Comet Airburst Could Have Caused Pre-Columbian Native American Civilisation To Decline, Study Says

CC0 / Buddy_Nath / Comet
Comet - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.02.2022
The Hopewell culture (aka Hopewell tradition) is a people indigenous to the east-central part of North America from 200 BC to 500 CE, before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Scientists don’t know what they called themselves but the name Hopewell comes from landowner Mordecai Hopewell, on whose property mounds they built were discovered.
A comet airburst may have caused the decline of a pre-Columbian Native American civilization, known as the Hopewell culture, a group of US scientists has stated. According to the findings of their study published on 1 February in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers analysed sediments near 11 archaeological sites across the Ohio River Valley, which were home to the Ohio Hopewell.

They discovered cosmic events found in asteroids and comets such as iridium and platinum. Using radiocarbon and typological dating, researchers estimate that the cosmic event occurred between 252 and 383 CE. The finding coincides with 69 near-Earth comets, which were observed and documented by Chinese astronomers as well as witnessed by Native American peoples.

"What's fascinating is that many different tribes have similar stories of the event. The Miami tell of a horned serpent that flew across the sky and dropped rocks onto the land before plummeting into the river. When you see a comet going through the air, it would look like a large snake," said Kenneth Tankersley, a professor of anthropology at the University of Cincinnati, who is Native American.

"The Shawnee refer to a 'sky panther' that had the power to tear down a forest. The Ottawa talk of a day when the sun fell from the sky. And when a comet hits the thermosphere, it would have exploded like a nuclear bomb," he added.

Researchers believe the Hopewell also witnessed the airburst as they built a comet-shaped earthwork mound near its epicentre. The indigenous peoples regularly built mounds, which they used for ceremonial purposes, defence and burial.
© PhotoTwitter screenshot
Twitter screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.02.2022
Twitter screenshot
© PhotoTwitter screenshot
Twitter screenshot - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.02.2022
Twitter screenshot
Other pieces of evidence which the scientist believes substantiate his hypothesis is malleable metal, jewellery and musical instruments, which were made by the Hopewell using micrometeorites they collected after the cosmic event.

Researchers believe the comet airburst affected a huge area, bigger than the state of New Jersey, causing fires across 9,200 square miles. It could have resulted in the burning of forests, agricultural fields and buildings and possibly in the deaths of people.

"People didn't have good ways to store corn for a long period of time. Losing a crop or two would have caused widespread suffering," says study author David Lentz, a biologist at the University of Cincinnati.

Airbursts are not uncommon. The best known is the Tunguska event, which occurred in 1908 in Russia. Back then a meteorite explosion flattened about 830 square miles, destroyed an estimated 80 million trees and shattered windows hundreds of miles away from the epicentre.
Scientists note that a combination of factors could have led to the decline of the Hopewell civilisation. Previously, researchers posited that war and climate change caused the collapse of the Hopewell culture. Scientists say they plan more studies to understand what happened to the enigmatic Native American peoples.
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала