDNA types. It is also present in lesser percentages to the west and south of this area—among the Sioux (15%), the Nuu-chah-nulth (11%–13%), the Navajo (7%), and the Yakama (5%). In Latin America, Haplotype X6 was present in the Tarahumara 1.8% (1/53) and Huichol 20% (3/15) X6 and X7 was also found in 12% in Yanomani people.ref

“Unlike the four main Native American mtDNA haplogroups (A, B, C, D), X is not strongly associated with East Asia. The main occurrence of X in Asia discovered so far is in the Altai people in Siberia. One theory of how the X Haplogroup ended up in North America is that the people carrying it migrated from central Asia along with haplogroups A, B, C, and D, from an ancestor from the Altai Region of Central Asia. Two sequences of haplogroup X2 were sampled further east of Altai among the Evenks of Central Siberia. These two sequences belong to X2* and X2b. It is uncertain if they represent a remnant of the migration of X2 through Siberia or a more recent input.ref

“New World lineages X2a and X2g are not derived from the Old World lineages X2b, X2c, X2d, X2e, and X2f, indicating an early origin of the New World lineages “likely at the very beginning of their expansion and spread from the Near East”. A 2008 study came to the conclusion that the presence of haplogroup X in the Americas does not support migration from Solutrean-period Europe. The lineage of haplogroup X in the Americas is not derived from a European subclade, but rather represent an independent subclade, labelled X2a. The X2a subclade has not been found in Eurasia, and has most likely arisen within the early Paleo-Indian population, at roughly 13,000 years ago. A basal variant of X2a was found in the Kennewick Man fossil (ca. 9,000 years ago).” ref

ref

“The genetic sequences of haplogroup X diverged originally from haplogroup N, and subsequently further diverged about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago to give two sub-groups, X1 and X2. Overall haplogroup X accounts for about 2% of the population of Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. Sub-group X1 is much less numerous, and restricted to North and East Africa, and also the Near East. Sub-group X2 appears to have undergone extensive population expansion and dispersal around or soon after the last glacial maximum, about 21,000 years ago. It is more strongly present in the Near East, the Caucasus, and Mediterranean Europe; and somewhat less strongly present in the rest of Europe. Particular concentrations appear in Georgia (8%), the Orkney Islands (in Scotland) (7%), and amongst the Israeli Druze community (26%); the last presumably due to a founder effect. Subclades X2a and X2g are found in North America, but are not present in Native Latin Americans.” ref

Shimao

Shimao is a site in Shenmu County, Shaanxi, China. The site is located in the northern part of the Loess Plateau, on the southern edge of the Ordos Desert. It is dated to around 2000 BCE or around 4,000 years ago or so, near the end of the Longshan period, and is the largest known walled site of that period in China, at 400 ha. The fortifications of Shimao were originally believed by to be a section of the Great Wall of China, but the discovery of jade pieces prompted an archaeological investigation.” ref

“The city was surrounded by inner and outer stone walls, in contrast to the rammed earth walls typical of Longshan sites in the Central Plain and Shandong. The walls were 2.5 meters thick on average, with perimeters of approximately 4200 m and 5700 m respectively, and feature gates, turrets, and watchtowers. The earliest site, the “palace center”, was a large stepped pyramid based on a loess hill which had been reworked to make 11 platforms, with a height of 70m. Each of these was reinforced by stone buttresses. At the top of this pyramid palaces of rammed earth were built. The inner city contained a stone-walled platform, interpreted as a palatial complex, and densely packed residential zones, cemeteries, and craft workshops. Unusual features include jade embedded in the city walls, possibly to provide spiritual protection, relief sculptures of serpents and monsters, and paintings of geometrical patterns on the inner walls. Approximately 80 human skulls were found under the city gate, mainly of young girls, suggesting ritual sacrifice.” ref

“Developments such as bronze working, wheat, barley, sheep, goats, and cattle seem to appear here earlier than elsewhere in China, showing that its inhabitants were communicating with Eurasian Steppe peoples across extensive trade networks. Additionally, materials likely from Southern China, such as alligator skin drums, have been found, indicating a north-south commerce across what is now modern China. Thin curved bones discovered at Shimao are believed to be the earliest known evidence of the jaw harp, an instrument that has spread to over 100 different ethnic groups, suggesting possible Chinese origins.” ref

