1965 cont.

The Early Inhabitants of the Canary Islands, By Alf Bajocco, Part III

"Guanche" became widespread throughout the islands at the end of the fifteenth century A.D. when the Spanish began to use it beyond its original meaning. Its wrong use by modern writers and archaeologists was due to a misinterpretation of Verneau's words. In reality, Mr. Verneau only used 'Guanche' as a specialized technical word to indicate a particular physical type. In Gran Canaria we find the prefix Guan in the first names, such as Guanhahaben, Guanarche, Guanariga, Guanariragua, etc.

Actually, even though the Canarians spoke different dialects varying from island to island, it is evident that all these came from an original linguistic background of Berber extraction. Foreign influences, such as the Arabic 'Ben' for 'Guanche' as came later, perhaps at the time of the rediscovery or during the Spanish Conquest. The Berber origin of Canarian speech has been recognized since the end of the eighteenth century A.D. by George Glas who came to the conclusion that it was a variation of the Silha dialect spoken in a region of N.W. Africa (see The History of the Discovery and Conquest of Canary Islands, printed in London in 1767 for A. Pope and J. Swift in the Strand.) The Canarians never used writing as such. However they used different forms of pictography and some inscriptions have been found, particularly in the Island of Hierro. Such petroglyphs can be divided into four groups, each group belonging to a particular cultural stage of the natives. The first type comprises a series of symbols having a magic or religious meaning which recall the Upper Paleolithic Magdalenian patterns. The second type comprises a mass of symbols put down without any apparent order or direction. Some of these hieroglyphs might recall Palaeocretese signs. More than a writing such a series of signs look like copies of actual symbols made out by the natives perhaps with a view of picking up their magic power (webmaster note-Magical Life-Giver philosophy i.e. Gaunche). The existence of such petroglyphs might indicate that ancient explorers and sailors landed in the Island of Hierro coming into contact with the natives. Such a supposition might be confirmed by the discovery of a third type of petroglyphs which look like a true from of writing. The symbols are similar to palaeonumidic letters or at least some of them recall palaeonumidic writing. They are in vertical columns. The fourth type of petroglyphs shows more specialized form after palaeonumidic pattern. Here again we have only short texts arranged in vertical columns. Any attempt to decipher in Canarian inscriptions has since failed. A typical form of communication is that still used by the inhabitants of the Island og Gomera, dating back to very old times, which has been adapted to the Spanish language. Such means of communication consists of a modulated whistle imitating words (Andre Classe, La fonetica del silbo gomero, an article in "Revista de Historia Canaria", Nos. 125-126, year 1959, pp. 56-57). The social organization of the ancient Canarians was quite an advanced one, as the stage achieved by the natives was far beyond that of a purely tribal society typical of prehistoric cultures. The territory of the islands had been divided into districts recalling cantons of Switzerland. At the head of each district there was a local king. These rulers, called "Reynos" (webmaster not the same as Roman Remos but i.e. Sun-Born Twin Kings?) by the Spanish, exercised their power with great authority and wisdom. Their title was "Guayres" in the native speech of Gran Canaria, "Menceyes" in that of Tenerife, "Altithai" in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura." (Webmaster note- The "Altithai" is an extremely important word because it is definitely pre-greek and is pretty much pre-phoenician and explains the 'Alda' prefix as a 'Alti' type word it is at least contemporary with Malaga names and is considered a pre-celtic pseudo Basque i.e. sea people language. Eskimo's have been known to use words like this form showing its archaic quality. The Menceyes confirms the next stage linguistically after Althi words or Atl-Atl's as a 'water, doublet word'. Menceyes is not necessarily Spanish in Canaries because in pre-Dynastic Egypt that word was floating around Harpooner clans who carried a ancient tradition that dated back to the Azilians???)

There were no human sacrifices, and only the heaviest of crimes, as murder and adultry, were punishable with death. Capital Punishment, however, was inflicted without cruelty.

Tribal and familiar life showed a tendency to matriarchy, probably deriving from an old Berber custom. People belonging to the upper class wore long hair, while the commoners used to have their hair cut. The ancient Canarians worshipped the sun which they called 'Almogaren'. (Webmasters note- 'Almogaren' is very Irish and Scotish sounding both of which do have ancient Basque connections such as 'Alma' or God or Almaner and Garen i.e. a 'crown' which is God's Crown related to the circled looking sun.) The ritual of the Canarian religion was pure and simple. A class of high priests, called Faycans (not Pagans but use the Faga or Figa, or Vega-n term), directed the activities of the cult. There were also corporations of nuns who lived in caves like the hermits of the early Christian times. They were called Arimaguadas, or Maguadas."

(Webmasters note- the indication of this a is a prefix and suffix doublet of 'God' in Ari, and Das or Roman Dias the middle is Magua or a 'Persian like' Zoraster type of Fire-Sun God. This would explain the type of people indicated as having a Semitic almost Mongoloidish facial characteristics.)

The Canarians belonging to the upper class used to embalm the body of their dead. (Webmaster note a Egyptian practice) There were different methods of embalming which, similarly to Ancient Egypt, varied according to the rank and financial position of the family. (Webmaster note also a practice very Egyptian)

A cranial study on some of the mummies found in the cave of Tenerife has been carried out by the German anthropologist, Dr. Ilse Schwidetzky. As some scholars were asserting that an oligarchy had been established in Tenerife by a highly cultured Mediterranean folk over the ruder Cromagnonoids who were the majority of the population, the purpose of Dr. Schwidetsky's work was also to ascertain if such a statement was true. Actually she found no evidence of a particular race, as the skulls examined by her belonged to a more or less homogeneous group showing a mixture of Cromagnonoid and Mediterranean features. These mummies have been dated to a period ranging from the eighth to the ninth centuries of the Christian era by radio carbon estimation of specimens from a cave where they had been found." (Webmasters note - new information has come to light that the practice of mummies on the Canaries went further back to at least 200 B.C., so the 800-900 A. D. only represents cultural discontinuity over time that a practice (though the Egyptians began to discontinue) the Canaries continued to use for much longer after the birth of Christ.)

