Monday, June 20, 2011

Histories Mysteries

During the vernal equinox, as well as the autumnal, the sun sets in the middle of twelve earthen mounds that stretch across the grassy plains a few miles northeast of Spiro, Oklahoma. Similar events transpire during the summer and winter solstices, which leaves the sun casting its evening light along the northern and southern areas of the mounds, respectively. Like most Native American cultures, the people who occupied the area were heavily influenced by the movements of celestial bodies across the sky. It has even been suggested that the Spiro people were the remnants of the Mayan civilization, which seems to have crumbled around 900 AD.

It is believed that the Spiro Mounds grouping was a part of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex, also known as the Southern Death Cult, an empire that stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast, encompassing sixty tribes and thirty language groups. Popular theory has it that the Death Cult social organization developed independently of Mesoamerican cultures, such as the Aztec. However, artifacts unearthed from Spiro and other sites suggest the Spiro people were in contact with cultures from Mexico. It’s no stretch of the imagination to suspect that something more than trade goods was exchanged. Afterall, the term Southern Death Cult came about due to the multitude of bones and skulls associated with the sites. Could they have been the victims of human sacrifice?

An obsidian blade, which has been well documented as having come from Mexico was recovered from Craig Mound in 1935, and a mysterious character named Walter Guinn Cooper, who, when asked about the artifact during an interview by Dr. James Cherry, had this to say about it: “There was this fellow. I can’t recall his name, but he was a professor and he was interested in this stuff. He bought one of those, long, thin, well you’d probably call it a knife. It wasn’t flint. I don’t know what it was.”

The professor was probably Dr. Robert Bell, and it sounds as if Mr. Cooper was referring to more than one obsidian knife. Add this together, and throw in a seven-hundred year old curse and you get the inspiration for my third novel, Footprints of a Dancer, which I hope to have released soon.

The mounds in Spiro, which are visited by thousands of tourists, are not real, in a manner of speaking. The destruction of the mounds began in 1933 when the Pocola Mining Company obtained a lease and began digging to recover salable artifacts. Later, from 1936 to 1941 the mounds were completely leveled during excavations by the University of Oklahoma. The complex was reconstructed in the 1970’s.

The Pocola diggers reported that they heard a hissing sound when the cedar tomb walls of the King’s Chamber were breached. It was probably the air rushing in to fill the 700 year old vacuum. But who knows? Perhaps it was the cry of Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent, or even worse, that of his brother, the god of sin and misery.


Jackie King said...

Bob, this is an awesome article! Wonderful research and information.

Love the blog and am looking forward to more.

Jackie King

Bob said...

Thanks, Jackie. Oklahoma history is a fascinating subject.

Gloria Teague said...

Very well researched and written. I learned something new today.

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