Category Archives: NORTH AMERICA

Forbidden History: Back In 1969, Construction Workers Found A 200,000-Year-Old Structure In Oklahoma

Forbidden History: Back In 1969, Construction Workers Found A 200,000-Year-Old Structure In Oklahoma

In 1969, construction workers in Oklahoma stumbled across a structure that according to many authors could rewrite history. The team of workers discovered the remains of a 200,000-year-old structure. Newspaper The Oklahoman covered the story in 1969, creating a heated debate among experts.

Could Oklahoma’s “Ancient Mosaic Floor”—containing mystery post holes—rewrite the history of not only North America but the entire planet as well?

According to a newspaper report published in 1969, the structure found by construction workers in Oklahoma dates back around 200,000 years. In nearly all corners of the world have researchers and archaeologists stumbled across things they can hardly explain. One such discovery was made in Oklahoma in 1969, when an archaeologist stumbled across what is described as a ‘massive mosaic floor, with strange post holes’.

Soon questions started popping out, and scientists kick-started a great debate. How old was the alleged floor? Is it man-made, or a natural formation?

Many questions appeared that scientists were not able to answer, some even speculated that the enigmatic floor dated back a staggering 200,000 years. Many were convinced that the tile floor was a result of man and not mother nature, but if it was in fact so old, who could have created it? And what if the enigmatic floor is the only remnant of a much greater structure?

But let’s go through the details by step.

Obviously, the wildest thing about the discovery is the age of the structure. How on Earth did they conclude it was 200,000 years old?

The first mentions of the enigmatic discovery can be traced back to The Oklahoman— the largest daily newspaper in Oklahoma and is the only regional daily that covers the Greater Oklahoma City area.

Forbidden History: Back In 1969, Construction Workers Found A 200,000-Year-Old Structure In Oklahoma

In June of 1969, The Oklahoman wrote:

“On June 27, 1969, workmen cutting into a rock shelf situated on the Broadway Extension of 122nd Street, between Edmond and Oklahoma City, came upon a find that was to create much controversy among the experts.“

“To the layman, the site looked like an inlaid mosaic floor. It apparently looked very much like someone’s floor to some of the experts, as well.”

“‘I am sure this was man-made because the stones are placed in perfect sets of parallel lines which intersect to form a diamond shape, all pointing to the east,’ said Durwood Pate, an Oklahoma City geologist who studied the site.”

“We found post holes which measure a perfect two rods from the other two.

“The top of the stone is very smooth, and if you lift one of them, you will find it is very jagged, which indicates wear on the surface. Everything is too well-placed to be a natural formation.’”

“Dr. Robert Bell, an archaeologist from the University of Oklahoma, expressed his opinion that the find was a natural formation.

“Dr. Bell said that he could see no evidence of any mortaring substance. But Pate, on the other hand, was able to distinguish some kind of mud between each stone.”

“Delbert Smith, a geologist, president of the Oklahoma Seismograph Company, said the formation, which was discovered about three feet (0.9 meters) beneath the surface, appeared to cover several thousand square feet.”

“The Tulsa World quoted Smith as saying: ‘There is no question about it. It has been laid there, but I have no idea by whom.’”

According to the newspaper, Delbert Smith, president of the Oklahoma Seismograph Co. and past president of the Oklahoma City Geophysical Society, and Durwood Pate, independent petroleum geologist, traveled to the site to study the area and take samples.

“I am satisfied that it is not a natural earth formation and that it is manmade,” Smith later said.

Here are three clippings from The Lawton [Oklahoma] Constitution from the summer of 1969 (6/29/69, p. 4A; 7/8/69, p. 18; 7/10/69, p. 5A) that describe the then-differences of opinion about the nature of this (geological) discovery.

Delbert Smith, a geologist, and president of the Oklahoma Seismograph Company, summed up the mystery concerning the tile floor in the Tulsa World of June 29, 1969:

“There is no question about it. It had been laid there, but I have no idea by whom.” Yet another facet of the mystery involved the question of age. There are some differing opinions as to the geology involved, but the best estimate places the tiles at 200,000 years old.”

On July 1, 1969, The Oklahoman again reported about “the discovery of a second hole through the rock strata. Measurements revealed the two holes to be exactly 16 1/2 feet apart or precisely one rod. According to Pate, the rock is Permian limestone laced with quartz grains.”

On July 3, The Oklahoman continued its coverage and “reported archaeologists discovered an ancient stone hammer at the site.”

“The mystery of a dolomitic limestone formation unearthed between Oklahoma City and Edmond was compounded Wednesday by the discovery of an object on the site which resembles a stone hammer.

Geologists who have focused their attention on the unusual formation…. were at a loss to explain the origin of either the formation or the artifact.

John M. Ware, an Oklahoma City geologist, said, ‘it simply can’t be explained within the field of geology – we need an archaeologist to give a final opinion.’

However, its age and origin may remain a mystery unless an archaeologist can be persuaded to take on the project soon. Within 20 days, construction workers will continue their job of digging out the area to begin building a foodstuffs warehouse….

Another intriguing point about the rock is that it contains marine deposits, indicating that it was laid down in the ocean…. Pate said that the formation, 100 feet by 60 feet in area, is rapidly becoming a tourist attraction.

‘People are flocking there and taking pieces of the rock away,’ he said. ‘We need to preserve it until something can be done about determining its origin.”

It seems that a couple of old newspaper lines managed to create a massive hype about a discovery that would have been treated totally differently, had no one mentioned the age of 200,000 years.

However, there are a couple of curious things that have been found in Oklahoma. One of them was discovered in 1912 in a mine in Wilburton, Oklahoma, by Frank J. Kennard; an Iron cup embedded inside a piece of coal that is 300 million years old.

Kennard, who was in 1948 a Benton Co-worker, said:

“While I was working in the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, Oklahoma in 1912, I came upon a solid chunk of coal which was too large to use. I broke it with a sledgehammer.

“This iron pot fell from the centre leaving the impression mould of the pot in the piece of coal. Jim Stall (an employee of the company) witnessed the breaking of the coal and saw the pot fall out. I traced the source of the coal, and found that it came from the Wilburton, Oklahoma, Mines.”

The coal that originated from the mines of Wilburton, Oklahoma, is estimated to be around 300 million years old.

More Evidence That Humans Co-Existed With Dinosaurs: The 290-Million-Year-Old Human Footprint

More Evidence That Humans Co-Existed With Dinosaurs: The 290-Million-Year-Old Human Footprint

The rock — which belongs to the Permian Period 299 to 251 million years ago — was discovered in New Mexico and featured a human footprint, left behind — apparently — nearly 299 million years ago. But, there weren’t any humans on Earth at that time, were there?

More Evidence That Humans Co-Existed With Dinosaurs: The 290-Million-Year-Old Human Footprint

Many authors would agree with the fact that countless discoveries that have been made in the last couple of decades on Earth suggest history as we have been taught is anything but complete.

Imagine if society finally accepted the fact that our planet has been inhabited by countless ancient civilizations in the past, and that life on Earth — advanced life — has existed for millions of years?

Today, this is only a theory — a wild guess — which seems to be backed up by several ‘controversial’ discoveries.

One of them is the so-called ‘Zapata Print’ or ‘Zapata track’, discovered in New Mexico.

The Zapata track features a HUMAN footprint in Permian limestone, analyzed by palaeontologist Jerry MacDonald who discovered a few kilometres from the Zapata track traces of preserved fossil footprints in Permian strata.

The enigmatic footprint has been researched by Dr. Don Patton who claims that the Permian rock from New Mexico contains a genuine human footprint.

According to Genesispark.com, Dr. Don Patton attempted to cut this print out of the rock, but wore out four carborundum blades trying to make the one cut!

Patton reports having personally seen a photograph of four, virtually identical tracks in an obvious right-left pattern taken about one-quarter mile from the Zapata track.

The controversial part, of course, is the AGE of the rock where the footprint was left — The Permian Period which lasted from 299 to 251 million years ago, at a time way before birds, dinosaurs, and MAN, was supposed to exist.

Curiously, the Permian (along with the Paleozoic) ended with the Permian–Triassic extinction event, the largest mass extinction in Earth’s history. Nearly 90% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial species died out.

