Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Discussions unearthing human history including cultural anthropology, linguistics, etc.

Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby linford86 on December 3rd, 2009, 2:07 am 

I have to confess that I know next to nothing about archaeology and even less about anthropology. But I saw a few documentaries recently about Amazonian tribes. I also understand that there are various sites in Mexico and South America, for example, where there are ancient stone ruins (sites like Tenochitlan, Machu Pichu, or Chichen Itza.) I was wondering if there were any indigenous peoples that had cultural memories of some kind of the civilizations that constructed those structures? If there are South American tribes around Chichen Itza, for example, what do they believe about Chichen Itza?
linford86
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Forest_Dump on December 3rd, 2009, 7:58 am 

Truth be told, I am not 100% sure whether there are remnant indigenous tribes around Mache Pichu but there are definitely still Mayans and they know those ruins are theirs just as much as modern Romans know which is theirs or Turks know about Troy, etc. Of course, in some places, people who lay claim to the ruins may not have any real genetic connection to who was there or they may have some wacky ideas about the past (Stonehenge comes to mind as an example here). In other words, pretty much the same everywhere.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8719
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Lincoln on December 3rd, 2009, 10:28 am 

Perhaps linford meant culturally-isolated-indigenous peoples? (i.e. ones that don't have access to modern history books?)
User avatar
Lincoln
Resident Expert
 
Posts: 10729
Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Location: Deep in a lab...


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Forest_Dump on December 3rd, 2009, 10:58 am 

There are not many of those left in the world. If any. Not in areas where there are big monumental ruins that I know of anyway.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8719
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby linford86 on December 3rd, 2009, 1:34 pm 

Lincoln wrote:Perhaps linford meant culturally-isolated-indigenous peoples? (i.e. ones that don't have access to modern history books?)


Yeah, this is what I meant.

Forest_Dump wrote:There are not many of those left in the world. If any. Not in areas where there are big monumental ruins that I know of anyway.


Hmpf. Well, that's disappointing.

I know that there are culturally isolated groups left in the Amazon and in New Guinea (at least, this is what National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Daniel Everett, and Wade Davis. I don't know any of those people personally, but I have watched their videos on youtube and on Ted. So that totally makes me an expert :). ) But I guess those groups are pretty far away from big monumental ruins, like you said.

Incidentally, there was a documentary on Nat Geo called "Lost Cities of the Amazon" which detailed how a lost Amazonian "civilization" resulted in several Amazonian tribes. I don't know how accurate the documentary is, but if you want to watch it, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeiFzI2vjIg
linford86
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Lincoln on December 3rd, 2009, 1:49 pm 

I wonder if there are any historical examples. For instance, maybe Moslem Egyptians "forgot" that they built the pyramids? Or maybe pre-Anglo-Saxon invasion of England and Stonehenge? Or pre-colonization natives and some of the Angkor temples (not Angkor Wat) in Cambodia?

It's probably as good as you're gonna get.
User avatar
Lincoln
Resident Expert
 
Posts: 10729
Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Location: Deep in a lab...


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby linford86 on December 3rd, 2009, 3:08 pm 

For some reason, I'm not getting e-mailed updates about the forum. Gar.
linford86
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Lincoln on December 3rd, 2009, 3:33 pm 

Check the technical discussions.
User avatar
Lincoln
Resident Expert
 
Posts: 10729
Joined: 29 Dec 2005
Location: Deep in a lab...


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Forest_Dump on December 3rd, 2009, 3:35 pm 

I do think there are some relatively isolated groups in New Guniea and perhaps the Amazon but I know there will be those who would argue against me here. But not much in the way of monumental architecture in those places. In fact a good part of the reason why the archaeology is so poorly known from eastern South America is precisely because there were no big ruins to attract exploration. But there is a slowly emerging archaeological record and yes most of it is as "forgotten" as a lot of pre-Roman European archaeology is (well, except the megalithic stuff). I can say that where ruins are evident, people do tend to encorporate some knowledge about these ruins into their own myths. Again, parallels could be drawn to Stonehenge where we do have historical documents describing that as a site where, for example, fairies managed to float the stones across the landscape to build it. Modern examples can, in fact, include many modern First Nations folks knowing about much older ruins and having current beliefs about them but not very accurate ones. Very common, in fact. (When it comes to many FN folks, for example, while I do respect them in many ways, when you get down to it their reconstructions of the past are what you would expect from creationists which is what many traditionalists are although based on very different religions.)
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8719
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby linford86 on December 3rd, 2009, 10:08 pm 

What I gather to be the case is that there are no isolated groups with cultural memories of the good ol' days when great-great-great-great-great grandpa built the pyramids. However, there are groups who are, in some sense "modern" who have a psuedo-historical mythology about the structures their ancestors made (just as orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians have developed a psuedo-history.) I have also gathered that there are also cultures that arose in areas near monumental structures who have myths about those structures.

I'm curious about the statements you made concerning archaeology in the Amazon. I understand that there are several indigenous groups that still reside there. Is there any way that archaeologists have incorporated information about or from these indigenous groups into their studies of more ancient times? Or is there really no way to connect these modern groups to the more ancient ones?
linford86
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Forest_Dump on December 4th, 2009, 7:30 am 

There are certainly many indigenous groups in the Amazon as elsewhere and some do live somewhat past peoples. And there are certainly lots of archaeological sites that are beginning to be explored. But in those places, there are no examples of monumental architecture and the sites are actually less well preserved, relatively, because of the conditions. Of course many people also have memories and stories about the past (oral traditions) and sometimes these do have truth and value but it needs to be checked against the archaeological record. The Bible and the works of Homer do contain truths that can be checked. There was a Troy, it seems (maybe), and, if so, it was sacked. But that does not necessarily mean those gods existed and did what Homer said they did.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8719
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby linford86 on December 4th, 2009, 11:32 am 

I see. Well, thanks for the rudimentary anthropology lesson. Maybe I'll sit in on some anthro classes next semester.
linford86
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Total Science on December 4th, 2009, 11:48 pm 

linford86 wrote:I have to confess that I know next to nothing about archaeology and even less about anthropology.

That means you know more than 99% of the professionals in the field.

But I saw a few documentaries recently about Amazonian tribes. I also understand that there are various sites in Mexico and South America, for example, where there are ancient stone ruins (sites like Tenochitlan, Machu Pichu, or Chichen Itza.) I was wondering if there were any indigenous peoples that had cultural memories of some kind of the civilizations that constructed those structures?

Unfortunately, most of the literature was burned by conquistadors and therefore the memories are forever lost.

"In 1549, a young overzealous monk, Diego De Landa, discovered a large library of Mayan codices in Mexico. 'We burned them all because they contained nothing except superstition and machinations of the devil,' he wrote. ... When De Landa had become older and received the title of bishop, he realized what a barbarian crime he had committed. He made a search for Mayan scripts but without success." -- Andrew Tomas, author, 1971

However, fortunately, there are some conflicting accounts that survived.

For example, we are told that perhaps Viracocha founded Tiahuanaco.

"In the life of Manco Capac, who was the first Inca, and from whom they began to boast themselves children of the Sun and from whom they derived their idolatrous worship of the Sun, they had an ample account of the deluge. They say that in it perished all races of men and created things insomuch that the waters rose above the highest mountain peaks in the world. No living thing survived except a man and a woman who remained in a box and, when the waters subsided, the wind carried them ... to Tiahuanaco [where] the creator began to raise up the people and the nations that are in that region." -- Cristóbal de Molina, priest, 1572

"They [the Inca] make great mention of a deluge, which happened in their country ... The Indians say that all men were drowned in the deluge, and they report that out of Lake Titicaca came one Viracocha, who stayed in Tiahuanaco, where at this day there are to be seen ruins of ancient and very strange buildings, and from thence came to Cuzco, and so began to multiply." -- José de Acosta, priest, 1590

Although others proclaim ignorance.

"... the natives say ... they do not know who made it [Tiahuanaco]." -- Garcilaso de la Vega, historian, 1609

If there are South American tribes around Chichen Itza, for example, what do they believe about Chichen Itza?

