CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Maya are making news as archaeologists offer new theories about the ancient New World civilization that built fabulous cities and mysterious pyramids before fading into the jungles of Central America and Mexico. Meanwhile, New Agers in Pittsburgh are making news by offering theories the Mayan civilization had its roots in the Ohio River Valley. They believe forebears left behind a series of earthen Indian mounds during a long march and migration to the subtropic realm that ended with construction of the pyramids. The New Agers explained to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week that some Mayan ruins seem to depict the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers -- along with an underground waterway at the same spot -- which they described as a sacred portal between Earth and heaven. Vikki Hanchin, described as one of the devotees, explains the Mayan connection:
"But if confluence of the four rivers is depicted on the calendar, how did the ancient Maya come to know about it? Here's her thinking: The Meadowcroft Rockshelter, just south of Pittsburgh, is the oldest known human settlement in North America, dating back about 16,000 years. What if its inhabitants had migrated South, like a prehistoric Steeler Nation, carrying a cultural memory of the Point? She envisions them leaving a trail of burial mounds as they went, with their descendants eventually arriving in the Yucatan to become the great pyramid builders."
Meadowcroft Rockshelter is an actual archaeological dig where prehistoric artifacts and relics from the earliest Americans have been unearthed. But scientists have never linked it to the Maya. Still, the New Agers say the confluence of the three rivers "are an exact match for the 'Tree of Life' or 'World Tree' that the Maya saw at the center of the Milky Way. That, they say, makes it an important portal to another world."