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Registration and dating of the possible archaeological evidence from Mesoamerica, relative of Pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic voyages / Registro y fechamiento de las posibles evidencias arqueolόgicas de Mesoamerica, relativas a contactos transatlánticos precolombinos





          This project was carried out from 1995 to 1998, and co-directed by Santiago Genovés T. and Romeo H. Hristov. The research was funded principally from the Comite Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología de México (CONACyT), with additional support from the Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas-UNAM, Mexico, the FS Archaometrie in Heidelberg, Germany, Mr. Lloyd Cotsen/Lloyd Cotsen Trust in Santa Monica, CA, the F.A.R.M.S. /Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA). The referred research had three main goals:


          1) Re-examination of the circumstances and the context in which some Old World objects were discovered in Mexico and Central America, and to determinate their reliability as evidence of Pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic contacts. During the study about a dozen of finds were re-examined, most of which turned out to be either inconclusive or had incorrect chronology and/or identification as an Old World artifacts. Notwithstanding, an apparent Roman terra-cotta head found in Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca, Mexico, seems to be a reasonable reliable evidence of Pre-Columbian (and Pre -Viking) Trans-Atlantic voyage, probably somewhere between the II-IV centuries. Recently this find was discussed in about 3 dozen scholar and popular science journals in 11 languages (among them are New Scientist, Spektrum der Wissenschaft/Scientific American, and Sciences et Avenir), in many of the leading newspapers in the world, as well as several Radio/TV programs in Europe, USA and Canada (including the Discovery Channel's Science News Program).


          2) Elaboration of an extensive photographic file of the representations of personages with apparently "Caucasoid" or "Negroid" features in the Mesoamerican art, with brief descriptive cards of each artifact concerning its provenance, chronology, and current location. Nowadays most of the anthropologists agree that individuals with "Caucasoid" and "Negroid" racial characteristics had existed within the Mesoamerican populations, but consider their presence as a result of genetic drifts and/or environmental influences. However several art historians (Muguel Covarrubias), archaeologists (Ignacio Bernal), and physical anthropologists (Andrzej Wiercinski), among others, have also argued for a possible relation of some of the mentioned effigies with Pre-Columbian Transoceanic contacts.


          The interpretative difficulties and the restricted number of examples do not permit definitive conclusions to be drafted regarding the data. Notwithstanding, at least in the cases when the "Negroid' or "Caucasoid" personages also are wearing clothing, adornments and/or headdress, that are similar with those used from the ancient Mediterranean people (see Figures 1 and 2), the benefits of the doubt goes to Pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic voyages.


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Figure 1. Stella from Tepatlaxco, Mexico, with bass-relief of two male personages with

strong resemblance in the ancient Egyptian art. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

(Photo copyright Romeo H. Hristov, 1995)



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Figure 2. Terra-cotta mask from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, with effigy of "Negroid'

male personage. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

(Photo copyright Romeo H. Hristov, 1995)



          Presently one hundred ninety-six Mesoamerican artifacts with representations of personages with apparent "Caucasoid" and "Negroid" racial characteristics have been registered. We hope that in the near future the mentioned data will permit more objective and better founded evaluation of their implications in the discussion of the Pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic contacts.


          3) Preparation of a book in which will be discussed the different data (historic, archaeological, linguistic, and paleobotanical) that suggests the existence of pre-Columbian Trans-Atlantic contacts between the Mediterranean and the Mesoamerican civilizations, with the arguments in favor and against. At the present, Romeo H. Hristov and Santiago Genovés T. currently are working on the mentioned book.