Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Oldest Ritual (Space)?

    “An interpretation of new data suggests that ritual activity took place in southern Mexico more than 9,000 years ago. But the interpretation has sparked a debate among Mesoamerican scholars.
The debate centers on a nondescript agave field just off the highway that runs from Oaxaca City to the town of Mitla. During the mid-1960s, Flannery conducted a survey of the region, and noted a scattering of flint tools at the site, called Gheo-Shih by the locals. (The name, in the Zapotec language, means “River of the Gourd Trees.”) Flannery asked Yale University’s Frank Hole if he would oversee an excavation there given his expertise in stone tools. Hole, a lanky and quiet man, agreed, using his vacation time to do the work.
     After digging several test pits, Hole found a few big stones. "I followed the line of rocks, and the line got longer and longer—and then I found a parallel line of rocks.”

The Whole Smithsonian Article:

Does that sound familiar to anyone else, that “following a line of rocks” thing?
Or the arguments, such as: “How do they know the rocks weren’t moved?” he asks. Winter notes that the area was settled in the late Post Classic period, and he suggests that what appears to be an Archaic ritual space might be a road built in Spanish colonial times.

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