Ancient Mesoamerica



REPLY TO PETER SCHAAF AND GÜNTHER A. WAGNER'S “COMMENTS ON ‘MESOAMERICAN EVIDENCE OF PRE-COLUMBIAN TRANSOCEANIC CONTACTS’ ”


Romeo H.  Hristov a1 and Santiago  Genovés T. a2
a1 Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA
a2 Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, Universidad Nacional Autonomía de México, 04510 Mexico, DF, Mexico

Abstract

In the present “Reply …” we discuss a correction of the thermoluminescence (TL) age limits of an apparently Roman terracotta head found in Mexico (Hristov and Genovés 1999), as well two recent objections to the reliability of the find: (1) that the artifact may have been imported to the New World after A.D. 1492; and (2) that the head was “planted” at the archaeological site during the excavation. The corrected TL age limits oscillate from 2870 B.P. to 730 B.P. (cal. 875 B.C.–A.D. 1265), which excludes the possibility of Colonial manufacture of the artifact and makes the hypothesis of its Roman origin and importation into Mesoamerica applicable. However, an examination of the political and economic relationships between the Aztecs and the Matlatzincas, as well as the circumstances of the discovery, make highly unlikely the suggestion of post-Columbian importation of the artifact into Mesoamerica (and especially into the Central Mexican Highlands), and of the “planting” of the figurine at the archaeological site. Finally, we summarize some recent finds of Berber, Phoenician, Egyptian, and Roman objects and inscriptions in the Canary archipelago that strongly support the possibility of a few sporadic, perhaps accidental, transatlantic voyages from the Mediterranean to Mesoamerica in antiquity.