Recovery from the Permian-Triassic extinction event was protracted; on land, ecosystems took 30 million years to recover

Anyway, returning to the curious footprint, there are many who favour it and there are others who believe it is not real — because it displays several ‘unnatural features’.

Don Patton with the so-called “Zapata Track”

As noted by author Glen J. Kuban, the controversial footprint shows some features not typical of genuine human prints. The line and position of the toes are somewhat unnatural, and the ball is narrower and round compare to most genuine prints. A few individuals have emphasised that the print shows some mud up-push (a rim of raised relief around the print).

Supposedly this confirms its authenticity.

“The fossil tracks that MacDonald has collected include a number of what palaeontologists like to call ‘problematica.’ On one trackway, for example, a three-toed creature apparently took a few steps, then disappeared–as though it took off and flew.

“‘We don’t know of any three-toed animals in the Permian,’ MacDonald pointed out. ‘And there aren’t supposed to be any birds.’ He’s got several tracks where creatures appear to be walking on their hind legs, others that look almost simian.

“On one pair of siltstone tablets, I notice some unusually large, deep and scary-looking footprints, each with five arched toe marks, like nails. I comment that they look just like bear tracks.

“‘Yeah,’ MacDonald says reluctantly, ‘they sure do.’ Mammals evolved long after the Permian period, scientists agree, yet these tracks are clearly Permian.” (“Petrified Footprints: A Puzzling Parade of Permian Beasts,” The Smithsonian, Vol. 23, July 1992, p.70.) (Source)

In the book “Fossil Facts and Fantasies” by Joe Taylor, the footprint” appears to be a female, barefoot print.”

Taylor states that it was found in 1929, and that “it is said that at that time, one half of a second track was visible at the edge of the ledge bearing both tracks. The edge of this ledge has since fallen off.”

Taylor does not say where he learned these details and does not cite any literature, scientific or popular, regarding it. Author Jeff A. Benner stated that “the Creationist community agree that the print is human in origin and proof that humans existed during the time of the dinosaur.”

Yellow Brick Path Found At Bottom Of Pacific Ocean, Scientists Wonder If It’s “Road To Atlantis”

Yellow Brick Path Found At Bottom Of Pacific Ocean, Scientists Wonder If It’s “Road To Atlantis”

An expedition to a deep-sea ridge, just north of the Hawaiian Islands, has revealed an ancient dried-out lake bed paved with what looks like a yellow brick road.

The eerie scene was chanced upon by the exploration vessel Nautilus, which is currently surveying the Liliʻuokalani ridge within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM).

PMNM is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world, larger than all the national parks in the United States combined, and we’ve only explored about 3 per cent of its seafloor.

Researchers at the Ocean Exploration Trust are pushing the frontiers of this wilderness, which lies more than 3,000 meters below the waves, and the best part is, that anyone can watch the exploration.

All-day every day, researchers provide live footage, and a recently published highlight reel on YouTube captures the moment researchers operating the deep-sea vehicle stumbled upon the road to Oz.

“It’s the road to Atlantis,” a researcher on the radio can be heard exclaiming.

“The yellow brick road?” another voice countered.

“This is bizarre,” added another member of the team.

“Are you kidding me? This is crazy.”

Despite being located under about a thousand meters of the ocean, the lake bed discovered by researchers on the summit of the Nootka seamount looks surprisingly dry. On the radio, the team notes that the ground looks almost like “baked crust” that could be peeled off.

In one tiny section, the volcanic rock has fractured in a way that looks strikingly similar to bricks.

“The unique 90-degree fractures are likely related to heating and cooling stress from multiple eruptions at this baked margin,” reads a caption to the YouTube video.

At first glance, the effect is easily mistaken for a path to a wonderful new world. And in a way, that’s not altogether wrong.

E/V Nautilus is taking us on a journey to parts of our planet we’ve never seen before. Following the brick road is a sign we’re headed in the right direction and could soon learn a whole lot more about Earth’s hidden geology.

You can read more about the 2022 E/V Nautilus expedition here.

