The Mayans have been in the news a lot over the past couple of years, particularly due to their (supposed) prediction that the world will end in December of this year. This has been so thoroughly debunked that I hardly need mention it here.
The cycle that begins in 2032 and ends in 2052, named Katun 13 Ahau, is the last of the thirteen katuns in the current 256-year cycle which began in 1796. According to Bruce Scofield in his book Signs of Time: An Introduction to Mesoamerican Astrology, the prophecy recorded in the Mayan books known as the Chilam Balam for Katun 13 Ahau is as follows:
This is a time of total collapse where everything is lost. It is the time of the judgement of God. There will be epidemics and plagues and then famine. Governments will be lost to foreigners and wise men, and prophets will be lost.
If we miss a financial or other man-made catastrophe, there are always the extraterrestrial concerns.
In 2004 NASA reported that the asteroid 99942 Apophis was discovered to be on a collision course with Earth. It was originally calculated to impact Earth in 2029 but later calculations disproved that timeline. But these new calculations projected the asteroid would strike on April 13, 2036.
Of course, a good theorist never lets facts interfere with their predictions, according to NASA:
While trajectory knowledge was substantially corrected by the Arecibo data, a small estimated chance of impact (less than 1 in 45,000 using standard dynamical models) remained for April 13, 2036.
The predictions above, along with the concept that Mayans were mining gold in Georgia , are the brainchildren of Gary Daniels, the creator of the Lost Worlds and several other websites, all a mixture of real and pseudo-archaeology.
The concept of Mayans in Georgia appears to have come from architect, self styled historian, and self-published author Richard Thornton, who has decided that a lost city of the Mayans has been discovered in the mountains of the state of Georgia at the Track Gap Gap Archaeological Area on Brasstown Bald, the highest peak in the state of Georgia and the site of a large man-made mound.
In 1999 archaeologist Mark Williams of the University of Georgia and Director of the LAMAR Institute, led an archaeological survey of the Kenimer Mound, which is on the southeast side of Brasstown Bald in the Nacoochee Valley. Residents in the nearby village of Sautee generally assume that the massive five-sided pyramidal mound is a large wooded hill. Williams found that the mound had been partially sculpted out of an existing hill then sculpted into a final form with clay. He estimated the construction date to be no later than 900 AD. Williams was unable to determine who built the mound.
Thornton bases most of his theory on linguistic evidence without referencing any actual linguistic experts, merely using his own observations.
The name of Brasstown Bald Mountain is itself, strong evidence of a Maya presence. A Cherokee village near the mountain was named Itsa-ye, when Protestant missionaries arrived in the 1820s. The missionaries mistranslated “Itsaye” to mean “brass.” They added “town” and soon the village was known as Brasstown. Itsa-ye, when translated into English, means “Place of the Itza (Maya).”
In 2000, a respected archaeologist, Johannes Loubser, was hired to examine the area. Loubster
has been conducting CRM archaeology and rock art work in the United States of America. His archaeological work in the southeastern United States, primarily as a Principal Investigator with New South Associates, Inc., included a variety of Phase I surveys, Phase II test excavations, and Phase III data recoveries in Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Alabama, specializing in the Woodland and Mississippian periods.
He has authored or co-authored 83 articles and book chapters in journals such as Cambridge Archaeological Journal, South African Journal of Science, The South African Archaeological Bulletin, Southern African Humanities, Time & Mind, American Anthropologist, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, and Early Georgia. He is
co-chair of Society for American Archaeology Rock Art Interest Group, former Committee Member of Society for American Archaeology Excellence in Analysis Award, and former Vice-President of Georgia Council of Professional Archaeologists. Special awards bestowed on Loubser include the Honorary Title of Distinguished Visitor from the town of Sucre in Bolivia and Merit Award for Archaeology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Loubser is on the editorial team of Time & Mind.
A pdf copy of his paper on the site can be found here. Noticeable by its absence is any mention of the Mayans.
According to the Atlanta Journal,
Loubser, in his report, did not say who he thought erected the structures, although he figured the Cherokees or an earlier tribe were likely candidates. The two areas excavated, according to soil testing, were built somewhere between the years 800 and 1100. Loubser stopped excavation at the rock pile because there was evidence it was a grave.
Some piles could be burial sites of fallen warriors, he said. Also, he notes the area contains springs and a natural underground “vent” that releases warm air in the winter. The report said Indians referred to these “portals to the underworld” and the structures could be ceremonial.
The other archaeologist who has been involved in the site, Dr. Mark Williams Sr., Academic Professional Director, Georgia Archaeological Site Files Director, Laboratory of Archaeology expressed his opinion. Again quoting the Atlanta paper
“This is total and complete bunk,” Williams wrote on Facebook. “There is no evidence of Maya in Georgia. Move along now.
With cool aplomb, Thornton dismisses the men who actually worked at the site:
Williams is a highly respected specialist in Southeastern archaeology so there was a Maya connection that he did not know about.
An appeal to authority is not necessarily the best argument, but ignoring and dismissing two accepted authorities out of hand is undoubtedly worse.
Thornton also claims that most Georgians have Mayan DNA, another claim to which he attaches no reference. This is not totally unreasonable, however, as rather than mysteriously disappearing as he claims, the descendants of the Mayans are still living in Mexico and Central America.
To say that the Maya civilization disappeared is not only an inaccuracy, but a great disservice to more than 6 million Maya living today in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize. While the city-states of the Classic period lowlands may have been abandoned in the tenth century, the Maya people did not disappear any more than the Italians when the Roman Empire fell.
It is unlikely that even if true, it could be verified as DNA testing has not developed to that level of detail, and certainly in the past 1100 years there has been considerable movement of peoples worldwide.
I’ll give the final word to Williams as quoted in Art Info
“The Maya connection to legitimate Georgia archaeology is a wild and unsubstantiated guess on the part of the Thornton fellow. No archaeologists will defend this flight of fancy.”