"This is not mentioned in Dr. Schwidetsky's article which had already been published when such a dating could not be obtained. We are going to examine other dates by Carbon 14 method in the following pages.

As far as the question of mixed races is concerned, apart from the evidence given by the wall paintings discovered by Dr. Fabrizo Mori, we wish to point out the mixtures took place since prehistoric times. In the Museum of Archaeology of Pegli, near Genoa, Italy, there is on exhibition the skeleton of an Upper Paleolithic man, belonging to the Aurignac race, found in the cave of "Arene Candide" of Finale Ligure, near Savona, Italy. The typical cap made of sea shells, as well as weapons and implements from the burial of this man are the exact reproduction of those found in the tomb of another Upper Palaeolithic hunter, belonging to the Cro-Magnon stock, dug up some 40 miles afar in the caves of "Balzi Rossi" of Grimaldi, very close to the border between Italy and France, on the Italian side. We add that the famous "negroids of Grimaldi" were found on the same place. Some datings by the radio active carbon estimation of samples of organic matter from the Canarian sites have recently been obtained. A fragment of wood from a coffin found in the necropolis of Cascajo de Puerto de Las Nieves, near Agaete, in the NW Coast of Gran Canria, has been dated back to A.D. 783, which corresponds to similar dating obtained from other samples of archaeological material coming from inhumation burials found on this site. The wood coffin we refer to had been hollowed from the trunk of a pine tree by using the same method employed by primitive peoples for building a canoe. It contained the bones of an old woman, probably a priestess. The tomb consisted of a stone structure enclosing the coffin, shaped like a small tower, rising to a hieght of six feet (Webmasters note-A Ben-Ben or Obelisk type Menhir?) It recalls the "Chullpas" of Ancient Peru. Another fragment of wood from a funerary cave found at Acusa, not very far from Agaete, in the Artenaria district (Gran Canaria), (Webmaster note- Athena as Artena ?) has been dated back to about A.D. 647. Organic matter from the deepest layers of the tumulus of "La Guancha" at Galder, (Webmaster note- Gader a name for Cadiz,Spain) in the northern district of Gran Canaria, has been estimated to belong to the third century of our Christian Era. All these dating refer to comparatively recent times, and we do hope that further discoveries bring to light some older material belonging to the earliest settlements. "(Webmasters note-that is in some cases very difficult depending on which island is or was volcanically active, which there is no doubt at some time man may have witnessed horrible explosions while on the Canaries of volcanic eruptions that bury and draw waters of disaster and oblivion!)

"We have already pointed out that the Arabs do not seem to have ever been able to establish durable contacts with the Canary Islands and perhaps they never reached them, all the information they had about the islands coming from legends and classical sources. Actually, when we turn to the descriptions of the Atlantic Ocean islands handed down by the Arabian authors, we always meet with extravagant and unbelievable stories. Even the most reputed writers, such as El Edrisi and Abufilda, reported incorrect statements and superstitious accounts of wonderful events, and facts. The only Arabian writer we can rely on was Ibn Khaldoun, who wrote between 1332 and 1406, a man fully possessed of a logical mind, a quality which is seldom found among historians of his time. In actual fact, he was the only one to report some true statements on the Canary Islands and on the inhabitants. However, when we turn to his description of the methods of determining the ships position and course followed by the sailors who explored the Atlantic Ocean in the Canarian area, we are rather surprised at seeing that he refers to some very old technique which were in use many centuries before his times, when the compass had not been invented. Either we assume that the Arabs did not know the compass all through the fourteenth-century, or we come to the startling conclusion that he qouted froma classical sources without realizing how much time had elapsed since the events referred to. Knowing as we do that Ibn Khaldoun was as accurate in reporting facts as a modern scientist, we must confess that we are rather perplexed about his funny account. Even though he was a "paper man" we cannot reasonably think that he had no idea at all of navigation techniques. We must also take into account that explorers and navigators from Genoa had already begun to sail their ships in the Ocean waters in search of new lands to discover." "Apart from what we call the "Ibn Khadoun enigma", it seems that the Arabs of these times were an imaginative people, believing as they still did to a lot of frightful stories telling of the Ocean perils, which had probably been invented by the Phoenicians with a view to keeping all other peoples away from their secret routes."

"Even though there was a common cultural background with a common language and a social organization extended in the same way over the islands, it seems quite evident that the inhabitants of Gran Canaria achieved a higher level than the natives of Tenerife." "The Gran Canarians erected megalithic structures which recall pre-Roman Sardinia as well as ancient Peru. Most of these monuments , which however are not so massive as Peruvian or Sardinian Buildings, seem to have been erected for funerary purposes. There were no big temples or palaces, no pyramids and obelisks in the Canary Islands."

(Webmaster note- It depends on whether you call a Irish Tower an Obelisk or not, and whether a terraced temple complex a pyramid or not.)

"In Tenerife no architectural remains were found, and the natives preserved the old custom of using natural caves to bury the body of their dead. The burial rite of inhumation even when the body of the dead was not embalmed. Perhaps the most famous Canarian monument is the tumulus of "la Gauncha" at Galdar which we have already mentioned reporting that its deepest layers have been dated back to the third century of our era (A.D.). "

The Early Inhabitants of the Canary Islands, Alf Bajocco Part IV artifacts found





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