Debacle Over 8,000-year-old Human Skull Posted On Facebook

Debacle Over 8,000-year-old Human Skull Posted On Facebook

The two kayakers were enjoying the last glimmers of summer on the Minnesota River last September when they spotted an odd brown chunk along the bank. They paddled toward it and looked closer. It appeared to be a bone, so they called the Renville County Sheriff’s Office.

Two kayakers found part of a skull in the Minnesota River in September. The bone is believed to be about 8,000 years old.

When Sheriff Scott Hable was told of the kayakers’ discovery near the city of Sacred Heart, about 110 miles west of Minneapolis, his mind raced to the first possible explanation: Maybe it was the remains of a missing person from a nearby county?

“I don’t think anybody was anticipating the news to come,” Sheriff Hable said.

The sheriff’s office sent the bone to a medical examiner and then to a forensic anthropologist with the F.B.I., who was not able to pinpoint an identity but did make a startling discovery on Tuesday through carbon dating. The bone was part of a skull and most likely was from a young man who lived as many as 8,000 years ago, between 5500 and 6000 B.C., Sheriff Hable said, citing the anthropologist’s findings.

“We have this sort of bizarre report that it’s ancient,” Sheriff Hable said by phone on Wednesday. The young man had likely traversed through parts of what is now Minnesota during the Archaic period in North America, Sheriff Hable said, when people ate primarily nuts and seeds before the time of subsistence farming, according to a report by the Archaeology Laboratory at Augustana University, in South Dakota.

Kathleen Blue, a professor of anthropology at Minnesota State University, said on Wednesday that the young man would have likely eaten a diet of plants, deer, fish, turtles and freshwater mussels in a small area, rather than following mammals and bison as they migrate for miles.

“There’s probably not that many people at that time wandering around Minnesota 8,000 years ago, because, as I said, the glaciers have only retreated a few thousands of years before that,” Dr. Blue said. “That period, we don’t know much about it.”

Minnesota has three other remains from that time period that have been studied, she said, adding that it is rare for Native American tribes in the state to allow the bones of their ancestors to be examined for archaeological purposes. The F.B.I. anthropologist had examined a depression on the skull and determined that the man had sustained a severe head wound, which Sheriff Hable said was evidence of “blunt force trauma.” It’s unclear if that is how the young man died.

Dr. Blue noted that the edges of the wound appear smooth and rounded on the skull in pictures, indications that it had healed and not been his cause of death.

Debacle Over 8,000-year-old Human Skull Posted On Facebook
The bone’s age was determined by carbon dating.
The human skull has been tested and appears to have suffered blunt force trauma.

“It would have been something he actually survived,” Dr. Blue said. “Bone has an amazing ability to try to sort of fix itself after there’s been a traumatic injury.”

She said the skull might have drifted in the river for thousands of years, or been placed in a burial site close to the water and carried away over time.

On Wednesday, when the Renville County Sheriff’s Office posted a news release about the skull and pictures of it on Facebook, Sheriff Hable said, his office was contacted by various Native American groups in the state, including the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council. They informed the sheriff’s office that publishing photos of the skull was “very offensive to the Native American culture,” he said.

“Because there’s a chance that the bones belong to somebody with Native American heritage, we’re just going to honor their request,” Sheriff Hable said, adding that the post was taken down on Wednesday afternoon.

Dylan Goetsch, a cultural resources specialist with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, said in a statement on Thursday that the sheriff’s office “showed a complete lack of cultural sensitivity by their failure to reference the individual as being Native American, their treatment of the individual as a piece of history and their lack of tribal consultation.”

He added that the council had not been made aware of the discovery until seeing the Facebook post.

“Seeing Native American ancestors being displayed and treated as a piece of history is traumatic for many Native Americans as, for centuries, Native American burials were looted, vandalized and destroyed,” Mr. Goetsch said.

Dr. Blue said the skull was definitely from an ancestor of one of the tribes in the area today.

“The Minnesota Indian Affairs Council and other ones are very protective of any remains,” she said. “Usually there would not be any sort of invasive analysis and photos are not allowed.”

The Private Cemeteries Act in Minnesota states that it is a felony “to willfully disturb a burial ground.” If the sheriff had not sent the skull to the medical examiner’s office — believing that it may have been from a recent murder victim — the skull most likely would never have been analyzed by an anthropologist, Dr. Blue said.

