lunes, 20 de junio de 2011

Experts solve mystery of ancient stone monument near Atlanta

By: Richard Thornton
Architecture & Design Examiner

Rock art specialists from around North America have finally solved this century old archaeological riddle. The stone slab is evidence that native peoples from Puerto Rico or Cuba once lived within the interior of Eastern North America.
One day, long before Christopher Columbus claimed to have landed on the eastern edge of Asia, a forgotten people cut steps in the rocks leading up a steep bluff near the Chattahoochee River in the northwest section of the State of Georgia. They carved a supernatural figure on a four feet by one foot granite slab and erected it on the top of the knoll. The strange, primitive art was very different than the highly realistic stone sculptures found in the region that are known to have been created by the ancestors of Georgia’s Creek Indians.

During the mid-1800s a major industrial complex was developed near the ancient rock shrine. Somehow during the town’s construction, the tablet was overlooked; most likely because of a covering of soil. The town was called New Manchester. It would have inevitably become a major city of the Southeast, but in the autumn of 1864 the notorious Union general, William Tecumseh Sherman, ordered the town burned, and the hundreds of teenage girls who worked at its mills transported to a concentration camp in the Ohio. Many of the girls were never seen again. Some died in prison. Some married and stayed in the Midwest. Some were murdered while they tried to walk home after the war. Some probably went to the West to start life anew away from the ruins of war. Some just dissappeared without a trace.

The ruins of New Manchester have remained a testimony to the fact that war is hell. The town was never rebuilt and its landscape converted back to scrub woodlands within a decade after the Civil War. In 1909 a man named W. H. Roberts was hunting wild turkeys in a hilly area next to the ruins of Manchester. After climbing the bluff over Sweetwater Creek that was known as “an Indian cemetery” because of the stone artifacts scattered on its slopes, Roberts happened to notice a granite slab laying flat on the ground. Apparently, rains had washed away the thin top soil that had concealed it for centuries.

Most scholars, who viewed the images incised on the slab in the early 1900s, assumed it was created by Native Americans, but had no further explanation. Primitive rock art such as on the slab found by Roberts is now known as petroglyphs. There are now professionals and organizations that have developed the study of petroglyphs into a science, but a century ago such artifacts were viewed as curiosities

Throughout the mid-20th century, the Roberts (or Sweetwater Creek) petroglyph was on display at the Rhodes Mansion on Peachtree Street in Atlanta. This landmark house was the original office of the Georgia Division of Archives and History. After the state agency moved to a large marble structure near the Capitol, the petroglyphs were put in storage. The granite slab stayed there until Sweetwater Creek State Park was created around the ruins of Manchester in the 1970s. The slab is now on display at the park and protected by a Plexiglas screen.

A comment from a California professor opens Pandora’s Box

The national architecture & design column of the Examiner is currently running a series on the petroglyphs of the Southern Highlands. One of the articles of this series discussed the Sweetwater Creek petroglyph and an cluster of petroglyphs on nearby Nickajack Creek. Filmmaker and amateur archaeologist Jon Haskell of Carmel, Indiana, was intrigued by the strange appearance of the Sweetwater Creek petroglyph. He had filmed documentaries in many parts of the Americas, but had never seen any petroglyph like the Sweetwater Creek Petroglyph in the United States.

During the first week of April 2011, Haskell sent emails throughout North America to friends who were either archaeologists, petroglyph specialists or experts on Native American art. Most of the responses also expressed bafflement that such a strange petroglyph design would be found near Atlanta. Some respondents commented that it was similar to Ice Age cave art found in Spain and North Africa. However, because of its placement on a hilltop shrine associated with Native American artifacts, the Sweetwater Petroglyph appears to date from a much more recent epoch.

Stephen C. Jett is a geography professor at the University of California at Davis and a recognized scholar of the petroglyphs and pictographs of the American Southwest. His brief comment emailed back to Jon Haskell was the first interpretation in a century that assigned an ethnic identity to the Sweetwater Petroglyph. He wrote, “It looks vaguely Caribbean to me, but that's just an impression, I am not conversant with the rock art of that region.”

Images and descriptions of the Sweetwater Petroglyph were immediately emailed to several specialists on Caribbean rock art. The respondents sent back photographs of rock art in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola that were the same style as the one in Georgia. One petroglyph from Puerto Rico seems to portray the very same supernatural figure. It is a “guardian spirit” whose presence warned travelers that they were entering a province or sacred area. This style of art was typically placed on stone slabs 3-5 tall, which were located on hilltops or beside major trails.

The Sweetwater Petroglyph is a stone slab 4 feet tall that was originally on a hilltop. It is very significant evidence that Native Americans originally from Puerto Rico, Cuba or Hispaniola paddled to the Florida Peninsula; followed the Gulf Coast up to the mouth of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee River; then ulitimately settled in the vicinity of what is now Atlanta. The most likely time period for this migration is from 1,000 to 2,000 years ago, but the date of the carvings on the granite slab are currently unknown.

Waves of South American peoples settled the Caribbean Basin

Archaeologists currently believe that the Caribbean Basin was settled by waves of peoples moving northward out of South America. The presence of the oldest known pottery of the Western Hemisphere in Georgia suggests that there may have also been movements of population and cultural innovations in the other direction. It is documented, though, that the agricultural villagers began island-hopping northward out of Venezuela around 500 BC and by 500 AD had occupied most islands in the Caribbean Basin. These early people grew tobacco and sweet potatoes, but not many other cultivated plants. Their presence in the Caribbean Basin coincides with the appearance of tobacco in the Southeastern United States.

In the late 1960s archaeologists working in advance of an industrial park on the Chattahoochee River near Sweetwater Creek's outlet found three varieties of indigenous sweet potatoes growing wild. They looked like "bushy" morning glories, but had large, edible tubers growing underground. Intensive land development since then has eliminated the wild sweet potato patches.

A second wave of Caribbean immigration by Natives speaking dialects of the Arawak language began around 600 AD. These immigrants are associated with the Taino People of the Caribbean Basin and the Timucua of Florida. They introduced the bow and arrow, plus advanced varieties of Indian corn to the Caribbean Basin. They were much sophisticated artisans and farmers than the first wave of immigrants. The period also marks the introduction of the bow and arrow, plus advanced varieties of corn into the Southeastern United States. By 1150 AD the second wave of Arawak immigrants had reached the Florida peninsula. About that same time, numerous towns with mounds were abandoned in northeastern Florida as was the large megapolis on the Ocmulgee River near Macon, GA, which is now known as Ocmulgee National Monument.

Caribbean peoples in North America

It is commonly known that the Arawak-speaking Timucua occupied northeastern Florida and the southeastern tip of Georgia in the 1500s when Spain colonized the region. The public is not generally aware that there was also a small cluster of Arawak-speaking villages in the vicinity of Birmingham, AL until the mid-1700s, when they were absorbed by the Creek Indian Confederacy. The presence of what appears to be an Caribbean rock art in northern Georgia suggests that the first wave of Caribbean immigrants were pushed northward into the mainland of North America by the second wave, who were better armed with bows and arrows, and better fed by a wide range of cultivated crops.

In 1541 the Hernando de Soto Expedition observed an ethnic group in what is now South Carolina that had a culture very similar to the first wave of Arawak immigrants into the Caribbean. They were described as primitive hunters who went naked, did not know how to grow corn and beans, and relied on roots that they dug from the ground for nutrition. The Creek Indian guides of the expedition called this primitive people the Chalo-ke, which means bass (fish) people. They were not the same people as the Cherokees, and are last seen on a map by French cartographer Delisle, living in southeast Georgia in the early 1700s.

The earlier occupants of the Caribbean depended on hunting, gathering, and the digging up of wild yucca roots (cassava) or sweet potatoes for nutrition. They went almost naked. The Guanajatabeyes and Ciboney people were pushed into the western sections of Cuba and Hispaniola by the more sophisticated Taino. The Ciboney often lived in caves. They both soon became extinct after the Spanish arrived.

The Sweetwater Petroglyph has never been scientifically dated by geologists. In order to interpret the stone more precisely, the general range of its age must be determined. There may be other stones like it hidden under the soil or forgotten in the basements of museums.


Continue reading on Experts solve mystery of ancient stone monument near Atlanta - National Architecture & Design

domingo, 19 de junio de 2011


cuando el hombre,
en crescendo 
va apartándose 
de su dios,
Esa llama que habita 
en su interior 
va apagándose..

cuando el agua cae, gota a gota sobre una roca, por fuerte que sea la piedra, se va desmoronando..

entonces pues, si Esa llama está dentro de una roca apabullada por gotas y el dios del hombre no provee resguardo ante la caida inminente de cada gota, será la llama un recuerdo vacío rodeado de fuertes paredes agobiadas de humedad..

martes, 14 de junio de 2011

Mensaje Obama a Puerto Rico

Mensaje de Obama
Aeropuerto Luis Muñoz Marín, San Juan PR
14 junio 2011
11:43 am


Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport

San Juan, Puerto Rico
11:43 A.M. AST

Tomado de

     THE PRESIDENT:  Buenas tardes!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Puerto Rico.  (Applause.)  It is great to see so many familiar faces, so many advocates for the island.  First of all, I want to acknowledge Congressman Pierluisi is here.  Where is he?  Right over there.  (Applause.)  My great friend, Andres Lopez.  (Applause.)  Franciso Pavia.  (Applause.)  Senator Bhatia.  (Applause.)  Governor Fortuno.  (Applause.)  And I know that we've got some former governors here today, along with leaders of local parties, and of the House and the Senate. 


I am so grateful for the unbelievable reception.  As you know, the last President to come to San Juan and address the people of Puerto Rico was John F. Kennedy, nearly 50 years ago.  (Applause.)  Now, at the time, I was about four months old -- (laughter) -- so my memory of this visit is a little hazy.  What I do remember is that when I came here to campaign, I promised that I would return as President of the United States.  (Applause.)  And although my hair is a little grayer -- (applause) -- than during my first visit, I am glad to be able to keep that promise to the people of Puerto Rico.  (Applause.)   

But this is only one part of my commitment to families here on the island.  Because when I ran for President, I promised to include Puerto Rico not just on my itinerary, but also in my vision of where our country needs to go.  And I am proud to say that we've kept that promise, too.

First of all, we've addressed the question of political status.  In March, a report from our presidential task force on Puerto Rican status provided a meaningful way forward on this question so that the residents of the island can determine their own future.  And when the people of Puerto Rico make a clear decision, my administration will stand by you.  (Applause.)  

I also know that there are plenty of other issues that the island is facing.  When President Kennedy was here, he addressed the relationship between Washington and San Juan, and he also spoke about tackling what he called, "the difficult problems of education and housing and employment." 

In that same spirit, we've been trying to make sure that every family on the island can find work and make a living and provide for their children.  That's why our economic plan and our health care reform included help for Puerto Rico.  (Applause.)

That's why we're increasing access to broadband and investing in education.  That's why we're helping to grow local tourism and health care and clean-energy industries.  We're giving Puerto Ricans the tools they need to build their own economic futures. 


And this is how it should be.  Because every day, Boricuas help write the American story.  (Applause.)  Puerto Rican artis ts contribute to our culture -- and by the way, I don't know if you noticed, but Marc Anthony decided to show up here today.  (Applause.)  Puerto Rican entrepreneurs create American jobs.  Even in the NBA finals, J.J. Barea inspired all of us -- (applause) -- with those drives to the hoop.  That guy can play.  (Applause.)  Next time I'm down here I'm going to have to -- next time I'm here, I'm going to have to play some hoops.  (Applause.) 


I also want to take a moment to acknowledge all the Puerto Rican men and women who serve in our country's uniform.  (Applause.)  Give it up for our veterans.   Thank you.  (Applause.) 

One of those veterans is Juan Castillo.  Juan fought in World War II, and he fought in the Korean War.  Today, he's two months away from his 101st birthday.  (Applause.) 

Juan's legacy is carried on by Puerto Ricans in Iraq and Afghanistan; men and women like Chief Master Sergeant Ramon Colon-Lopez, of the United States Air Force.  In 2004, Ramon's team was going after a high-value target in Afghanistan.  His helicopter was seriously damaged by hostile fire.  In the thick of battle, he didn't know how large the force that he was up against.  But he pressed on anyway, and his team killed or captured 12 enemy fighters.  Because of his bravery, he was the first Hispanic American to be awarded the Air Force Combat Action Medal.  (Applause.) 

And I tell this story because for decades, Puerto Ricans like Juan and Ramon have put themselves in harm's way for a simple reason:  They want to protect the country that they love.  Their willingness to serve, their willingness to sacrifice, is as American as apple pie –- or as Arroz con Gandules.  (Applause.)  The aspirations and the struggles on this island mirror those across America. 

So I know that today a lot of folks are asking some of the same questions here on the island as they're asking in Indiana or California or in Texas:  How do I make sure my kids get the kind of education that they need?  How can I put away a little money for retirement?  How can I fill up my gas tank?  How can I pay the bills?

Everywhere I go, I see families facing challenges like these, but they're facing them with resolve and determination.  You know, these problems didn't develop overnight here in Puerto Rico or anywhere else, but that means we're not going to solve them overnight.  But, day by day, step by step, we will solve them.

We are going to be able to improve our education system here in Puerto Rico and all across America.  (Applause.)  We are making strides to improve our health care system here in Puerto Rico and all across America.  (Applause.)  We are going to put people back to work here in Puerto Rico and all across America.  (Applause.) 

Maybe some of you remember that when I was here in 2008, I spoke in front of the Cuartel de Ballaja, a site that had been home to so many chapters of Puerto Rican history.  Today, Puerto Rican workers are writing the next chapter by turning the building into a model of energy efficiency.  They're making HVAC systems more efficient.  They're putting on a green roof.  They're installing 720 photovoltaic panels.  When they're done, it's estimated that the energy savings will be 57 percent.  And Puerto Rico will have taken one more step towards creating a clean energy economy.

Those are the kinds of steps it will take for Puerto Rico to win the future and for America to win the future.  (Applause.)  That's what we do in this country.  With each passing decade, with each new challenge, we reinvent ourselves.  We find new ways to solve our problems.  We push forward.  

And we do so in a way that gives every one of our people a shot at the dream that we all share -– the dream that if you're willing to work hard and take responsibility, you can build a better life for your family.  You can find a job that's secure, provides decent wages, provides for your children, provides for your retirement.  That's what people are hoping for, and it's not too much to ask.

Puerto Rico, I don't need to tell you that we're not there yet.  We're not where we need to be.  But in these challenging times, people on this island don't quit.  We don't turn back.  (Applause.)  People in America don't quit.  We don't turn back.  We place our bets on entrepreneurs and on workers and on our families.  We understand that there is strength in our diversity.  We renew the American Dream.  We have done it before.  We will do it again. 

Muchas gracias.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you, Puerto Rico. (Applause.)


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