Honey’s Writing From The Second Gold Mountain

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January 1, 2014 · Posted in Notes from Above Ground 


By Honey van Blossom

(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste)

No one knows when people began to talk.  One theory is that a genetic mutation in a gene such as FOXP2 allowed people to speak.  It is almost impossible to imagine that one day a human baby born with the mutated gene was able to talk but his family could not.  Babies learn language so there had to have been more than one baby but Noam Chomsky proposed that a single chance mutation occurred in one individual about 100,000 years ago, so Chomsky could imagine what I almost cannot.

A friend of mine today told me that alien intervention explains everything.  Aliens mutated the gene.  “So why,” I asked, “did a four legged mammal who walked the earth mutate into the whale?  Why would aliens care?”

Other scholars place the beginning of speech as about 200,000 years ago.  Neanderthal man in Europe and central Asia had the larynx, cranial capacity and the FOXP2 gene for speech and archeological evidence indicates they could talk.   Neanderthal is our closest extinct relative and probably interbred with modern humans when we arrived in Europe and central Asia.

Story-telling, singing stories, rhyming words to remember, and stories told through art began before people physically like us began in Africa.  Africa is the tree trunk of human beings.

The oldest intentional burial site – about 100,000 years old — is at the Qafzeh cave in the lower Galilee region of what is today Israel.  Homo sapiens may have migrated into Europe in at least two separate waves.  Radiocarbon tests conclude that baby teeth from a modern human found in Italy were 43,000 to 45,000 years old.   Dr. Thomas Higham of the University of Oxford concludes, “that early humans must have coexisted with Neanderthals in this part of the world (Europe?)….” Neanderthals became extinct 30,000 years ago.

Recent genetic studies concluded that humans arrived in the Altai Mountains in Central Asia 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.  Those people are the likeliest source of populations who later inhabited Europe, Siberia and North America.  According to the Kurgan hypothesis (first formulated in the 1950s), the northwest of the region is thought to be the source of Indo-European languages.  The term “Kurgan” is derived from a Turkic loanword in Russian for a burial bound.

A very thick branch of those people who came to occupy California begins about 40,000 years ago in the Altai Mountains.   Another branch migrated west and joined other people in the Middle East, Europe and the British Isles and Scandinavia

The Altai is the source for Siberia’s two major rivers, the Ob and the Irtysh. It lies on the boundary between north and central Asia; it encompasses high mountain ranges down to grassy steppes. Five glacial periods shaped its rugged mountains, thrust up between 500 and 300 million years ago.

Altai comprises the modern Altai Republic, Uygur China, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.  The Turkic and Mongolian meaning of Altai is “Gold Mountain.”  “Tai” or “tag” means mountain.  “Alt” means “reddish-gold.” The modern Turkish word for “mountain” is “dağ.  “Al” in modern Turkish means the verb “Take,” but as an adjective it means “red.”  In ancient Chinese texts, it is金山: Gold Mountain.  (The second word, “mountain, is a clear pictograph of a mountain.)

Spencer Wells analyzed genetic changes in the Y-chromosome of people in all regions of the world.  In his The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey (2002), he describes an exodus from Africa that began 60,000 years ago.  Following the southern coastline of Asia, the first travelers crossed 155 miles of sea and colonized Australia by around 50,000 years ago..

Small groups left Central Asia around 35,000 years ago for Europe. The Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave in the Ardèche department of southern France contains the earliest known cave paintings, painted about 30,000 to 32,000 years ago.  Incising around the outlines of the figures imparts a three-dimensional quality and the suggestion of movement.

24,000-year-old bones of a boy excavated at the Mal’ta archeological site in south central Siberia near the border of Mongolia in the 1920s and kept at Russia’s Hermitage State Museum yielded a DNA signature shared by modern European populations and also by many present-day aboriginal people in the Western Hemisphere.

Around 30 female statutes found in the Mal-ta area near Lake Baikal, the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, were carved from mammoth ivory.  Some of the figures are nude; others are etched to indicate fur or clothing.  Some are full figured women and others have a thin, delicate form.

Among other artistic accomplishments are figurines of birds.

