Category Archives: SOUTH AMERICA

Boy Found Million-Year-Old Fossil by Tripping Over It

Boy Found Million-Year-Old Fossil by Tripping Over It

For example, while walking through the New Mexican desert, something turns out to be a fossil of Stegomastodon from 1.2 million years ago, you could see some benefits.

Dr. Peter Houde with the Sparks brothers during the Stegomastodon excavation.

Jude Sparks, 9, was doing this last October when he and his parents visited the Orange Mountains.

The brother of Jude, a hunter, was not initially convinced that the finding was awesome.

“Hunter said it was just a big fat rotten cow,” Jude told KVIA TV. “I didn’t know what it was. I just knew it wasn’t usual.”

To him, the discovery looked like “fossilized wood.”

His parents agreed and contacted Peter Houde, a professor at New Mexico State University, who returned with the family to the site the next day. Sure enough, the boy had stumbled over a fossilized tusk.

It’s a big discovery — both literally and metaphorically. The ancient mammals were cousins to the wooly mammoth and modern-day elephant, so the remains are large.

They’re also rare since prehistoric bones typically disintegrate quickly after being exposed to the elements. Houde suspects the Sparks family came across the tusk just after erosion had brought it to the surface.

“This is really very unusual to find,” he told The New York Times.

With Houde’s help, the family reburied the remains and set about fundraising for a formal dig.

It took them months to organize a team and secure a permit — but in May they finally uncovered an entire skull made of fragile “egg-shell thin” pieces.

Jude Sparks

“We’re really, really grateful that they contacted us, because if they had not done that if they had tried to do it themselves, it could have just destroyed the specimen,” Houde, who hopes to display the remains at the university, said. “It really has to be done with great care and know-how.”

Oddly, this isn’t the first accidental Stegomastadon find. In 2014, a hiking bachelor party found a 3-million-year-old skull belonging to the dino in New Mexico’s Butte Lake State Park.

Humans may have hunted the Stegomastodon toward the end of its existence, though it’s likely that its mammoth competitors kicked it off the evolutionary tree.

The creatures remain — a bit smaller than the average African elephant — are easily identified by their broad, upward-curving tusks.

As for Jude, he isn’t really as into fossils as he was when he was “little.”

He’ll take the attention, though.

“I’m not really an expert,” the now-10-year-old told the Times. “But I know a lot about it, I guess.”

17th-Century Tunnel Decorated with Pre-Hispanic Carvings Discovered in Mexico

17th-Century Tunnel Decorated with Pre-Hispanic Carvings Discovered in Mexico

Historians in Mexico have found an intriguing, 11 drawings decorated tunnel from the 17th century.

The pictures were created before the Spanish conquistadors arrived, but were incorporated into the walls of the tunnel when it was built centuries later.

This suggests that the Aztecs, known for their magnificent temples, the method of a hieroglyphic writing system, and gruesome penchant for sacrificing children.

In the 15th century, the Aztec emperor Moctezuma I ordered the construction, in an attempt to control severe flooding from surrounding rivers, of a reservoir project in what is now Mexico City.

However, when infamous conquistador Hernán Cortés and his posse arrived, the system was destroyed, before being rebuilt in the 17th century. The dike system is now known as the Albarradon de Ecatepec.  

The stone used in the initial construction was likely repurposed when the dikes were rebuilt, explaining the Aztec symbols etched into the sides of the tunnel.

It is believed they were drawn by locals from the nearby towns of Chiconautla and Ecatepec prior to the Spanish invasion.

The images include both petroglyphs (rock carvings) and stucco relief panels and depict various things, including a war shield or chimalli, the head of a bird of prey, and a flint point.

Some icons are still being carefully examined to assess what they might portray, notes INAH, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

The head of a bird of prey drawn on the rock.

The main arch of the tunnel also includes an etching of a temple dedicated to Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain, earthly fertility, and water. He was viewed by the Aztecs as a provider of life and sustenance.