“The prevailing hypothesis concerning the abandonment of Shimao is tied to a rapid shift to a cooler, drier climate on the Loess Plateau, from 2000 to 1700 BCE. This environmental change likely led populations to shift to the Central Plain, leaving the site to be forgotten until the 21st century.” ref

Mysterious carvings and evidence of human sacrifice uncovered in the ancient city of Shimao 

Neolithic City of Shimao in Shaanxi Province, China

China’s Shimao ruins among top 10 archaeological finds of the past decade

Shimao: Massive Pyramid, Lost City, and Ancient Human Sacrifices Unearthed in China

Shimao and Erlitou: new perspectives on the origins of the bronze industry in central China

Shimao, a 4,300-year-old Chinese City Built with Ritual Stones

‘Pyramid of eyes’ discovered at the heart of the 4,300-year-old city of Shimao in northern China

Large-Scale Cemetery Of Shimao Culture Found In NW China

Food between the country and the city: The politics of food production at Shimao and Zhaimaoliang in the Ordos Region, northern China

The first Neolithic urban center on China’s north Loess Plateau: The rise and fall of Shimao

Who is that Human at Shimao? China’s Ancient Belief in Metamorphic Power 

4,320-3,820 years old “Shimao” (North China) site with Totemistic-Shamanistic Paganism and a Stepped Pyramid

      Shimao pyramid: ‘Pyramid of eyes’ at heart of 4300-year-old city

A 4,300-year-old city, which has a massive step pyramid that is at least 230 feet (70 meters) high and spans 59 acres (24 hectares) at its base, has been excavated in China. The pyramid was decorated with eye symbols and “anthropomorphic,” or part-human, part-animal faces. Those figures “may have endowed the stepped pyramid with special religious power and further strengthened the general visual impression on its large audience,” the archaeologists wrote in the article. The pyramid contains 11 steps, each of which was lined with stone. On the topmost step, there “were extensive palaces built of rammed earth, with wooden pillars and roofing tiles, a gigantic water reservoir. The city’s rulers lived in these palaces, and art and craft production were carried out nearby. The stepped pyramid complex seems to possibly have functioned not only as a residential space for ruling Shimao elites, but also as a space for artisanal or industrial craft production. Shimao is a Neolithic site in Shenmu CountyShaanxiChina. The site in located in the northern part of the Loess Plateau, on the southern edge of the Ordos Desert. Unusual features include jade embedded in the city walls, possibly to provide spiritual protection, and paintings of geometrical patterns on the inner walls. Many human skulls were found under the city gate, suggesting ritual sacrifices during construction. For five centuries, a city flourished around the pyramid. At one time, the city encompassed an area of 988 acres (400 hectares), making it one of the largest in the world, the archaeologists wrote. Today, the ruins of the city are called “Shimao,” but its name in ancient times is unknown. A series of stone walls with ramparts and gates were built around the pyramid and the city. “At the entrance to the stepped pyramid were sophisticated bulwarks [defensive walls] whose design suggests that they were intended to provide both defense and highly restricted access. The remains of numerous human sacrifices have been discovered at Shimao. “In the outer gateway of the eastern gate on the outer rampart alone, six pits containing decapitated human heads. Some of the victims may be from another archaeological site called Zhukaigou, which is located to the north of Shimao, and the people of Shimao may have conquered the neighboring site. “Morphological analysis of the human remains suggests that the victims may have been related to the residents of Zhukaigou, which could further suggest that they were taken to Shimao as captives during the expansion of the Shimao polity,” the study said. While archaeologists have known about Shimao for many years, it was once thought to be part of the Great Wall of China, a section of which is located nearby. It wasn’t until excavations were carried out in recent years that archaeologists realized that Shimao is far older than the Great Wall, which was built between 2,700 and 400 years ago. refref

Ancient DNA from the Schild site in Illinois: Implications for the Mississippian transition in the Lower Illinois River Valley

