The Deep Amnesia
Who are the civilizations that we don’t remember what they called themselves? What is it I think will be accomplished by remembering? What parts of ourselves have we not even realized we lost?
[Again, these glasses not only paint the world, they form its machinery, its cogs and guts. I see my own affliction as a basic characteristic of the universe, and so solving the outward problem magikly solves the inward one.] But the point is that the history of Homo sapiens sapiens still remains largely mysterious. Debates still rage about early migration patterns out of Africa, genetic influence of various groups upon others, linguistic migration, the extent of early knowledge systems, and almost every conceivable artifact of our distant past. In regard to the Olmec’s, Richard Diehl reminds us:
The origins of Olmec culture have intrigued scholars and lay people alike since Tres Zapotes Colossal Head I, a gigantic stone human head with vaguely Negroid features, was discovered in Veracruz 140 years ago. Since that time, Olmec culture and art have been attributed to seafaring Africans, Egyptians, Nubians, Phoenicians, Atlanteans, Japanese, Chinese, and other ancient wanderers. As often happens, the truth is infinitely more logical, if less romantic: the Olmecs were Native Americans who created a unique culture in southeastern Mexico’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Archeologists now trace Olmec origins back to pre-Olmec cultures in the region and there is no credible evidence for major intrusions from the outside. Futhermore, not a single bona fide artifact of Old World origin has ever appeared in an Olmec archaeological site, or for that matter anywhere else in Mesoamerica.
The Olmecs: America’s First Civilization,19, Diehl, R.
“With this paragraph Diehl summarily dismisses all theories and evidence of transoceanic contact. We don’t really know what a bona fide artifact would be, since Old World and New World articles were often identical, as we shall see. Also, we are given no further information on the pre-Olmec cultures that the Olmecs are presumably derived from.
But for the Olmecs to actually be Africans—not just look like them—they would almost certainly have come to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec via ship. But since such voyages are dismissed immediately and there will be no further discussion of it, the Olmecs simply have to be local boys who have always pretty much been there. At some time in remote prehistory, their early genetic group walked into this Olmec heartland area.
According to Diehl, the Olmecs would have been an isolated group within their region as well, with little contact with other tribes in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Says Diehl:
We do not know what these people called themselves, or if they even had a term that encompassed all the inhabitants of Olman. There is no evidence that they formed a single unified ethnic group, and almost certainly no Olmec considered people living more than a few hours’ walk away as members of his or her own group. Nevertheless, the numerous independent local cultures were so similar to one another that modern scientists consider them a single generic culture.
This strong statement bears repeating: ‘…almost certainly no Olmec considered people living more than a few hours’ walk away as members of his or her own group.’ If the Olmecs were isolated from neighbors only a few hours’ walk away, they certainly wouldn’t have had contact with people across an ocean, would they?”
People left plenty of messages. Some stare at us directly from the abyss. Who has the oldest culture on the planet? Written? Oral? What remains of the oldest sites? Have we crumbled ruins of past civilizations in our hands?
The faithful almost always seem to take the significance one step further than the evidence can imply. That’s what gets me: taking that extra leap without any real justification. It leaches credibility. Making the connection between Yonaguni-as-man-made to Oceanic culture influencing ancient Mesoamerican cultures is simply unsustainable… at this point. It may hold water at some future date if archeological evidence becomes unearthed. It may not, especially if it doesn’t exist–but not necessarily. But, to fulfill the criteria (fantasy) that ancient Oceanic civilizations could have influenced Mesoamerican cultures to a significant degree, one must first establish the existence of a monument-building culture in Oceania at the time these structures were above water.
There could have been cultural influence. But no cultural significance of either is diminished if that turns out to be untrue to the best of our knowledge. It makes a lot more sense that these cultures (if we can even postulate an early Oceanic stone-carving culture) did NOT have any direct contact with each other, or if they did, it was sporadically over millennia. Some people just have it in them to explore their space. No reason to assume this wasn’t as true 100K ybp as it is now.
How long does modern archeological consensus put the time between neolithic civilization and the rise of Sumeria? 10,000? 20,000 years? If so, and if modern estimates of the existence of people genetically identical (reproductively viable) with us at 150,000-190,000 years ago, then that cycle has had enough time to repeat several iterations over.
Core samples put the last glacial maximum around 20,000 years ago. If there were any civilizations around this period, they would likely be based on coastal communities. We also know that the peoples inhabiting the island groups of the South Pacific to South Asia had advanced sea-fairing capabilities, and as genetic evidence clearly demonstrates, these groups had reciprocal influence over vast geographical regions.
Let us find common ground in the notion that we still know very little about ourselves before Sumeria, and that our modern brains and tendencies differ very little if at all from the people who gave rise to us some 180,000 years ago.