While many may find the concept of sunken lands a trifle disturbing (or as an old college instructor of mine would say, when questioned about Atlantis, "continents made of granite don't sink into tectonic plates made of basalt"), the need to explain many of the ancient features of the American continent almost inevitably leads to the realization that older, advanced civilizations may have flourished on both landmasses earlier than anthropologists and ethnographers are willing to accept, or that such features could be the remains of more advanced visitors from the Old World...or a world that no longer exists.
Abel Hernández Muñoz, a member of the Sociedad Epigráfica Cubana(Cuban Epigraphic Society) has drawn attention throughout Latin America and Spain to the highly curious "Taguasco Dolmen", located near the village of the same name in the Cuban province of Sancti Spiritus, close to the island's geographic center.
The Taguasco Dolmen is, in fact, a tower made of superimposed megaliths containing a small chamber running in an east-west direction. According to Hernández, the eastern opening of the chamber points toward a tiny circle of stones or Cromlech, consisting of one central stone and two menhirs standing some 10 feet tall. The overall style and composition of this monument is disturbingly similar to the megalithic alignments of the Balearic Islands (off
But as if the mysterious structure's aspect weren't controversial enough, the Taguasco Dolmen bears on its surface some very curious inscriptions which Cuban epigraphers have associated with Phoenician script employed in their Mediterranean posessions around the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., respectively. Other inscriptions appear to correspond to the Irish Ogham script which according to experts, was not in use prior to the 10th century of the Christian Era.
Regardless of the obvious descriptions, the Ogham inscription reads "B-L", which has been interpreted as "BEL" or "Bel", the name of the solar deity of the sea-faring Phoenicians. If correct, this identification would match similar instances of "B-L" found in
The epigraphical findings can be corroborated by archaeological ones, such as the discovery of a clearly female European skeleton in a Taino/Siboney burial yard, and the existence of a Celtiberic-Phoenician sanctuary near
Traces of Phoenician involvement in the Caribbean go beyond
A Mystery of Painted Stone
Brazil, best known in occult circles for its UFO cases, high strangness events and candomblé rituals, also holds it own when it comes to strange landmarks which point uncomfortably to origins that perhaps are at odds with scientific dogma.
The best known of these is Pedra Pintada ("Painted Rock") a series of blocks and rock walls protruding from the ground and overlooking grassy plains of the Brazilian state of Roraima (on the border with
The belief that these manifestations could be far older has always been expressed, much to the consternation of academia. While Chilean anthrolpologist Juan Schobinger assures us that the question of "ancient vanished civilizations" being the responsible for this work has been put to rest, others insist that the question remains quite open and valid.
The best-known challenge to academic auctoritas came from Marcel Homet, a French explorer and scholar whose expedition to discover the remains of lost civilizations in 1949 is chronicled in the book The Children of the Sun. Homet's Amazonian guides regaled him with stories of ruins far up the course of the Uraricoera River, and the researcher himself faced a number of perils (carnivorous plants, etc.). Homet's work has been largely discredited, but his observations on Pedra Pintada deserve to be commented upon. He considered the odd, egg-shaped stone to be an enormous book containing samples of all of the ancient languages of mankind -- old Egyptian hieroglyphs and samples of Mesopotamian symbols. Homet couldn't emphasize enough the rock's importance as a "glyptolithic library" on humanity's past.
The living have always had a morbid fascination with the process of mummification. Surely ancient hunter/gatherers in the world's deserts were quite used to the prospect of natural mummification due to exposure in extremely dry and stable climates. Mummies have become an indispensable fixture in literary horror stories about Ancient
In 1917, when anthropologist and explorer Max Uhle discovered the burial sites of what he called "the
The ancient Aricans mummification techniques consisted in skinning and eviscerating the corpse, removing the muscles of the bones and legs, then setting the insides to dry by means of hot coals. All cavities were filled with substances ranging from dirt and wool to feathers and natural fiber. The face was generally painted white, black or red while a wig completed the ensemble.
Curious similarities to the mummification traditions of the Canary Islanders soon emerged. Paleopathologist Michael Allison notes that the Chilean mummies "...were collected in family groups of three to eight people, men, women and children, and kept upright through the use of the rods employed to reinforce them. These families were perhaps personages, healers or shamans, or great hunters, having special powers transmittable to the living even after death as long as their bodies remained present." The custom in the
A Canarian historian, Héctor Gonzalez, believes in the possibility that "Atlantis" is source for the commonality of funeral practices. González has conducted a detailed analysis of the descriptions of mythical continent given by Plato in his writings and has checked them against existing maps and atlases. He suggests that there was never, in fact, a "lost continent", and that Atlantis is in
The descriptions given by the Greek philosopher, says González, match the physical features of the
The simultaneous creation of inventions and the discovery of new concepts in separate locations is nothing new, and certainly the primitive inhabitants of the salt flats of northerh Chile were bright enough to come up with their own mummification techniques, owing nothing to an improbable "mother civilization". But why engage in exceedingly and exceedingly complex and grisly task when their very environment would take care of the job for them? The dryness of the atmosphere was a key factor in preserving another set of very ancient and sensational burials which have become known as the "mummies of Urumchi" -- the remains of a tall, caucasian group of tribesmen dwelling in what is now
A Forgotten Kingdom Speaks
An Aztec map would probably have portrayed the area currently known as
Despite the fact that the Mexican highlands had sustained commercial relations with the mysterious city of
Had his desert-weary troops not rebelled against him, Guzmán may have reached the mountainous dwelling places of the Tarahumara Indians, which some believe to have direct ties to forgotten Atlantis.
It would fall to an artist, not a warrior, to share this significant experience. In 1936, the surrealist French poet and playwright Antonin Artaud visited northern Mexico consumed by a burning desire to see the Tarahumara peoples and, in his own words, to "seek the roots of a magical tradition which can still be found in their native soil" (Voyage Au Pays des Tarahumaras, Parisot, 1944) Artaud's quest took him through the bottom of Copper Canyon and some of the most perilous landscapes on the continent, always on horseback and led by a native guide. He eventually reached the heart of the Tarahumara mountains in the state of
Many cultures have rituals in common which originated separately. For example, adherents of the Mithraic cult of late Roman times practiced the taurobolia--a veritable baptism in the blood of a freshly-slain bull. Was Artaud's experience pure coincidence coupled to the artistic genius's volatile temperament, or one of the most astonishing discoveries of our time?