The skull is expected to be returned to Native American tribes in the state, Sheriff Hable said. Environmental circumstances played a role in the skull’s discovery. A severe drought overtook the state last year, with above-normal temperatures depleting rivers and exposing banks that are typically awash, according to a report from Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources.

“In some parts of the state, the drought was as serious as anything experienced in over 40 years,” the report said, “though for most of the state it was the worst drought in 10 to 30 years.”

Global warming increases the likelihood of drought. Climate change can also affect precipitation patterns around the world, making dry areas drier. Sheriff Hable said that parts of the Minnesota River “were exposed that hadn’t been before” because of the drought.

“Of course, in a kayak, they’re right there, and they happened to spot it,” he said of the people who found the skull. The sheriff’s office did not release their names.


Similarly, a drought made worse by climate change in the Southwest had dropped the water levels in Nevada’s Lake Mead, exposing a metal barrel this month that contained the remains of a person killed about four decades ago, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Officials there had said that the water level drop could result in other bodies being found at the lake.

But Sheriff Hable said he didn’t expect more skulls, let alone one from a different millennium, to be unearthed in his area anytime soon.

“This,” he said, “is extremely rare.”

Artefacts Hint at Chinese American Life in Early 20th-Century Oregon

Artefacts Hint at Chinese American Life in Early 20th-Century Oregon

Uncovering the past of historically under-represented communities sometimes means having to do a little digging, through newspapers, archives and even the ground.

Artefacts Hint at Chinese American Life in Early 20th-Century Oregon
The Westfall family lived in the Osburn Hotel in downtown Eugene for a number of years. While they lived there, the hotel boasted a ‘Japanese Tea Room,’ a lavish meeting space filled with Asian art.

A new affordable housing construction project in downtown Eugene tapped archaeologists from the Museum of Natural and Cultural History to conduct an archaeological study at the site. Located in Eugene’s downtown commercial core, the project offered what researchers thought were several exciting prospects.

The downtown area has been in continuous use for more than a century, and a recent survey by museum archaeologists of the 5th Street Public Market expansion yielded a number of artefacts. The area was also mapped extensively, thanks to a 1912 fire insurance mapping project from the Sanborn Map Company.

Most exciting to archaeologists, however, was that city directories from the early 20th century listed a Chinese restaurant and Hung Wo Chang & Co. gift shop near the site.

“We expected we might find archaeological material based on the Sanborn maps,” said Chris Ruiz, a museum archaeologist working on the project.

As expected, archaeologists were able to identify several artefacts dating back to the early 20th century, including pieces of a Chinese stoneware bowl, a porcelain teacup, three Chinese brown stoneware liquor bottles, and a Japanese porcelain vessel.

“We were really excited when we found the artefacts and we were able to associate the ceramics with businesses in the area,” Ruiz said.

In an article published in Oregon Historical Quarterly’s winter 2021 issue, Ruiz and museum archaeologists Marlene Jampolsky and Jon Krier detail how the artefacts help reveal an untold story of the Chinese diaspora and Chinese American history in Eugene.

“The information was all there,” Ruiz said, “but nobody had really pulled it all together. No archaeologists or historians had really written about these businesses before.”

Museum archaeologists dug into city directories, newspaper archives and historical maps. They weren’t starting from scratch, Ruiz said.

“We had the address, which could point us to the names of the businesses,” he said. “From there, we could do research on the owners and discover who they were and when they lived in Eugene.”

The owners, Wing Kee and Marie Westfall, were operating their businesses at a time when Americans were embracing the trappings and aesthetics of Asian culture but actively discriminating against Asian people.

Wing Kee’s father, Jim Westfall, was a prominent figure in the Corvallis and business communities. He attempted to become a U.S. citizen in 1886 but was denied due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. Wing Kee was born in Oregon in 1875 and was registered for the draft, indicating he was a native-born U.S. citizen.

Meanwhile, Eugene was becoming more diverse. Although located on Kalapuya ilihi, the traditional homelands of the Kalapuya people, the city of Eugene was largely Euro-American throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s. Ruiz said there were no records of Chinese people in Eugene before the late 1870s. It was in this environment that Wing Kee moved to Eugene.