Hidden within the 8-meter (27-foot) tunnel also lay various artifacts made from glass, porcelain, and a type of pottery called majolica, along with a statue of a seated person that appears to be missing its head and the lone feet of a larger statue.  

The discovery is part of a long-term government project to excavate the Albarradón de Ecatepec, which has been running since 2004.

The newly discovered tunnel is located 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the start of the Albarradón in an area called Patio de Diligencias.

The INAH now plans to replace the glyphs with replicas and house the originals in the Casa de Morelos Community Center.

The depiction of a temple dedicated to the Aztec god of rain.

Ancient temple found under Lake Titicaca in peru

Ancient Hidden City Discovered Under Lake Titicaca in Peru

Archeologists discovered the remains of an ancient civilization under the waters of the lake five minutes far from the town of Tiquina on the shores of Titicaca Lake.

Christophe Delaere, an archeologist from the Free University of Belgium, made the discovery 10 years ago using the information provided by local residents. Under the lake, according to the BBC 24 submerged archeological sites were found.

Santiago de Ojjelaya, the most prominent of these places, has recently been decided by the Bolivian Government to build a museum on the site that preserves both the submerged structures and those which are on land.

Lake Titicaca.
Lake Titicaca.

The project is supposed to be finished in 2020 and will cost an estimated $10 million. The Bolivian government is funding the project with help from UNESCO and is backed by the Belgian development cooperation agency.

The proposed building will have two parts and cover an area of about 2.3 acres (9,360 square meters). One part of the museum will be on the shore, and it will display artifacts that have been raised from the lake bottom.

The second part will be partially submerged, with enormous glass walls that will look out under the lake, allowing visitors to see the “hidden city” below.

Old pottery from Tiwanaku at the Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin-Dahlem.

According to the Bolivia Travel Channel, the museum will facilitate the beginning of an archaeological tourism enterprise, which “will be a resort and archaeology research center, geology and biology, characteristics that typified it unique in the world [sic],” according to Wilma Alanoca Mamani, holder of the portfolio of the Plurinational State.

Christophe Delaere said that the building’s design incorporates elements of architecture used by the Andean cultures who inhabited the area.

Jose Luis Paz, who is the director of heritage for Bolivia’s Ministry of Culture, says that two types of underwater ruins will be visible when the building is complete: religious/spiritual offering sites, primarily underwater, and places where people lived and worked, which were primarily on the shoreline. He went on to say that the spiritual sites were likely flooded much later than the settlements.

Chullpas from the Tiwanaku epoch.

A team of archaeological divers and Bolivian and Belgian experts have located thousands of items in the underwater sites. Some of these pieces will be brought up, but the majority will remain underwater as they are quite well-preserved.

Wilma Mamani said that more than 10,000 items have been found including gold and ceramic pieces and various kinds of bowls and other vessels.

The items are of pre-Inca Tiwanaku civilizations. Some of the artifacts have been estimated to be 2,000 years old, and others have been dated back to when the Tiwanaku empire was one of the primary Andean civilizations.

Gateway of the Sun, Tiwanaku, drawn by Ephraim Squier in 1877.

Tiwanaku was a major civilization in Bolivia, with the main city built around 13,000 feet above sea level, near Lake Titicaca, which made it one of the highest urban centers ever built.

The city reached its zenith between 500 AD and 1000 AD, and, at its height, was home to about 10,000 people. It’s unclear exactly when the civilization took hold, but it is known that people started settling around Lake Titicaca about 2,000 BC.

The Gateway of the Sun from the Tiwanaku civilization in Bolivia.

According to Live Science, the city’s ancient name is unknown, since they never developed a written language, but archaeological evidence suggests that Tiwanaku cultural influence reached across the southern Andes, into Argentina, Peru, and Chile, as well as Bolivia.

Tiwanaku began to decline around 1,000 AD, and the city was eventually abandoned. Even when it fell out of use, it stayed an important place in the mythology of the Andean people, who viewed it as a religious site.

Besides the obvious benefits of being able to study and share the artifacts of ancient civilizations, the project has another benefit as well. Most of the people who currently live in the area make their living in agriculture or fishing.

This project brings the possibility of new jobs for local residents, which can keep people from leaving the area due to a lack of opportunities, helping revitalize local communities.

PERU: Well-Preserved Dog Remains Unearthed in ancient Peruvian temple

PERU: Well-Preserved Dog Remains Unearthed in ancient Peruvian temple

In an ancient pre-Hispanic Peruvian site, the “unprecedented” well-preserved bones of a 1000-year-old dog are found.

In the main building, described as a temple in the reports, researchers from the Sechin Archeological Project found dog remains from the Casma Valley in northern Peru.

The Casma-Sechin culture is a concentration of pre-Hispanic ruins in the valleys of the Casma River.

PERU: Well-Preserved Dog Remains Unearthed in ancient Peruvian temple
The dog remains found in Peruvian archaeological site

Researchers said the dog (Canis lupus familiaris), whose breed and age are yet to be determined, is from the late occupation of the Sechin culture around 1,000 A.D.

The temple complex is believed to be much older, however, with scientists finding a staircase reportedly dating back some 4,000 years.

Project director Monica Suarez told reporters the dog is so well preserved its fur can be determined as “yellow and brown” and even the pads on its paws have been preserved.

She added that the dog “could be a native breed from the pre-Hispanic era” that had settled in the temple, adding: “It is believed it belongs to the era of the reoccupation of Sechin, specifically to the Casma culture, around 1,000 AD.”

Local media report the find has been described by the researchers as “unprecedented”.

The remains will be sent to the Peruvian Ministry of Country after being analyzed by the researchers.

The project is in the middle of its first phase and the researchers will take a break in November before starting again before the end of the year.

The mummified corpse of ‘magical’ baby boy who died 50 years ago attracts thousands of pilgrims

The mummified corpse of ‘magical’ baby boy who died 50 years ago attracts thousands of pilgrims

There are thousands of pilgrims hundreds of miles traveling to visit the tiny body of Miguel Ángel Gaitán, Spanish for “Miracle Child”. “El Angelito Milagroso.”

Fifteen days prior to his first birthday in 1967, Miguel died of meningitis. Seven years ago, however, he apparently returned from beyond the grave seven years later and refused to go back – so his family members displayed their wrinkled corpse to worshippers to visit. 

A young boy poses with Miguel

El Angelito was buried where he was born in Banda Florida, a small town in the northwest of Argentina.

But seven years later something odd began to happen when the boy’s grave and the coffin would often be found open – with objects and pieces of a stone thrown all around it.

The cemetery janitors initially blamed violent rainstorms that were battering the city at the time.

But the mysterious happenings continued even after the weather improved.

Pilgrims leave flowers, pictures, and toys around Miguel

The boy’s mother said: “We would even put stones and other objects over the cover – but every morning we’d find it open.

“We then figured Miguelito did not want to be covered – he wanted to be seen.”

Villagers moved the coffin out in the open – but then the coffin’s lid kept being removed.

Interpreting the bizarre phenomenon as a further sign Miguel wanted to be seen, the family moved him to a coffin with a glass lid.

Even after almost 50 years, Miguel’s tiny wrinkled corpse is still incredibly well-preserved.

The child’s body quickly became a local attraction and rumours began to spread far and wide about his supposed magical powers.

For decades now thousands of Argentinians from across the country have descended on the remote town to seek a miracle.

One man – Daniel Saavedra – went to visit El Angelito when he fell ill with a rare pancreatic disease and within weeks he made a full recovery – he claims.

While some people believe touching the mummy’s forehead can help them, others just come to see the peculiar situation and hear the story.

Many of the visitors leave toys and flowers at the tomb.