ABSTRACT

“Archaeologists have long debated whether rapid cultural change in the archaeological record is due to in situ developments, migration of a new group into the region, or the spread of new cultural practices into an area through existing social networks, with the local peoples adopting and adapting practices from elsewhere as they see fit (acculturation). Researchers have suggested each of these explanations for the major cultural transition that occurred at the beginning of the Mississippian period (AD 1050) across eastern North America. In this study, we used ancient DNA to test competing hypotheses of migration and acculturation for the culture change that occurred between the Late Woodland (AD 400–1050) and Mississippian (AD 1050–1500) periods in the Lower Illinois River Valley. We obtained sequences of the first hypervariable segment of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) from 39 individuals (17 Late Woodland, 22 Mississippian) interred in the Schild cemetery in western Illinois, and compared these lineages to ancient mtDNA lineages present at other sites in the region. Computer simulations were used to test a null hypothesis of population continuity from Late Woodland to Mississippian times at the Schild site and to investigate the possibility of gene flow from elsewhere in the region. Our results suggest that the Late Woodland to Mississippian cultural transition at Schild was not due to an influx of people from elsewhere. Instead, it is more likely that the transition to Mississippian cultural practices at this site was due to a process of acculturation.” ref 

The genetic prehistory of the lower Illinois River valley: An ancient DNA analysis of Yokem Mounds 1-5

“Yokem Mounds and its neighboring lower Illinois River valley sites were part of a dramatic cultural shift that occurred during the transition from the Late Woodland period (CE 400-1050) to the Mississippian period (CE 1050-1400) of Illinois prehistory. Evident changes in diet, burial treatment, and material culture accompanied this transition at Yokem Mounds. What remains unknown is whether the transition cooccurred with a population displacement by originators of the Mississippian culture, the Cahokians, or other Mississippian immigrants. My ancient DNA analysis of Yokem Mounds 1-5 tackled this question, as well as described other cultural behaviors in order to identify additional impacts of the Mississippian culture.” ref 

“Conclusion: Tuberculosis was present during the Middle Woodland period in Illinois well before CE 900, which is when the most apparent skeletal cases in North America begin to be identified. The Middle Woodland individual Yo 3-11A possessed the MTBC specific IS1081 element and a possible MTBC gyrase B sequence and this individual dates to BCE 0 to CE 80. Another Yokem individual with an older radiocarbon date,  BCE 240 to 160, possessed the same gyrase B sequence as Yo 3-11A, but the IS1081 element could not be amplified. Tuberculosis is present amongst an additional nine individuals associated with the Late Woodland and Mississippian periods at Yokem Mounds and Schild Cemetery. Two strains of ancient tuberculosis were identified amongst the Yokem Mounds Mississippian individuals. These strains predate the zoonotic transfer of an ancient tuberculosis species most closely related to M. pinnipedii, which were identified in Peru. Therefore, the trans-continental spread of the ancient Peruvian species is an unlikely source of the Yokem Mounds species, unless the former is older than has been currently identified and the species became human adapted. Many researchers caution against destructive ancient DNA research of tuberculosis to diagnosis specific cases because of the financial and labor commitment required. But, if an ancient DNA analysis of an individual or sample population is already being undertaken to answer additional cultural and population genetic questions, then I would recommend that all samples be screened for the presence of ancient MTBC DNA. As discussed previously, tuberculosis has a long history of human infection, but there are very few cases identified before A.D. 1000 in the Americas. Therefore, there should be many unidentified cases of the disease that have yet to be found. I recommend testing all individuals in a population study because ancient MTBC DNA can be amplified from individuals that possess unspecific lesions or even lack any skeletal evidence of the disease.” ref 

An Ancient DNA Perspective on Mound 72, Cahokia

“Although the principle coordinates analysis (PCoA) showed a remarkably similar relationship (see Figures 4 and 5) between the mitochondrial haplogroup frequency genetic distances and the biodistances derived from the female subset of the dental metric values, the Mantel test rm-value of -0.4051 with a p-value of 0.875 did not show results similar to previously reported correlations of genetic and dental metrics or traits (Hubbard et al. 2015; Rathmann et al. 2017; Irish et al. 2020) in terms of the strength of the affinity or direction of association. The Mantel 0.00 0.05 0.10 -0.10 -0.05 0.00 0.05 0.10 Mitochondrial FST Residuals, Dental Metric FST Residuals from Females Only, Figure 8. Mantel Correlation between Mitochondrial Haplogroup Frequency and Dental Metric Biodistance of Females R2=0.02596 146 test tests for association between two matrices under the null hypothesis that there is no association between the two sets of values, so we must conclude that any association between the biodistance and genetic measurements is not strong enough to be statistically significant. Additionally, the negative association between the values is difficult to interpret. Irish and colleagues (2020) reported the rm-value of the correlation between 36 dental non-metric trait MMD values and the Hudson Fst distances derived from >350,000 SNPs across the genome of 0.720 with a p-value of 0.000. Hubbard et al. 2015 reported a rm-value of 0.50 with a p-value of 0.21 when comparing 42 STRs to dental traits in a paired sample. Rathmann et al. 2017 reported a rm-values of .55 (p < 0.001) and 0.64 (p < 0.001) when comparing STRs and SNPs to crown measurements.” ref

