Around the beginning f the year, there was an article in The Examiner which I took note of – Ruins in Georgia Mountains Show Evidence of Mayan Connection. It creat4ed quite a stir with establishment arkies mentioned in the article screaming bloody murder that they might be connected with something not 2,000% conservative like most of archeology.
What it did for me was bring to mind something in Ed Grondine’s “Man and Impacts in the Americas“. His Appendix B, The Ancient Word of the Natchez, is an account of the Natchez’s history including their mass emigration from what is certainly the mountainous Huastecan area of northern Vera Cruz state in Mexico, where they had been long fighting off the aggressive Teotihuacans of the Valley of Mexico. This migration would have been some time between 200 AD and 1200 AD. The Natchez fought them off successfully, which not few could claim – but eventually got really tired of having to do so – so they left. Once up and around the Gulf coast, they settled originally on the west bank of the lower Mississippi. Here is the part of the Appendix that tells about the extent of their settled area:
“THE EXTENT OF THE “MOBILIAN” OR “MISSISSIPPIAN” TRADE FEDERATION
This was not the only reason which retained our Suns [Note: meaning Chiefs] in that country. It was hard for them to leave such a good land; besides, their assistance was necessary to our other brothers who were established there like ourselves, and who lived along the shore of the Great Waters (the Gulf of Mexico) on the side toward the east.
These brothers extended so far that they went very far beyond the Great Sun [Note: meaning the great tribal Chief] since there were some of them whom the Great Sun heard sometimes only at the end of five or six years, and there were yet others so far away from us they had not been heard of at all.
Ca 1200 CE:
DISEASE HITS THE TRADE FEDERATION
…Our nation then extended for more than twelve days’ journey from east to west, and more than fifteen days from north to south. It counted then 500 Suns, and you can judge by that what was then the number of the Nobles, the honored men, and the common people.
It seems certain that the Natchez’ reach extended very nearly to Etowah, if not Brasstown Bald, and that their “Trade Federation” was a main element in the Mississippian culture.
From du Pratz’s text and this map, it would appear that the ‘Trade Federation’ meant much of the pinkish region called “Louisiane”. That area includes Brasswood Bald, Etowah and the normal areas designated as Natchez. The account referring to “500 Suns”, some of which had not been heard from by the Natchez Great Sun, would indicate a very large area. That it mainly stretched to the east is spelled out in the text above, too. That it talks of very long periods of peace along with the trade federation suggests that some or many of the rarely heard from Suns may have (probably) became other tribes altogether. A federation is usually among multiple political entities, so other tribal designations would seem to fit with that.
It is very much underestimated by arkies and anthropologists how big a part of past cultures was made up of trade. It is as if arkies believe that trade was insignificant until developed by the Europeans after the Dark Ages. Though artifacts from far away are found at many sites all over the world, this seems always to be considered by arkies as a seriously minor aspect of these cultures. I would strongly argue that point with the. The arkies see nearly all edifices as either ceremonial or living quarters, and all economic activity as secondary – that ancient cultures were all driven by the egos of the rulers. Pyramids are the ultimate in such thinking – pharoaonic ego-symbols in the extreme.
It is significant that Grondine titles the section “…Trade Federation”. Then as now, trade created private wealth, plus governmental taxes and tariffs. Trade brought new and needed commodities. This is not to be underestimated at all. At all points in western civilization it was increasing trade that meant increasing prosperity. Infrastructure and other building projects in western civilization were undertaken to facilitate merchants and traders. Ports and forts, designed to maintain security for economic growth. Many of the structures now seen as ceremonial were just as likely to have been for merchandising and warehousing. It behooves one to view the small square pedestals at Teotihuacan in this way, in a region flooded for a good deal of the year. Similarly for Machu Picchu, to see it as more likely a nearly self-sustaining resort than as a religious site. Go to Guachimontones, west of Guadalajara, and see yourself in an ancient mall, with wares displayed on the different ‘shelves’, just as at Teotihuacan, only round platforms instead of square. And in reading of Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” in a non-modern-equals-smarter hubristic way, one can easily envision that the principles laid out by Smith applied at all times in human history. There is always the wish of some to build more wealth for themselves, and there is not better way in the history of humans than economic trade.
And where trade exists, there is bleeding over of anything and everything else, from one culture to the next. If the Natchez were near Etowah, then Etowah influenced the Natchez and vice versa. Brasstown Bald would be no exception.
The Huastecans/Natchez in Mexico did not build mounds or pyramids there that I know of. I’ve visited that area but don’t know that much about it. But I don’t see much difficulty in being open to possible interchange of ideas between the Mayans and the Huastecans and the Natchez and whoever was on their eastern border.
But the Natchez settled in the heart of the earliest mound cultures in the U.S. region. There is no way they were not influenced by it and that the Mississippian culture of which they were part did not bring them to build mounds themselves. They may have, through their (war) contacts with the Teotihuacans, even have brought the concept with them, too.
How much of that stems orgiinally back from the Mayans, we don’t know yet – but neither should we doubt it, just because they wee a few hundred miles up around the Gulf coast from Mayan areas. If the Mayans sailed to Puerto Rico in the east, what is to say they didn’t also sail to Tampico in the west? It is considerably closer and can be done straight across or hugging the shore as the Europeans did for so long.