Comalcalco - A case for pre-Columbian transoceanic contact

Neil Steede, David J. Eccott

The remains of Comalcalco in Tabasco, Mexico, display anomalous features relating to architecture and construction that are not found elsewhere in the Maya region. These features appear without any apparent developmental stages. Fired clay brick, instead of the usual limestone, was also used in one construction phase. Fired clay brick technology, found only at a few sites in the vicinity of Comalcalco and at a couple of minor sites in neighbouring Chiapas, was otherwise unknown in pre-Columbian America. Various designs and motifs were incised upon the bricks, a percentage of which correspond to motifs found on fired clay bricks from the Roman World. This, along with other factors that have parallels in contemporary Europe, has led to speculation that these were the result of intrusion from a Mediterranean source. However, detection of possible alphabetic characters on some of the bricks reveals that the donor culture was more likely to have been Indo/Asiatic, although seemingly containing elements of contemporary European culture.