Friday, November 11, 2011

Itaquatiaras (in English)

   In the City of “Ingá”, or “Serra da Borborema”, there is a monolith about 70 feet long and 9 feet tall that contains strange characters and images of animals, fruits, humans, constellations, and even our own Milky Way galaxy. This monolith, or “Itaquatiaras” as it is known,  is one of the most expressive archaeological findings on the planet.

   The word "Itaquatiara" in the indigenous Tupinambá (Tupi) language means "painted rocks". Indeed, according to specialists, traces of paint pigment are still visible, and prove that the symbols once displayed vivid colors.
   The Itaquatiaras of Paraíba has been known throughout the world since the discovery of Brasil. It was mentioned for the first time in 1618, in the book “Dialogues of the Largeness of Brasil” whose authorship is attributed to the Portuguese Ambrósio Fernandes Brandão.
   Also known as “Pedra de Ingá”, this archaeological monument was the first one to have a title of national patrimony in 1944.

   The identity of the Itaquatiaras’s sculptor remains a controversy. Many scholars believe that the images were made by an ancient people who lived in the region. However, since discovery of Brasil by the Portuguese, the indigenous aboriginals and their remaining descendants have always maintained that the symbols were not the work of their ancestors.
   Other specialists believe the Itaquatiaras was created by the Phoenicians three thousand years ago when Brasil was used as their commercial base. Among the researchers who defend this theory, was an American scholar of Near Eastern cultures and ancient languages, Cyrus H. Gordon, who, in 1960, translated the text of the Itaquatiaras of Paraíba:

“We are Sidonian Canaanites from the city of the Mercantile King. We were cast up on this distant shore, a land of mountains. We sacrificed a youth to the celestial gods and goddesses in the nineteenth year of our mighty King Hiram and embarked from Ezion-geber into the Red Sea. We voyaged with ten ships and were at sea together for two years around Africa. Then we were separated by the hand of Baal and were no longer with our companions. So we have come here, twelve men and three women, into New Shore. Am I, the Admiral, a man who would flee? Nay! May the celestial gods and goddesses favor us well!”

The text engraved on the Itaquatiaras of Paraíba, and below it the Phoenician alphabet
 Problems and solutions
   Today, Brasil is in danger of losing this ancient monument as the Itaquatiaras is deteriorating due to constant thermal expansion and contraction. The only way preserve this treasure is to plant trees around the monument to shade the stone from the damaging effects of sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations. 
   Further exacerbating the situation, during the rainy season this important archaeological site becomes partially – or completely - submerged by the Bacamarte River; bombarding the monolith with debris carried in its torrential waters. Moreover, the waters are polluted by sewers and contaminated runoff from the nearby cities, which speeds up erosion of the stone. To prevent the destruction of the Itaquatiaras by the river, authorities would have to change the course of the water.
   And sadly, another threat to the integrity of the monolith is the perverse action of vandals and archaeological relics dealers enticed by a legend of treasure hidden within the stone. It is necessary to have a security system to protect that place.

The monument submerged by the Bacamarte River
Few words about the Phoenicians in Tupis lands
   The Itaquatiaras is not the only indication of ancient Phoenicians in Brasil. For example, archaeological discoveries of Phoenician origin include shipyards, port wine and utensils that have been found in lakes of Piauí, Maranhão, and Rio Grande do Norte States, and whitewashed rock walls built with the typical Phoenician technique have been found in the Ceará, Piauí and Maranhão States. In Amazonia, stone text has been discovered that refers to the Phoenician kings of Tiro and Sidon. In Pedra da Gavea, Rio De Janeiro, the text “Here Badezir, king of Tiro, oldest son of Jetbaal” was discovered in addition to writings about the work and commercial activities of the Phoenician people in Brasil found in Bahia, Mato Grosso, Goiás and Minas Gerais.
   The Phoenicians also influenced the native tongue. Linguistic specialists confirm that many Tupi words are similar to Phoenician words.


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