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Thread: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

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  1. #1

    Mar 2004
    New Mexico
    616
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    Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    The only surviving eye-witness account of Mexico-area gold and associated topics from the time of the arrival of the Spaniards through early-post-conquest comes from Bernal Diaz del Castillo, so far as I've been able to determine.

    He always noted quality of what came into the Spaniard hands from one of the tribes, and he never mentioned anything high-quality until the issue was Aztec gold. He told of being in the presence of a lot of what he described as 'good quality' gold while Montezuma was a prisoner. He gave a vivid account of the abandonment of it before the fight across the causeway, other than the amount they could carry.

    The tonnage the Spaniards saw and touched in the palace were never mentioned as having been recovered.

    Somewhere back there a legend began of Monetzuma instructing the Aztecs to hide their gold began and persisted through the centuries. The story of four columns of 1000 people each carrying the hoards north and hiding it has cropped up time-to-time as frequently as the places it's thought to be located.

    Today it's still out there being theorized in the same general locations it always was, though Utah's probably hottest at the moment. But I've never been able to find out when and where that story began, nor even where the story of Montezuma's instructions for the Aztecs to hide it got started.

    One of the arguments the legend is false has always rested on the premise that 4000 people knowing a secret makes it a lead-pipe cinch it will be told and remembered. The fact the locations haven't shown themselves in tribal legends somewhere almost certainly means, either the gold didn't come north, or the people carrying it didn't live long enough after having done so to spread the tale of the journey and the whereabouts of the hiding places.

    Judging from the various scratchings on rocks and other evidence found in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, I'm inclined to think hoards did come north. The logistics for those treks must have been a nightmare for each of the columns and they must have manifested themselves in countless vessels for carrying food and water to keep the carriers alive long enough to reach the destination.

    The Aztecs were nothing if not a bloodthirsty lot. It's easy enough to imagine a final bloodbath to make certain none who were lowly enough to be carriers survived to carry tales of the location. But who'd be there to do the work of burying them and all those vessels they used to carry their own food? What's less believable is that those who probably killed them dirtied their hands with anything but human blood.

    So after stacking assertion atop assertion it seems to me anyone searching for Aztec gold might be well served by looking for the remains of a thousand large vessels, besides drawings on cliff-walls. That, and the surrounding soil dominated by thousands of human teeth. Probably the rest of the bone fragments are gone, but teeth last a surprisingly long while.

    Human teeth and possibly metal pots. Those two terrain features ought to assure a third is somewhere nearby.

    J

    Edit: Diaz also tells of what the enemies of the Aztecs had to say about where they came from and when they arrived in the Valley of Mexico. Not more than a century before the arrival of the Spaniards, migrated in from somewhere in the north by the thousands and tens of thousands from somewhere called Aztl'an [Aztl'an mightn't be Diaz]. Generally accepted among linguists these days to mean, either, place of 7 caves, or 'whiteness' place [because of the accented last syllable, changing it from the earlier, 'place of herons' interpretation]. But judging from the fact the Aztecs had a lot of good quality gold and their neighbors evidently didn't, it might be safe to assume there was a lot in their place of origin in the north. In fact, that might well be one of the places they returned it to.



  2. #2
    us
    May 2006
    southern utah
    wander aimlessly in circles with camera in hand
    376
    79 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    thanks highmountain . kind of nice to see a little optimism. and i am still looking at the picture you posted today , sorry it takes me a little while to figure this stuff out in my little brain .
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. Euripides

  3. #3
    us
    May 2006
    southern utah
    wander aimlessly in circles with camera in hand
    376
    79 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    if you keep going with these pictures maybe i can cross one more of them off of the list . still not sure if any of them have been opened ,if so nobody is a talking . so what gives . who are you going to give credit with the discovery a few hundred years back??the spanish ? the Jesuits ?or them wandering masons?
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. Euripides

  4. #4
    Charter Member
    us
    Apr 2007
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    X-terra 70 ACE 250
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    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Definitely interesting!! It would have to be pretty remote to not have had folks stumble upon the bodies before they were just teeth though don't you think? Gracious you folks always make me think! Thanks!

  5. #5
    us
    May 2006
    southern utah
    wander aimlessly in circles with camera in hand
    376
    79 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    well please be careful . it looks like you are well on your way . take lots of pictures. you would be surprised i think at how many sites there just might be . ya i think the Aztecs might have just taken some of it back from whence it came . the thing is , i think it came from quite a few places northward. i meant that part about it being vast in the other thread. let me know if your journey has a happy ending .///bob
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. Euripides

  6. #6
    Charter Member
    us
    Apr 2007
    God's lap
    X-terra 70 ACE 250
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    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Quote Originally Posted by Highmountain
    Quote Originally Posted by Cynangyl
    Definitely interesting!! It would have to be pretty remote to not have had folks stumble upon the bodies before they were just teeth though don't you think? Gracious you folks always make me think! Thanks!
    Remote is a fairly relative term. How long, a person might wonder, does an animal last on the surface? The forest floors aren't paved with them despite the fact probably every acre has been the death-scene for some animal during the past century. The teeth are there to be found. A thousand corpses would probably survive longer because there wouldn't be enough carrion eaters to take care of the cleanup job.

    But Cortez to Coronado was 80 years followed by a long lull before Onate with a trickling few Spaniards north until the Terrors of 1680, revolt of the tribes and every surviving Spaniard driven south of the Rio Grande for 15 years until Diego de Vargas. Then another trickle north with settlements concentrated mainly near the Rio Grande in the Rio Abajo country.

    It's remote but it didn't really need to be until the Civil War brought Texans and California Volunteers. Even then the Apache had a way dampening the aspirations for solitude and communing with remote nature among whites for another decade or two.

    But it wasn't my intention to suggest any Aztec treasure remaining undiscovered today would be located in population centers.
    Well that would seem sufficient time for even that many bodies to be cleared away. It did not truly sink in just how long ago this was and how much things had changed in all that time until I read that....now I am in awe once again contemplating this....really is a fascinating story, so glad you had started the thread.

  7. #7
    us
    May 2006
    southern utah
    wander aimlessly in circles with camera in hand
    376
    79 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    hi jack , sent you a message . Floyd is sending people over here to read these so please feel free to go there, sorry it is a little bit confusing but maybe you will find something to help. http://ancientlosttreasures.yuku.com/topic/1754?page=1
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. Euripides

  8. #8

    Mar 2004
    New Mexico
    616
    7 times

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Good thread. Thanks for the link.

    That codice reminded me of something I've wondered about for a while. Just sent you PM a set of Longitude/Latitude coordinates for Flashearth I think you might find of interest in relation to the codice on WhyteEagle's site thread.

    J

  9. #9
    us
    May 2006
    southern utah
    wander aimlessly in circles with camera in hand
    376
    79 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    thanks for the pushpin it looks good on the big map. don't worry i am not coming to NM.... i am having a little trouble with the mapping program you mentioned but i will mess with it latter . the remoteness of that does fit well with the star pattern mentioned . i guess we will see . i have not had the best of luck with the Google earth anyway . the pictures taken from the ground do not compare to Google images that are panned down on an angle . o well , i guess there are some things they just don't want you to see. from the looks of it all at this point in time , i am going to guess that there are more sites than just 7. i'll check back with you in about a week and good luck.///bob
    Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. Euripides

  10. #10

    Mar 2004
    New Mexico
    616
    7 times

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Quote Originally Posted by kanabite
    thanks for the pushpin it looks good on the big map. don't worry i am not coming to NM.... i am having a little trouble with the mapping program you mentioned but i will mess with it latter . the remoteness of that does fit well with the star pattern mentioned . i guess we will see . i have not had the best of luck with the Google earth anyway . the pictures taken from the ground do not compare to Google images that are panned down on an angle . o well , i guess there are some things they just don't want you to see. from the looks of it all at this point in time , i am going to guess that there are more sites than just 7. i'll check back with you in about a week and good luck.///bob
    Bob: Thanks again for the codice link. As to the other, I'm not concerned. It's not a site I'm planning to try working. Although it's on public land it's inaccessible because it's located on the Ted Turner [AOL etc magnate, billion dollar donation to the UN, etc, once married to Joan Biaz or somesuch Ted Turner] Ladder Ranch not too far from the ghost town of Hermosa. His patented tracts in there are strategically located in such a way as to allow him to keep out the smelly commoners.

    Good luck and thanks again for the thread link.

    Jack

  11. #11
    pw
    Apr 2003
    New Mexico
    BS
    2,841
    1091 times

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Quote Originally Posted by Highmountain
    ....Somewhere back there a legend began of Monetzuma instructing the Aztecs to hide their gold began and persisted through the centuries. The story of four columns of 1000 people each carrying the hoards north and hiding it has cropped up time-to-time as frequently as the places it's thought to be located.

    Today it's still out there being theorized in the same general locations it always was, though Utah's probably hottest at the moment. But I've never been able to find out when and where that story began, nor even where the story of Montezuma's instructions for the Aztecs to hide it got started. ...
    I've been looking for this documentation for 30 years, and frankly, the earliest mention of the parade appeared in treasure-hunting books/articles in the 1930's. This in itself is quite significant, but that's another story.

