Saturday, February 21, 2015

A Baseline and X,Y Axis for An Ancient Native North America Land Survey with a Portrait of an Astronomical Land Surveyor as an Ollama Game Player on Tlachtli

The Great Mound, Petroglyph and Painted Rock Art Journey of Native America has a human side that we bring into focus in this posting by introducing a figure we found through Google Earth etched into the ground near El Pico de Burgos in Burgos Municipality, Tamaulipas, Mexico. See the image below.

Tamaulipas plays an important role in our survey hypotheses and we were thus pleased to read Richard Thornton in Tamaulipas, portal between two worlds, at, who writes, inter alia:
"Tamaulipas may be the “Garden of Eden” from which sprang several tribes in the Southeastern USA. Surviving place names and indigenous words from Tamaulipas can be found in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, western North Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma and SW Virginia. Nevertheless, a 300 mile (480 km) wide belt of primitive hunter-gatherer tribes always separated Tamaulipas from North American agricultural societies. The Mayas in Yucatan were much closer to indigenous peoples in Cuba and southern Florida, who farmed and built permanent architecture."
The "Ollama Surveyor de Burgos"
Burgos Municipality, Tamaulipas, Mexico
 24°52'23.18"N  98°47'16.67"W

Compare that with a "modern" ball player, e.g. in "how to hold a football".

For reasons discussed in later postings, our initial hypothetical land surveying "baseline" for reconstruction of a hypothesized ancient land survey of Native North America by astronomy ran from the petroglyphs at Las Labradas, Sinaloa, Mexico (north of Mazatlán and south of Culiacán, capital city of Sinaloa), to the Miami Circle at Brickell Point Site, Miami, Florida. The "Balanced Rock" of Baja California Sur in Mexico could be added to that line since it fits fairly well (see our previous posting), although we do not know the age of that site. Here is our hypothetical and provisional land survey baseline:

We clipped the Google Earth image intentionally giving proper credit to
the various sources, without whom such great maps would be impossible,
 but of course we have added the points, labels and lines,
which do not belong to the original Google Earth map.
The survey line from the Baja to Florida peninsulas is "a natural".

That baseline virtually passes over Burgos Municipality (Posting 14), although to our knowledge the GPS location of the Burgos cave painting we deciphered previously has not been divulged to the public, other than the general area. 

In drawing that initial provisional survey baseline, we took Las Labradas to represent the Tropic of Cancer, the Summer Solstice and Canis Major, which to us was a logical star group choice that followed from the relative placement of Orion (and a piece of Taurus) at Burgos Municipality in Tamaulipas, Mexico. To that baseline we added a vertical surveying line, revealed shortly, so that we have a perpendicular grid with an X axis and a Y axis as a working model -- which does not necessarily have to accord with what the ancients actually did -- and we may be wrong in some of our assumptions, but it makes for a useful structure, through which we have found other, very important survey sites along the resulting lines and triangulations.

A natural geographic landmark that perhaps once played a role in the specific selection of Burgos as a survey point is a unique single flatland peak called El Pico de Burgos, with a GPS of 24° 55' 44.64"N 98° 47' 41.42"W.

In the Google Earth search box, enter 24°55'44.64"N 98°47'41.42"W.
See a photo of El Pico de Burgos at Panoramio by JavierGarciaGovea.

Near El Pico de Burgos we discovered a figure etched on the ground -- about 6.22 km viz. 3.87 miles nearly due south at 24° 52' 23.18" N  98° 47' 16.67" W. In Google Earth search, enter 24°52'23.18"N  98°47'16.67"W. Do you see the figure? Look at our image above.

Like an Ollama game player, the figure etched into the earth near Burgos is holding a geographic hill in the geography as the game ball in its position in the ball court, i.e. the heavenly field (the Tlachtli, also called pok-ta-pok).

The Tlachtli entry at the Encyclopaedia Britannica writes significantly: "The ball court, shaped like a capital I with serifs and oriented north–south or east–west, represented the heavens."

Let me repeat that so people do not miss it.
The field of the game "represented the heavens".

Ollama itself is an ancient Meso-American ballgame (also written as ulama) and called Ōllamaliztli in Aztec (Nahuatl). In Classic Maya language the game's name is Pitz and play action is Ti Pitziil, whereas in the highlands it is called Chaaj and the play of the game K'ich'é. See Authentic Maya for a detailed presentation and Scott A.J. Johnson, Translating Maya Hieroglyphs, University of Oklahoma Press, 2013, for academic hieroglyphic translations.

There is a stela from El Baúl (Finca El Baúl near Santa Lucía Cotzumalguapa, Escuintla, Guatemala), photographed by Simon Burchell and currently used at the Wikipedia article on Mesoamerican ballgame, which shows a game player with "sportswear" that also ends at the knees, similar to the above image. Take a look. This is important since most depictions show the Ōllamaliztli game players in loincloths or similar and so we found the sportswear unusual.

Only within the context of the game "Ollama", can we understand that the Burgos figure is holding a ball as he is. In our astronomical survey analysis, the large circles mark stars of Orion's Belt, so that the game ball can only mark Omega Orionis, the central star of the upper "field" of Orion, which otherwise has no particular importance, except that the star Omega Orionis marks the position of the Celestial Equator ca. 200 B.C. 

We have created the graphic image illustration above to show what is of course a speculative drawing based on what we see at Google Earth, and which anyone can check. Some people may not see the figure that we see. It "could be" as we show it, but it alone it is not yet probative evidence for our astronomical observations. More will have to come. The left of the three stars is only partially still seen on the ground, although some "rounded" edges are clearly visible. Also the "triangulation apparatus" of T-Square viz. ruler-like straight edges is quite speculative, and perhaps I should remove that part of the image, since these straight lines may just be cultivated fields with no further meaning. Surveyors might have had equipment like this in a bag so we thought we would add that wrinkle, though it is not important to the basic survey issue at hand.

What particularly disturbed us initially, however, were that the standing figure's feet point upward from ankle to toe. Why would they be drawn like that? Most reliefs draw especially the feet quite flat.

We saw some lines around the figure which we originally interpreted as perhaps being remnants of a long garment or cloak, but after drawing the visible or presumed remnants of those lines and shading the inner surface of the areas enclosed by them, it became quite clear why the feet are pointed up. The figure appears to be shown standing on a rocky ledge, as a land surveying pathfinder.

What made us think that a land survey "baseline" of any kind -- the X axis here -- existed at all? We explain that in next postings when we talk about the "pendant" stone to the Judaculla Rock, thus also revealing the vertical Y axis of our provisional land survey, whose top point is in Canada.

But first, we are going to go back to Hiawatha and Hiawassee as Orion in the American southeast, which area had its own smaller presumably Cherokee land survey, especially in North Carolina and Georgia, and will now decipher the famed mound sites of Etowah and Ocmulgee in Georgia using the knowledge we have gained in our past postings about how sites in the (now) American southwest also marked Solstice lines, viz. solstitial colures.

THIS POSTING IS Posting Number 17 of
The Great Mound, Petroglyph and Painted Rock Art Journey of Native America

A Baseline and X,Y Axis for An Ancient Native North America Land Survey with a Portrait of an Astronomical Land Surveyor as an Ollama Game Player on Tlachtli

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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