A story about 1,100-year-old Mayan ruins having been built in North Georgia has stirred much debate and gone viral, according to ABCNews.com.
Examiner.com Maya writer Richard Thornton wrote in an article that a 1,100-year-old archaeological site near Georgia's highest mountain, Brasstown Bald, is possibly the site of the fabled city of Yupaha, which Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto failed to find in 1540. However, an archaeologist that he cited, Mark Williams of the University of Georgia, denied the claim.
I am the archaeologist Mark Williams mentioned in this article, Williams wrote in the comments section of Thornton's piece. This is total and complete bunk. There is no evidence of Maya in Georgia. Move along now.
Minutes later, users sent waves of responses via the comments section on Examiner as well as on Facebook and in emails.
One user wrote on Examiner's comments section: @Mark Williams....Your response to this article is completely pompous and arrogant. Is the whole article bunk or just the part that mentions you being a highly respected specialist in Southeastern archaeology? If examiner.com is incorrect in their findings and research, then please, by all means, enlighten the rest of us.
Another user wrote about Williams: Makes you wonder how he treats students with differing opinions? As a citizen of Georgia I will be contacting my state senators to see if we can't get the UGA Anthropology Dept's funding cut until such time as they hire more professional faculty. I've already taken screen shots of his comments in case he deletes them. With all the budget cuts happening in Georgia, I'd rather my tax dollars go to a more worthy institution!
Thornton, despite researching the history of native people in and around Georgia for years, told ABC News in an interview that he was still left dumfounded.
I actually was giving Williams a plug, he said. I've got a regular readership, but this thing just went viral.
History says that the Mayan people thrived in Central America from the end of the third century to the beginning of the 10th century, with ruins built in places such as Guatemala, Belize and Southern Mexico. And Thornton claims that the ruins near Brasstown Bald include mounds and irrigation terraces similar to those found at such Mayan ruins in Central America.
Williams still had many online defenders, though.
One wrote: While there are many, many compelling parallels between Central American and North American indigenous mythologies, that does not mean there was direct evidence that the post-Classic Period Collapse Maya emigrated all the way to Georgia.
Williams, too, defended his denial of Thornton's suggestion that Brasstown Bald has any Mayan roots.
The sites are certainly those of Native Americans of prehistoric Georgia, he wrote in an email to ABC News. Wild theories are not new, but the web simply spreads them faster than ever.