By 1911, Wing Kee was the proprietor of the Smeede Hotel Grill, which advertised serving a “Chinese Bill of Fare.” He later opened a restaurant of his own, which newspaper articles often referred to with just his name or as the China Noodle House.

In 1914, Wing Kee opened Hung Wo Chang & Co gift shop on Sixth Avenue, marketing Chinese products to non-Chinese consumers. Marie, Wing Kee’s wife, was listed as the proprietor of the businesses in newspapers and on official city directories in the 1920s.

According to a Eugene Daily Guard article from 1917, the family was involved in the war effort during World War I. The Guard reports that “a volunteer in the food conservation campaign” signed Wing Kee up as a “member of the United States food administration in the war against Germany.” The same article mentions Wing Kee’s wife, Marie, as a Red Cross volunteer who went to “sew for the soldiers.”

In the 1920s, Wing Kee turned the operation of the restaurant over to his wife and relocated to Astoria to start a new business. In 1928, Marie’s move to Astoria was significant enough to get stories in multiple newspapers.

“There’s some hope that archaeology can help illuminate those past lives that are not well-represented in the historical narrative,” Ruiz said. “Eugene has a lot of interesting history pertaining to historically underrepresented communities. We still have a lot to do to uncover those stories.”

—By Lexie Briggs, Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

California Museum Repatriates Remains and Artifacts

California Museum Repatriates Remains and Artifacts

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History turned over to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians the partial remains of about 1,000 Chumash and pre-Chumash people who had lived throughout the South Coast over a time span of 13,000 years.

In addition, UCSB turned over the human remains of 400 individuals and nearly 4,000 funerary objects. Most of these were unearthed when the UCSB campus was first being built in 1950 and date back as far as 4,000 years. 

This historic transfer was done in accordance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a law requiring museums and institutions of higher learning to turn over such remains and artefacts to federally recognized Native American representatives upon request.

Tribal Chairman Kenny Kahn

That request was issued in late October 2021 by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. The last of the remains, as well as a large number of funerary artefacts, were transferred from the Museum of Natural History and UCSB to the Santa Ynez Band officials in late April. 

In a carefully crafted press release issued by both the Santa Ynez Band and the Museum of Natural History, Tribal Chairman Kenny Kahn stated, “These items have come home to our tribe, and it allows us to do the important work of repatriation and reburial.

We will continue to have a close working relationship with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and consider it to be a collaborative partner in the community.”

Museum director Luke Swetland added, “The Museum has been honoured to care for this important cultural heritage for many years and finds it deeply satisfying that we can transfer custody back to the Chumash Community.”

The Museum’s Chumash and pre-Chumash collection, the most extensive in the world, included remains from 1,011 individuals and 36,943 associated funerary objects. With one notable exception, the bones in the museum collection date as far back as 7,000 BCE.

The exception is three femur bones found protruding from a creek channel on Santa Rosa Island in 1959 by Phil Orr, the museum’s then-director of anthropology.

Scientific analysis has proved those bones to be 13,000 years old, a discovery that makes them the oldest human remains found anywhere in North America.

The discovery adds considerable credence to a theory of human migration known as the “Kelp Superhighway Hypothesis,” which suggests that the first humans arrived in North America not by land, as has long been proposed, but by sea, following the coastline of the Pacific Rim of northeastern Asia and Beringia down to South America, where plentiful kelp beds provided sufficient food for the early explorers.

Most of the remains and artefacts transferred to the tribe show the technology and art developed by Chumash and pre-Chumash residents of the region, how they adorned themselves, what tools they had at their disposal, and what materials they used, and how they buried their dead. 

California Museum Repatriates Remains and Artifacts
Ancient Chumash beadwork

The collection of Native American remains and artefacts kept by museums and institutions of higher learning has long been a highly charged issue.

The Museum of Natural History first began amassing its collection in 1922 under the direction of museum anthropologists David Banks Rogers and John Peabody Harrington, who worked closely with Chumash people in the region recording their language and culture.

