I ran out of time today to write anything in terribly great depth, and I know that relatively few people tend to read my blog on summer Fridays anyway. Besides, Ancient Aliens is on tonight, and I need to save my ire for what promises to be an especially stupid claim: that human bodies are actually vessels for interdimensional intelligences. So today I will point to a new article by Richard Thornton, the longtime advocate of the claim that the Maya colonized Georgia. In his new article, he alleges that Native American petroglyphs, Mayan hieroglyphs, and Bronze Age European petroglyphs from Scandinavia are all the same, and that they represent a consistent pattern of symbols related to the sun, high kingship, and sunflowers
The nut of the argument is as follows:
As will be explained later in this article, three of the most important religious symbols of the Bronze Age Scandinavians, Celtic Age Europeans, plus the Uchee and Creek Peoples of the Southeastern United States appear to have originated in North America around 3500 BC or earlier. Only much later were they become incorporated into the Maya writing system. The earliest known Maya inscriptions date from the Third Century, BC.
Those symbols are (a) a circle inscribed with crossed lines, (b) the outline of a human foot, and (c) a stylized flower.
The trouble with this claim is that the specific symbols he cites only seem to be the same if you assume that they are the same. In reality, they fall into two categories: (a) simple geometric shapes that recur across cultures because they are simple and obvious, and (b) roughly similar pictures that don’t really look anything alike and instead seem to be independent representations of shapes found in nature. Thornton, of course, has an answer for this, at least when it comes to the symbol of the cross: “the cross symbol is generally ignored by European anthropologists, perhaps because they think that it is such a universal symbol for ‘something’ that is is (sic) not worthy of study.” Crossed lines are just about the simplest shape one can make, but who’s keeping score?
The sunflower is found only in North America, so Thornton argues that the appearance of a sunflower symbol in Scandinavia proves that North Americans traveled to Europe during the European Bronze Age. The symbol, though, could be any flower, or maybe something else entirely. It is a dotted circle surrounded by rays atop a vertical line. It contains no elements distinctive to a sunflower that would not, say, be found in a daisy.
It’s all a case of “looks like, therefore is,” and a few geometric figures are hardly enough upon which to hang a vast revision of history with North Americans colonizing prehistoric Europe. The only really interesting part of the argument is Thornton’s reversal of typical racist Eurocentric arguments to make Native Americans the colonizers. For example, Eugène Beauvois saw the appearance of cross symbols on both sides of the Atlantis as evidence of Irish and Templar colonization of Mexico.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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