Machu Picchu is generally accepted to have been an Incan retreat, built in the middle of the 15th century on a barely accessible mountaintop of Peru about fifty miles northwest of Cuzco. It was apparently abandoned a century later and only brought to the attention of the outside world in 1911, when it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham.
Mark Adams, the American writer, wrote an account of his retracing of Bingham’s journey to Machu Picchu. Along with the narrative of his pilgrimage, Adams has also interwoven a valuable history of the region.
In 2013, a Polish-Peruvian team, while exploring a previously unexcavated building on the site, claimed to have discovered that the structure was astronomically aligned(a). The following year saw a newly discovered section of the Inca Road, which leads to Machu Picchu, announced by the Andina News Agency(c).
In July 2016, it was reported that what are considered pre-Inca petroglyphs were discovered in the Machu Picchu region(d)(e). Research is proceeding.
*The siting of the sanctuary has been something of a mystery, Recent research suggests that the existence of geological faults that lie beneath it may offer some of the answers. Rualdo Menegat, a Brazilian geologist, presented a paper to the Geological Society of America’s Annual meeting in Phoenix, in which he claims that the Incas deliberately chose to build Machu Picchu and some of their cities where tectonic faults meet!(h)*
It was revealed in 2019 that work had commenced on the building of a new interational airport to service Machu Picchu, a development that has been vigorously opposed as a threat to the already fragile site. It is worth noting that in 2017, 1.5 million visitors, nearly twice the limit recommended by UNESCO, came to Machu Picchu(g).
*Also in 2019, it was announced that an even older Inca site was discovered 1,500 metres higher than Machu Picchu using LiDar(i).*
Some pathetic attempts have been made to link Machu Picchu with Atlantis. One of them claims that “This was the (summer?) residence of the continental governor, who at the time of the destruction of Atlantis was a woman.”(b) Others, such as Rand Flem-Ath along with the late Colin Wilson, as well as Jim Alison, have included the Andean site in proposed global grids linking prehistoric sites.
A less-known Inca site is that of Choquequirao(f), sometimes referred to as the ‘sister’ of Machu Picchu. Only a third of the site has been excavated so far.
The Maya of ancient Mexico and Guatemala have generated much controversy regarding their origins(w). Recent studies indicate that the story of the development of this remarkable civilisation may be more complex than previously thought(k). The demise of the Mayan cultural (800-950 AD) has now been definitively shown to be the result of persistent drought, particularly in the southern lowlands(o).
Inevitably the Maya have been linked with Atlantis by a number of writers such as Lewis Spence and E.H. Thompson who claimed that the Maya were descendants of Atlanteans. The maverick, Augustus Le Plongeon was alone in identifying Atlantis as a colony of the Maya and that their language was in fact Greek! Others, such as Jean-Frédérick Waldeck, included an Egyptian linkage as well. However, trumping all that is a recent claim that the Maya had contact with extraterrestrials and that a documentary providing evidence is planned(b). In a similar vein is the latest English language publication from Erich von Däniken entitled: Astronaut Gods of the Maya. Semir Osmanagic, of Bosnian pyramid fame, added a twist to this proposed linkage, when he claimed that the Maya had come from Atlantis, which in turn had been founded by visitors from the Pleiades!
For some comic relief, I can suggest a 1976 book by brothers Eric & Craig Umland which ‘reveals’ that the Maya ‘are remnants of space explorers whose attempts to colonise our solar system went awry more than 40,000 years ago.’ Nearly every page is full of hilarious nonsense and nearly worth the £0.01 currently quoted on Amazon.uk. A website(i) dealing with ‘unreason’ uses extracts from the Umlands as good examples! If you wish to read about the Maya in Antarctica, the Canaries as well as the Moon, this is the book for you.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan manmade dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters.
The Maya had a sophisticated writing system that occupied the attention of a number of 19th century writers including Abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg and Le Plongeon. Unfortunately, de Bourbourg followed the work of the 16th century bishop of Yucatán, Diego de Landa whose interpretation was seriously erroneous. It was Constantine Rafinesque who partially deciphered some of the Mayan numerals in 1832.
A report in 2013(l) indicated that substantial progress has been made in the decipherment of any outstanding difficulties in the translation of the Mayan script through internet co-operation.
July 2012 saw a report(j) on the discovery of the largest Mayan man-made dam at Tikal in Guatemala, which was 33ft high and 260ft long and included sand filters. Ten years later, it was discovered that the Maya had also the ability to engineer a water fountain in their city of Palenque(v).
James O’Kon, an engineer, has investigated Mayan technology for decades, including the discovery of a suspension bridge at the ancient Mayan city of Yaxchilan in Mexico in 1995, which is believed to be the longest bridge of the ancient world(r). This and other aspects of Mayan technology he explores in his book, The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology. More recently, Lorraine Stobbart has written Utopia: Fact or Fiction, which suggests that the ‘Utopia’ of Sir Thomas More was inspired by the Mayan culture although his text was written before Mexico was ‘officially’ discovered. Stobbart recently revealed that she is now revising her views.
However, a more serious claim relates to the idea that Mayan inscriptions revealed that a global catastrophe was to occur in 2012. This nonsense(g) turned into a minor publishing industry. Some even tried to link this daft idea to Atlantis. Fortunately, May 2012 saw evidence from excavations in Guatemala that shows the Mayan calendar extending well beyond 2012(h).
The late David H. Kelley, a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at Canada’s University of Calgary, had been investigating ancient links between Asia and pre-Columbian America. In that regard he published a paper outlining similarities between the Mayan and ancient Chinese calendars that were apparently too numerous to be explained by independent development(p). A more sceptical view is offered(q) by Jason Colavito, who traces the idea back to Alexander von Humboldt.
In a paper entitled On the Mayan Chronology, Emilio Spedicato offers a number of ideas regarding ancient mesoamerican chronologies. For example, he proposes that the large numbers used by the Maya and Toltecs record days rather than years. Many of his ideas stem from the work of Immanuel Velikovsky, John Ackerman and the Tollmans.
The work of Teobert Maler at the end of the 19thcentury was invaluable in the advancement of Mayan studies. Subsequent researchers have seized upon his discovery of a frieze at Tikal, which he interpreted as a depiction of the destruction of Atlantis, as evidence of the existence of Atlantis in the Atlantic. Apart from Maler’s conjectural ideas, no tangible link has been found between the Maya and Atlantis apart from the use in their glyphs of elephants, an animal that features in Plato’s narrative.
The authenticity of photo of the frieze has been called into question by Jason Colavito and his related blog(n) is worthy of consideration.
In late 2011 controversy erupted when it was claimed that the Itza Maya had migrated to North America, more specifically Georgia(c). It was also suggested that earthen pyramids in Georgia and Florida can be attributed to the Maya(e). Among their other accomplishments is the claim that the Maya were capable of predicting meteor showers(s).
Gene Matlock, the well-known advocate of Atlantis in Mexico, is certain that the Maya were originally Tamils from Sri Lanka(a)!
A recent article(f) gives an interesting firsthand account of encountering the important Mayan city of Calakmul deep in the Yucatan jungle. Potentially even more important are recent LiDAR surveys carried out in Guatemala that have revealed an astounding number of previously unknown Mayan structures. The number of additional Mayan sites identified through the use of LiDAR continues to grow at an incredible rate(u).
Muddying the waters further is an Islamic site that claims that the Maya were Atlantean(m).
(m) http://mashiyah.blogspot.ie/ (offline 1/8/14)