By the 1970s, the presence of Native American monitors emerged as a force for cultural preservation at any major construction sites located near what had once been tribal land.

In 1989, the museum created the California Indian Advisory Council, which included representatives from as many of the local Chumash bands as possible, not just those representing the Santa Ynez Band.

For the past 40 years, the museum ​— ​under the direction of John Johnson, the museum’s most recent anthropologist ​— ​collaborated with many academic researchers to study the museum’s collections consistent with the best practices established by the Society for American Archeology and the American Alliance of Museums.

In addition, Johnson has engaged closely with many Chumash individuals to study their cultural heritage, he said, “as a way to enlarge their understanding of themselves and their community.” 

Aztec war sacrifices found in Mexico may point to the elusive royal tomb

Aztec war sacrifices found in Mexico may point to the elusive royal tomb

Aztec war sacrifices found in Mexico may point to the elusive royal tomb
An archaeologist works on a 500-year-old partially-excavated stone box containing an Aztec offering

A newly discovered trove of Aztec sacrifices could lead archaeologists to an elusive Aztec emperor’s tomb. Such a discovery would mark a first since no Aztec royal burial has yet been found despite decades of digging.

The sacrificial offerings, including a richly adorned jaguar dressed as a warrior, were found in Mexico City, Reuters reports.

“We have enormous expectations right now,” lead archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan said.

“As we go deeper we think we’ll continue finding very rich objects.”

Discovered off the steps of the Aztec’s holiest temple, the sacrificial offerings also include a young boy, dressed to resemble the Aztec war god and solar deity, and a set of flint knives elaborately decorated with mother of pearl and precious stones.

The offerings were deposited by Aztec priests over five centuries ago in front of the temple where the earliest historical accounts describe the final resting place of Aztec kings.

The interior of a stone box shows an Aztec offering including a set of black flint knives decorated to represent warriors

Only around a tenth of the box has been excavated but plenty of artefacts have already been uncovered, including a large number of shells, and bright red starfish that it’s believed represented the watery underworld the Aztecs believed the sun travelled through at night before emerging in the east to begin a new day.

“There’s an enormous amount of coral that’s blocking what we can see below,” said archaeologist Miguel Baez, part of the excavation team.

Route to an Aztec king?

Chroniclers detailed the burial rites of three Aztec kings, all brothers who ruled from 1469 to 1502.

According to these accounts, the rulers’ ashes were deposited with opulent offerings and the hearts of sacrificed slaves.

In 2006, a huge monolith of the Aztec earth goddess was found nearby with an inscription corresponding to the year 1502, which is when the empire’s greatest ruler and the last of the brothers, Ahuitzotl, passed away.

Elizabeth Boone, an ancient Mexico specialist at Tulane University, notes that the jaguar may represent the king as a fearless warrior.

“You could have Ahuitzotl in that box,” she said.

An ancient skeleton with a prosthetic eye was discovered 15 years ago

An ancient skeleton with a prosthetic eye was discovered 15 years ago

Believe it or not, fake eyes have existed for thousands of years. Besides improving the physical appearance of the patient needing the artificial eye, fake eyes also prevent tissues in the eye socket from overgrowing and prevent foreign debris from entering the eye without a bandage or eyepatch.

An ancient skeleton with a prosthetic eye was discovered 15 years ago
Rome’s National Museum of Oriental Art displayed the reconstructed face of a female skeleton which was found in Iran’s Burnt City wearing a fake eye. The museum closed in 2017 and its collections were transferred to the Pigorini National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography in Rome.

Though prosthetics may seem like a more recent medical development, they actually have one of the oldest origins in medical history.

The world’s oldest prosthetic eye, for example, was discovered in Iran’s “Burnt City” in 2006. Archaeologists determined that this eye is from approximately 2900-2800 BC and was found still embedded in the eye socket of a woman’s skull.

The discovery of this eye reveals the ancient history of prosthetics including eyes, legs, and arms. The detailed craftsmanship of the eye also reveals early ideas regarding light, sight, and the purpose of prosthetics. By analyzing the structure, location, and purpose of the ancient prosthetic, we can infer more about the Burnt City itself as well as how this creation shaped medical advancement over time.

