Friday, March 7, 2014

Your Daily Giant 4/13/2013


Today's Daily Giant covers a story that lasted several decades and captured the imagination of many people in the Southwest at that time. One of the main figures involved was Dr. Byron Cummings, the "Dean of Southwest Archaeology". Dr. Cummings was the highly respected head of the Archaeology Department at the University of Arizona. As the story begins, Dr. Cummings was contacted by J. L. Coker, a miner who was working in the isolated Sonora section in Mexico. Coker unearthed skeletons averaging 8 feet tall with one of the bodies measuring 8 feet 3 inches in height. Coker also described one of the skulls he found as measuring more than a foot long and ten inches wide. Dr Cummings explained in the Border Cities Star, Dec, 4, 1930 article, "There have been past discoveries of single skeletons measuring more than the average height of present humans, but there never has been several found together so that the existence of a tribe or race of giants could be proven." Also reported is Dr. Cummings asking the science service in Washington to aid the university in sponsoring the proposed expedition to Sonora, which he ended up leading, to verify Coker's claims. These finds match the oral history of the Yaqui Indians who claim that a race of giants inhabited the area long ago. I have attached 4 articles that describe this episode, from the Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, Dec. 14, 1930 page 1 is found, from the United Press an account of Dr. Cummings following up the discoveries of Coker several weeks later, "Sayopa, Sonora, Mexico. Five large skeletons, the first evidences that a race of supermen once roamed this vast wasteland, were unearthed today by an international expedition of scientists. Working rapidly for two nights and a day, the little band of American and Mexican archaeologists unearthed the petrified remains of a youth 6 feet 8 inches tall, the skeletons of four other children of lesser stature and several jars filled with human ashes. The importance of these discoveries was the fact that they definitely established the scene of operations as a great burial ground, according to Dr. Byron Cummings, dean of the University of Arizona archaeology department and leader of the expedition." It is reported that Dr. Cummings and Professor Manuel San Domingo, a Mexican Government scientist of Sonora faced the fierce and superstitious Yaqui Indians at the burial place of the Giants in Sonora. Despite the pleas of the scientists, the Yaquis smashed to pieces the giants bones with their rifle butts. "However, before the expedition could get properly to work, down swooped the Yaquis armed with rifles and knives. They fiercely bade the archaeologists quit or take the consequences. The Mexican professor tried in vain to placate the Indians. His remonstrance's were abruptly shattered by a tough Yaqui brave who upraised a heavy rifle butt and battered the giant remains to pieces." This story certainly does not end there, as it continues, it gets stranger in the years to come.

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