Like many things, classical archeology is fraught with danger. There is the ever-present danger of going into unstable countries to do archeological research, but more importantly, there is the danger of funding. Like it or not all archeological expeditions require funding, and that funding comes from governmental institutions as well as private donors which lead to an agenda being set. For the archeologist, there is extreme pressure to not drift outside the norm, less your funding be cut or you are even ostracized by your peers because you are seen as too radical. What this produces is a don’t rock the boat scenario where archeologists, when confronted with an oddity, will seek out the more conservative solution but behind closed doors, many of them have more radical theories about human history. This leads us to a fundamental problem – who and why are they writing our history? In most cases, it is well-intentioned archeologists seeking the truth, but seeking a conservative truth.
Every day, all across the world, oddities are found. Phoenician coins in North America, Viking swords in the Midwest, or maybe Sumerian artifacts in Bolivia. These oddities are often dismissed because they do not conform to the status quo of human migration. Traditionally migration to America’s is seen as migration across the Bearing land bridge into North America with people filtering down and populating the central and southern parts of the continent and while this is true, archeological evidence does support this, there is a bigger story here.
Recently while searching around for those oddities, as I do from time to time, I came across one of the more flagrant and shocking historical oddities I have seen in a while. They came in the form of a bowl called the “Fuente Magna” bowl and the “Monolith of Pokotia” which both appear to possess cuneiform (Ancient Sumerian writing). Shocking I know… but are they real? One would imagine if these items are real and can be translated it would represent a major archeological discovery! Funny enough, when this was making the rounds in the late 1990’s I was actually studying Anthropology and Archeology at a well-known school and I’ll be damned if my professors ever mentioned this. In all those years not a word, but seeing these artifacts is pretty darn shocking!
Ok, so what is it…
The Fuente Magna Bowl
The Fuenta Magna bowl is a large brown bowl and was found on the land of the Manjon family by a worker near Lake Titicaca about 80km from La Paz in Bolivia. The bowl is large with handles and would appear to be a ceremonial bowl of some sort, but the more interesting fact is that it is apparently covered in Sumerian cuneiform. That’s pretty odd and very out of place.
The cuneiform appears to cover the inside of the bowl with some ornamentation on the outside. Seeing that this would require a significant amount of effort, things like this are usually reserved and religious objects or objects of veneration.
In 1958 an archeologist named Don Max Portugal Zamora came across the object and set about to identify the writing, but his early comparisons to indigenous writing were unsuccessful and he concluded that the writing must be some other style. Fast forward many years – the cause was then taken up by Bernardo Biadós Yacovazzo and Freddy Arce who identified the writing as cuneiform. They then sent photos to Dr. C. A. Winters who provided the following translation:
“Approach in the future (one) endowed with great protection the Great Nia”.
“[The Divine One Nia(sh) to] Establish Purity, Establish Gladness, Establish Character”. (“This favorable oracle of the people to establish purity and to establish character [for all who seek it]”.)
“[Use this talisman (the Fuente bowl)] To sprout [oh] diviner the unique advise [at] the temple”.
“The righteous shrine, anoint (this) shrine, anoint (this) shrine; The leader takes an oath [to] Establish purity, a favorable oracle (and to) Establish character. [Oh leader of the cult] Open up a unique light [for all], [who] wish for a noble life”.
Monolith of Pokotia
The researchers came across a second artifact called the Monolith of Pokotia. It is a stone sculpture about 2m (6ft) tall which shows a man and is covered in cuneiform. The second has less known about it but it was also discovered near the site of Tiahunaco and Puma Punku, which are also a bit odd in their construction but more on that another time.
The researchers again contacted Dr. Clyde Winters, the same person who had translated the Fuente Magna bowl and were startled to again get a cuneiform translation:
Front of the statue:
” Distribute/ the opening of the Oracle to mankind./ Proclaim [that Putaki’s] offspring (are to) witness esteem./Act justly (now), to send forth the oracle to nourish knowledge./ Appreciate the cult. [All to} witness the divine decree./ Send forth the soothsayer to capture the speech [from the oracle] to make clear the ideal norm [ for living, as a guide for mankind]. [Citizens] witness in favor of this human being to create wisdom (for all mankind), and send forth [an example of good] character [Indeed]!”
The left side of the statue.
“The Diviner proclaims the phenomenal depth of this area , of the deity’s power, to entrust man with wisdom”.
The right side of the Pokotia statue including inscriptions which were engraved in a box that provided the name of the Oracle. Below is the inscription:
“Good Putaki, a wise man and progenator of (many) people.”
There is an additional inscription on the right side of the statue.
” Take an oath to witness character and wisdom. Witness the deity’s power [ to make for you] a righteous soul”.
The inscription under the hand on the Pokotia figure is very interesting:
” The oracle Putaki conducts man to truth. (This) esteemed (and) precious oracle to sprout esteem, (now) witness (its) escape”.
The Decipherment of the back inscription of Putaki is below. The writing on the back is written in Proto-Sumerian. The language used to read the inscriptions was Sumerian.
“Proclaim the establishment of character. The strong father (Putaki) to send forth the devination. Strong wisdom (in this) phenomenal area of the deity’s power. Capture the speech (of the oracle) . (The oracle is ) very strong to benefit (and) nourish the sprouting (of) character. Tell human being(s) (the oracle’s) benefit. The oracle to open (up) much (benefit for all).”
” The ideal norm (is the) oracle (of Putaki). (This) oracle is (in) a phenomenal area of the deity’s power”. Distribute to all humanity (the divine decree). Snare a portion (of the) pure voice. (The oracle to) send forth gladness. Agitate the mouth (of the oracle), to send forth the divination. The diviner speaks good.”
” The ideal norm (is this) oracle. (This) oracle (gives) divine decree.Distribute to all humanity (the divine decree). Snare a portion (of the) pure voice. (The oracle to) send forth gladness. Agitate the mouth (of the oracle), to send forth the divination. The diviner speaks good.”
“The divine decree to become visible and glisten (from the oracle’s own) mouth. Open up the divination. Agitate the oracle (to) send forth (now) wisdom and character. Open (the oracle) to distribute the divine decree (for all it is) lawful and righteous Good. Send forth the sustenance of the pure oracle. Stand upright (Oh oracle) to appear as a witness speaking purity. The oracle (of Putaki) to open (up and) send forth gladness and character”.
“(Putaki) speaks (in) true measure, to send forth gladness (for all). Send forth nourish(ment). (The oracle Putaki is) the father of wisdom (and) benefit (for all). (The oracle) to become a visible witness of the diving decree and knowledge. (This) pure oracle speaks the divine decree (and) makes (it) a visible witness (of the deity’s power).”
So what do these oddities tell us? They could represent evidence of pre-Columbian contact with Sumerians which while shocking enough is the tip of the iceberg. These items would appear to represent religious artifacts that are not generally taken lightly and would not be traded but instead venerated. This would seem to indicate there was a Sumerian population at Tiahuanaco in the range of 3500 to 3000 BC. It is important to add that the location of Tiahuanaco is very barren and remote. Lake Titicaca is located in the Altiplano and is extremely high, cold and desolate with only sparse vegetation. This is not a location where people would just go, and certainly not traders peddling their wares. This would seem to indicate that there was a population there and given the ruins there this was a site of symbolic religious significance.
More importantly – Why are we not talking about this? If this is real this is a major find and should rewrite the textbooks on pre-Columbian contact. After looking into this and other oddities it would almost seem like there is a conspiracy of silence…