Unknown Story of Ancient North America

The World’s Largest Pyramid Is Hidden Under A Mountain In North America | Dusty Old Thing

World’s largest pyramid hidden under a mountain in North America

Episode 1: Unknown Story of Ancient North America

Ancient Civilizations of North America

Dr Edwin Barnhart (2018)

Film Review

Contrary to popular belief, there were several prehistoric civilizations in North America prior to the arrival of Europeans. According to Barnhart, there is good archeological evidence for:

  • Cities of thousands of people
  • Palaces
  • Roads connecting cities
  • Kings
  • Councils
  • Astronomers
  • Architects
  • Artists
  • Musicians

Owing to the absence of writing, tendency to build primitive cultures on top of early cities and massive die-offs and displacements following colonization, early North American civilizations are less well known than those found on other continents.

Recent DNA technology has been essential in our understanding of pre-European North American settlers. Barnhart divides prehistoric North American civilizations into two major groups: the Mississippian mound builders of eastern North America and the desert dwellers of the Southwest.

The Mississippians built pyramids the size of mountains. Though they look like mounds now, at the time they were angular structures covered with painted hard packed plastic covers, terraced with frontal ramps or staircases and topped with lavish palaces or temples. The Spanish explorer Henrando De Soto wrote about sleeping in several of these palaces.

The Louisiana pyramids, dating back 5,000 years, are as old as those in Egypt. The cities surrounding the pyramids housed thousands of residents, as well as hundreds of acres of public plazas, sports courts, and protected themselves with fortified walls.

Master architects, engineers and masons, the Southwest desert dwellers built apartment complexes housing more than a thousand people, as well as thousands of miles of complex hydraulic irrigation systems. They also built astronomically aligned great houses and roads extending hundreds of miles in all directions.

The Hohokam in Arizona designed an irrigation system that turned hundreds of acres of desert green with corn and cotton. This civilization faded away in the 1300s, leaving behind hundreds of miles of irrigation canals.

In total, there were five Southwest civilizations at different times. Only the Ancestral Pueblo survives European contact.

In addition to the Mississippian and Southwest desert dwellers, North America hosted hundreds of complex hunter-gatherer cultures that were just as nuanced as medieval Europe.

The last third of Barnhart’s lecture covers the various dating methods that help archeologists determine the age of human remains and artifacts. The oldest, Carbon 14 dating, is becoming less reliable as our background radiation levels rise. Tree ring dating is extremely reliable in dry areas where wood is less likely to decay. Optically stimulated luminescence uses a variety of radioactive isotopes to date quartz, feldspar and other mineral grains that have been heated by the sun.

Film can be viewed free with a library card on Kanopy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.