Friday, December 18, 2009

Ages Undreamed Of vol 1.

This is the first of a series of post's about ancient sites and ruins-especially those that fire my imagination for the sake of writing. I am not writing a thesis nor will I stick to plain vanilla interpretations when speculation is possible for some answers and so much more fun.
"It makes no difference what men think of war, said the judge. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner. That is the way it was and will be....
War is the ultimate game because war is at last a forcing of the unity of existence. War is god."

Blood Meridian

I am posting that quote from my favorite Cormac McCarthy novel because it illustrates my following belief about a certain site. Never mind that I am convinced that particular character speaking is Cain.

It took decades for the established scholars to stop believing and promulgating that
the Mayans were simply peaceful stargazing mathematicians, we now know (and should have from the beginning) that they were perpetually at war and that blood sacrifice was de rigueur. Now we have the same thing just a little further north in Oklahoma.

The Spiro mounds in east Oklahoma in the Arkansas river valley have been a curiosity since the Ok land rush in the late 1800's. The first archaeological inspections declared that great battles had taken place in the area between what appeared to be two distinct peoples-possibly the Mississippian-Hopewell types versus Tultecs from the south. More recent scholarship refutes those original claims testifying that Spiro was more of a spiritual/trading hub.While I think that explanation has merit, it seems that those proponents discount the possibility that war could have come to the area, citing that there is little if any evidence.

That is a weak argument considering the Spiro mounds were thoroughly looted back in the 30's virtually at every opportunity whenever the U of OK had their backs turned. Not to mention everything that was taken before their dig even started. The idea that lack of current evidence (despite old testimony) means no evidence is shallow.

My argument on what we do know and can deduce. The incredible amount of bodies and weapons found around the entire area. The very first researcher a Dr. Edwin Walters declared in the late 1800's that there may be as many as 2,500 to 3,000 skeletons per acre in an area of 30 acres. Over 10,000 arrowheads were pulled from a single mound. Some scholars would argue that these are merely trinkets for burial-good luck charms if you will or pennies we toss into wishing wells.

BAH! None of these guys have taken the time to chip away and make a single painstaking chert arrowhead, let alone 10,000 for one mound. Multitudes of pearls were also found that disintegrated into chalk because they were so ancient. Scores of carved stone pipes too, these people smoked a lot. I will soon do a post on the most amazing looking ancient american pipes.

The weapons found are staggering, spearheads, shields, breastplates, daggers and ax heads made from copper-green with age. And among the coolest looking weapons, brutal mace heads that are graphically depicted in art found all over the area.

These people fought wars, they may have all died in war. There is no concrete explanation on what became of them. Take for example this copper image of what is known as the Birdman.
He holds a mace and whats that in his other hand?

A human head.

Simple ritualistic trading folk?

I don't think so.

Barbarism triumphed over civilization.


Anonymous said...

Very cool can we count on this being a weekly or bi-weekly segment for some time?

David J. West said...

I may do it bi-weekly if I feel like it and can't think of any other worthy posts.

Kinda might as well start doing these as primers for my novel's ideas department.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

How interesting!

I only learned about the Aztec, Inca, and Maya people when in Spanish class in high school. Look forward to your future posts.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

In central Illinois, river and farm land, we would often find the chert arrowheads. I have several. Looking for arrowheads was a past time, kind of like camping is here in Utah.

David J. West said...

Thanks Caroline.

Thats kind of my logic on the matter Karen.
Do you think that that many arrowheads were just lost hunting or would it make more sense that they are the unperishable evidence of great wars?

Angie said...

Very interesting. I love learning about ancient sites and people (as you could probably tell.) I love visiting these sights too when I can.

Mr. said...


So all of Oklahoma is a sacred indian buirialground?


That explains the tornadoes.

David J. West said...

I never said all of Oklahoma, just the places with split skulls.

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

What a fascinating post! I love this kind of thing.

Voidwalker said...

Neat! I'm not up on my ancient civilizations to be able to add much to this post, but still it's very interesting.

David J. West said...

Thanks everybody, my brother requested I start doing these so I am going to try and do them at least once a week. There are a lot more to go

TerryLynnJohnson said...

Whoa! Very cool place. Love your photo! New follower (found you at Caroline's blog)

David J. West said...

Thanks Terry.

elizabeth said...

Wow, David, that is a very interesting thing to do--to post your researches here on your blog. I love your thoughts and photos. Thank you for sharing them! That's great way to fill in space in your blog and that is what I need to do! I am researching a Viking wedding for my story! I'll comment that on my blog where you had asked your question about the blood bath scene! ;)

David J. West said...

Thanks Elizabeth, I'd like to see a viking wedding-it ought probably ought to be a good time!

Chad said...

David as you know my Anna conducted her Ph.D.. thesis on the mound builders. She looked at this post and commented that she believes that the demise of the lost civilizations of the various mound building cultures was due to a horrific genocide or deliberate warfare perpetuated by ancient civilizations. She has postulated on evidence that siege weapons were utilized to breach defenses very much like the hedge rows in Normandy of WWII. She says you are spot on in describing how all those arrow heads got there. to valuable an item to merely throw into a wishing well.

David J. West said...

Chad-right on-where you been?

Yeah when I first read-10,000 freakin arrow-heads out of 1 mound-and not even one of the biggest ones-no way these are just "have a nice trip tokens" for a Native American Charon.