Around 20,000 years ago, a small group of Central Asians moved into Siberia and the Arctic Circle.  Altaic languages influenced Chinese.  Over 1137 years, Altaic people colonized China.  Northern Chinese local languages show similarity to Altaic languages.  Altaic is a proposed language family that includes the Turkic, Mongolic, Tungusic, Koreanic and Japonic languages.  .

Linguistic evidence indicates the Yeni-seian family of languages spoken in central Siberia is most closely related to the Na-Dene family of languages spoken in northwestern North America.  This hypothesis is the source of the theory that three migrations peopled the Americas.  It appears presently that the Siberian immigrants first migrated down the Pacific Coast.

Dogs accompanied the Haplogrupo-Q people (“Q” people) into the Americas, although recent studies suggest European hunter-gatherers were the first to tame dogs about 18.800 to 32,000 years ago, which – if true — suggests descendants of early migrants out of the Altai region traveled back to Asia with their dogs.  The cat was domesticated in the Fertile Crescent about 11,000 years ago.  Goats, pigs, cattle, and horses were domesticated later.  People did not move in and out of the Altai in the years before the migration to America to graze their animals because – except for the dog – they had no domesticated animals.

The Q people occupied California from for at least 17,000 years until Spanish explorers, and then Spanish missionaries and settlers arrived here, beginning about 500 years ago, although research suggests Polynesians traveled across the Pacific to Chile and stopped on the Southern and Central Californian coast about 1500 years ago.

Between 11,000 and 10,000 years ago, at the moment or shortly after the moment that Paleo-Indian arrived, thirty-five mammalian genera vanished, among them the mega fauna: tusked mammoths and mastodons, slow-moving giant grand sloths as large as mammoths, an armored 2000 pound six-foot-long glyptodont, single-hump camels, 500-pound tapirs, 300-pound giant beavers, four-horned antelopes, horses, bison-sized shrub oxen, stag-moose with fantastic multiple-palmate tined antlers, dire wolves, 15000-pound short faced bears, and saber tooth tigers.  Many of these animals died in the tar in Los Angeles.  The George C. Page Museum, in what was the Mexican land grant of Rancho La Brea and now part of the Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles, and the McKittrick Tar Pits in Kern County preserved the bones of hundreds of Pleistocene Age Animals.

Ethnographic studies show that California Indians extensively burned chaparral and other shrubs to grasslands in order to increase favored game species.

California native oral literature – documented by Alfred Kroeber, Theodora Kroeber and others who are critical of Alfred Kroeber’s work – gives us a window into the religious – by religious, I mean the world view defined by William James – of our indigenous people.  The native peoples’ stories may help us to understand how our common Altai ancestors saw life. California science fiction partly draws on these indigenous peoples’ stories.  Ursula Kroeber Le Guin’s Always Coming Home (1986) is the most significant California casting of our hunter gathering past as future.

Ecosystems within the coastal region of Southern California were likely the most heavily impacted by Native American burning and may have ultimately set the stage for the successful spread of invasive European grasses in the early 1800s. Southern California oak savannas – examples are those seen along US Highway 101 between Lompoc and San Luis Obispo — were likely covered by an understory of sage scrub, not grass as we see today. Native Americans probably began the elimination of sage scrub in favor of grass in these areas by burning, a process accelerated by Spanish and American ranching.

The occupation of the Americas by those people who came from through Siberia perhaps 15,000 years ago transformed California’s ecology, although at least some this transformation may be a coincidence.  At the end of the Pleistocene, the climate became drier and warmer.  Temperatures warmed by thirteen degrees Fahrenheit and seasonal extremes spiked: winters became cooler and summers hotter.

People descended from Golden Mountain inhabitants who moved west and east but not those who originally occupied California developed agriculture, organized religions, invented writing, the idea of private individually owned property in land, created social hierarchies and class divisions, countries.

Our earliest shared religion was probably animist, with the idea of a Supreme Being coming from our looking at the sun.  William James’ definition of religion is “…(I)n the broadest and most general terms possible, ….consists of the belief that there is an unseen order, and that our supreme good lies in harmoniously adjusting ourselves thereto.”

Using William James’ definition, the myths that grew out religious feeling during this very long episode of human history may have been stories about animals, suggested by California Indian oral literature and by the sculpted relief animals in the earliest remaining temple called in Turkish Göbekli Tepe (“Belly button hill”) in South-eastern Anatolia, constructed over 2,000 years between 12,000 to 10,000 years ago, and the animals represented in Çatalhöyük (“forked mound”) – the oldest remaining agriculture city – wall paintings and small statues, mythical animals with fantastic attributes, in Greek mythology (Arion, Balius and Xanthus, immortal horses, the Golden Fleece, Pegasus, the Phoenix, the Sphinx, Zeus transformed into a swan, the Minotaur – half man, half bull – suggest Paleolithic religion was animist. Animism (from Latin animus, -isoul, life“) is the worldview that natural physical entities—including animals, plants, and often even inanimate objects or phenomena—possess a spiritual essence.

California indigenous literature shows that some people here believed the sun was God.  Archeologists’ discovery of two previously undiscovered pits positioned on celestial alignment at the site and may have contained stones, posts or fires to mark the rising and setting of the sun before the monument Stonehenge in England (3,100 BC to 2,400 BC).  Stonehenge itself may have been built to capture the sun within the structure at Solstice.  The Maltese cross within a circle is a symbol of the sun. The radiant light behind the heads of saints is called the halo, related to the Greek god Helios. In Greek mythology, Icarus attempts to escape from Crete by means of wings his father constructed from feathers and wax.  He ignored instructions not to fly to close to the sun god Helios but he did, and the melting wax on his wings caused him to fall into the sea and drown.  The story is usually meant as a warning against hubris.  It doesn’t take a big leap in imagination to see the parable as a warning against trying to physically approach God.  The Christian Sabbath is on Sunday.  Many people around the world think of God as being in heaven, or the sky.

If we can imagine away our present knowledge that the sun is a star and that the earth is in an orbit around it and see the world with the eyes of earlier people and then to look around us and above us, we see the sun so brilliant we cannot look at it.  The sun’s light casts shadows through the trees.  It glints on rocks, creates diamonds of light on the surface of water, seems to grow weaker in winter, raises fresh vegetation in spring as it appears in the sky longer.  What else, in pre-historic time, would God be but the sun?

Some of the people of Altai moved east, and then into the Americas: smaller branches from the great Central Asian branch of the African tree trunk.  Some in the Chinese branch came looking for Gold Mountain, and other Asian people came to this state – all of them bringing stories from their rich cultures.  The westerly migration moved into Egypt, the Levant, Anatolia, the Balkans, and Europe.  None of them remembered the thousands of years some of the European and Middle Eastern peoples ancestors and all of the ancestors of the indigenous people had lived together in the first Gold Mountain area, 30,000 to 35,000 ago, had gathered plants together, told stories under rock ledges, celebrated births, mourned deaths, and, when resources depleted, moved away from each other.

The pageantry of human experience met in this state: bone rattles, native homes built in the shape of Central Asian yurts, group dancing, headdresses, incense, fire crackers, gold bracelets, mantillas, corsets, top hats, bits of mirror in miners’ cabins, wheat, pomegranates, grapes, guitars, Sousa bands, locomotives, games of cards and dice, crowd diseases, genocide, the terrible legacies of slavery, civil rights, the right of women to vote, the end of miscegenation laws, the transformation of the natural ecology by all of the people, utopian dreams of equality and equal participation, and the emergence of the environmental movement.


California Chaparral Institute, “Native American Burning & Natural Fire Regimes.”  http://www.californiachaparral.com/enativeamericans.html.  Retrieved 11/29/13

Jared Diamond, The World Until Yesterday (2012)

“Hubert H. Bancroft, Historian, is Dead,” The New York Times, March 2, 1918.  (http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00B11FB3A5B11738DDDAA0894DB405B888DF1D3)

Martin W. Lewis, May 25, 2012, “Siberian Genetics, Native Americans, and the Altai Connection,”

Brendan Lindsay, Murder State: California’s Native American Genocide, 1846-1853. (2012)

Merritt Ruhlen, The origin of the Na-Dene”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 95, pp. 13994-13996, November 1998.

Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress (2004)

“Asian Origins of Native American Dogs Confirmed,” Science News, July 10, 2013. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130710182540.html. Retrieved 11/29/13

With respect to Thomas Schurr’s research, see:  http://www.history.com/news/native-americans-hailed-from-siberian-highlands-dna-reveals.  Retrieved 11/20/13


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