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No. 99: May-Jun 1995

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The Inscribed Bricks Of Comalcalco

Comalcalco is a Mayan site in Tabasco, southeastern Mexico. It is unusual as Mayan sites go because its 375 structures, including a large stepped pyramid, incorporate millions of fired bricks. Many of said bricks, when separated from their mortar, display various symbols as well as their makers' fingerprints. N. Steede collected a "small" sample of these bricks (4612 bricks weighing in at 21 tons) and photographed the inscriptions that decorated some 1,500 of them. Many bear what are interpreted as "masons' signs". These turn out to be virtually identical to those found on Roman bricks in the Old World. Conclusion:

"The illustrated bricks of Comalcalco are pieces to a grand puzzle, whose completed, final image may reveal a Roman Christian presence in the Americas a thousand years before the arrival of Columbus." (Ref. 1)

Typical mason's signs found on Roman bricks
Some typical mason's signs found on Roman bricks (left) and Comalcalco bricks (right). Many additional similarities are found between mason's signs from Comalcalco and those from Roman, Minoan, and ancient Greek sites. See Ref. 2.

References

1. Steede. Neil; "The Bricks of Comalcalco," Ancient American, 1:8, September/October 1994. 2. Fell, Barry; "The Comalcalco Bricks: Part 1, the Roman Phase," Occasional Papers, Epigraphic Society, 19:299, 1990.

From Science Frontiers #99, MAY-JUN 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987