    Unfortunately, there was no mention of such an expedition passing through non-Mexica territory to North America following the demise of Montezuma. The oral traditions of a number of tribes were retrieved by the ethnologists (Mexican and Anglo) in later years, in detail, and nobody seemed to remember such a caravan of enemies passing through their territory and, as usual, demanding to be fed and supplied with additional women and carriers. Other such travels of strangers were remembered in detail (de Vaca, Marcos, Coronado, etc). This complete absence of testimony does not bode well for the legend.

    That said, I firmly believe that Chicomoztoc (Place of the Seven Caves) is located in North America and is somehow associated with the Cibola legends. IMHO, the Seven Cities may well be the Seven Caves and the reason we can't identify their location is because they are subsurface. I also feel that these locations are gold-rich - mines and/or storehouses, Victorio Peak possiblty being one of them, leaving six others that we don't know about. Of course, the history of the Seven Locations, pre-Mexica and most likely associated with Quetzalcoatl would be the real treasure here.

    "The gods were smiling when you were born. Now they're laughing."​ Chinese fortune cookie

    Karmageddon
    : It's like, when everybody is sending off all those bad vibes, right? And then, like, the earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.







  12. #12

    Mar 2004
    New Mexico
    616
    7 times

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    I've been looking for this documentation for 30 years, and frankly, the earliest mention of the parade appeared in treasure-hunting books/articles in the 1930's. This in itself is quite significant, but that's another story.

    Unfortunately, there was no mention of such an expedition passing through non-Mexica territory to North America following the demise of Montezuma. The oral traditions of a number of tribes were retrieved by the ethnologists (Mexican and Anglo) in later years, in detail, and nobody seemed to remember such a caravan of enemies passing through their territory and, as usual, demanding to be fed and supplied with additional women and carriers. Other such travels of strangers were remembered in detail (de Vaca, Marcos, Coronado, etc). This complete absence of testimony does not bode well for the legend.

    That said, I firmly believe that Chicomoztoc (Place of the Seven Caves) is located in North America and is somehow associated with the Cibola legends. IMHO, the Seven Cities may well be the Seven Caves and the reason we can't identify their location is because they are subsurface. I also feel that these locations are gold-rich - mines and/or storehouses, Victorio Peak possiblty being one of them, leaving six others that we don't know about. Of course, the history of the Seven Locations, pre-Mexica and most likely associated with Quetzalcoatl would be the real treasure here.

    Springfield


    Springfield: It doesn't relate precisely to your post, but it does indirectly, Samuel Cozzens, THE MARVELOUS COUNTRY: OR, THREE YEARS IN ARIZONA AND NEW MEXICO, THE APACHES' HOME. It was out of print almost a century, then re-published [and is still around used on the web for a cheap price], his descriptions of his 1850s visits with Mangas, Cochise, the Laguna, Acoma and Zuni.

    You would probably find his story of the Zuni/Montezuma ceremonies conducted in 1856, interesting even if they don't lead you to any new insights.

    I'm less certain than you there weren't traditions among the tribes concerning parties going north. But if there weren't I'd be willing to rationalize a few reasons they mightn't have persisted [or ever existed].

    One might be that the area once occupied by the Mogollon, Mimbres, Anasazi etc, wasn't immediately re-occupied following their having vacated the premises. So far as I'm aware nobody knows how long it was before other tribes took the tentative steps into an area where they'd have been snatched up and worked as slaves a short while earlier. Whatever tribes had resettled the area mightn't have had the social organization to remember what they might have later when things were more settled. Or they might have deliberately avoided any columns moving north to avoid being snagged and forced to fetch and carry.

    Probably the exceptions would have been the Zuni, Hopi, and Laguna. [The Laguna traditions of their past involve them having been left in the north when the remainder of their tribe left because they were too old, infirm, ill, or were otherwise unable to travel].

    Edit: If you're a patient sort you can get the Cozzens book free on-line as a sort of ebook:

    http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text...a;idno=AJA3616
    http://snipurl.com/26718 [quod_lib_umich_edu]

    Author: Cozzens, Samuel Woodworth, 1834-1878.
    Title: The marvellous country, or, Three years in Arizona and New Mexico.: Containing an authentic history of this wonderful country and its ancient civilization ... together with a full and complete history of the Apache tribe of Indians .../ By Samuel Woodworth Cozzens. Illustrated by more than one hundred engravings.
    Publication Info: Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Library
    2005
    Availability: These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Please go to http://www.umdl.umich.edu/ for more information.

    Print source: The marvellous country, or, Three years in Arizona and New Mexico.: Containing an authentic history of this wonderful country and its ancient civilization ... together with a full and complete history of the Apache tribe of Indians .../ By Samuel Woodworth Cozzens. Illustrated by more than one hundred engravings.
    Cozzens, Samuel Woodworth, 1834-1878.
    Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1876.
    Subject terms: Apache Indians
    Arizona -- Description and travel
    New Mexico -- Description and travel
    URL: http://name.umdl.umich.edu/AJA3616.0001.001


    [Samuel Cozzens author, born in Marblehead, Massachusetts, 14 April, 1834; died in Thomaston, Georgia, 4 November, 1878. He was a lawyer, and for a time United States district judge of Arizona. His published works include" The Marvellous Country" (Boston, 1876); "The Young Trail-Hunters Series," comprising "The Young Trail-Hunters," "Crossing the Quicksands," and "The Young Silver-Seekers" (1876 et seq.); and "Nobody's Husband" (1878). ~ www.famousamericans.net
    Cozzens visited New Mexico and Arizona barely in time to see new US Territories acquired in the Mexican War as they'd never be again. The Apache was more-or-less at peace with the white men. The Texas Confederates hadn't yet campaigned up the Rio Grande, causing Arizona to become a major conduit for men and materials. Gold hadn't yet been discovered in either of the two territories.Cozzens visited Tuscon, Tubac, Sacaton, Mesilla, Acoma, Laguna and Zuni at a time when they were still new from the US perspective. His descriptions of the people, the places and the times are well worth reading again and again. A grizzly bear attacks their mule in the Zuni Mountains. It must have been one of the last opportunities a mule had in New Mexico for such an experience. The book is loaded with that sort of thing. ~ Amazon.com]

  13. #13
    pw
    Apr 2003
    New Mexico
    BS
    2,841
    1091 times

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Quote Originally Posted by Highmountain
    .... I'm less certain than you there weren't traditions among the tribes concerning parties going north. But if there weren't I'd be willing to rationalize a few reasons they mightn't have persisted [or ever existed].

    One might be that the area once occupied by the Mogollon, Mimbres, Anasazi etc, wasn't immediately re-occupied following their having vacated the premises. So far as I'm aware nobody knows how long it was before other tribes took the tentative steps into an area where they'd have been snatched up and worked as slaves a short while earlier.
    Probably the exceptions would have been the Zuni, Hopi, and Laguna. ....

    Edit: If you're a patient sort you can get the Cozzens book free on-line as a sort of ebook: ....
    Point well taken, HM, but the indigenous traditions I'm referring to are those (some still extant) occupying the Northern Frontier of Mexico proper. Granted, the Mimbrenos and others who occupied portions of North America were long gone by the 16th century, and the Apache were relative newcomers to the area then.

    I've got a copy of the Cozzens book and as you suggest, it's a good report. Interestingly, the Montezuma tradition has always been strong among the pueblo tribes of New Mexico, with legends dating to the pre-migration period of the later Mexica. With no known written records of the Pre Columbian American Southwest, we really donít have much of an idea what happened here. This makes the true connection between the Mexica and their homeland fuzzy at best.
    "The gods were smiling when you were born. Now they're laughing."​ Chinese fortune cookie

    Karmageddon
    : It's like, when everybody is sending off all those bad vibes, right? And then, like, the earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.







  14. #14
    pw
    Apr 2003
    New Mexico
    BS
    2,841
    1091 times

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Quote Originally Posted by Highmountain
    [
    I'd sent this crop of a photo of what I believed to be the ruins of an Aztec temple site located in my area of interest to one of the premier Aztec historians these days in hopes she'd recognize some of the figures as being of Aztec origin. Just got the reply:

    I have looked at your photo, and find it difficult to identify as a temple or similar feature. And it would be surprising to find such an architectural feature all by itself. However, it might be worth your while to get an additional opinion, especially from someone versed in Southwestern archaeology, since it is geographically close to that culture area.

    In a lot of ways that suits my own purposes fairly well, but it doesn't add anything to my conjectures about it being one of the candidates as a homeland for the Aztec. I probably did fail to mention in my email that it isn't 'all by itself'.
    What exactly are we looking at here? It appears to be a fairly recent burn area with a large mound in the middle, and maybe some wall-like structures in the foreground. Figures? What figures are you referring to? Kinda hard to make out details. Any thing interesting on the surface (definite walls, shards, chips, etc)?
    "The gods were smiling when you were born. Now they're laughing."​ Chinese fortune cookie

    Karmageddon
    : It's like, when everybody is sending off all those bad vibes, right? And then, like, the earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.







  15. #15
    Charter Member

    Dec 2005
    Arizona
    5,688
    870 times

    Re: Earliest source of the legends of the transported Aztec gold

    Jack,

    Can we see some close up pictures of the carvings?

    Thanks,

    Joe

 

 
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