Chichen Itza was constructed by the Maya.

The Mexicans say they came from an island continent known as Aztlan.

Aztlan corresponds to the Platonic Altantis or modern day Antarctica.
Total Science
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Forest_Dump on December 5th, 2009, 7:01 am 

Total Science wrote:The Mexicans say they came from an island continent known as Aztlan.

Aztlan corresponds to the Platonic Altantis or modern day Antarctica.


As I said, many of them have origin myths that are as silly as ours. There was never any real reason to believe in Atlantis - it was a fictional device. And there is no evidence anyone lived on Antarctica prehistorically.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8719
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Total Science on December 5th, 2009, 12:41 pm 

Forest_Dump wrote:
Total Science wrote:The Mexicans say they came from an island continent known as Aztlan.

Aztlan corresponds to the Platonic Altantis or modern day Antarctica.


As I said, many of them have origin myths that are as silly as ours. There was never any real reason to believe in Atlantis - it was a fictional device.

The ancients thought so too.

So unlike our contemporaries who claim to have perfect knowledge of prehistory, they actually went to ancient Egypt to look at the evidence to determine true or not true.

The evidence confirmed that Atlantis is unadorned history.

"As for the whole of this account of the Atlanteans, some say that it is unadorned history, such as Crantor, the first commentator on Plato. ... He [Crantor] adds, that this is testified by the prophets of the Egyptians, who assert that these particulars are written on pillars which are still preserved." -- Proklos, philosopher, 5th century

And there is no evidence anyone lived on Antarctica prehistorically.

Just because you don't have any evidence does not mean that evidence does not exist.

What evidence do you have that suggests that the ancient Greeks and the ancient Mexicans were consipiring with one another in order to trick us to believe in Antarctica?
Total Science
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Forest_Dump on January 30th, 2010, 7:27 am 

I was finally able to spend some time doing non-teaching reading (or at least review) and came upon a paper from the 2009 Annual Review of Anthropology (Volume 38): M. Heckenberger and E. G. Neves "Amazonian Archaeology". Its a review of course but a current one.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8719
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby linford86 on January 30th, 2010, 11:11 pm 

Forest_Dump wrote:I was finally able to spend some time doing non-teaching reading (or at least review) and came upon a paper from the 2009 Annual Review of Anthropology (Volume 38): M. Heckenberger and E. G. Neves "Amazonian Archaeology". Its a review of course but a current one.


Awesome. I'll have to check that out later. I like Heckenberger's work.
linford86
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby dragslaye on February 1st, 2010, 1:29 pm 

I am south American myself(Colombia), so about the pre colombine culture, even tho as you guys mentioned, there are no many architectural sites, he same is no true about the artisan work they left behind. Both Muiscas, Chibchas and carribeans left behind a lot of artisan work(specially their gold and emerald pieces), also some of the folklore still told in schools as part of the history curriculum

You actually can still buy some of the food they used to eat, just don't ask how is made, I can assure you you will regretted
User avatar
dragslaye
Member
 
Posts: 424
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Location: Toronto


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby linford86 on February 1st, 2010, 2:29 pm 

Thanks for the insights, dragonslaye!
linford86
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Tomyhoi on July 11th, 2010, 3:47 am 

Forest_Dump wrote:Truth be told, I am not 100% sure whether there are remnant indigenous tribes around Mache Pichu but there are definitely still Mayans and they know those ruins are theirs just as much as modern Romans know which is theirs or Turks know about Troy, etc. Of course, in some places, people who lay claim to the ruins may not have any real genetic connection to who was there or they may have some wacky ideas about the past (Stonehenge comes to mind as an example here). In other words, pretty much the same everywhere.


I thought the Incas built Mache Pichu.
Tomyhoi
 


Re: Indigenous Peoples and Ancient Ruins

Postby Forest_Dump on July 11th, 2010, 5:49 am 

Yes that is true. I was just using the Mayans for illustration, same as the Romans. I have since read a bit more on the topic and the local Incan descendants are up to speed on it.
User avatar
Forest_Dump
Resident Member
 
Posts: 8719
Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Location: Great Lakes Region



Return to Archaeology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest