# Terra Preta Technology Written In The Glyphs?

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### #1 danauffrey

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 04:23 AM

Hi all, i stumbled on this site a few weeks ago and loving it

i was reading up on myan mythology and trying to gain insight on their writting. As i understand it, they had a very extensive
written collection until the spaniards decided to burn evrything (: nonetheless...

im gonna make this short cause its late

i just stumbled on this short translation of myan mythology which is:

"Mayan mythology portrays the Gods first creating “Man” out of clay, but this creature was not satisfying to them, so clay-man dissolved and crumbled away. The Mayan gods then created a being of wood which had no soul; thus, this “wood-manly-being” had no recollection of its creators; so the gods had it burn. Then the Maya Gods and Deities chose to form a third kind of man, this time from corn and they were pleased; therefore, ancient Mayas believed, as many do today, to be the son’s of maize."

After reading that i began thinking about religion and postulated that knowledge must procede religion, and that religion iether proliferates as
a way of remembering societal knowledge or it develops as an attempt to fill in the gaps of societal knowledge...

regardless even if the only remnants of ancient myan writting is dogmatic i still believe that the instrustion to creating terra preta and more importantly their knowlewdge of agriculture in general, can
be found my teasing out the tidbits of knowledge wrapped in the dogma.

if one takes the authors translation it can be easy to simply assume it is devoid of scientific knowledge however the translation may be impricise or perhaps the script evolved from a different interpretation. This could be a starting discription for how the myans made terra preta.

while reading up on how the spanish so arrogantly destroyed the ancient writtings has me thinking that i think we still have a sense of bias (like the spaniards had )that our current technological knowledge is superior to anything that an older civilization or conquered civ may have possesed. So even though much of (from my understanding) the translations portray dogmatic beleifs i think it would be important to look past the dogma

i also stumbled on a glyph http://spywriter.wor...erary-treasure/ which i believe is an instruction set for a perticular task. i read something along the lines that they had an alphabet but they also had glyphs that told storys, why wouldn't they have had glyphs or pictures that would also help say a lower level worker remember a perticular system or a set of tasks?

i've read all the threads and im still surprised that noone here seems to have taken an interest in what is left of the glyphs, calenders ect.

### #2 sigurdV

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 02:03 PM

I was reading up on myan mythology and trying to gain insight on their writing. As i understand it, they had a very extensive
written collection until the spaniards decided to burn evrything (: nonetheless...

"Mayan mythology portrays the Gods first creating “Man” out of clay, but this creature was not satisfying to them, so clay-man dissolved and crumbled away. The Mayan gods then created a being of wood which had no soul; thus, this “wood-manly-being” had no recollection of its creators; so the gods had it burn. Then the Maya Gods and Deities chose to form a third kind of man, this time from corn and they were pleased; therefore, ancient Mayas believed, as many do today, to be the son’s of maize."

Yes its interesting, we began in Africa, perhaps clay was important to us?
When and where was clay discovered and used for what purpose?
Perhaps the memory was carried all the way to Amerixa?

### #3 danauffrey

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:50 PM

Yes its interesting, we began in Africa, perhaps clay was important to us?
When and where was clay discovered and used for what purpose?
Perhaps the memory was carried all the way to Amerixa?

not sure why this found its way in anthropology, i had originally posted in the terra preta forum...
this was written in the spirit of gaining understanding in the lost art of making terra preta.

i found that passage intertesting because clay shards, charcoal from wood and other sources, and compost seem to be the primary ingredients in the terra preta soils.

science understands the benefits of adding charcoal and compost although the actual terra preta "recipe" is still unknown, so far no explanation for the use of clay shards....

one of the best hypothesis i found was that the shards served as soil infrastructre, iether for water displacement or used as airation.

the order of the passage is also interesting first clay then char than maize- science shows the benefits of innoculating char with decomposing organic material. So the order or steps to create the soil appear to fit. start with the supporting structure, ie clay than add char then inoculate with compost...

the terra pretta thread seem to study it soly from a biological perspective
it was my hope that the translated text would spark a little more interest in the value of an anthropoligic perspective, which seemed to lack in the discussion but like i said i don't think this is the right forum...

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 07:48 PM

not sure why this found its way in anthropology, i had originally posted in the terra preta forum...
this was written in the spirit of gaining understanding in the lost art of making terra preta.

i found that passage intertesting because clay shards, charcoal from wood and other sources, and compost seem to be the primary ingredients in the terra preta soils.

science understands the benefits of adding charcoal and compost although the actual terra preta "recipe" is still unknown, so far no explanation for the use of clay shards....

one of the best hypothesis i found was that the shards served as soil infrastructre, iether for water displacement or used as airation.

the order of the passage is also interesting first clay then char than maize- science shows the benefits of innoculating char with decomposing organic material. So the order or steps to create the soil appear to fit. start with the supporting structure, ie clay than add char then inoculate with compost...

the terra pretta thread seem to study it soly from a biological perspective
it was my hope that the translated text would spark a little more interest in the value of an anthropoligic perspective, which seemed to lack in the discussion but like i said i don't think this is the right forum...

Just the words Terra Preta gets my attention. No matter where I see it.
It is interesting, the connection between the myths and the actual composition of terra preta. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that there are symbolic connections between them.

It was watching a Nat Geo program where I first heard about terra preta. I've been very interested since. I've often wondered, in the midst of my experimenting with different stoves and such how they were able to produce such vast amounts of soil and how long it took them.
I have taken it as a sort of challenge to change the way I deal with my immediate environment. For a little more than two years now I have returned everything that has grown on my property back into the soil. By means of bio char, composting and mulching. I also raise worms and use a composting toilet. I haven't really made an effort to actually document anything, but since my soil seems to be primarily sand and shell, I don't thing I could do anything but improve it.

Needless to say, I have tried to come up with all sorts of ways to burn stuff and make bio char. One of my most recent stoves has got to be the simplest tlud in the world. I love it. And it got me to thinking that perhaps the makers of terra preta did something similar.

Here's what it is. I rake a bunch of ground litter. Leaves, twigs, dry dog poop, whatever, into a pile. I compact it as much as I can and then place a metal cone shaped lid over it. The lid is actually the bottom of an old marine barbeque. It has a large circle of holes in it's top, (used to be it's bottom), each about 3/4" diameter and I cut a large hole (around 4"), in the middle of this circle. After placing it on the pile of leaves, I place a pipe on the center hole for a chimney. I light it with a torch via the smaller holes which provide the secondary air once the thing gets burning. I make sure that there is plenty of access around the bottom of the cone for primary air and the thing works like a charm. After some initial smoke, it burns as cleanly and as hot as a regular tlud.
What I was thinking is that perhaps they did the same thing on a much larger scale by just applying a layer of clay over big piles of stuff, forming chimneys, and adjusting air flow by making holes in the clay. After the fire, which they could extinguish easily, the clay would just break up and mix with the char. If they then used this area a a local dump/latrine dump/compost pile, who knows?
What do you think?

### #5 sigurdV

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 08:50 PM

Aha!

Still interesting...

### #6 danauffrey

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 09:21 PM

Just the words Terra Preta gets my attention. No matter where I see it.
It is interesting, the connection between the myths and the actual composition of terra preta. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that there are symbolic connections between them.

It was watching a Nat Geo program where I first heard about terra preta. I've been very interested since. I've often wondered, in the midst of my experimenting with different stoves and such how they were able to produce such vast amounts of soil and how long it took them.
I have taken it as a sort of challenge to change the way I deal with my immediate environment. For a little more than two years now I have returned everything that has grown on my property back into the soil. By means of bio char, composting and mulching. I also raise worms and use a composting toilet. I haven't really made an effort to actually document anything, but since my soil seems to be primarily sand and shell, I don't thing I could do anything but improve it.

Needless to say, I have tried to come up with all sorts of ways to burn stuff and make bio char. One of my most recent stoves has got to be the simplest tlud in the world. I love it. And it got me to thinking that perhaps the makers of terra preta did something similar.

Here's what it is. I rake a bunch of ground litter. Leaves, twigs, dry dog poop, whatever, into a pile. I compact it as much as I can and then place a metal cone shaped lid over it. The lid is actually the bottom of an old marine barbeque. It has a large circle of holes in it's top, (used to be it's bottom), each about 3/4" diameter and I cut a large hole (around 4"), in the middle of this circle. After placing it on the pile of leaves, I place a pipe on the center hole for a chimney. I light it with a torch via the smaller holes which provide the secondary air once the thing gets burning. I make sure that there is plenty of access around the bottom of the cone for primary air and the thing works like a charm. After some initial smoke, it burns as cleanly and as hot as a regular tlud.
What I was thinking is that perhaps they did the same thing on a much larger scale by just applying a layer of clay over big piles of stuff, forming chimneys, and adjusting air flow by making holes in the clay. After the fire, which they could extinguish easily, the clay would just break up and mix with the char. If they then used this area a a local dump/latrine dump/compost pile, who knows?
What do you think?

Have you tried this? interesting. but what about composting? it sounds like you char (all) your organics. As a non active academic (me) its hard to find all the current relevant studies data, i've only seen one picture of a soil sample excavation i don't know what the quantity of clay, shapes and so forth that are found on site. whether or not the shards are found all over the terra preta soils or just in isolated areas. but certainly interesting. i guess if the shards are only found in a localized area on a tp site than your theory has more credance however if they are found throughout the entire tp site then i think your theory looses some ground.

i haven't started making my own char yet, hopefully in the not so distant future though.
i think i share your perspective im not a scientist so i don't think ill be documenting much of my efforts either, but for whatever reason im comforted by the idea or part of the culture that whent into making the soil,
so hopefully in the not so distant future i might become as dilligent as you are in taking the innitiave in putting some of the known techniques into practise. My dad is retiring and we love to fiddle around, we talked about making an oven.

Have you tried your clay technique? its interesting. but what about composting? it sounds like you char (all) your organics. i thought one of the important process was to innoculate the char with micro orgs and nutrients by composting as well.
personnally i don't believe the pot shards are a critical component, i think they were somehow helpfull though,(you seem to share that idea as well) but i am going to experiment with my original assumption this summer just to satisfy my curiosity.

im going to try and compost 2 seperate compost piles (as identical as i can)
plot 1 will just be a bare plot of land
plot 2 will be a bare plot of land with pot shards inserted virtically into the ground sticking up mid way

ill lay both compost piles on the plots and see if there is a noticeble difference in the time or quality of composting. (im assuming that the shards might provide a bit of airation to the compost pile).

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 10:01 PM

Have you tried this? interesting. but what about composting? it sounds like you char (all) your organics. As a non active academic (me) its hard to find all the current relevant studies data, i've only seen one picture of a soil sample excavation i don't know what the quantity of clay, shapes and so forth that are found on site. whether or not the shards are found all over the terra preta soils or just in isolated areas. but certainly interesting. i guess if the shards are only found in a localized area on a tp site than your theory has more credance however if they are found throughout the entire tp site then i think your theory looses some ground.

i haven't started making my own char yet, hopefully in the not so distant future though.
i think i share your perspective im not a scientist so i don't think ill be documenting much of my efforts either, but for whatever reason im comforted by the idea or part of the culture that whent into making the soil,
so hopefully in the not so distant future i might become as dilligent as you are in taking the innitiave in putting some of the known techniques into practise. My dad is retiring and we love to fiddle around, we talked about making an oven.

Have you tried your clay technique? its interesting. but what about composting? it sounds like you char (all) your organics. i thought one of the important process was to innoculate the char with micro orgs and nutrients by composting as well.
personnally i don't believe the pot shards are a critical component, i think they were somehow helpfull though,(you seem to share that idea as well) but i am going to experiment with my original assumption this summer just to satisfy my curiosity.

im going to try and compost 2 seperate compost piles (as identical as i can)
plot 1 will just be a bare plot of land
plot 2 will be a bare plot of land with pot shards inserted virtically into the ground sticking up mid way

ill lay both compost piles on the plots and see if there is a noticeble difference in the time or quality of composting. (im assuming that the shards might provide a bit of airation to the compost pile).

No, Sorry. I guess I wasn't clear. I burn a lot of stuff, but I also compost a lot of stuff too. I use probably somewhere around 75 percent of the bio char, mixed with sawdust as a cover material in my toilet. I believe, though can't prove that it absorbs odors better than sawdust alone. Plus, the inoculating begins right away. The toilet contents are added to the compost pile along with lots of other stuff like leaves, grass clippings etc.
I compost all our kitchen scraps plus that from two of our neighbors. I have to choose whether the chickens, worms or compost pile gets the scraps.
So no, I don't burn everything.

I don't know about where the shards are found either. I thought that they were pretty evenly dispersed though. But that doesn't necessarily negate the theory. I can picture large dump areas that would have to be left alone for a number of years and then spread out, or plowed out and turned into growing fields. So the shards could have been dispersed that way.

If I had a source of natural clay around, I would love to try to make a stove like that. But I would have to buy clay and that goes against my principles.

### #8 erich

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:56 AM

Geo-Glyphs And Geo-Polities: Amazonia's Surprising Past
http://www.npr.org/t...38264&pageNum=2

Also, After the reunification of all life on earth which most refer to as the Columbian Exchange. The genetic evidence corresponds the historical records showing a 50%+ population decline in the new world. That is when the Amazon Jungle began to grow;

The Columbian encounter led to terrestrial biospheric carbon sequestration on the order of 2 to 5 GtC Climate Forcing.
The Columbian Encounter and the Little Ice Age: Abrupt Land Use Change, Fire, and Greenhouse Forcing - Annals of the Association of American Geographers
http://www.informawo...5608.2010.50243

The irony is that that this exchange of life goes way beyond the plants, animals, diseases & worms. all the way to climate, but the potato-eaters of Europe
weathered the cold storm, the bread eaters starved.

The extent of Terra Preta soils is now estimated to be equivalent to the land area of France.
Next year an exact count can be made by reviewing off the shelf satellite data;
NASA’s EO-1 hyperspectral imagery data has been used to discern Amazonian black earth, or Terra Preta soils.
NASA’s Space Archaeology; $364K Terra Preta Program http://archaeologyex...-satellite.html ### #9 belovelife belovelife psionicist - preserver lv.143 • Members • 1397 posts Posted 03 February 2012 - 12:37 AM do you have more glyphs ### #10 danauffrey danauffrey Curious • Members • 5 posts Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:18 PM Geo-Glyphs And Geo-Polities: Amazonia's Surprising Past http://www.npr.org/t...38264&pageNum=2 Also, After the reunification of all life on earth which most refer to as the Columbian Exchange. The genetic evidence corresponds the historical records showing a 50%+ population decline in the new world. That is when the Amazon Jungle began to grow; The Columbian encounter led to terrestrial biospheric carbon sequestration on the order of 2 to 5 GtC Climate Forcing. The Columbian Encounter and the Little Ice Age: Abrupt Land Use Change, Fire, and Greenhouse Forcing - Annals of the Association of American Geographers http://www.informawo...5608.2010.50243 The irony is that that this exchange of life goes way beyond the plants, animals, diseases & worms. all the way to climate, but the potato-eaters of Europe weathered the cold storm, the bread eaters starved. The extent of Terra Preta soils is now estimated to be equivalent to the land area of France. Next year an exact count can be made by reviewing off the shelf satellite data; NASA’s EO-1 hyperspectral imagery data has been used to discern Amazonian black earth, or Terra Preta soils. NASA’s Space Archaeology;$364K Terra Preta Program
http://archaeologyex...-satellite.html

thanks for those links, i was thinking about that recently. if terra preta is such a rich nutrient soil than shouldn't you be able to identify the soil by observing the canopy of the jungle? i hadn't been able to find any good links on that subject so thanks.

### #11 danauffrey

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 02:26 PM

do you have more glyphs

Here's a website with an interactive tutorial to help learn how to read and speak the language http://www.pbs.org/w...de-stela-3.html

also david stuart is a great source of info in regards to translating the glyphs. from my understanding stuart is one of the leading academics in the field.

i've been trying to come up with a list of the leading reasershers(trying to avoid the hacks and speudo scientists as best i can).

### #12 erich

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 05:26 AM

'danauffrey'
My favored anthropologist on TP is Dr William Woods,at KU. http://www2.ku.edu/~...s/Woods_W.shtml

To Further Research;

Moira Wilson of the University of Manchester has developed a ceramic dating technique which sounds perfect to draw an exact time line of TP development year over year.
At an accuracy of years we could see the speed at which the system built on itself once initiated.
Archaeological dating by re-firing ancient pots - physicsworld.com
http://physicsworld....icle/news/39413

This recent research on aerosols by Lina Mercado of the UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, presents a double-bind, in that , as aerosols are reduced, less diffusion of light reduces photosynthesis,(drawing down 20% less CO2 into biomass). Again, only a carbon negative system like biochar can address this added CO2 burden caused by this double-bind of clean air.
http://physicsworld....icle/news/38777

What the CFC/Ozone success story was for raising the importance atmospheric chemistry, I feel biochar will be for carbon soil chemistry, Mycology and Microbiology. The historical climate work of William Ruddiman showing the agricultural origin of most excess CO2 begs this anthropogenic solution of soil carbon sequestration.

The Paleoclimate Record shows agricultural-geo-engineering is responsible for 2/3rds of our excess greenhouse gases. The unintended consequence, the flowering of our civilization. Our science has now realized these consequences and has developed a more encompassing wisdom. Wise land management, afforestation and the thermal conversion of biomass can build back our soil carbon. Pyrolysis, Gasification and Hydro-Thermal Carbonization are known biofuel technologies, What is new are the concomitant benefits of biochars for Soil Carbon Sequestration; building soil biodiversity & nitrogen efficiency, for in situ remediation of toxic agents, and, as a feed supplement cutting the carbon "hoof" print of livestock. Modern systems are closed-loop with no significant emissions. The general life cycle analysis is: every 1 ton of biomass yields 1/3 ton Biochar equal to 1 ton CO2e, plus biofuels equal to 1MWh exported electricity, so each energy cycle is 1/3 carbon negative.

The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era Began Thousands of Years Ago http://www.springerl...28n0425378u736/