“This difference results from a few factors that distinguish this study from other comparisons in the literature. First, most of the samples from the previous analyses were from living humans (with the exception of Rathmann and colleagues (2017)), so populations included were contemporaneous and without the confounding factors that using multigenerational cemeteries can introduce. Skeletal collections include individuals who would not have lived at the same time and also may only contain a subgroup of the community. Second, the mitochondrial haplogroup frequency comparisons do not carry the same genetic resolution as autosomal STR or SNP data. Finally, this analysis includes fewer populations from a much smaller region than any previous analysis. Previous haplogroup frequency and biometric analyses in the American Midwest region have shown little genetic distinction between any burial groups assessed. This may indicate that the given size and level of genetic diversity in my data set might not provide the power needed to show statistically significant results. It also may indicate that the smaller regional analysis of largely genetically indistinguishable populations are not well suited for research using dental data in the same way that geographically larger studies are. Comparisons of results using more genetic markers such as autosomal SNPs or STRs would be necessary to distinguish between these conclusions. However, from the available literature, it is apparent that studies largely focused on broad relationships between long-isolated populations can rely on dental data from these populations. Because of this, the use of destructive analysis necessary in aDNA work within large skeletal collection is unnecessary if the research questions are centered around these broad regional relationship. Even in studies using ‘minimally’ or ‘non-destructive’ extraction methods, some degree of destruction or chemical alteration occurs, making any procedure a potential loss of ability for future analyses. In cases where broad regional relationships are being tested, dental data can be used as a less destructive, expensive approach to reach the same conclusions.” ref 

The Genetic Legacy of the Mississippians

Abstract

“In this study, we examine the maternal relationships between Mississippian peoples and potential living Native American descendants in Eastern North America. First, we present new ancient DNA results from American Bottom and Illinois River valley Mississippians buried at the East St. Louis, Janey B. Goode, and Yokem sites in Illinois. Our results increase the sample size of Mississippian mitochondrial DNA to facilitate population comparisons with ancient and extant groups. Our results show that Mississippians were genetically diverse, with all five major Native American haplogroups represented (A, B, C, D, and X). We show that within-hap-logroup diversity was maintained across an 800-year time span except in the case of haplogroup D, in which ancient lineages were more diverse. Finally, we show that Native American genetic diversity appears to have been structured geographically, as Midwestern groups from all time periods are more similar to one another than those from outlying regions.” ref

I think god beliefs (great spirit/shy father god) came into the Americas from North Asia from 7,000 to 5,000 years ago. I think it likely relates to the Na-Dene languages migrations as all of the Na-Dene languages have “great spirit” beliefs and some have shy father god/creator beliefs as well.

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

People don’t commonly teach religious history, even that of their own claimed religion. No, rather they teach a limited “pro their religion” history of their religion from a religious perspective favorable to the religion of choice. 

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

Do you truly think “Religious Belief” is only a matter of some personal choice?

Do you not see how coercive one’s world of choice is limited to the obvious hereditary belief, in most religious choices available to the child of religious parents or caregivers? Religion is more commonly like a family, culture, society, etc. available belief that limits the belief choices of the child and that is when “Religious Belief” is not only a matter of some personal choice and when it becomes hereditary faith, not because of the quality of its alleged facts or proposed truths but because everyone else important to the child believes similarly so they do as well simply mimicking authority beliefs handed to them. Because children are raised in religion rather than being presented all possible choices but rather one limited dogmatic brand of “Religious Belief” where children only have a choice of following the belief as instructed, and then personally claim the faith hereditary belief seen in the confirming to the belief they have held themselves all their lives. This is obvious in statements asked and answered by children claiming a faith they barely understand but they do understand that their family believes “this or that” faith, so they feel obligated to believe it too. While I do agree that “Religious Belief” should only be a matter of some personal choice, it rarely is… End Hereditary Religion!

Opposition to Imposed Hereditary Religion

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

refrefrefref 

Animism: Respecting the Living World by Graham Harvey 

“How have human cultures engaged with and thought about animals, plants, rocks, clouds, and other elements in their natural surroundings? Do animals and other natural objects have a spirit or soul? What is their relationship to humans? In this new study, Graham Harvey explores current and past animistic beliefs and practices of Native Americans, Maori, Aboriginal Australians, and eco-pagans. He considers the varieties of animism found in these cultures as well as their shared desire to live respectfully within larger natural communities. Drawing on his extensive casework, Harvey also considers the linguistic, performative, ecological, and activist implications of these different animisms.” ref

Damien Marie AtHope’s Art

We are like believing machines we vacuum up ideas, like Velcro sticks to almost everything. We accumulate beliefs that we allow to negatively influence our lives, often without realizing it. Our willingness must be to alter skewed beliefs that impend our balance or reason, which allows us to achieve new positive thinking and accurate outcomes.

My thoughts on Religion Evolution with external links for more info:

“Religion is an Evolved Product” and Yes, Religion is Like Fear Given Wings…

Atheists talk about gods and religions for the same reason doctors talk about cancer, they are looking for a cure, or a firefighter talks about fires because they burn people and they care to stop them. We atheists too often feel a need to help the victims of mental slavery, held in the bondage that is the false beliefs of gods and the conspiracy theories of reality found in religions.

“Understanding Religion Evolution: Animism, Totemism, Shamanism, Paganism & Progressed organized religion”

Understanding Religion Evolution:

“An Archaeological/Anthropological Understanding of Religion Evolution”

It seems ancient peoples had to survived amazing threats in a “dangerous universe (by superstition perceived as good and evil),” and human “immorality or imperfection of the soul” which was thought to affect the still living, leading to ancestor worship. This ancestor worship presumably led to the belief in supernatural beings, and then some of these were turned into the belief in gods. This feeble myth called gods were just a human conceived “made from nothing into something over and over, changing, again and again, taking on more as they evolve, all the while they are thought to be special,” but it is just supernatural animistic spirit-belief perceived as sacred.

 

Quick Evolution of Religion?

Pre-Animism (at least 300,000 years ago) pre-religion is a beginning that evolves into later Animism. So, Religion as we think of it, to me, all starts in a general way with Animism (Africa: 100,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in supernatural powers/spirits), then this is physically expressed in or with Totemism (Europe: 50,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in mythical relationship with powers/spirits through a totem item), which then enlists a full-time specific person to do this worship and believed interacting Shamanism (Siberia/Russia: 30,000 years ago) (theoretical belief in access and influence with spirits through ritual), and then there is the further employment of myths and gods added to all the above giving you Paganism (Turkey: 12,000 years ago) (often a lot more nature-based than most current top world religions, thus hinting to their close link to more ancient religious thinking it stems from). My hypothesis is expressed with an explanation of the building of a theatrical house (modern religions development). Progressed organized religion (Egypt: 5,000 years ago)  with CURRENT “World” RELIGIONS (after 4,000 years ago).

Historically, in large city-state societies (such as Egypt or Iraq) starting around 5,000 years ago culminated to make religion something kind of new, a sociocultural-governmental-religious monarchy, where all or at least many of the people of such large city-state societies seem familiar with and committed to the existence of “religion” as the integrated life identity package of control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine, but this juggernaut integrated religion identity package of Dogmatic-Propaganda certainly did not exist or if developed to an extent it was highly limited in most smaller prehistoric societies as they seem to lack most of the strong control dynamics with a fixed closed magical doctrine (magical beliefs could be at times be added or removed). Many people just want to see developed religious dynamics everywhere even if it is not. Instead, all that is found is largely fragments until the domestication of religion.

Religions, as we think of them today, are a new fad, even if they go back to around 6,000 years in the timeline of human existence, this amounts to almost nothing when seen in the long slow evolution of religion at least around 70,000 years ago with one of the oldest ritual worship. Stone Snake of South Africa: “first human worship” 70,000 years ago. This message of how religion and gods among them are clearly a man-made thing that was developed slowly as it was invented and then implemented peace by peace discrediting them all. Which seems to be a simple point some are just not grasping how devastating to any claims of truth when we can see the lie clearly in the archeological sites.

I wish people fought as hard for the actual values as they fight for the group/clan names political or otherwise they think support values. Every amount spent on war is theft to children in need of food or the homeless kept from shelter.

Here are several of my blog posts on history: