A recent article by Richard Thornton alerted me to the fact that the Bilbo Mound, located in Savannah, Ga., might be the oldest mound in North America.
Amazingly, black and white Google Earth images from 1994 and 2003 show a clear view of the mound. It is an effigy, like Serpent Mound, and possibly a depiction of the Maya moon and rain goddess, as shown on America Unearthed Season 1 Episode 1..
The fact that the mound has a shape that is visible from the sky, similar to the Nazca figures and Serpent Mound, has gone unnoted despite being in the middle of Georgia's first capital city, likely because all of the mounds are covered with trees.
Since 2004 Google Earth has had color versions of this area, and apparently only during winter when the foliage is full..
The 1994 and 2003 images, however, are black and white. They show the shapes of the mounds clearly, likely because the flooded areas show up much darker. It's also possible that Google Earth filmed during winter in those years when foliage was thinnest. From 2004 to 2014, some archived versions are better than others depending on what part of the year the satellite photo was taken..
The low areas between the concentric rings of the mound are filled with water, and according to historic accounts have been since their discovery.
We took a walk around the outer rings today and confirmed their shapes.
Since there was no Google Earth when archeologists noted the site and dug tests pits in the 1800s and early 1900s, they would not have been aware of the shape of the mound.
The last time an archeologist visited the site was in 1957. From Thornton's article:
"In 1957, archaeologist William Haag from Louisiana State University became interested in the Bilbo artifacts after Humble Oil Exploration Company began drilling a test hole near the archaeological site in search of petroleum. He dug some test pits to determine the chronology of the artifacts unearthed by Caldwell. There was no pottery below a level dated at 1,870 BC. Halfway down to the base from there was dated at 2,165 BC. The base of the mound was dated at 3,540 BC."
This would be about the time of Oppenheimer and Manansala's Nusantao diffusion:
"Now at about this same time (pre-5000 BC), we see shell mounds popping up at Ubaid sites in the Persian Gulf. Oppenheimer has noted that the Ubaid sites contain pretty much the same inventory as those in the SE Asian Neolithic -- quadrangular stone adzes, stone hoes, clay sinkers and spindle whorls, beads, discs and painted pottery." Source: Quests of the Dragon and Bird Clan
Elsewhere, Manansala adds the practice of cranial deformation to the list of Nusantao trademarks. This is a practice shared by the Maya and recently found in Native Americans in Georgia, also shown on the debut America Unearthed from 2012.
My own contribution to this list will be Y Haplogroup T and microcephalin D, but that's another story....
The image of the rain goddess is one of the many items that Richard Thornton and others have used to link the Maya to tribes of the southeast and/or the Creek Alliance and the Uchi.
To his list, I would like to add "Haint Blue," a paint used by the Gullah people in the Savannah area. The ingredients of this sacred pigment have been kept secret, but Savannahian's have long suspected indigo from local plantlife to be a key ingredient, and I have a strong suspicion that it also contains palygorskite, just like Maya Blue.
It's pretty much accepted nowadays that Mexico imported its palygorskite for Maya Blue from Georgia.
Here is the link to Richard Thornton's original article that sparked the investigation:
Thornton noted in his article that the series of mounds of which Bilbo Mound is a part is also significant for being the location of the first game of golf ever played in North America.
Interestingly, Bilbo Baggins's ancestor Bullroarer Took invented the game of golf by lopping the goblin-king's head off and sending it to roll across the field of battle and down a rabbit hole.
Bullroarer Took was a tall hobbit, and the only hobbit ever to have been known to seat a horse.
The Bilbo Mound, however, was named after a type of sword.