The world’s oldest fake eye was discovered in the “Burnt City” in Iran in 2006 and it dated from 2900-2800 BC!

Iran’s Burnt City and the Oldest Ever Fake Eye

Shahr-e Sukhteh is the archaeological site of an ancient Bronze Age urban settlement in what is now southeastern Iran. This site is called “ the Burnt City ” because most of the city had been burnt by multiple fires starting around 3200 BC. Due to the age of the artefacts discovered at the site, archaeologists believe the city was abandoned around 2350 BC, though it is unclear if a fire was the ultimate reason for the city’s sudden abandonment.

Multiple excavations have been done in Burnt City since 1997. Famous discoveries from the site include an ancient dice table game, a skull displaying ancient brain surgery, a marble cup, and an adorned piece of leather from the Bronze Age.

The most interesting discovery, however, was the world’s oldest known fake eye in 2006. The eye was found in the remains of a woman estimated to be six feet tall, and physical evidence from the eye confirms it would have been worn during her life rather than inserted after her death. They estimated that the woman was between 25 to 30 years old at the time of her death.

Archaeologists who discovered the fake eye say that the prosthetic eye was made of a mixture of natural tar and animal fat, which likely kept it moist and durable during its use 4,800 years ago. Those studying the eye were fascinated by the detailed craftsmanship. The eye had individual capillaries drawn with golden wire less than half a millimeter thick.

A circular pupil was carved into the front with parallel lines drawn around it to form a diamond-shaped iris. Two holes with gold wire were found on either side of the artificial eyeball, which illustrated how the eye would have stayed inside its socket. This soft gold wire would have made insertion gentle while still providing the support needed to keep the eye from falling out. They would have also helped to let the eye move gently in its socket.

Those studying the eye inferred that it had been worn while the woman was still living because of preserved eyelid tissue that had been stuck to the eye. They also found evidence from this tissue and surrounding tissue on the woman’s skull that she may have developed an abscess on her eyelid due to its rubbing against the artificial eye while blinking.

Archaeologists found multiple clay vessels , ornamental beads, and jewelry pieces in the ancient woman’s gravesite. They also found a leather sack and a bronze mirror, both of which were still in excellent condition. These discoveries led archaeologists to believe that this woman was of high social status and was perhaps a member of the royal family.

Only individuals of significant social status would have had such ornate jewelry , clay, leather, and copper. This would also support her reason for having a fake eye. If she were in a position of power or high rank, she would have needed the eye to maintain her physical appearance and would have been one of few with the financial resources needed to customize an artificial eye that fitted her.

Fake eyes or prosthetic eyes have been around since about 2800 BC and today they are still made for the same purposes.

From Tar, To Gold, To Glass, To Acrylic

Details in the craftsmanship of the discovered fake eye show that the creator had a significant understanding of ocular anatomy. From the thin layer of gold to represent the iris to the tiniest blood vessels illustrated with gold wire, the eye was designed to be tasteful yet accurate for the wearer. In addition to these details, some bits of white colour was found on the white part of the eye, which suggests that the eye was once delicately painted to realistically illustrate an eye.

Other details about the eye lead archaeologists to conclude that the eye was handmade in Burnt City, rather than made elsewhere and imported. This tells us that at some point in Burnt City’s history, ocular health was studied by medical and craft professionals. This focus may have led to other medical advancements in treatment for ocular conditions such as infection or blindness in the city, though additional evidence of this has not been found.

The development of artificial eyes in other areas has been somewhat different from the eye discovered in Burnt City. In the 16th century France, surgeons made artificial eyes out of gold and silver to be worn either in front of or behind the eyelid.

Shakespeare referenced eyes made of glass in King Lear in 1606. In the 1800s, enamel artificial eyes were attractive but not durable, and advancements continued until today’s prosthetic eyes, which are made of hard acrylic, a type of durable plastic material.

Prosthetics have certainly come a long way since the time of the tar and animal fat eye found in the Burnt City. However, analysis of that eye still shows an impressive ancient understanding of ocular anatomy, which is fascinating to consider when thinking about ancient Iran. As medical knowledge advances, perhaps someday we may see even more durable and effective prosthetics for those who need them.