There is a hidden history of America’s first peoples and I want you to experience it. Mind you, there’s no occult conspiracy on the part of the Smithsonian, the AIA, the Illuminati, the Rotary Club, or even professional archaeologists like me. No, the “hidden history” I’m referring to here isn’t the product of a conspiracy. It’s the result of general ignorance and historical amnesia.
Too many modern people are unaware of the grandeur of the cultural record of North America. Seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century European explorers and settlers in the American midwest and southeast wrote about their encounters with long-lived empires of pyramid building farmers whose quite sedentary population centers were surrounded by miles of cornfields and whose societies were ruled by powerful kings or great chiefs. In the American southwest, European writers described peaceful farmers living in enormous, finely constructed and elaborate adobe and stone apartment complexes. Other writers in the southwest recorded the presence of beautiful buildings ensconced in impossibly inaccessible cliff niches, leaving the viewer with the impression of breathtaking castles suspended in mid-air. Others still remarked on the awe-inspiring natural galleries where, through etching into or by painting onto rock surfaces, ancient artists left behind tens of thousands of depictions of a broad array of complex geometric forms, naturalistic animals, and phantasmagoric spirit beings. The remains of many of these monuments, sites, and works of art still exist and can be visited by the archaeological time-traveler. Inspiring you to visit such sites is my major goal in this presentation.