About a third of the way to North America across the Atlantic, 1,000 miles off the coast of Europe, is the Azores archipelago. The Azores Islands belonging to Portugal, were officially recorded as uninhabited until Portuguese expeditions colonized them in the 15th century. But, some experts say that rock art and the remnants of human-made structures here suggest the Azores were occupied by humans thousands of years ago.
The Controversy Surrounding Azores Islands
The fact that these islands were inhabited by ancient people, is supported by a theory that a trade route existed between the Phoenicians, the Norse, and the New World.
Also, some of the structures found here suggest that a civilisation, enough advanced to travel long distance and colonise this island, existed. This controversy, made the Portugal’s government to establish an expert commission to investigate further.
The commission declared in 2013, that any perceived remnants of an ancient civilization were either natural rock formations or structures of more modern origin but, a post-doctoral student, Antonieta Costa, remained unconvinced and continued research otherwise. But Costa, after a meeting with the regional secretary of education and culture for Azores, apparently now has some government support for her research.
The Theory Of Phoenician-New World Contact
In one of the letters by the researcher, Johan Frans Podolyn, the discovery of Carthaginian coins on Corzo, one of the Azores islands was detailed. What is now Tunisia, North Africa, was Carthage in the 1st century B.C. founded by the Phoenicians. One of the theories suggest that Phoenicians knew the trade route to the New world, but propagated a myth that it was impossible to cross the ocean, to maintain a monopoly.
As evidence of this trade route, the artifacts in North America, such as petroglyphs found in Peterborough, Canada, have been cited. But dome believe otherwise, that these might have been left behind by settlers or they might have been fake. Costa, however believes that these islands may have been the stepping stone to the new world, still, thinks that more research has to be done.
Stone Age Calendars And Maps
Costa studied standing stones, basins, and small openings made in rocks on the islands, where the small openings, or slits, in the rocks were described as cuts made by modern settlers to facilitate quarrying the stone, but Costa claims that these slits wouldn’t have helped in quarrying and instead these might be a part of an ancient calendar system.
She also claimed that it suggests a methodical alignment of the marks as the slits closest to the cardinal east direction are smaller than the ones facing the other directions.
Costa also feels that inscriptions made on slabs of bedrock on the Azores could be similar to stone age maps citing work by Angelo Fossati, a professor of prehistory at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy.
She also compared the rock formations to those in Lapland, the northern reaches of Finland. She believes that basins were cut in rock for ceremonial purposes, as people in ancient Lapland performed ceremonies near such rock formations.
She claims that she can’t make any sure statements at this point about the relation between Azores, Phoenicians, and the stone age, but she will continue to study further.
originally written by Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Time